Caribbean RoundUp

Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali speaks during a press conference after meeting behind closed doors with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Argyle, St. Vincent, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. Ali and Maduro are meeting over a long-standing dispute over the Essequibo territory, a vast border region rich in oil and minerals that represents much of Guyana’s territory but that Venezuela claims as its own.
AP Photo/Lucanus D. Ollivierre


Commissioner of the Barbados Police Service (TBPS), Richard Boyce, reported a concerning spike in domestic violence incidents, despite a 2% decrease in serious crimes in 2023.

Commissioner Boyce provided updated crime statistics during TBPS’ Annual Grand Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre recently.

Boyce said last year, there were 572 reported cases of domestic violence, compared to 471 cases in 2022. Assaults and wounding accounted for more than half of the total number of domestic violence cases.

Although laws are in place to address domestic violence and protect victims, there is no evidence suggesting an abatement of these complaints based on the figures, the police chief said.

“There will be a greater effort to stem this tide of violence, as we re-look our methods of interventions, in association with the appropriate social agencies,” Boyce added.

Minor crimes in 2023 were at 5,403, as compared in 2022 where that figure was 4,765.

The proliferation of firearms remained a concern, with 84 firearms confiscated in 2023 compared to 143 in 2022, 1,655 rounds of ammunition were seized in 2023, compared to 2 030 in 2022.

The police service’s recruitment drive for new officers has also been going well but still fell short of the numbers needed, Boyce said.

We are still 268 officers short, and as a consequence, we will be relaunching our recruitment drive very soon to get more officers into the service.”



CARICOM has expressed its support for the establishment of a transitional council in Haiti to help stabilize the troubled Caribbean nation and pave the way for free and fair elections, after a meeting in Jamaica recently between CARICOM and representatives of the US, France, Mexico and Canada.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced he would resign once a transitional council and interim prime minister are appointed. Henry said, “I’m asking all Haitians to remain calm and do everything they can for peace and stability to come back as fast as possible.”

CARICOM acknowledged Henry’s resignation and welcomed the transitional governance arrangement.

CARICOM said, the arrangement paves the way for a peaceful transition of power, continuity of governance, an action plan for near-term security and the road to free and fair elections in Haiti.

“It further seeks to assure that Haiti will be governed by the rule of law. This commitment reflects hard compromises among a diverse coalition of actors who have put their country above all differences.”

The transitional council will consist of seven voting members and two non-voting observers. The voting members will comprise a member each from: Collectif, December 21, EDE/RED/ Compris Historique, Lavalas, Montana, Pitit De- salin, and the private sector.

The non-voting observers will be represented by one member from civil society and one member of the interfaith community.

The council will exercise specified presidential authorities during the transition, operating by majority vote.



President Dr. Irfaan Ali says another 5,000 hectares of land will be used for sugar production at the Skeldon Estate in an effort to boost sugar production.

He said that production will be mechanised and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has already sourced new varieties of sugarcane to be planted.

Ali believes this will allow GuySuCo to meet its 2024 production target at the estate this year and “achieve higher levels of production” next year.

The former APNU+AFC government closed estates at Skeldon and Rose Hall in Berbice, Enmore on the East Coast of Demerara and Wales on the West Bank of Demerara shortly after it was elected to office in 2015.

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government said it would be pursuing a phased reopening of the Skeldon Sugar Estate. The Rose Hall Estate was reopened last October.

Earlier this year, Ali announced that the Enmore Estate is being converted into a sugar refinery by a private investor.

Ali said that the government also intends to train and retool sugar workers so that they can remain gainfully employed in the modernizing sugar sector.

He also said sizable investments are being made in the rice industry. Sugar and rice are two of Guyana’s main agricultural crops.



Politicians across Haiti are scrambling for power after Prime Minister Ariel Henry recently announced that he would resign once a transitional presidential council is created.

But elbowing their way into the race are powerful gangs that control 80 per cent of Haiti’s capital and demand a say in the future of the troubled country under siege.

“Gangs have become stronger, and they have the upper hand in terms of security,” said Renata Segura of the International Crisis Group.

“This transition is not influencing the day-to-day security of Haiti. We are very concerned.”

Gangs have deep ties to Haiti’s political and economic elite, but they have become more independent, financing their operations with kidnapping ransoms to buy smuggled weapons, including belt-fed machine guns and .50-caliber sniper rifles that allow them to overpower underfunded police.

More than 200 gangs are estimated to operate around Haiti, mostly in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. More than 20 of them are based in the capital and rally around two main coalitions: G9 Family and Allies led by Jimmy Chérizier, a former elite police officer known as “Barbecue”; and G-Pep, led by Gabriel Jean-Pierre, who is allied with Johnson André, leader of the 5 Seconds gang and known as “Izo.”

Shortly before Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he would resign and Caribbean officials announced the creation of a transitional council, Chérizier held an impromptu news conference and rejected any solution led and supported by the international community.

“It’s the Haitian people who know what they’re going through. It’s the Haitian people who are going to take destiny into their own hands. Haitian people will choose who will govern them,” Chérizier said.



Operations were briefly disrupted at the Sangster International Airport in western Jamaica recently when an aircraft declared an emergency.

According to MBJ Airports Ltd., the operator of Sangster International, the runway at the said airport was temporarily unavailable for use by any other aircraft until it was safe to do so, due to an emergency landing.

Because of this, several flights were delayed and others diverted to the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

It’s reported that an arriving flight declared an emergency; however upon landing, the air- craft was checked and the emergency alert was aborted.

MBJ Airports Ltd says it is currently in communication with the affected airlines to determine if any flights will be cancelled due to this incident.

Flights that were diverted to Kingston returned to Montego Bay later on that day.


St. Lucia

The population served by Saint Lucia’s Water and Sewerage Company Inc. (WASCO) is to benefit from a USD749,619 Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) investment aimed at improving the country’s water supply and sewerage services.

Technical assistance is being provided to develop a climate-resilient water supply and wastewater master plan and improve WASCO’s capacity to assess climate risk and plan for future climate-resilient investments in the sector.

This will ensure that the company can deliver safe drinking water and wastewater management services efficiently and sustainably.

CDB Division Chief, Environmental Sustainability, Valerie Isaac, said the technical assistance will empower WASCO to address the impacts of climate change on its operations and strengthen its capacity to deal with climate change-related issues.

“WASCO will be able to assess climate risks, and identify, prioritise, and execute suitable programs and projects that enhance the resilience of water supply and sewerage services, and the master plan will provide key stakeholders with comprehensive guidance for prioritized investments,” Isaac said.

She added that women will be targeted for training and capacity building, as they are critical to the sustainability of water and sanitation improvement initiatives.

“This intervention will have a significant positive impact on the women and rural population groups and ultimately improve the lives and well-being of Saint Lucia’s residents and visitors,”  Isaac said.

The project is being executed under the CDB’s Caribbean Action for Resilience Enhancement (CARE) Program, which is funded by the European Union through the 11th European Development Fund’s (EDF) Intra-African Caribbean Pacific – European Union- (ACP-EU) Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan