Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/04

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS;

Government is meeting with trade union leaders at Government Headquarters this morning.

Meanwhile, a top union official has fired a scathing counterpunch at a former labour leader who questioned the alliance between the trade union movement and the private sector in the fight against the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).  President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Akanni McDowall held nothing back as he described the retired trade unionist, who spoke to Barbados Today on condition of anonymity, as a coward, spewing out “irrelevant rubbish”.  The retired labour leader had contended that businesses were now merely seeking comfort within the trade union movement because the NSRL and other taxes that form part of government’s austerity Budget were affecting their bottom line.  The veteran former labour advocate had also charged that unlike the current scenario back in 1991, the business sector did not find it convenient to show solidarity with those who were agitating for an ease to their fiscal belt tightening.  However, McDowall rubbished this argument, telling Barbados Today the comparison with the industrial unrest of 1991 had no bearing on current circumstances, since back then, the unions had a different objective.

The Trinidad Guardian is today reporting that First Citizens Bank, operating in Barbados since 2012, is concerned about the impact the sovereign downgrades given to Barbados by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, as well as  Barbados’ high debt to GDP ratio.  First Citizens also has operations in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Costa Rica.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Trade unions, set to lead a march through downtown Port of Spain today, have called on citizens to use their numbers to show dissatisfaction with the operating practices of government and the business community.  Speaking on the purpose of the march, Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) general secretary, Ozzy Warrick,  said it is “becoming clearer and clearer that government and businesses are of the view that only workers must pay for the economic crisis.”

Two new investigations will be launched into the multi-billion-dollar operations of CL Financial and its subsidiaries.  The first will be to find out how Lawrence Duprey was able to transfer shares of a multi-million-dollar company called Dalco Capital Management Company Limited, to a director, Carlton Reis, for just $99.00.  The second is to determine how all the profits from the companies under CL World Brands were being injected into CL Financial alone to settle debts of its subsidiaries and not being used to pay back the billions in taxpayers money used to bail out the company.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Police in The Bahamas on Wednesday decided to hold former Minister of Labour and National Insurance. Shane Gibson overnight, after questioning him for several hours.  The details of the matters on which he was questioned have not yet been revealed.  Police were expected to decide by noon on Thursday whether to charge him.

Dateline Castries, ST. LUCIA:

Ritz Carlton, the luxury hotel subsidiary of Marriott International, has signed an operating agreement with Range Developments and the government of St. Lucia, to operate the planned new resort development at Black Bay, on the southern tip of the island.  Ritz Carlton has 91 luxury hotels and resorts in 30 countries and territories including six in the wider Caribbean, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin islands.

Dateline Havana, CUBA:

Cuba has graduated 120 doctors from the United States through a project, the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) which was initiated in November, 1999.

INTERNATIONAL:

A grand jury has issued subpoenas in connection with a June 2016 meeting that included President Donald Trump’s son-in-lawn and a Russian lawyer, signaling an investigation is gathering pace into suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Panicked residents fled one of the tallest towers in Dubai early today (Friday) after a fire ripped through it, the second blaze to hit the skyscraper in as many years.  Authorities said no casualties were reported from the blaze which erupted in the middle to upper floors of The Torch, once the tallest residential developments in the world.

Supermarket giant, Aldi, has withdrawn all eggs from sale in its stores in Germany as they may have been contaminated by insecticide.  Tests showed that the chemical fipronil, which can harm people’s kidneys, liver and thyroid glands, was found in eggs from the Netherlands.  Fipronil is used to treat lice and ticks in chickens.  One German official said up to 10 million of the contaminated eggs may have been sold in Germany.

The Pound climbed back towards its highest levels in ten months against the dollar on Friday, boosted by hopes that Britain will exit the European Union under a transitional deal, and as the greenback fell broadly, Chancellor Philip Hammond said he wanted to avoid a “cliff-edge” scenario under which goods and people would stop being able to move across Britain’s borders when it left the EU in March, 2019.