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Caribbean is a leading importer of US goods

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by Linda Straker

The Caribbean which is described as the “third border” of the United States, is a leading trade partner in terms of United States exports to the region and is the largest importer of US goods.

“Given our common interests and proximity, the Caribbean is our “third border.” The US-Caribbean 2020 Strategy guides our work in the region in six areas: security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health,” said Linda Taglialatela, United States Ambassador to the OECS and Barbados.

“The strategy aims to build the capacity of governments and partners to make progress in these areas to help meet the needs of the Caribbean people,” she said while pointing out that since 2010, the US Congress has appropriated nearly $617 million for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), a shared security partnership with the Caribbean that supports efforts to reduce illicit trafficking, increase citizen security, and promote crime prevention

Speaking about trade between the Caribbean and the United States, she said that the US is the leading trade partner for the Caribbean in terms of exports to the region, and as the largest importer of Caribbean goods.

“In 2016, the United States had $4.6 billion trade surplus with the Caribbean, which indicates the region is an important market for the US economy. The United States supports our Caribbean partners through promoting stronger trade ties, open markets for the US exports, and private sector-led investment and development. We also encourage our partners to implement reforms that strengthen good, transparent governance,” she said.

Of concern to the US as identified in the annual Special 301 report from the US Trade Office, is the treatment of Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the region.

“The United States actively engages with Eastern Caribbean countries to improve the protection of intellectual property rights. We encourage legislation that deters illicit activities and strengthens fines and penalties for those that commit them,” said the ambassador in an interview.

“We provide capacity building to strengthen intellectual property rights enforcement and seek to ensure patent, trademark, and copyright statutes comply with international standards,” she shared.

According to the 2019 Special 301 report, in 2018, the United States continued to engage with members of the Caribbean Community and other governments in the region on concerns regarding inadequate and ineffective IP protection and enforcement, including ongoing broadcast television and satellite signal piracy and unlicenced and uncompensated use of copyrighted music.

“Heightened engagement on a regional basis, including conferences and training in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and others, with strong US Government leadership and participation, has led to increased expertise, awareness, and initial positive steps. The United States is looking forward to increased engagement on this topic in 2019.” The report also pointed out that the Caribbean is receiving counterfeit goods from India.

Grenada annually imports millions [of dollars’ worth] in goods, including medicine and food from the US.

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Caribbean & World

UK tourist 'shot dead' in robbery in Argentina

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One man was killed and another injured during a suspected robbery in Buenos Aires, according to local media.



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Claudette Joseph receives pre-action protocol letter from PM Mitchell

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by Linda Straker

  • Seven days from 13 December 2019 to respond to pre-action protocol letter
  • Letter demands cease and desist from repeating the claim; apologise and pay compensation of EC$350,000

Claudette Joseph, the Public Relations Officer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has seven days from 13 December 2019 to respond to a pre-action protocol letter from Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell. If she fails to comply with the demands, a defamatory lawsuit will be filed against her in the civil court.

The letter to Joseph said that on 2 December in a live news conference from the headquarters of the NDC, she uttered words that can have negative effects on the Prime Minister who is the Minister for Finance and is also the person under whose ministry the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme falls.

“You made certain statements on behalf of the NDC about our client which we believe are defamatory in nature, and geared to impugn on his good name, his standing and reputation,” said the letter from the law firm of Nigel Stewarts and Associates. “These statements are therefore completely false and malicious in all respect and were intentionally made by you to cause damage to our client’s reputation.” The letter demands that Joseph, who is a lawyer by profession, cease and desist from repeating the claim; apologise and pay compensation of EC$350,000.

In the news conference whose speakers were former Political Leader and Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas, and Joseph — who was elected to the PRO role in early November 2019 — they expressed concern about the recent Al Jazeera production called “Diplomat passports for Sale.”  The documentary is claiming that several Caribbean islands with citizenship by investment programmes are selling diplomat passports.

The segment on Grenada focused on the failed Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture project which was to be located in St Mark. While speaking on the matter, Joseph said that the Prime Minister was also an investor in the project and directed members of media to watch a Youtube video where he is disclosing the information.

“Our client denies uttering those words but merely to say that he has invested in the parish,” the letter informed Joseph.

The Prime Minister is known to own a historic house in St Mark which is undergoing significant refurbishing and upgrading.

As for the project, in October 2018, government placed a notice on its CBI website announcing the suspension of applications in respect of the project until further notice. In March 2019, the Prime Minister announced that an investigation was been conducted. An update is yet to be provided.

The letters ended by informing Joseph that failure to comply with the demands of the letter will give the firm no choice to proceed with legal action.

Calls to Joseph for a comment on the development proved futile as her telephone went unanswered.

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Caribbean & World

Request for Pension Certificate | NOW Grenada

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All government pensioners and ex-gratia recipients and advance payment recipients are reminded that the deadline for submission of Pension Life Certificates for the period 1 January to 30 June 2020 is 31 December 2019.

Pensioners who have not yet submitted their Life Certificates are asked to do so immediately so that their pension payments can be processed.

Kindly ensure that the correct information is included on the Life Certificate and that it is signed and stamped by an Official Certifier: a Justice of the Peace, Medical Practitioner, Minister of Religion, Barrister-at-Law or Permanent Secretary.

Additionally, pensioners who are able to present themselves in person to the Ministry of Finance can have their certificates, certified, by the Permanent Secretary or Deputy Permanent Secretaries, with proper national identification, such as passport, driver’s licence or voter’s registration card.

Pensioners residing in a foreign country are to be attested by a Notary Public, Head of Overseas Mission or Consulate Office of Grenada.

Ministry of Finance

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