GEORGETOWN, Guyana--Government will be moving to the National Assembly to seek supplementary financing likely to exceed GY $500 million in an effort to house prisoners, boost security at the existing prisons and deal with the fallout from the disastrous fire on July 9, that gutted the Camp Street prison.
This was disclosed during a press conference at the Ministry of Public Security on Friday afternoon. According to Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, his Ministry had come up with a fast-tracked plan pertaining to what temporary constructions would be erected.
“At least [for – Ed.] the purpose of building the prison and the tarmac area, the removal of debris, I haven’t gotten the final figure. The bill of quantities will be made final by tomorrow morning or later tonight. These contractors and quantity surveyors are working hard.”
“But by Monday certainly [we will have final figures – Ed.], because we have to go for the supplementary budgetary allocations by Tuesday or whenever the next parliamentary date. And it will be, as I’m being told, in excess of GY $500 million.”
He noted that this was to ensure that the prisoners being housed at Lusignan could be relocated to the remaining brick structure at Camp Street. According to Ramjattan, these constructions will be temporary.
“But we require, for the support of those prisoners, a kitchen be constructed, an admin building and infirmary to be constructed. And it will be quite costly though it will be temporary. All these major constructions that will make the place safe will cost a good set of money.”
“But the plans, in terms of what we have to construct and security systems have been designed, during the last 72 hours. Because that was [something – Ed.] we had to fast-track.”
Meanwhile, Ramjattan also spoke of other advances that Government has made, including the completion of a tarmac area for the displaced prisoners at Lusignan.
He said “at this stage the tarmac area at Lusignan has been completed and there have been some minor difficulties [that were – Ed.] corrected to the extent that at least 400 prisoners are now there in better conditions than in the swamp area they were in.”
According to the Public Security Minister “there are still [80 – Ed.] prisoners in the swamp area. We felt that it was necessary because we do not want them to contaminate the four hundred prisoners that are in the tarmac area. These are the real bad ones that have done a number of acts which make us believe that if they were to go into that tarmac area there would be real trouble.”
He noted that there are 151 prisoners in the actual prison at Lusignan. The Minister also reported that the charred debris from the Camp Street site has been removed. ~ iNews Guyana ~
PARAMARIBO--Anne van Leeuwen, the new Ambassador from the Netherlands for Suriname, is not welcome there local media reported on Thursday. According to news website Starnieuws.com, Government has revoked the approval of accreditation for the Ambassador who was supposed to start his tenure in Paramaribo next month.
HAMILTON, Bermuda--The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Tuesday swept the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) out of power in the general elections.
The result prompted former Premier Michael Dunkley to step down as OBA leader and his losing deputy to quit politics altogether.
The PLP won 24 of the 36 seats in the House of Assembly, while OBA took the other 12, which meant that none of the five independent candidates – including former Premier Paula Cox – got any success at the polls.
In addition to holding on to the 17 seats it won in the 2012 election, the PLP captured seven others from the OBA, including some regarded as safe seats for the former ruling party.
PLP leader David Burt was on Wednesday sworn in as Premier – the youngest in Bermuda’s history.
While Dunkley won his seat, his deputy in Government and in the party, Bob Richards, lost his to the PLP’s Christopher Famous.
The Royal Gazette reported this morning that Dunkley resigned as party leader after the election defeat.
Meanwhile, the defeated OBA deputy leader, who first entered the House of Assembly as a Member of Parliament (MP) in 2007, announced that he would no longer continue in active politics.
“I’ve done my best. This has accelerated my retirement from politics,” Richards said. ~ Caribbean360 ~
GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands--A leading hospital in the Caribbean is offering another first that could save the lives of heart patients across the Caribbean and the world.
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL052017
...RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT FINDS DON WEAKER AS IT HEADS TOWARD THE WINDWARD ISLANDS...
SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 155 MI...250 KM SE OF BARBADOS
ABOUT 255 MI...410 KM E OF GRENADA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 275 DEGREES AT 20 MPH...31 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1011 MB...29.86 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
The government of St. Lucia has discontinued the Tropical Storm Watch for St. Lucia.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* St. Vincent and the Grenadines
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
Interests in Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, and Curacao should monitor the progress of Don.
For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Don was located near latitude 11.5 North, longitude 58.0 West. Don is moving toward the west near 20 mph (31 km/h). This general motion is expected through Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Don will move across the Windward Islands later today or tonight, and then move westward across the southeastern Caribbean Sea on Wednesday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast before Don moves through the Windward Islands. The tropical storm is forecast to degenerate into a trough of low pressure late Wednesday or Wednesday night.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1011 mb (29.86 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area by late this afternoon and tonight. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area by tonight.
RAINFALL: Don is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated higher amounts across Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and the southern Windward Islands through Wednesday. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in mountainous areas.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti--With just over three months to go before the United Nations (UN) mission ends its tour of duty in Haiti, the Jovenel Moise administration has officially launched a recruitment drive to rebuild an army.
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica--Small-business financing, a policy framework to facilitate growth locally and regionally, and matters related to trade within the region are high on the agenda of the inaugural Caribbean Micro, Small and Medium-size Enterprise (MSME) Conference to be held in Montego Bay, July 19 to 21.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--The Trinidad and Tobago Government has gone to the law courts to recover more than TT $23 billion (US $3.4 billion) it invested to bail out collapsed insurance giant CL Financial.
KINGSTON, Jamaica--Britain still appears ready and able to construct a multi-billion-dollar prison in Jamaica once it gets the green light from that island’s government
Back in January, the Andrew Holness administration flatly rejected the offer by the UK.
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada--The push for a healthier Caribbean received a considerable boost last week as Caribbean Community Caricom leaders at their 38th annual summit in Grenada made new commitments to tackle the epidemic of chronic diseases which is costing the region dearly in terms of health and development.
photo courtesy amazingworldcars.blogspot.com).
HAVANA, Cuba--The Commission on International Relations of the National Assembly in Cuba has rejected a non-binding resolution on Cuba approved by the European Parliament last week in Strasburg, France.
The “non-legislative resolution” urging governments to help Cuba toward “democratic standards” was passed as part of a “Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement” with Cuba that was approved last week Wednesday by European lawmakers with 567 votes in favour, 61 against and 31 abstentions.
The deal, which was signed in December 2016 after two years of negotiations, will go into full implementation after ratification by the European Union’s (EU’s) current 28 member countries, a complex process that can take years. However, the provisional implementation of the agreement will begin in the coming months.
The European legislature voted for the non-binding resolution as there was still concern within the EU about Cuba’s human rights records. The EU Parliament website said the pact includes a provision to suspend the agreement if the provisions on human rights are violated. It added that the pact “will help expand bilateral trade, promote dialogue and economic cooperation and provide for joint action on the world scene.”
Many said the agreement was itself a rejection of US President Donald Trump’s attempts to neutralise his predecessor Barack Obama’s rapprochement policy toward Cuba. Trump recently announced regressive policy measures against Cuba, prompting concerns that the US and Cuba could resume old hostilities and halt normalisation in ties.
Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Elena Valenciano, the rapporteur of the EU-Cuba agreement, said the deal could show to the US that there is still the chance for the West to contain Cuba through giving it privileges.
“Europe has a great opportunity to demonstrate to the United States, which intends to withdraw, that it is possible to maintain the highest level of expectations on Cuba,” said Valenciano, adding that could be a major step towards normalising relations with Havana.
However, on Thursday, Cuban parliamentarians said in a statement that the non-binding resolution “distorts our reality, suggests recipes that Cuba does not need, interferes in the internal affairs of states and raises arguments that are extremely harmful to the sovereignty of the Cuban people.”
Cuban deputies said that the European Parliament should “take care of the galloping corruption among European political sectors; the increasing deterioration of social security systems, particularly those associated with health; the prevalence of high unemployment rates, especially among young people; and the little progress achieved in Europe in terms of gender equality.”
“We do not recognise the European Parliament as being entitled in any way to address issues that are of the exclusive competence of the Cuban people, who continue to build their socialist, democratic, sovereign and independent future,” the statement concluded. ~ Curaçao Chronicle ~
~Prison guard dead, prisoners escaped~
GEORGETOWN,, Guyana—A prison guard is dead following a riot that left Camp Street Prisons, in the heart of the capital city, destroyed. Up to press time efforts were still underway to put the fire out.
Apart from the reported death, several prison officers and prisoners were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) for treatment.
The large conflagration was battled by members of the Guyana Fire Service at the prison. The fire started in the Capital Offences wing of the prison along Durban Street and reports from the ground are that the prison’s arms store is on fire. The blaze has spread along sections of the prison along Camp Street and Bent Streets.
While it is unclear what triggered the unrest, reports are that gunshots were heard inside the prison following which smoke was spotted above the prison roof around 5:00pm (Sunday).
Unconfirmed reports are that several prisoners escaped from the prison while police and security forces are responding to the situation. There are reports of a shoot- out between the police and the escaped prisoners at Buxton, East Coast Demerara.
A building across the road from the prison along Durban Street caught afire but the blaze was extinguished by the firemen.
Reports from the scene are that prisoners are being shuttled to the GPHC for treatment while reports from the hospital are that seven prison officers are being treated for various injuries including gunshot wounds. Two prison officers were critically injured.
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada--Grenada is gearing up for the next winter season with innovative products to inspire and delight first time and repeat visitors.
HAVANA, Cuba--Almost no Caribbean beach escapes erosion, a problem that scientific sources describe as extensive and irreversible in these ecosystems of high economic interest, that work as protective barriers for life inland.
“The phenomenon of erosion is widespread in the Caribbean,” geographer Luis Juanes, a researcher at the recently created state Marine Science Institute of Cuba, who participates in the scientific coordination of a project of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to protect sandy coasts from the effects of global warming, told IPS.
The regional initiative “Impact of climate change on the sandy coasts of the Caribbean: Alternatives for its control and resilience” could begin to be implemented this year, after negotiations between the ACS and the main donor for the project: the International Cooperation Agency of South Korea.
“Caribbean beaches have an irreversible tendency to erosion,” said Juanes in an interview with IPS, referring to a problem “whose main causes are associated with misguided human action in coastal areas, such as the extraction of sand for the construction industry and the building of tourism installations on dunes.”
However, the scientist pointed out that research from local and foreign authors found this kind of deterioration even in pristine beaches on uninhabited keys, which can only be explained by the rising sea levels and other consequences of global warming.
For this reason, the ACS, founded in 1994, which groups 25 countries of the Greater Caribbean region, initially approved in 2016 and ratified in a summit in March this year this proposal set forth by Cuba, within a broader programme of adaptation to climate change.
This programme also includes projects against the invasion by Sargassum seaweed and exotic species such as the lionfish.
To finance the programme, the ACS raises cooperation funds to mitigate and adapt to the new climate scenario in this diverse region of highly vulnerable small islands and mainland countries that have in common developing economies with limited resources for environmental preservation.
So far, the project against erosion of the sandy coasts has received around a quarter of a million dollars from the Netherlands and Turkey, said Juanes. And a contribution of US $4.5 million from South Korea is foreseen to achieve the targets set out during its four years of implementation.
In addition, each country member of the ACS that confirms its participation will contribute funds and a logistic base.
The initiative’s coordination has already attracted the interest of Antigua and Barbuda, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The initiative seeks to improve practices of preservation and restoration of beaches in the Caribbean, by establishing a regional network to monitor erosion, developing a coastal engineering manual, training technical and professional staff, generating scientific exchanges, and providing equipment, among other objectives.
“Part of the topics we are discussing with the Koreans is the collaboration of scientific institutions from that country to contribute a basic infrastructure with some modern technologies such as drones and coastal radars,” said Juanes.
A key goal is obtaining data to assess the effects of coastal erosion up to 2100 in the area of the Greater Caribbean, which must ensure sustainable use of sandy beaches, its main natural resource for the tourism industry.
Many of these countries depend on the entertainment industry, particularly small island states where tourism represents an average 25 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and is the sector with the highest rate of growth.
Juanes pointed out that the concern with the issue emerged “mainly in the major tourist centres” in the region, in the last decades of the 20th century. He said the countries have adopted coastal protection legal measures and engineering solutions on beaches frequented by tourists.
Pioneers in this area, Cuban scientific institutions and state companies have shared their local experiences in coastal protection and restoration with countries such as Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, said the scientist.
He warned that the “touristic development model used is unsustainable” and the Greater Caribbean should halt the current deterioration of the sandy coasts, since it lacks the resources to maintain artificial beaches, like the ones created in the US state of Florida.
“If our Caribbean beaches and ecosystems deteriorate, in a few years the competition with tourism spots within the United States itself will be overwhelming,” he said, referring to the main source of visitors to the Caribbean region.
While the beaches of Varadero, in Cuba, the Riviera Maya, in Mexico, and Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, to mention some examples, are financing their own studies and costly maintenance efforts using sand extracted from the depths of the sea, many beaches outside the tourist routes are neglected and affected by pollution.
In response, the ACS project will prepare “at least three beach restoration projects in three hotspots in three different less-well-off countries,” said Juanes.
But he said that they will only “prepare the conceptual framework, [and – Ed.] do the fieldwork and modelling,” since the implementation will cost millions and will be up to the countries themselves.
“A community-based and eco-conscious solution is that the people adopt the beaches that they benefit from,” said Ángela Corvea, coordinator of the Acualina environmental education programme, which mobilises the authorities and the community in cleaning up the coastline in the Havana district of Playa, on the west side of the Cuban capital.
“Nobody cleans those beaches,” lamented Corvea about the area with many mainly rocky beaches and only a few sandy ones. For this reason, Acualina has been organising children and young people since 2003 to pick up garbage in three neighbourhoods along the coast, including La Concha, the only sandy beach accessible to the public in the municipality.
“These community actions, if all the people that use the beaches would participate, would improve the preservation of the beaches,” said the activist. “And to do these things, nobody should wait for an order or decree,” she said, referring to the limited practical effect of environmental laws in different ACS countries.
In another Caribbean island nation, the Dominican Republic, IPS saw one of the most blatant examples of the deplorable environmental situation on the many beaches that have no tourism.
There are heaps of garbage on the dunes of El Gringo beach in the highly industrialised Dominican municipality of Bajos de Haina. “The problem of pollution on the beach has been discussed a great deal in the neighbourhood council. It needs to be cleaned and dredged,” said Mackenzie Andújar, a 41-year-old local plumber. ~ Caribbean360 ~
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada--Developing inclusive mechanisms to close the political distance between integration arrangements and the demands of the people of the region is a task that the Caribbean Community Caricom must confront.
Incoming Chairman of Caricom and Prime Minister (PM) of Grenada Dr. Keith Mitchell issued the charge to his colleagues at the opening ceremony of the 38th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom Tuesday.
“Having spent 32 years and counting in the political arena, I have become convinced that perhaps the most difficult task is to develop inclusive mechanisms that close the political distance between our integration arrangements and the demands of our people, at all levels of our societies – but especially with our young people,” PM Mitchell said.
Closing that political distance with “our regional constituents” also meant that barriers to intra-regional trade had to be lifted, he added. He framed his comment in the context of the commitments to eliminate barriers to trade by regional forbearers as far back as Dickenson Bay in 1965.
“I am sure we would all understand how, 52 years on, our regional constituents are becoming sceptical, when it is demonstrated time and time again that – after satisfying all of the Treaty provisions – they cannot export to their own neighbouring countries, duck meat from Suriname or honey from Grenada. The same honey is exported to the United States and Europe, and has won several international awards for quality. These actions diminish the hard-earned gains of our integration efforts – so much so, that it is widely chronicled about Caricom that “intra-regional trade is obstructed by non-tariff barriers, which all affect our global competitiveness,” the PM said.
In his address in which he touched on a number of issues that were critical to the development of the Community, PM Mitchell honed in on the accomplishments, challenges and criticisms of the region.
He pointed to the “tremendous strides” that were made, and singled out the strengthening of governance arrangements and the crafting of a development space that would facilitate the economic and social advancement of Caricom.
“Evidently, our region has made tremendous strides in a number of critical areas, of which we ought rightfully to be proud. We have managed to craft a development space, made more predictable and certain by the impositions of the Caribbean Court of Justice, in order to deploy strategies for the economic and social advancement of our Community. We have also strengthened our governance arrangements and agreed on improved modalities for public consultations,” he pointed out.
PM Mitchell, in in alluding to the challenges the region faced, highlighted weak domestic and intra-regional air travel and the high cost of travel. He called on his colleague Heads of Government to collectively agree to reduce airline ticket taxes and other fees which add to the high cost of air travel. He also raised concerns about the operations of regional air carrier LIAT.
Rhetorically questioning whether collective action was being taken to resolve the challenges the Community faced, PM Mitchell charged his colleagues to be ready to “stand in the gap for each other.”
“We must, therefore, seize the opportunity of this 38th Meeting of the Conference, to summon both the spirit of the Grand Anse Declaration and the collective experiences of the last 28 years, in recalibrating our approach to the environment in which Caricom must continue to pursue the ideals of the [Caribbean Single Market and Economy – Ed.] CSME,” he said. ~ Caribbean360 ~
PARAMARIBO--Guno Castelen, the chairman of Suriname’s labour party SPA is worried about “subtle threats” President Desi Bouterse has launched at the judiciary. Discussing the twenty-year prison demand the Military Prosecutor called for last week Wednesday, Bouterse criticised the judiciary and said that his Government would soon come with “necessary measures … within the confines of constitutional law.”
HAMILTON, Bermuda--Former Bermuda Premier Paula Cox has severed ties with the opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) and will stand on her own in the July 18 general election as an independent candidate.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--A man who posted on Facebook that someone should rape and kill Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley’s wife and daughter has been arrested.
SANTO DOMINGO, DR--The Caribbean Export Development Agency has commenced its expansion of the Angel Investment footprint within the Dominican Republic (DR) and Haiti, following the first Bi-National Angel Investment workshop in the Dominican Republic.