Archive | OECS

BVI government to improve border security

BVI government to improve border security

by STAFF WRITER

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jun 3 CMC – Over US$6-million will be spent to improve border security across this British Overseas territory.

Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley  says the move shows that the current administration is serious  about advancing the territory.

Vincent Wheatley

“For as long as I can recall, there have been complaints and heavy criticism levied against Labour and Immigration departments.That is why Cabinet recently approved the sum of $6.4 million for the purchase of a new state-of-the-art Immigration border management system.”

This comes several months after Governor Augustus announced that travellers arriving and departing the BVI will be subject to heightened security measures to include the implementation of an Advance Passenger Information (API) System.

Meanwhile, Wheatley said he intends to give support to the departments of Labour and Immigration by introducing policies and legislation to help reform and improve them.

Concerning plans for the online amalgamation of the Labour and Immigration departments, Wheatley, who is also Labour Minister, says this has already started.

“It’s currently undergoing testing. We are using a test group of 32 different businesses – which will soon be open to the wider public,” adding that the undertaking is scheduled to be ready for the broader public by July.

“It is only the beginning. Later on this month, we will be launching a few more initiatives within that department starting with a name change,” he said.

Posted in CARICOM, Local, News, OECS, Politics, Regional, Security, Technology, Travel0 Comments

Fixtures

Inaugural OECS/ECCB International Netball Series

14 June 2019, Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis – Five netball teams from across the OECS will compete for the first Gloria Ballantyne Championship Trophy in the inaugural OECS/ECCB International Netball Series, which will be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines from June 15 – 21 .

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), in collaboration with the OECS Commission, the Caribbean Netball Association and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association, will host the OECS/ECCB International Netball Series under the theme: Excellence and Empowerment Through Sports.  This Series replaces the OECS/ECCB Under-23 Netball tournament, which the ECCB sponsored from 1991-2018.

The ECCB’s sponsorship of the OECS/ECCB International Netball Series demonstrates the Bank’s vision of fostering regional integration and its commitment to the overall development and empowerment of the region’s women through sports.

Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N. J. Antoine said:The ECCB remains fully committed to the development of our young women through the sport of netball. After 28 years of sponsorship, our Bank is pleased to help take the sport to a higher level through enhanced support for the launch of the International Netball Series.”

The OECS/ECCB International Netball Series will provide the participating teams with the opportunity to play international netball matches and gain world netball ranking. It will also highlight elite netballers in the OECS on the international platform and establish pathways for OECS netballers to enhance their competence in the sport.

The Series will commence with the Official Opening Ceremony on 15 June, following which teams Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will compete for netball supremacy at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex. The championship trophy is named in honour of Gloria Ballantyne of
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who has been influential in regional netball for several decades.

The netballers will also participate in a developmental session on the theme: Charting a Course: A Financial Guide for Women. Villette Browne, Managing Director of the KP Group of companies in St Vincent and the Grenadines, will conduct the session. They will also have the opportunity to engage in discussion with the netball officials about the future of the sport in the region.

Posted in Local, News, OECS, Regional, Regional Sports, Sports0 Comments

DECLAR~1

DECLARATION ADOPTED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE SIXTH MEETING OF MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF CARICOM AND CUBA

 

 

  Date: 2019-Jun-Fri Web: www.caricom.org | Tel: 592-222-0001 | Email: communications@caricom.org  

We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba, having met in Georgetown, Guyana, on June 14th, 2019, on the occasion of the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting.

Recalling the Summit Declarations of Havana 2002, Bridgetown 2005, Santiago de Cuba 2008, Port of Spain 2011, Havana 2014 and St. Mary’s 2017; as well as the periodic meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba; and highlighting their indisputable contribution to the advancement of our political links and cooperation, materialized in the high level reached by the relations between our nations;

Recognizing the need to collectively address the challenges to sustainable development, including our vulnerabilities as Caribbean countries, especially in the economic and environmental areas, and in particular as Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States, in order to build just, inclusive and equitable societies;

Concerned by the loss of life and the extensive economic and infrastructure damage caused by the passage of frequent and intensive hurricanes in the Caribbean region, and the negative effect of natural disasters on our development processes;

Affirming that the Caribbean is an inseparable part of Our America, and highlighting the role of CARICOM in the regional integration process;

Reaffirming the importance of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for political consultation and promotion of the unity and integration of our region;

Recalling the significance to the Caribbean countries of taking advantage of the potential offered by the regional and sub-regional mechanisms such as CELAC, ACS, ALBA-TCP, PETROCARIBE as well as international mechanisms such as BRICS;

Determined to continue to strengthen the CARICOM-Cuba mechanism, based on deep historical roots and founded on solidarity, cooperation, and complementarity:

1. Reiterate that the unity and integration of our Caribbean Region is based on unrestricted respect and full adhesion to the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law, in particular the respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the prohibition of the threat or use of force. Also, reaffirm our commitment to the protection and promotion of all human rights for all;

2. Emphasize the importance of defending regional unity to preserve the peace and stability of our countries;

3. Reaffirm our solidarity with the Republic of Haiti, for which we feel a historic debt of gratitude, and a commitment to continue fostering cooperation with that nation, in accordance with the priorities defined by its government and in full respect of its sovereignty;

4. Call on the international community, in its relations with the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), to endorse the tenets of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana in January 2014, and that recognizes, among others, the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations.

5. Reject the imposition of unilateral coercive measures and, in that context, call for an immediate and unconditional end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba and, especially, to its extraterritorial nature and the financial persecution of Cuban transactions, whose severity has increased. In this regard, we denounce the application of the new measures under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, legislation which flagrantly violates International Law and undermines the sovereignty and interests of third parties, announced by the US government which strengthens the US blockade against Cuba, including the application of laws and measures of extra-territorial nature that are contrary to international law. Furthermore, we reiterate our endorsement of the principles of international law as well as our strongly-held view that economic development and stability in the Caribbean region contribute to international peace and security;

6. Agree to continue implementing the results of the Summits of Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba and the Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs as a platform for closer political consultation and coordination in other areas;

7. Recognize the cooperation between CARICOM and Cuba in areas such as health, human resource development, construction, sports, and disaster risk reduction and mitigation has effectively contributed to the development and well-being of our peoples. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to continue promoting the implementation of projects to improve air and sea ports, infrastructure and connectivity between our countries and broaden our economic and trade relations through the implementation of the Revised Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba;

8. Commit to complete the required internal legal procedures with a view to giving effect to the Second Protocol to the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which will contribute to the strengthening of trade relations;

9. Reiterate the importance of trade for the Region’s sustainable development and reaffirm the necessity of appropriate policy space and special and differential treatment for small vulnerable economies like those in the Caribbean. In that context, we welcome the hosting by Barbados of UNCTAD XV in October 2020, which will be the first time that an UNCTAD quadrennial conference has been held in a Caribbean country;

10. Reaffirm the need to continue strengthening cooperation and exchange of experiences and good practices in the area of integrated disaster risk management in the Caribbean, aiming to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and all its goals by the Caribbean countries; and thus to promote the substantial reduction of disaster risk and loss of life, livelihood and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of people, enterprises, communities and countries;

11. Commit to continue cooperation in the areas of food security, nutrition and agricultural development including women empowerment and youth involvement, as key pillars in the fight against poverty, including actions for implementing the CELAC Plan for Food and Nutrition Security and the Eradication of Hunger 2025 (SAN-CELAC);

12. Reiterate our commitment to the protection and conservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources in the region, particularly in the Caribbean Sea. Support its designation by the United Nations as a “Special Area in the Context of Sustainable Development” and support the mandate of the ACS Caribbean Sea Commission, to promote its preservation and sustainable use. In that regard, strongly condemn the continued use of the Caribbean Sea for transit and transshipment of nuclear material and toxic waste, and urge countries that produce and transport them to urgently implement appropriate measures to end such activities;

13. Reaffirm the commitment to promote regional energy integration as a relevant element for sustainable development and to advance the diversification of the energy matrix of our countries, oriented towards the use of clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources, and universal access to energy services that contribute to the well-being of our peoples; we also welcome the fruitful exchanges held between the Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energetic Efficiency and Cuba;

14. Emphasize the urgent and global priority of climate change and its negative implications for our societies, ecosystems and economies. In this regard, commit to strengthening cooperation within CARICOM and with other international organizations and agencies to foster greater adaptation and mitigation, strengthen resilience and reduce our vulnerability, particularly Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States;

15. Commit ourselves to continue promoting joint actions and exchanges of experience and information on security, as well as on prevention and confrontation of transnational organized crime, the worldwide drug problem, corruption, human trafficking and other new threats related to cyber security among others;

16. Recognize the promotion of sustainable tourism as one of the keys to economic growth in the Caribbean region, as identified in the Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community 2015-2019, and agree to strengthen cooperation in this area, including multi-destination tourism;

17. Emphasize the importance of culture as a significant instrument in the advancement of sustainable economic development, unity, peace, education and mutual understanding between our people, and support a successful celebration of CARIFESTA XIV, to take place in Trinidad and Tobago on August 16 – 25, 2019;

18. Reaffirm our will to strengthen South-South cooperation as an expression of solidarity among our countries for the promotion of bilateral and regional programmes as well as triangular cooperation for development, taking into account the development priorities of our countries;

19. Agree to celebrate the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on 24 July 2019, recognizing the role it continues to play in advancing integration and sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean, through active collaboration in the focused areas of disaster risk reduction, sustainable tourism including multi-destination, trade, sustainable development and protection of the Caribbean Sea and transportation;

20. Reaffirm that the preservation and consolidation of CELAC as a regional forum for dialogue and political coordination and as an international political actor is one of our priorities. In that context, we consider it to be fundamental to continue strengthening regional integration through political dialogue, cooperation and increased trade among the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. In that regard, we reaffirm the importance of Caribbean countries’ active participation within CELAC and we recognize the role played by successive Chairs of Conference of CARICOM within the CELAC Quartet;

21. Acknowledge and support the effort deployed by CARICOM countries and its Pro Tempore President, alongside Mexico and Uruguay through the Montevideo Mechanism for respectful dialogue in Venezuela, guided by the principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, prohibition of the threat and use of force, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, respect for the constitutional framework and democracy, and reiterating the right of people to self–determination;

22. Express grave concern over the inclusion of CARICOM Member States in the lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions by the European Union which has negative effects on the economies of Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States which have implemented recognized international norms and have proven their willingness to cooperate and dialogue in order to find solutions;

23. Also express deep concern and rejection of the progressive decline in correspondent banking relations with developing countries, particularly CARICOM Member States, due to de-risking actions by some of the major international banking corporations, which threaten the financial stability of the affected countries and limits their efforts to achieve development and socio-economic growth;

24. Reiterate the call to review and modify the current “graduation” criteria for Official Development Assistance so as to adequately reflect the reality and specific needs of Highly-Indebted Middle Income Countries, particularly Caribbean States;

25. Emphasize the importance of reparation and compensation for the damages caused by slavery in the Caribbean as an act of justice and, in this regard, support the work of the CARICOM Reparations commission;

26. Express our thanks to the Government and People of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana for their warm welcome, hospitality and support in organizing the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting;

27. Decide to hold the Seventh CARICOM-Cuba Summit in Cuba, in 2020.

Declaration Adopted At The Conclusion Of The Sixth Meeting Of Ministers Of Foreign Affairs Of CARICCARICOM and Cuba Ministers and delegates and CARICOM Secretary-General pose for a photo after the opening of the Meeting (Photo via DPI)

Adopted at the Sixth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba on 14th June 2019, in Georgetown, Guyana.

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Barbados PM announces sale of LIAT shares

Barbados PM announces sale of LIAT shares

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 4, CMC – The Barbados government Tuesday night formally announced plans to sell its shares in the cash strapped regional airline, LIAT, but insisted that it was committed to regional transportation and would continue to hold minimum shares in the Antigua-based carrier.

Barbados along with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the main shareholders of the airline that employs over 600 people and operates 491 flights weekly across 15 destinations.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley in a statement to Parliament confirmed reports that Antigua and Barbuda would be seeking to replace Barbados as the largest shareholder government by seeking to acquire the shares Bridgetown would be outing up for sale.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley speaking in Parliament (CMC Photo)

She said that Attorney General Dale Marshall would lead the negotiations.

“There is only so much that Barbados can responsibly do at this time given our current circumstances and our current position on the journey which I referred to just now,” she said, having earlier made reference to the island’s multi-million dollar agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to turn around the ailing economy.

“Therefore…notwithstanding our absolute commitment to regional air travel and notwithstanding the fact and given in fact that the studies have recommended a different module and restructuring for LIAT and given the inability of the government of Barbados to do for LIAT in the next five to 10 years what the government of Barbados did for LIAT in the last five to 10 years when we moved significantly to assume major shareholder responsibilities, we have taken the determination, a decision as a cabinet that it is time for us to step back while at the same time allowing other governments to continue with their proposals to restructure LIAT in the way which they have determined.”

Last month, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said he had ieceived communication from his Barbados  indicating that Bridgetown was willing to sell all but 10 per cent of its shares in the airline that serves 15 Caribbean destinations.

Antigua and Barbuda currently holds 34 per cent of the shares and if it succeeds in convincing Bridgetown to part with its LIAT shares, would have 81 per cent of the airline.

The government in a statement last month had said that “an offer was made for Antigua and Barbuda to acquire the LIAT shares owned by Barbados, through a take-over of the liability of Barbados to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).”

The Antigua and Barbuda government chief of staff, Lionel Max Hurst, said that “there are many jobs here in Antigua and Barbuda connected to LIAT and we intend to ensure that those jobs are not lost.

“Many of the route rights that LIAT now possesses would be utilized more fully if Antigua and Barbuda gets its way,’ Hurst said.

Motrley told Parliament that Barbados would not be turning its back on regional transportation or LIAT, adding it would maintain a “minimum shareholding in LIAT should we reach an agreement with our sister governments for them to take over our shareholding with respect to the negotiations.

“We will continue to provide a minimum revenue guarantee, I shouldn’t say continue, we will provide a minimum revenue guarantee on any route that is uncommercial, unprofitable, recognising however that the majority of routes that Barbados is involved in, is in fact profitable with LIAT.

“And it is against this background Mr. Speaker, our commitment continues that such within the last few weeks the government of Barbados would have sent a further one billion dollars (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) to LIAT and would also have satisfied our commitment to the Caribbean Development Bank with respect to the re-fleeting of LIAT,” she added.

In May, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that the shareholder governments had agreed to give further consideration to a proposal by Prime Minister Browne regarding the future direction of the airline.

Gonsalves said he had hoped that the proposal from Antigua and Barbuda would be discussed by the shareholders “before the end of May is out”.

Grenada recently became the latest shareholder in LIAT and Gonsalves confirmed that St. Kitts-Nevis had responded positively to the call for raising US$5.4 million to help the airline deal with its current financial problems.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said that Castries would not contribute any funds unless there’s a significant change to the airline’s structure.

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Expert warns of Caribbean heat season

Expert warns of Caribbean heat season

By Kenton X. Chance

PHILLIPSBURG, St. Maarten, May 24, CMC —  A Caribbean climatologist says that while the Caribbean is best known for having wet, dry and hurricane seasons, a little known fact is that the region also has a distinct heat season.

Cédric Van Meerbeeck, climatologist at the Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) says that since about 1995, the Caribbean has had a distinct heat season which lasts from about May to October and is forecast to be more intense this year that the last two years.

“But the heat season is something that didn’t happen in the past. Yes, people feel more comfortable and sometimes even cold around Christmas time and you know that it gets hotter towards September. But it’s not really common knowledge that there is a six-month period that noticeably warmer than the other part of the year and that is May to October….

“And during that heat season, you find that the levels of heat discomfort and heat stress [increases] so that’s impacting your health, also the health of some animals,” Van Meerbeeck said, adding this has implication for comfort levels as well as major sectors in the region, such as tourism and agriculture.

He told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on the side-line of the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) that while the heat season peaks in September, the region has its most heat waves between August and October.

“Heat waves might not look as extreme as they are in some desert areas or some part of the United States and other regions. However, they do impact us because mostly that’s also the time of the year when the humidity is high,” Van Meerbeeck explained.

“When humidity is high, your body doesn’t cool as effectively as when the air is quite dry and so you feel more heat stress even though the temperature does not increase immensely,” Van Meerbeeck said, urging people to stay as cool as possible, especially from August onward.

The climatologist said that for the first half of the heat season, the air is still relatively dry, therefore, the temperatures are not necessarily so uncomfortable.

“But it is really that second part of the heat season that we want to warn against. Keep cool; don’t go in the sun in the middle of the day; seek shade, seek ventilation in your homes.

“If you have an AC, make sure you run the AC while you sleep so that your brain and your body can recover better and that you can function normal in the face of the heat,” the climatologist advised.

