June, 2015

 

Deportados: El regreso al sueño Americano.

Gobiernos centroamericanos no dan seguimiento a la reinserción de migrantes en su país obligándolos a volver al “Sueño Americano” – 

Por: Jackie Redondo, (CDN) Honduras –

Los altos índices de criminalidad y el desempleo hacen que a los centroamericanos no les importen los peligros a los que se enfrentan para llegar al sueño americano.

Este año a diferencia de otros, la mayoría de migrantes están siendo deportados desde México y no de Estados Unidos.

En Centroamérica se habla mucho de cómo son recibidos los migrantes, en especial los niños que viajan no acompañados, expuestos a cualquier tipo de peligro en su trayecto por llegar a lo que ellos denominan “Una Vida Mejor en USA” pero que pasa después de ser deportados? Desde niños, adolescentes y adultos que son retornados hasta los últimos meses son recibidos dignamente por el gobierno de turno quienes les presentan programas a corto plazo, pero en muchos casos las oportunidades son mínimas y por su mala condición en su país vuelven a arriesgar sus vidas con tal de tener el pan de cada día para sí mismos y su familia o en el peor de los casos huyen por salvarse del crimen.

Países de Centroamérica con mayor número de deportados en 2014

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 8.20.26 PM

Actualmente no existe ningún programa de seguimiento para evitar que los migrantes dejen sus países e ingresen a Norteamérica, es por esa razón que nace el Plan Alianza para la Prosperidad, entre Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador, cuyos gobiernos buscan el apoyo presupuestario de 1,000 millones de dólares y así evitar el tráfico de migrantes con la creación de programas que generaran empleo y crearan seguridad en la región.

Entre los principales factores por lo que los migrantes retornados deciden regresar a Estados Unidos, son:

La inseguridad

Según InSight Crime, El Salvador, es el país que registra más homicidios con 68,6 por cada 100.000 habitantes, Honduras es el segundo país que más homicidios reporta en Centroamérica en 2014 cerró con 66 por cada 100.000 habitantes, en Guatemala por su parte se registró una disminución en 2014 registro 31 homicidios por cada 100.000 habitantes, Costa Rica tiene 9,5 homicidios por cada 100.000 habitantes y Nicaragua es el país que menos homicidios registra en Centroamérica con 8,7 por cada 100.000 habitantes, aparte de los homicidios en algunos casos los centroamericanos son extorsionados en su propio país por grupos delictivos que deciden hacerles la vida imposible con tal de percibir un ingreso para sus pandillas.

El desempleo

Otro de los factores que inciden para que Centroamericanos decidan migrar es el desempleo en Honduras más del 58% de la población económicamente activa esta subempleada es decir no tienen trabajo permanente, un promedio de 100.000 están totalmente desempleados, Guatemala tiene la tasa de desempleo más baja de Centroamérica con 2.7% de la población económicamente activa. La crisis económica en Centroamérica impacta en los más desposeídos que no encontrar ingresos existen casos de personas que entran en actividades ilícitas para generar el sustento familiar.

Honduras

Actualmente la Primera Dama de Honduras, Ana García de Hernández, tras darse cuenta que los niños que viajaban no acompañados a Estados Unidos, al ser capturados eran tratados como delincuentes, decidió por primera vez en Honduras tomar el tema con seriedad, realizo diversos viajes y ha comenzado a realizar programas a favor de los menores, como reinsertarlos a las escuelas y colegios, brindarles la posibilidad de ser capacitados y recibirlos en las mejores condiciones, solo el año anterior más de 10 mil niños hondureños viajar sin compañía a Norteamérica.

Según datos oficiales en los primeros cinco meses de 2015 en Honduras más de 3,100 niños han sido deportados en su mayoría de México, del total un promedio de 1,655 niños viajaban con sus parientes mientras 1,445 realizaron su viaje sin compañía. De los tres mil niños hondureños deportados, dos mil retornaron de México.

A pesar de los esfuerzos que realiza la primera Dama de Honduras, hace algunos días el Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, Roberto Herrera Cáceres, visito las instalaciones donde son recibidos los niños retornados de México y Estados Unidos, encontrando que existen centros donde reciben a los migrantes en carpas que les sirve apenas para cubrirse del sol, utilizan sillas deterioradas y condiciones insalubres donde no hay un espacio digno para que los migrantes puedan alimentarse, es el caso del Centro El Edén en San Pedro Sula.

El Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras, asegura que ni los dormitorios y mucho menos los baños poseen las condiciones adecuadas para recibir a los migrantes, Ana García de Hernández Primera Dama, pidió a la Oficina Administradora de Bienes Incautados OABI, una de las residencias incautadas al crimen organizado para que la misma pueda ser un lugar digno para recibir a migrantes retornados.

El gobierno hondureño ante la falta de aprobación de los fondos para crear diferentes programas e insertar a los migrantes en la sociedad para que tengan su sueño americano en su nación han comenzado a buscar ayuda de países como: Canadá, Unión Europea y Japón y de esa forma poner en marcha por primera vez programas para dar seguimiento a los migrantes retornados que no logran conseguir ni trabajo y mucho menos seguridad.

En Honduras existen muy pocos programas de reincersion para los migrantes, La Asociación Hondureña de Instituciones Bancarias AHIBA, todos los años realiza un gran evento, invitando a los hondureños a participar en diversas maratones, de esa forma cada competidor está obligado a pagar por su suscripción, los fondos son destinados para brindar capital semilla a 5 migrantes retornados, que son debidamente capacitados para realizar un oficio o servicio y de esa forma puedan crear una pequeña empresa en su país.

“Una segunda Oportunidad Para los Migrantes Retornados” es el programa que promueve el Gobierno y la Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Tegucigalpa, para crear espacios de generación de ingresos a los migrantes retornados.

Los beneficiarios del proyecto son emigrantes retornados mayores de 18 años, preferiblemente remitidos por las organizaciones que trabajan en el tema, como ser la oficina de Atención al Migrante Retornado (OAMT) que dirige Sor Baldet.

Según los migrantes las oportunidades son mínimas en Honduras ya que al momento de incursionar en el mundo de los negocios se enfrentan a tener pérdidas porque existen muchas personas con problemas económicos los que impactan en sus ganancias porque no pueden vender lo que ofrecen o mucho peor el temible impuesto de guerra, que tienen que pagar los propietarios de negocios en algunos barrios y colonias, hasta la fecha la Fuerza Nacional Antiextorsión ha logrado capturar a 300 extorsionadores en lo que va del año ambos factores obligan a los hondureños a migrar a Estados Unidos.

Los organismos internacionales como el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo, la Alcaldia para el Departamento de Olancho y la empresa privada, realizan el programa de “Asistencia a la reintegración comunitaria de los niños, niñas y adolescentes migrantes retornados” brinda a los migrantes retornados, seguridad alimentaria, generación de empleo, seguridad ciudadana y hasta el reintegro de niños a sus escuelas, hasta la fecha es el programa más completo para reintegrar a los migrantes a la sociedad.

La Organización Internacional para las Migraciones OIM, presentó un programa para coordinar la asistencia de las instituciones, la sociedad civil y los organismos internacionales a los niños y adolescentes migrantes. El programa permitirá la protección, la recepción y la ayuda a los menores migrantes y familiares a su regreso.

Pero qué pasa con los migrantes después de ser recibidos, el gobierno les reconoce alimentación y transporte, pero quien les da seguimiento a sus casos, hasta el momento nadie.

El Salvador

El Salvador sí cuenta con un programa de reinserción para migrantes retornados, mismo que en primer lugar investiga las condiciones de los deportados, remitiéndolas a las instancias responsables de atención en casos específicos, donde personal del gobierno se encarga de verificar y ayudar al salvadoreño para su ingreso al sistema educativo, facilita su incorporación al mercado laboral y realizan capacitaciones para que puedan aplicar a un capital semilla para crear sus propios negocios. El gobierno contribuye con la canasta básica temporal, para los migrantes retornados en condiciones de vulnerabilidad, a las personas que han recibido abuso sexual y que han perdido alguna extremidad de su cuerpo, el estado pone a disposición rehabilitación.

En El Salvador desde 1997 existe el Foro de Migrantes y personas desarraigadas, donde se discuten cuáles son los principales problemas de la población migrante y de esa forma generan un debate para buscar soluciones, la Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana, con el acompañamiento de las iglesias que permite la reincorporación de los salvadoreños a la sociedad.

En El Salvador existe el bono de oportunidad, que mediante un programa de reinserción socio laboral el gobierno brinda las capacitaciones necesarias para que los migrante puedan emprender su propio negocio. Los factores de migración de los Salvadoreños son muy parecidos a los de Honduras y Guatemala, Falta de empleo, mejores oportunidades, inseguridad, violencia y extorsiones.

Guatemala

Guatemala es el país que más deportados de Estados Unidos y México reporto en 2014, con más de 92,000 guatemaltecos, que regresaron a sus casas en búsqueda de oportunidades.

La OIM desde hace varios años capacita a los migrantes guatemaltecos, para qué puedan ser reinsertados en el marco laboral del país.

Hasta en mayo del presenté año en Guatemala, se habla de crear dos centros de reinserción para los migrante retornados, “Es una iniciativa del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores que espera contar con el apoyo de todas las instituciones del Estado como los ministerios de Trabajo, Salud, Economía, Desarrollo, de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil y el sector privado para dar una oportunidad de trabajo a los deportados a su llegada a su país”, señaló el viceministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Guatemala.


Over 100 feared dead after Indonesia military plane crashes

MEDAN, June 30 (Reuters) – More than 100 people were feared dead after a military transport plane plowed into a residential area shortly after take-off in northern Indonesia on Tuesday, in what may be the deadliest accident yet for an air force with a long history of crashes.

“For the moment we know there were 113 people (on board). It looks like there are no survivors,” Air Marshal Agus Supriatna told Metro TV in the Sumatra city of Medan, adding that some of the passengers were air force families.

The crash of the aircraft, a C-130B Hercules aircraft that went into service half a century ago, is bound to put a fresh spotlight on Indonesia’s woeful air safety record and its ageing planes.

Officials said the plane plunged into a built-up area of Medan, one of Indonesia’s largest cities. Eye witnesses said it appeared to explode shortly before it smashed into houses and a hotel.

An official at a nearby hospital who declined to be named said that 55 bodies had been brought in so far.

Black smoke billowed from the wreckage, and crowds of people milling around the area initially hampered emergency services.

“We have been using heavy equipment like earth movers to clear the wreckage of the plane,” said Romali, chief of Medan’s search and rescue agency, who has only one name.

“We are still evacuating bodies from the rubble and we hope we can finish the operation tonight,” he said in an interview.

The plane had been on its way from an air force base in Medan to Tanjung Pinang in Riau Islands off Sumatra. Media said the pilot had asked to return to the base because of technical problems.

“It passed overhead a few times, really low,” said Elfrida Efi, a receptionist at the nearby Golden Eleven Hotel.

“There was fire and black smoke. The third time it came by it crashed into the roof of the hotel and exploded straight away,” she said by telephone.

PRESSURE TO MODERNIZE

According to the Aviation Safety Network, 10 fatal crashes involving Indonesian military or police aircraft have occurred over the last decade. The accidents put under a spotlight the safety record of Indonesia’s aviation and its ageing aircraft.

Flightglobal, an aviation industry data and news service.

The Indonesian air force has now lost four C-130s, reducing its transport reach in an archipelago that stretches more than 5,000 km (3,000 miles) from its western to eastern tips.

Air force spokesman Dwi Badarmanto said it was unclear what caused the crash and, until it was, eight other C-130Bs would be grounded.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States stood ready to assist the investigation as needed.

Although Indonesia accounted for nearly one-fifth of defense spending by Southeast Asian countries last year, as a percentage of GDP the amount was the lowest in the region at 0.8 percent, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute data.

President Joko Widodo, who took office last year, has said he plans to double military spending to $15 billion by 2020.

The transport plane accident could bring pressure on the president to spend more on modernizing the air force.

“This incident shows us that we must renew our aircraft and our military equipment,” Pramono Anung, a lawmaker and member of the parliamentary commission overseeing defense, said in an interview.

“The Hercules is already old, many of our other (weapons) systems are already old. As parliament we will support giving more funding to the military so that they can upgrade.”

(Additional reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor, Randy Fabi, Aubrey Belford, Nilufar Rizki and Klara Virencia in Jakarta, Siva Govindasamy in Singapore and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Steve Orlofsky)


Republican Christie launches 2016 bid, promises straight talk

LIVINGSTON, June 20 (Reuters) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie launched an uphill run for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday with his trademark brashness, offering up his blunt talk and willingness to tackle tough issues as the cure for Washington dysfunction.

Christie, once seen as a leading 2016 White House contender but now viewed as a long shot, said his dose of New Jersey straight talk could help span the partisan divide to solve difficult political problems.

“I mean what I say and I say what I mean, and that’s what America needs right now,” Christie told friends, family and supporters at the campaign launch at his old high school in suburban Livingston, New Jersey. “Truth and hard decisions today will lead to growth and opportunity tomorrow.”

The 52-year-old, two-term governor criticized the “bickering” leaders of both parties, and derided what he called Democratic President Barack Obama’s “hand-wringing and indecisiveness and weakness in the Oval Office.”

“Both parties have failed our country,” said Christie. “Both parties have led us to believe that in America, a country built on compromise, that somehow ‘compromise’ is a dirty word.”

The campaign launch gave Christie a chance to rejuvenate his sagging opinion poll numbers and recast his battered image after last year’s “Bridgegate” lane closure scandal.

Christie is the 14th Republican to vie for the nomination to be the party’s candidate in the November 2016 election. He faces a difficult challenge regaining his former status near the top of the heap.

He has seen his standing in national polls in the Republican race dip to the low single digits. His approval ratings in his home state have fallen to new lows amid a series of credit downgrades and weak job growth.

Conservatives, a key force in the early Republican primaries, have been suspicious of his record of working at times with Democrats in Democratic-leaning New Jersey. They still resent his hug and warm words for Obama after superstorm Sandy in the final days of the 2012 presidential race.

‘SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP’

As governor, Christie has cultivated an in-your-face image, once telling a heckler to “sit down and shut up” and getting into frequent shouting matches with New Jersey residents who challenge him.

Following the announcement, he headed to New Hampshire, where he will hold the first of what is expected to be a series of town hall sessions he hopes will help turn his reputation for plain speaking into an asset.

“You’re going to get what I think whether you like it or not, or whether it makes you cringe every once in a while,” Christie said during his launch rally, which did not feature a prepared text or a teleprompter.

He promised to wage a campaign that “will not worry about what is popular but what is right, because what is right is what will fix America.”

He also took a verbal swing at Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who was Obama’s first secretary of state.

“After seven years of a weak and feckless foreign policy run by Barack Obama, we better not turn it over to his second mate, Hillary Clinton,” he said.

New Jersey Democrats have challenged Christie’s claims of bipartisanship, pointing to incidents like the “Bridgegate” scandal. In September 2013, aides orchestrated the closing of approach lanes for the George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey and New York City, the busiest bridge in the country.

Critics said the closings were political retribution against a Democratic New Jersey mayor who turned down a request that he endorse Christie’s re-election campaign.

Christie has disavowed knowledge of the closures.

A former ally of the governor pleaded guilty to federal charges in the scandal in May, and two others were indicted.

(Graphic on New Jersey under Governor Christie: link.reuters.com/xyq94w)

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez and Hilary Russ; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing byJonathan Oatis)


Court rules NSA can temporarily resume bulk phone data collection

WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) – A U.S. court has ruled that the eavesdropping National Security Agency can temporarily resume its bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records, according to documents made public on Tuesday.

The controversial program, exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, was rocked in May by an appeals court decision ruling that the USA Patriot Act had never authorized the NSA to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk.

A new law, called the Freedom Act, which substantially reformed and narrowed the bulk phone data program, was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama a day after the existing program lapsed on June 1.

The Freedom Act also allowed the existing surveillance program to continue for a six-month transition period, but it remained in legal limbo pending Monday’s ruling by a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

“In passing the USA Freedom Act, Congress clearly intended to end bulk data collection … But what it took away with one hand, it gave back – for a limited time – with another,” wrote Michael Mosman, a judge on the surveillance court.

In his ruling, first reported by the New York Times, Mosman rejected the May ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that the Patriot Act had never authorized the NSA to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk.

“Second Circuit rulings are not binding on the F.I.S.C. and this court respectfully disagrees with that court’s analysis, especially in view of the intervening enactment of the U.S.A. Freedom Act,” he wrote.

The NSA program collects and analyzes data about Americans’ phone calls, such as the number dialed, and the time and length of the call, but not the calls’ actual content.

The Freedom Act requires companies such as Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and AT&T Inc (T.N), to collect and store telephone records the same way that they do now for billing purposes.

But instead of routinely feeding U.S. intelligence agencies such data, the companies will be required to turn it over only in response to a government request approved by the FISC.

(Reporting by Eric Beech and Warren Strobel; editing by Bill Trott and Christian Plumb)


Investors scramble to avoid Puerto Rico losses

By;  Lawrence Delevingne | @ldelevingne – 

Once seen as a golden opportunity, big-money investors are now scrambling to keep their bets on Puerto Rico whole.

Hedge funds, mutual funds and other investors piled in over the last two years, thinking others had overreacted to the island’s fiscal problems by dumping local bonds.

But the value of their debt holdings fell sharply early this week on a string of bad news.

The U.S. territory’s governor surprised observers by saying its $72 billion in debts weren’t payable. The White House explained that it was not contemplating a bailout. Ratings agencies cut their assessments of Puerto Rican bonds. And a report by a group of former International Monetary Fund officials detailed just how bad the island’s fiscal problems are.

“The coming weeks will bring showdowns between … the governor and bondholders, and out of the rubble, we expect the PR government to emerge leaner, having shed some debt and restructured some operations,” Height Securities said in a report Monday.

In other words, more observers think that hedge funds and other creditors should expect to accept less than face value for the bonds they own. Some Puerto Rico bonds were trading at 68 cents on the dollar Tuesday.

The bad news doesn’t mean investors are giving up.

Two bands of mostly hedge fund bondholders continue to put pressure on local officials. They still hope to come up with a deal that gives Puerto Rico the money it needs to fund its operating budgets and, at the same time, provide a profit for investors. The negotiations are now more urgent giving looming deadlines: a total of $1.9 billion in various bond payments, including general obligation debt, are due on July 1, according to a market participant.

The largest band of investors owns different types of government-backed bonds.

A year old, the so-called Ad Hoc Group is made up of 35 members and represents $4.5 billion in Puerto Rican debt holdings such as GO bonds, seen as having the best chance of a full payment. Not all the investors in the group are disclosed, but its steering committee—those that actively negotiate with the government—are Fir Tree Partners, Centerbridge Partners, Davidson Kempner Capital Management, Stone Lion Capital Partners, Brigade Capital Management and Monarch Alternative Capital.

There was no comment Monday or Tuesday, but the group wrote in a letter on June 24 that it wanted to meet with government officials and “be part of the solution to the Commonwealth’s fiscal challenges.” The Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, which represents the other side, declined to comment.

The other investor alliance is holders of bonds from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA. Also called an ad hoc group, it includes hedge funds Knighthead Capital Management, Marathon Asset Management, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, D.E. Shaw Group, BlueMountain Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and large mutual fund investors Franklin Templeton and OppenheimerFunds.

Together the group holds about 40 percent of the utility’s bonds, or around $3 billion worth. Insurers such as MBIA and Assured Guaranty also have significant exposure to PREPA bonds and their stocks were hammered this week as a result.

The group negotiated with PREPA officials Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation, but no solution had been reached. PREPA owes about $400 million in a bond payment Wednesday, and a short-term deal could push the negotiating deadline forward in the hopes of a more comprehensive restructuring. Past extensions have been for 30 days.

A spokesman for PREPA bondholders declined to comment, and a representative for PREPA did not respond to a request.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102799173


Baha Mar Shocker… Files for Bankruptcy … Employees Told to Stay Home

by Jones Bahamas – 

Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian announced yesterday that the resort has filed for bankruptcy.

According to Izmirlian, in a statement released by the resort, in order to complete construction and open Baha Mar as soon as practicable, Baha Mar Ltd., and entities associated with it, are voluntarily undertaking the process of Chapter 11 under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Izmirlian said, “I am committed to doing all I realistically can to move Baha Mar forward to be completed and opened successfully. I am confident that, once opened, Baha Mar will be a world-class destination resort that will attract guests from around the world and serve as a key economic sparkplug to The Bahamas. The Chapter 11 process provides the appropriate venue to create a viable financial structure that places Baha Mar’s interests foremost.”

The statement noted that Baha Mar’s board of directors has determined that due to the financial consequences of the repeated delays by the general contractor, and the resulting loss of revenue, bankruptcy is the best path to provide the time to put in place a viable capital structure and working relationships to complete construction and successfully open Baha Mar.

The opening of the $3.5 billion resort was postponed three times.

Baha Mar was set to open in December 2014, then in March 2015 and then during the first week in May.

According to Izmirlian, missed construction deadlines by the contractor has caused both sizeable delay costs and forced the resort to postpone its opening.

“Unable to open, the resort has been left without a sufficient source of revenue to continue our existing business,” he said.

Izmirlian has now agreed to arrange the funding for the Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing facility to help assure that the bankruptcy process is efficient.

“This financing will, among other things, enable Baha Mar to operate and meet its financial obligations in the interim during the Chapter 11 process. Specifically, the total DIP facility is up to $80 million of which up to $30 million will be utilized by Baha Mar over the next 30 days,” the statement read.

Baha Mar’s voluntary Chapter 11 filing was made in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Baha Mar will also file an application in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas seeking approval of the U.S. court orders.

Recently, Izmirlian has been involved in protracted negotiations with China Construction, with the view of getting the necessary funding to open the resort.

It is understood that Baha Mar needs some $300 million to complete the project.

The Bahama Journal reported recently that there were a number of resignations by senior Baha Mar personnel and executives who were hired by the operators of the four hotels that comprise the Baha Mar campus, namely the Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, SLS Lux and Meliá.

In addition, there have been cancellations of reservations into 2017 and some of the executives said their professional reputation have been compromised because of Baha Mar’s failure to open the property.

A few weeks ago, Prime Minister Perry Christie assured Bahamians that the government is working on a resolution for Baha Mar and it will be realized sooner, rather than later.

However, Izmirlian said in the statement that unfortunately, Baha Mar’s efforts to obtain help from its lender to bring to fruition the completion of construction and the successful opening of the resort, as well as efforts made of the Bahamian government were unaccomplished.

He explained that construction on the project remains incomplete and, consequently, Baha Mar is not in a position to set a revised opening date.

Employees Told to Stay Home

Following the announcement that Baha Mar filed for bankruptcy, Izmirlian issued a letter to the resort’s employees telling them “not to physically come to work at this time.”

He told the employees that Baha Mar will continue for a period to operate and fund payroll and the next few weeks will be used to try and reach a consensual agreement with the resort’s bank lender.

“The Baha Mar project is dependent on our lender working with us immediately to achieve such an agreement,” Izmirlian added.

He explained that if an agreement cannot be reached, Baha Mar will have to make some extremely difficult decisions that would include workforce reductions.

However, in the statement issued by Baha Mar, Izmirlian said Bahamians should no longer have to endure the adverse effects of the general contractor not fulfilling assurances regarding the completion of the resort’s construction, forcing in turn embarrassing delays of Baha Mar’s opening.

“Nor should members of the travel industry and guests continue to face understandable frustration and disappointment caused by the failure to complete construction. All of this now stops with and can be remedied through the Chapter 11 process,” Izmirlian said.

http://jonesbahamas.com/baha-mar-shocker-files-for-bankruptcy-employees-told-to-stay-home/


Ricardo Blackman’s Business Headlines 6/30

By: Ricardo Blackman, (CDN) Barbados –

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

 Young people across the Caribbean will have a rare opportunity to directly state their concerns to United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, when the University of the West Indies (UWI) hosts a UN Youth symposium at the Cave Hill Campus on Friday.  The UN Chief will be in Barbados for the 36th  Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meeting and will engage university students and representatives of youth organizations across the region under the theme :Caribbean Youth Speak: The World We Want Post-2015.  Ban, the UN’s eighth Secretary General, is looking forward to a lively engagement with the young citizens of the Caribbean.

 Bank of Nova Scotia has warned regional soccer body CONCACAF which is deeply enmeshed in the FIFA bribery scandal, that it will withhold funds from a major sponsorship deal unless the federation cleans up its act, according to a source familiar with the bank’s position. “The bank is deeply concerned” said the source, speaking on  condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter” it does not want to be associated with scandals like this at all.”  The source said a new management team at CONCACAF, led by President Alfredo Hawit Benegas, has brought in top-tier restructuring advisers and legal counsel and  was starting to take the “remediation measures” that the bank, which is widely known as Scotia Bank, is demanding.  Canada’s No. 3 bank, which also has major operations in Mexico and the Caribbean, inked a four-year deal with CONFACAF in December to be lead sponsor in multiple tournaments through 2018, including the regional club competition which was renamed the Scotia Bank Champions League.  It has also become the official bank to CONCACAF, whose full name is  the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football.

 The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it disagrees  with statements that the 15-member regional grouping “has been slow” to deal with the unfolding situation in the Dominican Republic where people of Haitian descent are being deported from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country.  “I disagree, I fundamentally disagree”, CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque told Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) ahead of the July 2 – 4  summit of regional leaders in Barbados.  LaRocque said the issue will be among agenda items to be discussed by the CARICOM leaders and told CMC regarding the Dominican Republic matter “not everything you do is for the public limelight.”

Dateline Castries:

There is a vacancy on the executive of the Civil Service Association (CSA).  Mary Isaac resigned the presidency in May but maintained the post of General Secretary.  However, yesterday (Monday), Isaac revealed she was leaving the CSA today, Tuesday,  June 30th, for a creer in politics.


After A Recent Trip To Cuba, Leahy Urges Congress To Restore Full Diplomatic Relations

By BOB KINZEL – 

Sen. Patrick Leahy has returned from a recent trip to Cuba and says he’s even more convinced that Congress should restore full diplomatic relations with the island nation as soon as possible.

Leahy says the change is needed because he says U.S. policies over the past 50 years have failed.

The senator has been working on this issue for more than a decade. This past weekend, he traveled to Cuba as part of a bi-partisan Congressional delegation that met with government officials, business representatives and religious leaders.

Leahy says the time has come to fully recognize the Communist government in Havana and end this country’s “cold war” foreign policy against Cuba. “There are those who want to continue the 50 year policy. I’m one of the ones that believe it didn’t work, it hasn’t worked for any of that 50 years, so let’s try something different,” he says.

Not everyone in Congress agrees with Leahy’s plan. In the past few months, the U.S. House has voted not to lift travel bans between the two countries. It’s also voted to maintain a strict ban on trade with the Cuban military.

Leahy says the House approach is shortsighted. “My response to that is here we are one of the greatest nations history has ever known, and for us to be there and without a real embassy, without a full embassy, without the chance to show the Cubans what America really is, doesn’t help us at all,” Leahy says. “In fact it hurts us.”

And Leahy thinks restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba will lead to political changes in that country. “I think the more openness we have with them the more it’s going to change Cuba,” he says. “Their leaders are somewhat worried about that because once we have real Internet service, they will try to censor some of that but you can’t really censor it.” 

Leahy says he expects that the Obama Administration and the Castro government will announce plans to partially open embassies in the near future.

http://digital.vpr.net/post/after-recent-trip-cuba-leahy-urges-congress-restore-full-diplomatic-relations

 


Loretta Butler Turner: statement on the opening of baha mar

Loretta Butler Turner

Shadow Minister of Labour & Social Development

MP for Long Island

Opening of Baha Mar Critical for Bahamian Workers

The opening of Baha Mar is critical for our economy in general and for Bahamian workers in particular. There are thousands of current and future jobs at stake.

The Official Opposition has often expressed the need for the government to do all in its power to ensure that the resort opens as soon as possible. Bahamians are rooting for the success of this vital project. Unfortunately, the Christie administration has added to the confusion over the opening of the resort.

The Government of the Bahamas was legally required to reimburse Baha Mar for funds related to infrastructural road work. The PLP has been late again and again in this matter. Three years after its election the Christie administration has not paid in a timely manner the full amount of money owed Baha Mar.

The payment of these funds were owed Baha Mar and should not be tied to any new quid pro quo by the Government of the Bahamas, as was suggested in a story today in one of the daily papers.

At times the Prime Minister engages in a deafening silence on Baha Mar. When he does speak about Baha Mar he often raises serious questions about his grasp of events related to the opening of the megaresort.

He adds to the confusion by making baffling statements which suggests that he is out of touch with reality. In his mid-year budget review in February of this year the Prime Minister stated:

“We expect to see a surge in new hires starting in earnest very soon as Baha Mar prepares to roll out its new resort in phases, beginning just a month from now.”

March has come and gone as have April and May. We are near the end of June and July is on the horizon.

As I asked in my recent contribution to the budget debate:

Did the Prime Minister know what was going on with this very important project in his own country? Did he make it his business to find out?

Might the Prime Minister please now inform this House as to when he believes Baha Mar may open?

Further, as various Chinese entities are critical partners in the Baha Mar development, a competent and strategically-minded government would have appointed an ambassador to China to assist where possible in getting the resort open as soon as possible.

Yet three years after coming to office and with China a major ally and investor, the Prime Minister has failed to cause the appointment of an ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. This is bad for both foreign and economic policy. It is an undiplomatic slap in the face to the Chinese government.

It is also a sign of an incompetent and poorly-run government with weak and distracted leadership unable to make decisions in a timely manner.

With many jobs at risk at Baha Mar and with the economy needing the resort to open as soon as possible, it is past time for the Prime Minister and his government to demonstrate better leadership on the economy and in the protection of jobs.


Jacksonville’s Crowley Maritime invests in Caribbean, Central American shipping

By Drew Dixon – 

Jacksonville’s Crowley Maritime Corp. is increasing its commitment to commerce with Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Central America by acquiring thousands of pieces of shipping equipment for its ocean liners.

The acquisition of 4,300 additional pieces of equipment includes containers and other apparatus for increased service of the company’s trade lanes. The containers include dry and refrigerated compartments for use in the trade routes. A Monday news release from the company did not say how much Crowley spent on the equipment.

“As a whole, Crowley is working hard to improve its shipping and logistics services, first and foremost by delivering top-quality equipment in the trade lanes where it is most needed,” said Jon Hourihan, Crowley senior vice president and general manager of Puerto Rico services.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2015-06-29/story/jacksonvilles-crowley-maritime-invests-caribbean-central-american