First Fish Week concludes with ‘illuminating discussion of negotiating objectives

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

WTO members voiced their views on the outcomes they would like to see from the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations in meetings during the first of a series of “Fish Weeks” held on 20-24 March.

The meetings pave the way for deeper discussions next month on the best approaches for curbing subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing. The chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, said members engaged with a positive spirit to lay down the foundation for coming to an agreement by the 13th Ministerial Conference scheduled for February 2024.

“I think it was a very successful first Fish Week,” Ambassador Gunnarsson said at the close of the week, speaking at a meeting of the Negotiating Group on Rules attended by heads of WTO delegations. “It has been illuminating to listen to members. I noticed members’ positive spirit and the willingness to understand each other.”

“I have seen this first week as devoted to discussing what we want to get out of this second wave of negotiations. As the next logical step, I see our second Fish Week in April as the beginning of our discussions of how to get to the result we want,” he said.

Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard welcomed members’ engagement. “I thank everyone for their enthusiastic participation and their constructive spirit throughout this week. I’m gratified that members appreciated the process and transparency that was used this week. I’m also glad members took the opportunity to exchange views among themselves. We clearly had a very thorough discussion on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ and now we need to begin on the ‘how.’”

The chair said he conducted numerous bilateral consultations, along with four small group meetings which were open for listening mode to those not invited as speakers, and two plenary meetings for the whole membership.

Members recognized that ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks is the shared objective. Members also noted the significance of all three dimensions of sustainability, namely environmental, social and economic. Against this background, the chair said there is a widely held view that the disciplines concerning overcapacity and overfishing should focus on the most harmful subsidies. One recurring theme was subsidies provided to large-scale industrial fishing. Members also debated the relevance of concepts such as the Polluter Pays Principle and the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility.

Members also acknowledged that special and differential treatment (SDT) is an integral part of the negotiations. There was a general call to safeguard the livelihood and food security of small-scale and artisanal fishers. The chair noted that some members see SDT as the means to help developing and LDC members comply with substantive disciplines, while others are of the view that SDT should provide such members with policy space to develop their fishing sectors. Many members stated that they do not seek policy space to pursue subsidies that undermine sustainability.

As for the chair’s consultations with members on setting up the Committee on Fisheries Subsidies, delegations considered it important for this technical work to start early so that members will be well-prepared when the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, which was adopted at MC12 in June 2022, enters into force. The chair said he will continue to reflect on the appropriate modalities for this work. Formal acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement to come into effect.

Many delegations reported that they are optimistic about depositing their acceptance of the Agreement soon. Many other members noted that they expect to make donations to the WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism very soon to help developing and LDC members meet their obligations.

The second Fish Week will be held on 25-28 April.

The chair said that while it would be most productive to maintain a conceptual focus for the meetings, it could be helpful for members to have, as a reference, a list of elements from the previous negotiations that were not reflected in the Agreement adopted at MC12. He encouraged members considering new formulations to bring them to the table soon to inform the discussions in April.

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Trinidad and Tobago’s Proposed Energy Alliance

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

By Riyad Insanally

Last month, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Energy Minister Stuart Young proposed a Caribbean energy alliance involving Guyana, Suriname and, of course, his own country. In broad terms, he was offering T&T’s established capacity to process oil and gas from Guyana and Suriname, and T&T’s expertise to help the two relative newcomers build capacity to manage their offshore resources.

While Guyana really is the new kid sitting on blocks of ever-increasing resources, at least in the Stabroek Block, it should be borne in mind that Suriname has been a small-scale oil producer since 1982, pumping around 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) from onshore wells. It consequently also has some experience and expertise to share.

Presumably, the Minister is offering T&T’s experience of 100-plus years in the oil industry not only in terms of his country’s successes but also with regard to mistakes made and pitfalls to be avoided. Details regarding the energy alliance proposal are however sketchy. The most we know is that, at the opening session of Guyana’s International Energy Conference on February 14, T&T Prime Minister Keith Rowley declared that T&T was “a viable option” for countries seeking to optimise the speedy monetisation of their hydrocarbon resources without incurring substantial capital expenditure. In this respect, he elaborated that T&T is offering its 10 ammonia plants, seven methanol plants and four LNG facilities to process natural gas from neighbouring countries, as well as proposing taking its 140,000-bpd oil refinery out of mothballs.

In a panel discussion, later that day, on Regional Collaboration, Mr Young revisited the proposal, with important contributions also being made by Robert Persaud, Foreign Secretary in Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dr Dax Driver, CEO of T&T’s Energy Chamber, the representative private sector organisation for the country’s energy industry.

To add to his Prime Minister’s earlier announcement, Mr Young posited that Guyana, Suriname and T&T need to come together to provide energy security for the region, stressing that T&T has “the intellectual capacity and… the resources.” He placed particular emphasis on natural gas as “the energy fuel of the future”, arguing that the global demand for LNG, ammonia and fertilisers should drive regional collaboration among the three countries to develop their gas reserves.

Clearly, based on what the Prime Minister and Energy Minister had to say, the proposed alliance is of high economic importance to T&T. According to Inter-American Development Bank figures, T&T’s economy contracted every year between 2015 and 2021. Crude oil production has been declining steadily from 144,000 bpd in 2005 to just around 60,000 bpd in 2022.[i] While increasing global demand for natural gas in 2022 has been beneficial to the T&T economy, the country’s LNG sector is operating at 75% capacity, with one of its four liquefaction trains having to be shut down in 2021 due to a lack of natural gas. For this reason, T&T has welcomed the conditional US waiver of sanctions on Venezuela (for which it had long been lobbying), which would allow it to develop the Dragon Field in Venezuelan waters. For this reason, too, T&T would be keen to process natural gas from Guyana and Suriname.

Notwithstanding the obvious element of self-interest in the T&T proposal, regional cooperation to promote energy security among the three southern Caribbean producers of hydrocarbons makes a whole lot of sense. For Guyana, at least, there should be no need to reinvent the proverbial wheel, especially at this early stage of the development of its oil and gas resources. Making use of T&T’s existing capacity and facilities therefore has a certain logical appeal in the context of economies of scale, Guyana’s own lack of domestic technical capacity and the need to avoid white elephant projects. Even as more specific details regarding the proposed energy alliance are awaited, the precise modalities for collaboration and the delivery of natural gas would have to be thoroughly thought out and carefully negotiated.

During the aforementioned panel discussion, Dr Driver underlined Mr Young’s point that there is a lot of capacity in T&T that is available to the entire region, more especially Guyana, adding that regional collaboration can be and should be private sector driven. In this respect, he stated that the private sector – presumably the T&T private sector – could drive industry standards across the region, specifically in terms of safety, skills training, competence development and certification. He also opined that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) could be used as the framework to facilitate intra-regional investment and business opportunities. This is all very reasonable.

For his part, Mr Persaud agreed that small size demands collaboration but made it clear that regional collaboration on energy security should naturally lead to collaboration on finding solutions to food insecurity. In other words, regional collaboration should go “beyond energy.” One hopes that the message, put very diplomatically, was not lost on his T&T colleagues. For it is no secret that there have been tensions between Guyanese and Trinbagonians over the newfound eagerness of T&T firms to do business in Guyana.

Moreover, Guyanese businesspeople have long been irritated by non-tariff barriers to trade in T&T, particularly in agricultural products, which continue to frustrate the implementation of the CSME and undermine all the rhetoric about regional collaboration and closer economic ties in CARICOM. Indeed, a case in point is the recent fuss in Georgetown regarding T&T’s failure, either through bureaucratic sloth or an absence of political will, to amend an archaic 1935 Act, which prevents the importation or even the trans-shipment of honey from Guyana to other parts of the region. This is a breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which among other things lays the basis for the CSME, and in defiance of decisions of CARICOM’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).

For CARICOM, regional collaboration is not only central to the regional integration project, it is an absolute imperative. CARICOM’s energy security strategy is built around harnessing hydrocarbon resources to reduce import dependence, pursuing energy diversification and developing renewables. The idea that Guyana, Suriname and T&T could anchor energy security in the region is not new but, as yet, it has not been fleshed out. The T&T proposal could therefore very well be an important step in this direction, by combining the resources of Guyana, Suriname and T&T, and by leveraging the latter’s considerable experience, technical capacity and facilities.

As Dr Driver has pointed out, the CSME already provides something of a framework for the pursuit of deeper public and private sector partnerships in the region. Now that a formal alliance has been mooted, Mr Young should be encouraged to put some concrete proposals on the table. At the same time, his Government would do well to build trust among all regional partners by taking a holistic approach to regional collaboration, especially by showing real commitment to implementing the provisions of the CSME.


Dr Riyad Insanally, CCH was a career diplomat for 31 years and last served as Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, from September 2016 to June 2021. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Caribbean Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Senior Advisor for the Caribbean at the Transnational Strategy Group, both in Washington, DC, and a Fellow with the Caribbean Policy Consortium.

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Historic UN conference marks watershed moment to tackle global water crisisand ensure water-secure future

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The UN 2023 Water Conference in New York culminated today with a breakthrough response to the global water crisis, with governments, businesses and civil society committing billions of dollars to advance the water agenda, a dealmaker for accelerating sustainable development overall.

Some 10,000 participants gathered at UN Headquarters and online from 22 to 24 March 2023, to urgently scale up action to address the water crisis and ensure equitable access to water for all. Co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Tajikistan, the Conference brought together world leaders, civil society, business leaders, young people, scientists, academics, the UN System and others from across sectors — agriculture, energy, environment and water — around a common goal: to urgently tackle the water crisis and set the world back on track to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 – On Clean Water and Sanitation.

“The commitments at this Conference will propel humanity towards the water-secure future every person on the planet needs,” noted UN Secretary-General Ant?nio Guterres at the closing ceremony.

To achieve this, the Secretary-General highlighted key game-changers: from reinforcing water’s place as a fundamental human right and reducing the pressures on the hydrological system, to developing new, alternative food systems to reduce the unsustainable use of water in food production and agriculture and designing and implementing a new global water information system to guide plans and priorities by 2030.

The Secretary-General also advocated for integrating the approach on water, ecosystems and climate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen communities — from resilient infrastructure, water pipelines and wastewater treatment plans, to ensuring every person in the world is protected with early warning systems against natural disasters by 2027; and continued to press for climate justice and global action to limit global warming to a 1.5-degree rise. Lastly, he called for a dramatic acceleration in resources and investment into the ability of all countries to reach SDG 6.

UN 2023 Water Conference – A watershed moment for the SDGsAccess to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is the most basic human need for health and well-being, and a declared human right. But some 2 billion people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity. Agriculture demands alone account for some 70% of water usage. Adding to the pressure, more than 90 per cent of disasters are water-related, with climate change hitting hardest through water. And humanity’s demand for water keeps growing, with pressure on freshwater projected to increase by more than 40 per cent by 2050.

Against this background, conference deliberations ranged from the urgency of the water crisis, including its role in forced migration, climate change and conflicts to stressing its critical link to good health, poverty reduction and food security. Attention was also given to solutions, with deliberations spanning the need for better data collection, enhanced governance systems, capacity development opportunities and funding gaps in the water sector. With financing needs at between US$182 to more than US$600 billion annually, the importance of unlocking financing and innovative funding schemes, calling for new innovations and investments at scale in the water economy was also underscored.

Transformative Water Action AgendaResponding to this, the Water Action Agenda, the key outcome of the Conference, captured over 700 commitments aimed at driving transformation from a global water crisis to a water-secure world. The agenda represents the global community’s bold resolve to address the water challenges through a more coordinated and results-driven approach (see select list of commitments below). A number of other follow-up steps are also under consideration – including the appointment of a Special Envoy on Water.

The conference outcomes will also receive concrete follow-up in three key upcoming Summits: the SDG Summit during the UN General Assembly in September 2023, the Summit of the Future in 2024, the World Social Summit in 2025, and through the annual High- level political forum on sustainable development, Conference of Parties and other United Nations processes, as well as the Dushanbe Water Process.

“At the 2023 UN Water Conference a determined global community came together to make a difference not only for the future of water but for the future of the world,” said Mr. Li Junhua, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Conference Secretary-General.

“I hope that the energy we experienced at this Conference will flow on to the SDG Summit in September when the world gathers together to advance the transformative actions that we need, to realize all SDGs, and secure a sustainable future for everyone, everywhere, on a healthy planet.”

Note: All Water Action Agenda commitments are posted here.

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Trinidadian among 17 nabbed in ICE operation

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says agents from its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Chicago apprehended a Trinidadian national among 17 noncitizens identified as having been convicted of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence.

On Friday, ICE said those arrested also included several Mexican and Guatemalan nationals, who were released from incarceration on parole or placed on probation into communities under supervision during a nationwide enforcement effort between March 4 and March 13.

The immigration enforcement agency said the 68-year-old citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, who resided in Indianapolis, Indiana, was convicted by the Lake County Circuit Court in Illinois for aggravated sexual abuse of a minor in November 1995 and convicted by the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois for aggravated kidnapping, inflicting harm and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in May 2016.

“The enforcement effort was implemented to address removable noncitizens identified as having been convicted of attempted murder, murder-second degree, domestic violence, rape by force, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence who had been released from incarceration on parole or placed on probation into communities under local, state or federal supervision prior to the ICE enforcement action,” ICE said.

“The apprehended noncitizens will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings before an immigration judge.”

ERO Chicago acting Field Office Director Mike Melendez said, “We will continue to apprehend and remove individuals who pose a threat to public safety.

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Canadian PM, US President voice concerns about situation in Haiti

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden both expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in Haiti when they met during Biden’s two-day visit to Canada that concluded on Friday.

In a joint statement, the leaders pledged to increase community support to the people of Haiti, particularly by offering security and humanitarian aid and better support for the National Police of Haiti (PNH).

In a press release, the office of Trudeau said that to counter the crisis and support peace and security, “Canada is investing an additional $100 million to provide enhanced policing support and equipment to the Haitian National Police, to bolster Haitian-led solutions to the crisis and support peace and security”, rather than lead an international force of several thousand men in Haiti.

In addition, the Canadian government said that it will be imposing sanctions on two other members of the Haitian elite – they are former senator Nenel Cassy and businessman and former presidential candidate Steeve Khawly whose Canadian assets have been frozen.

They are also prohibited from entering Canada.

In addition, Biden said that his administration is looking to support the police department in Haiti and looking into whether the United Nations could play a role to quell the violence in the country.

“The biggest thing we could do, and it’s going to take time, is to increase the prospect of the police department in Haiti having the capacity to deal with the problems,” Biden said during a press conference with Trudeau.

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Two US citizens kidnapped in Haiti

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The State Department in the United States says that it has been notified of the kidnapping of two US citizens who were on a trip to visit family in Haiti.

It is reported that Abigail Toussaint and Jean-Dickens Toussaint, both 33, from the state of Florida, were taken near the capital Port-au-Prince and have been held for days.

The couple was reportedly kidnapped during a bus ride.

“We are aware of reports of two US citizens missing in Haiti,” said a spokesperson from the State Department.

“When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with families however we can,” the spokesperson added.

In the aftermath of the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, gangs have grown in strength, with large portions of the capital and other areas considered lawless territory.

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Carl Livington, Bunny Wailer’s Brother, Dead At 77

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


Carlton Livingston, the patriarch of the Livingston family and brother of the late reggae superstar Bunny Wailer, is dead at age 77.

Donna Carradice, Bunny Wailer’s younger sister, made the announcement on Facebook with a heartfelt post.

“Carlton Livingston, the first son of Thaddeus Livingston and elder brother of Neville Livingston transitioned today. It’s a solemn & memorable time for family and friends who loved and depended on his caring and skillful service to and for all and sundry. The man in and of the Street headquartered for years at the Red Hills Road Plaza running tings!” She wrote.

With Jah B’s death, Mr. Carl Livingston was the senior Livingston who he trusted to ensure his wishes were executed. Seven years ago, Bunny Wailer determined how he wanted to manage his affairs while alive and after he passed, and Carl Livingston was named as the executor of his estate.

“He ran tings for Bunny all their lives together, defending him as a youth and managing him as a Solomonic Wailer! Call Carl was Bunny’s calling card for family, friends and business,” Carradice said.

Born March 25, 1945, Carl Livingston died two days short of his 78th birthday on March 23, 2023.

His relationship with his stepbrother Bob Marley, mirrored Bunny’s and went deeper as they were closer in age, Carradice added.

“Bob’s job At Chrysler was gotten by Carl, who worked there in Delaware. Much history about The Wailers, he was knowledgeable of that enriches the musical brotherhood of Bob and Bunny under the fatherhood of Thaddeus.”

Livingston is survived by his wife, Mary, and sons, Derrick and Dennis.

“We salute Carlton Livingston for his life of human service as the testimonies of life long friends and companions begin to pour in and overflow as a great big cushion for his loved ones in this time of physical separation and grief,” Carradice ended.

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Minister Marion Hall Responds To Criticism Of New Song’s Cover Art Showing Her “God-Blessed Body”

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


The fashion police are out in their numbers for Minister Marion Hall, after the former Queen of Dancehall shared the cover art for her latest single, I’m Doing Better

The contentious photo sees the gospel artist showing off what she has described as her “God-blessed body” in a black sequined jumpsuit with mesh detail that reveals her stomach. For some critics, the look errs on the side of her former persona Lady Saw.

The controversial promo photo for Minister Marion Hall’s new project.

“There is a time and place fi everything,” one social media user wrote. “You had you time and you place. Go rest nuh.”

Another chimed in, “Aren’t Christians suppose to be the light of the world?? God is not a God of confusion nor is He to be mocked. If you know better, do better. NOBODY NUH COME TELL ME BOUT A SUH FOREIGN PASTOR DRESS…”

“Now Minister, you darn well know you can’t minister to people in a bralet and mesh. Unuh must stop it now.”

There was even the question, “Minister of what, local government?” 

Another angle of Hall’s ensemble for her single ‘I’m Doing Better’.

Her response to the naysayers could have been “come kiss out mi Bible.” But instead, she directed them to a Bible verse that seemingly explained her intentions behind the artwork.

“For whoever have a problem with me showing of my God blessed body. Please read 1 Corinthians 9 verse 19 to 23 and Keep your opinions to yourselves,” Hall said in a Facebook post.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 reads:

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.

To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.”

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Some of Hall’s followers have also risen to her defense.

“She looks amazing,” one user said. “We just need to understand and respect that we do not get to choose how one lives his life. More love to her.”

Another wrote, “Who came up with the idea of ‘church clothes’? Grew up in church and I’m happy the day I became a MATURE AND INFORMED ADULT. I got to experience different cultures and God for myself. We can’t forget some of the most vicious people on earth are those disguised in ‘church clothes’. Live ya life Ms. Hall.”

The backlash is pretty much déjà vu for the church owner who came under fire in February 2021 for posting a photo of herself wearing a v-neck blouse that bore enough cleavage to anger some members of the Christian community.

Hall came under fire for showing her “girls” in this 2021 photo.

She eventually removed the photo but posted a video response labeling herself a sexy Christian who won’t always be cloaked due to Miami’s hot weather. The uproar returned in April when she posted a beach pic of herself wearing a two-piece bikini.

Beyond this, she previously received backlash for the fashion worn in promo photos of her 2021 single If I Was Famous. Her full glam, silk blouse and blue fur coat had many, again, likening it to a Lady Saw aesthetic, though she hung up her secular shoes in 2015.

While the internet goes back and forth on what constitutes Christian adornment, Hall has been busy readying the music video for I’m Doing Better. In a recent live video, she spilled that popular director and one of her favs Jay Will is shooting the project which will see her living it up on yachts and at fancy restaurants. 

Hall worked with Grammy-winning musician and producer Gramps Morgan,Shannon Sanders (producer for India Arie and John Legend), and Downsound Records’ Joe Bogdanovich on the record which she is declaring a “definite hit”.

Released on March 16, the song is described as a testament to Hall’s “calling as an artist and her ability to reinvent herself time and time again.”

(From left) Joe Bogdanovich, Minister Marion Hall and Gramps Morgan

“I told you from last year (that) God is doing a new thing,” she said. “When I did If I Was Famous, I told you God was up to something big. The enemy came with distractions and shut it down, but this time, this song won’t be

She’s already pleased about the buzz the single is creating, especially as it relates to her intended audience. 

“It’s already reaching young people – those are the people we want to reach. Yes, we want to reach the rejects. There’s a line in this that God gave to me: ‘Jesus loves the rejects’, and that’s what I want you to hold on to. It doesn’t matter who rejected you, God will never turn His back on you. When you seek ye first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness, everything else will be added on to you.”

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