Caribbean RoundUp

Belizean, Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett appointed 8th CARICOM secretary-general.


Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has welcomed the establishment of a Global Institute for Climate -Smart and Resilient Development (GICSRD) by the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Browne said that the UWI’s GICSRD would provide much-needed climate research and data for the region, adding that there was sufficient evidence that weather systems were worsening as islands in the Caribbean had been severely affected.
‘The GICSRD is a critical institution that will fill the climate educational gap as we seek to transform the region into a climate resilient zone,” the Caribbean Community Chairman (CARICOM) chairman said.
He noted that the Caribbean was hit by over 110 storms between 1980 and 2016, inflicting nearly 95 percent damage from weather disasters
Speaking at the the recent virtual launch of the GICSRD, Brownen said he was encouraged that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, The UWI was looking to international climate finance to scale up action within the Caribbean.
GICSRD Executive Director, Professor John Goddard, maintained that the Caribbean was on the front line of a climate crisis
The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), is warning of a collapse of the tourism sector and is urging the government to support its call that “all employees within the sector be required to take a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec.r 1.”
In a newspaper advertisement, the BHTA said this would ensure that Barbados, which has so far recorded 94 deaths and 10,918 infections linked to the pandemic since March last year, was ready and well-equipped for the official start of the winter tourist season.
The BHTA referred to increasing  cancellations due to significant deaths and cases in recent recent months, the decision by a growing number of intended visitors who are choosing hotels with fully vaccinated staff.
The BHTA is of the view that unless action is taken, there would be a collapse of the tourism sector that employs directly employs 16,000 persons and many thousands more in supporting services, it said, adding it was “extremely” concerned with the impact of the prevailing COVID-19 environment in Barbados inclusive of  workers, business and the general economy.
CARIBBEAN Community (CARICOM Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett says an effective response to the post COVID-19 economic situation must include significant and  broad debt reduction for all developing countries.
Barnett told the recent 15th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that this approach should also be applied to vulnerable middle to high-income states.
She said debt reduction should specifically address debts built up due to COVID-19 expenditures and climate change adaptation.
The recently appointed CARICOM Secretary General said the meeting provided an opportunity to highlight to the global community the issues and concerns of Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS), as well as to identify some of the measures that could be taken by the international community to support efforts to build resilience and promote sustainable development among SIDS.
She said new debt arising from the need to address the COVID-19 crisis, together with the existing debt stock, will continue to appropriate a significant proportion of public resources in debt repayments, while strangling critical infrastructural public investments required for economic rehabilitation.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has said access to its offices across the region will be restricted to people showing proof of being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
In a two-paragraph statement recently, the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said the new policy went into  effect as of Oct. 1.
It said the measure is aimed at providing “a safe working environment for its staff, in keeping with attempts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“These measures include proof of vaccination for staff members and all persons seeking to enter our offices to do business. Staff members and members of the public who are not vaccinated would require a PCR test no older than seven days to enter the offices,” the Secretariat said.
The statement by CARICOM comes as several regional governments have either indicated a need to establish safe zones or restrict the entry to public buildings to only vaccinated people
The governments have been calling on their nationals to get vaccinated as a means of curbing the virus.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Caribbean countries have recorded 339,488 positive cases and 7,884 deaths.
Grenada has delayed the population and housing census due to the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in August.
The start date of the 2021 National Population and Housing Census which was tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 15, was further delayed because of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, administrators believe that this delay was in the best interest of everyone as enumerators will be going out into the communities when the risk of contracting the virus is minimized,” the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said in a statement.
The CSO said while it is encouraged by the rate of COVID-19 recoveries and the reduction in active cases, it is collaborating with the Ministry of Health reviewing protocols and procedures for field staff to further ensure that the public can be safely enumerated and that field staff protected.
The authorities hope to start the census on Nov. 1 and the CSO is hoping that enumerators will also be able to conduct the full household interview by phone.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has paid tribute to former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell who recently died of COVID-19 complications.
Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, became the first black man to rise to the highest positions in US military and diplomacy.
The retired four-star general served as the 65th US Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, becoming also the first African-American Secretary of State.
In a statement, his family said he was fully vaccinated against the virus.
Holness, in extending tribute to Powell’s family as well as the people of the United States, on behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, said Powell had  “lived a distinguished life of service,” adding that in 2018, “I had the distinct pleasure of meeting him.”
“General Colin Powell is the first Jamaican-American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff as chairman,” Holness said in the statement posted on his Twitter account
Opposition Leader Mark Golding said he was sad at the passing of Powell, who was born April 5, 1937, to Jamaican parents, Luther and Maud Powell.
After an absence of  two decades, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines resumed flights between Amsterdam and Trinidad and Tobago on Oct. 16.
Flight KL7810, which was almost filled to capacity, landed at Piarco International Airport at 6.15 pm.
The airline will be operating three weekly flights, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from the Netherlands to Trinidad and Tobago, with a stop over in Barbados.
KLM operates an extensive network that includes services within Europe and to Asia, Africa, North America, Central and South America and the Middle East.
Travelers can also look forward to faster times in reaching their final destinations as Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) is a major European Hub, which offers direct connections to cities in Europe and across the world.
The Deputy Chairman of the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, James Philbert told those gathered to welcome the flight at the airport that the introduction of this route can result in lower costs to travel to Europe through increased competition with the addition of a new carrier.
He said the courtship to woo KLM Airlines back to these shores after over 20 years of absence began in 2019 and involved a collaborative effort by the T&T tourism agencies, the Dutch Embassy and the Airports Authority.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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