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UWI opens new faculty of engineering

UWI opens new faculty of engineering

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 14, CMC – The University of the West Indies (UWI), has opened a new Faculty of Engineering at its Mona campus here, hoping to train more professionals to satisfy the growing demand of Jamaica’s booming construction and industrial sectors.

“I can’t graduate enough for [our] industry. Engineering has the advantage over medicine and law, where our programmes are seeking international accreditation. It means that our students, upon graduation, can work anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Paul Aiken, Dean at the Faculty of Engineering.

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Dale Webber (left); Managing Director, Global Public Affairs, Jake Suski; Deputy Principal, Professor Ian Boxill and Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Paul Aiken, examine a cake with the logo of the new Faculty of Engineering

He said the UWI is aware of the high demand for local engineers, and wants to help with satisfying this demand, thus the reason they decided to make this investment.

“I know the banking sector is hiring our computer systems engineers. They are hiring electronics engineers. They are saying banking is an information and communications technology (ICT) company now, because of all the technologies involved. Civil engineers go to firms, to companies with electronics, telecommunication, manufacturing [and] all industrial sectors in Jamaica,” he added.

Aiken said the new faculty will offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Power Engineering and Electronics Engineering.

“They are three-year degree programmes with foundation courses in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science (for full-time students). We have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems Engineering, but we are about to merge that with Electronics, because the graduates tend to go into the same sector,” he said.

Aiken said the faculty will be open to train students with basic high school education up to the fifth form level, who are interested in pursuing a career in the area of engineering.

“For students who find it a little hard to be qualified to go into these Bachelor of Science programmes, we do have the preliminary engineering [course]. It’s a one year qualifying period that we pretty much take you from fifth form, as long as you have English, Mathematics [and] Science. We mould you, we transform you and get you ready to take on the three-year Bachelor of Science Engineering programmes,” Aiken said.

“We have research in all engineering programmes. We have research partners that are willing to give us access to their multimillion dollar laboratory facilities, and we intend to be involved in cutting edge research, and we are going to transform Jamaica,” he said.

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CARICOM SG praises late Montserrat chief minister

CARICOM SG praises late Montserrat chief minister

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Sept 14, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque, Wednesday described the former Montserrat chief minister, Bertrand Osborne as a person of “integrity, honesty and trustworthiness”.

Bertrand Osborne (File Photo)

Osborne, who served as chief minister of the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory for a nine month period in the 1990’s, died last Tuesday. He was 83 year-old.

Osborne, a prominent businessman, served as chief minister from November 1996 to August 1997. He resigned after he came under severe criticism from politicians and demonstrators alike for being too pro-British, and for failing to negotiate firmly enough with London over an aid package after the eruption of the Soufriere volcano.

In a condolence message sent to Premier Donaldson Romeo,  La Rocque lauded Osborne’s dedication to politics and the private sector, noting that his “heightened sense of social responsibility will long be remembered in his native land.

“He will be remembered for his integrity, honesty and trustworthiness which has been acknowledged by all regardless of political affiliation. The Community extends its condolences to his wife Lystra, his children and the entire Osborne family and the Government and people of Montserrat,” La Rocque added.

No details have been given regarding Osborne’s death and the state-owned ZJB Radio said that he had served in the Legislative Council for 14 years.

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Former CCJ President to speak at educational seminars ahead of upcoming referendum

Former CCJ President to speak at educational seminars ahead of upcoming referendum

ST. GEORGE’S. Grenada, Sep. 13, CMC – Former President of the Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, is scheduled to address two education seminars ahead of the November 6 referendum which is seeking to make the CCJ the island’s final appellate court.

Sir Dennis will be the guest speaker at  the educational activities on September 18, organised by the CCJ Advisory Committee aimed at bringing a better understanding about the work of the Court to the voting population.

Sir Dennis Byron

“He will be engaging the students at TAMCC (T.A. Marryshow Community College) on matters of the CCJ and then we expect him to address the public at the Deluxe cinema on the same day,”  said Senator Norland Cox

Sir Dennis, who has a long history as a regional and international judicial officer demitted his CCJ post in July 2018. He was replaced by Adrian Saunders.

In 1986, as Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Grenada on secondment from the  Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court  Sir Dennis presided over the famous murder trial of the Grenada 17 who were all accused of playing a role in the assassination of then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others.

