Caribbean RoundUp

Chan Santokhi
President of the Republic of Suriname Chandrikapersad Santokhi speaks at the UN General Assembly 76th session General Debate in UN General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.
John Angelillo/Pool Photo via AP

BAHAMAS

Authorities in the Bahamas have taken control of the crypto currency assets held by a unit of bankrupt exchange FTX.
The Security Commission of The Bahamas announced last week that it has directed the transfer of all assets of FTX Digital Markets, the Bahamas-based FTX unit that file for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection last Tuesday.
The regulator said those assets are being transferred to a digital wallet control Bahamas regulator for “safekeeping.”
“Urgent interim regulatory action was necessary to protect the interest of clients and creditors” of FTX Digital Markets, the regulator said.
The move comes hours after the former Eron lawyers overseeing FTX’s bankruptcy of alarming regulations in a court filing about the chaos at the crypto exchange.
The filing painted the picture of the crypto empire that was massively mismanaged and potentially fraudulent, including the unreasonable financial statements, the mishandling of confidential data and the use of corporate funds  to buy homes for employees in the Bahamas.
Recently, the Royal Bahamas Police Force announced it is investigating potential misconduct surrounding the implosion of the FTX which moved its headquarters to the Bahamas last year.
The Security Commission of The Bahamas it will consult with other regulators and authorities around the world to get the “best outcome” for the creditors clients and stakeholders.
BARBADOS
Chair of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Renee Coppin says while hoteliers are expecting a favorable winter period due to pent-up travel demand, they are worried that it will not fill over into what is currently projected  to be a dim summer 2023, due mainly to reduce airlift to the island.
Copping told the online publication, BARBADOS TODAY that occupancy rates for members were now 75 percent for this month, 67 percent for December, 66 percent for January next year,, 72 percent for February, 55 percent for March, and  April 37 percent.
“There are positive signs again for this winter…if We continue to see good booking space , we may outdo last year’s performance in January and February.
“March will be more of a challenge, given that the England cricket tour which took place in March last year and always  provided a massive boom in tourism will be missing this year (2023).
However, she noted Coppin said bookings for this segment continue to pick up this winter, and the outlook for December to April is to improve occupancy levels for many members, raging from 50 to 90 percent.
One member described it as the worst summer they experience in over a decade.
The BHTA official said the new Minister of Tourism Ian Gooding-Edghill, has committed to focus on airlift.
CARIBBEAN
CARICOM has called on the world’s most developed economy to help establish plan on food and energy security, agriculture innovation and climate action.
Addressing the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, Suriname Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation Minister Albert Ramdin said solutions in isolation will never be sufficient.
“Food cannot become a luxury item and everything should be should be done to prevent that. Food security challenges give rise to future conflict or battlegrounds, as a number of fertile agriculture lands are declining also due to climate change,” Ramdin told the conference, as he deputised for CARICOM chairman and Suriname President, Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
Ramdin said food and energy security are at the heart of societies and economies globally, nothing that a Report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security had warned by 2021, at least 40 percent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean will face food insecurity.
He said this would be 10 percent more than for the rest of the world and that the situation has been exacerbated by rising inflation, fertilizer shortages and the continued rise in interest rates.
Ramdin said the situation offers no consolation to potential investors.
He said all themes and policy are interrelated.
Ramdin said the Food Import Bill Reduction program, aims at reducing the region’s import bill by 25 percent by the year 2025.
GUYANA
Guyana is reporting 108 murders so far for this year the lowest level in the past decade as law enforcement authorities last week indicate that serious crimes in the country had declined by 19 percent.
Addressing the launch of the Christmas Policing Plan 2022, acting Deputy Commissioner and Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum said there were 331 less serious crimes reported between Jan. 1 and Nov. 13 when compared to the same period last year.
The police said they had seized 68 illegal firearms so far this year, with the United States and Brazil being the country from where the guns originated.
The police said the number of murders, incidents of rape and robberies declined in 2022 with the authorities reporting no cases of kidnapping last year and none so far this year.
Blanhum said all the murders recorded over a 10-year period between 2013 and 2022, this year has recorded the lowest total so far.
GRENADA
A member of the recent established Commission on Cannabis Legislation and Regulations has warned that the legislation of marijuana will not happen overnight and in the interim is recommending that persons 25 years and under who were charged, convicted and or imprisoned for simple cannabis possession be pardoned by the  governor general.
“This thing is not going to happen overnight, it is going to take time,” said attorney Anselm Clouden, who represents the Ministry of Legal Affairs on the commission.
He told reporters “for example, we have laws on the books that prohibit possession of any quantity from one marijuana cigarette joint to how much for possession of trafficking.”
Clouden is of the opinion that while the laws relating to the cannabis are under review, the government should clean the records of those who have this criminal conviction against their names.
The Commission on Cannabis Legislation and Regulations tasks include holding consultation with the public as the government seeks to develop a framework for the legislation for cannabis in Grenada.
JAMAICA
The Jamaica government last week declared a state of public emergency (SoE) in the parishes of Clarendon, St Catherine and sections of Kingston, even as it acknowledged that the country is not immune to the high-level of criminality confronting the region.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, at a news conference, told reporters that an SoE has also been established for the parishes of St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover, as the increase in crime and violence presents a threat to  property and public order.
He said over the last six months there have been a significant increase in murders on the island, adding, “Right across the region, in particular along the Caribbean basin, societies like Jamaica are experiencing a persistent increase in homicides, shootings and other crimes.”
Police Commissioner Major General, Anthony Anderson told a news conference that as Nov. 13, the country had recorded a total of 1,360 murders. Last year, the figure stood at 1,231 for the same period.
TRINIDAD
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) last week announced that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has nominated a Trinidad national for IDB president.
The Washington-based financial institution said Gerard Johnson, IDB’s former general manager of the Caribbean Country Department, is among five candidates proposed by member-countries for the top position.
The nominated period closed last Friday. The current general manager of the Caribbean Country Department is Tatis Ali, whose appointment took effect on Sept. 1, 2022. Ali is also IDB country representative for Jamaica.
The IDB said its governors, who are usually finance ministers or other high-ranking economic authorities from the bank’s 48-member countries, will have the opportunity to interview the candidates at a virtual meeting on Sunday.
The president of the IBD is elected by the board of governors to a five-year term, according to a set of regulations in compliance with the agreement establishing the bank.
— Compiled by Azad Ali

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