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A woman carries a girl in her arms after being evacuated from a nearby Cay due to the danger of floods after arrive on a ship at the port before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Sweeting’s Cay, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Saturday Aug. 31, 2019. Dorian bore down on the Bahamas as a fierce Category 4 storm Saturday, with new projections showing it curving upward enough to potentially spare Florida a direct hit but still threatening parts of the Southeast U.S. with powerful winds and rising ocean water that causes what can be deadly flooding.
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Bahamas

The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently suspended issuing visas to Haitians until further notice.

In a short statement, the government said this is due to “current technical and other challenge,” but did not elaborate.

The government said the suspension does not include nationals who are officials, diplomats or holders of a United States, United Kingdom, Canadian or Schengen visa.

The action comes days after Haiti’s Minister of Foreign affairs, Bocchit Edmond said a corruption probe revealed “unacceptable situations” and “wrongdoing” at Haiti’s local embassy.

However, The Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs, Darren Henfield said the suspension of visas was not connected to that.

He said his ministry discovered issues on its own after reviewing how visas were issued.

The minister said he hopes the matter can be resolved as quickly as possible. The suspension may affect a large number of people who wish to visit The Bahamas.

Haitian officials arrived in July to conduct an investigation into matters at their embassy in the Bahamas.

The probe surrounds claim the embassy was involved in getting visas for Haitians and finding fake partners for them to marry to gain status in the Bahamas.

Barbados

Passengers arriving at the Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport will no longer be required to fill out immigration / customs forms, also known as ED forms, as of Sept. 1, 2019.

According to Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, starting from this month, there will be a full transition to the use of the 48 kiosks at the airport.

He said the kiosk system has been tested for almost a year to ensure that the passenger information-gathering system meets all the markers for Customs, Immigration and Statistical Services.

Hinkson also disclosed that Cabinet has decided to put more questions in the system.

“We are going to add some questions to the kiosks that will still allow for the acquisition of that information,” he added.

He said that while speed of the process may vary based on the size of the traveling party as well as an individual’s technical proficiencies, the digital systems have significantly cut down the length it takes for passengers to get through the airport.

Guyana

The Guyana government says it is training a number of teachers with the “necessary skills” to teach English as a second language to children of Venezuelan migrants fleeing the economic and political situation in their homeland.

A government statement said the Ministry of Education is working with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner (UNCHR) to develop educational interventions, which will improve the learning and communication skills of those children and that eight communities in the region are expected to benefit from the initiative.

UNCHR representative on the Multi-Stakeholder Committee, Cecile Guerrero said a committee has been established and tasked with monitoring the arrival of Venezuelan migrants into Guyana.

The program is being conducted by a Canadian-based facilitator.

So far, more than 800 children are enrolled in schools in the country, after their families left the country where opposition forces are seeking to remove President Nicholas Maduro.

Grenada

Irish telecommunication giant, Digicel with which the Grenada government has a contractual agreement, is denying leaking any documents showing the holders of all government phones, their numbers and the amounts owed.

Digicel Grenada Ltd. said in a statement, “following weeks of thorough internal investigations, Digicel Grenada can safely conclude and publicly state that the leak of the government’s bill did not originate from within the operations of Digicel Grenada Ltd.”

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell said he was embarrassed at the disclosure and the government later indicated the continued use of phones by the assigned holders was due to a system failure.

Jamaica

Jamaica has recorded a total of more than 140 notifications of dengue fever with the island’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacqueline Bisasor McKenzie, saying the figure was significantly higher than the same period last year.

Speaking on a television program Dr. McKenzie said the increased figure could be attributed to the prevailing drought conditions.

She said the number of suspected dengue cases recorded for three of the last five years had been “above the monthly figures” and comparing this year to last year it has been way above.

The CMO said the Ministry of Health had been receiving more reports, describing them “as the tip of the iceberg.”

Dr. McKenzie said in July there were about 140 reports that were fitting the definitions which were classified as suspected dengue.

“Every case of dengue has the potential to become serious and can result in death,” she noted.

Trinidad

A Trinidad and Tobago trade unionist has been charged with sedition in relation to comments he made during a television interview last November in which he urged workers of the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to be “prepared to die.”

Duke, who leads one of the largest trade unions, the Public Service Association (PSA) and two other unions was quoted as saying: “This is your belief folks, this is your family and I am sending the message clear, let Rowley (Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley) know that the day they come for us in WASA, we are prepared to die and the morgue would be picking up people.”

Due was arrested at his PSA office in Port of Spain last Wednesday by officers of the Special Branch, had been under police guard at hospital after complaining unwell.

He will appear in court on Friday to answer the indictable charge and was granted bail to reappear next week.

Duke, who is also the political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), is the minority leader of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

Sedition, which is an old archaic law, is defined as any remark which brings hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection against the government, the constitution, parliament or the justice system.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 5:54 pm, September 4, 2019
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