Since launching its promotional activities last month,  members of the CCJ Advisory committee have been engaging in radio and television discussion programmes all aimed at enlightening the voting population about the role of the regional court.

Last week Friday members of the Lower House of Parliament unanimously approved the CCJ  Bill as it went through its first stage of Parliamentary approval.

On Friday, the Bill will be presented in the Upper House for deliberation and approval .

Following this, it must be Gazetted ahead of the referendum.

The law provides for two third of the voting population to vote yes for the constitutional change to occur.

This will be the second time that the CCJ Bill will be voted on a referendum. In 2016, Grenadians voted against the CCJ by a margin of 9,492 in favour and 12,434 voted against.

The  CCJ settles disputes between Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States and presently serves as the highest court of appeals on civil and criminal matters for the national courts of Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana.

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CARICOM press release

CARICOM extends condolences on passing of former Montserrat Chief Minister



(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     CARICOM Secretary-General

CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque

Mr. Bertrand Osborne, OBE, OD

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has expressed the Community’s condolences to the family of Montserrat’s former Chief Minister Mr Bertrand Osborne and to the Government and people, on his passing.   
Mr Osborne, who died last week Tuesday, served as Chief Minister of Montserrat from November 13th 1996 to August 27th 1997, a particularly difficult time in the island’s history during the height of the volcanic crisis.

Ambassador LaRocque, in his Message of Condolence to Montserrat’s Premier Mr. Donaldson Romeo,  lauded Mr. Osborne’s dedication to politics and the private sector, noting that his “heightened sense of social responsibility will long be remembered in his native land.”
“He will be remembered for his integrity, honesty and trustworthiness which has been acknowledged by all regardless of political affiliation. The Community extends its condolences to his wife Lystra, his children and the entire Osborne family and the Government and people of Montserrat,” the Message stated.

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Kidnapped wife of businessman rescued, no ransom paid

Kidnapped wife of businessman rescued, no ransom paid

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sept 11, CMC – The 47-year-old wife of a businessman was rescued by police on Monday night four days after she was kidnapped while returning from a gym in southern Trinidad.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith told a news conference late Monday night that no ransom had been paid for the Natalie Pollonais, a mother of three and the wife of Jason Pollonais, a director of Inland and Offshore Contractors Ltd.

Natalie Pollonais

Three people, including two police officers have been taken into custody as a result of the rescue operation

Natalie Pollonais is with us. She has been extracted, she’s alive and well. This was a clinical operation that took place for the last four days and nights. Mrs Pollonais was brought straight to the Police Admin Building. I spoke to her and she’s in good condition. She is unharmed and no ransom was paid,” Griffith told reporters, flanked by National Security Minister Stuart Young and Attorney general Faris Al Rawi.

“This was kidnapping for ransom. I am not going into the specifics. We were able to pinpoint and target the area. It was immense work,” Griffith said, adding that a number of tactical units were involved in the search and rescue mission, including the Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU), Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU), Special Branch, Strategic Services Agency (SSA) and the Tactical Unit.

“The whole operation was totally intelligence driven. We worked hand-in-hand. It was a co-ordinated effort (which) we never saw in a while,” said Griffith, adding that “until we apprehend all of the individuals involved in this situation”, the area where the woman was rescued would not be made known.

“This sends a signal to all criminal elements…it is not business as usual,” said Griffith, who was recently appointed to the post four years after Canadian Dwayne Gibbs resigned.

We can never have a crime-free country. What we would do is continue to provide the deterrent, with the assistance of the State, for us to ensure the safety and security of this country,” Griffith said.

Young told reporters that the Keith Rowley government’s position is that “we will continue to support our law enforcement agencies and authorities.

“Today we can breathe a sigh of relief. We just chalk this one up to a lot of hard work and a bit of luck,” Young said.

Posted in CARICOM, International, Local, News, Police, Regional1 Comment

Trinidad and Tobago observing 56th anniversary of independence

Trinidad and Tobago observing 56th anniversary of independence

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 31, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago observed its 56th anniversary of political independence from Britain on Friday with the traditional military parade and differing statements from the politicians regarding the socio-economic development of the oil-rich twin island republic.

While President Paula Mae Weekes noted that independence is a work in progress she urged citizens to continue ensuring the development of the country.

“Fellow citizens, on 31 August 1962, Trinidad and Tobago shook off the reins of colonialism and dared to go it alone. To the tolling of bells, the Union Jack was lowered for the final time and the red, white and black hoisted to signal the birth of our nation.”

She said since that time Trinidad and Tobago has enjoyed a relatively stable democracy, significant economic transformation and general improvement in the quality of life of its citizens.

But she said considering the current challenges of crime and the economy, plus the island’s use of the London-based Privy Council as its final court, the world economy and global climate change, she asked how independent Trinidad and Tobago is.

“Political separation from the United Kingdom was only the first step of our long journey of self-discovery.

“Independence has never been a static notion. It implies the constant working-out of identity and purpose, sovereignty over one’s decisions and taking responsibility for one’s actions.”

In his message Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley the anniversary of independence provides citizens with another opportunity to reflect on the meaning of citizenship and the value of its national identity.

“The world has brought us news of nations gripped by civil war, anarchy and terror. In many countries people do not enjoy the freedoms we may be tempted to take for granted. That our democracy has remained intact these 56 years is no small feat.

“This deserves celebration given our status as one of the most multi-cultural societies in the western world. We have largely used our diversity as a bridge to make connections with each other. We’ve enjoyed a deep harmony that is intrinsic to our identity as nationals of this beloved country. We must guard our unity zealously. This defence is especially needed in turbulent times,” he said.

Rowley said that it is times of difficulty that the urge to retreat to narrow interests and partisan lines can become the strongest.

“But we must resist this and seek instead an agreeable guidepost. But how do we find common ground in an often polarising environment?,” he asked suggesting that the country remember the words of the first prime minister Dr. Eric Williams who said “whatever the challenge that faces you, from whatever quarter, place always first that national interest and the national cause”.

Rowley said he has no doubt that “we will do what is needed to create sustainable growth and national development. It is our responsibility as loyal citizens to ensure that our children can be proud of the decisions that we must make today”.

However, Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar said the independence anniversary provides an opportunity “to undertake a sober, piercing assessment of our progress and the difficulties that still lie ahead.

“The question must be asked: Have we achieved the Trinidad and Tobago which the leaders of our fight for independence envisioned more than half a century ago? In answering this question, we must decide whether we wish to maintain the status quo, or determine the future that we want for our children and grandchildren.

“There is no question that our country today faces significant issues, and there appear to be no moves by the current administration to deal frontally with the problems affecting people, including escalating crime, inadequate health care, reduced opportunities for education of our young people, job losses, high cost of living, and a declining economy,” she said.

She was critical of the government’s “silence” over the decision to shut down the oil refinery at the state-owned oil company, PETROTRIN, saying that the government had “failed to articulate a plan to address the issue of the state-owned company’s debt, and the long-term impact of the restructuring exercise on Trinidad and Tobago’s economy”.

Meanwhile, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin laRocque has in a congratulatory message paid tribute to the creativity and dynamism of the people of Trinidad and Tobago as well as recognising the “significant contributions” that the country has made to the regional integration process.

“Additionally, Trinidad and Tobago, as a founding member of the Community and lead Member State on regional security and energy issues, continues to make significant contributions to Caribbean integration and to the promotion and attainment of citizen and energy security,” he said.

United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, said that Washington and Port of Spain “have always enjoyed rich cross-cultural exchange, friendship, and the shared goal of building a more safe and secure region as underscored in the Caribbean 2020 strategy.

“We are grateful for the continued strong partnership as our countries work to deepen cooperation on trade, energy, and opportunity for all,” he said.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

ExxonMobil makes ninth discovery offshore Guyana

ExxonMobil makes ninth discovery offshore Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug. 30, CMC – The US based oil giant, ExxonMobil has announced the discovery of approximately 197 feet (60 metres) of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir at the Hammerhead-1  – the ninth discovery of oil in the Stabroek Block  and the fifth within the last year.

President of ExxonMobil, Steve Greenlee says the Hammerhead-1 discovery reinforces the potential of the Guyana basin, where ExxonMobil is already maximizing value for all stakeholders through rapid phased developments and accelerated exploration plans.

“The Development options for Hammerhead will consider an ongoing evaluation of reservoir data, including a well test,” Greenlee said.

Discoveries of approximately four billion oil-equivalent barrels were made prior on the Stabroek Block at Liza, Liza Deep, Payara, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger, Pacora and Longtail with the potential for up to five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels producing more than 750,000 barrels per day by 2025.

