Caribbean RoundUp

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters Friday, Sept. 27, 2019.
Associated Press/Kevin Hagen, File

ANTIGUA

Director of Education Clare Browne said talks are underway to expand the foreign language curriculum in schools- one that will see Mandarin being taught in other schools beside the Sir Novelle Richards Academy, which, to date, is the only public school in the  country that has an official Mandarin department.
Mandarin is a group of Sinitic ( Chinese) language and dialect that are natively spoken across most of northern and south-western China.
Browne said the missing element is the number of teachers in that field.
He explained that there should be at least two or three Mandarin teachers, depending on the size of the school plant and made a call for everyone interested in teaching to apply at the Ministry of Education.
“I know several people here in Antigua and Barbuda would have study in China…and if they are interested in offering themselves to be a teacher of Mandarin in any of our school feel free to apply,” said Browne.
He was speaking at a recent press conference to announce this year’s CSEC results.
Last year, CEO of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), Dr. Wayne Wesley hinted at plans for inclusion of the Mandarin across the region.
French and Spanish are the two modern languages which are generally taught for the CSEC curriculum, but in 2017 65 students from Barbados and Guyana registered for the exam to write Portuguese for the first time. In 2013 Guyana became the first country to have Portuguese taught in secondary schools.
BARBADOS 
The first ever AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) recently opened in Barbados.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the two regions “have business to do” and asserting that it was only political will keeping the two regions from establishing direct links.
Addressing the start of the Sept. 1-3 conference which her government  hosted with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Mottley said while the existing political co-operation between Africa and the Caribbean was essential, it was not sufficient to reverse the underdevelopment of either region.
Mottley also addressed the issue of air travel and the lack of direct air links between Africa and the Caribbean.
About 120 of the 1,000 people registered for the conference arrived on the island on an Ethiopian airlines chartered direct from Lagos, Nigeria
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Seven illegal immigrants are now in custody of immigration officers after being detained last week.
Following notification from the US coastguard of a suspicious vessel in the waters shortly after 4 a.m., the Virgin Islands search and rescue and officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force responded and the joint task force was reactivated.
Six nationals of Cuba and one national of St Kitts and Nevis were detained including a nine month old infant.
A sail boat believed to be the vessel that transported the seven, were recovered in waters nearby.
Meanwhile, the US Coastguard said the crew of its Cutter Charles repatriated 74 Cuban migrants last week following several interdiction about seven miles south of Long Key, Florida.
GUYANA
Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says the people of Guyana will soon benefit from cheaper and reliable energy as the ruling PPP/C administration expects to begin receiving bids for the establishment of the gas-to-energy project in early September.
Speaking during a press conference recently, Jagdeo said that in January the government received pre-qualification bids for the project which will see the establishment of a natural gas liquids plant (NGL). The facility is expected to produce up to 300 MW of power.
The vice president said when it comes on stream, Guyanese will only pay half of what they pay per kilowatt.
He also explained that it will only cost the country about four to five cents per kilowatt hour compared to the 20 cents it is costing now.
Dr Jagdeo also highlighted that such a low cost, the country will be able to cover the establishment and operating cost of the power plant, the NGL and laying of the pipeline, which is about Guy$1.7 billion.
The gas -to-energy project is slated to come on stream by the late 2024.
The project will significantly contribute to the government’s commitment to reducing the cost of energy by 50 percent when it comes on stream.
HAITI
Prime Minister Ariel last week called for international help in fighting gang violence in Haiti and pledged yet again to work towards holding elections as he marked the anniversary of being sworn into office following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The speech broadcast shortly after midnight last week followed a string of demonstrations across the country to protest worsening conditions, including gang violence, severe lack of fuel and soaring inflation
Henry promised that fuel would soon be available on a regular basis and he rejected accusations he is trying to hold on to power
He said the country should get into “election mood” before the end of the year-old a vow he has made repeatedly since taking office in September.
However, he has not moved to electoral councils to oversee  a vote and US officials have said it will take that body six months to organize a vote.
HAITI currently has only 10 elected officials —all members of the Senate ‘ since it failed to hold legislative elections in October 2019 at a time of political gridlock and massive protests.
Henry has renewed appeals for international support to strengthen the police, fight corruption and improve the economy.
JAMAICA
Jamaica has this year, recorded the best stop-over visitor arrivals figure and foreign exchange earning for any summer period in the country’s history, according to Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett.
He said, “We have 5,000 more visitors than in (the summer of 2019), which was a record year and the better news is that our earnings in the summer are up 20 percent over 2019. So not only is it that the number of visitors came, but the earnings from tourism also grew. So this summer is the best summer that tourism has experienced in the history of Jamaica.”
Bartlett said at the welcome ceremony for the 18 annual USA Travel Adviser Golf Tournament at the Sandals Ochi Rios in St. Ann’s.
The tourism minister said that at the beginning of 2022, the tourism sector was projected to earn US$3.5billion and welcome approximately US$2.3 million stop-over visitors for the year, to be the Caribbean fastest-growing tourism destination.
Over 150 travel advisors from from across the United States will be participating in the golf tournament which was being held since the covid-19 pandemic.
ST. VINCENT 
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will shed the foreign affairs portfolio to take up ministerial responsibility for post-secondary education, replacing Senator Keisal Peters, who has been minister of state in the Monetary Policy Committee of Foreign Affairs, since November 2020 and will be promoted to full minister.
Gonsalves told a recent press conference that Peter’s will also be responsible for Foreign Trade, Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit.
He noted, however, that the government cannot have a foreign policy without the prime minister being involved.
Gonsalves said that there will be increased Taiwan scholarship and training programs for Vincentians and exchange of students and there are ongoing Kingston’s ambassador to Taipei,  Andrea Bowman.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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