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Bahamas’ Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, front right, stands with his Minister of Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette, front left, during the CARICOM Summit in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.
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Bahamas

The human rights group, Rights Bahamas, says plans by the Bahamas government to remove “shantytowns” where many Haitian migrants live constitutes a gross violation of peoples’ fundamental human rights under the constitution. Rights Bahamas said in a statement that the impoverished Haitians do not want the authorities to break up their close-knit communities, built over generations through mutual help and support.

“They do not want to live among strangers and no one, the government included, has the right to arbitrarily force them to do so,” the statement said.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, speaking at a recent church service, recalled his discussions with the League of Haitian Pastors, some months ago, where he informed them that the government’s aim is to improve the lives of all those affected, adding it is unjust and unfair to allow shantytowns to remain, especially given the social and other problems often found in these areas.

He said it is a moral imperative for the country to remove the shantytowns, even as the government engages in immigration reform.

Minnis said that because his administration is committed to social justice “we are removing shantytowns, a long-standing problem for successive government failed to address in a comprehensive manner.”

The rights group said that the claim by the prime minister is that there is no such thing as a “comprehens­ive, careful and compassion­ate” way to forcibly evict someone from their home and relocate them against their will.

Barbados

Barbados is moving to boost sugar cane production to meet the rum industry’s demands for local molasses.

Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir outlined government’s intention to address the situation with phased level of increased cane production over the next three to five years.

Speaking to the media recently while at the Foursquare Rum distillery, Weir said that there has already been a rise in the yield this year over that of 2017, with a similar picture to be painted in the next few years.

He said the increase over the next three to five years of sugar output and molasses output will make for a good future for Barbados rum because rum is the one product “we produce where we are not involved in excess amounts of foreign currency in terms of spending to get the final product to market.”

The minister disclosed that he has already been in talks with the sugar producers to increase local molasses production.

Managing Director of the Distillery Richard Seale pointed out that while currently 8,000 tons of molasses are produced by the sugar cane industry, 90 percent of the molasses necessary for rum production has to be imported.

He said the rum industry has a critical role to play in the Barbadian economy due to its high value-added component and it would not require as much foreign exchange for inputs as other sectors as long as the molasses production in the island went up.

Dominica

Telecommunications ministers from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) may agree on a policy regarding roaming rates in the sub-region when they meet in October.

This is according to Dominica Telecommunications Minister Kelver Darroux, who said that a decision on roaming rates is long overdue.

He said consultations were held with various stakeholders to get the views as to what is the best approach.

Darroux said the ministers of the OECS have listen to the plight of the consumers of the region as it relates to the high rates of roaming.

He insisted that it is a situation that has to be addressed “in a timely manner.”

The minister said the Council of Ministers of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority will meet in October and that will be one of the items on the agenda to see what progress have been made and “we can come to a final decision as it relates to roaming rates in the Caribbean and the OECS in particular.”

Guyana

The Guyana government said it expects regional and international buyers to participate in the upcoming Trade and Investment Exhibition, “GuyTie 2018,” which will get underway later this month.

The Ministry of Business said so far buyers from Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Haiti, Barbados, Jamaica, Cuba and Brazil as well as Korea and India have registered for the event.

The organizers say that GuyTie is strategically aligned with the objectives of the Ministry of Business and broader government policy to create the enabling environment that will foster business growth and development in Guyana.

They say that more than 60 exhibitors will be on display at the venue representing various sectors, including, agro-processing, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, construction, beverage, food processing, forestry and wood products.

Jamaica

A dress code for Jamaican students has come into effect for the 2018 / 2019 academic year, which began this month.

Education Minister Ruel Reid said the ministry has signed off on the policy that will provide guidelines to assist administrators and parents in determining the acceptability of students’ general appearance for school, particularly in relation to how hair is worn.

Reid said the law allows the school to set rules which students will require to abide by them, adding that part of the guideline is to say to schools, they must review their rules so that they conform to the laws of the constitution and they must engage their stakeholders so that they can all agree about what rules are reasonable.

The minister encouraged parents and other stakeholders to view the full policy on the ministry’s website.

St. Kitts

The St. Kitts and Nevis government says members of the Defense Force have been granted policing power as the twin-island Federation moves to deal with the rising crime situation.

It said that Governor General, Sir SW Tapley Seaton acted on the advice of the cabinet to enhance the crime fighting capabilities in the country by extending the police powers to members of the Defense Force for six months.

A government statement said that the recommendation to the cabinet was made following a lengthy meeting between Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Timothy Harris, the high command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and Defense Force officials.

Dr. Harris said his government will use every resource to ensure that the peace, stability and prosperity that the people deserve are always available.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley has ruled out the importation of Guyanese crude oil to save cash-strapped Petrotrin’s, South Trinidad refinery from closing.

He said that Guyana has no intention of bringing their oil to shore for refining operations.

He said when the government learned of Exxon Mobil’s find off the coast of the South American country, they sought to find out who owned the oil. It was found that while Exxon has claim to it, the Guyanese government owns a third.

Subsequent inquiries have revealed that Guyana would not need any arrangement with the Trinidad and Tobago government and Petrotrin.

The prime minister said that modern technology being used in Guyana allows for crude to be pumped onto specially-designed ships, where it is separated from the water.

Rowley was at the time speaking at a PNM meeting in South Trinidad to bring supporters and the public on plans to close the oil refinery and restructure Petrotrin.

More than 2,700 workers are expected to lose their jobs when the refinery closes later this year.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Posted 12:00 am, September 12, 2018
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