NEW BUILDING CODE
Kingston, Jamaica: Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Shahine Robinson, has announced plans for a new building code next year, and the associated planning and legislation for its enforcement.
Robinson said the Department of Local Government is currently undertaking the necessary preparatory work to promulgate a “new and more effective” code and the attendant legislation “to ensure that this new code will be vigorously enforced”.
Robinson expressed concern over bad building practices carried in some communities, which she described as a “disaster waiting to happen”.
As a result, she said there is need for the nation to be more proactive in ensuring that such habits are discontinued.
“The building code is a very important piece of legislation, because it will prevent persons from building in areas that are prone to natural disasters. We (are talking) about hazard mitigation; we want to stop disasters before they occur,” Robinson said.
Citing predictions that the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season which ends on November 30 will be an active one, she stressed the need for the nation to “stand united” in light of what could result, while assuring that “reducing the vulnerability of our communities to the effects of natural disasters is a top priority of the government”.
Port Kaituma, Guyana: Three weeks after a Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) aircraft ran off the runway at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, a small Trans Guyana Airways plane skidded off an airstrip at Port Kaituma last weekend.
No one was seriously injured but the plane was damaged badly.
The airplane was carrying four Guyanese passengers when it ran off the end of the airstrip and crashed into a fence as the pilot tried to land in bad weather on Saturday.
Reports indicate that the main landing gear of the aircraft was damaged during the landing attempt, which caused the plane to run off the airstrip.
A team from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has started its probe into the incident.
The GCAA is still working with other agencies in investigating the CAL crash landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport on July 30.
In that incident, the CAL plane overshot the runway, crashed through the airport’s perimeter fence and stopped on a roadway, breaking in two in the process.
Georgetown, Guyana: Expressing his alarm at the unfolding famine in the Horn of Africa and children caught in the ravages of the devastating drought in Eastern Africa, President Bharrat Jagdeo has announced that his government will immediately send US$100,000 in famine relief to the people of the affected areas.
According to the United Nations, some 12 million people are caught in the drought.
The resultant famine conditions are exacerbated by limited health care facilities and weak water and sanitation infrastructure, with attendant threats of diseases such as cholera.
“It is impossible not to be moved by the distressing images of innocent children suffering helplessly at the hands of a natural disaster on this scale,” Jagdeo said. “The hearts, minds and thoughts of all Guyanese people are with our brothers and sisters in East Africa. We pray that relief comes to them in the shortest possible time.”
Jagdeo also called on the global community to galvanize itself into a full response with the greatest urgency, so that the unfolding human disaster can be averted.
NEW TAX AGREEMENTS
Nassau, Bahamas: The Bahamas has signed two new Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) – including one with a Caribbean country – marking the first time the Bahamas has ever entered such a deal with a regional state.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette recently signed the TIEAs with the Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands group of British Crown dependencies, and Aruba, a Caribbean territory of the Netherlands.
Aruba is the first Caribbean jurisdiction with which the Bahamas has signed a TIEA.
The TIEA with Guernsey also marks the first time that the Bahamas will have an agreement with a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom.
The Bahamas now has a total of 27 TIEAs which are signed to establish exchange of information for tax purposes.