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Caribbean Round-Up

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Antigua

The ruling Antigua United Progressive Party (UPP) has promised that no new taxes will be introduced if it is re-elected government on June 12.

It has also pledged in its just released election manifesto that none of the existing taxes will be increased.

The manifesto dubbed, “The People’s Charter”, was unveiled recently before an audience of about 300 supporters at the Sandal Grande Antigua Resort.

The document promised further income tax relief of up to 20 percent, for thousands of low to middle income earners.

Among the promises is a regeneration of the Free Trade Zone to promote exports, the creation of jobs and attracting foreign direct investment.

The UPP said it would provide generous incentives to companies that import raw materials and manufacture finished products for export.

The UPP is relying on its agenda for the next years, which include economic stability to economic resilience, from social transformation to social cohesion, human development and promoting vibrant communities.

Cuba

Cuba welcomed 1.28 million tourists between January and April this year - a five percent rise compared to the same period in 2013.

According to the National Statistics and Information Office (ONEI), the Spanish-speaking island, welcomed in April alone 287,103 foreign visitors, up four percent year-on-year.

Canadians continue to outnumber all other visitors to the island with 623,337 arrivals, followed by Germans with 55,238, according to PNEI, which noted that British, French and Italians tourists were also at the forefront of visitor numbers.

In 2013, Cuba attracted 2,852, 572 tourists to its shores, more than a million of them from Canada. That number was just 150,000 short of the three million goal and tourism authorities are aiming for this year.

Tourism is Cuba’s second leading source of foreign revenue, with income of some $1.8 billion in 2013, most of it for accommodation and food, according to official figures.

Guyana

The United States has reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with the government of Guyana to combat the illicit trafficking of narcotics and illegal weapons.

At the signing of an agreement recently for the provision of additional funds in the amount of US$850,000, US Ambassador, Brent Hardt said the citizens of Guyana should experience the benefits of improved security.

The agreement signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and the ambassador, is the third amendment to the Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement agreement to support several on-going and new programmatic activities.

It also includes enhanced training in police functions such as evidence gathering, interrogation methods, and case development, Hardt said.

It will also focus on specialized investigation in the areas of human trafficking, gender-based violence, corruption and money laundering.

The funds will also go towards strengthening Guyana’s correction service, with particular focus on the management and rehabilitation of juvenile detainees.

Since 201, both governments, under the Caribbean Basin Initiative partnership have been working towards a common goal of building safer and more secure communities, the minister said.

Jamaica

Jamaica’s government says it is launching a US$5 million welfare-to-work program that is expected to benefit some 2,000 people.

This was disclosed by National Security Minister Derrick Kellier who said the program will be implemented in the next two years.

He said the program aims to reduce the number of people who receive financial support and prepare them to enter the workforce.

The island’s 2.9 million people has a 16 percent unemployment rate and nearly 17 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has assured Caribbean rum producers that marketing campaign to position Authentic Caribbean Rums in Europe and internationally has the backing of Caribbean governments.

Dr. Anthony was at the time speaking at a regional rum exposition in St. Lucia recently, which hosted 16 Caribbean rum producers and journalists from six European countries.

The prime minister acknowledged that despite victories at rum festivals worldwide, the Caribbean had a lot to do to maintain its foothold in traditional markets in Europe and to establish new markets.

He said although the region was known for the “absolute quality and excellence” in the rums produced, it still had to deal with competition in the international market.

The exposition was organized by the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association to introduce to the visiting European journalists the Authentic Caribbean Rum marketing campaign and the mark associated with it.

St. Vincent

A magistrate in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has jailed a mother of four for one year for burning her six-year-old son three times with an iron.

Tashika Da Souza, 23, pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm before Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias in the Kingstown Court last week.

Da Souza told the magistrate that she did not know the iron was hot when she pressed it against her son’s left hand and abdomen.

Chief Prosecutor Adolphus Delphelec described the act as “wicked, backward and barbaric.”

The court heard that Da Souza’s son defecated on himself after she prepared him for school. She then burnt him with the iron.

Trinidad

A Surinamese-born Dutch national was extradited to Singapore to face trial for fraud.

Armanath Jagmohan, who was detained in Trinidad since he was arrested on a provisional warrant in January last year, has lost his battle in the Trinidad High Court and Court of Appeal to avoid extradition.

It is alleged that sometime in May 2003, Jagmohan visited several money lenders in Singapore and attempted to change counterfeit euros. He was charged in Singapore but fled the country before his trial while on bail. He was held in Trinidad and Tobago on Jan. 29, 2013.

Guyana

Guyana police are searching for two men in connection with the discovery of 10 pounds of cocaine worth millions of dollars hidden in boxes containing peppers and ochroes at Piarco International Airport, Trinidad last month.

The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) of Guyana has issued wanted bulletins for the alleged suspects who have been identified as Caleb Habeeb Caesar, 30, of Newton, Guyana and Phillip Carlos Jermin Lovell, 37, of Guyhoc Park, Guyana.

Photographs of the wanted men have been posted in the newspapers in Guyana.

Guyana police said the quantity of cocaine was found hidden in boxes containing peppers and ochroes on a Caribbean Airlines flight which had earlier arrived in Trinidad from Guyana. The final destination of the flight was stated as New York.

There is concern over how the cocaine went unnoticed by Guyanese authorities and was allowed to slip through security at the Cheddi Jagan Airport.

St. Vincent

Chairman of regional airline LIAT, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines said a technical committee will soon be established between management and workers to oversee the smooth and improved daily operations of the company.

He said the decision was made at a meeting last month between the chairman and shareholders committee and directors, the new chief executive officer and the union representing the workers across the region.

Dr. Gonsalves said the basis of the meeting was to review an eight-page document submitted by the unions representing workers, analyzing the failings of the company and provided recommendations for urgent measures to stem the downward spiral of the regional airline.

The document was submitted to the LIAT chairman in February.

The Vincentian prime minister said the new LIAT CEO David Evans presented a broad overview of his vision and “strategic frame” for the airline’s future, which he plans to make available in detail to all LIAT shareholders, including workers.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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