DECEMBER 15th 2017


AIA TAKES OFF WITH AIR CANADA ROUGE

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the inaugural flight of Air Canada Rouge to SVG, Minister of Tourism Cecil Mckie says that Thursday marked the beginning of great things for travellers to the island.

The Air Canada Rouge flight landed with over 136 persons and left SVG with 145 passengers bound for Toronto, Canada.

Mckie said that the major obstacle to SVG tourist product was proper air transportation; however, that problem was solved with the realization of a dream called the AIA.    “I think we are all aware that dream became a reality on the 14th February 2017, I listen to the comments of persons who came off of Air Canada Rouge, and with no exception indicated that it is an absolute privilege to fly directly to this destination call St Vincent” Mckee Said.

Mckie speaking after flight landed, said the pilots were elated and indicated to him that it was an absolute breeze landing at the AIA.

On Sunday 17th, Sunwing would be here again, and on Thursday of next week Air Canada Rouge returns with a full flight.    “We are speaking with Air Canada to continue throughout the year, in the meantime, they have indicated to us they would be here for the 2018-2019 winter season” Mckee told persons attending the short ceremony.

Air Canada Rouge is a low-cost airline, a subsidiary of Air Canada, it is fully integrated into the Air Canada mainline and Air Canada Express networks.

 

GOVERNMENT SIGNS LEASE AGREEMENT WITH BEQUIA SEAFOOD COMPANY

 
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has embarked on an important project as part of its thrust to advance the Fisheries Sector in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.   On Wednesday the Ministry signed a Lease Agreement with the Bequia Seafood Company Limited to operate the Bequia Fisheries Centre.

The project is in keeping with the Government’s policy of privatizing Fisheries Centres across the country.  Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Saboto Caesar said over the next few weeks other agreements will be signed with several companies for the privatizing of other Fisheries Centres across the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Bequia Seafood Company Limited, Eardley Simmons said he is hopeful that this new thrust will result in the further growth of the Fisheries Sector.



LODGE VILLAGE WINS COURTS READING COMPETITION

The Lodge Village Government School took the top honors in the finals of the Courts Reading Competition yesterday.   Seven students competed for the title of “Champion Reader” but it was Joneil Stowe of the Lodge Village Government School that emerged overall winner. Joneil recorded the first victory for her school since the inception of the competition in 2009.

Among other prizes, she has won the opportunity to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the regional leg of the competition in St. Lucia next year.   Ethan Balcombe of the St. Mary’s R.C School placed second and Christian Joseph of the Kingstown Preparatory School was third.

The students competed in two categories. They read a narrative titled The Deductive Mr. Horsefly, followed by a news item with the caption Never Give Up.   Joneil amassed the highest scores for the reading of the narrative, while Ethan Balcombe of the St. Mary’s R.C School was adjudged best reader of the news item.

The other finalists were Kent Cain Jr. from the Brighton Methodist School; Sheya Weeks representing the Spring Methodist School; Katelyn Bobb from Stubbs Government and J’Tsi Yon Simmons from Windsor Primary.

 

KINGSTOWN BAPTIST CHURCH FOUNDER PASSES

The Kingstown Baptist Church is mourning the loss of its founder Don Overstreet. Reverend Overstreet was a Baptist Missionary, who came to St. Vincent and the Grenadines forty years ago and started the Kingstown Baptist Church on 1st May, 1977.

Overstreet’s work extended outside the Kingstown Baptist Church. He was very much engaged in social action across SVG through feeding programmes, health care, provision of water facilities, music and performing arts, skills training, among other interventions.  All of this was in keeping with Overstreet’s motto: “The whole gospel for the whole man. “

Among the best known of Overstreet’s interventions is his work with prison inmates, leading to the spiritual reform of many including James “Beebs” Jarvis.   It was Overstreet who orchestrated the now famous annual Christmas Prison Concert.

Don Overstreet passed away at his home state of California. His funeral service takes place on Saturday, December 16th. 

 

REGIONAL NEWS

 

JAMAICA- POLICE INVESTIGATING FATAL SHOOTING OF MOTHER AND SON


In Jamaica the police are investigating the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting of a woman and her son in the central parish of Clarendon, on Wednesday.

According to police, Carol Eubanks-Myles, 44, who is a caretaker with the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) in the parish, was in her grocery shop when she was pounced upon by armed men who opened gunfire.

After hearing her cries for help, her son, Jevon Myles, 21, reportedly rushed to his mother, when he was also shot.   The two succumbed to their injuries.

More than 1,500 people have been murdered in Jamaica since the start of the year.

 

CARIBBEAN HOTEL INSURANCE TO INCREASE FROM 10 TO 40 PERCENT

Caribbean hoteliers should plan now for an increase in insurance premiums anticipated to range from 10 to 40 percent following two Category 5 hurricanes, which struck several destinations in the region in September.

Scott Stollmeyer, Managing Director, Barbados and Eastern Caribbean for CGM made the recommendation during a Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) webinar earlier this month entitled ‘Hotel Property Insurance After the Storms’.

The increases will affect the entire region, not only those islands that were struck by the hurricanes.

“The Caribbean is … lumped into one general region … it’s where the reinsurance markets are looking at the Caribbean as a general region – everybody is going to be impacted,” Stollmeyer reported.

 


  14th  DECEMBER 2017

 
SANDY BAY PRIMARY RECEIVES AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

The award for excellence in the Ministry of Education’s Christmas Festival, has been presented to the Sandy Bay Primary School.   The school has once again received the Festus Toney Award for excellence, based on their overall performance.    Tourama Government and Stubbs Government Schools were also recognized for outstanding performance throughout the festival.

The most outstanding instrumental performance was a steel ensemble by the Lodge Village Government School, while the most outstanding chorale speech went to the Georgetown Government School.   Sandy Bay Primary School gave the best rendition of the Test Piece and the best dance production came from the Tourama Government School.

The Paget Farm Government School’s dramatic piece was adjudged most outstanding in that category, and the Stubbs Government School won the prize for best vocal ensemble.   The Christmas Festival was started in the 1990s and is held annually to provide opportunities for growth in the performing arts.


SVG CHAMBER SUPPORTS CREATIVE SECTOR

On Monday 18th December, the St Vincent & the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce, in conjunction with Kimya Glasgow Inc, will be hosting a Doing-Business-After-Hours event at Bungalow Restaurant & Bar in Villa entitled “Desperate Gifts”.

The event will launch the designer Robert Young’s brand - The Cloth Caribbean to St Vincent & the Grenadines.

Robert Young has over 30 years of experience in the garment industry. Young has had his clothing popularized by David Rudder, Andre Tanker, and rapso-fusion band 3Canal, he also an award-winning Costume Designer and is known for having outfitted more Steel Orchestras than any other designer in the world.

The event, which will also feature Vincentian designers such as Peta Odini, Kimya Glasgow Jeremy Payne, Josette Norris and Debbie Huggins, will be a meet-the-designer shopping event, for those looking for items for the Christmas season.

There will be a presentation by Mr Young on investing in the Creative Sector for economic growth of Caribbean economies.

 
CHILD PROTECTION AND JUVENILE JUSTICE CONSULTATION


Matters relating to Child Protection and Juvenile Justice in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was addressed by several Stakeholders from Government and Non-Governmental Agencies at a three day consultation that wrapped up today.

The OECS Commission in partnership with UNICEF, commissioned an assessment of these issues between 2016 and 2017, conducted by the Consultant, Jacqueline Sealy-Burke.

The assessment was based on the premise that this country recognized its responsibility and human rights obligations to the nation’s children in order to be effective and in compliance with international standards.

The OECS Commission in collaboration with UNICEF, convened a three day national consultation with policymakers including parliamentarians, permanent secretaries, and senior technical directors, as well as stakeholders from governments and non-governmental agencies.   A National Action Plan would be developed at the end of the Consultations.

 

  BEQUIA RESIDENT CHARGED FOR CAUSING BODILY HARM TO 5YRO


48-year-old Enos Wallace-Providence from Port Elizabeth on the Grenadines Island of Bequia has been arrested and charged for the offence of assault and causing actual bodily harm upon 5 years old Ray Joseph of Union Vale on December 11th, 2017.

Wallace-Providence appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate Court on Tuesday, December 12th at the Senior Magistrate Court before Senior Magistrate Bertie Pompey he entered a plea of guilty.  The Court heard that on the date in question Wallace-Providence had given the toddler $20.00 to purchase an item from a nearby shop.  He, however, did not return.

Providence, however, went in search of the toddler, approached him, slapped, choked and slammed him to the ground.  As a result family members took the toddler to the Port Elizabeth Police Station to make a report which resulted in Providence’s arrest.    The toddler was examined and treated at the Port Elizabeth Hospital for injuries.

 

CARIBBEAN NEWS


HAITI – WOMEN SEEK SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN FATHERED BY UN TROOPS


 
Lawyers representing 10 Haitian women who say they had children with U.N. peacekeepers have filed the first legal actions in Haiti against the U.N. and individual peacekeepers for child support and paternity claims.

The lawsuits filed by the Haiti-based human rights group Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) are part of a legal battle by Haitian women to force peacekeepers who they say fathered their children to contribute to their upbringing.

“Having and then abandoning children is not within the official capacity of a U.N. peacekeeper and therefore we argue that this does give a Haitian court jurisdiction to resolve paternity and child support claims,” Nicole Phillips, a lawyer at the U.S.-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), who is working on the case, said Tuesday.

Ten mothers of 11 children who they say were abandoned by U.N. troops are seeking financial support from them. One of the mothers was 17 when she gave birth, which amounts to statutory rape under Haitian law, the IJDH said.


JAMAICA – HAROLD BRADY QUESTIONED BY FRAUD SQUAD

Disbarred attorney-at-law, Harold Brady was questioned by Fraud Squad detectives after turning himself in.   According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), Brady was wanted for questioning in relation to an alleged case of fraud.   However efforts to get more information surrounding the questioning have proven futile.

Earlier this year, Brady, a noted attorney and senior member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), was disbarred from practising as a lawyer in Jamaica.  He was struck from the list of licensed legal practitioners in Jamaica and was disbarred after he was found guilty of professional misconduct in late February in relation to allegations that he misappropriated funds belonging to his client, the Factories Corporation of Jamaica.

   

December 12th 2017

SVG RANK FALLS BY 2 POINTS ON THE TRANSPARENCY CORRUPTION INDEX FOR 2016

St Vincent and the Grenadines Score on the Transparency International corruption Index fell by 2 Points for 2016 according to the latest report.   No country gets close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.

Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year’s index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

St Vincent and the Grenadines ranked 35 for 2016 and had a score of 60, while the 2015 figures were not available, the 2014 figures show the ranked remained the same but the score fell two points from 62 in 2014 to 60 in 2016.

The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector. Anything below 50 indicates governments are failing to tackle corruption.   The fight against corruption has dominated discussion in the Americas for years now, from online and traditional media to mass protests.

 

INTERNET SOCIETY SVG CHAPTER HOST 1ST SYMPOSIUM


The Internet Society St. Vincent & the Grenadines Chapter hosted the first National Cyber Security Symposium on December 7-8, 2017 at the Frenches House, under the theme, “Securing Our Critical Infrastructure.”

The Cyber Security Symposium offered a holistic view of the issues, threats, myths, and opportunities for defending and strengthening digital infrastructure against cyber-attacks.

 During the two-day event, awareness of solutions and practical strategies were promoted to return attendees to their organizations better equipped to take action and be more responsible in the use of the interest against cyber attacks.

President of  the Internet Society St. Vincent & the Grenadines Chapter Mrs Roxanne John said that the purpose of the two-day activity were met since the idea was to bring to the forefront the issues relating to a developing threat in the Caribbean and by extension St. Vincent.     Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace.

 

INLAND REVENUE DEPARTMENT REPORTS IMPROVED LEVELS OF COMPLIANCE FOR 2017

The Inland Revenue Department is reporting improved levels of compliance among all tax types across the country for 2017.

Comptroller at the Inland Revenue Department, Mr. Kelvin Pompey, noted that one of the areas which remain a major concern is the lack of presentation of requisite receipts to customers by some retail businesses.

Pompey encouraged the general public to be more vigilant and to ask for and demand their receipts after carrying out transactions at business establishments. The payment of taxes by self- employed persons continues to be another area of concern.    As the end of the year approaches Vincentians are urged to do preparatory paperwork, so as to be compliant with their tax obligations for 2017.

 

GHS WIHS US EMBASSY STEM VIDEO COMPETITION

The St Vincent Girls High School is the winner of the US Embassy STEM Video Competition in St. Vincent.

The contest, which was open to all secondary school students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the age of 13, required students to produce a short video explaining why STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — is important in their community.

The video submission from the students of this all-girls secondary school showcased creatively how STEM advancements led to enhanced communications and improved the dissemination of critical information, such as extreme weather advisories, to local residents in St. Vincent.   The contest supported the U.S. Embassy’s goal of promoting STEM education as a driver of sustainable economic growth, and as a means to foster innovation and empower youth.

 

CARIBBEAN NEWS

FRENCH AUTHORITIES AND LACTALIS ISSUES GLOBAL RECALL OF PRODUCTS


Baby milk maker Lactalis and French authorities have ordered a global recall of millions of products over fears of salmonella bacteria contamination.

The French company, one of the world’s largest dairy groups, said it was warned by health authorities in France that 26 infants have become sick since December 1st

According to a list published on the French health ministry’s website, the recall affects customers in countries around the world, including: Britain and Greece in Europe, Morocco and Sudan in Africa, Peru and Colombia in South America and Pakistan, Bangladesh and China in Asia.   The United States, a major market for Lactalis, is not affected.

83 YEAR OLD RAPED AND BEATEN IN JAMAICA

In Jamaica an 83-year-old woman who was raped and beaten by men who broke into her house in parish of St. Elizabeth on Wednesday has died.

Cian Foster passed away Sunday at Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth where she was being treated.   It’s reported that Miss Foster was alone at home when the men carried out the attack.   She was found by family members the following day.



December 11th 2017

SVG REPRESENTED AT SIXTH CARICOM-CUBA SUMMIT


St Vincent and the Grenadines was represented at the Sixth CARICOM- Cuba Summit which took place on Friday December 8th in Antigua and Barbuda at the Carlisle Bay Resort, in St. Mary’s.

Prime Minister Dr. The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves lead the Vincentian delegation. The meeting was co-chaired by the Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada, and the President of Cuba, Raúl Castro.

CARICOM and Cuba have enjoyed 45 years of diplomatic relations and Friday’s meeting examined issues of regional and international importance including climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.

According to a release from the CARICOM Secretariat, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Cuba's Agency for Civil Defence, which will provide opportunities for closer collaboration, especially following the devastating impact of the September 2017 hurricanes across the region, and the increased focus on climate change resilience.

The Second Protocol to the CARICOM- Cuba Trade Agreement was signed in November 2017 to strengthen trade relations between CARICOM and Cuba. This protocol expands reciprocal duty-free market access to more than 320 items including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum, cement, soap and apparel.

Cuba, a significant development partner, has supported the Caribbean Community in building its human resource capacity through scholarship programmes offered in several areas of study, including health and medicine, sports, agriculture and trade.   The summit concluded with the adoption of a CARICOM-Cuba Joint Declaration.

Prime Minister Gonsalves was accompanied by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Sustainable Development, Hon. Camillo Gonsalves; Minister of Education, National Reconciliation, Ecclesiastical Affairs and Information, Hon. St. Clair Prince and Ambassador to Cuba, Ellsworth John.


VINCENTIANS WARNED TO LOOK OUT FOR COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY


Vincentians and visitors, particularly vendors are being warned to be on the lookout for the circulation of counterfeit currency.  According to local reports Speaking this is particularly prevalent during the busy Christmas season.

The Police here have given the commitment that they will be increasing their efforts to educate persons, to enhance their ability to detect these counterfeit notes.

The Police are also taking steps to ensure increased conviction rates for persons involved in the counterfeit trade.

 

ENERGY UNIT HOST FORUM ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES


Key stakeholders from the public and private sectors last week were involved in a one-day seminar, which discussed the possible introduction of electric Vehicles in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Local reports say that the forum was hosted by the Energy Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the USAID Caribbean Clean Energy Program, under the theme ‘Private Sector Fleet Transition to Electric Vehicles – Driving Economic Development in SVG.’

Delivering remarks at the opening session, Legal and Regulatory Governance Specialist for the United States Agency for International Development – Caribbean Clean Energy Program Elizabeth Butler, said the program is intended to empower local citizens, to implement their national objective for clean energy development.

Butler said there is great potential here for improving the quality of life for local citizens through the implementation of new technologies.

 

GHS WINS STEM VIDEO COMPETITION


The SVG Girls’ High School copped the first-place position for the STEM Video Competition, organized by the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown Barbados.   The contest, which was open to all secondary school students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the age of 13, required students   to produce a short video explaining why STEM is important in their community.   STEM is the acronynm for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The contest supported the U.S. Embassy’s goal of promoting STEM education as a driver of sustainable economic growth, and as a means              to foster innovation and empower youth.

A release from the Embassy said the video submission from the students of the GHS showcased creatively how STEM advancements led to enhanced communication and improved the dissemination of critical information, such as extreme weather advisories, to local residents in   St. Vincent.

Fifth form students, Khalisa Peters, Areanna St. Luce, Tamika Gloster, and Alyssa Patterson, created the video, and were supervised by Teacher Lenski Adams.

Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy, James Rodriguez, congratulated the winning students during a ceremony held at the Girls’ High School yesterday. He presented a prize package including a Celestron telescope, books, and other STEM-themed items to the school’s Science Department.

 

 CARIBBEAN NEWS

ST. LUCIA TO INTRODUCE NEW TAX REFORM MEASURES


St Lucia will soon introduce new tax reform measures to bring the country in line with European Union standards, the Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Ubal-dus Raymond has said.

Raymond made the disclosure after St Lucia was placed on an EU blacklist of tax havens, placing the island at risk of EU sanctions.  He said the new tax rules are likely to be unveiled in the new budget.  

Senator Raymond denied that St Lucia was a tax haven.  He said St Lucia has complied with all the requirements of international regulatory institutions.  The Prime Minister signed the automatic exchange of information in November 2016, he said.

Raymond said the main issue involves a harmonization of taxes which St Lucia is currently working to improve.  “St Lucia and other countries that were blacklisted, I want to make it clear, these were not institutions dodging the agreement or the requirements of these international institutions, but it had more to do with the imbalance in the tax regime. Fortunately for St Lucia our government, the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, we have already been engaging our local departments, Ministry of Finance, Inland Revenue Department, in working on a more harmonized tax system.”

Raymond said St. Lucia is hoping to be off the European Union tax haven blacklist “very soon”.   He added that St Lucia is awaiting official notification of the blacklisting from the European Union. Once received, he said, St Lucia will comply with every requirement of the European Union.

 

BERMUDA SIGNS NEW TAX AGREEMENT WITH THE US

Bermuda has signed a new tax agreement with the United States that premier David Burt says demonstrates the island's continued commitment to transparency.

Burt, who left here over the weekend for Jamaica, said the Country by Country Competent Authority Agreement signified that the PLP government had satisfied the Internal Revenue Services' data safeguards review and complied with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Base Erosion and Profit Shifting tax transparency standards.

Under this agreement, Bermuda — a British Overseas Territory — now automatically provides corporate income of Bermuda-based multinational enterprises that have any US income-generating activities.

“The agreement we have put in place with the United States demonstrates Bermuda's continued commitment to being transparent, co-operative and compliant with international tax authorities,” Burt said. 
“As a leading jurisdiction in global tax transparency we will continue, without reservation, to show that Bermuda is no place to hide money. We stand by our call for other countries to meet the Bermuda standard.”

The agreement complements Bermuda's other automatic exchange of information agreement with the US, which was signed on December 19, 2013, that provides income information on US taxpayers under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.  It is also consistent with an agreement signed earlier this month between Bermuda and the United Kingdom, Burt said.

The UK agreement, like the US agreement, enables the automatic reporting of corporate income on a country-by-country basis for UK tax enforcement purposes.
Burt, who is also finance minister, is attending the Caribbean Infrastructure Forum that begins in Jamaica on Monday. He is being accompanied by Minister of Public Works David Burch.

 

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