Archive | Environment


Northeastern Caribbean rocked by 5.2 earthquake -Strong tremor jolts St. Kitts and Nevis

By December 24, 2017

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Several countries in the northeastern Caribbean were rocked by a 5.2-magnitude earthquake this morning.

The quake, which struck at around 11:12 am (local) time, was centred about 22 kilometres north-northeast off the island of St Barth.

The Trinidad based Seismic Research Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI) said the earthquake had a depth of 74.5 kilometres.

It was also felt in St Martin, Anguilla, St Kitts Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico.

There were no reports of damage or injuries.

Basseterre, St. Kitts – An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 rocked St Kitts and Nevis Sunday morning, but there are no reports of injuries or damage.

The Trinidad-based Seismic Research Unit says the 5.8 tremor was recorded at 11:12 am (local time) at a latitude of 18.23N, longitude of 62.81 W at depth of 68 km.

The centre of the quake was located 103 km N  of Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, 163 km NW of Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda and 261 km NW of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.

Strong tremor jolts St. Kitts and NevisThe earthquake measured 5.2 off the coast of St. Maarten/St. Martin and St. Barths.

According to 721 News the epicentre was located at 18.1N62.8 W or about 14 miles East of Philipsburg, St. Maarten; 17 miles East of Marigot, St. Martin or about 12 miles north of Gustavia, St. Barths.

According to the UWI Seisemoic Unit in Trinidad magnitude is related to the energy generated when a fault ruptures and produces an earthquake. There are different ways to determine magnitude. In one method, three characteristics of the fault zone are used in the calculation:

  • The area that ruptures during the earthquake.
  • The amount of displacement during the earthquake.
  • The stiffness of the rocks that break.

“When we multiply these numbers, we obtain a number called the seismic moment. The seismic moment is then converted into another number called the moment magnitude (or simply magnitude). In our region, we use the duration of the earthquake recording, and the distance of the recording station from the hypocentre to find magnitude e.g. magnitude 5.8. For any given earthquake, the magnitude is a fixed number that does not vary regardless of which island you are located,” it says on its website.

“Intensity scales describe the severity of an earthquake by grading the effects on people, structures and geological formations. Each degree of intensity is described by a Roman numeral, (I, II, III etc.) and the effects of the earthquake roughly double in severity for each one-division increase in intensity. In the Western hemisphere, including the Eastern Caribbean, the most widely used scale is called the Modified Mercalli or MM scale. In the rest of the world an almost identical scale called the MSK scale is more common.

For any given earthquake, the Intensity may vary depending where you are in relation to the earthquake’s epicentre,” it added.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Environment, International, Local, Regional0 Comments

dominica storm

Caribbean leaders launch ambitious plan to create the world’s first “climate-smart zone”

PARIS, Dec 12, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have launched an ambitious plan to create the world’s first “climate smart zone” after two Category 5 hurricanes caused widespread devastation and death in the Lesser Antilles in September.

The Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition aims to find a way to break through the systemic obstacles that stop finance flowing to climate-smart investments.

The leaders are of the opinion that with the right domestic and international reforms, the world can step up – and help unleash the means to catalyse an ambitious eight billion US dollar investment plan to bring greater energy and infrastructure resilience to 3.2 million Caribbean households.

dominica storm
Storm damage in Dominica (File Photo)

They said this would help Caribbean islands to eliminate their costly dependency on fossil fuels so that they can meet close to 100 per cent percent of their energy needs from renewable sources, and to embed resilience into communities and livelihoods to realise the bold ambitions of all Caribbean people.

The announcement of the new initiative was made at the One Planet Summit being hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron to review progress made on the Paris Agreement adopted by global governments two years ago.

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who is also the chairman of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, said “Caribbean leaders have come together as a powerful collective to build a better future for the people of the Caribbean.

“We welcome the financial commitments from our partners – around US$1.3 billion for recovery efforts and US$2.8 billion toward the vision shared by all members of the Coalition and others.

“This is a great first step. Now we need to turn this possibility into a set of realities that benefit all our people. We all need to work together to change the rules of the game to accelerate climate-smart financial flows for the Caribbean and other small island developing states.

“Together we can build thriving economies fuelled by clean energy, nature-based resilient design and innovation. The time for action is now,’ Mitchell said.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, whose island, Dominica, was severely hit by Hurricane Maria on September 18, resulting in millions of dollars in damage, said that ”despite the immense human suffering and economic damage caused by the recent hurricanes, the people of the Caribbean do not want to be just passive victims of climate change.

“Rather, they want to be active participants in designing and implementing solutions, and for their Caribbean region to serve as a beacon of hope for island nations all over the world,” he added.

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said “ultimately, we will only win the battle on climate change when investments in climate action and broader resilience become the economically sensible decision to make every time. It’s not just about protecting against negative impacts – climate action needs to be about enhancing competitiveness, creating jobs, improving our economies.

“Otherwise, our people cannot make the sacrifices needed. I’m pleased by the level of support from our Coalition partners and others. But I’m excited about the possibility for the Caribbean to incubate new powerful ideas, and accelerate their implementation,” he added.

Supported by funding and resources from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, the World Bank Group and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) a Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator with an estimated budget of six to  US$10 million for a three-year period is being established to catalyse billions of further public and private resources.

Caribbean leaders say they hope the coalition of financial institutions will invigorate the islands that have been impacted by recent hurricanes Irma and Maria, and help build more resilient infrastructure and communities across the region as the likelihood of future extreme weather events increases.

Coalition members will help to establish partnerships that can make investment deals happen. They will also bring their collective abilities together to break down the technological and financial barriers which represent the last obstacles to Caribbean people grasping the transformational opportunities that are in reach.

CDB president Dr. Warren Smith, said “the destruction our region experienced during the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season emphasises that we cannot afford to take a business-as-usual approach in tackling climate change.

“CDB, therefore, welcomes the establishment of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition. The Bank shares the vision of the Coalition and we look forward to supporting and investing in solutions to accelerate progress towards achieving this goal,” he added.

IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno said his organisation “reaffirms its continued and historical commitment to the Caribbean and will work with leaders of the region to improve lives by creating climate-smart and vibrant economies, where people are safe, productive, and happy.

“We hope that through this Climate Smart Coalition, in addition to offering new affordable financing, we will use our wide physical presence on the ground to work closely with the people of the region to design their Caribbean of the future, today.”

For his part, the World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim, said the Caribbean is in the ‘eye of the storm’ and “we need coordinated international support to rebuild and better plan for the future.

“At the World Bank Group, we welcome the Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition and plan to support it so countries get back on their feet and are better able to deal with the growing frequency and intensity of storms and hurricanes.”

Achim Steiner, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said the next hurricane season is only six months away so achieving climate-smart and resilient development for the Caribbean is critical.

“Affected individuals are the focus of the five billion dollars recovery process, but this effort will only be successful if it involves the private sector, civil society and governments at all levels working together for a more resilient Caribbean.

“Last month, close to $2.5 billion was pledged at a conference co-organized by CARICOM and UNDP for recovery and resilience in the Caribbean, and it is our objective to facilitate joint efforts with the work of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition,” he added.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group, said much of the Caribbean has been going through immense human suffering and economic damage caused by the recent hurricanes.

“But I never had any doubts about the spirit and the resilience of Caribbean people. They have come together and decided to turn the Caribbean into a spark of hope for the world.

“The work of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition will help to break down the remaining barriers between vision and reality, and will see the region not only recover from the catastrophic impacts of Irma and Maria. It will set a shining example of resilient reconstruction and clean energy transition,” he said.

Specifically, the Coalition’s work will focus on catalysing four initial critical priorities, namely scale renewable energy as rapidly as possible to help free Caribbean countries from the high cost of imported fossil fuels and the high vulnerability of centralised distribution systems, build low-carbon and resilient infrastructure including nature-based approaches, to better withstand future extreme weather events.

It will also be aimed at creating innovative financing models such as a debt-for-resilience swap initiative in exchange for demonstrated progress on policy reforms and investments to strengthen resilience and promote climate-smart growth pathways. Build platforms to help facilitate the large public and private investments required and strengthen the capacity of Caribbean countries and key regional institutions to plan for long-term resilience and climate smart growth strategies.

Chair of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, Mary Robinson, said “climate justice is all of our responsibility.

“We must stand alongside all the people of the Small Island Nations who will be most impacted by climate change. The recent hurricanes in the Caribbean have been devastating to watch, with people still homeless, without electricity and without livelihoods.

“We need to provide support in the form of immediate relief, and we also need to start working with them to build a resilient future where the people of the Caribbean can thrive. I’m thrilled to see the “Caribbean Climate Smart Coalition” being announced in Paris. It is wonderful to see Caribbean Leaders coming together with partners from all over the world to ensure that the Caribbean can serve as a beacon of hope for other Island Nations,” she said.

In a statement, the RISE Fund said it is committed to investing in businesses that create positive and measurable social or environmental impact alongside competitive financial returns.

“We’re excited about the Coalition’s work to help rebuild the power infrastructure in the Caribbean to provide more cost effective, resilient, and cleaner power. We look forward to working with the Coalition to identify investment opportunities that will drive positive commercial outcomes while helping to rebuild and strengthen local communities across the Caribbean,” the Fund added.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Lethem Airstrip. Photo: Andrew Short

Guyana to build third international airport at frontier town with Brazil

Lethem Airstrip. Photo: Andrew Short

By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — The government of Guyana plans to secure financing to upgrade and extend the runway and build a modern terminal at the Lethem airstrip with the intention of turning the airport into a “regional hub and international airport”. Lethem is a town close to the frontier of the Brazilian state of Roraima.

When the project is completed, Guyana will have three international airports.

The government is actively seeking a US$15 million loan to finance the project, which may finally open the frontier of Guyana to human settlement and development. This is important since the capital of Guyana, and low-lying areas along the coast are frequently inundated by heavy rainfall. For this reason, there has been a push to move the capital to the Essequibo region of Guyana.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan said on Monday during his 2018 budget presentation that the upgrade of the Lethem airstrip will allow for flights originating from Brazil and other Latin American neighbours to land there.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated GY$5 billion (US$24 million) to complete the upgrading of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), which includes the runway, rehabilitation of the arrivals terminal, and the construction of a departure terminal. The upgraded airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft and handle an increased number of passengers, Jordan noted.

The upgrading of the Lethem airstrip to accommodate regional flights will definitely spur development of the sleepy frontier town in the hinterland of Guyana that borders Brazil.

There is no air connectivity between Guyana and Brazil despite sharing a long border. People must travel to Suriname, Panama or Miami to get to Brazil from Guyana.

The government did not disclose the length of the planned extended runway. The current runway is about 6,000 ft and can easily be extended due the favourable geography and availability of land. The length of the runway will indicate what type of aircraft will land there.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

ECHO Factsheet – Caribbean – November 2017

ECHO Factsheet – Caribbean – November 2017


6.2 million people have been affected throughout the Caribbean due to extreme drought in 2015 – a consequence of the El Niño weather phenomenon.

€61 million for disaster preparedness since 1994 European Commission assistance to the Caribbean:

€540.5 million since 1994

  • €378.3 million for Haiti
  • €162.2 million for the rest of the Caribbean.


The Caribbean region is spread over a “hurricane belt” and surrounded by several tectonic plates. It is exposed to severe, recurring natural hazards. In 2017, the hurricane season (usually June to November) was extreme, with Irma and Maria – both category 5, maximum strength hurricanes – devastating Dominica, Cuba, Antigua & Barbuda, but also severely affecting Turks & Caicos, St Kitts & Nevis, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Dominican Republic, and leaving millions destitute. The Caribbean is also prone to droughts, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, flash floods, landslides, mudslides, droughts and earthquakes, as well as recurrent epidemics.

What are the needs?

Humanitarian aid in the Caribbean focuses on access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, health care, shelter, or providing food assistance and relief items. The protection of displaced and migrant populations is required in some countries.

Given the region’s vulnerability to frequent disasters, enhancing local capacities to respond to natural hazards is vital. The Commission’s disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) therefore supports simple, cost-efficient preventive measures implemented by the communities and national systems, enabling them to protect lives and livelihoods before, during and after a disaster strikes. The Commission also supports the integration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in all our projects, through specific targeted actions.

How are we helping?

Since 1994, the European Commission’s has funded €540.5 million in humanitarian aid to the Caribbean. €378.3 million have been dedicated to Haiti, particularly in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010 which claimed 222 750 lives. EU-funded programmes against the ongoing cholera epidemic and recurrent food insecurity by providing shelter, safe drinking water, healthcare, food assistance, protection, livelihood activities, and access to water and sanitation.

Throughout the region, €162.2 million has been allocated to humanitarian emergencies. For disaster-preparedness activities, the Commission has committed €61 million. The Commission focuses on linking emergency relief and longer term development interventions, helping to build the resilience of the most vulnerable population groups.

Following categories 5 hurricane Irma and Maria’s landfall in the Caribbean in September 2017, the Commission provided €2.9 million through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WPF) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to provide temporary shelters, safe drinking water, health and sanitation services and food aid, in Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St Maarten, and Turks and Caicos.

These events took place after an extreme drought that has affected over 6.2 million people in Caribbean countries since 2015 – a consequence of the El Niño weather phenomenon. As such, for the period of 2015-2017, the Commission has funded response interventions in Haiti (€12.2 million), the Dominican Republic (€1.1 million), and Cuba (€700 000) to mitigate the impact of the drought on people’s livelihoods, food security, nutritional status, and health. The total response for 2015-2017 amounts to €14 million.

After tropical storm Erika battered Dominica in August 2015, €300 000 were released to bring relief to victims, including access to water and sanitation, and hygiene promotion to minimise diseases and rebuild health services. Over €300 000 were also released to help bring relief to the victims of floods in Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines following severe rains in December 2013. The assistance included distribution of food and relief items, access to water and sanitation, and hygiene promotion.

Through its DIPECHO programme, the Commission allocated €12.1 million for disaster preparedness across the Caribbean in 2015-2016. Projects funded included the promotion of early warning systems, strengthening health infrastructure, retrofitting shelters and school facilities to withstand disasters and improving awareness of the risks linked to earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. In 2017, another €2 million were allocated for disaster preparedness.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Environment, General, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of The Commonwealth of Dominica speaking at the Investment Immigration Summit East Asia in Hong Kong earlier this month. (PRNewsfoto/Beacon Events)

Caribbean Prime Ministers Discuss the Recent Citizenship by Investment Prices After the Atlantic Hurricanes Earlier This Year

 News provided by

The Commonwealth of Dominica was impacted significantly by Hurricane Maria, a category 5 storm leaving behind a trail of devastation and over 50,000 people displaced. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit gave the opening address at the Investment Immigration Summit East Asia in Hong Kong.

     (Photo: )

“What we would like to recognize is that literally days after the hurricane, our Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme was back on the road. While we were receiving 200+ miles wind, stakeholders were processing applications because we were able to advance our programme to ensure that we utilize technology to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our programme.”

When asked about whether Dominica will follow St. Kitts and Antigua in the recent controversial reduction of its CBI programme prices, Skerrit replied, “the government of Dominica has not taken any decision in respect to this matter. What I would like to see though, for the long-term benefit of the programme, is for there to be a base price for all the categories within our programmes based on a gentlemen agreement, that we shouldn’t go below a particular price point.”

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of St Lucia also made an appearance at the Investment Immigration Summit in Hong Kong. When interviewed by the Investment Migration Insider, he confirmed that St Lucia will be accepting other currencies as part of their CIP programme, and are looking at the possibility of getting their domestic bank, Bank of St Lucia, to open a branch in Dubai as part of the IFC. Chastanet hopes to have it up and running before the end of the year, if not, by early January. They will be looking at accepting the Euro and the Yen first, and possibly Bitcoin.

The investment migration industry is now looking towards the Middle East and North African region and hoping to tap into the potential of this market. The sister event of the Hong Kong Summit, the 4th Annual Investment Immigration Summit MENA (IIS MENA), is coming to Dubai on 25-27 February 2018. The conference and exhibition will offer the latest and most comprehensive information on investment immigration programs from around the world including the USA, European Union, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia and the Pacific Islands. It will showcase the latest content offerings for the local Middle East market, focusing on the alternative pathways to migration.

Other key topics at the Summit include the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed in 2014, the latest trends for outbound investment migration in the MENA region, how to effectively manage and utilize dual citizenship, the relationship between wealth management, tax planning and citizenship by investment, addressing the global perception of citizenship-by-investment programs, and new investment programs entering the market.

The Summit will provide a platform for MENA migration agents along with High Net Worth representatives from the region, who have interests in overseas investment and migration opportunities, and are looking to secure a better future via the Citizenship by Investment and/or permanent residency options.

Enjoy a 10% discount on delegate tickets upon registration. Use promo code BD1057PR. Visit the website to view the full agenda and register for your delegate ticket:

The 2-day conference with the workshop day will be presented in English. For further inquiries, email


Investment Immigration Summit World Series offers a unique angle which not only gives you unique access to the most updated information on the global investor market, intelligence on the latest trends driving HNWI interest but also the latest development in CRS and key tax strategies for the globally mobile while providing a platform for a comprehensive array of investment immigration programmes from around the world.

The last 12 months have seen huge changes in the political landscape around the globe. From Brexit to the US election among a number of notable developments such as the CRS, demand for better due-diligence on applicants and so on, there is need for a period of reflection across the investment immigration industry.

With an overview of programmes, updates on changes to process and regulation as well as expert insight into the climate for investment, geo political and economic drivers for HNWIs and the latest OECD requirements on Common Reporting Standards which all affect those seeking investment immigration opportunities, this conference offers a comprehensive update on the top investment immigration / citizenship-by-investment programmes worldwide, providing advisers, wealth managers and agents the information and tools that they need to give the best advice and strategies to their clients. For more information, visit our website on


Beacon is a major conference and exhibition organizer, producing first class international events that meet the challenges facing major business sectors today. Beacon’s focus is on large-scale, must-attend events that are independently researched and tailored to deliver unbiased and focused market information. From Finance & Investment, Mining & Technology, to Gaming events and conferences, we deliver the critical business information which enables success.

Contact: Marie-Louise Adlercreutz, Tel: +971-4-338-5690

SOURCE Beacon Events

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

dry season

Forecasters have ‘good news’ as dry season begins

By Kenton X. Chance

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC — After a disastrous hurricane season, Caribbean forecasters have good news for the upcoming dry season, which begins on December 1.

“We are happy to announce for once that the climate outlook is positive mostly and so we just want to make sure that the people keep updating themselves with the weather because heavy rains can fall in December and in The Guianas also in January and the Christmas Floods of 2013 have shown that being caught off-guard is not a good idea, so please keep monitoring the weather,” Cédric Van Meerbeeck, a climatologist at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

dry season“We will be back with updates on climate every month. So check in with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology or your local met service if you want to know more about climate,” he said at the Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) now underway here.

“After a disastrous hurricane season for especially the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles and for Puerto Rico, they are really wondering what is going to happen in the next three to six months. And I am very happy to say that it is mostly good news,” he said.

He said that most countries got enough rain in the hurricane season and, therefore, there will not be any drought or severe dryness in the dry season which would impact bushfires, agriculture, and water availability.

“So that is the best news we can have right now,” he said at the two-day event.

Van Meerbeeck told CMC that another piece of good news is that temperatures would be “cool enough.

“So we would not be impacted severely by heat stress in the coming three months. After that, the temperature will again warm up toward the summer months. But, for now, we will be cool and that’s a good relief.”

Bringing more good news, Van Meerbeeck said that The Guianas, which are currently in the wet season in their coastal areas, will get reliable rains which is also important for agricultural output.

He said this is especially important for Guyana, where agriculture pays such an important role in the economy.

Van Meerbeeck told CMC that Haiti was again impacted by the climate, this time suffering a drought and severe heat waves.

“They have been suffering record temperatures since April up until October and we hope now, with the cool season, they will return now to a normal situation but of course, once you have been impacted, just like those that have been impacted by the hurricanes, a little stress is to deteriorate the situation.”

He said that the dry season would be wetter and cooler than normal, except in the Bahamas and Cuba.

“The importance of this is that once you don’t have too much dryness occurring because you have less dry spells, you have a few more rainy days, then you keep your soil moist a bit longer and whatever water you have been storing in the wet season will also be available for longer during the dry season,” the climatologist said.

“So if there is reduced water availability, which is typical in the dry season, this time it will happen a bit later and once the rains come back, probably we will not see a water crisis, at least from the rainfall side of things. Distribution is another question, but we don’t expect climate to be a major negative role player for the coming months,” Van Meerbeeck added.

He said that when he talks about cooler temperatures, it is not much of a difference compared to the long-term averages.

“So if you look historically back into the 70s and the 80s and you draw a line right to the present, it might be like half a degree cooler than usual.

“… except maybe for a few cold nights, we are really not going to be too cold or anything. It’s just slightly cooler, which mean we are more at ease in temperatures that we’ll meet outside.”

Regarding the situation in the Leeward Islands, where there has been extended dry spells over the past few years, Van Meerbeeck told CMC that he is not a hydrologist and has not been monitoring the water reservoirs specifically.

“But, all other factors being equal, the ample rainfall that has fallen in the wet season has probably contributed in some way to reducing water stress in terms of reduced availability of water, but I can’t go into the detail with regards to water availability for households or particular countries.”

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Features, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

Grenada PM

Climate change features at United Nations – warnings that climate change is existential threat to Caribbean

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 21, CMC – Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell Tuesday said that climate change is an existential threat for the Caribbean noting that small island developing states (SIDS) had long been vocal about the dangers posed by the effects of climate change, particularly global warming and sea level rise.

Mitchell, the current Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman, told an international aid donors conference here that the Caribbean, for the first time was struck by two category five hurricanes within a two week period.

Grenada PM
CARICOM Chairman and Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria left rails of death and damage when they passed through the Lesser Antilles in September. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica felt the brunt of the hurricanes with the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands and Ragged Island in The Bahamas and St. Kitts-Nevis also experiencing levels of destruction.

Mitchell told the CARICOM – United Nations High Level Pledging Conference here that the dramatic escalation in the force and frequency of the storms had long been predicted and that five of the eight hurricanes which traversed the region in the past six months have been Category 3 or stronger and three of those made landfall.

He said that scientific reports put out by international agencies, including the United Nations, and respected academia have warned of the catastrophic consequences of global warming.

“There can be no question that for us in the Caribbean, climate change is an existential threat. Current trends indicate that there will be no respite. Indeed, the intensity and the frequency will increase,” he warned.

The Grenada prime minister said that a World Bank report projects that should global temperatures rise by two degrees centigrade, the number of severe hurricanes will increase by 40 per cent.

“Further, it stated, that based on current trends, it is more likely to rise by four degrees centigrade, which would see an 80 per cent increase.”

Mitchell said that while the Caribbean countries have been doing much to deal with the impact of climate change “what they need at this time is financial and technical support which would assist them in their efforts not only to rebuild their lives and their countries but to build back better.

“That support is needed across the region, as we seek to reduce our vulnerability to all external shocks and build our resilience, socially, economically and environmentally. Building that resilience is crucial as, in respect of hurricanes, what was not too long ago, a once in a lifetime experience, is now occurring with overwhelming regularity.”

He said that the quickly recurring disasters retard the development prospects of SIDS, which all have inherent economic and environmental vulnerabilities.

“Dominica was still recovering from the damage caused in 2015 by Tropical Storm Erika, which was estimated at 90 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) …(and) rehabilitation and reconstruction were not yet complete from Erika when Hurricane Maria delivered its crippling blow.

“Such a situation exacerbates the already burdensome debt problem for states that have had to borrow to rebuild in the first instance. Now, without having repaid the first debt, you have to borrow to rebuild again.”

Mitchell said that this challenge is compounded by the criteria to access concessional development financing which relies heavily on GDP per capita to determine eligibility.

“Most of our countries have been graduated to middle and high-income status which denies us access to such funds. Unfortunately, the international financial institutions and development agencies have no criteria for revoking a graduated status, even in the face of a situation which these countries face today. “

He said the Organisation for economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) admitted recently that “many factors, such as the devastating effects of a natural disaster and humanitarian crisis, could conceivably lead to a substantial and sustained drop in the per capita income of an affected country, or Region, especially in the case of a small state.”

“On behalf of all SIDS, I call for the OECD and the International Financial Institutions to change the rules and the criteria urgently. In particular, I call on those countries that constitute the boards of these Institutions, to do the right thing.  Vulnerability must be included as a major criterion in determining eligibility for concessional development financing,’ Mitchell said, warning that the next hurricane season is a mere seven months away.


Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Browne at UNClimate

Antigua and Barbuda says wealthy nations have a moral responsibility to rebuild hurricane battered region

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 21, CMC – Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne Tuesday said wealthy countries had a moral obligation to rebuild his island battered by a recent hurricane, while expressing support for proposal by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for a Caribbean Resilience Fund to finance the construction of climate resilient communities.

“We contend that liability for the destruction of Barbuda and the dislocation of its residents, resides with those whose excessive carbon emissions have unleashed the demons of climate change.

“Justice and fairness requires that the burden of building a more climate resilient community, should not fall to the victims of climate change alone,” Browne said,, adding that he was also concerned about the recent position of the Development Committee of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) regarding eligibility for aid by so-called middle-income countries.

Browne at UNClimate
Prime Minister Gaston Browne at CARICOM-UN High
Level Pledging Conference

“The OECD position insists that aid would only be triggered if countries, impacted by disasters, suffer a long-term economic decline and that no existing aid is diverted.

But, by the time aid is triggered in those circumstances, the economic decline and human suffering, as well as the long-term impact, would have plunged these countries into irreversible ruin. The OECD would be helpful if it reconsidered this position and adopt a more proactive and effective one,” Browne told the   Caribbean Community (CARICOM) United Nations High Level Pledging Conference here.

Most of the Caribbean countries are categorized as middle- to high-income and are largely ineligible for concessional development financing and Official Development Assistance (ODA), due to the use of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita as a principal criterion.

Browne told the conference that the people of the Caribbean islands impacted by the hurricanes “through no fault of their own, call on this conference to pledge and deliver meaningful support, so that they can rebuild to withstand the dreadful effects of climate change in the future, and make their lives safer”.

The Antigua and Barbuda prime minister said that climate change recognises no borders, does not discriminate between big or small, developed or developing, rich or poor, Hindu, Muslim Christian or Jew.

“All are involved; all are consumed. But, of course, the small, the poor, and the vulnerable are the worst affected. And, affected not through their own fault, but because of the culpability of others. Years of their peoples’ hard work and development are scattered asunder, escalating unemployment, poverty and hardship.”

