COVID-19 Batters Jamaica’s Tourism Sector

The coronavirus pandemic confronted the managers of Jamaica’s open and narrow economy with decisions similar to those faced by other governments – how to protect public health while preventing the economy from imploding. 

The dilemma was clear in March to May with slowly rising confirmed cases of the pandemic, closed hotels, desolate beaches, nightly curfews, a slowdown in commercial and industrial activity and projections of a severe contraction in the economy. Continued uncertainty about the extent to which the virus can be controlled has made foolhardy any projections about the state of the post-covid economy. The island has had 864 confirmed cases up to the end of July, of which 10 have died, the health ministry said. Eighty-four of these cases are active. The effective shutdown of the country had an immediate impact on the two main sources of foreign currency – tourism and remittances – that account for a third of the economy.

How The Family of Guyana’s Patient Zero Was Ravaged By COVID-19, Paranoia and Crime

The Tragedy Involving the Baboolall Family Highlights How The Corona Virus Has Disproportionately Affected Guyanese in New York—And At Home

Not long after Ratna Baboolal, a 52-year-old mother of four, died from Covid-19 on March 11, authorities discovered that she had spread the virus to eight relatives, including her 59-year-old husband Ramnauth Baboolall, her two sons, two sisters, one niece, her son-in-law and one of her granddaughters.

Barbados To Digital Nomads: Come, Stay a While…

After the deadly COVID-19 virus spread like wildfire across the globe, Nicolas Muszynski, a renewable energy specialist, and his wife, Marie-Laure Ollier, a freelance interpreter in the school system, yearned to relocate from their Montreal, Canada residence to a safer country from where they could live, work and educate their two young daughters. 

When the couple read an announcement that Barbados was offering foreigners the chance to work remotely in an idyllic environment, they jumped at the opportunity. In July, Nicolas and Marie-Laure learned that Barbados, the birth place of super star Rihanna, had introduced the Barbados Welcome Stamp which made it possible for high net-worth visitors to live in the sun-drenched island  for 12 months. On September 3, Nicolas, director of Renewable Energy Storage with Renewable Energy Systems, touched down at Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados. His workplace is now the family’s rented one-storey villa in a hotel resort and golf course on the southern coast of the island. Nicolas described Barbados’ Welcome Stamp as the most fitting name.

Guyana, One of the Poorest Countries in South America, Defers its Dreams of Oil Riches to Battle COVID-19

When news that Guyana had joined the club of oil rich nations came in May 2015, residents of this country of 785,000 people imagined a future with state of the art schools, modern thoroughfares, and skyscrapers that would replace the colonial-era structures left behind by British colonisers. The first oil flowed from wells operated by ExxonMobil on December 21, 2019. At the height of production, Guyana would surpass Democratic Republic of the Congo and vault itself as one of the world’s largest oil producers. The country’s two major parties campaigned heavily in the March 2020 elections to control the oil riches. In the end, the opposition People’s Progressive Party won after a five-month deadlock over the election results. 

In mid-July, U.S. Secretary of State Secretary Mike Pompeo called on then President Granger to step down, while announcing visa restrictions on unnamed individuals connected to the regime.

In BVI, Pandemic Hits Filipinos Hard

With ‘bayanihan’ spirit, community helps out

Filipinos began moving to the British Virgin Islands in large numbers in the late 2000s. They quickly developed a reputation for participating in community events like the International Night at the New Life Baptist Church on Tortola, shown above in 2013. As in much of the world, such events are now on hold because of the pandemic. Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS

As Florenda Ruffell-Smith remembers it, the Filipino boom in the British Virgin Islands began in the late 2000s with four accountants hired to work in the territory’s bustling financial services industry. “That started a domino effect where other companies would ask for Filipinos,” said Ms. Ruffell-Smith, the long-time president of the Filipino Association of the BVI.

COVID-19, Meet Hurricane Season

As The Corona Virus Batters The Virgin Islands’ Tourism Economy, The Lifeblood Of The Caribbean, Residents Prepare For Hurricane Season Amid Worries About Social Distancing In Shelters. Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Ask anyone in the British Virgin Islands what happened on September 6, 2017 and you will hear detailed accounts about how they survived Hurricane Irma, the Category Five hurricane that killed four people, injured 126 and flattened large swaths of the 60-island archipelago. “All we saw was white,” recalled Christine Ferreira, a native Trinidadian who has lived in the territory for over 20 years. “The roof was blown out, and when we left the room we were sheltered in during the eye of the storm, we were blinded by the light.”

Islanders here call their experiences “survivor stories.” 

Their resilience was on full display as they battled the Covid-19 pandemic. “I think after Irma, we all felt like if we can get through that, we can get through anything,” said Christi Maddox, owner of Villas Virgin Gorda, a vacation rental agency on the island of Virgin Gorda.

CIJN Exclusive: Juan Guaido Interview

Venezuela’s Juan Guaido broke a two-year moratorium on interviews from Caracas with all media outlets. On August 13, 2020 Juan Guaido gave his first interview to CIJN from an undisclosed location in Caracas, Venezuela.

During the 40-minute interview, Mr. Guaido addressed the obstacles ahead for a transition to democracy, amidst the country’s economic collapse and a pandemic that has redefined the stage.

“It’s been two years now that I haven’t been allowed to go on television, not even radio, because they shut down the radio! Those spaces are important to communicate.” Guaido exclaimed.

Silence on Both Sides of the Gulf

More than a year after 2 boatloads of migrants reportedly sank

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper originally published Sunday 25th May 2020

The last time Ana Arias saw her daughter was on a Sunday night more than a year ago. Late on April 14, 2019, two teenaged girls came to her home and asked to speak with 15-year-old Luisiannys Betancourt. Dressed in home clothes and slippers, the girl left with Unyerlin Vásquez, 16 and her 17-year-old cousin, Omarlys Velásquez to visit a relative nearby. They made a brief stop at Unyerlin’s home. Her mother, Amarilis Velásquez, said Luisiannys was introduced as a friend from high school.