Japan is planning to send a mission to three Caribbean countries later this month despite their economic growth making them ineligible for receiving official development assistance (ODA) from Tokyo.
Kyodo News International reported last week that under the program, Japan aims to seek support from the countries “graduating from ODA” for Tokyo’s bid for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council next year.
Japan will send the mission to Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and Barbados to study their economic situation and the type of assistance required. The mission would consist mainly of Japan officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled the post-ODA aid program for the 14-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) during the first summit between Japan and Caricom held in Port of Spain, Trinidad on July 28, 2014. Based on international standards, Japan extends ODA to countries whose per-capita gross national income totals US$12,275 or lower.
Japan will continue extending ODA to Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
Barbados, faced with an upsurge in gun related crimes, has stepped up surveillance and vigilance at ports of entry.
This was revealed by Home Affairs Minister Adreil Braithwaite who said the new initiative is based on intelligence and that he has already convened a meeting with Acting Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith and acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Seymour Cumberbatch, on the issue.
He said the vigilance would also be extended to those engaged in the fishing industry.
“We have to do more random checks, even with our own fishermen whey they go out to the waters. It cannot be business as usual,” Braithwaite said.
Four American nationals were killed when their twin-engine Cessna plane crashed as it approached Freeport on the island of Grand Bahamas last week, Bahamas police said.
They have been identified as Robert Dean Carlson, 47, and Terry Haynes, 57, of Ormond Beach, Michael Robert Kennedy, 65, of Deland and 42-year-old Matthew Sokolowski of Clearwater - all from Florida.
Police said investigations into the cause of the crash were still ongoing. Assistant Police Commissioner of the Bahamas Police Force said the plane crashed into an area of shallow water and mangrove.
The Guyana Police Force (GDF) said that serious crimes in 2014 have shown an eight percent decline.
In a press release, the GDF said that for the period Jan. 1 to July 31, 2014, compared with the same period in 2013, there has been an eight percent drop in the total number of serious crimes, but there was a l0 percent increase in the number of murders.
The total number of reports of serious crimes made between January and July 31, 2014, was 2,134 compared to 2,317 for the same period in 2013.
The statement added that among the serious crimes investigated by the police were murder, armed robbery, robbery with violence, robbery with aggravation, larceny from the person, break and enter, larceny, burglary, rape and kidnapping.
A total of 80 murders were recorded at the end of July 2014 compared with 73 murders for the same period in 2013, an increase of 10 percent. Of the 80 murders committed up to July 2014, three were of the execution type, 16 committed during robberies, 21 domestic related, 17 were of the disorderly type and 23 are so far undetermined, police said.
In relation to traffic accidents, police reported 67 fatalities from 61 accidents were recorded up to the end of July 31, 2014 compared to 61 deaths from 58 accidents for the same period in 2013.
A Venezuelan national stunned Jamaican investigators when he excreted 80 small packages with cash totaling US$103,500 (J$11.6 million), after a routine check at the Sangster International Airport recently.
The discovery of the money has forced Jamaican authorities to increase their vigilance at the nation’s ports.
The 40-year-old Venezuelan Eddy Alberio Mancipe Ortega, was convicted on four counts of breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act and was sentenced in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate Court to three months in jail. The court also ordered that the money be forfeited to the state.
Investigators revealed that on Jan. 20 this year, Ortega was stopped by members of the Transnational Crime and Narcotics Division as he attempted to board a Caribbean Airline flight from Sangster International Airport to Trinidad and Tobago.
The St. Lucia government has approved a new initiative that it hopes will promote the use of cleaner fuels and more fuel-efficient vehicles, reduce emissions and address the energy demands posed by a growing vehicle fleet.
The Dr. Kenny Anthony administration said that it has approved new sustainable-energy-related concessions for the transport sector, the largest consumer of imported fossil fuels.
“The initiative is consistent with St. Lucia’s national agenda to reduce the importation of fossil fuels to promote renewable energy and energy diversification. The measures will also result in significant savings,” according to a government statement.
It said that the government has revised the import duties and excise tax rates on electric and hybrid vehicles.
The statement also said that consumers currently enjoy a duty and excise tax exemption on the importation of vehicles and vehicle conversion equipment that allow operation on sustainable fuels.
To further increase the benefits to the country, the government said it would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to promote cleaner fuels and more fuel efficient vehicles in the country.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is getting ready to open the Argyle International Airport despite several missed completion dates.
Construction started some six years ago.
The government is still in need of cash to finish the project, even though the Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had secured the US$80 million that the International Airport Development (IADC) said last year it needed to complete the project.
The government says it is still awaiting the US$9.25 million from the sale of land to two developers in Canouan as well as disbursement of the final EC$ l0 million loan from the Venezuelan-based ALBA bank.
But despite setbacks, the government is confident that the EC$700 million airport exceeded to become operational by mid-2015, will help boost the local economy, particularly the tourism and agricultural sectors.
Suriname President Desi Bouterse recently launched his re-election bid telling supporters he is confident that his National Democratic Party (NDP) would be victorious in the 2015 general election.
He said his administration had made significant improvements in the lives of Surinamese and urged them to unite to ensure victory whenever the polls are called.
“We built so many bridges and paved so many roads in the hinterland. After 70 years of promises, people finally have drinking water in their homes and cannot stop thanking us when we see them,” Bouterse said, adding, “the NDP has shown it is possible to bring development to Suriname.”
Bouterse said that before May 2015, his administration would increase the old age pensions as well as improve benefits for children.
The president, a former army sergeant who first took power in Suriname during a Feb. 25, 1980 coup d’état, became president in 2010, surprising many opponents, including the Netherlands where he is wanted for a 1999 drug sentence.
Bouterse announced last year that he would run for a second term, saying that while he had first intended to be in office for one term, his party wanted him to run again and his family members have given their blessing.
The NDP is part of a two-member Mega-Combination coalition that includes the A-Combination coalition led by Ronnie Brunswijk.
Trinidad & Tobago’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index (GII) has dropped for the third consecutive year.
Trinidad & Tobago ranked 90 out of 143 countries in this year’s index.
Last year Trinidad & Tobago ranked 81 while it was at number 72 in 2001.
Among four Caribbean countries, Trinidad and Tobago was at lowest position, while neighboring Barbados was ranked at the highest 41.
Jamaica came in at 82 and Guyana 80.
The country which ranked 143 on the index was Sudan
The GII, in its seventh year, is co-published by Cornell University 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.
The index is calculated as the average of two sub-indices — the Innovation Input Sub Index, which gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities and the Innovation Output Sub-Index, which captures actual evidence of innovations results.
Compiled by Azad Ali