January 15th 2019

   

GOVERNMENT AND TWO UNIONS AGREE ON SALARY INCREASES


Several items on the agenda for the recently held meeting with Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves and the two unions the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers’ Union CTAWU and the National Workers’ Movement NWM have been agreed upon following frank and respectful discussions last week.


According to a joint statement issued by the CTAWU, the NWM and the Government of SVG on the vital matter of wage/salary increases, the representatives of the two unions and the government have agreed a 1% retroactive increase from July 1st 2018 to December 31 2018, a further increase of one and a half percent increase for 2019 and a further increase of two percent for 2020.


Both the unions and the government consider these increases to be fair and reasonable in all the prevailing circumstances. It is estimated that each percentage point increase amounts to three million dollars annually. The statement further notes that the parties further agreed to a detailed discussion on allowances, other worker benefits and allowances. The two unions will submit shortly, memoranda in these respects. The unions’ representatives will meet on these matters with the government’s committee headed by the Director General of Finance and Planning. 

The two unions and the government also expressed satisfaction at the improvement in the economy as attested to late last year by the Staff Report of the International Monetary Fund on the occasion of the usual Article IV economic prospects in the medium term are very mindful of the challenges ahead and possible downside risks, including externally sourced challenges and natural disasters.


The statement also pointed out that the three parties agreed to keep their lines of communication and consultation open in accord with best international practices.


NEW COMPOST PRODUCTION FACILITY AT ORANGE HILL OFFICIALLY HANDED OVER TO THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE


A New Compost Production Facility located at the Orange Hill Agriculture Biotechnology Centre was officially handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday. The Compost facility was constructed at a cost of EC$1.5 million is equipped with three bio-digesters for making compost and a steam sterilizing machine for the sterilization of soil and other inputs used for vegetable seedling production. 


A release from the Ministry of Agriculture says there was also the handover of a project, Strengthening Farmers’ Organization and Improving Fruit and Vegetable Production Technology in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines” .


The project was executed over a four-year period at a cost of over EC$7M. It involves the establishment of eight Farmers’ Cooperatives producing different agricultural commodities, and the development of cultivations models for Watermelon, Pineapple, Sweet Pepper, Tomatoes and Carrots.


AIA HOST BANNER DISPLAYS ON COASTAL VULNERABILITY AND MITIGATION


The Argyle International Airport (AIA) is this week hosting a Banner Displays in an effort to sensitize the public on Coastal Vulnerability and Mitigation in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

The AIA says it will collaborate with the University of Liverpool to have the banner displays with educational content regarding Coastal Vulnerability. The displays would be set up in the International Departure Check-In area at AIA from January 15 to 31, between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The public is being encourage to visit the Banner Display and learn about tools that can help mitigate coastal vulnerability, in an effort to enhance the country’s tourism product.


SVG TORONTO SUPPORT GROUP AND SVG TORONTO ASSOCIATION MAKES DONATIONS TO MCMH


The Members of the SVG Toronto Support Group and the SVG Toronto Association continue to spearhead charitable contributions in the Diaspora. Several medical items including mattresses, blood pressure monitors, pampers and other medical supplies were delivered to the MCMH at a ceremony held on Friday December, 21, 2018 at the Atrium of the Hospital.

Several Government Officials and Hospital staff were there to witness the handover of the items. The ceremony was chaired by Senior Foreign Service Officer within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Trade and Commerce, Ms. R. Tamira L.V. Browne. Mr. Cuthbert Knights, Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment presented the welcome remarks and expressed sincere gratitude for the contributions. Remarks were also given by representatives of the SVG Toronto Support Group & SVG Toronto Association, and Mr. Fitzgerald Huggins, Consul General in the Consulate of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Toronto.


Sr. Grace Walters, the Hospital Administrator on behalf of the Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment and the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ended the ceremony with a heartfelt vote of thanks to the donors for their generous contributions.

The Ministry will continue to partner and work with organisations in the Diaspora through its Missions and Consulates for the continual development of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.


RSVGPF HOST THANKSGIVING SERVICE


Members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force have been reminded that God is a way maker and must be trusted at all times.  The reminder came last Sunday January 13, 2019 from Leading Sea Man, Pastor Nolan James who delivered the sermon during the service of thanksgiving hosted by the RSVG Police Force at the Old Montrose Police Station.

Speaking under the theme: Giving thanks -Lord you have been good to us, Pastor James told those gathered that, “what God has planned for you is yours”. He said that sometimes people go about things the wrong way and it doesn’t bring them happiness but encouraged officers for 2019 to have a greater appreciation for God and he will make a way. 


Noting that in life there will be challenges, Pastor James reminded officers that overcoming those challenges is key. He admonished them not to curse the country in which they live because of politics noting that this is a blessed nation.  Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph in his remarks stressed that police are at high risk and divine protection is necessary. The Deputy Commissioner noted that the Police Christian Soldiers have been doing a tremendous job in bridging the gap with spiritual outreach.


POLICE NEWS


Police have arrested and charged Curtis Joseph, a 46-year old Labourer of Sion Hill with the offence of Burglary and Damage to property.  Joseph allegedly (1) Damaged one showcase window value $1,713.60ECC, the property of ACE Hardware by smashing it with a stone. The accused also (2) entered the Hardware store as a trespasser and stole four (4) five-gallon buckets of Harris Paint, Value $2,074. The incident reportedly occurred between 5:45pm on 09.01.19 and 8:15am on 10.01.2019.


Police have arrested and charged Suzeann Jilcina Debique Mason, a 51-year old Farmer of Rose Hall with three (3) Drug possession related offences.  Mason allegedly (1) had in her possession a controlled Drug to wit 1,810 grammes of cocaine with intent to supply it to another. The accused was also charged with (2) having in her possession a controlled drug for the purpose of drug trafficking and with (3) attempting to export a controlled drug. The incident occurred about 9:45am on 11.01.2019 at the Grenadines Wharf, Kingstown.


POLICE NEWS


Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a motor vehicle accident which occurred along the Villa Public road about 2:35pm on 12.01.2019.


According to preliminary investigations, a 23-year old Conductor of Villa Flat fell off of motor vehicle T-5086, a Red Mazda Pickup Truck in which he was a passenger. The passenger sustained injuries to his head and was taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital where he is a patient.


Police have arrested and charged a 16-year old Student of Glen with the offence of Wounding. The 16 year old student allegedly wounded a 17-year old Student of Revierre, by stabbing him on his forehead and left shoulder with a knife. The incident occurred about 4:00pm on 06.01.2019.


Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a motor vehicle accident, involving P-9541, a white Toyota Car and a 51-year old Pedestrian of Chateaubelair.  The Pedestrian sustained injuries to the right side of his head and about his body.   He was taken to the Chateaubelair Polyclinic where he was treated and discharged. The motor vehicle was slightly damaged. The motor vehicle accident occurred along the Chateaubelair Public road about 6:00pm on 12.01.2019.


EMBASSY OF THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA COMMENCE 2019 SPANISH CLASSES


The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines through the Venezuelan Institute for Culture and Cooperation (IVCC) Hugo Chávez Frías welcomed the students who will study the Spanish language of the IVCC in the first trimester of the 2019 academic activities.


The activity took place on the afternoon of Monday, January 14th, 2019 at the Simón Bolívar hall of the Institute. It was attended by the diplomatic staff of the Embassy, ​​led by the head of the mission, Francisco Pérez Santana, the Academic Coordinator of the IVCC SVG, teachers Diana Cyrus and Casheena James, and the students who applied for Level 1 for the January -April 2019 trimester.


The students were welcomed by the Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy, ​​who emphasized recent political and economic events in the Venezuelan nation. Mr. Perez highlighted "Last Thursday, January 10th, 2019, our commander President Nicolás Maduro Moros was sworn in before the Supreme Court of Justice, for a new electoral period 2019-2025. Despite the demonstrations of the right wing to distort this legitimate, democratic and sovereign deed of our people and our laws, protected by the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the President demonstrated once again that we are stronger than ever and our people support him in a massive way ».


In this regard, Mr. Perez informed the students that the Bolivarian Government is making an enormous effort to maintain the policies of the diplomacy of peace in each of the countries where it has a presence, despite the fierce blockade that the US government has in place against the Bolivarian people and government, "We believe in the diplomacy of peace, one of the principles of our Revolution is to bring education to the people, and that is what we do here in SVG, we bring you the possibility of studying a language that is the second most spoken in the world after the Chinese language for free, so it is important that you take advantage of this opportunity.


A total of 72 students have enrolled for the January-April 2019 term, and they will study Spanish levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 as well as the Venezuelan culture.  The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines through its Venezuelan Institute for Culture and Cooperation (IVCC) Hugo Chávez Frías continues to strengthen the bonds of friendship between both peoples.


REGIONAL 


T & T CRIMINOLOGIST SAYS THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH LAWS TO DEAL WITH CULT LEADERS


Trinidad & Tobago Criminologist Daurius Figueira , has said that there are not enough laws to deal with cult leaders who use religion to lure young people. Trinidad & Tobago Newsday quoted Figueira as making the comments as he was addressing the issue of missing teenager Shindlar Cuffy. Cuffy has not been seen since November 26 and  Figueira felt the words of a voice note left for Cuffy’s parents indicate she was in fact taken by a cult, the Newspaper reported.


“This is a very problematic area for the police, since we have enshrined in the Constitution, rights to personal beliefs,” Figueira said. He observed that all over the world,  cult leaders use religion as a means to mask their activities. The mother of the missing teen, Shondel Shallow, also believes her daughter has been lured by a cult.


In an earlier report Shallow said she heard a voice message from a woman who said Shallow was not the one who gave birth to Cuffy, but God gave her Cuffy for a certain period of time. Referring to the voice note, Figueira said, “That is the language of a classic cult leader.” He doesn’t believe this is a single case, but that cult leaders are out there recruiting other young people, Newsday said.

  

January 14 2019


MINISTER OF FINANCE TO PRESENT 2019 BUDGET ON FEB 4TH


The 2019 Budget will be presented by Minister of Finance Hon Camillo Gonsalves in Parliament on Monday February 4th 2019.


A release from the Office of the Prime Minister’s Office indicates that the Budget Debate will be preceded by the debate on the 2019 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure on Tuesday January 29th 2019.  According to information from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Budget Debate will be preceded by the debate on the 2019 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure on Tuesday January 29th 2019.       

Consultations are being held with various sectors, in preparation for the final presentations. The 2018 Estimates had amounted to $993,535,449  , a 1.7 percent increase over the approved budget for 2017.


TRADE UNION REPRESENTATIVES HOLD DISCUSSION WITH PRIME MINISTER AND OTHER OFFICIALS


A number of matters were discussed by representatives of unions and Prime Minister Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of Finance Hon Camillo Gonsalves and other relevant officials at a meeting which was held last Friday.


Speaking on Star Radio on Friday evening Dr. Gonsalves outlined some of the matters that were raised during the meeting that was held with representatives of the National Workers Movement NWM and the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers’ Union CTAWU.


PM Gonsalves also pointed out that one of the central agreements arrived at was that of a salary increase and retroactive payments in 2019 and two percent in 2020.  However, the Prime Minister informed that three of the unions the Teachers’ Union, the Public Service Union and the Police Welfare Association which were scheduled to be a part of Friday’s meeting did not turn up because they refused to comply with a particular security measure at the Office of the Prime Minister.


PM Gonsalves noted that the thee unions missed out on an opportunity to be a part of important discussions but further stated that the wok of the government and country must go on.


MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN TAIWAN MAKES DONATION TO MINISTRY OF HEALTH


A medical team from the Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taiwan has donated five Hemoglobin A1C (HA1C) machines worth over EC$100,000.00 to the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.

The team which is here to commence a pilot project geared at preventing and controlling Diabetes made the donation last Friday 11th January 2019. The machines are used to analyze hemoglobin/glucose levels and will be placed at five different pilot health centers in the country.


