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Antigua

A LIAT flight operations supervisor, Daren Leslie Dunnah, has been slapped with four charges as the police wrapped up their probe into the importation of marijuana into Antigua and Barbuda.

The charges against Dunnah are possession, importation of cannabis, intent to transfer, making a false declaration to customs in relation to 8.5 pounds of marijuana found among items he allegedly brought into the country.

Investigators spent the past three and a half month probing the matter, trying to find the importer of the illegal drugs that were reportedly brought under a false name on June 1, 2018.

Trained K-9 Unit dogs detected the drug among the cargo back then and officers searched the packages in a box and found the marijuana.

Dunnah’s home was also searched after the bust, and he was charged with four drug offences and making a false declaration.

Barbados

Barbados has found a new supplier for petrol now that the Trinidad and Tobago government is planning to shut down its oil refinery by the end of the month.

This was revealed by Minister of Energy Wilfred Abraham who told the online Barbados newspaper Barbados Today that while the government will try for a cheaper deal, it has no plans to pay more for the refined fuel and there will be enough stocks to last until a new import deal is in place.

The government’s oil importer, the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) is to sign a new petroleum contract with a fresh supplier but Abraham did not disclose the name of the supplier to replace Trinidad and Tobago’s state-owned oil refinery, Petrotrin.

BNOCL currently imports gasoline from Petrotrin and sells Barbados crude oil to the Trinidadian refinery.

Caribbean

Caribbean health ministers have joined their counterparts from the Americas in agreeing to implement a series of actions over the next five years to more effectively control the vectors that transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue, Zika, and Chagas disease.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which recently organized the meeting in Washington, DC, said the aim of the plan is to prevent communicable diseases of this type and reduce their spread.

PAHO Dominican-born director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne said the populations most affected by vector- borne diseases are those living in conditions of vulnerability and far from health services.

She said, “it is these populations that most frequently suffer health consequences and harm due to lack of sanitary and vector control measures.

PAHO said infectious diseases have a significant impact on public health in the Region of the Americas and throughout the world.

Guyana

Guyana is expected to sign an agreement for economic cooperation with Barbados, according to President David Granger.

The announcement comes on the heels of the South American country signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Trinidad and Tobago recently.

Granger, addressing the inaugural Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GuyTie 2018) recently, said the decision was taken after the attendance at the Ninth Meeting of the Prime Ministerial sub-committee of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) in Barbados last month.

He said the combined land space of the countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is almost equivalent to that of Sweden, pointing out this has the potential for increased intraregional trade.

Granger said the CSME, which allows for free movement of goods, services, labor, skills across the 15-member regional integration movement, was the way to build more resilient economies, not only in the Caribbean but also locally.

He said Guyana will continue to pursue regional economic co-operation in order to build greater prosperity and global competitiveness.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government has allocated J$445 million to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to fund, among other things, the various security measures imposed by the Andrew Holness administration to stem the country’s murder rate and restore public order in the town centers across the island.

Further, the government now plans to allocated J$7 billion to local authorities to pay current and outstanding charges for street lighting; $1.7 billion to the National Housing Trust to settle the outstanding arrears in employer contribution owed by public-sector entities; and more than $500 million to help clean up the voters’ list by removing the names of deceased persons.

The revised spending was included in the First Supplementary Estimates for the current fiscal year, which was tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Minister of Finance, Nigel Clarke. It projects a J$18 billion increase in the 2018-2019 budget, with just over $11.2 billion of that amount going towards recurrent housekeeping expenses.

Haiti

The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) recently opened an office in Haiti, saying it is part of the efforts to advance the country’s socio-economic development.

President of the CDB Dr. Williams Warren Smith said the opening of the new country office in the French-speaking CARICOM country is timely as “we seek to advance Haiti’s development and to assist with its further integration into the Caribbean Community.”

He said the CDB stands ready to further support and to continue improving the quality of programs and services to enhance the livelihood of the people of Haiti.

The Country Office in Haiti is the CDB’s first outside its headquarters.

Smith noted that since 2007, the CDB has committed approximately US$134 million in grants to Haiti from the bank’s Special Development Fund (Unifed).

He said the CDB’s new country office will become the focal point for the implementation of its country strategy for the period 2017-2021.

Earlier this year, CDB signed a country agreement with Haiti to establish the office.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Finance Minister Colm Imbert has described the 2018 / 2019 budget as “a small man budget.”

He titled the budget for fiscal year 2019 “a genuine economic turnaround” saying there is a sustained shift from economic stagnation to growth.

In presenting the TT$51.7 billion budget in the House of Representatives last Monday, Imbert increased the price of super gasoline from TT$4.96 a litre to $5.40 per litre, while super gasoline also moved up by a dollar from $3.97 to $4.97.

Total revenue was put at $47.7 billion and total expenditure $51.7 billion — a fiscal deficit of $6.26 billion.

The poor and vulnerable were smiling as Imbert increased Food Cards by $100, $200 more for Disable persons ($1800-$2,000). Health Centers in some rural areas will be opened 24/7.

He allocated TT$6.120 billion for National Security; Education and Training $7.39 billion; Health $5.69 billion: Works and Transport $3.54 billion; Public Utilities $3.18 billion; Local Government $1.76 billion; Housing $1,033 billion; Agriculture $0, 78 billion and Tobago $2.229 billion.

The finance minister has also allocated $2.6 billion to pay retrenched workers of the State-owned oil company, Petrotrin.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 5:17 pm, October 15, 2018
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