Caribbean Roundup

FILE PHOTO: Volcano erupts on Caribbean island of St. Vincent
Ash and smoke billow as the La Soufriere volcano erupts in Kingstown on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent April 9.
REUTERS/Robertson S. Henry/File Photo

Barbados: Seeking further action in COVID-19 fight

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said that the novel coronavirus pandemic has the capacity to “upend developing countries” and that it is necessary “to put down the tools to avert a debt crisis which is potentially on us if we do not get it right.” 

Mottley made the remarks while addressing the World Health Organization (WHO) at a recent media briefing. She repeated calls for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and technical resources.

The prime minister said there is an urgent need for coordinated action in fighting the virus and is looking forward to continued support from the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization.

Mottley also said there is no measure that is too much on the personal, national or global level to safeguard lives and reminded the importance of the personal protocols in curbing COVID-19.


Bahamas: Possible revenge for killings

Police in the Bahamas were bracing for revenge killings after gunmen shot and killed six men in a hail of bullets on a street in the capital city of Nassau.

Police Commissioner Paul Rolle ordered officers to move into known criminal hot spots to prevent potential retaliatory incidents by rival gangs.

According to police, men wearing black clothing and brandishing high-powered assault rifles and handguns ambushed the six men as they drove in a vehicle.

‘We will establish a formidable presence to ensure that every household, every member in this city remains safe until we find these individuals and bring them to justice,” he said.

National Security Minister Marvin Dames called the perpetrators “monsters” and insisted it was time for relatives and friends harboring such people to stand with the police to fight the scourge of violence.

Canada: COVID-19 aid from the north

The Canadian government says it will contribute nearly a million U.S. dollars to support the efforts of the Pan American World Health Organization (WHO) against COVID-19 in six Caribbean countries.

The donation by the Canadian government will be used to acquire essential personal protection equipment, laboratory and medical equipment, as well as supplies to be used by healthcare workers and hospitals in the Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, as part of PAHO’s technical cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.

The contribution is part of a five-year sub-regional program between PAHO and Canada, which aims to reduce health consequences of emergencies and disasters in the Caribbean, through better preparedness and a more resilient health sector.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government of Canada has donated more than 8 million U.S. dollars to support PAHO’s technical cooperation to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in the Americas.

PAHO’s Director Dr. Carissa Etienne said Canada’s contribution will help save lives and shows how we can all join forces in solidarity to defeat the virus.

Jamaica: Feeling impact of St. Vincent eruption

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is calling on regional tourism leaders to meet to discuss the impact of La Soufriere volcanic explosion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the Caribbean tourism sector.

He said such a major disruption calls for an urgent discussion with tourism leaders to examine the implications for Caribbean tourism given the negative impact that it is having on lives, livelihoods and ultimately tourism.

The volcano, which last erupted in 1997, has become active again, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in the designated “Red Zone” on the island.

Bartlett said the time to act is now to plan the way forward including resilience building to recover stronger and thrive and this is where the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center is able to assist.

Support has been pouring in for St. Vincent and the Grenadines as families continue to manage the post-volcanic effect.

Haiti: Jouthe resigns amid unrest

Haitian Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe has resigned as the country faces a spike in killings and kidnappings and prepares for an upcoming constitutional referendum and general election later this year.

Jouthe had served as prime minister since March 2020. He did not provide an explanation for his resignation.

He had previously tried to quit office, but President Jovenel Moise rejected it at the time. Moise accepted Jouthe’s second resignation, and nominated Claude Joseph as Haiti’s new prime minister. Joseph previously served as a foreign minister.

Haiti has had a number of changes of prime ministers, eight of them appointed to the position since 2015.

St. Vincent: Relief coming after eruption

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) said it would be paying out an estimated US $2.2 million for relief and recovery efforts following the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines. 

The volcano first erupted on April 9, forcing the evacuation of more than 16,000 people. Scientists monitoring the volcano have warned of continued seismic activity.

The CCRIF, a segregated portfolio company owned and operated and registered in the Caribbean, said it had provided financial support in the form of a grant of US $2.209 million to the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

CCRIF said it believes that this support will provide much needed liquidity to respond to the ongoing relief and recovery efforts on the Caribbean island.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been a member of CCRIF since the inception of the facility in 2007, CCRIF said in a statement, extending its sympathies to the government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Trinidad: Paraigsingh named court master

A Trinidad and Tobago attorney Alan Pariagsingh has been appointed a master of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC).

The local attorney was appointed recently by Dame Justice Janice Pereira, chief justice of the ECSC.

Pariagsingh will preside in the civil and criminal jurisdictions of the Supreme Court.

Pariagsingh, 36, who has become one of the youngest attorneys to be appointed to the office, is a graduate of the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and the University of London, where obtained a Bachelor of Law degree.

He was the first attorney from T&T to use the Privy Council’s electronic filing system to file matters in the Privy Council, eliminating the need for a solicitor in the Privy Council.

More from Around NYC