Caribbean RoundUp

St. Lucian Dona Regis-Prosper, first female secretary-general, CEO of Caribbean Tourism Organization.
Photo courtesy Caribbean Tourism Organization


Delivering its Caribbean Tourism Performance Review 2023 the Barbadian-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) reported that Caribbean tourism grew in 2023 with an estimated 14.3 per cent increase.

Dona Regis-Prosper, secretary-general of the CTO, stated that last year’s growth was in line with CTO’s forecast for the year, and attributed the outcome to sustained demand for outbound travel from the United States, the Caribbean’s main source market.

The recovery of global tourism has been resilient with the Caribbean surpassing pre-pandemic arrivals by a modest 0.8 per cent, outperforming most of the main global regions in terms of recovery according to Regis-Prosper.

She added that based on preliminary data provided so far by the destinations in the Caribbean, tourist visits were approximately 32.2 million — about four million more than in 2022, adding that the data showed that each month’s arrivals exceeded those of 2022 thus establishing continuous growth trend over the past 33 months as tourism steadily rebounded toward pre-pandemic levels.

It noted that arrival levels amongst Caribbean destinations significantly recovered or moderately exceeded the benchmark numbers of 2019, with 11 destinations performing better than in 2019. These are Anguilla, Aruba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands, and US Virgin Islands.

The majority of those recovered greater than 50 per cent of their 2019 arrivals. In addition, multiple destinations registered new record levels for tourist arrivals in a single year, the review showed.



The Grenada government has banned nationals from Yemen from applying for citizenship under the island’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI).

Yemen has become the seventh country whose nationals are unable to apply for citizenship through the program that provides for foreign investors to make a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of the island in return for being granted citizenship.

The other nationals banned from the program are from Iran, North Korea, Russia, Belarus, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

However, there is an opening for people born in Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan and Yemen. They have to reside all of their lives in a territory or territories that is not sanctioned by Grenada.

They could also become a citizen of Grenada if they migrated before the age of maturity and resided for more than 10 years to territories that are not sanctioned by Grenada.

Grenada’s CBI program is into its tenth year of operations and figures from the authorities show that more than 10,000 people have become citizens of Grenada through the program with the island earning millions of dollars used to fund capital projects and pay debts.

Last month, four members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to strengthen the CBI in their territories.

Under the CBI, foreign investors are granted citizenship in those countries in return for making a substantial investment in their socio-economic development. St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Grenada signed the MOA.



The Guyana government said yesterday it has granted a petroleum production license to the US-oil and energy giant, ExxonMobil, the Stabroek Block operator, for its sixth development offshore Guyana, Whiptail.

It said that this US$12.7 billion development will produce 250,000 barrels of oil daily, bringing daily production to 1.3 million by the end of 2027.

“Additionally, this development will include up to ten drill centres with 48 production and injection wells,” the Ministry of Natural Resources said.

It said the construction of Jaguar, the floating, production and offloading (FPSO) vessel identified for this development, remains in progress.

“This vessel joins the Liza Destiny, Liza Unity and Prosperity FPSOs, which combined, are currently producing over half a million barrels of oil daily. Construction is also in progress for the Yellowtail and Uaru developments. Production for these projects is slated to commence in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

“Notably, oil production from this sixth development will generate billions in revenue for Guyana, thereby supporting significant economic and social upliftment for the country and its citizens,” the ministry added.

Meanwhile, in another statement from its US office, ExxonMobil said it has made a final investment decision for the Whiptail development offshore Guyana, after receiving the required government and regulatory approvals.

ExxonMobil said the Whiptail project will include up to ten drill centres with 48 production and injection wells.



Haiti’s National Police agency says that it has recovered a hijacked cargo ship laden with rice following a gun battle with gangs that lasted more than five hours.

Two police officers were injured and a number of gang members were killed in the shootout that occurred off the coast of the capital, Port-au-Prince, authorities said.

It was a rare victory for the police department that has struggled to put an end to gang violence following a spate of attacks that began earlier on this year.

Police said that those responsible for the hijacking were members of two gangs, named the 5 Seconds and the Taliban gang. They said gunmen seized the transport ship Magalie as it departed the port of Varreux.

It was reported that the gangs kidnapped everyone aboard the ship and stole some 10,000 sacks of rice out of the 60,000 sacks it was carrying, which was headed to the northern coastal city of Cap-Haitien.

The most recent gun battle between police and gangs comes more than a month after gunmen began targeting key government infrastructure burning down multiple police stations, opened fire on the main international airport that remains closed and stormed Haiti’s two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

The ongoing violence forced Prime Minister Ariel Henry to announce he would resign once a transitional presidential council is formed.


St. Lucia

St. Lucian Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre traveled to Brussels to hold discussions with members of the European Commission and European Parliament regarding international migration matters.

A previous statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said Pierre will be in Europe until April 12 and that “specifically, the talks will focus on proposed changes to the Schengen Visa-Free Regime and how they may impact countries that have investor citizenship programmes, like St. Lucia.”

St. Lucia is among a number of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries with citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes that allows for foreign investors to receive citizenship of the island in return for making substantial investments in the socio-economic development of the country.

The statement said that St. Lucia is well known for its “robust due diligence processes, which serve as the foundation of its successful CBI programme” and  “assumes added significance, as the Prime Minister will articulate St Lucia’s position on the MOA, while also exploring further measures that can be taken by all countries to strengthen citizenship-by-investment programmes”.


Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy, Stuart Young said there is still an estimated 34,000 barrels of oil on board the capsized barge which caused the oil spill off Tobago’s coast on February 7.

He said Government is still pursuing the identification of the owner of the barge and tugboat that brought the barge into T&T’s waters.

Young said regarding onshore clean-up operations, the ministry had engaged state company Heritage Petroleum Company Limited (HPCL) on Feb. 9 to provide technical support in managing the incident.

He said HPCL focused on shoreline clean-up activities in eight areas from the Scarborough Waterfront to the Thompson River, including wildlife search, rescue, and rehabilitation.

“Given that most of the mobile or ‘free’ oil in the eight areas assigned to HPCL has been removed, HPCL has begun scaling down its on-site personnel and equipment as needed,” Young added.

“A joint assessment of these areas to identify the endpoints is underway. This assessment will be to outline a standard to determine the completeness of the clean-up activities and is being performed by a committee which includes representatives of the Tobago Emergency Management Agency, the ministry, the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited, Oil Spill Response Limited and the All Fisherfolk Tobago Association,” Young explained.

He said site visits were conducted and a guideline document is expected to be finalised and presented at a technical meeting, after which HPCL will provide estimated timelines for the end of this clean-up phase.

Young added that the ministry has retained T&T Salvage Inc. in a joint venture with QT Environmental Services Inc, two American entities with international expertise and experience to conduct survey and sampling activities, de-inventory of the capsized vessel, on-water pollution management and re-floating of the wreck.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan