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Puerto Rico’s Governor says statehood vote should be acted on

Puerto Rico’s Governor, Ricardo Rosselló, has said that despite very low voter turnout in the island’s June 11 non-binding referendum, the outcome was “fair and open”, and the decision should be acted upon by the US Federal Government. Voter turnout was just 23%, following widespread calls to boycott the vote. Despite those who favour statehood arguing that they received a…

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Cayman coalition confirmed after days of wrangling

After nearly a week of confused negotiations following an inconclusive result in the Cayman Islands General Election, a new Government of National Unity has been agreed on. In the May 24 election, independent candidates took nine seats of the nineteen available in the territory’s legislature. The incumbent People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) took seven seats, and the opposition Cayman Democratic Party…

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Jamaica and Dominican Republic to deepen relations

Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have agreed to develop a bilateral agenda ‘with a view to seeking convergence in positions that address regional and international issues of mutual interest’ and ‘consolidating’ their relationship. The two countries’ position was set out in a joint declaration at the end of a visit by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, to the Dominican Republic…

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Region polarised over turmoil in Venezuela

Significant divisions have emerged about the extent to which the Caribbean should respond politically to the growing internal crisis in Venezuela. Concern has also been expressed about the effect on regional stability if the situation deteriorates further, with fears that this could lead to a refugee crisis. The divisions became public on April 26 at a meeting of the Permanent…

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Cuba and the DR set to improve trade relations

Cuba and the Dominican Republic have agreed on a basis on which a partial scope free trade agreement will be negotiated between the two nations. The agreement is expected to lead to the two largest independent Caribbean economies negotiating significant tariff reductions, the easing of non-tariff barriers, and agreement on the harmonisation of phytosanitary and other regulations that currently impede…

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Sugar industry seeks protection within CARICOM

Representatives from the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) met with a range of industry stakeholders in March, where they agreed on the need to develop and protect the regional sugar market in light of upcoming changes to Europe’s sugar regime. The industry proposal, made at a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica on March 23/24, responds to an expected fall in…

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Rum distillery purchase consolidates foreign ownership

In a further foreign acquisition of a major Caribbean rum distiller, the French company, Maison Ferrand, has bought the historic West India Rum Distillery in Barbados for an undisclosed sum. The purchase of the distillery from former owner Goddard Enterprises will also see the French distiller of cognac and gin acquire the West India Rum Distillery’s share of the National…

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Sugar industry to address existential threats

The Caribbean sugar industry, ministers and stakeholders are to meet at the end of March to consider how to respond to the existential threat that long planned changes to the European sugar regime and Brexit pose to the industry. The two-day meeting in Kingston Jamaica, on March 23-24, organised by the Sugar Association of the Caribbean, CARICOM and other regional…

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New CARICOM initiatives on tourism and ICT

CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Georgetown have agreed to give greater priority to tourism, the development of a regional ICT programme, and to addressing the issue of pan-Caribbean crime. Of all the matters discussed at the inter-sessional summit held on February 16-17 under the Chairmanship of Guyana’s President, David Granger, the issue most likely to have a timely outcome…

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Guyana set to be major Americas oil producer

ExxonMobil has announced that it is preparing to drill a further offshore well in its deep water Stabroek Block this month, located about 100 miles off the Guyanese coast. The announcement comes as industry analysts and the international media have begun to recognise that Guyana is likely to become a major western hemisphere oil producer following earlier finds in the…

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