Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Dec. 6th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart got some lashes in the House of Assembly last nite for giving to one of his Ministers, the country’s third highest award.  St. Michael South East MP, Santia Bradshaw, called out Stuart, demanding that he explain why he awarded the Gold Crown of Merit to Culture, Sports and Youth Minister, Stephen Lashley, for his planning of the regional cultural extravaganza, CARIFESTA, which was staged in Barbados in August.  During debate on the Cultural Industries Development Validation Bill 2017, Bradshaw told the House:”I have been at pains to congratulate the Minister because I know he means well.  At the same time, I am at pains to understand how the Honourable Prime Minister could bestow such an honour on a Minister for doing what is the Minister’s job.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stuart has slammed the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) accusing it of “salaciously” slandering Barbados when it criticizes the island for delays in the criminal justice system, while other Caribbean territories with even longer delays escape such public rebuke.  Contributing to yesterday’s debate in the House of Assembly on the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Bill 2017, during which several members spoke of delays in the justice system, Stuart’s remarks suggested annoyance at the CCJ for berating this island’s justice system, while other Caribbean islands that are under the jurisdiction of the British Privy Council get only “one sentence” reprimands.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

One of the alleged perpetrators of the Petrotrin “fake oil” scam is missing in action.  Describing the “fake oil” scandal as a great conspiracy implicating high office holders in the government, Opposition Senator Wade Mark said former People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate Vidya Deokiesingh, “a willing accomplice” in the alleged money-for-oil fraud, could not be found.  Piloting a private motion in the Senate, Mark said the Petrotrin police were looking for “suspect” Deokiesingh, but they could not find him.

Over in Tobago, Assemblyman Farley Augustine, is calling on High Commissio9nert to London, Orville London, to use diplomatic channels to have UK authorities investigate the missing $8.8 million from the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation.  Augustine was speaking at a Press Conference at James Park, Tobago. “This is now an international scam involving international banks in the UK. We have a High Commissioner to London, who is our former chief secretary, Orville London, and who we know has Tobago’s greatest interest at heart” Augustine said, adding that the company associated with receiving the missing millions sent to an incorrect bank account, is in the UK.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Days after the government met with international ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest said that he is “confident” The Bahamas is on the “right path” to increase its credibility in international markets and with the ratings agencies,.  Speaking at a conference of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Turnquest indicated that determining whether The Bahamas would be spared another downgrade is ”to some extent subjective” “Our job is to present the case of The Bahamas as clearly as we possibly can and ensure we give the facts “said Turnquest.  ‘It is important we give the facts without too much embellishment, which has got us into trouble in the past.  I feel confident that we are on the right path, overall, to correct our situation and to increase our credibility in international markets and with the ratings agencies.”

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is elated that community tourism got a major boost after Jamaica’s tourism officials deepened ties recently with Airbnb, the world’s largest home lodgings platform.  Last week Airbnb launched its Trips platform in Jamaica, adding the “Land of Wood and Water” to a growing list of international destinations offering bookable local experiences making it easier for entrepreneurial Jamaicans to share their passions and interests with people from  across the globe. 

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