T&T police rescue Venezuelan child bride

first_imgTrinidad and Tobago police say they have rescued a 13-year-old Venezuelan girl after she was brought to the country to marry a 24-year-old man.In a statement, the police said that the child, who was rescued from a house in the community of Penal, is now in the case of the Child protection Unit.The authorities have given no further details regarding the marriage, but media reports said that she was married to the main “in what was described as tribal rites.”The media reports said that the child had been married to the man on a small island off the coast of Venezuela, before she was brought to Trinidad.The police said that they were conducting an exercise in south Trinidad on Wednesday when they received information and executed a search warrant at the house where the child was found.The police said they have since launched a search for the 24-year-old man.last_img read more

New committee established to deal with marijuana testing in St. Lucia

first_imgCASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC – The St. Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) says it has established a National Ad Hoc Mirror Committee of the American Society for Testing and Materials International on Cannabis, (Committee D37).SLBS director, Verne Emmanuel, said that the committee brings together representatives of educational and research institutions, state and non-state actors, with a wealth of knowledge and experience that will guide the participation in the ASTM committee and adoption of the appropriate standards.The SLBS said it has an established memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ASTM International which is responsible for the development of American standards for testing and metrology.Under the terms of the MOU, St. Lucia can join technical committees of the ASTM and contribute to the development of these standards.“In light of the growing regional interest in the use of Cannabis, the SLBS Ad Hoc Mirror Committee will review and follow the work being done by ASTM,” the SLBS said.St. Lucia is among a number of Caribbean countries considering the introduction of legislation to allow for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. So far Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines have enacted such legislation, while others, including Dominica, have been staging consultations on the matter.Randall Bain, a representative of the Cannabis Movement of St. Lucia, has welcomed the move for closer collaboration with ASTM International, saying it provides comfort that there will be structure when St. Lucia is ready to get on board the cannabis train.The committee is expected to meet four times annually to review the standards for development that are under the work plan.last_img read more

Barbados says Grantley Adams Airport Remains Closed Until June 30

first_img“If the happy circumstances arise that you have significant improvements, and we can feel confident that it is easy to reopen, then that decision will be taken, but until such time we are going to be very guarded on this matter, and go as fast as the data and the circumstances allow us to feel comfortable. He said that temperature testing and prior knowledge of travel history would be required, so that as much as possible persons exhibiting symptoms could be “sieved out”. Protocols were also needed for the appropriate levels of quarantine space for persons who may eventually test positive. “We all want the highest degree of safety that we can have. Nobody feels comfortable in reopening until you have been able to secure, first of all, the well-being of the people in your country and the workers, and secondly the visitors to the island,” he added. “I cannot give you a date on which the airlines will be returning. We have taken a position that the airport remains closed to commercial traffic until the 30th of next month,” Tourism and International Transport Minister, Kerrie Symmonds told a virtual news conference regarding the Grantley Adams International Airport. Symmonds said that domestic protocols also needed to be settled because while there was a common understanding at the regional level, the sovereign state would have to implement as best as possible its own standards and due diligence to minimize risk. “Going about it phase by phase and step by step gives us an opportunity to protect our people while giving us an opportunity to develop some economic activity which is absolutely critical to the same people as well,” Symmonds added. BRIDGETOWN, Barbados– Barbados says while its international airport remains closed to commercial traffic until June 30, this is not a guaranteed date for when airlines will resume flying to the island. “Bottom line is, the perfect scenario would be to have a vaccine … but that is several months away …. In the meantime, life has to go on and we will have to exist with this threat we call COVID-19, until this time comes. So, therefore our [approach] has to be about managing the risk, minimizing the risk and making sure that we can still do business, while we protect people as best as humanly possible,” Symmonds said. “I want to make it clear that we have not settled yet on any definitive course of action, not just in Barbados, but across the Caribbean and also with the airlines,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and her St. Lucian counterpart, Allen Chastanet, both chaired a “useful meeting” with all the airlines that service the region last week. Symmonds said that safety is a priority for Barbados, and any decision taken to reopen the sector will “not be date driven, but rather data driven. CMC Photo via LinkedIn “This is a discussion that is being had around the region. In the absence of that, we are going to have to rely on the airlines being very robust partners, in the context of that which they do, to make sure there is a contaminant free corridor between, for example, when you leave JFK and when you arrive in Barbados,” Symmonds added. These include possibly implementing a COVID-19 rapid test, which could be conducted on departure from the source market, on arrival to Barbados, or at both points if cost allows. Noting that regional protocols were also being examined, he said officials were looking at criteria with regard to the data, managing risk and safety protocols. Barbados, like other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries closed its borders in March in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has killed nearly 400,000 people and infected more than 4.5 million others worldwide. “The airlines understand what we are trying to achieve …. Their interest as well is safely. The take away from that meeting is that there is no competitive advantage that anybody has over the other in terms of being safe.last_img read more

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur Hospitalized

first_imgCMC BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Former Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Arthur, has been admitted to hospital with heart complications. Arthur, who was the country’s longest serving Prime Minister, retired from public life in 1998. Earlier this year he was appointed chairman of the finally strapped airline LIAT. According to Barbados Today, the former Prime Minister is in stable condition and is resting at the Queen Elizabeth hospital.last_img

Antigua Assures it is Still Committed to Hosting CARIFESTA

first_imgThe statement quoted Matthew as indicating that Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his cabinet are also committed to ensuring that CARIFESTA in 2021 is an overwhelming success. A statement from the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, said that the island’s Culture and National Festival and the Arts Minister, Daryll Matthew, gave the assurance during the recently held virtual 18th meeting of the Interim Festival Directorate (IFD). The IFD is the regional advisory body to CARIFESTA and the meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Hilary Brown, Programme Manager Culture and Community Development of the CARICOM Secretariat and Ms. Annette Aflak, CARIFESTA XV Director, Antigua and Barbuda Host Country Management Committee. CMC GEORGETOWN, Guyana -Antigua and Barbuda has given the assurance that it is still committed to hosting the 15th edition of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), the region’s premier festival, in 2021. The IFD also discussed CARIFESTA XIV which was held in Trinidad and Tobago from August 16-25 last year under the theme ‘The Tangible and Intangible: Connect . Share . Invest’. “Discussions also focused on 15 years of implementation of the CARIFESTA Strategic Plan and the need for revisiting the CARIFESTA model, also taking into consideration how to organise festivals in a COVID-19 Environment,” the statement noted. A CARIFESTA XV hosting proposal was presented by St. John’s at the meeting and the statement said that the concept that was presented included the promoting and celebration of diverse cultural expressions. It was also suggested that advocating environmental sustainability and justice should be a priority, with a strong focus on greening CARIFESTA. CARIFESTA XV is expected to be held in August 2021 under the theme ‘One Caribbean. One Environment. Diverse Cultures’. The government had previously announced that the event, which is held every two years, would be scaled back due to the impact of COVID-19.last_img read more

IDB Approves More Funds for Haiti’s Healthcare System Amid COVID-19

first_img“To that end, it will concentrate on strengthening coordination at the national level; improving detection and monitoring of cases; supporting efforts to break the chain of transmission of the virus; and boosting Haiti’s capacity for providing health care,” the IDB added. WASHINGTON – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Wednesday approved a reassignment of US$27 million from the non-disbursed balance of Haiti’s current investment portfolio, from the IDB Special Donation Fund, in an effort to help the government fight the COVID-19 pandemic. “The goal of the programme for an immediate public health response to contain and control the coronavirus and mitigate its impact on the provision of services in Haiti is to help reduce COVID-19 mortality and morbidity rates and ease the indirect impact of the pandemic on health care in the country,” said the Washington-based financial institution in a statement. It said that besides all this action aimed directly at containing and controlling the pandemic, the plan will emphasize maternal and child health care, including vaccination, and the fight against contagious diseases. In order to ensure that the program does not clash with measures that are already in place, it said the plan will become part of the national plan developed by the Health and Population Ministry and the Cross-Sector Pandemic Management Commission, which was created by the Haitian presidency. “This will allow for mitigating the strong negative impact of the pandemic on these services over the short and medium term, especially among the most vulnerable people in Haiti,” the IDB said. “In this way, the intervention strategies in the IDB initiative are adapted to the Haitian context, because they were proposed by the commission, which features broad representation from civil society in Haiti,” the statement said. The IDB said this operation is in addition to a US$60 million grant approved in July to help the poorest people in Haiti, as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic. CMClast_img read more

Voters in Trinidad and Tobago Go to the Polls Today

first_imgThe EBC has also outlined new measures for voters. They must wear masks, acknowledge the six feet social distancing and sanitize before and after entering the polling station. The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) said that 1,134, 136 people are eligible to cast ballots at the estimated 2, 200 polling stations, that opened at 6.00 am (local time) and will close 12 hours later. In the 2015 general election, the PNM won 23 of the seats with the remainder going to the UNC and the Congress of the People (COP), the latter being part of the then People’s Partnership government in which the UNC was the major player. photo via: caricom The campaign had been unusual in that the political parties had to take into consideration the protocols put in place here to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has infected more than 200 and killed eight others in Trinidad and Tobago since the first case was detected in March. Among the candidates is the disgraced former FIFA Vice President Austin jack Warner, who is awaiting extradition to the United States on several fraud related charges in relation to his role as a FIFA official. Warner is contesting a seat along the east west-corridor that is currently held by the PNM.center_img While 19 political parties and 146 candidates are contesting the election, political observers say the poll is a straight fight between the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) and the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) for control of the 41 seat parliament. PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – More than 1.1 million people are eligible to cast ballots on Monday as Trinidad and Tobago elect a new government to administer the affairs of the oil-rich twin-island republic for the next five years. The weather forecast predicts intermittent showers. In the 2015 general election, the EBC extended the voting period by an hour to accommodate persons that had been affected by heavy rains – a situation that had been deemed illegal by the High Court, but which allowed the victories by the PNM. CMClast_img read more

Regional Leaders to Meet to Discuss Travel Bubble in the Region

first_imgHowever, some countries have removed others and a senior government official, speaking on a radio programme here, said that Barbados, for example had created a bubble indicating that if you are coming from a number of islands you don’t need a COVID-19 test. “So even if we were allowed into that bubble, we would have been outstanding in that we would not have allowed their people in without the test. What is being now is that there is a meeting of the heads this afternoon at 3.30 pm (local time) where they looking to see if they could find a way to harmonise the whole aspect of entry and exit amongst the CARICOM islands,” the official said. In recent times, the regional countries which have been reopening their borders, have created so-called “travel bubbles” allowing for nationals from several countries to freely move in and out without having to undergo many of the tests required for entry and exit from the islands as a result of the COVID-19. ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders are due to meet later on Monday to discuss arrangements that would allow their nationals to enter Caribbean countries without taking the various tests for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The bubble usually includes countries that have demonstrated considerable success in containing and combatting the COVID-19 pandemic within their respective borders. “Antigua and Barbuda has opted for the fact that we are saying, no. According to the dictates of the Ministry of Health in Antigua and Barbuda, once you are coming into Antigua and Barbuda, irrespective o where you coming from you must have a COVID-19 negative PCR test. CMClast_img read more

Op-Ed: John Lewis Would Want Us To Vote And Vote Safely

first_imgToday, his legacy continues to come under attack and the House of Representatives playing defense, attempting in his name to restore and strengthen overturned provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  Now, more than ever, America needs us all engaged and giving our all to ensure every voter is heard. Thank you in advance for doing your part. To honor John Lewis and all our other heroes who have fought and bled for our freedoms over the years, we must all exercise our right to vote. Copyright Paul McDermott Photography In Florida, the Republican-controlled legislature has worked to suppress the vote, blocking expanded mail-in voting and frustrating the populace’s overwhelming vote to restore the civil rights of over a million former felons who have served their time and are therefore returning citizens. As I write, voting by mail is already underway for local primary and judicial elections on August 18 that are crucial to our future. The state has already missed the opportunity to protect citizens and poll workers by sending every voter a vote-by-mail ballot. center_img A tireless, fearless, life-long fighter for equality and voting rights, John Lewis told us: “We must ensure every vote and every voter counts.”  We honor and serve our community by voting and supporting our candidates of choice in every way possible. John Lewis would be proud to see us help the elderly and disabled get to a polling place and help anyone who might need assistance requesting a vote-by-mail ballot on the BrowardSOE.org website.  With COVID-19 surging out of control, it is important that everyone request a vote-by-mail ballot before the August 8 deadline, to have the option of mailing or dropping off your ballot. The alternative is to vote very carefully in person during early voting from August 8-16, or on Election Day at your normal polling station. Joe Scott is a current Democratic candidate for Broward County Supervisor of Elections who credits the inspiration of John Lewis for encouraging him to make a difference and run for office.last_img read more

US Virgin Islands Puts Brakes on Leisure Travel to Battle COVID-19

first_img“We appreciate the concerns of our tourism partners and stakeholders, however, with the recent spike in cases we are seeing, especially in the St. Thomas-St. John district, we must reset, take stock, safeguard human life, and prepare for restarting our tourism economy at a later date,” said Commissioner of Tourism, Joseph Boschulte, as he spoke about the difficult but necessary decision. As of Thursday, there were 682 positive cases, 197 of which were active and 476 recovered. Nine deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic. Reservations may only be accepted for business travellers, flight crews, emergency personnel, and government workers with written authorization from the relevant government agency they are visiting. Effective immediately, hotels, villas, Airbnb accommodations, guest houses, temporary vacation housing and charter vessels and similar businesses have been ordered not to accept or book any new reservations for 30 days. Governor Albert Bryan Jr. said that the Territory will revert to the “Stay-at-Home” (Orange alert) phase of its COVID-19 response, for the next two weeks, following which there will be a re-evaluation of the situation. The authorities also disclosed that a Filipino sailor, who spent five weeks in a medically-induced coma, underwent 12 weeks of treatment at the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital’s COVID-19 unit before being repatriated to the Philippines COVID-free. “When we announced our COVID-19 alert system in May, I indicated at that time that we would retreat … to a more cautious state of alert if conditions warranted. Unfortunately, we have arrived at that point this week,” Governor Bryan said. “The recent infiltration of the virus into our residential institutions that house vulnerable members of our population creates an alarming level of risk,” the Governor said, adding “this adds to the stress of the ongoing pandemic response that seemingly has no end in sight and is wearing out our health care and public safety infrastructure”.center_img Beginning Monday, August 17 and lasting until August 31 unless lifted earlier, all restaurants in the Territory can offer only takeout, delivery or drive-thru service. All bars, nightclubs and cabarets are to remain closed as long as the Territory remains in a State of Emergency. He said from Monday, August 17, all non-essential businesses and churches have been ordered to cease operations and the public, including non-essential public sector workers, are ordered to stay at home. The authorities said that effective August 19, accommodations providers are barred from admitting or checking-in any guests for 30 days unless the order is lifted sooner. CHARLOTTE AMALIE, Virgin Islands – The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) authorities have announced plans to close its borders to leisure visitors for at least one month in an effort to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Virgin Islanders in the Territory and abroad are encouraged to travel only for urgent matters to help limit the contagion into and out of the U.S. Virgin Islands. CMClast_img read more