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Caribbean

Heavy rains in the Eastern Caribbean have caused property and infrastructure damage recently.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CEDEMA) through its national disaster coordinators on the ground, has provided a summary of conditions in affected members states following the recent tropical disturbance, which brought heavy showers and thunderstorms.

Barbados, Dominica and St. Lucia experienced flooding, while St. Vincent and the Grenadines experienced flooding and thunderstorms and damage to bridges in certain parts of the island.

According to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), St. Vincent reported minor flooding and schools were suspended from Nov. 29, 2016, 15 houses were reported destroyed and 20 others damaged. More than 170 persons were placed in shelters.

In Barbados, several houses were damaged and several roads were made impassable by fallen trees.

And in Trinidad, torrential rain triggered massive flooding, sea swells and landslides cutting off residents of the remote coastal areas in the east from the rest of the country.

Villagers described the devastation as the worst they had seen in more than 50 years.

Several fishing boats sank, several landslides and the roofs of houses were blown away.

Antigua

Regional carrier LIAT has added a new ATR72 to its fleet. The aircraft recently landed at the V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua and was greeted by the airline’s line minister in Antigua and Barbuda Sir Robin Yearwood and the management and staff LIAT.

Captain Philemon Gunsam and First Officer Rawle Francis, both of Antigua piloted the new 68-seater aircraft from Toulouse, France.

After the customary fly-by and water cannon salute, the aircraft was greeted by the management and staff of the airline.

Yearwood said he was pleased about the arrival of this new aircraft and urged all LIAT staff to continue working to strengthen the airline’s essential service to the region.

He said the aircraft is scheduled to go into commercial services by mid-December and passengers should expect continued improvement in LIAT’s services during the Christmas season.

Grenada

None In Three, a research project that is helping women in the Caribbean who are most vulnerable to being abused in the home has won a prestigious national award.

The project, which is led by Professor Adele Jones at the University of Huddersfield, England and working with the Sweet Water Foundation in Grenada, was launched as part of International Women’s Day in March this year. It will address the fact that one in three women living in the Caribbean will face physical or sexual abuse.

Recently, the project was awarded the top prize in the Health and Wellbeing category of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s bi-annual Engage Awards.

The project, which is due to run for another 18 months, will use collaborative research with marginalized women. It has already been implemented as a pilot project both in Grenada and Barbados.

Haiti

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Observers who monitored Haiti’s recent general election has expressed their satisfaction for the smooth running of the political process.

A statement from CARICOM headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana, said it observed and watched the work and vote done in 300 polling stations in three districts of the capital in Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, including areas severely affected by Hurricane Matthew.

CARICOM observers praised the hard work of the Haitian Provisional Council that despite the devastation and crisis generated by the hurricane managed to prepare a good election to which also contributed the people of the Caribbean nation with their proper civic duty.

Head of the CARICOM Observers team, Dr. Steve Surujbally in comparing the elections of Oct. 25 2015, said this time the authorities and electoral personnel deployed more competence in the execution of their duties.

He attributed the improvement to the training of electoral staff carried out by the Electoral Council.

Jamaica

The ruling Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) has taken control of eight municipal corporations in the long overdue local government elections recently.

Results from the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) show that the JLP won eight municipal corporations — Kingston and St. Andrews, Portland, St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny, St. James, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth.

The opposition People’s National Party PNP), that previously controlled the councils won the parishes of Hanover, Manchester, Westmoreland, St. Catherine and Portmore Municipal Council (5).

However, in the eastern parish of St. Thomas, there was a tie in the recent Local Government Elections (LGE).

Prime Minister Andrew Holness told party supporters in New Kingston that this victory was an endorsement of the government’s performance since winning the February general election.

In response to the defeat, PNP, general secretary, Julian Robinson said, a review of the party’s performance will be conducted.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts and Nevis has made come changes to the Citizenship by Investment Program ICIP) to allow investors with good character to make a substantial contribution to the development of the Federation.

Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Les Khan said that during the 2013-2014 period volume within the application process was significant, hence the reasons for the changes. He said the changes took place firstly within the Unit, which now boasts of a management team of very experienced and qualified persons.

Khan noted that the system was implemented last year and l00 percent of the service providers are using the system.

He noted that the system allows the service providers to input applications as they get them and within a very short time frame — about two days, they receive acknowledgment from the unit.

Khan said the CBI program was at a low during the restructuring period getting the unit to function as a team and to be more professional.

Trinidad

The unemployment rate in Trinidad and Tobago has increased to 4.4 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to 3.8 percent in the first quarter in 2016, according to the latest Central Bank Monetary Policy Report.

This meant that the change in the unemployment rate between June 2015 and June 2016 reflected an “increase of 16,200 in the number of people who could not find work, along with the departure of 8,200 workers from the labor force.”

The report, noted that job vacancies for low-skilled workers remained considerable.

The Central Bank noted that more males suffered job losses during the second quarter of 2016 than females with an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent.

But the overall rate of unemployment remains higher at 4.9 percent. Youth unemployment has also increased to 11.6 percent from 8.1 percent.in the same period last year.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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