Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Jan. 11th

Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados 

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Opposition leader Mia Mottley has called on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to address the nation on “what his government will do to contain the sewage crisis on the south coast.”  In a statement, Miss Mottley said in part:”This is now the second advisory in two successive days.  The first one from the Canadians, and now the second one from the United States of America, advising their citizens as to the public health risks associated with the problem.  Barbadians have been saying the same thing now for the last two and a half years.  What more must happen for there to be a manifestation of leadership from this government and from this Prime Minister?”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is seeking help from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) with the investigation of a gastroenteritis outbreak on the south coast.  Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George revealed this yesterday, while stating that there was no increase in the 35 reported cases.

Barbados has suffered another credit rating downgrade, this time closer to home.  And it’s due to concern about the island’s falling foreign reserves, said Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CaricCRIS).  Following similar action by its international counterparts, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s (S&P) last year, CariCRIS yesterday announced its decision to reduce its foreign currency and local currency ratings for Barbados.  CariCRIS has lowered the assigned regional scale ratings on the national debt issue of US$300 million for the government of Barbados by one notch to CariBBB- (foreign currency rating) and CariBBB (local currency rating) from CariBBB (foreign currency rating) and CariBBB+ (local currency rating)” the organization said.

Meanwhile, Economist and University lecturer,  Jeremy Stephen sais he was not surprised by the latest downgrade, as government had done very little to correct the recurring problem in the economy since the country received its first downgrade.  Stephen explained that despite recent upticks in the global; economy, Barbados has continued to fail miserably with respect to the shoring up of its foreign reserves. “It is strange that in Barbados we believe that the global economy is struggling when in reality, that is not the truth.  Over the last ten years, there hasn’t been a better time in terms of global growth for investors.”

President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Akanni McDowall has suggested that his counterpart in the Barbados Union of Teachers, Pedro Shepherd, is out of touch with his membership.   Reacting to Shepherd’s suggestion that that the NUPW was a bit hasty in giving the Freundel Stuart administration until next Tuesday to conclude pay negotiations with have been on-going for two years, McDowall said while he had no interest in becoming involved in any war of words with a sister union, the BUT leader’s position was not reflective of the general mood within his own membership.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

A clearly fed-up and frustrated Dr. Terrance Farrell has resigned as Chairman of the government-appointed Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB).  Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley announced yesterday that he had accepted Farrell’s resignation with immediate effect on Monday.

The fall in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2017 was not as bad as that of 2016 and more than half the country’s output or GDP is owed in debt.  These were the only two points on which economists and analysts agreed recently in interviews and emails from January 2 to 5.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Cabinet will take a day to discuss, among other things, the marijuana issue, Press Secretary Anthony “Ace” Newbold said.  “The Prime Minister has committed to taking a day for his Cabinet to talk about several issues, the whole issue of marijuana is one of them,” Newbold said during his weekly news briefing.

The United States Department of State has issued a level two travel advisory for The Bahamas, warning US citizens to “exercise increase caution” when visiting the country, due to crime.

Dateline MIAMI, USA:

Sparked by the need to assist Caribbean tourism industry workers impacted by last fall’s hurricanes, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has created a “jobs bank” to match candidates with tourism-related employment opportunities.

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