A second exploration vessel, the Noble Tom Madden, is due to arrive in Guyana in October to accelerate exploration of high potential opportunities and will commence drilling at the Pluma prospect, approximately 17 miles (27 kilometres) from Turbot.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres .

ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, is the operator and holds 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 per cent interest.

First oil is expected to be produced in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, the government continues to put systems in place for the management of revenues from this new developing natural resource. Just recently, a green paper on the National Resource Fund (NRF) Guyana’s version of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) was laid in the National Assembly.

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Private sector group wants an end to breaches of confidentiality

Private sector group wants an end to breaches of confidentiality

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Aug 22, CMC – The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture (SLCCA) s warning both private and public sector workers of engaging in breaching confidentiality. which it said is hurting the country.

SLCCA executive diretor Brian Louisy said he was urging the political parties here to speak out against the practice, which he said is hurting the economic interest of the country.

Brian Louisy

“We are concerned about frequent breaches of confidentiality in the public service and private sector, as this practice could inevitably result in harm to this country’s economic interests,” Louisy wrote in the latest issue of ‘ED’s Perspective’, the official publication of the private sector group.

He described confidentiality breaches as ‘a disturbing issue’ within the public and private sector, noting that “employees are now flippantly “leaking” documents of a private nature regularly without concern for the ramifications.

“The impact on business people’s confidence, both foreign and local, as to respect of privacy when doing business in Saint Lucia is now real.

“Will my competitor soon know my every business detail once I do business with the government of St. Lucia? Will my personal and business banking information make its way to social media?”  Louisy asked.

He said leaders in the country need to speak out and bring this practice to a stop, “or we will all pay the price”.

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Venezuela And Trinidad Struck By Massive, 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake

The quake could be felt as far away as Colombia and Grenada. No deaths had been reported.

A massive earthquake rocked Venezuela and the southern Caribbean on Tuesday evening, knocking out power throughout the region and sending people rushing out of buildings.

Preliminary reports from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate a 7.3 magnitude quake struck just 12 miles off Venezuela’s Cariaco Peninsula, its northeasternmost tip. The epicenter is not far from Trinidad’s northwestern coast. The two countries are separated by just seven nautical miles.

It was a little surreal; the country just seemed to shut down for a second. Kevin Farrick, Trinidad and Tobago

There are no reports of fatalities in either country so far. But in Venezuela, The Associated Press indicates there may be injuries from an escalator collapse in Cumana, the closest city to the epicenter. In a public address, Nestor Reverol, the country’s interior minister, asked for patience and insisted that national disaster teams have been dispatched for relief.

In July 1997, a 6.9 quake struck the same Cariaco region, resulting in more than 80 deaths.

In Trinidad, Joan Latchman, a seismologist at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, told the AP that Tuesday’s quake was the strongest felt in the country since December 2016.

Stuart Young, Trinidad and Tobago’s minister of national security and communications, gave a televised address on the country’s state-owned network to confirm there were no reports of damage to the island’s infrastructure.

But images quickly flooded social media of downed power lines, toppled store shelves and fallen debris.

Kevin Farrick, a marketing consultant from Port-of-Spain, initially mistook his rocky commute home as car trouble. But once he glanced up to see the traffic lights flashing and lamp posts swaying, he realized it was more than just a bumpy ride.

“Then a transformer exploded and I was like ‘wait a minute, there’s nothing wrong with my car. It’s a damn earthquake!’” Farrick said. Soon after, he noticed people running out of area businesses and government buildings into the streets.

“It was a little surreal; the country just seemed to shut down for a second,” he said.

Many Venezuelans and Trinbagonians are now using Facebook’s check-in tool to mark themselves as “safe’ in the aftermath.

The quake could be felt as far away as Bogota, Colombia as well as several Caribbean islands in the region, including Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Although aftershocks are still being reported, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports no immediate threat of a tsunami to the surrounding region. 

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Massive earthquake rocks Trinidad and Tobago

Massive earthquake rocks Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago has been rocked by a massive earthquake, causing serious damage to property in the twin-island republic on Tuesday.

Social media has been flooded with images of destruction to roadways, popular buildings, supermarkets and cars, with some residents announcing that they are safe.

According to the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, the 6.9 magnitude quake struck a latitude of 10.51 N, a longitude of 62.76 W and a depth of 73 km.

The quake occurred at 5:30pm and lasted for almost a minute. 

Take a look at some of the damage below. 

loopjamaica Massive 6.8 earthquake rocks Trinidad and Tobago


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