St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda says it’s not legally ready to implement the full free movement of people within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) which took effect on Monday, but insists it remains committed to the arrangement.
While Antigua and Barbuda has ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, establishing the Economic Union, and the enabling legislation to affect the treaty into domestic law has had its first reading in the House of Representatives, the law has not yet been passed.
“Antigua and Barbuda is fully committed to all the initiatives under the OECS Economic Union. In the case of Free Movement, while we will facilitate to the fullest extent easier hassle free movement of OECS nationals, the legislation has yet to catch up with our OECS ambitions. This will be corrected in the coming parliamentary sessions,” Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said last week.
A statement from the government said that Antigua and Barbuda had illustrated its full commitment to free movement of people within the OECS Economic Union through its bid to incorporate the regime into the new immigration bill, which also had its first reading in the country’s Parliament.
The immigration department is working with a legal consultant who will incorporate OECS Free Movement of People regime within the current piece of legislation.
To fully incorporate the regime, OECS member states are required to exempt OECS nationals from the work permit regime and amend national legislation to allow OECS nationals to be granted indefinite stay status.
Kingston, Jamaica: Some categories of workers at Caribbean Airlines/Air Jamaica could soon become unionized.
The National Workers Union, NWU, is eyeing at least two groups of employees at the airline which is now controlled by the Trinidad & Tobago-based air carrier.
NWU Vice President, Granville Valentine, told the Financial Report that the union is in the process of submitting claims to represent the workers.
“We are going through the process and we are looking forward to representing Air Jamaica workers again; we are presently fine tuning and doing the finalization to those claims,” he said.
Valentine said the union will also be seeking to recover retroactive salaries which he says are due to former Air Jamaica employees.
“We called on the Minister of Labour and Finance to outline the situation as it relates to the workers. The schedule has come out for government workers in general, but we understand that the workers (Air Jamaica) were not named as being entitled and we are pretty much aware that they are entitled,” he said.
Kingston, Jamaica: Political analyst and publisher Lloyd B. Smith has decided to re-enter politics.
Reports had surfaced last month that Smith was being wooed by the Opposition Peoples National Party (PNP). On Tuesday, Smith confirmed that he has made up his mind to re-enter politics on the PNP ticket.
Smith, popularly known as “The Governor”, says his plan to re-enter the political fray comes with certain conditions.
“I have been approached and I have considered the matter and I have indicated to the party that I would be willing to serve but at the same time it has to be understood that there are certain conditions that have to take place,” he said.
Smith said a decision has not been made yet on which seat he will contest.
However, speculation is mounting that the PNP hierarchy could sign off on the redefined constituency of St. James Central.
Smith unsuccessfully contested the 1997 general elections on a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) ticket where he lost to the PNP’s Derrick Kellier.
Kingston, Jamaica: Already facing mounting recommendations for the appointment of principals and teachers in the public education sector, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has declared that it will with make the appointments without the involvement of the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA).
Veteran educator and ministerial advisor Alphansus Davis, whose chairmanship of the commission has raised controversy in the teachers union, has declared that nothing stands in the way of the Commission approving the appointment of principals and teachers later this month.
The JTA stopped dispatching its six representatives to regular meetings of the TSC three months ago, shortly after Davis was appointed to chair the body, citing grave conflict of interest issues.
As a result, dozens of recommendations to appoint primary and high school principals and teachers have been piling up.
However, Davis has ruled out stepping down as chairman of the TSC to appease the JTA.
He said the TSC had sought legal guidance from the Attorney General’s Department about making recommendations for appointments without the input of the JTA.
Davis says the commission has now been granted approval and final decisions will be made at the upcoming meeting in two weeks.