Caribbean Round-Up


Prince Edward, the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth 11 and his wife Princess Sophie are visiting several Caribbean islands to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee according to an announcement by Buckingham Palace.

“It’s even more significant given that it would be the first tour of any for the royals to any countries worldwide for these celebrations,” states the release.

Prince Edward and Princess Sophie who carry the titles, the Earl and Countess of Wessex will spend a total of two weeks visiting Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda.

The visit began on Feb. 21 in St. Lucia and will end on March 3.

The ship used by the royal couple, Fort Rosalie, is part of the fleet that replenishes warships of the Royal Navy and allied navies with food, stores and ammunition, whilst underway,

It currently provides the UK government’s presence in the Caribbean, strengthening regional ties and in support of Counter Narcotic Operatives.


The Barbados and Eastern Caribbean operations of the crashed CLICO insurance company have been bought by a Barbadian entrepreneur and will be renamed Sun General Insurance, the Barbados Nation newspaper reported.

The buyer, Sandridge Limited, led by hotelier Berine Weatherhead, signed the deal with CLICO Holdings at a law firm office recently to acquire CLICO International General Insurance Company, the paper said.

It said CLICO General Insurance branches in Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts will now operate under the name Sun General Insurance.


Low fares airline REDjet has announced plans to begin services to St. Maarten from Barbados.

The airline is expected to launch sales later this month, REDjet said in a statement.

The new service will mark the airline’s first entry into the Dutch colony, with works underway to launch more routes from the island. The route will operate twice weekly with a day service on Saturdays.

REDjet will also offer passengers the option to travel with unlimited baggage, allowing them to capitalize on the commercial and shopping opportunities available in St. Maarten.

St. Maarten will be REDjet’s seventh destination, having launched its sixth, St. Lucia, as recently as December with the launch of flights to Antigua and Jamaica in November.


Dominica is expected to receive between 14 and 15 million euros during 2012 and 2013, from the l90 million euros allocated to the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) nations through the European Commission’s BAM (Banana Accompanying Measures) program.

Dominican agricultural officials say the country is positioning itself to make maximum use of funds being made available to 10 banana exporting nations by the European Union.

The funding is intended to provide additional development assistance to help countries involved adjust to new market conditions, following the erosion of the preferential market access that was previously enjoyed by the ACP group of countries through trade with Europe.

Director of Agriculture Ricky Brumant said under the BMA arrangement, Dominica will seek to make its banana production and exports more competitive, while focusing on other areas of agriculture as well.


Guyanese could be paying significantly less for fuel in the near future with the establishment of an oil refinery, the first of its kind in the South American country.

A Guyanese born private investor is currently in the country meeting with stakeholders to finalize funding, site location, preparation, and documentation.

The investor said the refinery would have the capacity to produce 100,000 to 200,000 barrels a day. More than 5,000 new jobs directly related to the industry would be created.

The establishment of the refinery, the investor noted, is not dependent on an imminent discovery of oil in Guyana. A large volume of oil is already being produced in the region which provides a need for such a facility, he said.

Oil and gas exploration companies Repsol and CGX Energy are scheduled to begin drilling operations off Guyana’s coast shortly at locations believed to contain massive deposits of oil.

Ramesh Dookhoo, chairman of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission, said a local refinery was critical if fuel prices were to be significantly reduced.

Exceptionally high fuel cost in Guyana has been a major impediment to the growth and development of the manufacturing industry in particular, he said.

Dookhoo had pointed out that without a refinery in Guyana, even if oil is discovered it would still have to be exported, refined, and imported as usable fuel.

Guyana has also received a proposal from Prime Energy Caribbean, a United States-based petroleum company to construct the first ever oil refinery in the country, which officials say will create initial employment opportunities for approximately l00 persons.


Haitian President Michel Martelly was attacked as he walked in a carnival procession in downtown Port-au-Prince, but he escaped unharmed the National Palace said.

The statement said only that “troublemakers” who had taken refuge in a university were responsible for the afternoon attack on Martelly near the Champs de Mars plaza.

Witnesses said that rocks were thrown at the president and his accompanying motorcade from behind the University of Haiti. Police responded by firing shots in the air and unleashing tear gas.

The attack on the president was the second since he was inaugurated last May and pointed to growing tension between Martelly and his critics.

St. Lucia

The St. Lucia government recently warned promoters it will be putting in place stringent measures to ensure that visiting artistes conform to the laws of the country.

The announcement follows a no-show by Jamaican artiste Mavado for the third consecutive occasion, as well as non appearances by Jamaican performers.

Scores of patrons were left frustrated after several foreign artistes, including Gyptian of Jamaica and Peter Ram of Barbados, failed to show up for a show that would have featured the best of local reggae talent.

Tourism and Creative Industries Minister Lorne Theophilius said he is extremely concerned at what is becoming a regular occurrence adding while government does not want to place an extra burden on artistes, regulations must be put in place to ensure St. Lucians are not short-changed.


Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley has filed a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, which is expected to come off this month (March).

Dr. Rowley told a news conference recently at his office in Port of Spain, “we think we’ve had enough, we’ve just had enough. I have filed in the Parliament, a motion of no confidence in the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The opposition leader had been repeatedly critical of Persad-Bissessar’s leadership.

He said he had requested of the Parliament to have the matter debated at the earliest opportunity.

Dr. Rowley said the result of the vote was not the most significant matter.

The government has 29 MPs, while the Opposition only has 11 and former Prime Minister Patrick Manning is not expected to be in Parliament for the debate as he is recuperating from a stroke in the USA.

Rowley said the no confidence motion was intended to provide a platform to raise certain matters relating to the governance of T&T under the 22-month-old People’s Partnership government.

He said the motion was filed because the Opposition felt “the population has had enough of an experience of maladministration and we need to call the government to order.”

Motions of no confidence were brought against former prime ministers, Manning and Basdeo Panday, respectively and both were defeated.


The International Press Institute (IPI) plans to visit Trinidad and Tobago as part of its press freedom mission.

The Vienna-based organization, which made the unprecedented decision to bring together more than 350 leading journalists from more than 70 countries to T&T in June for its annual conference because of the country’s history of press freedom, has considered relocating the gathering after raids at the local Newsday’s office.

It is the first time the 62-year-old organization will meet in the Caribbean.

Executive Director of IPI Alison Bethel McKenzie said the group had considered relocating its conference but instead will add T&T to the list of Caribbean nations it plans to visit ahead of the June gathering as part of its press freedom missions. Other nations include Barbados and Guyana.

“The missions, which will include publishers and editors from around the world, are designed to pressure governments into better press freedom practices,” McKenzie said.

Compiled by Azad Ali