“Last year, we were quite fortunate that there were not many heat waves. It was not that brutal. A comparable season would have been 2016 when we really had a lot of heat between August and October.”

Van Meerbeeck said the cause of the higher temperature is the rising temperatures of the ocean, which releases heat into the atmosphere during the heat season.

“It doesn’t change the weather much from day to day, but over longer periods of time, it does affect the amount of energy that is in the atmosphere and therefore that is the temperature that you feel,” the climatologist said, adding this is definitely linked to climate change.

“And this is one of the clearest links that we observe in the Caribbean beside sea level rise. The increasing temperature now means that even though we didn’t have a heat season outside of maybe August to October in the past, now you find that heat waves actually occur for a longer period of time every year in the warmer years particularly.

“But now, in the cooler years, you now have heat waves. That didn’t used to be the case up until about 1995. It’s really something recent, where the trend of temperate going up with climate change is really affecting the heat level that we have in the season.”

He said this has implication for agriculture and fisheries, especially the livestock subsector and fish, especially in the northern Caribbean, that are sensitive to the heating of the sea surface.

“But for livestock, it’s important to also provide cooling for them. For us that is important. Maybe ethically that’s one thing but also in terms of our food security, our protein stock really comes from chicken and chicken are amongst the most sensitive animals to excessive heat especially broilers.”

Van Meerbeeck said it is a good practice to keep poultry birds cool “so you can to make sure that your chicken stock does not reduce and does not experience that heat stress which leads to less protein being available at a reasonable cost for us”.

As regard tourism, the climatologist said that heat is not that much of a problem as long as awareness is built with tourists.

“But they should really do their best to keep cool whenever they can, stay hydrated, seek the shade, seek well-ventilated places; if you go in the sun, don’t go in the middle of the day,” Van Meerbeeck said, adding that hotels should also remind tourists to stay cool.

Posted in CARICOM, Climate/Weather, Environment, Local, OECS, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

Representatives of the Fisheries and Ocean Resources Unit in Montserrat receive a copy of the EAF toolkit

Anguilla and Montserrat strengthen capacity to mainstream climate change adaptation in their fisheries sectors

CANARI Media Release

commonly known in Montserrat as ‘jacks’

Port of Spain, Trinidad With the start of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season mere weeks away, many Caribbean islands are already bracing for the possibility of being hit by a tropical storm or hurricane.

One sector which has been particularly hard hit is the fisheries sector. Damage to important fisheries infrastructure and assets such as jetties, boats, and fishing gear can cost Caribbean countries millions of dollars in recovery and lost revenue.

These damages also have a substantial impact on the livelihoods of those who depend on fishing as a main source of income and could be a driving force behind increasing poverty in fishing communities. Other climate related effects such as warming oceans and rising sea levels also have negative impacts on the sector, including loss of important fisheries habitats.

Ensuring that countries integrate climate change adaption and disaster risk management into the policies and plans for their fisheries sectors is therefore vital for protecting important fisheries ecosystems, securing livelihoods and food production and reducing poverty.


Participants at the workshop held in Anguilla, January 22-25, 2019

In January 2019, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWICERMES) hosted training workshops in Anguilla and Montserrat with policy makers, fisheries managers, fisherfolk and other key stakeholders to demonstrate how climate change adaption and disaster risk management can be practically incorporated into fisheries management plans. A total of 69 participants from both islands, attended the four-day workshops.

The training workshops used the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) toolbox to help participants decide what practical solutions they could apply given their particular circumstances and resources. Overall, participants found the toolkit easy to use. Participants in particular found the section of the toolkit on communication to be very useful, with one participant in Anguilla noting that “communication and the means in which it is carried out among stakeholder groups is critical in fisheries planning.” 


Representatives of the Fisheries and Ocean Resources Unit in Montserrat receive a copy of the EAF toolkit

As a follow-up to the workshops, both Anguilla and Montserrat will take steps to update their fisheries management plans to mainstream climate change adaption and disaster risk management using an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. Part of the training also specifically targeted fisherfolk in an effort to get them more involved in stewardship actions that would help protect and conserve the marine habitats upon which they depend, and reduce their vulnerability to climate change impacts. A small grants call was sent out in March 2019 to fisherfolk organisations in both islands for proposals on projects to address climate change adaptation and disaster risk management through stewardship and innovative solutions. The selected projects will launch in June 2019 and end in December 2019.

For further information, please contact: Ainka Granderson, Senior Technical Officer, CANARI at ainka@canari.org or +1-868-638-6062.

About the project:

The training workshops and small grant programme are both key activities under the 3-year Climate change adaptation in the fisheries of Anguilla and Montserrat project (April 2017- March 2020). This project is being is being implemented by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources – Anguilla, Fisheries and Ocean Resources Unit – Montserrat and the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWI-CERMES). The project is funded by the Government of the United Kingdom from the Darwin Plus: Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund under the Darwin Initiative. See here for more information on the project:

Climate Change Adaptation In The Fisheries Of Anguilla And Montserrat (April 2017-March 2020)

About CANARI:

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for 30 years. Our mission is to promote equitable participation and effective collaboration in managing natural resources critical to development. Our programmes focus on capacity building, policy planning and development, research, sharing and dissemination of lessons learned, and fostering regional partnerships.

Ocean Governance and Fisheries

The Caribbean region is ranked among one of the most biodiverse regions of the world.  In the OECS increasing awareness is being placed on marine areas which hold an abundance of natural resources including rich biodiversity, living resources both marine and terrestrial and nonliving resources in the form of mineral and natural products. In comparison to the land area the OECS has many times more marine area as prescribed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Law of the Sea.

While, the OECS has exercised jurisdiction by legislation over the water column and the accompanying living and non-living resources, the benefits to be derived are not fully maximized but nonetheless many resources are utilized. However, many decades of use and exploitation of the marine environment with inadequate resource management programmes has left a growing evidence of degradation of its critical and vulnerable ecosystems. Some of the drivers of this degradation are those activities associated with poorly-planned coastal and urban development, unsustainable tourism, land based and marine sources of pollution, over-exploitation of living resources, removal of keystone species and the proliferation of invasive species.  Notwithstanding, the economic potential of some marine resources remains unassessed or underutilized. These latter resources include, but are not limited to, non-living resources such as petroleum products, marine renewable energy sources, and mineable resources.

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Figure 2: Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter, p. 5 with a highlight (Fair use)

The Credibility of God

by

A Special: Part 7

Is the gospel a credible basis for a just civilisation?

When Cayman Chief Justice Anthony Smellie recently ruled[1] to impose same-sex marriage under colour of law in Cayman, some of his underlying points suggested that tradition, religion and linked religious ethics lack basic intellectual credibility and are particularly prone to inequities. Also, in recent years, there has been a flood of articles and voices across the Caribbean that have tried to discredit and dismiss the gospel, the Scriptures that teach it and the churches that bear witness to it. Last September, in answer to one such article,  the below was submitted under the right of reply, but was unfortunately rejected by a leading regional newspaper. Given what is now so clearly at stake and given the foundational importance of the gospel message and gospel ethics, we present the below as a needed first defence of our civilisation.

Over the years, many millions have met and been transformed through meeting God in the face of Christ. This includes countless Jamaicans [and many other people across the Caribbean]. It also includes many famed scholars, eminent scientists and leaders of powerful reformations. Logically, if just one of these millions has actually been reconciled with God through Christ, God must be real and the gospel must be true. (Where, if instead so many are deeply delusional, that would undermine the rational credibility of the human mind.)

However, for some years now various voices have tried to dismissively question God, the gospel and Christians. So, it is not unexpected to see Mr Gordon Robinson writing in the Gleaner[2] recently (on Sunday, August 26, 2018),  about alleged “dangerous dogma promulgated by the Church and its many brainwashed surrogates,” “perverse propaganda spread by Christian churches,” “sycophants” and the like.

Along the way, he managed to ask a pivotal question: “Who/what is God?”

Regrettably, he also implied outright fraud by church leaders: “Either the Church has NO CLUE about who/what God really is, or it deliberately misrepresents God’s essence in order to frighten people into becoming church members and tithing. Nothing else makes sense.”

