Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.  Photo by George Alleyne
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.
Photo by George Alleyne
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said developing islands in the Caribbean are set to benefit from a billion dollar investment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Browne, who is chairman of CARICOM recently gave details of the launch of the initiative, the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing (ETAF).
Browne said the UAE and the International Renewable Platform Agency (IRENA) launched the ETAF platform, which is a new global climate finance facility to assist with the transition away from traditional forms of  energy to renewables.
The UAE has pledged some US$400 million. The platform has set a goal of US$1 billion in funding.
Browne, who is also chair of the Alliance of Small Island States recently addressed the COP26 summit in Scotland on its behalf.
He called for the larger and more industrialized countries to  increase their  support to small island  developing states,which have been significantly impacted by climate change.
The leader of the main opposition Free National Movement (FNM), Dr. Hubert Minnis, is calling on the new government of Prime Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis to “articulate and execute comprehensive public health measures” as he criticized the new administration of leading “a disastrous, incompetent and chaotic” response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, the Ministry of Health and Wellness confirmed more than 700 new cases, pushing the total to over 22,000 COVID-19 positive cases since March last year. The country also reported about 700 deaths.
In a statement, Minnis, whose FNM administration lost the Sept. 16 general election by a 32-7 margin, said the Progressive Liberal Party  government’s response is “uncaring and indifferent to the pain and suffering of those who are getting sick and their families.”
He said Prime Minister Davis clearly does not have an understanding or a plan as to how to respond to the deadly virus as more Bahamians are dying daily from the virus.
Dr. Minnis, a medical practitioner said his administration had sought to bring balance by saving and protecting lives and livelihoods and that it had “quickly put in place comprehensive measures to limit outbreaks on the Family Islands.
The former prime minister is calling on his successor to address the country on the measures his administration will take “to remedy a variety of matters related to the pandemic.”
Fully vaccinated travelers to Barbados with a valid pre-flight COVID-19 PCR test result will no longer be required to be tested or be quarantine on arrival in the island.
Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant, Colonel Jeffrey Bostich has announced recently, travelers meeting these requirements will therefore be allowed to leave the port of entry with no restrictions.
However, the Health Ministry said “the Chief Medical Officer reserves the right to request COVID-19 testing of any traveler and to quarantine them if required.”
Currently, vaccinated travelers are required to be tested on arrival, either at the airport or at an approved hotel.
They are free to move around the country after receiving a negative result, which should be in 24 to 48 hours.
Unvaccinated travelers must arrive with a negative test and are then tested five days after arrival.
The Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) says it will be handing over the draft National and Regional Maritime Security Strategies, which will provide the foundation for strengthening of the maritime commons in several of its member countries.
In a statement, the RSS said it had been working to ensure that the maritime space within its member states is secure and that in 2019 in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS), it embarked on a mission to create strategies that, once implemented, would safeguard the borders and  seaports within the region.
The initiative was completed in October this year, and will be handed over the draft National and Regional Maritime Security Strategies, which will provide the foundation for strengthening the security of the maritime commons among Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The RSS said while the strategy will aid on tackling transnational organized crime within the sub-regional bloc, “It will also support the development of the blue economy with the aim to boost economic growth and employment. “
Dominica recently celebrated its 43rd anniversary of political independence from Britain overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic that Prime Minister Roosevelt says has caused the contraction of economies across the globe, including within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“Dominica has not escaped its effects. Those impacts have been magnified by the fact we are still recovering from the worst storm in our history. This period for us therefore been marked by large, unexplained expenditures to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told the nation when he delivered his Independence Address during the National Day observance ceremony at the State House Conference Centre in the capital.
Skerrit said that saving the lives of Dominicans was paramount and despite the challenges, his administration has continued to provide for all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.
Attorney Dickon Mitchell has been appointed the new leader of the main Grenada opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) during the party’s recent convention following former prime minister Tillman Thomas and former senior government minister Nazim Burke.
Thomas led the party to victory in the 2008 general election, but in 2013 the party failed to win a seat in the 15-member Parliament — a position it also repeated during the 2018 general election under Burke’s leadership.
The NDC convention was held virtually as the country continues its measures aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed the lives of 198 people so far and infected others since March last year.
The new leader said the NDC, which celebrated 34 years in October, will continue to change the culture of politics on the island.
Mitchell described his election to the top post as the first step in transforming the politics of Grenada, adding that it is belief that it is the first time in modern history of the island that so many people had the opportunity to understand the importance of democracy.
Mitchell polled 277 votes as against 43 for Phillip Telesford and seven votes for Terrence Forrester.
Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) is the Caribbean’s leading brand for 2021.
The Trinidad and Tobago state-owned airline was named the leading brand at the recent 28th annual World Travel Awards.
This is the fifth time that CAL has captured the award.
In a brief statement, CAL said it was “heartened to receive the distinguished accolade, which affirms that the airline is providing value to its customers as it fulfill its vision to be the preferred carrier serving the Caribbean.”
Jamaica walked away with the Caribbean leading airport, leading destination, leading cruise destination and leading tourist board awards.
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the travel tourism and hospitality industry.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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