On Thursday, Barbadians elected Mia Mottley as the first-ever woman to head a government in the country in an historic victory for the Barbados Labor Party (BLP).The preliminary results show that the opposition party is on track to sweep all 30 seats in the Parliament. As te results became evident, Mottley thanked Barbadians for doing “what is best for Barbados.”The 52-year-old BLP leader thanked outgoing Prime Minister Stuart “for his service to Barbados” but reminded the nation that “the people have spoken. The victory is not mine, not the Barbados Labor Party, this victory is the people of Barbados victory.”She said that she wanted the victory to be recognized also as te result of “a people’s campaign” and welcomed the new legislators who had embarked on “this special journey. Leading this team has been the privilege of my life, it is now for us to move forward because the electioneering has stopped,” she said, adding that she wanted to thank all those who had offered themselves and had not successful.“I urge them to continue in the spirit of service and…in building this country,” she said, adding that she would begin the task of rebuilding the country“ immediately.The election was fought against the backdrop of a worsening economic situation in Barbados. Mottley said in order to move forward her administration will release the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Friday so that Barbadians will know what is expected going forward.“We have also committed to releasing the noose of taxes around our necks…if this economy is to grow again, then… that will be business number one for us.”Mottley said her Cabinet will be appointed by Monday, and reminded the country that “all ideas must contend.” She said even before the government has a right to take a decision “all ideas must contend and we have already committed in our manifesto to putting in place a framework for people’s initiatives that come from you and not started with us.“We have committed to referenda because we believe there are certain fundamental issues that we must consult with you on. Some will be binding, and some will be advisory.”But she pledged “there will be no gloating. There is no way there will be a mistrust of the absolute mandate that you have given to the Barbados Labor Party.”Earlier, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, 66, accepted “full responsibility” for the defeat of his Democratic Labor Party in the general election. He also announced he is leaving electoral politics in Barbados.Stuart, who entered elective politics in 1994, said Thursday’s general election would have been his last regardless of the results and that he would assist the party as it moves to name a replacement for him.Speaking at the party’s headquarters, Stuart said his administration had to govern in a very challenging environment in the 21st century , adding “we did the best we could according to our likeness and according to our judgement over the very difficult and challenging decade in which we had to administer the affairs of Barbados”.Hundreds of BLP supporters took to the streets during the early hours of Friday to celebrate the victory. Meanwhile, Mottley urged the private sector to close down their businesses at midday on Friday.
Shannon Gabriel’s record eight-wicket haul set the stage for a sensational West Indies run chase but sloppy batting, coupled with inclement weather, ensured an anti-climatic end as the second Test against Sri Lanka ended in a draw on Monday in St. Lucia.In the end, the final day at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground which started with so much promise, ended with West Indies battling to save the contest and preserve their 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.Set 296 for victory with nearly three full sessions available, West Indies slumped to 8 for two wickets early on and were clinging on at 147 for five, when bad light drove players from the field at 5:05 pm, never to return.To Sri Lanka’s dismay, rain had earlier arrived half-hour after the tea break with West Indies on 137 for five, causing a delay of just over an hour.When play finally resumed, only 15 balls were possible before the quickly diminishing light ended play again.Throughout the turmoil of the day, opener Kraigg Brathwaite remained resolute with an unbeaten 59 and was accompanied by captain Jason Holder at the end on 15.Shai Hope made 39 but no other batsman passed 15 as Sri Lanka’s seam attack made repeated inroads.Speedster Gabriel had earlier produced a career-best match haul of 13 for 121 – the third best overall figures by a West Indies bowler in Tests – when he quickly wrapped up the Sri Lanka second innings inside the first 20 minutes of the day by taking the last two wickets.Resuming on 334 for eight, Sri Lanka’s innings lasted just 16 deliveries before buckling for 342 all out, with Gabriel finishing with eight for 62 – the sixth best innings figures for a West Indies bowler in Tests and the best by a fast bowler in international cricket in 17 years.
Credit: USGS An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 rocked Venezuela and several Eastern Caribbean islands on Tuesday.The powerful earthquake hit eastern Venezuela at 5:31 pm and was felt in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Grenada, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.The Trinidad based Seismic Research Center (SRC) said the earthquake had a depth of 73 kilometres, and its position in Venezuela at 55 km east southeast of Carúpano, 95 km northeast of Maturín, and 131 km southeast of Porlamar.Initially it was reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.8 but that was later upgraded to 7.3.Seismologist at the SRC, Dr Joan Latchman has cautioned residents of the region that aftershocks from the strong quake could be expected for days to come. Another earthquake is also possible, she said late Tuesday.Structural damages but no casualties There have been early reports and images posted on social media of structural damage to buildings, severe cracks in floors, parking lots and roads, and of goods falling from grocery-store shelves. But there has been no reports of casualties.Witnesses reported seeing and feeling their homes, and even some of the contents, shaking when the quake hit.Speaking in a Facebook live video about an hour after the quake occurred, Latchman said there would be more tremors, noting that up to that point there had been at least seven aftershocks.“…Most of which you would not feel, but we can have an earthquake of this magnitude…and we expect that we can have an earthquake in the 5.0 to 5.9 magnitude range and this can happen within hours. Going by what we have seen in the past, within three to five hours we would not be surprised, or tomorrow, or sometime this week,” she said.“There is no formula for us to tell you when the aftershocks will occur. We were just looking at patterns of the past to guide.”Despite initial reports to the contrary, there was no tsunami threat from the earthquake.
The Jamaican Diaspora is reacting positively to the economic situation in Jamaica, with most joining Jamaicans at home in hailing the 2019/2020 budget recently tabled by the country’s minister of finance. But, at meanwhile, the Diaspora continue to be disturbed by the reports of a persistent wave of violent crime.“Santa Clark”The budget tabled by Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke has earned him the swift nick-name of “Santa Clarke” because of the ‘gifts’ included. In the budget the minister has cut several taxes, and interest rates amounting to some J$14 billion dollars. Budgetary benefitsThe benefits apply to reduction on interest on student loans, property transfer tax, stamp duty on property purchase and sold, and taxes paid by businesses.The Finance Minister said the tax reductions are part of the government’s move to give back to the nation after almost 20 years of tax increases. He added that this move by government would incentivize micro and small business activity.The government has also made significant increases in the budgetary allocation for the Program of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). With this increase grants made to an estimated 284,000 beneficiaries including children and the elderly will increase by 7 percent.In addition, increases will be allocated tol major social protection programs from $16 billion in 2018/19 to $20 billion in 2019/20. Still, with the positivity associated with the budget and the kudos the government has been receiving in its wake, there’s criticism that the budget, and the surpluses gained by the government, hasn’t been designed to benefit the poorer classes of Jamaicans generally. The major share of the budget pie is allocated to the Ministry of National Security to “improve the security of the citizens of Jamaica.” That ministry has been allocated $20.2 billion an increase of $7.5 billion over the 2018/19 budget. Economic improvementsDubbing the budget “Growth with Equity”, Clarke justified this title by explaining Jamaica’s Debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio is set to fall to 96 per cent, the lowest ratio in nearly 20-years; the first time the ratio has fallen below 100 per cent over that period. He attested the debt reduction is a “shining example to the world of what can be achieved when there is unity of purpose.” Financing tax benefits A prevailing question being raised among the Diaspora is how will the government cope with a significant reduction in tax revenues? The finance minister explained that the measures are possible through improvements in collection of income and business taxes. In addition, the country has made significant strides in reducing the national debt. Critics claim no benefit to the poor Some people in the Diaspora agree with the People National Party’s Opposition spokesman on Finance, Mark Golding, that poor people who are struggling to find food and shelter for their children and themselves will not benefit from more favorable transfer taxes or stamp duty. They too believe more of the $14 billion could be directly channeled to the poor and needy.Although the feedback has been more favorable, than critical, there’s strong concern among the Diaspora about initiatives to reduce violent crime in Jamaica. While people are pleased a huge chunk of the budget is allocated to national security, they need information on the finer details of the planned crime fighting measures.Diaspora crime concerns Reference is being made to the recent resurgence of violence in western Jamaica following the ending of a state of emergency in the parish of St. James. The Diaspora is divided about the ending of this sate of emergency, and those in other troubled regions of the country. The majority would rather the government and the opposition collaborate in strategizing on a pragmatic crime reduction plan. “Crime isn’t a divisive political issue, it’s a national issue,” some have stated.There’s also increasing concern over potential damage to Jamaica’s vibrant tourism industry from reports of violent crime. Last week, the US Department of State issued a level-2 travel advisory to Americans traveling to Jamaica cautioning against violent crime.This advisory may be unjustified, but it’s nonetheless damaging. The government of Jamaica has a responsibility to ensuring that every effort is made, and no budgetary funds spared, to effectively counter crime in generalThe positive news of economic growth, reduced debt and lower taxes is refreshing, but this positivity should not be negated by persistent news of ravages on the society from violent crime. The ministry of finance have provided the necessary funds, now Jamaicans home and abroad want to know how these funds will be applied to reduce crime. Jamaicans, home and overseas, would also like to see more of the funds being realized from improved tax collection, and the reduced national debt, directly applied to alleviate the plight of poor urban and rural Jamaicans.
MIAMI, Florida – Following the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization’s (PAHO/WHO) warning for countries in the Western Hemisphere to brace for heatwaves, Florida could see a big spike in extreme heat over the next few weeks.According to a new report from the weather channel, Florida will record above-average temperatures at the end of August into September, but the increase in heat could begin as soon as this weekend.This Friday, July 19, should be the hottest day in South Florida, with a prediction of 90-degree weather, while temperatures in Marathon and the other parts of the Florida Keys will rise to 93 degrees. According to the weather service in Miami, South Florida could flirt with a high of 105 to 108-degrees over the interior and Gulf coast areas on Friday.The temperature will climb to 95 degrees in Orlando on Friday and Saturday, and 92 degrees in Bradenton, the Tampa Bay area and Tallahassee.According to the National Weather Center in the Tampa Bay region, “a strengthening ridge of high pressure will produce much above average temperatures — a true summer heatwave. Highs in the 90s and triple digits combined with humidity and dewpoints surging into the upper 70s, if not low 80s, will create heat indices as high as 110 to 115 through this weekend.”Central Florida should also see mid-90s temperatures and a triple-digit heat index.The heatwave will pose a health risk for children and senior citizens especially, who are advised to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and minimize the number of hours they spend in the sun.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – In a nationwide radio and television broadcast on Wednesday night Guyana’s President David Granger announced “the earliest possible date for the holding of general and regional election will be on Monday, March 2, 2020”. He said he had selected the date “after discussions with the chairman of the Elections Commission and with my Cabinet”.The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is Guyana’s highest court, said last July that the vote of no confidence passed last in December 2018 against Granger’s coalition administration was valid and urged all parties to adhere to the provisions of the country’s constitution.Under the Guyana Constitution, the elections should take place 90 days after the no-confidence vote. The Constitution also makes provision for an extension of the period based only on a two-thirds majority vote in the Parliament. The CCJ made no ruling as to a date when the polls should be held.The chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired justice Claudette Singh said the polls could be held in February next year.In his broadcast, Granger said that since the passage of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on December, 21 last year, his administration has respected the decisions of the Courts and upheld the Constitution.“We challenged the validity of the no-confidence motion and defended the challenge to the constitutionality of the appointment of the Chairman of the Elections Commission,” Granger said.He said his administration sought to clarify and interpret the Constitution and to ensure the elections would be conducted on the basis of a credible electoral list.“I have complied with the rulings of the Courts, upheld the Constitution of Guyana and respected the National Assembly at all times. I engaged the Elections Commission from February 2019 repeatedly. I insisted that credible elections be held at the earliest possible time. Credible elections are essential to representative democracy.”“Guyanese can now look to the Elections Commission to conduct credible elections within the time frame prescribed. Guyanese, we are on the right path to preserve our precious parliamentary democracy,” Granger said.
ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Dominican authorities were scrambling on Tuesday to bring home hundreds of nationals left stranded in French Caribbean islands after French President Emmanuel Macron announced a closure of external borders in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.“As of noon, external borders of the European Union and the Schengen area will be closed,” Macron said in a televised address to the nation, adding that “all travel between non-EU countries and the European Union will be suspended for 30 days”.“We need to be able to protect ourselves and curb the spread of this virus,” Macron said on Monday night after cases in France reached 6,633.The announcement by Macron has led to the cancellation of the daily ferry service between Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St Lucia.The operators of Val Ferry, which is providing transportation between the French Antilles and Dominica and St Lucia, said the efforts now are to get passengers out of the various islands back to their homeland.”Leroy Charles said that for Val Ferry, the priority also is to save lives as a result of the COVID-19.“No monetary gain can come from it. Whatever the impact is for Val Ferry, the most important thing is that we are saving lives and in light of this pandemic we have absolutely no problem with moving ahead with what the President of France decided to close the borders.“So it will impact the hucksters, the hospitality sector, even the government in terms of departure taxes, the diaspora, but the overall mission is to actually get people safe. We are concerned about Dominicans that are stuck in the French Antilles…and how are we going to get them back home because people move across to the French Antilles every week.”He said Val Ferry have suspended all calls to Dominica with immediate effect and in order to deal with getting Dominicans back home, “we may have to deal with that at a higher level.”The operations supervisor of L’Express Des isles, Hans Victor, said the ferry service is being withdrawn with immediate effect.“The ferry services on the international line and that would be Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica and St Lucia have been suspended until further notice,” he said, adding that arrangements are being to try to get passengers affected by the “sudden decision” back to their home countries.“The French Embassy is in discussion with us…in order to put something in place to get French citizens out of Dominica and at the same time we are looking to piggyback on that effort to get Dominicans who are stuck in Martinique, Guadeloupe and St Lucia to get them back home”.While Dominica has not reported any case of the COVID-19, St Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe have both recorded cases of the virus for which there is no vaccine.
Hargray stated that he was taking this step after further discussions with staff, union representatives, members of the City Commission and the public. BREAKING NEWS: After last week’s announcement that approximately 1,000 city employees would be furloughed 8 hours a week, the City of Miramar has decided to reverse the decision. Ahead of tomorrow’s commission vote in the City of Miramar, City Manager Vernon Hargray and members of the commission are coming up with alternatives to the proposed furloughs, which would have seen employees losing as much as 20 percent of their salaries. Below is the official statement from the City of Miramar: (More details to follow shortly). Today, Miramar City Manager Vernon E. Hargray issued a memorandum to the City’s Mayor, Vice Mayor and City Commissioners announcing that he would be exploring other alternatives instead of implementing the staff furloughs, as proposed in his memorandum dated May 13, 2020. Miramar City Hall The City Manager will discuss the City’s financial status during the Virtual Miramar Commission Meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. The Commission Meeting can be streamed at MiramarFL.gov/CommissionMeeting. For questions regarding Miramar’s furlough, please visit MiramarFL.gov/Furloughs. The furloughs were billed as part of a 7-pronged approach to offset the city’s economic shortfall brought on by COVID-19. The May 13th memo detailed furloughs consisting of 8 hours per week for each full-time employee effective June 11, 2020 to December 9, 2020. Part time, as needed employees and interns would not be impacted by the proposed furlough.
World number two, Andy Murray has withdrawn from the US Open following his failure to recover from a hip injury he sustained at the Wimbledon.The 30-year-old Brit, who won the US Open in 2012, was due to face world number 104 Tennys Sandgren in the first round at Flushing Meadows.Announcing his withdrawal, Murray said: “I did pretty much everything I could to get myself ready here,”“I took a number of weeks off after Wimbledon, spoke to a lot of hip specialists, tried resting, rehabbing to get myself ready here and was practising OK the last few days but it’s too sore for me to win the tournament and ultimately that’s what I was here to try and do, so, unfortunately, I won’t be playing this year.”The last time Murray pulled out of a Grand Slam was at the 2013 Frenc Open and also did not play at the Tennis Masters tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati this month as he underwent rehabilitation.“I certainly wouldn’t have been hurting myself more by trying to play. It was more a question of whether it would settle down in time. I kind of ran out of time.” he added.Andy Murray joins defending champion Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic on the US Open injury list.Related
The big three in the English Premier League (EPL) namely Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea secure respective wins in their various Matchday 6 clashes as the title race hots up.Manchester City thrashed bottom club Crystal Palace 5-0 at courtesy goals from Raheem Sterling (2), Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and substitute Fabian Delph while Manchester United needed a 20th minute strike from Romelu Lukaku to secure a 1-0 win at Southampton. Chelsea also won against hosts Stoke City with new summer signing Alvaro Morata netting a hattrick in addition to a lovely strike from fellow Spanish teammate to give the champions a 4-0 win.The victories recorded by the three teams maintain the three points separating the three big teams before the start of Matchday 6 with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea on 16 points, 16 points and 13 points respectively.Matchday 6 Results:Stoke City 0-4 ChelseaManchester City 5-0 Crystal PalaceSouthampton 0-1 Manchester UnitedBurnley 0-0 Huddersfield TownSwansea City 1-2 WatfordWest Ham United 2-3 Tottenham HotspurEverton 2-1 BournemouthRelated