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Caribbean

American Airlines is increasing its regional service with a wave of new routes to the Caribbean region, the carrier announced recently.

The new flights include a new Caribbean destination: Barranquilla, Colombia, which will receive daily service from Miami beginning June 4.

That comes alongside an expansion of service to the French Caribbean island of Martinique, which will see an increase to four weekly direct flights out of Miami on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

The carrier is also adding new Saturday service between Dallas Fort Worth and Grand Cayman, along with new Saturday and Sunday flights between Los Angeles and Belize City.

“This new destination in Colombia and new routes reinforce American’s commitment to servicing Latin America and the Caribbean, providing customers more access to the region than any other U.S. airline,” the airline said.

Barranquilla is a Caribbean coastal destination that is seeing renewed interest in hotel investment, as Colombia continues to undergo a tourism boom.

Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said he does not intend to give ‘absolute privilege’ to parliamentarians in the proposed Defamation Act.

Absolute privilege is a complete defense to an action for defamation in English law. If the defense of absolute privilege applies, it is irrelevant that a defendant has acted with malice, knew information was false or acted solely to damage the reputation of the other party.

Benjamin said this defense is excluded from the proposed law because he believes parliamentarians should be held to the same level as the rest of the people.

“Under the old law, there was absolute privilege given at parliament and you say what you like. We thought it was unfair to do so… you must be responsible in what you say,” he said.

In some defamation acts in other countries, absolute privilege can be deployed in a narrow range of cases. One such is in Parliament; another relates to statements made in judicial proceedings which are protected and a third is the communication between a solicitor and the client.

The Defamation Bill, which replaces the Libel and Slander Act, will be debated in Parliament this month. Currently, under the Libel and Slander Act, an individual can be jailed for up to three years for defaming someone’s character.

Barbados

Even as the Barbados Light & Power Company reports reduced electricity costs for Barbadians due to falling oil prices, government is exploring the possibility of enhancing the infrastructure through which electricity is generated in Barbados.

As part of a series of studies worth $2.4 million and being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Government will be conducting a smart grid feasibility study.

The work will also include the possibility of developing a second phase of the Energy Smart Fund with an emphasis on energy efficient for the hotel sector, an initiative to utilize wind, photovoltaic technologies and other renewable energy sources in public companies to make their processes more efficient.”

New documentation on the project said funding from the IDB would “finance the development of a strategy for adopting a smart grid system that is suitable for local conditions in Barbados.”

The smart grid component would also include an assessment grid energy storage integrated with renewable energy as well as the including of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and financial and economic analysis of the smart grid deployment.

In addition to the smart grid study, there will also be other research “that will contribute to the promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency in thermal energy and ocean power, among others.”

The IDB expects the various energy programs Barbados is pursuing will reduce oil imports by 30 percent and generate US$283.5 million in electricity cost savings.

Dominica

Gregory “Karessah” Riviere took time off from his studies in Australia to win the Calypso Monarch competition in Dominica recently, ending the reign of seven-time calypso Monarch Dennis “King Dice” Joseph in the carnival celebrations last week.

Riviere, who did not participate in last year’s competition due to his studies, won from a field of 10 contestants with his tunes “Call Me Name” and “Flush It.”

Joseph, who was seeking his fourth consecutive title, placed second with his songs “Imagine Man Living in a Fool’s Paradise” and Man Living Forever.”

Guyana

Two major opposition parties in Guyana have decided to form a coalition and contest the upcoming general elections under one slate.

The Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change announced a political coalition that they assert will give them a majority in nationals elections scheduled for May 11.

The coalition will be led by National Unity leader David Granger, a former army officer. The ruling People’s Progressive Party has been in power of nearly 23 years.

Haiti

Haiti is launching what officials say is its first advertising campaign aimed at encouraging Americans to vacation in the poor Caribbean country.

The country’s tourism ministry and a U.S. cable provider have developed TV spots and a Cablevision destination channel dubbed “Haiti Experience It!” to woo residents in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

President Michel Martelly’s administration hopes foreign visitors can help revive the economy in the country of ten million people.

There are ambitious plans to develop some coastal areas into resorts.

Jamaica

Jamaica police will be introducing drones as part of crime-fighting measures in the western parish of St James.

Dubbed “Eye in the Sky,” the initiative, which is scheduled to begin in six months, will give the police easier access to crime scenes and hard to access areas.

The devices will send pictures and audio to police in record time.

The project will begin with the use of one or two drones, once the police get the nod from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Ferguson has assured the public that the unmanned aerial vehicles will not be abused and will be used solely for fighting crime.

“The use of the drones is carefully regulated and some of the missions are approved by the court. With proper regulation, oversight and properly trained personnel, we should avoid that. We are aware of privacy,” he said.

The drones will be used to develop three-dimensional maps of police hot spot areas.

St. Lucia

Vincentian teachers sat in the leaner’s seat recently to receive an orientation in teaching methods that can help them to effectively integrate the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) into their learning plans.

With a single market space now in effect across the 13 members states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and regimes in place to accommodate the free movement of people, services, goods and the right to establish businesses beyond national borders, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines aims to empower Vincentian graduates to understand and claim their rights and privileges as CARICOM nationals.

Benefitting from the workshop were approximately 30 teachers of CXC and CCLC level from the mainland, Bequia and Union Island as well as from the St. Vincent Community College.

The teacher training fell under the Canada-funded Improving Information Flows Project within the CSME spearheaded by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit, with support from the CSME.

Trinidad

Five murders and several stabbing incidents marred the carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago last week. One man was stabbed to death in Port of Spain while a band was parading before the judges on Aripita Avenue.

But the Deputy Commissioner of Police Harold Phillip said three of the murders were unrelated to the celebrations saying this year’s carnival was a safe one when compared to others during the same period.

He said 40 serious crimes were reported, including five murders between the Carnival period Sunday to Tuesday.

For the same period in 2012 there were 122 serious crimes reported.

This figure, he said, since then has been reducing, with l09 serious crimes being reported in 2013 and 46 last year.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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