July 10th 2020
NEWLY INSTALLED CHAIRMAN OF CARICOM TO MEET WITH ANTIGUA’S PM TO DISCUSS LIAT
This country’s Prime Minister and recently installed Chairman of CARICOM Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves is expected to next week engage in a meeting with Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne for discussions of LIAT.
Dr. Gonsalves while speaking on his weekly morning radio program on Wednesday said that the Antiguan leader had written to the major shareholder governments of LIAT requesting a meeting for next week. Browne is expected to present and discuss a reorganization plan for the regional airline, as an alternative to liquidation.
PM Gonsalves noted that he has no problem in listening to Browne if he has a workable plan with realistic financing. He added however that he will not fight the future and the requisites of efficacious regional air transport. On June 27, the heads of these countries met to discuss the future of the cash-strapped airline, following a recommendation from the Board of Directors to liquidate the company.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be moving to hire additional Registered Nurses as part of efforts to improve the country’s capacity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves spoke to this during his weekly discussion program, aired on NBC Radio. PM Gonsalves said the move is intended to boost the number for health professionals on the ground to better manage the pandemic. Dr. Gonsalves said efforts will also be made to improve the human resource capacity of the laboratory.
BAN OF AMPLIFIED MUSIC LIFTED EFFECTIVE TODAY JULY 10TH
The ban on amplified music in St Vincent and the Grenadines has been lifted effective today Friday July 10th but with specific regulations. PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said emphasis will be placed on the government’s Protocol for Managed Conduct of Mass Gatherings and Amplified Music. The Prime Minister said this is increasingly necessary given the expected influx of persons as a result of the reopening of borders throughout the region.
Dr. Gonsalves said organizers of mass gatherings will be required to observe several protocols to ensure the safety of patrons. The aim of this is the safe conduct of mass gatherings with amplified music in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a manner that reduces the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The managed conduct of mass gatherings with amplified music will be a collaborative effort involving the RSVGPF supported by the Health Services Subcommittee Core Team. The stringent measures of this protocol recognize the increased risk of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines due to the increased arrival of travelers from countries with many cases of COVID-19 and the reduced quarantine requirements in SVG.
PHASE #1 which is from July 3 to July 31, 2020 – Mass gatherings with amplified music states that among other things only outdoor gatherings with amplified music with a maximum of 200 persons will be allowed, temperature checks of all patrons must be done. Any patron found to have a temperature greater than 100.1’F MUST be referred immediately to the COVID-19 Hotline (534-4325), sufficient sanitizing stations at a ratio of 1:20 persons must be maintained through-out the event.
The outdoor venue must have sufficient space to allow for 3-6 ft physical distancing between patrons/attendees and facial coverings by a minimum of 90% of the patrons/attendees is strongly recommended/required. The ban on amplified music was implemented to minimize mass gatherings during the COVID 19 pandemic. Commissioner of Police Colin John is urging persons to kindly adhere to the protocols in an effort to keep everyone safe.
VINCENTIANS URGED TO CARRY OUT DUE DILIGENCE CHECKS BEFORE APPLYING FOR OVERSEAS JOBS
The local Police Force is advising Vincentians to carry out due diligence checks before applying for jobs overseas, to ensure that they do not become victims of Human trafficking. According to local reports this advice has come from Assistant Superintendent of Police, Junior Simmons who heads the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Police Force.
ASP Simmons said Human Traffickers often advertise lucrative jobs in countries around the world, to try and entice persons who may be unemployed. ASP Simmons spoke of a case where a young woman was tricked into prostitution by Human Traffickers.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has maintained its Tier 2 ranking on the United States Annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report). The TIP Report derives from the Trafficking Victims Protection Act passed in the US Congress in 2000. This act empowers the United States to assess anti-trafficking efforts of 188 countries, including the US.
OAS LAUNCHES GUIDE FOR ORGANIZING ELECTIONS IN THE REGION
The Organization of American States (OAS) has launched a guide for organizing elections in the region, saying that it is intended to contribute to the strengthening of political processes in member states.
The OAS said the “Guide to Organizing Elections in Times of Pandemic” aims particularly in addressing the maintenance of democracy as “the best option to guarantee peace, security and development.
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro writes in the prologue that the consequences of the pandemic, the high possibilities of contagion through human interaction, the risk of death, the application of restrictive measures, pose serious difficulties to the organisation of electoral processes, so democratic alternatives must be analyzed that do not damage the legitimacy of origin of those elected, democratic transitions, the alternation of authorities and the length of the terms of government.
