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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of six governors who wrote the letter

Today’s the first family reunification deadline

 

Live Updates

By Meg Wagner and Brian Ries, CNN

Updated 1 min ago1:29 p.m. ET, July 6, 2018
15 min ago

What happens if a parent is deported without his or her kid?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

A US judge has ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border — but does that include kids with parents who have already been deported?

In their latest court filing, the government asked the court for clarity about whether officials need to reunite children with with deported parents, noting that the judge’s ruling did not specify whether deported parents should be included. If that is required, the filing said, officials would need more time “given the complexities involved in locating individuals who have been removed, determining whether they wish to be reunified with their child, and facilitating such a reunification outside of the United States.”

How common is this scenario? Asked about what would happen in such cases Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “If any parent has been deported … without their child, that likely would be a scenario where the parent had actually asked that the child remain.”

Immigration authorities are offering parents separated from their children at the border the option to be deported with or without their kids, according to a government document obtained by CNN this week.

Parents have also been offered the option to sign voluntary departure orders to speed up their cases even if they still have other legal options — and told they’ll be reunited with their kids before they are deported if they do.

Immigrant advocacy groups say they’re concerned that some parents may have been coerced or may have signed documents they didn’t understand.

Governors from 6 states want answers to these 6 questions about separated children

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of six governors who wrote the letter

Governors from six states — New York, Washington, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Oregon — sent a letter Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen “demanding answers concerning the reunification of immigrant families separated at the border,” according to a press release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. 

The letter demands that the following six questions be answered:

  1. How many separated migrant children in HHS custody have already been reunified? 
  2. Of those children who have already been reunified, how many have been placed with the parents they arrived with at the U.S. southern border?
  3. If any were placed with a non-parent sponsor, what policies do your agencies intend to put in place to enable long-term reunification between children and their parents? 
  4. What steps is the federal government requiring separated parents to comply with before gaining back custody of their children?
  5. What safeguards are being put in place to ensure the results of any DNA testing of parents and children are not used for any purpose other than familial verification?
  6. How many of the separated migrant children in HHS custody have been provided with legal services and representation?

How many families have been reunited?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

The only firm statistics we’ve gotten from officials about reunions came from US Customs and Border Protection, which said last month that 522 children who were separated from their family’s under the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy had been reunited with their parents. 

Important note: That number came before a judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border.

Federal agencies have repeatedly declined to respond to questions since the court ruling about how many families have been reunited.

34 min ago

What steps is the government taking to meet reunification deadlines?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

US District Judge Dana Sabraw last month ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border — and laid out a series of deadlines in his ruling.

By Friday, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child. By July 10, children under 5 must be reunited with their parents. And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.

In a court filing ahead of today’s status hearing, the government outlined a series of steps it’s taking to comply with the court order, including

  • DNA testing
  • Increased staffing
  • Expediting existing processes. 

It’s likely more details will come out during the hearing.

 
53 min ago

Mike Pence attacks Democrats for calls to abolish ICE

From CNN’s Liz Landers

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in DC, blamed Democrats for “reckless” language calling to abolish ICE.

“Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the Mayor of New York City have all already called for ICE’s abolition,” he told ICE officers gathered in a conference room here in DC. 

“These spurious attacks by political leaders on ICE must stop,” he said to some applause in the room.

What this is about: Gillibrand called for an end to ICE last month, and Warren called on the US replace it with “something that reflects our morality.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, “ICE’s time has come and gone.”

Watch more from Pence:

This group says they were hung up on when they called looking for detention center information

From CNN’s Nick Valencia

The executive director of a Texas non-profit group tells CNN that the organization has faced significant hurdles as they work to reunite parents with their children.

Jonathan Ryan, with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (also known as RAICES), said representatives from his group have been hung up on when they call detention centers seeking information.

He added that he was turned away Thursday when he tried pay bonds for five women at a detention center.

“There are five women who should be free right now,” Ryan told CNN. “We were rejected at the front desk because we didn’t have bus tickets and airport tickets for them.”

Ryan says he hopes to pay the bonds for the five women today.

A little about this group: RAICES is the intended recipient of several online fundraisers that’s collecting money to help reunite the families, including one that has already raised more than $20 million.

You can learn more about the organization here.

2 hr 34 min ago

The government won’t say exactly how many kids are separated from their families

From CNN’s Clare Foran

The Department of Health and Human on Thursday estimated that there are fewer than 3,000 kids who may have been separated from their parents are in government custody.

But 10 days ago, the department reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care.

During a Thursday call with reporters, HHS Secretary Alex Azar did not provide an exact number of children separated from families, but said “a review and comprehensive audit of multiple data sets” indicated that fewer than 3,000 total children — including an estimated 100 under the age of 5 — are in the care of Office of Refugee Resettlement-funded grantees. 

Watch more:

They were separated on Mother’s Day. 55 days later, this mom and daughter were reunited

From CNN’s Ray Sanchez and Linh Tran

She wept as she embraced her 8-year-old daughter Thursday afternoon at Boston’s Logan Airport, more than 2,500 miles from the Arizona detention center where Gonzalez-Garcia said an immigration agent wished her a “Happy Mother’s Day” before the girl was taken from her without explanation.

 

“Forgive me for leaving you all alone,” Gonzalez-Garcia cried. “Forgive me, my daughter. Forgive me.”

“I was very nervous,” Gonzalez-Garcia told CNN in an exclusive interview. “I was waiting for the moment she walked through that door. … She is all I have. She is my whole life. It’s been so long.”

Watch the moment:

4 hr 7 min ago

Government may ask court for extension on reunification deadlines

The Justice Department has informed a federal judge in San Diego that the administration is in compliance with stopping family separations, except under prescribed conditions (such as the safety of the child), as well as ensuring communication with separated parents and children by today. 

There’s a hearing in San Diego this afternoon, and the DOJ said the government may ask for extended deadlines. Officials laid out certain challenges in meeting the reunification deadlines of July 10 for children under age 5 and July 26 for children over 5.  

In the court filing, the government says in order to confirm parentage, the department of Health and Human Services is using DNA testing which can take time, and asks if the court will permit reunifications outside of the ordered timelines “in cases where parentage cannot be confirmed quickly.” The government says it is willing to propose an alternative timeline.

Additionally, HHS must determine that a “parent is not ‘unfit or presents a danger to the child,’’ which means HHS must also have “an independent finding that the individual has not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child,” before reunification. This process can be slowed down if the court order is interpreted to mean ICE must release parents from detention by compliance deadlines, and says “such release might slow reunification.”

Learn more about the DNA testing in the video below:

4 hr 9 min ago

The US government is supposed to make sure separated families have contact today

From CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg and Nick Valencia

Today is the first of three major deadlines for US officials working to reunited families that were separated at the border under President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy.

  • By July 6, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child, US District Judge Dana Sabraw said in a June ruling.
  • Then, by July 10, officials must reunify all parents with their children under the age of 5.
  • They must reunify parents with children 5 and older by July 26.

So how is all of this working?

For many parents of separated families, one phone call is not enough, and a second one seems like a distant hope. Making contact does not necessarily bring clarity to a family’s situation, lawyers say. Sometimes, it can add to the confusion and deepen a parent’s despair.

Six lawyers working with dozens of detained parents have told CNN their clients had at least one phone call with their children. Most times, those phone calls last less than five minutes, said human rights lawyer Sara E. Dill, who is working with detained parents at Port Isabel Service Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas.

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Chris Cillizza

The 11 most dangerous things Donald Trump said in his Montana speech

(CNN) On Thursday night, President Donald Trump flew to Montana to headline a rally for Matt Rosendale, the Republican nominee against Sen. Jon Tester (D) this November. Trump’s speech was, like most of his addresses, a remarkable mix of stream-of-consciousness thinking, fact-challenged claims and demagoguery.

Normally, I go through the transcript of Trump’s speeches to pick out 30 or 40 (or 50) of the most eye-popping lines, the sentences that stood out most to me for whatever reason. I tend to take a light-hearted approach to this exercise because Trump’s word-salad tendencies when speaking extemporaneously are exacerbated when reading a transcript of his speeches.
Today, I am going to take a different approach.
Trump’s speech on Thursday night contained a number of genuinely dangerous lines, lines no president before Trump would even considering uttering among a small group of friends — much less in front of thousands of people. Below, then, are the 11 most dangerous lines Trump said last night — and why each one poses a real risk to the body populace.
1. “She gets special treatment under the Justice Department. … Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. She gets special treatment under the Justice Department.”
Trump is talking here, of course, about Hillary Clinton. He’s interrupted in his attack by chants of “lock her up” from the crowd. Trump’s undermining of the Justice Department — which he has done on an almost-daily basis since winning the White House — is deeply dangerous to how people perceive those who are tasked with enforcing our laws. When the President of the United States insists the Justice Department is biased and can’t be trusted, it erodes one of the long-standing pillars of civil society.
2. “It’s a rigged deal, folks. It’s a rigged deal. I used to say it. It’s a rigged deal. It’s a disgrace.”
It’s not entirely clear to me what Trump is referring to here — whether he’s reiterating that the FBI is biased or, more likely, casting aspersions on the whole system of government. Either way, he’s fomenting (for political gain) the resentment that lots of people feel toward their government and toward societal establishment more generally.
Trump is provoking people to believe that there is some “they” out there working to keep you down. And enjoying doing it.
3. “But we signed a wonderful paper saying they’re going to denuclearize their whole thing. It’s going to all happen.”
Trump’s assertion that North Korea has agreed to denuclearize and that “it’s going to all happen” is a massive overstatement of the facts. What Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed in Singapore last month was a sort of outline of an agreement. There was nothing binding in it. And this week we got word that satellites have picked up what looks to be more construction at a ballistic missile site in North Korea. So yeah, this version of the North Korea story via Trump misses some major points.
4. “They are so dishonest. Fake news. They’re fake news media.”
Eight days ago, a man walked into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland and murdered five staffers. His motives were his own — he held a grudge against the paper for its coverage of a criminal harassment claim against him — and had nothing to do with Trump’s repeated rhetorical attack on the media as “fake.” Full stop. That said, one might think that in the wake of such violence committed against reporters, the President of the United States might be more mindful of savaging the media to a crowd of his supporters. That would be the responsible thing to do. That isn’t what Trump did.
5. “You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people.”
This is a dangerously naive view of the Russian president. First of all, the US intelligence community has unanimously said that Russia actively meddled in the 2016 election. Under Putin, Russia invaded the Ukraine and annexed the Crimean peninsula. Then there’s the fact that people critical of Putin — including journalists — keep winding up murdered under very suspicious circumstances. These are not the actions of a “fine” person.
6. “They’re fake. They’re fake. They quote sources — ‘A source within the Trump organization said’ — a source. They don’t have a source.”
Trump’s impugning of the media’s use of unnamed sources is part of a broader attempt on his part to undermine a free and independent media. For those who cheer that effort — and insist the media deserves what they get — I would ask you a simple question: Have you ever seen what life is like for the citizenry in a country in which the media is state-run?
7. “A vote for the Democrats in November is a vote to let MS-13 run wild in our communities.”
Campaign rhetoric can be a bit over the top. But this feels beyond the pale to me. Trump is purposely weaponizing fear here. Democrats do not, in fact, want to let the violent MS-13 gang “run wild in our communities.” But Trump knows that the image of tattooed thugs marauding your neighborhood strikes terror in the hearts of many people. And that terror is useful to him in a political context.
8. “Democrats want anarchy, they really do, and they don’t know who they’re playing with, folks.”
Two things here. First, Trump is saying Democrats want “anarchy” — total chaos to be loosed on the United States. Again, weaponizing fear. Second, the threat inherent in “they don’t know who they’re playing with” is purposeful and dangerous. If the 2018 or 2020 election is regarded by people as a war between the rule of law and anarchy or between war and peace, then there will be people out there who feel as though using any means necessary to win is totally justified. And that is a scary proposition.
9. “I said it the other day, yes, she is a low-IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day. High — I mean, honestly, she’s somewhere in the mid-60s, I believe that.”
What Trump is saying: A prominent African-American female politician is very dumb. And, no, none of this is by accident.
10. “Winning the Electoral College is very tough for a Republican, much tougher than the so-called ‘popular vote,’ where people vote four times, you know. Much tougher. Much, much tougher.”
Study after study has shown that claims of widespread voter fraud and abuse are simply not borne out by the facts. Which doesn’t stop Trump from pushing the idea to his base by insisting that people “vote four times” in the popular vote. And if you don’t think trying to disqualify the results of an election without evidence is dangerous, then you aren’t thinking straight — or at all.
11. “We will take that little kit and say, but we have to do it gently. Because we’re in the ‘#MeToo’ generation so I have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn’t hit her and injure her arm even though it only weighs probably two ounces. And we will say, I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test so that it shows you’re an Indian.”
Truly remarkable. In his usual riff about the questions surrounding Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native-American heritage, Trump shows his true colors on the #MeToo movement. He seems to suggest that the movement, which grew out of a series of news stories of powerful men sexually harassing women, is about political correctness run rampant. Trump seems to think — or at least say — that he has to be careful not to offend the #MeToo movement by throwing a DNA heritage kit at Warren. Which both deeply misunderstands what the #MeToo movement is about and denigrates the entire idea of women feeling safe to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.

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Caribbean Court Rules Guyanese Presidential Term Limits Legal

Caribbean Court Rules Guyanese Presidential Term Limits Legal

CCJ rules two terms only for presidents of Guyana

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun. 25, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that   an amendment, that barred Presidents of the Republic of Guyana from serving more than two terms in office, was a valid amendment to the Constitution.

In the ruling handed down on Tuesday, the court said that after examining the  historical background of the amendment to the constitution of Guyana, it was noted that it was passed unanimously by the National Assembly during the administration of President  Bharrat Jagdeo.

“The CCJ felt that it was clear that the amendment did not emerge from the desire of any political party to manipulate the requirements to run for the office of President. The Constitution was amended after extensive national consultation and therefore represented a sincere attempt to enhance democracy in Guyana,” the regional court said.

The challenge to Act No 17 of 2001 amended Chapter 90 of the Constitution to set presidential term limits and qualification for presidential candidates was made by a private citizen, Cedric Richardson who challenged the amendment on the basis that he should have the right to choose whomsoever he wanted to be President. 

He also stated that the amendment disqualified Jagdeo, who had previously served two terms as President, from running for office in upcoming elections. Richardson argued that the amendment was inconsistent with his rights under Articles 1 and 9 of the Constitution which declared that Guyana was a “sovereign democratic state”.

He said that in order for the National Assembly to amend the Constitution, the amendment had to be supported by a majority vote in a referendum. He said that no referendum was held before the amendment in 2000 and therefore the amendment was unconstitutional.

The High Court, and a majority of the Court of Appeal, agreed with  Richardson.

They said that an essential feature of a sovereign democratic state was the freedom enjoyed by its people to choose whom they wish to represent them.

The  court said the amendment was therefore unconstitutional because it “diluted the opportunity of the people to elect a President of their choice.”

The Attorney General of Guyana had appealed to the CCJ challenging the majority ruling in the Court of Appeal.

The challenge to the term limit came in the run up to the historic 2015 general elections, when the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) lost to the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition after 23 years in office of which Bharrat Jagdeo served two terms as President.

The challenge  sought to allow Jagdeo to contest elections again.

The main issue in the appeal was whether the additional qualifications set out in the amendment diluted the rights of the electorate or undermined the sovereign democratic nature of the state of Guyana as prescribed by Articles 1 and 9. 

All seven judges of the CCJ heard the appeal.

The CCJ also stated that new qualifications can be introduced by valid constitutional amendments and that the National Assembly had the power to amend the Constitution by a vote of at least two-thirds of all members of the Assembly, without holding a referendum.

The Court also outlined guiding principles for assessing when new amendments to the Constitution did not require the holding of a referendum.

 

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Jamaica prepares for CARICOM Heads of government conference

Jamaica prepares for CARICOM Heads of government conference

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun 29, CMC – Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith says the country is  gearing up to welcome 200 foreign officials to the  39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that gets underway next week.

The meeting, scheduled to take place in the western capital of  Montego Bay,  , will be hosted by Prime Minister  Andrew Holness, who assumes Chairmanship of the Conference on July 1.

The foreign officials expected include Heads of State and Government of the Community and their respective delegations, officials from other regional hemispheric and international bodies and institutions as well as members of the diplomatic corps, both local and overseas, who are accredited to CARICOM.

During a press conference on Thursday, Johnson Smith, said Jamaica welcomes the opportunity to host the conference, which is expected to address several critical issues that impact the economic and social advancement of the countries of the region.

“We are honoured by it (chairmanship), as it gives us the great chance to play a major role in the development of the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and, of course, the general integration movement in line with our development objectives and those of CARICOM member States,” she said.

She told reporters that all 15 Heads of CARICOM and heads of associate members have confirmed their attendance – adding that for the first time in 15 years, there will be full participation.

“We take the strong presence as a signal of confidence in Jamaica’s chairmanship as well as, perhaps, a positive and renewed energy and vigor around CARICOM and the potential that it holds for us all,” she said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister further noted that two special guests will attend the conference – President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, and President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

“We welcome both Presidents with open arms and look forward to hosting them here…they will both have the opportunity to engage with Heads in that context, and we very much look forward to strengthening our partnerships with both countries,” she said.

In addition, United States Deputy Secretary, John Sullivan, will be hosting a breakfast for foreign ministers on July 6.

Among the key agenda items are crime and violence, disaster management and climate change, and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Conference of Heads of Government, which consists of the Heads of Government of the Member States, is the supreme organ of the Caribbean Community and determines and provides its policy direction.

Jamaica’s hosting of the conference this year is in keeping with the regular system of rotation within CARICOM. Prime Minister Holness’ tenure will last until December 31.

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CARICOM Secretary General welcomes new Barbados PM to regional body

CARICOM Secretary General welcomes new Barbados PM to regional body

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun. 23, CMC    Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),  Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has welcomed newly appointed Prime mInister of Barbados, Mia Mottley to the 15 member regional body.

On Friday, LaRocque,  met with the Prime Minister to update her as lead Head of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and to discuss key agenda items for the upcoming Heads of Government Conference in Jamaica.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Congratulating the Prime Minister on her “resounding victory” at the May 24 General Election,  LaRocque said the region was at a very important juncture in its history and said that he was “looking forward to working with her very closely to furthering the regional agenda”.

In response, the Prime Minister  thanked the CARICOM Secretary General for his warm welcome and added that the Caribbean needed to be more competitive and to have strong regional jurisdictions if it was to secure prosperity, stressing that functional cooperation was important to achieving these developmental goals.

She noted that progress in the Caribbean was often constrained by the confines of regional space and promised that Barbados would continue to pursue regional integration and to advance the cause of the people of the Community.

Discussion also focused on having a Single Domestic Space, Contingent Rights, the Caribbean Court of Justice, Cross Border Relations, Regional Transportation and Telecommunications, Public Procurement, and Issues of Small States, among other items.

As a newly-elected Head of Government,  Mottley will deliver a keynote address at next month’s 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, which gets under way in the western city of  Montego Bay from July 4 to 6.

