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Caribbean countries urged to re-think tourism strategy to improve competitveness

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 12, CMC – A senior official of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says the Caribbean must take a more inclusive and environmentally sustainable approach to improve competitiveness in the tourism industry.

IDB Country Manager for the Caribbean, Therese Turner-Jones, said that the global environment is not what it was 10 years ago, because of climate change, and, as such, requires new approaches to infrastructural development and coastal resilience.

Carib tours“It is very important that climate change be mainstreamed as an idea when we are thinking about what kind of infrastructure we are building around tourism and that where we are putting our most important physical assets for tourism are well protected,” Turner-Jones told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

“Otherwise, we could end up like countries in the region that were recently affected by hurricanes and were, in many cases, stripped of economic activities, as the infrastructure was devastated,” she added.

The Country Manager suggested that a smarter approach must be taken in terms of “how we build, what we build, how we cool our buildings and how we generate energy”.

Turner-Jones said that a big cost to the tourism product in the Caribbean is energy, and practical solutions must be implemented to reduce the cost of electricity, with focus placed on renewable energy.

“So, the region must look at renewable energy as a way to reduce cost, and also having that conversation with developers about the types of hotels that they are building and what are their sources of energy and water, and making sure that we are putting in the kinds of infrastructure that make sense for the country,” she said, adding that the region should consider creative ways of using technology to drive industry growth.

“We are living in a world where technology is driving every single industry, and tourism will not be exempted, so we must think of more creative ways to use technology in what we offer, whether it is in marketing, the way we communicate in what we offer on the creative industries side, and figure out how we can connect the visitors to musicians, artistes and all the creative talents that exist in the region,”  Turner-Jones said.

She said that the IDB will soon be hosting a regional policy dialogue with the Caribbean tourism ministers to discuss some of these matters and recommendations, in order to improve market share and increase economic benefit from the tourism sector.

“It would be good to think about what we can do in the Caribbean to create a model that is sustainable and can be replicated elsewhere in the world. We have an opportunity to do that because we have the geographic diversity that some other regions do not have.

“We also have highly talented and creative people that make our product very interesting, so we have a lot of assets to capitalise on,” Turner-Jones said, emphasising that Caribbean countries have to seize opportunities as they are presented.

“When we look at workers for the future for the Caribbean, in 2027 they have to be much different from those in 2017; they must be more globally oriented, speak languages and be more familiar with technology,” she said.

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Dominica lifts curfew on capital

ROSEAU, Dominica, Dec 9, CMC- Dominica has lifted a curfew in the capital that had been imposed since Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean island on September 18 killing at least 28 people and leaving damage estimated at millions of dollars.

A brief statement from the Ministry of National Security noted that the curfew had been lifted with immediate effect and followed on the advice of the Police Commissioner.

curfew“The City of Roseau is returning to a state of normalcy with electricity being restored in a number of area and therefore, there is a need to create an environment that encourages economic activity bearing in mind that we are in the Christmas season,” the release stated.

In October, Dominica announced a lifting of the mandatory curfew in some areas, but kept the measure in place in the capital.

It said then that the decision to lift the 6.00 am to 6.00 pm (local time) curfew in some areas was taken after a national security assessment was conducted by the Chief of Police.

“The main reasons for lifting the curfew in the town of Portsmouth and other communities across Dominica are to allow for economic activities to be undertaken, such as fishing, farming and retailing of goods and also to facilitate those students who will be returning to school,” the statement noted.

In the aftermath of the Category 5 storm hitting the island, the authorities imposed a 4.00 pm to 8.00 am curfew in a bid to deal with the looting of several businesses, but relaxed the measure several days ago.

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Raul Castro, who has been running Cuba since his brother Fidel was sidelined by illness 19 months ago, gestures during a meeting of the National Assembly in Havana Feruary 24, 2008. Cuba's National Assembly met on Sunday to name a successor to Fidel Castro  REUTERS/Prensa Latina/Pool   (CUBA) - RTR1XJEQ

Castro calls for deeper relations with CARICOM, end to trade embargo by Washington

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Dec 8, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders and Cuba opened their sixth summit here on Friday pledging to solidify their own growing relations and calling on the United States to remove the decades old trade and economic embargo against the with Spanish-speaking Caribbean country.

President Raul Castro told the conference that Havana would never forget the role played by Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica 45 years ago when these Caribbean countries established diplomatic relations with Cuba despite pressure from the United States.

President Raul Castro

“We shall never forget that resolution for it was a fundamental step in breaking of breaking the diplomatic and economic siege led around Cuba and at the same time it enabled the strengthening of our people… brought together by centuries of shared culture and neighbourhood,” said Castro, who is making his first visit to Antigua and Barbuda.

“We will never forget your constant support for the resolutions against the blockade of Cuba not the numerous statements of solidarity made during the general debates of the United Nations General Assembly and other international forums.

“That support is especially relevant in light of the regression costs by the actions of the new United States administration against Cuba.”

Castro said the blockade “remains the main obstacle to the social and economic development of our country and to Cuba’s economic, commercial and financial relations with the world”.

The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial one put in place on February 7, 1962. It followed the overthrow of the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 by Fidel Castro and the establishment of the first Community country in the region.

Among the highlight of the summit will be the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Cuba’s Agency for Civil Defence which will provide opportunities for closer collaboration, especially following the devastating impact of the September 2017 hurricanes across the region, and the increased focus on climate change resilience.

The discussions here will also review the status of the decades-old CARICOM-Cuba cooperation in commercial and economic areas.

Trade relations between the two parties were strengthened in November 2017 with the signing of the Second Protocol to the CARICOM-Cuba Trade Agreement. The Protocol expands reciprocal duty-free market access to more than 320 items including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum, cement, soap and apparel.

In his address to the summit here, Castro said the CARICOM-Cuba summits have led to a more “profound relationship based on solidarity and cooperation” highlighted by the recent passage of the Hurricanes Irma and Maria that caused widespread devastation and death in the Lesser Antilles.

He said Havana also welcomed the second bilateral trade agreement with CARICOM that comes into effect in January next year, noting that during the period 2014-16 there has been a 17 per cent increase in trade among the countries and “this year we are going at a good pace”.
Castro warned of the changing global environment which he said held implications for the region urging greater unity “while respecting our diversity and by promoting genuine integration and cooperation among ourselves.

“The dangers to the survival of the human species are growing. The consequences of the implementation of the universally rejected concepts, such as humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect have become cover-ups for interventionist actions compromising international peace and security.

“Such predicament should appeal to us to defend international law and the full validity of the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” Castro said.

He told the opening ceremony that CARICOM-Cuba should “harmonise our positions to demand from the industrial countries their actions conducive to the mitigation of and adaptation to the effect of climate change especially in terms of financially resources and technology transfer”.

“Additionally we should coordinate our position with a view to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development particularly to put up a united front enabling us to resist the domination mechanism imposed by the unjust international financial system.”

He said Cuba is prepared to support the position of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and developing nations “to receive a special and differentiated treatment concerning access to commercial and investments.

“We re-affirm our support for the just demand of these countries to receive cooperation in conformity with the real situation and access to each and every one of them. Such cooperation should not be based on statistics of their [per capita income “

Castro said to simplistically describe the countries as “middle income countries’ and preventing them access to concessionary loans was wrong since it was “jeopardising their economic development…

“We strongly support the fair demand of the Caribbean Community for reparations as they have been raised with the colonial powers for the horrors of slavery and human trafficking,” he said, paying tribute to CARICOM for its involvement in several Latin and Central American organisations aimed at fostering greater collaboration within this hemisphere.

He said in 2014, CARICOM countries signed the declaration declaring the region a zone of peace and agreeing not to interfere director or indirectly in the internal affairs of member countries.

“Therefore we should not permit that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, one of our Latin American and Caribbean nations (to) suffer from the continued actions aimed at the destruction of its constitutional order.

