Caribbean News in Brief for July 12, 2011


Kingston, Jamaica: The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) of Jamaica says it’s examining the competition issues related to REDjet’s still unapproved application to fly to Jamaica, following a complaint lodged by the Barbados-based budget carrier.

REDjet has complained to the FTC that “protracted delays on the part of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority in processing its application for route rights is frustrating its attempts to offer low-cost commercial flights to and from Jamaica”.

In its July edition of its FTCNewsLine quarterly newsletter, the Commission said it is looking into the matter.

“The issue raises competition concerns and, accordingly, the FTC is reviewing the competition implications of the situation,” it said.

According to the FTC newsletter, the REDjet complaint was filed last month.

The carrier has been faced with obstacles ranging from broken promises of forthcoming approval, to alleged concerns about safety, to authorities admittedly trying to protect the interest of Trinidad and Tobago’s Caribbean Airlines, which has taken over Air Jamaica.

REDjet had planned to start flying to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago since May 8, but is still awaiting permission. It currently only flies between Barbados and Guyana at base fares starting from US$9.99.


Kingston, Jamaica: Prime Minister Bruce Golding has named attorney-at-law Ransford Braham as the new Attorney General to serve in the post that was separated from the Ministry of Justice portfolio in June. He will begin his duties on August 8.

Braham was admitted to the Bar in Jamaica in 1988 and is currently a member of the General Legal Council and the Jamaica Bar Association. He was most recently an Advocate in the legal firm Livingston, Alexander and Levy’s Litigation Department, responsible for conducting litigation in all courts including the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council.

Golding decided to split the posts of Attorney General and Minister of Justice in his Cabinet reshuffle near the end of June, based on the recommendations of the recently concluded Manatt Commission of Enquiry.

Braham’s predecessor, Dorothy Lightbourne, was replaced by former House Speaker Delroy Chuck as Minister of Justice.

Pointing out that the Attorney General does not have to sit in either House of Parliament, Golding said that by appointing someone who will not be a part of the political executive, “some insulation is being inserted between the political executive and the source of the principal legal advice that is provided to the government”.


Kingston, Jamaica: Finance Minister Audley Shaw says the stability now being seen in the economy is setting the stage for an economic boom.

Shaw made the forecast as he cited interest rates at single digits, a stable dollar, a lower crime rate and adequate foreign exchange in reserves.

“Combined with a tempering of food prices on the global market as well as moderation of oil prices, we can conclude that we are stable and we are poised for economic take off,” said Shaw.

The finance minister also praised financial institutions for cutting interest rates, adding that an as yet unnamed mortgage institution will soon announce it will cut rates to 9.8 per cent.

However, Shaw indicated he is still impatient with the general pace of reductions in lending rates.

“When you guys wouldn’t respond to me aggressively enough, you led me to go and reduce the stamp duty on the transfer of mortgages,” said Shaw. “Now I would like you to be a little more responsive, so I don’t go and find some other creative means of pushing you a little harder.”


Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe: After months of negotiations, Antigua and Barbuda and the Regional Council of Guadeloupe signed an agreement on Monday to share expertise and make joint approaches to secure development assistance.

The signing ceremony took place between Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and President of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, Victorin Lurel.

Under the Bilateral Cooperation Agreement, the two countries will cooperate in economic, scientific and cultural development including disaster preparedness, renewable energy, agriculture, tourism including sports tourism, education including linguistic exchanges, marine services yacht and ferry services, health, culture, information and communication technologies, the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises and trade export along with media and information exchange.

Emphasizing the historical importance of the agreement, Spencer said that untapped opportunities would now be explored.

“Additional expertise will become available in the sector specific areas while the things we have competitive advantage in will be shared with Guadeloupe,” he said.

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