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Ruling party elects new leader

Ruling party elects new leader

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jun. 25, CMC – Delegates from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), on the weekend selected Education Minister Myron Walwyn to lead the party following a recent announcement by Premier Dr. Orlando Smith that he would not be seeking re-election to that position.

In the internal election, that was closed to the public, Walwyn defeated Health Minister Ronnie Skelton who was also vying for the post. 

Walwyn’s reported running mate, Marlon Penn, was also successful in his campaign to become party Vice President.

Penn went up against first-term legislator Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull who is said to have been Skelton’s running mate.

According to reports, Deputy Premier Dr.  Kedrick Pickering, who was the party’s Vice President, did not seek re-election.

Meanwhile, the Premier has made it clear that while he did not seek re-election as NDP leader,    he will remain in representational politics .

During a press conference held last week, shortly after he announced his decision, Smith said  – ““I am not retiring, I am [just] not seeking the leadership.”

He told reporters that the time was ripe for a fresh NDP leader; noting he has been leading the party for the past 20 years.

Smith, 73, said he opted out of the race for NDP leader after ‘much thought and prayer’ and after discussions with family and colleagues.

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George Town in the Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands governor ‘bullied staff, had drunken rows and insisted a maid gave him a shirtless massage’

  • Anway Choudhury recalled after a string of complaints made against him by staff
  • Allegations include Cayman Island governor asking maid for shirtless massage
  • He is also accused of misbehaviour towards his wife, Momia, 16 years his junior 
Anwar Choudhury, 59, pictured with his wife Momina, appointed to the Caribbean post in March, has been suspended after a string of complaints.

Anwar Choudhury, 59, pictured with his wife Momina, appointed to the Caribbean post in March, has been suspended after a string of complaints.

The governor of the Cayman Islands has been recalled to Britain by the Foreign Office following allegations of bullying and shouting at staff, drunken rows and demanding a maid give him a shirtless massage.

Anwar Choudhury, 59, appointed to the Caribbean post in March, has been suspended after a string of complaints.

George Town in the Cayman Islands

Sources in Britain and the Caymans said that the complaints made against Choudhury relate to his treatment of domestic staff and office employees. 

He is alleged to have asked a maid to massage his shirtless back, a request she found inappropriate, though there is no suggestion of sexual impropriety.

Sources have said that he is also accused of misbehaviour towards his wife, Momina, 16 years his junior.

In addition it is claimed he had a drunken row with his elderly mother-in-law one night.

At his Government House mansion, it is claimed he shouted at and bullied staff. 

Choudhury also allegedly asked the maids to nanny his baby daughter, but they declined, saying their duties extended only to cleaning. 

A distinguished diplomat, Choudhury was suspended two weeks ago but until now the reasons for his recall were not known.

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Grenada’s new Parliament building officially opened

Grenada’s new Parliament building officially opened

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jun 21, CMC –   Grenada’s new Parliament building was officially opened on Thursday in a ceremony attended by representatives of funding governments, regional leaders, parliamentarians and the general public.

The opening follows the destruction of York House – the old Parliament building – by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

“The new parliament building is a symbol of the Grenadian people civic pride and political heritage and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is honoured to have contributed to its construction,” said  consul general Majid Al Suwaide, who added that the   building is a symbol of the   close working relationship between the UAE and Grenada.

The UAE provided US$4.5 million to assist with the construction.

Speaking on behalf of the United Mexican States whose Government provided US$5 million towards the construction,

Ambassador Oscar Esparaja Vargas said that his Government was pleased to be associated with reinstating the building and described it as ‘the flagship” project of bilateral cooperation between both countries.

“Mexico is committed to accompanying Grenada in its many development efforts as we have proven through the many bilateral cooperation,” he said.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who thanked the Governments who contributed towards the project, said that without their direct help, the structure would not have been a reality.