The guide highlights that, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, “several countries have adopted measures to protect the health of their inhabitants, having to postpone electoral processes originally scheduled for the first half of 2020. “The actions and decisions taken in electoral matters in response to this situation require the commitment of the political system to safeguard the continuity of democratic processes.”
The OAS said its General Secretariat, with the collaboration of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), compiled a series of measures for holding “safe, clean, and transparent elections, while contributing to reduce the risks of transmission of COVID-19”. The OAS said the guide offers “elements to take into account when deciding whether to hold elections or postpone them, and proposes measures that can be adopted”.
These include Organisation and electoral administration; use of technology; participation and inclusion; campaigns; communication; and voting and vote counting. The OAS said it was the first international Organisation to deploy an Electoral Observation Mission during the COVID-19 pandemic, “and that experience is also reflected in this document. So far this year, the OAS has observed elections in Suriname and Guyana.
July 9th 2020
VISITORS TO SVG URGED TO ADHERE TO MANDATED QUARANTINE'
Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph is urging visitors to St Vincent and the Grenadines to adhere to the mandated quarantine period of 24 hours that has been set out in the new travel protocols for the country.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is preparing to begin the resumption of visitors to the island amidst the COVID 19 pandemic as early as this weekend. The PM announced that every person arriving in the country would be required to take a PCR test here if a negative test result is not presented which should have been taken three days prior to their arrival here. Dr Gonsalves noted that once the test is taken here persons are required to self-quarantine for a 24-hour period while they await the test result. He urged that once this is done that persons comply and obey with the quarantine protocol.
Dr. Gonsalves also noted that if persons are tested positive, they will automatically go into isolation and if they choose to do so at rented accommodation it will be at their own expense. The PM stated that visitors will be required to pay a fee for the COVID tests as it is an expensive exercise.
CT SCAN AT MCMH NOW BACK IN OPERATION
The CT Scan Machine at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is now in operation after having undergone repairs been fixed. The Ministry of Health is capitalizing on the presence of the technician in-country to also carry out some preventative maintenance on the machine.
In June the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment signed a service contract with Global Medica for CT Scan and X-Ray Machines at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
POLICE INVESTIGATE DEATH OF GRENADIAN
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a Grenadian national Dwayne Seaton who is believed to be in his early forties. His lifeless body was discovered with what appeared to be bullet wounds in Baleine Mountain on 8.07.2020. A post mortem examination is expected to be carried out on the body of the deceased to ascertain the cause of death.
Persons with information that can aid with the investigation and the apprehension of the offender(s) are asked to contact the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of Crimes at 1784-456-1339; the Officer in charge of the Eastern Division at 1784-458-7560 or the Owia Police Station at 1784-457-6605; or any police office you are comfortable with. All information will be treated confidentially.
Two (2) individuals are currently in police custody assisting with the enquiry. Investigations are ongoing.
NEMO CONTINUES TO ENSURE PROPER SHELTER MANAGEMENT
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) said it is continuing to work with representatives from communities where Emergency Shelters have been identified, to ensure proper shelter management.
Local reports say that Director of NEMO, Michelle Forbes noted that the organization continues to work closely with the heads of Churches and schools to select individuals and organizations within these communities who can properly manage the Shelters during times of Disaster.
149 Emergency Shelters have been identified for this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season.
CONGRESSWOMEN YVETTE D. CLARKE CONDEMNS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ON THREAT TO DEPORT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke on Wednesday strongly condemned the Trump administration's threat to deport international students, including Caribbean nationals, whose universities transition to online-only learning amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On Monday, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced that nonimmigrant Caribbean and other students must leave the US if their colleges go fully online.
ICE said that its Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant Caribbean and other students taking online classes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the fall 2020 semester.
The US Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a “Temporary Final Rule,” ICE said. “The recent decision by ICE and the White House do not prioritise public health nor the education of our next generation of leaders,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on Wednesday.
“Instead it is just another naked attempt to callously force students to return to campuses in the fall, despite unsafe conditions, allowed to persist, primarily due to a lack of clear executive action.
“If we did not spend the early months of this crisis forcing states to fight each other for PPE (personal protective equipment), we might be in a better condition today,” added Clarke, representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York.
July 8th 2020
AIA WORKING GRADUALLY TOWARD FULL OPERATIONS
The Argyle International Airport Inc. says that it is working towards the gradual commencement of full operations. As such, the AIA said that they welcome the resumption of American Airlines weekly service out of Miami from Saturday July 11, 2020, One Caribbean’s scheduled flights from July 12, 2020, serving Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Barbados, Guyana and Tortola, SVG Air’s shared and private charters, serving the Grenadines and neighbouring islands and Mustique Airways with charter flights. More information on other scheduled flights will be released when confirmed.
In keeping with the COVID-19 safety measures outlined by the Ministry of Health and the Environment, the public is kindly asked to adhere to AIA’s precautionary guidelines for the
protection of staff and passengers at all airports throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
1. All persons entering airport terminal buildings MUST wear a mask or face covering.
2. Say goodbye to friends and family outside the Terminal Building to avoid crowding the Departure Check-in Lounge.
3. Please practice social distancing
4. Regularly and thoroughly sanitize your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash hands with soap and water.
5. Welcome passengers curb-side so as to refrain from crowding the Arrivals Lounge.
CARICOM AND ITS INSTITUTIONS PLAYED IMPORTANT ROLE IN MANAGING COVID-19
The Caribbean Community CARICOM and its institutions have done their part in helping the region to manage the COVID 19 pandemic.
This country’s Prime Minister and Chairman of CARICOM Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves while speaking on Monday via a virtual celebration of CARICOM Day pointed out that the pandemic presented an immense challenge with four interconnected dimensions namely, health, security, social and economic.
Dr Gonsalves spoke to a number of the regional institutions which played an important role to the countries of the region in tehri fight against the pandemic, namely the Regional Security System RSS, IMPACS and CDEMA.
The PM explained how St. Vincent and the Grenadines with its own independent decisions was able to properly manage and mitigate against the impact of the virus.
The CARICOM chairman said that in spite of all the challenges wrought on by the pandemic the region remains optimistic going forward.
PM Gonsalves spoke on the topic, Regional Integration Movement in the time of COVID 19. It was organized by the CARICOM Caucus of Permanent Representatives to the United Nations.
VIRTUAL REASONING EVENT ON REPARATIONS TO BE HELD ON JULY 12TH
As the struggle against systemic anti-Black and other forms of racism continues to reverberate across the world, peoples across the Caribbean and Latin American region are being strongly encouraged to participate in a virtual reasoning entitled “Reparations For Afrikans (Diaspora and Continental) and the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas - a Grass Roots Perspective’’. The event is slated for Sunday July 12, starting at 11AM – 3:15PM.
A panel of speakers drawn from across the region will share their perspectives on this very topical issue. They include: incoming chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonzalves; Professor Verene Shepherd, Director Centre for Reparation Research (UWI); Roger Wareham a US attorney-at-law who is active in the Black Lives Matter and the Reparations Movements; Isabelle Sabine Nazaire, an Artiste and Interpreter representing Martinique’s National Committee for Reparations. There will also be other trade unionists and reparation advocates from across the Caribbean Community in the United Kingdom and across Latin America and the Caribbean.
“This reparations reasoning will focus mainly on the debt owed to Africans in the Diaspora and on the African continent for the destruction of African civilisation, stealing of land and natural resources, the cruel human trafficking of Africans for the purpose of enslavement, and the enslavement of Africans in the Americas,” said Cikiah Thomas, Co-Chair of the Global Afrikan Congress.
It also takes into account the disastrous impact the arrival of Columbus had on the Indigenous peoples - the seizure of their land and natural resources, destruction of their civilization, and genocide. In addition, the reasoning will treat with the devastating effect of cruel economic sanctions which cripple the development of countries which exercise the right to choose their own development paths. This event will be the second in a series of virtual forums hosted by a coalition of organizations across the region. The coalition includes the Caribbean Peace Movement, the Christian Workers Union of Belize, Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, 13th June 1980 Movement, Jamaica Peace Council, the Global Afrikan Congress and other civil society groups.
POLICE INVESTIGATE SHOOTING IN UNION ISLAND
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a shooting incident that occurred at Clifton, Union Island on 6.07.2020 in which a 32-year-old resident of Redemption Sharpes and a 20-year citizen of Grenada sustained gunshot injuries.
According to investigations, the victims were asleep at home in a rented apartment on Clifton, Union Island when an unknown assailant(s) entered their apartment and shot them about their bodies.
They were subsequently rushed to mainland, St. Vincent via the SVG Coast Guard Service to seek medical attention at the Milton Cato memorial Hospital (MCMH). Persons with information that can aid with the investigation and the apprehension of the offenders can contact the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of Crimes at 1784-456-1339 or the Officer in charge of the Grenadines Division at 1784-457-1211 or the Union Island Police Station at 1784-458-8229 or any police office you are comfortable with. All information will be treated confidentially. Investigation into the matter is ongoing.
LATIN AMERICAN AND THE CARIBBEAN SURPASSES 3M COVID 19 CASES
Latin America and the Caribbean today surpassed three million novel coronavirus cases, more than half of those in Brazil, according to an AFP tally.
The region is the current epicentre of the global pandemic, with 3,023,813 cases and nearly 140,000 deaths — almost half of them in Brazil, the hardest hit country in the world after the United States.
After Brazil's region-leading 66,000 deaths, Mexico has the second-highest number of fatalities with more than 31,000, and more than 261,000 cases.
Peru has more cases at nearly 310,000, but fewer deaths at 10,952. It has shown no sign of easing its lockdown measures. Chile has also surpassed 300,000 cases, and the death toll is at more than 6,400. Authorities are looking to lift their anti-virus restrictions if the numbers continue to trend downward.
July 6 2020
IN COUNTRY COVID-19 TESTING HAS COMMENCED
In country testing for COVID 19 has commenced in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This process began on June 24th, 2020 following the introduction of the new Molecular Laboratory Unit. Chief Laboratory Technologist and Head of Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Health Elliot Samuel spoke to the journey towards this achievement.
Mr. Samuel said that this is considered to be one of the most important scientific achievements of the 21st century.
PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES COMMENDS ONE CARIBBEAN
Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has again commended the locally based airline One Caribbean for the work that is has been doing in the region amidst of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The PM has also announced that One Caribbean along with SVG Air are two of the airlines with which discussions are being held with regards to air connectivity within the region following the announcement of the liquidation of LIAT 1974 Limited. Speaking on radio yesterday Dr Gonsalves gave an insight as to the advanced discussions with the airlines which are expected to fill the void left by LIAT.
Prime Minister Gonsalves reiterated his interest in moving people throughout the region as well as regional tourism. The PM acknowledged that the burning issue continues to be the debts left by LIAT particularly so the severance payments to its employees.
CPU OF THE RSVGPF TO HOST ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION WEEK OF ACTIVITIES
The Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) in the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) will be hosting its annual Crime Prevention Week of activities from today Monday July 6, 2020 to Friday July 10, 2020.
This is in an effort to promote crime prevention awareness in SVG. This year’s exhibition is being held under the theme “Securing citizens and visitors through innovative policing.”
In light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the exhibition would be done virtually and broadcast live via the RSVGPF website and Facebook page from 9:30 am to 11:30 am daily from Central Police Station.
SVG COMMEMORATES THE 209TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF VENEZUELA
St Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday Sunday July 5th, joined with the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the occasion of the commemoration of the 209th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Venezuela.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said on Friday that Venezuela is one of the countries in Latin America which led the struggle for independence and to overthrow colonialism. He described Venezuela as a beacon of hope and expressed the government and people of SVG profound solidarity on such an occasion.
COVID-19 CASES IN HAITI RISE 73% SINCE THE OPENING OF ITS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Haitian health authorities have confirmed that since the reopening of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, the French-speaking Caribbean country has recorded a 73 per cent increase in the number of imported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Ministry of Public Health said that prior to the reopening on July 1, the country had recorded 57 imported cases of the virus, but that the figure has since increased to 99, an additional 42 cases in the first four days.
The ministry explains that the increase of imported cases is attributable to an 86 per cent increase (36 cases) from the Dominican Republic and 14 per cent (six cases) from the United States. The ministry said that since March 19, the number of COVID-19 cases here total 6,333 with 59.1 per cent of the cases being males. It said that the number of people to have died from the virus is 113, while 4,671 cases have been classified as active and there are 13, 638 suspected cases.
LIAT WORKERS IN GRENADA TO BENEFIT FROM COVID-19 ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE
LIAT workers in Grenada will be added to the list of persons benefitting from the Covid-19 economic stimulus package provided by government. Prime Minister, Dr the Right Hon Keith Mitchell, assured workers and their trade union representatives of this during separate meetings held last week.
LIAT employees have not received salary since March and in recent days, news surfaced about the possible liquidation of the airline because of its growing financial problems which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Dr Mitchell said, “Members of Cabinet are of the opinion that they have a moral responsibility to assist workers during this difficult time as it is not their fault that they are suddenly and unceremoniously relieved of jobs after years of dedicated service and sacrifice.
The benefits provided under the stimulus package will cater to the immediate needs of the LIAT workers. The impending liquidation of the airline means that workers will be entitled to other benefits.
In his meeting with the President General of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) and 2 of the shop stewards Friday morning, the Prime Minister indicated government’s willingness to engage in discussions to determine what can be done.