Caribbean RoundUp

Americas Summit
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley speaks during a plenary session at the Summit of the Americas, Friday, June 10, 2022, in Los Angeles. Recently, the prime minister approved a policy to allow prison officers to form an association.
Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez
ANTIGUA
Antigua and Barbuda last week launched its 2023 carnival at the Brix Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad , promising a full seven days of fun, music, entertainment and vibes.
But Roger Perry, in a presentation, told stakeholders and potential guests that from  now on Antigua Carnival will not only be a festival but a brand and business.
Perry, public relations manager in the Antiguan Ministry of Creative Industries and Innovation, described the importance of the carnival season.
He said the Antiguan Carnival season started in March and will end with a seven-day festival from July 27 to Aug.2.
“We have 82 fetes leading up to the carnival festival, Perry said; because we were underlockdown for the past two years, most of the fetes were sold out, to the point where we had to cut off limiting the number of people because everyone wants to party,” he said.
 Aside from the fetes, there is  list of events that take place before the week long event. From July 22 there will band showdowns, T-shirt mas and teen rave. There will also be a celebration honoring “King Short Shirt,” Antigua Calypso Monarch and Drue”s Day, a yearly celebration hosted by sic singer Ricardo Drue.
After these events the festival will kick off with a Caribbean queen show, then a fete called Melting Pot which will feature Caribbean artistes.
After that Antigua will host the Calypso Monarch competition and pan competitions.On the final day it will host J’Ouvert and a parade of bands.
BARBADOS
Barbados prison officers will now be able to join trade unions as the government says it will not appeal a High Court ruling that allow prison officers the right to join trade unions.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Cabinet has approved the policy that will lead to the legislation to allow for the recognition of trade unions and employers’ associations and “we have taken a decision not to appeal the judgment of the court with respect to prison officers and their right to freedom of association.”
“We need to sit down with them and other security officers to ensure that while we respect their rights to freedom of association, we do not put the country’s security risk at any stage.”
Last month, Justice Cecil McCarthy, in a written judgment, struck down as “unconstitutional” Sections 23 and 24 of the  Prison Amendment Act of 1982. The controversial legislation had prevented the Prisons Officers Association from representing members on issues relating to conditions of service or their ability to bargain collectively.
The Congress of Trade Unions and staff associations of Barbados in a statement, had called on the government to pass the legislation for members of the Barbados Police Service and the Barbados Fire Service to join trade unions.
Mottley said she expects the minister of labor to provide the paper on operationalizing this policy in the next few weeks.
CARIBBEAN
The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency  Management Agency (CDEMA) is sending a two-man team to Suriname to assess the effect of the heavy flooding caused by recent rainfall.
The team is led  by its program manager, preparedness and response, Joanne Persad and includes Navindra Persad from the Organization of Disaster Preparedness in Trinidad.
The one-week mission will assess the situation on the ground and help with determining the response and humanitarian needs of the country.
Recently, President Chandrikaperdad Santokhi declared several areas including the districts of Brokopondo, Sipaliwini, Marowijine, Paris, Coronie and Nickerie, in the interior and southern sections a disaster zones.
The rains which began in March, have severely affected agricultural  crops, roads, electricity, housing  and schools.
Funding support for  the RSS transport of the two-man team and a Caricom operations support team is being provided by the USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Climate Resilience Initiative.
GUYANA
A team from the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) has concluded that Guyana’s medium-term prospects are quite favourable, particularly with oil revenues contributing to development.
According to a statement issued after IMF staff engaged local stakeholders recently, Guyana’s economy has been adversely impacted by several local and external events, including a delayed political transition in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukranine/Russia war.
“After deteriorating markedly in 2020, the fiscal position remained appropriately supportive in 2021,” the IMF said.
” Guyana’s medium-term prospects are more favourable than ever before, with increasing oil production having the potential to transform Guyana’s economy.”
Between this year and 2026, oil production offshore Guyana is expected to increase significantly. In the Stabroek Block alone, where a local affiliate for ExxonMobil has already commenced production, the oil reserves are estimated at over 11 billion barrels.
The IMF said this amount of oil reserves is the third-largest in Latin America and the Caribbean, and among the highest in the world relative to the country’s population size.
Higher oil prices and more discoveries of oil and gas could significantly improved Guyana’s long-term term prospects, too.
Earlier this year, in its April 2022 World Economic Outlook, the IMF projected a nearly 50 per cent rate of economic growth for Guyana this year. Beyond 2022, the IMF said Guyana is expected to record  a 34.5 per cent  increase in 2023 and a 3.7 per cent increase by 2027.
JAMAICA
The Jamaica government has given the Bank of Jamaica  approval to issue Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as legal tender locally following the passage of the Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act 2022 by both Houses of Parliament last week.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Kamina Johnson-Smith, piloted the Bill during the sitting of the Senate.
She noted that full CBDC  implementation is expected to significantly reduce traditional challenges associated with many Jamaicans not having a bank account.
“The main reasons given include not enough money (as) they feel you have to have (a significant sum of) money in order to have a bank account… (or) they don’t have documentation required,” she said, noting that government is dealing with the issue of lack of documentation through the rollout of the National Identification System (NIDS).
Johnson-Smith said the implementation of the CBDC will address other challenges ” because no bank account will be required.”
She said the CBDC will also allow businesses to engage in more efficient cash management.
SURINAME
Health officials in Suriname are preparing to perform the country’s first kidney transplant this week.
The operations will be carried out by a term led by Dr. Mirza Idu and Professor Dr. Frederike Belmelman from the Netherlands, supported by some medical specialist from the Academic Hospital  Paramaribo (AZP).
Recent screenings of patients and donors resulted in six potential couples, all of whom will receive transplants.
Recently, Health Minister Amar Ramadhin finalized a co-operation agreement between Amsterdam UMC and Suriname that led to the implementation of the transplant programme.
Amsterdam UMC is the largest kidney  transplant center in the Netherlands with 17,000 employees.
According to the minister of health, the kidney transplant programme is a sustainable model in which the knowledge will be transferred by the foreign team to Suriname to enable local doctors to perform the transplants on their own
In recent years, the number of kidney patients in Suriname has grown rapidly and as a result there has been an increase in the number of people who are now dependent on dialysis.
The approach to kidney transplants in Suriname is that potential candidates find a donor in their own family, someone who is healthy and willing to donate a kidney.
The number of kidney patients in Suriname is estimated between 800-900.
ST. LUCIA
The London-based Commonwealth Secretariat says it is supporting moves by the St. Lucia government to roll out fresh projects that aim to boost the flow of climate finance into the country.
It said that the projects, funded by the Green Climate Fund( GCF), were developed with the assistance of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH), adding that this flagship initiative works by embedding international experts within government ministries to help them apply for and secure available climate finance.
The Secretariat  said so far, the Commonwealth National Climate Finance Advisor deployed in St. Lucia, Ruth Phillips Itty, has helped mobilize an estimated two million US dollars towards achieving national climate change plans for adaptation and mitigation.
—Compiled by Azad Ali

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