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Bahamas

The government of The Bahamas is moving to establish a University School of Medicine in Freeport, the capital of Grand Bahama, which was recently devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

A US$64 million agreement was signed with Western Atlantic University, which is expected to provide hundreds of construction and permanent jobs.

Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis described the agreement as an important part of the Hurricane Dorian recovery and reconstruction efforts.

He said this development represents a significant investment in Grand Bahama, the country’s second largest economy.

It is estimated that in the university’s first 10 years of operation, students and faculty spending on housing, food, entertainment, goods and services and on-island transportation, will provide a combined US$200 million in revenue for Grand Bahama.

At the peak of construction, 150 jobs will be created and during the full operation of the campus, approximately 200 permanent jobs will be created for the Bahamians.

The development will include a university-owned housing for faculty, staff and students on campus.

Grenada

Grenada’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) says that persons now depositing funds into financial institutions achieved through the traditional form of savings known as “sou-sou” will now have to meet certain guidelines.

The FIU said this is part of its efforts to combat financial corruption and money laundering.

Sou-Sou is a form of saving in which several people collectively contributes a specific sum of money into a pool for a specific period. Under the system, one person traditionally benefits on each occasion from the funds placed in the pool.

FIU head, Tafawa Pierre, said the new guidelines were introduced due to trends based on explanations from several persons who made large deposits into financial institutions and claimed that those funds were gained from their participation in the “sou-sou” program.

Financial institutions already have the right to ask for the source of funds once a deposit of EC$10,000 or more is made.

However, smaller deposits within a period can be flagged within the internal system of the bank as one of concern and that will require declaration.

Grenada has several laws aimed at combating money laundering, corruption and terrorism financing. The measures being enforced by the FIU is all part of recommendations which the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has recommended for members.

In the region, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) is responsible for enforcing and overseeing the recommendation for the international body.

Guyana

Guyana’s Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, has said health care services were becoming more accessible for people living in the hinterland regions.

Lawrence, speaking to residents in the community of Unity Square said strides have been made so far in the public health sector under the coalition government.

She explained that her ministry has been given the mandate of ensuring that health services, on the coast and in the hinterland, are of the same standard and quality.

To this end, she highlighted a recent move by the Ministry of Public Health to train young men and woman as “allied health profession­als.”

Lawrence said that while the ministry was training potential staff, it was also working with the health department of each hinterland region to ensure that the necessary facilities were in place for the proper delivery of the service.

Haiti

The Haitian government has condemned the attacks on foreign embassies in the impoverished Caribbean country during opposition-inspired street demonstrations to force President Moise out of office.

The United States has called on all political parties to put aside their differences and hold dialogue “without delay.”

The United States condemns the violence in Port-au-Prince and other cities.

“These shootings, killings, arson, and destruction not only hurt Haitian citizens, but also add to Haiti’s economic and social instability and prolong the interruption of daily life for the Haitian people, particularly Haiti’s school children,” Washington said in a statement.

Jamaica

The People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) have agreed in principle to participate in up to three political debates to be organized and staged by the Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC) ahead of the nation’s general elections.

The three debates will comprise first of a debate on social issues; next a debate on economic issues and the third will be between the contenders for the office of prime minister.

The parties agreed that the debates will be broadcast / distributed live via television, radio and the internet.

A Memorandum of Understanding giving effect to the agreement was recently signed at the offices of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) by Dr. Horace Chang and Mr. Julian Robinson, the general secretaries respectively, of the JLP and PNP.

The signing of the MOU was witnessed by JDC Chairman, Noel da Costa.

The JDC is a joint venture between the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Media Association of Jamaica (MAJ).

Jamaica’s next general election is constitutionally due between Feb. 25, 2021 and June 10, 2022.

However, the prime minister can call the election before the due date.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts immigration officials have launched an investigation to determine how 15 Haitian nationals arrived on the island by boat, docking at the St Kitts Defense Force’s port in Bird Rock, on the outskirts of the capital.

Chief Immigration Officer, Mervlyn Hughes told local radio stations that an investigation had been launched and the police are also assisting in the process.

He said the Haitians are being held for safekeeping while interviews are being conducted to ascertain the situation.

Media reports had indicated that the Haitians on arrival had been attempting to register at a nearby hotel, but the immigration said they are now being held at Basseterre Police Station.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, told a local radio station that while the twin-island federation does not have any specific policy with respect to Haitians, there is a process of dealing with any illegal immigrants regardless of nationality.

Trinidad

Exporters of Trinidad-manufactured items will continue to enjoy duty-free entry of their products into the United States with the extension of the World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver of the US Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The Ministry said that the WTO waiver for the Act, which was implemented since 1984, was scheduled to conclude on Dec. 31, 2019 but has now been extended to Dec. 31, 2025.

This was agreed to at the General Council Meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland recently.

Goods covered under the arrangement include, meat, fish, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, chocolates, juices, alcohol beverages, other agro-processed products, chemical and pharmaceutical products and energy products.

T&T’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon said the government had continuously lobbied for the renewal of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, an extension of the Caribbean Basin Imitative which will benefit a significant number of local businesses.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Posted 2:31 pm, November 4, 2019
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