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Usain Bolt of Jamaica gestures with maiko, or an apprentice geisha, and children during a promotional event in Kyoto, western Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Bolt says he has no regrets about retiring and is confident his world records will stand for at least another 15 years. The only sprinter to capture the 100 and 200 titles at three consecutive Olympics, Bolt retired last month after the world championships in London. He leaves the sport holding the world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100 meters and 19.19 in the 200.
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Caribbean

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) will be releasing a new EC$50 banknote honoring the late governor Sir Dwight Venner.

The $50 bill, which was approved at the ECCB Monetary Council’s recent meeting as a permanent tribute to Sir Dwight’s legacy, will feature his likeness and will replace the bill that bears the Brimstone Fort in St. Kitts and the Piton Fort in St. Lucia.

Sir Dwight served as ECCB governor from December 1989 until November 2015. He died a year later, after 26 years of service in his position at the ECCB that serves as Central Bank for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

The St. Kitts-based ECCB said in a statement that Sir Dwight had served ECCB member countries and the wider Caribbean with distinction.

The $50 note is the second highest denomination of the EC currency in circulation, which makes it a fitting mark of respect to Sir Dwight.

The ECCB did not give a date for the release of the new bank note.

Barbados

The Barbados economy remains on a downward track with the island’s foreign reserves in a worse position despite onerous tax measures introduced in the last budget.

This is according to acting Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes, who said that despite the economy posted a modest 1.4 percent growth during the first nine months of the year and raked in an additional Bds$98.6 million (US$49.3 million) in tax revenues, the foreign reserves was way below the international benchmark of 12 weeks of imports and the fiscal deficit was still too high.

In his report, which outlined the country’s performance for the first nine months of the year, international reserves plummeted to just 8.6 weeks of imports or Bds$549.7 million (US$274.85 million), putting more pressure on the stability of the Barbados dollar.

Haynes said the Government’s overall debt had climbed to 144 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), with current expenditure increasing by Bds $13.9 million, largely due to an increase in grants to public institutions.

He said tough decisions were facing the Freundel Stuart administration.

The Central Bank is forecasting growth of 1 to 1.5 percent this year, but that was largely dependent on whether large scale tourism-related project got off the ground.

Dominica

The European Union (EU) is providing an additional £500,000 in humanitarian aid to Dominica following the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in October.

The additional aid will provide immediate shelter and household material for 5,000 families. Shelter kits, as well as housing repair materials, training and technical support will be provided to the most vulnerable whose homes have been damaged.

EU ambassador to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Daniel Tramacere said the European Union has been committed since the very beginning to support Dominica after the tragedy.

“We are now committed to further assist Dominica in early recovery and reconstruc­tion,” she said.

This additional humanitarian aid complements an initial grant of £250,000 which was allocated in October to alleviate the affected population’s most urgent needs.

On Sept. 18, Maria, a category 5 hurricane slammed into Dominica leaving more than 70,000 people in need of urgent relief.

Guyana

The Guyana government said it was exploring the possibility of sharing an oil-processing facility with Suriname.

Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said discussion had taken place with Suriname about the possibility of Guyana establishing a joint industrial center or site to service both countries.

Trotman, who recently visited the neighboring country, said the possibility of sharing a processing facility was proposed during meetings with his Surinamese counterpart and the mnister of finance.

The government has already said it would not be interested in establishing an oil refinery at this time, but has signaled its intention to support the private sector toward this end.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government is inviting Israelis to explore investment opportunities in the Caribbean island.

Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks in addressing members of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy at its headquarters in Washington DC recently, urged members who have interest in trade and investment to organize a delegation to Jamaica to look at prospects in the areas of information and communications technology (IT), agro-processing, medical tourism and infrastructure development.

She told the audience that Jamaica is open and ready for business and there are avenues through which partnerships between Jamaican and Israeli investors could be forged and also be exploited.

The ambassador said over the last five years, a stable economy has been maintained noting that Jamaica has been listed as having the best-performing stock market in the world in 2015 and was rated among the 10 best most improved economies in the world.

Marks said the Government of Jamaica is committed to working with “our Israeli counterpart to ensure that our bilateral partnership continues to grow from strength to strength.”

The diplomat said she has already started discussions regarding a youth exchange program.

Founded in New York in October 1843 by German Jewish immigrants, the B’nai B’rith International is the world’s oldest Jewish organization.

St. Lucia

Caribbean countries will have to adopt new measures to deal with the impact of climate change.

This is according to Dr James Fletcher, a former St Lucia government minister while addressing participants at a lecture on “Climate Change, Caribbean and the Paris Agreement- Inextricably Linked.”

He said that Caribbean leaders would have to inform their various populations that they must come to the realization that as part of the adaptation and mitigation measures to deal with the impact of climate change life cannot continue to be the same.

The lecture is third in a series organized by the Barbados-based British High Commissioner, which was also delivered in St Lucia, St Kitts and Barbados.

Suggesting a number of recommendations that people will have to adapt, Fletcher said that some regional countries may have to force the changes on citizens by approving legislation to make the recommendations mandatory and enforceable.

He said government need to legislate as policy something like rain water harvesting because “we will just have to encourage our people to do rain water harvesting if we are to effectively deal with the expected harsh dry seasons that are predicted to occur during the dry season because of climate change.”

Fletcher, who played an active role in the Caribbean’s response to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, said home owners should also consider installing dual plumbing systems to that treated water are used more wisely while non-treated water can be used in toilets, watering gardens and washing vehicles.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share information and work on solutions to common problems such as human trafficking, drugs and guns.

Lord Tariq Ahamad Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations and the UK’s special representative on preventing sexual violence said the best message that could be sent to terrorists is one of unity and collaboration, facilitated by the singing of the MoU.

He said the MoU represented an agreement between T&T and the UK to share information on common problems.

Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon said an implementation team has been put in place to operationalize the MoU, which would see a higher level of cooperation between both countries.

The MoU was signed at the International Waterfront Center, in Port of Spain Trinidad.

- Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 1:44 pm, November 16, 2017
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