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JAMAICA | PM Holness Meets Police, NWA Regarding Corporate Area Traffic

  KINGSTON,  Jamaica Sept 12, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrew Holness today met with the senior management of the National Works Agency (NWA), the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Chinese construction firm China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to discuss solutions to the current traffic challenges due to major road works taking place across the Corporate Area.

Trump Closes Palestinian Mission Office in Washington

The United States government announced the closure of the Palestinian leadership’s de facto embassy in Washington as a "punishment" for not engaging in one-sided talks with Israel, and for attempting to sue the Israeli government at the International Criminal Court despite warnings from Washington.

Guyana’s proposed Law School hits another CLE snag

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Sept. 9, 2018 -  The Caribbean Council of Legal Education (CLE) says Guyana’s plans to establish a law school falls outside its treaty as it does not provide for countries or private entities to build and operate law schools.
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CARICOM | Leaders Committed To Making A Difference

ST. MICHAELS,Barbados- September 6, 2018 - Caribbean leaders are committed to making a difference in their people’s lives through implementing key measures relating to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
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BARBADOS | CARICOM Heads Make CSME Recommendations

BRIDGETOWN,  Barbados, Sept. 7, 2018 - CARICOM Heads of Government have made a number of recommendations for consideration at the next Heads of Government conference, which they hope will make the business of living and working in the region much more viable for all.
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JAMAICA | PNP opens Condolence book Easton Douglas

KINGSTON,  Jamaica , August 31, 2018 - A condolence book has been opened today for the late former Member of Parliament for South Eastern St. Andrew, Vice President of the People’s National Party and Minister of Housing and Environment, Comrade Easton Douglas, at the People’s National Party Headquarters, 89 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6.

GUYANA | Granger wants Parliament to appoint Election Commissioners

GEORGETOWN,  Guyana, August 31, 2018 -President David Granger on Thursday signaled that he was open to adding reform of the Guyana Elections Commission and campaign financing to an agenda of proposed talks with Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, but already the Guyanese leader wants GECOM Commissioners to be appointed by the National Assembly. The President noted that ultimately there would be a role for the two major political parties in the appointment of GECOM Commissioners by consensus, convention or the constitution. In that regard, he preferred GECOM Commissioners to be appointed by the National Assembly similar to how the Police Service or Public Service Commission is appointed. “I’m in favour of reform but we must adopt the architecture, we must adopt the procedures which are in place for other constitutional commissions,” he told a news conference. Elections observer missions by the Commonwealth, Carter Center and the Organisation of American States have over the decades repeatedly the scrapping of the Guyana Elections Commission’s seven-member Carter Centre formula- three commissioners representing the opposition, three from the governing party and an independent Chairman- because it entrenches the role of political parties in the process. Some recommendations had called for commissioners to be drawn from civil society and prominent and well-respected Guyanese. “We can consider the reform of GECOM. We still work under the Carter formula which clearly appeared to have exhausted its usefulness….It is not a formula for consensus. It is almost a formula for gridlock so there needs to be a change,” Granger said. Earlier this year, the President had been embroiled in the controversial appointment of a GECOM Commission Chairman who ended up being Retired Judge, James Patterson although Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had submitted three sets of six names from which the President was expected to choose one. That appointment is the subject of an appeal. The President said he was willing to discuss campaign financing legislation with the Opposition Leader when they meet next month for the first in a series of high-level talks. The President said he has not seen draft campaign financing legislation which should be agreed by government and the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). “As far as the campaign financing legislation, I have not seen a draft myself; nothing has been formalised. This is something that has to be agreed by both sides. It could be put on the agenda of the Leader of the Opposition but I have not seen a draft, I don’t know what the implications are,” he said. Granger has already said he wants to discuss security, environment, and oil and gas with Jagdeo. “The points that were raised with the Leader of the Opposition were mutually agreed. The agenda can be extended. It is meant to be a continuous engagement,” he said, adding that he hoped that the series of meetings could kick off in September. On the idea of power-sharing, the President said the time has gone for members of the opposition to be included in the Cabinet. “As far as power-sharing is concerned, structurally it is too late to embark on a reconfiguration of the Cabinet,” he said. Reflecting on the months immediately after his coalition won the May 2015 general elections, a proposal that was made for an inclusionary democracy,” he said. The President appeared to prefer a sharing ideas instead of power. “There is no proposal on the table for power sharing, whatever that is but certainly in terms of inclusionary democracy, you know the history of that, I would continue to engage the Leader of the Opposition to ensure that important elements in society and the economy are discussed and we share ideas; it is better to say there is an idea-sharing proposal rather than a power-sharing proposal,” During Jagdeo’s tenure as president, he had said that executive power sharing would require the building of trust.
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CSME Meeting To Address A Range Of Issues

BRIDGETOWN,  Barbados, August 29, 2018 - A number of issues will be on the agenda next week when CARICOM heads meet in Barbados for the Ninth Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on the CARICOM Single Market and the Economy (CSME) on Wednesday, September 5.
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TRINIDAD | Petrotrin's Oil Refinery to close, 1700 to lose jobs

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct, 29, 2018 - Chairman of Trinidad and Tobago's state owned oil company Petrotrin, Wilfred Espinet, yesterday announced the closure of its Pointe-à-Pierre oil refinery, the island's only such facility, describing it a cancer that cost the company billions in loss and debts.
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JAMAICA | PNP Concerned over "Green Bikes" for JCF

KINGSTON, Jamaica, August 27, 2018: The People’s National Party’s (PNP) Shadow Minister of National Security, Mr. Fitz Jackson, says the latest acquisition of motorbikes and supportive accessories for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is a positive development.

JAMAICA | Constant Spring Market Vendors disrespected says PNP

KINGSTON, Jamaica, August 27, 2018: The People’s National Party (PNP) Shadow Minister of Local Government, Dr Angela Brown Burke, is expressing profound disappointment at the cavalier manner in which the vendors at the Constant Spring Market are being treated and the total disrespect being meted out to them.

JAMAICA | Prime Minister Supports Family of Yetanya Francis

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug. 28, 2018 -Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he  has instructed the Ministry of National Security to set aside resources from the 100 million dollar “get the guns campaign”, launched last year, to incentivize information sharing that leads to the arrest and charge of child murderers, molesters and traffickers.

Qatar’s $15 billion snub of Trump over Turkey puts another key US relationship in Middle East at risk

The U.S. and Qatar have been key allies for decades, with close military and economic ties. Qatar is home to the United States’ biggest base in the region, and in turn the U.S. has pledged to protect the small, oil rich country that juts out into the Persian Gulf. But the relationship is being tested like never before by the latest example of Qatar snubbing the interests of Uncle Sam – or, put more generously, its maverick foreign policy. The U.S. recently placed severe sanctions on Turkey’s economy for refusing to release an American pastor detained for almost two years, sparking a currency crisis. Qatar was the first, and so far only, nation to offer Turkey tangible aid in the form of a US$15 billion investment and other types of financial assistance. Although the Gulf country has long pursued policies out of step with the U.S., such as maintaining good relations with Iran and aiding various groups that the U.S. considers terrorists, its very visible support for Turkey in the dispute poses a direct challenge to the Americans. And while the U.S. has in the past practiced patience with its sometimes wayward ally, President Donald Trump is often willing to toss out the rulebook and has previously lambasted Qatar on Twitter. As a longtime observer of the region’s complicated economic and political developments, I believe that Qatar’s interjection in the U.S.-Turkey crisis raises two important questions: Why is Qatar willing to risk its close relationship with the U.S.? And why has the U.S. let it get away with this behavior for so long? U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greets military dignitaries at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst Punching above its weight A country of just 320,000 citizens – as well as 2.32 million expatriate residents – Qatar has a habit of using its massive oil and natural gas reserves to exert influence in the Middle East and beyond. Such a hyperactive foreign policy is very unusual for a small state like Qatar. Qatar made its offer to Turkey during a recent visit by Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim Al Thani to Ankara. The announcement helped stem the rout in the lira, which lost a third of its value in a month. It was followed by a so-called currency swap agreement that will allow Turkey to bypass the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade and financial transactions with Qatar. While Iran and several Arab countries including Kuwait have expressed opposition to the U.S. sanctions, none so far has offered tangible financial support similar to Qatar’s. Meanwhile, the U.S. is trying to put economic pressure on Turkey in hopes it spurs the release of the American pastor, who has been detained for nearly two years on allegations he supported the failed July 2016 coup. Qatar’s aid clearly counteracts that pressure. So far, the U.S. hasn’t publicly reacted to Qatar’s actions. U.S. sanctions prompted a currency crisis in Turkey. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis Allies aiding adversaries This gesture of support for Turkey is not the first time that Qatar has taken a stand that conflicts with U.S. foreign policy objectives. On several occasions in the past two decades, the U.S. has expressed concern about Qatar’s support for various Islamist and extremist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as its relations with Iran. In May U.S. officials issued a warning after a newspaper reported evidence of clandestine contacts between Qatar and Iran’s revolutionary guards and other groups it supports. This behavior may seem puzzling because ever since its creation as an independent state in 1971, Qatar has relied on the United States for its external security. At the same time, Qatar hosts about 10,000 U.S. military personnel at Al Udeid Air Base, home of the U.S. Air Force Central Command, which is used to conduct operations in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. The United States also maintains strong economic relations with Qatar as its largest foreign investor – particularly in oil and natural gas production. All smiles as Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Presidential Press Service/Pool via AP Qatar’s possible rationale So why would Qatar risk jeopardizing the relationship by aiding Turkey so publicly? One possible explanation is that Turkey itself has become an important strategic and economic partner. The two signed a military cooperation agreement in 2014, which allowed Turkey to maintain a small base in Qatar. When fellow Gulf Cooperation Council states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates broke diplomatic relations with Qatar in 2017 and imposed a trade embargo, Turkey increased the number of its troops at the base to deter military action. This was important to Qatar because the U.S. seemed to be showing more support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the standoff, a perception reinforced by highly critical tweets from Trump. Qatar’s recent expansion of trade with Turkey also helped it survive the embargo as Turkish consumer goods flowed in, leading to a surge in trade between the two countries. Bilateral investment between Qatar and Turkey has also increased in recent years. Qatar has nearly $20 billion in investments in Turkey, and a large number of Turkish construction firms are active in Qatar. Another possible explanation is that Qatar’s leaders simply believe that the U.S. needs Qatar more than Qatar needs the Americans. The rationale is that the American military bases there are vital to its ability to project power in the region. Meanwhile, Qatar’s significant reserves of oil and gas make it a valuable economic partner. As a result, Qatar may believe the U.S. will continue to show a high level of patience, even in the face of support for Turkey. Things are a bit frostier in the Oval Office with Trump. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque US patience running thin? It is true that the United States has tended to be patient with Qatar’s maverick foreign policy, including over Iran. But Qatar’s government would be wise to have a realistic understanding of the erratic and unpredictable nature of American foreign policy under the Trump administration. Just as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was shocked by Trump’s sudden impositions of harsh sanctions this month, Qatar might also face a similar American reaction for going too far in its support for Turkey, or getting too close to Iran. In addition, Qatar must keep in mind that Turkey could never replace the U.S. as a partner both in terms of military protection or the advanced American oil and gas technology it receives. In other words, if Trump is willing to risk the United States’ relationship with Turkey so easily, Qatar should not assume that it is immune from his wrath – or could find as useful an ally. Perhaps a better strategy for Qatar is to maintain a balance between its two important allies.
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BARBADOS | There will be no massive lay-offs says Mottley

BRIDGETOWN,  Barbados, August, 26, 2018 - Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has given the country the assurance that 4,000 workers will not be laid off and says her Government was trying to make sure that the consequences of any adjustment and transformation would be as minimal as possible.
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JAMAICA | PNP Mourns the passing of Easton Douglas, OJ

KINGSTON, Jamaica, August 26, 2018: “Jamaica and the People’s National Party and are poorer this morning with the passing of a giant in the process of nation-building, a man who was a champion patriotism and epitomized the true spirit of Jamaican nationhood.”

UN Committee VP: Decision on Lula's Politcal Rights is "Legally Binding"

Sarah Cleveland, vice-president of the UN Human Rights Commission, has condemned statements made by Brazilian officials following the UN's determination that the state should “take all necessary measures” to allow Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to “exercise his political rights” as a candidate in the October presidential elections.

GUYANA | President Granger meets with US Congressional delegation

Georgetown, Guyana –(August 23, 2018) - President David Granger, this week held talks with a visiting delegation of  Congressmen and other officials from the United States of America at the Ministry of the Presidency, where a number of issues were discussed and areas of cooperation were explored.
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BARBADOS | PM Mottley: Real Time Data Needed

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told accounting officers in the public sector and principals of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) that their financial reporting data must be up-to-date.
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BARBADOS | US Embassy waives visa renewal interviews for Bajans

As part of the United States Government’s continuing efforts to improve customer service and streamline the visa process, the US Embassy is pleased to announce the implementation of interview visa waivers in Barbados for qualified applicants wishing to renew their US visas, effective August 28, 2018.
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JAMAICA | PNP pleased about fraud investigation at Dunns River

Kingston, Jamaica, August 22, 2018: Opposition Shadow Minister of Planning and Development Anthony Hylton, says he is encouraged by the action taken by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to enable the investigation of an apparent fraud at the world famous Dunn’s River Falls.
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