One-Minute Reads ... news from around the region

September 28, 2020


COVID death tolls climb in region

Three Caribbean Community countries, including Guyana, have recorded deaths associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to health authorities.

Guyana's death toll reached 76 after the country recorded two more deaths late Saturday.

The Ministry of Health in a statement noted that the latest fatalities included a 36-year-old male from East Berbice-Corentyne who died while receiving care at a medical facility. The other victim of the virus was a 45-year-old man from another region. Guyana has 2,725 cases overall.

In Haiti, where two new deaths were recorded last Saturday, the Ministry of Public Health said the total number of cases had risen to 8,684; the first case was detected on March 19.

There are now 227 deaths in Haiti. Meanwhile, Belizean health officials said that the death of a 62-year-old woman from Orange Walk has brought the death toll there to 14.


CDB governors to meet virtually

The board of governors of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will meet on Wednesday as the region's premier financial institution seeks to develop initiatives aimed at reducing poverty among its borrowing member states (BMC).

The CDB said that the meeting, which will be held virtually because of the measures implemented by several Caribbean countries to curb the spread of the coronavirus, will "highlight the bank's milestones during its 50 years of operation, as it worked to positively transform the lives of those in its BMC through targeted, poverty reduction initiatives".

Bahamas Finance Minister K. Peter Turnquest, who is chairman of the board of governors, as well as CDB President Dr William Warren Smith, will address the opening ceremony as well as Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Gaston Browne, and Jamaica's Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke.


PM and backbencer in heated dispute

A war of words has broken out between Prime Minister Gaston Browne and a former minister, Asot Michael.

Both men took to the airwaves almost simultaneously last Saturday to air their positions. Browne, who had dismissed Michael in 2016 after he was detained in London on allegations of having requested bribes from a British investor, said that Michael's "rotten behaviour is unacceptable and he is not beyond the constitution of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP)". Browne has promised that Michael, who was re-elected to Parliament on an ABLP ticket in the 2018 general election, "will be subjected to disciplinary action at some point".

But Michael told radio listeners that he was born in the "bowels" of the ruling party, long before Browne became associated with it.

"Gaston Browne cannot push me out of the Labour Party. I challenge him to call a convention," Michael said, indicating that he is prepared to contest the next general election as an "independent" candidate.


Leader says coronavirus crisis calls for urgent action

St Lucia's Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says the current coronavirus pandemic demands urgent action, noting the dire consequences on world economies, financial markets and social and humanitarian destabilisation.

In addressing the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly debate late Saturday, Chastanet said it was worth restating that "our Small Island Developing States (SIDS), like St Lucia, have always been inherently susceptible to environmental, economic and financial shocks".

"Our unique circumstances and consequent vulnerabilities have left us exposed to the ravages of the twin crises of the pandemic and climate change," he said. He told the international community that despite the empathy and the understanding of the technocrats at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank, as well as other international financial institutions, they remain constrained by their own inflexible governance structures.

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