Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 02/09

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados 

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Put aside the election talk and let’s come together for the sake of the country’s economy.  This was the strident appeal made Wednesday by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur who is now warning that urgent action needs to be taken within the next three months to stave off the threat of a currency devaluation.  With the country fast running out of foreign reserves and the Central Bank recently forced to put the brakes on the printing of money, Arthur cautioned that now was not the time for political leaders to be engaging in rabid electioneering.  In fact, he suggested that the only thing that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart needs to urgently announce is a “national consensus” on the ailing economy.

More than 200 CLICO and British American Insurance (BAICO) policyholders have died since the collapse of those insurance companies eight years ago.  And with hundreds more ailing, the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) is appealing to government to urgently expedite efforts to refund those people as promised.  Though acknowledging solutions for both CLICO and British American  were seemingly in the final stages, BIPA President June Fowler said the organisation would continue to agitate to ensure promised deadlines were met, and the actions needed to expedite a final solution given the utmost priority.

UNFAIR.  That is how business magnate Ralph “Bizzy” Williams has reacted to yesterday’s news that the Canada-based Deltro Group had been given approval from the Town and Country Planning Department to operate a solar panel manufacturing plant on the Trans-Tech site at Kendall Hill, Christ Church, and a 70-acre solar farm at Waterford, St. Michael.  “Its quite obvious that I would think it seems to me to be unfair, but nobody elected me to run Barbados.  So who is running it would know why they gave the people the approval to put photovoltaics on government land, when Barbadians could have done it” he told the Daily Nation.

Dateline Roseau, DOMINICA:

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit yesterday said that his Dominica Labour Party (DLP) administration would not be removed from office unless through the ballot box.  His comments came as he condemned the violence that erupted on Tuesday nite as police used teargas to disperse opposition supporters demanding his resignation.  Skerrit, who had earlier toured some of the businesses looted or set on fire by protestors, said that his silence should never be regarded as a sign of weakness.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

In the face of rising crime levels, the government has approved a National Crime Reduction Symposium, for today.  Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, who holds the portfolio for National Security, says he expects to see a wide cross section of public and private sector stakeholders in  attendance.

St. Kitts and Nevis is no longer on the blacklist for three European countries, Estonia, Italy and Greece.  Foreign Minister Mark Brantley revealed the information Tuesday evening at a Town Hall meeting in Newtown.  The Federation was blacklisted an uncooperative tax jurisdiction by ten European Union countries in 2015.

Dateline Grand Turk, TURKS AND CAICOS:

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) will host the 47th annual meeting of the board of governors of the Caribbean Development Bank on May 24th and 25th, 2017.  Some 500 delegates are expected to attend, including ministers and government officials, private sector representatives, members of civil society and academia and media.  The flagship event will highlight the impact of the bank’s investments in its 19 borrowing member countries (BMCs).  In addition, stakeholders will take part in strategic discussions on resolving some of the Caribbean region’s most oppressing economic and social development issues.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Caribbean tourism fared well in 2016 and industry stakeholders are generally upbeat about the year ahead despite the fact that many hoteliers were forced to adjust their high performance expectations for 2016 as the year progressed due to unforeseen events.  Announcing the results of the second annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) industry performance and outlook study, Frank Camito, director general and CEO of the private sector association, stated that “more than four out of five (81 percent) hoteliers have an encouraging outlook for tourism in 2017.”