Caribbean RoundUp

Trinidad and Tobago’s Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh receives a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Champs Fleur
Trinidad and Tobago’s Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh receives a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Champs Fleur, Trinidad and Tobago April 6, 2021. Picture taken April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Andrea de Silva

ANTIGUA

Antigua and Barbuda’s human rights record came under review by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the third time recently.
The Caribbean island is one of the States that was reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its virtual session.
Antigua and Barbuda’s first and second UPR reviews took place in October 2011and May 2016 respectively.
The delegation of Antigua and Barbuda was led by Vanessa Moe, Crown Solicitor at the Ministry of Legal Affairs and three country representatives serving as rapporteurs for the review of Antigua and Barbuda were Bahrain, Togo, and Uruguay.
The UN said the documents on which the reviews were based including a national report provided by the by the State under review as information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights and treaty bodies.
The UPR also discussed information provided by other stakeholders, including national human rights institutions, regional organizations and civil society groups.
The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.

BARBADOS

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has announced the creation of of the Barbados Heritage District- an area that will include a memorial, a major global research institute and a museum located in Newtown Plantation, on the outskirts of the capital Bridgetown.
In making the announcement, Mottley said this is dedicated to accurately recounting the historic and contemporary impact of slavery on Barbados and on the lives of individuals, cultures and nations of the western hemisphere.
The Prime Minister added that the District’s research institute will document Barbados’ pivot as the harrowing portal through which millions of enslaved Africans were forced to the Americas.
“In the wake of Barbados’ transition to a parliamentary republic, the Barbados Heritage District will also serve as a cornerstone and catalyst for the ongoing development of Barbados’ independent identity and place on the world stage,” she said.

CARIBBEAN

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett has expressed her “profound sorrow” at the loss of life in Haiti, after a tanker truck loaded with fuel exploded recently, killing more than 60 people.
She said in a statement, “I want to express on behalf of the Community my profound sorrow at the loss of life as a result of the explosion of a gas tanker in Haiti’s second city, Cap-Haitien.”
Most of those killed were local residents who rushed to retrieve fuel from the overturned truck. The fire spread, setting fire to vehicles, motorcycles and at least 30 houses nearby.
Haiti for months have been scrambling to find gasoline and shortages have forced gas stations to close, sending fuel prices spiraling on the black market and forcing other businesses to close.

DOMINICA

Dominica and Montserrat have become the latest countries to recently launch the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) backed DCash pilot program as a payment system in the sub-region.
Digital Economy Minister Cassani Lavile said as payment systems continue to develop and expand, Dominica will do all it can to “foster the use of online payments that safeguard the consumers from online predators.”
The ECCB in March rolled out the digital version of the EC dollar in four of the eight- member Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) member states, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and in August did so in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
With the launch in Dominica and Montserrat, the ECCB said that the remaining member country where DCcash will be launched is Anguilla.
DCash, which can be used or without a bank account, is aimed at achieving three policy goals payments system efficiency, financial inclusion of the unanked and under-bank populations and increased resilience and competitiveness in the ECCU.

GUYANA

Vice President of Ghana Dr. Muhamadu Bawimia recently paid a three-day official visit to Guyana.
The visit was aimed to further strengthen, broaden and intensify bilateral relations between both countries.
The Ghanaian vice president took part in high level bilateral discussions with officials of the government, as well as members of the local private sector.
He also met with members of the Ghanaian diaspora and the University of Guyana.
During the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali and President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo spoke about several matters of mutual interests – including oil and gas, climate change and the environment, capacity-building, training and investment.
In October Guyanese Vice President Dr. Bharrath Jagdeo paid an official visit to Guyana where he discussed wide-ranging issues and opportunities that the countries can tackle together.
Guyana officially established diplomatic relations with Ghana on May 14, 1979.

ST. LUCIA

A St. Lucian medical practitioner has been suspended for six months after she prescribed the drug Ivermectin to treat patients who had contracted Covid-19.
Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose was suspended by the Medical and Dental Council of St. Lucia
The online publication said that the Council delivered its decision against St. Rose for prescribing Ivermectin to treat patients without authorization from the Ministry of Health or the Chief Medical Officer and publicly encouraging its use to treat the virus.
The Medical Council also fined the doctor EC$10,000 to the Council within 30 days because Dr. St. Rose conducted an unapproved and unmonitored clinical trial.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug most commonly used to treat livestock. It is a United States FDA-approved for human when treating lice, rosacea and specific parasitic diseases, but not for Covid-19.

TRINIDAD

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has given Government employees a choice of being vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus or stay home and lose their salaries
He has set a deadline of mid-January for unvaccinated workers to get inoculated or they will not be allowed to return to work.
Dr. Rowley made the announcement on Saturday at the Diplomatic Center, Port-Spain.
The decision comes on the heels of record number of Covid-19 daily deaths and infections.
December is on pace to become Trinidad and Tobago’s deadliest infectious month of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A  record 33 Covid-19 deaths were reported last Saturday as well as 956 cases, the second highest number of new infections reported in one day.
The second deadliest day of the Covid-19 pandemic was also recorded this month on December 15, with 32 deaths occurring that day.
December has now recorded 422 deaths and close to 14, 000 confirmed positive cases, compared to November’s record of 462 deaths and 14, 032 total cases.
Tobago has has recorded 166 deaths and 1,304 cases.
Dr. Rowley said; “We have come to the point where the Government will have to take certain actions. The Government being the largest employer of labor, so the Government’s workplace will have to change”.
He said those who choose not to be vaccinated will still be employed, but will not be paid.

NEWS

UWI vice-chancellor gets Antigua’s highest award
The Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, has conferred the Governor General’s Faithful and Meritorious Award’s highest honor, the Cross and Plaque, on vice-chancellor of UWI, Prof. Hilary Beckles.
The award recognizes Beckles’ 40 years of distinguished service to UWI and the Caribbean.
Williams described Beckles as “a giant of a Caribbean man who has a passion for people, a passion for progress, a passion for productivity and a passion for preserving the pasf treasures of the region”.
At the December 4 ceremony, Williams also said the honor was not only well deserved, but timely since Beckles’ 40 years of distinguished service at UWI coincided with the  celebration of  Antigua and Barbuda’s 40 anniversary of political Independence.
The ceremony took place in the Investiture Room at Government House in Antigua and Barbuda and among the distinguished guests, including acting Prime Minister Steadroy Benjamin.

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