Caribbean RoundUp

Grenada PM Dickon Mitchell addresses town hall at Brooklyn College on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.
Photo by Nelson A. King, file


The Bahamas authorities say they are preparing to execute the power of sale against scores of delinquent accounts whose owners did not take advantage of the payment plans and amnesty periods regarding the payment of property taxes.

Acting Director of the Department of Inland Revenue (DIR), Shunda Strachan said that there are an estimated 100 properties set to be auctioned that could net the treasury US$36 million.

“Power of sale is just one thing that we’re going to utilise. It’s in the Act. It’s always been in the Act, it’s nothing new. It’s just that we didn’t use it before,” said Strachan, adding that the DIR will also sell the liens on properties in order to collect the money that is owned to government.

“We’re going to utilise those tools that we have. We’ve got to meet the target. We don’t have a choice, we have to meet the target,” said Strachan noting that over the years, property taxes have accumulated to US$900 million.

The DIR said that various payment plans as well as hiring private collectors have proven futile and that it has issued a power of sale notice concerning 108 accounts in newspapers, 77 relating to vacant land or properties and 41 commercial properties.

“There are no more amnesties. All of those things have passed, and now we’re seeking to recover the full tax amount that is due on those account,” Strachan said.

She added that the government must collect US$195 million in real property taxes to meet its budgetary target for this fiscal year. The DIR had collected US$95 million by the end of February.



Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders ended their four-day summit recently reiterating their strong position on crime and violence in the region and recommitting themselves to the principles as set out in the Declaration on Crime and Violence as a Public Health Safety Issue.

The declaration was adopted last year in Trinidad and Tobago at a special meeting of regional leaders and other stakeholders and the Caricom leaders, during their deliberations at their 46th regular summit, “strongly condemned” the development, presence, tolerance or acceptance of violent anti-social music and social media content that denigrate women and promote the use of violence and guns.

Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, said that crime and violence is a matter of fundamental importance to Caricom affecting “to varying terrible degrees, each of our islands.”

“We want to reiterate that crime, public safety, violence is not a matter for governments only. It is not a matter for Caricom heads only, it is a matter that should engage all of society … because we have some per capita alarming statistics,” Mitchell said.

He said many of the region’s young people were becoming victims to the crime situation.

Mitchell warned that all the initiatives by regional countries to deal with a myriad of socio-economic problems could be undone “if we do not address this tide of crime and violence”.

Mitchell said, “We need to make sure that criminals understand that we will not tolerate them moving from island to island in the Community to escape the consequences of their action.”



Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says it has been an “immense pleasure” to serve as CARICOM chairman as his term comes to an end, and said he feels a “deep sense of accomplishment” for what was achieved under his leadership.

At the 46th Regular Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government, addressing the conference, Skerrit said his heart was filled with “immense pride and gratitude” as he concluded his term as CARICOM chairman.

He thanked fellow heads of government, the Caricom secretariat, international partners of CARICOM as well as CARICOM citizens “for their invaluable support.

“(The year) 2023 has been a year etched in our memories, not just for the global challenges we faced, but for the unwavering spirit and collective action that defines CARICOM .

“Time and time again, we rose to the occasion, so it is only right that we join now to acknowledge the significant progress made across various fronts.”

He said the region took major steps towards self-sufficiency, “These include increased budgetary allocations to agriculture in member states; introduction of new crops; improved cross border investments and col- laborations; development and implementation of new agriculture trade policies and guidelines; and identification and agreement on possible insurance products to benefit farmers in the region.

“It means that we remain on course to meet our 25 by 2025 Food Security Initiative targets, with the most critical one being to reduce our food import bill and advance food and nutrition security for the community.”



The regional ferry service involving Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago is expected to begin operations within three months.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, gave the update as he addressed the opening ceremony of the XII annual IDB consultation with Caribbean Governors, being held here.

The ferry will allow the movement of containers and passengers, with the potential to boost trade relations and advance food security efforts. Ali said the aim is also to bring on board the regional private sector to implement similar initiatives to enhance the supply chain and logistics arena.

“We have launched the first phase of this. In another two, or three months, that ferry will begin operations, and we are hoping that this will instil confidence in the private sector, and for the IDB investors, this is an excellent opportunity to bring a regional consortium together,” he said.

The president also noted that this venture signals the readiness of the three countries to take action to solve shared challenges in the Caribbean region.

“We are not waiting on everyone. Those who are willing to start an innovative project will go ahead, and the others will join when they are ready,” he explained.



Heavy gunfire paralysed Haiti’s capital recently, with at least four police officers being killed, as a powerful gang leader announced that he would try to capture the country’s police chief and government ministers.

This happened during the absence of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is in Kenya trying to finalize details for the deployment of a foreign armed force to help Haiti combat gangs.

A court in the East African nation ruled recently that the proposed deployment was unconstitutional, but Henry and Kenyan officials have been working on a deal that would allow forces to arrive in Haiti soon.

Gunmen shot at Haiti’s main international airport and  police stations, in a wave of violence that caught many people by surprise where at least four police officers, including two women, were killed in an attack.

The violence forced the airport, businesses, government agencies and schools to close as parents and young children fled through the streets in panic.

Jimmy Chérizier, known as “Barbecue” and leader of the gang federation G9 Family and Allies, was seen in a recorded video announcing that the aim was to tie up the police chief and government ministers and prevent Henry from returning to Haiti.

“With our guns and with the Haitian people, we will free the country,” he said.

Many Haitians were seen carrying children and bags stuffed with their belongings fleeing their neighborhoods.


Trinidad and Tobago

Minister of Energy Stuart Young says T&T’s economic co-operation with other members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has been limited except for Venezuela but he expects that to change also.

Speaking at the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the GECF Member Countries in Algiers, Algeria, Young said, “I wish to take this opportunity to expresson behalf of the Government of the Republic of T&T our heartfelt gratitude to the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela for their continued support and commitment for co-operation in the energy sector, in particular gas-related transactions. It is our hope and expectation that our continued membership in the forum would lead to tangible economic co-operation with other member states”

He said as a gas-based economy, T&T depended on the monetisation of natural gas for major exports and foreign exchange earnings. Also, the high initial cost of renewable energy was restricting so, even as other countries attempt to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, T&T will continue to utilize natural gas for sustainable development.

“However, as demonstration a of T&T’s commitment to the reduction of car- bon emissions, we are pursuing the reduction of methane emissions, elimination of non-emergency flaring, the adoption of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies and the inclusion of renewables in our energy mix through projects such as Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Power and the development of green hydrogen.”

Young recalled that there was a call to move away from the use of fossil fuels “in a just, orderly and equitable manner” to achieve net zero by 2050 at the COP28 in Dubai last December,.

Net zero entails cutting carbon emissions until it is so little that it can be absorbed and stored by nature and other carbon dioxide removal measures, leaving zero emissions in the atmosphere.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan