August 8 2017


Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves has stated that efforts are being made to address the situation at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital concerning the shortage of anesthesiologists at the facility.

Dr. Gonsalves while speaking at a press conference yesterday spoke of the issue as it has sparked a verbal attack on the hospital and the healthcare system here. Dr. Gonsalves explained that in June of this year a situation arose at the hospital where two of the three anesthesiologists employed there fell ill, leaving just one person on staff and this had caused a few scheduled surgeries to be delayed. One of the surgeries that was delayed was that of the late Oscar Allen, a former social activist here.

The PM gave the assurance that efforts are being made to have the matter addressed.   Dr. Gonsalves also dismissed the claims being made that the delay of the surgery may have caused Allen’s demise.

The Prime Minister also used the opportunity to highlight that since the ULP administration took office in 2001 a lot of improvements have taken place at the hospital and by extension the health sector.



The year, 2017 marks the 220th anniversary of the attempted genocide, forced migration and subsequent resettlement of the Garifuna People to countries in Central America.   To this end, The Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU) is hosting a group of 60 representatives of Garifuna Organizations from Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the USA.  

The event dubbed, ‘The Pilgrimage of the Garifuna Diaspora to SVG’ will feature a number of activities from their arrival on August 6th to their departure on August 15th.

On Thursday August 10th, there will be a Garifuna Mass (Lemesi Garifuna) in memory of their ancestors at the St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Assumption, Kingstown at 3:30 pm. Then at 6:00 pm at the Peace Memorial Hall, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves will be the Featured Speaker at the Opening Ceremony at the Peace Memorial Hall.    The visiting delegation will also be engaged in a series of visits to Byrea, Rabacca, Sandy Bay, Fort Charlotte, Fancy, among others.



The Centre for Enterprise Development, CED is today collaborating with the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to host a Business Awareness Seminar.   The one-day seminar is being held under the theme, Getting Ready to Start Your Business.

The training is designed to enable participants to recognize the need for ongoing planning in starting and running a successful business, and to provide participants with the tools to develop an action plan to take their idea to the next stage. The sessions will encourage the participants to look at why they are thinking of starting a business and create a business idea and examine whether there is a market for their business/idea. The sessions will be facilitated by former CED Director and Lecturer at the Sir Arthur Lok Jack School of Business in Trinidad, Dr. Julian Ferdinand.   An opening ceremony for the training will be held from 9:00am tomorrow at the Methodist Church Hall.

 August 4 2017


The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force is soliciting the assistance of the public in locating Marlon Chance also known as Makeiba and Mushi, who is wanted in connection with an incident that occurred on March 1st 2017 in the Cane Hall area.   According to a Police report, the 23 year old Farmer of Walvaroo, is wanted for aggravated burglary and indecent assault.

The Police said Chance is armed and believed to be dangerous and must be approached with caution. He is of dark complexion, is slim build and has narrow features.   He has brown eyes and is 5 feet 4 inches in height.

Anyone who may have information on Chance’s whereabouts is asked to contact any Police Station or the Assistant Commissioner of Police, responsible for crime at telephone number, 45-12467 or 45-71211 extension 217.



The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) is providing technical assistance to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the development of a National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

National adaptation planning enables countries to assess their vulnerabilities, mainstream climate change risks, address adaptation, and is a highly participatory process. As such, over the course of three days (August 2-4), decision makers and technical officers will be consulted for input into the plan[CM1] . Based on the results of the stakeholders’ consultation, a draft assessment report and roadmap will be presented for comments. [CM2] 

These consultations will build on the outcomes of a series of individual consultations which took place earlier this year. The J-CCCP is also supporting Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has approved five pilot projects, with three additional projects under review. In an effort to build awareness, the Project is in the process of developing a communications campaign, following the results of a knowledge, attitudes and practices study and, has provided climate change training to four Vincentian journalists. This is all with the aim of advancing the process of inclusive low-emission climate-resilient development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The J-CCCP is a regional initiative working in 8 Caribbean countries, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The programme of work under the J-CCCP is in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Climate change is one of the most serious challenges to the Caribbean, and as such boosting resilience is crucial for the region’s development and is a clear part of UNDP’s global strategic plan of programme priorities. Agriculture, fisheries, water and sanitation, human health and coastal resources and infrastructure are all being affected by climate change and require responses at both community and national levels in the region.


A closing ceremony was held here on Monday 31st July 2017, to mark the end of a two-week training programme, during which five persons were trained to conduct scientific observations onboard Vincentian vessels fishing on the High Seas.   The training was co-ordinated by the Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

Minister Saboto Caesar said St. Vincent and the Grenadines is stepping up its efforts to remain compliant with international standards which relate to illegal, unreported and unregulated IUU fishing.   Minister Caesar also said he is pleased to receive assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, to put legislation in place to regulate illegal fishing, nothing that Vincentians are being deployed to assist with monitoring.



The Pan Against Crime Committee will be holding summer programmes throughout the country commencing next week.

The programmes will commence on Monday, August 7, 2017, until Friday, August 18, 2017, daily from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. The programs will be held in Union Island at the Pan Yard, Troumaca Primary School, Bethel Secondary School, C. W. Prescod Primary School, Stubbs Primary School, Marriaqua Government School, New Grounds Primary School, South Rivers Methodist School, Georgetown Secondary School, Sandy Bay Primary School. Students must be nine years or older.



The Rural Transformation Unit within the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) will host a closing ceremony for the “Enhanced Capacity for Improved Food Security and Livelihoods: Rabbit Rearing in North Leeward” project next week.

The closing ceremony will be held on Tuesday 8th August 2017 at the Troumaca Secondary School commencing at 10:00 a.m.    Along with a certificate of completion, the Rural Transformation Unit will be distributing rabbits and rabbit rearing kit which will consist of medicine, feeds, waterers, feeders and manual to thirty (30) persons consisting of males and females residing in the Troumaca and Rose Hall communities. 

The project funded under the BNTF to the tune of twenty eight thousand United States dollars (28,000.00 USD) allowed the Rural Transformation Unit to provide project participants with three (3) component hutches and nesting boxes as well as training on how to slaughter a rabbit, prepare the rabbit meat, marketing strategies, business skills and proficient rabbit rearing practices.

The Unit will continue to monitor the project and encourage the participants to produce rabbits commercially as a cooperative.   The Minister of the Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries,  Hon. Saboto Caesar will be in attendance and deliver remarks at the ceremony.




Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was to install a powerful new assembly of his allies on Friday, dismissing an international outcry and opposition protests saying he is burying democracy in his country.   The Constituent Assembly, elected last weekend in a vote marred by violence and allegations of fraud, will sit in a chamber in the Legislative Palace in Caracas, where the opposition-controlled legislature is located.

The inaugural session of its 500-plus members -- who include Maduro's wife and son -- will take place under high tension.   The opposition has called a mass march in the capital, raising fears of violence that could add to a death toll of more than 125 over the past four months.   "Let there be no provocations, nor should people fall into provocations," Maduro said late Thursday as he assured all was ready for the Constituent Assembly.

The Vatican on Friday urged the inauguration of the new assembly be suspended. It also appealed for Venezuelan security service to show restraint.   Meanwhile, Venezuela's intelligence service unexpectedly transferred a high-profile opposition figure, Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, from jail to house arrest, his wife said.

Ledezma and another opposition figure, Leopoldo Lopez, had been taken from their homes to military prison on Tuesday, reversing earlier home detentions. Lopez remains incarcerated, one of hundreds of what the opposition called political prisoners.


 August 3 2017


A total of ten bills were passed in the House of Assembly this week.    Among them are the Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill and the ECCB Harmonised Credit Reporting Bill.   The others passed included the Eastern Caribbean Partial Credit Guarantee Corporation Agreement Bill; the Anti-Terrorist financing and Proliferation Amendment Bill; and the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill.

Approval was also given for the Public Sector Investment Loan Bill and Pension Declaration Bills for Nathaniel Williams, Calma Balcombe, Christine Sam and Cauldric Browne.  Eight Church Bills also received their second reading and were sent to Select Committee, while the Vincy Table Tennis Incorporation Bill received its first reading.   Parliament has adjourned until Tuesday August 29th at 10:00am.



A coconut stakeholders’ platform meeting was convened at the Ministry of Agriculture Conference room Wednesday August 2nd 2017.   Maurice Wilson of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) is the regional project coordinator.

Mr. Wilson maintained that in most countries the Ministries of Agriculture are key on the platforms which are designed to provide logistic support, address policy issues, introduce new ideas, and suggest strategic directions and any other thing that is consistent with the accomplishment of targets in the coconut project.

Mr. Wilson noted that “The project targets principally but not exclusively, small farmers…” whom he refers to as ‘the lynchpin of many industries’.   The platform comprises members from the public and private sectors which act together to ensure the successful implementation of the coconut resuscitation project.

Wilson revealed that the present coconut stock in the region is old and strategically should be part of a rehabilitation process where their productivity would be assessed and where necessary they should be replaced with improved varieties. He admitted that every part of the coconut tree can be utilized so that there is actually no wastage in the rehab process.

According to Wilson “Strong Production groups are essential to the strength of the platform and the strength of the industry, so we are hoping and have had exercises where we’ve identified Producer groups which we have trained and which we’ve sort to strengthen so that they can take active part in the platform…..” As recently as last week Wednesday 25th July, 2017, one such training was facilitated here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Agricultural Region 1 by Agricultural Instructor Chijioke Hooper. 



Miss SVG 2017- Jimelle Roberts placed second runner-up position in the 2017 Miss Jaycees Pageant, held in Antigua/Barbuda on Sunday night.   Miss Roberts was among seven contestants from countries across the region competing in the Pageant.    She also received the Judges’ nod for Best Modeling Skills in Evening Wear.

Miss Antigua/Barbuda- Ayanna Dorsette walked away with the title of Ms Jaycees 2017, and received the awards for Best Talent and Best Evening Wear, while Miss St Lucia, Tyler Theophane was first Runner-Up, and received the Miss Photogenic Award.

The award for Best Swimwear went to Miss St. Kitts- Katherina Davis; while Miss Anguilla- Carencia Rouse took the award for Best Interview; and Miss Trinidad and Tobago- Jenell Thongs took the Miss Congeniality Award.  This year’s Pageant was held with the theme: Nature’s Beauties, A Celebration of the Environment .



The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has commenced its My App Summer program.   It is taking place in Petit Bordel and will conclude end on August 25, 2017. The program will run for period of four weeks from 9:00am to 3:00pm daily.

The objective of the NTRC’s myAPP summer program is to teach participants between the ages of 13-18 years who may or may not have previous exposure on how to code and design mobile applications. The program will introduce participants to ways in which they can portray their acquired skills in forums such as the NTRC’s annual i2 Competition.

The participants of the MY App program in Petit Bordel are representing various schools which include the Petit Bordel Secondary School, Troumaca Ontario Secondary School, Barrouallie Secondary School, SVG Grammar School, St. Joseph Convent Kingstown and the Girls High School. We wish all the participants an enjoyable program.

We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Mr. Gasley Cottle who partnered with us with the Program in Petit Bordel and our sponsors Flow, Digicel and the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Additionally, we would also like to thank the parents of all participants for encouraging their children to attend the program. 



The Barrouallie Fisheries Development Cooperative Society in conjunction with the Barrouallie Community Committee wish to invite the entire nation and visitors to its newly restructured Fish Fest activity.

The event is slated for Friday August 4 at the Central Square in Barrouallie from 6:00 p.m.   The organisers are very excited to be hosting the festival again and look forward to making it a regular monthly feature.




TWENTY-two passengers were injured when an American Airlines flight into Trinidad and Tobago encountered severe turbulence on Wednesday night.   The aircraft encountered air pockets as it approached the Piarco International Airport at around 9.30 p.m.

Turbulence often causes an aircraft to lose altitude suddenly or to shake violently, and it is the most common cause of injury aboard passenger aircraft.   The AA flight was able to land and the aircraft sustained no structural damage.

However, the injured passengers were treated on board by emergency responders and several were taken to hospital for medical treatment.   The flight originated at the Miami International Airport with a scheduled flight arrival time of 9.30 p.m.


 August 2nd 2017


Parliament on Monday approved the Immigration Restriction Act which in part makes provision for the criminalization of the act of smuggling persons by land, air or sea.    Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Hon Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves in explaining the bill says that the amendments were pertinent so as to address some deficiencies that were highlighted by the International Monetary Fund IMF in its report for St Vincent and the Grenadines during in its on-sight evaluation of the Anti-Money Laundering Counter Financing of Terrorism regime.

Dr. Gonsalves noted that the amended Immigration Restriction Act will allow for persons found guilty of human smuggling to face longer prison sentences and also some specifications for commercial airlines.



This country’s Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves has called for more responsibility to be exercised with regards to the care and upkeep of state properties.   Dr. Gonsalves while speaking in Parliament this week was at the time addressing the issue for furniture vandalism in schools as seen in a video being circulated on social media where students of a local secondary school were seen damaging school furniture. Dr. Gonsalves said that the situation needs to be addressed from all fronts.

PM Gonsalves also called for delinquent students who have benefited from the National Students Loan programme to pay their outstanding debts.   This has stemmed from the recent publishing of a list of names in the local newspapers last weekend by the National Students’ Loan Company. Dr. Gonsalves however pointed out that not all of the students whose names were published are delinquent but explained that it is important that the monies are paid in so as to maintain the program.



Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves has congratulated the Zero Hunger Trust Fund ZHTF for the excellent work that it is doing here.   The ZHTF last week commenced distribution of financial assistance to students who are beneficiaries under its “adopt a classroom programme”.  This programme has been designed by the ZHTF to assist children from communities with the highest levels of poverty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with meals and other basic necessities to ensure that they attend school regularly. Today, there are two hundred and ninety-five students from twelve schools receiving support under this programme.

Dr Gonsalves says that the value of the support to each child is approximately $1,500 and explained what it entails.   PM Gonsalves also spoke about two more programmes that takes place under the ZHTF.    The Prime Minister further urged businesses to contribute to the fund as it is a very important initiative.


Stakeholders in Vincy Mas were commended for their efforts in making this year’s festival a success.  Speaking in Parliament this week, Culture Minister Hon Cecil Mc Kie said that the stakeholders and components did an outstanding job for the hosting of the 40th year celebrations. Mc Kie said that from all indications there was an influx of persons on the island for Vincy Mas and the Argyle International Airport AIA facilitated this very well. 

The Carnival Development Corporation CDC was also commended for new initiatives which were introduced this year. The Minister said that the aspects of music and mas were of a high quality this year.   He also pointed out that the safety and security during the festival was top quality, and thanked those responsible for a job well done.



The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has commenced its My App Summer program in Petit Bordel and will come to an end on August 25, 2017.   The program will run for period of four weeks from 9:00am to 3:00pm daily.

The objective of the NTRC’s myAPP summer program is to teach participants between the ages of 13-18 years who may or may not have previous exposure on how to code and design mobile applications. The program will introduce participants to ways in which they can portray their acquired skills in forums such as the NTRC’s annual i2 Competition.

The participants of the MY App program in Petit Bordel are representing various schools which include the Petit Bordel Secondary School, Troumaca Ontario Secondary School, Barrouallie Secondary School, SVG Grammar School, St. Joseph Convent Kingstown and the Girls High School. We wish all the participants an enjoyable program.



The Start Bright Tus-T Water Breakfast Programme continues to grow by leaps and bounds after a successful run during the 2016-2017 school year.   Some 395 students are now on the program in which 75 schools are participating. Almost forty-eight thousand (48,000) breakfasts were served up to the end of the academic school year. During the 2nd and last terms of the academic school year, four of the seventy-five (75) schools participated in a pilot involving ten (10) children. It was all part of a test to determine what it takes to scale from five (5) children to ten per school and employing four (4) women to prepare the meals. According to Tus-T CEO, Dwight Hillocks, the test was a huge success. “We have found some ways to offset the expense of preparing these extra meals without compromising quality,” Hillocks adds.         “Pretty soon we expect to reach the boundary of ninety-five percent participation of the nation’s schools, in the programme,” he notes.

The public is being encouraged to continue to support the program by purchasing Tus-T water. Every purchase of a bottle of Tus-T water contributes to the cost of preparing a meal, under the Tus-T Breakfast Initiative. According to Hillocks, if each household in St. Vincent and the Grenadines commits to purchasing at least three (3) bottles of Tus-T water each week, then this will go a long way in helping to sustain the programme and so ensure that fewer of the nation’s children go to school hungry.



The Pharmacy & Therapeutic Committee, Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, in collaboration with the Non-Communicable Disease Focal Point and PAHO, is hosting a one-day seminar on August 03, 2017, at the Methodist Church Hall, Kingstown, from 8:30am to 3:00pm.

The workshop will focus on updating the SVG Essential Medicines list. The exercise necessitates the input of relevant stakeholders within the ministry.  At the end of the session the final draft of the Essential Medicines list should be ready for submission and final approval.

Mr. Francis Burnett, Head of Unit, OECS/Pharmaceutical Procurement Service, will facilitate this important exercise. Participants will include physicians, pharmacists, Family Nurse Practitioners and other health professionals. The Hon Luke Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, will deliver remarks at the event.




The cash-strapped regional airline LIAT, Tuesday announced the appointment of Barbadian Julie Reifer-Jones as its new chief executive officer, more than a year after Englishman David Evans quit the post.  Reifer-Jones, an accountant, is the first woman to be appointed to the top post at the airline, whose major shareholders are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

LIAT said that prior to joining the airline as chief financial officer in 2008, Reifer-Jones held several senior finance positions and has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of finance and management. “Reifer-Jones has served at LIAT in the number two position for some nine years and in that capacity has acted as CEO for extended periods on several occasions,” said the airline's chairman, Dr. Jean Holder.  “In addition to her familiarity with the people and culture of the region and her intimate knowledge of the company, her financial and academic qualifications should complement the practical experience of the airline industry she has acquired on the job. I wish her well as she undertakes one of the most challenging assignments in the region,” he added.

Reifer-Jones said she was delighted with the appointment and is looking forward to delivering an improved level of service from LIAT to the region.   In a March 30 email to the airline's staff, Reifer-Jones said that LIAT “is going through a difficult financial situation and has implemented a schedule of delays for salaries for all employees over the next five months”.



The Director General of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), Donald McPhail, has held talks with the Dominica government on the development plans for an international airport on the island.   A brief government statement noted that the meeting took place on the fringes of the parliamentary debate on the 2017/2018 national budget now underway here.   It said that the talks were also attended by President Charles Savarin.

“Very soon the government shall invite a wide cross section of the population to provide an update. For the project to be successful we will need the fullest cooperation of all,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is quoted as saying in the statement.

During his budget presentation last week, Skerrit told legislators that his administration had advanced plans for the development of the international airport and established an airport development fund as of May 2017.  He said the fund “has been capitalised with US$10 million from the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP),” which allows investors to make financial contributions to the socio-economic development of the island in return for citizenship.   “Government has taken the decision that an amount of five million US dollars will be paid into that fund on a monthly basis,” Skerrit added.

Earlier this year, Skerrit said that a US-based firm that conducted studies for the construction of the international airport would present its findings to Cabinet.

Skerrit first announced plans were afoot to construct an international airport in May 2014. Since then, government has had discussions with a Chinese team for the construction of the international airport at Crompton Point, north-east of Dominica.



Former international football executive Jack Warner has got another reprieve, as the High Court in Trinidad and Tobago delays its ruling on extradition proceedings brought against him.  High Court Judge James Aboud was expected to deliver his judgment yesterday, but instead adjourned the matter to September following the opening of the new law term. No exact date has been announced.

Warner’s legal battles have been playing out since May 2015 when he made his first court appearance on corruption allegations stemming from his tenure as vice president of FIFA. He is charged with 12 offences relating to racketeering, corruption and money laundering allegedly committed in the United States and Trinidad and Tobago.

Warner subsequently filed judicial review proceedings challenging his extradition, claiming that the procedure was unlawful.  He has specifically cited the signing of the Authority to Proceed (ATP) in September 2015 by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, which gave the court the green light to begin committal proceedings.
Warner is also contesting the legality of the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act and the ­treaty signed between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.

Warner, a former Government minister maintains the case against him is politically motivated and he has accused the United States of seeking revenge because it lost to Qatar in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup. In 2016, Justice Aboud dismissed an application by the United States government to intervene in the judicial review lawsuit.


 July 31st 2017


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce has advised that the application period for the 2017-2018 cycle of the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Programme (DAP) will be open from 1 – 30th September 2017.

The DAP is a flexible small grants programme that supports developmental outcomes in Official Development Assistance (ODA) – eligible countries in the Caribbean.

On behalf of The Australian High Commission, a DAP information & Outreach session is to be held on the 2nd August 2017 from 9:00 AM – 11 AM at Marion House, Murray’s Road, Kingstown for local government bodies, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and individuals. All interested entities are invited to attend.   All applicants & interested persons are advised to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade Commerce and Information Technology for further information.



Members of the both sides of the Parliament today paid tribute to Oscar Allen who passed away at the weekend.   According to reports Allen died on Friday July 28th. He was described as a community man and an advocate for social justice. Allen was also a part of the People’s Movement for Change, a nonpolitical Organisation here.



A young Vincentian national has been offered permanent employment at Buckingham Palace in England.   Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Sir Louis Straker spoke to this in Parliament this morning as he congratulated the twenty-five-year-old Moriba O’ Garro on this offer. O’Garro was a recipient of the Royal Household Hospitality Scholarship 2017. He completed a six week programme at the Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle from May 15th to June 23rd 2017.

The Royal Household Hospitality Scholarships gives professionals across the nine Caribbean Realms the opportunity to undergo training at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for six weeks next year, culminating in Royal Ascot week in June 2017.

The Royal Household Hospitality Scholarships was started to give young professionals across each of the Queen’s realms of the Caribbean the chance to work at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for six weeks. The up-and-coming professionals are usually attached to the Master of the Household’s department in the planning and delivery of all entertaining hosted by the Queen and other members of the royal family.



The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) will be hosting a town hall meeting to gather feedback from the residents of Diamond and surrounding areas with respect to the telecommunications services being provided by Digicel, Cable & Wireless and Columbus Communication.   Additionally, residents will also 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 Ministry of Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, Industry, Internal Trade, Information and Labour. The presentation sessions will be followed by a full question and answer session. The Town Hall Meeting will be held in Diamond at the Diamond Government School on Thursday August 3, 2017 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm.



The Screening of a Documentary Film “Reclaiming Paget Farm – Looking Back – Moving Forward” will take place at the Youlou Arts Centre at Villa next week.   A release from the Centre says the three part documentary by Bequia Film makers won a prize for Best Script and second position for the Best Film at the Caribbean Youth Film Festival held recently in St. Lucia.

The film was made through the efforts of a group in Bequia called “The Hub Collective” dedicated to empowering residents in Bequia through rich island culture and fresh opportunity in the Arts.   The screening takes place on Saturday August 5th at 6:30pm.

Meanwhile … There will be a reception for the Red Show at the Youlou Arts Centre this Saturday.   Nine Local person participating in the Show are Shenika Sayers; Zen Punnett; Sean Roache; Ahmed Yunusa; Desteny Greaves; Rachel Furbert; Tippi Punnett; Camille Musser and LeeAndra Thompson.   The event begins at eleven this Saturday morning at the Youlou Arts Centre




Over 8 Million Vote in Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly Election yesterday.   According to reports the president of the National Electoral Council Tibisay Lucena has announced that turnout in Venezuela's historic National Constituent Assembly was over 41 percent, indicating that over 8 million people voted in the elections.

"Peace has won. If peace has won, Venezuela has won," she said at a televised press conference. "Despite the violence and threats, Venezuelans were able to express themselves."  Lucena said the CNE had to relocate some voting centers to avoid violence, and that on Tuesday the Indigenous communities will choose its eight remaining representatives. President Nicolas Maduro spoke to a large crowd in Caracas and thanked their support to reach peace in the country. Maduro said it was one of the highest voter turnouts of the Bolivarian Revolution with 8,089, 320 voting for their representatives.

Maduro thanked Latin America and the Caribbean countries for their support against what he called interventionist moves by the United States. Referring to President Donald Trump's promise that he would not accept the results of this election, Maduro said: “We don’t care what Trump says, we care about what our people say”.  "This election will mark the future years of the independence of Latin America," Maduro said. "Latin America will begin a new wave of struggle."

The Venezuelan president repeated that the first step before the legislative body begins the Constituent process will be to call, yet again, for a dialogue with the right-wing opposition in the country. Maduro also called on the opposition to abandon violence and return to doing politics.   Voting hours were extended by one hour due to the overwhelming response, as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans from across the country lined up long before dawn to cast their ballots for the 545 candidates.

The voting process has been peaceful with the exception of a few isolated incidents of violence as opposition supporters protested and staged guarimbas in a bid to shut down the election.   A feeling of excitement filled the crowds in the center of Caracas, as citizens sang, danced and laughed after the end of the process to choose its delegates to the legislative body that will draft the new Constitution.



The United Nations agriculture agency has created new guidelines to help Caribbean and other countries develop a strong mechanism to monitor national forest resources.   “The demand for reliable, up-to-date and more diverse forestry data, and stronger analytical capacities at a national level has grown considerably in recent years,” said Eva Muller, Director of Forestry Policies and Resources Division of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).   “Understanding forest resources and how they change is key to address climate change, and make progress towards the [UN's] Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she added.

FAO said that, in 2010, only 45 countries worldwide were able to assess changes in forest area and characteristics through consecutive systematic national forest inventories, suggesting a serious gap in information. 
“Moreover, it is likely that the data collected is incomplete,” FAO, however, said. “It is common for forest inventories to collect data on more than 100 variables.

”The UN said the new guidelines aim to fill this gap, drawing on experiences and lessons learned from FAO member-countries and FAO national forest monitoring projects. The guidelines also “provide good practices, and a framework and tools for planning and implementing multi-purpose national forest monitoring,” Muller said.



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