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Caribbean

A Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Science, Technology and Innovation Committee (CSTIC) team will visit Cuba later this month to explore collaboration and co-operation in the field of science and technology.

Professor Emeritus Harold Ramkissoon, chair of CARISCIENCE, will head the delegation.

The visit has been facilitated by Guillermo Vaquez Moreno, the Cuban ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.

The delegation is expected to hold meetings with the officials of the Ministry of Science and Technology and Innovation, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cuban Academy of Sciences and visit international well-known science centers, such as the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and the Center for Molecular immunology.

Ramkissoon is a foreign member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the recipient of the Key to the City of Havana for his contribution to the development of science and technology in the wider Caribbean.

Antigua

Cybercriminals are targeting bank accounts of individuals and businesses in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Office of the National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) has warned.

The agency said it had received several reports about criminals using a scamming technique known as “phishing” to send fraudulent email messages luring victims into providing information such as credit card and bank account numbers, passwords and long-on details.

The information is used to access online banking applications and steal funds from the accounts of victims.

ONDCPO said once the criminal gain access to the account, he solicits individuals via email or social media by offering them well paid job as mystery or secret shoppers which require them to pose as customers and evaluate the services of various money transfer business.

“The cyber conman then transfers the funds from the account holder to the unsuspecting individuals and instructs them to keep a portion of the money as payment and send the balance via a money transfer business to another jurisdiction where he then collects it,” the agency said.

The anti-money laundering agency has encouraged individuals who receive unauthorized account deposits not to withdraw the money or conduct any transactions with the funds, but to immediately contact their financial institutions and report the matter.

Bahamas

Police arrested 16 Jamaican women at two night clubs in the Bahamas during an anti-crime operation recently. They were among 20 other people who were held for various offences including murder and possession of drugs.

Police said the Jamaican women, who were held at two night clubs are suspected to be involved in prostitution.

They were taken into custody for solicitation for prostitution and breach of the Immigration Act.

Investigators also confiscated a large amount of cash from the women believed to be the proceeds of crime. The owners of both clubs were also arrested for breach of the Business License Act and solicitation for prostitution, a police statement said.

Dominica

Dominica has begun to rebuild after the impact of Tropical Storm Erika, which devastated the tiny Caribbean island, leaving some 30 people dead and hundreds homeless.

A Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) released said assessments continue to the country’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, sites and attractions, which are critical to the country’s productivity and tourism industry.

The Douglas-Charles Airport remains the only port which continues its clean-up towards reopening.

Canefield Airport, the ferry terminal and both cruise ports — Roseau Cruise Ship Berth and the Woodbridge Port — were unaffected by the storm.

So far utilities have been restored to a majority of the island, more specifically water has been restored to about 70 per cent of the island and electricity has been restored to 97 percent of the island.

Television and internet service has been restored to the majority of the island, the CTO release said.

All sea ports remain functional, but the Douglas-Charles Airport remains closed as crews clean up and assess the damage.

Haiti

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission recently visited Haiti to review economic developments and held discussions with the authorities on the 2015-2016 budget.

The team led by Christopher Walker issued a statement saying Haiti continues to implement its IMF- supported program in challenging circumstances.

“The country is facing a significant drought, with crop estimated as high as 50 percent in the most-affected areas. In the face of this negative shock, and with a decline in construction linked to the drop in public investment, economic growth in 2014/2015 (ending Sept. 30) is expected in the one-two percent range,” the statement said.

Despite electoral-year spending pressures, the central government budget has registered significant improvements.

Revenues have risen more than 20 percent from last year, and are close to the program’s target levels, while expenditure controls on current spending have prevented slippages in the current balance.

With the decline in the international oil price of oil, however, assistance through the PetroCaribe program has dropped precipitously, leading to a sharp reduction in public investment,” it said.

The team expects to return to Port-au-Prince in November.

Guyana

The Guyana government and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have extended congratulations to the People’s National Movement (PNM) being elected to government and the party’s political leader Dr. Keith Rowley on becoming Trinidad and Tobago’s new prime minister.

In extending congratulations, the Guyana government led by President David Granger said it has “great expectation and anticipation for continued excellent relationship with the twin-island republic.”

In a message from the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, Secretary General Ambassador Irwin La Rocque said that Rowley’s “long parliamentary career and his varied experience in Cabinet will no doubt have assisted in preparing him for this position.”

Jamaica

Two new state-of the art air traffic control towers, constructed at a cost of J$2.5 billion, are set to be commissioned into service at the island’s two major international airports before the end of December.

This was disclosed by the Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Nari Williams-Singh.

He said the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, the new and old towers have been operating simultaneously since August, to facilitate a smooth transition of air traffic control services once the new facility goes into full operation.

Williams-Singh said training was a part of the construction and installation phases and continues during the parallel operations.

The JACC provides air navigation services for the estimated 178 flights per day, which traverse over the past five years.

According to the director general, Jamaica has experienced continuous growth in air traffic movement over the past five years.

Total aircraft movement was recorded at just under 65,000 in 2014.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia recently hosted a Meeting of Parliamentary Opposition Leaders of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS.

The opposition leaders reviewed the status of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre with an update on the Economic Union.

A statement from the Castries-based OECS Commission said this is the second meeting of the OECS Growth and Development Strategy as well as the accession of Martinique to Associate Membership was among matters discussed.

The meeting is expected to strengthen the capacity of Leaders of Parliamentary Opposition to share vital information on the regional integration movement with their constituents.

St. Kitts

Police in St. Kitts and Nevis are reporting a 29 percent drop in serious crime this year, although homicides remain a major concern.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vaughn Henderson said the recently introduced six-point plan of action to reduce homicides and violent crimes in the twin-island federation is working and “police have stepped up their efforts to combat not only crime but the fear of crime in St. Kitts and Nevis.”

He said from January to August 2014, there were 796 crimes compared to 561 crimes for the same period this year, which accounts for a 29.5 percent decrease.

Henderson said based on the statistics provided to him, the police are not falling short on their objectives, which is to stay below the 24 homicides that occurred last year, adding he took no comfort in the 21 murders already committed for the year.

According to the ACP, since the introduction of the six-point plan, there had only been three murders.

Trinidad

The People’s National Movement (PNM) led by Dr. Keith Rowley which was victorious in the Sept. 7 general election in Trinidad and Tobago won the popular vote with 51.68 per cent (378,447 votes), while the People’s Partnership coalition led by former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar received a collective total of 46.4 percent (341,597 votes).

The People’s Partnership (PP) comprises of the United National Congress (UNC), Congress of the People (COP), National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) and the Tobago Organization of the People (TOP).

The UNC received 290,066 (39.6 percent), while the COP got 43,991 votes (6.01 percent of the votes.)

The COP figures according to the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) present proof that the party has deteriorated extensively since its birth in 2007 when it received 148,000 votes in that election, but did not win a seat in Parliament.

The PNM won 23 seats while the PP got 18 seats in the 41-member House of Representatives.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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