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Barbados

A call is being made for the government to ensure that construction companies in Barbados pay their taxes with new multimillion-dollar construction projects set to come on stream soon.

Allan Evelyn, the founder of Rotherley Constructions Inc. said the government was losing out on collecting revenue from taxes, while workers were being given no security of tenure because of a system being built into the industry, where construction workers were being hired part-time.

Evelyn said his concerns are that the workers are being disrespected and taken advantage of in that the holiday with pay is not honored; the National Insurance is not paid and the lack of insurance for employees.

Caribbean

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says an action plan developed by Caribbean countries has established a roadmap to ensure that health is a national climate change planning in the region.

The Caribbean Action Plan on Health and Climate Change Project was recently launched in St Lucia which focused on protecting the health of the people of the region form the effects of climate change, such as heatwaves, storms, hurricanes droughts, floods, outbreak of disease and other issues by strengthening health systems, promoting inter-sectoral collaboration between the health and environment sectors, and increasing financing.

PAHO said in order to achieve this, Caribbean countries have agreed to take national and regional action to strengthen educational and research capacities on climate change and health and to build climate –resilient health facilities throughout the region.

PAHO said the plan was developed and approved during the Third Global Conference on Health and Climate Change; Special focus on Small Island Developing States in Grenada, in October last year.

Guyana

The Guyana Ministry of the President has announced that three former government ministers are to be given jobs after they were forced to relinquish their ministerial portfolio as a result of their citizenship.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge has been appointed foreign secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Former business minister Dominica Gaskin has been appointed director of manufacturing and marketing within the Ministry of Business with the responsibility for the enforcement of standards.

The government statement said that Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, the former public servant minister, will now serve as the Director of Public Service Training within the Ministry of the Presidency.

The new portfolio follow the recent appointment of former state minister Joe Harmon as Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency.

The former ministers were forced to resign their previous positions after both the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled that it was unconstitutional for holders of dual citizenship to serve as members of Parliament.

Grenada

The Grenada government has announced that its debt obligation to the Venezuelan oil initiative, PetroCaribe is estimated at EC$372 million.

It said that its total debt stood at more than EC$1.9 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019.

The Ministry of Finance, which released figures for the first quarter of 2019, noted also at the end of last year, more than 20-owned state enterprises had accounted for a significant amount of the island’s debt.

The Ministry of Finance said the total debt stock includes the debt obligations of PetroCaribe, which amounted to EC$372.1 million (or 11 percent of gross domestic product GDP).

It was announced recently that PetroCaribe is not functional because of several reasons, including the ongoing economic and political crisis in Venezuela.

PetroCaribe was established in 2005, when the agreement was signed by 14 CARICOM countries during the First Energy Summit of Caribbean Heads of Government held in the city of Puerto La Cruz, in eastern Venezuela.

Jamaica

Jamaicans are being urged to end the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS as a result of a new survey which showed that accepting attitudes towards persons living with the virus remains low.

The call is being made by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, who said it is this fear of stigma and rejection that contributes to a delay in persons accessing HIC care.

He noted that persons who may have signs and symptoms or who know their status are unwilling to go to the hospitals or to the clinics to be treated.

The minister has reiterated the call to end the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in order to stem the spread of the virus.

The 2017 HIV/AIDS Knowledge, Attitude, Behavior and Practice survey releases recently in Jamaica, indicated accepting attitude towards persons living with HIV/AIDS remained low, but declined from 14.3 percent in 2012, when the last survey was done, to 11.6 percent in 2017.

The survey, conducted by Hope Research Group, sampled 2,000 persons aged 13-19.

St. Kitts

The Greek billionaire, who is heir to the Coco Cola fortune, appeared in a Basseterre Magistrate Court charged with possession, intent to supply and importation of EC $1.3 million worth of marijuana.

Alkiviades “Alki” David pleaded not guilty to the charges and was placed on EC$300,000 bail and is to reappear in court on Sept. 23, 2019.

The 51-year-old billionaire whose travel documents were seized by the police were returned to him and he was free to leave the country.

The charges were laid after an investigation into the discovery of cannabis on his private jet when he arrived at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport recently, along with American businessman Chase Ergen with whom he is in a cannabis business venture.

Irish actor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and his family had also been traveling with David and Ergen.

David claimed that the plants he had on his plane were hemp, which were related to his plans for a new legal cannabis business in St. Kitts and Nevis and other parts of the region.

He and Ergen had announced last month they had formed a consortium, which specializes in cannabidiol medicines and they hoped to develop the legal cannabis market in the Eastern Caribbean countries, including St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert has announced a tax amnesty in his mid-year review of the budget, giving delinquent tax payers three months to put their taxes in order starting from next month.

Imbert did not impose any taxes to raise fuel prices, which he did in the last Budget and previous ones.

He, however, increased the 2019 Budget from its initial TT$51.7 billion level to $52.07 billion.

On the amnesty, Imbert said it will cover all forms of taxation because once the new Revenue Authority comes on stream, future amnesties are unlikely.

He told Parliament that there is “good news” about the economy since “we’ve recovered from the oil shock of 2014 and 2016 and we have stabilized our economy.”

The minister of finance said government is ensuring that natural gas production will continue to be a major driver of the economic growth.

He sought to allay concerns, which arose after BPTT announced it may not be able to guarantee a continued supply of Atlantic LNG’s Train One Plant, which can have a possible impact of the situations on Trinidad and Tobago’s economic recovery.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 5:06 pm, May 29, 2019
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