Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Nov. 3rd

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has called for the Warrens UWI corridor to be developed as the island’s first smart community, laying the foundation to transform the stagnant economy on pillars of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.  Arthur spoke on the topic “Smart Can Be Small” yesterday during the final day of Innovate Barbados 2017 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.  He said the science department of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill would be the link to the global technological community.  During his presentation, Arthur said the Barbados economy could no longer rely on preferential agreements, protectionism and subsidies to drive growth as those were “fully depreciated assets” which could send the island into an “economic cul de sac.  Instead, the former minister of finance suggested the island had to reposition itself to be part of the fourth industrial revolution which was seeing rapid advances in technology.

Economist Jeremy Stephen is suggesting that had the Central Bank of Barbados taken up a suggestion he made several years ago to include a relatively small amount of digital currency in its portfolio, the country’s international reserves would not be at the uncomfortably low level they are at today.  In a paper entitled: Should crypto currencies be included in the portfolio of International Reserves held by the Central Bank of Barbados? Stephen and fellow UWI lecturer and economist Dr. Winston Moore had suggested that the Central Bank should have some form of crypto currency such as Bitcoin in its reserve assets.  Based on the significant growth of digital transactions done using crypto currencies and the possibility that digital currency could become a key one for settling transactions, the academic duo made the suggestion which they felt would also help to safeguard the Barbados currency which is pegged to the US dollar against speculative attacks.

Dateline Basseterre, ST. KITTS:

The first luxury Park Hyatt Resort in the Caribbean, Park Hyatt St Kitts at Christophe Harbour, developed by Range Developments, opened on Wednesday.  Set within Christophe Harbour on the island’s southeast peninsula, the 126 room luxury resort spans the secluded beach of Banana Bay at the foot of St. Kitts’ lush rolling hills and offers unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea and neighbouring Nevis, bringing a new level of luxury to the island’s expanding tourism product.

The East Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) will be releasing a new EC$50 bank note honouring late Governor Sir Dwight Venner.  The $50 bill, which was approved at the ECCB Monetary Council’s last meeting as a permanent tribute to Sir Dwight’s legacy, will feature his likeness and will replace the bill that bears the Brimstone Fort in St. Kitts and the Piton mountains in St. Lucia.  Sir Dwight served as ECCB Governor from December, 1989 until November, 2015.  He died just over a year later, after 26 years of service in his position at ECCB that serves as a central bank  for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

Dateline Roseau, DOMINICA:

The government of Dominica has expressed its gratitude to the government of China for its generous support of emergency relief and rebuilding efforts following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.  In addition to supplying emergency material immediately following the hurricane, the government of China provided US$800,000 to Dominica for emergency relief.  China has also provided a grant of US$3 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for post-Maria roofing support in Dominica.

Dateline Georgetown, GUYANA:

Members of the main Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) staged a protest in Parliament yesterday to voice their dissatisfaction over the recent appointment of retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).  Waving placards with slogans such as “free and fair elections”, “no more rigging” and “not fit and proper” as they sat in Parliament, the Opposition legislators heckled President David Granger as he made his presentation.  But despite the protests, the President continued his address in which he outlined the government’s broad economic plan and legislative agenda for the future, while also focusing on achievements over the last year.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) is saddled with financial constraints and will not be able to op0erate beyond 2018, if a restructuring exercise is not undertaken and staff sent home, UTT Chairman, Kenneth Julien, has said.

Jack Warner has filed an appeal against the ruling of a High Court judge who in September dismissed his judicial review claim in challenging the process by which extradition proceedings against him are carried out.  Warner is wanted in the United States on a series of fraud and corruption charges stemming from illegal activities he allegedly engaged in during his tenure as President of FIFA.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has announced that the salaries of members of parliament will be increased during the budget cycle next year.  Currently, MPs get paid $28,000 per year.  Minnis suggested that this figure is too low.