Caribbean RoundUp


Property developers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are offering potential new home owners passports for Antigua and Barbuda, opening up fresh avenues for visa-free travel to a wide array of countries for Emirati citizens, according to reports in the tiny Caribbean island.

Al Jazeera, the television conglomerate, with offices in the Middle East and the United States, has reported that Sweet Home- a company based in the emirate Ajman – has “incentivized its property by including Antiguan and Barbudan passport with certain luxury home purchases.”

“A two-bedroom villa costing US$380,000 and a four-bedroom home priced at US$517,000 come with passports for the purchaser, his or her partner, dependent children and parents over 65.

“The incentive of having an Antiguan and Barbudan passport Emiratis is that it allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 132 countries, compared with 77 countries for UAE passport,” the report added.

The offer applies to 600 of 1,500 units in the Ajman Uptown development, which Sweet Homes hopes will be completed by 2020.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda launched a “Citizenship-by-Investment” program in 2013 “in an attempt to boost an economy that received 63 percent of the US$1.2 billion gross domestic product from the tourism industry in 2013.”

“The initiative offers anyone the opportunity of becoming a citizen for a donation of US$200,000 to the country’s National Development Fund (NDF),” it said.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told Al Jazeera, the Emirati company keeps l0 percent of the donation in exchange for recommending “wealthy citizens of the highest standard of integrity.”


A retired Canadian doctor was found stabbed to death in his home in Clarence Town, Bahamas recently.

Geoffrey Harding, 88, from British Colombia, Canada, retired a few years ago and was building his vacation home in Clarence Town, Long Island.

Jamie Pruckl, said his grandfather was a kind and humorous man he knew.

Police have arrested a 43-year-old man in connection with the murder. Investigators said the suspect was also wanted in connection with another house breaking on the island.

Two other men, both 21 years old, recently released on bail, were murdered in New Providence in separate incidents over the Easter holiday weekend, police said.

So far police had recorded 38 murders for 2015.


The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) moved into a US$4 million headquarters recently despite a warning from the host country that the regional institution is “bleeding” and has difficulties in paying its day-to-day bills.

Barbados Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, speaking at the ceremony to mark the occasion, called on the 18-member states to lend their support to the agency. He gave no details of the amount outstanding.

Braithwaite called on the regional partners who had not yet paid their annual subscriptions for 2015 to the CDEMA to do so, because there was still work to be done to furnish and outfit the building, which was constructed with funds from the United States Southern Command.

United States Ambassador the Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Larry Palmer, said the handover was the result of many years of hard work and close coordination between numerous groups and agencies, including the Barbados government, which provided the land and the United States Southern Command, which funded the project.


Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has invited Chinese investors to apply for the Dominica Economic Citizenship by Investment Program.

During a recent visit to China, Skerrit told officials that he hoped the program, established in 1993, would attract investors.

He said interested people could immigrate to Dominica by either submitting an application directly to the government or by obtaining citizenship with a minimum investment of US$200,000.

According to a report in China Business News, Skerrit said the applicants would not be taxed on their property, and there were no regulations on capital gains and no language requirements.

When asked whether he was concerned about corrupt Chinese officials or businessmen illegally transferring their property to Dominica, he said applications for citizenship will be approved only after comprehensive investigation and that the program was not established for criminals from China or the United States.

The prime minister also stated that foreign investment would create more job opportunities for the domestic population, boost the development of the tourism industry, and facilitate infrastructure construction and energy programs.


The two main challengers for the post of president of Guyana recently offered a host of promises to the electorate as the CARICOM country gears to elect a new head of state and government on May 11.

Incumbent President Donald Ramotar, seeking to extend the 22-year reign of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), told supporters the country had prospered tremendously under a PPP/C administration and urged them to return the party to government.

“We have come a far way in Guyana. We have become the envy of many. The PP has stood with the Guyanese people for 65 years. I appeal to you to stand with me,” Ramotar told jubilant supporters in Kitty, a few miles from the capital, Georgetown.

But the coalition alliance of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) used its rally in Corentyne to unveil several new policies it would implement if elected to office.

The coalition told supporters that the new government will increase old age pension, ensure the survival of the sugar industry, set a date for the long overdue local government election as well as increase public servants’ salaries by 10 percent.


The Organization of American States (OAS) says its Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, has presented a report on his recent visit to Port-au-Prince to the Group of Friends of Haiti of the Organization.

During the recent meeting at OAS headquarters chaired by OAS Assistant Secretary General and Chair of the Group, Albert Ramdin, Insulza presented details of his official visit to the French-speaking Caribbean country.

The OAS said the visit included meetings with Haitian President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Evans Paul, and Minister of Defense Lener Renauld as well as with legislators, members of the opposition and representatives of the private sector.

In addition, the Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS, Bochit Edmond, and representatives of other member states and observers discussed the status of the democratic processes in Haiti, the importance of the presence of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti during the electoral processes of this year and the details of the electoral calendar, among other issues.


Jamaica is to receive US$39 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the Washington-based financial institution concluded its seventh review of the island’s economic performance under a four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

OMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said the Jamaica government’s commitment to the US$932 million EFF “remains strong” and that program performance is on track and all quantitative performance targets for end of December were met.

He said structural reforms have progressed broadly on schedule.

“Macroeconomic performance continues to be good economic confidence has reached a two-year peak. The decline in oil prices should help lower inflation expectations and boost demand,” the IMF said.

But the IMF official said that stepping up the pace of reforms is essential to boost growth and unemployment.

“Bold efforts are needed to reform the energy sector, improve the business climate, and advance investment in critical infrastructure,” Furusawa said.

St. Kitts

The Consumer Affairs Department in St. Kitts and Nevis, in collaboration with the Island Revenue Department and Customs and Excise, is actively working to ensure that residents realize the true benefits of the recent removal of the Valued Added Tax (VAT).

As of April 7, 2015, consumers will see the removal of VAT on all foods, medicine and funeral expenses.

Over the past month, consumer affairs officers have been collecting pricing data for all food items sold in supermarkets, which is being used to create a comprehensive benchmark database that will facilitate the tracking of movements in the prices of goods before and after April 7.


Trinidad and Tobago has signed a Cooperation Agreement with Cuba between Tourism Minister Gerald Hadeed and Cuba’s Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero at the historic Hotel National in Havana recently.

Hadeed said Trinidad and Tobago stands to benefit, among other things, in the following areas: Participation in training programs and student exchanges; development of multi-destination packages; exchange of professionals in scientific research to improve the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism product; joint venture arrangements in the Cuban Tourism Industry; the exchange of professionals and projects in the areas of cultural and natural heritage preservation.

“This agreement comes at an opportune moment in Cuba’s history with the introduction of more liberal incentives for foreign investors and the announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of American in December 2014, which could lead to full normalization on the relationship” the minister said.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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