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May 17th 2019


MINISTER OF FINANCE PLACES CONCERNS ON THE SLOW PACE FOR SMALL ISLAND STATE ACCESSING FUNDS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAMS 


This country’s Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves said the Government has placed concerns about the slow pace at which small island states can access funding to be used in Climate Change mitigation and adaption programs. He made this statement during the opening of a three-day Climate Finance Regional workshop held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Over thirty representatives from nine countries across the Caribbean are involved in the three days of discussions.


Minister Gonsalves said the effects of Climate Change can be seen throughout the region and funding agencies should start treating Climate Change with greater urgency. The project will be implemented in eight Caribbean countries, to the tune of US$50 million.


Resident Representative at the UNDP’s Sub-regional Office for Barbados and the OECS, Chisa Mikami said the three-day Climate Finance Regional workshop is an opportunity for regional states to learn even more about accessing funding to address Climate Change. Miss Mikami also announced that the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom are donors on the project.


Miss Mikami said while Climate Change is a critical issue in the region, the three-day workshop is being held to brainstorm on the way forward. She said lessons learnt from the past can help other regional countries to plan better for the future.


SINGLE HEADS OF HOUSEHOLDS EXPECTED TO ENROLL IN THE 2019 SINGLE PARENTS PROGRAMME


More than  forty Single Heads of Households were expected to be enrolled in the 2019 Single Parents Programme, organized by the Gender Affairs Division in the Ministry of Social Development. The participants attended an orientation session, hosted by the Division earlier this week.


The session was held at the Fisheries Conference Room. The Division said the objective of the orientation session was to sensitize the participants about the programme, and to discuss its purpose and expectations.


GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN OFFER CITIZENS OF SVG TO PURSUE POSTGRADUATE STUDIES


The Government of Japan is offering citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines an opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies under its Japanese Government (Mon-buka-gak-usho: MEXT) Scholarship Programme 2020.


The fields of study include: -

1. Humanities and Social Sciences, such as Literature, History, Law, Politics, etc.

2. Natural Sciences, such as Engineering, Fisheries, Medicine, Dentistry, etc. 


Prospective students must be under the age of 35 years and must have an undergraduate degree in the relevant field. Application forms are usually made available in April, for departure the following year. Interested persons are advised to visit the Embassy of Japan’s website at https://www.tt.emb-japan.go.jp/ for more information and to access the necessary application forms. Persons are kindly asked to note that the deadline for submission of all applications is no later than May 31, 2019.


The International Cooperation Agency of Chile (AGCI) through the Embassy of the Republic of Chile in Port of Spain, Trinidad is offering scholarship opportunities to Vincentian nationals to pursue studies leading to a Diploma in “Methodology for Teaching Spanish as Second Language for Spanish Teachers from the English-Speaking Caribbean”.


The Purpose of the Scholarship is to provide a solid theoretical, and practical knowledge in the current teaching methodologies and strategies in the field of teaching a second language, as well as, to develop cultural exchange.


The scholarship is eligible to Teachers of Spanish at the primary and secondary levels, holding a University degree in education with at least five (5) years of experience of teaching Spanish.

The call for applications 2019, the application form and the agenda of the Diploma are available at the website www.agci.gob.cl. Interested persons can also use that address for more information regarding this scholarship. Persons can also contact the embassy of Chile via e-mail at echilett@minrel.gob.cl.

The deadline for submitting of all applications is June 14, 2019. All applications MUST be submitted through the Service Commissions Department in original version for onward transmission. 


REGIONAL .


EU REMOVES BERMUDA, ARUBA AND BARBADOS FROM BLACKLIST OF TAX HAVENS


The European Union removed the British overseas territory of Bermuda, the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba and Barbados on Friday from the bloc's blacklist of tax havens, leaving no EU territory still on the list.

The three islands were added to the list in March as they had failed for months to change their tax rules, which the EU deemed at risk of facilitating tax evasion in other countries.

But now Aruba has been removed because it has changed its legislation to make it compliant with EU requirements, an EU statement said.


Bermuda and Barbados have committed to addressing EU concerns and have therefore been moved to a so-called grey list of countries still under EU scrutiny for their tax practices, the statement said, effectively giving them more time to be fully compliant.  The blacklist has now shrunk to twelve jurisdictions, among which are the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the three U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Other jurisdictions on the list are Belize, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Dominica, Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago. Blacklisted states face reputational damage and stricter controls on transactions with the EU.

The EU set up the blacklist in December 2017 after revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills. The list initially comprised 17 jurisdictions, but it is subject to regular reviews. Countries with legal shortfalls are added if they do not amend their rules by set deadlines.


May 16th 2019


INVEST SVG ESTABLISHES MSME INITIATIVE 


Invest SVG has established an initiative where owners of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), persons with startup business ideas or anyone who has problems sourcing funds to start a business can benefit.


The opportunity will be created through an Angel Investor. An Angel Investor is someone of high network who invests their time, money and expertise into early stage businesses in which they have no family connection, with the aim of helping the business to grow and realize a financial return on their investment over the long-term.

Thus, Invest SVG, in their quest to support the development and growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and other early-stage firms, launched an Angel Investing Pilot Project on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at the Ministry of Finance conference room. Chairman of Invest SVG, Tony Regisford said the Angel Investor Project is coming at a timely moment. Regisford, who is also the Executive Director of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce, stated that MSMEs have complained about access to finance so that Invest SVG had to be creative in sourcing financing opportunities. 


Regisford said it is good that Invest SVG is bringing the business Angel Investor programme to St. Vincent and the Grenadines although the concept is not new. The Invest SVG Chairman acknowledged the support of the Caribbean Export Development Agency in the Angel Investing Pilot Project and described them as a critical partner. He appealed to the public to make use of the opportunity provided by Invest SVG and to respond to the application call when it is opened. Persons can apply from across all sectors, Regisford noted. He stated that he anticipated well-organized ideas from applicants. 


Executive Director of Invest SVG, Annette Mark said in St. Vincent and the Grenadines the Government has long since recognized the importance of Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to economic growth, development of informal sectors, and increased employment. Mark addressed the challenge that business startups face on approaching traditional financial institutions for financing. Invest SVG saw the need to give special attention to this area, Mark disclosed. 


A call will be going out in the next week to give 16 persons the opportunity to apply for an OECS angel to invest capital and expertise in their business, Mark stated. According to Mark, the deadline for the call is May 31st 2019 and applications will be evaluated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency. She explained that the call will have four platforms for pitches by candidates to local Angel Investors from April to September 2019. After which, winners of each pitch will qualify to pitch at the grand finale in October at the Everything Vincy Plus Expo 2019. 


Winners of the four pitches will also receive a cash prize of US $500 and training for the final pitch in October hosted by Invest SVG, Mark said. The Angel Investing Pilot Project is an “exciting project for us” at Invest SVG which will build synergies and relationships, and empower persons with our society, the Executive Director of Invest SVG affirmed.


GHS HOST GILLIS FRANCIS MATH COMPETITION


GECCU Geometrics is the winner of the annual Gillis Francis Math competition organized by the Girls’ High School.  After four rounds of competition the team moved ahead of its closest rival Trotmans Penta Veli which captured the second position while the third spot went to Providence Top Scholars. A total of six teams participated ranging from all sections of Form 3. 


Principal of the Girls’ High School, Michele Beache, thanked the teachers for the outstanding work they have been doing, since they “continue to motivate students not only to memorize formulae but to love the subject, which many deem too difficult to learn.” The GHS Principal revealed that in encouraging the students to do more; they are now allowed to “sit additional Math, thus facilitating the transition to tertiary education.”


Ms. Beache disclosed that Mr. Francis’ mentorship of his teachers enabled continuity even after his passing. The GHS Principal also thanked former Principal, Mrs. Andrea Bowman for “insight and initiation of the programme.” The Gillis Francis Math competition was created in honour of the late Gillis ‘Git’ Francis, who served as a Math teacher at the St. Vincent Girls High School from 4th September 2004 to 5th July 2018. Mr. Francis was also a teacher at the St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua, the St. Clair Dacon Secondary School and a Math lecturer at the Teachers’ College.


The judges in the competition were: Head of the Maths department of the St. Vincent Grammar School, Colin Sam, former Math Officer at the Curriculum Development Unit and Lecturer (part time) at the SVGCC Teacher Education Division, Clyde Fitzpatrick and Director of the National Commission on Crime Prevention within the Ministry of National Security and Former Math Teacher, Nicola Evans.


The event which was supported by several past students and business houses; also saw representation by the son of the late Gillis Francis who present to be a part of the day’s activity.


EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA TO COMMEMORATE THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF DIPLOMATIC RELATION WITH SVG


The Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce and the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture will commemorate the 40thanniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines through a cultural event dubbed “Soul Beat Korea”.


The event will be held on Saturday May 18, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Auditorium in Villa. The Korean cultural entertainment package will be blended with Korea’s traditional and contemporary dances, songs, plays, and various cultural instruments such as the string quartet, and bamboo musical instruments called the gongmyoung and gayageum. 


His Excellency Sung Moonup, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea will join the celebrations along with other eminent members of the Diplomatic Corps and Officials.  An invitation is extended to all Vincentians to this free entertainment package as we celebrate 40 years of cordial relations between the Government and the People of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Government and People of Korea.


BARROUALLIE FISHERIES COOPERATIVE HOST FOOD EXHIBITION


The Barrouallie Fisheries Cooperative will host a food exhibition today as part of the celebration of the fisherman’s month of activities.  The exhibition will feature different fish dishes from vendors of Barrouallie. It is scheduled to run from 11:30 a.m. and run until 3:00 p.m. The general public is invited.


On Tuesday 14th Lectures were held in the four (4) schools in Barrouallie in the topic: “We fish it, you dish it so let’s fish responsibly to sustain the industry”.


On Friday 17th in the afternoon, children from the community will receive practical training in fishing and on Saturday 18ththree (3) elderly fisher folks from Barrouallie will be a recipient of food hamper.


REGIONAL 


GREEK BILLIONAIRE THREATENS ST. KITTS & NEVIS GOVERNMENT WITH LAWSUIT OVER ARREST


The Greek billionaire who is heir to the Coca Cola fortune has left St Kitts and Nevis where he is facing drug charges, but not before warning Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris that he and his government would be slapped with a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit over the arrest.


Alkiviades ‘Alki’ David flew out of the twin-island federation after paying the EC$300,000 (US$111,010) bail imposed on him when he appeared in court yesterday, charged with possession, intent to supply, and importation of $1.3 million worth of cannabis.


The charges were laid after an investigation into the discovery of cannabis on his private jet when he arrived at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport last Tuesday, along with American businessman Chase Ergen with whom he is in a cannabis business venture. Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers and his family had also been travelling with David and Ergen.


The 51-year-old billionaire was arrested by members of the Anti-Narcotics Unit at the airport when he tried to leave last Thursday, and he was subsequently charged. He was initially granted EC$30,000 (US$11,101) bail and ordered to surrender all travel documents and report to the police station daily.


When David appeared in court yesterday, the bail amount was increased to the EC$300,000 (US$111,010) but his travel documents were returned to him and he was free to leave the country. He must return for another court appearance on September 23.  Before his court appearance yesterday, David had gone on a profanity-laced social media tirade. In one of the videos he posted, he shook a clenched fist and, in a comment directed at the Prime Minister, said: “Mr Harris, PM, you’re going to get a fisting, baby. Literally a legal fisting like no other. Stand by.” 


He is insisting that the plants he had on his plane were hemp and were related to his plans for a new legal cannabis business in St Kitts and other parts of the region. He and Ergen had announced last month that they had formed a consortium which specializes in cannabidiol (CBD) medicines and they hoped to develop the legal cannabis market in Eastern Caribbean countries including St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda.


In the press release on April 30 when the formation of the consortium was announced, it was stated that the first plane load of hemp seed for a designated parcel of land totaling 300 acres would arrive on Thursday, May 2.