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Caribbean Life: Caribbean RoundUp

By Devika Ragoonanan From Caribbean Life

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Alphonso Browne. Associated Press / Jason DeCrow, file

Antigua and Barbuda 

Antigua and Barbuda announces the setting up of its embassy in France, being led by Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Foreign Affairs Minister EP Chet Greene, this historic decision underscores Antigua and Barbuda’s unwavering commitment to global diplomacy and cooperation.

His Excellency Boris Latour, a distinguished diplomat with a profound understanding of France, assumes the role of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France.

The establishment of the embassy in Paris holds immense significance for Antigua and Barbuda, who is seeking to grasp its global presence for mutual benefit which enhances Antigua and Barbuda’s proactive approach to engaging with key international partners, particularly in Europe.

in graduation due to security concerns over protests

In addition to fostering closer ties with France, the embassy will serve as a platform to advance Antigua and Barbuda’s interests across the European continent.

Priority areas of collaboration include the mutual recognition of diplomas, facilitating mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, and strengthening air ties between countries.

Antigua and Barbuda aims to enhance connectivity between the Metropole of Paris and its territory, as well as with French overseas territories such as Guadeloupe.

Ambassador Latour said, “The establishment of the Antigua and Barbuda Embassy in Paris is a pivotal moment in our nations’ shared history. It signifies our commitment to deepening our bilateral relations and fostering meaningful cooperation across various sectors. I am honored to serve as ambassador and look forward to further strengthening the bond between our countries.”


The prime ministers of Canada and Barbados, have held talks on the ongoing political, security and humanitarian crisis in Haiti and they both welcomed the establishment of the new Transitional Presidential Council.

“They expressed hope that this development will pave the way for the restoration of democratic order in Haiti, facilitate the deployment of the UN authorized Multinational Security Support mission to help the Haitian National Police, and bring long-term stability to the country,” said the Canadian government in a statement.

“Prime Minister Trudeau recognised the role of Barbados and its fellow members of the CARICOM in supporting these efforts by fostering inclusive political dialogue to advance Haitian-led solutions,” the statement added.

The prime ministers also highlighted the importance of mobilizing financing for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including through multilateral development banks, and agreed to continue working together to this end.

“Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister (Mia) Mottley looked forward to continuing to advance shared priorities anchored in our strong bilateral relationship, and they agreed to remain in close contact as the situation in Haiti continues to evolve,” the statement said.

In early March, ahead of an emergency meeting by CARICOM leaders in Jamaica to discuss the crisis in Haiti, the prime ministers of Canada, Jamaica and Barbados had underscored the importance of the UN-authorised Multinational Security Support mission to restore stability in the violence-wracked, French-speaking country.


THE Canadian High Commission has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA), which will allow its armed forces to assist during disasters in the Caribbean.

Executive Director Elizabeth Riley and Lilian Chatterjee, Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines all signed the MOU.

It outlines the process for CDEMA to ask for support from the Canadian armed forces for response teams and equipment to assist an affected CDEMA participating state in the event of a disaster.

All CARICOM and non-CARICOM member states of the Caribbean are eligible for CDEMA membership.

Riley said, “This MOU is timely, given the complex multi-hazard realities of this region and the forecast for the 2024 Atlantic basin hurricane season of 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes”.

“In times of crisis, Canada has consistently proven its reliability in supporting CDEMA’s efforts, whether through the provision of pledged airport specialist support, financial support, providing logistical support during the challenging period of covid19 or aiding in early recovery efforts through initiatives like the Caribbean Early Recovery Fund.”

CDEMA member states include: Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman Islands. The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat. St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos Islands and The Virgin Islands.


ExxonMobil Guyana Limited (EMGL) President, Alistair Routledge announced that it will return 20 percent of the Stabroek Block to the government of Guyana (GoG) in October this year.

Routledge told reporters, “That is scheduled to take place in October this year that is when the next prospecting license renewal takes place and at that point, we will relinquish acreage back to the government.”

He noted that the company has not yet finalized the portion that will be returned to the state but will work with the government in calculating the 20 percent of the Stabroek Block.

Exxon was required to return a portion of the Block to Guyana in 2023, but, the previous President, David Granger had granted the company an extension in 2020.

According to documents released by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Granger signed an order one month before demitting office, giving Exxon a one-year grace period to hold in their entirety, the Stabroek, Canje and Corentyne Blocks. The orders written by Exxon’s Country Manager, Alistair Routledge on July 2, 2020, seeking a grace period given the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on restricting the implementation of exploration for the three blocks.

He said, “So they (Exxon) demonstrated how COVID affected them. It is the David Granger extension that therefore shifted the timeline to relinquish 20 percent of the block from 2023 to 2024 and that is the consequence we are living with.” When asked about sharing this evidence publicly, the VP said, “We don’t have to give evidence to AFC.”

The chief policymaker for the sector was also not inclined to make government’s reports on this matter public to ease tensions of other stakeholders. He said the fact of the matter is that an extension was granted and the government did not extend it.


The political party of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide, is threatening to withdraw from the presidential transition council (CPT) if Fritz Bélizaire is not removed as prime minister.

On April 30 the CPT named Belizaire as the country’s prime minister replacing Michel Patrick Boisvert.

The nine-member transitional council, seven of whom have voting rights, and Belizaire, who served as sports minister during the second presidency of René Préval from 2006 to 2011, is reported to have had the support of four of the council’s voting members.

The Conference of Haitian Pastors (COPAH) has also “strongly” criticized what it described as the “undemocratic approach and the violation of the agreement of April 3rd, 2024” in the appointment of Belizaire as prime minister.

It said the appointment was done “without consideration for other entities of civil society interested in proposing … candidates for this position. The prime minister selection process must be based on clearly defined criteria rather than political affiliations.”

A civil society group represented by a council member with voting powers, The Montana Accord, said it denounced what it called a “complot” hatched by four council members against the Haitian people “in the middle of the night.”

“The political and economic mafia forces have decided to take control of the presidential council and the government so that they can continue to control the state,” the Montana Accord said.

Haiti’s newly-installed presidential council has promised security, justice, and economic recovery, while constitutional reform and credible general elections also top the agenda, as the troubled Caribbean country seeks its way out of the crisis.

St. Kitts & Nevis

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (Impacs) recently had a four-day meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Terrence Drew paying close attention to the increased instances of violent crime involving the use of illegal firearms in the region.

“Here in St. Kitts and Nevis, we can give testimony to this as in the past year, we recorded several incidents of gun violence. Further solidifying my point is my country’s current reality where our law enforcement agencies are fully engaged to arrest a crime spike, we have been experiencing for the month of April,” Prime Minister Drew told the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit (CGIU) Sensitization and Awareness meeting.

He said St. Kitts and Nevis is not immune to the increased incidence of firearms-related crime and that the law enforcement agencies are “fully engaged to arrest this menace to our society.”

Impacs said the meeting is the first in a series of sensitization and awareness meetings as part of its efforts to address gun crime in the region. Other meetings are schedule to take place in all 15 CARICOM member states over the coming months.

“These meetings aim to support CARICOM countries in detecting and stemming the wave of firearms-related crimes which are pervading our national and regional borders,” said Lt. Col. Michael Jones, CARICOM Impacs executive director.

Drew said that almost 18 years ago, CARICOM Impacs was born and “We have achieved much since then. We have benefited from capacity-building initiatives, explored avenues for sustainable intervention programmes, and implemented international and regional commitments that focus on the reduction of firearms-related violence.”

“We have collaborated with various partners and stakeholders on policy issues that redound to the benefit of our region. We continue to work at finding new and innovative ways to advance security. However, like anything else, there is much more work to be done and improvements to be had.”

Drew said that the presence and prevalence of illegal firearms have been the “bane of our existence in the Caribbean region for quite some time and the trafficking of illegal weapons into any nation is a direct breach of its borders and a threat to the safety and security of every man, woman, and child therein.

“Such actions serve only to erode the efficacy and integrity of the national security apparatuses of our countries here in the Caribbean. As a people and as a nation, it is our national duty to learn all that we can in order to arrest this plague and rid our societies of the dark veil of gun violence,” he added.

This workshop is being facilitated by CARICOM Impacs and the partner agencies of the United States and the organisers said that the participants will outline the purpose and objective of the CGIU, as well as explore the role of member states with respect to information and intelligence sharing with the CGIU.

Drew said he was looking forward to engaging in “robust and substantial dialogues with my CARICOM and international colleagues for the purposes of buttressing our maritime security strategy; identifying potential new threats; and sharing information vital to the strengthening of our national security systems.

— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan

For more on this story go to: CARIBBEAN LIFE


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