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In this May 30, 2010 file photo, a soldier frisks a man at a military checkpoint in the crime-ridden Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica. The caribbean region, once a leisurely occupation, is facing hard times as an escalating arms race among criminal gangs has turned once-peaceful neighborhoods into battle zones. Jamaica chalked up 1,428 killings in 2010.
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Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government says it will conduct a study of the wages and emoluments earned by hotel workers in order to determine whether the incomes paid are fair or if they have kept stride with workers in other industries and in the public service.

It said that the economic analysis would help to guide government and union in their determination of just return to workers in a thriving sector of the economy.

In a statement, the government said the hotel industry continues to be a major employer and every effort must be made to ensure that it can continue to attract outstanding talent to its ranks. The Cabinet is of the view that the industry ought to be the most attractive employ, however, it is recognized that the public sector has become very attractive to many workers.”

It gave no date as to when the study would begin or whether or not it would be undertaken by a local or foreign organization.

Barbados

The Barbados government has extended the deadline for the ban on single-use petro-based plastic bags from Jan. 1 next year.

It says the ban will now take effect from April, 1, 2020.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey said manufacturers of single-use plastic bags have over the last year “been able to produce a bag that is made from a completely organic compound.

He said Cabinet agreed to delay the ban on plastic bags from Jan. 1 to March 31. The ban will take effect from April 1, 2020.

But the minister made it clear that this did not mean the Mia Mottley administration was “reneging on its promises.”

In early 2019, government enforced a ban on all petro-based single use plastic containers, and those caught using the banned items can and will be prosecuted.

Bahamas

Bahamas Minister of Education, Jeffrey Lloyd has condemned the beating of a student by a woman with frying pans after she claims the unidentified child had been engaging in appropriate behavior at school.

A video recording of the incident has since been unloaded to social media.

Lloyd said he was offended and incensed by the display of the abhorrent, despicable and senseless behavior by this adult woman.

He said he is appalled by some of the views expressed in conversations and the media, which appear to condone this barbaric act, seeking to justify it with an often misunderstood the ridiculous ascertain that “it was done to me and I turned out ok.”

Lloyd who has in the past called on the government to consider sanctions for individuals who knowingly record and transmit instances of young persons in these kinds of predicaments.

The minister said the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child notes that a state must take all appropriate measures to protect children and that “no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”

He also said that the Bahamas’ Child Protection Act specifies that “anyone who assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandon or expose a child in a manner likely to cause the child suffering or injury can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to US$10,000.

Grenada

US Immigration authorities deported 15 Grenadian nationals this year but local enforcement officials in the Spice Island have not yet indicated whether they have been designated as restricted persons as provided for in the Deportation Registration legislation.

The legislation, which came into effect on Oct., 31 2003 requires the police to have a registry of all deportees.

Under the legislation, some can be designated as restricted persons once the Minister of National Security may, by order, upon application by the Commissioner of Police and upon being satisfied that it is necessary to do so in the interest of public safety or public order.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Fiscal Year 2019 Enforcement and Removal Operations Report, release recently, said that the Grenadians were among several Caribbean nationals deported so far for this year.

According to the report, last year, nine Grenadians were deported and the 2019 figure shows an overall increase in the number of people deported to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Barbados.

The report showed that l9 people were deported to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, up from 13 last year, while there had been a small decline for the number of St. Lucians, with the figure being 22 as against 28 in 2018.

Barbados reported an increase of 12 this year compared to 17 last year, while Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda had significant reductions.

Jamaica

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government will not yield in its fight against criminal activity in the country.

He said the government will not relent against criminals.

“So, if there any expectation that if the States of Public Emergency (SOE) are not renewed, that will be a field day for criminals they have another thing coming. We will put up all our efforts, SOE or no SOE, to get those criminals,” he declared.

The prime minister was at the time addressing a National Housing Trust (NHT) ceremony for the handover of housing units in Westmoreland recently.

He said the crime-fighting strategies includes increasing the integration of technology and use of forensics to gather evidence in order to bring criminal before the courts deploying additional resources and increasing the presence of the security forces in towns and communities. There were 1,203 murders in 2019 up to Dec. 20.

He said that an addition 400 members of the Jamaica Defense Force (GDF) were recently deployed resulting in the quieting down of certain areas that already started to flare up notably, South St. Andrew, East Kingston, areas along Mountain View and areas in St. James.

Trinidad

Three born-Trinidadians were honored in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors list.

Singer Billy Ocean, actor Rudolph Walker and actress Floella Benjamin, all born in Trinidad, are among 1, 0997 people recognized on the 2020 list, released last week in the United Kingdom.

British honors are awarded on merit for exceptional achievement or service.

The appointments are approved by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Ocean, boring Leslie Sebastian, has been appointed a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service in the field of music.

It is the third highest Order of the British Empire award. Ocean was boring in Fyzabad, South Trinidad in l950. His family moved to England when he was 10 years old.

The 69-year-old is well known for his Grammy-winning song “Caribbean Queen” and has won several music achievement awards.

Walker, who had previously awarded Britain’s second highest Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2006, has now been awarded the highest honor- the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) award. Walker now 80 was born in San Juan.

Benjamin, 70, a television presenter, actress, singer, author, businesswoman and politician has been awarded the OBE for services to broadcasting in the 2001 honors list. This year she has been upgraded to the CBE for her services to charity. She was born in South Trinidad.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 11:10 am, January 2, 2020
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