Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 11th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Barbadians will be talking crime and violence today. Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite has issued an open invitation to all stakeholders and members of the public to come out and participate in the discussions to find solutions to the spiraling crime situation which has plunged Barbados into a state of fear for the past eight months.  The event comes off at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex and is expected to draw input from the Church, community groups, the police and the average citizen.

A crisis may well be looming in Barbados with only the children of the well-to-do being able to access higher education.  The stark warning came yesterday from Principal of the University iof the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill, Professor Eudine Barriteau, while addressing a scholarship presentation b y the Optimist International Club.  “As you know, the challenge of funding higher education is becoming quite acute and, in essence, a crisis may well be looming.  We have taken higher education for granted” she said.

A clearer picture is emerging of the fallout suffered by regional ports, including the Bridgetown Port, following the recent passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria.  President of the Caribbean Shipping Association and General Manager of the Bridgetown Port, David Jean-Marie, has revealed that while the regional shipping industry had generally weathered the storms, at least two major cruise lines – Adventure of The Seas and Carnival, had repositioned their calls as result of the recent disasters.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, says that by tabling the “National Heroes and Other Freedom Fighters (Absolution from Criminal Liability in Respect of Specified Events) Act 2017”. The government is facilitating the need for Jamaicans to show appreciation for the efforts of their national heroes.  “It is this that we are doing by tabling the Bill – provide a situation for an entire nation to appreciate the kind of mind that our ancestors had, and the remarkable ability and tenacity they displayed.” Grange told the House of Representatives as she opened the debate on the long-anticipated Bill, days away from the Celebration of National Heroes Week.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

United National Congress (UNC) senator Khadijah Ameen is disappointed in Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus for referring to San Fernando West MP, Faris Al Rawi as the “sexiest Attorney General”.  Ameen said the statement was unacceptable and more so coming from a senior woman.  In a Facebook post, Ameen said it was unacceptable for a man or woman to stand on a public platform and address a government minister as the sexiest person.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest’s revelation that the government cannot locate $42 million borrowed by the former administration is “shocking and unacceptable”, Shadow Minister of Finance Chester Cooper charged.  “This is no time for non-sensical talk” Cooper said in a statement. ‘The minister well knows he has a fiduciary duty to reconcile the government’s accounts.  “This is money the people of The Bahamas will have to pay back with interest.  It is highly irresponsible to say that the government cannot locate $42 million of the public’s money.”

BUSINESS:

WASHINGTON:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its forecast for global growth to 3.6 per cent this year and 3.7 per cent in 2018.  For both years, the outlook is up 0.1 percentage points from the IMF’s previous forecast in July and would mark the fastest growth since 2011.  The world economy grew 3.2 per cent in 2016.

The White House has asked Congress for $5 Billion to ease a fiscal crisis striking the government of Puerto Rico in the wake of hurricane Maria.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc is betting it can get its money-making mojo back by pitching creative deals to big complex clients, making a return to its investment banking roots as trading revenue slows.   The Wall Street bank is forming a group, known internally as  the Innovation Lab, focused on generating compelling deal ideas for companies like Warren Buffet’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp’s $93 billion investment fund, people familiar with the matter said.

LONDON:

Britain’s old one-pound coin is being phased out completely on Sunday, but businesses complain they have been given too little time to switch to the new one and many are planning to defy the deadline.

TOKYO:

Some of Japan’s best known carmakers, including Nissan and Honda, used products from Kobe Steel, a report said Wednesday, after the firm admitted to falsifying quality data in a growing scandal.  Business Daily Nikkei said Mitsubshi Motors, Subaru and Mazda had also used products from Kobe Steel in their vehicles.

Tokyo’s main stock market index closed at its highest level for more than two decades Wednesday as optimism spread across global markets.  The Nikkei 225 added 0.3 percent or 57.7 points to end at 20,881.2.  It was the best finish for the index since 1996 and follows fresh record highs on Wall Street overnight. A strengthening Japanese economy, solid corporate results and upbeat mood on US markets have helped spur gains.

THE CARIBBEAN:

NASSAU:

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about 30-40% of public sector employees are “non-essential temporary workers” and they should be reduced to help decrease the country’s wage bill as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).  In the IMF’s 2017 Article 1V Consultation Staff Report, released last weekend, it is also revealed that the combined debt of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) reached a whopping 18 per cent of GDP in 2016.   The IMF has also cautioned that with no official plan in place to fund the remainder of the Nation al Health Insurance (NHI) Scheme, expanding coverage could lead to an annual fiscal cost of 6.5 per cent of GDP.

KINGSTON:

Red Stripe Jamaica is this year’s winner of the Governor General’s Award for Manufacturer of The Year (sponsored by EXIM Bank).  The award was especially relevant as the Heinekin-owned company has recently returned its US-based manufacturing to Jamaica after temporarily moving a part of its production to Pennsylvania in 2012.

PORT OF SPAIN:

Former CEO of Digicel Play, Garvin Medera, is Caribbean Airline’s (C AL) new Chief Executive Officer, replacing acting CEO Captain Jagmohan Singh.  Medera’s  appointment took effect from yesterday.

INTERNATIONAL:

The US military flew two strategic bombers over South Korea in a show of force as President Trump met top defense officials to discuss how to respond to any threat from North Korea.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took his first step Wednesday toward suspending Catalonia’s political autonomy and ruling the region directly to thwart a push for independence.  He demanded the regional government clarify whether it now considered itself independent, following a speech by Catalan President Carles Puigedmont.

Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as OPEC said the market was gradually tightening after years of new supply, but the 2018 outlook was less certain.

The High Court in Kenya said an also-ran candidate in August’s presidential election could contest this month’s re-run, a day after the main opposition leader pulled out.  But the High Court ruling in favor of Ekuru Aurot failed to dispel concerns about how a deepening political crisis would play out as he said he  had doubts about standing while supporters gathered in response to calls to demonstrate for electoral reform.