Caribbean and Diaspora News in Brief
US Shutdown - The impact for the Caribbean
Burglars fail at Rihanna's Barbados estate
Kirani James adopts a low profile on campus
Ravi Ramrattan had poverty eradication plans
New Guyanese flight connections
Living in the American satellite and, more importantly, tourism footprint has meant that Caribbean countries have been paying close attention to the US shutdown of public service following a stalemate in the American Congress over fiscal spending.
It’s even more important, of course, to those in the Caribbean Diaspora who work in those affected sectors.
Caribbean Intelligence© has been conducting an early audit of concerns raised as the shutdown set in:
· Visas: American embassies across the Caribbean advised people that their consular and visa offices remained open for business.
· Tourism: Jamaica’s Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) says that its largest source of tourists are from the US. “A number of our visitors are government workers,” JHTA President Evelyn Smith told the Jamaica Gleaner.
· Puerto Rican monuments, its tropical rainforest and wildlife refuges were closed following the shutdown. Reuters news agency cited economists who said that federal funding provides nearly 40% of Puerto Rico’s government revenue and that half of 10,000 federal workers there would be affected.
- The National Hurricane Centre recalled staff members sent on unpaid leave when Tropical Storm Karen formed on 3 October.
· Federal employees in New York were told to stay home for the week, leaving monuments and federal parks closed to the public.
· People on active military service remain on duty. Civilian Defence Department employees at places such as Fort Hamilton have been sent home.
· America’s tourism sector is also concerned about the shutdown. US Travel Association President Roger Dow told the Latin American Herald Tribune that the shutdown “will not only affect government employees, but also many conventions and fairs.”
· In Miami, the tourism sector, according to the Tribune, accounts for up to 60% of the city’s revenue.
· Food programmes to low-income mothers in NYC remained open for another week while the money lasts. School lunches and food stamps are still available.
· While Centre for Disease Control money faces obstacles for tracking flu and other disease outbreaks, some New York officials have secured funding and partnerships for local flu shots.
In other news briefs:
Barbados’s CBC has reported that thieves tried to break into the home of international singing star Rihanna while she was touring Australia. The wannabe thieves were reportedly scared off by the alarm. They should have been wise to the level of security based on the fact that there’s a sign as you turn onto the road to Rihanna’s estate. It says “Smile, You’re on camera.” Barbadian police are on the case.
After being his country’s global ambassador and dealing with the high profile of an Olympic gold medal and a very near miss at the 2013 Moscow Games, Grenada’s Kirani James says he’s glad to be back on campus and out of the public eye. “It’s a nice, laid-back place where I can just sit back and relax, focus on what I have to do,” he told the University of Alabama campus newspaper as term got under way. One campus official described James to the paper as always “very quiet” and “the exact same person [as] before he went to London [for the Olympics]”.
The funeral has taken place of Trinidadian scholar and aid worker Ravindra “Ravi” Ramrattan, who was one of the victims when gunmen stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Two of the friends he had been at the mall with on 21 September flew to Trinidad to attend the funeral. Aleem Ahmed said of his friend that Ravi always sought to use his economics education to try and improve life for others. “He was working on an intervention to find a way to ensure farmers receive income throughout the year,” Mr Ahmed told Trinidad’s Newsday newspaper.
A new non-stop flight route between Jamaican and Guyana had its inaugural flight on 27 September. Fly Jamaica Airways started its flight at New York’s JFK before flying to Jamaica and then non-stop on to Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan airport. Usually, travellers to Guyana need to change planes or wait in Trinidad. Fly Jamaica is the latest in a series of airlines trying to provide cheaper flights across the Caribbean. According to New York-based Caribbean Life newspaper, which joined the inaugural flight, the champagne corks were popping, but the airline plans a more Spartan regular route, taking Guyanese nationals abroad back home for the Christmas, Easter and Mashramani rush.
The Cayman Islands government has received the assets of more than 5,000 bank accounts lying idle since the island’s Dormant Accounts Law was passed in 2010. News service cayCompass.com said that the government had received asset transfers of CI$12.88m from dormant accounts. The online news service said that only 2.6% of dormant accounts were reclaimed by their owners. These are accounts for which there has been no activity or contact from the holder for seven years.