MAY 18TH 2018


VINCENTIANS REMINDED THAT GOVERNMENT PLACES A HIGH PREMIUM ON EDUCATION


This country's Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has again reminded Vincentians of the high premium that the government places on education.


Speaking recently at the official opening of the South Rivers Early Childhood Development Center PM Gonsalves indicated that some $130million  is being spent in education this year, as his government will continue to invest in the nation’s children.


The Prime Minister said over the past 17 years in office, his government has invested more in education than any other administration in this country.


The Prime Minister said, while many are clamoring have been for roads and other infrastructure to be rehabilitated and this he acknowledges but however he says he is of the belief that investing in the youths is of more importance.


The South Rivers Development Center was opened as part of the Basic Needs Trust Fund, Caribbean Development Bank initiative also with funding from this country's government to the tune of $820,000.


HEALTH MINISTER APPEALS TO VINCENTIANS TO ADOPT HEALTH LIFESTYLES AND FOOD CHOICES


Minister of Health, Hon. Luke Browne has made an appeal to the Vincentian population to adopt healthy lifestyles and make healthy food choices to lessen the impact of non-communicable diseases in SVG.


Minister Browne was speaking on Wednesday May 16th, 2018 at the opening of a two-day intersectoral workshop to update the national food based dietary guidelines (FBDG) of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He told the audience that the government of SVG has provided national strategic leadership on diet and physical activity to address the issue of unhealthy eating habits in the Vincentian population.


Minister Browne also noted that priority was given to the development of the national dietary guidelines as a tool to identify the various combinations of local food that can be safely used as a guide to consumers in achieving healthy eating habits. 


Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Raymond Ryan, commended the government’s drive to combat hunger and improve the nutrition of its citizens. Ryan cited this country’s attainment of two international targets, namely, the millennium development goal number one of halving the proportion of hungry people between 2010/12 and the more stringent World Food Summit Goal of reducing the absolute number of undernourished people from 2010/11.


The workshop which ended on Thursday May 17, 2018 at the Ministry of Health’s Conference room was conducted by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and the Food and Agricultural Organization. It was held to:


1. To raise awareness about the importance of FBDGs

2. To present the preliminary results of the current FBDG’s evaluation

3. To review the methodology proposed by the FAO to update the FBDGs

4. To define tasks and responsibilities of the FBDG committee members


POLICE INVESTIGATE BURGLARY AT GEORGETOWN MEDICAL COMPLEX


Police are investigating a report of Burglary made by Agatha Stay, 38-year-old Nurse of Fair Hall on the 15.05.2018 at 06:35 p.m.


According to reports, between 03:45 p.m. on 11.05.2018 and 09:30 a.m. on 14.05.2018 at Chilli, Georgetown, some unknown person(s) entered the modern Medical Complex as a trespasser and stole a quantity of items, the property of the Modern Medical Complex. The value of the items is unknown. 


POST MORTEM REVEALS BARROUALLIE RESIDENT DIED OF CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIA


With respect to the sudden death of Ms. Jetonnia Thomas, 32 year Domestic of Keartons, Barrouallie, the Police were alerted to the home of the deceased by her common law husband Mr. Paul Stephens of the same address who found her motionless at 5:56 am on the May 10, 2018. 


The deceased was met lying on her back in the living room. There were no visible marks of violence on the body of the deceased. The District Medical Officer, Dr. Yaphet Shoy was informed and he visited the scene and pronounced Thomas dead at 8:25 am. 


The Coroner, Mrs. Zoilla Ellis-Browne was also informed, and she gave permission for the removal of the body. The body was then transported to the Kingstown Mortuary where a post-mortem was conducted on 14.05.2018. 


The Post mortem evaluation determined that the deceased succumbed to Cardiac Arrhythmia. 


SHORTAGE OF EC COINS RESOLVED


The recent report of shortage of lower denomination EC coins in some of the ECCB member countries has been resolved.


The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), in a statement issued last Thursday, said the shortage was in part due to a disruption in the shipment of coins from their suppliers as a result of the hurricanes in September 2017.


St Vincent and the Grenadines was said to have also been affected by this. The Antigua Observer also reported on May 5th, that a notice posted for the last two months in one of the largest supermarkets in Antigua and Barbuda said that the ECCB was unable to provide Antigua and Barbuda with coins.


The ECCB however said in Thursday’s statement that the situation has since been resolved, and the coins that were affected by that situation are now being made available to commercial banks.


The ECCB also advised in the statement that, as set out in its 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, “the Bank will be embarking on the elimination of loss making coins. In addition, the Bank will be advancing its thrust to encourage a reduction in the use of cash given the increasing security issues associated with this method of payment. A statement on the details of these strategies will be issued in due course.”


REGIONAL


EU SET TO REMOVE THE BAHAMAS AND ST. KITTS & NEVIS FROM TAX HAVENS LIST


European Union finance ministers are set to remove the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas and Saint Kitts and Nevis from an EU list of tax havens next week, EU documents show. The two islands had been included in the blacklist in March as their tax rules and practices were deemed not in line with EU standards.


 After they committed to changes, EU tax officials recommended moving them from the blacklist to a so-called grey list of jurisdictions with low tax transparency standards but aiming to become less opaque, an EU document shows.


 EU finance ministers in a regular meeting on Friday next week are expected to formally adopt the removal decision, according to a draft agenda of the meeting and an EU official contacted by Reuters.


 Seven other jurisdictions will remain on the blacklist. They are Namibia, Palau, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the three United States’ territories of American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


 The EU blacklist was set up last December after several revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.


 Blacklisted jurisdictions could face reputational damage and stricter controls on their financial transactions with the EU, although no sanctions have been agreed by EU states yet.

 Those who are on the grey list could be moved to the blacklist if they do not honor their commitments.




MAY 16TH 2018


PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST BDS LTD/ NICE RADIO


This country’s Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has made a decision to take action against BDS Limited owners of Nice Radio in relation to defamation.

Recently one of the hosts of BDS’ radio call in programme allowed a caller to broadcast false information that PM Gonsalves owns a Swiss bank account.

Speaking on Star Radio yesterday Dr Gonsalves confirmed that his lawyers are preparing to issue a pre-action letter to BDS Limited with regards to this matter.


WORK CONTINUES ON MEDICINAL MARIJUANA BILL


Work is continuing on the Medicinal Marijuana Bill which is being spearheaded by Agriculture Minister Saboto Ceaser.

Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves while speaking on radio yesterday gave an insight as to the current status of this particular initiative.


PM Gonsalves also spoke to the status of other strategic initiatives being undertaken by the government namely the new port in Kingstown, the new city at Arnos Vale among others.


ULP DELEGATION ON ONE WEEK VISIT TO CUBA


A four-member delegation from the Unity Labour Party (ULP), led by Assistant General Secretary Carlos James, is currently on a one-week visit to Cuba (from May 13 to 20th) as both the Cuban Party and the ULP seeks to strengthen its relations on the heels of political transition in that country under newly elected president, Miguel Diaz- Canel Bermudez.


According to James, the meeting comes at an important time as both Cuba and St. Vincent and the Grenadines continue to strengthen its relations against new threats to the progressive movements across the region.  


James says that the political developments taking place across the region now provides an important platform for progressive governments within the regional bloc to deepen their relations. 


According to Jorge Arias, Vice Deputy of the Department of International Relations of the CC-CPC, Cuba is grateful to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for its support to the Cuban people. 


Arias noted that when St. Vincent and the Grenadines votes against the US economic blockade it is making a contribution to the revolution and it is expressing its support to the Cuban people and its continued fight against imperialism,” 


During the one-week visit the delegation will call on the Cuban National Assembly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution.


Constituency Representative for West St. George Cecil Mckie, West Kingstown ULP caretaker Deborah Charles and Augustine Ferdinand forms part of the delegation. The delegation returns to the State on Sunday. 


ANTIGUIAN ASP AND HIS VINCENTIAN MOTHER CHARGED IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 


A suspended senior police officer in Antigua and his mother have been charged with fraud related to an alleged racket involving forging Antigua and Barbuda passports.


Assistant Superintendent of Police Ray John, 47, who was suspended last month pending an investigation; and his mother, 63-year-old Yvonne Nickie, were each granted EC$50,000 bail (US$18,523) yesterday when they appeared in court on several charges stemming from offences allegedly committed between January and March this year.  As part of their bail conditions, they had to surrender their travel documents and have to report to the police station daily.


In addition to facing five counts of conspiracy to forge Antigua and Barbuda passports jointly with his Vincentian-born mother, John is also accused of two counts of larceny of 54 multi-layered infilling sheets and one multi-layered infilling patch, valued EC$21,700, (US$8,039) the property of the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office.


He is further accused of receiving four multi-layered infilling sheets and one multi-layered infilling patch valued at EC$1,300 (US$482), also property of the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office, knowing same to have been stolen.  Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh ordered the mother and son to return to court on July 11.


The charges they were slapped with stem from an investigation that began in early April, into the discovery of bio pages of Antigua and Barbuda passports in the possession of a man in St Vincent and the Grenadines.


John was subsequently suspended after his home was searched and several items confiscated. His mother was visiting him at the time, but a few days later, as she boarded a flight back home at the V.C. Bird International Airport, she was held by police.




REGIONAL


CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES URGED TO STRENGTHEN THEIR CYBER SECURITY


Caribbean countries have been urged to strengthen their cyber security, more so in light of the recent introduction by the European Union of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) cyber security legislation. 


Business Development Officer at the Caribbean Israel Centre for Cyber Defence (CICCD), in Barbados Daidre Leacock, told a news conference Tuesday that the law which becomes effective May 25, elevates personnel data to the level of being an asset.

Under the GDPR, any entity, government or private, that has the information of any EU citizen or business would be mandated to put measures in place to adequately protect the information.


Failure to do so would result in an organisation or company being held liable for any information lost during a cyber-attack, and fined up to four per cent of its global turnover, or up to Euro 20 million.


In addition, it stipulates that a breach must be reported, as well as the names of those affected, to the data protection authorities in the European Union within 72 hours. EU citizens also have the right to have their data erased from an entity's database.

She advised agencies and companies in Barbados, including those owned by government, which conduct business with European businesses or citizens, to take steps to ensure their compliance, such as training.


This is not a situation that we can take for granted, especially for offshore companies. While Barbados may have some offshore companies here, they indeed are going to be highly impacted because if any EU citizen is hacked and their information is out there, they [the company] will be fined.


The CICCD is a collaboration between the government of Israel and the Caribbean to build out the region's capacity to deal with cybercrime. The centre works with Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Anguilla, St Maarten and member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.