President Donald Trump stepped up to the iconic dais at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and began his speech much as he would a campaign rally: by boasting that his administration "has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country."
Many of the assembled world leaders and foreign dignitaries responded with laughter.
"I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK," he said, laughing off the chuckles that rippled through the hall.
Trump's second-ever address to the international body served to reaffirm to a domestic political audience, just as much as to the world, Trump's continued commitment to the policies and convictions that he has unleashed on the world in the year since he last addressed the UN.
The President defended his hardline position on Iran and his trade war with China, touted his diplomatic engagement with North Korea and reaffirmed his rejection of globalism and the prominence of international institutions.
West Indies have suffered another setback before next week’s first Test against India after frontline seamer Kemar Roach was forced to return home due to the death of his grandmother.
The 30-year-old Barbadian, who has formed a formidable new-ball partnership with Shannon Gabriel over the last 12 months, was due to leave for Bridgetown on Tuesday.
A Cricket West Indies statement said Roach would not be replaced but would rejoin the squad in India following the funeral.
The first Test bowls off in Rajkot next week Thursday with the second match carded for Hyderabad from October 12-16.
Roach is the unit’s most successful seamer, having played 48 Tests and taken 163 wickets. He is one of five pacers in the touring party along with Gabriel, captain Jason Holder and the uncapped pair of Sherman Lewis and Keemo Paul.
Only last week, speedster Alzarri Joseph was forced out of the squad with fitness concerns, leaving the Windies short of a bowler with Test experience.
On Monday, Windies players were also hit with the news of head coach Stuart Law’s resignation effective year end.
The Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan R. Straughn, Tuesday defended the move by the new Barbados government to ensure that all nationals who had invested in the government’s securities are not placed at a disadvantage.
“Persons who currently hold securities issued by the government of Barbados, if we were to continue as the previous government did, it is very likely you would not get back the very investments that you put it. That’s the harsh reality,” Straughn told the Lower House as legislators debated the legislation to afford a measure of protection to those investments.
The Mia Amor Mottley government, which came to power in May this year, has had to enter into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a bid to reverse the ailing economy and has also indicated that it was putting measures in place to deal with the repayment of funds owed to creditors and investors.
Straughn said that the choice facing Barbadians is “clear” indicating that ‘the terms we are offering allows you, the holder of this security to get back your principal on your investment over the period of time in a way that allows the government to pay you easier, rather than…in the current system where if you purchase any government security right now, the only thing you will get right now is the interest…”
Straughn told legislators that wherever you go across Barbados “you can’t go anywhere…and the government does not owe somebody.
“It is serious and this comprehensive debt restructuring is absolutely required because to bring back some order, not just to the public financing but certainly in the way that government provides goods and services”.
He said it was necessary also to do so because ‘when any minister of finance, any prime minister, any member of this government says that we are going to do something and we have set about the plans of allocating the resources to do whatever that something is, sir, that the people involved can count on that activity and not have to worry about whether or not the money will be available”.
Last week, Straughn, said that the new administration would protect the interests of all persons who bought savings bonds from the government three years ago.
Addressing the Barbados Stock Exchange’s Sixth Annual Conference on Corporate Governance and Accountability, Straughn said “it is important to point out that the government of Barbados has decided to ring fence those holders of savings bonds on the basis that the principles of good corporate governance were not followed.
“The fact that the minimum deposit rate was reduced in such dramatic fashion, whilst almost simultaneously offering the public the opportunity to earn a return of 5.5 per cent, was simply too good to pass up,” he added.
Barbados’ deep and long friendship with Canada was underscored today when Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr. Trudeau said he was looking forward to talking with Ms. Mottley about the opportunities they have to work together.
“There are significant challenges that you are facing and Canada is glad to be…working with you to make sure we are moving forward in a way that is right for the people of Barbados. I very much admire your strength of leadership and look forward to working with you,” he told her.
Ms. Mottley said the countries’ friendship was premised on a deep abiding faith in values. “Barbados and Canada both stand as beacons for those values that would promote peace and seek to promote inclusive growth among our populations,” she stated.
She added that they faced a great challenge with respect to how they would manoeuvre in this environment, which was being affected daily by how others choose to satisfy their greed and people’s failure to live up to obligations that would protect us.
Prime Minister Mottley acknowledged that Barbados was going through its own difficulties, but noted that from time to time persons and countries go through some adversity. She stressed that it was during those difficult times that a friend was needed.
She said she was aware of Canada’s continued role in ensuring that its values and those of this country’s were reflected across the global community. She gave the assurance that Barbados would play its part in ensuring that such values would continue to be promoted.
Bill Cosby on Tuesday was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison for his conviction on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University women's basketball administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. He was declared a "sexually violent predator," and will appear as such on a sex-offender registry for the rest of his life, reports The Associated Press.
The former comedian's defense lawyer argued that Cosby was no longer a threat to the public due to his age, 81, and the fact that he is legally blind. Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill decided that prosecutors had presented "clear and convincing" proof otherwise.
Constand submitted a victim impact statement in support of a strong sentence for Cosby. "Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it," she wrote. "He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others." Cosby opted not to make a statement when the judge gave him a chance to speak in court Tuesday.
Cosby was facing up to 30 years in prison for three counts of indecent aggravated assault. More than 60 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, but only Constand's report led to criminal charges. Cosby has been on house arrest since his conviction in April.
It's the end of an era.
On Monday, Celine Dion announced she's ending her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace after eight years. Her last show will be on June 8, 2019.
"I definitely have mixed emotions about this final run," Dion said in a statement posted on Facebook. "Las Vegas has become my home and performing at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace has been a big part of my life for the past two decades. It's been an amazing experience and I'm so grateful to all the fans who have come to see us throughout the years. Every show we do at the Colosseum throughout this fall, and right up until the final one, will feel very special."
An exclusive Team Celine pre-sale for the final shows (Feb. 26 to June 8) will start on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. PT, before the public on-sale date of Friday, Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. PT.
Since March 2003, Dion has performed 1,089 shows to 4.5 million fans at The Colosseum. Her first residency, A New Day…, played 717 shows from March 25, 2003 through December 15, 2007. Her second and current residency, Celine, premiered in Las Vegas in March 15, 2011. The shows are presented by Concerts West/AEG Presents and Caesars Entertainment.
"Celine Dion has re-written the rules for a singer to have a brilliant career," John Nelson, Senior Vice President of AEG Presents, said in a statement. "She continues to re-invent herself, to be current, and remains at the top of her game. As a singer, as a performer, she is truly better with every show. We’re so fortunate to have had her in Las Vegas, at The Colosseum, for all of these years."
“What an extraordinary part of our lives these shows have been,” John Meglen, co-CEO of Concerts West/AEG Presents, added. “Celine took such a leap of faith, made such a big bet on Las Vegas when she decided to perform A New Day… all those years ago. And look what she’s done…she has changed the landscape of entertainment in Las Vegas. What she started, as a crazy idea that didn’t make sense to a lot of people, has now become the norm. Now everyone wants to perform a residency in Las Vegas! All of us have Celine to thank for really making Las Vegas the entertainment capital of the world.”
In May, the 50-year-old singer triumphantly returned to her residency after canceling three weeks of shows in late March to undergo and recover from ear surgery. Dion was at the top of her game, and shared how excited she was to be performing again.
“You know, it’s been a while since we’ve done a show. I had a little health issue -- don’t we all,” Dion told the audience at the time. “But I have to tell you, I’m extremely happy to be back. The stage is kind of my home away from home and I have to admit I can barely stand on my feet tonight as I am a little bit nervous.”
“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve done a show. Every time you do a show you get nervous and I do have butterflies tonight," she continued. “You wonder, 'Will the people still come? Are they gonna say, 'What if she cancels tonight?' Will they stay home?' I don’t take anything for granted. You can see so many shows in Vegas and I’m so very grateful.”
Stuart Law has resigned as head coach of the West Indies men's team to take on a new role as English county side Middlesex coach in January 2019.
Law, who took over as head coach in February 2017, leaves after guiding the test team to series wins against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, and the ODI team through the ICC World Cup qualifiers and into the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Law also oversaw the first Windies test match win in England in seventeen years with a five-wicket win at Headingly.
He will continue in his coaching role for the upcoming away series against India and Bangladesh.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Belize economic recovery is strengthening with economic growth in the second quarter of this year estimated at 5.4 per cent.
An IMF delegation has just ended a two week visit to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, indicating that real gross domestic growth (GDP) grew by 1.4 per cent last year.
The IMF delegation headed by Daniel Leigh, the Deputy Division Chief at the Research Department of the Washington-based financial institution, noted that the country’s economic recovery is strengthening, supported by a favourable global environment.
The IMF said that the medium-term outlook remains challenging and that real GDP growth is projected at 2.2 per cent in 2018 and just below two per cent in the medium term, in line with recent trends.
It said the current account deficit is projected to gradually narrow, but remain significant, reflecting structural weaknesses, with international reserves projected below three months of imports of goods and services over the medium term.
A fiscal stance that is stronger than projected in the baseline scenario, which assumes no fiscal adjustment beyond financial year 2018-19, would be needed to reduce public debt from its end-2017 level to prudent levels over the medium to long term and build buffers against shocks, the IMF said.
The Washington-based financial institution said that downside risks remain substantial.
“Contested legacy claims, estimated at about five per cent of GDP, could lead to large public and external financing needs. Reputational risks from potential financial misuse of the offshore sector’s complex entities, and governance concerns, could weaken investor confidence and renew pressures on CBRs, (Corresponding Banking Relationships) which would weaken banks.”
The IMF said that these vulnerabilities would be exacerbated by a growth slowdown among Belize’s main trading partners, higher international energy prices, and increasingly severe natural disasters associated with climate change.
“Such adverse developments could undermine public support for the government’s reforms and endanger debt sustainability. On the upside, additional foreign direct investment, including in connection with the tourism industry’s expansion, and a successful implementation of the Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS) could result in a sustained rise in growth.”
The IMF said that policies to enhance Belize’s growth and resilience are essential for addressing these challenges and risks and for improving the economic wellbeing of all Belizeans.
It said that improving the business climate remains a central priority. Belize’s outlook of rising growth, especially in the agriculture, call-center, and tourism sectors, provides an opportunity to make progress on policies that will strengthen the recovery in the short term and raise long-term growth, without significant fiscal costs.
Structural reform priorities include easing access to credit by establishing a Credit Bureau and collateral registry; accelerating and modernizing procedures for starting a business; amending labour legislation to allow greater flexibility in working hours and increasing support for technical training among other measures the IMF noted.
It said intensifying Belize’s ongoing efforts to build resilience to climate change and natural disasters would reduce economic volatility and raise growth over the medium term.
To support the authorities’ poverty alleviation strategy, the IMF is recommending that reforms to Belize’s social safety net are warranted.
“Belize already has a number of social safety net programs, such as the High School Subsidy Program, Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation (BOOST), Food Pantry, and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Programme. Increasing the use of formal targeting mechanisms, informed by an updated country poverty assessment, would increase the programs’ effectiveness at reaching the most vulnerable individuals, an important consideration given the distributional implications of fiscal and structural reforms.”
Regarding the country’s economic performance, the IMF said that tourism arrivals were up 17.1 per cent in January–June 2018 compared with a year earlier, reflecting economic expansion in Belize’s trade partners and an increased number of flights. The unemployment rate declined to 9.4 per cent in April 2018 from 9.7 per cent six months earlier, while inflation was below one per cent.
The IMF said that the current account deficit narrowed to 7.6 per cent of GDP in 2017 from 8.4 per cent of GDP in 2016, reflecting subdued imports and higher receipts from tourism.
The IMF said that the government delivered a significant fiscal adjustment in the financial year 2017-18, noting that the primary balance increased to a surplus of 1.3 per cent of GDP during the year, excluding a one-off effect of a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling, implying a 3.2 per cent of GDP turnaround from the financial year 2016-17 level.
But the adjustment occurred largely through a reduction of government investment, which affected growth. Tax measures raised revenues, although their yield was lower than anticipated.
The IMF said that the 2018-19 national budget raises the primary fiscal surplus further, to just above two per cent of GDP.
“The planned adjustment is mainly through higher revenues. Measures include broadening the base of the General Sales Tax (GST) by removing zero-rated items, higher excises on fuel, and higher import duties on selected items, supported by stronger tax administration and spending restraint,” the IMF said.
It said that the financial sector is strengthening, supported by the authorities’ resolute actions to enhance financial soundness and reduce risks to CBRs.
“ All banks affected by the loss of CBRs during 2015-16 have found some replacement CBRs and alternative ways of processing cross border transactions,” the IMF said, adding that the Central Bank of Belize (CBB) took resolute action to deal with a troubled offshore bank.
It said the CBB also conducted AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism) supervision of one domestic bank, three offshore banks, and two credit unions in 2018.
The IMF said the financial system should remain under tight supervision.
“Regulations on provisioning should be strengthened, taking into consideration the types of lending and minimum operational requirements for collateral. An asset quality review would help assess banks’ capital buffers.
“The bank resolution legal framework should be fortified, including with more effective tools that the CBB could deploy at an early juncture, with greater operational autonomy. CBB financing of government spending should be phased out to prevent risks of exchange rate and inflation pressure and be replaced by more regular government debt auctions,” the IMF added.
Investigators are continuing their probe into the deaths of four people, including three children, who perished when a fire gutted their home in Orange Walk Town, the fourth largest town in Belize, located 53 miles north of Belize City over the last weekend.
“It appears that something was being cooked on the stove, a sort of aluminium type material as it melted and flowed within the top of the stove,” said the National Fire Service Fire Chief, Ted Smith.
“When that occurred, the gas station that was near and once the fire started it quickly broke the transparent tubing and created that torch. Certain types of aluminium pots if left on the stove too long and the liquid evaporated out and is not check, aluminium will melt at 1,200 degrees so it will melt.”
The authorities have identified the victims of the blaze on Sunday as 35-year-old Alfredo Petillo, his 10-year-old child, Mia and 12-year-old Jeda as well as his 14-year-old stepson, Kevawn Clarke. They were found hugging each other in a bathroom as the fire raged through the building.
The authorities said that the blaze left several other families homeless as it also destroyed three houses.
Petillo’s common-law wife, Zelda Bowen, said soon after the fire started, her husband broke down the side of the house allowing her and another child to escape.
“He then heard the little girl at the back holler for him, he heard ‘dad’. He ran in back and did not come out, any of them. Everyone was all over the place. I tried to help the next three but we could not do anything else about it. That is the saddest thing.
“You know when you want to help them but you can’t help them. He tried his best because he always tell us that if anything happens to his family, he will die with his family. He went in to try and help those three but they did not come out.
“He died with the baby in his arm, the youngest girl and then the oldest boy had the next little girl. He managed to take them to the bathroom and broke the pipe and cover them with the sheets with the water but it still not help them,” she added.
Age 73, affectionately known as “Larry”, of Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K. and formerly of Church Hill, Christ Church, Barbados.
Son of the late Violet Amanda Hamblin-Small.
Grandson of the late Constance “Tin” Cox.
Beloved Father of Nicola Clarke, Verona Hamblin of the U.K. and Iris Lindemann of Germany, Grandfather of Adesuwa and Kem Ekundayo and two others.
Brother of Gloria Small-Clarke and Keith Small - both of Canada and the late Peter Small.
Nephew of five.
Relative of the Hamblin, Cox, Lovell, Rice, Parris, Atkins and Burnett families.
Following Repatriation the funeral of Emerson Hamblin leaves Clyde B. Jones Funeral Home Top Rock, Christ Church on Friday, September 28th, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. for the Christ Church Parish Church, where relatives and friends are asked to meet at 2:30 p.m. for a Service of Thanksgiving. The cortege will then proceed to the Christ Church Cemetery for the interment.
The Organist and members of the church choir are asked to attend.
Floral tributes may be delivered to Clyde B. Jones Funeral Home no later than 12:30 p.m. on Friday.
Monetary donations toward the Church Building Fund will be appreciated.
To express condolences visit www.clydebjonesfuneralhome.com