October, 2017


Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 31st

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

Former Attorney-General Justin Simon QC, has said that the Integrity Commission in Antigua and Barbuda should investigate the circumstances involving the recent arrest of former tourism minister Ascot Michael.  Michael was arrested and released in London last week after being questioned about allegations having to do with bribes paid by a UK national for business contracts ion the Caribbean.  Simon, speaking on a radio programme last weekend,  said the Integrity Commission is charged with investigating the conduct of public officials, including ministers of government, Antigua News Room reported.  He said the matter should not be allowed to “simply die” because we are waiting to see what unfolds in the UK or if no charges are laid against former minister Michael.  “We do have an Integrity Commission and we do have a code of conduct with respect to the behaviour of public officials, which includes ministers of government.  The Integrity Commission has to address matters of integrity and if there has been a breach of the code of conduct as well as whether individuals have  breached also the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act” Simon said.  He noted that the Commission has the powers to independently investigate complaints it may have heard, “without a formal complaint being lodged.”  Simon said the allegations for which Michael was questioned are very serious with far-reaching effects, adding that integrity in public office is critical and should be maintained.

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

BARBADOS TODAY will have to pay up. Opposition leader Mia Mottley will receive an undisclosed sum of money after winning a lawsuit against the online newspaper yesterday.  The two parties agreed that the terms of compensation would remain confidential.  Mottley had sued the company and its Editor in Chief, Kaymar Jordan following two published articles which questioned Mottley’s credibility and eligibility to practise law in Barbados.  BARBADOS TODAY also agreed to withdraw the allegations and imputations which were said to have caused Mottley “hurt, distress and embarrassment.”

Government is about to make another attempt to convince the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Barbados economy is on the right track.  The DAILY NATION was told by an official who will participate in the discussions, that an IMF delegation is due in Barbados next week to conduct Barbados’ Annual Article 1V consultation.  When the team of economists comes, it is expected to be presented with the new Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan.  A Draft of the Plan was discussed by the Social Partnership and other stakeholders at a meeting chaired by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler earlier this month.  The IMF was last in Barbados in June.  At that time, a team, led by Judith Gold, the Fund’s deputy division chief for the Western Hemisphere Department, came “at the invitation of the authorities” to review recent economic developments and discuss the 2017 Budget.”

Unrealistic.  That’s how Minister of Education, Ronald Jones has described the Barbados Labour Party’s promise to restore free education across the board at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus if it forms the next government. Jones told the Daily nation:”Unless there is an explosion in the economy of Barbados in the next few months, then there is no way they can make it without cutting back on other areas of the economy.   The economy will grow and continue to grow, but this can’t happen now, so to me it is a folly for making that kind of promise” he said.

The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is taking steps to fix the “unacceptable” back log of outstanding financial statements.  Though noting that problem predated him and had been an issue for some time, NIS Chairman, Dr. Justin Robinson said the issue was being “actively addressed” and there would be a dedicated team on the case from tomorrow.  The matter was one of several raised by social security actuary Derek Osborne in the just-released 15th Actuarial Review of the National Insurance, Unemployment and Severance Fund of Barbados, prepared as at December 31, 2014.

A senior banker is warning Barbadians that they will receive little or no interest on their savings for the foreseeable future, given the continued high levels of liquidity in the banking system.  Following the removal of the minimum rate of 2.5 per cent by the Central Bank of Barbados back in April, 2015, commercial banks have slashed interest rates between 0.05 and 0.15 per cent while complaining that the financial system was awash with cash.  However, two years on, commercial banks, despite reporting continued appetite among residents for personal and commercial loans, have maintained the virtual zero rate on deposits.  Recently appointed Managing Director of Scotia Bank (Caribbean East) David Parks maintained that the financial system remained extremely liquid, suggesting that this and other factors were contributing to the extremely low interest rates on deposits at the moment.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Angostura Chairman, Dr. Rolph Balgobin, has been cleared of allegations of sexual harrassment against him by a female executive of the company.  He was cleared in a report done by former judge, Rolston Nelson.  The Express was told Nelson’s report was based on the whistleblower complaint and that neither Balgobin nor the female executive was interviewed before it was completed.

There are members of Parliament who have pledged support for Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to continue as United National Congress (UNC) leader, but are secretly supporting Vasant Bharath.  That’s according to Bharath who told the Express that he has been working with these Parliamentarians as he campaigns to dethrone Persad-Bissessar as UNC leader.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters have flocked the streets of Anotto Bay in celebration of Dr. Norman Dunn’s apparent victory in St. Mary South Eastern.  Following his win, Dunn addressed supporters in the Anotto Bay Bus Park, when he first thanked his mother for believing in him.  For his part, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told supporters:”You have made us one seat stronger in Parliament by making a wise decision to vote Labour.”

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, says the government is determined to employ all “legal, political, economic and creative avenues” to enhance and improve Jamaica’s market share in the global entertainment and sporting industries.  The minister was addressing the 37th Conference of the US-based Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (ECSLA) in Montego bay.  She said among the key strategies to be used to better tap in to the two industries is the promotion of greater use of technology.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Criminal charges are expected to be filed following the conclusion of the police investigation into allegations that $1.8 Billion went missing from Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), Assistant Commissioner Paul Rolle said.  Rolle, who heads the Anti-Corruption Unit, said investigators are wrapping up their inquiries.  “We are making some good progress in unpacking the elaborate scheme as we seek to trace the money and its disposition in other assets, while building a prima facie case against the suspected persons, based upon cogent and admissible evidence, Rolle said.

Confusion and uncertainty over the completion deadline and sale of Baha Mar persist, as the deadline for substantial completion of the resort has been missed by China Construction America (CCA).  Baha Mar officials last week confirmed to the Nassau Guardian that they were “happy with the progress of CCA” despite the fact that the resort remains open under a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) which should have advanced to a full certificate of occupancy some months ago.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

After implementing a drastic 50 percent reduction in its required donation for economic citizenship last month, which prompted Antigua and Barbuda to go even lower, the Citizenship by Investment Unit and by extension the government of St. kitts and Nevis, now says it “remains resolute in protecting the high standards associated with the Federation’s citizenship by investment programme and “will not engage in a race to the bottom.”  The St. Kitts and Nevis CBI programme presently has three distinct citizenship options: the real estate product, priced at US$400,000, the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) option at US$250,000 and the recently introduced Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF) option where investors can make a non-refundable contribution of US$150,000.


In an indictment unsealed on Monday, the Grand Jury for the District of Columbia has charged former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort and campaign official Rick Gates with laundering millions of dollars in payments intro foreign nominee companies and bank accounts, opened by them and their accomplices in nominee names and in various foreign countries, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  “In total, more than US75,000,000 flowed through offshore accounts, the indictment alleges.

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 30th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

The National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) tops the list of laws the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) intends to repeal or amend in its first order of business if it wins the national elections next year.  BLP leader Mia Mottley made this promise at the weekend to a large crowd of party members and other supporters gathered at Queen’s Park to hear her speak on the second day of the Party’s three-day annual conference that began on Friday nite.  Also high on the agenda for the first day of Parliament following a BLP victory is the immediate re-introduction of full government payment for all Barbadians attending the University of the West Indies. The Opposition Leader also said that among other legislative measures to be taken on the first day of Parliament will be the decriminalizing of illegal vending, establishment of an integrity commission, repeal of the law requiring tax clearance certificates for property transactions, and repeal of the policy requiring tax clearance certificates for foreign exchange transactions.

Don’t be fooled by the distractions of the Dems.  That was the warning to hundreds of Barbados Labour Party (BLP) supporters at the weekend at their 79th Annual Conference in Queen’s Park, the City, by former government minister Liz Thompson.  With the next general elections constitutionally due next year, she urged Party supporters not to be distracted by the Freundel Stuart administration.  “The Barbados we know is gone.  This is what Freundel Stuart and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has reduced us to and the BLP is here to say “all aboard”, because the country has suffered enough and cannot take anymore.”  “The BLP is here because the poor and the working class have been emasculated, women have been pauperized, men have been dehumanized, the working class has been obliterated, the middle class has been decimated, Bajans are frustrated and the business sector has been eviscerated.  The country is being deracinated, pulled down from its very root, everything in this society and economy gone” she declared.

Heads should roll if the authorities do not fix the actuarial concerns raised in the “damning” report on funds run by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).  Outspoken Barbadian actuary, Charles Herbert said the National Insurance Board should be held more accountable to the public in light of documented challenges related to audited statements, investments, administration, governance and contributions owed.  He was responding to various concerns flagged in the 15th Actuarial Review of the National Insurance, Unemployment and Severance Funds by consultant actuary Derek Osborne.  Osborne had said that the NIS was being weighed down by excessive government debt, ineffective administration and deficient governance.  There was also the failure to provide timely audited statements as mandated by law.

The Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between the government of Barbados and the Italian Republic, has entered into force in accordance with Article 30 of the Agreement.  The instruments of ratification of the Convention for The Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion, were exchanged by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, and Ambassador and Special Envoy to the Caribbean of the Italian Republic, Paulo Serpi.  Double taxation agreements have been recognized as one of the most effective mechanisms for developing new and strengthening existing economic ties between nations.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)  has approved a grant of US$14 million to CRCRIF SPC (formerly Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility.  CCRIF provides parametric insurance coverage for government risk in the Caribbean and Central American countries.  This form of insurance is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic natural events, such as hurricanes and earthquakes by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a policy is triggered.  The grant will provide enhanced insurance coverage to the bank’s borrowing member countries (BMCs) that insure through CCRIF against tropical cyclone, earthquakes and rainfall risks.  The funding will also enable CCRIF SPC to increase its reserves and capital, helping its long-term sustainability.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

Seven years after it was first borrowed, a controversial IMF loan to Antigua and Barbuda is almost fully repaid, now standing at a little over one-tenth of its original amount.  Prime Minister Gaston Browne who is also finance minister, also revealed to the cabinet last Friday that the Treasury had EC$35 million of the initial EC$320 million borrowed by the previous administration, left to pay back (a figure corroborated by the IMF website), Antigua News reported.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The national post-budget forum at City Hall in San Fernando at the weekend, took on an air of a political platform when Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley blasted the Opposition over its position on several issues of national interest, including the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority, the property tax and taxes on the gaming industry.  There was not much focus on explaining the details of the 2017/2018 budget.  Instead, Rowley blasted opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and the United National Congress for blocking revenue earners so they could score political points. 

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 27th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, has ripped Barbados’ anti-corruption legislation describing it as “seriously deficient”.  The man who set up and chaired the successful Integrity Commission of the Turks and Caicos Islands, also says if Barbados’ Prevention of Corruption Act 2012, which is yet to be proclaimed, were implemented, “one would be able to drive a cart and ten donkeys through it.”  Speaking during a panel discussion mounted by Integrity Group Barbados Wednesday nite, Sir David lamented the delay in proclaiming the five-year measure.  However, he pointed out several areas where he considered the act inadequate and said it had not gone far enough to address issues of integrity and corruption.  Sir David shared the stage at the St. Gabriel’s School Auditorium with Ken Gordon, former head of the Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, and they gave comprehensive reports on the performance of the Integrity Commission in their respective countries.

The ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has been in office for nine years now.  However, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Jepter Ince says that if anyone were to blame for the country’s dwindling foreign reserves position, it was the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) whose “persistent” borrowing while in office had created “haemorrhaging” in the domestic economy.  Wrapping up debate in the Upper House on the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) Amendment Bill, 2017, Ince further accused the former BLP government of “plunging the country into debt for the purpose of shoring up the country’s reserves.”  “The reason why we borrowed for foreign reserves was  because the interest rates were attractive, the economy was growing, we had collected $10.7 Billion in taxes, so borrowing for foreign reserves was easier than earning foreign reserves” the government senator said, while accusing the former Owen Arthur-led government of economic laziness.

It was once described by opposition leader Mia Mottley as one of the biggest “sell outs” perpetrated against the people of Barbados since the introduction of Cabinet government in 1954.  However, more than a year after the Freundel Stuart administration dumped plans for a proposed $700 million Cahill Energy Project, the island’s main electricity provider has come out strongly in support of waste-to-energy power generation.  And without making any reference to the Canadian power deal that went belly up after it was initialed by government back in 2014, the Barbados Light & Power Ltd has sought to make it clear that waste-to-energy has a place in Barbados.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton is warning tobacco companies that are employing “guerilla marketing” tactics the sale of their harmful product, which claims the lives of seven million people annually, that tougher sanctions are coming.  He declared strongly that an end must come to advertising which is aimed, for the most part, at the poorer class.  “The tobacco companies, no matter what they say, are in the business of selling tobacco.  And they are smart about it.  They have resources and they engage intellectual capacity and the strategies have changed, he continued.  He further noted that a collaborative approach is needed to combat tobacco use because the cost to treat its related illnesses is huge.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has sought to ease concerns that negotiating plea bargains with defendants accused of serious crimes in unjust to the victims and their families, and brings into question, the integrity of the justice system.  “The public at large must appreciate that when you offer a lesser sentence, it’s not being weak on crime, but you have to take into consideration, the strength of your case going forward,” the minister insisted.


St. Vincent and the Grenadines tourism sector is expected to benefit as result of the damage caused to other Caribbean islands by Hurricanes Irma and Maria last month, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonzalves has said.  Gonzalves told reporters that the island is expected to receive twice as many cruise passengers this year as in 2016,  and that the influx could put a strain on local tour operators’ ability to respond because of limited land and sea tour equipment.

Dateline Georgetown, GUYANA:

CARICOM is gearing up to host a donor conference to raise funds to help fast-track the re-building process in member-states, battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria last month.  Secretary-General of the 15-member grouping, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said he had been mandated by the CARICOM Heads of Government to convene the conference.  The event is scheduled to be held next month in New York and will be done in collaboration with the United Nations Development Fund.  LaRocque said it was impossible for the economies of the devastated countries to generate enough activity for reconstruction.

Dateline Georgetown, CAYMAN ISLANDS:

One of Cayman Islands’ leading firms is bracing for potential exposure of nits business and that of its clients in the international media after admitting that it suffered a cyber security breach last year.  Some of the information has found its way to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which plans to publish some of what they have.  While Appleby admitted that data was compromised in the hack, they gave no details of who did it, when it happened or how many clients were affected but denied any wrongdoing by it or its clients.

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 26th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

He was recently fired as the government’s chief economic advisor but that has not stopped former Central Bank Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell from devising what is a much-needed way out for the Barbados economy.  Word of Worrell’s so-called “appropriate strategy” comes at a time when the Freundel Stuart administration is said to be fast running out of alternatives to either a currency devaluation or taking the dreaded road to Washington to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or another funding agency for support.  Worrell says that in a few weeks he will publish a paper outlining the main components of an “appropriate strategy” to address both the excessive cost of government operations and the low levels of effectiveness of many government services.

Veteran trade unionist and Independent Senator, Sir Roy Trotman has lashed out at the “tribalism” at play in Barbados, saying it was at the root of why government did not accept better options to increasing the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).  He told the Senate this was why he could not even support the proposed NSRL (Amendment) Bill 2017.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Government said it is one step closer to divesting the collection and disposal of solid waste under a public-private partnership.  Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the Solid Waste  Management Enterprise Team that he had established in October last year, has completed its prefeasibility study.  The team has been mandated to manage the process of the government’s waste-to-energy programme, contract out solid waste management and collection, and manage the divestment of the Riverton City landfill.

Dateline Belmopan, BELIZE:

In a rare show of support, legislators in Belize’s House of Assembly have stamped their approval on amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, which decriminalizes the possession of marijuana in amounts not exceeding 10 grammes.  However, the amended legislation still has to be passed in the Senate and must then get the assent of the Governor General to take effect.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has rejected criticism from the opposition and others that his decision to suspend the appointment of tourism and investment minister, Ascot Michael, following his arrest in London on Monday, was premature.  Browne said he “never takes premature decisions, no matter how speedily the decision was made.”

Dateline Washington, USA:

According to a blog post earlier this month by Washington-based whistleblower, author and fraud recovery attorney, Brian Mahanny, the government of St. Lucia has asked the US government for assistance in its criminal investigation in relation to the proposed redevelopment of Hewannora International Airport.  The targets of that probe are said to be Guy Joseph, minister for economic development, housing, urban renewal, transport and civil aviation, and Antonio Assenza, owner of a construction company in St. Lucia called Asphalt & Mining Company Limited.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, John Rolle, said that government will have to lean more on the private sector for funding in the future in order to take pressure off the Central Bank of the Bahamas as its primary lending institution.  The Bank has been pressured by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stem its lending to government in order to bring its balance sheet below the limit of 20 per cent of the Bank’s demand liabilities. 

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 25th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has identified renewable energy, tourism and culture as possible areas of collaboration between Barbados and Spain.  Stuart made the comment recently when Spain’s new Ambassador to Barbados, Javier Fernandez Carbajosa and Honorary Consul, Mandy Chandler paid him a courtesy call at Ilaro Court.  Explaining that renewable energy was very important to Barbados, the Prime Minister pointed out that the island was in the process of creating a green economy, which would require government to invest more heavily in renewable.

The dark cloud of industrial action is once again looming over the Freundel Stuart administration wit h the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW ) warning that it had it up to its neck with the myriad broken promises to restart the stalled public sector wage negotiations.  NUPW President Akani McDowall told Barbados Today that the Prime Minister’s promise made during the televised meeting of the Social Partnership at the Hilton Barbados Resort on August 11, to quickly restart the protracted pay talks, has not been kept even though the union has finally written the ministry of Civil Service demanding that they return to the negotiating table by October 31.  We have given the Ministry of Civil service until the end of October to respond and if they don’t, we will take industrial action.  We have to “up de ting” because they have not even acknowledged out letter” said McDowall.

The Freundel Stuart administration could left with one of two hard choices to make if its sources of private sector financing continue to dry up.  So warns economist Jeremy Stephen, whop is suggesting that the only feasible options left are for government top go cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or some other international funding agency or face up to a devaluation of the Barbados dollar.  Stephen was reacting to confirmation given by some of the island’s major investment firms, including Sagicor Assessment Management Inc, Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank & Trust and Fortress Fund Managers, that there was now a decreased appetite for government securities out of fear that the country could soon default on its debt.

One of Barbados’ leading actuaries has cried shame on the authorities saying the lack of transparency within the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was “worrying”.  In light of recent assurances given by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, that the island’s social security scheme remains financially sound, Founding Principal of Eckler Limited, Charles  Herbert, has demanded hard proof of this in the form of a copy of the latest actuarial review.  However, he said that despite repeated requests for a copy of the official document in order to carry out his own detailed analysis, to date he has not been able to access it.  The National Insurance (And Social Security) Act actually gives a mandatory date for them to have audited accounts and for them to be laid in Parliament.  So it is just one more case where we are actually breaking the law.” Herbert told participants at the Fourth Annual Eckler investment review seminar at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved the use of US$325,500 by CDB for the benefit of the government of St. Kitts and Nevis to identify environmental and social impacts in the design of a geothermal energy exploratory test-drilling project.  The resources, made available through the Canadian Support to the Energy Sector in the Caribbean (CSES-C) Fund, will also assist with the development of a framework to manage project implementation sustainably.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Prominent Grand Bahama lawyer, Fred Smith is the latest voice to rail against the sale of 100 per cent of ICD Utilities (ICDU) shares in the Grand Bahama Power Company to Emera.  Smith added that shareholders of ICDU have been frustrated for years because they have not been getting dividends from their investment.  Smith also blamed the government for agreeing to allow Emera to move ahead with the offer to purchase 100 percent of the company without first consulting the Bahamian people.  But, shareholders are being called to a special meeting next month regarding the offer.

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 24th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Barbados’ foreign exchange crunch is being felt in the investing community. Credit rating downgrades, including the one Standard & Poor’s issued last month, are also a significant concern for investors, says Fortress Fund Managers Investment Director Roger Cave.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, announced the immediate suspension from the cabinet of tourism and investment minister, Ascot Michael, pending the outcome of his arrest on Monday morning by the Metropolitan Police in London.  Browne is presently in Jordan on his way back to Antigua from Montenegro where he led a government delegation to an international conference on global citizenship.  Reports from London state that the Minister has since been released.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The St. Kitts and Nevis Opposition party has questioned the payment by the government of over US$96,000 to two American lobbying firms to get the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) advisory removed.  However, two years after it was announced, the notice is still in place.

Dateline Miami, USA:

Puerto Rico will host the Caribbean’s largest tourism marketing event in San Juan from January 30 to February 1, 2018, as officials work rapidly to prepare hotels and meeting facilities impacted by the recent hurricanes.  “In rolling out a reenergized Caribbean Marketplace, we look forward to showing the world how the courage, determination and hard work of the Puerto Rican people and tourism industry has prevailed in view of the challenges they are currently facing” said Frank Camito, director general and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley’s departure yesterday for the IV CARICOM-Mexico Summit in Belize, where disaster prevention and management is high on the agenda, was met with disbelief by many citizens on social media as parts of Trinidad remain under water.  Rowley was also chastised in a statement by Princess Town MP, Barry Padarath, who said the “hot foot” prime minister should understand that charity begins at home.  Hundreds of citizens have been displaced and their worldly belongings ruined by heavy flooding since last Wednesday in areas including Caparo, Moruga, Barrackpore, Mayaro and Sangre Grande.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

As Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis addressed a Haitian church service on East Street yesterday, he pledged to expedite the process for approving citizenship and permanent residency applications, charging that for too long some who have their entitlements, have been marginalized.  Minnis, who spoke in English, had minister of transport, Frankie Campbell, who is of Haitian heritage, translate his message into Haitian Creole for the congregation.  The Prime Minister said the government must be fair and just toward those who have “contributed in so many ways to our Bahamas.”  “This means that we must be fair in terms of our immigration practices and policies” he said.

Amid widespread concerns regarding fees increases for certain retail banking services, a working committee is expected to be formed in an effort to address the relative issues.  Min ister of Labour Dion Foulkes met with commercial bank representatives last week, noting that the discussions were “frank” and “open”.

Dateline Phillipsburg, ST. MAARTEN:

Rainforest Adventures have announced a November 17 opening for the new St. Maarten Estate Eco-Park.  The park will launch with two signature attractions, the Flying Dutchman, the world’s steepest zipline, and the Soualiga Sky Explorer chainlift,  as well as the Emilio Wilson Museum and Emilio Restaurant.

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 23rd

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Major financial institutions willing to reassess development financing policy

OECS signs US$6.3 million agreement to support blue economy transition

St. Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister denies holding a Dominica diplomatic passport

Regional CBI firm linked to journalist assassination in Malta

More Barbadian students are considering overseas universities for their tertiary education

UWI Chancellor issues challenge to graduates

Barbados Labour Minister urges employers to build paper trail

Prime Minister Rowley slams state agency’s “repeated failure”

Maduro coming back to Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad government “deal on wheels”

Bissessar seeking fresh UNC mandate

China vows to continue lobbying for the Caribbean

Central Bank of Jamaica dismisses claims of depreciation policy

Sandals coming to Tobago

Bitcoin soars to record high above $6,000

Dateline Georgetown, GUYANA:

International financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are now willing to reassess the policy of GDP per capita attached to concessionary development financing.  Caribbean Community (CARICOM) secretary-general, Irwin LaRocque, said that this was a major result of his recent discussions in Washington with the president of the World Bank and the executive director of the IMF.  www.caribbeannewsnow.com

Dateline Washington, USA:

The commitment to sustainable growth and resilience of the Caribbean’s Blue Economy was strengthened on Saturday, October 14th, with the signing of a US$6.3 million grant agreement for the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP). The agreement, signed during the World Bank’s annual meetings at its headquarters in Washington D.C. by Dr. Didacus Jules, director general of the OECS Commission, and Tasheen Sayed Khan, World Bank country director for the Caribbean, will support Eastern Caribbean countries to preserve and strengthen their resilience of coastal and marine resources, and implement regional policies to stimulate blue growth.  www.caribbeannewsnow.com

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Timothy Harris, has denied having a Dominica diplomatic passport or any other passport.  He has never had a Dominica diplomatic passport nor a passport from any other country except the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.  The latest allegation follows a series of accusations and denials by the St. Kitts and Nevis Opposition leader and former Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, that he held Dominican citizenship by virtue of being issued a diplomatic passport by that country.  www.cartibbeannewsnow.com

Dateline VALETTA, Malta:

An advisory firm that plays a major role in promoting the citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes run by Grenada and St. Lucia, and also was similarly involved in the corresponding programme in St. Kitts and Nevis, has been accused of conspiring to assassinate a Maltese journalist who was killed by a car bomb earlier this week. www.caribbeannewsnow.com

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

More Barbadian students are considering overseas universities for their tertiary education.  Speaking over the weekend at an education fair at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Legal Counsel and Director of Communications at the Student Centre Kimberley Alleyne-Pinder said that in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of undergraduate and post-graduate students venturing to countries such as Canada, to further their education. https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/10/22/more-Barbadians-looking-to-foreign-universities-for-their-tertiary-education/

As the 2017 graduates of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies accepted their diplomas at the weekend, they were reminded that they were beginning their developmental journey in adulthood.  Chancellor Robert Bermudez told the graduating class to use the valuable education which they have received throughout their university life, to better themselves, their communities and the wider Caribbean.  https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/10/21/uwi-chancellor-issues-challenge-to-graduates/

Employers are being encouraged to put in writing complaints about workers who do not perform in order to counter accusations of unfair dismissal particularly from employees who have made sexual harassment claims against their bosses.  Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Sukoo said since the Senate approved the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill, some employers have expressed concern that it would become virtually impossible to fire a worker who had not previously lodged a sexual harassment complaint. https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/10/21/labour-minister-urges-employers-to-build-paper-trail/

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley slammed the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) yesterday and vowed to review the state agency’s “repeated failure” to ensure that they had personnel with the right aptitude and attitude.  www.trinidadexpress.com/news

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has confirmed he intends to visit Trinidad and Tobago in  coming weeks to assign a fresh round of broad-ranging agreements, including pacts on joint exploitation of cross-border Loran-Manatee gas fields and the possible establishment of a water taxi between the two countries’ nearest ports.  www.trinidadexpress.com/business

Government is getting into the “mega rims” (aluminium alloy wheel) business with a $35 million injection into a public-private partnership  During the Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee session, Opposition MP David Lee noted an equity injection to Alutech Ltd from $661,000 to some $35 million in 2018 and asked what was the cause of the injection. www.trinidadexpress.com/business

Opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar will seek re-election to the post of leader of the United National Congress (UNC) next month, even though she still has at least one year to go before facing party supporters for a new mandate.  www.jamaicaobserver.com

It’s a done deal.  Tobago will be the home of a new Sandals resort.  Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley disclosed the good news in Parliament recently after months of negotiations overshadowed by speculation that the deal was in doubt. www.caribbean360.com

Dateline Beijing, CHINA:

China says it will stand with small island states in the Caribbean which have been lobbying multilateral institutions that put restrictions on them in receiving concessionary loans and grants because of their designations as middle-income countries. www.jamaicaobserver.com

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Central Bank of Jamaica Governor, Brian Wynter, has rubbished arguments put forward by some economists of a central bank depreciation policy that they claim, places Jamaica in a worse-off economic state of allowing the local currency to reach its fair value.  www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/

Dateline New York, USA:

Bitcoin surged to a record high of more than $6,000 on Friday, pushing its market capitalization to $100 billion at one point, as investors continued to bet on an asset that has a limited supply and has paved the way for a whole slew of crypto-currencies. www.nationnews/news/101471/bitcoin-soars-record-usd6

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 20th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Despite significant investments by governments in the Caribbean, student achievement at the end of basic education is still lagging behind expected levels.  This could change in Barbados through the School Teacher Effectiveness Plan (STEPs), an initiative funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the government of Barbados.  STEPs, a critical component of a wider CDB-funded education sector enhancement project, aims to transform learning and teaching in schools.  It was launched on October 10.

A caution from shadow minister of the environment, Wilfred Abrahams to government about putting the country in more debt, has drawn the wrath of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Senator Jepter Ince, who has accused the opposition Barbados Labour Party of unleashing “economic terrorism” on the country.  The showdown occurred in the Senate on Wednesday nite during debate on the Latin American Development Bank (Amendment) Bill 2017, through which government sought permission to purchase 1,000 ordinary shares worth $30.6 million.

Outspoken government minister Donville Inniss has suggested that a senior public officer who reportedly failed to act on several letters from a company which has since decided to more part of its business from Barbados, should be fired.  It was an example of the tardiness displayed by some in the public sector which the Minister of industry and small business said was having a detrimental effect on businesses and he wants the offenders held accountable.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

After a series of accusations and denials by the St. Kitts and Nevis Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas that he held Dominican citizenship by virtue of being issued a diplomatic passport by that country, it has now been revealed that current Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris was also issued a diplomatic passport by Dominica on June 24, 2014.  Both passports state that the nationality of the holder is Dominican.

Dateline Miami, USA:

Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson and CEO of BMR Energy Bruce Levy were due to meet this week with energy industry and government leaders from across the Caribbean to discuss renewable energy development following the recent hurricanes in the region.



Scandal-hit Kobe Steel has found fresh evidence of mistakes with data on the quality of its products.  The Japanese company said it had uncovered a new case of fake data at a subsidiary that processes steel plate.


The shortage of nurses in the United States has become so severe, hospitals are paying billions to recruit and retain them.

US retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to hire employees for stores and for middle and higher management as low pay and a feeling of uncertainty clouds the industry following a spate of bankruptcies and store closures.

The price of Bitcoin could be heading to over $10,000, nearly half of the respondents to a CNBC survey said.  During the week, CNBC ran an unscientific survey on line, asking “where does bitcoin go from here?”  Forty-nine  percent (49%) of the 23,118 people who voted said about $10,000.  Similar calls have been made by market participants.  Former hedge fund manager, Michael Novagratz told CNBC in a recent interview that he sees Bitcoin heading to $10,000 in the next six to ten months.


Singapore Airlines will finalize an order for 39 Boeing aircraft worth $13.8 Billion when the Singapore Prime Minister visits US President Donald Trump in Washington next week.


EU leaders shunned Theresa May’s summit plea to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal but sweetened the pill for the fragile British Prime Minister with warm words and a gesture toward future talks.



Sygnus Capital, the newest player in the fast-paced high-demand financial market, recently closed a $1.5 Billion transaction for Jamaica Producers which contributed to the more than $5.5 billion in financing that the company has raised from clients in the local capital market since it commenced operations earlier this year.

Bank of Jamaica Governor Brian Wynter has revealed that at least one person lost millions in a bad debt on the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar, despite attempts by the central bank to warn the public that the Jamaica dollar is fairly valued.

Spain’s ambassador to Jamaica, Josep Maria Bosch Bessa has expressed confidence that the Jamaica economy will break the cycle of slow growth.  He noted that Spain had to grow its economy through tourism, foreign investments and remittances similar to the case in Jamaica.

Crowd funding in the Caribbean could bolster early stage capital markets, entrepreneurship, creativity, economic growth and employment – provided that policymakers create the right environment.  This was revealed in a report: “Crowd funding’s Potential in the Caribbean: a Preliminary Assessment”, which was commissioned and recently released by InfoDev, a global innovation and entrepreneurship programme at the World Bank Group.  Crowd funding is the process of financing a project or venture by soliciting funds from a large group of people, mainly through the internet.


Regional airline LIAT is expected to end the year with a loss of US$13.5 million as result of the impact of extreme weather during the hurricane season.  As result, the shareholder governments of the cash-strapped carrier have secured a US$7 million loan to help the airline cope.


Baha Mar has been honoured with gold and silver at the prestigious 2017 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards for Excellence in destination marketing.

Government has made a purchase offer to Hong Kong conglomerate Hurtchinson Whampoa for the embattled Grand Lucayan property, after negotiations with private investors have recently proven unproductive.


Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail for the first time in months, railing against the “policies of division” after keeping a low profile and avoiding direct confrontation with his White House successor.

Pollution kills at least 9 million people every year and “threatens the continuing survival of human societies” according to research from a new landmark study.  In 2015, almost one in six deaths – at least 9 million globally – were found to relate to pollution in some form.

The Spanish government has received opposition support to dissolve Catalonia’s parliament and hold new elections there in January in an effort to defuse the regional government’s push for independence.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has begin the first full round of talks on forming a three-way “Jamaican” coalition that she needs to work or else risk her time in power coming to an end after 12 years.

Czechs start voting today in a parliamentary election expected to hand over power to Andrej Babis. A wealthy businessman turned politician who has pledged to sweep aside traditional parties, boost investment and keep out refugees.

Air pollution in New Delhi hit 18 times the health limit under a thick, toxic haze after a note of fireworks to celebrate the Hindu Festival of Diwali, despite a court-ordered ban on their sales.

The chief executive of Kenya’s electoral board whose sacking the opposition has demanded ahead of a presidential election re-run, due next week, said this morning he was taking three (3) weeks’ leave.

And French President Emmanuel Macron says that work on settling Britain’s financial obligations to the EU when it leaves, was not even half way done.

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 19th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Minister of International Business, Industry, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss is making it clear that not even his boss, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will shut him up.  In fact, he says he will continue to speak out on issues that affect his constituents, even if his views conflicted with those of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration.

A top official of one of Barbados’ leading conglomerates, Williams Industries, says while there are still many positive features of Barbados, the ease of doing business is certainly not one of them.

One of the world’s most powerful political and economic unions is warning that Barbados along with the rest of the region – has a lot more than just the economy to worry about.  The European Union has identified a poor justice system and rule of law that is left wanting, as well as inequality and brain drain, as issues countries in the region must address in order to progress.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewelyn, has chastised successive governments for not paying enough attention to the justice system over several decades, resulting in broken down infrastructure and a crippling backlog of cases.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Researchers who studied the 719 murders that occurred in The Bahamas between 2010 and 2015, suggest the resumption of the death penalty, and constitutional amendments to make the Court of Appeal the final appellate court.  “Many of those who oppose capital punishment fail top understand that it was not created for prevention but rather incapacitation and retribution” said the study.



America’s richest may be getting richer, but President Donald Trump’s fortune has slipped by US$600 million to US$3.1 billion, according to a list of 400 billionaires released by Forbes Magazine.


Netflix is sinking deeper into debt in its relentless pursuit of more viewers, leaving the company little margin for error as it tries to build the world’s biggest video subscription service.

BEIJNG: China’s economic growth likely eased in the third quarter but is on course to beat the government’s annual forecast, analysts say, providing a boon for the Communist Party as it prepares to hand XI Jinping a second term as President.



Colonial Life Insurance Co (CLICO) declared an after-tax profit of $447.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, which is a 50% decline from the $894.3 million the company declared in 2015, according to the insurer’s financial statement on its website.

One of Trinidad and Tobago’s top oil and gas producers, BHP Billiton, has reported a 42% year to date increase in production in Trinidad and Tobago, thanks to new and higher gas output from its Angostura field off the east coast of Trinidad and Tobago.


Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, says Jamaica will see an injection of more than US$20 Billion in new investments that will help drive the economy and increase job creation.

Popular St. Andrew heritage site Devon House is expected to start covering its own operating costs by 2020.

The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has issued two of the five licenses granted for legal operation in the cannabis industry.  The licenses were issued to Epic and Everything Oily, a tier one cultivator and a tier one processor, respectively.


The Free National Movement yesterday, as it had promised when it operated as government’s official Opposition earlier this year, repealed the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investments Incentive Act 2016 and revoked the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investments Incentives Regulations 2017.  The FNM moved into the 2017 election cycle promising to repeal the act which it considered counterproductive to the ease of doing business in Grand Bahama.

A Commercial Enterprises Facilitation Unit is expected to be established to enhance the review process for the applications of work permits for persons coming into The Bahamas and, by extension, help to improve the country’s ease of doing business.


Barbados should brace itself for another downgrade by the international rating agencies before year end.  That prediction is coming from, the President of the Barbados Economic Society, Jeremy Stephen.


Spain’s central government said it would suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule after the region’s leader threatened to go ahead with a formal declaration of independence if Madrid refused to hold talks.

European leaders welcomed a proposal by British Prime Minister Theresa May, aimed at unblocking the Brexit talks, but said concessions to ease the fears of EU citizens living in Britain were not enough.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her fellow leaders to cut EU funds to Turkey that are linked to Ankara’s bid top join the bloc due to concerns about the country’s growing authoritarianism.

Regulators in the United States and Britain are looking into links between the South African Gupta family, the country’s government and banks they may have used to move money amid an escalating graft probe.

New Zealand is set for a centre-left coalition government, led by Labour head Jacinda Ardern.  Mrs Ardern has been opposition leader for the last three months.  At 37, she is set to be the country’s youngest Prime Minister since 1856.

Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 18th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Barbados’ decision to shut down four international business companies over allegations of money laundering and corruption is a credit to the island’s monitoring systems.  This is the view of President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Marlon Waldron.

He has been warned by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur m not to do so, but Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has rejected the former leader’s advice on the appointment of Barbadian economist Avinash Persaud as his special economic advisor on economic recovery post Hurricane Maria.

Charging that some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens are now simply “existing” thanks to the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) is pleading with government to give its members an ease from the dreaded tax.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

As he accepted the report of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Manpower Audit Committee, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said :”Every murder case that is going through the courthouse cost taxpayers between $1 million to $10 million.  So if we eliminate it (murders) that is money saved.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM0 of which Trinidad and Tobago is a founding and financial member, plans to invest US$5 Billion to make the region climate resilient, current Chairman and Grenada Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has said in Washington.  Mitchell said a major part of the plan is to reduce fossil fuel imports, much of which, for CARICOM, comes from Trinidad and Tobago.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Minister of National Security, Robert Montague has said that a repackaged and re-launched “Get The Guns” campaign under his ministry is responsible for a 36% increase in the removal of illegal guns from the streets of Jamaica.

The House of Representatives has passed a Bill to absolve Jamaica’s national heroes and their supporters from criminal charges made against them by colonial governments.

Jamaica has received a US$300,000 grant from the United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF) to strengthen the island’s capacity to develop and implement strategies to respond to climate change.

Dateline Georgetown, GUYANA:

Executive Director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDMA) Ronald Jackson, says the region must bridge existing fundamental gaps if it is to effectively address the challenges in relation to waste and water management, particularly in times of disaster.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

The Minnis administration is facing more back lash over its Interception of Communications Bill with Human Rights President Fred Smith QC calling on civil society groups to reject the Bill.  “We must use our newfound power to unite against this frightening Bill and force the government to revoke it,” said Smith in a detailed response to the Bill.

Dateline Paramaribo, Suriname:

There has been new and intense diplomatic activity between the Russian Federation and Suriname.  The two countries are preparing to sign agreements on military cooperation and a visa-free regime.



Billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, has revealed he was targeted by a fraudster posing as Britain’s defense minister, who tried to get him to contribute $5 Million to a supposed secret ransom payment.  Appealing for information to help identify the conman, Branson said he suspected the same person had later impersonated him to steal $2 million from a friend of his by pretending to raise funds for people affected by Hurricane Irma.

Over four million people in Britain are having difficulties paying their monthly bills, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)  said, at a time when inflation is rising and interest rates may follow..  The financial regulator said that younger consumers and renters were among the most financially stretched, with those in difficulty defined as having failed to pay bills in three or4 more of the last six months and most likely to be in the 25-34 age range.

British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto and two of its former executives have been charged with fraud in the United States,  accused of hiding losses by inflating the value of African coal assets.


Sidsewalk Labs, owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is to build a digital city in Toronto.  It aims to turn a waterfront area in to a working laboratory for a range of “smart” technology.  It is likely to feature wifi availability, millions of sensors, sustainable energy and autonomous cars.  Technology companies are touting their hardware and software to cities, as urban planners tackle issues such as congestion, pollution and overcrowding.


Ford Motor Company is recalling about 1.3 million vehicle;es in North America, imnckluding certain 2015-2017 Ford F-150 and 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks, to add water shields to side door latches.


As Saudi Arabia feverishly portrays itself as ready to join the ranks of modern, tolerant societies, the Kingdom has turned to a once-unliklely messenger – one of its daughters – to make its case to the West.  On Fatimah Baeshaen’s first day as the Saudi Embassy in Washington’s official spokeswoman, the ultra conservative nation’s rulers issued a decree to lift its ban on women, driving, starting next summer.  It was a step towards erasing what much of the world sees as a stain on Saudi Arabia’s women’s rights record.


President XI Jinping has said China will emerge as a modern and prosperous nation by 2020 and suggested that other developing countries could adopt the same growth model to transform the lives of their people.  Unveiling his two-stage plan to make China a great modern socialist country by the mid 21st century, XI, General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China said the world’s second largest economy has entered a “new era” where it should take “centre stage” in the world.



Founder of The Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO), Cheryl Bazard said a “knee jerk” approach should not be taken to address issues and risks surrounding the gaming industry in regards to the potential impact it may have on The Bahamas financial sector.  Bazard said many residents are resorting to number houses to carry out retail banking transactions in order to avoid high banking fees charged by the commercial banks.

The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has reported that expenditure averaged 23% of GDP over the last five years, with 90% of that amount being recurrent expenditures.  In its currently released Bulletin for the month of September, the report said that current expenditures accounted for 21% of GDP for the 2012-2017 period, while 10% accounted for capital expenditure.

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCC) in Grand Bahama is planning to protest Emera’s plan  to acquire all of the remaining shares of ICD Utilities (ICDU) Limited, saying the Grand Bahama Power Company, which is controlled by ICDU, should be in the hands of Bahamians.


Some $751 Billion was spent by various administrations in Trinidad and Tobago between 2001 and 2017 fiscal years.  If the 2018 allocation is included, some $801 Billion would have been spent in that 17 year period.


Jamaica is set to benefit from an initial US$7.52 million in grant funding under the nonth cycle of the Caribbean  Development Bank (ICDB) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).

The Development Bank of Jamaica has partnered with Swiss-based company Seedstars World, to assist in identifying the best start-up to represent Jamaica in a regional competition.  Seedstars World, which organises worldwide competitions for start-ups, will conduct two workshops for entrepreneurs, each of which is expected to attract a minimum of 15 individuals.  At the end of the two workshops, the top ten start ups from both workshops will participate in a final to be held in Kingston on October 26th, where the entrepreneurs will pitch business ventures to investors.

Local developers Jamaica World in a deal worth US$2.09 million, has acquired 570 acres of land in Discovery Bay, St. Ann, with plans for the development of a commerce and trade centre.


The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China opens in Beijing today, with even higher expectations of President XI Jinping who pushed the reform agenda to make the Asian country one of the biggest players in the world economy.

A second Federal Judge has blocked President Trump’s latest effort to restrict citizens from  eight countries entering the US, dealing another legal; blow to the administration’s third bill to impose travel restrictions.  US District Judge Theodore Chuang, in Maryland, said the plaintiffs challenging the policy were likely to succeed in proving that it violated the non-discrimination law to the extent that it bars entry by immigrants on the basis of nationality.

And in Nairobi, a senior member of Kenya’s electoral commission has fled to the United States amid death threats ahead of next week’s presidential election re-run.  Roselyn Akombe said the commission was under political “siege” unable to reach consensus or take any decisions.  The commission said it regretted her decision to quit, while its chairman conceded that it could not guarantee that the poll would be credible.