Caribbean RoundUp | Caribbean Life


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Barbados

The Convener of the Barbados Bar Association’s Human Rights’ Committee, Lalu Hanuman, has expressed concern over a move by the government to implement legislation making it more difficult for people to be granted bail.

Recently, Attorney General Dale Marshall announced that people charged with murder or firearm offences punishable for at least 10 years in prison would not be eligible for bail within two years after being charged, except in special circumstances.

He said that while the country continues to battle the surge in murders, there are suggestions that the time should be increased to 36 months or in some cases no bail should be granted at all, adding that the state has to be mindful of the rights of individual.

Hanuman said to set a bail restriction of 24 months, “we think that is a reasonable in this case.”

According to the amendment to the Bail Act “in any case where a person is charged with murder, treason or an offence under the Firearms Act, which is punishable with imprisonment of l0 years or more that as such a person shall not be granted bail unless 24 months have passed”.

Hanuman and other prominent attorneys are arguing that the Bail Act is “unconstitu­tional.”

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), a British Overseas territory is moving to boost tourism in the territory and will be offering incentives to hotel operators to enable them to reconstruct or expand their territories.

The announcement was made by Premier Andrew Fahie during his recent budget presentation.

Fahie said his administration hopes to see thousands of additional accommodations being made available for overnight visitors by 2024.

He said the plan is to increase the room stock, first to pre-hurricane levels, and secondly to expand, adding that the government’s goal is to have 5,000 beds within the next five years.

Fahie, whose office has responsibility for tourism, said government will also be attracting local and international investors to construct new properties.

He said there are plans to “improve the access to the territory by the way of air and sea” and by investing more money in marketing thee territory’s tourism brand.

The premier said the branding of the BVI destination will start next year.

He also said in the debate that the development of tourism sub-sectors such as wellness tourism, sports tourism and entertainment tourism will be encouraged.

Guyana

Guyana has asked the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to fund the construction of three mini-hydropower systems, road links in the hinterland, and training for oil and gas, among other projects.

This was revealed by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan in his address at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Islamic Bank Group, In Morocco recently.

In his speech, which was made available by the Ministry of Finance, Jordhan said that Guyana will be looking towards its development partners, including the IsDB to build on the country’s regional comparative advantage in natural resource development including pristine forests, abundant frees water, large arable agricultural lands and wide variety of flora and fauna and mineral resources.

Jamaica

Inmates inside Jamaica’s prisons are contracting HIV at an alarming rate, according to a 2018 report.

The study conduct by the National Family Planning Board (NFPB), which reported on 728 inmates who had been incarcerated for more than six months, from three male adult correctional facilities and one female facility, showed that 6.9 percent, more than l00 percent higher than the 3.3 percent recorded in 2011.

The prison prevalence rate is almost four times higher than the national average of an estimated 1.8 percent.

The St. Catherine Adult Correctional Center had the highest rate, followed by Tower Street, and Fort Augusta, the women’s correctional facility located at South Camp Road in Kingston.

Data also show that inmates have a syphilis prevalence rate of 4.5 percent. The study pointed out that almost half of the inmates were married or had been living with a partner, while 46 percent were single and had never lived with a partner before their incarceration.

Some inmates in the study claim they had contracted HIV while in prison.

Director of Health Promotion and Prevention at the National Family Planning Board, Andrea Campbell, said the figure was cause for concern.

There are concerns among experts who say that upon release from prison, ex-cons with women have no knowledge of their HIV status.

Haiti

Haitian President, Jovenel Moise announced recently that Jean Michel Lapin to be the new prime minister of the French-speaking Caribbean country.

Lapin, who once served as a courier in the public administration, had been serving as acting prime minister ever since 93 of the 103 members of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of removing Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant last month, was reportedly one of three persons who had been considered for the permanent post.

The others were attorney Majorie Alexandre Brunache, a former consular general of Haiti in Boston and the daughter of President Boniface Alexandre and Gabriel Fortune, the mayor of Les Cayes, a town in south-west Haiti.

Lapin has been organizing his government ahead of going before the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate to be ratified with a vote on his political program.

Lapin is the third head of government under President Moise, since he came into office in February 2017.

The installation of a new government is an International Monetary Fund (UMF) prerequisite for the disbursement of the first tranche of a US$229 million loan to Haiti.

St. Lucia

Health authorities in St. Lucia are investigating two deaths amid reports of an increase in influenza cases on the island.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George said health officials have been investigating two cases, which are influenza-related, which is quite unusual for St. Lucia and more so at this time of the year.

She noted that the flu season in St Lucia is usually between October and March and peaks in December.

Belma-George said that, usually, health officials start seeing increases in flu cases from October decreasing during the period January to March.

However, she said that, from 2018, there has been an increase in cases during December with significant increases being recorded in March.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has passed the controversial “Explain Your Wealth Bill” legislation with amendments, unanimously supported by the Opposition United National Congress (UNC).

The bill officially known as the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019, seeks to establish a civil assets agency and part of its mandate will be to probe unexplained wealth.

The Opposition had expressed concerns about its initial form when it was piloted by the attorney general, but he agreed that some of the amendments would be made by those submitted by the UNC. The bill passed by all 34 MPs.

The legislation is enacted to recover wealth accrued by criminal activity, recover property, which includes property, terrorist property or an instrumentality of crime, including the portion of such property that may be mixed with another property.

AG Faris Al-Rawi assured that the bill would not affect citizens unless they are being investigated under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which covers a range of offences from racketing, bribery, terrorism and corruption, human and drug trafficking, kidnapping, piracy and other matters.

compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 4:29 pm, April 15, 2019

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