Fig 1 DNA, Showing the Genetic Code (HT ResearchGate)

In fact, a simple Internet search might give a better answer. For, thinkers such as a Thomas Aquinas or an Augustine of Hippo or a Paul of Tarsus or even a Wayne Grudem[3] or a William Lane Craig[4] have long since credibly addressed the idea of God and systematic theology at a little more sophisticated level than Sunday School lessons or Internet Atheist web sites. In so doing, they have made responsible cases that rise above the level of caricatures of the art on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

We may begin with Paul in Romans 1, 57 AD: “Rom 1:19 . . . what can be known about God is plain to [people], because God has shown it to them. 20 For [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So [people] are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  [ESV]

Here, one of the top dozen minds of our civilisation first points out how our morally governed interior life and what we see in the world all around jointly call us to God our Creator. But, too often we suppress the force of that inner testimony and outer evidence. (This, predictably, leads to unsound thinking and destructive deeds stemming from benumbed consciences and en-darkened minds.)

For one, consider how for sixty years now we have known that the DNA in the cells of our bodies has in it complex, alphanumeric, algorithmic code that is executed through molecular nanotechnology to build proteins, the workhorses of biological life. That’s why Sir Francis Crick wrote to his son Michael on March 19, 1953 that “we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another).”

Yes, alphanumeric code (so, language!), algorithms (so, purpose!), i.e. intelligent design of life from the first living cell on. Including, us. No wonder the dean of the so-called New Atheists was forced to admit that Biology studies complicated things that give a strong appearance of design. 

1947 saw the advent of the transistor age, allowing storage of a single bit of information in a tiny electronic wonder. We have since advanced to computers based on silicon chips comparable in size to a thumb-nail, with millions of transistors. These microchips and support machinery process many millions of instructions per second and have storage capacities of many gigabytes. Coded electronic communication signals routinely go across millions of miles through the solar system.  Every one of these devices and systems required careful design by highly educated engineers, scientists and programmers. The living, self-replicating cell’s sophistication dwarfs all of these; yet we question the all-knowing God, the author of life.

Figure 2: Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter, p. 5 with a highlight (Fair use)

Next, Mr. Robinson and others inevitably appeal to our known duty to truth, right reasoning, fairness, prudent judgement, etc.  But, where did that inner moral law (testified to by our consciences) come from? Surely, it is not a delusion; or else responsible, freely rational discussion would collapse into nihilistic chaos: might and manipulation (= “power and propaganda”) make ‘right,’ ‘rights,’ ‘justice,’ ‘truth,’ ‘knowledge’ etc. Instead, our conscience-guarded hearts and minds clearly show the Creator’s design that we freely live by the light and law of truth and right.

Such considerations – and many more – point us to the only serious candidate for the source of reality that can bridge IS and OUGHT: the inherently good (and wise) Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. Who is fully worthy of our loyalty and of humble, responsible, reasonable service through doing the good. Then, we may readily draw out the classic understanding of God described in scripture and studied in systematic theology: all-good, eternal, creator and Lord with sound knowledge and full capability to work out his good purposes in the right way at the right time.

Moreover, what we most of all need to know about God is taught by Jesus the Christ, recorded in scripture within eye-witness lifetime then accurately handed down to us for 2000 years now, at fearsome cost: the blood of the martyrs. Martyrs, who had but one incentive: that they directly knew and must peacefully stand by the eternal truth – cost what it will. They refused to be frightened by dungeon, fire or sword, much less mere rhetoric. Why would thousands die horribly to promote a known lie?

Their record is that Christ is the express image of his Father, Logos – Cosmos-ordering Reason himself, prophesied Messiah, the Saviour who in love died for us on a cross. He rose from the dead as Lord with 500 eye-witnesses, precisely fulfilling over three hundred prophecies that were long since recorded in the Old Testament. (See esp. Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, c. 700 BC.[5]) He ascended to his Father in the presence of the apostles. He shall return as eternal Judge, before whom we must all account. (Yes, professing and “backsliding” Christians too.) The Bible also records Jesus’ prayer for us: “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and [“thy Son”] Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” [John 17:1- 5, cf. 3:16.]

That is the truth witnessed by the church, whether it was 33 AD in Jerusalem before an angry Sanhedrin, or 50 AD before the laughing Athenians (who had built a public monument to their ignorance of God), or today.  We therefore confidently invite Mr Robinson et al. to join with us in a serious-minded, substantially informed discussion about “who/what God really is” and about why the gospel is just that: God’s good news that brings salvation, blessing and hope for the positive transformation for our nation.


