Caribbean Tidbits for December 2018
Trinidad And Tobago PM: Let’s support our artists
Trinidad And Tobago – Cabinet has approved an arrangement between the Urban Development Corporation (UDECOTT) and the Government of Cuba, which has offered to send specialists at a reasonable cost to help restore Mille Fleurs, the Prime Minister said+ at the opening reception for the First Citizens Bank (FCB) 25th-anniversary art exhibition, The Art of Banking.
He said, “We are currently engaged in completing the restoration of Whitehall and maybe sometime in the early part of next year, the first half of next year, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) will return (there). Emphasizing the importance of local art and heritage, he said, “We have recently invested significant sums of monies to preserve what is not just an ordinary building but an emblem of art and representation of our heritage.” He added that what TT invests in ensuring that these buildings are available for the next generation is “the saving of our soul.”
Jamaica will not be a casino destination, says Bartlett
ST JAMES, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica’s first regulated casino should be up and running by the start of 2020, but Jamaica will not be a casino destination. The minister made the disclosure on Friday as he wrapped up remarks at a seminar on Hospitality Industry and Casino Operator’s Guide to Managing US Liability Issues from the Caribbean, at Sandals Montego Bay.
While not giving details on the first casino, Bartlett spoke of the contribution casino gaming is expected to make to the Jamaican economy as an addition to the tourism product, providing two per cent to GDP growth. Additionally, he noted that there has been very strong religious consideration, but as a government, a concerted decision was taken “to take a deeper dive in this area because it does provide a lucrative element of the tourism product and that it had the potential to drive growth to a level that would put Jamaica where it ought to in terms of the level required to generate additional GDP growth”.
Jamaica’s Kadijah Robinson finishes in top five at Miss World
Jamaica’s representative to the Miss World pageant, Kadijah Robinson, has finished in the top five of the competition held in Sanya, China. Vanessa Ponce de Leon from Mexico was declared the winner, becoming the first Mexican queen to win the coveted title. The other contestants who qualified to the final round at the 68th Miss World contest were Miss Belarus Maria Vasilech, Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo and Miss Thailand Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan.
The top-level performance from Robinson has triggered widespread praise from scores of Jamaicans who took to social media to commend the daughter of Black River, St Elizabeth on her performance.
Robinson, a physiotherapist at the Black River hospital in St Elizabeth, was also crowned Miss World Caribbean.
Turnquest says he is borrowing another $100m to establish a disaster relief fund
Nassau, The Bahamas – The Finance Minister Peter Turnquest moved a resolution this week in the Parliament to borrow another $100 million from the IDB in what he described as a draw down in the event of a natural disaster. This year no hurricanes came to the Bahamas. Turnquest told Parliament this special credit facility with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) gives the Government access to up to $100 million after a hurricane or other natural disaster. The initial term is five years, subject to extension.
Gov’t depts may go digital
Barbados – Government could soon be using digital technology across a number of its ministries including housing, finance and immigration, in an effort to get a better handle on tracking transactions. This indication was given recently as top government representatives met with blockchain technology experts in an initial consultation, aimed at finding more efficient and secure systems that could be applied to various sectors in Government.
Pointing out it that it would be a first for Government if the technology is used as a solution on various projects and governmental initiatives, he said, “It is promising because they’re interested in learning more about the capabilities of blockchain and seeking to implement applicable solutions that can be useful in the short and long-term,” said Abed.
Income tax amendment bill passed
Barbados- Against strenuous objections from a member of the Upper House, who labelled changes to the Income Tax Act “unconstitutional”, senators approved the amendments this evening. Senators’ main concerns centered on changes that would place a greater burden on middle-income and working-class Barbadians who already paid the bulk of taxes.
Senator Franklyn, the bill’s most strident objector, accusing the Barbados Labor Party administration of taking a “scattershot” approach to implementing legislation. “This policy will put a bigger burden on the middle classes and working classes who are getting devastated now, because they will be paying the majority of the taxes in this country.”