Government denies hiding Petrocaribe debt

March 17, 2016

The St Vincent and the Grenadines government has denied suggestions that it is hiding the debt owed under the Venezuela-led PetroCaribe oil initiative from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


Earlier this week the Washington-based financial institution said that two-thirds of the debt is not reflected in the public debt figures. 


Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the debt to PetroCaribe is in the government accounts but not reflected in the debt profile inside of the estimates.


The IMF said in a statement that only EC$71 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) of the EC$183 million PetroCaribe St Vincent owes to Venezuela is recorded as government debt. But Gonsalves insists “there is nothing which is hidden because we give them (IMF) the information all the time. I also gave the information to the House [of Assembly)”.


Gonsalves, who is also Finance Minister, said that he has read out in Parliament the amount money allocated to each programme or project in St Vincent and the Grenadines using PetroCaribe loan monies.


“Every approval from PetroCaribe to any entity is done through the Cabinet. A memo comes from the PetroCaribe, and the decision is recorded in the Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance has all the information and I make the information available to the country and the House. There is absolutely no hiding,” Gonsalves said. 

Island participates in salt intake project

March 15, 2016

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is among four Caribbean islands chosen to participate in a social marketing training and technical assistance programme to reduce daily salt intake.


The project in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, is being led by the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) Salt Smart Consortium, acting as the secretariat, supported by Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC).


Technical support is being provided by the University of South Florida and World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Social Marketing and Social Change.


The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said it has formed the “SVG Salt -Smart Coalition, a multi-sectoral group, made up of various stakeholders from public and private sectors and NGOs that will be responsible for conducting the project.


Specifically, the aim of the project is to provide strategies to encourage mothers of primary school age children to cook with less salt, by low salt products, so as to prepare their children to succeed in the 21st century free from the host of chronic diseases such as hypertension and stroke.


“In our Caribbean setting, in most cases the mother is responsible for food selection and preparation for the family, and, therefore, is in a very good position to change salt consumption habits in the home. The mother can influence the amount of salt that her children eat at home and at school.”


The project was officially launched at the Kingstown Health Centre earlier this month during “World Salt Awareness Week 2016”, under the theme “Reduce Salt Healthier Life”.


Body of British Tourist found

March 09, 2016

The body of a young Briton who went missing on last Tuesday, has been discovered near a beach in the community of Desruisseaux, in St Lucia.


Jason Jones, 28, was on a sightseeing expedition with his girlfriend when he fell into the sea on the island’s Atlantic coast.


“The information we have is that he fell into the water,” a police officer said. “The sea is very rough off that part of the coast.”


A team from St Lucia’s police marine unit was dispatched immediately to try and find him. His body was discovered early Wednesday morning on the beach in Anse Ger. Anse Ger is where England footballer Jermaine Defoe and his family comes from.


A post mortem examination will be carried out on the body, but the initial indications are that he drowned..


Mr Jones’s family in the UK have been informed of his death.

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