“They were true friends in words, and resolute in deed. They honoured their commitment to assist Grenada, and they did so against the backdrop of their own needs. They did so when others, with dated ties, did not, or were unable to, for different reasons. That demonstration of friendship is one we will cherish, forever,” he said.

Thanking regional and international friendly Governments the Prime Minister said that their moral support of Grenada over the years must be recognized.

“They know the importance of state buildings in our part of the hemisphere. They know what this means for the consolidation of our democracy and our independence, and they have never failed to lend their voices in advocating for the rebuilding of this important symbolic institution,” he said.

According to Infrastructure Minister Gregory Bowen, the new building cost  US$12.2 million, took 25 months to complete and created jobs for 200 persons during peak construction.

“This will be our new home, a landmark in many ways,” Bowen said.

The Parliamentary chamber is designed in the shape of a nutmeg pod with public sitting for 200 persons.

Regional leaders to attend the opening included, Prime Minister  Dr Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister  Dr Ralph Gonsalves of a S t Vincent and the Grenadines,  Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of Saint Lucia, and the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador  Irwin La Rocque.

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IDB launches call for proposals from startups in the Caribbean

IDB launches call for proposals from startups in the Caribbean

 

WASHINGTON, Jun. 20,   CMC – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched a call for proposals that will reward the most disruptive ventures in Latin America and the Caribbean that are using innovation to improve lives.

The Washington-based financial institution said the selected startups will participate in Demand Solutions Chile, which will take place on November 21 in Santiago, Chile.

Demand Solutions is the IDB’s flagship innovation event that brings together “the world’s most forward-thinking minds to share creative solutions to the development challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the statement said.

In this edition, the IDB said startups can participate in two thematic areas.

In the first, they must provide solutions in four categories related to the cultural and creative industries: Design with social sense: sustainable fashion, smart fashion, urban art, wearable technology; and multimedia that improves lives: videogames, digital content, audiovisual content.

The other categories are: New technologies: 3D printing, blockchain, internet of things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics; and export of services to global markets: production and commercialization of cultural content, export of goods and creative services.

The IDB said the 10 most innovative startups in the creative industries will be selected to participate in Demand Solutions Chile with all expenses paid for one representative per startup.

The first place will receive financial support to continue with its development, the IDB said.

Additionally, the IDB said this edition of Demand Solutions will also reward five startups that provide solutions to water and sanitation challenges in the region.

Since 2009, the IDB said along with Fundación FEMSA it was awarded the Water and Sanitation Prize for Latin America and the Caribbean “to recognize and stimulate the most innovative solutions in the water, sanitation and solid waste sectors.”

The startups interested in participating in Demand Solutions must present a solution proposal to a development challenge before July 15, the IDB said.

It said the representatives must be over 18 years old.

Winners will be notified by mail in early September 2018.

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Regional leaders to attend opening of Grenada’s new parliament building

Regional leaders to attend opening of Grenada’s new parliament building

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jun. 20, CMC -Almost 14 years after it was destroyed by the category three Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the Houses of Parliament will have a new home with the official opening of a new parliament building on Thursday.

The event will be attended by regional leaders – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, of Trinidad and Tobago , Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Caricom Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque .

Local diplomats are also scheduled to attend the ceremony.

Press Secretary Kisha Alexander-Grant said that other leaders and dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony that is being held 100 days since the New National Party returned to office following the March 13th General Elections.

The new building which is located in Mt. Wheldale is built within close proximity to the residence of the late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. The building was constructed  with funds from the Governments of Australia, Mexico  the United Arab Emirates and Grenada.

Representatives from the donor governments are also scheduled to witness the opening which takes the form of a joint sitting of the both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament.

The former Parliament building called York House that was  located on Church Street was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Since the devastation, Parliamentary sessions were temporarily held at the Grenada Trade Center while the offices of Parliament are housed next door in a ministerial complex.

Designed by Caribbean Office of Caribbean Architecture, the EC$23 million  (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) ,environmentally friendly building was built by Quinnco Design and Construction.

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