Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Dec. 4th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

The sale of the Barbados Hilton is creating some panic at the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) over the possible loss of the $10 million it has invested in the entity.  But more significant than that, government is seeking to sell the profitable hotel for nearly $100 million less than it was worth without going through the recommended procedures for such sales and without making adequate provision for shareholders, as well as severance for the hotel’s staff.

With elections constitutionally due next year, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is confident of victory in St. Philip.  Speaking to Barbados Today during a motorcade in the St. Philip West community on Saturday, candidate John King said the ruling Democratic Labour Party has lost its influence in the parish after nearly ten years of neglect.  “I think the incumbents have done a good job of handing it over to us.” King said.  He went on to highlight the “social injustices” that the constituents of St. Philip West have been exposed to.  He said bad roads and unemployment remain major concerns for the people within the constituency.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The Council of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) has formed a committee to ascertain whether allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Ivor Archie have any merit.  A release issued by the association’s membership via email stated “this is to report that on Wednesday, 29th November, 2017, the Council of the Law Association met to consider recent newspaper reports in which certain allegations were made against the Honourable Chief Justice.  Meanwhile, convict Dillian Johnson, who is at the centre of allegations involving Archie, was shot last nite.  Johnson, who has described himself as a friend of Archie, is currently being treated at the San Fernando General Hospital.

A sharply-worded difference of opinion has broken out between the government and the Trinidad ands Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce over the amount of money the government owes the business community in VAT refunds – information that is contained in the recently released International Monetary Fund (IMF) country report on the Trinidad and Tobago economy.   The ministry was responding to a statement issued by the Chamber on Thursday in which the organization pointed to the statement in the IMF report that the government owes businesses and individuals about $5.5 billion in VAT arrears.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Chief Economist of BITT Inc, Marla Dukharan, said that while austerity measures can have some dampening effects on the economy, it’s “a complete misconception” that government has to spend significant sums of money to achieve economic growth.  Speaking with Guardian Business, Dukharan lauded the current government’s move to implement austerity measures and cut back on expenditure.  Dukharan, who was the former group economist for RBC’s Caribbean operations, said that by implementing austerity measures, The Bahamas would be able to improve its credit rating, debt profile and economic performance in the long term.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Jamaica and the Republic of South Africa are to sign a Commercial Agreement which will see businesses in both countries collaborating on nutraceuticals research and development.  The agreement will be signed ion a few days during a visit to South Africa by the Minister of Science,  Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley and Director General of the National Commission on Science and Technology (N CST), Professor Errol Morrison.

Dateline Georgetown, GUYANA:

The government of Guyana could be getting help from us Oil giant ExxonMobil in its efforts to have a judicial settlement of the border controversy with Venezuela.  According to New Source Guyana, government sources have reported that the company has set aside just under US$20 million to assist Guyana with legal fees and other costs that could be incurred once Guyana moves to have the judicial settlement of the border controversy.

Dateline Caracas, VENEZUELA:

Venezuela is creating a digital currency to combat a financial blockade by the United States, President Nicolas Maduro has announced.  It will be called the Petro and will be backed up by Venezuela’s reserves of oil and gas and its gold and diamond holdings, the President said in his weekly television programme.  “This is going to allow us to move toward new forms of international financing for the country’s economic and social development” the President said.

Dateline Washington, USA:

An estimated 1 in 10 medical products circulating in low and middle income countries, including those in the Caribbean, are either sub-standard or falsified, according to new research from the World Health Organisation (WHO).  This means, says the WHO, that people are taking medicines that fail to treat or prevent disease.  “Not only is this a waste of money for individuals and health systems that purchase these products, but substandard or falsified medical products can cause illness or even death.”

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