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Caribbean, world’s first Blue Justice Hub, convenes first meeting & training to advance regional action on fisheries crime

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#Jamaica, December 5, 2023 – The Caribbean, location of the world’s first Blue Justice Hub, scored another first in its efforts to advance regional cooperation to address organized crime in the fisheries sector, with an inaugural regional meeting and first workshop training in Kingston last week.

Supported by the Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Blue Justice Initiative, Blue Justice Hubs help vulnerable regions build effective inter-agency cooperation on organized transnational fisheries crime in-country and regionally.

The inaugural meeting and workshop, also marked by a regional launch, follows an international launch in Copenhagen in March, and brought together fisheries analysts, senior government ministers and officials for national updates, introduction to the community’s online digital portal and other important discussions.

Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green said the Government is committed to providing the requisite resources to support the regional Hub to create impact. He noted that the Hub’s access to the digitally powered Blue Justice Community enables Jamaica to “use the digital tools afforded through automatic identification systems, radar and satellite technologies to support a wide array of open-source resources to … detect and analyse suspicious activities that are in contravention of our laws.” He said the Hub will also support the detection identification, interdiction, and prosecution of fisheries crimes.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, underscored the importance of initiatives like the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub for securing the prospects of a sustainable ocean economy. The Minister said that the ocean provides an amazing opportunity, through the right mix of protection, policies, oversight, and enforcement which promises to yield significant economic gains for Jamaica. He pointed out that Jamaica’s key economic drivers – tourism, fisheries, shipping, and logistics services – are dependent on a healthy ocean and committed to working with the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) to ensure that protection targets with respect to Jamaica’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) are met by 2030.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Saboto Caesar said now that the Hub has been established, the region is called to action. He commended the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Government of Jamaica as the Hub-host, and the Norwegian Government for their leadership and committed to tabling the issue within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) grouping with a view to full participation in the Blue Justice Initiative.

Deputy Director General, Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Olav Norheim said members of the Blue Justice Initiative (BJI) have a common understanding that transnational organized crime in the global fishing economy has a serious effect on the economy, distorts markets, harms the environment, and undermines human rights. He congratulated the Caribbean on its latest milestone in convening its inaugural meeting and training and stressed the importance of working together through common understanding as the path to success.

Through intelligence sharing, knowledge adoption, improved awareness and coordinated law-enforcement efforts, the region will create a “formidable force” against those who seek to exploit Caribbean oceans and its resources unlawfully, declared Executive Director, CRFM, Milton Haughton. “The establishment of this hub underscores the regional determination to address these challenges head on with a united front and a comprehensive, coordinated approach,” Mr. Haughton stated.

Ava Whyte-Anderson, Officer in Charge/Assistant Resident Representative from UNDP Jamaica, emphasized the importance of bolstering capacities to address fisheries crime in order to reinforce strategic interests in harnessing the Blue Economy for sustainable economic growth and livelihoods. She called the Blue Justice Initiative’s digitally powered Blue Justice Community a stellar example of how UNDP intends to leverage digital transformation to underpin transformative actions that improve the quality of people’s lives and livelihoods.

UNDP Regional Technical Specialist for Water, Oceans, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, AnaMaria Nunez said the Blue Justice Hub in the Caribbean is pivotal to underscoring UNDP’s support for interventions that enable sustainable use of natural resources. She said Small Island Developing States (SIDS) remain a priority of the UNDP as fisheries play a leading role in supporting lives and livelihoods and are critical to advancing human development through a sustainable and fair blue economy.

“The creation of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub is a testament to our shared commitment to address food security and the growth of the Blue Economy in the region. Our collaboration with the Norwegian Blue Justice Initiative and UNDP’s Blue Resilience project is essential for fostering strategic inter-agency collaborations that benefit all Member States, in addressing crime that threatens the fishing industry” said Dr Gavin Bellamy, CEO of the NFA Jamaica.

The Blue Justice Caribbean Hub (BJCH) emerges as a direct response to the CRFM Ministerial Resolution No. MC 15(6) of 2021 which emphasizes regional support for the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (Copenhagen Declaration) and the Norwegian Blue Justice Initiative. These collective efforts underscore the urgency of cooperative action to safeguard food security, marine ecosystems, and uphold the rule of law amidst challenges posed by illegal fishing and fisheries crime in the Caribbean region.

Jamaica serves as the host of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub, with the National Fisheries Authority as its focal point.

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Trinidad Makes Big Energy Commitment

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#TrinidadandTobago#Energy, February 20th, 2024 – To diversify its energy mix as well as its economy, Trinidad and Tobago is putting focus on energy transition for development, working on a solar project which will potentially change energy production for the nation.

This was announced by Prime Minister Keith Rowley at the opening of the Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo 2024 in Guyana on February 19th.

Expressing that energy is the center of economic development, Rowley highlights why this development is significant. He says in order to transform the energy system to cater to the growing demand for energy while decreasing global emissions, a broad mix of energy is needed.

He further mentions that this is what’s required of producer economies like Trinidad and Tobago for development.

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Irish Humanitarian Organization in Haiti – Address Hunger Crisis and More

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti#Crisis#ConcernWorldwide, February 2oth, 2024 – Seeing that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis worsens day by day with too many Haitians, hundreds of thousands, edging the line to severe deprivation of food, Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide is addressing major food insecurity. 

 The organization in a release said “ “We are providing food assistance, via electronic vouchers to help families purchase food from local vendors so that they can feed their families and prevent malnutrition in children as the situation worsens.”

They are also working to provide Haitians with clean water and sanitation as the waterborne disease Cholera continues to threaten lives, killing more than 1,150 people in 2023.

And, they provide referrals for cases of sexual and gender based violence in Port au Prince.

Concern is supported by funding from USAID, receiving €2.1 million (euros) to help over 30 thousand people in the hunger crisis as well as €1 million (euros) yearly from the Irish Government for its work in Haiti.

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Why the Haitian President’s Wife – Martine Moïse – was charged with his 2021 Assassination

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Haiti, February 21, 2024 – Martine Moïse, the widow of Haiti’s assassinated President Jovenel Moïse, is being charged for involvement in his July 2021 murder, according to recent reports on Monday February 19th, 2024.

She is charged for complicity and involvement in criminal associations.

In his report, Haitian Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire reveals there were questionable actions related to Martine Moïse as well as statements that simply didn’t add up.

For instance, Voltaire states that she mentions hiding under the marital bed for safety during the attack on her husband, but authorities expressed that this claim is illogical, saying that a giant rat measuring “between 35 and 45 centimeters,” could not fit under the bed.

This is due to the fact that the gap between the bed and the floor was 14 to 18 inches, according to the indictment.

Considering these revelations, Voltaire states that her claims were “so tainted with contradictions that they leave something to be desired and discredit her.”

There are other suspicious actions by Mrs. Moïse, reported by the Judge, as revealed by Lyonel Valbrun, former Secretary General of the National Palace.

Voltiare’s report says Valbrun claimed there was pressure from the late President’s wife to make available to Claude Joseph, former Prime Minister, office space for the organization of a Council of Ministers.  Additionally, Valbrun reported that Martine Moïse dedicated hours to remove objects from the Palace during the days leading up to her husband’s murder.

Joseph, like the former first lady is also being charged for complicity and involvement in criminal associations.  Also, they were both injured during the attack on Jovenel Moïse.

The accusations against Mrs. Moïse, reports say, are also based on information from Joseph Badio, former official in Haiti’s Justice Ministry, who is accused of being involved in planning the Haitian president’s 2021 assassination.

According to the indictment, linked in  Voltaire’s 122 page report highlights Badio “outing” Mrs. Moïse for plotting with others, Joseph included, to kill her husband to gain power.

Joining Joseph and Moïse with charges is Léon Charles, ex-chief of Haiti’s National Police, carrying the worst of the charges including, murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of weapons, conspiracy against the state’s internal security, and involvement in criminal associations.

Haitian-American pastor Christian Emmanuel Sanon, former DEA informant Joseph Vincent, presidential security chief Dimitri Hérard, former senator John Joël Joseph, and judge Windelle Coq, are also among the accused, some already sentenced and some handed over to the US to face Federal charges.

Media reports have exposed that after a two and a half year investigation, there are still unanswered questions.  And, despite going into details about the assassination, it fails to reveal the motive behind it and how it was financed.

A separate case on Moise’s killing is being tried in Miami.

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