Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Nov. 28th
By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados
Dateline Kingstown, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES:
Vincentian diplomat Sehon Marshall will have to return home from the United Nations to explain a damning allegation of domestic violence to the Dr. Ralph Gonzalves administration. Days after Marshall, a counselor of the island’s Permanent Mission to the UN, reportedly punched his wife, Xandra Marshall – who is also a diplomat – in the mouth, the government has issued a recall for the embattled diplomat. According to reports in the New York Post newspaper, police officers responded to an incident at the family’s home last Friday – a day before International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women – when Mrs. Marshall was allegedly slapped in the face by her husband, in front of her mother. Marshall was not arrested because he has diplomatic immunity.
Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:
When the country’s new Director of Public Prosecutions is eventually chosen, the process will be one of the highest integrity, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has promised. His comments came in the wake of statements made by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley last week when she was hosted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). “Had Miss Mottley done her homework,. She would have known that the office of DPP is filled by the Governor General, acting on the recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission” the AG told the Daily Nation.
Barbados is reaching out to Latin America in an effort to attract international business companies and is using its “favourable tax treaties and tax laws” as a a tool. And even though the business community has expressed concerns over heavy losses in revenue from this sector, and in the wake of its blacklisting as a tax haven by some international agencies and American states, those involved in the offshore sector say the facilitation process in Barbados as well as a highly-skilled workforce, continue to make Barbados attractive as a home for international businesses. Among those championing the cause was Kenneth Campbell, the Director of Investment Promotion at Invest Barbados who told a seminar for Latin American service providers that companies were opting for Barbados as their place of domicile because of its reputation as a “very well regulated centre” and that ”the process of doing business in Barbados as well as the network of double taxation treaties and the ability to provide substance” were favourable.
As the Freundel Stuart administration struggles to collect more than a billion in owed taxes, one international tax expert based in Barbados is warning of the need for a clear tax structure that is based on integrity. Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) Tax and Legal Services Leader for the Caribbean, David Prestwich, warned that although companies wanted to pay their fair share of taxes, they were less likely to do so if the systems implemented were not transparent. He argued that it was easier for companies to plan when there was certainty in relation to how their taxes were being used and what changes were likely to be made within a year or two of them being introduced.
Chief executives of some of Barbados’ top statutory corporations are being pout on notice that should the fledgling Solutions Barbados win the next general election, they will be forced to adopt its recommended management system or face the axe. Leader of the two year old party, Grenville Phillips 11 is touting ISO 9001, the latest quality management system standard of the Geneva-based International Standard Organisation (ISO), as the management system of choice for all government agencies. Phillips told the public launch of his party’s candidates that ISO 9001 “can solve most if not all of our nation’s management issues.”
Dateline Castries, ST. LUCIA:
The sale of soft drinks at schools across St. Lucia could soon fizzle out. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has embarked on a campaign to end the sale of the unhealthy drinks at the nation’s educational institutions. Chief nutritionist, Lisa Hunt-Mitchell has discussed the proposed ban with school principals. Hunt-Mitchell lamented that sweet drinks were having a disastrous effect, with rising incidence of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cavities and other illnesses.
Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:
The government of Jamaica has endorsed the “Model Guidelines For Sexual Offences Cases in the Caribbean Region, developed by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which provide internationally accepted best practices for the management of such cases across the region. The document was crafted through support from the Canadian government-funded Can$90 million Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) project.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says that despite the myriad of challenges that have faced the Caribbean for the first half of the year, the region has welcomed nearly a million more tourists than the same period last year. “For the first six months of 2017, data compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) show that the region welcomed 16.6 million international tourists or 800,000 more than for the first six months of 2016, constituting a growth rate of 5.2 per cent” Bartlett disclosed.
Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:
Some 40 key policymakers from member states of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and 100 professionals and executives will assemble at Atlantis Resort to participate in workshops, conferences and seminars all week until this Friday, December 1. Yesterday marked the beginning of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Week, facilitated by The Bahamas government and the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA). CEO of URCA, Stephen Bereaux told a pre-conference media briefing he believed that the benefits of a single Caribbean cyber platform, will “improve social and economic development and understanding of internet intelligence in the Caribbean, while focusing on cyber security and development. He also commented:”As small island states, we must make sure that small economies do not fail due to lack of economies of scale and scope.”
Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean has established a task force to advance ECLAC’s debt for climate adaptation swap initiative. The debt swap initiative, which was first presented at ECLAC’s Caribbean development roundtable in St. Kitts and Nevis early in 2016, is a mechanism intended to address at once, the crippling debt of the Caribbean and their need to generate the resources needed to financer resilience building measures. It is an innovative strategy that involves harmonizing concessionary flows to transform the debt of the region to a source of investment in resilience, while at the same time re-energizing growth and promoting economic transformation in the economies of the sub-region, through investment an adaptation projects and green industries.
The “fake oil” scandal has claimed a political casualty with the resignation of Senator Allyson Baksh. Baksh, who is the daughter of chief executive of A&V Oil & Gas, Haniff Nazim Baksh, the man at the centre of the “fake oil” controversy, resigned as People’s National Movement (PNM) Senator yesterday. She will be replaced by former PNM Public Relations Officer, Ronald Huggins, a 38 year old businessman and real estate agent.
Dateline Toronto, CANADA:
The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) has bestowed its most prestigious honour on social advocate Jean Augustine. The Grenada-born retired Canadian school teacher and politician, was given the CTO’s Lifetime Achievement Award – the first person ever to be given the award in Canada.