Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Nov. 10th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

With a team from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) currently on island for talks with the Freundel Stuart administration, two retired permanent secretaries are calling on government to bite the bullet and enter into a funding arrangement with the IMF.  However, William Layne and Frederick Forde are both cautioning that any such financing plan must be on Barbados’ terms only.  The last time the economy was put into IMF hands back in the early 1990S, the bitter medicine that followed proved too strong for many Barbadians to stomach and was blamed for the eventual collapse of the then Erskine Sandiford administration, following crippling street protests.  Among the major expenditure cuts was an across the board 8% pay cut in the public sector, which was later restored.  However, participating in an Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados-sponsored panel discussion on Tuesday nite, Layne, who is the former permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, suggested that an IMF programme would rebound to greater fiscal discipline on the part of government since it would be required to follow the agreement to the letter. Layne cited Jamaica, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis as regional territories that went to the IMF on their own terms and successfully ran economic recovery programmes.

Dateline Castries, ST. LUCIA;

National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis has asserted that corrupt policemen are “killing” the Caribbean.  He urged officers attending the two-day intercessional meeting of the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) to help police commissioners get rid of “undesirables”.  According to Francis, police welfare associations should not only be looking to better salaries and conditions of work for their members.  “This is one of the things that’s really killing the Caribbean – corrupt police officers.  We know them.  You are in the police force, you know them and it is for you to assist the commissioner of police in getting rid of those persons,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner said.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The High Court of St. Kitts and Nevis has ruled that the constitutional rights of parliamentarians were infringed upon by the then Speaker of the House through his refusal to allow debate on the motion of no confidence for more than two years.  The so-called “Motion of no confidence cases” stemmed from December 11, 2012, when the then leader of the opposition, Mark Brantley, filed with the clerk of the National Assembly, a motion of no confidence in the Denzil Douglas led government.

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris remains firm on his position that the leader of the opposition, Dr. Denzil Douglas is not qualified to be represented in the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis following the discovery that he is the holder of a diplomatic passport issued by Dominica.  The diplomatic passport, which bears the number DP0000462, lists Douglas’ nationality as Dominican.  Harris, while addressing a recent town hall meeting, said the matter raises a serious legal question as to whether or not the opposition leader is eligible to continue sitting as a parliamentary representative.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, will visit China next month to participate in a meeting with ninbe other world leaders.  Minister in the office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young, made the announcement at the post-Cabinet news briefing yesterday at the office of the Prime Minister at St. Clair.  Young said the invitation was extended by the Chinese government which has decided to meet with ten leaders from  around the world.

Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) has reported a net profit attributable to shareholders of $1.25 billion for the year ended September, 30, 2017, a 32.3 per cent increase on its actual reported profit compared to its 2016 performance.  In a statement, the holding company of Trinidad and Tobago’s largest financial institution, Republic Bank, said its profitability for 2017 represented an increase of $69 million (5.8%) over the core profit of $1.18 billion reported in 2016.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

FRS Caribbean, has announced the launch of a brand new fast ferry service from Miami to Freeport, Grand Bahama.  The high speed craft “San Gwann” that is currently operating between Miami and Bimini, is now adding a second destination directly from Miami to Grand Bahama in just three hours.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

At a special session held in Jamaica recently, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Council, chaired by Chancellor, Robert Bermudez, met to receive a submission from the government of Antigua and Barbuda proposing the establishment of the university’s fourth landed campus.  The council heard from vice-chancellor of the UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who indicated that on-going conversations had reached maturity and that a proposal was ready.

Dateline Hamilton, BERMUDA:

Overseas media outlets which confused Bermuda with hurricane-ravaged Barbuda, 1031 miles to the south, leading to cancellations by worldwide visitors, affected storm-free Bermuda’s industry in September, authorities have disclosed.  Barbuda was declared inhabitable after Hurricane Irma battered the island in September and although one person was killed, the category 5 storm flattened the island, which is part of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda.  However, despite the confusion, the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) said the island recorded its seventh consecutive quarter of growth, although year-to-year arrivals fell slightly for the month.

Dateline Miami, USA:

Biomedical International Corporation has coordinated with Clinic In a Can and their donors to donate a 20-foot long container that has been converted to an emergency movable primary care unit to the island of Dominica, which was virtually destroyed by Hurricane Maria.  This primary care unit features all the necessary medical equipment required for a fully functional station.  The clinic In a Can’s generous donors have also provided pallets of water and over 7,000 meals.  The unit will arrive in Dominica on November 30th.

Dateline Sydney, AUSTRALIA:

West Indies cricket superstar, Chris Gayle is seeking to cash in on a court case won against an Australian media group, promising a tell-it-all interview, but only if the price is right.  The all-rounder was accused by Fairfax Media, publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, in a series of stories last year, of exposing his penis to a message therapist and indecently propositioning her.  But a New South Wales Supreme Court jury ruled a defamation case in his favour last month, finding the articles were motivated by malice.    A hearing on damages will be held at a later date, but Gayle is already offering his story from a starting price of US$300,000.