KINGSTON, Jamaica: This country is being restricted from accessing concessionary financing because of its middle-income classification.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator A.J. Nicholson, said that while he understood the reason, he wondered if it was a fair designation for Jamaica and other developing nations.
“It is our view that there is a case to be made for rethinking the treatment of these countries, given the challenges and constraints, such as poverty, high indebtedness and other socio-economic problems that they continue to face,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson argued that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, should take into account the constraints faced by small island developing states, and work to allow them to access increased funding, capacity building, information sharing and technology transfer.
Wife may take seat
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: Hazel Manning, the wife of former Prime Minister Patrick Manning, may take over the reins of his San Fernando East constituency. For now, however, she is focused on seeing to his full recovery after he suffered a stroke on January 23 and is still unable to speak clearly or move without assistance.
There is growing support for her to follow in the footsteps of her husband who has looked after the interest of San Fernando East citizens since 1971. She first entered the political arena in 2001 and served as education minister and Minister of Local Government.
Earlier this week, the former PM was moved from the San Fernando General Hospital for treatment at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington. This follows Cabinet’s approval of $600,000 for the former leader to receive treatment overseas.
Visas on arrival
GEORGETOWN, Guyana: All travellers to Guyana are being issued with a visa on arrival in one of four categories: visitor, employment, student and business.
Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, says that visitors to Guyana are allowed a maximum of a three-month stay in the country and are required to pay US$25 for each month.
Three-year employment and student visas cost US$140, while business visas, which cost the same amount, are valid for up to five years. The costs for visa renewals are similar.
Rohee said that Guyana had several reciprocal agreements that allowed certain categories of visitors to enter the country without visas.
Workers face pay cut
HAMILTON, Bermuda: Government workers here are being faced with the possibility of having to take an eight per cent cut in salaries.
However, Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) president, Chris Furbert, explained that there would be a corresponding eight per cent in deduction in the workers’ pension contributions to balance out the figures and keep workers’ income at the same level.
“What was presented to the membership was that the Premier of the country asked our members to consider an eight per cent deduction in their superannuation (contributions). It’s normally eight per cent for the government and eight per cent for the employee,” he said. He explained that government had tabled a suggestion to freeze pension contributions to the superannuation fund from itself and from employees during a joint meeting last Monday with the BIU and the Bermuda Public Services Union.
It is unclear whether all government workers or just civil servants earning more than $70,000 a year will be affected by the salary cuts. If accepted, the proposed freeze in pension contributions will start on April 1 and affect government workers excluding those about to retire.