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Barbados Prime Minister Meets with Regional Private Sector

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Prime Minister Mia Mottley speaking to the regional private sector’s Chief Executive Officers and other officials during a recent meeting. (Photo Credit: BGIS)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday June 6,
2019
– Prime
Minister Mia Mottley has underscored the importance of the regional private
sector becoming a type of associate institution of CARICOM, saying it would be
good for the Caribbean.

She expressed that view recently when she met at her
official residence, Ilaro Court, with the regional private sector’s Chief
Executive Officers to discuss the establishment of a regional body and
implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Prime Minister said it was ironic that after
more than four decades of CARICOM’S existence, formal steps were now being
taken “assiduously” to ensure the labour movement and the regional private
sector’s formal participation in the regional organisation.

“As I indicated when we met in Port-of-Spain last
year, it is impossible for us to see the growth of the regional economies and
the creation of a single economy without understanding how best we can work
with the [regional] entities…

“The meeting that I had at my office a few weeks
ago would have allowed you to have a common platform as to what we are
beginning to expect and anticipate from your participation,” Mottley told the
regional private sector group.

She explained that the work with respect to the integration
of the financial markets and the ability to allow the unlocking of access to
capital would soon be completed by the CSME Unit.

The Barbadian leader added that those decisions
would then be put before the Finance Ministers and Heads of Government over the
next few months.

According to Mottley, those important decisions
would not only be significant for the regional private sector and governments
who wanted to see growth in the economies, but a signal to the international
community that this region was not prepared to speak to them in a mendicant
framework, but would do its part to ensure its growth and development.

She said the international community should be
held partially accountable for the consequences of the current economic
circumstances in the region.

“Whether it be by reason of their contribution to
the degradation of our climate or the terms of trade under which we have had to
perform, more often or not they use a one-size fits all approach that has
refused to take into account that our capacity to distort trade in goods and
services is just simply not there.

“And to that extent, therefore, for us to have
consequences that have seen the implosion of domestic production within our
markets simply to comply with international rules that really did not need our
compliance, … has led to negative consequences in terms of loss of jobs and
investment within our markets,” Mottley explained.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of
this region putting in place air bridges, saying if this was not done, the
opportunities would be constrained.

She said that since there was $47 billion
available in savings, appropriate instruments should be introduced to allow
governments to find a level of participation for ordinary Caribbean people with
respect to how renewable energy enterprises were financed.

“We have as leaders to create that space for
Caribbean people to be carried along in this investment framework. Similarly,
to the extent that we do rely on foreign capital, we need to do so while
ensuring that the redemption of the bonds or instruments happens, not in the
foreign exchange in which it was raised but the local currency,” Mottley said.

President and Group Chief Executive Officer of
the Massy Group of Companies, Gervase Warner, said they were examining how they
could create a Caribbean private sector organization to engage with the Heads
of Government on issues surrounding the CSME implementation.

He said they spent time thinking how to
constitute a body that would be representative of all member countries of
CARICOM.

“We wanted to make sure that not just big
business was represented but also smaller businesses from different industries
also had a chance to participate,” he said.

“What we want to make sure is that we have within
this organization a structure that would allow us in each of the countries to
find a way to hold meetings and to have engagement with even a broader set of
actors and participants who may not necessarily be members of the council, but
you will pull in for specific issues.”

Warner stated that Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, OECS, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname and Belize were represented by the regional group and work had to be done on the initial agenda.

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Cannabis Industry Opens in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuesday
July 16, 2019
– The first set of licences to start
production of medicinal cannabis in St Vincent and the Grenadines have been issued.

“The journey over the past 20 months to
put the legislative and administrative frameworks in place was certainly one of
the most difficult, yet gratifying, tasks I have had the opportunity to lead in
my career. It was not without major challenges,” said Minister of Agriculture
and Industry Saboto Caesar as he made the announcement.

He said the step-by-step policy
guidance from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and the significant support
received from his Cabinet and parliamentary colleagues at different stages of
the preparatory work had contributed to the successful opening of the industry.

The Rastafarian community was also
identified by the Minister as a “central pillar of strength” in guiding the
interaction over the period of consultation.

Throughout the process, religious
leaders, civil society and international legal and business experts
participated in a very open and transparent consultation process to identify
and outline the potential strengths and weaknesses of the different models.
This included a reliance on knowledge in certification and commodity trading
from companies such as Bunny Imports and Exports of Trinidad and Tobago.

“The work has just started,” Caesar
said. “It is our mission in St Vincent and the Grenadines to create a globally
certified industry aimed at supplying medicinal cannabis products, targeting
ailments based on evidence from clinical studies. The mantra is and will
continue to be a successful medicinal cannabis industry begins and ends with
science.”

Stakeholders in the industry were
encouraged to set extremely high standards in research and development,
marketing, labour relations, environmental protection and general corporate
responsibility.

“Surviving with no trade preferences,
grappling with the resultant implications of climate change on cannabis
cultivation, competing with global producers, effectively regulating the
industry to satisfy national and international laws, continuing to ensure food
safety and food security, while at the same time balancing many unique
variables will become our day to day reality,” Minister Caesar said.

But he said the Unity Labour Party
administration does not shy away from challenges.

“The successful completion of the Argyle International Airport; the education and housing revolutions; managing the transition from a monocrop to a diversified food production platform; the expansion of our tourism and health infrastructure; obtaining a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council; and geothermal exploration are all evidence that once, as a people, we maintain our focus – we will achieve our goals,” he said.

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Former UK Police Officer Jailed for Raping Visitor During His 2015 Vacation in Antigua

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Lee Martin-Cramp in uniform before being dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Force after spiking a woman’s drink and raping her in Antigua.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Tuesday July 16, 2019 – A former British police officer has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping a young woman when the two met on vacation in Antigua just over four years ago.

Lee Martin-Cramp, who was a member of the UK Metropolitan Police Force, will be incarcerated at the former US Naval Base on the island, in keeping with the agreement between local and UK authorities.

According to the evidence in the trial, Martin-Cramp raped the 22-year-old woman, a foreign student nurse, during his vacation in May 2015.

The two had met on dating app Tinder and went to a bar before going to her apartment where they chatted and drank wine before deciding to watch a movie. According to the evidence, the then 22-year-old police officer spiked the woman’s drink when she left the room to change her clothes.

Lee Martin-Cramp

The woman
had told the court she noticed the wine had a strange taste when she returned,
but Martin-Cramp told her he had added some vodka to it, so she took a few more
sips. She said she subsequently started feeling dizzy and stopped drinking, but
Martin-Cramp forced himself on her and she woke up later bruised and in pain.

The woman said she maintained WhatsApp contact with her rapist after the incident so she could eventually get him to admit to the crime. And he did, telling her to pretend it never happened, and she reported it to police.

In one of the messages, after the woman told him he had taken her virginity, Martin-Cramp replied: “I can’t give it back haha”.

Martin-Cramp was extradited from the UK to Antigua and Barbuda last September to face the courts for the crime, and after a seven-day trial two months ago, he was convicted.

Following his conviction, he was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police which he joined the year before the rape. He had been posted to the Wanted Offenders Unit in Wimbledon, South East London before his arrest.

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EU Signs Financing Agreement with Dominica Government in Support of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

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ROSEAU, Dominica, Tuesday July 16, 2019 – The European Union has committed to support Dominica’s renewable energy sector.

The two recently signed
an agreement that will make EC$7.91 million (US$2.93 million) available to the Eastern
Caribbean nation to assist in increasing the resilience of strategic
infrastructure, strengthening the competitiveness and the resilience of the
energy sector, and implementing the island’s international commitments under
the Paris Agreement.

Among other activities,
the support aims to render the country’s international airport energy-independent
and disaster-resilient, through the installation of a solar power plant within
the Douglas Charles airport premises.

The programme is expected
to run until 2022, and comes in addition to the ongoing programmes that the
European Union and the Government of Dominica are implementing in the housing
and post-disaster recovery sectors.

Acknowledging the need by most Caribbean States for a swift and smooth transition towards renewable and efficient energy systems, the European Union said it remains committed its partnerships, supporting also similar programmes at regional or national level.

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