Caribbean RoundUp

Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana vice president.
Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana vice president.
Associated Press / Jason DeCrow, file


The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) was awarded the best tourist board at the Globe Travel Awards 2024, hosted last week by Travel Weekly.

The Globe Travel Awards, recognised as the Oscars of the travel industry, has given travel sellers the opportunity to recognize and reward their favored suppliers for more than 45 years.

The winners were voted for exclusively by thousands of travel agents nationally, which is further testimony to all that the BTMI does to support the UK travel trade industry.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, lan Gooding-Edghill, said:  “Winning the best tourist board award is not just a recognition for Barbados but also of the hard work and dedication of the BTMI UK team. It is through their tireless dedication that Barbados continues to shine on the world stage.

“A huge part of this success also lies in the hands of our travel trade partners who continue to play such an important role in helping us to increase tourism in Barbados, and of course our tour- ism stakeholders and Barbadian citizens for so warmly welcoming visitors, a trait that resonates deeply with all who visit our island.”

The BTMI team joined other tourist boards and travel companies at the awards ceremony at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London and walked away with the accolade in front of more than 1,200 guests.

Being the only country from the Caribbean and one of ten short- listed in the category, receiving the award is a momentous milestone for BTMI.

The other tourism boards shortlisted in the category were – Brand USA; Destination Canada; Greek National Tourist Office; Portuguese National Tourist Office; Spanish National Tourist Office, Tourism Australia: Visit Florida; Visit Malta and Visit Orlando.



Public debt load in the Caribbean has fallen sharply to near pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, according to a new report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which urges regional governments to continue on the path of prudent debt management given uncertain global risks.

The publication reveals that the average debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio rose from 75 percent in 2019 to 99 percent in 2020 and is estimated to have fallen to 77 percent at the end of 2023.

It said the sharpest declines were observed in Guyana between 2020 and 2022, and in Jamaica between 2010 and 2019.

“Dealing with Debt in the Caribbean,” which is part of the Caribbean Economics Quarterly report series, explores the economic realities caused by the most recent pandemic and the pathways towards “safe” levels of public debt for a sustained economic recovery.

It looks at debt management in The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The main findings of this edition of the Caribbean Economics Quarterly include several channels can influence public debt trajectories, interest rates, inflation, exchange rates, economic growth, primary balances and stock-flow adjustments.

The IDB said all these elements have played a role in the evolution of public debt-to-GDP ratios in Caribbean countries over the last decade, but to varying degrees depending on the specific country circumstances.



The Guyana government says it is not considering any amnesty for people with illegal guns saying it does not believe that the initiative would be a success.

Speaking at a news conference recently, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, said that the Irfaan Ali administration would be seeking to step up enforcement efforts instead.

Jagdeo told reporters that the previous administration had implemented a gun amnesty that wasn’t successful and believes that people who possess guns illegally, particularly those weapons used in crimes, would not surrender those firearms even if there was an amnesty.

“If you don’t have a permit for a weapon, then there should be strong enforcement and if you are found with it there should be strong enforcement.”

“This amnesty business has not been considered in the government,” Jagdeo said, adding that the government is focused on introducing more technology in crime-fighting efforts.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn said while the Guyana Police Force (GPF) had recorded a 17 percent decrease in serious crimes, there were also increased incidents of murders and gun-related crimes.



Gang members have raided a community in Haiti’s capital that is home to numerous police officers and was under siege for four days in an ongoing attack, with residents fearful of the violence spreading throughout Port-au-Prince.

The sound of automatic weapons echoed throughout Solino as thick black smoke rose above the once peaceful neighborhood, frantic residents kept calling radio stations asking for help.

“If police don’t come, we are dying today!” said an unidentified caller.

It wasn’t immediately clear who organized and was participating in the attack on Solino.

The attack could mark a turning point for gangs, which are now estimated to control up to 80 percent of Port-au-Prince and have been suspected of killing nearly 4,000 people and kidnapping another 3,000 last year.

If Solino falls, gangs would have easy access to neighborhoods such as Canape Vert that have so far remained peaceful and largely safe.

Haiti’s National Police released a statement saying officers were deployed to Solino “with the aim of tracking down and arresting armed individuals seeking to sow panic among the civilian population.”

Police also released a nearly three-minute video showing in part officers on a rooftop in Solino exchanging fire with unidentified gunmen who did not appear on screen.


St. Kitts and Nevis

The St. Kitts-Nevis government has named a “distinguished national security and international relations specialist,” Dr. Mutryce Williams, as the twin-island federation’s new permanent representative to the United Nations.

A government statement said that Williams presented her credentials to the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, during a brief ceremony at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Williams replaces Nerys Dockery, who was recalled last September with “immediate effect.”

A brief government statement did not provide details for her recall to Basseterre, noting that “the government remains committed to promoting the interests of St Kitts and Nevis within the international community and advancing its principled foreign policy.”

In the statement announcing the appointment of Williams, the government extended “heartfelt gratitude,” adding that “her dedication and service have been invaluable to the nation.”

The statement described the new UN diplomat as a “revered professor of politics and a seasoned political strategist” who has served as a senior political advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew.

The statement also said that the government “and the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis are eagerly anticipating Dr. Williams’ tenure at the United Nations.

“They are assured of her capabilities to effectively advocate for the nation’s interests and uphold its values in the global arena,” the statement added.


Trinidad and Tobago

US Ambassador Candace Bond identified the securing of a 30-year license to explore, produce and export natural gas from Venezuela’s Dragon field as a major economic achievement for US and T&T.

The US$1 billion deal was signed between T&T and Venezuela in August 2018. Those involved included energy giant Shell, Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, and the NGC.

The deal will see T&T developing the field, which is estimated to produce approximately 150 million standard cubic feet of gas a day. The gas will be imported through a billion-dollar pipeline to the Hibiscus platform off the northwest coast of TT. The platform is jointly owned by the government, NGC and Shell.

The deal was left in limbo after the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela in 2019.

On Jan. 24, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley announced that the US had lifted the sanctions to allow T&T to extract gas from Venezuela. This waiver came almost after four years of lobbying. It was led by Dr. Rowley and supported by other CARICOM leaders.

Rowley said the waiver came with stipulations, one being a two-year license with an optimistic view of an extension and priority given to Caribbean countries, except Cuba.

In October, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) offered an extension of the license it issued to T&T to access natural gas from the Dragon gas field and the ability to pay for that gas in different ways.

Young announced the extension of the license to Oct. 31, 2025 at a news conference on Oct. 17. He said the extension also allows Government to pay for gas from the field in “fiat currency, as well as US dollars, as well as Venezuelan Bolivars, as well as via humanitarian measures.”

The license was secured on Dec. 21, after Minister of Energy, Stuart Young signed the final documents at a ceremony in Caracas.

Bond said the securing of the license was the most critical economic achievement for our two countries that took place in 2023.

She added  that a strong partnership between the US and T&T, together with the assistance of other players, got the deal over the line and was confident this license would go a long way towards fostering greater energy security and regional stability.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan