APRIL 6TH 2018

  

PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES APPLAUDS THE YOUTH 


Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves has applauded the youths of this country for their successes moreso recently the areas of sports and culture. Speaking in Parliament yesterday PM Gonsalves used the opportunity to congratulate the youths for their success in the CARIFTA games, various school sporting events and well as the recent secondary school bands showcase. The Prime Minister on a longer canvass spoke to other areas of excellence of the nation’s youths. 


Dr. Gonsalves added that the young people of this country are overwhelmingly excelling, and this is a sign of great hope.

 

PM Gonsalves acknowledged that while there is still unemployment among the youths, the government has programs geared at sustainable development and wealth and there has been an increase in the number of persons employed.


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION HOST 2018 NATIONAL AWARDS CEREMONY 


The Ministry of Education will today host the 2018 National Awards Ceremony to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of a number of students.


During this ceremony, students will be acknowledged for their performances in the 2017 primary and secondary exit exams. The top performers, assessed under the CPEA model last year, will receive awards, as well as students who gained 11 or more CSEC subjects, the top performers in the various subject areas and the overall CSEC performer. 

FLOW will also offer a special award to the most outstanding student at CSEC after remediation. 


In addition to these individual awards, a few schools will be recognized – the school with the best CSEC results after remediation, the school with the most improved results and the school with the best results overall. The National Awards Ceremony is one of the activities through which the Ministry of Education encourages scholastic achievement. 


Prime Minister Gonsalves will deliver the feature address at this year’s ceremony. The event will take place at the Community College in Villa, beginning at 1:30 p.m. 


INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK TO BE CELEBRATED FROM APRIL 8TH TO 14TH


International Library Week will be celebrated this year from 8th April to 14th April 2018 under the theme “Libraries Lead.” 


In commemoration of this week the National Public Library of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will celebrate from the 9th – 11th April, 2018 under the theme, “Libraries Lead: a stepping stone to success.” An opening ceremony will commence on 9th April, 2018 at 10:00 am in the Reference Library of the Department. The objectives of the National Library Week are:


  • Increase awareness and  support for the National Public Library Archives and Documentation  Services by increasing our visibility in a positive context and by communicating why the National Library is unique and valuable;
  • Update the image of libraries, librarians and all library staff for the 21st century, sustaining and strengthening their relevance;
  • Bring renewed energy to the promotion of the libraries and the librarians;
  • Bring library messages to a more diverse audience


RURAL TRANSFORMATION UNIT TO HOST NATIONAL SCHOOL GARDEN COMPETITION


The Rural Transformation Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, Fisheries, Industry and Labour is hosting a National School Garden Competition in an effort to encourage an interest among students in agriculture and their contribution to increased food security. 


Registration Forms can be collected at the Rural Transformation Unit, Ministry of Agriculture during the period March 26th to April 20, 2018. For more information persons can contact the Rural Transformation Unit at telephone number 457-1812/456-1111 Ext 324. The first 40 schools to be registered will be selected.


REGIONAL 


RESEARCHERS PREDICT A SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE 2018 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON


Researchers at Colorado State University are predicting “slightly above average activity” for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season which begins on June 1.
 

Researcher Philip J Klotzbach and Michael M Bell, in a statement said that the current weak La Niña event appears likely to transition to neutral ENSO over the next several months; but, at this point, they do not anticipate a significant El Niño event this summer/fall. They said the western tropical Atlantic is ano-mal-ously warm right now, while portions of the eastern tropical Atlantic and far North Atlantic are anomalously cool.


 They added that consequently, the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation index is near its long-term average nd they anticipate a slightly above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.As is the case with all hurricane seasons, they warned coastal residents that “it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. 


Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused widespread destruction when they passed through the Lesser Antilles last September, particularly in the Caribbean islands of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.


ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TO PASS LEGISLATION FOR THE GROWING OF MARIJUANA  


The Antigua and Barbuda government says it hopes to be able to pass legislation that would allow for marijuana to be grown under control conditions or with licenses and to be processed like any pharmaceutical in a laboratory that adheres to high standards.
 

A statement issued after the Cabinet meeting, said that the newly-elected government of Prime Minister Gaston Browne had invited several officials and experts to participate in the deliberations “in order to achieve the most in decision-making”.
 

The statement noted that a four-person group, including three Canadian, with an interest in producing medical cannabis, “came to Cabinet in order to advise on the kinds of steps required by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in order to make possible the growing, harvesting, processing and sale of medical cannabis in its many forms”.
 

The statement said that the government hopes to be able to pass the laws that would allow cannabis to be grown under control conditions and sold in a domestic market, having been transformed into a variety of medicinal products.
 

“The Cabinet agreed that Canada's laws are the best fit to be a model, although Britain, Germany, Switzerland and Brazil are pursuing the same path for growers of the cannabis plants.
 

“The Cabinet learned that the laws of Jamaica have been adapted to achieve similar ends, but the process has proven to be very unwieldy for producers seeking licenses. Canada, the second largest state in geographic size on the planet, has federal laws that make the growing, harvesting and processing of medical cannabis uniform throughout its many Provinces,” the statement noted.
 

It said that in February, Parliament legalised the possession of 15 grams of cannabis for personal use, and allows each household to grow four plants in order to take the criminal element out of cannabis production.  

 

APRIL 5TH 2018

 

SURFACE TROUGH EXPECTED TO AFFECT SVG OVER THE NEXT 36 HOURS


Moisture ahead of a surface trough generated cloudy conditions and occasional showers across Saint Vincent and the Grenadines this morning.  According to information received form the Meth Office at the Argyle International AIA, this trough will continue to affect the islands over the next 36 hours producing occasional cloudiness and scattered showers.  The ridge of high pressure will re-establish itself around Saturday and some fair conditions around Saturday afternoon are likely. 


Winds are averaging 20km/h to increase in speed around Saturday to approximately 30km/h when the ridge of high pressure takes dominance. Seas are to remain slight to moderate in open waters with swells peaking to 1.5m but increasing slightly to 2.0m around Saturday. In addition, slight haze intrusion this afternoon may increase in intensity over the next few days.


HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AND COURT HOUSE TO BE UPGRADED


Minister of Transport and Works Hon Senator Julian Francis has announced that efforts are being made to upgrade and modernize the building in Kingstown that houses the House of Assembly and the Courthouse among other offices.


During a ministerial statement in Parliament today Francis says that the stability of the building has been deteriorating and given its importance they will be moving to upgrade it, following proper evaluations and assessments by experts. Francis says that one of the major problems with the building is the presence of termites. He also noted that they do not plan to demolish the building but rather try to maintain its aesthetics. The Minister said that they have already identified two buildings for possible alternative accommodation for the occupants. These are the E.T Joshua Terminal Building at Arnos Vale and the Lyric building in Kingstown. Minister Francis gave the assurance that they will be moving quickly to allocate the appropriate accommodation for the offices that will be affected.


SVG DEVELOPING NAP


St Vincent and the Grenadines is in the process of developing a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and associated strategies with assistance from the UNDP Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (JCCCP) and the Nap Global Network (NAP GN).


The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, and Information Technology in conjunction with the NAP GN and the UNDP-JCCCP will co-host a special session for the media. The event will introduce local media to the country’s NAP and its priority sectors for adaptation. 

Discussions will focus on several areas including how media can report on current and expected climate change impacts on the country and the importance of the NAP. The event is scheduled to take place on 10 April, 2018 at the Blue Lagoon Hotel & Marina conference room from 1:30 p.m. 

 

VOLCANO-READY COMMUNITIES PROJECT TO BE LAUNCHED ON FRIDAY


Stakeholders and members of the public are expected to convene at Sandy Bay Government Primary School on April 6th at 4:00 PM for the official launch of the Volcano-Ready Communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Project, which aims to increase awareness of volcanic and multi hazard risk at the community level in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 


This project is a collaborative initiative of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC). The primary objectives of the project are to increase knowledge and awareness of volcano and multi-hazards risk and to enhance adaptive capacity in communities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 


The project specifically seeks to reduce vulnerability to the multi-hazard environment of the Soufriere Volcano through a combination of activities designed to enhance response capacities. It also seeks to increase resilience of 12 communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in the high-risk zones of the volcano, to volcanic and other natural hazard events and climate change. 


The target communities for this two-year project have been separated into two groups and they are (a) Windward communities comprising Fancy, Owia, Sandy Bay, Overland, Big Level, South Rivers, Park Hill, Colonarie, and (b) Leeward communities comprising Fitz Hughes, Chateaubelair, Rose Hall, and Spring Village. 


This project is funded under the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). 

Professor Richard Robertson, Director of The UWI-SRC says, “Community engagement is at the core of the project, which will seek to improve and expand the capacity of the communities to be more resilient beyond the life of the project.”  A project management team has been established and is based at NEMO, and together with CDB will be engaging.


UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE SYMPOSIUM HELD  


A symposium that examined the issues relating to Universal Health Coverage took place earlier today at the Methodist Church Hall.


The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment hosted the event to coincide with World Health Day which will be observed on Saturday April 7th under the theme “Health for All-Universal Health Coverage”.


The Ministry says the Symposium was aimed at increasing awareness among decision makers, advocates and duty bearers of the required efforts involved in advancing Universal Health Coverage.

The session was attended by Individuals in top management positions in the Private and Public Sector. Dr. Rufus Ewing, PAHO Advisor on Health Systems Development for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean will be the main facilitator for this event.


Meanwhile … The World Health Organization is calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and commit to concrete steps to advance the health of all people.


The Organization will maintain a high-profile focus on Universal Health Coverage via a series of events, starting on Saturday – World Health Day, with global and local conversations about ways to achieve health for all.


CHILD PROTECTION UNIT TO CONVENE PRESS CONFERENCE


The Ministry of National Mobilisation through the Child Protection Unit would convene a press briefing on Monday 9th April at 9am at the Office of the Child Protection Unit (Welfare Office) in Paul’s Avenue. 

This event is expected to bring the nation up to date on activities being planned to commemorate the Child Abuse Awareness Month of Activities here in SVG. The theme for the month is “Every child safe, Every community awake”.  The Hon Frederick Stephenson would address the nation along with the Director of Child Protection Unit.


ST. JOSEPH’S CONVENT MARRIAQUA SHOW APPRECIATION TO THE ELDERLY


Past Students of St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua, formerly the Marriaqua Secondary School took to the streets of Marriaqua today to show appreciation to some elderly persons who have contributed significantly to the development of the school over the years.


Gift packages donated by past students in the diaspora were distributed to several persons who have impacted the school’s development. Packages were also distributed to several needy persons in the community as well as the Guadalupe’ Home for Girls.


The community outreach exercise forms part of ongoing activities to mark the school’s 50th anniversary which will be celebrated on September 16th , 2018. 

The next anniversary activity will be a public lecture scheduled to take place at 7pm on May 3rd at Frenches House. The presenter will be past student, Dr. Garth Nichols, an Economist working for the International Monetary Fund ( IMF). He will speak on the topic: What must a fragile economy such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines do to manage the effects of global vulnerabilities and ensure economic growth.


REGIONAL


WHITE HOUSE RULES OUT PRESIDENT TRUMP MEETING WITH PRESIDENTS OF CUBA AND VENEZUELA 


The White House on Thursday ruled out the already faint possibility that President Donald Trump will meet the leaders of Cuba or Venezuela on his first trip to Latin America next week.
 

"We don't anticipate at this point a direct meeting between president Trump and (Raul) Castro," a senior administration official said. "He won't be having bilateral meetings with Venezuela."
 

Trump has been at pains to contrast his presidency with that of predecessor Barack Obama, who held a historic meeting with Raul Castro at the last Summit of the Americas in Panama in 2015. That paved the way for a thaw in relations after decades of Cold War rivalry.
 

During this year's event, taking place on April 13-14 in Lima, Peru, Trump looks set to be less conciliatory.
 

A week before he departs for his first meeting summit with southern neighbors he ordered the National Guard to the Mexican border, as he sought to burnish his tough-on-migrants credentials.

APRIL 4TH 2018

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY MEETS APRIL 5TH


Twenty-one questions are listed on the Order paper from the opposition to receive oral answers when the House of Assembly meets tomorrow April 5th. The Order Paper also consists of twelve bills which will receive their first reading.


Some of the bills include the Finance Bill, 2018, the Public Sector Investment Loan, Bill 2018, the Customs Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2018, the Keith Glasgow Pension (Declaration) Bill, 2018, Paul Roberts Pension (Declaration) Bill, 2018, the Gwenette Cambridge Pension (Declaration) Bill, 2018 and the Climate Resilience Levy Bill, 2018 to be tabled by Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves and which will receive their first reading.

  

The other bills include the Advance Passenger Information Bill, 2018, The Light House Ministries Inc Incorporation Bill, 2018, the Harvest Bible Chapel Georgetown Incorporation Bill, 2018, the Association of Evangelical Churches of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Incorporation Bill, 2018 and the first Born Church Incorporation Bill, 2018.  

  

ULP TO HOST CELEBRATION RALLY ON SUNDAY


The Unity Labour Party ULP will be hosting a celebration rally this Sunday to mark its 17th anniversary since being elected into office.


Sunday’s rally will take place at the Calliaqua Playing Field. General Secretary of the ULP Julian Francis while speaking on his weekly radio program last night said that Sunday’s rally will commence at 5 pm on Sunday and advised that persons make the necessary preparations.


Francis said that from 1998 to 2015, thirty eight candidates have contested general elections here on the ULP ticket and make contributions to the party. He said that on Sunday they are expecting to recognize and celebrate with some of these persons who contributed in one way or the other to the party.


The General Secretary also applauded the musical and entertainment aspect of the ULP’s reign and noted that this played an integral role over the years.


POLICE OFFICERS ATTEND CONFERENCE ON “FOSTERING COOPERATION, BUILDING SYNERGIES FOR GREATER EFFICIENCY” 


A two day Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) Conference was held at the Peace Memorial Hall, under the theme “Fostering Cooperation, Building Synergies for Greater Efficiency”.

The conference was attended by Police Officers from the ranks of Corporal to Inspectors throughout the Constabulary and was said to be greatly anticipated by the NCOs.


The event was organized by the 2018 Non- Commissioned Officers Conference Organizing Committee chaired by Inspector Junior Simmons. Other members of the Organizing Committee were, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. Trevor Bailey, Deputy Chair, Inspector Carmel Craigg, Secretary, Sgt. 560 Olsen Rodney, PRO and Cpl. 740 Bjorn Duncan, Asst. Secretary.


The committee was praised for its efforts in making the event a successful one. The opening ceremony was chaired by Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. Trevor Bailey.


Delivering the featured address at the conference was Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves who outlined  briefly on few matters affecting the organization and encouraged the officers not to be afraid of change. 


PM Gonsalves also urged the attendees to keep their central focus on the main mandate of the Police Force, which is to fight crime, and maintain law and order. The Prime Minister encouraged the officers to adopt the best practices of the organization and to be professionals, being mindful of their obligations. He further lamented that, if they do not have a culture of change, there will be disruptions, because persons may be of the opinion that the only way they can reasonably effect change is by being disruptive. The Prime Minister admonished such actions and advised the officers to be positive instruments of change. 


In expressing his satisfaction with the large number of trained personnel in the Police Organization, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the level personal development of Police Officers over the years. He outlined a number of developmental programmes which occurred in the Force since he took office in 2001. He expounded on issues such as promotion, the Police Leave System, the well-being of Police Officers and their families and additional fleet of vessels for the Coast Guard Service among other things. 


The Prime Minister stressed the need for new officers to be properly guided upon entry into the Force and the need for the Police to maintain effective communication to the prosecution services in order to sustain synchronization of the mandate, while facilitating proper and effective policing. In his closing remarks, Prime Minister Gonsalves encouraged the police officers to be professionals and while doing so, he urged them take care of government property.


RSVG POLICE WELFARE ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES 66TH ANNIVERSARY


The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Welfare Association celebrated its 66th year anniversary on Sunday 1st April, 2018. 


To commemorate the event, the Police Welfare Association is hosting a week of activities, which commenced on the 1st April, 2018, to the 7th April, 2018, under the theme, “66 years of resilience, moving forward together despite the challenges”. The week of activities include:


  • Church      Service – Faith Temple Church – April 1st 
  • Lecture      by Randolph Rogers – April 3rd
  • Visit      to Lewis Punnett home, St. Benedict Day Nursery, Garden of Eden and Mental      Health – April 4th
  • Members      Appreciation Day – April 5th
  • Police      Public Speaking Competition – April 6th 
  • Family      Fun Day – Arnos Vale 2 – April 7th 
  • Dinner      Party – Calliaqua Town Hall – April 7th

POLICE NEWS


· Police are investigating a motor vehicular collision involving motor vehicle (m/v) PR-273 owned and driven by Florence Woods, of Belair and motor vehicle (m/v) P-2432 owned by the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and driven by Christel Hamilton, of Belair.


Reports are the vehicles collided along the Gorse Public Road at 4:15 p.m. on 02.04.2018. Rossane Huggins, a resident of Gomea and a passenger of m/v PR-273 sustained injuries to her forehead and was taken to the Georgetown Health Center where she was treated and discharged. 


Both Vehicles sustained extensive damages. Both drivers are assisting the police with the investigations.


· Police arrested and charged Deron Franklyn, 27 years labourer of Dickson Village and Tricia Horne, 24 years domestic of Spring Village, Georgetown, for having in their possession one .38 revolver without a license issued under the firearms act. 


The duo were also charge for having in their possession five (5) rounds of ammunition, two (2) rounds of which were .32 ammunition, without license issued under the firearms act. 


The incident occurred at Georgetown at 5:05 p.m. on 31.03.2018. Deron Franklyn and Tricia Horne are expected to appear before the Serious Offences Court on 03.04.2018, to answer the charges.


REGIONAL 


BARBADOS TO EXPLORE FOR OFFSHORE PETROLEUM


Barbados will begin exploration for potential offshore petroleum resources next year, Minister with responsibility for Energy, Darcy Boyce, has said. 


Boyce, speaking at a regional symposium on Strengthening CARICOM Energy Collaboration in Trinidad and Tobago last week, said that Barbados had successfully negotiated exploration licences for two blocks with the Australian-based BHP Billiton and had awarded another block to the Spanish-based Repsol.   “BHP Billiton is now in the final stages of the EIA (Energy Information Administration) process, and once complete, we expect exploration to begin within the next year.”


Boyce, noting that Barbados had substantial offshore petroleum acreage comprising more than 70 000 square kilometres, said that going forward, it was the intention of the Energy Division to continue to market the island's offshore acreage internationally, with the hope of generating more investment and exploration opportunities.

He said in consideration of the industry's renewed interest in offshore deep-water exploration, particularly within the Caribbean region, it was Barbados' intention to restart its licensing efforts within the next year.


He gave the assurance that as a tourist oriented country, great care was being taken in the pursuit of this initiative, in order to ensure the preservation and protection of the coastal and marine environment. He said it was therefore necessary to strengthen collaboration with both the established and emerging offshore oil and gas jurisdictions within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), describing this as a critical step in charting a successful energy future.

“The region is fast becoming a hotbed of activity due to its promising and largely untapped offshore petroleum potential and it is therefore imperative that we work closely together in building capacity and developing a collective resilience,” he said.


WORLD BANK TO PROVIDE US$25M TO REHABILITATE THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY


The Dominica government says the World Bank is providing US$25 million to rehabilitate the agricultural sector following the devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Maria in September last year.


Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Dominica will also benefit from a US$40 million allocation for housing under a multi-million dollar package “and the World Bank has agreed with us to fast track or to advance those funds and US$25 million are for agriculture.

Skerrit said he is hoping that the Ministry of Agriculture would hold public consultations very soon regarding the various components of the funds.

“It is very extensive and if properly implemented…it could benefit agriculture dramatically in Dominica, because you are talking about the resuscitation and revitalisation of the agricultural centers, where you will be propagating plants, providing tangible support to farmers;.

“You will be providing direct support to farmers on the farms. We are looking at the possibility of a credit scheme. So there are a number of components to the agricultural initiative,” he said, adding “we are bringing in a new structure in agriculture to help focus on these components.


Skerrit said that the funds would also be used for infrastructure with US$1.8 million also being used for social intervention “to help households with some direct cash support and we would be targeting the most vulnerable communities and most vulnerable homes in Dominica”.

He said the World Bank is assisting Dominica ‘in putting the framework together for that and we are hoping very soon that it will be in place and advanced to the benefit of the vulnerable communities and households in our country”.

APRIL 3RD 2018



ULP’S 17 YEARS IN OFFICE FILLED WITH ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES 


Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves says that Unity Labour Party ULP’s seventeen years in office has been quite a journey, one filled with achievements as well as challenges.


Speaking last Sunday in part two of a radio program that looked at the ULP’s 17 years in office, Dr. Gonsalves expressed gratitude to Almighty God, the Vincentian people for their continued support and stakeholders from home and abroad for their support.


The Prime Minister made the point that the achievements of his ULP administration were acquired amidst a number of challenges over the years but was still able to hold its own with economic growth registered and people’s livelihoods improved. 


Dr. Gonsalves added that there was also the diminution of the preference in the banana industry as well as the breakdown of CL Financial that affected CLICO and BAICO.


PM Gonsalves pointed to a number of important projects that are being undertaken here presently. Among them he spoke to the Coastal work being done in vulnerable communities such as Georgetown, San Souci and Dark View. The PM also spoke to the Slope stabilization work at Ginger Village and English Gutter among others.


SVG EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING AN EMBASSY IN TAIWAN


St. Vincent and the Grenadines is still exploring the possibility of the establishment of an Embassy in Taiwan. Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves spoke to this during a radio program on Sunday. He also used the opportunity to thank the outgoing Taiwanese Ambassador to SVG H.E Baushaun Ger for his service and interest in the development of SVG. 


PM Gonsalves further spoke a major development in foreign affairs where this country is seeking a 2019 bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.


DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER STRAKER VISITS TAIWAN


During a meeting with a visiting delegation led by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sir Louis Hilton Straker and Mrs. Straker on the morning of March 28, President Tsai Ing-wen thanked SVG for speaking up in favor of Taiwan's international participation.  She also expressed hope that Taiwan and SVG will have more frequent exchanges on a variety of cooperative issues.


President Tsai stated that SVG has long been a staunch diplomatic ally of Taiwan. Deputy Prime Minister Straker is a good friend and long-term supporter, and in 2016, made a special trip to attend President Tsai and Vice President Chen Chien-jen's inauguration ceremonies. The president then said that she was pleased to receive Deputy Prime Minister Straker and offered a warm welcome on behalf of the people of Taiwan.


The president mentioned that since Deputy Prime Minister Straker was last there, Taiwan and SVG have continued to promote cooperative programs in infrastructure, agriculture, information and communications technology, education, and youth counseling, and also made breakthroughs in medical exchanges. Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Straker and Taiwan's former Foreign Affairs Minister David T. Lee (李大維) signed an Agreement on the Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Diabetes in SVG. With the support and assistance of Taiwan's Mackay Memorial Hospital, this marks the first time our International Development and Cooperation Fund (ICDF) has teamed up with a domestic medical institution on a diabetes prevention project. We're very pleased that our cooperation with SVG is helping Taiwan's medical diplomacy gain momentum, and continues to make progress.


The president believes that SVG's program to fight diabetes, the first of its kind in Central and South America, will strengthen its diabetes prevention and treatment system, and also foster more interaction and a closer relationship between Taiwan and SVG. President Tsai specially thanked Deputy Prime Minister Straker for his strong support for bilateral exchanges and cooperation, and speaking up in favor of Taiwan's international participation.


The president emphasized that Taiwan and SVG have enjoyed friendly diplomatic ties for almost 40 years, and our cooperative efforts have yielded substantial achievements in many areas. This is the eighth time Deputy Prime Minister Straker has led a delegation to Taiwan, the mark of a deep friendship between the two countries. In closing, President Tsai once again welcomed her visitors and wished them a smooth and successful trip. She also asked the deputy prime minister to pass along her greetings to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.


VOLCANO-READY COMMUNITIES PROJECT TO BE LAUNCHED ON APRIL 6TH


Stakeholders and members of the public are expected to convene at Sandy Bay Government Primary School on April 6th at 4:00 PM for the official launch of the Volcano-Ready Communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Project, which aims to increase awareness of volcanic and multi hazard risk at the community level in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 


This project is a collaborative initiative of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC). The primary objectives of the project are to increase knowledge and awareness of volcano and multi-hazards risk and to enhance adaptive capacity in communities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 


The project specifically seeks to reduce vulnerability to the multi-hazard environment of the Soufriere Volcano through a combination of activities designed to enhance response capacities. It also seeks to increase resilience of 12 communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in the high risk zones of the volcano, to volcanic and other natural hazard events and climate change. 


The target communities for this two-year project have been separated into two groups and they are (a) Windward communities comprising Fancy, Owia, Sandy Bay, Overland, Big Level, South Rivers, Park Hill, Colonarie, and (b) Leeward communities comprising Fitz Hughes, Chateaubelair, Rose Hall, and Spring Village. 


This project is funded under the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Professor Richard Robertson, Director of The UWI-SRC says, “Community engagement is at the core of the project, which will seek to improve and expand the capacity of the communities to be more resilient beyond the life of the project.”


A project management team has been established and is based at NEMO, and together with CDB will be engaging with stakeholders throughout the week. 


CEREMONY TO RESTRUCTURE EARLY CHILDHOOD CURRICULUM HELD ON MARCH 29TH


A signing ceremony to restructure the early childhood curriculum in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was held by officials of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economic Planning and the Organization of American States (OAS)/Development Cooperation Fund (DCF) project. 

The ceremony was held on Thursday March, 29th, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Room. 


Director of Economic Planning, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Laura Anthony-Browne said, in the 2013-2025 development plan, the government of SVG identifies Early Childhood Education as critical to the development of the nation’s human capital and it established as a priority the enhancement of early childhood education.


Mrs. Browne on behalf of the government took the opportunity to applaud the entrepreneurial spirit which has fueled the opening of several pre-schools in the country. The Director of Economic Planning said that it is the government’s wish to provide guidelines and standards, which support the pre-schools within the dynamics of the 21st Century. Browne also thanked the OAS for its generous contribution.


Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation & Information, Morine Williams noted that under goal no. 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which deals with education in the post 2015 development agenda, aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all. 


Mrs. Williams said the Ministry is cognizant of the fact that the curriculum plays an essential role in enabling quality learning, a crucial element necessary for the attaining of this goal. She added that the curriculum determines whether education is inclusive and its provision is equitable. The Permanent Secretary added that the curriculum therefore provides a bridge between education and development.


The first phase for the provision of universal access to and the strengthening of delivery of comprehensive and quality early childhood education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will be executed at a cost of US$83,000.


NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH OF GOD TO HOLD ECUMENICAL SERVICE


The New Testament Church of God will hold an Ecumenical Service at the Wilson Hill New Testament Church of God, Kingstown, this Thursday April 05, 9:00am – 11:00am. 


The Service which will be held under the theme, “Heal Our Land”, is part of efforts of the NTCOG, in renouncing and continuing the fight against crime and violence in SVG.


Members of the Government, including Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Opposition, including Opposition Leader, Hon. Dr. Godwin Friday, Judiciary, SVG Human Rights Association, and Bar Association, have been specially invited to participate in the Service. Other key invitees include: The Commissioner of Police, Superintendent of Prisons, Ministry of Education and other Gov’t Ministries, Media Houses and Secular and Business Leaders, among others. The general public is also invited to be a part of this very important Service.


In 2017, the NTCOG staged a Prayer March and Rally around Kingstown to highlight the Church’s efforts of assisting in the intervention against Crime and Violence in SVG.


REGIONAL 


4.6 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE ROCKS HAITI


An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 rocked Haiti on Monday but there were no immediate reports of injuries and damages on the French-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country recovering from a massive earthquake that killed thousands of people in 2010.
 

The Technical Unit of Seismology (UTS) of the Bureau of Mines and Energy (MBE) associates with the Ministry of the Environment (MDE) and the Permanent Secretariat for Risk and Disaster Management (SPGRD) said the quake was recorded at  9:46 and was located at sea about 108.4 km south of Belle Anse and 111.8 km southeast of Marigot.
 

It said the quake occurred less than 24 hours after another tremor was felt in at least four communes namely, Anse-à-Veau, Azile, Arnaud and Petit-Trou de Nippes, causing some panic.
UTS said no damage has been reported by local authorities for these two seismic events.


PRIME MINISTER ROWLEY CALLS FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO OPPOSING VOTE BY A DIPLOMATIC OFFICIAL ON THE WAIVING OF DOMINICA’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE OAS


As the debate rages on about who is responsible for the diplomatic blunder in which T&T voted against Dominica’s bid to waive its OAS contributions for the next two years, there have been renewed calls for the dismissal of Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dennis Moses.


This is in light of a letter sent to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley on Thursday by T&T’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States, retired Brigadier General Anthony Phillips-Spencer, who stated that he followed the instructions given by Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs.

Still distressed by the effects of Hurricane Maria which battered the island in September 2017, Dominica sought approval to forgo their contributions for 2018 and 2019 as they rebuild.


A memorandum, obtained by the T&T Guardian, showed that T&T’s Mission in Washington DC had suggested to the ministry that this country should support Dominica’s bid. Following further correspondence between the ministry and the Mission, Phillips-Spencer told the meeting that T&T had offered the proposal for consideration of deferral of payments of contributions by member states and where possible, the possibility of a payment plan. Following criticisms locally and internationally, the ministry issued a release last Thursday stating that Rowley had requested a report and it was investigating the circumstances which led to a public official’s opposing vote. The release stated that “The Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs regrets the misrepresentation of the position of T&T offered by a public official of Trinidad and Tobago during a meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS.” In an interview, Moses told Guardian Media that the ministry’s position was not different to Dominica’s request.


However, Phillips-Spencer’s letter to Rowley, in which Moses was copied on Thursday, stated that in communicating T&T’s position, he acted in compliance with written instructions from the ministry after the meeting had already begun. He also referred to the media release with concern, saying that the claim of misrepresentation was “inaccurate and false.” He said the instructions given by the ministry contradicted the advice from his Mission, which was to support Dominica.


CARICOM HOST WORKSHOPS AIMED AT STRENGTHENING THE CAPACITY OF NATIONAL DRUG OBSERVATORIES REPRESENTATIVES


A two-day regional workshop aimed at strengthening the capacity of National Drug Observatories representatives to gather, analyse and report on drug-related information gets underway in Guyana on Wednesday.
 

The Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat said it is collaborating with the Inter American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) in hosting the workshop which is also to enable the development of evidence-based drug policies and programmes.
 

The event is part of the response under the Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) component of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Crime and Security Programme between the European Union and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM),
 

The DDR component seeks to strengthen institutional capacity of national and regional drug demand reduction entities and practitioners to effectively develop strategies and implement policies and programmes in CARIFORUM. The use of illicit drugs continues to rise in CARIFORUM countries and a lack of institutional capacity has been identified as one of the challenges in the response against this issue.
 

The two-day event will, among other things, review the results of household drug prevalence surveys which were recently done in the Caribbean; discuss the policy changes related to marijuana and their implications for research; and promote the standardised indicators for National Drug Information Networks Manual, along with data collection tools to pilot these indicators in selected countries across the region.
 

The secretariat said that delegates will also receive updates on the progress of the EU's Cooperation Programme between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union on Drug Policies (COPOLAD) working groups on early warning systems, annual reports and problematic drug use scales. The status of the 2018 Report on Drug Use in the Americas being drafted by CICAD. Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan will address the opening ceremony, the Secretariat said.

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MARCH 29TH 2018

IRD TAX AMNESTY YIELDING POSITIVE RESULTS


The three-month tax amnesty that is being carried out by the Inland Revenue Department, IRD, is said to be yielding positive results.


Minister of Finance Hon Camillo Gonsalves in his 2018 budget address last month announced that the government will be installing a tax amnesty in order to collect outstanding tax payments. The amnesty which commenced on February 15th will end on May 15th. It was reported that the government is owed millions of dollars in taxes which includes interests and penalties from businesses and individuals.


Finance Minister Gonsalves while speaking on radio this week said that based on the feedback from the IRD, there is a strong response from the public and the exercise is going well. 


The Minister further explained that the non-compliance level on payments of property taxes is pretty high. Gonsalves further urged that persons take full advantage of the tax amnesty before it comes to an end.

   

SVG FORMALLY ENDORSE AND ADOPT CariSECURE PROJECT

   

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on March 26th, signed documents to formally endorse and fully adopt the Caribbean Citizen Security Toolkit, CariSECURE in an effort to develop more effective crime prevention strategies and policies base don data. 


This project aims to strengthen the capacity of regional and national institutions in ten Caribbean countries to collect, analyze and use Citizen Security data for evidence-driven crime prevention.


The CariSECURE Project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Over a three period (March 26th-28th), a CariSECURE Team has been equipping members of a local Taskforce with technical support to implement the toolkit here in SVG in a three-day workshop held at the Beachcombers Hotel. 


The United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Linda S. Taglia-latela, who also addressed the opening ceremony of the workshop, reiterated the United States Government’s commitment to working with Caribbean Governments and their Stakeholders to strengthen the response to crime and violence affecting the Region. The U.S Ambassador said that it is only through a collective effort that crime and violence can be correctly addressed and that the CariSECURE Toolkit will help to provide an evidenced based approach to addressing crime. This, She added, is critical to the policy makers for allocating resources at the national and community levels and to the law Enforcement Officials for making strategic and tactical decisions.


China Mikami, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Barbados and the OECS also addressed the ceremony, in which she thanked Prime Minister Gonsalves and the Ministry of National Security for endorsing the CariSECURE Project. Meanwhile Christopher Cushing, Mission Director, Eastern and Southern Caribbean for the United States Agency for International Development gave a brief overview of CariSECURE and how it fits into USAID’s broader Youth Empowerment Services project which seeks to reduce youth involvement in violence and crime in the OECS. He noted that the CariSECURE program will enhance the technical capacity of Officers which will enable them to independently produce credible standardized data for analysis of crime and violence trends and maintain gender-disaggregated citizen security statistics among other technical skills.

   

OAS HOLD OFFICIAL SIGNING CEREMONY FOR 2017-2021 OAS-DCF PROJECT

  

The Organization of American States (OAS) earlier today held an official signing ceremony for the 2017-2021 OAS-DCF Project:  Restructuring the Early Childhood Curriculum in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday 29th March 2018.


The signing ceremony took place at the Department of Economic Planning Conference Room.   

  

REGIONAL

   

FIRE IN VENEZUELA LEAVES 68 PERSONS DEAD


A fire at a police station in the Venezuelan city of Valencia, in Cara-bobo state, has left 68 people dead, government officials say.  The blaze reportedly started after prisoners set fire to mattresses in an attempt to break out on Wednesday.

Police used tear gas to disperse relatives who surrounded the station after news of the fire broke. Chief state prosecutor Tarek Saab said an investigation into what had happened would begin immediately.

State official Jesus Santander said the situation had now been brought under control. He said the state of Carabobo was in mourning. The circumstances surrounding the fire have not been officially confirmed. Some of the victims burned to death, others died of smoke asphyxiation.



PASSENGERS ON LIAT FLIGHTS TO THE USA TERRITORIES TO EXPERIENCE ADDED SECURITY MEASURES


As of 27 March 2018, passengers using LIAT flights to the USA and its territories will experience added security measures.  These measures are in line with updated Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations.


Passengers traveling to the US territory of Puerto Rico (and St. Thomas as of July 1st) on LIAT will encounter new and enhanced security measures for checked bags, hand luggage and personal electronic devices (PEDs) such as laptops, iPads, and tablets at check-in and boarding gate. A short security interview is also a part of the new security measures.


These new security measures affect all airlines operating direct commercial services to the USA and its territories.

LIAT, therefore, advises all passengers traveling to the USA and its territories to arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure to ensure they have sufficient time to satisfy all other airport and airline formalities.

   

MARCH 28TH 2018

ULP CELEBRATES 17 YEARS IN GOVERNMENT

  

Today March 28th, 2018, marks the 17th anniversary of the ruling Unity Labour Party ULP since it assumed political office in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The ULP was first elected to office in 2001 having won 12 of the 15 seats then again in 2005 also with a 12 seat win.  In 2010 and 2015, the ULP repeated its winning streak with a reduced eight seat majority but retained the popular vote among the electorate.
 

Speaking on radio last night Prime Minister and Political Leader of the ULP Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves revisited incidents where he said outside forces in partnership with the opposition party here tried desperately to bring down the legitimate ULP administration, but noted that they were never successful. The PM further advised that Vincentians ignore the negatives that are being spewed and pay more attention to what is being done by the government of this country to uplift its people.


Dr. Gonsalves used the opportunity to highlight some of the projects that are currently being undertaken or will be embarked upon shortly. Some of these include the geothermal project and the new city at Arnos Vale which will include an Acute Referral Hospital.


PM Gonsalves added that recently consultations were held with the technical Support Committee that is responsible for the New City at Arnos Vale to discuss the way forward with this project and said that progress is being made in this regard. 


Another area of major development that the Prime Minister highlighted was that of hotel development, and also noted that steady progress is being made with the diversification of the agriculture and fisheries sectors.   

 

SVG GOSPEL OPENS ON APRIL 1ST

  

The 2018 edition of Digicel SVG Gospel Fest will be officially opened here this Sunday April 1st at the Victoria Park from 6.00 pm.  The festival which was started in 2003 and is now into its 16th year, has become a major event on the national calendar, and showcases Vincentian gospel expressions in music, song, dance and drama. 


The evening’s program will feature outstanding local gospel artistes such as Pastor Shirley Browne, Keevin Jackson, IPA Dancers, Caywama Edwards, Ronnie Richardson, Kara Dance Ministry and Clarity Gospel Band 


Addresses will come from the new chairman of the Gospel Fest Committee, Pastor Manson Shortte, Jamisha Wright Marketing Executive of Digicel, with Chief Cultural Officer Anthony Theobalds officially declaring the festival open. The guest artistes for the show will be some of the leading gospel artistes in the Caribbean including: De Warrior of Barbados, J Prince and Sharlene Samuel of Trinidad and Minister Tevaun Browne of Jamaica.


Following the opening this Sunday, the festival will continue with activities throughout the month. Programs include: "A Glorious Celebration of Dance" a night of dance on April 13th; “Zonal Gospel Showcases” across the country on April 15th; the Sing A New Song Competition on April 20th and the National Gospel Showcase on April 29th.


SVG Gospel Fest 2018 is being held under the theme: "A Glorious Celebration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

    

JEMARIAH DIAMOND OF MARRIAQUA GOVT SCHOOL WINS ANNUAL PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION FOR GRADE 5

   

The Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation and Information in conjunction with National Insurance Services (NIS) held the annual Public Speaking competition for Grade 5 on Tuesday, March 27th, at the NIS conference room. 


Jemariah Diamond of the Marriaqua Government School won the competition and also took the prize for the best prepared speech. The topic for the Prepared Speech of the Public Speaking competition was: “Dancehall music is contributing towards the increase in violence among youths in the Vincentian society. How far do you agree?” Second position went to Ginniek Shallow of the Lower Bay School Inc. who also won the best impromptu speech - on the topic, “If I ruled the world.” The third place was awarded to Rosashia Shortle of the Lowmans Leeward Anglican and fourth, Rolando Lewis of the Diamond Government School. 


A total of seven primary schools participated. Senior Education Officer of Primary Schools, Joycelyn Blake-Brown in her remarks said that the young people have a voice and should be encouraged and guided. Mrs. Blake-Browne said: “students are not given enough opportunities to express themselves in real life situations.” The Senior Education Officer said “public speaking is an art, it must be practiced and that the competition should make an impact on the lives of the students at all levels.


Representative of the NIS, Sharon Ashton said co-sponsoring the event for the 15th year attests to the NIS’s commitment to ensuring that the primary school students participate fully in civic and democratic life and to contribute towards the upliftment of the society. She said that literacy competence is the foundation of all other learning and applauded the Ministry of Education for its consistency in undertaking this program annually. The other schools that participated included: The Argyle Primary, Fancy Government and the Paget Farm Government. 

   

MIN OF HEALTH & BE FIT MOVEMENT TO HOST EVENT

  

The Be Fit Movement SVG Fitness group in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Environment and the Diabetes Association will next month host an event in solidarity with juvenile diabetes.

The event dubbed “Dance to Fitness Total Body Workout’ is a 5K Run/Walk and Health Exhibition. Its main purpose is to raise awareness about the issues concerning diabetes with a targeted focus on juvenile diabetes.


BeFit’s Coach Lindon James says that this year they are combining three high energy, challenging, invigorating and educational events in the form of a Dance to Fitness (on the road) total body workout, a 5K Run/Walk, and Health Exhibition to be held on April 28th 2018 from 3:00 pm. 


James added that BeFit Movement SVG will be embarking on this important drive to not only engage persons to participate in physical activities in a fun and impacting way but also to address the growing health issues regarding juvenile diabetes, through needs-based planning processes. The event is geared towards to assessing how fitness groups such as Be Fit Movement can help persons affected by and living with diabetes, raising awareness and raising funds to help organizations such as the diabetes association deal with the growing challenges and to develop primary health care approach.


The event will be launched on Tuesday 3rd April 2018, 9:30 am at the National Sports Council Conference room, Arnos Vale Playing Field via a press conference. 

   

POLICE NEWS

   

On 27.03.2018, Mr. George ‘Chocoloate’ Franklyn of Campden Park, pleaded guilty in the High Court to two (2) counts of murder on his wife Ingrid Jack-Franklyn and on Marva James both of Campden Park. 


He was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for the murder of Ingrid Franklyn and 15 years imprisonment for the murder of Marva James, the sentences are to be run consecutively. George Franklyn was also sentenced for four (4) counts of attempted murder on Sheron James, Simeon James, Esroy Lavia and Desroy Jack, all of Campden Park to which he was sentenced to 10 years each; three (3) counts of aggravated burglary for entering the dwelling house of Marva James, Molly Jack and Jenifer Warren, he was sentenced to seven (7) years each, and for firearm offences, five (5) years each. All sentences will run concurrently. 


These offences occurred on September 13, 2011. George Franklyn is now serving time at Her Majesty’s Prison.

………………….

Police arrested and charge Emerson Delpleche, of Belair for between the 31st May 2017 and February 2018 at Her Majesty’s Prison, Kingstown in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, did agree with others that the course of conduct shall be pursued, which if the agreement was carried out in accordance with his intention, would amount to the commission of the offence of murder on Nadine Delpleche of Carapan by the parties of the agreement.


Emerson Delpleche would appear before the Serious Offences Court on 28.03.2018 to answer the charge.

……………..

Police arrested and charged Raja Clarke, 23 years Dorsetshire Hill, for entering the dwelling house of Mitra Malcolm,  transmission engineer of Dorsethire Hill, as a trespasser and stole a quantity of items.


Reports are that Clarke stole a quantity of flash drives valued EC$250.00; one (1) silver sony vaio laptop valued EC$1250.00; a quantity of gold and gold plated jewellery valued EC$3150.00; two (2) black Lenovo laptop valued EC$7346.00; two black external hard drives valued US$115.00; two (2) small mag-lights valuing EC$450.00; two (2) sony cameras valued EC$130.00; and one dremel multi-max tool lent valued US$109.99. The property of Mitra Malcolm and Dulrie Malcolm accountant of Dorsetshire Hill. 


The offence was committed between 12:05 p.m. and 2.00 p.m. on 01.03.2018. 

REGIONAL NEWS

UWI SEEKS TO RECOVER OVER US$200 MILLION

  

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is urging Caribbean governments to provide the regional tertiary institution “with performing assets” as it seeks to recover more than US$200 million in outstanding debt. 


Addressing the UWI Open Campus Council Meeting and Media Conference in Antigua, UWI Vice Chancellor Professor Hilary Beckles said that talks have taken place with the regional governments on the outstanding arrears.

He said that the debt is a challenge for then and it has reached a level where they had no choice but to ask the governments collectively to discuss it at the level of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) heads.


Beckles said that if a university can't invest, cannot do research or get involved in partnerships “or doesn't have the resources to function as a university, it will roll back”. He said the UWI has suggested that the regional governments, who are billed based on the number of students attending the university, consider payment in the form of other incentives. Beckles said he would be very pleased if the governments can agree to the options “because they have to proceed on a basis of trust”.

During the meeting, it was disclosed that the Open Campus, which is observing its 10th anniversary had significantly increased the intake of students over the years.


According to the figures, when it began operations, there were 3,674 students with the enrollment figure now put at 6,733.

   

March 27th 2018

PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES THE FIRST TO ENDORSE THE CariSECURE PROJECT IN THE REGION

   

The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday endorsed the CariSECURE Project Caribbean Citizen Security Toolkit.
 

The Hon Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves signed the CariSecure Project Guidance Notes to indicate this country’s commitment and acceptance of the Project.


The event took place at the Beachcombers Hotel. Dr. Gonsalves in addressing the event expressed gratitude to the United Nations Development Programme UNDP and the United States Agency for International Development USAID for their involvement with SVG with this project. Dr. Gonsalves also yesterday  announced the members of the Task Force which includes members from his Ministry.
 

PM Gonsalves is the first regional Prime Minister to have endorsed the project having officially done so in February 2017.
 

The Strengthening Evidenced Based Decision Making for Citizen Security in the Caribbean – (CariSECURE) Project is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project which is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

 

VINCENTIANS INVITED TO APPLY FOR TAIWANESE FET PROGRAMME 2018/2019

   

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce is inviting  Vincentians to apply for the Taiwanese Foreign English Teaching (FET) Programme 2018/2019.  The Programme provides an enriching opportunity for Vincentians to work in Taiwan. The ideal candidates must be a qualified English Teacher who will be recruited to teach in K-9 public schools in Taiwan.


Officials in the Department of Foreign Policy and Research in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce indicate that the deadline for applications is April 23, 2018 and application forms and other guidelines can be accessed on the FET’s website http://fettaiwan.com/


Applications should be submitted to the Bilateral Unit in the Ministry on or before the deadline.

   

CDB & UWI SEISMIC RESEARCH CENTRE LAUNCHES VOLCANO-READY COMMUNITIES PROJECT IN SVG

   

  

On April 5, 2018, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in collaboration   with the University of   the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, will host the official   launch of the Volcano-Ready Communities in St. Vincent and the   Grenadines Project.


The project is funded by   the Community Disaster   Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF), a multi-donor trust fund administered by   CDB, and is intended to increase preparedness for volcanoes and other natural   hazards; and reduce climate change impacts in beneficiary communities.


Increased knowledge and   awareness of volcano and multi-hazards risk; enhanced adaptive capacity; and   project management, administration and visibility are also intended outcomes.

VINCENTIAN ARRESTED & CHARGED FOR DRUG OFFENSES IN BARBADOS

   

The Barbados Drug Squad arrested and charged 23-year-old Vincentian Kamol Wendel Muckett of Union Vale, Port Elizabeth, Bequia, St Vincent with eight drug offences.  They were allegedly committed on March 22 at the Shallow Draught, Bridgetown Port, St Michael.


The charges are possession of cannabis, trafficking in cannabis, possession with intent to supply cannabis, importation of cannabis, possession of cocaine, trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent to supply cocaine, and importation of cocaine. 

Muckett arrived in Barbados around 6:15 a.m. on board the vessel “Melinda 2” which was berthed at the Shallow Draught. A search of this vessel was conducted by the Drug Squad, Customs and the Coast Guard.


Two packages were found during the search, one containing suspected cannabis and the other suspected cocaine. Muckett was subsequently arrested in connection with the drugs found.


The weight of the suspected cocaine is 0.97 kilogrammes with an estimated street value of $48 500, and the weight of the suspected cannabis is 1.35 kilogrammes with an estimated street value of $5 400.

   

REGIONAL NEWS

IMF FINDS DEFICIENCIES AND WEAKNESSES IN T &T TAX ADMINISTRATION SYSTEM 

  

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has found several deficiencies and weaknesses in Trinidad and Tobago’s tax administration system.  hat was revealed in the findings of an assessment carried out by the Washington-based lending agency using the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT).


The IMF said the Inland Revenue Division’s (IRD) reform needs are substantial. Among the many deficiencies identified were: the unreliable state of the taxpayer registration database; delays in processing of accounting transactions; and weak compliance risk management methodologies that severely hamper IRD operations, limits its capacity to improve taxpayer compliance and generate additional tax revenues.


“While the assessment team observed strengths in the use of third party data to support audits, a well-structured tax dispute resolution process, and a relatively sound tax administration IT system, there are substantial weaknesses that impact all outcome areas,” the (TADAT) performance assessment report stated.


Those weaknesses include: an inaccurate taxpayer registration database with uncertainty regarding the number of active taxpayers; inaccurate taxpayer accounts arising from delays in processing accounting transactions; under-developed compliance management methodology; inefficient business processes; and general shortage of technical staff.

“All these issues impact on the credibility, reliability and ready availability of tax administration data,” the report said.  Given the deficiencies identified, the IMF team said it was unable to assess the true performance situation in a number of areas.


In 18 of the 28 indicators, Trinidad and Tobago was graded ‘D’ – the lowest level of performance which denotes inadequate performance or insufficient information to determine and score the level of performance.


An ‘A’ grade, which denotes performance that meets or exceeds international good practice, was given in two areas: use of efficient collection systems and existence of an independent, workable, and graduated dispute resolution process.