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Several tourists enjoy Rockley beach, in the resort town of Rockley, in the parish Church Christ, Barbados.
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Caribbean

The Group General Manager at Ocean Hotels in Barbados, Patricia Affonso-Dass is the new president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association at the Association’s Annual General Meeting, held alongside the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) and Taste of the Caribbean at the Hyatt Regency in Miami recently.

Affonso-Dass, a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, serves as president-elect for the next year before taking over the presidency of the travel trade association next summer from current incumbent Karolin Troubetzkoy, executive director of the renowned Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet resorts in St. Lucia.

He has been the president of both the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and runs the Ocean Hotels group, a family-owned company located on the south coast of Barbados with three unique hotels.

Affonso-Dass will serve the association as president for two years after Troubetzkoy’s tenure ends next year.

Barbados

Hotels in Barbados have seen an increase in package demand with nearly a 15 percent growth in 2016.

This is according to the Expedia group, one of the world’s leading travel companies.

Package bookings, which combine components like flights and hotels, typically capture the attention of higher quality travelers that spend money, have longer lengths of stay, book further in advance.

Some destinations within Barbados that experienced increases in package demand in 2016 included Christ Church with nearly 30 percent year-on-year and St Peters with nearly 50 percent.

New data from the Expedia group also. Indicate that the United States remains the key feeder market for Barbados with a reported growth of more than 20 percent year-on-year in 2016, followed by Canada with more than 15 percent and Brazil with nearly 25 percent year-on-year.

According to the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Board, the destination welcomed more than 630,000 tourists in 2016- a 6.7 percent increase compared to 2015.

Expedia reported that the top source markets for Barbados came from the United States, followed by Canada, UK and other Caribbean markets.

Grenada

An oil exploration campaign is set to begin in the coming months in Grenadian waters.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell announced during a national address that a search for oil is expected to start within months.

He said the government of Grenada has granted the Global Petroleum Group (GPG) authorization to conduct a seismic survey on the island and the group has identified “the most prospective geographical features offering greatest exploration and economic potential.”

“They have prepared all the engineering and logistical plans for the exploratory drilling campaign, engaged all the contractors, subcontractors and vendors necessary, and are on the verge of commencing the exploratory drilling campaign within the next month or two,” Mitchell said.

At present, Grenada does not produce oil.

The prime minister said the achievements to date represent the furthest any company conducting petroleum exploration in Grenada has ever reached — and the quest continues, with future prospects in sight.

Guyana

Guyana government said it will be seeking advice before making any decision to set up an oil refinery in the South American country.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon said after the minister of natural resources receives the advice, he will bring a memorandum to Cabinet upon which “we will cogitate and make a decision that is in the best interest of the people of Guyana.”

Recently, Pedro Haas, director of Advisory Services at Hartree Partners of the USA who was tasked with carrying out a feasibility study for an oil refinery in Guyana revealed that the estimated cost to construct an oil refinery would be around $5 billion dollars.

The feasibility study found that it would be too costly for the government to invest in an oil refinery and the minister said that Cabinet is still to review the findings of the study.

The consultant, secured through the New Petroleum Producers Group by Chatham House, USA, said that the final results of the study showed that Guyana would be “destroying over half of the value of your investment the day you commission your refinery.”

Jamaica

The Jamaica government has passed the Plea Bargain Negotiations and Agreement Act, in the Senate, which provides for a system of plea bargaining for those who commit crimes.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith, explained that the act is intended to give accused people the opportunity to offer a guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Smith, who is leader of Government Business in the Senate, said the legislation would assist in the delivery of justice in a timely manner and reduce the backlog of cases in the nation’s courts.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has praised CARICOM countries for acting “with independence, courage and concerted action” during the recent Permanent Council meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) which was called to discuss the situation in Venezuela.

In a letter sent to CARICOM Secretary General Irwin Larocque, Gonsalves said the “CARICOM stance is a tribute to our region’s commitment to the highest ideals of our Caribbean civilization and of its institutional expression, politically, the independent and sovereign nation-state.”

The prime minister said through its position at the OAS, CARICOM countries have honored the names of “our revered leaders of yesteryear,” including Errol Barrow of Barbados, Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Michael Manley of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dr. Eric Williams,” whose representative countries defied the edict of a hegemonic neighbor in their formal diplomatic recognition or revolutionary Cuba in 1972.”

Trinidad

Police are hunting for three bandits who held up a prominent Roman Catholic priest, tied him up and robbed the St. Martin de Pores Church in Belmont, Port-of Spain around 5 am on June 12, 2017.

Police said Fr. Clive Harvey was outside the church when he was accosted by three armed men with guns.

They ordered the priest into the presbytery before they tied him up and threatened to abduct and kill him.

They left with only TT$1,000 in cash, a cellphone and some other items.

Fr. Harvey managed to untie himself and went to the home of a nearby parishioner, who called the police.

Religious leaders have condemned that attack on the well-known priest, who helps underprivileged children in communities in a crime “hot spot” in Laventille, Port of Spain.

In a response, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said the attack on Fr. Harvey by “able-bodied, gun-toting men” represents the worst that exist in our communities.

He said: “Notwithsta­nding what difficulties one may be facing in life there are limits beneath which the human form should not sink.”

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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