Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 10/04

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Barbados now has access to over US$500 million in financing from the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) following a decision by the island to acquire more shares in the institution.  This was revealed by Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler as he led off debate on the Latin America Development Bank Amendment Bill 2017 in the House of Assembly.  While not indicating whether the country, which is facing significant financial problems, intends to seek a major loan from CAF, Sinckler said access to low cost financing was now enhanced by the move to buy more shares.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has started to pay its debts and is in a position to meet its financial obligations to suppliers once again.  The Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) will soon get its new fleet of trucks and will even be looking to purchase additional equipment.  Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler says Barbadians can thank the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) for that good news.

Striking workers at the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) will be back on the job today in what their union, the Barbados Workers Union said was a show of good faith ahead of talks between the state broadcaster and the BWU, initiated by Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer- Sukoo.  The union had earlier called off escalation of the protest over increments, after receiving an invitation from Byer-Sukoo for the meeting, scheduled for today at the CBC, at the Pine, St. Michael.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

A pronouncement by Information Minister, Senator Ruel Reid that the programme to inoculate grade seven girls with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been halted, has created confusion among citizens.  Reid told journalists at a Press Conference that the administering of the vaccine, which started on Monday, has been postponed until some assessment is done.  “We’ll be pulling back to allow the system to be properly sensitized, including parents.”

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Thousands of public servants could have lost their jobs last year had government not borrowed Billions of dollars from commercial banks to pay their salaries, Finance Minister Colm Imbert revealed yesterday.  He said in the last year, government, on at least four occasions, had to go to the banks for money in order to pay public servants.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA;

The Government of China has announced that it will don ate US$2.5 million to support the government of Antigua and Barbuda’s efforts tio rebuild Barbuda, which was decimated by Hurricane Irma a few weeks ago.

Dateline Havana, CUBA:

Cuban Foreign Minister Brunoi Rodriguez Parrilla has described the decision by the United States government to expel 15 diplomats from the island’s mission in Washington as unfounded and unacceptable.

Dateline San Juan, PUERTO RICO:

The Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF) has rejected an offer by members of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Bondholder Group of a debtor in possession (DIP) financing loan to PREPA including $1 Billion in new cash from the bondholders, as well as relief on existing bonds.