Caribzone News Highlight


A decision by some schools to lockout tardy students has not gone well with state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Alando Terrelonge, who says it is not only counterproductive, but a violation of children's rights.
In at least two videos being circulated on social media, students are seen standing outside of the gates to Camperdown High School in Kingston and Spanish Town High School in St Catherine.
In one of the videos, a group of Spanish Town High students is seen standing in the rain. It has since evoked criticism on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.
Terrelonge told the Jamaica Observer that this was not the policy of the Ministry of Education or the Government.

“At this moment we've seen video clips of students locked out of school. We've also seen video clips of students locked out of school during the pouring rain. Obviously, this is something the ministry will investigate. We have spoken to our educational officers and we're awaiting a report on the matter,” Terrelonge said.

He argued that there “is absolutely no rationale for locking students out of school” and said the move is in breach of the education ministry's guidelines.
A 2015 bulletin from the ministry on safety and security, forbids school administrators from restricting students' access to school compounds.


Two announcements last week shed a stark light on the state of immigration in these United States. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announced nearly 475,000 migrant families were arrested at the southern border over the past year, an increase of 342 percent since the 2018 fiscal year.
The dramatic spike is due in part to an increase in asylum seekers. The US is also on track to not admit any refugees into the country during the month of October. A pause on admissions that was expected to lift late last week, was extended into November, leaving hundreds with canceled flights and unsure futures, the third time through October that the State Department delayed refugee admissions.

The embattled Trump Administration has proposed capping the number of refugees allowed into the US, next fiscal year at 18,000, a historic low. But until the President signs off on the cap, no new refugees can be admitted, come mid-November



Chairman of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), Hyacinth Lightbourne, says one of the major hindrances to the growth of the country's cannabis industry is the banking sector.

Lightbourne, who was speaking at a Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) meeting today at Gordon House in Kingston, said the industry cannot move forward because of the recurring banking issues and lamented that the CLA does not have the ability to fix it.

“I have an individual who's building a processing facility for which the bank of the contractor won't cash the cheque. I have an individual who has foreign investors for which the company can't wire the money into the country…It is a real-life problem,” she told committee members.

Noting that the CLA, a regulator in the ganja industry, could not get a bank account for almost a year, she said there are currently 238 individuals under the CLA without a bank account.

“The CLA does not have the ability to change the law of the United States, to change the correspondent banking issue so that we can go ahead and bank the industry,” Lightbourne pointed out.

In the meantime, Member of Parliament Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert challenged Lightbourne by questioning whether or not the industry, which the CLA insists is growing, can ever really grow.


INTERNATIONALThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) says growth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), is slowing down and that the region is expected to record a 0.2 percent growth this year.

The Washington-based financial institution said that the low growth comes amid continued trade tensions, lower global growth, subdued commodity prices, and in some large regional economies, high policy uncertainty.

In its latest Regional Economic Outlook for the Western Hemisphere, the IMF says in order to boost the economic recovery and create more jobs; the region will need to rely on domestic drivers of growth, like consumption and investment.

In reviewing the economic performances of the Caribbean countries, the IMF noted that Guyana is projected to record economic growth of 4.4 percent this year, up from 4.1 percent last year, while Suriname will record marginal growth of 2.2 percent, up from two percent in 2018.

The IMF is predicting that Belize will record negative growth, moving to 2.7 percent from three percent last year, while Antigua and Barbuda will see economic growth decline from seven percent last year to four percent this year.

The Bahamas, hit by a Category 5 hurricane in September will also record a decline in economic growth from 1.6 percent last year to 0.9 percent in 2019, while Barbados, which had a negative 0.6 percent growth in 2018, will register a minus 0.1 percent growth this year.

The IMF said Dominica will be among Caribbean countries recording a high economic growth this year of 9.4 percent, up from 0.5 percent last year, while Grenada's economic growth will drop from 4.2 percent last year to 3.1 percent in 2019.

Haiti, where opposition parties are staging demonstrations to remove President Jovenel Moise will record growth of 0.1 percent, down from 1.5 percent, while Jamaica, which recently concluded an agreement with the IMF will record a decline in economic growth from 1.6 percent last year to 1.1 percent this year.

The economic growth in St Kitts-Nevis is estimated at 3.5 percent this year, down from 4.6 percent the previous year, while St Lucia will show an improvement in its economic growth, rising from 0.9 percent last year to 1.6 percent.

St Vincent and the Grenadines will also record a slight increase in growth, moving from two percent to 2.3 percent this year, while Trinidad and Tobago will record no economic growth this year, down from 0.3 percent the previous year.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says his Administration has so far not taken any “definitive decision” as it relates to the buggery laws in St Lucia.

“That's certainly something that is going to require a lot of dialogue and discussion,” Chastanet told reporters, even as he acknowledged that while the matter has become a global issue, there were many perspectives as to whether anti-buggery laws impede human rights.

“This is something that we are going to continue to review, but my Government does not have an official position on it as yet.”

Chastanet dismissed suggestions that anti-buggery laws send the wrong message to the world and could affect the tourism industry, saying, “it hasn't in the past.

“But as you well know, nobody has been arrested under that law in St Lucia. We are a Catholic society and I think every country is entitled to have its own positions, and therefore, this idea that everybody should be harmonized on these issues — we have seen countries which have gone and decriminalized buggery and have now reversed their position; we have seen other countries which have just remained constant,” he stated.

Chastanet said there still needs to be a lot of discussion and debate in St Lucia before the country can move forward on the issue.


People with psychiatric disorders may want to pass on the joint — at least until further research is done, a new Australian study suggests.

The paper, published Monday in The Lancet Psychiatry, looked at 83 previous studies conducted over almost four decades on medical cannabinoids, including products from the cannabis plant — such as leaves, buds, and oils.

The authors found little evidence that the products were safe and effective in treating six common disorders: Depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychosis.

Cannabis and cannabinoids are increasingly being made available for medicinal use in North America, Britain and Australia without undergoing standard testing, lead author Louisa Degenhardt told AFP.

“One of the most striking things about the spread of legislation in multiple countries permitting cannabis/cannabinoids for medicinal purposes is that this is in many instances happening outside of the regulatory frameworks that medicine development typically occurs within,” said Degenhardt, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

The study found that after chronic non-cancer pain, mental health is one of the most common reasons for using medicinal cannabinoids.



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