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Jermaine Gordon under escort at VC Bird Int. airport

One of Jamaica’s most wanted men arrested in Antigua, deported

by STAFF WRITER

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 18, CMC – (Adapted) A magistrate court has ordered the deportation of a 33-year-old Jamaican national, who has been described as one of that country’s 10 most wanted criminals.

Jermaine Gordon, who is wanted on murder and other related charges in Jamaica, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh on Tuesday, after he was captured by police here last Friday.  The court ordered that he leave Antigua on Thursday.

Observer Radio quoted the police as saying that Gordon had admitted entering the island by boat illegally and had been residing here for some years.

Jermaine Gordon under escort at VC Bird Int. airport

Gordon is facing at least two murder charges in Jamaica.

UPDATE: Gordon was seen being escorted at V C Bird International airport in readiness to be deported.

Sources say that Gordon who admitted to police he had been in Antigua for several years, when he was arrested at his residence, denied that the picture he was shown as him, until police uncovered a tatoo on his body that matched pictures they had.

 

 

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Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

Public workers on strike in support of union demands for increased payment

By Linda Straker

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Oct 16, CMC – The Government Negotiating Team (GNT) Monday described as “disappointing” a decision by two trade unions to call out its members as part of the efforts to get the Grenada government to conclude negotiations for the 2013-16 period.

Last weekend, the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU) both announced plans for the industrial action.

TAWU president Andre Lewis, said that his members are on strike and will announce the next step later on Monday. The authorities have not yet indicated whether the work stoppage has affected the public service

The unions had originally sought EC$2,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) as a one-off payment for the period 201316 but reduced their demand to EC$1,500 after they accepted a payment of EC$1, 000 earlier this year with an assurance from the Keith Mitchell government of a possible increase in July.

The government has offered EC$650 but the unions have described that amount as “insulting” to the workers, who they said made sacrifices during the period of the structural adjustment programme.

“The Government Negotiating Team is indeed disappointed that the leadership of the Public Workers Union and the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union has rejected the mediation effort of the Minister for Labour to settle the dispute of the one-off payment to public service employees,” the GNT said in a statement broadcast on radio here.

“Such withdrawal will adversely affect service delivery to the general public including vital areas such as healthcare, revenue collection and the payment to the private sector for goods and services.”

The negotiating team said that while it recognizes that the union leadership may demand more for its members, the government has to be guided by its responsibility to the entire country.

“Workers in the private sector, banking and telecommunications, for example, have lost jobs, while government has protected the jobs of its employees. Unlike what occurred in other Islands, the Grenada government has not retrenched a single employee,” the GNT said, noting that more than EC$106 million have been paid to public servants since the said the government came to power four years ago.

It has appealed to the trade unions to accept the recommendation of the Minister for Labour, noting also that the government would be faced with additional expenditure given its commitment to the restoration and reform of pensions.

“It is just not possible for the State to pay more without seriously damaging the fiscal recovery programme and violating the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which could jeopardise the debt forgiveness of over EC$400 million and return the country to the economic state prior to the Structural Adjustment Programme,” the statement added.

Now PM Mitchell hopeful for early end to strike action

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell Tuesday said he hoped “common sense will prevail” and that public workers, who started industrial action to force his administration to heed the demands of two trade unions to conclude negotiations for the 2013-16 period.

“I am very hopeful that common sense will prevail and we will see an end to this impasse,” Prime Minister Mitchell said as he responded to the strike action by public workers.

Last weekend, the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU) both announced plans for the industrial action over the failure to pay compensation to workers during the period when the island was implementing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) sanctioned package.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

The workers walked off their jobs on Monday.

The unions had originally sought EC$2,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) as a one-off payment for the period 201316 but reduced their demand to EC$1,500 after they accepted a payment of EC$1, 000 earlier this year with an assurance from the Keith Mitchell government of a possible increase in July.

The government has offered EC$650 but the unions have described that amount as “insulting” to the workers, who they said made sacrifices during the period of the structural adjustment programme.

The Government Negotiating Team (GNT) has described the strike as “disappointing” and that the unions have rejected the mediation effort of the Minister for Labour to settle the dispute of the one-off payment to public service employees.

Mitchell said that if his administration agrees to the demands of the union, it would place an additional financial burden of approximately nine million EC dollars on government expenditure.

He said he feared it could also result in the government losing millions in debt relief while violating at the same time the fiscal responsibility legislation.

“I cannot and will not do anything that will injure our ability to get debt relief…we ought not to do anything that will interfere with our opportunity,” Prime Minister Mitchell told reporters following the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The unions say they are pleased with the workers support for the strike, but Prime Minister Mitchell, who is the Minister for Finance, said that most of the employees are on the job.

“his is not having the desired result as they though it would have had,” he said, while admitting that in places where workers did not show up, members of the  management team were lending support.

“The leaders are there doing the work,” he said.

Late Monday, the government issued a statement thanking the workers, who had turned up for work, even as the unions announced an escalation of the industrial action.

“Government is pleased with the patriotic and reasonable action of these employees who, by their reporting for work maintained service to the public, particularly at the hospitals, Government Revenue Departments, Customs and several other divisions throughout the state,” the statement noted.

“Government again restates its call for the unions’ leadership to resolve the dispute through the dispute procedure. Government reaffirms its care and respect for all of its employees, and recognizes the right of workers to strike. However, workers are reminded that the exercise of their right to strike extinguishes their right to be paid,” it added.

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marijuuu

Most St. Lucians in favour of decriminalisation of marijuana-Opinion poll

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Oct 14, CMC – Most St. Lucians are either in support of the legalisation or partial decriminalisation of marijuana according to a poll conducted by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES).

CADRES said that it conducted the poll between September 8-11 and interviewed approximately 1,000 people across the island.

marijuuuIt said survey was conducted face to face and respondents were selected to conform to three distinct age cohorts (18-30; 31-50 and Over 50) and in each instance a 33 per cent quota was sought with equal quantities of males and females also being interviewed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent.

CADRES said respondents were asked their “views on the decriminalization of Marijuana in St. Lucia” and provided with three response options as well at the option not to respond.

According to CADRES, which also conducted similar polls in several Caribbean islands including Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the results of the surveys tell an important story that is likely to be applicable across the region which is that public opinion is generally moving in the direction of greater support for decriminalisation and an increasing opposition to the status quo.

It said in the specific case of St. Lucia an estimated 38 per cent of those questioned opted for the maintenance of the status quo (illegal), while cumulatively 51 per cent of respondents supported either the full legalisation or partial decriminalisation, “which essentially means that most St. Lucians are opposed to the maintenance of the status quo.

“It is interesting to note that the attitude of St. Lucians on this issue is similar to that of all other Caribbean countries surveyed, especially as the margin of error associated with these surveys is plus or minus five per cent.

“St. Lucia therefore shares the same attitude towards full legalisation with St. Vincent, while Barbados, Dominica and Antigua all have a slightly larger quantity of persons who are supportive of full legalisation. Similarly, the 38 per cent of St. Lucians that opted for the status quo is consistent with the level of opposition to decriminalisation in St. Vincent Dominica and Barbados.”

But CADRES noted that the critical statistic; however, is support for partial decriminalisation, which is the route that is being pursued in Antigua and has already been taken in Jamaica, and in this regard “all islands surveyed report a similar level of support .

“Although this summary report does not permit a full exploration of the demographic factors impacting on support for or opposition to marijuana decriminalisation, the case of St. Lucia does provide a unique deviation from the region-wide custom that has noted higher levels of opposition to decriminalisation among women.

“In the case of St. Luca; however, similar quantities of women and men support the status quo which leads to the conclusion that gender does not impact on support for, or opposition to marijuana decriminalisation here, while the same cannot be said for age.

“In that regard St. Lucia is very much like all other countries surveyed in that older persons are more inclined to support the status quo, while younger persons are more disposed to decriminalisation or full legalisation,” CADRES added.

It said in the coming months it intends to be able to explore these attitudes in other Caribbean territories.

Caribbean government have already indicated a willingness to decriminalise the use of small portions of marijuana for medicinal purposes but have so far taken a cautious approach to the matter.

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Dominica aerial

PM Skerrit says despite no revenue, government keeping financial obligations to public servants

ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct 4, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Wednesday said that public servants had received their salaries for the month of September even though the government has not received “one dollar” since Hurricane Maria pummelled the island on September 18.

Speaking at the daily briefing updating Dominicans on the progress of rehabilitation, Skerrit said that his administration was also in talks with the private sector on plans to get them functional as quickly as possible and hinted at the possibility of providing land and concessions in that regard.

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Aerial view of the damage caused to Dominica by Hurricane Maria

He said while the World Bank had made available loans and grants totalling more than US$60 million to the island, he was hoping for further negotiations to bring the figure up to US$100 million and would soon be holding talks with representatives of the Washington-based financial institution.

He said while the salaries were paid and the government had been meeting its financial obligations, “further discussions will be held with our creditors.

“We have not earned one dollar since the hurricane,” Skerrit told the briefing, adding that his administration is bracing for the “serious fiscal challenge that the government will have now and in the months to come”.

Skerrit also announced that the authorities have decided to declare the capital a “pedestrian area” banning all vehicular traffic into the city.

Just too many people come into the city…if you have no business in town just don’t come into town,” he said, adding that the government will enter into an agreement with several bus drivers to provide free rides for people to and from the outskirts of the city.

“My appeal to all of us is to cooperate,” he said, adding that the high number of vehicles in the capital was hampering the work of the rescue and other teams.

Skerrit also acknowledged that the country is facing a problem with heavy duty equipment to clear roads and as a result an agreement had been reached with operators in the region so that in the next few days heavy fleet of equipment expected here soon.

“Our intention is to clean from Roseau going out,” he said, adding that heavy equipment will also be placed in the north of the island to help in the cleaning up exercise.

“Our intention is to get commercial activity going on,” Skerrit said.

Prime Minister Skerrit also indicated that the authorities would be examining the possibility of lifting the state of emergency and curfew in some areas, but said that would depend on the advice provided by the police.

“The intention is to end the curfew in some parts of the country…but that advice will be given by the Commissioner of Police later today,” he said.

Regarding the availability of supplies, Skerrit said that while many friendly governments were providing relief material to Dominica, his government had entered into an agreement with a business concern in Barbados for the supply of supplies.

He said a decision on the re-opening of the Douglas-Charles airport, north of here will also be taken soon and reminded Dominicans “this is not the time for any type of complains”.

Hurricane Maria left a trail of death and destruction when it hit the island last month, with preliminary estimated indicating that the damage could be in the vicinity of billions of dollars (one EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).

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UK joint task force

UK Joint Task Force head says territories ‘moving back towards normality’ after Hurricane Irma devastation

 TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Oct. 8, CMC – One month after the most powerful hurricane in decades pummeled the Caribbean, head of the United Kingdom (UK) Joint Task Force, Chris Austin, says life in affected British Overseas Territories is “moving back towards normality.”

“We have had a month of extensive emergency relief – stopping people from getting blown away, and giving them basic shelter and basic foods,”  Austin told the British Press Association.

UK joint task force “Through to schools now reopening, airports and ports are functioning, hospitals functioning, power is being reconnected, the water supply fixed – all of those things we have helped with, largely with the brilliant military effort,” he added. “So, the next stage is how we are going to get the economy rebooted.”

Austin said across the Turks and Caicos, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the territories “are in different ways, open for tourists,” adding that hotel bookings and cruise ships are starting to “line themselves up.”

“It is moving back towards normality, but it is still pretty rough; and there will be people in all of those territories who have got it worse than others.”

At least 38 people were killed in the Caribbean by Hurricane Irma, with the weather  also blamed for manydeaths across the American states of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia.

Less than two weeks later, the region was rocked by a second major storm, Hurricane Maria, which narrowly missed hitting the affected British Overseas Territories with full force – but decimated Dominica and Puerto Rico.

To date, the UK government has pledged £57 million towards hurricane relief efforts, and announced an additional £5 million in financial support for the island of Dominica.

More than 132 tons of UK aid has also already arrived in the region and at the peak of relief efforts, there were more than 2,000 UK military personnel working in the Caribbean – “making it the largest deployment of British troops anywhere in the world.”

But Austin said that the military response is now “drawing down”, stating: “They will have pretty much left by the middle of next week.”

UK International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, who visited the BVI and Anguilla days after Hurricane Maria barreled through the Caribbean, said there are “signs of daily life getting back to normal.”

“Our UK Task Force is now working with the governments of the overseas territories to help them get on with the vital reconstruction work and to make sure the islands are built back more resiliently than in the past, so a future hurricane won’t be as devastating,” she said.

But, with the hurricane season set to run into November, Austin warned that the recovery is “still quite fragile” and another major storm could “reverse” any progression.

“If there is another hurricane, we are ready to respond as quickly as we did to Irma, which I think was a quick response rather than a slow response,” Austin said.

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oil

ExxonMobil finds more oil in new well offshore Guyana

TEXAS, Oct. 5, CMC –  US based oil giant, Exxon Mobil Corporation on Thursday announced it made a fifth new oil discovery after drilling the Turbot-1 well offshore Guyana.

oilTurbot is ExxonMobil’s latest discovery to date in Guyana, adding to previous discoveries at Liza, Payara, Snoek and Liza Deep.

Following completion of the Turbot-1 well, the Stena Carron drillship will move to the Ranger prospect – an additional well on the Turbot discovery is being planned for 2018.

“ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. began drilling the Turbot-1 well in August and encountered a reservoir of 75 feet of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone in the primary objective,” said ExxonMobil in a statement.

The well was safely drilled to 18,445 feet in 5,912 feet of water on September 29.

The Turbot-1 well is located in the southeastern portion of the Stabroek Block, approximately 30 miles to the southeast of the Liza phase one project.

“The results from this latest well further illustrate the tremendous potential we see from our exploration activities offshore Guyana,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company.

“ExxonMobil, along with its partners, will continue to further evaluate opportunities on the Stabroek Block,” he added.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres .

Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is operator and holds 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 percent interest.

ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs.

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Skerrit and UN Sec. Gen

UN Secretary General says Dominica was decimated by Hurricane Maria

 
ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct. 8, CMC – United Nations Secretary General António Guterres described  as “dramatic”, the devastation of Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18.

Speaking at press conference here on Sunday, Guterres noted that every community ielt the impact of the powerful category 5 storm.

“I have never seen anywhere else in the world – a forest completely decimated without one single leaf on any three and even if I have come from Barbuda, where most of the houses were destroyed, Barbuda is a small island linked to Antigua  – and Antigua can support Barbuda But your country, it’s the whole country that has been decimated and its in every community . I’ve seen most of the buildings destroyed or heavily damaged.”

Skerrit and UN Sec. GenHowever, the UN Secretary General, also said he was also mpressed by the resilience of the people.

“I was impressed by the effective response that your government and your people, was able to put together. A response that allows what I see today to be very different from what we could see immediately after the hurricane.”

Gutteres, reiterated the need for the International community  to recognise that the intensity of hurricanes is linked to climate change.

“The intensity of hurricanes in this season is not an accident, it is as a result of climate change. Sometimes people say “we always have hurricanes”  – it is true , but what we have never had is the intensity, the frequency and the devastating impact.”

He pointed to scientific proof of the link between climate change and the intensity of hurricanes in the Caribbean.

“It is clear that the level of support that Dominica requires cannot be achieved through the traditional instruments. Even if Dominica is a middle income country – it is a middle income country with enormous vulnerability that  was proven now in a very dramatic way, there must be a review of the way , middle income countries are supported.”

Guterres said there must be new financial instruments and bonds of different natures as well as several forms of financing for the country to rebuild .

“The United Nations is entirely at your side, we have been cooperating in your efforts with our limited capacity, but I’m proud that my colleagues are doing their best. But our voice will be together with your voice,  calling for the world to assume its responsibilities in relation to climate change and for the adequate financial instruments to be created and with easy access for your reconstruction to become a real possibility for the benefit of the people of Dominica.

Guterres’s trip forms part of a two-day visit to see the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

On Saturday, the UN Secretary General visited Barbuda, followed by his tour of DOminica where Hurricane Maria ploughed through killed more than two dozen people and left thousands homeless.

For his part, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Dominica has the “unique opportunity” to show the world how a country rebounds of disaster.

“We can be an example to the world of how an entire nation rebounds of disaster and how and entire nation can be climate resilient for the future. We did not choose this opportunity …having had it thrust upon us, we have chosen to be that example to the world.”

Skerrit said Dominica is on a journey to become the world’s first climate resistant nation in the climate change era.

“I see an important role for the United Nations in guiding us with good analysis on how to achieve and monitor national climate resilience. And we know we must do this all in a professional and well governed manner that will encourage the international development agencies to invest their funds….we caution that this is not an academic debate first, it is real and present.”

Skerrit said a critical challenge, is having access to funds and the manifestation on the ground.

“This is one of the message we would like to echo to the international community – that we must work together to overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles in accessing the funds quickly,” the Prime Minister said.

UN Secretary General describes Barbuda as “paradise transformed to hell”

 By Anika Kentish

CODRINGTON, Barbuda, Oct 7, CMC –United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, Saturday described the hurricane-ravaged island of Barbuda as a “paradise transformed to hell” and has renewed his commitment to seeing that small island states affected by devastating hurricanes remain in the forefront for consideration for critical aid needed to rebuild.

Geut1
UN Secretary General António Guterres speaking to reporters (CMC Photo)

“I have just witnessed a level of devastation I’ve never seen in my life,” Guterres told reporters at news conference on his return to Antigua, adding “I’ve been in areas torn by conflict; in my own country I’ve seen earthquakes, I’ve seen storms; I’ve never seen such a high level of devastation like the one I have seen in Barbuda.

“To see a paradise transformed (to) hell is something that creates to us all that live in this planet a responsibility. We need to preserve our paradises. We need to make climate action our top priority.”

The short visit to the 62 square mile island allowed the Secretary General to see first-hand widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma, a deadly Category 5 storm that ripped through the island in September. The 68-year-old Portuguese diplomat spent about an hour, walking the streets of Codrington and taking in the scenes of roofless homes, mangled galvanise, water-logged properties and downed trees and utility lines.

Guterres was accompanied by a team of Antiguan & Barbudan officials including Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph, and Barbuda Council Chairperson Knacyntar Need.

The tour included unscheduled stops at people’s homes to speak to residents who had returned to clean their properties. In some instances, the UN leader broke away from his entourage to wade his way through scattered debris and peer into damaged homes and businesses. Stepping back, he would shake his head in disbelief and return to his waiting party.

Another stop allowed him to meet with Barbudans Knackbill Nedd and Nigil Lewis. The two men were among several who returned to the island to assist with the clean-up.  They both shared their experience weathering the storm and their outlook for rebuilding the island and restoring people’s livelihood.

“Certain things have to come back before you get work, like utilities will have to be back in place. That will have a spill off so you’ll get some work from that… those things have to come back in place so that you can get a job,” Lewis explained to the UN boss.

“In terms of economic loss, it’s a total loss,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne added. He also noted that most Barbudans build from accrued savings and that many will not be able to save enough to rebuild what was lost.

“We have a true friend in the secretary general,” Prime Minister Browne told the Barbudan men as he sought to ensure them that the island will receive the aide need.

During the post-tour press conference at the Prime Minister’s office in Antigua, Guterres told reporters there was a clear link between the level of greenhouse gasses, water temperature and the intensity of storms, thereby strengthening the case for taking action against climate change.

During last month’s UN General Assembly, Guterres and global leaders agreed to accelerate efforts on climate action and to implement the Paris Agreement.

In a statement, the UN said the discussions heralded “a new phase in efforts aimed at mobilizing and scaling up transformative action that will allow the world to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Though he was not satisfied with the level of response from the international community, Guterres remained hopeful that his visit would raise awareness to the plight of hurricane-ravaged island states and spur donors into action.

Browne was satisfied that Guterres’ visit not only allowed the diplomat to see significant portion of the damage, but to put the plight of the island’s residents on the world stage.

“I think he would have done three miles walking and would have observed first-hand the exent of the devastation,” Browne said. “He came his own conclusion that it was a transformation of paradise latterly into hell.”

Guterres’s trip forms part of a two-day visit that would allow him to see the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The second leg of the tour takes him to “Nature Isle” Dominica where Hurricane Maria ploughed through killing more than two dozen people and rendering thousands homeless.

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CMC1

Press Statement of the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The following is the full text of statement issued by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) following an incident involving our correspondent Mr. Kenton Chance and a member of the Barbados Coast Guard in Dominica on October 5, 2017.

“The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) is aware of an incident between our correspondent Kenton Chance and a member of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) that occurred in Dominica on Thursday, October, 5.

CMC1“Mr. Chance reported that while on assignment covering the relief efforts at the Dominica Port with officials from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), a member of the Barbados Coast Guard “grabbed” his camera while he was filming the activities there.  Our correspondent said that the uniformed member of the Barbados Coast Guard, who was armed with an assault rifle, forcefully relieved him of his camera at the instruction of a man in civilian wear.  The Coast Guard official had also threatened to delete the footage already gathered.

“The equipment was only returned following the intervention of Acting Inspector of Police Hospidales of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Force and another member of his team who accompanied Chance back to the scene of the incident. Chance also informed (Retired) Brigadier General Earl Arthurs of CDEMA, who spoke to Hospidales and the man, after which the camera was returned to him.

“CMC strongly condemns the actions of the member of the Barbados Coast Guard. As the premier regional media outfit our primary role is to engender and foster the tenets of regional unity through information gathering and sharing.

“We gladly embraced the invitation to go to Dominica through a partnership between CDEMA and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) to ensure that the Caribbean and the diaspora are made fully aware of the unfolding situation in Dominica as a result of Hurricane Maria.

“The role of the authentic media is even more important now in light of the trend in societies to embrace what is often termed “fake news”; some of which were peddled in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria striking Dominica.

“CMC has since taken note of a statement issued by the BDF that it intends to carry out a full investigation into the matter and the apology issued therein.

“CMC will continue to support the work of its correspondents across the region as it seeks to carry out its mandate to provide credible information to all the publics in the Caribbean.

“In that regard, we will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the Barbados Defence Force, the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) and the CBU.

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Dominica 8

Caribbean disaster experts to discuss ways to assist region during SOTIC conference

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct 4, CMC – Leading experts in disaster preparedness and mitigation, recovery, funding, airport development and maintenance among other stakeholders will meet in Grenada net week to discuss ways on how the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference in Jamaica in November can assist Caribbean countries battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett Wednesday said that the four hour discussions will be held on October 12 as part of the weeklong Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) to be held in St. George’s.

Dominica 8He said it is the hope that the outcome of the meeting could into the special session of the November 27-29 UNWTO conference in Jamaica “and that a document will emerge from SOTIC which will help to inform that session at the Jamaica/UNWTO summit”.

“Recover & Rebuild will focus on the economic cost of the disasters, including the potential impact on gross domestic product, employment, the cost to rebuild and the recovery time. Key recommendations emerging from Recover & Rebuild will form part of the comprehensive document which we believe will have industry-wide international significance,” Bartlett said.

He said he was urging all stakeholders within the tourism industry to attend both the Grenada and Jamaica meetings adding that “these two crucial events will help set the course for recovery and growth for all of us over the next year and shape the future of tourism for the Caribbean region”.

Several Caribbean countries, notably, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten were battered by the hurricanes last month as they made their way through the Lesser Antilles leaving a trail of death and destruction estimated at billions of dollars.

Bartlett said that Jamaica “continues to extend our thoughts and prayers to our Caribbean brothers and sisters” and recognises that the entire Caribbean region will be adversely impacted by the lasting results of two hurricanes.

He said Kingston has recognised the efforts of the Barbados-based CTO, in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) as well as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in assisting the region and ensuring that timely and accurate information is disseminated.

“We are aware that CTO and CDEMA technical teams have been on the ground in the various islands doing rapid needs assessments and coordinating with the national authorities in managing the various interventions, to mitigate the pain and hardships that are so pervasive at this time.”

He said a meeting held last month in China of the UNWTO and attended by 10 countries from the Caribbean and Latin America agreed on the need “to assist in the Caribbean natural disaster risk management and response initiatives” and to include in the Jamaica conference an opportunity for all interested parties to discuss and implement a plan of action.

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World Bankk

World Bank says remittances to the Caribbean recover modestly after two-year decline

 

WASHINGTON, Oct 4, CMC – The World Bank says remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to increase by 6.9 per cent to US$79 billion this year.

In the latest edition of the Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, the Washington-based financial institution noted that “economic growth and improvement in the labour market in the United States is having a positive impact on the outlook for remittance flows”.

World BankkDilip Ratha, the lead author of the Brief said “remittances are a lifeline for developing countries; this is particularly true following natural disasters, such as the recent earthquakes in Mexico and the storms devastating the Caribbean.

“It is imperative for the global community to reduce the cost of remitting money, by eliminating exclusivity contracts, especially in the high-income OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. There is also an urgent need to address de-risking behaviour of global banks,” he added.

However, the report notes growth in remittances to the region will moderate in 2018 to US$82 billion.

The World Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to developing countries on a whole are expected to grow by 4.8 per cent to US$450 billion for 2017.

It said global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 3.9 per cent to US$596 billion and that the recovery in remittance flows is driven by relatively stronger growth in the European Union, Russian Federation, and the United States.

The Bank says those regions likely to see the strongest growth in remittance inflows this year are Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

It said in keeping with an improving global economy, remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow modestly by 3.5 per cent in 2018, to US$466 billion, adding that global remittances will grow by 3.4 per cent to US$616 billion in 2018.

The Bank noted that the global average cost of sending US$200 remained stagnant at 7.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, adding that this was significantly higher than the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of three per cent.

The Brief presents the results of a survey, conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), on recruitment costs paid by low-skilled migrant workers.

Reducing recruitment costs is a part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of promoting safe, regular and orderly migration. Such costs can be exorbitantly high in some corridors, the Brief noted.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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