[1]See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/cayman-islands-chief-justice-smellie-tries-to-redefine-marriage-fails/

[2]Cf. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/focus/20180826/gordon-robinson-gospel-according-gordon

[3]See: http://www.waynegrudem.com/

[4]See: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/

[5]See: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isa+52%3A13+-+53%3A12&version=AMP

Posted in Columns, De Ole Dawg, Education, International, Local, News, OECS, Opinions, Regional, Scriptures0 Comments

SPCCU logo

St. Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union Ltd. host Regional Credit Union Movement Board of Directors Meeting

On Friday, April 12, 2019, the St Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union Ltd – Montserrat (SPCCU) plays host to the regional Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions Ltd. (CCCU) Board of Directors Meeting. This is the first time in the history of the SPCCU that such a meeting is been hosted in Montserrat.

The Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions is the regional Apex body for credit unions whose mission is to facilitate the advancement of the Caribbean Co-operative Sector through sustained growth and development, protecting the movement’s philosophy and values and ensuring safe, sound and efficient co-operative service providers.

The CCCU Board of Directors meeting in Montserrat comes on the heels of the SPCCU/ Montserrat hosting the prestigious regional credit union movement, Sir Everard Dean Annual Lecturer series in October 2018, another first for the SPCCU/ Montserrat.

The meeting of the CCCU Board of Directors will entertain issues affecting the regional credit union movement such as compliance, governance and regulatory matters. The meeting is also of great significant since it represents the last formal gathering of the CCCU Board of Directors prior to the CCCU hosting the upcoming World Credit Union Conference during the period July 28-31, 2019 in the Bahamas.

SPCCU General Manager, Mr. Peter Queeley notes that SPCCU hosting of such a meeting is a testimony to growth and significance of the SPCCU/ Montserrat in the regional credit union movement. He further noted that the hosting of the meeting also represents a recognition by the regional credit union movement that the SPCCU/ Montserrat has become of age and is ready to play its part and hold its own in terms of the regional credit union movement.

The CCCU Board Meeting in Monserrat comes on the heels of the most recent meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Monetary Council Meeting held on February 15, 2019. At that meeting, the ECCB noted that twelve financial institutions were identified as systematically important institutions three of which were banks and nine were credit unions.  The ECCB noted that “while commercial banks continued to dominate the financial sector, credit unions were expanding, becoming an increasingly important source of credit to the private sector through increases in membership, assets, loans and deposits. The boom in credit union activity has implications for financial inclusion and the financial stability framework.”

The SPCCU/ Montserrat is a member of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions and the OECS Credit Union Forum.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional0 Comments

Special High Court sitting in Montserrat

Special High Court sitting in Montserrat


Montserrat Reporter‏ @mratreporter

Yesterday, April 5 2018, at Special sitting of High Court in Montserrat – Justice Morley presides over tributes in memory of Judge Redhead

12:27 PM – 6 Apr 2019

Posted in Court, Government Notices, Local, News, Obituaries, OECS, Regional0 Comments

NGolden-Author-Photo

Nerissa Golden Named Acting Director of the Montserrat Arts Council


Nerissa Golden

LITTLE BAY, Montserrat – Author and Business Coach Nerissa Golden has been appointed to act as Director of the Montserrat Arts Council (MAC) until a substantive head is found.

The acting director along with member of the MAC Board Reinford “Kulcha Don” Gibbons attended the Regional Cultural Committee meeting in Trinidad last week to be updated on the plans for hosting CARIFESTA and other issues related to the development of cultural industries.

Golden, who sat on the board of directors for two years, resigned in order to take up the current position. She will oversee internal restructuring of operations, as well as prepare for Montserrat’s representation at the CARIFESTA XIV in Trinidad & Tobago this August.

Golden is a former Director of Information & Communications for the Government of Montserrat. She is the author of eight books and has managed the Discover Montserrat media platforms for the past four years.

One of her priorities, will be to support the establishment of new governance structures as mandated by the board and the development of a revised cultural policy for the island which aligns with local and regional focus to build the creative sector.

Former director Chadd Cumberbatch ended his secondment to the council from government at the end of March. Chairman of the MAC Board Albrun Semper said they were grateful for Mr. Cumberbatch’s contribution to building culture and wished him success in his future endeavours.

The council recently closed its call for applications for two senior roles, Director of the MAC and the Head of Planning & Production on Friday, March 29.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Education, Entertainment, Fashion, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

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