Caribbean RoundUp

Kamala Harris,Andrew Holness
Vice President Kamala Harris and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, conclude their remarks following their meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, in Washington, Wednesday, March 30, 2022.
Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta

BARBADOS

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has renewed her call for reparation for the Atlantic slave trade, saying she does not consider the issue a contentious issue.
Mottley, who was on an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently said that slavery not only resulted in the underdevelopment of the colonies but played an indirect role in climate change, for which compensated should also be provided.
She told the media in Dubai that the former colonizers removed the wealth from countries such as Barbados and created the industrial revolution in developed nations which, in turn, contributed significantly to the world’s greenhouse gases.
Barbados’ first female head of government said that the industrial revolution was financed by the slave trade.
She said when independence was factored in 130 years later for many former colonies, they received nothing other than good wishes.
And Mottley is urging visitors who have made use of the Barbados’ welcome stamp initiative is an example of the opportunities that can be realized when countries open their doors to overseas residents willing to become digital nomads.
She expressed renewed optimism in this initiative and others on the horizon during an address at a meet and greet session in the UAE with keg stakeholders of Dubai’s Free Zone.
CARIBBEAN
The United States government announced recently plans to provide US$1,5 million in COVID-19 assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for countries in the Eastern Caribbean region, including The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The assistance, according to a press release from the US Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad will be focused on helping countries with vaccine deployment and readiness and include efforts to address vaccine hesitancy and combat vaccine mis-and-dis information.
The additional support will assist with community vaccination campaigns and engagement activities, strengthen the cold chain environment, train healthcare workers and develop regional and country-specific campaigns to increase vaccine uptake.
USAID regional representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean Clinton D. White said the funding will fill key gaps to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine uptake and strengthen countries’ preparedness for future pandemic threats.
He said the additional support builds on previous COVID-19 support to Caribbean countries.
USAID has provided nearly US$63 million in COVID-19 assistance to the Caribbean to address the health, humanitarian and economic impacts of the pandemic.
DOMINICA
Dominica acting Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Dr. Irvin McIntyre said changes have been made to travel protocols to further ease travel to the tiny Caribbean island and support the full re-opening of the tourism sector.
He said passengers of cruises will be allowed to disembark and be allowed to tour freely in keeping with cruise ship and port protocols.
He also stated Cruise sector workers such as taxi drivers, vendors and tour guides must be vaccinated or present a negative 48-hour antigen test result and a “Safe Zone” pass.
The requirement for pre-arrival testing and testing on arrival for vaccinated travelers at all ports of entry, including Sea Fearers and yacthies has been removed.
McIntyre said that unvaccinated travelers who test negative on arrival will no longer be required to be quarantine.
However, testing on arrival for symptomatic travelers will remain in effect.
GRENADA
Traveling to Grenada has just got easier as the Spice Island has removed all of its Covid-19 restrictions and protocols.
As of April 4, travelers to Grenada will no longer be required to take a covid-19 test, be vaccinated, quarantine on arrival, or fill out a Health Declaration form.
The country’s mask mandate has also been dropped.
The news comes ahead of the island’s Carnival known as Spicemas, which will be held on August 8 and 9.
Grenada’s test positivity rate remains below five percent in most days in the month of March and continues to see low-level transmission occurring in the population.
One-third or 33 percent of Grenada’s population is fully vaccinated, with 48 percent partially vaccinated and around 5.2 percent have had a third dose or booster shots.
GUYANA
Guyanese nationals in the diaspora are being urged to explore opportunities at home as the country is undergoing rapid development.
Speaking with members of the diaspora in Trinidad recently, Guyana Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud said that approximately 100,000  additional workers are needed in key investments in Guyana as the economy is growing at a fast pace and both skilled and unskilled workers are needed to fill public and private sector jobs.
According to Persaud, the government of Guyana is trying to woo members of the diaspora to return by offering several incentives including tax concessions on personal effects such as vehicles and housing lots in Guyana.
JAMAICA
Jamaica is set to benefit from investments in US$30 million from the United States, following a meeting between Prime Minister Andrew Holness and US Vice-President Kamala Harris at the White House in Washington DC, USA recently.
The investments include US$20 million to boost commerce between the two nations and a further US$10 million to address human capital development and violence reduction for risk youth.
Harris said the United States will be investing US$10 million to assist in the strengthening and expansion of Jamaica’s commerce in a way that “we fully intend will have an impact in strengthening the economy of Jamaica and drive economic growth.”
In addition, Harris said the Biden administration is providing US$10 million to target at-risk youth in Jamaica “through a number of initiatives that we believe will have an exponential impact not only on the issue of crime prevention but what we intend as well, which is to strengthen the natural human capital that exists in Jamaica among young people.”
TRINIDAD
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently approved a new country strategy for Trinidad and Tobago for the 2021-2025 period, which aims to buttress the Government’s digital transformation agenda.
In a statement, the IDB said its President, Mauricio Claver-Crone, held talks with newly appointed Minister of Planning and Development, Penelope Beckles on the financial institution’s work in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the IDB’ s work on digitialisation and climate change in the Caribbean.
The statement said the IDB’s country strategy aims to help Trinidad and Tobago implement its digital transformation to achieve more sustainable and inclusive growth, which is the first pillar of the country’s medium and long-term post-pandemic development plan.
The Washington-based financial institution said the strategy focuses on three areas: improving the business environment to enable digital transformation; expanding the use of digital tools to improve educational outcomes and digital skills and enhancing the delivery of services.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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