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Jamaican Authorities Moving to Make Export of Goods And Services Easier



State Minister for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, (left), enjoys a light moment with President, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Diane Edwards. (Credit: JIS)

Jamaica, Thursday December 12, 2019 –
Minister for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green says Government
is working to make the export of local goods and services easier, by reducing
the associated costs and processes.

“We are already in the process of removing licences and fees and steps where we see no value. Last week, we dealt with 26 of those [steps] that we are planning to get out of the system…and reduce the time it takes for us to get our products out of the country,” he said.

Green was speaking at a signing ceremony for memoranda of
understanding (MOUs) to facilitate the third instalment of the Jamaica
Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) export development programme, Export Max III on

“We have over-bureaucratized our processes around trade for far too long in our country,” he lamented, as he explained that Government was intensifying efforts to rectify this hindrance to trade.

He noted, for example, that it now takes 58 border control hours
and costs about US$876 to export goods from Jamaica, adding that this is a “big
disparity” compared to the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America where the average
border control hours are about 61.9, and an average cost of US$529.

Green stressed that it “doesn’t serve anybody’s interest if our
exporters cannot afford the cost at the port to move their goods”.

“As a Government, we are going to still work on the border control
hours, and we believe that the proposed Jamaica Single Window For Trade
(JSWIFT) will reduce those border control hours significantly,” he said.

JSWIFT, which is currently being piloted in some industry
entities, is a one-stop-shop electronic system that allows traders to submit
information at a single point to fulfil all import and export regulatory

“The idea is to create a paperless environment for permits,
inspections [and] release of goods through JSWIFT,” Green said.

Turning to Export Max III, the Minister noted that the continued
success of the programme demonstrates what can be achieved when silos are
removed and focus placed on a singular mission, and “that mission is to drive
exports solely”.

This year, 48 companies from the food, non-food, creative and
services sectors are benefiting from capacity building and export promotion
support under the programme.

The three-year initiative, which will run until 2022, is geared towards
providing focused capacity, advocacy and market penetration support to
exporters and export-ready firms.

The programme, which also includes mentorship, business development, sales training and export promotion components, will identify specific needs of the target companies and design and implement customized enterprise development initiatives to improve business performance and competitiveness.

To this end, JAMPRO is partnering with the Jamaica Manufacturers
and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), and Jamaica Business Development Corporation
(JBDC) to deliver the programme, for which MOUs were signed.

Other partners are the Bureau of Standards, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), HEART Trust/NTA, Bank of Nova Scotia; Jamaica Productivity Centre; Foundation for Competitiveness Growth Project; and Jamaica National.

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Haïti – Actualité : Zapping…




Haïti – Actualité : Zapping…
17/02/2020 10:02:57

Haïti - Actualité : Zapping...

L’autobus de l’Orchestre Tropicana lapidé :

Samedi l’autobus de l’Orchestre Tropicana d’Haïti a été la cible de jets de pierres sur la RN#3 au niveau de Thomonde (Dépt. Du Centre) par des individus non identifié. Une vitre du véhicule a été brisée et un musicien légèrement blessé. On ignore les mobiles de cette agression.

2 présumés ravisseurs arrêtés :

Samedi les policiers du Commisariat de Gressier ont arrêté à hauteur de Mariani 2, deux personnes Jésula Paulemon et Talus Abdon soupçonnées d’avoir enlevé une jeune fille de 11 ans le 12 février dernier. Selon les informations receuillies par la police le cerveau de ce kidnapping aurait été identifié et serait activement recherché.

La Centrale solaire de Coteaux en réparation :

Plus de 3 ans après le passage de l’ouragan Matthew (octobre 2016), le Gouvernement via le Ministère des Travaux Publics est en train de réparer la Centrale solaire de Coteaux endommagé par l’Ouragan… Par ailleurs, 150 kW solaire seront ajouté et 2,000 compteurs intelligents installés…

Moïse au Carnaval de Jacmel :

Dimanche, le Président Jovenel Moïse et le Premier Ministre a.i. et Ministre de la Culture Jean Michel Lapin étaient Jacmel à l’occasion de la 28ème édition du Carnaval de Jacmel qui s’est déroulée sous le thème « Imaj Jakmèl se imaj pa m ». Un spectacle haut en couleurs digne des artisans et des troupes de danse de la ville « Notre culture est notre force, c’est notre Identité, continuons à promouvoir de belles images de notre pays dans la Paix, la sécurité et la sérénité, » a déclaré le Chef de l’État.

La République Dominicaine suspend ses élections municipales :

Dimanche, en République Dominicaine, la Junte Centrale Électorale a annoncé, 4 heure et 11 minutes après l’ouverture du scrutin (7h00 a.m.), la suspension des élections municipales en raison d’un problème dans le système de vote électronique. Il semblerait selon l’information disponible que le systeme n’affichait pas tous les candidats de l’opposition sans affecter pour autant les candidats du pouvoir en place… Une enquête est ouverte…

COVID-19 Bilan mondial 17 février :

Lundi 17 février 2020, le nombre de personnes contaminées dans le monde par le Coronavirus COVID-19 (cas confirmés en laboratoire et clinique) s’élève à 71,810 une hausse de 2,549 cas, supérieur à la veille ; 1,775 décès (+6.4%) soit 106 de plus que la veille (1,669) ; 11,280 personnes guéries soit 1,593 personnes (+16.4%) de plus par rapport à la veille (6.3 fois plus de guérison que de décès contre 5.8 fois la veille).

On recense à ce jour hors de Chine, 1,257 personnes contaminées confirmées dans le monde, soit 501 de plus que la veille.

Nombre de décès à l’étranger inchangé (4) : 1 au Philippine,1 à Hong Kong, 1 au Japon , et 1 en France.

HL/ HaïtiLibre

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Brooklyn Haitian Community Pays Homage to Toto Bissainthe – The Haitian Times




The divas, Milena, Regine and Monvelyno.

By Tequila Minsky

BROOKLYN – The late Toto Bissainthe was better known as a sultry singer in her more than 40-year artistic career. But to her daughter, Milena Sandler, she was more than that. 

“My mother was really an actress,” says Sandler, surrounded by large black and white images of theatrical performances of  Bissainthe.

 The multi-media tribute to Bisainthe was held last week at Brooklyn’s  ShapeShifter Lab. 

Nearly 100 people gathered to pay  homage to, honoring and preserving, the  legacy of this Grande Dame of Haitian culture who died 26 years ago. 

Divas of different generations, the queen, Emeline Michel and Melanie Charles.

The opposite wall exhibited photos of the Cap Haitien-born chanteuse in vocal performance.

“There were things she wanted to say that she couldn’t in theatre, and she turned to song,” Sandler said. 

Bissainthe left Haiti early to pursue acting in France, and in 1956 she was a founding member of Les Griots, the first theatrical troupe with all black actors. 

Seventeen years later she established herself as singer-songwriter-composer there, performing moving original compositions that paid tribute to the lives, struggles, miseries and spirituality of working class and rural Haitians. 

Sandler adoring a picture of her late mother.

After 30 years in Paris and a few years in Martinique and Dominican Republic, she returned to Haiti following the departure of Duvalier, dreaming to help rebuild the country.  She was bitterly disappointed with the country’s continuing dysfunction. Bissainthe died in 1994.

Succinctly articulated, jazz singer Pauline Jean says, “Toto is the Nina Simone of Haiti.” 

Haitians came to know her as a vocalist, interpreting traditional songs  as well as singing songs that brought the voiceless, missing, oppressed, humiliated and defeated  figures in contemporary history to the forefront. 

Along with the photos, in the exhibit, Ipads offered audio and video testimonies from many who knew or worked with Toto. The audience was introduced to Bissainthe through a screening of archival film footage  and then the concert began. 

Nathalie Joachim performing during the soiree

Grammy nominated flutist Nathalie Joachim (Flatbush-raised, now living in Chicago) performed on flute and voice  Soufle Van (about the slave ship voyage), and Lamizè pou dous (about misery) and Papa Loko (about weather).

Brooklyn-based, raised-in-Haiti,  singer, songwriter and folkloric dancer,  Riva Nyri Precil sang Pa Bliye (two separated lovers), Dèy (about grieving) and Ezili (a call for women to join forces). 

Philly-based Haitian-born Talie interpreted  traditional songs—Chante and Loray Kale. A capella,  she sang Solèy Danbala. 

Together, the three performed a beautiful arrangement of Papa Danbala.

The house band included Monvelyno Alexis (guitar), Frederic Las Fargeas (piano), Hiroyuki Matsuura (keyboard), Bobby Raymond (bass). 

Three vocalists of another generation reinterpret Papa Danbala.

Riva also superbly MCed the event, acknowledging other singers in the audience—(the queen) Emeline Michel, Melanie Charles, and Pauline Jean, to name a few.

Many in the audience didn’t know who Bissainthe was prior to the evening.  Among the positive feedback presenter Haiti Cultural Exchange received, one audience member wrote, 

“I was so moved by the energy in the room on Friday — it was a visceral reaction, a homecoming of sorts–and I found out quickly I was not alone in this feeling after speaking to others in the room.” 

in concert, 1975.

Riva commented on what an honor and challenge it was to be part of the tribute.

 “Toto was such a great performer who immersed herself— and she was so theatrical. I needed to choose songs poignant and substantial,” Riva said. 

The traveling exhibit is led by Sandler an her husband musician Joel Widmaier. The first event and exhibit t  opened at the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH) in Haiti in 2014. The exhibit has since traveled to Paris, Guadeloupe, and Miami and will open in Montreal on February 15  (through February 28) at the Moroccan Cultural Center. 

PHOTO credits: Tequila Minsky for The Haitian Times

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.

Haitian Times

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Brexit – the Caribbean Must Seize the Moment | David Jessop




LONDON, England, Thursday February 13, 2020 – Last month Britain held an Africa investment summit. It was live streamed and hosted by the country’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. In the words of the UK government, it was aimed at ‘strengthening its economic partnerships with African nations, as part of a Government drive to ensure the continent’s growing demand for investment is met by the UK’s expertise and innovation’.

The intention was to demonstrate that having all but left the European Union (EU), Britain post-Brexit is looking to find new ways to engage.

Thankfully, the event was low on imperial nostalgia, something still worryingly prevalent within parts of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party. Although lacking the weight and vison of similar summits held previously by the EU, China, Russia, and others, it indicated in its own way that Britain is hoping to find a new global role.

The conference saw commitments made to African development and offered the continent’s political and business leaders the opportunity to indicate what they require from the future relationship.

Investment apart, the focus was on issues that are as relevant to the Caribbean as to Africa. These include greater services access, a more helpful regulatory regime for imports into Britain, changes to visa and migration rules, and the need to address impediments to remittances from the African diaspora in the UK. That said, some participants were critical of the UK’s failure to commit more financially in ways that match the importance the UK’s professes to place on a closer relationship with African nations, or to indicate more clearly a strategic approach.

This April the Caribbean too will have the opportunity to discuss how a post-Brexit Britain outside of the EU intends to relate to the countries of CARIFORUM and Britain’s five overseas territories Then, Caribbean ministers and officials and their UK counterparts will discuss various aspects of the relationship, and one hopes to agree how the UK might in the decade ahead transform its ties with the region.

For this to happen and if the event is to be more than just a repeat of sometimes lacklustre past encounters, it will require both sides to identify new themes that might broaden the relationship. That is, to use the event to develop ideas that extend beyond governments, in ways that have longevity and depth by embracing a wider network of linkages involving business, the diaspora, non-governmental organisations and academia.

If the region is to benefit from the UK’s determination to reassess its role in the world, the Caribbean ought to be upping its ambition.

As far as I can tell and I am happy to be corrected, no Caribbean voice is suggesting publicly that now is the moment to reposition and repurpose the region’s relationship with a post-Brexit UK in ways that meet the region’s longer-term requirements.

Up to now almost all that the Caribbean has focussed on has been maintaining its tariff and quota free trade access at a level equivalent to that contained in the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): something it achieved in the spring of 2019.

While this was important, a broader more thoughtful approach is required if the region hopes to encourage the UK to support its future development and make more efficient the model it bequeathed the region, in some cases, more than half a century ago.

If the UK genuinely wishes to establish a lasting and distinctive post Brexit role in the region, the April forum offers the opportunity to explore a new framework for co-operation that goes beyond trade, security, crime, the environment, the Windrush scandal and all the other issues normally discussed.

There are many new ways of fostering engagement.

There are highly successful figures in the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK who want to find ways to relate to the region and give something back.

There are role models in the UK who might mentor the many women in the region who still find it difficult to break through the glass ceiling.

Younger generations in the region are more outspoken about international relationships than governments. This requires a forum for thoughtful engagement.

There is a subtle discussion to be had about Britain’s future role in the region and why shared values still matter.

Most employers and companies want the transfer of skills and technology to enable them and the region to better compete.

UK institutions and associations could be encouraged to develop sustainable programmes of their own with Caribbean partners, centred on global best practice in public administration, local government, unionism, and sectoral association viability.

In the distant past the UK sponsored leading academics, unionists, officials, sportspersons and others to visit, often with private sector support, to participate in lecture tours, hold seminars, and encourage debate that helped tomorrows leaders look over the horizon. This is worth exploring again.

There are also political issues that one hopes the 2020 Forum will better define.

The UK would benefit from being seen to publicly embrace every nation in CARIFORUM irrespective of their thinking on Venezuela, making clear that in future what London offers will be different from the approach taken by the US, China and other nations now seeking a greater role in the region.

Hopefully the encounter might also indicate how the UK intends in future delivering development assistance in the Caribbean, by explaining if any part of what the UK previously contributed to the European Development Fund (EDF) will be redirected bilaterally to the Caribbean, despite the region having been graduated out of development support.

Another area of interest will be the extent to which Britain’s sometimes complex and difficult bilateral relationship with its overseas territories, represent a long-term route to a lasting future role in the region.

Caribbean politicians are often reticent about what they think of or want from the UK. This is not true of the region’s non-state bodies and associations, leading figures in business, the young, non-governmental organisations and academic-led think tanks.

Brexit offers a unique post-colonial opportunity for them to seize the moment; to suggest through the media and in other ways, how the relationship with Britain might be redesigned to make it relevant to their lives in the twenty first century.

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David Jessop is former Managing Director of the Caribbean Council. He has worked on Caribbean issues for over 40 years and continues to speak and write on Caribbean issues. He is the editor of the Council’s Caribbean Insight and Cuba Briefing publications; a member of the Board of Trustees of Caribbean Central American Action in Washington and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; and a non-executive Director on the Board of the money transfer business of the Jamaica National Building Society, a long established mutually-owned bank and financial institution.

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