Caribbean Update

The latest news stories from the Caribbean

Hear news for the Caribbean Community at 8am, midday and 4pm every weekday on Revolution Radio

17/6/2024

 

10/6/2024

We begin in Jamaica, where the nation is celebrating a new national record in athletics. Nickisha Pryce has shattered the 400m national record, setting a new benchmark for future athletes.

In Barbados, the community is rallying together after a tragic incident. A local bar was the scene of a violent attack, resulting in two fatalities. The incident has sparked a national conversation on public safety and gun control.

Lastly, we turn to the Bahamas, where the Prime Minister has announced the 2024/2025 budget. This budget is described as a pivot towards a new era for the nation, with a focus on fiscal consolidation and economic development that benefits all Bahamians.

 

3/6/2024

Barbados and Dominican Republic Hit by Tropical Storm Elsa:

  • Tropical Storm Elsa tore through Barbados and the Dominican Republic, leaving devastation in its wake. Recovery efforts are underway in Barbados after the storm passed through, and three people have been confirmed dead. In the Dominican Republic, a 15-year-old boy and a 75-year-old woman lost their lives when walls collapsed on them during separate events. The storm was downgraded from a category one hurricane to a tropical storm but continues to impact the region. Cuba and Florida are now bracing for its effects in the coming days1.

Jamaica’s Preparations for Elsa:

  • Jamaica is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa’s trajectory. The National Hurricane Center predicts that the storm will move toward the southwestern peninsula of Haiti before tracking towards Jamaica and eastern Cuba. Some models show it may spin into the Gulf of Mexico or up the Atlantic coast. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in 15 Florida counties, including Miami-Dade County, which recently faced a high-rise condominium collapse. Haiti, especially vulnerable due to erosion and deforestation, is also at risk. Authorities are urging citizens in flood-prone areas to evacuate1.

Dominican Republic and Haiti Brace for Impact:

 

27/5/2024

In Barbados, a significant milestone has been reached as Dominica decriminalises same-sex relations. Activists are celebrating this as a major step forward for LGBTQ rights in the Caribbean.

Turning to environmental news, Antiguan girls are being trained as coastal stewards. This initiative aims to empower them while also protecting the environment.

In a surprising turn of events, 500 Newfoundlanders ended up on the same cruise by coincidence. The residents of the Atlantic Canadian province chased the same good deal online without prior planning.

In law enforcement news, a major cocaine seizure took place on a Jersey-registered boat1. More than 1,100kg of cocaine was found onboard.

Finally, exploration of a 300-year-old wreck in the Caribbean Sea with an estimated £16bn trove has begun. This is a significant event for archaeologists and historians alike.

 

20/5/2024

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Secures Loan for Critical Infrastructure Projects:

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines has secured a loan of EC$135 million for critical infrastructure projects. The funding aims to enhance the country’s development and improve essential services

Community-Led Development Research Fellowship in Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • A new fellowship for community-led development research in Latin America and the Caribbean is now open. This initiative seeks to empower local communities and promote sustainable growth

Florida Man Survives Shark Attack:

  • In a harrowing incident, a Florida man survived a shark attack after the “apex predator” pulled him underwater. Fortunately, he narrowly missed a femoral artery and escaped with his life

 

13/5/2024

Brit Tourist Survives Shark Attack in Tobago

Peter Smith, a 64-year-old tourist from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, narrowly escaped a terrifying encounter with a bull shark off the coast of Tobago last week. Despite losing fingers from his left hand and sustaining puncture wounds to the abdomen, he survived the brutal attack. Smith has been flown to Miami for treatment, where doctors are working to save his leg.

Royal Caribbean Fans Fired Up by Eurovision Partnership

Royal Caribbean’s collaboration with the Eurovision Song Contest has ignited excitement among cruise enthusiasts. During the first quarter of this year, the cruise line’s EMEA vice-president reported increased engagement from fans. We could soon see a Eurovision-themed cruise.

Jamaica Celebrates Record Tourism Numbers

Jamaica has welcomed 1.7 million visitors in the first five months of this year. The island’s stunning beaches, rich culture, and warm hospitality continue to attract travelers from around the world.

 

7/5/2024

Major Cocaine Seizure in the Caribbean Sea

The Royal Navy’s relentless pursuit of drug smugglers in the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea led to a significant breakthrough. Acting on intelligence, HMS Dauntless intercepted a high-speed vessel suspected of trafficking narcotics. As the smugglers attempted to evade capture, they jettisoned bales of cocaine into the sea, creating a surreal scene of white powder floating on turquoise waves. The Royal Navy’s daring crew managed to recover over £200 million worth of cocaine, dealing a severe blow to the drug trade in the region. Authorities are now investigating the criminal network behind this audacious operation.

ITV’s Glamorous Version of “The Traitors” Set in the Caribbean

Prepare for intrigue, deception, and sun-kissed drama! ITV is taking its hit game show “The Traitors” to the Caribbean, where ten glamorous couples will battle it out for a jaw-dropping prize of £250,000. Hosted by the charismatic Stephen Mangan, the show promises palm-fringed beaches, luxurious villas, and contestants with secrets aplenty. Each couple must lie, manipulate, and form alliances to outwit their rivals. Expect sizzling confrontations, unexpected alliances, and perhaps even a stolen kiss under the Caribbean moon. Viewers across the UK are eagerly awaiting this tropical twist on reality TV.

Caribbean Heroes in World War II

Amidst the sun-soaked beaches and lush rainforests, the Caribbean played an unsung but vital role in World War II. Over 10,000 men and women from the islands volunteered to serve in the British armed forces. They left behind their homes and families, crossing the Atlantic to fight alongside their British counterparts. From Jamaica to Barbados, these brave souls served as pilots, nurses, engineers, and infantry. Their contributions helped secure victory against tyranny, yet their stories often remain untold. Now, a new documentary sheds light on their sacrifices, honoring the Caribbean heroes who stood shoulder to shoulder with Britain during its darkest hours.

 

29/4/2024

Dominica's High Court has overturned a ban on consensual same-sex relations in the Caribbean island nation.

The court ruled parts of the law that criminalised same-sex activity went against the country's constitution.

A gay man living in Dominica who brought the case said the law violated his constitutional rights.

LGBTQ activists welcomed the decision, hailing it as "a significant milestone in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights in the Caribbean".

The court ruled that sections 14 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalised consensual same-sex activity between adults, were unconstitutional.

A 170-year-old lizard specimen is to be taken back to its Jamaican homeland from Scotland as part of reparatory justice moves.

The Jamaican Giant Galliwasp, a species now presumed extinct, is thought to have been collected in the 1850s and became part of the University of Glasgow collections in 1888.

A team from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) will go to Glasgow to retrieve the specimen in what is said to be the first repatriation of a natural history specimen in the Caribbean.

More than £55m worth of cocaine has been seized from a Jersey-registered boat in the Caribbean, authorities have confirmed.

The Law Officers' Department said more than 1,100kg of the Class A drug was found onboard with street value of between £55m and £77m.

The anti-drug smuggling team arrested three Spanish nationals and one Colombian national onboard the vessel 200 miles south of Barbados.

 

22/4/2024

A transitional council tasked with choosing Haiti’s next prime minister and Cabinet was established on Friday in a move supporters hope will help quell turmoil in the troubled Caribbean country where most of the capital remains under the grip of criminal gangs.

Meanwhile the UN and aid partners are continuing to reach hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti with critical assistance, amid ongoing violence in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reported their staff were able to reach more than 18,000 people with cash transfers on Wednesday and 210,000 children across the country received a school meal.

As part of the agency’s emergency response, food rations were distributed to about 8,000 people.

And Jamiacan Prime Minister Andrew Holness has led tributes to politician Princess Lawes, a former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament. 

She died on Saturday morning at the age of 79.

 

15/4/2024

In Montego Bay, High Court judge Justice Bertram Morrison on Friday described the murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl Shineka Gray in 2017 as a most gruesome and disgusting act and sentenced her killer Gregory Roberts to life in prison with a minimum sentence of 42 years.

The judge explained that the time Roberts has already served in custody  seven years, two months and nine days  was taken into consideration.

It has been more than eight years since the Jamaican Government announced renovation plans for of May Pen Cemetery in Corporate Area, yet the burial ground where many famous Jamaicans have been laid to rest remains in a deplorable state, and the workers say they are frustrated about the unkept promise.

Despite the announcement of plans to restore the cemetery to its former glory, no work has yet started.

And in Barbados, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has opened additional space in its Accident and Emergency Department.

The hospital says the opening marks an important milestone in its ongoing journey to enhance health-care services for the community. 

 

8/4/2024

Hundreds of revellers in traditional costumes have been on the streets of the Corporate Area enjoying the Carnival celebrations in Jamaica.

The main attraction, the annual Road March featured three bands – Xodus and Bacchanal, Yard Mas and GenXs – each with their unique costumes and vibe.

HEALTH Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says that despite reports from Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that the Caribbean is seeing a surge in dengue cases, Jamaica has “passed the worst” and is moving towards the end of the outbreak declared last September.

According to PAHO, as of March 26, 2024 more than 3.5 million cases of dengue were recorded in the region. Additionally, more than 1,000 dengue-related deaths have been reported.

PAHO Director Jarbas Barbosa told a press briefing that the numbers indicate a “cause for concern” because this is three times more cases than were reported for the same period last year, which had a record year of 4.5 million cases.

FORMER Prime Minister PJ Patterson is calling for a close look at measures which can be implemented to deal with the apathy which has greeted recent national elections as it is posing a threat to the country’s democracy.

 

2/4/2024

Members of the Caribbean community in Northampton who are watching the unfolding unrest in Haiti say they are very concerned for family and friends on the  Caribbean island nation, saying they are virtually being held prisoners in their own homes because of the ongoing violence.

One former resident said "I’ve never seen Haiti like this, there's so much devastation ... I’ve never felt so helpless and hopeless."

Armed gangs went on a rampage about a month ago in Haiti, launching attacks on prisons, police stations and the country's international airport. They also moved against upscale neighborhoods and other districts in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince. Scores of people have been killed, and thousands have been left homeless amid the violence that has now brought fears of deepening hunger.

A well-known politician in the Bahamas was killed when two gunmen opened fire on a group of people while trying to rob them, according to local police.

Don Saunders, a former parliamentarian and the deputy chairman of the Free National Movement Party, died at the scene late Wednesday, according to officials. He was 49.

"We are still gathering all of the facts as we come to grips with this tragedy," parliamentarian and FNM party leader Michael C. Pintard wrote on X, formerly called Twitter.

22/3/2024

The evacuation of U.S. citizens from Haiti remains ongoing, with roughly 1,000 Americans looking to flee the extreme gang violence.

The evacuations come after weeks of gang violence that has sent Haiti spiraling into chaos. Armed gangs launched a new wave of attacks in Port-au-Prince’s suburbs early Wednesday, with heavy gunfire echoing across once-peaceful communities near the Haitian capital.

The Port-au-Prince's Toussaint Louverture International Airport was taken over by armed gangs on March 4 after they first freed thousands of jailed prisoners, many of whom were gang members.

The series of catastrophic incidents occurred while Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry was away attempting to secure a security deal with Kenya that would ensure the timely deployment of 1,000 police officers to Haiti to help quell the gang violence. 

Police are on the scene at Chapel Gap, Haggatt Hall, St Michael, where a man was stabbed.

Eyewitnesses said the victim was stabbed in the neck and rushed to the hospital. Investigations are continuing.

And young people in Jamaica seeking to purchase their first home will now have more affordable options available to them through the National Housing Trust (NHT) which will be developing one-bedroom apartment complexes, particularly within or near urban centres, as starter homes.

This initiative was among a raft of new measures for affordable housing solutions Prime Minister Andrew Holness highlighted in his budget debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

He said the starter homes will be made available to contributors via sale agreements with an optional buy-back clause.

 

15/3/2024

Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry has agreed to resign following weeks of mounting pressure and increasing violence in the impoverished country.

It comes after regional leaders met in Jamaica on Monday to discuss a political transition in the country.

Mr Henry is currently stranded in Puerto Rico after being prevented by armed gangs from returning home.

He said his government would resign following the "installation of [a transition] council."

He has not been allowed back into Haiti after leaving in late January for visits to Guyana and Kenya, where he signed a deal on the deployment of an international security force to help tackle violence.

Many Haitians questioned the length of his unelected governance and Mr Henry's resignation had been one of the key demands of the heavily armed gangs that have recently tighten their grip on the capital, Port-au-Prince.

These gangs have attacked the main prison to help thousands of inmates escape, as well as targeting police stations, the capital's international airport and its port.

Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel's conviction for murder has been overturned.

The 48-year-old was given a life sentence in 2014 for the killing of Clive "Lizard" Williams on the Caribbean island.

His successful appeal, heard by the Privy Council in London, argued that a juror accused of trying to bribe others should have been thrown off his trial.

Authorities in Jamaica will decide whether the case should be retried.

The musician, real name Adidja Palmer, is one of the country's most popular artists and has collaborated with performers such as Jay-Z and Rihanna.

His 64-day trial was one of the longest in Jamaican history, and ended with Kartel being ordered to serve a minimum of 35 years in jail.

12/3/2024

New Mayor of Black River, Councillor Richard Solomon, has outlined his vision for the parish of St. Elizabeth, which focuses on economic growth, environmental sustainability, and community well-being.

Following his swearing-in on March 7, Mr. Solomon said key among his priorities is working closely with local businesses, entrepreneurs, farmers and investors to attract new industries and investments to the parish.

Jamaica will join the global community is observing World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) on March 15, under theme ‘Fair and Responsible use of Artificial Intelligence in Consumer Relations.’

Activities will take place locally under the sub-theme ‘Consumer and Technology: Are you Protected?’.

Detectives from Jamaica's Westmoreland Police Division are probing shooting deaths of two men who were killed 15 minutes apart in their Grange Hill community on Saturday.

The deceased have been identified as 49-year-old carpenter Anthony Smith and 37-year-old bike taxi operator Ricardo Green, both of Geneva district, Grange Hill, Westmoreland addresses.

 

5/3/2024

Barbados is aiming to tap into the sports tourism market to revitalise its less popular summer months.

The Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing, Shelly Williams, outlined this strategy during a parliamentary session while discussing the Appropriation Bill, 2024. With a budget of $21.53 million the focus is on enhancing the island's appeal to sports enthusiasts including a recent multi-year agreement with the PGA Tour, which includes Barbados as a venue for tournaments.

In response to complaints about the airport experience, particularly from residents, Barbados' Minister of Tourism, Ian Gooding-Edghill, revealed plans to establish a task force to address concerns about unsatisfactory treatment from border officials. 

And Gender equality is taking center stage in Jamaica, with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport prioritising the advancement of women and girls.

Minister Olivia Grange reaffirmed this commitment during an International Women's Day church service, emphasizing investment in women's leadership and empowerment. She highlighted recent legislation addressing the issues of sexual harassment and domestic violence. 

27/2/2024

A team from the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by Secretary-General Patricia Scotland KC, is currently in Guyana for the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM heads of government. Discussions at the four-day CARICOM meeting will cover critical topics such as climate resilience, regional security, energy, and nutrition. Secretary-General Scotland will engage directly with Caribbean leaders to prepare for the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later this year.

In Barbados, health officials confirm that no mosquito breeding is occurring in the pool at the old Silver Sands Hotel in Christ Church. Despite concerns from residents, the Ministry of Health and Wellness assures ongoing monitoring of the situation and collaborates with property owners to maintain standards. While a dengue fever outbreak persists on the island, authorities note a decline in suspected and confirmed cases, urging continued vigilance from the public to prevent mosquito breeding.

And officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) renew their commitment to quality growth. The first technical cluster of meetings, held in Lima from February 24 to March 8, focuses on advancing the social dimension of economic growth. Peru, leading this year's forum, emphasizes empowerment, inclusion, and growth following extensive consultations with various stakeholders.

 

21/2/2024

In Brussels, the EU Council has removed The Bahamas, Belize, Seychelles, and Turks and Caicos Islands from its tax blacklist due to improved tax governance.

Twelve jurisdictions remain on the list.  Positive ratings from the Global Forum resulted in Botswana and Dominica being removed from the relevant section for information exchange. The Council has urged remaining jurisdictions to enhance legal frameworks to meet international tax standards.

On Tuesday, Barbados celebrated the birthday of pop megastar RIhanna.  Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, she was raised on Westbury Road in St Michael before expanding her horizons and capturing the hearts of millions worldwide with her music. She is internationally loved but has remained deeply connected to her roots.

Anf The Holetown Festival has been taking place in Barbados.  It's a heady mix of music and cocktails celebrating Barbados’ very first English settlement four centuries ago.

The stage has been ablaze with electrifying performances from many of the island’s top soca artists 

 

15/2/2024

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has issued a dire warning about the escalating human rights crisis in Haiti. Gang violence continues to ravage the nation, with over 800 civilians and 300 gang members killed or injured in January alone – marking the bloodiest month in over two years.

In Guyana, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has urged patience from teachers amidst ongoing efforts to enhance working conditions. Addressing concerns over recent strikes, President Ali emphasized the government's commitment to elevating education standards to a world-class level and urged educators not to be swayed by political agendas.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has issued a health advisory as a Saharan dust plume blankets many parts of the region. Dr. Joy St John emphasized the need for protection, as the dust exacerbates air quality issues, posing particular risks to vulnerable groups such as children and those with respiratory conditions.

 

12/2/2024

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry urged calm in a public address early Thursday following three days of violent protests that have paralyzed the country as thousands of protesters demand his resignation.

The brief speech in the pre-dawn hours did little to appease people who are angry and frustrated over unrelenting gang violence, deepening poverty and the lack of any plan in sight for general elections.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, has underscored the significant strides Guyana is making towards achieving the ambitious target of eliminating hunger by 2030.

Despite ongoing challenges in human development and persistent food insecurity concerns, Todd highlights the region's substantial food production capacity.

Speaking at the launch of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's 38th regional conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre in Guyana, Todd emphasizes the necessity for concerted efforts at both policy and regional levels to address existing gaps.

Increased seismic activity at the Kick ‘em Jenny submarine volcano near Grenada since Friday has placed disaster management officials on alert.

However, there is no immediate danger to Barbados as alert levels remain at yellow, despite the increased activity, with the largest seismic activity being recorded yesterday, Saturday, February 10.

 

6/2/2024

In St. Thomas, Jamaica, an investigation is underway following an altercation involving a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor reportedly attacked by a man dressed in orange. The incident occurs near the construction site of the new Morant Bay Urban Centre. Video footage obtained by Observer Online captures the councillor defending himself as the situation escalates, with firearms drawn before the altercation is diffused.

Meanwhile, Barbados has introduced its first shared-use mechanics facility, The Bay Grazettes. Constructed by Export Barbados (BIDC) at Grazettes Industrial Estate, the facility aims to provide roadside mechanics with commercial spaces to enhance their operations and address community concerns about informal mechanics.

In political news, Jamaicans are preparing for the ongoing 2024 Local Government Elections, set for February 26, with Nomination Day scheduled for February 8. Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, announces the electoral dates, emphasizing the crucial role of councillors and mayors in managing public infrastructure across the island.

 

1/2/2024

In Haiti, an alarming surge in gang violence is causing concern, with U.N. special envoy Maria Isabel Salvador reporting a staggering 122% rise in victims compared to 2022. The 8,400 documented cases last year highlight the grim reality, with the capital, Port-au-Prince, bearing the brunt of gang-related violence.

Shifting to Jamaica, the U.S. government has raised its travel alert level due to a recent spike in murders. Americans are urged to reconsider visits to the island, citing concerns about crime and unreliable medical services. This comes shortly after a similar warning for the Bahamas, emphasizing the need for increased caution in popular tourist destinations.

In Barbados, a significant update as the government removes the deadline for obtaining new digital identification cards. Minister Marsha Caddle announced the change, offering flexibility in the identification card process. Stay tuned for further updates on these evolving stories in the Caribbean.

 

29/1/2024

The Ministry of Health and Wellness in Barbados has confirmed the presence of the JN1 variant, a sub-variant of Omicron.

This new and fast-spreading strain was detected through local variant testing following a rise in respiratory illnesses, including Influenza A and B. The Chief Medical Officer emphasized that although COVID-19 is no longer a global public health concern, testing and monitoring continue. While the mask mandate remains lifted, precautions are urged, especially for vulnerable groups.

In economic news, the European Union is set to play a vital role in the redevelopment of Newport West in Jamaica.

Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill, welcomed EU funding for a comprehensive study and business model. The goal is to transform the area into a world-class logistics facility and a competitive economic zone. Minister Hill highlighted the strategic importance of Jamaica as a logistics hub, particularly for transshipment to Guyana. The study is expected to benefit both the European Investment Bank and local investors.

And Reggae Month 2024 launched in Kingston, Jamaica, with a church service at Fellowship Tabernacle on Sunday.

Organized by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, the theme is 'Celebrating Reggae’s Message of ONE LOVE.' Minister Olivia Grange and other guests, including JaRIA Chairman Ewan Simpson, will participate. The service, led by Pastor Al Miller, sets the tone for a month-long celebration aligning with the overarching theme 'Come Ketch di RIDDIM.'

22/1/2024

After sustaining significant damage from Tropical Storm Bret last June, Barbados' renowned Animal Flower Cave is "back up and running."

The ocean cave, featuring natural limestone floors, sea anemones, and rock pools, has been bustling with visitors during the winter tourist season.

Owner Manuel Ward expressed satisfaction with the busy season, showcasing the cave's sights and restaurant offerings to delighted tourists.

The Barbados Government is set to conduct a comprehensive census to accurately determine the number of homeless individuals on the island.

Following a preliminary count last December, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey revealed that 225 homeless persons were identified, with 139 living on the streets and 86 in shelters.

The census aims to provide a detailed understanding of homelessness for targeted support and initiatives.

The Jamaican Government is considering ambitious plans for the development of Lucea, including the possibility of relocating the township for increased climate resilience.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during a tour of the Cleveland Stanhope Market, acknowledged the challenges posed by flooding in Lucea and suggested building a new town to address the issue.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of climate-resilient infrastructure and the preservation of the town's historic value.

 

17/1/2024

In the lead-up to the local government elections in Jamaica, the People’s National Party (PNP) claims to be ahead in the polls, according to Dr. Dayton Campbell, the General Secretary. During a press conference on Monday, Campbell stated that their polling indicates PNP leading in 12 out of the 14 municipal corporations. He urged the government to call the election without further delay, as both major parties intensify their campaigns.

The Barbados government, led by Mia Mottley, is escalating efforts to combat drug use among young people. Evidence suggests a rise in drug use within the past decade, prompting a comprehensive drug prevention campaign for 2024. Permanent Secretary Yvette Goddard, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs, highlighted the global pro-drug culture and the vulnerability of the family unit as contributing factors.

A senior police officer has been appointed to investigate a viral video on social media showing questionable behavior by a female police officer in Barbados. The video depicts a young man in handcuffs being verbally abused. In response, the Barbados Police Service issued a statement condemning such unprofessional conduct and confirming their commitment to a thorough investigation.

11/1/2024

In Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness expresses optimism for 2024, declaring it a year of peace, productivity, and prosperity. Holness encourages unity, emphasizing the potential for breakthroughs and positive change through collaboration.

In Barbados, the Central Bank announces a positive development in banking services. RBC Royal Bank, after discussions with the Central Bank, confirms the elimination of transaction charges through the automated clearing house (ACH) and the real-time payments (RTP) system, effective January 12, 2024. Additionally, RBC will reimburse customers for charges incurred since the Central Bank's directive on January 2, 2024, by January 19, 2024.

Meanwhile, in St Michael, Barbados, a fire at Barker’s Road in Haggatt Hall destroys one house and damages two others along with a car. Seven people are impacted by the blaze. The Barbados Fire Service, with 15 officers and three appliances, responded to the incident. Officials urge citizens to prioritize fire safety practices and maintain good housekeeping.

 

8/1/2024

A Virgin Atlantic plane made an emergency landing at Manchester Airport on Sunday after pilots reported “dense acrid smoke” in the cockpit.

Flight VS77 had taken off from Manchester Airport bound for Barbados this afternoon, but was forced to return after declaring an emergency over the Irish Sea around 20 minutes into the journey.

Meanwhile, American actor Christian Oliver and his two daughters have died in the Caribbean after the aircraft they were traveling in "plummeted into the ocean" moments after takeoff from an island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, officials and reports say. 

The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) said the small, one-engine aircraft owned and piloted by Robert Sachs, a resident of the island of Bequia, crashed into the sea about one nautical mile west of the island of Petit Nevis around midday Thursday. 

Exactly one week after the body of a male was pulled from a 30-foot well in Exchange Hill, the family of missing man Mitchell Nicholls has confirmed his death on social media. 

In a brief message posted on Facebook, the management and staff of the family-owned Nicholls Bakery said it was deeply hurt and saddened by the loss of their 28-year-old loved one who was described as a son, brother, co-worker, family member, and friend.

 

 

19/12/2023

Jamaica has taken a big leap in environmental sustainability with the inauguration of a state-of-the-art recycling facility in Portmore. This development by Recycling Partners of Jamaica is set to boost the country's recycling rate to 75%, marking a significant advance in Jamaica's environmental initiatives.

In Barbados, the International Monetary Fund has greenlit a substantial financial boost, allowing the government to draw down US$76 million. This support is vital as Barbados works to stabilize and strengthen its economy in the face of global financial pressures.

Dominica has made a groundbreaking move in marine conservation by establishing the world's first sperm whale reserve. This initiative, led by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy, underscores Dominica's commitment to preserving marine life and biodiversity.

 

7/12/2023

In Barbados, parents express frustration over environmental issues at Luther Thorne Memorial Primary School, demanding swift action from the Ministry of Education. Structural problems, rodent infestations, and mould have raised concerns, with some reporting their children falling ill.

Breaking news from Barbados Police: 79-year-old Arundel Cox, reported missing on November 24, has been traced and is currently receiving medical attention. The Barbados Police Service thanks the public for their assistance.

Tragedy strikes in Kingston, Jamaica, as a man is killed, and a one-year-old boy, along with six others, are injured in a shooting at Michael Manley Market. The victims are receiving treatment at the hospital.

 

5/12/2023

In Jamaica, concerns arise over MPs' attendance in the House of Representatives. PNP's Hugh Graham, missing over 60% of sittings, faces potential sanctions, unlike absent JLP representative Lester "Mike" Henry, who has documented medical reasons. Meanwhile, former Opposition leader Dr Peter Phillips, dealing with a medical issue, has missed 80% of sittings.

Shifting to Spanish Town, St Catherine, residents of Greendale protest deteriorating road conditions with morning roadblocks. Frustrations peak as community members demand authorities address long-standing road disrepair exacerbated by recent rains.

In Barbados, the search intensifies for missing 79-year-old Arundel Cox of Good Intent, Saint George. Last seen on November 20, police seek public assistance in locating him.

 

1/12/2023

Legal developments in Jamaica as the prosecution appeals sentences in the case of taxi driver Andre Thomas, convicted in the 2016 murders of American missionaries. Thomas received life imprisonment with parole eligibility after 30 years.

In the trial of Shineka Gray's murder, a classmate testified about her disappearance, revealing 48 missed calls on the day she went missing. The accused, Gregory Roberts, faces questions about the events at KFC on that fateful day.

Barbados experiences a 5.6 magnitude earthquake, with no tsunami threat confirmed by the Meteorological Services. Residents in various areas report feeling the tremors.

 

 

 

28/11/2023

Jamaica's Anti-Violence Initiative: Prime Minister Andrew Holness announces plans for a new ministry focused on reducing violence in Jamaica. Addressing the Jamaica Labour Party's conference, he emphasized the need to tackle conflict within society, declaring violence a prevailing issue that demands immediate attention.

Scholarships in Memory of Educator: Cornwall College Old Boys' Association of New York awards mathematics scholarships in memory of Bevill de Bruin. The Sri Lankan educator, admired for 35 years of service at Cornwall College in Montego Bay, receives enduring recognition from former students and principals.

Barbadian Entertainment Icon Mourned: Richard Dick Stoute, the godfather of Barbadian entertainment, passes away at 77. Shortly after the government's announcement naming the National Botanical Gardens' amphitheatre in his honor, Stoute, known for hits like "Goodbye, my Bajan Girl," leaves behind a legacy of over 50 singles and five albums.

 

 

24/11/2023

Barbados' FATF Challenge: Barbados faces a tight deadline of five weeks to pass an onsite assessment in hopes of escaping the Financial Action Task Force's grey list and the EU blacklist. The government, led by Attorney General Dale Marshall SC, is intensifying efforts, briefing sectors across the board, including the private and public sectors, to meet the January 2024 assessment.

Tragedy at Wakefield School: Grief envelopes Wakefield Primary and Infant School as teachers and students mourn the sudden loss of eight-year-old Alexia Drummond. The grade three student fell ill on Tuesday, passing away shortly after being transferred to Cornwall Regional Hospital. The school community, along with Alexia's parents, is devastated by the heartbreaking incident.

Agricultural Theft Amendments: Significant amendments to the Agricultural Produce Act are welcomed by agricultural players. The Agricultural Produce (Amendment) Act, passed in the House of Representatives, targets praedial larceny with stricter penalties, elevating fines from $250,000 to $1 million and prison terms from three months to three years.

 

 

22/11/2023

Jamaicans are warned of a potential 35% price increase for vegetables after heavy rains last week. Farmer Conrad Murray predicts the setback will impact prices for two to three weeks, with a return to normal after Christmas.

A somber scene at Westmoreland Parish Court as Delroy Rodney, charged with causing death by dangerous driving, spends his son's birthday in custody. His wife Petrina expresses grief, surrounded by supportive relatives and community members.

Jamaica and the World Bank ink a $30 million deal targeting education improvements, focusing on teaching practices, inclusivity, and decision-making. The project aims to benefit 150,000 students, support 6,000 educators, and establish a STEM secondary school for 2,400 students.

 

 

16/11/2023

In Westmoreland, Jamaica, three families mourn the loss of loved ones in a tragic motor vehicle crash on Monday. The crash claimed the lives of five people, including a mother and her teenage granddaughter.

In legal news, District Constable Dean Hyman, previously found guilty of unlawful wounding, was acquitted by the Appeal Court, citing an unreasonable verdict and a risk of miscarriage of justice.

Switching to Barbados, the Hotel and Tourism Association accuses the local labor movement of an 'unprecedented smear campaign' on social media, potentially damaging the industry's reputation.

 

15/11/2023

In Jamaica, Kingston Wharves Limited faced significant disruptions, halting operations due to a bomb threat, potentially causing losses of about $50 million. CEO Mark Williams emphasizes the company's focus on the safety of team members and customers.

Switching to economic news, Barbados stands to receive another US$75 million after passing its latest IMF test, hitting all targets under the Extended Fund Facility and the Resilience and Sustainability Facility. The staff-level agreement awaits IMF Executive Board approval, expected in December.

Also in Barbados, the government's recent announcement of changes to the corporate tax rate is welcomed by the Private Sector Association, describing it as timely and palatable. Despite addressing current uncertainties, there's anticipation of potential future uncertainties.

 

10/11/2023

In Jamaica, a Barbadian man faces charges for attempting to smuggle J$16 million worth of cocaine. Kelvin Charles appeared in court and is remanded, with a scheduled return on Friday.

Switching focus to tourism, a Barbados delegation, led by Minister Ian Gooding Edghill, showcased the island's best at the World Travel Market in London. The booth celebrated Barbados' rich culture, featuring West Indies cricket legends Joel Garner and Collis King.

In Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared a state of emergency in St James, vowing to go after criminals terrorizing the nation and signaling a shift in his stance on capital punishment for these "terrorists."

 

8/11/2023

In Jamaica, the PNP has called for the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith over Jamaica's failure to vote on a UN resolution for a Gaza "humanitarian truce," highlighting opposition to the minister's actions.

Shifting focus, Rochelle Walrond-Cox, driven by her mother's battle with breast cancer, founded Envoici, a regional accounting software solution winning the Sandra Husbands Award in Barbados. This startup, along with Digital IRC Consultancy Services, aims to fill market gaps in technology and financial governance for businesses.

Meanwhile, in Barbados, the Alliance Owners of Public Transportation (AOPT) seek an urgent meeting with the Transport Board due to delayed payments under the Transport Augmentation Programme, expressing dissatisfaction and claiming defaults on the agreed payment schedule.

 

7/11/2023

In Trelawny, Jamaica, Muschett High School is set to reopen after floodwaters forced online classes. Acting Principal Marisal Small Walker reported that with only 53 of 800 students present, the morning shift closed due to impassable roads, and the afternoon shift might follow suit due to transportation issues.

In other news, police investigations are underway for the unnatural deaths of two individuals in Barbados. Gabriel Alleyne, 55, was found deceased at his home in St Michael.

Additionally, Ronald Michael Brathwaite, 66, was discovered floating in the Careenage, Bridgetown. Authorities urge anyone with information to contact local law enforcement or Crime Stoppers.

 

3/11/2023

In the latest legislative update, legislators have agreed to the government's proposal for a mandatory minimum sentence of 50 years for adults who commit capital murder. The change, under Section 3 (1C)(a) of the Offences Against the Person Act, increases the minimum sentence before eligibility for parole from 20 to 50 years. Some members of the joint select committee had differing opinions, with opposition senator Donna Scott Mottley suggesting a 40-year sentence instead.

Moving on to a murder trial, the mother of Tonia McDonald, the slain second wife of Everton ''Beachy Stout'' McDonald, testified in court that her daughter had packed a suitcase on multiple occasions and sought refuge at her family home in St Mary due to alleged relationship issues. The trial of Beachy Stout and co-accused Oscar Barnes continues in Kingston.

And finally, government MP Marsha Caddle is advocating for a more inclusive political arena in Barbados. Caddle spoke before the Parliamentary Reform Commission, highlighting the importance of allowing individuals from all backgrounds to enter political service. She stressed the need for any Barbadian, regardless of their circumstances of birth, to represent the people if that is the will of the people.

 

 

2/11/2023

Following the magnitude-5.6 earthquake on Monday, a family in St Thomas is relieved as no lives were lost despite a section of their house being destroyed. Describing the tremor, one family member detailed the experience and how they managed to stay safe.

The Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Bridgetown is set to host a charity 5K walk to benefit a children's home. Scheduled for Sunday, November 12, the walk aims to support the Marina Brewster Centre in St Peter, with the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados collaborating for the event.

Syraii Applewaite of The Rock Christian School clinched victory as the 2023 ICBL Spelling Bee Champion. The intense competition, involving 80 students from 28 primary schools, saw Applewaite emerging victorious after a suspense-filled final."

 

1/11/2023

Jamaica experienced a 5.6 magnitude earthquake, causing panic as people fled buildings, but fortunately causing no serious damage. The tremor lasted about 30 seconds and was centered near Hope Bay, Portland. Though small quakes are common, strong ones are rare in Jamaica.

In Barbados, the country mourns the loss of engineer Philip Tudor, who served the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Water Resources for almost 40 years.

Barbados Police seek public assistance in locating 14-year-old Tannealiah Hoyte missing for almost two weeks. She left home in Princess Royal Avenue, Pinelands, St Michael, wearing her school uniform. Any information can be reported to the authorities."

 

31/10/2023

Rihanna has made history with her Super Bowl halftime show, officially securing the Guinness World Record for the most-watched halftime performance. Her return to the stage captivated over 121.017 million viewers, surpassing the previous record set by Katy Perry in 2015. Despite initial data from Nielsen Holdings reporting fewer viewers, adjustments were made, recognizing the superstar's show as the most-watched halftime event in history, exceeding even the viewership of any Super Bowl game.

