Caribbean RoundUp

Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana vice president.
Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana vice president.
Associated Press / Jason DeCrow, file

Antigua and Barbuda

The Antigua and Barbuda police recently warned that anyone found with knives, machetes, cleavers, scissors or any other offensive weapons without being able to provide a reasonable explanation will be arrested and charged as they announced a crackdown on youth violence in the country.

The police said that they would also be increasing their presence and patrols at all major sporting events and other functions, and will be intensifying stop and search and spot-checks nationwide.

In a statement, the lawmen said they are concerned at the “growing trend” of violent crimes being perpetrated by young people and those who are found with blunt objects or any other offensive weapons without being able to provide a satisfactory reason or explanation to the police will be arrested and charged in accordance with Section 5 of CAP 405 of the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda.

They also said that they were investigating recent acts of violence and “those who are responsible will be dealt with in accordance with the country’s laws.”

“The police are anticipating the fullest cooperation of all citizens and residents, as the organization seeks to maximize its resources in ensuring the safety and security of all and to maintain respect for law and order in Antigua and Barbuda.”



The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says that reducing the shortage of nurses in the Americas, including the Caribbean, is key to better respond to the next pandemic as it call for greater investment to close this gap and ensure the region has the personnel necessary to better respond to the next health emergency.

“A well-educated, skilled and equitably distributed workforce is critical to building resilient health systems, meeting population health needs and better preparing for future threats and pandemic,” said the director of PAHO, Dr Jarbas Barbosa.

At the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, celebrating International Nurses Day, Dr. Barbosa highlighted the fundamental role played by healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and acknowledged those who lost their lives.

He added that the nursing workforce “continues to face challenges related to shortages, poor distribution and inadequate working environments.”

According to recent estimates, Latin America and the Caribbean has less nursing professionals than the amount needed to meet the United Nations goal of universal health access and coverage by 2030.

To address the future needs of health systems, the PAHO director called for a redoubling of efforts in three key areas: health financing, including education and retention of nurses; quality of education, to ensure that future nurses are well trained; and expanding the professional role of nurses in primary care to reduce gaps in coverage and access.



The Guyana government has blamed “some media practitioners” of orchestrating the country’s poor ratings in the global press freedom index by the international watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, (RSF) that was released to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, recently.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo told a news conference that the Guyana Press Association (GPA) played a role in the 26-point dip in the RSF global press freedom index that also indicated disinformation and online violence had deteriorated in countries where the political landscape is less unstable.

It said the use of disinformation and propaganda, often associated with online verbal violence against journalists and media, is being normalized and becoming an integral part of political leaders’ strategy in seeking greater control over the public narrative.

Jagdeo said that everything the GPA states was reflected in the international accounts of the state of press freedom in Guyana.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has also been paying attention to recent press freedom concerns in Guyana.



Labour and Social Security Minister, Karl Samuda, says he expects the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness to announce his departure from the Cabinet soon.

Speaking to Radio Jamaica, Samuda, 81 said that his departure will be soon and that it should not come as a surprise as he had already indicated that he would step down from his ministerial role at the midterm.

He said, “I have to await certain particulars and instructions that I expect I will receive in the coming weeks. It is dependent on the time the prime minister has completed the process, so as soon as that is received I will demit office fully.”

“I said to the prime minister when he appointed me that I would not be in this thing for more than three years because I was very aware of the fact that at the time I would wish to retire ministerial duties, give or take two months here or there, which does not matter in the scheme of things.”

“I was elected by the people to serve a term and in fairness to them and my place in history, I don’t wish to be considered someone who leaves representational politics prematurely,” he added.

Samuda is a businessman, farmer and a technocrat. He was employed at Alcan Jamaica Limited and Industrial Gases Limited before venturing into furniture manufacturing and later farming. He was the former general secretary of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and has been the Member of Parliament for St. Andrew, North Central since 1980, and has the distinction of representing both major political parties in that constituency.


St. Kitts

St. Kitts Prime Minister, Dr. Terrance Drew says his administration hopes to transform the twin-island federation into a sustainable small island state.

Speaking recently during a visit to the United Kingdom for the Coronation Ceremony of King Charles III, the prime minister expressed the need for partnership act support to move the country forward without the limiting concept of GDP per capita.

He also discussed upcoming geothermal projects and the vision to expand fisheries within the Federation.

Following the coronation ceremony, a reception was hosted by the UK’s Foreign Secretary. While meeting with officials, Dr. Drew said his government plans to establish a task force charged with animating appropriate strategic approaches to address the ongoing water issues, renewables, developing mechanisms to manage sustainably the Federation’s marine resources and forge through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, partnerships to achieve those of strategic, targeted and measurable goals.

He also shared information on his approach to universal health care and ask for support from the UN in prioritizing healthcare access across the Caribbean.


Trinidad and Tobago

The Privy Council has struck down a move by the Trinidad and Tobago Government to extend the term of local government representatives by a year. Delivering a ruling at the United Kingdom Supreme Court, London, England recently, the Privy Council upheld an appeal over the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging the move was unlawful, brought by political activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj.

Three law lords, led by the UK Supreme Court President Lord Robert Reed, ruled that High Court Judge Jacqueline Wilson and the Court of Appeal got it wrong in dismissing Maharaj’s case.

Two law lords agreed with the local courts reasoning and provided a dissenting judgement. The outcome effectively means local government elections now have to be called.

Those in the majority ruled that change in the term of representatives as contained in the Miscellaneous Provisions Act, which was passed by Parliament without support of the Opposition last year, could not apply to representatives elected for a three-year term in 2019.

They said the Parliament should have used clear and unambiguous language to indicate if that was its intent, but it did not do so.

Lord David Richards wrote the majority judgement and said: “If Parliament had intended to give the Government such a power, it is reasonable to expect that it would have done so expressly.”

Adding, “The legislation does not do so, nor does it appear that any consideration was given to this possibility in any of the steps which led to the changes made in local government by the 2022 Act.” He and his two colleagues also rejected the Government’s suggestion that the change was a minor one.

Like the local courts, Lord Richards and his colleagues dismissed an aspect of the case alleging that the retroactive applicability of the legislation was unconstitutional.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan