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Innocents dying in Haiti, while Government remains dysfunctional

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By Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer

 

#Haiti, April 12, 2022 – At least 20 Haitian citizens including children are dead and thousands are on the run displaced by gang violence.

The gang situation heightened following the assassination of Haitian President, Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. The situation, especially in the north of the capital Port-au-Prince, has worsened and at least a dozen homes have been burned and several hundred people are now sheltering in a park without food and other essentials supplies.

The Citizen Protection Office, an independent organization released a statement regarding the turmoil: “The Citizen Protection Office (OPC), expresses its deep concern following the deterioration of the security climate in the Plaine du Cul de Sac and its surrounding localities. This situation, which has worsened due to bloody clashes between rival gangs, has led to the forced displacement of many families who have had to leave their homes to escape the fury of armed bandits”

The organization criticized the Government’s inaction as it says bandits are operating uninterrupted by the highest state authorities.

“The OPC condemns the inaction or silence of the current leaders which reflects, in many respects, a form of cynicism or contempt for human rights, particularly the right to life and security.”

The statement also referenced the killings of innocent people including students.

“This situation of violence continues to generate cases of spectacular assassinations, the latest of which is that of a medical student, Osny Zidor, killed on Saturday, April 23 at Bois Verna while she was on board a public transport bus.”

In parting, the statement demanded that the Haitian Government authorities “assume their legal responsibilities to protect the lives and property of citizens.”

Caribbean News

CHTA President calls for “Dynamic Tax” to address high cost of air travel

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#CaymanIslands, September 26, 2022 – The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is recommending a tiered “dynamic taxation system” as a novel and potential solution to address ongoing concerns about the high cost of air travel within and to and from the region.

Calling for a flexible approach to levying airline taxes, CHTA’s President Nicola Madden-Greig said one of the major constraints facing Caribbean travel is the heavy burden of taxation, and governments could well consider successful revenue management tactics employed within the tourism and aviation sector.

Understanding that the full removal of taxes may be challenging, the CHTA president suggested a tax policy that is responsive to international travel demand seasonality. “For example, governments can affix a higher airline ticket tax in the peak winter season and lower taxes in the summer when demand is weak,” she said, adding that giving consumers better prices to drive visitation during the slow season could boost tourism, commerce and intra-regional VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travel.

Speaking recently at IATA Caribbean Aviation Day in Grand Cayman, the successful Jamaican hotelier said the economics of such a variable policy may in fact result in a net gain in tax revenue to Caribbean governments. “As travel becomes more affordable and we stimulate more travel, this will result in more local spending, and consequently an increase in local tax collections,” she said, underscoring there will be an overall net benefit to the consumer thanks to lower ticket prices.

“I think it’s a concept that should be explored,” said Madden-Greig, who argued that a well-developed strategy could address diverse perspectives on taxation. “There’s a way to do it that allows for flexibility so you still have taxation on the front end, but when you need to drive demand, you can reduce those taxes and make up the difference on the tail end,” she said. The taxation details however must be transparent, she warned.

Madden-Greig, the Jamaica-based Group Director of Marketing & Sales at The Courtleigh Hospitality Group, said she hopes to explore the “dynamic taxation strategy” at the upcoming Caribbean Travel Forum, taking place at CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3 to 5, 2022.

“This could definitely answer the call for reduction in taxes, but not a reduction necessarily all year-round,” the CHTA president explained, suggesting that policy makers could consider alternate tax regimes for regional and international flights in order to drive multi-destination and intra-regional travel.

She admitted that research is required on the technological options to implement the system: “It may not be an immediate solution, but it’s a solution we can work towards.”

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Caribbean News

WHO rejects report, claims it managed Cornavirus Pandemic well

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

September 18, 2022 – The World Health Organization is rejecting suggestions that it moved too slowly to contain the COVID19 pandemic.

In a press release on Thursday, the WHO says there were ‘omissions and misinterpretations’ made by the Lancet Commission in its report ‘Lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic’ which criticized the organization as ‘delayed and vague’ in its reaction.

Lancet had claimed The WHO was too slow in its response time in the early weeks leading to swift global spread of the coronavirus. In reply the entity said “the Commission does not convey the full arc of WHO’s immediate, multi-year, life-saving response”.

The agency detailed its response in the first weeks of the pandemic saying that behind closed doors they were meeting with member countries and creating information packages on how to test for and treat the unknown virus.

It also defended the timing of its announcement of the pandemic (which the Lancet Commission said was too slow) noting that the first meeting of the emergency committee occurred only after only nine international cases and no deaths outside of China and while it was not declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) it was noted that it could become one quickly.

It was declared a PHEIC seven days later.

The WHO also says not only did it repeatedly warn of the possibility of human to human transmission it warned countries to start screening at entry points and provided early access to personal protective gear.

At the same time there were agreements between the entities. Lancet maintained that with strengthening the WHO should still be in charge of worldwide pandemic response.

Additionally the WHO did say it agreed with some of the commission’s observations including chronic underfunding of the UN and some of its recommendations including the importance of multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation when facing pandemics.

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Caribbean News

TCI’s Faion Hicks on roster for Denver Broncos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – Faion Hicks made history as the first TCI American player to be drafted into the NFL when he got hitched to the Denver Broncos several months ago.

Despite being drafted to the practice squad and not the main game night roster, Faion, we had hoped would see some game time in the team’s Monday Night Football debut for the season.  Denver Broncos were on September 12, up against the Seattle Seahawks.

Practice squad players who are assigned to a team and practice with the team but do not play any games unless they are elevated.

Practice squad players are eligible to be elevated and play official games three times per season.

If Faion is elevated to the roster more than three times this season he will be signed to the main roster officially. Many successful and all-star NFL players started out on the practice squad.

Once the regular season ends practice squad players are usually signed to reserve or future contracts by their team.

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