Browne said that in the Caribbean, “we now have a new category of citizens, climate refugees,” who left homeless, jobless, and helpless by ferocious Category 5 hurricanes have been forced to flee their motherlands.

“Their future is uncertain and their prospects are unclear. Two months after hurricanes cut a swathe of destruction through the Caribbean, countries continue to lie in ruin.”

He said in the case of Barbuda, his administration simply does not have the resources to rebuild swiftly, and the people of Barbuda have themselves been stripped of the means of restoring their livelihood.  “Presently, there is no economic activity on Barbuda,” Browne said, noting that while some governments and agencies have provided relief to residents of Barbuda who had to be evacuated to Antigua , the bulk of the cost of maintaining them has been met by his government.

“The cost has been high and the burden heavy, hindering our capacity to invest in infrastructure and other capital projects that would grow our economy, increase employment and reduce poverty. Our progress has been retarded, thereby undermining our achievement of the sustainable development goals.”

But he promised that Antigua and Barbuda and indeed the Caribbean “will not shirk from our responsibility to the people of Barbuda and to rebuilding Barbuda, however long it takes.

“And, we are determined to rebuild Barbuda, not only so that it can stand-up to the assaults of Climate Change, but as an example of a fully climate-resilient, that totally green and organic island. One that is productive, income-generating and economically viable.”

The Antigua and Barbuda prime minister said that small island developing states such as Antigua and Barbuda, will never attain their ambition of robust resilience to the global challenge of climate change, until developed countries provide sustained, predictable and adequate finance, and capacity-building support, to adapt and mitigate against the harmful effects of climate change.

“In this connection, my government emphasises its support for the call by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean for a Caribbean Resilience Fund to write down public debt and create, in part, the financing necessary to fund the construction of climate resilient communities,” Browne told the conference.




Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Partner Series

SpaceX to Launch Korean Communications Satellite Today: Watch It Live

Live Science
Partner Series
SpaceX to Launch Korean Communications Satellite Today: Watch It Live
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane into orbit on Sept. 7, 2017.

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX aims to pull off another launch-and-landing double play today (Oct. 30), and you can watch all the spaceflight action live.

A SpaceX two-stage Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the KoreaSat 5A communications satellite at 3:34 p.m. EDT (1934 GMT) today from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch the launch live here at courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company at

If all goes according to plan, the booster’s first stage will return to Earth for a soft landing less than 10 minutes after liftoff, settling vertically onto a SpaceX “drone ship” stationed off the Florida coast. [Relive a SpaceX Rocket Launch and Landing in Pictures]


Such landings are part of SpaceX’s plan to develop fully and rapidly reusable rockets and space vehicles, a key priority for the company and its billionaire founder and CEO, Elon Musk. To date, SpaceX has aced 18 Falcon 9 touchdowns and re-launched landed boosters on three different occasions.

SpaceX has also re-flown a Dragon cargo capsule once and aims to do so again on its next resupply run to the International Space Station for NASA, which will launch no earlier than December.

KoreaSat 5A is owned by the South Korean company KTSat. The satellite will provide TV and other communications services to people in South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia, according to the company’s website. The satellite will also aid maritime communications from East Africa to East Asia.

KoreaSat 5A will replace KoreaSat 5, which launched in 2006.

Posted in Education, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, Technology0 Comments


Tobago rocked by earthqauke

SCARBOROUGH, Tobago, Oct 20, CMC – An earthquake, measuring 5.2 hit Tobago on Friday, but there were no reports of injuries or damage to the island.

earthquake..The Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) said that the quake, which occurred at 2.01 am (local time) was also felt 270 kilometers (km) east north east of Arima in Trinidad and 212 km south east of Bridgetown in Barbados.

It said the quake was located Latitude: 11.32N, Longitude: 58.94W and at a depth of 10km.

In 2010, Haiti was rocked by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 killing more than 200,000 people and leaving several thousand others homeless.

Posted in Environment, General, Local, News, Regional0 Comments