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Caribbean

Haiti President Jovenel Moise will become the next chairman of the 15-member regional integration movement next month.

Caricom Secretary General Irwin la Rocque recently held talks with Moise “to provide his usual briefing to the incoming chairman.”

Moise will replace Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell following a six-month stint as chairman of CARICOM under the rotational system.

The Haitian leader became head of state of the French-speaking CARICOM country last February after a long-running political crisis.

The CARICOM website noted that Haiti will also host the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in February.

Bahamas

The Bahamas Crisis Center (BCC) is calling on the government to develop a comprehensive domestic and sexual violence act which looks at all issues where persons are not protected under the law.

In a statement, the BCC said that while Bahamian has the right to live a life free from violence and be protected under the law, “in today’s Bahamas, married women living with their husbands do not experience this protection when their husband beats or psychologically abuses them.”

The BCC said it has heard stories of women forced to have sex with their husbands despite their obstetrician’s advice to abstain following the birth of a baby, women getting HIV or sexually transmitted diseases from abusive husbands who have other women and force sex on them.

“From many of those victims we hear the shame and humiliation they feel following sexual assault by their husband and their sense of powerlessness. These are but some of the examples where marital rape occurs,” the statement said.

Grenada

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell says Grenada is expected to be removed from the European Union (EU) blacklist by the end of this month.

He said the decision to remove Grenada, one of 17 countries blacklisted by the EU, is expected to follow a meeting of the Financial and Economic Unit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) set for Jan. 23.

On Dec. 5, 2017 the council approved and published a EU list of non-cooperative countries in taxation matters.

It said Grenada did not sign or ratified the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance as amended and did not clearly commit to addressing these issues by Dec. 21, 2017.

However, Prime Minister Mitchell said in any serious situation, Grenada ought not to have been placed on the list initially, since the country has met all the conditions required.

He said the government has pointed out the mistakes were made and that the island will be removed from the blacklist.

On Jan. 23 the Financial and Economic Unit of the OECD will be meeting after the response from Grenada.

The Ministry of Finance has issued a statement saying Grenada made high-level commitments, complete with timelines, to the EU Code of Conduct group by way of letters on Nov. 17 and 28, 2017.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts is the only Caribbean destination among the 22 “hot spots” selected by Bloomberg from across the globe in its Where to Go in 2018.

Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce Lindsay Grant said it is an honor to be named among the 22 destinations that Bloomberg is recommending as ideal for travelers in 2018.

He said with the recent debut of the new Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbor in November and the beginning of the peak season, the continued inclusion of the island among the lists of top places to go that will help Tourism officials to build brand awareness and drive booking from the island’s markets.

The natural rainforest combined with the beach environment is noted as being what travelers hope for in a luxury vacation.

The article also said that Delta non-stop flights from Atlanta and New York help made the island “more accessible than many of its Caribbean peers.”

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines government wants the assistance of other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to get Trinidad and Tobago to pay US$100 million it pledged to deal with the fallout of the failed British American Insurance Company (BAICO).

BAICO was among the companies owned by the Trinidad-based CL Financial Group that also included the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) that collapsed in 2009, resulting in successive governments in Trinidad and Tobago pumping billions of dollars in a bailout plan for the company.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference recently the former People’s Partnership government in T&T had paid US$34 million of the monies owed, but the Keith Rowley administration that came into office in 2015 has not made any payments.

He said his government has been holding talks with the government in Port of Spain to get the remaining US$66 million.

Dr. Gonsalves said he has been fighting on behalf of the policy holders to get the payment.

He has asked CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque to place the matter on the agenda for the CARICOM intersessional meeting to be held in Haiti next month.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has agreed to meet with Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on two critical pieces of legislation — the failed Anti-Gang legislation and the Anti-Terrorism Bill — to fight the criminal elements who have been creating mayhem and havoc in the country.

As of last week 40 people were murdered since the start of the New Year.

In a January 10 letter to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, Persad-Bissessar stated that based on the country’s 494 murders in 2017 and the current murder rate, she proposed that the Government and Opposition “meet forthwith with a view of agreeing to a bi-partisan legislative approach in the fight against crime and the criminal element.”

On Dec. 7, 2017 the Anti-Gang legislation failed to get the required three-fifths majority.

The Anti-Gang Bill 2017 seeks to maintain public safety and order by discouraging membership in criminal gangs, suppressing criminal activity and other related matters.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young said the legislation was needed to help the police gather intelligence with regards to gangs and gang activity which would be converted into evidence.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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