Prime Minister Phillip Davis said he was greatly saddened and deeply shocked by the recent spate of murders in the Bahamas and has warned criminals that the authorities “are coming for you.”
Davis said seven days into the new year, the country had already registered eight murders.
Speaking at the annual Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Service of Thanksgiving recently, the prime minister said while the country should be celebrating what is traditionally the twelfth day of Christmas, “Instead, sadly, rather than celebrate, like all right-thinking people amongst us, I am greatly saddened and deeply shocked by the recent spate of murders in our country.”
“Yes, crime has been a long-standing issue in our country, but recently, the crime of murder, especially, has taken on a horrifyingly new level of brutality and barbarity. Something has indeed gone very, very wrong in our society.”
Davis said that the country was now looking to the RBPF in these trying times.
Health authorities have defended their decision to prosecute delinquent property owners as there have been an increase in dengue cases and rodent sightings on the island.
The Ministry said it is in the process of strengthening its enforcement of the Health Services Act and that it is “strongly” encouraging all citizens and residents to pay keen attention to their surroundings by ensuring that no violations exist on their premises.
“Members of the public are reminded that it is an offence to wilfully breed mosquitoes on their properties, particularly previously warned by the Environmental Health Department,” the ministry said.
“While there have been a number of hospitalizations, including some with severe dengue, health authorities said there were no deaths attributed to dengue for the period November to December 2023,” it said.
The ministry said there had been increased reports of clinically suspected and confirmed cases of dengue fever up to Dec. 26, 2023.
The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) recently asked the Grenada government to issue an apology to media workers after they were prevented from covering the swearing-in ceremony of Cabinet ministers.
“The ACM supports the actions of the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) in boycotting state events until a full apology is issued by the government,” the regional media organization said in a statement.
“The ACM views the recent actions as an act of disregard for the media and hopes that an apology along with an open media policy would guide the relationship between the government and the valued media workers,” it added.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it was “disappointed to see Grenada’s government bar reporters from covering the swearing-in ceremony.
“As the new Cabinet takes power, it is essential for Grenada’s government to signal its commitment to press freedom and transparency going forward,” RSF said in a statement on RSF USA X account.
Guyana is constructing a US$161 million hospital in New Amsterdam that will provide world-class healthcare services to citizens in the East Berbice-Corentyne region.
President Irfaan Ali said that the hospital is not just a stand-alone facility but will operate on a hub-and-spoke mechanism, connecting health centres in the region through telemedicine.
“Whether in Canje Creek, whether in Baracara…Wherever you are, those hospitals will be connected to this hospital,” Ali said, adding that the new facility will also be connected to the main referral hospital in the city through telemedicine and the main hospital will be linked to Mount Sinai and other major hospitals around the world.
“What we want to create is something called parity of service, and this is what technology allows us to do,” he noted.
The project is being executed by VAMED Engineering and is expected to be completed within three years.
The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) says it has reached an agreement with the Ministry of Finance regarding the payment of outstanding allowances to teachers.
The JTA and the government had disagreements over the fact that the Graduate Allowance and Remote Inducement Allowance were not added to the salaries of teachers who are eligible for those allowances.
JTA President, Leighton Johnson said the parties have reached an agreement that one increment will be given to each individual and that the new salary will be paid on April 1, and the retroactive amounts for the period April 1, 2022 to March 31, should be paid in two installments, one in August and the other in December.
“The Jamaica Teachers’ Association wishes to assure its members that we will be proactive and vigilant in ensuring that the calculations are accurately computed.
“To this end, we will work closely with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance to ensure that all parties agree on the amounts to be paid prior to the April 2024 implementation date and the subsequent retroactive payments due in August and December 2024,” Johnson said in a statement.
Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre says his administration will continue to empower the police with all available resources to deal with the increase in gun-related crimes, especially among the young people.
“We are committed to attacking that problem with all available resources and call on the support of the public and all social and non-government organizations,” Pierre said in his first national broadcast for the new year.
Pierre said that his ruling St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government “will continue to empower the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force with the technical, physical and human resources they need to detect and solve criminal activity.”
He spoke of increased penalties for illegal possession of firearms, asking members of the society to encourage values that will steer youth from the false hope and gains of a life of crime to productive pursuits that will redound to the benefit of everyone.
Pierre said a timely dispensation of justice will be improved with the commencement of the construction of the new Hall of Justice during this fiscal year, as well as the renovation and construction of police stations and “custody suites” for prisoners.
He added that the government would continue to grow the economy by empowering all sectors, noting, “our tax reform and tax amnesty policies will be reviewed so that more disposable income will be placed in the hands of businesses and individuals.”
— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan