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October 19 2017
DREDGING WORK TO COMMENCE AT KINGSTOWN CRUISE SHIP TERMINAL
Dredging works are expected to commence here next week at the Kingstown Cruise Ship Terminal in preparation for the Cruise Ship season on November 1st. 2017.
This country’s Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves spoke to this during a press conference held this week.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION ENSURING THAT CHILDCARE PROVIDERS ARE TRAINED IN FIRST AID
In keeping with current legislation, the Ministry of Education is ensuring that childcare providers are adequately trained in First Aid. Since the Early Childhood Standards place emphasis on the importance of safety, twenty (20) preschool teachers were recently equipped with the requisite skills to respond to emergencies and injuries on the job. Among the content covered were environmental emergencies, sudden illnesses, cardiac emergencies and choking.
This First Aid activity underscored the fact that children are most vulnerable in their early years, when unintentional injuries occur as a result of sudden accidents. The training session was organized by the Ministry of Education and facilitated by SVG Red Cross. It took place on Tuesday 17th October at the Red Cross Headquarters.
VINCENTIANS URGED TO RECIPROCATE THE SOLIDARITY SHOWN BY CUBA
Vincentians are urged to reciprocate the solidarity shown by the Government and people of the Republic of Cuba to our country and the rest of the Caribbean. Making the appeal is the St Vincent and the Grenadines/Cuba Friendship Society. The Society notes that Cuba suffered tremendous damage from the passing of hurricane Irma, but damage too other Eastern Caribbean islands by both Irma and hurricane Maria, as well as the traditional bias of the international media towards Cuba, has overshadowed Cuba’s own devastation.
In spite of its own damages, Cuba has been in the forefront of rendering assistance to hurricane- hit islands, in keeping with its philosophy of solidarity. This and the tremendous efforts at recovery in Cuba, has also contributed to the mistaken belief that Cuba has not suffered greatly from the ravages of Irma.
The people of St Vincent and the Grenadines have benefitted substantially from Cuban assistance. As long ago as 1979, following the eruption of the Soufriere volcano, Cuba was one of many countries to come to our aid, even though at the time we had no diplomatic relations with that country. It has provided hundreds of scholarships to Vincentian students and made tremendous contributions in the fields of education and health in particular. The “Vision Now” programme, enabling hundreds of Vincentians to receive optical treatment deserves special mention. Latterly there has been the Argyle International Airport, in the construction of which Cuban assistance was critical.
It is only fair that Vincentians extend the same solidarity to the people of Cuba as they try to recover from their disaster. The SVGCFS has therefore set up a CUBA HURRICANE RELIEF FUND at the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines, account # 130016. The Society appeals to Vincentians, particularly graduates of Cuban universities, parents and relatives of Vincentians studying there, beneficiaries of Cuban assistance in the health field, and the general public who have benefitted directly or indirectly, to contribute to this Fund and so demonstrate our solidarity, generosity and gratitude to the Government and people of Cuba.
ENTREPRENEURS PREPARE TO SHOWCASE THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES AT "EVERYTHING VINCY EXPO 2017"
Some of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ most talented entrepreneurs are preparing to showcase their products and services at Invest SVG’s inaugural ‘Everything Vincy’ Expo 2017. The Expo will run over the Independence weekend (October 27 – 29) at the E.T Joshua Airport site in Arnos Vale; and is designed to increase the visibility of local businesses as part of an overarching ‘Buy Local’ campaign.
This initiative fits perfectly in line with one of the investment agency’s mandates of assisting in the advancement of export development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Invest SVG believes that small business development is essential for the overall economic growth of the multi-island State.
Exhibitors will also be taking part in workshop training sessions on October 24 and 25 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Room, third floor of the Administrative Building. These workshops are free for exhibitors; however, non-exhibitors can also take part for a EC$50-per-day administrative fee. The ‘Everything Vincy’ Expo 2017 is a component of the ‘Everything Vincy’ Independence Festival (running from October 21st – 29th) that aims to highlight culture, food, enterprise, music and motorsport.
PAN AGAINST CRIME COMMITTEE , NCCP AND RSVGPF TO STAGE CONCERT
The Pan Against Crime Committee, in collaboration with the National Commission on Crime Prevention, and the RSVG Police Force, will stage a Pan Against Crime concert, this Friday October 19, commencing at 5:30 pm at the vacant area next to the General Post Office in Kingstown. Symphonix Steel Orchestra and the Police Band will provide music. Representatives of organizing bodies of the PAC Programme will bring brief messages at the concert.
The brain child of Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the Pan Against Crime Programme was started in February 2008, establishing 13 new steel bands in Communities and Schools throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines. With assistance from the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan, Petro Caribe and the National Firearms Board, the Central Leeward Secondary School is the latest recipient of pans from the PAC Programme.
The JP Eustace Secondary School at Edinboro, will be the next beneficiary of pans, when a set of instruments will be handed over to that school, on November 03, 2017. Other Pan concerts will be staged in the upcoming months, at various venues, as part of the Committee’s preparation to celebrate its 10th Anniversary in February 2018. The Pan Against Crime Committee extends a cordial invitation to the general public to Friday’s Concert, which promises to be both entertaining and informative.
PARLIAMENTARY REP FOR WEST ST. GEORGE CONTINUES HIS VISITS TO CONSTITUENCY SCHOOLS
Parliamentary Representative for the Constituency of West St. George Hon. Cecil Mckie is continuing his visits to the five (5) Primary and one (1) Secondary School in his Constituency. Mckie followed up on previous visits to the Dorsetshire Hill and Belmont Primary Schools to the Sion Hill Primary and West St. George Secondary Schools bearing a variety of items of support.
The Sion Hill Primary School was the recipient of a quantity of litter bins for their classrooms as well as exterior garbage bins. They were also presented with Netballs and a Netball Kit of T’shirts and Skirts to facilitate their participation in the West St. George Primary Schools Development Tournament, an initiative of Area Representative Mckie, in collaboration with the Ashburton Sports and Cultural Organisation (ASCO).
Apart from other items of support to the Sion Hill School, the Area Representative visit was made complete with a package of Agricultural items to kick start Mr. Mckie’s drive to focus all five (5) Primary Schools and the lone Secondary School on producing food that they consume through their food kitchens. Hopefully, these students will go on to maintain their own backyard gardens, do subsistence farming or become full time farmers in the Constituency/ St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Similar donations were also made to the Dorsetshire Hill and Belmont Primary Schools. The West St. George Secondary School was also the recipient of classroom bins, sporting items and an enhanced Agricultural Support Package. They have been a regular beneficiary of the generosity of Area Representative Mckie as he provides support to the myriad of initiatives of the school. This collaboration of school and Area Rep. now allows the school to boast of consistently being in the Top Ten of Secondary Schools in the CSEC, CXC external examinations. The school also consistently performs well across all Sporting Disciplines as well as in the field of Culture and Public Speaking and Debating Contests. Area Representative Mckie is confident that his ongoing support will further stimulate the school and students to even higher heights.
214 CHILDREN FROM BARBUDA RECEIVE PSYCHO SOCIAL ASSISTANCE
214 children from Barbuda received psycho social assistance, after the trauma of hurricane Irma, through the Return to Happiness Programme implemented from October 2-7 by 17 education specialists. The Saint-Lucian delegation of volunteers, who successfully completed the first mission, will extend their operations to other affected countries.
The passage of two category 5 hurricanes resulted in major material damage in several countries of the region and also left significant psychological marks on the victims, which is more difficult to evaluate. Natural disasters of this magnitude often leave survivors suffering from trauma and, especially when children are affected, their emotional suffering needs to be given special attention.
As a result, the OECS Commission and UNICEF partnered to implement a psycho social programme dedicated to children between 5 to 12 years old: Return to Happiness Programme (RTH). The RTH methodology has been used worldwide in countries impacted by a human or natural catastrophe such as major armed conflicts or high magnitude earthquakes. Its goal is to support the recovery of young children by giving them opportunities to share their feelings.
A team of 17 education professionals trained in the Return to Happiness methodology have been sent from St. Lucia to Antigua and Barbuda on a mission from October 2 to 5. These educators received logistical support from the OECS Commission to ensure air transportation and the necessary accommodations on the ground.
The group of education specialists left Saint-Lucia on Sunday October 15 to pursue the implementation of the Return to Happiness Programme in other affected countries. One team will be deployed to Anguilla and the other to the Turks and Caicos.
JAMAICA'S MINISTER OF FINANCE SAYS US$20M IN NEW INVESTMENTS WILL HELP TO DRIVE THE ECONOMY
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, says Jamaica will see an injection of more than US$20 billion of new investments that will help to drive the economy and increase job creation.
Addressing an International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Small States Forum at the headquarters of the World Bank last Saturday (October 14), Minister Shaw noted that this large investment is not a loan from the Bank or the IMF but a direct investment in Jamaica from the private sector and overseas investors.
“The government is on a drive to move Jamaica forward by attracting large investments into the country, which is one engine to spur the economy,” he pointed out. He told the participants that the government has targeted a series of infrastructure development projects that will drive the economy towards growth.
These include reopening of the Alpart alumina plant with an investment of more than US$3 billion to expand the facility, divestment of the country’s main container terminal, construction of the north-south highway, and the redevelopment of downtown Kingston.
The Minister pointed out that there is an aggressive program to reduce the country’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio from 116 percent to 108 percent by the end of the fiscal year, and down to 96 percent by year 2020. He said that Jamaica intends to work with the World Bank and other multinational agencies to develop the country’s human capacities and capital to grow the economy.
October 18 2017
SVG UNDER FLOOD WATCH
St Vincent and the Grenadines has been placed under a flood watch until 6:00 pm today.
Over the past 48 hours, occasional moderate to heavy showers and periods of rain have been experienced across Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Rainfall accumulations of approximately 4 inches with isolated higher amounts have occurred in the mountainous areas.
At the Argyle International Airport, 119mm (~ 4.7inches) were recorded for the past 48hours. As another tropical wave is expected to spread some moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain, isolated thunderstorms and occasional gusty winds across St. Vincent and the Grenadines today, adding to the already unsettled conditions, a FLOOD-WARNING is now in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines until 6:00 pm, today Wednesday 18th October, 2017, and may be extended if conditions warrant. The Barbados Meteorological Services and the Saint Vincent Meteorological Services will continue to monitor the progress of this wave.
CRUISE SHIP SEASON EXPECTED TO BE BUSY THIS YEAR
Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves says that there is expected to be a busy cruise ship season this year. Speaking at a press conference yesterday Dr. Gonsalves said that it is anticipated that some 270,000 cruise passengers are expected here when the season opens later this month through to April next year.
The Prime Minister said that with this influx of cruise passengers the private sector will have to play their part to meet the demands of the passengers.
Dr. Gonsalves also gave a brief update on the status of the airlines that are expected at the Argyle International Airport.
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN POLICY AND RESEARCH IN FINAL WEEK OF VISITS TO SCHOOLS
The Department of Foreign Policy and Research in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce is in the final week of visits to secondary schools and tertiary educational institutions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Ministry in its continual quest to enhance public diplomacy at home and abroad, has through partnership with the Ministry of Education, Ecclesiastical Affairs and National Reconciliation presented to fourth and fifth formers on the importance of an effective foreign policy and diplomatic relations, the role and functions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce as well as career opportunities that are available within the Ministry.
To date, the Ministry has reached an audience of 974 students and teachers across 20 educational institutions. In addition to the presentations made, students and young professionals have been invited to participate in the 2017/2018 Essay Competition that is facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce. The competition is divided into two groups: Group 1 (Ages 15 – 20 years) and Group 2 (Ages 21 – 30 years).
In Group 1, the topic is: “The opening of the Argyle International Airport will provide Saint Vincent and the Grenadines air access to new international markets. In what ways can the new international airport facilitate increased foreign investment and aid in diversifying our trade portfolio?’ Participants in group 2 will discuss the topic “As of January 2017, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines began a 3 year term on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), additionally, this country is bidding for a seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. How is it beneficial for a small country like this to serve on these international committees? For further details and guidelines, the Ministry invites prospective participants to visit: www.gov.vc or the Facebook page: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce remains committed to ensuring that the profile of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is enhanced locally, regionally and internationally.
NTRC TO HOST TOWN HALL MEETING ON TODAY
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) would like to remind the general public of its’ Town Hall Meeting to gather feedback from the residents of Fitz Hughes and surrounding areas with respect to the telecommunications services being provided by Digicel, Cable & Wireless and Columbus Communication. Additionally, residents will be informed about the recently passed Cybercrime Act of 2016 at this meeting.
The event will include presentations from senior officials of the NTRC and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force. The presentation sessions will be followed by a full question and answer session. The Town Hall Meeting will take place today Wednesday October 18, 2017 at 7:00pm at the Fitz Hughes Government School.
GRENADA'S PRIME MINISTER HOPES FOR AN EARLY END TO TRADE UNION STRIKE ACTIONS
Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell Tuesday said he hoping for an early end to strike actions by trade unions on the island and expressed the hope that “common sense will prevail” and that public workers, who started industrial action to force his administration to heed the demands of two trade unions to conclude negotiations for the 2013-16 period.
Prime Minister Mitchell said as he responded to the strike action by public workers he is very hopeful that common sense will prevail and they will see an end to this impasse. Last weekend, the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU) both announced plans for the industrial action over the failure to pay compensation to workers during the period when the island was implementing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) sanctioned package. The workers walked off their jobs on Monday.
The unions had originally sought EC$2 000 as a one-off payment for the period 2013-16 but reduced their demand to EC$1 500 after they accepted a payment of EC$1 000 earlier this year with an assurance from the Keith Mitchell government of a possible increase in July.
The government has offered EC$650 but the unions have described that amount as “insulting” to the workers, who they said made sacrifices during the period of the structural adjustment programme. The Government Negotiating Team (GNT) has described the strike as “disappointing” and that the unions have rejected the mediation effort of the Minister for Labour to settle the dispute of the one-off payment to public service employees.
Mitchell said that if his administration agrees to the demands of the union, it would place an additional financial burden of approximately nine million EC dollars on government expenditure. He said he feared it could also result in the government losing millions in debt relief while violating at the same time the fiscal responsibility legislation. The unions say they are pleased with the workers support for the strike, but Prime Minister Mitchell, who is the Minister for Finance, said that most of the employees are on the job.
JAMAICA'S NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER STATES THAT "GET THE GUNS CAMPAIGN" RESPONSIBLE FOR REDUCTION OF ILLEGAL GUNS
Minister of National Security in Jamaica, Robert Montague, has stated that a repackaged and re-launched “Get The Guns Campaign”, under his ministry, is responsible for a 36 per cent increase in the removal of illegal guns from the streets.
The Jamaica Observer reports that Montague told a press conference at Jamaica House, at which Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the second zone of special operations (ZOSO), that 674 guns have been removed from the streets so far in 2017, compared to 499 in 2016.
In addition, Montague said the police have seized 15,667 rounds of ammunition so far this year, compared to 7,238 in 2016. He said with the support of a reward system offering $150,000 for information leading to the recovery of a rifle, $100,000 for a pistol and $75,000 for a revolver, Crime Stop has reported a 28 per cent increase in calls providing the police with information about the illegal weapons and activities.
In addition, he said that there was a $1 million bounty for information leading to the capture of fugitives, which has assisted in the apprehension or killing of several. He said rewards have been paid for those who have been captured or killed by the police in shootouts.
Prime Minister Holness also informed the press conference that the zones of special operations (ZOSO) legislation carries with it a pool of $100 million, which is being paid for information leading to the recovery of guns and ammunition and the capture of wanted persons.
October 17 2017
TROPICAL WAVE CONTINUES TO AFFECT SVG
Instability associated with the passage of a tropical wave would continue to generate cloudy skies, occasional moderate to heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms across Saint Vincent and the Grenadines this afternoon and into tonight.
A release from the Meteorological Office at the argyle International Airport says that residents and motorists in areas prone to flooding and landslides, near rivers and streams should continue to exercise caution. Another tropical wave located east of the island chain is expected across the islands tomorrow.
Seas would remain moderate to rough with swells peaking up to 3 meters (10 feet). A small craft warning is in effect for above normal seas swells.
THE ISSUE OF CRIME AND CITIZEN SECURITY REMAIN TOP PRIORITY
This country’s Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves has again reiterated that the issue of crime and citizen security remain top priority here.
Speaking at press conference today PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves indicated that the country’s homicide count now stands at 35 for the year and of that number about ten (10) are domestic quarrels or absence of restraint while the bulk about twenty (23) are gun related. The Security Minister also made the point that crime is a complex issue but the police is continuously being equipped to deal with the crime situation here. He said that over twenty police officers have already been approved to join the force.
With regards to the shooting incident on Saturday night where eight persons were injured and one subsequently died, PM Gonsalves commended the health personnel for their work in attending to the injured. The police are currently offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who were responsible for Saturday night’s shooting.
LIAT SUFFERS LOSS IN REVENUE FROM THE PASSAGE OF RECENT HURRICANES IN THE REGION
Chairman of the shareholder governments of regional airline LIAT Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves says that the airline has lost revenue as a result of the recent passage of hurricanes in the region.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today Dr. Gonsalves said that a meeting was convened last Friday to plan the way forward as well as to discuss further reform of LIAT. The Prime Minister said that the passage of the hurricanes has impacted the airline negatively with an estimated loss revenue over US$6M
Dr. Gonsalves said that they are also provided with a worst-case scenario for the remainder of the year, October to December with a loss of about US $4.5M. PM Gonsalves also made mention of what the budgeted forecast would have been. The Prime Minister said that in order to meet their expenses for the period additional funds will be needed.
STUDENTS TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR OUTSTANDING SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVEMENT
A total of twenty-nine students will be recognized later this month for their outstanding scholastic achievement. The annual national awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday October 25th at the annual Schools’ Independence rally at the Victoria Park. The Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical Affairs has announced the names of the recipients of the National Awards for the academic year 2016/2017.
A release from the Ministry of Education says that the twenty-nine students are deemed to have the best claims to these awards based on their performance in the May/June 2017 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations CAPE of the Caribbean Examinations Council CXC. There are sixteen national scholarships. They are Kairel Edwards, Thandi Myers, Abigail Scott, Kayenna Bullock, Lashontae Shepherd, Jeremiah Augustus, Kadeem De Shong, Milieko Edwards, Che Grant, Shanique Alleyne, Christian Friday, Alexcia Burgin, Chrislon Fraser, Mikailla Matthias, Micheala Miguel and Daree Myers.
The seven exhibition awardees are Kamla David, Arielle Roberts, Tahleze Marksman, Akeem Muhammad, Toni Pompey, Donley Stapleton and Rhaine Willians and the six bursary awardees are Justene Farrell, Shania Leslie, Ariel Lewis, Dorien Antrobus, Darron Farrell and Teron Pope.
The most outstanding awardees are Kairel Edwards, Thandi Myers and Abigail Scott. Edwards gained CAPE passes in Biology, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry, Communication Skills, Physics and Pure Mathematics, while Myers gained passes in Caribbean Studies, Chemistry, Communication Studies, Geography, Physics and Pure Mathematics and Scott was successful in Biology, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry, communication Studies, Physics and Pure Mathematics.
Each awardee will receive the Prime Minister’s award for her performance in the examinations. Recipients of the Nationals Scholarship receive full funding for a five-year period of study and receive three years full funding for their studies, while bursary awardees receive twenty thousand dollars each year for a three-year period.
SVG LOOKING TO INTRODUCE THE HPV VACCINE
St Vincent and the Grenadines may be looking to introduce the Human Pailloma Virus HPV vaccine. According to local reports Head of the HIV/AIDS unit and focal point person of the expanded programme on immunization, Ferosa Roache, is assuring the public that the decision to introduce the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, is based on extensive research.
The report says that Roache outlined that HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, with more than 100 types. She explained that there are some 200-hundred thousand persons worldwide who have died from the virus which is preventable with a vaccine.
She said that the local health ministry after research conducted on 500 women, found that some 30% had the HPV virus that caused cervical cancer. She said that after the research, the decision was made to introduce the vaccine voluntarily to girls from 10-11 years of age, as there is already an immunization program in place in that age group. Roache said that the health ministry will continue to give information to parents and while there is side effects like any other drug, her ministry has a proven track record on immunization safety.
SVG COALITION OF SERVICES AND MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO HOST SYMPOSIUM
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coalition of Services, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce will host a Symposium this week
The symposium will take place on Thursday 19th October, 2017 at 2 pm at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Room. The theme of the event is: ‘COVERING THE BASICS: SETTING THE STAGE FOR QUALITY MEMBER SERVICE ASSOCIATIONS.”
Presenters include Ms. Rene Baptiste – Private Sector Legal Professional, Mrs. Lakeisha Toney – Registrar at the Commerce and Intellectual Property Office, along with presenters from InvestSVG and VincyKlus. This forum is part of SVGCSI’s thrust to sensitize and empower service providers towards greater collaboration, in an effort to improve the competitiveness of the services sectors of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
CLARE VALLEY GOVERNMENT SCHOOL TO HOST INDEPENDENCE CONCERT
The Clare Valley Government School will be having their independence concert at the school this week.
In celebration of this month’s Independence and World Food Day, this will take place on Friday 20th October 2017 at 9:15am.
VENEZUELA'S PRESIDENT SAYS LANDSLIDE VICTORY DELIVERED A "STRONG MESSAGE" TO THE US AND ITS ALLIES
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday his socialist party's landslide victory in disputed regional elections had delivered a "strong message" to the United States and its allies. "Our people have given a strong message to imperialism, to [US President Donald] Trump, to its regional allies and to the local right-wing," Maduro told a news conference after the Opposition rejected the results and the US and EU said they were deeply flawed.
He accused the "imperial forces of the north" of launching "a psychological, political and economic war" against his government. "It is not going to be an economic war or an induced inflation that makes this people give up," said Maduro, who according to opinion polls has an 80 per cent dissatisfaction rating among Venezuelans who are struggling with serious food and medicine shortages and record inflation.
Washington condemned "the lack of free and fair elections" while the European Union called the results of Sunday's vote "surprising" and said it was necessary "to find out what really happened."
The president of neighbouring Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, said Tuesday that Venezuela needed to hold general elections under an "independent" electoral authority. The opposition Democratic Union Roundtable (MUD), which accuses the National Electoral Council of being a vehicle of the government, rejected the result and called for a full audit of the electoral process saying it was riddled with "irregularities."
The Government claimed victory in 17 of the 23 regional governorships in Sunday's poll. Several opinion polls had indicated the MUD would win the vast majority of the governorships.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA GOVT TO RE-NEGOTIATE LOAN WITH THE WORLD BANK
The Antigua and Barbuda government says it wants to re-negotiate a US$40 million loan which the World Bank had approved for re-building Barbuda that was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma last month.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking on OBSERVER Radio in Antigua, said the terms and condition of the loan from the Washington-based financial institution are not in the best interest of the island.
“Forty million dollars over 10 years, but as far as we are concerned the term is too short and we have asked them to reconsider and perhaps consider up to 20 years with a five year moratorium,” Browne said.
Browne, a former banker, said that his government is also seeking the World Bank to reduce the interest rate from the 3.5 to four per cent to one per cent. He said the funds would also be going into non-revenue earning projects.
Browne had said soon after the passage of the hurricane that more than US$100 million dollars would be required to rebuild Barbuda, home to an estimated 1, 600 people.
DOMINICA'S PRIME MINISTER CALLS ON BUSINESS OWNERS TO USE INSURANCE PAYMENT TO HELP JUMP-START THE ECONOMY
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Monday called on the owners of businesses damaged by Hurricane Maria last month to use the insurance payments to help jump-start the Dominica economy.
Speaking at the daily news briefing since the Category 5 hurricane slammed into the country on September 18, killing at least 28 people and left billions of dollars in damages, Skerrit said that he held discussions with the insurance companies here and urged that payment be made as quickly as possible to property owners. Skerrit expressed the hope that the private sector do not put the money in offshore banks…and instead put it back in the economy.
He reminded the business owners that their businesses had been built on the support of Dominicans adding “all that we have in Dominica was given to us by Dominicans and therefore do not take the easy way out” take the insurance payment and close down the business. Skerrit, who is due to address the nation later on Monday, said that he would announce a “very generous package we received from the World Bank,” adding “there are commitments being made and we will be guiding those commitments to fit within our own national plans”.
Skerrit had earlier announced that he would be visiting Washington for talks with the World Bank for loans and grants totalling US$100 million after the financial institution had provided at least US$60 million. During his briefing, Skerrit said the government was contemplating declaring a “Day of Caring” bringing all Dominicans together in the rebuilding exercise.
TWO MORE PERSONS RESCUED AFTER BOAT CAPSIZES OFF TURTLE ISLAND
Two more people were found yesterday, bringing to nine, the amount of people rescued after a boat, carrying at least 50 people, capsized off the Turtle Island north Haiti on Sunday. The Coast Guard, which is coordinating the search did not give the location nor did it provide details regarding the latest discoveries, but on Sunday, the Rescue Unit of the Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) said three of the seven, who had earlier been rescued had been taken to the Haut-Palmiste hospital for medical attention.
The survivors said that the boat from Turtle Island was carrying at least 50 Haitian migrants and was trying to illegally transport them to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos archipelago. The DPC said the search is continuing for survivors. Despite warnings, Haitians have been making the dangerous voyage by sea in boats in a bid to escape poverty on the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
October 16th 2017
POLICE OFFER $20,000 REWARD FOR INFORMATION ON SHOOTING INCIDENT
The Police here is offering a reward of $20,000.00 EC currency for the information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who were responsible for the shooting of eight persons last Saturday night October 14th in Diamond.
Several persons sustained injuries about their bodies while they were at a shop in the area. They are namely; Gregory Abraham, 30yrs, Kerime Benjamin, 25yrs, Kenneth Barzie, 42 yrs Chauffeur, Andrew Laynes, 37yrs, Kymanie Richards, 39yrs, Kerwin John, 52yrs, Fitzroy Iris, 62yrs, all of Diamond and Michael Richards, 18yrs of Calliaqua.
They are all patients at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Latest reports have indicated that one of the victims Gregory Abraham has succumbed to the gunshot wounds.
WORLD FOOD DAY ANNUAL CEREMONY HELD AT HERITAGE SQUARE
The annual ceremony to mark World Food Day was held at the Heritage Square today as the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) joined with the rest of the world to celebrate World Food Day; which is being held under the theme: “Change the future of migration, invest in food security and rural development” World Food Day is celebrated each year on October 16.
The day’s activities at Heritage Square in Kingstown featured agricultural produce, arts and crafts, along with a cultural package from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Migration is part of the process of development as economies undergo structural transformation and people search for better employment opportunities within and across countries. The challenge is to address the structural drivers of large movements of people to make migration safe, orderly and regular. In this way, migration can contribute to economic growth and improve food security and rural livelihoods, thus advancing countries’ progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; hence the selection of this year’s theme.
Speaking at the event PM Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves urged that we consume more local agricultural products rather than the imported products which he says could have serious negative impact on a person’s health. DR Gonsalves also noted that theft is one of the major challenges faced by local farmers which hampers their level of production.
Minister of Agriculture Saboto Ceaser stated that he is quite pleased to see a lot of youth involved in the agriculture sector and also thanked the friendly governments and partners who collaborate with the ministry.
PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES TO MEET WITH SVGCC STUDENTS
This country’s Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves is expected to meet with students of the SVG Community College this week.
According to local reports the meeting is scheduled to take place this Thursday October 19th at the Villa Campus from 1:15pm. The discussions will be centered around funding opportunities available around the various sectors in the country. There will also be representatives from the ministries of Finance and Education, the Student Loan Company and Service Commissions Departments in attendance.
POLICE INVESTING SHOOTING INCIDENT AT DIAMOND
The police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a shooting incident that took place in Diamond on 14.10.17. Several persons sustained injuries about their bodies while they were at a shop in the area. They are namely; Gregory Abraham, 30yrs, Kerime Benjamin, 25yrs, Kenneth Barzie, 42 yrs Chauffeur, Andrew Laynes, 37yrs, Kaymanie Richards, 39yrs, Kerwin John, 52yrs, Fitzroy Iris, 62yrs, all of Diamond and Michael Richards, 18yrs of Calliaqua. They are all patients at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
The Police is offering a reward of $20,000.00 EC currency for the information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who were responsible for the shooting of eight persons.
(ii)Meanwhile the police is also investigating another shooting at Paul’s Avenue where Jawanza Frazer was shot several times about his body on 15.10.17.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Hon Dr. Ralph Gonsalves while speaking on radio yesterday expressed concerns at the incident. PM Gonsalves said that he has since visited persons who were injured in the shooting incident and are warded at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. The National Security Minister stressed the point that the matter of crime and criminal activities is everybody’s business and it needs a collective approach.
PM Gonsalves further made the point that the issue of citizen security is being taken very seriously and measures are being put in place. He further noted that in spite of what is happening lamentations and negativism must not be dwelled upon. Dr. Gonsalves also revealed that recently based on certain intelligence police was able to apprehend a foreign criminal who has since been sent back to his homeland Trinidad and Tobago.
POLICE MAKE ARRESTS FOR POSSESSION OF COCAINE AND AMMUNITION
On 15.10.17, Gaston Browne, 30yrs, unemployed of Campden Park and Jolette Laborde, 31yes, Sales Clerk of Vermont were arrested and charged jointly for having in their possession, “236 grammes of cocaine, with intent to supply it to another at Vermont on 14.10.17
Jolette Laborde was also charged with having in her possession, “24 grammes of cocaine”, with intent to supply it to supply it to another, at Vermont on 14.10.17.
On 15.10.17, Romarion Bynoe, 21yes, unemployed of Argyle and Gailene Simon, 30yrs, unemployed of Victoria Village were arrested and jointly charged with having in their possession (i) two rounds of 9mm ammunitions, (ii) three rounds of 5.56mm prohibited ammunitions without a license issued under the Firearms Act and (iii) had in their possession an offensive weapon an imitation firearm, at Victoria Village on 15.0.17.
VENEZUELA'S GOVERNING PARTY WINS 17 OF 23 STATE GOVERNORSHIPS
Electoral authorities in Venezuela say the governing Socialist Party has won 17 of 23 state governorships in a crushing victory. President Nicolás Maduro hailed it as a victory for Chavismo, his party's brand of socialism named after former president Hugo Chávez. But opposition leaders alleged fraud.
The Democratic Union Roundtable coalition has refused to recognise the result and demanded a complete audit, campaign director Gerardo Blyde said. He said that "neither Venezuelans nor the world will swallow this fiction". The results were announced by the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena. The CNE dismissed those allegations and used a different company for Sunday's vote.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA REDUCE THE PRICE FOR CITIZENSHIP UNDER THE NDF
The cost for Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship under the National Development Fund (NDF) has been reduced to US $100,000. The previous price was US $200,000. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne who was speaking in parliament Thursday morning. He said the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) has been doing poorly this year.
According to the prime minister, over the last two months, there have only been three applications under the NDF. This means that during that time, the NDF option only generated US $600,000 in revenue. Browne said other countries such as Dominica have been doing extremely well with an NDF option price at US $100,000 – so Antigua and Barbuda will now do the same. He added that Dominica’s NDF makes $50 million per month.
For Antigua and Barbuda, the real estate option will remain priced at US $400,000 and the Business investment option will remain at US $ 1.5 million. The Prime Minister said the 50 percent price reduction for citizenship under the NDF is necessary to earn revenue to rebuild Barbuda.
St. Kitts and Nevis recently reduced the price for its citizenship by creating a Hurricane Relief Fund under its CIP where an applicant can get citizenship for US $150, 000.