Caribbean RoundUp

University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor, Hilary Beckles and chairman of the Caribbean Reparations Commission.
Photo by George Alleyne, file


UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Buckles, has announced the university’s Five Islands campus in Antigua and Barbuda is set for a “magnificent take-off.”
He was speaking during a ceremony held at the campus recently, during which Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne sign an agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to secure US$80 million to invest in the development of UWI’s youngest landed campus.
Browne stated that his government’s pledge to UWI to provide funding for the expansion of the facilities and to create a modern, state-of-the-art campus at Five Islands. With the funding agreement, he said, the government has honored its pledge.
Acting CEO of SFD, Sultan Abdul Rahman Al-Marshad stated in his address to the campus gathering, that it his country’s honor to assist the government with the necessary capital to expand higher education capacity for the nation and region, and that UWI was a most deserving institution.
An overjoyed Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Five Islands, Professor Densil A. Williams, who led the design of the master plan for the campus and assisted the government with the project proposal, presented the scope of work that will soon begin.
Governor of the Central Bank of Bahamas, John Rolled, recently said it is likely that the country would have experienced economic growth of between seven and nine percent last year.
Addressing the release of the Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) for December, Rolled said that the latest economic data, through the fourth quarter of 2022, indicated a continued healthy recovery of The Bahamian economy from the COVID-19 related setback.
He said the projected economic growth for 2022 has been mostly driven by rebounded tourism inflows and that foreign investment activities also provided steady stimulus, concentrated in tourism development projects and residential real estate.
The Central Bank governor said that the country is still in recovery mode, benefiting from significant pent up demand for travel and capacity that are still being restored in the airline and hotel sectors.
Rolled said that the economy last year saw a significant uptick in inflation, in line with cost escalation in The Bahamas’ major trading partners, and the United States in particular.
The Central Bank of Barbados has announced the appointment of Dr. Kevin Greenidge as its eighth governor, effective March 1, 2023.
However, from 2018 until 2022, he took a leave of absence to act as senior economic advisor to the government of Barbados, where he was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program.
Greenidge is also a member of the International Atlantic Economic Society, the Western Economic Association, and a fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society. He is also a referee for several journals.
With his appointment, Greenidge will succeed Cleviston Haynes as governor.
Haynes, a life-long Central Banker, remitted office in Jan. 31, after six years at the helm.
Dr. Greenidge’s sixth term follows a short term transition period, during which acting governor Alwyn Jordan will continue to oversee the bank’s day-to-day operations.
Jordan will then revert to his substantive role as deputy governor.
Two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals have been included in a  Commonwealth team headed by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, which will monitor the Feb. 25 elections in Nigeria, Africa’s largest democratic country.
Former St. Lucia government minister and speaker, Sarah Flood-Beauty and Ian Browne, the deputy chief electoral officer in Barbados, will join the 14 other observers, including politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender equality and election administration from the Commonwealth in monitoring the elections.
As of January 2023, an estimated 93.4 million registered voters will have the right to cast ballots for presidential and national assembly candidates in 176,846 polling units across 774 local government areas.
“The Commonwealth Secretariat said that the mandate of the group “is to observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting and the results process, and the overall electoral environment.”
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that seven Haitian migrants died in the Andean highlands of Peru since the start of the year, as their efforts to cross the into Bolivia have been stymied by protests against the Peruvian government.
In a recent report, the UNHCR said six deaths  including that of a minor, occurred in the small town of Desaguadero, where a bridge over a river of the same name links Peru and Bolivia.
According to a UNHCR spokeswoman in Peru, Iris Bano Romero, the other death, occurred in the town of Juli, also near the Bolivian border.
The Haitians fell victim to a combination of factors: difficult access to food, shelter and supplies and temperatures at an altitude of 3,800 metres (12,500 feet), sometimes near freezing. In addition to the deaths, two other people have been hospitalized with pneumonia recently, one of them in critical condition. Bano Ramero said the deaths and illness occurred despite the “very generous” efforts of locals to help.
The Haitians, some of whom had spent years on Chile or Brazil, were hoping to eventually reach the United States.
Bano Romero added that blockades erected amid the political crisis in Peru have made life difficult for both locals and migrants, making it hard to obtain basics like food and fuel, or to pay for rent and other services.
Jamaica has recorded a 31 percent decline in all major crimes since the start of the year with murders down to by 34 percent over the corresponding period of 2022, Commissioner of Police, Major Antony Anderson, has said.
He told a virtual news conference that shootings are down by 26 percent, rapes by 44 percent and break-ins by 7 percent.
 percent, but that gang conflicts accounted for 65 percent of all murders committed during the period. So far this year, Jamaica has recorded 86 murders as compared with 137 for the corresponding period last year. There were 71 shootings this year against 94 for the same period last year. Jamaica recorded 1,498 murders in 2022.
The police commissioner said that the process of boosting the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is ongoing and that the target of adding more than 1,200 additional members to the organization by the end of the financial year is moving apace and invited young persons who wanted to make a positive impact on the society to apply to join the force.
Senior magistrate Rickie Burnett has apologized to all involved in the historic sitting of the Magistrate’s Court recently.
The magistrate was presiding over a relatively “mundane” traffic matter relating to a claim for damages brought by school teacher Esther Harry, against Ryan Barbour, a local police officer now studying in Russia and the company, Rent-to-Own represented by Jorge Da Silva.
The claim follows a  vehicular accident on Dec. 11, 2020, in Arnos Vale. The historic Sunday sitting was held with the consent of the parties involved, after the magistrate had suggested in January that it might be necessary to facilitate the parties involved.
The magistrate had noted on Jan. 12 that the civil matter was before the court and the parties present were trying to get a date for the hearing.
The senior magistrate noted however, he knew he was not going to get an employee of the magistrate’s court to be there.
He said the Sunday court sitting is not something that would happen “everyday.”
— Compiled by Azad Ali