Caribbean RoundUp

Haiti Kidnapped Catholics
A man driving a motorcycle transporting children breaks through a barricade set up by medical students demanding the release of a professor who was kidnapped last week, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, April 30, 2021. Catholic officials rejoiced on Friday after kidnappers in Haiti released nine people, including five priests and two nuns.
Associated Press/Joseph Odelyn, file


Barbados government has said it was considering having ocean energy technology operational on the island as part of the Barbados National Energy Policy target of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. The Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship  said it has conducted an Ocean Energy Consultancy, from January 2020 to March this year, to explore the feasibility of pursuing alternative energy sources and to select the right mix  for the country ahead of the Governments 2030 target. The consultants, ITP Energized, supported by local and  international experts in ocean energy, examined fixed offshore wind, floating offshore wind thermal energy conversion projects around the island from a technical, environmental and logistical perspective.The statement said the consultant paid special attention to the island’s national parks, marine protected areas, turtle nesting sites, coral reef buffer zones, and the exclusion zone before selecting possible locations.



Guyana recently announced the country’s latest oil discovery within the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana. Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharat said the 19th offshore oil discovery at the Uarau-2 well will add to the previously announced gross discovered recoverable resource estimate for the block, which is estimated to be more than nine billion-oil equivalent barrels. He said the new development in Guyana increases the potential to as many as 10 floating production storage and offloading vessels with an increase of the estimated recoverable resource given by operator, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. (EEPGL). He said the government of Guyana welcomes the Uaru-2 discovery and remains committed to the sustainable development of Guyana’s oil and gas resources to ensure that the benefit from the sector transform all traditional productive sectors to enhance the lives of all Guyanese. The US oil magnate also announced that the discovery “will add to the previously announced gross discovered recoverable resource estimate for the block and that drilling at Uaru-2 encountered approximately 120 feet of high-quality oil-bearing reservoirs including newly identified intervals below the original Uaru-1 discovery.”



Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton said that while the Covid-19 numbers and positivity rate are trending downwards, nationals should continue adhering to the infection prevention and control measures in order to avoid a third wave of the virus. He said Jamaica has, so far, experienced two surges of Covid-19 and that “the consequences of the surge we are currently going through have been far more severe than the first one we went through last year.” “What we saw as a consequence were higher numbers of hospitalizations, high numbers of deaths,” he said. Figures release last week by health authorities show that the island recorded eight more Covid deaths, pushing the tally to 778. They said that those who succumbed to the virus ranged from 42 to 96 years old and included five women.The authorities said there were 164 new cases, pushing the total to 45,5578 with 23,409 being active. Of the new cases, 89 were women. Tufton said that in the peak week of the first surge, Jamaica recorded 1,154 cases compared to 4,082 in the peak week of the second surge.



The Society of Priests of St. Jacques last week said the remaining Catholic clergy who were kidnapped last month have been released. Last week, the unidentified kidnappers released three of the religious people they abducted and recently, a spokesman for the Conference of Bishops of Haiti had said then. Fr. Loudger Mailer said said three of the priests were released but that the two French nationals, Fr. Michel Briand, 67, and 80-year-old Sr. Agnes Bordeau, as well as four Haitian nationals including two priests, are still being held hostage. Media reports said members of the criminal gang “400mawozo” abducted seven, including two nuns, while they were going to an installation ceremony of a priest at the Immaculate Church of Galette Chambon on April 11. The Society of Priests of Saint Jacques said a total of 10 persons had been abducted, including three non-clergy nationals. The kidnappers had asked for US$1 million ransom but  there is no indication if any was paid.



The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has reached an agreement with Suriname on a US$600 million three-year program under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
The IMF said the program aims to lay the foundation for a strong, resilient and inclusive economic recovery through protecting the poor, lowering inflation, restoring debt sustainability and investing in the future.
The statement said that in response to a request from Suriname, an IMF mission led by Ali Alichi held virtual meetings over the past several months to discuss IMF financial support to the authorities’ economic reform program.
He said if approved by the IMF executive board, US $57.5 million  would be immediately available to the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
Alichi said that Surinamese government faced a difficult situation when it assumed office with high inflation, low international reserves, a large fiscal deficit, and significant fiscal and balance of payment financing needs.
“The already serious economic situation was further exacerbated by the challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and volatility in the terms of trade,” he said.
Alichi  said a significant effort will be made to improve governance, strengthen the framework to counter money’ laundering and tackle corruption.
Trinidad and Tobago will receive a gift of 100,000 vaccines from China next week.
Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh made announcement recently.
He added that some 33,000 AstraZeneca vaccines will also be arriving this week from the COVAX Facility.
Deyalsingh told a press briefing that the World Health Organization  (WHO) had given the approval to the Sinopharm Beijing.
The minister of health said this batch together with the gift of 40,000 doses from India could now fully vaccinate 60,000 in Trinidad and Tobago.
Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley noted that T&T has an application inside with the African Medical Supplies Platform.
T&T has vaccinated more than 60,000 people so far. There are 13,355 cases with 212 deaths.
—Compiled by Azad Ali

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