Antigua and Barbuda
The Antigua and Barbuda government is looking at the possibility of going before the London-based Privy Council as it seeks to auction off the multi-million dollar luxury yacht, the Alfa Nero, for the second time.
Last year, the government had auctioned the 267 ft super yacht that it seized in April 2023 to the US-based tech billionaire Eric Schmidt for US$67 million, but he later withdrew his bid because of legal delays preventing him from acquiring the right to the vessel.
The Gaston Browne administration has experienced several legal challenges, especially by Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov, the daughter of Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev, who claims that the vessel is under her name and the government had no right to seize it.
The boat came to attention when Andrey Guryev, a known close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, appeared on international sanctions lists after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The yacht has been tied up in Falmouth Harbour for almost two years. However, no date has yet been given when the new auction will be held.
The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RA), as part of “a noteworthy step in the organization’s commitment to regulatory oversight,” will take charge of the fuel sector effective Jan. 1, in keeping with the Fuels Act 2022
“This aligns with its mission to serve stake holders through a proactive, innovative and responsive regulatory framework,” the RA said adding, “The Fuel Act 2022, the guiding legislation for the regulation of fuels, outlines key objectives that underpin this endeavor.”
It said that the RA aims to ensure a proper, adequate and continuous fuel supply and that the regulatory focus will be on fostering the safe, efficient, economical and environmentally responsible operation of the fuel sector to meet the highest standards.
The RA said it is committed to securing the continuity of services over critical infrastructure in Bermuda.
It said it would encourage investment in the fuel sector with a focus on promoting fair competition, economic activity, and the long-term sustainability of fuel supplies, as stated within the Fuels Act 2022.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell recently announced a second, but his first major Cabinet reshuffle since he led the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to victory in the general elections a year and six months ago.
Mitchell had relieved himself of the economic affairs portfolio and said he had asked the Governor General to revoke the appointment of Ron Redhead of the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture in order for him to pursue his studies for a Masters Degree.
Among the new ministers is Delma Thomas, who served as social development minister in the New National Party (NNP) that lost the June 2022 general election.
Mitchell said, “Significant changes have taken place in our government’s leadership with the official reassignment of ministerial portfolios.”
He added, “These changes signify the government’s commitment to strategic alignment for better governance and service to our nation.”
The new appointments became effective as of Jan. 5, 2023.
The Guyana government recently said it would participate in a regional ferry service that would link the country of Guyana with Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
President Dr. Irfaan Ali announced that Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Barbados formed a joint company that would work for the introduction of a ferry system for passenger and cargo between Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Barbados.
He gave no further details regarding the ferry service even as regional countries have identified both sea and air transportation as a major constraint facing the regional integration movement.
Ali also said that a new four-lane highway is being constructed by a Chinese company that is constructing the new GUY$260 million crossing over the Demerara River to bridge Regions Three and Four in order to support the increased number of vehicular crossings in the mining town of Linden.
Haiti Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry told Haitians that 2024 is a year of great challenges that the entire French-speaking CARICOM country will have to face together.
“We must restore pride to our Haitian sisters and brothers, restore security and reconnect with job-generating growth. We must also organize transparent, inclusive and democratic elections from which new elected officials will emerge, freely chosen by the people,” Henry said in his New Year’s message.
Haiti is celebrating its 220th anniversary of independence having proclaimed its independence from France on Jan. 1, 1804 in the port city of Gonaïves by Jean-Jacques Dessalines.
Henry told Haitians they must rediscover the times of yesteryear “when life was good, where the spirit of brotherhood and sharing prevailed in human relations.”
He added, “During the year 2024, I will ask all our sisters and brothers here and in the diaspora to make a ‘nasyonal konbit’ (working together nationally) to allow the country to move forward on the path of development to give impetus to democracy. Even if we have different ideas, we are brother and sister and we must count on each other.”
St. Kitts and Nevis
The St. Kitts and Nevis government says 2024 beckons with the promise of a fresh start, renewed hope, and the opportunity to collectively shape the destiny of the two-island federation.
Deputy prime minister Dr. Geoffrey Hanley said, “As we embark on this journey, let us prioritize the well-being of our families, our neighbors, our visitors, one another.”
Hanley, who delivered the New Year’s message, said St Kitts-Nevis was able to overcome the challenges of 2023, in the face of adversity, because of the resilience, co-operation and unwavering hope of the population.
“Today, I express my sincere gratitude for your trust and patience in your government, as we navigate the path toward a brighter tomorrow and toward our Sustainable Island State,” Hanley said.
“This vision is our shared commitment to building a resilient and sustainable nation. Hope is not just a sentiment, it is the catalyst for positive change. It is the driving force that transforms aspirations into reality. As we stand on the threshold of a new chapter, let us hold onto that hope as a guiding light in our collective journey toward progress.”
He said the government believed economic growth was not only measured in statistics but also in the sense of security and peace.
— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan