PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES LEADS DELEGATION TO UNGA 73
This country’s Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves will leave the state tomorrow (Wednesday, September 19th) to attend a number of official functions abroad.
Speaking on radio this morning, Dr Gonsalves disclosed that his eight-working day trip abroad will kick start with his attendance at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73).
Dr. Gonsalves said the he will also be involved in a number of meetings apart from the official events at the United Nations UN.
Dr Gonsalves who will be accompanied by his wife Mrs. Eloise Gonsalves said that he will also be engaged in a number of bilateral meetings and that he will be later joined by Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves and Minister of Health Luke Browne.
256 CRUISE SHIP CALLS CONFIRMED FOR 2018/2019 SEASON
Some two hundred and fifty-six cruise calls have been confirmed for St Vincent and the Grenadines for the 2018/2019 tourism season.
This was revealed by Minister of Tourism Hon Cecil McKie as he spoke at a press conference yesterday.
Minister Mc Kie has also encouraged the public to support the rest of the packed and exciting scheduled calendar of events which will be held from October to December this year.
POLICE INVESTIGATE AGGRAVATED ROBBERY OF MEDICAL DOCTOR AT CEDARS
Police here are continuing investigations into a report of aggravated robbery which occurred about 9:00 pm on Saturday September 15, 2018 at Cedars.
Based on preliminary investigations, a 39-year-old Medical Doctor was exiting her motor vehicle with her child in her arms when two (2) masked men armed with a gun and a knife accosted her and relieved her of her handbag containing among other things cash, cellular phone and other electronic gadgets.
There are eight (8) persons in police custody assisting with this investigation. One additional person, Mr. Olrick Devon Manasa Hanson of Mayreau is a person of interest in this investigation and who was on the run, has been picked up by the Police. Mr. Hanson is currently assisting with investigation into the robbery of the 39-year-old Doctor at Cedars.
GENERATION NEXT INC TO HAND OUT BURSARIES TODAY
Generation Next Inc. – a youth-based charity organization will be hosting a ceremony here this afternoon to hand out college bursaries to students under the Access to College Education Programme [ACEP].
The handing over ceremony will take place at the Methodist Church Hall, Kingstown on at 1:00 P.M today. It will be addressed by the Hon. Senator Deborah Charles, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education and the Hon. Senator Carlos James, Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.
BARBADOS PHASING OUT MACHINE READABLE PASSPORTS
Barbados has announced that it is phasing out machine-readable passports in favour of electronic passports, following a recommendation by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) as the new standard to be adopted for travel document issuance.
Chief Immigration Officer, Wayne Marshall, said that the e-passport is a biometrically enabled passport with a chip and antenna in the cover that increases the security features. He said it would be more difficult to replace an e-passport because there is a chip in the actual cover. He adds that anyone seeking to replicate the passport would have to remove the chip and ensure that it has the same information as on the biodata page.
Marshall said that the chip would capture the same biometric information – facial representation and biodata – as the machine-readable passports. However, he noted that the computer chip in the cover could not be easily accessed, replicated or changed, thereby enhancing the security feature of the passport. Mr. Marshall said that the more security features a passport has, the more accepted it is by countries around the world.
The Chief Immigration Officer noted that Barbados is moving towards it because of the security features and to maintain the high standard of the Barbados passport,” he said, adding that the island ranks highest among Caribbean countries that do not require a visa for entry into most countries. However, it is a standard which all Caribbean countries will have to meet overtime.
Once fully implemented, persons would not have a choice as to if they should get an e-passport or not, as the machine-readable passports would be phased out. Marshall also recommended that persons wait until their passports expire before applying for a new passport.
Last month, Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, announced that his country would be adopting the e-passport.
JAMAICA TO BAN SUGARY DRINK FROM PUBLIC HEALTH FACILITIES
As of January 1, 2019, sugary drinks will be banned from public health facilities, says Jamaica’s Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton.
The ban will affect what can be sold by concessionaires, and others selling at public hospitals and health centres.
Dr. Tufton said a tone must be set for persons not to drink themselves to sickness, and while patients in the public health system are guided by nutritionists, “for the general consumption, they will be discouraging those products.
He said that they believe that they need to set the example, and there are thousands of persons who work in the hospitals, they want to set the tone and the culture within the public health system. The Minister pointed out that sensitization is ongoing, and come next January, administrators at the institutions will a “critical part of the enforcement.”
During his contribution to the 2018/2019 Sectoral Debate, Dr. Tufton spoke of the impending restriction of certain types of sugary drinks in schools and health facilities and made an appeal for increased consumption of water and fruit juices. He told the House of Representatives that there was evidence that excessive consumption of drinks with added sugar aid in the generation of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Dr. Tufton also told the recent Caribbean Wellness Day Symposium that NCDs are a “clear and present” danger to Jamaica, particularly diabetes and hypertension, and that overweight is a known risk factor.
SVGTA PREPARES TO HOST ROAD SHOWS IN CANADA, UK AND USA
The St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) is preparing to host a series of Road Shows later this month in Canada, to offer more information on Air Canada Rouge flights to St Vincent as well as destination activities and accommodations.
According to reports the Road Shows in Canada will be the third leg of “DiscoverSVG” Road Shows being undertaken in the destination’s main tourism source markets.
A delegation from the SVGTA is currently in the United Kingdom for the Road Shows in that market. The DiscoverSVG Road Shows will continue from September 24 to September 28 in Canada where events will be held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Oakville, Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal.
The USA leg of the Road Show will run from October 1 to October 4 with events in New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut and Boston. The SVGTA will also extend the Road Shows to the Caribbean Market during the month of November, which is also celebrated across the region as Caribbean Tourism Month.
PPA TRAINING CONCLUDES THIS WEEK
Training sessions for the Participatory Poverty Assessment PPA launched by the Ministry of National Mobilisation, will conclude this week.
The training commenced on Monday 10th and will conclude on Tuesday 18th September 2018. This includes class room and theoretical components with transect walk and field simulations being done during the time slated for the training.
The sessions are being facilitated by the Director of Social Development Mrs. Merissa Finch-Burke of the Ministry of National Mobilisation and Mrs. Amonia Paul-Rolle the Social and Gender Analyst (E-CPA) Enhance Country Poverty Assessment Project at the OECS Commission. Mrs. Amonia Paul-Rolle, while addressing the launch last week brought greeting from the OECS Commission and expressed her pleasure of being a part of the process. This exercise is being funded by the CDB. She lamented on the need to have research facilitators adequately trained to collect the required data. She further stated that the overall objective of the CPA is to improve the availability of timely and reliable data which is critical to support evidence based decision making and improved frameworks development.”
In summary the PPA complements the SLC – survey of living conditions, it generates or utilize qualitative data; answers question that cannot be adequately dealt with using numbers. It is deliberate action to give a voice to persons living in poverty or vulnerable condition and to those whose living conditions are restricted by structural conditions in the society, change in the policy environments or natural disasters.
Minister of National Mobilisation Hon Frederick Stephenson is encouraging the country to participate as this will help to provide the necessary information on the condition of poverty thus allowing his ministry to respond in meaningful ways to the community needs.
FISHERIES DIVISION TO CONDUCT ISLAND WIDE INSPECTION OF FISHING VESSELS
The Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour, will this week be conducting an island wide drive to inspect all fishing vessels in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The main objective is to ensure that fishing vessels in St Vincent and the Grenadines are in compliance with the various regulations and standards that govern Construction, Registration and Safety
To this end, the Fisheries Division Extension Unit will be visiting the Kingstown, Campden Park, Lowmans Bay, Questelles and Clare Valley beaches during the month of September to sensitize fishers on their role and responsibilities relative to the inspection of their boats. The cooperation of the fisher folk in these fishing communities would be greatly appreciated.
ST. VINCENT GRAMMAR SCHOOL CELEBRATES 110TH ANNIVERSARY
The St. Vincent Grammar School is celebrating its 110th anniversary. The school will be hosting a special church Service on Friday 21st September 2018 at the Methodist Church, Kingstown from 9:00 am to 10:30 am. After the service the students will march to the school. Thereafter, past Students will come to the school to give motivational talks to the students.
HAITIAN SENATE APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT’S GENERAL POLICIES
The Haitian senate Saturday approved the new government’s general polices, a necessary first step before it can begin functioning, two months after the last premier was forced to resign after attempting to impose unpopular austerity measures.
Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant, who has been head of government since early August, listened to the doubts expressed by the lawmakers angry at cabinet ministers suspected of tax evasion, before managing to obtain support of 21 of 28 senators.
With the senate’s approval secure, the new government now needs a vote of confidence from the chamber of Deputies, scheduled to meet later in the day.
Ceant, a notary who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2010 and 2016, was named to the post on August 5 by President Jovenel Moise is Jean-Henry Ceant — but in a sign of discord between the legislative and presidential branches it took a month to reach agreement on his 18-member cabinet. Before Ceant presented his general policy, senators meeting overnight Friday to Saturday discussed tax fraud suspicions that hang over some of the new cabinet ministers.
On September 6, the day after president Moise announced his new cabinet, several nominees dashed off to the country’s tax office to pay their back taxes — a rush that Senator Patrice Dumont derided as a “procession of shame.” To be confirmed as a cabinet minister, candidates must show proof from the previous five years that all their taxes have been paid. Tension remains high in Haiti after riots in July against rising fuel prices wreaked havoc in Port-au-Prince, forcing the prime minister at the time, Jack Guy Lafontant, to resign.
Deadly violence hit the Caribbean country in mass protests sparked when the government on July 6 announced major fuel price hikes — 38 per cent for gasoline, 47 per cent for diesel and 51 per cent for kerosene.
PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES HOLD DISCUSSION WITH THE RANK AND FILE OF THE RSVGPF
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves on Monday of this week held a very fruitful discussion with the rank and file of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.
According to information received the discussions took place with Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Frankie Joseph and the rest of the Police High Command including Coast Guard Commander Brenton Caine, the gazette officer’s corps and the rank and file of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force at the Old Montrose Police Lecture Hall.
The Prime Minister was accompanied to the meeting by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Godfred Pompey, which was attended by approximately 280 police officers.
It was reported that PM Gonsalves in his address to the gathering urged the officers to be knowledgeable about their duties and responsibilities and the powers vested in them by the laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as Police Officers.
Touching on the issue of crime and crime fighting, the Minister of National Security commented on the resources that have been provided to the constabulary to fight crime. According to the Prime Minister, Police Officers are trained on a continuous basis both locally and internationally. He touched on the increase in the police establishment which is close to 900 officers and the construction of a refurbishing of several police stations throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He stated that all of these initiatives are geared toward improving the crime fighting strategies and response capabilities of the Police Force.
The Prime Minister lamented the need for police officers to practice effective community policing. He advised them not to stay in the stations but to go out in the communities to ‘meet and greet’ the residents; and by so doing, the public’s trust in the police will be improved thereby allowing for more productive “police/public partnership.
GOVERNMENT OF SVG CONTINUE TO PLACE FOCUS ON THE EDUCATION SECTOR
The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is continuing to place focus on the education sector. The Ministry of Education last week hosted a special ceremony to celebrate the commendable scholastic performance of seven (7) former students of the Community College - Divisions of Technical, Teacher, and Nursing Education. PM Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves who delivered the feature address at the ceremony spoke to the advancements made in the sector and pointed out that significant sums of monies are expended in both the primary and secondary levels of education.
The Prime Minister also spoke about university education, and provided details of the platform that the government provides to facilitate university education for Vincentian students.
The students were awarded scholarships, bursaries and tuition awards based on their academic achievement in the external exit exams of May-June, 2017.
RSVGPF TRAFFIC BRANCH CLAMPDOWN ON LOUD MUSIC IN VEHICLES
The Traffic Branch of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force has recently embarked on the clampdown on loud music in motor vehicles
Speaking at a recent meeting with members of the constabulary PM and Minister of National Security Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has welcomed the move.
According to reports Dr. Gonsalves in his address expressed the view that every police officer should seek to enforce and uphold the laws of the land no matter what department, division or station they are attached. Touching on the current issue of ‘noise’ and the Noise Act, Dr. Gonsalves advised the officers that not because they may not work at the Traffic Department, it does not mean that they should turn a blind eye to traffic offences that are committed or any other offences for that matter. He stressed that the portfolio of every police officer should incorporate all of the duties offences encapsulated in the Police Act and the Criminal Code respectively. One person has been successfully charged since the Noise Act ahs been enforced and several tickets have been issued.
SVG ON ALERT FOR TROPICAL STORM ISAAC
St Vincent and the Grenadines is on alert for Tropical Storm Isaac. According to information from the Meteorological Office at the Argyle International Airport, at 11:00 am, the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 49.7 West. Isaac is moving toward the west near 16 mph (26 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue for the next few days. The center of Isaac is now expected to move near or over the central Lesser Antilles (north of St. Lucia/near Martinique) on Thursday, moving into the Eastern Caribbean Sea Thursday night. Isaac should be passing about 125 miles (200 km) north of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
However, feeder bands associated with Isaac should bring some showers, isolated thunderstorm activity across SVG during Wednesday. As the center of Isaac passes north of SVG, instability with occasional moderate to heavy showers can be expected Thursday and Friday. Maximum sustained winds remain near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. The estimated minimum central pressure is 996 mb (29.42 inches). Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the center. Isaac could be near hurricane strength when it moves through the central Lesser Antilles, with some weakening forecast on Friday.
A Hurricane Watch is now in place for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica; with hurricane conditions possible within the hurricane watch area by Thursday morning. A Tropical Storm watch is in place for Antigua and Montserrat, with tropical storm conditions possible early Thursday in both the hurricane and tropical storm watch areas. Swells generated by Isaac should begin to affect portions of the Lesser Antilles by Wednesday afternoon. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Sea conditions across SVG are forecast to deteriorate with swells of 3.0 to 3.5m (10 to 11ft) possible on our east coasts during Thursday. Isaac is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches across portions of the Windward Islands. Models suggest that rainfall accumulations of 2 - 3inches (50-75mm) are possible across parts of SVG. The next update on Tropical Storm Isaac will be at 6:00 pm today.
· Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Yorlande McMaster, 47 years old Domestic of Lower Questelles.
The body of the deceased was discovered on the 10.09.2018 about 8am at Lower Questelles.
A Post Mortem examination will be conducted to ascertain the cause of death. Police are encouraging persons with information that would assist in this investigation to call the Questelles Police Station at 1784-456-1750, the officer in charge of CID at 1784-456-1810 or the Central Police Station at 1784-457-1211.
· Police arrested and charged Kennard Bowens. 23 years old unemployed of Lowman’s Hill with the offence of Rape.
The complainant reported that at the time of intercourse she did not consent to it and at the time Bowens knew that she did not consent to the intercourse and was reckless as to whether she consented or not. The incident occurred on the 01.06.2018.
· Police arrested and charged Elvid Brackin, 24 years old Mason of Sandy Bay for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13 year old young lady. The incident occurred between 20.03.2016 and 31.03.2016 and the 24.11.16.
CDB APPROVES US$400,000 TO ASSIST BARBADOS WITH THEIR ECONOMIC REFORM
The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant of USD400,000 to help the Government of Barbados further develop its economic reform programme.
The approval sets into motion the Bank’s plan to support the country’s return to sustained economic growth.
The technical assistance project aims to enhance the capacity of staff in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment to adequately design, negotiate and support the implementation of critical macroeconomic and structural reforms. Further, it is expected to strengthen Barbados’ macroeconomic policy and planning.
According to Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics, CDB this project is critical to unlocking the growth potential of the Barbadian economy and improving the country’s economic performance. He says that the CDB is pleased to support the Government of Barbados in its efforts to restructure the country’s debt and focus on creating conditions for the return of sustained economic growth.
The technical assistance project responds to the urgent challenges Barbados faces, including a fragile fiscal and external liquidity situation; and unsustainable levels of public indebtedness. Such issues are adversely affecting investor confidence and consequently, domestic economic activity.
When completed, the programme is expected to focus on the implementation of reforms to generate and entrench improved fiscal performance. Additionally, it will seek to improve external performance and drive growth by addressing critical infrastructure gaps and strengthening the regulatory and institutional environment within which the private sector operates. Moreover, it will place emphasis on mitigating any potential negative impacts the implementation of the programme could have on the most vulnerable groups of the society.
The technical assistance project will take into account lessons learnt from similar CDB-funded interventions that supported Ministries of Finance in Jamaica and Grenada. It is consistent with the Bank’s corporate priorities of strengthening evidence-based policymaking, and improving economic, fiscal and debt management.