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News Briefs

Published:Saturday | May 18, 2019 | 12:21 AM

Antigua and Barbuda still optimistic about saving LIAT

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):

The Antigua and Barbuda government has reaffirmed its position to ensure the survival of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, even as Barbados has signalled “that ownership of the shares of the airline is a burden”.

A statement issued after the weekly Cabinet meeting in Antigua said that the “choices” made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne to save the airline “rather than collapse or downsize the regional carrier” had been discussed.

LIAT currently employs more than 600 people and operates 491 flights weekly across 15 destinations and the Cabinet statement noted that more than “400 LIAT employees are stationed in Antigua, and 700 throughout the 15 jurisdictions to which LIAT flies”.

LIAT major shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.



Court of Appeal rules in favour of opposition legislator


Opposition legislator Julius Espat says he will seek compensation after the Court of Appeal ruled that a case regarding his ejection from the Belize Parliament two and a half years ago be heard by the Supreme Court.

Espat, who was ejected from the legislative chamber without pay, is also asking the court to rule that the decision to remove him from Parliament was unconstitutional.

“We want to make sure that the decision that was done was erroneous. So that is setting a precedence that even if you are the leader of a country, as in the case of the prime minister or if you are the speaker of the house within Parliament, you are also to abide by the rule of law,’ said Espat.

He said he was also insisting that he be “paid back what was taken away” from him.

In August 2016, Espat was physically removed from the House of Representatives on the instruction of then House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte.

The Cayo South Area legislator was manhandled and ejected out of the building by several police officers after questioning aspects of the auditor general’s special audit on corruption at the Immigration Department.

Espat, whose hand was injured during the incident, was later suspended from the House, took the matter to the Supreme Court that struck out the claim on the basis that it lacked merit.



EU removes three Caribbean countries from black list

BRUSSELS, Germany (CMC):

The Council of the European Union (EU) yesterday said it had removed Aruba, Barbados and Bermuda from the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions

It said the EU list is contributing to on-going efforts to prevent tax avoidance and promote good governance principles such as tax transparency, fair taxation or international standards against tax base erosion and profit shifting.

The list was established in December 2017 and was revised in March this year, following an in-depth review of the implementation of the commitments taken by third country jurisdictions that are part of the process.

“Barbados has made commitments at a high political level to remedy EU concerns regarding the replacement of its harmful preferential regimes by a measure of similar effect, whilst Aruba and Bermuda have now implemented their commitments.

“At the same time, Bermuda remains committed to address EU concerns in the area of collective investment funds. As a consequence, Barbados and Bermuda will be moved from annex I of the conclusions to annex II, which includes jurisdictions that have undertaken sufficient commitments to reform their tax policies, while Aruba will be removed entirely from both Annexes,” the Council said in a statement.

It said as a result, 12 jurisdictions remain on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions including Belize, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands.



UNAIDS calls on countries to remove discriminatory laws


UNAIDS has called on Caribbean countries to remove discriminatory laws against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

In a statement yesterday, coinciding with the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), UNAIDS said stigma towards key populations – gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs and prisoners and other incarcerated people – is reinforced by criminal laws.

It said these, in turn, fuel violence, exploitation and a climate of fear, hindering efforts to make HIV services available to the people who need them.

“We all have a moral and legal obligation to remove discriminatory laws and enact laws that protect people from discrimination,” said Gunilla Carlsson, acting UNAIDS Executive Director.

“To end the AIDS epidemic, people need to be protected from harm. We need justice and equality for all.”

UNAIDS said that more than 65 countries criminalize same-sex sexual relations, including at least eight that impose the death penalty.