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Thing to consider when planning a family trip to the Bahamas

Located to the west of Florida, is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, known as The Bahamas. A perfect place for fun, thrill, excitement and Romantic experiences that all comes in one package. Whether it’s a family trip or newlywed’s honeymoon, Bahamas is a wonderful place to set out to. Bahamas is known for its pleasing beaches and breathtaking activities that will grab your attention. By visiting Bahamas, people flavor a never ending experience.

While setting out to the lands of Bahamas for the first time one will be choosing among the seven hundred islands and cays to dig into. You will experience a plethora of enjoyment in just one trip.

If you’re making a trip to Bahamas with your family, your initial step should be to determine among your family members which places and activities they are all interested in. Everyone prefers a little different speed while vacationing and there will be something for all.

A place for thrilling activities and entertaining things that people of all ages can enjoy. Bahamas provides all kinds of experiences that one can indulge into. Bahamas provides a wide range of memorable experiences.  Various activities that one can enjoy in Bahamas are: golf, surfing, boating, casino and gambling, sea diving, water sports, night outs and parties, shopping and admiring the beautiful arts of Bahamas.

The Bahamas is filled with numerous breathtaking activities. If you’re a family which enjoys the beauty of the sea and its creatures, one can encounter dolphins and experience the joy of swimming around with dolphins. There are also maps and island guides that provide the information on the location of famous attraction and activities on each island of Bahamas.

After collecting the information on the islands the second priority is to choose a resort or hotel suitable for your family to stay. The Bahamas offers a vast variety of accommodation to choose from, whether you are looking for economy level lodging or extravagant villas. Various islands like Atlantis Paradise Island, Wyndham Nassau Resort, New Providence Island offers large family resorts.

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Nassau, Bahamas (Photo credit: npicturesk)

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Booking an All Inclusive Caribbean Trip

Planning to take a few days off from your busy life and going on a vacation? Do you have a place in mind where you would want to go for your vacation? Is it the Caribbean? If yes, then you are at the right place because this article will help you explore your options at the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a dream destination for every traveler from all around the world. It has beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise water of the pacific and a relaxed tropical climate. Apart from its natural beauty the Caribbean also attracts visitors from all around the world for many fun filled and adventurous activities.

Caribbean is a very famous tourist destination and whether you want to visit Jamaica or Bahamas, or any other Caribbean island, you will have to make reservations as soon as possible. Due to its popularity, rates fluctuate based on availability.

Now, for making your reservations you have basically two options. First is that you can consult a professional local travel and tour operator who has experience with trips to the Caribbean and they can plan your vacation and make reservations for you. Consulting a travel agent is a good option for you if you are short on time or just hate the frustration related with the planning for your vacation.

Professional travel planners can craft a great vacation package for you with just a little input from your side. You just need to give them the dates, number of days you plan to spend in the Caribbean and your preferences related to travel, accommodation and dining. These packages cover all aspects of your vacation from making reservations for flight and resorts to taking care of dining and other activities at your Caribbean destination. For a successful and smooth vacation experience in the Caribbean you should always communicate your needs clearly to the travel agent.

The internet can come in handy while planning a dream vacation in the Caribbean yourself. You can plan your vacation relatively easily on the internet. There are many websites which provide information about the Caribbean islands. You can make travel arrangements, flight and hotel reservation on the internet. Planning your Caribbean vacation on the internet will usually involve examining the resorts, shortlisting and choosing the right resort. You can then make reservations with the chosen resort. The next step is to make travel reservations. You can either choose cruise or flights to get to the Caribbean island. All major cruises and the flights connect to the Caribbean island. Make sure to book your ticket in accordance with the reservations of your resort. While making the reservation for the resort, you can also check for services like fun activities and sports are included in your package. If not you can make reservation for your favorite activity or sports. There are many water sports that you can enjoy in the Caribbean like scuba diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, and kayaking and many more.

Making plans for you vacation individually can be cumbersome and time consuming. To save yourself from the frustration you can check various Caribbean packages that are available on the internet. These packages are visitor friendly and help you design your own vacation. You can find airlines, hotels, resorts and restaurants all at the same place. These packages allow you to make reservations of airlines and resorts according to your convenience. You can save a lot of time by availing these Caribbean packages. These packages are often referred to as all-inclusive vacation packages.

These all-inclusive or super-inclusive Caribbean packages allow you to take control of the planning but they also save you from the hassle and frustration related with planning the Caribbean vacation. They also save a lot of your time as they provide all the things that you need at the same place. All-inclusive packages provide the best value for money and prove to be very useful in planning for Caribbean vacation. They take care of hotel reservations, flight and travel arrangements, food and dining, fun and adventure activities and excursion.

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Caribbean Scuba Diving

If you are looking to treat yourself to a great scuba diving experience, Caribbean is the answer to all of your questions. Crystal clear waters, tropical climate, about 350 days of sun in a year and picturesque white sand beaches. It is a dream scuba diving vacation destination.

With more than 30 scuba diving destinations the Caribbean offers amazing scuba diving experience all around the year. You can either chose famous destinations with other tourists or you can choose the solitary and secluded destinations with a local feel and great Caribbean experiences.

One of the many awesome scuba diving vacation destinations in the Caribbean is the British Virgin Islands. It is a cluster of many small islands and it is a famous destination among the tourists for its scuba diving spots like caves, sinkholes, canyons and many more. You can experience the colors of rainbow at the painted walls scuba diving spot in the British Virgin Islands. It is one of the most visited spots in British Virgin Islands. You can also observe the wreck of R.M.S. Rhone while wreck diving in British Virgin Islands.

Another famous scuba diving destination in Caribbean is the island of Montserrat. In 1996 many of its towns and scuba diving locations were destroyed by the eruption of an active volcano but the locals claim that the reef was not affected by the eruption and still offers great location for scuba diving. While in Montserrat you can also get an opportunity to witness active volcanoes from a safe distance.

There are many other scuba diving destinations like Antigua which are less popular but offer a great experience to visitors by presenting plenty of opportunities to enjoy like hot tropical climate, white sand clad beaches and many other historical attractions. Scuba diving experience on Antigua is different from the southern shores as the waters here are not deep but they have magnificent coral reefs that make you forget about the shallow waters.

Another lesser known scuba diving vacation spot is Nevis. Due to the lack of tourism promotion, this destination is not so famous like some other Caribbean destinations. It features a plethora of fascinating scuba diving spots off the east coast of Nevis to the end of the west end of St. Kitts. There are so many beautiful scuba diving spots in Nevis that you have to carefully plan your vacation around them to truly appreciate the beauty of this destination. Nevis offers both inshore and offshore scuba diving spots around its astounding coral reefs that are home to some of the rare sea life. You can also encounter sea turtles around one of those corals.

There are obviously so many scuba diving vacation spots in the Caribbean. You just have to plan your vacation and visit some of the breathtaking destinations in Caribbean to experience it yourself.

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A Trip to the Grand Cayman Islands

Famous for their sandy beaches, clear Turquoise sea waters, amazing diving spots and year round sunny climate, the Cayman Islands is a group of three islands where the friendly locals are always ready to welcome you with a smile. The Three Islands namely Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have a total combined area of about 100 square miles. The Cayman Islands promise to offer the best of experiences to its visitors.

The weather of Cayman Islands is perfect for vacations all around the year. November to April are the winter months in which the temperature ranges from 71-85 degrees during the day and 65-70 during the nights. May to October being the summer months are considerably hot and temperatures range from 75-90 degrees. Being very close to the equator the Cayman Islands can be really hot, but these islands are also cooled by the prevailing trade winds. One should still take care while going out in sun. Always wearing a good SPF sunscreen, tan in small doses and always wear a hat and sunglasses. Cayman Islands also receive a fair amount of rainfall in the rainy season which ranges from the month of May to October. October being the rainiest month, you might want to add an umbrella in your travel gear, just in case. Other than that the months of March and April are among the driest months of Cayman Islands.

Another notable experience in the Cayman Island is the exquisite cuisine offered by the restaurants. There are more than 150 places where you can enjoy the world class food. From the glamorous and elegant fine dining restaurants to quick fast food and take outs, there is something for every budget. Cayman cuisines are strongly influenced by the Jamaican flavor. Traditional dishes present a variety of seafood like lobsters and conch cooked in traditional ways. Dishes are often served with coconut, yams, plantain, rice and peas along with some other mouthwatering West Indian dishes. Many other international cuisines can be found at the Cayman Islands like Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Mexican and many more for all your appetite related cravings. Almost all of the restaurants deliver a great service to visitors and most of them add 5-10% service tax to your bill so be cautious while giving out tips and reward only those who you feel deserve the reward for exceptional service.

At Grand Cayman Islands you will never get tired of shopping and its nightlife and it will never stop to amaze you. You will find many lively nightclubs, live performances of local and international music bands, theatres, pools, lounges and bars. Mostly all of the Bars and night clubs are open till 3 am in the morning during weekdays and till midnight on Saturdays. Nightclubs and bars mostly remain closed on Sundays. You can also look into the free local informational guide that lists all the current events and happenings on the island and this guide is free of charge. For shopaholics Cayman Island is a paradise as it enjoys duty free status, which means you can buy fine jewelry, watches, crystal accessories, perfumes, bone china almost 30% cheaper than other places. The capital city of George Town in Grand Cayman boasts one of the most impressive shopping centers in the Caribbean. American currency is also accepted on the island and its local currency is Cayman dollar which is equivalent to $1.25 USD. Being a fixed rate it never changes. All major credit cards are also accepted.

Getting around in the Grand Cayman Island is easy as there are many options available like Taxis, car rentals, moped and scooter rentals and if you want a local feel you might try travelling in the public transport. Taxis are available for all resorts on the airport. There is a fixed price system per vehicle or per person and the rates are available on the sign posts. Taxi driver can also be consulted for further information. Most of them are friendly and polite. Grand Cayman Islands also features Caribbean’s most extensive fleet of rental cars. If you are 21 years of age and have a valid driver’s license of your country, you can easily get a temporary license which will enable you to drive freely on the grand Cayman Islands. Many of these rental agencies will not provide you insurance if you are younger than 25 years of age. Driving on Cayman roads is left hand driven but you can also find some right hand driven vehicles. Rentals are easily available on the Grand Cayman Island but on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, the numbers are limited. You might have to book your rentals in advance and it is advisable to do so in winter months. Public transport is also very much connected and public bus terminal can be found at downtown George Town. Bus service for all districts starts at 6 am at the terminal.  There are also many mini busses operated by authorized operators which ply on 8 major routes.

The Cayman Islands offer unparalleled undersea beauty in tis protected bays and marine parks. These islands have so much to offer that it is easy to see so many people realize their dream of perfect vacation in this Tropical Paradise.

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Family Resorts in the Caribbean

A holiday is truly a holiday when you use the moments to really unwind. Unfortunately this is not always achieved in many tour packages. Therefore to make you capture those good moments and help you make the most of your vacation we bring you the All Inclusive Package, to help you take your mind off the planning and let you enjoy your vacation. In All inclusive packages you won’t have to worry about paying for everything.

This holiday package helps you plan ahead and pick the right things suitable for every family member. This package will surely make your Caribbean vacation memorable. With all inclusive Caribbean packages you can have travel, accommodation, dining, adventure sports, activities like excursions and relaxation programs all in one place.

All Caribbean family resorts are expertly designed to cater the need of families including parents and kids of all ages and interests. The atmosphere in these Caribbean resorts is designed by keeping in mind the families and all of their needs. There is something for almost everyone. There are a wide range of opportunities for fun, relaxing and unwinding in these Caribbean family resorts. These Caribbean family resorts are world famous as the best family resorts for their amazing attributes like service and hospitality. They are also known as the best romantic escapes.

All inclusive Caribbean family resorts are among the best places to take your family for a vacation and have a wonderful time. Apparently the whole of the Caribbean region is considered an ideal place for a family vacation. It offers beaches, adventure sports, luxurious hotels and restaurants for the enjoyment of every family.

Never miss out the fun on the great Caribbean family vacation at the all-inclusive Caribbean family resorts. Below are the carefully selected, highly recommended all inclusive Caribbean family resorts that you should consider for your Caribbean family vacation. They are famous in the Caribbean for their exceptional service, facilities and amenities.

SuperClubs All Inclusive Caribbean Family Resorts

All inclusive Caribbean family resort SuperClubs offer ultimate fun filled family holiday. You have to try this Caribbean family resort which caters to all your family needs by providing world class and comfortable accommodation, best cuisines and other complimentary amenities. Enjoy best in class comfortable and soothing time at the SuperClubs all-inclusive Caribbean family resorts. Your food is prepared by the world class and distinguished chefs to maintain high standards of taste. The rest of the staff at the all-inclusive Caribbean family resort is gracious, friendly and helpful. They happily answer your queries and provide excellent services to make your stay unforgettable.

Beaches All Inclusive Caribbean Family Resorts

A Division of the Sandals Empire, Beaches All inclusive Caribbean family resorts operates four resorts. Three of them are situated in Jamaica and the fourth one is in the Turks and Caicos. Do not miss and make sure to check the all-inclusive packages offered by the local travel agents for the beaches resorts. These four resorts take your vacation experience to a whole new level. Every member of your family is bound to be pleased by the world class service provided by the Beaches. Your stay with the Beaches all inclusive Caribbean family resort will be most enjoyable and memorable.

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Aruba Nightlife

Known for its laidback atmosphere, The Caribbean sometimes surprises its visitors with the Islands like Aruba. It is like a party central where the music never seems to stop. You can find live entertainment in resorts and casinos. The dance clubs are packed with people all night long. In Oranjestad- Aruba’s capital the bars start filling up at around 11pm and these bars remain until 2am in the morning. In Aruba’s dance clubs the peak crowd gathers at around 2am and it can go on till early morning. On top of all that you get live stage shows of local and international music bands, a tour bus that runs all night and 24×7 casinos. The Aruba is a perfect vacation for the party animals.

Aruba is a home to 11 big casinos which accept U.S currency for betting and gambling at all the tables and slot machines. The first casino opened up in Aruba in the year 1959 and since than many other casinos has sprouted along the beach. One common thing other than gambling, which is common to all the casinos in Aruba is trademark casual elegance of the Caribbean. Different casinos open for business at different times during the day. Slot machines can be accessed at 10 am in the morning. For those who would like to take chances in gambling rather than sleeping, the amazing Crystal Casino at the Renaissance Aruba resort remains open 24×7. While in Aruba you should try your hand at the Caribbean Stud Poker. It is a famous game which was invented in Aruba in 1988.

One of the main attraction of the Aruba is the Party Busses. These busses are remodeled 1957 Chevy busses which will take you to several hotspots on the island. You can experience the fun and excitement at the Bars and Nightclubs which you will visit in the party bus. Different party bus tour offer different perks but most of them offer dinner and a complimentary first drink at three separate nightclubs. Nightclubs and bars in Aruba can also be visited on your own by taking taxis or car rentals. They are easy to find and run all night.

For those visitors who are looking for a peaceful getaway and downbeat entertainment Aruba also has many beach spots to relax and enjoy the local cocktails. In the evenings one can enjoy the Caribbean brand relaxed entertainment during the early evening happy hour. For dining, visitors can choose one of Aruba’s finest restaurants with mouthwatering local and international cuisine or they can choose to board the luxurious dinner cuisines on the island.

The famous stage shows at the local resorts and casinos can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of how they choose to spend their vacations by experience the elegant dining or the wild nightlife. The best stage show in Aruba is Let’s Go Latin! It features 26 world-renowned Cuban dance studios and over 180 different and elegant costumes. It is hosted by the largest stage production house in the Caribbean. This dazzling show never fails to capture you attention. The Broadway production quality and up-tempo Latin attitude has made this show extremely popular in Aruba. Mae sure to book your tickets few days in advance as these shows are house full every time. One of the best-value for money deals in the Aruba is the Dinner and performance package. It includes a three course meal with best cuisine at the famous L’Escale.

Upon Arrival in Aruba, check the locally published magazines like the Aruba Nights, Aruba Experience and the K-Pasa. These publications list all the events on the island. These magazines and local English newspaper should be free of charge at your resort. Lastly don’t forget to ask your concierge about the possible discounts on foods, drinks and transportation if you are planning to spend a few days in the town.

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Atlantis Vacation Packages

You will never know what you have been missing if you never visit the Bahamas. The Bahamas is home to some of the major tourist destinations in the world. The Bahamas will offer a unique experience to you, whether you are visiting for business or pleasure. The Bahamas is also a dream destination for many travelers from around the world. If you are planning to visit the Bahamas you should consider focusing your stay at the Atlantis Bahamas. It is a world-class resort in the city of Nassau. Nassau is one of the main cities of the Bahamas. It offers memorable experiences to its visitors without burning a hole in their pockets.

The Bahamas mainly consists of two main islands namely, the New Providence Island and the Grand Bahama Island. Abacos, The Berry Island, Andros, Cat Island, The Exumas and San Salvador are among the other islands that make the Bahamas. These Islands are very beautiful and present a perfect setting for vacation, be it a family vacation or just a romantic escape. The Turquoise waters, White sandy beaches and a calm and relaxed weather make the Bahamas a truly unique destination.

The Bahamas is well connected to the world with commercial airlines and it is a just a few hours flight from Florida. If you plan to stay at the Atlantis Bahamas you can take a taxi from the airport which will take you directly to Paradise Island through a bridge that connects Paradise Island with the main land. You can also take a cruise to get to Bahamas. Nassau is a popular port of call for cruise ships. Make sure to check and enquire about the papers you need to visit the Bahamas. Recent changes in the Visa and Passport regulation may stop you from enjoying your dream destination.

Your options in Bahamas are only limited by your imagination. You can do all you want on the Bahamas. If you want to sunbath just relax on one of its secluded beaches and enjoy the sun. You can also stroll on the beach where you will be mesmerized by the experience of the waves touching your feet. If you like to play golf you can enjoy it on one of the finest golf courses in the Bahamas. There are several casinos in Bahamas for those who want to try their hand at gambling on the table games, sports betting and slot machines. All these activities are easily accessible from your room at the Atlantis Bahamas. A short stroll from your room can take you to all the places where you can enjoy to the fullest in the Bahamas for as long as you want.

The locals are friendly and welcoming and language is not a barrier as English is the primary language on the Island. Shopping at the Bahamas is a unique experience. Shops offer unique and rare things which cannot be found anywhere else. Bargaining can also get you a little discount if you try.

While visiting the Bahamas make sure to at least check out the Atlantis Bahamas. It is the largest resort in the country and can accommodate thousands of visitors. Atlantis Bahamas is the first choice of many families, conventions and business conferences.

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Bahamas Vacation Packages

The Bahamas is the dream destination of every vacationer. It is a stretch of about 700 islands and cays in the Atlantic Ocean. From Biminis in northwest to Great Inagua in the southeast, the Bahamas presents various opportunities to travelers to enjoy and spend their vacations on this subtropical paradise. It is truly a destination unlike others. Pack your bags and hop in to experience an adventurous vacation in Bahamas this season.

Due to its proximity to the coast of Florida, travelling to Bahamas is pretty easy. Flight ply daily from Miami International Airport for the Bahamas. Many major airlines have the direct service to Nassau, from there you can take ride or ferry to any Bahamian island. Travelling in Bahamas is easy as all islands are well connected by a network of ferries and inland transportation is also quite good. For excursion you can take ferries to all the farthest and peaceful islets.

White sand and Sails in the Bahamian Paradise

The Bahamas is the favorite getaway destination of most of the American, Canadian, European and South American travelers. Every popular cruise ship’s voyage consists of visits to Bahamian Islands. Typically cruises from Miami or Fort Lauderdale make a stop at the New Providence and other Islands. If you want to experience these islands more deeply, you can also book an all-inclusive week long package in any of the luxurious resorts.

The island of San Salvador also referred to as Columbus isle is the first island upon which Cristopher Columbus dropped his anchor. It offers various secluded retreats designed for the needs of romantic couples. It also offers an insight into its famous history. Crooked island is also one of the famous islands in Bahamas. It is famous for its rugged coastline covered in thick greenery which serves as a home of many endangered birds, flamingoes and beautiful butterflies. The island also brags the world’s largest swimming pool formed in a shallow lagoon with crystal clear lagoon on Bathing Beach.

Inagua national park is the largest breeding ground for the West Indian flamingoes in the world. you can witness thousands of these pink creatures in this park. The park is located near the Lake Rosa where various species of exotic birds dominantly cover the landscape. For the adventurous cave explorers there are limestone openings which open into an extensive and world’s longest underwater cave system. It is a totally different sight as compared to the golden beaches and waves of the crystal blue ocean.

Bahamian Bon Voyage

There are countless wonders to explore in the Bahamas, but mostly all visitors stay beach and resort bound. The cultural diversity and natural beauty of the Bahamas is truly exceptional and worth anyone’s while. The Bahamas also presents numerous opportunities of world class diving and deep sea fishing. From windsurfing to snorkeling the Bahamas is not short of sports and recreational activities. Unlike Nassau, the city with modern amenities, the cities and towns of south east islands are socially diverse and more intimate. They are rich in Caribbean traditions and regional specialties. This year get out of your busy lives and enjoy this Bahamian Paradise. Bon Voyage!

Check prices on Bahamas Vacation Packages here.

The Caribbean Writer announces Volume 27 prize winners

ST CROIX, USVI — The Caribbean Writer has announced its annual prize winners from Volume 27, which highlights music and visual arts. Topping the list is a new annual prize: The Cecile deJongh Literary Prize ($500) awarded to an author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean. This new annual prize is donated by Governor John de Jongh in honour of his wife’s commitment to literacy. It was awarded to LuviaJane Swanson, who resides on the island of St John. Her stories have appeared in the Fairy Tale Journal, Cabinet des Fees, and in the Sam’s Dot publications, Beyond Century and Aiofe’s Kiss.

The David Hough Literary Prize was awarded to Denise Campbell Laidler, a Jamaican-born writer. This $500 prize is awarded to an author who is a resident of the Caribbean. It is donated by Sonja Hough, owner of Sonja’s Designs, the handmade jewelry designer in Christiansted, St Croix, in memory of her late husband.

The Daily News Prize for poetry ($300) was awarded to Ernestia Fraser, a writer from Nassau, Bahamas. The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for fiction ($400) was awarded to Leiso Edwards, a writer from May Pen, Jamaica. The Charlotte and Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first time publication ($250) in The Caribbean Writer went to Caribbean writer, Mary Slechta who lives and teaches in New York City.

The Marguerite Cobb-McKay Prize to a Virgin Islands author ($200) went to Kate Melone of St Croix, US Virgin Islands, who has degrees in both Literature and Visual Arts. Her poems have been widely published in several volumes of The Caribbean Writer.

The 2014 edition of The Caribbean Writer, Volume 28, highlighting Contradictions and Ambiguities in the Caribbean Space, will be published later on in August. The biographies and photographs of these winners will be featured in that journal.

The deadline for Volume 29 submissions is December 30, 2014

For more information on The Caribbean Writer, visit www.TheCaribbeanWriter.org

UWI and University of Havana discuss Caribbean challenges

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(L-R): Mark Kirton, Hugh Todd, Milagros Martínez, Antonio Romero, Jacqueline Laguardia, Ruben Martoredjo and Carmen Castillo take a moment from the workshop for a photograph

ST AUGUSTINE, Trinidad — On June 24 and 25, representatives of the University of West Indies (UWI) and the University of Havana, Cuba, met at the Institute of International Relations located at the UWI’s St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss “Development challenges and possibilities for a deeper integration”.

This first workshop on Contemporary Caribbean was coordinated by Professor Milagros Martínez, chair of Caribbean Studies (Cátedra de Estudios del Caribe) at the University of Havana together with Dr Mark Kirton of the Institute of International Relations.

Participants debated major problems of the contemporary Caribbean, especially the challenges associated with small island developing states and the regional integration recent dynamics. The cases of Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba were specifically examined.

US advisory on citizenship programme taken very seriously, says St Kitts-Nevis PM

By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) — The recent US advisory issued on the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme has prompted the government in Basseterre to take steps to address the concerns expressed in that advisory.

In its May 20 advisory, the US Treasury Department said it was concerned that Iranian nationals have used St Kitts passports to conduct international business and evade US and European sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear program. The advisory was issued through the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network office (FINCEN) to US financial institutions to closely scrutinize any business conducted with people traveling on St Kitts passports.

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Prime Minister Denzil Douglas

Prime Minister Denzil Douglas said efforts are being made to revamp the programme.

“We have taken that advice very seriously. Right now my cabinet has been tasked with looking at the paper that eventually will be launched, maybe in one week, that speaks to revamping of the program,” Douglas said.

“Even though we have done exceptionally well and the program has had tremendous following and support, we take the advice that has come from the United States Treasury Department very seriously and we want to make sure that in no way can our program be used to undermine, first, the global security… move and the fight against security problems and secondly we will never use our program to allow persons to circumvent what would have been advisories; what would have been very, very strong positions taken by the United States government and other international organizations and countries with regards to sanctions,” the prime minister added.

According to the US advisory, illicit actors are abusing the programme to acquire St Kitts and Nevis citizenship in order to mask their identity and geographical background for the purpose of evading US or international sanctions, or engaging in other financial crimes.

US officials suggest that the St Kitts and Nevis programme is attractive to illicit actors because as administered, it maintains lax controls as to who may be granted citizenship. FINCEN said at the time that, while Basseterre had publicly pledged to improve these controls, they remain ineffective.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network

St Kitts-Nevis to host first Hemispheric Model OAS in English-speaking Caribbean

BASSETERRE, St Kitts — The Organization of American States (OAS), through its assistant secretary general Albert Ramdin, is currently in talks with St Kitts and Nevis, with a view to hosting a Hemispheric Model OAS for the first time in the English-speaking Caribbean.

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Albert Ramdin

The Model OAS is a student simulation of the political negotiation and dialogue within the hemisphere’s premier political forum. For two days, students from tertiary level institutions represent diplomats and political officials from the countries of the Americas to debate issues of pressing concern. The event traditionally attracts hundreds of students, who represent the views of OAS member states.

“This event has never taken place in the English-speaking Caribbean, so we are excited to see how this develops. CARICOM countries have a track record of producing outstanding students and world class leaders, so we are looking forward to engaging them and hearing the perspectives of this generation,” Ramdin explained.

During his visit to St Kitts and Nevis, Ramdin held meetings with Prime Minister Denzil Douglas on current hemispheric issues. He also met with Foreign Minister Patrice Nisbett on the upcoming Summit of the Americas and the Americas Competitiveness Forum. Discussions were also held on potential technical cooperation to support competitiveness and productivity. The OAS official also met with Youth Minister Glenn Phillip on the upcoming Model OAS.

Southwest Airlines welcomed to Jamaica

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Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill (right), is presented with a replica of a Southwest Airlines airplane by Captain Mark Schultz, during a welcome reception held on Tuesday at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay to welcome Southwest’s inaugural flight to Jamaica. JIS Photo

By Glenis Rose

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of tourism and entertainment, Dr Wykeham McNeill, on Tuesday led a team of tourism officials and several representatives from the Montego Bay business community in welcoming the inaugural non-stop international flight from America’s largest carrier, Southwest Airlines to the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

The flight, from Baltimore/Washington International Airport, which touched down at about 1:00 pm, was the first of three for the day and ushered in the start of daily non-stop service from three major hubs in the USA to Jamaica.

There will be two flights daily from Baltimore/Washington into Montego Bay. The airline will also operate daily service out of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International and Orlando’s International Airports.

McNeill said the entry of Southwest into Jamaica will provide a “tremendous boost for our tourism.”

“Southwest is an airline that has had tremendous success. It’s the largest domestic airline in the United States and goes to almost every nook and cranny … to almost every state in the US … so you are able to get persons out of all parts of the United States. Coming to Jamaica is a tremendous boost for our tourism because it opens up the entire US to their fantastic service and their airlines rewards programmes,” he stated.

He noted that Southwest’s entry into Jamaica is a “huge accomplishment” that spoke to the island’s amazing attractions and strategic positioning in world tourism today.

“We, as a Jamaican people, need to understand the strength of our brand and the attractiveness of our destination and take great pride in them. So today, I welcome Southwest to the start of what I think is going to be a huge partnership and the successes following,” McNeill said.

Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Dennis Morrison, said he is pleased that Jamaica was selected as the first international destination for the airline.

“We see this as a vote of confidence in the product we offer and (this) encourages us to keep working to deliver quality service and products … we know that the combination of your services and our product will satisfy our visitors … and we look forward to a very long, positive and mutually beneficial relationship,” Morrison said.

During a welcome reception held at the airport, McNeill exchanged gifts with flight captain Mark Schulz, while passengers were presented with gift bags containing Jamaican souvenir items.

Commentary: Puerto Rico may consider PetroCaribe?

By Mark Laporte

At a time when individuals and opposing political parties in some Caribbean islands are voicing disagreement that their island is signatory to the PetroCaribe agreement with Venezuela and that, given the opportunity, they would revoke the agreement, Puerto Rico, a US territory, seems ready to consider what some island opposition parties would gladly do away with.

An article in the San Juan Daily Star of June 27-29 suggested that Puerto Rico should advantage of an invitation to join PetroCaribe.

At a time when the Puerto Rico power company is apparently broke and facing bankruptcy, Venezuela President Maduro’s invitation to the island may just be what the doctor ordered, especially in the light of major investment thrusts set to begin here.

The Padilla government had considered raising airline fuel charges but concerned airline executives expressed that such an approach would have had a negative effect on passenger arrivals to this American territory since the cost would eventually be passed on to the flying public.

Gasoline prices are increasing in Puerto Rico.

Ought we not, in some of the islands that are already part of the PetroCaribe agreement, carefully examine what our aspiring leaders are telling us with respect to this agreement?

The full text of the San Juan Daily Star’s article by Maria Amanda-Sierra entitled: PR Should take Venezuela Up on PetroCaribe Invite, Independence Group Says follows [emphases are mine].

The Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH) on Thursday called on Gov. Alejandro García Padilla to accept Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro’s offer of joining the regional alliance PetroCaribe before declaring the Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority (PREPA) in a state of bankruptcy.

“What is going on with the governor and PREPA that they haven’t expressed their interest in speaking with PetroCaribe about the possibility of benefiting from Maduro’s offer?” MINH said in a written statement. “This is worrisome and raises suspicions.”

In addition to petroleum, Venezuela supplies natural gas and gasoline, and offers advice on renewable energy transformation processes such as wind energy and thermal ocean energy, according to the MINH press release.

According to MINH, PetroCaribe was created due to the abuses that foreign-flagged ships perpetrate in the Caribbean regarding the sale of fuel, raising prices excessively. The agreement is based on the elimination of all intermediaries so that only those entities directed by the governments can intervene. Through the alliance, Caribbean nations purchase Venezuelan petroleum under the condition of a preferential payment, and the payments can be made through the exchange of services, providing advice and offering other products that Venezuela may need.

“Venezuela supplies petroleum to the PetroCaribe member countries at a fair price. The country making the purchase pays 40 percent of the bill in 90 days and the remaining 60 percent is financed for 20 years at a very low annual interest rate,” MINH Co- President Héctor Pesquera said. “This would mean a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars and the recapitalization of PREPA. It would save PREPA from having to file for bankruptcy and it would lower the cost of energy production immediately.”

The Star tried to obtain a reaction from La Fortaleza regarding if and when the Venezuelan government made this offer, but as of press time the press office had not issued a statement.

“At a time when individuals and opposing political parties in some Caribbean islands are voicing disagreement that their island is signatory to the PetroCaribe agreement with Venezuela and that, given the opportunity, they would revoke the agreement, . The benefit has to be passed on directly to the consumer,” Pesquera noted. “We suspect that the intermediaries at the Petroleum Cartel at PREPA are preventing the people of Puerto Rico can benefit from this opportunity. The governor owes the country an explanation. Or perhaps what he wants is for the public corporation to go bankrupt to be able to justify its privatization.”

PetroCaribe member countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, El Salvador, Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Haiti, Jamaica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, San Cristóbal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent.

Mark Laporte is a St Lucian writer and agriculturist, and a former teacher. He researches and develops topics of interest whether or not he publishes them.

Commentary: WIPO and Caribbean intellectual property – what’s the point?

By Abiola Inniss

Recent months have seen a few interesting intellectual property (IP) symposia in the Caribbean, in particular the WIPO–JIPO Regional Conference on IP and creative industries which was held in Jamaica from February 10-12 2014. It is quite interesting that in spite of the intention that it should be regional as indicated in the title of the conference, there seems to have been little participation from the 15 member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and that most of the sessions focused on Jamaica and its situation, perhaps a natural outcome of the WIPO–JIPO collaboration.

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Abiola Inniss is a leading analyst, researcher and author on Caribbean Intellectual Property and the founder of the Caribbean Law Digest Online. She is a law teacher, alternative dispute resolution practitioner and presenter who has written extensively on Caribbean IP law and other areas of Caribbean law. Among her publications are two books on law, one on public speaking, several articles, issue briefs, academic papers and book reviews. She has lectured and presented papers in the Caribbean and the United States of America on Caribbean Intellectual Property, reviewed conference papers and conducted research. She is currently reading for a PhD at Walden University, USA

Progressive Caribbean intellectuals in the area of intellectual property were also notably absent from the forum. In both of these situations WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) holds responsibility for not ensuring that the conference was widely advertised and that leading regional intellectuals were sourced. Without the involvement of a wide range of Caribbean participants, such a forum was nothing more than a Jamaica IP conference and the results of the consultations cannot be reflective of the regional interests.

Jamaica is to be commended for its leading role in hosting the conference as well as its proactive stance on issues of reproduction rights and the creation of digital educational materials. It also operates the most progressive copyright licensing office in the Caribbean and seems to be working very hard to accommodate the newer forms of digital works which require copyright protection.

The issue of the relevance of intellectual property to regional growth is yet to be properly addressed and this leaves the majority of countries asking the questions: “What’s in it for me?” and “How do we go about implementing a system that works for us at home and complies with international requirements to an acceptable degree?”

The WIPO statistics for 2013 on IP registration in select countries in the Caribbean indicate that IP has accounted for a very small percentage of the GDP and that there has been no substantial growth for some time (see WIPO IP Facts and Figures 2013). A more particular example of this is that for the year 2012 Jamaica recorded 114 patent applications and 64 for industrial designs. Barbados had a total of 36 patents, 1,397 trademark applications and four for industrial designs. Trinidad and Tobago recorded nothing in any category, and Guyana had nothing as well.

The argument has been made that several developing countries, including Malaysia, Korea, China, India and Brazil, have managed to achieve relatively high levels of economic growth in the absence of strong intellectual property rights, but this was all in the past before the internet era dawned, changing the economic paradigm, and introducing a system into which international trade has become subsumed, and the exchange of all kinds of information has become instantaneous.

It should be of great concern to thinkers, policymakers and international organizations involved in the field of IP that such symposia, which can help to enlighten and perhaps redirect regional efforts into positive action, do not reach the majority that needs the information the most. There is little point in the continuous hosting of meetings and other talk shops that do not reach top policymakers and other key decision makers and therefore do not make any noticeable contribution to changing the ways in which the Caribbean region treats with intellectual property issues.

The approach to creating the balance of interests in public policy that will allow for an IP regimen both compliant with local needs and international responsibilities requires intellectual expertise and practical application. Thus far CARICOM has failed to demonstrate any leadership in this area and has focused millions of dollars and considerable attention on reparations from slavery as a means of aiding development the region, an action so preposterous within the context of modern development, which is based on research and innovations, that one can hardly think whether to laugh or cry.

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has begun taking steps towards arranging its IP affairs in a comprehensive manner after the example of Jamaica and, with properly accessed and applied expertise, can be expected to make real progress within the next five years.

In the meantime, the statistical and other evidence on research and innovations as discussed above demonstrate the grave weaknesses in policy and practical application across the region. WIPO and other international organizations that claim to work towards providing relevant resources for IP development would do well to rework their approach to Caribbean intellectual property.

Air Canada to commence weekly direct flights to Curacao from Toronto

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao — Stanley Palm, Curacao’s minister of economic development, said on Thursday that, on November 7, Air Canada will start weekly direct flights to and from Toronto. As of January 2015, the Canadian airline will also start direct flights to and from Montreal.

Director of the Curacao Tourist Board, Hugo Clarinda, noted that the Canada route has already grown by 30%, and thus the country is the fourth largest market for Curacao, after the Netherlands, the US and Venezuela.

Clarinda also hoped that, with the extra flights, the island can halt the decline in visitor numbers, especially after the local airline Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) went bankrupt.

Palm is also in talks with other airlines and hoped to be able to say more about these negotiations within two weeks.

Haitian prime minister outlines government actions to achieve MDGs

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) — Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, accompanied by the minister in charge of human rights and the fight against extreme poverty, on Wednesday attended the launching ceremony of the report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with the slogan “Haiti, a new look.”

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Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe addressing an attentive audience on Wednesday

Lamothe listed the different actions of President Michel Martelly’s administration and the government to approach these goals set in 2000 by 188 countries around the world. The MDGs serve as a guide to improve the living conditions of the populations and accelerate development.

Lamothe presented the different fields where significant progress has been made, especially in education, through the free-tuition education program (PSUGO), which opened the way to free education to some 1.4 million children.

According to government authorities, the free education program was set up to promote equality of opportunity and to enable the country to have citizens able to participate in the development projects.

Reducing child mortality, which has declined by 44%, was also among topics addressed by the prime minister, who intends to work with his team to build health facilities and provide health services to Haitians, while meeting international standards. To this end, the prime minister’s office underlined, more than $80 million will be invested to rebuild Haiti’s State University Hospital (HUEH).

The government says it has undertaken to look at population control in order to facilitate a more effective allocation of the limited funds available.

The prime minister also mentioned improved water management, which has doubled the number of people with access to drinking water compared to 1995. According to the PM’s office, such achievements are among the important indicators of the progress achieved by government’s social actions to ensure greater efficiency in the fight against extreme poverty and waterborne diseases.

Lamothe mentioned the many initiatives for the reforestation of the country, the rehabilitation of watersheds and to introduce young people to environmental education and waste recycling, according to the communiqué, which underlines that protecting the environment is one of the fundamental objectives of the Martelly administration.

Caribbean Export explores technical management unit to support regional trade

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Participants at the CARIFORUM-FCOR/OCT Business Forum in Grand Cayman

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — Following the successful hosting of a business forum in the Cayman Islands on June 25, 2014, for private sector firms, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) explored the establishment of a technical management unit (TMU) to assist exporters from the Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) states that are interested in entering the French Caribbean market as well as to assist French Caribbean exporters with market information on the CARIFORUM region.

While a number of business support organizations (BSOs) in the region have already started the process of assisting firms to export to the French Caribbean, Caribbean Export is also aware that they face challenges in doing so.

The TMU is pegged to help address issues such as the provision of market research and intelligence in doing business in the FCORs; assist with meeting language and cultural requirements; identify key contacts and the coordination of trade fairs and market visits to facilitate buyer/seller contacts.

Additionally, whilst the issues of facilitating trade is required, other barriers to trade, such as costly air and sea transportation and the taxes such as Octroi de Mer that have direct implications on the ability of CARIFORM firms to trade in the French Caribbean, must also be addressed in order to further advance in true intra-regional trade for the benefit of the entire Caribbean.

Despite their being part of the wider Caribbean region and the existence of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), trade and economic cooperation between the French Caribbean Outermost regions (FCORs) and EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in the Caribbean and CARIFORUM territories remains under-developed. The exception to this is Trinidad and Tobago, which exports large quantities of energy and energy related products to FCORs and OCTs.

Caribbean Export convened the ninth meeting of the CARIFORUM, FCORs and EU OCT in the Caribbean Task Force on Trade and Investment in Grand Cayman on June 26 and 27, 2014.

In his opening remarks David Gomez, manager, trade and export development, Caribbean Export, quoted the American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, who once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

The statement set the tone for the next two days of high level meetings of CARIFORUM, FCOR and OCT heads, who came together to move ahead on the decisions agreed at the eighth meeting and discuss the status of the financial services sector in the Caribbean and the recommendations of the comprehensive study on the technical barriers to trade (TBTs) and other technical requirements that affect CARIFORUM exports to the FCORs.

Private sector firms were able to discuss the issues that they faced with regional trade and sought to develop business linkages.