Caribbean RoundUp

Prime Minister Phillip Davis
Prime Minister Phillip Davis, prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The Antigua and Barbuda government says it intends to put new measures in place to deal with the problem of drivers preying upon young children in violation of the Sexual Offences Act.
It said that the new measures will be put in place “to catch and arrest those who engage in activities that offend the law against minors.”
A statement issued after the weekly Cabinet meeting said ministers “abhor violation of young children and will act to ensure that these violations come to an end.”
The statement said Cabinet had taken note of the conviction of a bus driver this week and that it “expects the perpetrator to be dealt with by the full extent of the law.”
“Sexual predators against minors must face the severity of the law,” it added.
On Wednesday, bus driver Addison Browne was found guilty of tying up a minor and raping her in his private car while taking her home.
The minor told Justice Ann-Marie Smith that she had known the accused for about five months before the incident in April 2019 as he was a bus driver for the  route where she lived at the time.
He is set to be sentenced on July 15.
Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis says as the country continues to set a path toward economic diversity and innovation, more stakeholders take advantage of the opportunities stemming from the new digital age.
At the launch of Agio Digital Ltd & Gryphon Investment Advisors Bahamas recently, Davis said businesses like these help to uphold and facilitate the very mandate of economic stimulation his government continues to work diligently to advance.
He said with the government’s recent introduction of the policy white paper  on The Future of Digital Assets in The Bahamas, the launch of the  two companies could not have come at a better time.
Agio Digital Ltd make a history in The Bahamas as the first alternative investment platform and the first company to be licensed as a digital wallet provider for crypto assets.
He said the government regards this strategic move towards digital assets as a boost to economic recovery and diversification and future plans include ensuing that Bahamians are well equipped and educated to function in the new digital space.
Philip Davis said the introduction of digital assets to The Bahamas will also provide the arena for more comprehensive policy around climate change with the introduction of carbon credits, a mandate the government is keen on progressing.
Bridgetown, Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley has called on the World Bank to reform its operations to deal with a changing global environment, saying it should follow the lead of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The World Bank, regrettably,  is still now a relic of 1945 catering to 1945 issues and had not found itself into the 21st century,” Mottley told a panel discussion on Building Resilience and Sustainability in the Caribbean.
The discussion was moderated by Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke with the other panelist being the IMF Managing Director, Kristaline Georgieva, who is winding up a four-day  visit here, and Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland.
Mottley told the panel that the Washington-based financial institutions needed to ensure that instead of “only focusing on the financing of low income countries starts to look at being that financier of global public goods as the IMF is trying to do.”
“The IMF is taking it from a different direction to avoid a balance of payments issue, we are making sure that you have a strong immune system.”
Mottley said she hopes Barbados at the end of July will start that discussion “with our partners in the United Nations and in the Rockefeller Foundation because it is the most critical discussion to avoid the next generation being poorer than this current generation.”
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) is to receive a US$1 million grant from Spain.
The fund will strengthen health systems among CARICOM member states.
A press release said it will support the generation of evidence and information to inform decision-making and the management of public health priorities, emergencies and disease control programs.
The project, launched on June 9, is valued at US$1,189,247.
It will be used for procuring and distributing personal protective equipment, COVID-19 test kits, testing reagents, supplies  for whole genome sequencing, PCR automatic sample extraction equipment and transporting and shipping laboratory specimens to Carpha for testing.
Carpha will develop an integrated digital platform and repository to improve monitoring of regional and international health objectives during the two-year project.
The government of the British Overseas Territory has removed the mandatory requirement for people to wear masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
According to the new regulations released recently, mask wearing is now voluntary, with the exception of visitors to hospitals, prisons and care homes.
In addition, Barbados and restaurant owners can required  staff to wear masks when serving customers, but the government is no longer compelling their use.
According to Minister of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, although the mask mandate is being lifted, individuals should remember they still have an obligation for personal responsibility.
The mandatory requirement to wear masks on aircraft bound for Cayman is also being lifted.
Bryan said this change was important, especially for the national flag carrier Cayman Airways, since the mandatory mask rule had placed it at a competitive disadvantage.
The government of Belgium has donated 29 buses to Cuba to reinforce public transportation here and to support cultural institutions.
Belgium’s ambassador to Havana Jean-Jacques Bastien  pointed to the right relations between both countries and said the donation from Brussels should contribute to cushion current transportation problems mainly caused by the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island nation.
The director of Transportation Planning at the Havana General Transport Office Lauger Medina said the buses could benefit some 32,000 citizens each day.
He said the buses are second- handed so they will be submitted to technical test before entering operations.
Maintenance will be coordinated with the office of Mercedes-Benz in Cuba, said the official who added that the necessary fuel has been guaranteed for the new equipment.
Officials at Havana’s Provincial Transportation Enterprise, the main operator in the city capital says it had only 50 per cent transportation availability.
Health authorities here have increased surveillance for Monkey pox after being alerted to the fact that a crew member on a flight in the island has since tested positive for the virus.
However, according to the officials, the individual did not disembark from the aircraft when it arrived.
A statement issued on Monday by the Ministry of Health Wellness and Elderly Affairs disclosed that the Epidemiology Department was alerted to the situation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It said the protocols that are in place for COVID-19 have been modified to allow for the management of Monkey pox.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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