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Jamaican Gov’t says, IMF responds favourably to its request



#KINGSTON, April 28 (JIS): Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has responded “favourably” to the Government’s request to access the institution’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI).

This is part of the Administration’s measures to cushion Jamaica against the economic fallout being projected as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I received a response to a letter that was sent to the Managing Director of the IMF [Kristalina Georgieva]… that alludes to Jamaica’s strong and long [economic] track record that favourably disposes the Fund to attend to our request expeditiously,” Dr. Clarke said, during a COVID-19 digital media briefing update, at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre, on Monday (April 27).


He informed that virtual discussions are now under way between the Government and Fund Mission representatives, adding that “we expect our application for access to the RFI to be before the Board of the IMF in a matter of weeks”.

“We expect that application to be considered in a few weeks and for disbursement to be made right after that,” the Minister added.

The RFI provides rapid financial assistance to IMF member countries facing urgent balance of payment requirements, consequent on extenuating circumstances, such as natural disasters, commodity price shocks, and emergencies resulting from fragility, without the need for a full-fledged programme.

The IMF has earmarked some US$50 billion to help member countries, particularly low-income and emerging market states, to tackle challenges associated with COVID-19.

The World Bank, which has a similar facility, has also pledged funding support to affected countries.

Dr. Clarke advised that the Government is also exploring the products being offered by the World Bank as well as other multilateral institutions, such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). 

International Monetary Fund, IMF

He pointed out that the resources from these institutions come in the form of foreign exchange that can be used to supplement and augment Jamaica’s supply of reserves, which total some US$3.2 billion.

“Obviously, these multilateral institutions have different products that suit different circumstances. So we are carefully reviewing all of those… and if we make any affirmative decisions, we will update the country,” the Minister said.

Dr. Clarke assured, however, that the Government has options “that we are considering, [which] can increase our supply and inflows of foreign exchange, even beyond what the rapid financing instrument is likely to bring”.


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Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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