“Cuba re-affirms its enduring solidarity with and support for the heroic people of Venezuela…for the government headed by President Nicolas Maduro,” he said.

The Summit will conclude with the adoption of a CARICOM-Cuba Joint Declaration.

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Raúl Castro defends more unity and integration Cuba-Caricom

Raúl Castro defends more unity and integration Cuba-Caricom

Antigua and Barbuda, Dec 8. 2017 – Cuban President Raúl Castro today called for unity in diversity, integration and genuine cooperation among Caribbean states to face common challenges and problems of the region and the world.

In a speech on the opening day of the 6th summit of his country and the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the head of state also warned of the dangers that loom and increase over the human species.

“How can we face the challenge of moving towards development in the midst of the deep economic, social, political and environmental crisis that this hemisphere and the world is suffering?”, Raúl Castro asked the Prime Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and Granada, Keith Mitchell.

“The dangers for the survival of the human species increase. The consequences of the application of concepts not universally accepted as ‘humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect”, are used to cover interventionist and aggressive actions that threaten international peace and security”, he said.

Such situations, the Cuban president said, “call us to defend international law and the full validity of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations”.

Raúl Castro considered that the Caribbean countries should be articulated to demand a fair action by the industrialized powers in order to mitigate and adapt the effects of climate change, “particularly with financial resources and technology transfer”, he added.

Likewise, he said, “we should agree on approaches to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and, especially, to collectively face the mechanisms of domination imposed on us by the unjust international financial system”.

In his address to the other leaders of the 14 nations of the regional body, the Cuban president expressed the will of Havana to promote and promote ties with its neighbors in various areas.

“I reiterate Cuba’s invariable position of supporting, in all circumstances, the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment”.

“We will continue to receive Caribbean students in our universities. The 5,640 young people of the Caribbean who have been trained and the 695 who are currently studying in them”, he emphasized.

Likewise, the Cuban leader considered that the thousand 762 Cuban collaborators present in all the countries of Caricom, of whom 1,469 in the health sector, “are part of Cuba’s contribution to the development of the Caribbean peoples”.

We intend to advance in the development of trade and investments. Between 2014 and 2016, commercial exchange grew by 70 percent. This year marches at a good pace, assessed.

He added that the “broad and diverse” participation of Caribbean companies and agencies in the recent International Fair of Havana augurs greater growth in that regard.

“We welcome the implementation in January 2018 of the Second Protocol to the bilateral Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a document that expands tariff preferences granted by Cuba and facilitates access to our markets”, said President Raul Castro. (PL)

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

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

 News provided by

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

     (Photo: )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai underscored that all-inclusive resorts had become similar to “modern-day plantations”.

UNWTO head calls for Caribbean to rethink all-inclusive model

 Loop News  Created : 28 November 2017 

Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai underscored that all-inclusive resorts had become similar to “modern-day plantations”.

Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai underscored

that all-inclusive resorts had become similar to “modern-day plantations”.

Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai, says the Caribbean cannot continue to pursue all-inclusive resort development if tourism is to play an integral role in the development of the region’s states.

Speaking on day two of the Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Development, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James, Tuesday, Rifai underscored that all-inclusive resorts had become similar to “modern-day plantations”.

“We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities,” he underscored. “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. That’s a very important message we have to keep in mind.”

“We have to continue to lower the walls between the host communities and visitors. We cannot let our visitors live in bubbles. That is not acceptable anymore,” he said to rousing applause. “We cannot continue to promote modern-day plantations in our own countries called exclusive resorts. That is not the model we are looking for at all.”

The Secretary-General emphasised that in the final analysis, tourism is about the development of people and called for communities to be empowered to play a greater role in the industry.

Rifai also called for greater partnerships with the private sector in tourism, noting that the sector will not achieve its sustainable development goals without closer collaboration with private businesses.  

“We cannot achieve community empowerment without full cooperation of the private sector and the owners of infrastructural businesses,” he said.

The Secretary-General added that in order for the sector to garner more attention and receive more help, it has to demonstrate its relevance to other sectors.

“Building walls between nations is not a solution at all,” he said, pointing out that the conference is an opportunity to address those issues.

Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the conference, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness also underscored the importance of people in tourism.

“Tourism is fundamentally a people based activity,” the Prime Minister said. 

“Careful planning of human resources, with private enterprises and employee representatives, is needed to ensure that tourism can fulfil its employment creation potential and has a sufficient supply of suitably skilled labour to meet future growth,” he continued. 

Holness said creating a tourism industry that enhances opportunities for local communities to leverage their cultural and natural assets and benefit from employment in tourism activities will help to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth.

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Caribbean Grains spreads the fine art of baking

Caribbean Grains spreads the fine art of baking


Bakers Michael and Ali with students from Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School

(PRESS RELEASE) – Caribbean Grains Ltd, which operates a production mill in Vieux Fort, considers itself more than just a manufacturer of flour.

The Company, which has been here for more than a year, sees itself as an ally of the present and future generation of bakers.

During the month of November, the Company has been conducting training sessions aimed at equipping bakers with new techniques in the areas of bread and pastry production.

The latest training sessions were held on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November 17th at the Caribbean Grains facility in Vieux Fort. A session with students of the Beanefield Comprehensive Secondary School, together with local bakers from the south, was conducted on day-one. Day-two was devoted to students from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School (VFCSS). The training sessions were conducted by two bakers from Guadeloupe and Mustique.

Managing Director of Caribbean Grains Ltd, Arnaud de Moussac said such training is very useful because it allows the Company to interact with bakers while they prepare various products made from flour from the Company.

“What we are aiming at is giving a consistent product every time the baker is starting his process, helping them to rationalise and practising economy, mostly by weighing the product because, at the end of the day, not weighing products can make a big difference in terms of earning and losing. And no one knows that you are winning when you are getting a little heavier product, but your bottom line will know it. So, we are trying to get the same cause and effect from these training sessions.”

The Managing Director added that Caribbean Grains is a new Company which must prove itself to its customers. He described the level of business with local bakers as “good” and “picking up.”

“The people have a better response to our product. We are very happy with the way they are willing to re-assess us. Nobody likes to change, but the change is welcome, and more and more we hear people saying that they want to buy Saint Lucian products because it generates Saint Lucian employment.”

Bakers were given an opportunity to learn and improve their skills in the areas of French and local bread products, as well as in baked goods such as pastries, cakes, croissants and pizza, using local flour manufactured by Caribbean Grains.  Sessions with the students are part of a practical training programme that Caribbean Grains conducts every other month with local bakeries and bakers.

Chef at Coconut Bay Resort, David Serieux, who has been a baker for 18 years, said he emerged from the training session with knowledge of how to refine his baking skills.

” Well, to be honest, it’s not something I never did before, but the techniques and the process I saw here seem much better here because of the equipment, such as the proof-box, and the way the oven works is amazing.”

Other bakeries represented at the training sessions were Bonne Baguette Bakery, the French Bakery, Mannee’s Bakery, and Kaision Bakery.

Participating students expressed gratitude to Caribbean Grains for exposing them to various techniques and opportunities in the field of baking.


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dry season

Forecasters have ‘good news’ as dry season begins

By Kenton X. Chance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Barbados stamps its mark on Caribbean food

Barbados stamps its mark on Caribbean food

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
The Barbados Food and Rum Festival kicked off with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cookoff where locals and tourists sampled fresh seafood.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival which culminated in Barbados last weekend has gone some way to cementing the country’s image as “the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”.

Barbados might not have the diverse culinary influences of its neighbour Trinidad but it can point to a cadre of chefs and mixologists who are pushing the envelope in the culinary world. In June, the Bajans won Taste of the Caribbean, a prestigious annual competition hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in Miami. It was the chefs from this victorious team who were the headline stars at the 2017 Food and Rum Festival.

The event is now in its eighth year and according to Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc (BTMI) chairman Alvin Jemmott, the Food and Rum Festival which took place from November 16 to 19, is “creating a fusion between our visitors and locals.”

Jemmott told the T&T Guardian that the promotion of the country’s chefs has been vital to the Festival’s success.

“Another thing that has happened with the evolution of the Festival is the elevation of our chefs,” he said. “What I have been encouraging is the use of local ingredients in our culinary events.

“It’s not just the local chefs who are using the produce but the foreign chefs as well,” he said. “It helps the farmers, it gives them the avenue to get their products out there and helps to create the commerce in the agricultural sector.”

One event that showcased the award-winning chefs and mixologists was Taste of the Exotic: A Signature Rum Event, held at the Concorde Experience, a stone’s throw from Grantley Adams International airport. For this event, the chefs worked closely with mixologists to produce complementary items. It was a celebration of Bajan flavours, as the dishes were created using mainly local produce and spirits.

Among the popular dishes on the night were Damian Leach’s Lionfish and Tuna Poke which was paired with Philip Antoine’s Bajan Mango fusion, a drink with Cockspur rum as its base. Craig Greenidge’s Deep Fried Cornmeal and Herb Crusted Pigtails was paired with Shane McClean’s Spice Passion Rum Sour made using Doorly’s Rum and John Taylor’s Velvet Falernum.

Over the weekend, tourists and locals had several opportunities to taste fantastic food, kicking off with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cookoff on the Thursday, the Polo Rum Spirits event, and signature dinners hosted by international chefs Chris de La Rosa from Toronto via T&T, Tom Aikens from the UK and French master Jean Georges.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival should be considered a “must do event” for serious foodies. In fact, food has become such a big draw in Barbados, the BTMI has said that 2018 will be the “Year of Culinary Experiences”, beginning in January with the start of the Rum and Sugar Season.

“Every day from January until March, something is going to be happening with sugar and rum. It’s part of our history, our culture and our heritage. We used to be a sugar economy and it’s part of what we are as a people,” said BTMI chairman Jemmott. The aim of the BTMI is to host events every month leading up to the Food and Rum Festival in November which will develop the awareness of the culinary industry.


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hurricane maria

At UN, over $2 billion pledged to help hurricane-affected Caribbean nations ‘build back better’

A meeting at the UN headquarters resulted to the mobilisation of pledges and loans to help Caribbean nations recover from the strong hurricanes that hit the region a few months ago.

“I think we’re extremely happy with the results of the conference,” said Stephen O’Malley, the UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

According to the latest needs estimates, recovery costs are expected to surpass $5 billion.

Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island State of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica were among the most severely affected, along with Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands. Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage, while St. Maarten/St. Martin as well as Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico were also impacted.

“It is a very long road to recovery,” Mr. O’Malley said in an interview with UN News, noting that while the roads in the capital, Roseau, are more or less clear and water is back, only three per cent of the country currently has electricity. In addition, agriculture has been badly affected. “It’s still a hard time.”

Meanwhile, on Barbuda, water was restored yesterday and people are trickling back to the island.

The roads have been cleared and people are beginning to repair their homes, and trying to determine whether they can come back and resettle or wait longer until the conditions are right for returning.

Schools have not re-opened and medical services are very limited, Mr. O’Malley noted.

It is a very long road to recovery.

Stephen O’Malley, resident representative, UN Development Programme

Nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organizations and the private sector gathered in New York, along with the Secretaries-General of the UN and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help the affected countries “build back better.”

“They want to be a climate-resilient region,” Mr. O’Malley stated, explaining that this involves practical steps from the way a country’s road network and electricity grid are designed to ensuring that schools and hospitals are built to withstand the impact of climate change.

“It’s your infrastructure. It’s also better planning and preparedness by the governments so that they can respond more quickly,” he pointed out. “They have the capacity to do that […] there’s a variety of different things there to make everybody more climate resilient.”

Addressing the conference yesterday, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that countries in the Caribbean need support now to rebuild, and to take effective climate action.

“We need a new generation of infrastructure that is risk-informed, to underpin resilient economies, communities and livelihoods,” he told the gathering.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017