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Barbados Prime Minister speaks to country ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian; said country is preparing for 6-12 feet storm surge

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#Barbados, August 25, 2019 — Barbados is preparing for a storm surge of 6 to 12 feet as the fourth named system in the Atlantic Basin is formed and forecast to slam into the  island by Monday evening.

The country, according to its Prime Minister Mia Mottley is on ‘full, high, alert” as one of three Caribbean nations under Tropical Storm warning.  St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were also put on the warning list today by the National Hurricane Center, based in Miami Florida.

“We expect the surf to be considerable, about 6 to 12 feet, that’s 2.5 to 3.5 metres and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy and Fisheries Division has made arrangements for a haul up to take place at Pile Bay and Bay street and Port Ferdinand and Port St. Charles are prepared to take in vessels this afternoon for safe harbor.”

On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley addressed her country and its visitors in a 36 minute nationally televised press conference on the encroaching hurricane.  Prime Minister Mottley’s focus was on the potential of the storm to evolve quickly, debilitate country operations and cause harm to people and property. 

I want to say to Badians; look, it is Sunday afternoon, it is 2:30, pause if you were sleeping, if you were eating, whatever you were doing focus on just getting yourself ready at home.  The first responsibility for yourself is by you,” with a sense of urgency, Prime Minister Mottley added, “Let us get out of the way, in the next few hours, the clean up around our house and the preparations. 

We do not know if this storm will quicken and if it does, we do not know what you will be able to do in the morning if/when the reconnaissance aircraft it presents a dimmer picture than we currently have.”

At the time of the press conference, she confirmed that meetings had already happened with all key agencies and plans were mobilized for even evacuations to take place.

“The St Lucy District Hospital is being evacuated this afternoon and people will go to the Gordon Cummins Hospital and the Geriatric Hospital from there.  The other place that will be evacuated is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and those persons will go to the psychiatric hospital.”

Some supermarkets agreed to extend their Sunday shopping hours; fishermen were asked to work immediately toward moving their vessels to safe ports and it was confirmed that generators at the hospital are in place and fully functional and established water tanks are full, with three new back-up water bladders preparing to be fast tracked from the harbor and into service as an emergency supply.  

A revised shelters list will be circulated by Barbados Government Information Services and due to school still being closed for the Summer break, Prime Minister Mottley assured that if necessary, capacity can be easily expanded.

“Transport Board buses will remain operational until midnight tonight and will start back at 5 am and obviously we will ask that those who have to work late this evening, that arrangements be put in place to have workers be able to get home.  And let us use the brotherly and sisterly spirit that we need.”

Capacity of buses for Sunday was at 75 in operation, still the Transport Authority was asked to “mobilise and know immediately who are some of the private sector operators who can supplement as we go forward.”

It was shared that the public transportation has a plan in place for after the storm.

Electricity, fuel and heads of departments of Civil Service were other major issues addressed by the Prime Minister.

Hon Mottley expressed that the electricity company, Barbados Light and Power had already addressed an area of concern in Spring Garden over the weekend.

Residents in areas where pumping stations are being outfitted with new generators were advised by PM Mottley to brace for an up to 3-hour interruption in electricity as the new equipment is installed.

“The truth is that we are significantly in a better situation with respect to water generation and water tanks this year than a year ago.”  

Grocery stores open late to allow residents to ready themselves for approaching Tropical Storm Dorian, forecast to hit Barbados with 50mph winds, 2-3 inches of rain. Image from Barbados Today video.

All government Permanent Secretaries, Chief Technical Officers and Heads of Department were scheduled to come in to work on Sunday to secure government equipment and files. 

Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, at the press conference, assured that the Royal Barbados Police Force will be on duty during the storm and encouraged residents to, from tomorrow, remain indoors and to be on their best behavior.

Prime Minister Mottley added that no one is expected to be out once the ‘shut down’ is given.

Not uncharacteristic for Caribbean countries, a prayer was rendered for the safety of the Barbados.

Seventh Day Adventist Elder, Colin Jordan who is also a Barbados Government, Cabinet Minister prayed in part: “We are happy Father that you have called us to lead and to be responsible citizens in this country. We recognize that while you are in control and while you have promised to protect us, you have also said to us that faith without works is dead.  And so as we prepare for any challenge that may come form Tropical Storm Dorian, we pray that you will give us wisdom, knowledge, understanding and help us to see what needs to be done and help us to treat this matter as one that is important and one that is urgent. We pray that you will protect our country…”

Barbados has a population of 293,131 people according to the CIA World Fact Book.

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Bahamas News

Minister Moxey says AAM2024 is significant to the country

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – Making an address on the first day of Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings (AAM) and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2024 on Wednesday, June 12, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey pointed out the significance of the meetings in The Bahamas, and the impact on Grand Bahama.

It is the first time AAM is held in the Caribbean region.  The 31st AAM sessions run June 12 – 14, 2024 at Baha Mar Resort, Cable Beach.  The theme for the event is: “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa.”

She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this AAM and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum is critical for nurturing the relationship we have intentionally progressed over the last few years, including the historic signing between Afreximbank and CARICOM, unlocking an astounding $1.5 billion in funding; the many trade missions between both regions; and tomorrow the signing of a Project Preparation Facility with Afreximbank and the Government of The Bahamas on the development of an Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center on Grand Bahama Island – my island — a magnificent center for the promotion of tourism, commerce and trade between both regions.

“As we contemplate the historical ties that bind us, may we recognize the significant role of trade and the immense opportunities that lie before us.

“Trade has always been the lifeblood of economies, and as we join hands to explore new avenues, great things will happen.”

Minister Moxey continued, “The Bahamas, with its strategic location and well-established infrastructure, stands as a gateway…and it is at the crossroads of two-way trade.

“Our beautiful country has emerged as a major transshipment terminal, facilitating the seamless flow of goods and creating linkages across continents.”

The Caribbean region is focused on trade and investment opportunities with Africa, and the meeting in Nassau demonstrates the importance of the matter, she said.

In closing, she said, “The Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center will not only boost economic growth but also strengthen the bonds of friendship and cultural understanding between both regions.”

 

PHOTO CAPTION

1st insert –  At the Welcome Reception for Afreximbank’s 31st Annual Meetings (AAM 2024) at Baha Mar Resort, Wednesday, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Ginger Moxey, at podium, gives an address on the importance of the meetings.

2nd insert – In photos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper chats with Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley.

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs and Eric Rose)

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Caribbean News

Caribbean Central Bank Governors agree to NEW Trade Regime for ease of doing business

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 18, 2024 – Regional Central Bank Governors have agreed to implement a system that allows countries in the Caribbean to trade using each other’s currencies without a third-party currency.

Making the disclosure, Governor of the Barbados Central Bank, Kevin Greenidge who is also the Chairman of the CARICOM Central Bank Governors, said it will be a version of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which was launched by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in January 2022 to reduce reliance on hard currencies like the US dollar for transactions between African nations.

Once it is replicated in the Caribbean, the system could allow goods and services to be paid for directly in the currencies of the respective CARICOM nations involved, rather than being settled in a third currency like the US dollar, arguing thatg the payment system would reduce transaction costs, minimise the need for holding substantial foreign currency reserves, facilitate smoother intra-regional trade and lead to lower retail prices for consumers.

Noting that the decision was unanimous, Mr. Greenidge said “we just had a meeting in May, and we agreed to push ahead with the pilot programme and we have a technical team working out some of the kinks, how to move ahead with the programme. We are approaching that as soon as possible,” he said while addressing the recent AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024), at the Baha Mar Convention Centre in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Central banker who once served as the senior economist who supervised Barbados’ economic restructuring programme for the International Monetary Fund, before taking up the Governor’s job in March 2023, argued that “If we get with one voice and start to speak to these things, call for reforming the way the rating agencies view and assess our position, including debt, we will then make a difference,” he told his audience.

Adding further, he said the region can get where it wants on its own, as he urged both regions to speak with one voice on reforming global financial architecture, while accusing credit rating agencies of bias against small economies.

Speaking with one voice in the Caribbean, in support like the Bridgetown Initiative, Mr. Greenidge believes “we can make a difference.” The Bridgetown Initiative calls for reform of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to better support climate-vulnerable countries.

“The more we can achieve partnerships around the world, the better we are regarding financing and investment in Barbados and providing the necessary diverse products to do the financing we need. Naturally, the African continent would be a partnership,” he said

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Ripe for Business

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#Kingston, Jamaica, June 18, 2024 – Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, says Jamaica is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Caribbean and is urging more diaspora members to do business in the country.

Senator Hill was addressing a panel discussion on Monday (June 17) on the topic ‘Jamaica Open for Business: Transforming Investment and Enterprise in Jamaica through Diaspora Engagement’ at the 10th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

He cited the stability of the local currency as a key reason to invest in the island.

“There is no foreign exchange control in Jamaica. Clean money comes in and clean money goes out,” he noted.

The fact that the Government has been able to undertake infrastructure development and deliver critical services, particularly during the pandemic, without raising taxes, speaks to the strength of the economy, he said.

“We’ve gone through a pandemic where we had to spend $100 billion of Jamaican money that we didn’t plan to spend and yet we didn’t borrow any new money and we didn’t raise taxes. In fact, for the last eight years…what we have done with taxes is cut them. We cut the payroll tax twice and cut VAT (value-added tax) once,” Senator Hill said.

He added that the infrastructure buildout, real estate potential and Jamaica’s position as the logistics hub of the Caribbean also makes the country attractive to investors.

“This is where your money should be. Come to Jamaica,” Senator Hill appealed.

For Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Financial Group, Grace Burnett, the highly productive and English-speaking talent pool is a major reason Jamaica is open for business.

“Our literacy rate is well over 92 per cent and we have a very stable democracy. When you look at some of the endorsements we have received from overseas institutions on ease of doing business and how we are performing as an economy, we have a very stable, strong regulatory framework and very supportive environment for starting a business and growing a business,” she explained.

Managing Director of JN Fund Managers at JN Group, Brando Hayden, explained that the risk management and infrastructure necessary to give investors comfort is strongly in place.

“When you come to Jamaica, not only are we open for business, your investment or your participation is backed up by solid infrastructure. We have the Jamaica Central Securities Depository and when you invest through the stock market, whether it is a bond, a stock and they also do private equity and private debt, you know there is solid record for your investment. From the depository, you know exactly how much you have and you get your dividend payments,” Mr. Hayden said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of VM Finance Limited and VM Overseas Offices at the VM Group, Leighton Smith, underscored that Jamaica’s economic stability, strategic location, strength of the financial sector, skilled workforce and diverse investment opportunities are factors that make Jamaica attractive to investors.

“What makes Jamaica the perfect landscape is when we think of the trade policies that exist… in terms of being the strategic location, which affords the opportunity to gain access to markets – CARICOM and the United States,” Mr. Smith said.

 

Contact: Judana Murphy

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