Caribbean RoundUp

Grenadian Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Photo by George Alleyne


This year’s sitting of the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination by thousands of primary school students is likely to be the last.

Minister of Education, Sanita Bradshaw announced that public consultations on a replacement for the exam, also known as the Common Entrance for 11-Plus, would start next month.

She said the hope was that as early as next year, there would be a new method for students to transition from primary to secondary school.

However, government back bencher, Gline Clarke is not in agreement and has called for a referendum to be held on the issue.


Four Haitians have been ordered deported after they were found guilty of breaching the Immigration Act.

Police reported that on March 3, 2020, the Haitians — Donna Alain, 35, Allia Samdi, 28, David Tousaint, 37, and Joseph Francis, 34, were found in Grand Bahama after landing from a place outside the Bahamas without checking with Immigration.

When they appeared in court recently, they pleaded guilty to the charge and were each fined US$300 or in default serve one year in jail at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.

The four were handed over to Immigration after paying the fine to be deported to their homeland.


The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has projected the region’s economic growth to increase to 4.1 percent in 2020.

The increase to 4.1 percent from one percent in 2019 is influenced largely by the growth in Guyana when oil production begins this year.

This, while, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is projecting global growth to increase modestly from 2.9 percent in 2019 to 3.3 percent in 2020 and 3.4 percent in 2021.

In a release, President of the CDB, Dr. William Warren Smith noted that this growth will be uneven and urged the borrowing member countries (BMCs) of the bank to pursue policy reforms conducive to sustainability rates of growth.

He said economic growth will remain lopsided and below the sustainable rates needed for long-term resilience noting that BMCs like Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, and St. Kitts and Nevis must stay on course with their home grown socio-economic reform programs.

The bank president also pointed to Barbados’ progress in bringing its debt ratio down from 127 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 to under 120 percent last year.

Dr. Smith confirmed that the bank was determined to assist the BMCs to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has assured Grenadians that a woman will become the next prime minister of the Spice Island during his lifetime.

He made the statement while delivering the recent feature address at the signing of the Spotlight Initiative – a project receiving funding from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) to combat violence against women and girls.

Mitchell, who while campaigning for the election that was held in 2018, said he would not be contesting another election, said his vision of having a female prime minister, will become a reality.

He said it will not take too long in the future since “we already have a female governor general in place – the highest official in the land.”

Mitchell was prime minister from 1995 to mid-2008 when he was voted out of office after the electorate voted for the Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress who ruled from 2008 to February 2013.

Mitchell returned to power in the 2018 general election.

On both occasions his ruling National Party won all 15 seats in the House of Representatives.

During his tenure Mitchell has seen the rise of women being elected to the Parliament.

Currently seven of the 13 Members in the Lower House are women, while two others are among the 13 senators.

In the public service, 10 of the 15 permanent secretaries are women.


The World Bank has approved US$56 million grant for urban development in the impoverished Haiti.

The Washington-based financial institution said the funds from its International Development Association (IDA) will go towards the Cap-Haitien Urban Development Project, which aims “to improve urban infrastructure and public spaces to make the Cap-Haitien city region more livable and resilient.

The bank said Cap-Haitien, the country’s second largest commercial center, has the potential to become a hub growth in the north but faces significant challenges that are constraining its development and reducing the quality of life of its citizens.

It said the bank is working with the Haitian government and other development partners to make Cap-Haitien a better place to live, visit and do business.

According to the Haiti Urbanization Review, around 64 percent of the population lives in urban areas, making it the fourth most urbanized country in the Latin America and the Caribbean.

But the bank said urbanization has occurred in “an unregulated manner, resulting in over-crowded cities.”

St. Lucia:

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet announced last week that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold a conference call with regional countries to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) which has killed more than 4,000 people globally and posing economic problems for small island developing states.

In a statement to Parliament on the island’s as well as the region’s preparations and strategies for deal with the virus for which there is no vaccine, Chastanet disclosed that his Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee, who is also chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) was meeting with the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association (CHTA to have a one-day discussion specifically on tourism and the coronavirus fallout, as well as preserve the global confidence in Caribbean tourism.

The prime minister disclosed that the region had been holding discussions with cruise ship operators on a protocol to guide their relationship in the Covid-19 era.

Last week, the IMF said it would make available US$50 billion to help countries address the Covid-19.


Trinidad and Tobago and Ghana have signed an air services agreement between both countries.

A post on T&T’s Prime Minister Facebook page said Dr. Rowley met with Ghana’s Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda during his recent visit to Ghana for the country’s independence celebrations.

After the meeting, T&T Public Utilities Minister, Robert Le Hunte signed an air services agreement Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which both countries will “take the next step towards establishing a mutual air services agreement.”

Dr. Rowley identified energy and agriculture as two areas which T&T was seeking to deepen the collaboration with Ghana.

He said these efforts underscored the need for an air services agreement between T&T and Ghana, which would facilitate direct flights between both countries, to facilitate the movement of people and goods.

– Compiled by Azad Ali