St. George’s, Grenada: St. George’s University and the Government of Grenada have signed an agreement which establishes a teaching hospital on the island.
As a result, according to Charles Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University, not only will students get the opportunity to experience an additional system of healthcare delivery in a hospital setting, but Grenada will be provided with an influx of healthcare practitioners to local healthcare facilities.
“By adding to the elective and intern program already in place and establishing this full teaching program that operated by the university, we are able to provide a quality graduate and post graduate program in Grenada. Our students will be able to perform clinical rotations in Grenada, in addition to the clinical rotations available at many top affiliated hospital and clinical centers in the U.S. and the UK.
“This agreement further cements St. George’s University’s commitment to help in the development of a quality health education program to the Caribbean for students from Commonwealth nations and from around the world,” said Modica.
Grenada’s Finance Minister Nazim Burke said that government also recognizes the significance of the agreement.
He said the establishment of a teaching hospital in Grenada would help to raise the standard and quality of healthcare for citizens at home, citizens abroad desirous of returning home to retire, as well as visitors.
Additionally, the university has for over 35 years developed an extensive scholarship program for the educational benefit of citizens of Grenada and other Commonwealth countries.
AIR SERVICES AGREEMENT
Kingston, Jamaica: Cabinet has approved the signing of an Air Services Agreement between the Governments of Jamaica and the United Arab Emirates.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Daryl Vaz said that the deal was negotiated within the context of the Open Skies Policy which was previously approved.
“The agreement entitles the designated airline(s) of both countries the right to exercise in any type of service (passenger, cargo and mail separately or in combination), full fifth freedom traffic rights to or from any intermediate or beyond points without any restriction,” he said.
Open skies liberalizes the movement of airlines between countries, creating a free market and competition. The agreement is meant specifically to remove limits on the number of carriers, the frequency per week, and the size of aircraft operating between the states that are party to these air services agreements.
In addition to commercial passenger and cargo services, the agreement seeks to facilitate code sharing among designated stakeholder airlines and to encourage fair play among all interests, while discouraging discrimination and abuse of dominant positions.
Open skies are expected to expand air linkages between Jamaica and other countries, facilitate investment and tourism flows and provide a framework within which designated commercial carriers can operate.
SUGAR INDUSTRY EXPANSION
Kingston, Jamaica: Jamaica is allotting J$1 billion (US$11.7 million) to expand and modernize its sugar industry.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has set aside the money, which is in addition to the J$523 million (US$6.1 million) already budgeted, to be put into the Cane Expansion Fund, which is administered by the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) and focuses on improving the cane farms’ infrastructure, particularly irrigation and drainage, in keeping with the vision of expanded sugarcane production.
Minister Robert Montague said the move forms part of Government’s efforts to boost overall productivity in the agricultural sector.
He said the ministry will also be implementing the recommendations of the Sugar Industry Commission, chaired by Professor Alvin Wint, which addressed reshaping the institutional, regulatory and marketing arrangements within the industry, given the new market realities in Europe and privatization in Jamaica.
Montague said it is significant that the Commission has recommended the preservation of the SIA. The Sugar Industry Control Act, which gave birth to the SIA, made provisions for the non-centralization of the marketing of sugar, through a licensing regime.
“In principle, therefore, individual manufacturers can market their own sugar, under license from the SIA, providing they subscribe to the uniform cane payment system,” said Montague.
REPEALING TAX ACT
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Government has sought to reassure residents that it will not impose the increased property taxes implemented by the previous People’s National Movement (PNM) and would soon go to Parliament to translate that promise into law.
Finance Minister Winston Dookeran said the Property Tax Act, which raises land and building taxes, had not been acted on since the former Patrick Manning government introduced it in December 2009, and that would continue.
“As indicated in the last Budget read on September 8, 2010, a waiver of lands and buildings tax has been instituted,” said Dookeran.
Minister of Housing and the Environment Dr. Roodal Moonilal said that the legislation for the tax is expected to be in place by September to “put that (problem) right”.
“The legislation which is due to come to Parliament is designed to revert to the old land and building taxes regime which existed prior to December 2009,” he said.
Moonilal said that no decision had been taken on whether the legislation would be retroactive to January 2010 when the collection was put on hold.
During its election campaign, the People’s Partnership promised that it would get rid of the tax if it was given the reins of government in the May 2010 general elections.