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St Kitts PM Denies Meeting with Coca Cola Heir Now Facing Drug Charges

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Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris said he was accosted by heir to the Coca Cola fortune, billionaire Alkiviades ‘Alki’ David.

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Monday May 20, 2019 – Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris has refuted claims that he had a meeting with heir to the Coca Cola fortune, billionaire Alkiviades ‘Alki’ David, who is facing drug charges in the twin-island federation.

David left St Kitts last week on bail after being slapped with charges of possession, intent to supply and importation of cannabis. That followed the discovery of 5,000 cannabis plants, seeds, and cannabidiol on his private jet when he arrived in the country along with American businessman Chase Ergen, with whom he is in a cannabis business venture. He had travelled to St Kitts at the invitation of former Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas
to meet about developing a major hemp farming operation on the island.

Alkiviades ‘Alki’ David was arrested as he was trying to leave the country.

The 51-year-old investor claimed he was charged on the heels of a meeting with Harris at the Park Hyatt two Sundays ago, at which the Prime Minister asked him to do something he did not want to do.

But speaking
on local radio, Harris said he was in Costa Rica until May 8 [David was first arrested
on May 7 when he arrived and charged on May 9], and indicated that he only had an
encounter with him at the Park Hyatt on his return to the island.

The Prime Minister
dismissed David’s claim of having a meeting with him as “malicious”, saying he
never organized or engaged in any talks with either the billionaire or any of
his associates. He made it clear that he does not have, and never has had, any form
of relationship, whether personal or otherwise, with David or Ergen.

“On Sunday [May
12] I had reason to be at the Park Hyatt [where] I was accosted by a gentleman,
who in the end identified himself as Mr David and we had an interaction for
about a minute and a half,” Harris recalled, noting that in that short space of
time David struck him as an unstable and unbalanced individual, particularly in
the manner in which he approached the leader of a country.

Harris
further explained that David complained about his arrest at the Robert
Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport, to which he responded, “If you come
to a country and you don’t know the laws you should consult with your lawyer or
the Government.”

The Prime
Minister said it was at that point that his intended guest arrived and David walked
away.

Harris also distanced himself from Ergen, whom is also known as Charles Edwards.

“Charles Edwards is a personality from whom you keep 10 miles, for Mr Edwards has shown a temperament that would not encourage anyone to attempt to have even a conversation with him and I have not had a conversation with Mr Ergen on his visit here in St. Kitts of recent vintage. I have had reason in the past to intervene because Mr Edwards was the subject of an Interpol investigation and as a consequence of that I had given direction that the St. Kitts and Nevis passport that he held and which he obtained from [then Prime Minister] Denzil Douglas in 2010, that that passport and any subsequent one that he had, that they had to be disabled and the Interpol be notified, and we did that really to prevent any reputational damage to St Kitts and Nevis,” he said.

Lawmen in St Kitts said Ergen has been charged with use of threatening language, resisting arrest, and battery on police. The offences were allegedly committed at the Park Hyatt on the same day Prime Minister Harris said he encountered David.

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Construction of 603-Room Ramada in St Kitts on Schedule for September Opening

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Thursday July 18, 2019 – Hotel development company Caribbean
Galaxy Real Estate Corporation says construction of the second phase of the Ramada
Hotel in White Gate is proceeding rapidly and the facility is on track for its
September grand opening.

Phase II of
the project is increasing the size of the hotel from 273 to 603 rooms. The
completed facility will comprise 19 structures housing a luxury clubhouse,
garden villas, spa villas, condos, a swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and
a spa. In addition, there will be a restaurant, pavilions and a water park.

Prime Minister
Dr Timothy Harris said the number of people employed in the twin-island
federation will significantly increase as the hotel is staffed for its opening.

He said the spin-off activities generated by the new Ramada Hotel are expected to open up opportunities for tour guides, taxi operators, dining establishments, craft vendors and shops.

