Category Archives: Caribbean News

Caribbean News from the Caribbean Regions and the Windward Islands

‘Unconquered’ discussion Series

The ‘Unconquered‘ discussion series is hosted by Robert Young’s The Cloth at #24 Erthig Road, Belmont…Attilah Springer – aka Tillah Willah – is one of the livewires driving this initiative…I was invited by Tillah to speak at the ‘Conscious Citizenship‘ meeting on Wednesday 13th August 2014, along with Dr. Kevin Adonis Browne, author of the searching new work ‘Tropic Tendencies’…the session was both heated and edifying…it was real, even when Browne ramoujayed on rhetoric!
Afra Raymond

A Fistful of Dollars

Originally posted on AfraRaymond.com:

The Minister of Finance has just met cynical expectations by announcing Trinidad & Tobago’s largest-ever budget for 2015, with estimated revenue of $60.351 Billion in support of estimated expenditure of $64.664 Billion.  This expenditure is $4.313 Billion more than the expected revenue, with 2015 being the sixth consecutive year of deficit budgets with a nominal total of just under $34 Billion in excess expenditure in that period.

T&T Budget overview 2005-2015

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For a Few Dollars More

David:

T&T will have a Budget on Monday 8, 2014. In Barbados we wait patiently for ours. One would have reasonably thought in the economic circumstances that we would have more twitter about the economy. We wait.

Originally posted on AfraRaymond.com:

Sen. Larry Howai, Minister of Finance

Sen. Larry Howai, Minister of Finance

Next Monday, 8 September 2014, is carded for the Finance Minister to deliver his 2015 Budget Statement to the country and of course speculation is great as to whether this will be an ‘election budget‘ or if a more restrained approach might be taken.

In preparing to write this column, I took a look at our budgets since 2005 and it was really striking that many of the key issues identified a full decade ago are still at the fore of the more recent budgets. Some of those issues were the imperative to reduce our dependence on the energy sector; the constant push to upgrade our infrastructure; the demand for more resources dedicated to national security and of course, the repeated statements about this or that program to reduce white-collar crime.

These expenditure and revenue figures were drawn from the Budget Statements…

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Sandals Concessions Too Late to Make a Difference to Tourism Industry!

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge

Even if the repeatedly broken promises confirming that all registered hotels will qualify for the same concessions given to Sandals last year came into practical effect this week, it is now far too late for the vast majority of properties to make any meaningful use of them this year, at least in terms of major upgrading. Whether it was Government’s honest intention or not, Sandals look like they will re-open with an enhanced quality product advantage in late January 2015 that virtually every other hotel cannot hope to compete with.

Again, it’s important to repeat that like most other tourism businesses we welcome the group’s arrival and in the long term hope that it will drive additional investment and upgrading on a level playing field. Despite the continued speculation about added airlift, it simply will not happen until the Beaches property is hopefully completed in a yet indeterminate number of years from now. The short term reality is that we have lost a potential 25,000 airline seats in the interim reconstruction period. That would not have happened if the former Casuarina/Couples hotel had remained open. Only time will tell if punishing around 5,000 rooms, while rewarding just 280 will prove to be a sustainable long term solution to the overall industry challenges.

In hindsight it’s perhaps easy to see how this situation developed. The trappings of a private corporate jet, a luxury yacht, well oiled and orchestrated publicity machine with seemingly impressive amounts of money running into tens of millions being mentioned almost every day. Continue reading

FDI the Intoxicant of Caribbean Politicians

Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas (left) and Premier Vance Amory

Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas (left) and Premier Vance Amory

Some interesting developments have been unfolding in the Caribbean in recent years and have increasingly gained public attention of late. Those of us who have an interest in the politics of the region observed the ‘clash’ that occurred in the parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis last week between Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas and Premier Vance Amory of Nevis. The issue which sparked the conflict has to do with “an attempted sale of Crown lands by the Nevis Island Administration to an Iraqi national and funds alleged to have been sent to the federation as payment for the proposed sale” – PM and premier square off in parliament over Nevis petition . Prime Minister Douglas suggested there was alleged fraud associated with the transaction and called for an investigation to which Amory asked the Speaker to have to have the statement withdrawn.

In the build up to the 2008 General Election Barbados Underground posted frequently on the subject of land use policy (or lack of) in Barbados, citing reasons that were also applicable to the region. St. Kitts and Nevis is an example of a Caribbean country that has shifted to a 100% service based economy with tourism and foreign direct investment (FDI) now driving the economy. If we are to listen to some pundits in the local media who are impressed by the progress made by St. Kitts and Nevis, and recommend a similar economic model for Barbados, recent events should alert to the dangers of doing business with foreign investors from non Western countries. There is a saying one cannot have two masters. In the case of Barbados with a heavy reliance on international business anchored in Canada and the United States we should exercise caution.

BU’s read of the region, Guyana included, is that our governments are resigned to implementing a policy of attracting foreign direct investment as a key driver of economic activity. This approach has taken on an urgency in the last five years post meltdown of the global economy because traditional growth structures have been decimated.

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LIME Disappointing

Supported Anton Brathwaite
LIME customer service questioned.

LIME customer service questioned.

My father’s LIME telephone has been out of order for the past 36 hours due to a technical fault at LIME. All telephones carried on fibre optic were out of order when the fault first started but some have been restored. I called at 10 pm Barbados time on Wednesday to report the fault to LIME Call Center but was frustrated by the responses which I got from the persons answering the phone at 1-800-804-2994. Obviously English is not the first language of the country where the call center was located at that time. I asked one of the technical assistants if he was aware of problems on the fibre optic network since my father recently had his phone switched from the old copper cable landline to fibre optic cable. Lord Have His Mercy, it was like asking him a nuclear physics question.

After several meaningless rantings, he told me that he would get a technician from Barbados to visit my father’s home. I told him that I was reporting a fault on the fibre optic cable and not the old copper cable and furthermore the LIME TV and Internet which shared services with the telephone on the fibre optic cable, were up and running so it was not necessary for anyone to visit his home. I am not technically trained but common sense told me that by a process of elimination, there was/is nothing wrong with the cable to my father’s home nor the Galaxy modem but it all had to do with LIME in-house. This was later confirmed by a Jamaican LIME technical assistant when the Call Center was switched for daytime control from wherever it was during the night to Jamaica.

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Gun Violence on the Rise

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Gun crime on the rise in the Caribbean

Gun crime on the rise in the Caribbean

There was a time in the not too distant past, when the dreaded drive by shootings was standard occurrences in the inner cities of America. Black sociologists and criminologists described drives by and other violent crime involving blacks as: Black on Black crime. The graveyards of many inner cities are home to several victims.

In the Caribbean, we are witnessing the drive by and other forms of violent crimes occur with unusual frequency. Unfortunately, youths throughout the region, appear seriously determined to wipe out each other via the bullet. Gone are the days of “throwing big rocks’ or “giving a fellow a cuff” or trying to wrestle your adversary to the ground. Gone are the cuss outs at the standpipe and the often frivolous village rivalry of four or five decades ago. Today, all disagreements among the criminal element are settled with a burst of fire from a gun. Even stabbings are rather obsolete.

We at Mahogany Coconut have warned, from our inception, that the major threats to the real development of our region are our failure to properly manage our fragile environment and the rising levels and sophistication of crime. We can try to correct our environmental problems by: proper garbage disposal, protecting our scarce wildlife and ensuring that old buildings are given a new lease on life. However, when a young citizen’s life is cut short by acts of extreme violence, there is nothing we can do to “bring him or her back”.

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