Antigua and Barbuda
The Antigua and Barbuda government says it is going ahead with plans to establish a new regional airline even as it acknowledged a move by other sub-regional countries to do so.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne responding to an opposition question regarding improved regional transportation, told legislators that it is well known that the government “has been struggling” with the cash-strapped LIAT (1974) Ltd. over the past three years.
LIAT (1974) is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It entered into administration in July 2020 following increased debt and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Browne told legislators that as a result of a lack of commitment, his administration decided to pursue a new partner for the proposed LIAT 2020 “which will be a new legal entity that will not assume any of the liabilities of LIAT (1974).”
Browne said he believes that Air Peace would not only bring assets in terms of cash and aircraft but also expertise “to help us to manage LIAT to ensure it sustains viability.”
He said he is aware that there are plans for a “supplementary OECS airline, there is talk so far but no firm commitment and we have to watch that space and see how it develops.”
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley recently reiterated her call for restructuring of the international financial architecture, indicating that the call for financial reform is “really not about governance.”
“For us, it is about longer money, cheaper money and being able to use it for the purposes for which we need to reduce all of our inequalities and to achieve the elements of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” Mottley told a panel discussion, examining the biggest challenges standing in the way of achieving the SDGs, and the interventions, partnerships, and strategies that are needed.
President of the United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago, convened,
The SDG Summit which is a high-level political forum on sustainable development, serves as a pivotal milestone in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, marking the halfway point of its implementation. It presents crucial opportunity to accelerate collective efforts towards sustainable development.
It’s objective is to rekindle hope, optimism, and enthusiasm for the 2030 Agenda.
Mottley said she is hoping “that we can have a joint effort between the World Bank of the he IMF in an particular and the UN to be able to bring to the table the credit rating agencies…because regrettably we value short-term lending but do o not understand to gat if countries are going to invest in education and healthcare to they need 30 and 40-year money in order to be able to do so.”
Governor of the British Overseas Territory (BOT), Rena Lalgie, recently said that cyber security teams in Britain are assisting in Bermuda on dealing with a “major cyber attack” that recently brought down government information technology (IT) services.
Premier David Burt said that the incident, which also forced a postponement of the sitting of the House of Assembly, affected not only the Bermuda government but some other regional governments as well.
In a statement, the Governor confirmed that the government IT systems were subjected to a “major cyber attack” and “that incident is ongoing.”
Lalgie said Bermuda authorities are also receiving support from a range of commercial partners, Adding “government will advise on the ongoing impacts to services of this attack on a regular basis.
The government had earlier advised the public that its telephone, internet and e-mail systems were disrupted and that all departments were affected.
The Bermuda Police Service (BPS) said that it’s services were functioning and that emergency and non- emergency telephone numbers were operating as usual.
Premier Burt said that various teams were working with “local partners, engaging all hands, overseas partners and there may be a need to engage further” to establish the source of the incident.
The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping said it remains firm in its support for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even as it expressed concerns at some hindrances to achieving the UN mandate by 2030.
Addressing the high-level political forum, Dominica’s President Charles Savarin said CARICOM’s position on the path towards achieving the SDGs has been clearly outlined in several debates and intergovernmental negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.
“We firmly believe that greater commitment, solidarity and transformative actions are needed to achieve the said targets within a realistic time frame,” said Savarin, delivering the statement on behalf of the Caricom grouping.
Savarin said CARICOM endorses the political declaration set out by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in a renewed call for all member states to re-commit towards this transformative process.
“The existential threats of COVID-19, over the last three years, exacerbated by the impact of climate change and war on Ukraine calls for even greater leadership at the multilateral level, therefore what is required is a surge in commitments from governments and other stakeholders to take implementation of the SDGs to the next level. To this end, decisive action must be taken to better support developing countries through long-term lending at lower interest rates, debt relief and the creation of a robust and effective sovereign debt resolution mechanism.”
The Dominican head of state said that Caricom is calling for urgent action from the international financial architecture and ensure an enabling environment for developing countries to actively participate in and benefit from global economy.
Speaker of the House and Member of Parliament for South Trelawny Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert has resigned from the posts amid mounting pressure in relation to the eight charges laid against her by the Integrity Commission (IC).
She added, “What has happened to me, could have happened to any other Member of Parliament, public servant, or civil servant. As a woman maintaining a family and as a Member of Parliament, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and managing partner of a law firm, the toll that it has taken on me is immense.” The IC ruled that she be slapped with eight charges in relation to her statutory declarations over seven years.
The commission’s director of investigation, Kevon Stephenson, in a report recommended that the it be referred to the prime minister “for him to take such disciplinary and/or administrative actions which both recognises the seriousness of Mrs. Dalrymple-Philibert’s conduct” and to deter recurrence.The ruling follows an investigation by the commission in relation to a motor vehicle that Dalrymple-Philibert had purchased through a concession afforded to legislators and which she failed to declare in her filings. She said she has “nothing to hide,” Dalrymple-Philibert said she is looking forward to the matter going to trial.“I look forward to the trial of the matter for which the Integrity Commission has ruled that I be charged, to be concluded in a court of law rather than a court of public opinion,” she noted.
She has thanked the South Trelawny constituents for their support over the years.
Trinidad and Tobago
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Kieth Rowley recently urged the UN’s immediate intervention into Haiti’s crisis as much of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, is ruled by armed gangs after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise two years ago.
Dr. Rowley addressed the UN General Assembly in New York recently and said that the scourge of illegal firearms threatened the very existence of democratic states, he supported CARICOM’s declaration of the Caribbean Sea as a zone of peace. He said the proliferation of violent crime, with other crises, helps to destabilise countries.
“Consequently, T&T, as it fights its own battle in this area, remains deeply concerned over the developments in our fellow CARICOM country, Haiti, that are causing unimaginable humanitarian, socio-economic, and security consequences.”
He applauded the government of Kenya for offering to help lead a multinational unit in Haiti and an offer by the Bahamas and Jamaica to contribute personnel.
“Rwanda’s offer to help is also very significant and commendable.”
Dr. Rowley urged all to collaborate with Haiti to solve the current crisis. He vowed that T&T, as an honest broker, was fully committed to working with the government of Haiti and all stakeholders to arrive at an indigenous solution.
— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan