Caribbean RoundUp

Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at the United Nations headquarters.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at the United Nations headquarters.
Associated Press/Frank Franklin II/File

ANTIGUA

Antigua and Barbuda reported recently a seven per cent increase in tourist arrivals in July as the country continues to record a “steady rebound” in visitor arrival in the wake of the pandemic that forced the closure of the border.
The Ministry of Tourism said during the month of July, Antigua and Barbuda welcomed 24,673 visitors to the destination, an increase of 23,405 for the corresponding period last year and the 2019 record of 23,031.
Minister of Tourism, Charles Fernandez said for the second year “we are experiencing a healthy simmer season as consumer travel confidence grows and travelers make the decision to take that long-awaited vacation or previously trip.”
” In July, we saw a notable increase in group travel that contributed significantly to our growth, with one group from the US, bringing approximately 500 visitors traveling to enjoy our summer events. We are optimistic we will maintain this strong position of growth into August, ” Fernandez said.
Tourism officials said 13, 305 of the visitors traveled by air from the US by air in July in addition to 3,000 plus when compared to July 2019. There was also growth within the UK market leading to a five percent increase.
BARBADOS
Barbadian consumers will be paying less for gasoline and diesel from this week.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced last week that the price of fuel at the pump will be capped for the  next five months.
Gasoline will cost Bds$4.48 ($2.24) a litre, while diesel will be Bds$4.03 ($3.01) until Jan. 31, 2023.
During a press conference, Mottley said the cap on the Value Added Tax (VAT) on gasoline and diesel, which was put in place five months ago, would be kept in place. “
 “We will now place a cap on the price of gasoline and diesel at the pump and we will hold to the higher price until the 31st January. To be very precise, if the prices fall below that cap, all those reductions will be passed through the consumer. If the prices go above that cap, the government will hold the line and keep the cap in place,” said the prime minister.
Mottley pointed out that there had been a decline in prices, so the government was not capping at the highest possible price.
CARIBBEAN
The US Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has announced efforts to curb  the increased flow of weapons, weapon parts and ammunition to Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean.
Anthony Salisbury, special agent in charge of HSI Miami, along with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) partners made the announcement recently.
According to the DHS, some of those weapons include .50 calibre super rifles, 308 rifles and a belt-fed machine gun.
“In the wrong hands, these weapons could cause some casualties,” HSI said.
GUYANA
The Guyana government announced recently that York-based carrier, British Airways would commence flights to the South American country next year.
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill said British Airways is a world-renowned airline and is the UK’s primary flag carrier and its service is of great standard.
He described it as “proud and exciting day” for Guyana as the airline is expected to begin service from March next year.
The airline will ply the Guyana route twice weekly through a connection via St. Lucia, using a Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft catering for 332 passengers.
Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Waldron said the new service will be of benefit to the more than 30,000 Guyanese living in the United Kingdom in addition to visitors.
JAMAICA
Jamaica is to plant 6,000 trees across the island by Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC) in partnership with the Forestry Department, to  mark “Jamaica 60.”
The project will get underway on August 31 with an official launch and a symbolic tree-planting at the Amity Hall Agro Park in St. Catherine.
The 6,000 seedlings, including fruits, timber, ornamental trees, will be provided by the Forestry Department and planted by AIC team at the Agro Park and production zones across the country.
The move will also contribute to the national tree-planting initiative launch in  2019 by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, with a target of three million trees in three years.
As of March 2022, more than a million trees have been planted/distributed in support of the initiative, said the AIC
AIC chief executive officer Dr. Ali Powell said the objective “is to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of our country” independence as well as  to support the national tree-planting initiative.
ST. VINCENT
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government said it will be implementing measures aimed at lessening the pain of consumers as the price of sugar is set to rise in the coming days.
Government is the sole importer of the commodity and there are reports that consumers could be paying  as much as EC$2,40 from the EC$1.75 cents per pound of white sugar and EC$2.05 per pound for brown sugar up from EC$1.90.
The state-owned Agricultural Input Warehouse, the only entity authorized to import sugar for sale in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, therefore contacted Belize Sugar Industry Ltd. for assistance
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said Cabinet was to consider the issue and “to see how we can lessen the pain.”
Gonsalves said he was particularly concern about the price of brown sugar because the product is used by most Vincentians.
SURINAME
The American oil company, APA Corporation and Suriname’s Staatsolie has announced the discovery of another large oil reserve off the coast of Suriname last week.
Since January 2020 five successful discoveries  discoveries were made in Block 58.
The oil was found in the Baja-1 well that was drilled to a depth of 6,290 meters and encountered 34 meters of net oil payment.
“Our success at Baja marks the sixth oil discovery we have participated in offshore Suriname and the first on Block 53,” said John J Christmann, APA’s President and chief executive officer.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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