Caribbean Round-Up

Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.
Associated Press / Jason DeCrow, file


Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley recently said Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals should consider investing their savings in the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF), rather than leaving it in financial institutions that offer almost no interest.

Addressing the opening of the two-day AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF23) here, Motley said that the CDF has become a shareholder of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), of which 11 CARICOM nations are also members.

Mottley said she feels that the CDF is the glue that holds the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, labor, services and finances across the 15-member grouping, together.

“And if there is one great regret that I have, is that it has taken us too long to be able to come up with a mechanism to allow us to be able to have Caribbean people also be able to participate in a financing mechanism through which the Caricom Development Fund can play the critical role that must play under Chapter Seven of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas,” she said, mentioning the accord that brought the CSME into being.

“We have one of the most successful single markets in the world,” Mottley said of CARICOM, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

She noted that under the CDF, disadvantaged countries, sectors or regions are entitled to be able to borrow at concessional rates to finance their development.



Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stakeholders will gather in Jamaica this week for a two-day workshop discussing the delivering on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) targets related to financing.

The event brings together CARICOM senior technical focal points for the Convention on Biological Diversity, and government officials involved in financial or economic planning for the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) commitments and  environmental projects.

The workshop is being convened under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the Guyana based CARICOM Secretariat, the hub of the Project for Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, and the Cartagena Convention Secretariat, and the Caribbean Environment Program.

The organizers said that the national focal points and representatives of financial institutions will discuss current and emerging opportunities for financing the GBF.

The workshop will also examine regional capacity development options for financing including issues related to preparing national financing plans for implementing the MEAs and options covering climate, biodiversity, and blue finances.



Guyana will host a three-day trade mission from the European Union (EU) later this month, the EU Ambassador Rene van Nes has announced.

He said that the November 20-22 will be  the first for the trade delegation to Guyana and that the focus will be on new investments and partnerships.

“The focus of that mission will be to go into a number of sectors, to explore areas of development, to look for partners, to look for investment opportunities,” he said, adding “we hope that will lead to a number of concrete relations and investment opportunities that will materialize in the period after that.”

Among the companies expected to exhibit their products are Siemens, one of the largest electrical companies in the world and Nokia. Smaller, more specialised companies will be in attendance also.

The EU diplomat said there is a representation from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Italy Austria, Sweden, Ireland and France.

The diplomat said the development in Guyana is only now getting underway and there is much interest in the “phenomenal” growth trajectory. He also acknowledged that the Schengen visa issue, which has been a topic of much discussion locally, is a hindrance for a deepening relation between two sides.



More than 30 children showed up at hospitals in St. Catherine and St. Andrew suffering from episodes of anxiety and traumatic injuries following the 5.6-magnitude earthquake, which jolted Jamaica recently.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton confirmed at a press conference  that the children were seen at the Accident and Emergency departments of the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew and the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.

Tufton said 21 children were taken to Bustamante from six nearby primary schools.

“Four were admitted for observation — three with mild head injury and one post-seizure is a known epileptic patient. All are clinically stable, and 10 have been discharged, so far, while others were awaiting the observation period to be completed. Most were anxious and had no physical injuries,” the minister said.

On the impact of the earthquake on facilities in the four regional health authorities, Tufton noted that facilities in the North Eastern, Western and Southern Regional Health authorities did not suffer much damage to infrastructure.

Dr. Tufton said in Kingston and St. Andrew, five primary care facilities reported some structural damage, mostly minor, but a full assessment is to be done. These facilities are Harbour View, Bull Bay, Mavis Bank, Stony Hill and Edna Manley.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said individuals may experience stress, anxiety, and depression as common reactions to any disaster.


St. Vincent and the Grenadines

A magistrate’s court will decide on Dec. 13 whether school teacher, Adriana King, should be made to answer a charge brought against her in 2021, alleging that she blocked St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves from gaining access to the Parliament building.

But her lead defence lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, has informed the court that she will apply to have Gonsalves, as well as acting Commissioner of Police, Enville Williams, summoned as witnesses, if the prosecutor did not intend to call them.

Bacchus-Baptiste said this was based on the charge, which the prosecution has sought to amend for a third time since it was brought in August 2021.

The court might need to set aside a special date when Gonsalves and Williams could be present so as to complete the trial in one day.

The lawyer said the prosecution had indicated that it intends to call three witnesses, but said it made no sense to start the trial and not have it completed the same day.

Bacchus-Baptiste said based on the disclosure, the prosecution was only relying on one witness.

“Clearly, this is a political matter and I don’t understand how the prosecutor can do the case without calling the prime minister,” she said, adding that she would also need a copy of the charge since she was not certain now of the charge given the changes.

Cato has asked the court to amend the charge to read that on Aug. 5, 2021, King, “being a stranger, with intent to commit an offence, with intent to obstruct Mr. Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a member of the House of Assembly from coming to the precincts of the House of Assembly did an act, which was more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence.”

Bacchus-Baptiste told the court her client has been placed on half pay since the charge was laid against her and two years later the prosecution was asking for “a third amendment to this political charge.”


Trinidad and Tobago

A vaccine for shingles has been made available to people in Trinidad and Tobago, as the country becomes the first in the region to join the fight against the painful disease. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster (HZ), is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

The vaccine, developed and distributed by healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), can only be accessed at private vaccination centres or medical institutions across the country.

GSK USA director, Dr. Nnanya Kalu, explained that people who have had chickenpox in the past are at risk for shingles later in life.

“If you’re like myself, who had chickenpox as a child, the virus remains in the body. The body has a way of fighting the virus and keeps it down. So after chickenpox, it still stays back in the body. As you grow older, especially at the age of 50, the risk for the reactivation of this virus increases. And that reactivation of the Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) is what causes shingles,” Kalu said.

According to experts, the same virus that causes chickenpox is present in over 90 per cent of adults globally.

One of the most notable symptoms of shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the body.

According to Dr. Javier Nieto Guevara, the vaccine has proven to be successful and when administered, provides the best protection against the disease.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan