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Senate Approves Central Bank Digital Currency

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#Jamaica, June 6, 2022 – The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has been given the authority to issue Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as legal tender locally, with the Senate’s passage of the Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act, 2022 at Gordon House on Friday (June 3).

The Bill was passed in the House of Representatives on May 24.

Consequent on the legislation’s passage, the way has been paved for the BOJ to proceed with the national rollout of the CBDC – Jam-Dex.

The pilot was undertaken between August and December 2021.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, piloted the Bill during the Senate’s sitting.

She noted that full CBDC implementation is expected to significantly reduce traditional challenges associated with many Jamaicans not having a bank account.

“The main reasons given include not enough money [as] they feel you have to have [a significant sum of] money in order to have a bank account… [or] they don’t have the documentation required,” she said, noting that Government is dealing with the issue of lack of documentation through the rollout of the National Identification System (NIDS).

Senator Johnson Smith said the implementation of the CBDC will address other challenges “because no bank account will be required”.

“What you now will have is a wallet. So, you will get a CBDC wallet issued by banks or authorised payment service providers with simpler, customer-friendly processes for easy access. It is also anticipated that the CBDC will lower the cost associated with providing a national means of payment and provide an alternative to the issuance of bank notes,” she added.

Senator Johnson Smith said the CBDC will also allow businesses to engage in more efficient cash management.

“It is instant and doesn’t come with cash handling fees. Similarly, its facilitation ensures that both households and businesses will be able to use the CBDC to make payments and to hold value,” she pointed out further.

Following contributions by several members on both sides of the aisle, the Bill was passed unanimously without amendment.

 

DOUGLAS McINTOSH

(JIS)

Caribbean News

Vessels sink with 900 barrels of fuel in Trinidad

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Trinidad, December 2, 2022 – The Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources in Trinidad reported on Wednesday that a ship carrying 900 barrels of diesel fuel had sunk in the Gulf of Paria. The six crew members on board were rescued and received medical assessment.

The statement revealed that the barge owned by Trinity Liftboat Services Limited was trying to demobilise Trinity Heritage Petroleum Company’s North Field when it capsized.

After receiving an SOS from a vessel in their North Field, Heritage sent out a response team. An investigation into the incident has started, however, the main focus is to redeem the barge without making any oil spills.

The owners of the sunken vessel said “there are no injuries recorded. (The vessel) now sits on the seafloor no longer posing a risk to any of Heritage Petroleum’s platforms or installations.” They said the captain made a good decision to abandon the ship so that the crew members could be rescued and transported back to base.

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Bahamas News

Digital coin created for Caribbean’s Dominica as island partners with Huobi

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – The Commonwealth of Dominica has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, to issue its own national cryptocurrencies, Dominica Coin (DMC), and Digital Identity Documents (DID), already reports indicate a surge for the Huobi token.

This new collaboration with Dominica will bring the Caribbean one step closer to being a global cryptocurrency exchange centre.  Huobi also announced its intention to move headquarters from Seychelles to the Caribbean.

It was explained, “The deal is noteworthy partly because of its connections to crypto billionaire Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain where the Caribbean island’s new token will initially reside.”

Dominica Coin (DMC) and digital identity documents (DID) will be issued by Huobi Prime via the TRON network (a project dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet); both will serve as credentials for the future metaverse platform based in Dominica. DIDs can be used for cryptocurrency Know Your Customer verification, applying for loans, and opening bank accounts on the island.

The DMC is not yet ready for launch, but The HT token is up 15% over the last 24 hours to $7.12. It’s up 40% over the past seven days.

As one of the first Caribbean islands to adopt the citizenship-by-investment policy, the Dominican government is seeking to delve into the metaverse and Web3 technology as a means to boost the country’s development.

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Bahamas News

Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.

Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.

Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.

“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.

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