August, 2017

 

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/31

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Gun violence has plunged Barbados into a crisis, says a former Attorney-General.  Barbados Labour Party Shadow Attorney General Dale Marshall made the assessment in the aftermath of a shooting that claimed the lives of two young men on Tuesday nite.  “We are a country in shock.  With the brutal shooting deaths of two young men at Marley Vale, St. Philip, we are now reeling from an unprecedented five gun-related homicides in this month alone, four in the last nine days.  The picture that the world now has of Barbados is no longer a place of peace and tranquility, but a small country with uncontrolled gang violence and brazen public shootings.”

Despite Barbados’ challenging economic climate, one investor is putting his money and faith into a multi million dollar hotel project on the west coast.  Hotelier Robin Walcott is pumping around $18 million into the expansion of his existing 36-unit Beach View condominium hotel at Paynes Bay, St. James.  He says he is basing his confidence on the performance of Beach View to date.

The Freundel Stuart administration is being warned not to ignore the vexing issue of de-risking even as it struggles to address the country’s worsening economic conditions.  The warning has come from overseas tax compliance experts who cautioned that if the issues relating to de-risking were put on the back-burner, the country’s bread and butter tourism industry as well as other sectors could pay dearly.  Economist Jeremy Stephen said over the past few months, it seemed Barbados had become relaxed on tackling threats and issues relating to de-risking and the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in order to focus more on issues relating to public financing.  “I think that we took our eyes off the ball with respect to de-risking.  It is as if it is not even a big threat anymore and people have just put it in the back and we are focusing on the fiscal issue that government has” Stephen said.

Dateline St. Georges, GRENADA:

Amid growing speculation that a date for the general election would be announced soon, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is getting ready to announce his fourth Cabinet reshuffle since his ruling New National; Party (NNP) swept all the seats in the 2013 general election.  Mitchell was schedule to address the nation last nite (Wednesday).    The NNP won the general election in February 2013 and the cabinet was sworn in to office on March 3, 2013.  The first reshuffle occurred in November, 2014.  Six government ministers were affected by the changes with the most significant being the then Senator Kenny Lalsingh, who was sacked as a government minister and Alexandria Otway-Noel becoming Minister of Implementation.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine, will present the Bank’s five-year Strategic Plan on September 7 under the theme “Transforming the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union Together.  The Strategic Plan, which focuses on economic transformation, reflects the goals of the currency union and identifies the ECCB’s corporate goals and performance targets to help accomplish these goals.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

The tourism ministry has disclosed that the country earned a record US$2 billion during the first eight months of this calendar year from 2.8 million visitors.  The figure, according to the ministry, represents an increase of 8.3 percent in gross foreign exchange earnings over the US$1.83 billion for the same period last year.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

CEO of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Edison Sumner, said international credit ratings agency Moody’s has “every reason” to downgrade The Bahamas’ credit rating if the country’s fiscal situation does not improve within the rating agency’s review period.  Speaking with Guardian Business yesterday, Sumner said that the ratings giant has given The Bahamas “sufficient notice” adding that Moody’s has set the tone in its assessment for another downgrade if there are no signs of fiscal improvement.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

After spending over 36 hours in custody, former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan SC was driven out of the Port of Spain Central Police Station last nite after being charged with two offences, obstruction of justice and misbehaviour in office.  Ramlogan was able to secure bail at $750,000 to cover the two charges.

Meanwhile, colleagues of Ramlogan are calling his two-day detention a distraction from the issues plaguing the government such as the appointment and then revocation of the Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte.  The Law Association is assaying that no one should say anything about the case and chided two politicians, Dr. Roodal Moonilal and Devant Maharaj, both former ministers, for commenting publicly on the matte.


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/30

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Up to late last nite, former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan SC, was still being grilled following his detention yesterday at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain, on allegations of perversion of the course of justice and misbehaviour in public office.  Ramlogan was escorted by Police from his South Trinidad home at the crack of dawn yesterday morning and questioned for more than 12 hours.  The investigation into Ramlogan surrounds allegations of witness tampering initiated by Police Commissioner Stephen Williams in 2015.  Head of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) David West had alleged that Ramlogan, in a phone call six days before he was appointed to the PCA, “asked” him to withdraw a witness in a matter involving then Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Rowley.  Ramlogan has denied he made such a request.  Yesterday morning around 6.00 a.m.,  a team of officers, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Harold Phillips, visited Ramlogan’s home in Palmiste.  Ramlogan was told he was a suspect in the investigation into an attempt to pervert the course of justice during his time as Attorney General and was asked to come with the investigators for questioning.

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

A double murder rocked the St. Philip community of Marley Vale last nite as two men were shot dead, bringing Barbados’ murder toll for the year to 26.  There have been five (5) murders for the month of August.  The island has already surpassed the 2016 murder total of 22.

The rock and roll spirit that is set to overcome one of this island’s “GEMS” is not going down well with one Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate.  Economist Marsha Caddle is seething at the news that government has sold its three–star Rockley Christ Church property to businessmen Philip Tempro and Bjorn Bjerkhamn through their company, Blue Development Inc, for $5 million, well below the estimated $17 million it is believed to be worth.  While Caddle believes that a cloud of opaqueness surrounds the deal, it is the reported plan to remodel the 70-room property into a hospitality venue under the American Hard Rock Hotel brand that most upsets the BLP candidate for St. Michael South Central.  “I find it unthinkable that we would have to take a state asset, a hotel, and turn it into a Hard Rock Hotel that is meant to showcase the icons of somebody’s else’s culture that no matter what is the nature of the partnership – public/private – that runs the hotel, that would see the repatriation of earnings to wherever the ownership is” she told a BLP branch meeting  in the constituency which she hopes to snatch from Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy in general elections due next year.  The Hard Rock Hotel brand, which promotes the all-inclusive as “Living the Rock n Roll Lifestyle” states that its hotels are rooted in the rock n roll spirit.

The international business and services sector is in for a major overhaul, Minister of International Business, Donville Inniss, has revealed.  With the intention of making the sector a greater contributor to the island’s economy, and in keeping with international best practices, Inniss said it was necessary that a restructuring of assorts takes place to include a review of the current tax rates as well as legislation.  Addressing a recent international business update seminar, organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados at Hilton Barbados,  Inniss said his ministry had already begun a full review of the sector and had concluded that changes had to be made.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The government of St. Kitts and Nevis is “giving very serious consideration” to the establishment of an Immigration Department that is independent of the Police.  This was disclosed in a radio interview on WINN FM by Police Commissioner, Ian Queeley, who is also the Federation’s Chief Immigration Officer.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

More than 3,000 gun licences were not renewed under the amnesty granted by the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) last month and the agency’s CEO, Shane Dalling says his team will not rest until they are able to determine the status of those weapons.  “We are going house to house now to check whether any of these people have died, are abroad or are incarcerated”, Dalling told the Jamaica Observer.

Meanwhile, as the government and opposition continue to butt heads over a workable crime pl;an that would restore confidence in the country’s security forces, at least four (4) people were shot dead on Monday and two others injured.  In one incident, three (3) farmers were killed while heading to work in St. Mary’s.


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/29

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

One of the high-ranking members of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has given the green light to a proposed general election strategy targeting four (4) constituencies, including the one held by the Prime Minister and another by the Minister of Finance.  Chairman George Payne said he was all for the plan to pump more funds and other resources into St. Michael South, held by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, St. Michael North West, represented by Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, St. Lucy, which has been long held by Minister of Housing, Denis Kellman and St. John, held by Mara Thompson. He revealed the plan at a BLP Christ Church East meeting Sunday nite at the St. Christopher Primary School where 21 people were awarded for their contribution to the community.

Minister of Commerce, Donville Inniss will not be taking part in any boycott of Cost-U-Less.  Instead, the outspoken Inniss has determined he will wait to hear all sides of the matter before involving himself.  He spoke to the Daily Nation yesterday, days after Barbados Workers Union President, Toni Moore called for a boycott of the retail giant, which is located at Welches, St. Thomas.  Her bone of contention surrounded “union busting” which she said was being used by Cost-U-Less.  These tactics included victimizing workers for joining the union and even calling the police for union officers who went to the business to represent workers.

Officers of the Ministry of Health are exploring options for women who are unable to breastfeed naturally.  They are participating in a week-long workshop exploring the benefits of creating a Human Milk Bank, which could see lactating mothers supply breast milk which would be stored for babies.

Barbados’ justice system must send a message to criminals that they will not get a free ride after committing heinous crimes. Anglican Priest, Canon Wayne Isaccs made the call from the pulpit on Sunday, insisting the punishment meted out to perpetrators of the violence which Barbados had been witnessing in recent weeks, must be such that criminals understand their behavior would not be tolerated.  In his sermon at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the cleric described most of the current violence as “the work of criminal-minded persons who have no respect for people’s lives or property.”

Meanwhile, a former Barbados government criminologist is predicting that the crime situation will get worse if the authorities fail to adopt a different approach to crime fighting.  Declaring that she was not surprised at the worrying level of gun violence in the country, Yolande Forde said the continued reliance on jailing young people was not the answer to the crime problems.  Forde, who has worked as a consultant to the World Bank, the Cayman Islands government, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), said Barbados was now reaping the results of failing to introduce proper early intervention strategies.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The United National Congress (UNC) has expressed amazement at “the sheer incompetence again displayed by this Keith Rowley-led administration” in the revocation of the appointment of new Public Utilities Minister Robert LeHunte.  The revocation came after it was discovered that LeHunte was a citizen of Ghana.   “The latest firing of Robert LeHunte has once again brought to the forefront that this government cannot accomplish the most basic tasks of being in charge” The inability of the Prime Minister to fill a Cabinet vacancy, without incident, “is a  failure of leadership in the highest order” the UNC said in a release.


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/28

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Opposition leader Mia Mottley last nite tore into government’s hosting of the 13th edition of the Caribbean Festival of Creative Arts (CARIFESTA), renaming it “CARIFIASCO” and saying it made her ashamed to be a Barbadian.  In fact, Mottley went so far as to suggest that inter-ministerial fighting within the ranks of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was behind a ploy to see CARIFESTA fail.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

In response to what has been described as “fake news” in relation to the alleged attempted sale of a Grenada diplomatic passport by one of its managing partners, citizenship consultancy firm Henley and Partners has threatened legal action against a financial compliance consultant and also a commercial boycott of Antigua and Barbuda.  In denying that the firm had any knowledge of involvement in an alleged scheme to obtain a diplomatic passport from the government of Grenada for a Ukranian businessman in exchange for a payment of US$1 million, attorneys for Henley asserted that a purported copy of a wire transfer for such a sum, ostensibly to the Wells Fargo account of Henley Global in Singapore is “clearly bogus”, “fake” and “created maliciously.”

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

International credit ratings agency Moody’s, has spared The Bahamas another downgrade, confirming the country’s Baa3 rating.  However, the ratings giant has changed the country’s economic outlook from stable to negative.  In its latest report, Moody’s said the country’s Baa3 rating was maintained based on the prospects for debt stabilization support by the government’s fiscal consolidation programme, contained liquidity risk and the fact that The Bahamas credit metrics remain in line with Baa3 peers.

While some hoteliers across the Caribbean may wish to clip Airbnb’s wings, a top real estate broker in The Bahamas believe it’s better for everyone if the online home stay network soars.  In fact, Mario Carey, Chairman of Better Homes and Gardens MCR Bahamas Group, says members of the Airbnb network should be entitled to some of the same incentives that hotels get, including tax exemptions.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

International online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb has committed approximately $8.3 million to the Jamaica government towards the staging of the UNWTO. GOJ World Bank Group Conference to be held in Jamaica in November.  This makes the mega-technology company the first platinum sponsor for the conference on jobs and inclusive growth, “Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism”, scheduled for November 27-29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The Global Detention Project, an international group based in Switzerland, says Trinidad and Tobago is a hub for an alarming number of illegal immigrants.  In its online report, Global Detention project says there are currently 100,000 undocumented migrants living in the twin-island republic.  The report, “Trinidad and Tobago Immigration Profile” says that with the rate at which foreigners were migrating to the country, national security could be seriously compromised.


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/25

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

If you could but $1.00 for $0.90 cents, would you?  Today, Barbados is offering that deal to anyone willing to risk buying its heavily discounted external debt.  Of course, there is a reason for that discount.  In the first 40 years of Barbados independence, annual public revenue was exceeded by public spending just four (4) times.  By contrast, in the last ten (10) years, spending has been less than revenue only once.  Result: public debt is spiraling and the price of Barbados bonds is being marked down as confidence wanes in our ability to pay.  This is part of an extensive article by Rawdon Adams, son of the late JMGM “Tom” Adams, former Prime Minister of Barbados.  The article is carried in today’s file via www.caribbean360.com under the caption:”Economy: Be Bold, Don’t Just Mind the Shop”.  Rawdon has been working with Britain’s finance ministry as an expenditure analyst, monitoring the spending of the UK’s Overseas Development Administration, as well as at Rank Xerox in the UK and General Electric Medical Systems in France in finance roles ranging from revenue analysis, research and development, cost control and inventory management.  He is a keen observer of developments in Barbados.

In related news, a private sector executive is predicting that there will not be too long before the National Insurance Scheme begins to suffer from the very cash flow problems the Freundel Stuart administration is experiencing.  Therefore, President of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Charles Herbert, is not bullish about the NIS’ long-term financial stability unless there are some drastic changes to its mode of operation.  Herbert told a forum by the Institute of Charted Accountants of Barbados that the social security programme would definitely have a cash flow problem in the foreseeable future.  

Meanwhile, the BPSA appears to be questioning the impact of last month’s march which attracted an estimated 20,000 Barbadians who took to the streets of Bridgetown to protest against government’s austerity programme.  Herbert, in his presentation to the Chartered Accountants forum, appeared to suggest that the July 24th demonstration did not have the desired results.  In expressing disappointment that after many years of economic malaise, the Freundel Stuart administration had yet to implement a workable solution to the island’s economic woes, Herbert said he was now “browbeaten” as to what the solution is.

A top criminal lawyer is objecting to Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite’s announcement that government plans to draft the Barbados Defense Force (BDF) into helping police combat the worrying spike in gun violence.  Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim believes the announced plan is a knee-jerk reaction to society’s fear of gun crimes which are responsible for 19 of this year’s 23 murders.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

The government is assessing 126 reengaged pensioners with a view to disengaging them, Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance, Brensil Rolle said.  Rolle said several of these individuals have already received notices that they will be disengaged once their contracts expire. ‘We are dealing with persons who are retired and are receiving hefty pensions” he said.  “We are talking about individuals who at least were making approximately from a range of $60,000 to $140,000 a year.  Rolle said these pensioners were engaged at the highest level of the public service.  He said the government’s intention is to identify qualified young Bahamians who are abroad, who would wish to return home and accept these opportunities.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Seafood manufacturing giant, Rainforest Seafoods, is seeking approval for the shipment of live lobster to mainland China, an initiative it says will create a threefold increase for product demand.  Rainforest Manager, Max Jardim, said the company now awaits a bilateral discussion between the government of Jamaica and China to gain access to the market which has a population of 1.4 billion people, 192 times the size of Hong King’s population.  The company began exporting live lobster to Hong Kong from Sangster’s International Airport in 2016, and since then has consistently exported the delicacy weekly.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The government has decided to shut down state-owned Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) and revive the Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) station.  Public Administration Minister Maxie Cuffie, said the 112 employees at the station will be sent home but they can apply for employment under the new TTT entity.


At 8.05 p.m. yesterday, the last of some 444 fraud charges was read to Tinisha Gosine-Ramdass, the wife of police inspector Danyl Ramdass.  Gosine-Ramdass spent the afternoon in the Princess Town Magistrate’s Court listening to what is the highest number of charges ever to be read to a defendant in the local jurisdiction.  Magistrate Indira Misir-Gosaine began reading the charges to Gosine-Ramdass at 1.10 p.m.  The final charge was read after 8.00 p.m.  The matters before the court range from falsifying of documents and money laundering to offences against the Wildlife Act and hearing was adjourned to September 20, while Gosine-Ramdass has been placed on bail with approval from a clerk of the peace.

And finally, a molecular diagnostic company based in the United States, says it has strengthened relationships with key regional customers throughout the Caribbean basin to purchase Zika virus diagnostic.  Co-Diagnostics Inc. located in the State of Utah, says its potential customer base across the Caribbean includes laboratories, regional health ministries and hospitals interested in offering a state-of-the-art molecular diagnostic for the mosquito borne Zika virus to their patients.


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/24

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

More austerity is in store for Barbadians regardless of whether the “poison” originates at home or comes from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Respected Caribbean economist, Mara Dukharan, said this was the reality Barbadians could not escape.  The Trinidadian, who is Chief Economist of Barbados-based technology company BITT Inc, said the island needed to urgently address its worrying fiscal balance and debt, the lack of real economic growth and the low stock of foreign reserves.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

A legal battle could be looming between the Bahamas government and the US-based PowerSecure which manages Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).  The government intends to take legal action against PowerSource if certain matters are not addressed within 30 days, including the reimbursement of a reported $2 Million that has gone missing from the company.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The five member-states of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) are currently undergoing a process of updating the telecommunications framework with legislation.  A new Electronic Communications Bill is expected to come before the Parliaments of the five member-states for debate and subsequent passage into law.  The Bill is deemed necessary because the industry has transformed beyond telecommunications.   It is committed to net neutrality, which enables access to an open internet which members can utilise.

Operation Rescue’s Dwyer Astaphan is making an appeal to put an end to corrupt practices in St. Kitts and Nevis.  “We have a lot of corruption in this little country of ours.  Not a today thing, an ongoing thing and it needs to be met face to face, full frontal and it needs to be stopped.  Public sector, private sector, social organizations, it needs to be stopped.  It has become the norm in the Federation for successive parliamentary opposition parties to accuse the sitting government of corruption.”  Astaphan says data available appears to support that contention.  Citing Transparency International’s Human Perception Index, Astaphan said he was embarrassed that St. Kitts and Nevis was not listed among the least corrupt countries.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The government’s “hardest task” at present is finding money to pay its public servants, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley stated following a three-hour meeting with the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM).  Rowley stated in a media release that the government is “borrowing to pay salaries” and “it is difficult to talk about increases now.”  His statement followed JTUM’s leader Ancel Roget’s remarks that trade unions were “disappointed” and “dissatisfied” with the meeting and its outcome.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

The Construction and Industry Council (CIC) has called on the Holness administration to halt what it says is an “ill-conceived” agreement with China Construction America (South America Division –CCASA) to complete concept designs for the development of government offices around National Heroes Park.  The CIC, umbrella group for construction industry professional organizations, in a statement cautioned the government against incurring large debts on mega construction projects with overseas companies, and should call off the memorandum of understanding signed with CCASA in April and seek consultations with local interests on the slew of projects which will comprise this proposed government zone. The projects include a new parliamentary building, approximately 17 ministries and agencies, and commercial and residential developments around the government campus.

Meanwhile, President of the Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees, Vincent Morris, has characterized the conditions under which Jamaicans are working on various Chinese investment projects as a “total disgrace”.  Drawing reference to recent statements by opposition spokesman on national security, Peter Bunting.  Bunting found himself in a pickle after making online allegations about a lack of transparency by Chinese companies operating in Jamaica, that the country is facing economic colonisation by these entities, some of which use convicted labourers on local projects.


Israel is Flying High as it Deepens Global Ties in Argentina

By Armstrong Williams | August 24, 2017

A flight by Israel’s national air carrier El Al to Argentina next month would be a historic first, if it were not for Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

On May 20, 1960, nine days after Israeli Mossad agents captured one of the Holocaust’s principal architects in Buenos Aires, Eichmann was disguised in crew clothing, placed on an El Al jetliner, and flown to Israel. The day before, an Israeli diplomatic delegation led by Abba Eban had traveled to Argentina on the same airplane, ostensibly to participate in the 150th anniversary of Argentine Independence.

After being transported to Israel, and following a remarkable trial that captured global attention, Eichmann was finally brought to justice, convicted of war crimes and hanged by Israel for crimes against humanity, the only time that the Jewish state has implemented the death penalty.

The remarkable saga involving Israel and a Nazi living on the lam in Argentina is now firmly in the past, as the national Israeli airline and its Argentinian counterpart prepare to initiate flights between the two countries. Netanyahu is expected to visit in September, which would be the first trip to South America by a sitting Israeli Prime Minister. It is a testament to how far Israeli-Argentinian relations have progressed, and the latest evidence that Israeli diplomatic and commercial ties are accelerating.

While bashing Israel remains a favorite pastime at the United Nations, an increasing number of countries are finally starting to appreciate the huge benefits they can enjoy from building bridges with Jerusalem.  To be clear, there is still a very long way to go before the world’s only Jewish state is afforded the same dignity and respect as other, far less deserving countries. Even within Argentina, which is poised to deepen its relationship with Israel, there is painful history that must never be forgotten.

In March 1992, a suicide bomber attacked the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people.  Just two years later, in July 1994, Hezbollah terrorists bombed the Jewish community center building, the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), taking the lives of 85 people. The images of that attack are permanently seared into the psyches of Argentina’s Jews as well as the global Jewish community.

Evidence points clearly to the fact that leading state sponsor of terrorism and Hezbollah patron, Iran, was behind the horrific bombing.  The attack still serves as a painful reminder of the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorists who employ the most cynical and vengeful tactics in order to impose their worldview and for whom slaughtering innocent people is within the bounds of acceptable behavior.

Thankfully, the world seems to be waking up to the reality that there is perhaps no nation, besides the United States, with more experience than Israel confronting this serious threat.

Western countries under attack from jihadists are increasingly turning to Israel for help in order to counter the serious threats to their people. All too often, the streets of Israel have been the testing ground for terrorist tactics that are then exported worldwide. Before people all over the world became accustomed to the regular episodes of suicide bombings targeting civilians, these had already been an unfortunate fact of life within Israel.

In recent years, Palestinian terrorists began employing vehicles as deadly weapons, using them to mow over soldiers and civilians alike at bus stops and in city centers. Since that time, we have seen the large-scale devastation they can cause as Islamic terrorists have used trucks, vans, buses and cars to murder people in the streets of Europe, including in France, Britain, Germany and, in recent days, in Spain. In fact, the same exact tactic was used to deadly effect in Charlottesville to kill a protestor and injure 19 others.

Thankfully for Israel, it has always managed to find a way to not just survive the threats to its daily existence, but to thrive despite the challenges. Part of the Israeli recipe for success has been building itself into a remarkable hub of innovation that produces research and technology that has dramatically altered the world for the better.   Not only does Israel already possess products that can improve the lives of nations across the globe, but it is also a hotbed of research and development that will produce the next life-changing technological leaps. That is precisely why some of the most innovative companies in the world, from Google, to Microsoft, to Intel and scores of others, have invested billions in Israel and set up offices and research labs there.

Argentina and other countries are signaling that they are increasingly aware that embracing Israel and cultivating commercial ties is not just the right thing to do, but it is smart business as well.

Read Armstrong Williams, author of the brand new book Reawakening Virtues, content on RightSideWire.com and Come join the discussion live at 6-8 p.m. and 4-6 a.m. est. on Sirius/XM UrbanView 126 , Become a fan on FaceBook, and follow him on Twitter.  


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/23

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is probing a conversation making the rounds on social media which, if it proves to be authentic, could have shuddering implications.  Public Relations Officer, Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss said lawmen were aware of the alleged WhatsApp conversation which seemed to indicate that someone in the underworld was preparing for war.  In what appears to be a dialogue between people of ill-intent, the initiator sought advice on where to obtain bullet-proof vests, complaining that an urban gang had bought all that had been available from a “supplier” in the City.

Meanwhile, the hierarchy of the Anglican Church in Barbados has come in for a severe tongue lashing from a fellow man of the cloth who is accusing the church of losing its voice amid an atmosphere of fear due to rising crime.  Following the Kadooment Day shooting during which a 20-year old man lost his life and 18 other people were injured, the already burdened Royal Barbados Police Force is now tasked with investigating two murders that took place in the span of 24 hours.  In an especially scathing criticism of his own denomination, Rev. Charles Morris complained that despite the growing national fears over gun violence, the Anglican Church had yet to meet to devise a plan to help bring calm to the society.  He charged that the Strategic plan of the Anglican Church points only to events such as a bazaar and does not address any of the social issues surrounding the worrisome things going on in Barbados.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

National Security Minister, Robert Montague, says electronic monitoring is to be introduced for persons who are persons who are the subject of restraining orders.  He says his ministry is in discussion with a supplier to procure the equipment.  Montague explained that once the restraining order is executed against a perpetrator, that person will be fitted with the electronic bracelet while the victim will be given a transponder.  The same technology will also be used for those persons who are on bail and those on early release from prison.

Dateline Port-Au-Prince, HAITI:

Education Minister, Pierre Josue Agenor Cadet says the authorities have uncovered a multi-million dollar fraud involving some 68 school principals.  The minister said that following an investigation by his ministry, funds estimated at more than three million gourdes (one Haitian gourde=US$0.01 cents) had been discovered missing.  He said the funds came from the 750 gourdes that students would have paid for re-sitting the national examination they failed previously.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The Massy Group chief executive, Gervase Warner, has come out in support of the establishment of a Sandals Resort in Tobago, even as he acknowledged concerns over the likelihood of a long tax holiday and its location in an environmentally sensitive area.  “I do not know of a single place where a big hotel like Sandals has not got a sweetheart deal because Sandals transforms countries and industries” said Warner, who runs one of Trinidad and Tobago’s largest and oldest businesses.

Trinidadian Shane Crawford is on a United Nations Terrorism Sanctions List for joining terrorists fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  The office of the Attorney-General in Port of Spain said the UN Security Council had established a committee, referred to as ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, which imposed sanctions against Crawford on August 18th, the Trinidad Guardian reported.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has given assurances that the EC Dollar remains stable and that Eastern Caribbean bank notes are protected by the various security features of the notes.  Deputy Director of the Currency Management Department, Robert Humphrey, said “At this time, the situation that has been circulating via social media is only unique to Grenada.  We have no reports from the other Eastern Caribbean territories”.  The Royal Grenada Police recently seized three counterfeit $50 notes and one $100 note.


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines 8/22

By: Ricardo Blackman, CDN Barbados Correspondent

 

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

The combined armed forces will be called to action as government seeks to up the ante in the fight against the growing incidence of gun crimes.  Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has announced that government plans to call out the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) to help police take control of the situation.  Lawmen have been trying to come to grips with a spate of crimes which have so far claimed 23 lives, one more than all of last year, many of them gun-related.  Brathwaite told the BDF’s 38th Anniversary parade at St., Ann’s Fort at the weekend that unless something is done to curb the violence, the island’s security would be at risk.

Caribbean politicians have been condemned for failing to launch a cohesive response to the attack on the region’s international and financial services sector.  Minister of International Business, Donville Inniss delivered a no-holes-barred criticism of CARICOM politicians last Friday, charging they had “failed the region” when it came to the international; business and financial services sector.  Pointing out that the sector was the largest net contributor of foreign exchange to the region, Inniss called on regional members of the Society of Tax and Estate Professionals (STEP) to take action to influence a collective stance by the regional decision-makers.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

The Ministry of Health says it is training medical practitioners to be certified prescribers of medical marijuana.  In fact, scores of practitioners have already been trained and the ministry said the next course of training will begin in October.

