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Caribbean

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving to increase airport safety and certification in the Caribbean region.

The FFA has introduced a new initiative, along with its Caribbean partners and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), will also work to improve the region’s air-traffic-flow-management activities and collaborative decision-making process.

The initiative will also help implement ICAO’s guidelines across the Caribbean, which is expected to witness five to six percent more air-traffic o0ver the next 20 years.

The FAA said more than 17 percent of international flights currently departing from the United States are headed for destinations in the Caribbean, while various other flights transit the Caribbean airspace between North and South America.

Anguilla

LIAT has cut it services to Anguilla and Nevis, weeks after airline executives announced that the carrier would have to discontinue unprofitable routes.

The executives said in a statement issued recently that LIAT would not renew an arrangement with Caribbean Helicopters of Antigua, which facilitated airlift to the two small islands.

LIAT’s Chief Commercial Officer, Lloyd Carswell said, “as we continue to pursue our relentless pursuit of operational efficiency and profitability, both us and our partner, Caribbean Helicopters, have decided not to extend the arrangement.”

Bahamas

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is launching a women’s imitative for nonviolence in the Bahamas. The United States government is funding the project.

A 2015 report published by the ministry of social services and community development noted that in the Bahamas Gender-based violence “constitutes a major public health issue.”

Three Caribbean countries have among the highest recorded incidents of rape in the world — The Bahamas followed by St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica according to the report.

The Women’s Initiative for Non-Violence and Development (WIND) seeks to improve the capacity of law enforcement, the justice sector and communities to respond to and prevent gender-based violence in The Bahamas.

The initiative aims to raise awareness and share information and best practices among agencies in order to better address this issue.

PADF recently hosted four conferences around the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

This year’s United Nations observance highlights the need for funding for initiatives that prevent and end gender-based violence.

Barbados

The Barbados government is instituting new border control technology at the Grantley Adams International Airport come next year to speed up the processing of arriving passengers.

Minister with responsibility for Immigration, Senator Darcy Boyce speaking at a citizenship induction ceremony recently assured immigration officers that the new technology would not threaten their jobs.

He revealed that 14 automated passport control (APC) kiosks were being installed in the arrival hall and the 20 immigration counters currently in use would be maintained.

Boyce said the booths, which are expected to be operational from February 2017, will initially be available for use by Barbadians and persons with permanent status in Barbados.

The minister said passengers opting to use the booths would spend an estimated 90 seconds completing the process. Officers would be on hand to assist anyone who needs it.

Boyce said that handling the administrative part of the inspection at the kiosks was expected to result in passengers being cleared four times faster than with the traditional process.

He noted that the system was already in place at several international airports, resulting in waiting times in arrivals halls had dropped by 40 to 50 percent.

Cuba

The Cuban government has pardoned close to 800 prisoners in response to a recent call by Pope Francis.

The state-run Granma newspaper reported that 787 prisoners who have been pardoned include women, young and sick prisoners, but not those who have committed “extremely dangerous” crimes such as murder and rape.

The newspaper said the Council of State, led by President Raul Castro, issued the pardons “in response to the call by Pope Francis to heads of state in the Holy Year of Mercy”.

The statement said when it came to choosing which prisoners to free, the Council of State had taken into account the crimes they had committed, their conduct and years they served.

Relations between Cuba’s Communist government and the Catholic Church have improved in recent years.

Cuba released some 3,500 prisoners last year ahead of the Pope’s visit, in what has been called a goodwill gesture.

Haiti

Customs officers in Haiti recently discovered a shipment of weapons in a container at the Global Lafito about 20 kilometers north of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

A total of seven Smith and Wesson pistols, five Glock models 40, more than 400 rounds of ammunition for the Glock and various others, including ammunition for assault rifles were seized by the customs and police, according to the justice of the peace.

The names of the sender and recipient have not been revealed.

This is the third seizure of weapons in Haiti since a large shipment was discovered on Sept. 8 at the Port of Saint-Marc.

Jamaica

Amnesty International has accused Jamaica of “promoting a culture of fear” linked to a chronically high rate of killings by police.

A report issued recently by the London-based group says two Jamaican officers have been convicted of murder since 2000.

About 3,000 people were killed in police-related facilities during that time.

Poor residents have regularly protested what they insist are murders by police and accuse officers of planting pistols beside bodies and collecting spent shells.

Senior police officers have dismissed accusations of unlawful killings, noting Jamaica is overflowing with guns and gangs.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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