In Barbados, the community mourns the loss of Anthony Outram, a hard worker who tragically died in a collision involving a police van. The family remains shaken by the incident, remembering Outram's strong work ethic and kindness.

In Kingston, Denham Town residents attribute a recent pastor's prayers to lessening the impact of a gun attack, where one man was injured. A warning about potential violence by the preacher resonated among residents, believing that the pastor's prayers might have prevented further tragedy. The community members express gratitude for the pastor's intervention.

 

 

27/10/2023

In the Caribbean, legislators are raising concerns over the impact of higher minimum murder sentences on overcrowded high-security prisons. The proposed amendment includes a mandatory minimum sentence of 50 years for capital murder. Members of the joint select committee reviewing the Bills have also expressed worry about the deplorable prison conditions and the ability to rehabilitate inmates effectively.

Opposition spokesperson Dr. Morais Guy is pleased with the progress of the Western Children and Adolescent Hospital's construction in St. James. While significant work has been done, there's still more to accomplish before the hospital's planned opening in March 2024.

The Barbados Meteorological Services has extended a flash-flood warning due to ongoing unstable weather conditions, expecting occasional moderate to heavy showers with potential accumulations of 1 to 3 inches, prompting an extension until 6 a.m. on October 27th, 2023.

 

25/10/2023

Attorney-at-law Peter Asher acquitted of fraud charges related to the 2004 sale of eight gas stations, as the case crumbled due to insufficient evidence. The case involved businessman Royalton Decambre and the transfer of properties to Total Jamaica Limited.

A 22-year-old man, Joshav Grant, who was shot by police during a traffic stop almost two years ago, pleads for help to cover medical bills as he remains permanently incapacitated. An internal investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Minister Kirk Humphrey promises a new government policy on homelessness in Barbados by the end of March, including the establishment of a 24-hour homeless shelter. Work is underway to transition the Barbados Alliance to End Homelessness into this expanded facility.

 

24/10/2023

The Caribbean's healthcare system faces increasing challenges as 260 patients wait for beds in 18 public health facilities. Assistant regional director Dr. Susan Wright reports that patients are now waiting up to three days for ward beds. Severe cases receive priority, while some patients remain in the A&E department. The shortage of beds is exacerbated by people abandoned at hospitals.

A JetBlue flight from Barbados encountered a dramatic incident at New York's JFK Airport, with the plane tilting backward at a 30-degree angle upon landing. JetBlue officials explained it was due to a shift in weight during deplaning. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, but the aircraft is under inspection.

Barbados continues its efforts to position itself as a top destination for meetings, incentives, conferences, and events (MICE) in the Caribbean. A Barbadian team participated in IMEX America, a leading MICE travel industry trade show in Las Vegas, showcasing the island's conference facilities, accommodations, and eco-friendly options for event planners.

 

 

23/10/2023

Tensions rise in Rae Town, east Kingston, following the fatal shooting of three teenagers by police. Police reported a group of young men carrying out robberies in the area, prompting a confrontation. The police claim the teenagers were involved in criminal activities, but residents challenge this narrative, staging protests demanding justice.

St. Elizabeth police in Jamaica are intensifying efforts to target paedophiles, with a recent case involving a man charged with raping his stepdaughter. Detectives are reviewing unsolved cases involving child victims, emphasizing their commitment to investigating and prosecuting such offenses.

After Hurricane Tammy's passage to the north of the island, the Department of Emergency Management in Barbados received 25 incident reports. These included property damage, flooding, and impassable roads. Rescue operations were conducted to assist those affected, highlighting the impact of the storm on the region.

 

20/10/2023

Positive news for Jamaica's labor market as the unemployment rate drops to a record low of 4.5%, with 47,000 more Jamaicans finding employment. These figures come from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin), showcasing a significant improvement since last year.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for Barbados, as Tropical Storm Tammy forms east of the island. The system is projected to pass north of Barbados with occasional gusty winds, showers, and moderate to rough swells expected. Residents are advised to monitor updates and follow guidance from the Department of Emergency Management.

Amid controversy over a recent lockdown simulation gone wrong, 20 teachers from Springer Memorial School in Barbados called in sick. Teacher unions have distanced themselves from the sick-out action, emphasizing their support for security measures at the school.

 

 

19/10/2023

A double murder in St Andrew, Jamaica, is suspected to be the result of a long-standing family dispute over land. The victims, 76-year-old Walton Pusey and 61-year-old Sylvester Leslie, were caught in gunfire between 6:30 pm and 8:00 pm on Monday. Leslie, who was planning to migrate to the United States, was killed on his way home, becoming an unintended victim of the violence. Residents in the area mourn the tragedy.

In Tryall district near St. Elizabeth, concerns rise over the lack of mental health treatment after a man, believed to be of unsound mind, killed JoeWayne Witter by attacking him with a spade handle. The victim, 24 years old, was trying to escape his attacker when he was fatally bludgeoned. The suspect, also considered mentally unstable, is in police custody. The incident has left the community in shock.

A break-in at the Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School in St. Michael, Barbados, over the weekend is under investigation. The school informed the Ministry of Education about the incident, where doors were kicked in and locks broken. Affected classes have been temporarily relocated, with repairs expected to be completed before regula

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