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Caribbean RoundUp

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Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government wants to clear the air on misinformation about the granting of citizenship to an Indian national wanted in his country on alleged multi-million dollar fraud under the island’s Citizenship By Investment Act.

In a statement, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) said it wanted to clarify the situation surrounding the granting of citizenship to Mehul Chinubbhai Choski so as to “address misinformation that has been circulating in the public domain.”

Choksi is wanted in India for an alleged billion-dollar fraud with the Punjab National Bank.

The statement said the police clearance certificate from the government of India, Ministry of External Affairs Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Choksi, which would “render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities including a visa for Antigua and Barbuda.”

The CIU said that Choksi’s application for citizenship was received in May, 2017 with the necessary documentary requirements, including a police clearance certificate.

Choksi said in a recent statement there is no truth in the various allegations being made against him.

He said it would appear that he is the unfortunate victim of political persecution.

Bahamas

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is looking at new strategies to stimulate growth in the region’s tourism industry at this year’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), themed “Rejuvenate, Recreate, and Reconnect-New Directions for Caribbean Tourism.”

Scheduled to take place in October at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, SOTIC 2018 will consider ways to build a tourism industry that is resilient and able to adapt to changing trends, demands and situations.

Secretary General and CEO of CTO Hugh Riley said SOTIC 2018 is intended to inspire action to develop innovative concepts, tools and models and implement strategies that recognize the changing demands of international travelers.

He said the SOTIC theme ties in CTO’s declaration of 2018 as the “Caribbean Year of Rejuvenation and Wellness,” with multifaceted themes for the three conferences.

Grenada

The National Emergency Advisory Council (NEAC) recently declared the capital, St. George, and St. David disaster zone areas, following widespread flooding.

Damage to the ground floor of the National Stadium due to the flooding from recent rains had led to the postponement of one of the main Carnival events — Kiddies Carnival — to Aug. 11.

Minister for National Disaster Management, Senator Winston Garraway, said preliminary assessment from 15 districts showed both parishes were significantly affected by the rains, with residential and public properties flooded. There were also landslides and debris-blocked roads.

He said from information received so far, the impact was greatest in these two parishes. St. David had in excess of 60 landslides.

Guyana

A total of 77 alleged victims of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) were rescued between the start of the year and last month.

This was disclosed by Minister of Social Production Amna Ally, who noted that 60 of the 77 victims rescued were placed in protective care, while some were assisted with job placements, educational and training opportunities along with judicial support where necessary.

In May alone, 16 young women — 14 Venezuelans, one Cuban and one from the Dominican Republic — were rescued during a raid executed by the Guyana Police Force (GDF).

The South American country has maintained its Tier 1 ranking, according to a U.S. State Department report, which means the country continues to fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of TIP.

Minister Ally said that the protection of human rights and dignity of all the citizens of Guyana is an essential component of good governance.

Haiti

Doctors Without Borders have closed one of two hospitals in Haiti’s capital opened by the aid group in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated much of the city, an official of the organization said.

A 176-bed obstetrics hospital in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince was closed recently after some final patients were discharged and a hospital in the Tabarre area will close next year, said Michelle Chouinard, who heads the group’s mission in Haiti.

Both facilities opened in the wake of the earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people and left parts of the capital in ruins. They were intended to be temporary but were extended because of lingering medical needs in the impoverished country.

Many poor people in the capital depended on the obstetrics hospital, which has treated about 500 patients a month. About 40,000 babies have been born there. Doctors Without Borders will continue to operate four clinics in Haiti, including one in Delmas that provides emergency medical care victim of sexual and gender-based violence.

Jamaica

Jamaica Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Andrew Wheatley has resigned from Cabinet after bowing to pressure from the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) who had called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to fire him from the executive over allegations of corruption and mismanagement at PetroJam and other entities under his portfolio.

Wheatley in his resignation letter recently, noted that after consultations with the prime minister and against the background of continued questions, it was agreed there should be a general performance review of the board and executive levels, of energy, science and technology portfolios.

The St. Catherine South Central MP was forced to step down over the PetroJam saga, which involved among other things, accusations of victimization in the firing of the former human resources manager and questions over the level of salary paid to the Human Resources Manager, Yolande Ramharrack, who recently appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer questions about her employment.

Trinidad

The government of Trinidad and Tobago is moving to recruit 250 specialized doctors from Cuba for the public service health care system.

This was revealed by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh at a recent press conference.

He said the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) have been experiencing problems with recruiting local doctors to fill 11 specialty areas for the past year, adding that this is why the ministry has to employ foreign doctors.

Deyalsingh claimed that local doctors do not have the specialized skills to work in the public sector.

He said even primary health doctors have been resisting working in rural areas, which led the ministry to engage the United Nations to get UN doctors to come to Trinidad and Tobabo to work.

Deyalsingh said the ministry will be sending a team to Cuba to recruit healthcare professionals in 11 specialized areas that the RHAs cannot source locally, including cardiologists, gastroente­rologists, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmologists and specialists in accident and emergency.

The contract for the Cubans will be for three years with an option to renew for a fourth, he said.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 8:33 pm, August 29, 2018
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