Caribbean RoundUp

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Philip Davis
From left, President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio, Prime Minister of the Bahamas Philip Davis and President of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih arrive for the Leaders’ Retreat on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Intare Conference Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Dan Kitwood/Pool Photo via Associated Press


Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis has joined his Antigua and Barbuda colleague Gaston Browne in calling on the United States to remove its embargo against Venezuela exporting its oil and energy products.
“Once the valve is released for Venezuela to provide fuel, we will see a very significant downward trend on the cost of fuel,” Davis told reporters.
He said small island developing states like The Bahamas have agitated at both the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda and at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles recently to lift the sanctions.
Davis said more factors than the Russian invasion on Ukraine have led to the increase in fuel prices and that the sanctions on Venezuela played a vital role in rising cost of fuel in the The Bahamas.
Recently, Browne, criticizing the trade embargo called on CARICOM leaders to approach Caracas for assistance in dealing with the rising cost of energy products.
Browne said the sanctions by Washington against the South American country are negatively impacting the wider region and personally he is unperturbed by the consequences of defying US threats against those who deal with Venezuela.
The sanctions restrict the Venezuelan government’s access to US debt and equity markets. It also includes the state-run oil company PDVSA.
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has welcomed efforts being made to help the region conserve coral reefs.
The CHTA  has joined forces with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to create, for the first time in the Caribbean, a guide to coral reef restoration designed specifically for the tourism sector.
It said healthy coral reefs are essential for the Caribbean tourism industry, which drives local economies and supports hundreds of thousands of livelihoods throughout the region.
The association said it addresses barriers that, until now, have hindered the Caribbean tourism sector from substantively engaging in efforts to conserve the very maritime environments that draw million of visitors to the region each year.
CHTA President, Nicola Madden-Greig, believes now is a particularly important time for tourism to play a vital role in ocean conservation.
“Tourism in the Caribbean and around the world, suffered a devastating downturn with the pandemic. But as the industry regains its footing, there is a key window of opportunity to attract a wider group of consumers and protect the resources tourism depends on by offering sustainable travel options and engaging in meaningful conservation,” the CHTA said.
A study led by TNC revealed that reef-associated tourism in the Caribbean generates eight billion US dollars annually, nearly 25 percent of all tourism expenditure from over 11 million visitors.
Former Grenada Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has vowed that his six New National Party (NNP) legislators will play “a constructive role” as opposition to the newly elected government of Prime Minister Dickson Mitchell.
Mitchell, 44, led the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to a 9-6 victory in the recent general election reversing two consecutive general elections in  which the party failed to win a single seat in the 15-member Parliament.
In a televised broadcast, Mitchell, 75, said he is aware there is  level of disappointment among the NNP supporters “because the results were not exactly what we wanted them to be. But inspire of that I am eternally grateful for all of your contributions. The support you have shown me in particular — not just during the campaign but all through the years — has been remarkable, he told his supporters.
He said while the “sting of defeat hurts, we all have to remain engaged for the prospects of this nation depend on the contribution of each and every one of you.
 “As a party, this New National Party will survive this current setback, as we still remain the perennial dominant force in national politics,” he said.
The members of the 54-nation Commonwealth have backed a route to be undertaken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to  bring a “peaceful and definitive” end to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.
In a communique issued in Kigali, Rwanda at the end of the recent summit, the heads of government of the Commonwealth expressed their “full commitment” to the ongoing judicial process to bring an end to the long judicial controversy.
The Commonwealth had also supported Guyana in the  controversy, but this is the first time that it had included a paragraph in a Heads of Government comminique to support the judicial process.
The Heads of Government noted the decision made by the ICJ on Dec.18, 2020 that it has the jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by Guyana in 2018, paving the way for the ICJ to consider the merits of the case.
Venezuela is challenging the Oct.3, 1899 Abritral award, which demarcated the boundaries of the two countries.
National Police of Haiti (PNH) have recommended 33 police officers be fired as investigations continue into the July 7, 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
Moise, 55, was gunned down at his private residence overlooking the capital and while investigators say a group of mercenaries, most of them Colombians, was behind the attack, which they suspect a Haitian doctor is behind the plot to become president, no one has yet been formally charged with the murder of the Haitian leader.
The authorities have detained dozens of people in connection with the assassination, several others are being sought.
PNH Spokesman Divisional Inspector Gary Desrosiers told a recent news conference that the file on the assassination of Moise is at the top of the list of cases being processed at the Central Directorate of Judicial Police (DCPJ) .
In addition, he announced that the General Inspectorate had recommended the dismissal of 33 police officers and the layoffs of three others as part of the administrative investigation into the assassination of the president.
Moise had been shot 12 times and had bullet wounds to the head and his torso.
One of the judges conducting the investigation said his left eye had been gouged out and bones in his arms and his ankle had been broken.
Plans are underway for Jamaica’s first underwater sculpture park that will create a habitat for marine life and serve as  a new tourism attraction in Montego Bay.
The project is jointly developed by the  Montego Bay Marine Trust in St. James and Smilozone Waste Management Ltd., to further promote awareness about the marine and coastal environment.
Addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) “think tank” recently, executive director of the marine park Hugh Shim said the underwater attraction will entail a village depicting “Jamaica-type mermaid” sculpture made of glass.
A 500-pound mermaid figure has already been crafted and will be the first sculpture installed.
“The sculpture park has two real purposes. One, these sculptures become coral reefs eventually or they become habitats for marine life. The other part is the tourism aspect. It would be a new attraction and there wouldn’t be any other like it in Jamaica,” Shim said.
Lecturer of philosophy at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Khimaja Connell said the creation of a underwater sculpture park will be an addition to Montego Bay’s marine development.
State companies from Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for greater co-operation during a recent meeting in Suriname.
A media release from the Heritage Petroleum reported that representatives from Heritage, the Paris fuel company and Suriname’s state energy company Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname NV, met and finalized the agreement.
The framework allows for cooperation between the three state owned energy companies.
By signing the MoU, all parties have agreed to enter discussions on finding beneficial partnership opportunities under the three categories, exploration and production, trading and marketing and environment, social and governance.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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