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Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson of Turks and Caicos Islands with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
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Antigua:

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the Antigua-based regional airline LIAT should appeal the $1.55 million in damages awarded to a former employee by a jury in the United States Virgin Islands recently.

William Cherubin took the cash-strapped airline to court in St Croix claiming he had been dismissed because of his age.

According to court documents, on June 4, 2015, LIAT fired Cherubin without notice, citing several incidents involving violations of company policy, including two alleged incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2012.

His attorneys alleged that LIAT actually fired him because of his age and not because of poor performance, as the airline argued.

He said the reason LIAT gave was false, insisting the “real reason was age discrimina­tion.”

Cherubin was 70 when he was fired by the airline in 2015. He worked at the airline for 47 years.

Virgin Island laws prohibit the discrimination of employees because of age.

Back in 2011, LIAT offered all employees over age 62 a retirement package in exchange for voluntary resignations, but Cherubin turned down the offer.

Antigua and Barbuda is one of the four major shareholder governments of the airline. The others are Barbados, Dominica, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

BAHAMAS:

The Bahamas government has temporarily halted all deportations to Haiti as a result of the political unrest in the French-speaking Caribbean island.

A government statement said that the decision follows the temporary closure of The Bahamas Embassy in Port-au-Prince and the recall of all diplomatic and consular staff.

It said in anticipation of a potential increase of illegal migration from Haiti, Bahamas security forces have been placed on high alert.

“As a protective measure, the government is also preparing a temporary detention center in Matthew Town, Inagua, which will be staffed with personnel from relevant ministries and government agencies, as to deal with any resultant eventualit­ies,” the statement said.

Bahamas officials have in the past called on Haitians not to undertake the dangerous voyage by sea to enter the country illegally.

Earlier this month, 31 Haitians drowned when their vessel ran aground in waters off Abaco.

Authorities said l8 others who were rescued would be deported.

BARBADOS:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Barbados continues to make “good progress” in its efforts to turn around an ailing economy supported by a multi-million dollar Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

An IMF delegation, led by Bert van Selm, recently paid a four-day visit to the island at the invitation of Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s administration, discussing the implementation of Barbados’ Economy Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan that is supported by the $290 million EFF.

The Washington-based financial institution said in a statement that a concluding meeting was held with Prime Minister Mottley in Washington recently.

Van Selm said that Barbados continues to make good progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform program.

JAMAICA:

The Jamaica government is moving to privatize a number of state assets under its portfolio.

This was disclosed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who said the government will intensify its policy of full asset utilization, adding that these assets will be made available to persons who demonstrate the drive, interest, and entrepreneurship, those who are risk-takers, and who will take these assets and make something of them for the people of Jamaica.

He told the opening ceremony for the relaunch of the 120-room S Hotel in Montego Bay recently that while he sees this as a sure-fire way to boost further economic growth, “the process has to be one which is both competitive and transparent.”

Holness said that while the idea of divesting the country’s national assets is part of a long-term plan for economic prosperity, it has to be done with the knowledge that ordinary Jamaicans will not be left out of the equation.

ST LUCIA:

National Security Minister Hermangild Francis says St Lucians should be allowed to determine whether or not to abolish the death penalty.

He maintained that he had no definite position on the matter.

Francis, an attorney, who is also the Home Affairs and Justice Minister, said that with plans being advanced for constitutional reform, the issue of the death penalty could be put to the people for their consideration.

He said St Lucians will decide whether they still want the death penalty or not, he said on a radio program.

St Lucia has not carried out the death penalty since 1995 when Joseph Solomon was executed after being convicted for murder and rape in l979.

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS:

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government says it hopes to bring to an end a critical outstanding matter ever since the Sandals resorts International (SRI)-owned Beaches Villages and Spa began operation on the island.

The resort has announced an “indefinite” closure of its facilities on the island from January 2021 and the government has promised that will be “fully transparent” on the matter amid media reports that the issue is linked to a multi-million dollar tax bill.

The resort said in a statement that Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages will be closed from September 3rd to October 15th and from September 7th to October 22nd, 2020 and then for an indefinite period from January 2021.

Premier and Finance Minister Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson said her administration has been addressing the “long outstanding” issue with Beaches and she remains confident that “with the facts in fill view, we can bring an end to a critical outstanding matter that has seen its basis in an arrangement in place since the resort’s operation started in the ’90s and existed throughout every government in the TCI since then.”

TRINIDAD:

There are more than 2,000 gang members in Trinidad and Tobago. The two main gangs operating in the country are Rasta City and Muslim, according to a 2018 report compiled by the Organized Crime and intelligence Unit (OCIU), an arm of the T&T Police Service, titled the “interim Gang Report 2018.”

The report notes that in the communities where they thrive, gang leaders have the same power as politicians, and are called “community leaders.”

These leaders get millions of dollars in government contracts to help their communities, according to the report.

The report raised concerns about the growing power and influence of gangs and their business and the impact it had on the country’s murder rate.

“The most notable trends for 2018 have been a consolidation in gang membership of criminal gangs and their control of street gangs and their control of street-level drug sales and collaboration with rival gangs and other criminal organizati­ons,” the report said.

“Gangs in Trinidad and Tobago act as profit-making enterprises whereby revenue generated from gang-related activities are directed towards sustaining gang activities and personal profit for their leaders of the gangs,” the report added.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 10:31 am, March 6, 2019
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