The government says it is moving to clear all criminal charges against National Hero Marcus Garvey, whose 130th birthday was celebrated in Jamaica earlier this week.  Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange said a Bill is being finalised that is aimed at absolving a number of iconic Jamaicans, including Garvey, of what she described as “acts of liberation”.  “We continue to argue that Garvey’s actions were not criminal but were acts of liberation with moral justification.  The Bill should be brought to the House in October to absolve National Heroes, including Garvey and other freedom fighters, of criminal liabilities arising from acts of liberation and connected matters.”

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley yesterday agreed that something crooked may have gone down with the procurement process for the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower vessels.  Rowley was asked the following question by CCN investigative journalist Mark Bassant at a news conference following his meeting with stakeholders at the Magdalena Grand, Tobago: “Dr. Rowley, as head of the Cabinet and government, are you convinced that something has drastically gone wrong and is crooked in this transaction?”  “Yes” Rowley responded.  The Prime Minister was grilled by the media on the ferry fiasco.  He admitted that something was wrong and the investigation by businessman Christian Mouttet will unearth more.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has again accused Dr. Rowley of incompetence, saying he has “admitted” to having “no idea” what his cabinet ministers are doing.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

With a startling 39% increase in murders, law enforcers in The Bahamas are redoubling their efforts to arrest crime.  Following a meeting with the top brass of the police force over the weekend, a tough talking National Security Minister, Marvin Dames put criminals on notice.  “I would like to send a message out to all those persons who continue to live a life of crime.  Moving forward, we intend to make your life very uncomfortable.  We will use every resource at our disposal to ensure that you are made to account for your wrong doings.  This is a promise” he said.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has flatly rejected calls for his government to introduce a fixed date for elections.  The recommendation was tabled by MP Joanne Massiah, who leads the newly-formed Democratic National Alliance (DNA). Massiah, a former member of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) argued that the election date should not be left to the whim and fancy of a Prime Minister.  She made it clear that if her party was elected, it would abandon the practice.  However, in response, an unmoved Brown said the people of Antigua and Barbuda would have to make the call and not Massiah.

 

 

 

 

Dateline Port au Prince, HAITI:

Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the number of humanitarian organisations working in the country has been reduced drastically, while 37,967 displaced people are still living in 27 camps.  This despite the efforts of the Haitian government and the international community to assist and relocate 97% of the displaced population.


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/21

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

CARIFESTA X111 has officially started.  The opening ceremony showcased the expressions of dance and music from the 21 countries which are in Barbados for the eight-day event.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The St.  Kitts and Nevis Government, led by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris maintained the view that a properly legislated functioning Public Accounts Committee will bridge the gap in the public accountability framework left by the former Denzil Douglas administration.  In highlighting the necessity of this committee to the furtherance of good governance, Harris revealed a situation his administration met upon assuming office in 2015 where the former Douglas regime billed over 8,000 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tickets to government in the build up to the last general elections.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

Blue Diamond Resorts, the Caribbean’s fastest growing hotel company, will be taking over the management and operation of Antigua’s largest all-inclusive resort, the 454-room Jolly Beach Resort and Spa, beginning September 1st, 2017.

Dateline Belmopan, BELIZE:

The Belize government has introduced legislation aimed at decriminalizing the possession of marijuana in amounts not exceeding 10 grams or less than half an ounce.  But the move has been criticized by the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) citing scientific studies and reports showing the dangers of marijuana use in younger persons and that similar experiments to decriminalize the drug in at least one US city have failed.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett will lead a team to San Francisco, California this week to engage in strategic meetings at the headquarters of international technology powerhouses Google, Airbnb and Uber.  The meetings are in tandem with two of the five pillars of the ministry of tourism’s strategy for building new products and fostering new partnerships.