Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne has said that the Caribbean should be careful not to be drawn into the ideological war unfolding in Venezuela where attempts were being made to remove the socialist Nicolas Maduro.
He said the people are fighting an ideological war and believe that socialism in Venezuela would plunge the people into poverty.
Browne who said that his administration will not support Opposition Leader, Juan Guaido, warned that the unfolding situation in Caracas could cause serious problems for the Caribbean, adding there were other implications for countries in the region, many of whom have to depend on tourism and have open economies.
He added that the destabilization of Venezuela will have more refugees coming to the Caribbean.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is project economic growth for the Caribbean for 2019-2020 due to robust tourism from the United States, construction from the devastating hurricanes of 2017 in some tourism-dependent countries and higher commodity production in some commodity exporters.
In a statement, the IMF said growth in the region was expected to be 19 percent in both 2019 and 2020 for tourism-dependent countries and for commodity exporters, 1.5 percent in 2019 and 5.5 percent in 2020.
While it is not mentioned in the IMF statement, commercial oil production Guyana is expected to being in 2020.
The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDT) says the islands have another record-breaking year of tourist arrivals.
The report follows a rebound year for Caribbean travel with increased competition throughout the region.
At the close of 2018, the CIDT said total visitation surpassed all previous years, including 2006, which previously held the record for the highest number of total visitors in a calendar year.
The CIDT said total arrivals for 2018 by both air and cruise ship was 2,384,058, an 11.05 percent increase over the same period in 2017 (237,211) additional people.
It said there were 463,001 stayover visitors, an increase of 10.66 percent.
Arrivals in 2018 represented the highest number of stayover visits for a calendar year in recorded history — surpassing January-December 2017.
Guyana is positioning itself as information technology and communication (ICT) hub in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Organization (CANTO) recently held a four-day conference in Georgetown under the theme “Transitioning to a digital region-The opportunities and the Challenges.”
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, while acknowledging the role played by the Trinidad-based organization in facilitating the process of bringing together regional telecommunications operators, said many of the industries across the region that have been relied upon for many years, no longer have the scope required to support national and economic requirement.
She told the opening ceremony of the conference that as a result, Caribbean countries must diversify into other sectors that will provide opportunities for real economic transformation, and a strong digital agenda will allow for that transformation.
A high court judge has sentenced a police constable to life imprisonment for murder in the so-called police “death squad” trial.
Justice Vivienne Harris ordered that Collis “Chucky” Brown, 42, to serve 51 years in jail before becoming eligible for parole. Brown was convicted on Nov. 15 last year of three counts of murder, conspiracy to murder and wounding with intent.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Damoy “Gutty’ Dawkins and must serve 20 years before being considered for parole.
In addition, he was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to commit murder as well as 15 years for wounding with intent. The sentences are to run concurrent.
Brown was also sentenced to 31 years in prison for the murder of Dwayne Doiglas and 31 years for the murder of Andrew Fearon. The sentences are to run concurrently which means that he will serve 31 years in jail.
Justice Harris said police officers cannot take the law into their hands by being judge, jury and executioner despite the high crime rate.
She said, instead of upholding the law, Constable Brown embarked on a process to kill persons accused of being criminals and that the convicted man was part of what she called “contrived police fatal shootings.”
The judge said that firearms were planted at the scenes and statements prepared to cover up and deceive the public.
The court heard that between 2009 and 2012, Brown was a member of a “death squad’ linked to the fatal shooting of Dawkins, Douglas and Feraon.
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has recorded that as of September 2018, 6,000 refugees from 32 countries across the globe coming to Trinidad and Tobago to seek protection and live.
The figure was given by UNHRC protection officer Ruben Barbado, who said the organization has people from various countries are coming to T&T seeking protection and to find a new home.
Some countries include Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Congo, Sudan, Haiti, Uganda and Colombia.
Speaking on a local TV program Barbado spoke about the humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela.
He said what is happening in Venezuela can happen anywhere in the world.
Barbado said the situation in Venezuela has triggered many concerns for the UNHRC and other agencies.
— Compiled by Azad Ali
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