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Antigua

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is experiencing major difficulties meeting objectives because member countries are not paying up.

The Antigua Observer newspaper reported the agency’s Executive Director Ronald Jackson saying inadequate contributions by member states are causing a circular negative effect because without that money CDEMA cannot build internal mechanisms to qualify for international financing. CDEMA membership covers a total of 18 Caribbean countries, including all members of CARICOM.

Jackson said international aid organizations and donor countries are moving away from the provision of direct assistance in preference to supporting regional bodies such as CDEMA.

Barbados

The Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr. De Lisle Worrell says the authorities are applying appropriate remedies to deal with the economic problems facing the country.

In July, the Central Bank said it was projecting slight economic growth of 0.3 per cent for the island this year, adding it expects the economy to pick up in subsequent years, to 1.2 percent 2015 and 2.5 per cent growth in 2016.

But the Central Bank said output for the economy as a whole remained flat despite the improved tourism performance.

In a monthly letter to business people on the performance of the local economy, Worrell said the health of the economy, as in the health of Barbadians, the island faces “the challenges of success.”

He said with respect to the economy, “our high costs are a reflection of our relatively high living standards, when compared to our peers in the region and elsewhere.”

Dominica

Opposition Workers Party (UWP) members of Parliament in Dominica have decided to boycott parliamentary proceedings in support of its senator, Danny Lugay, who has been suspended from Parliament until criminal charges against him have been resolved.

The party recently held a press conference following Lugay’s suspension during the Budget session of Parliament.

Lugay was arrested and charged for inciting the murder of Senior Counsel Alick Lawrence- a member of the Electoral Commission.

During a political meeting in Soufriere in July, Lugay in expressing frustration over electoral reform, said, “If I was not a believer I would take out some people… some people need to die.”

John said Lugay spoke out of frustration about what continues to take place in Dominica. Lugay has since apologized publicly to his family, party and parliament. Lugay pleaded not guilty in court and was granted EC$8,000 bail.

Guyana

The prospect of an early general election in Guyana has increased significantly after the majority opposition grouping, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), signaled its intention to back a motion of no confidence in the Donald Ramoutar administration. The last election was held in the South American country on Nov. 28, 2011. The minority Alliance for Change (AFC) has said it will table the motion of no confidence in the minority People’s Progressive Party/Civic government. The two opposition parties control 33 of the 65-seat National Assembly.

The APNU shadow cabinet met recently to discuss the motion and according to the group’s co-leader, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, the decision was unanimous and that no dissenting views were expressed during the meeting. He said the party would support the motion when it comes before the parliament, hopefully in October. He said the APNU, which includes the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNCR) believes that the decision to support the motion was the right step given the feeling and mood of the population. The Constitution states that on the House’s approval of a no-confidence motion, the president and Cabinet have to resign and make way for general and regional elections within three months. President Ramoutar has repeatedly said that he is not afraid of going back to the polls earlier than the constitutional deadline of 2016 to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.

Haiti

Haitian law enforcement authorities have launched a search for several prisoners, including a notorious gang leader, Clifford Brandt, who recently escaped from prison after angry prisoners started a riot, holding six people hostage. Brandt, a member of one of the richest families in Haiti, was arrested in October 2012 and held since then by court order on charges of kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, among other allegations. Police said Brandt escaped from the prison of Croix-des- Bouquets, outside the Haitian capital, after prisoners took four police officers and two nurses, hostage.

No one was killed during the break-out, but two people, including a policeman were injured. Police said they have already recaptured 13 of the escaped prisoners and that a significant reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of Brandt. The number of prisoners who escaped custody has not been disclosed. The authorities have launched an investigation into the escape of the prisoners.

Jamaica

Jamaica National Security Minister Peter Bunting said a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) -style anti-crime agency is to be created on the island. Speaking at a press conference at the Police Officers Club in St. Andrew, Bunting said the new entity will be called the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and will be headed by Col. DT Edwards of the Jamaica Defense Force. “The new agency will give us greater reach and increase our capacity to carry out investigations on people of interest, including the police and those in public office. This will in turn produce an enhanced capability to prosecute criminals,” Bunting said. He said MOCA and the Anti-Corruption Branch have demonstrated their competence, adding that he believes that “pooling their collective talents together in a single more capable agency can only improve performance.” This agency, he said, will see the police and soldiers being assisted by personnel of the Financial Investigations Division.

Haiti

Haiti is expected to vaccinate 200,000 people against cholera starting this month, with support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/ World Health Organization (WHO).The campaign will be carried out in three areas by Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) because they are considered high-risk zones.“Vaccination is an important complementary measure in the fight against cholera,” said PAHO Assistant Director Francisco Becerra. “But the long-term objective is to eliminate cholera, which will require sustained improvements in access to water and sanitation for the population,” he said.

Although Haiti’s cholera epidemic has slowed considerably, more than 6,000 cases and 51 deaths were reported between January and July.Last month PAHO shipped 400,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine to Haiti, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon formally presenting the vaccines to Minister of Health Florence Guillaume.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says the recent audit of the Registry at the High Court raises a number of questions that needed to be answered. The audit followed the May 21 resignation of Registrar of the High Court Tamara Gibson-Marks. Gonsalves, who received a copy of the audit report recently, said that copies were also given to the Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan acting Commissioner of Police Ronald Hadaway and Director of Public Prosecutions, Colin Williams. He told reporters he was reluctant to give details of the report indicating that it was in the hands of the relevant authorities. The attorney general had asked Gibson-Marks to resign during a 30-minute meeting on May 21. The resignation comes amidst unconfirmed reports that an estimated EC$300,000 had been missing from an account. Since then the AG has applied to the court asking that the St. Lucian-born former registrar show cause why he should not be debarred or disciplined.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago’s rating on the Global Innovation Index (GII) has dropped for the third consecutive year. Trinidad and Tobago ranked 90 out of 143 countries in this year’s index. Last year, T&T ranked 81 while it was at number 74 in 2012 and 72 in 2011. Among four Caribbean countries, Trinidad and Tobago was at lowest position, while neighboring Barbados was ranked the highest at 41. Jamaica came in at 82 and Guyana at 80. The country which ranked 143 on the Index was Sudan. The GII, in its seventh edition this year, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations.

The core of the GII report consists of a ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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