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris (left) with Galaxy’s Vice President of Overseas Development Tang Jiang

At the recent Caribbean Investment Summit, the Prime Minister said investment agents from countries around the world were “amazed at the high-quality infrastructure on St. Kitts and Nevis and the progress being made on major projects in the Federation.”

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CARICOM Commission On the Economy Re-Established

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Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Barbados on Investment and Financial Services, Professor Avinash Persaud will return as Chairman of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday July 18, 2019 – CARICOM has re-established a
CARICOM Commission on the Economy, with Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of
Barbados on Investment and Financial Services, Professor Avinash Persaud,
returning as its chairman.

Barbados’
Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong said that Professor Persaud presented
an interim report at the recent 40th Regular Conference of CARICOM Heads of
Government in St Lucia, that gave broad outlines on how the commission
identified the problems facing the region, and what solutions they believed
were appropriate for economic development.

“Professor
Persaud was very clear that we now have to pursue a people-centred
developmental model, where the emphasis will have to be on education, skills
and innovation. He was very clear that we have to take concrete measures to
solve the problems of intra-regional transport, [and] freight, as well as
people. And the fundamental thinking of the commission is that we have to
create greater access,” he said.

“The buzzword
he used, or the central word was…’access for our people’. Our people must have
enhanced access to financial resources; enhanced access to the banking system,
to education, to training, to health services; [and] access to every
citizen.  We must now, in going forward,
pursue a people-centric developmental model 
based around the idea that we must enhance access of the individual
citizen to education, to entrepreneurial [and] financing opportunities; access
in ownership of wealth, [and] access in every dimension.”

The commission
is expected to report in six months, with a fully fleshed out action plan based
on those broad principles.

Last year, CARICOM Heads of Government reconstituted a high-level commission on the economy led by Professor Persaud of Barbados, comprising experts with regional and international reputations to help CARICOM craft a new economic developmental strategy, and to break the syndrome of low growth and economic stagnation that many member states have been experiencing since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008.

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Unemployment Down in Jamaica | Caribbean360

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday July 18, 2019 – The Statistical Institute of
Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting further reduction in the unemployment rate to a
new record low of 7.8 per cent.

STATIN’s April
2019 Labour Force Survey said the figure is two percentage points lower than
the 9.8 per cent recorded for the corresponding period last year, and 0.2 per
cent lower than the out-turn for January.

Director
General, Carol Coy, said the number of unemployed persons as at April fell by
25,900 or 19.7 per cent to 105,900, relative to 2018.

She was speaking at STATIN’s quarterly briefing yesterday.

Director General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Carol Coy at yesterday’s briefing. (Credit: JIS)

Coy said the
male unemployment rate declined by 1.8 percentage points to 5.5 per cent, while
the corresponding figure for females fell by 2.1 percentage points to 10.6 per
cent.

“The number of
unemployed males decreased by 13,000 to 39,900 in April 2019. Over the same
period, the number of unemployed females was 65,600; this was a decline of
12,900,” the Director General outlined.

Additionally,
she said the unemployment rate for youth, aged 14 to 24, fell by 6.4 percentage
points from 25.9 per cent in April 2018, to 19.5 per cent this year

“The
unemployment rate for male youth declined by 6.4 percentage points to 14.5 per
cent, while the rate for female youth declined by 6.6 percentage points to 25.8
per cent,” Coy said.

She pointed
out that the overall employed labour force increased by 29,900 persons or 2.5
per cent to 1,244,500, over the 1,214,600 for April 2018.

Coy further
indicated that the number of employed males rose by 18,200 persons to 691,500,
while the number of females in jobs increased by 11,700 to 553,000.

The total
labour force increased to 1,349,900 persons, which is 4,000 more than 2018.

In addition,
the number of males qualifying for jobs rose by 5,200 persons to 731,400, while
the corresponding figure for females decreased by 1,200 to 618,500 in April
2019.

Meanwhile, Coy
advised that 736,900 persons were classified as being outside the labour force
in April 2019.

The number was 4,800 or 0.7 per cent fewer than the outturn in April 2018, and was predominantly males.

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