Director of International Medical Service Centre, Dr. Yung-Wei Hsu in his remarks said, “we all face challenges such as climate change, Non-Communicable Diseases NCDs and Diabetes is one issue.” The International Medical Service Centre Director added that the HA1C machine is a vital tool for diabetic care and management and that the donation serves as a token of their love for this country.


Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Hon. Luke Browne, thanked the team for its kind gesture. Minister Browne revealed that a Vincentian team was trained at the Mackay Memorial Hospital for the provision of medical support to this project. He also noted that HA1C is a “critical piece of equipment” for Hemoglobin analysis; since current readings from the machine can analyze glucose levels three months prior to test. Minister Browne lauded the healthcare professionals noting that “they’ve selected the best of the best”. The team in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment will host a workshop showcasing the pieces of equipment and other aspects of Diabetic management at the Methodist Church Hall from today Monday 14th - 17th January 2019.


VINCENTIANS INVITED TO APPLY FOR ALTS IN JAPAN  


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce has issued an invitation for Vincentians to apply for Assistant Language Teachers (ALTS) under the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme 2019.

The Programme provides an enriching opportunity for Vincentians to work in Japan. The ideal candidates should meet the following criteria:


· A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in English Language and/or Education

· TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification/training

· A valid driver’s license

· Be in good health

· Teaching Experience would be a valuable asset

· The participant should be single or unaccompanied as there will only be accommodation for one person.


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 March 8, 2019 and application forms and other guidelines can be accessed on the Ministry’s website www.foreign.gov.vc. Applications should be submitted to the Bilateral Unit in the Ministry on or before the deadline.


RSVGPF STATES REPORT BY ANN NEWS NETWORK IS TOTALLY FALSE 


In response to an online publication by ANN News Network (ANN NEWS) on its website on 11.1.19 that a resident of Barrouallie was shot by members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and later died: The Public Relation and Complaints Office of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force has informed that the report is totally false and erroneous. 


Police say they are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Osborne Rodgers, 21 years of Barrouallie/Pole Yard, Arnos Vale.  According to preliminary investigations, on Thursday, 10.01.2019 between 11:00pm and 11:59 pm at Arnos Vale (Pole Yard) Rodgers received a single gunshot to the right side of his chest and succumbed to his injuries. A post-mortem examination will be conducted on the body the ascertain the cause of death.


Investigations into this homicide continues and the police are urging anyone who may have information that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator(s) to call the ACP in charge of Crime at 1784-456-1339, the Officer in Charge of South-Central Division at 1784-458-4200, the Officer in Charge of CID at 1784-456-1810 or any Police Station.


DIGICEL READY TO ROLL OUT NEW FIBRE OPTIC INFRASTRUCTURE


With the recent announcement that Digicel is ready to roll out its new fibre optic infrastructure, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines is set to enter a new era of global competitiveness and economic development.   Investment in this state-of-the-art technology helps to ensure SVG’s future: providing a faster, more reliable Internet service on island.


Digicel’s Country Manager, Fanta Williams said, “Digicel has been – and will continue to be – the catalyst for new technology. This fibre optic network will positively impact the lives and livelihoods of Vincentians; making even faster internet speeds available.” 


The DIGICEL FIBRE experience promises wider coverage, broader bandwidth, faster connections and a crystal clear video service that won’t fade or disconnect in inclement weather - all for a very competitive price. It is ideal for businesses, improving efficiency in the office and on-the-go. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing (in a technological sense) just got a whole lot faster – and smarter!


DIGICEL FIBRE additionally paves the way for new opportunities in healthcare, including remote access to doctors and diagnostics.  It also puts Vincentian students on an equal footing with their tech-savvy peers throughout the world. One of the most important features of DIGICEL FIBRE is its reliability and climate resilience. Whatever the weather conditions, the network will remain dependable with no interruptions to data transmission. 


Infrastructure for DIGICEL FIBRE connections to private businesses is slated to roll out throughout 2019. This will happen in step with the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program, also known as the CARCIP project – one of Digicel’s more significant undertakings in the region. Phase 1 of the CARCIP project will connect every Government building to the new high-speed fibre network. Schools and hospitals will follow, making 21st century initiatives - such as Smart Cities, Safe Cities, Connected Health and Advanced Learning - a reality.  


For more information on DIGICEL FIBRE and the CARCIP program, please visit
www.digicelgroup.com/carcip Pre-register for our new service today, and receive an amazing discount on your plan. 


EMBASSY OF THE ROC ON TAIWAN CONTINUES TO OFFER CLASSES IN MANDARIN


Vincentians are being offered the opportunity to learn Mandarin as classes are continuing to be offered at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. According to the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan this is the 6th year that the classes are being offered at the Community College at the Beginner and Intermediate levels.


The classes are provided for students and for persons who are interested in learning Mandarin after work. Siao An-Huei, a professional Mandarin teacher dispatched by the Taiwan ICDF, has been teaching Mandarin in the Community College since 2014.


The courses are one aspect of mutual co-operation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She was assigned by the Taiwan ICDF not only to teach Mandarin in the Community College but also to exchange Taiwanese culture with the students of the College. 


REGIONAL 


BARBADOS GOVERNMENT PUTS TEMPORARY FREEZE ON BORROWING


The Barbados government has put a temporary freeze on borrowing even as it reported an improvement in the island’s economic position.  “Over the next four years the Barbados government will not borrow any new funds. To put the impact of that into context, over the past four years the government of Barbados has borrowed almost two billion (one Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents),” said Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Marsha Caddle, adding “that’s two billion dollars of new Barbadian savings that were drawn into and trapped by government debt”.


According to regional reports Caddle, speaking at the 2019 planning conference for the Barbados Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, said the island’s debt had already declined from near 170 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in May last year to 124 per cent this year. She said last May, reserves stood at BDS$400 million, but the government’s US$290 million Extenal Fund Facility (EFF) agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international financial agencies including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have helped to improve the economic situation in the country. She said in bringing the economy to this new place, the Mia Mottley administration has also settled one of the largest domestic debt restructurings exercises in the island’s history. But she said that unless the government provides new safe avenues for persons to invest, those excess funds run the risk of sitting idly in banks, as the current rate of interest being offered is close to zero.


4.2 MAGNITUDE EARTH HITS PARTS OF TRINIDAD


An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 rattled parts of the capital late on Sunday night, but there were no reports of damage or injury.
 

The Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) said that the quake, which occurred at 11:18 pm (local time) was also felt in Venezuela.
 

It said that the quake, which is the latest in the series of tremors to rattle several Caribbean countries in recent days, was located Latitude: 10.50N, Longitude: 62.61W and at a depth of 93 kilometres (km).
 

The SRC, which has been warning the Caribbean to be prepared for a major earthquake, said that the latest tremor was felt 123 km west of Port of Spain, 71 km east south east of Carúpano, and 104 km north east of Maturín in Venezuela.  On Sunday, several countries in the region were rocked by a magnitude 3.4 earthquake.
 

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that at 7:29 am (local time) the tremor affected the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Martin, Sint Maarten, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St Kitts Nevis, US Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and St Barthelemy.


USAID, CARICOM SECRETARIAT,  UNICEF AND LYNCS TO HOST SUMMIT ON YOUTH CRIME AND VIOLENCE


To combat youth crime and violence in the Caribbean, a region that has the highest rate of victimization by homicide, assault, and threat in the world, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the CARICOM Secretariat, UNICEF, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission, and the Caribbean Learning for Youth Networking and Change Sessions (LYNCS) Network will host a two-day summit to examine and redefine violence prevention solutions.


The Caribbean Summit on Youth Violence Prevention, held in Georgetown, Guyana on January 15-16, will convene leaders from youth movements, governments, civil society, development organizations and academia, to design transformational youth-centered action to combat crime and violence and address constraints that youth activists face in improving safety outcomes in their communities. The Caribbean Summit on Youth Violence Prevention 2019. Hosted by USAID’s Community, Family and Youth Resilience (CFYR) Program in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, UNICEF, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission, and the Caribbean Learning for Youth Networking and Change Sessions (LYNCS) Network Tuesday, January 15 – Wednesday, January 16, 2019 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. GYT each day Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown Block Alpha, Battery Road, Kingston, Georgetown.