Oil Secrets of Suriname: Public Largely in the Dark as Offshore Dreams Deferred

For the people of Suriname, offshore oil is supposed to be a game-changer. As they have struggled through a protracted economic crisis over the past decade, they have watched lucrative deep-water discoveries transform neighbouring Guyana. They have also heard their own leaders promise that a similar oil boom will come soon to Suriname, bringing badly needed jobs and wealth for the country’s more than 600,000 people and helping resolve a debt crisis that recently led to riots in the capital. But the people are still waiting. The Final Investment Decision for Suriname’s first deep-water drilling project has been deferred repeatedly, and mounting frustration with the delay has highlighted the secrecy surrounding the nascent industry. 

“We should at least know what kind of contracts have been made, and don’t come up with stories that it’s confidential between us and [foreign oil companies],” Surinamese environmentalist Erlan Sleur told the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network.

Procurement, Special Projects and Citizenship By Investment

St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the smallest states within the Western Hemisphere as well as within  the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The Federation boasts a strong economy but even as it claims success in this aspect, there are serious concerns that its laws do not go far enough to minimize or stamp out corruption and corrupt practices. Attempts are now being made to remedy that situation through legislative amendments but progress is slow towards completion, especially the Tender and Procurement Legislation, which continues to be a major suggested area of corruption. For many years, there have been murmurs over the way successive governments have been operating the Tender and Procurement Processes, and whether they have been honouring the parameters of the laws of the land. 

With a population of more than 53,000, St.

Amidst Flooding Fears, Hope for Bridges Grows

School children and residents above the Rabacca Dry River struggle as rainfall and flooding increases

The dramatic and powerful eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano on April 9, 2021, on the Island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines led to the evacuation of 20,000 people from the so-called “red zone.” – nearly 5 percent of the 110,000 population of the Caribbean country. While the eruptions and evacuations were deeply traumatic – including no drinking water for weeks – the last two years have been full of more struggles for the evacuees as the government and aid organizations have slowly replaced or rebuilt the housing lost during the disaster.

Can Guyana Avoid the Oil Curse?

With enormous oil reserves, Guyana stands on the threshold of transformation. Its economy grew more than 60 per cent in 2022 largely because of an influx of oil revenues. But the nation’s rich resources come with promised opportunities and serious risks.

In 2023, the challenge is to ensure those financial resources are put to work improving education and healthcare for Guyana’s people, protecting its environment and diversifying the nation’s overall economy.

CIJN spoke with some of Guyana’s civic leaders who warn it can only be done if the government opens its books to the public and promotes a national dialogue about how this newfound wealth can be put to work.

Citizenship By Investment Programmes  – Golden Passports or Silver Linings?

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.

Pandemic Impacts on Food and Agriculture within CARICOM

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.

Regional Perspectives on COVID Relief in the Caribbean

Expert Analyses

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.

How COVID-19 has Reshaped Education in Guyana’s Hinterland

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.