Bahamians are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their political independence from Britain with street parades and a reminder from Prime Minister Phillip Davis that independence is the first step on a long journey.
“Independence was and is a state of mind, an attitude, a conviction, that we will faithfully discharge the weighty responsibility of sovereignty and self-determination,” Prime Minister Davis told a huge crowd at Clifford Park that culminated in a spectacular fireworks display.
Reflecting on the July 10th 1973 occasion, Prime Minister Phillip Davis said, “Our Bahamian flag will be raises once again. It will be an echo of that moment, 50 years ago, on July 10th 1973, which marked the birth of our nation.
“On that night, as the flags slowly ascended, with it were raised the hopes and aspirations of the Bahamian people to carve out our own identity, to take our own way to seek to build the best little country in the world.”
Independence was the first big step on the long journey that continues to take our nation forward and upward. These past months, we have looked back with gratitude and pride, reminding ourselves of how we got here.”
He urged the audience never to forget those Bahamians such as former prime minister Lynden Oscar Pindling and “the many, many, great women and men, who built the foundation of our Bahamas, forever ring loudly in the hearts and minds of Bahamians everywhere.
The 50th anniversary celebrations are being attended by regional and international guests including Rwanda President, Paul Kagame, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, Commonwealth Secretary-general Patricia Scotland and US Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
The Barbados government says it will officially launch a comprehensive social program to help vulnerable families next month.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who is also the minister of finance, said that the One Family Initiative, which was delayed for more than a year because of other pressing national issues, is intended to assist an estimated 1200 families in the initial phase at an annual cost of BD$30 million.
Mottley said her administration is intent on introducing the program, which was put on pause as a result of the challenges created by several external shocks that resulted in higher-than-expected spending and other measures to protect the population from rising inflation.
“This government has been adamant and focused on the One Family Initiative,” Mottley said.
It has meant that it has taken us a little longer to get the One Family Initiative off the ground… three or four months later than I would have hoped…(but) I am happy that the Ministry of People Empowerment will be in a position to formally launch this program,” she said.
She said that the One Family Initiative would be officially launched on the heels of the Crop Over Festival, which ends on Aug. 7.
International consulting firms Baastel Canada, working with LPD Hall & Associates, appear set to recommend the closure of the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), and the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS).
According to preliminary report seen by the Jamaican Gleaner newspaper, the consultants who have been reviewing 16 of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) institutions since December 2021, believe that a closure of these institutions will have little to no impact on the region’s population.
The report said that the closure of CARIDAD, which was established to help member states modernize their public sectors, will have “minimal impact” since the institution appears to have “achieved much of its original mandate of public sector reform.”
Regarding CASSOS, the recommendation is for its training and auditing operations to be transferred to the original Association of Civil Aviation Authorities, since “CASSOS have never been resourced by member states to fulfil its mandate.”
The Caribbean Development Fund (CDF) and the CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) are both being recommended for reconstruction.
The other 12 institutions of CARICOM have been earmarked for retention and possible mergers are: the Caribbean Public Health Agency; Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre; Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC); CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS); the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA); the Caribbean Institute for Metrology and Hydrology (CIMH); Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA); Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI); Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO); Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).
The final report is expected to be presented to CARICOM leaders for approval by December.
The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a US$76.2 million loan to the government of Guyana for a water supply systems serving five coastal communities undergoing major upgrades.
The CDB said the infrastructure development initiative involves the construction of five water treatment plants, complete with storage tanks and the installation of transmission mains and water meters to vastly improve the quality and reliability of the water supply to nearly 15, 000 households in the five communities.
“Improving access to safe, reliable and sustainable water and sanitation is an area of high priority identified for support from the CDB to propel holistic development which will enhance quality of life, improve health and safety and ensure greater well-being among citizens across the region,” said CDB’s Vice President of Operations, Isaac Solomon.
The CDB said the five benefitting communities are currently supplied by wells that have no water treatment facilities. Also, the water supply is subject to disruption due to pump failures, line breakages, and flooding of the water supply infrastructure.
The initiative is one of the first to ge carried out under CDB’s Guyana Country Engagement Strategy (2023-2025). The project will support the government’s efforts to increase the percentage of persons having access to treated water to 90% by 2025.
The Trinidad and Tobago-based regional conglomerate, ANSA McAL Group of Companies, said it will be investing more than J$150 million (approximately US$1.2milliion) in its operations in Jamaica this year.
Chief Executive Officer, Anthony N.Sabga III, addressing a special reception for Jamaican business stakeholders, said “this year alone we will invest over $150 million in retooling the Jamaican operations to drive further efficiencies and capacity expansion.”
This was Sabga’s first visit to Jamaica since becoming the Group’s CEO in 2020.
Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Aunty Hill, welcomed the announcement, saying, “what your Group brings to Jamaica is simply amazing.”
“This is the kind of company we want to have in Jamaica to make sure they upskill Jamaicans, broaden their vistas (and) make sure they have good jobs,” he said, noting that the planned investment has significant potential for the local manufacturing sector.
ANSA McAL Limited, which comprises,is one of Trinidad’s largest conglomerates. The group, which has been operating for 140 years, has business interim eight territories in the Caribbean, Europe, and North America.
St. Kitts and Nevis
The St. Kitts and Nevis government says it will extend the deadline for various taxes as it persues several efforts to relieve financial pressures on importers and businesses so as to encourage economic activity throughout the twin island Federation.
The government said in response to the persistent financial challenges that businesses confront, it has decided to extend the temporary tax rate reduction for businesses, extend the temporary reduction in the excise tax, and reduce the average food freight charges at the 2019 price cap for importers.
Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew said that these initiatives are part of his administration’s ongoing economic recovery plan, which will greatly benefit importers, businesses and households.
“The objective is to help to sustain business operation within the Federation, boost employment opportunities, improve the livelihood of our citizens and residents, and contribute to the overall economic recovery within our beloved Federation as we continue to work towards becoming a Sustainable Island State,” said Dr. Drew, who is also the finance minister.
— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan