Antigua and Barbuda
Lawyers representing the Antigua and Barbuda government say they have filed a cross appeal indicating that the daughter of a Russian oligarch, Andrey Guryevo, has “no proprietary rights or interest” in preventing the sale of the multi-million dollar luxury yacht, Alfa Nero.
Before the sale of the yacht, the government had indicated that no owner had stepped forward since the vessel had been sanctioned by the United States and the United Kingdom following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that discussions with US government officials had taken place.
However, two separate entities and individuals had claimed ownership interest in the luxury vessel, prompting legal actions.
The High Court granted permission for a judicial review, but not an injunction to stop the sale of the 276-f00t yacht, which was subsequently sold to a former senior Google executive, Eric Schmidt, on June 16, for US $67.6 million beating out two other bidders.
But Dr. David Dorset, the attorney representing Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov, who claims to own the yacht filed the appeal on the grounds that while the Port Authority (Amendment) Act allowed the government to take hold of his client’s property, the Alfa Nero, without compensation, the act only permitted the port manager to take possession of the vessel but did not confer any title.
In a statement, the government said that the decision by the High Court on June 30, 2023, to dismiss the latest request for injunctive relief by a Russian citizen/litigant, who claims ownership of the vessel, prompted the Cabinet to decide to provide the purchaser with a guarantee against future liabilities and to proceed with the consummation of the sale.
The Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union has approved the proposal to replace the late Queen Elizabeth II’s image on the Eastern Caribbean Currency.
The image of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Sept.8, 2022, has been on British overseas territories and former colonies for decades. The ECCU is proposing to replace her image with the ECCU’s logo and has begun a public consultation process that would last until Dec. 31, 2023.
During the consultation period, the public will be invited to comment on the proposal and offer suggestions.
The final decision on the new image for the EC currency will be made by February 2024.
The ECCU groups the islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Montserrat.
The Guyana government said it has disbursed 1.3 billion Guyana dollars in carbon credit funds, for development and prosperity in indigenous villages. This disbursement is part of a 4.7 billion Guyana dollars received from Hess Corporation, for the sale of 30 percent of Guyana’s forest.
During a one-day conference recently, organized to provide Amerindian leaders with an opportunity to raise their concerns at the regional level, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai said several villages have already drawn down on the monies given to them for developmental purposes.
Of the 242 Amerindian villages in Guyana, 165 have so far submitted Village Sustainability Plans (VSPs), and Sukhai said she looked forward to seeing the outcomes of those plans.
“When I visit villages, I expect to see a hub of activities, new and spanking infrastructure being worked on, engaging communities and villages.
I would like to see women projects on the rise, I would like to see projects relating to young people, youth and sports development, I would like to see that you are paying attention to the elderly,” the minister stated.
Jamaica is one of the countries that have called for the digitalisation of the health sector in the Americas as the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) celebrated five years of collaboration in information systems and digital health.
PAHO and the IDB marked the occasion recently with the theme “Connecting Health for All,” underscoring the crucial role of digital transformation in pandemic recovery and improving access to health.
Jamaica’s Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking at the event said, “For Jamaica, the digital transformation project has led to shorter wait times, reduced cost in providing health services and greater efficiency.
“The digitalisation of health in the Americas has never been more important as it is urgent,” he added.
PAHO Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, highlighted the urgent need to ensure that countries have data and information necessary to monitor progress towards universal health, identify gaps and ensure that everyone in the Americas can exercise their right to health.
To tackle the issues, the PAHO/IDB partnership has developed over 40 strategic actions to ensure the digital transformation of the health sector and three regional policies: a Plan of Action for the Strengthening of Information Systems for Health; a Regional Roadmap for Digital Transformation of the Health Sector and a policy on the application of data science in public health using artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
The PAHO/IDB partnership has resulted in more than 15 countries of the Americas having improved digital health foundations and ten countries have digital health agendas with infrastructure ready for data sharing across borders.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew has said that the European Union (EU) had agreed to establish a committee to discuss and structure the citizenship by investment (CBI) program that is used by several countries in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to lure investors to the sub-region.
Drew, who is also chairman of the nine-member OECS grouping, said that he met with EU representatives recently at the EU-CELAC (European Union-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit in Brussels, where various concerns regarding the program was discussed.
“These concerns were surrounding issues of security, issues of abuse of the program and the opportunity to be invited to be a citizen of the country,” the prime minister said.
He said that the concerns were ultimately addressed in a document put forward by him and the head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, Michael Martin, which outlined how the program has been strengthened.
Under the CBI, foreign investors are provided with citizenship in return for making substantial investments in the socio-economic development of these islands. But the program has come under criticism from many Western countries including the United States and Europe, with the United Kingdom recently saying that Dominicans will now have to acquire a visa for entry into that country. The visa requirement went into immediate effect.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit described the decision as “unfortunate.”
The European Business Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (Eurocham TT) said in a release, that it is concerned that T&T has not finalized the process to adhere to the Cariforum-EU economic partnership agreement (Cariforum-EU EPA), a comprehensive trade and partnership agreement negotiated between the Cariforum countries and the EU.
Implementation of the EPA is facilitated by development assistance funding from the EU since the agreement was signed in 2008 between the EU and Cariforum members’ countries.
It was enacted into local legislation in July 2013 and assented to and is awaiting proclamation by the President.
In 2008, EU countries immediately removed tariffs on goods originating from Cariforum countries entering their markets while Cariforum countries including TT was given 25 years — between 2008 to 2033 — to gradually reduce tariffs.
Government bodies have been benefiting since 2008 for business improvement, capacity building, reforms to support implementation of the EPA and grants to support innovation.
TT is now among the last five Cariforum countries, along with Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname remaining to give notice of ratification, usually signalling full commitment.
Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, St Lucia and most of the smaller islands have ratified the agreement.
— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan