The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council of Ministers began a virtual meeting recently ahead of the 45th regular meeting of the CARICOM leaders in Trinidad in July.
CARICOM Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett said that the council, which plays a central role in the decision-making of the 15-member regional integration grouping, will discuss preparations for the summit, which will incorporate activities to mark the 50th anniversary of CARICOM.
“The resilience of our community is aptly captured in the official theme for the celebration of the 50th anniversary. We are, indeed, 50 years strong, and we have a strong foundation to build on.
The future calls on us to further strengthen that foundation, to accelerate sustainable growth, and build a safe and prosperous future for the next generation,” she said.
“We will also be discussing matters related to the functioning of this secretariat. It lies to this council to ensure that this secretariat is appropriately resourced, efficiently organized to deliver the work of the community effectively and support member states in national implementation of regional decisions.”
The council is the second highest organ of the community and its primary responsibility for the development of community strategic planning and coordination in the areas of economic integration, functional cooperation and external relations.
Barnett told the virtual meeting that the CARICOM grouping has recorded many successes and accomplishments over the last 50 years, “guided by the great regional visionaries who were the architects of our integration.”
After resigning as a member of the opposition New National Party (NNP), Delma Thomas confirmed recently that she would be working with the government of the Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
Addressing a meeting of her St. Andrew’s North West Constituency, which was attended by PM Mitchell, Thomas said she had held long hours of discussions with the head of government since announcing her departure from NNP.
She added, that Mitchell “did not mix words and he said I believe you should come in the government and that’s where you could make a contribution for your people.”
Thomas said at the meeting that the decision to work with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was not taken lightly and swiftly.
“Mr. Prime Minister I say yes to working with you and your team. I say yes to Grenada. I say yes to women power…and so I have pledged my commitment to work with the NDC government as we move forward…we have to transform this nation,” said Thomas.
The president of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge has announced that plans are on stream to have the Prosperity Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel commence operations later this year as part of the Payara Field Development Project in the Stabroek Block.
The FPSO vessel arrived in Guyana in April this year, and is projected to produce up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day.
During a press conference at ExxonMobil’s Kingston Office recently Routledge said, “We are on track to start that project up by the end of the year, which will bring our combined capacity for production to over 600,000 barrels per day of oil.”
He also stated that the first two projects Liza Destiny and Liza Unity FPSOs are performing well and as the company pumps oil offshore Guyana, the country and its people are reaping the benefits.
In 2022, the company and its partners injected more than G$80 billion (US$400 million) into the local economy directly benefiting 1,500 businesses. With more developments on stream, Routledge said the benefits are expected to increase as there are currently 5,000 Guyanese working in the petroleum industry.
Just recently, the government approved the Uaru Project, which is the fifth offshore development project in Guyana.
The United States government is urging Americans that they should “consider departing Haiti now” as it issued a Level 4 advisory for the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
“Do not travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor healthcare infrastructure. If citizens in Haiti should consider departing Haiti now by commercial or other privately available transportation options, in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges.”
“Us citizens wishing to depart Port-au-Prince should monitor local news and only do so when considered safe,” the US State Department said. Adding that kidnapping is widespread and victims regularly include US citizens.
“Kidnappers may use sophisticated planning or take advantage of unplanned opportunities, and even convoys have been attacked. Kidnapping cases often involve ransom negotiations and US citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings. Victim’s families have paid thousands of dollars to rescue their family members,” it said.
The State Department said that violent crime, such as armed robbery, carjackings and kidnappings for ransom that include American citizens are common.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, described Haiti as a “tragic situation” noting that a number of people have been killed, several are unable to live their lives and that the country also faces dramatic food insecurity.
The UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) said in the month of April alone, more than 600 people were killed in violence in the country’s capital. This follows the killing of at least 846 people in the first three months of this year.
Jamaica is to benefit from a five-year partnership with the British Council aimed at enhancing cooperation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).
A Memorandum of Understanding which will guide the arrangement, was signed recently between the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Maureen Dwyer; Executive Director, National Education Trust (NET), Latoya Harris Ghartey; and Country Directaor, Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands, British Council, Damion Campbell.
Dwyer said the signing represents an expansion of the relationship with the British Council as it relates to STEAM and Science Technology Education and Mathematics (STEM) education.
She noted further that team of local educators conducted a successful tour of the British education system and “we learned a lot which will inform our thrust now to build seven STEM schools in Jamaica.”
“What we have done now with the signing is to expand the relationship to other areas to see how well they can continue to support us both in training and in our build-out of the infrastructure. So, we are very pleased for this partnership and we are looking forward to what it brings,” Dwyer added.
Campbell said the collaboration will create more educational opportunities for young people.
“For the Council, it means we are able to connect more young people in the UK with Jamaica to share their experiences, expertise, open up their understanding to a more global world but more through the lens of what STEAM education is,” he added.
Attorney General, Reginald Armour, SC said recently that the government is working to strengthen legislation to protect citizens against different forms of cybercrime.
He made this statement on a matter raised on the adjournment of the Senate by Independent Senator Paul Richards.
While the Computer Misuse Act was passed in 2020, Armour said Government recognises the need to continue to strengthen this legislation.
“Our work is set out for us and we are continuing as a government to give active consideration to all of the circumstances of criminality.”
Armour said amendments to the act are being considered and reviewed by the Ministry of the AG and Legal Affairs.
He also disclosed that TT was invited in October 2021 to formally ratify the Budapest Convention, the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonising national laws, improving investigative techniques and increasing co-operation among nations.
TT has observer status to the convention and has 5 years in which to ratify the treaty. Armour said once this happens, TT can benefit through partnership with other nations to combat various types of cyber crime.
While it has been identified globally as a significant area of grievous crime, Armour said, “There is no international definition of cyber crime or cyber attacks.”
He acknowledged that these crimes do not respect international borders or the sovereignty of individual nations.
— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan