Caribbean RoundUp

ADDITION Haiti Worker Protest
Journalists carry photojournalist Maxihen Lazzare on to a truck after he was shot dead while covering a protest by factory workers demanding higher salaries in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Men wearing police uniforms drove by the protest and fired into the crowd where Lazzare was covering the demonstration.
Associated Press/Odelyn Joseph

BARBADOS

The Barbados government and the United Kingdom in Saudi Arabia recently held preliminary talks centered around the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tourism Cooperation as well as looking into developing an Air Services Agreement with a focus on Saudi, the flag carrier of the oil rich kingdom.
The talks were held following the recent arrival of the delegation from Saudi Arabia headed by the country’s Minister of Tourism and the Chairman of the Saudi Fund for Development, Ahmed Al- Khateeb.
The group was welcomed by Minister of Tourism and International Transport and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Lisa Cummins, who also met with members of the Cabinet.
Discussions at the Lloyd Erskkme Saniford Center led by Cummins centered on avenues such as the greater use of renewable energy; advanced infrastructure  development and the overall integration of sustainability into Barbados tourism development planning, were top of the agenda on the comprehensive discussions.
Following the visit, the government of Barbados will outline its priority projects which a dedicated team assembled by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will study and together the two nations will determine the way forward.
Barbados sees a MOU with Saudi Arabia as a prime opportunity for the development of joint tourism job creation and joint investment in tourism education training.
CARIBBEAN
Five countries in the Eastern Caribbean have received US$2 million each in the battle against the Sargassum seaweed.
Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia gained access to a US$12-million three-year grant-aid project entitled; The Project for Improving National Sargassum Management Capacities in the Caribbean.
The project is being funded by the Government of Japan and executed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The signing of the official Exchange of Notes between Japan and the UNDP for the partnership took place at UN House in Barbados recently.
Speaking during the event on behalf of the recipient countries, Barbados’ Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Force, thanked and welcomed any intervention to assist Barbados and its Caribbean neighbors in the fight against the Sargassum seaweed.
He noted that the presence of the algae also created problems for marine life.
GUYANA
Guyana is set to join the Regional Security System (RSS) established in 1982 to provide security in the Eastern Caribbean.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley who attended a four-day working visit to Georgetown recently said, “that is a significant impetus for us in the Southern Caribbean, Guyana’s military is long established and is well equipped and therefore the ability to have another anchor in the Regional Security System is something that will enhance the ability not only to respond to national security issues but in particular as we get ready to go into the hurricane season.”
The RSS was created out of the need for a collective response to secure threats, which were impacting on the stability of the region in the early 1970s and 1980s.
The RSS has additional responsibilities to the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM)  region as provided for under the Treaty on Security Assistance. The Barbados-based RSS headquarters is the coordinating secretariat of the CARICOM Security Assistance Mechanism.
HAITI
Haitian Prime Minister, Dr. Ariel Henry has “deplored” the death of journalist, Lazzare Maxiben, who was killed as he covered a protest demonstration by textile workers calling for a higher minimum wage that what had been announced recently.
Maxiben, a photojournalist with the online media RDI, was shot and killed during the demonstration, while three other journalists were injured by bullets.
“While committing to guarantee the freedom to demonstrate, in compliance with the law and republican values, the government recall the responsibility of public authorities to ensure order and security with a view to restoring peace,” Henry said in a statement.
A few days before, Haiti announced an increase in the minimum wages less than week after police used teargas to disperse textile workers who had taken to the streets to demand an increase in their minimum wages.
The workers were demanding a 300 percent increase in their minimum wage, which is now 500 Gourdes (one Gourdes is equivalent to US$ 0.009 cents) per eight-hour working day in addition to other social benefits such as transport and food subsidies.
JAMAICA
Travelers will no longer be required to go into mandatory quarantine or present an authorization form to enter Jamaica.
These measures went into effect from March 1, 2022.
In a release, the Jamaica Tourist Board said a negative PCR  COVID-19 results taken from a test 72 hours before travel, passengers 12 and over, is now the only requirement to enter.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett said removing these processes is a key step in relaxing the country’s travel protocols, especially with the reduced threat the virus poses globally.
He is confident that this move will encourage more tourists to visit the island.
SURINAME
Suriname’s Minister of Finance, Armand Achaibersing is expecting a positive result when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) releases its first periodic review of the implementation of the Suriname economic recovery plan in the coming weeks.
If the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country gets a positive review, it would result in the country receiving the second tranche of the monetary aid package in a few weeks.
In December last year, the IMF said it had approved a 36-month arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Suriname to assist with the home-grown economic plan.
The Washington-based financial institution said the country will immediately receive US$55.1 million under the US$688 million approved.
Achaibersing told reporters that the IMF would announce the outcome of the evaluation at a news conference and that on the issue of rescheduling of the debts with international creditors, that the negotiations have not yet been completed.
TRINIDAD
A European Union (EU) team recently visited Trinidad and Tobago for talks on how the country can participate in a massive 300 billion euro assistance program for developing countries
The EU’s Managing Director for the Americas, Brian Flynn and his team held talks with government ministers, as well as representatives from other social sectors.
The discussions focused on avenues for assistance and co-operation in a range of areas, including environmental protection and biodiversity, climate change, renewable energy, digital transformation, trade agriculture, crime and security.
The EU visit is part of an effort to strengthen bilateral relations between the UE and Trinidad and Tobago.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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