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Dominica

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit says that his administration will table legislation this year to adequately honor people who serve as head of a government in Dominica.

He lamented the fact that the island’s first prime minister is receiving a monthly allowance of EC$500.

Skerrit said it is important that people who make contributions at the national level should not be living on pauper’s assistance.

Speaking on the state-owned DBS radio recently, the prime minister said it is irrelevant whoever the person is, but he wanted the population to take into consideration that the individual would have made a contribution to the social-economic development of the island.

He noted that another Prime Minister Edison James gets EC$1,400 a month, while Oliver Seraphine, who served as head of a government of “National Salvation” between 1979-80 following riots that led to the removal of the John administration, was not receiving a monthly allowance.

Skerrit said Cabinet took a decision some months ago and granted OJ Seraphine EC$2,000 in terms of a compassionate allowance every month.

Guyana

Exxon Mobil Corp said its oil drilling and development activities offshore Guyana were not affected despite Venezuela’s navy stopping two seismic survey vessels the company had hired.

The closest of ten oil finds Exxon has made off Guyana’s coast is 68 miles away from the northwest part of the Stabroek block, where the navy halted seismic data collection recently, the company said.

Both governments say the incident took place in its territorial waters.

In a statement An Exxon said exploration and development drilling is continuing in the southeast area of the Stabroek Block.

Guyana’s foreign minister said the government is “in discussions” with Exxon on next steps.

A century-long territorial dispute between the two neighboring South American countries has flared up after Exxon announced the discovery of more than five billion barrels of oil and gas offshore Guyana.

Jamaica

The ban on single-use plastics went into effect in Jamaica from January 1, 2019, but the government is examining the possibility of strengthening the legislation so as to ensure there are no breaches to the law.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz says the Andrew Holness administration will examine the archaic and out dated legislation.

While noting that the fines ranging between J$50,000 to more than J$1million for breaches of stipulations under the National Resources Conservation Authority and Trade Acts, Vaz said “too often we are using archaic outdated legislation and laws that are totally inadequate in terms of the consequences through fines and imprisonme­nt.”

From January 1, 2019, the government commenced imposition of the ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of specific categories of plastic packaging material.

St. Kitts

The St. Kitts and Nevis government has survived a no-confident motion brought by Opposition Leader, Dr. Denzil Douglas, who claimed a “grave injustice” had been committed against the people of the twin-island Federation.

Douglas said that the right of citizens to “hear their representa­tives” in the debate had been stifled by actions of the government to move for a vote after only one government legislator, Mark Brantley, the Premier of Nevis and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had responded.

The opposition leader said a “grave injustice” has been committed against the people and their right to hear their representatives to debate matters.”

Douglas, a former prime minister who lost the last general election three years ago, said while members of the “silent majority” were awaiting the date for fresh elections, the country could not afford to have the present administration remain in office.

He accused Prime Minister, Timothy Harris administration of being corrupt and engaged in acts of nepotism among other ills.

In the 2015 general election, the coalition Team Unity won seven of the 11 seats with the remainder going to the Douglas’ St. Kitts-Nevis Labor Party.

St. Lucia

The authorities in neighboring Martinique have dismantled a major drug trafficking operation between St. Lucia and the French Caribbean territory.

Reports out of Martinique said the success came as a result of French law enforcement officials carrying out investigative work.

Media reports quoted Martinique Prosecutor Gaudeul Renaud as saying that the trafficking in narcotics was between St. Lucia and Fort de France, the capital of Martinique.

The anti-drug operation on Dec. 18, 2018 resulted in arrests in four communities and the seizure of just over 50 kilos of cocaine, more than 20 kilos of marijuana and a semi-automatic pistol.

Martinique officials say that five persons were also arrested.

St. Vincent

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government has received the green light to borrow US$50 million from Taiwan.

The Ralph Gonsalves administration, which has enjoyed a long period of diplomatic relations with Taipei, said the money would be used to fund the construction of two hotels, including one at an airport in Diamond, on the island’s eastern corridor.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Louis Straker, said the loan is from the Export-Import Bank of Taiwan, which also financed the “cross-country road” and the Argyle International Airport.

He said Taiwan provided EC$80 million to construct the tower and terminal building at the Argyle International Airport, which began operating in February 2017.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has paid tribute to one of the Caribbean’s legal luminary Sir Fenton Ramsshoye, QC, who was laid to rest in Barbados last week.

In a press release, the Opposition Leader said Sir Fenton’s unparalleled contribution to the development of the law and politics of the Caribbean has made an indelible impact that helped shape “our notion of justice and fundamental human rights.”

Describing Sir Fenton as the “grandfather of West Indian constitutional law,” Persad-Bissessar noted that he was one of the few regional lawyers who had an impressive success rate at the United Kingdom-based Privy Council.

Sir Fenton, 89, who died peaceful at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados on Dec. 27, 2018, was a former attorney general of Guyana.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 4:58 pm, January 8, 2019
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