Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Alphonso Browne.
Associated Press / Jason DeCrow, file

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, says an agreement has been reached with the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) regarding the purchase of the three aircraft that had formed part of the fleet of the now non-functioning LIAT (1974) Ltd.

Browne said the agreement to purchase the aircraft that are owned by the bank, was reached after initial disagreements between the two parties.

“Last week, we held a meeting with the CDB over starting the LIAT 2020 airline. Initially, the tone was uncooperative, but we did not relent. In the end we now have a formal agreement and in the next week or two, we should be able to get things moving to the extent that we can apply for the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for LIAT 2020 and within the next 60 – 90 days we can get LIAT 2020 up and running,” Browne said.

Late last year, Browne said that LIAT 2020, for which his administration had already indicated that it is prepared to invest between US$15-20 million in the new venture, is seeking to negotiate an agreement with the principals of Air Peace, a private Nigerian airline founded in 2013, “for the purpose of establishing a governing agreement between both carriers.”

Over the last weekend, Browne described the progress that has been made so far as a testimony to his government’s relentless pursuit of its objectives that will benefit the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

The airline was owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.



Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis has criticized the media for featuring murder stories on front pages, fearing it will harm tourism, the nation’s economic lifeblood. Davis urged responsible reporting to balance the media’s duty to inform and protect the country’s interests.

Davis, who assumed office in September 2022, expressed concern over the negative impact of these stories on tourism, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy.

“It’s time for the media to be more sensitive and help protect our country,” Davis implored. He argued that the prominence given to murder cases on front pages has led to recent travel advisories by the US Embassy and a surge in international media attention on crime in The Bahamas.

Davis’s critique comes at a time when The Bahamas is grappling with the consequences of a US advisory warning citizens about travel to the country due to crime.

The ramifications have been swift and far-reaching, with reports of a significant fall-off in tourism.



The National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) in Grenada said that the state is not expected to be affected by the oil spill affecting the south-western coast of Tobago after a mysterious vessel by the name “The Gulfstream” capsized in that location last week.

No emergency call was received from the ship.

“The Agency has contacted the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), Trinidad and Tobago, for an update on the situation. ODPM has informed that it has conducted assessments which include satellite imagery and aircraft fly-over,” said the release which said that the oil spill is expected to be contained to the south of Tobago.

“The results indicate that the oil spill is contained to the south of Tobago. Consequently, the state of Grenada is currently not under threat of impact from the oil spill. NaDMA will continue to monitor this development and provide updates as necessary,” the release promised.

Media reports out of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) state that some 1,000 volunteers have joined government staff to clean up the spill and divers have been trying to isolate the leak from the vessel, which was abandoned by its crew.



The Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), headed by Mark Lyte and represented by attorney Darren Wade, made good on its promise to take the government to court over its objection to the two-week running industrial/strike action and a series of reproach which the union now deems as discriminatory and a breach and violation of key rights.

In a fixed date application, Attorney General Anil Nandlall was named as the respondent as the GTU seeks to quash the government’s decision to discontinue the deduction of union dues from teachers’ salaries monthly and a declaration that the strike is legal.

The GTU is also contesting, among other things, the government’s decision to deduct monies from the salaries of striking teachers for the days they were absent from the classroom.

Hours after the application was filed on Tuesday, Nandlall said he is prepared to defend all the decisions the government has taken with regard to the strike.

The GTU is seeking a total of 18 reliefs; the union is alleging a breach of their right to freedom of association and assembly; their right to protection from deprivation of property; and their right to be heard before determining that it will cease the practice of performing as an agent of the union to deduct union dues from the wages and salaries of teachers.

But the Attorney General on Tuesday outlined the three general grounds for the application: the decision to cease the deduction of union dues, the decision to deduct the salaries of striking teachers, and a willingness to engage in the continued collective bargaining process.

“(This) has already been settled by our courts and declared to be lawful, the severance of that relationship, that is,” Nandlall said.

He insisted that the government has a right to levy a deduction against workers who are absent from work without permission, leave or authorization.



The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says it has received reports that at least two children were fatally shot while fleeing violence in areas controlled by armed groups in Port-au-Prince recently.

Many more children are reported to be injured as violence continues to ravage many neighborhoods in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince.

“Conditions on the ground remain extremely dangerous for children. Children’s playgrounds, schools, and homes have become war zones in many parts of the city. I personally witnessed an eight-year-old child being injured by a bullet a few days ago while playing in the courtyard of her home.

“Fortunately, she was saved in time at the hospital with the support of our partners. However, these incidents are becoming a daily reality, and many do not have access or means to get help in time,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Haiti.

“Regrettably, such attacks are not isolated. According to the latest data from our partners, at least 167 boys and girls were killed or injured by bullets in 2023,” he added.

The UNICEF official said some neighborhoods have turned into a living hell for children. “Violence has escalated rapidly since the beginning of the year. Killing children is a grave violation of human rights. Once again, hospitals have been forced to evacuate their patients, including newborns, due to fear of attacks by armed groups,” Maes said.

Since February 5, several attacks have occurred in Port-au-Prince, leading to the displacement of more than 2,600 people which most of them found refuge in host communities.

UNICEF said to respond effectively to the humanitarian needs in Haiti, it is requesting US$221.7 million for 2024.



The Financial Services Commission (FSC) says it has launched an investigation into the Warner Media Ponzi scheme in which thousands of Jamaicans have reportedly lost billions.

The FSC recently said it is aware of allegations in the public domain surrounding Warner Jamaica Media Limited, and has initiated an investigation into the entity.

It said it will also be collaborating with other law enforcement bodies in instances where there are indications of fraud and money laundering.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Fraud Squad and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) undertake investigations in two broad categories of financial crime matters, namely criminal and civil investigations. Their main function is to investigate offenders for money laundering and to recover tainted property, viz, instrumentality or proceeds (benefits) of crime.

Depending on the nature of the financial crime, the two organisations will collaborate on investigations into alleged fraudulent activities. But from time to time, the FSC also leans on the expertise of the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team, which is a division under the Office of the Prime Minister formed to address matters regarding cyber threats.

It also wants victims of the Ponzi scheme to report the matter.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan