Tag Archives: caribbean

National Assembly will meet Thursday Feb. 18 at 10 a.m.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Notice has been given for the first sitting of the National Assembly for the year to be held at the National Assembly Chambers, Government Headquarters, Basseterre, on Thursday February 18, at 10:00 a.m. The Order Paper and other papers will be disseminated later.

The National Assembly will be carried live on ZIZ Radio (96 FM) and participating radio stations. It can also be viewed live on TV Channel 5 in St. Kitts and Channel 98 in Nevis. It will also be streamed live at www.zizonline.com.

Copies of Bills can be found on the website www.sknis.kn of St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service under the section: Bills.

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H.E. Sir Tapley accredits nine ambassadors at Government House

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Virtual accreditation ceremonies for nine ambassadors accredited to the Federation by their countries were held on February 10 and 11 His Excellency by Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton, GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, LL.D, at Government House.

On Wednesday the countries and their respective Ambassadors were:
The Republic of Turkey, Ambassador Her Excellency Yesim Kebapcioglu; The Federal Republic of Germany, Ambassador Her Excellency Ute Konig; The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ambassador His Excellency Sandor Marnix Raphael Varga van Kibed en Makfalva; The Czech Republic, Ambassador Her Excellency Katefina Lukesova; and The Republic of France, Ambassador His Excellency Jacques-Henry Heuls.

On Thursday four Countries participated: The Portuguese Republic, Ambassador His Excellency Carlos Nuno Almeida de Sousa Amaro; The Federal Republic of Ethiopia, His Excellency Shibru Mama Kedida; The Kingdom of Belgium, Ambassador His Excellency Hugo Verbist; and The European Union, Ambassador Her Excellency Malgorzata Wasilewska;

In all instances, the Governor-General engaged the ambassadors in discussions of mutual interest and solicited assistance in further provision of scholarships and other educational assistance.

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Premier Brantley, Nevis CIC officials discuss partnership, economic recovery

Executive Members of the Nevis Chapter of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce with Nevis Island Administration officials. Left to right, Lester Blackett; Colin Dore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance; Denrick Liburd; Daniel Arthurton; Mrs. Sunita Persaud-Browne; Steve Tyson, chairman of the Nevis Chapter of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce; Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the Nevis Island Administration; Oscar Walters; and Ernie France.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Hon. Mark Brantley Premier of Nevis met recently with Steve Tyson, the new chairman of the Nevis Chapter of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC), to discuss how the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and the private sector can partner to advance the economic recovery on the island.

Brantley, NIA Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, along with Colin Dore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, met on February 9, with Tyson and other Chamber officials.
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February 8 Post-Cabinet Briefing

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Team Unity Cabinet of Ministers met on Monday, February 08, 2021, at the Ministry of Finance Conference Room, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris. Several issues affecting the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis were deliberated on.

• The National COVID-19 Task Force, including the Permanent Secretaries of National Security, Health and Foreign Affairs, came to the Cabinet and gave a comprehensive report on the challenges and successes of the Federation in managing the COVID-19 pandemic especially since the reopening of the borders almost four months ago.

• The Chief Medical Officer gave the usual statistics and filled in the Cabinet that of the 40 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases recorded so far, 38 were fully recovered and the other two active cases were in stable condition. She gave an overview of the interaction between hotel managers who have been managing COVID-19 quarantine sites, and that the sites thus far have been functioning satisfactorily. She also informed that at the JNF General Hospital Laboratory the molecular machine was up and running and that the Alexandra Hospital in Nevis is in the process of securing their own molecular machine. She also reported on the breach at the hotel and was satisfied that all staff who interacted with the COVID-19 positive guest were in quarantine. She explained the way forward for immunization in order to achieve herd immunity and explained the threshold needed to achieve this result. The Cabinet was advised that the public education campaign in relation to the vaccine was being rolled out, and now that more labs are coming into operation testing can now be done more expeditiously. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health also reported that the Cuban Brigade is likely to be here for another three months to support our health professionals at this critical time.

• The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) gave statistics over a comparative period spanning January 2019 to January 2021 where the expected decreases were highlighted. Additionally, he reported that the backlog of cargo at the port has been cleared and that SCASPA was looking at what needs to be done in order to achieve the seamless handling of both cargo and passengers in the future.

• The ICT (Information and Communication Technology) technician walked the Cabinet through the process for entering and departing the Federation. The Chief Immigration Officer shared the statistics of incoming and departing passengers over the period and so far, there were no major challenges experienced with immigration.

• The Acting Comptroller of Customs informed the Cabinet that the Customs Department will be working more closely with ICT to facilitate the online clearing of goods.

• The CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority shared that the average passenger load was down considerably, however over 4000 persons had been trained to function during the COVID-19 pandemic and she suggested that the yachting sector may be able to pick up the slack if a bubble on the South-East Peninsula could be created to accommodate yachtsmen.

• The Head of the Compliance Task Force gave an overview of the functions and hoped for a more robust enforcement programme.

• The Chief of Police stated that law enforcement officers have been assisting all the other government agencies in the fight against COVID-19 and would continue to do so. Also, he reported that major crimes are still down, but that petty larceny is still a concern.

• The Commander of St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) spoke to the support given to the Compliance Team by the Coast Guard and other soldiers.

• The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributed that the involvement of her ministry with the Task Force is a necessary conduit for sharing travel advisories promptly with their partners regionally and internationally.

• The Director of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) updated the Cabinet on the new properties which were being visited in an effort to get more hotel rooms available for both quarantine and vacation in place.

• The Medical Officer in Nevis shared her experiences and issues relating to the cooperation on COVID-19 related matters in terms of protocols and procedures between the two islands.

• At the end of the presentations from all the technicians, Cabinet considered submissions which would redound to economic stimulation within the Federation.

• The Attorney General reported on the upcoming peer review for the Federation and gave the different dates for the visiting team’s meeting with stakeholders.

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Initial COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 20 percent of Federation’s population

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The initial procurement of 21, 600 doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine, will provide coverage for 20 percent of the national population, according to St. Kitts and Nevis’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws.

“The doses are the product of AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccines,” said Dr. Laws, during the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) COVID-19 Press Briefing on February 10.
Continue reading Initial COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 20 percent of Federation’s population

Nevis DMD grateful for US $28,000 in supplies from US Southern Command

A portion of the US $28,000 worth of supplies donated to the Nevis Disaster Management Department.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — The Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) recently received a donation of supplies valued at US $28,000 as humanitarian aid from its long-standing partners United States Southern Command (US SOUTHCOM) through the Minimal Cost Project (MPC) at the US Embassy in Barbados.

Brian Dyer, NDMD Director expressed gratitude on behalf of the department for the supplies.
Continue reading Nevis DMD grateful for US $28,000 in supplies from US Southern Command

Jamaica, ILO sign grant agreement to support formalization in agriculture, fisheries

KINGSTON, Jamaica — A landmark partnership to help informal operators in the agriculture and fisheries sectors transition to formal standards of labour has been launched by Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Honourable Audley Shaw, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, signatory to the ILO grant agreement, attended the virtual event on February 4. Other high-level participants included the Honourable Floyd Green, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries; the Honourable Dr. Norman Dunn, Minister of State in the MIIC; and Ms. Valerie Vieira, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). Ms. Michelle Parkins, Chief Technical Director at the MIIC, moderated the event.

“It is estimated that approximately 43 percent of the Jamaican economy operates informally,” said Minister Shaw. “The challenge of addressing informality is more severe for workers in the agricultural sector and especially for those in the fisheries subsector. This project will ensure that our farmers and fisherfolks are given the assistance, training and guidance that are required to take them along the path to formality. We want them to understand that agriculture is a business and should be treated as such.”

“The project will see 100 farmers and fisherfolks, who are registered with The Rural Agricultural Development Authority or the National Fisheries Authority, formalize their operations,” said Minister Green. “We know their reality – they operate in this informal space and as such, they are unable to access the keys they need to unlock their true potential to truly modernize and grow our agricultural and fisheries sectors. They are unable to get financing, they are unable to access pension and investment facilities. We want to unlock that potential.”

”Implementation of the project will be led by the JBDC, an agency within the MIIC. My team is excited and ready to deliver. We have placed this project into a programme that we have labelled ‘Beyond Crops and Catch’, specifically to say we are about sustainability,” explained Ms. Vieira.

“We are looking at sustainability in terms of pension, health and investment because we really want to move that narrative and that mental fix away from saying that farming is not a business, so we are really looking at a fulsome engagement with participants.”

This grant agreement supports one of several components that have been agreed with national partners within the multi-dimensional development cooperation programme, approved by the ILO in 2020.

The 15-month ILO programme has as its overall aim, to improve the efficiency and capacity of workers in three target industries – household services, agriculture and fisheries – through various interventions. The ultimate goal is to provide tangible support for persons in these sectors, which will allow them to transform their livelihoods from subsistence activities to economically sustainable employment.

“The Jamaica Formalization Project will receive ILO financial and technical support to strengthen policies for income security, social protection and other incentives for formalization,” said Dennis Zulu, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, during the virtual signing ceremony to initiate the collaboration. “It will also feature public awareness and sensitization campaigns to clarify the understanding of the advantages and procedures for businesses and workers to make the shift to the formal economy.”

In addition to ILO support for agricultural enterprise development, the other components will include development of training curriculum for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and certification linked to fishers’ occupations and needs.

The ILO is already advancing discussions with the Jamaica Household Workers’ Union/Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions and the Jamaica Employers Federation for relevant agreements to provide technical and financial support within the framework of the project. Support will also be provided for interventions of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; and capacity building for social dialogue among national tripartite constituents, so that they can effectively review and revise relevant legislation for wages and benefits to workers in the target sectors.

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Latecomers claw down Eagle Claws in thrilling National Domino Association tournament

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — In the most intense encounter in the eighth segment of play in the first round of the St. Kitts National Domino Association (SKNDA) tournament on Thursday, February 11, at the New Town Community Centre, Latecomers Domino Club overcame Eagle Claws Domino Club 26-22.

The Great Comeback: Kerell ‘Franks’ Dasent of Spartans Fig Tree Domino Club took no chances when his team came back from behind to thrash Poor Man Pocket Domino Club, 26-8.

For Latecomers, Norris Sharry and Robert Tyson won six games and lost two, while for Eagle Claws Ryan St. Marie and Kerone Roache won seven games and lost two.

Spartans Fig Tree Domino Club, which trailed in the early stages of their game against Poor Man Pocket Domino Club, made the quintessential comeback of the evening and handed Poor Man Pocket Domino Club a thrashing they will want to forget in quick time. Spartans earned a bonus point by winning the game 26-8.

For Spartans Fig Tree, Rameece ‘Rambo’ Belboda and Everton ‘Harris’ Boone won eight games and lost one, and Franks and Nady won four games, and lost three, while for Poor Man Pocket Allington ‘Leggy’ Berridge and Desmond ‘Fergie’ Rawlins won three games and lost one.

Terminal Boyz Domino Club, which suffered its first loss in the tournament on February 7, went all out to prove what happened was purely bad luck. They did it in style by dispensing a stern to King Balang Domino Club which they annihilated 26-4. The feat earned Terminal Boyz a bonus point.

Lodge Domino Club which lost by default on February 7, overcame their misfortune by beating Newcomers I Domino Club 26-16; Masters Domino Club beat Newcomers II Domino Club 26-12; while Los Fuertes del Domino handed Til Ah Marnin Domino Club a 26-16 beating.

The game between Eagle Claws Domino Club and King Balang Domino Club, which was postponed from February 7, was played on Wednesday February 10. Eagle Claws who had only won one game previously, earned their second win by beating King Balang 26-18.

In the meantime, SKNDA Vice President, Keithly Blanchette, advised players that games that would have taken place on February 14 will instead be held on Tuesday, February 16 from 6:00 p.m. The change gives the players time to be with their loved ones on Valentine’s Day.

Blanchette also informed the teams that at the present rate of playing on two days in a week, SKNDA will be late in submitting names to Antigua and Barbuda of players from St. Kitts who will participate in the World Council of Domino Federation championships. He proposed that for the second round that they hold the games on three days in a week – Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Points standing after eight segments of play: Terminal Boyz, 37 points; Masters, 35 points; Poor Man Pocket, 27 points; Newcomers I, 27 points; Los Fuertes del Domino, 26 points: Latecomers, 25 points; Til Ah Marnin, 21 points; Lodge, 20 points; Spartans Fig Tree, 11 points; Eagle Claws, 10 points; Newcomers II, 5 points; and King Balang, 5 points.

The competition will continue on Tuesday, February 16, at the New Town Community Centre starting at 6:00 p.m. with teams meeting in the ninth segment of play in the first round.

Order of play: Newcomers I will face Terminal Boyz, Eagles Claws will come up against Poor Man Pocket, Spartans Fig Tree vs. Lodge, Latecomers vs. Til Ah Marnin, Los Fuertes del Domino will battle it out with Newcomers II, and Masters vs. King Balang.

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Demand High for Caribbean Properties

Buyers who act soon may find that their secondary homes in the Caribbean prove to be good investments

PhotoTalk / Getty Images

With the northern hemisphere in the middle of winter and many regions still under pandemic lockdowns, wealthy buyers are more motivated than ever to invest in the Caribbean and other island getaways.

Many of the same islands where these investors vacation have managed to keep Covid-19 transmissions rates low, by locking down early and instituting strict travel restrictions. Now, with offices and schools still operating remotely in many cities, demand is growing from high-net-worth buyers ready to commit to secondary homes in countries with warm climates where life has largely returned to normal.

“We’ve found that because these international high-net-worth individuals were in lockdown, they took the opportunity to look at real estate, and it piqued their interest when they saw Bermuda was managing its numbers,” said Penny MacIntyre of Rego Sotheby’s International Realty in Bermuda. “The WHO [World Health Organization] validated Bermuda as one of the safest places in the world, and they saw it was affording a lifestyle where they could move around and dine in restaurants.”

For many already familiar with such island destinations, that sense of safety has persuaded them to look into second- or third-home purchases. With activity already heightened and pent-up demand building among buyers who cannot travel, getting into the market now—even if that means buying sight unseen—could mean beating the added competition when travel restrictions ease in the future.

“We’ve seen an uptick in purchases since the pandemic, from people looking for an escape from big cities,” said Neal Sroka, founder of Sroka Worldwide, a consulting firm for high-end international real estate. “They do buy without visiting, provided they know the product, so it’s much easier to sell on a branded hotel basis rather than individual homes.”

Some island destinations have seized upon this moment by offering easy pathways to citizenship for investors, or special permits for those working remotely. Bermuda, for instance, has a “digital nomad visa,” a one-year residential certificate for those who want to live in the country while working remotely in another. Barbados recently began offering a similar program, as has the Cayman Islands, drawing a new wave of buyers.

And in St. Kitts and Nevis, a citizenship-by-investment scheme confers citizenship to buyers who make a real estate purchase of $400,000 or more. This has enticed many American buyers, who can use a St. Kitts and Nevis passport as a back door to Europe.

At the ultra-luxury end of the market, brokers for private islands are reporting a flood of inquiries from investors, although transactions remain low.

“The interest is definitely there to find places in isolation but the purchase of these islands is usually delayed until the pandemic is over,” said Farhad Vladi of Vladi Private Islands, which lists islands for sale and rent in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and around the globe. “There is very little activity on the island market at the moment.”

But those with the knowledge and means to make a purchase now have an edge, as other would-be buyers less familiar with these locations are itching to make a move the moment travel restrictions are loosened.

“We’re seeing a lot of curiosity from people imagining a different kind of life,” said KC Hardin, co-founder of real estate development company Conservatorio in Panama. “People are starting to book trips, with the mindset of, ‘As soon as I get the vaccine, I’m getting out of here.’”

Demand for Island Properties

For many high-end real estate investors, the pandemic has changed their priorities and encouraged them to reconsider their lifestyles.

“If you have the means, owning a second or third home became more of a necessity out of Covid,” Mr. Sroka said. “Now people do believe they need the ability to go somewhere they feel that they’re relatively safe.”

Such buyers typically have vacationed in island destinations in the past and are now committing to longer-term investments. Some are taking advantage of programs like Barbados’ Welcome Stamp visa, a 12-month residency permit for those working for overseas employers, while pursuing permanent residency. This program has already lured nearly 2,000 visa applicants, according to the island’s tourism board.

These schemes, coupled with the familiarity of branded residences, has convinced some to make investments even as travel restrictions prevent them from seeing properties in person.

“A number of people are making offers sight unseen,” said Eric Johnson, sales director at the Four Seasons Nevis. “They’re familiar with Nevis and have seen the homes they’re purchasing. With a branded residence, there’s a lot more confidence, because you know the ownership of the hotel and the strength of the brand.”

Some buyers, on the other hand, are seeking more privacy and individuality from their island purchase, and are willing to invest from overseas.

“We had three circumstances of properties bought sight unseen, and two were standalone homes,” said Buddy Rego of Rego Sotheby’s International Realty in Bermuda. “These are buyers who want to have control of an asset and lots of space. They want to customize the home themselves.”

On the Cayman Islands, brokers are reporting an increase in inquiries, a result of pent-up demand from earlier in the pandemic and the island’s efficient handling of the crisis. Life is essentially back to normal after a strict lockdown in the spring of 2020, but travel restrictions remain in place. Still, this hasn’t stopped overseas investors.

“We had an increase in demand last year, especially at the higher end of the market,” said Jonathan Sparrow of Cayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty. “Our biggest sale was a modern house on the beach, which was sold for US$5 million without the buyer stepping foot in the house.”

In fact, the Caymans saw a 4.3% increase in total sales volume in 2020, with the value of the average transaction increasing by over 26% compared to 2019. Turks and Caicos experienced an increase in sales activity in its luxury condo sector in 2020, while St. Kitts and Nevis got a bump in luxury sales thanks to the Four Seasons villa collection closing a number of transactions last year.

What Buyers Need to Know

Buyers who act soon may find that their secondary homes in the Caribbean prove to be good investments, once tourism starts up again.

“As a pure investment, the numbers are very attractive, because most of these properties can end up in a rental pool,” Mr. Sroka said. “Based on what we’re seeing because of demand, those numbers could end up really high.”

But given the uncertainty of when these island nations will reopen, Mr. Sroka advised that buyers should be motivated primarily by the desire to enhance their lifestyle and invest in properties they will actually use.

Those with an eye on investment should educate themselves on the economic conditions of their preferred destinations, in addition to their rental prospects. Travel can be disrupted, so buyers may want to seek out island destinations that aren’t as heavily dependent on tourism dollars.

More: Buyers in Hot Markets May Want to Move Quickly Before Competition Increases in the New Year

“The biggest difference between Cayman and other islands is that we don’t have a sole reliance on tourism,” Mr. Sparrow said. “We are a financial center, and trillions of dollars flow through related to the hedge-fund industry.”

Other factors they should consider is the ease of travel to these destinations—whether there are direct flights, for instance, and proximity of their investment property to airports. For those planning to work remotely from the Caribbean, look into the island’s broadband coverage, and consider the weather, as some regions are more impacted by hurricane season than others.

“People who are looking should consider whether they want to be in a branded residence or a townhome, and how often they’re going to be here,” Ms. McIntyre said. “Definitely work with an agent who can help identify options and the parts of the island that would suit them best.”

Be prepared, too, for competition, and potentially to jump through specific hoops when making a purchase as a foreigner.

In St. Kitts and Nevis, for instance, “Most transactions are all cash, and there is a vetting process [for foreign buyers],” Mr. Johnson said. “But once you go through that, you’ll be able to close on a transaction very quickly.”

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Haiti: Ambassador to US Calls for International Support in Talks with Opposition


The Ambassador of Haiti in Washington DC, Bocchit Edmond called on the international community to support talks between the government of President Jovenel Moïse and the opposition as the constitutional crisis worsens, but he rejected calls for the resignation of Head of State.

Let us recall that this crisis was born of a dispute between President Jovenel Moïse and the opposition on the date on which his mandate is supposed to end with regard to 2 contradictory articles in the Constitution : article 134.1 on which the Head of State https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-32954-haiti-politic-16-political-parties-for-an-end-of-the-president-s-mandate-on-february-7-2022.html and article 134.2 invoked by the opposition.

Ambassador Edmond told reporters he did not believe there should be a situation where President Jovenel Moïse leaves office before February 7, 2022, when his 5-year term expires.

“I believe that the international community, our international partners, should work with us and with the opposition parties to make sure that we come to some kind of dialogue or political agreement, so that we can have a better way of ‘move forward “said Ambassador Edmond adding “We have a legitimate President. The international community must support it, accompany it, so that we can carry out the electoral process successfully.”

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