“1.5 to Stay Alive” signals the call for urgent action. Small developing countries are at high risk as the uncertainty of the future looms. A region’s people, culture and way of life are at stake. This series supported by Open Society Foundations.
Across the world, Citizenship by Investment Programmes have come under increased scrutiny due to concerns of transparency and accountability. What is clear is that they are a necessary aspect of the economic survival of the Caribbean nations that offer them. The significance of these initiatives are magnified in the pandemic era where small island developing states have suffered tremendously.
While there are many benefits to golden passport holders who contribute to the revenue of the islands, it is unclear how beneficial they are to the citizens of these countries. We explore how they operate, the concerns around them and the difference it makes in the lives of the people the Caribbean region.
Globally, COVID-19 has rapidly led to close to a quarter of a billion cases and over five million deaths. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the death rate was reported to be among the highest in the world. The region is experiencing disappointing results with its vaccination roll out, with Antigua and Barbuda having the highest and Haiti the lowest percentages of fully vaccinated people. The foregoing are the major metrics, along with those of an economic nature, such as, labour shortages, manufacturing shortfalls, shipping delays, and increasing energy costs, by which the impacts of COVID-19 are measured.
However, more recently, mental, and emotional health has been recognised with sharp increases in depression and anxiety, particularly in women.
An unprecedented collaboration led by the Media Institute of the Caribbean has brought together leading Caribbean journalists, researchers, and development experts in a project to monitor government expenditure of external financing of pandemic efforts in 14 countries of the region. The project will produce regular reporting on governmental best practice in the areas of procurement processes, and efficiencies, transparency, and accountability in the state sector. This special section gives regional perspectives on some of the key findings.
Months of intense unrest in Haiti took a significant and tragic turn on July 7 with the assassination of embattled president, Jovenel Moïse. Such a development occurred as the country continued to experience accelerated political and economic uncertainty. CIJN contributor, Valery Daudier, gives an overview of the issues that now present themselves.
It’s Monday morning at the indigenous village of Aishalton, in Guyana’s Deep South Rupununi region. 39-year-old Immaculata Casimero proudly dons a shawl that identifies her Wapichan heritage.
She’s in a rush, but makes sure to pull her mask across her face ahead of the 15 minute trek across the savannah to her daughter Kiarra’s primary school. COVID-19 has changed just about everything in her village, including her daughter’s education. Pandemic lockdowns forced an end to normal classes. Students now work from home with parents filling the roles of teachers as best they can. Immaculata describes how, on selected days of each week, she visits her daughter’s class teacher for guidance on four core subjects: English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. “Parents have to work with their children at home and try to see how best they can educate their children,” she noted.
She said the situation requires the parent to refresh their own knowledge of the subjects. First, the teacher guides and instructs the parent through the entire lesson.
On April 9, 2021, at exactly 8.41 a.m., St Vincent and the Grenadines entered a period in its history its population had hoped would never again occur – almost 42 years to the day since an April 13, 1979 event of similar magnitude, and over 100 years after the 1902 eruption of La Soufrière volcano that killed close to 1,700 people. La Soufrière is a conical volcano forming the highest peak in the northern third of the main island of St Vincent which covers 133 square miles with a population of around 110,000. The volcano has had five significant eruptions in 1718, 1812, 1902, 1979, and 2021. At the time of the most recent explosive events, the country had established itself as a sub-regional leader in the production of root crops and tubers, fruits, and vegetables, supplying nearby territories with regular shipments that earned significant national revenue. It had also considered a vibrant future in the cannabis industry with the establishment of a Medicinal Cannabis Authority.
Even as Caribbean authorities wrestle with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators have been scrambling to formulate appropriate responses to an accompanying growth in unlawful pyramid and Ponzi schemes marketed as financial solutions to the impact of restrictive pandemic measures.
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.