Caribbean RoundUp

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds.
Photo by George Alleyne, file


Barbados has signed an agreement with the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) for the acquisition of electric buses.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds signed the agreement with CIDCA’s chairman Luo Zhaohui.

It said that the agreement is based on a request by Bridgetown for the donation of electric buses from China as part of the efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to reduce the island’s carbon footprint.

The specifications have been submitted and the Chinese authorities are in the process of assessing the request. The Exchange of Notes is a further step in the process of ac- quiring approval for the Barbados request, the statement said.

CIDCA was established in March 2018, with the aim to formulate strategic guidelines, plans and policies for foreign aid; coordinate and offer advice on major foreign aid issues; advance the country’s reforms in matters involving foreign aid; and identify major programmes and supervise and evaluate their implementation. Specific assignments will be allocated to different departments.

Symmonds and Zhaohui both acknowledged the longstanding, cooperative, friendly diplomatic relations between the two countries and expressed a desire for deepening their levels of engagement.

Barbados and China established diplomatic relations on May 30, 1977.



A new regional news programme launched recently was designed to increase the flow of news about the region with more than 20 radio stations across the Caribbean signing on to the broadcast, the organisers have said.

The Caribbean News Desk Morning Edition is a five-minute regional news bulletin for broadcast on weekday mornings to give radio listeners an early update on the latest with their Caribbean neighbours.

The programme is a product of the recently formed, Guyana head quartered, Caribbean Public Interest Journalism Foundation (CPIJF), led by experienced media practitioners Guyanese Denis Chabrol and Vincentian Kendol Morgan.

“This new programme seeks  to build on the legacy of strong regional radio news programming of the past, including the Caribbean News Agency’s CANA Radio News, with which both Mr. Chabrol and I were associated.

“It also seeks to build on the lasting popularity of radio in the Caribbean as a medium of choice and a trusted source of news. We are delighted by the strong interest among station owners and managers for a Caribbean news package, and we expect the number of participating stations to increase as soon as others complete their internal processing,” said Morgan.

Chabrol noted that the programme would provide “impartial, fair and accurate information about and for the Caribbean is key to forging greater regional integration among our peoples who share common experiences, challenges and solutions.”



People across Guyana have raised US$347, 403 for the people of Palestine as President Irfaan Ali insisted that what is happening in the Gaza is “nothing short of genocide” and must end.

The donations and Ali’s appeal for an end to the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas led Palestinian militant groups, were made during a Laylat Al Qadr event held under the theme, A Night of Prayer for Global Peace, Guyana and Palestine, at the Muslim Youth Organization ground.

Ali said, “Your charity is not only your money, your charity is much more than this.”

“In the Quran it says kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And that is why, as a leader in our global community, we continue to call on every single leader to be fair and charitable in their words.”

“And if you are fair and charitable in your words, you must call this for what it is. This is genocide. It is the first publicly televised genocide in the world. It is nothing short of genocide and it must stop. It must stop with- out condition.”

Ali said his government had always been principled on matters such as these.

The funds raised were handed over to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNR- WA) to be used directly to benefit Palestinians affected by the conflict that began on October 7, 2023 when Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in the six months since the war started.



The members of the Presidential Transitional Council (CPT) have called for it to be installed “as soon as possible” as they accused the Ariel Henry government of seeking to introduce “major modifications” that could further stall the process of bringing about peace and security in the country.

The political, economic, religious and civil society organisations said they also want the Council to be installed in “the form and content defined in the Political Agreement for a Peaceful and Orderly Transition of April 3, 2024.”

They said they are “deeply shocked” upon learning of the decree published recently by the Henry government and “denounce the introduction of major modifications, which distort the consensual project of a two-headed executive carried by the Presidential Transitional Council, consensus patiently and laboriously built between stakeholders from March 11, 2024.”

Prime Minister Henry, who was sworn in as prime minister with the backing of the international community shortly after the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, already said that he would step down once the CPT is officially installed and a new prime minister sworn in ahead of the fresh elections.



Jamaica’s central bank, the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) said it has taken note of the inflation outturn for March this year saying an analysis of the numbers shows that the downward movement in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was largely influenced by a 1.8 per cent decline in the index for the heaviest weighted division, food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN)  reported that the 12-month point-to-point inflation from March 2023 to March 2024 was 5.6 per cent.

It said that the inflation rate for March this year was -0.5 per cent, the third consecutive month in which there was a decline in the All Jamaica Consumer Price Index which moved to 135.1 from 135.8 in February 2024.

This downward movement in the CPI for March 2024 was influenced mainly by a 1.8 percent decline in the index for the heaviest weighted division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ SATIN added.

The BOJ said that it “welcomes the reduction in headline inflation, which was 0.6 percentage points lower than the 6.2 percent point-to-point inflation rate for the period February 2023 to February 2024 and also lower than our most recent forecast.”

“The BOJ said while it had anticipated a decline for food and non-alcoholic beverages, the contraction was larger than expected and reflected reductions in the prices of some agricultural produce, such as tomato, yam, sweet potato, cabbage and carrot.

The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee said it will continue to closely watch the inflation numbers and other incoming data over the ensuing months to assess the extent to which the current level of inflation will be sustained, before making a determination on whether to change the Bank’s monetary policy stance.


St. Kitts and Nevis

As part of efforts to rid St. Kitts and Nevis’ streets of illegal firearms and ammunition, Police Commissioner James Sutton is recommending that the government implements a gun amnesty.

Sutton said the amnesty and amendments to the laws regarding firearm offences are two recommendations that he will give to the government.

“Guns were made to kill and we must deal with this very seriously. It is important that we take these steps if we are to address the scourge that has become on our nation,” he said.

Sutton said he is recommending the amnesty lasts for one month and urged the citizens who have illegal guns in their possession, to make use of the amnesty.

The top cop called on residents to help law enforcement in their fight against the country’s criminal element.

“We need a united front. St Kitts and Nevis belongs to us and all of us must play our part,” Sutton said.

The police commissioner said fighting crime cannot be left up to law enforcement agencies since they require the assistance of citizens with providing evidence that could lead to the successful prosecution of law breakers.

Sutton said that residents, who protect their criminal friends and relatives are just as guilty.

He urged citizens with information to come forward an assist police with their investigations.He added that all information will be treated with confidence to protect the person giving evidence.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan