Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Colin Murdoch said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has yet to agree on a policy that will enable a skilled national to travel with a spouse, child, or other dependent to the respective territories.
He said while there is an agreement on the free movement of skilled nationals, there is no arrangement or understanding about contingent rights.
Ambassador Murdoch said no person coming to Antigua & Barbuda from any CARICOM country has any right to bring any dependent.
He stated that these issues are under discussion at CARICOM and there is to be a protocol on contingent rights, but these are not yet agreed.
The ambassador noted that discussions are also going on as to who can be classified as a dependent.
He also pointed to another glitch within the free regime as it relates to the categories of persons allowed to move freely.
According to Murdoch, there are about 11 categories of skilled nationals who are authorized to move freely within the CARICOM single market.
But he said, not all member states have signed off on all 11, thus creating a kind of “confusion” within the system.
Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley said Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean remain safe for tourists.
He said safety and security remained an area that official were always focused on addressing, adding that the region was “still to see by the people who send our visitors here to be a safer place.”
Riley said there is no crime free place on the planet, so there are always going to be efforts to make sure the borders are secure.
“When you look around of some of what is happening around the world, it might not shock you to know that the Caribbean is seen as a place to come to and relax,” when he announced that Barbados would host the State of the Industry Conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort from Sept. 14-16.
The CTO secretary general said this will be the third time the event will be held in Barbados following successful staging in 2000 and 2010.
Riley said among other topics to be discussed at the high level three-day conference are issues relating to security, the aviation industry, religious tourism, emerging markets and the menacing Sargassum weed.
Grenada has called for a wider approach to battle the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
Health Minister Nicholas Steele said an increase in suspected and confirmed cases of the virus, the situation is challenging.
He has called for an emergency meeting of health ministers to discuss the situation, saying the matter is bigger than any one country can handle regionally.
To date there has been nine confirmed cases of Zika in Grenada while 30 are suspected.
The health minister said that based on scientific evidence, the re-emergence of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya are direct consequence of climate change.
Over the past few weeks, doctors at several health facilities have reported an increase in persons with symptoms of chikungunya and Zika on the island.
Guyana has vowed to save two million hectares (4.9 million acres) of forested land so it can comply with international conservation treaties.
This was disclosed by Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman who said Cabinet took a decision to preserve forests that will ensure that Guyana complies with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and conserve 17 percent of its land by 2020.
Trotman said that 8.3 percent of Guyana’s land is conserved now and another two million hectares would bring the percentage of protected land to 17 percent.
In 2009, Norway promised to give Guyana a US$250 million grant to encourage it to protect its rainforests.
Guyana lost US$20 million of that funding because it increased deforestation in 2012.
Commonwealth-Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland says that the rising incidence of serious crimes among young people in Jamaica is not unique to the island and that the best way to address the situation is to reduce the exposure of children to abusive circumstances.
She said crime is a globalized problem where young men feel dissociated, underemployed, and misdirected, is not unfortunately, an isolated issue, she told young people at a town hall meeting at the University of the West Indies (UWI) regional headquarters in the parish of St. Andrew, recently.
Scotland, the first female head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, was in Jamaica recently to launch the Commonwealth collaboration on youth leadership with UWI and Common Purpose, a development charity.
She explained that domestic violence featured largely in offenders’ lives prior to committing crimes was based on analysis of cases brought before her while she served as minister of state for Criminal Justice and Law Reform with specific responsibility for offender management and youth justice from 2003-2007 in the United Kingdom.
She said the greatest issue among violent crimes was domestic violence, which accounted for 25 percent of all violent crimes. It killed 120 women every year — that was two or three women every single week by their partner or their ex-partner.
The Dominican-born said that the grim statistics delineate a picture of the oppressive, parasitic qualities of domestic abuse on those exposed to it and urged that better care be taken when rearing children.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has called for drastic changes in the regional airline, LIAT.
He emphasized the importance of transportation to the regional integration movement, saying regional airline LIAT should be liberalized.
Chastanent, who was attending his first CARICOM heads of government meeting which was held in Guyana, told reporters, the cash-strapped airline needs to operate in the context of the private sector.
The major shareholders of the airline are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The airline, which has been suffering losses over the years, has come under heavy criticism from the traveling public over poor customer service, delayed and canceled flights and overall high costs of air fares to its destinations.
Chastanet said transportation is critical to integration and LIAT needs to be liberalized and that the airline needs to operate in the context of the private sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently held a two-day Monkey Summit conference to deal with the green vervet monkey which is posing a significant threat to farmers on the island.
The conference was held in conjunction with a technical team from Colombia.
In a statement the Ministry said: “The popular green vervet monkey continues to be a menace in wreaking havoc on crops, resulting in great economic loss to farmers, they have also been troublesome at resorts, residential areas and urban districts. It is against this backdrop that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is aiming to bring about effective solutions to address the problems associated with moneys.”
The plenary sessions of the summit covered areas such as research institutions and work with primates; farming perspectives and viewpoint and work from hotel and tourism vantage point.
Discussions also surrounded initiatives involving monkeys, such as education tourism and the establishment of wildlife theme parks.
The green vervet monkeys, which are popular with tourists, are also used in research such as Parkinson’s disease at the St. Kitts Biomedical Research Facility.
Trinidad and Tobago will soon set up an Embassy in Abu Dabhi, Dubai.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley who said that Cabinet has decided to close its mission in Uganda and establish an embassy in the Middle East.
He also said that a high commission will also be re-established in Barbados to serve the countries in the Eastern Caribbean.
He said Cabinet agreed to the closure of “our mission in Uganda, given the history of this location and the changes in international profile and where we want to be at this time, we came to the conclusion that Uganda was not the best location to be on that part of the world.”
He noted that given the importance of the Middle East in today’s world as it relates to finance, business, energy etc. Trinidad and Tobago will be better served with a mission in the Emirates that will serve the surroundings from there.
-compiled by Azad Ali