Caribbean RoundUp

General view of the private jet of U.S. fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger on the tarmac at Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados
A private jet on the tarmac at Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, March 20, 2019. The government plans to lease the airport. REUTERS/ Phil Noble/ File
Scores of people protested outside the Office of Prime Minister Gaston Browne calling on the government to re-think the policy that all unvaccinated frontline public sector workers who refuse to pay for twice-monthly COVID-19 tests would be required to stay home without pay.
Browne said the government remained resolute that it would not move away from its policy to get public servants vaccinated.
The workers shouted that the government policies “were against humans.”
Prime Minister Browne said recently that his administration must act in the safety of all government workers, adding that he was prepared for the political fallout from the policy.
He said that was the risk he was prepared to take in the interest of the country, insisting that at least 30,000 people have so far not taken the vaccine as the government moves to ensure herd immunity as soon as possible.
Browne said that tough decisions must be taken in the interest of the health and economic well-being of all citizens.
Antigua and Barbuda has so far recorded 43 deaths and 1,428 cases of the virus since March last year.
The Barbados government plans to lease the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) and already the first virtual bidders consultation under the planned public-private partnership (PPP) concession has started to take place.
Minister of Tourism and  International Transport, Lisa Cummins stressed that the Grantley Adams International Airport is not being sold, but it is being leased to a private service provider who will bring the expertise in airport development, including infrastructure expansion over the lifecycle of the lease.
“We have appointed a college of negotiators now to lead the Grantley Adams International Airport through the process of engaging with the IFC, so we have created double redundancy,” she said.
Cummins said the International Financial Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank has been doing capacity building all around the world will also been doing the Grantley Adams International Airport.
The minister added the college of negotiators incorporates representatives who came from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank as well as an international law firm held three meetings recently.
A government statement said the way forward in the PPP includes virtual engagement in the last week of July 2020.
Cummins also disclosed had approved the investment in a Barbados aviation sector strategy.
She noted that the aviation industry — a $30 billion industry — has the potential to create a growth trajectory for Barbados.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said CARICOM has a key role to play in restoring peace and stability to one of its founding member states, Haiti.
At the recent virtual opening of the 11th CARICOM-UN general meeting, Guterres thanked CARICOM for their unwavering support to the United Nations mission in Haiti.
He was heartened by CARICOM’S willingness to play a role in facilitating this dialogue.
“We will continue to count on your strong support as we thrive to help Haiti, he said.
He made no direct  mention of the July 7 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise or events arising after.
In a statement on July 7, CARICOM condemned Moise’s assassination and appealed to Haitians  “to remain calm and to overcome their differences and unite at this moment of national peril.”
Caricom  said it is willing “to play a lead role in facilitating a process of national dialogue and negotiation to help the Haitian people and their institutions to craft an indigenous solution to the crisis.”
The Dominica government recently launched its electronic passport (e-passport) that it says will significantly reduce identity theft and would be an integral component of its border management system.
Minister of National Security, Rayburn Blackmoore said Dominicans have until July 2023 to acquire the new passport.
He said there will be a two-year period of the current machine-readable passport and this is being done to ensure that everyone can reasonably apply for the new passport.
Minister of Tourism, Denise Charles, who stood in for Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at the launch, said Dominica has joined other countries worldwide that “have taken the bold step” in providing the new travel document.
She said the new initiative will improve linkages with the CARICOM Joint Regional Communications Center as well as Interpol Police.
The United States Department of State recently announced that the Joe Biden administration has appointed Ambassador Daniel Foote, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, as its Special Envoy for Haiti.
Ned Price, State Department spokesman, said the Special Envoy will “engage with Haitian and International partners to facilitate long term peace and stability and support efforts to hold free and fair presidential and legislative election.”
He will also work with partners to coordinate assistance efforts in several areas, including humanitarian, security and investigative assistance.
Additionally, Price said the Special Envoy will engage stakeholders in civil society and the private sector, “as we pursue Haitian-led solutions to the many challenges facing Haiti.”
Jamaica is predicting revenue of approximately US$1.5 billion from the tourism industry by the end of August as the island rebounds from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said the island should also record one million visitors during the same period and that the revenue projections are based on out-turns over the last seven months during which nearly 700,000 tourists visited Jamaica.
He said the overall figure for the period exceeds 800,000 when coupled with general passenger arrivals and is set to reach the one million mark over the next several weeks.
The Trinidad and Tobago majority-owned Caribbean Airlines Ltd. has announced that 280 employees will be laid off and an additional 99 workers will be placed on temporary layoff.
In a media release last week the airline said the number was significantly less than expected.
CAL said the impacted employees were being informed directly with a 45-day notice thereafter.
It said the concluding result came after five weeks of extensive discussions were held with employees and employee representatives in the various locations that CAL operates.
In June, CAL said a main reason for the restructuring process was the loss of US$ $25.7 million and a 75 percent decline in revenue in its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 on its commercial activities.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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