More Must Be Done To Ensure Reggae Musicians Are “Well Compensated,” Says Flourgon’s Lawyer

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


New York-based Jamaican-born attorney Stephen Drummond is again lamenting the fact that many Jamaican Reggae singers and songwriters have not reaped the fruits of their labor, unlike their overseas counterparts, a situation which must be addressed urgently.   

The Hanover native, who represented veteran Dancehall artist Flourgon in his US$300 million copyright infringement case against Miley Cyrus, says much more has to be done to ensure the island’s musicians get the compensation that is rightfully due to them.

“Jamaican Reggae music has done so much around the world.  And it’s such an invaluable contribution to mankind.  And it cannot be disputed that with such an invaluable contribution, to mankind coming out of a small country, many of our artistes have not recognised and being appreciated in the financial space as many others,” Drummond said while speaking on Radio Jamaica’s Beyond The Headlines with Dionne Jackson Miller.

“So, as a Jamaican, and a lawyer who likes to see equity, I just think more should be done to ensure that the Jamaican community and those who have made such a great contribution to Reggae music should be very well compensated, more,” he said.

Attorney-at-law Stephen Drummond

Drummond also reiterated that because much of the problems relate to issues of intellectual property ownership and copyright, it is critical that artists seek to protect their work.

“One of the things that I try to stress in the community, is the three Ps: Protect first.  Artistes in Jamaica they like to Perform; they want to perform; they get a joy out of performing and the business component of it, they tend to lose perspective of that.   You must first strive to Protect your work, then Perform in order to Preserve your work,” he said.

The issue of Jamaican’s failing to copyright their music has been a longstanding concern for Drummond.  In May 2018, during a Gleaner Editors forum, he made a call for Jamaican recording artists to protect their legacy.

At the time he said that while he was congnisant of the fact that most Jamaican artists love the music and love to entertain people, they needed to be business-minded about it.

Drummond had also warned that if Jamaican musicians fail to take the business aspect of the music as seriously as they ought, they might live to regret it in the end, as the business component was perhaps the most critical aspect of an artist’s success.

Like Drummond, in January this year, former Main Street Records producer and Chairman of the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS), Haldane “Danny” Browne had raised similar concerns about recording artists and producers in Jamaica, who, by virtue of their own inaction, have put themselves in a precarious position, by not registering their ownership of their copyrighted music.

“I don’t know if the current crop of players realise that it is a business.  I can’t blame them because I was just like them; when I started out, I was just having fun,” the Filthy riddim producer had said.

Brown had also revealed that some creators of music do not know the difference between copyright registration versus publishing a song.  

“Where your copyright ownership is registered it is different from the publishing of the song.  Because anybody can publish a song.  And I discovered a lot of people dem don’t copyright dem songs. Dem just a collect the money.  And so, when issues come up, they can’t defend it,” he had said.

Browne had pointed out that JAMMS has held multiple sensitization seminars on copyright and other music-related matters for members of the industry, but this initiative has seen the organization ‘preaching to the converted’, as the persons who need the information believe they “know it all”.  

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Jethro ‘Alonestar’ Sheeran Says His Family Has Always Been A Fan Of Reggae Music

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


British rapper Jethro ‘Alonestar’ Sheeran, first cousin of superstar Ed Sheeran, says his family has always been enthralled by Reggae music.

“The Sheerans are a big fan of Reggae. We grew up on it. I was born and raised in a West Indian cultural background in St Paul’s, Bristol when the frontline. Reggae music was blazing from every block from big sound systems (and) DJs playing block parties. I grew up listening to course Bob Marley, Hugh Mundell and my uncle introduced me to Afrobeat from the 70s—he was a world music DJ and played all sorts of Reggae music also,” Sheeran told DancehallMag.

Jethro’s single I’m A Star, which features Ed and American rapper DaBaby, recently peaked at No. 10 on the US iTunes Dance Chart. It was executively produced by Sean “Contractor” Edwards and co-produced by Herbert Skillz.

Sheeran noted that the track has been speaking for itself, so, the recognition was partially expected.

“I was really happy to see I’m A Star doing so well and climbing the top ten in the charts in the USA.  It’s such a great song and deserves to be number one. I was happily surprised, and slightly shocked as this song is 100 per cent organic growth with little to no promo. It just shows the listeners of today still appreciate great music and will seek a good song,” he said.

Sheeran has been an artist since 2004 under his record label Urban Angel selling CDs at shows in London. At this point in his career, he has surpassed 100 million streams cumulatively across several platforms.

Jethro “Alonestar” Sheeran

He revealed that he and Contractor have had a long-standing working relationship over the years that has yielded positive results.

“I met Contractor in a pub in London. Both our girlfriends at the time knew each other and introduced us. I was not long back from living in Trinidad (and) being artists ourselves, and both a big fan of Hip Hop and Reggae and music marketing it was a matchup made to succeed. We have worked together ever since in some capacity,” he said.

Jethro “Alonestar” Sheeran (left) with Sean “Contractor” Edwards (right) in a pub in London

Many Jamaicans would have formed a connection between the Sheeran clan and Dancehall when Ed collaborated with Ishawna on Brace It. Produced by Skatta, Donovon ‘Don Corleon’ Bennett, and Ishawna under her Legendary Records label, the official visualizer has 628,000 views on YouTube.

Around the time of its release, the track climbed to No. 9 on the iTunes Top 100 Reggae Songs charts in the United States, and No. 87 on the iTunes UK Charts.

Ed and Jethro Sheeran

Meanwhile, Sheeran reasoned that more Jamaican artists need to tap into the European market to see a boost in their listenership, fanbase, and profitability. 

“I believe for instance people like DJ Khaled, Ed Sheeran etcetera doing big colabs with Jamaican artists help bring them to a different audience in the world, and the other way around,” he said.

Added Sheeran, “I would like to see more Jamaican artists touring the UK and Europe  and more Europeans doing Reggae music also for people like Sean “Contractor” Edwards who has the key to the gateway with his marketing company for Jamaican artists, to help crossover in different territories. Bob Marley did this many years ago and was signed to UK record company Island Records. Bob Marley was everywhere on TV when I was growing up and seeing his music videos for Waiting In Vain etcetera. I think Damian Marley also helped a lot of artists crossover with his music and collabs with the likes of US Hip Hop star Nas.”

Sheeran said he has his eyes set on Tommy Lee Sparta and Mavado for future collaborations. 

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Shenseea, Interscope Reach Settlement With Producer In ‘Lick’ Copyright Lawsuit

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


Jamaican singer Shenseea and her label Interscope Records have reached a settlement in one of the two copyright infringement lawsuits filed against her last year, DancehallMag has exclusively confirmed.

Producer Anastas ‘Pupa Nas-T’ Hackett said he’s pleased to bring his lawsuit to an end one year after filing the matter in a New York District Court.  He had claimed that Shenseea and Interscope (a division of Universal Music Group) released Lick without his consent, even though it sampled elements from one of his Soca songs.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in a court order dismissing the lawsuit on Friday (March 31).  

Hackett, who had sought over USD $10 million in damages, profits, and legal fees, also told DancehallMag on Friday that he could not reveal the actual settlement figure because of a confidentiality agreement.

“This is just business, it’s over and everyone is agreeable and satisfied with the outcome,” the producer said.

“It’s been over a year, it’s been gruelling but I finally made it to the mountain top,” he added.

Hackett thanked his manager, attorney, and spiritual allies for the lawsuit’s favorable outcome.

“I didn’t do it alone,” he said. “My business manager Steven Thompson was with me every step of the way. Courtney, my first attorney, he was incredible, and all praises go to The Most High, mother and father God and my ancestors because in every war, it’s fisticuffs but there is a spiritual element involved, and you have to pay credence to that.”

The 59-year-old, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Trinidadian father and American mother, added that he harbored no ill will towards the 26-year-old singer and wished her continued success.

“I never had anything against her. I have been a big fan from day one. It is one Caribbean music family, we don’t tear each other down, and this had nothing to do against her personally. She will be big, and I wish her continued success in her career,” he said. 

Shenseea’s camp and Interscope did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the settlement. 

Anastas ‘Pupa Nas-T’ Hackett

Released on January 21, 2022, Lick featured rapper Megan Thee Stallion and later appeared on Shenseea’s debut album, Alpha. As a lead artist, it is currently her highest-charting song in the United States, after peaking at No. 20 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.

Produced by Canadian hitmarker Murda Beatz, the song sampled a 2002 remix of Denise ‘Sacey Wow’ Belfon’s Work by the production duo Masters At Work (‘Little’ Louie Vega and Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez). The duo had licensed the original song from Hackett, who produced and co-wrote Work with Harkness Taitt in Trinidad & Tobago in 1999. He owns both the original and the Masters At Work remix, as detailed by Beatport.

On Friday, Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil ordered the lawsuit “discontinued without costs to any party and without prejudice to restoring the action to this Court’s calendar if the parties are unable to memorialize their settlement in writing and as long as the application to restore the action is made by May 1, 2023.”

“If no such application is made by that date, today’s dismissal of the action is with prejudice,” the order added.

In reply to the lawsuit, Shenseea and Interscope’s lawyers, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, had argued that there was a “months-long, good faith negotiation” for the use of the producer’s song.  However, according to them, Hackett had refused to sign a written contract and, instead sought to renegotiate the contract after the song was released.

Court records show that Interscope had hired DMG Clearances, Inc in September 2021 to do the leg work of clearing the sample with Hackett.  According to an email sent to DMG later that month, the producer—through his music publisher ATAL Music Limited and their rep Alexandre Escolier—initially agreed that he would approve the sample if he were paid a $5,000 USD advance, 3% royalty on wholesale sales (PPD), and 15% royalty on Shenseea’s net streaming on the song.

However, DMG only sent the final written agreement to Escolier, for Nas-T’s signature, on February 2, 2022, 12 days after Lick was released on streaming platforms on January 21, 2022.  By then, Hackett had ‘fired’ Escolier from representing his music catalog after he learned of the song’s release from “colleagues who…had reached out to congratulate” him.

Now that the lawsuit has concluded, Hackett said that he will be turning his attention back toward music and getting “back to my home studio.”

“I’ve got some bombs, we’re gonna drop them, you know we still do what we do,” he said. 

He added that he felt great that the latest remix of Work, featuring Scottish DJ and electronic musician Kevin McKay and Denise Belfon, has been doing well on charts worldwide.  The song peaked at No. 11 on the Apple iTunes chart in December 2022. “Kevin McKay is a DJ based in Glasgow, his label is Glasgow Underground and the song has been doing great,” he said. 

Shenseea is still facing another copyright lawsuit in a California court.

In an October 2022 complaint, visual artist Stephanie Sarley accused the Blessed singer and her label of ripping off three of her ‘artistic’ Instagram videos depicting the sexualized handling of bisected fruit.  The three clips allegedly appeared in the original music video for Shenseea’s 2019 song Foreplay, which has since been removed from YouTube.

Stephanie Sarley

Shenseea and Interscope, who are represented by Ballard Spahr LLP, have claimed, among other things, that any infringement was “innocent” on their part, because the Foreplay video was uploaded to Shenseea’s YouTube account by a “third-party distributor” without their knowledge or involvement.

Sarley is demanding actual damages and profits from the three alleged infringements, or alternatively, $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringement.  But, Shenseea and Interscope contend that if Sarley is able to prove infringement, then statutory damages would be limited to “as little as $200” for each of the three videos. 

In a joint court filing on February 9, 2023, Sarley and Shenseea’s lawyers told Judge Fernando M. Olguin that they anticipated the trial lasting 2-3 days, with a proposed start date on April 9, 2024, and with a total of three witnesses for Sarley and five witnesses for Shenseea.

The singer signed to Interscope Records/Rich Immigrants in 2019, a joint venture spearheaded by Jamaican producer Rvssian.

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‘Top G’ Andrew Tate Blasts Shane O’s ‘7 Jacket’ In First Video Since Release From Jail

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


Shane O is counting his blessings once again, after Andrew Tate returned to Twitter and shared a video of himself pacing in a room while blasting the Dancehall star’s 7 Jacket, a 2022 song that tackled the issue of paternity fraud in Jamaica.

Tate, a controversial American-British internet personality and former world champion kickboxer, who is nicknamed ‘Top G’, had been detained in a Romanian jail on organized crime and human trafficking charges for the past three months.

“Since last year I’ve been in 24 hour lockdown. No yard time. Pacing a 3 metre cell with zero electronics or outside contact. Absolute clarity of mind. Real thoughts. Real plans. Vivid pain. One hour home and I can’t stand my phone. Some habits die hard. We must defeat Shaytan,” Tate noted yesterday.

Shane O was ecstatic after seeing the post, his second such endorsement by one of social media’s most talked-about persons, his first being DJ Khaled, who co-signed his Dark Room track last year.    

The Lightning Flash artist shared the video to Instagram and said not only was he inspired but was brought to tears by Tate’s post, which by midday on Saturday, 17 hours after it was posted, had received 30 million views on Twitter.

Shane O, who has been labeled one of Jamaica’s finest songwriters but also one of its most underrated artists, went on to lament what he said was the finer reception his songs get from foreigners, as opposed to his own compatriots.

“I will never stop doing what I’m doing.  I believe in my self so much u don’t even know.  I’m typing with tears trust me.   To see the love I get out there but yet still can’t get it where from why thou?” he said.

“I don’t write bullsh-t. Check out my topics, my flows and how I construct my words #stopplayablindeye,” he added.

Shane O

Tate was initially detained in late December in Romania’s capital Bucharest, along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women.  According to the Associated Press, all four won an appeal Friday, and will remain under house arrest until April 29. 

Over on Twitter where Tate made his post, Jamaicans turned out in their numbers to cheer him along.

“This guy went to prison and turn a Yardman,” one man wrote, to which another replied: “Only Jamaican music can have you meditate … blessings to all yaadman”.

“He was always a yardman. His patios is pretty good too,” another woman noted, while another man added: “str8 all him skank different”.

Tate has had a love affair with Dancehall music for some time.

In November last year, mere months before he was jailed, Andrew Tate had revealed that Dancehall music was his favorite genre, and that Skeng was among his best-loved artists.  

During an interview in November last year, Tate, while explaining why he was a big fan of Jamaican music, had said that the Dancehall artists who sing violent lyrics are not pretenders, as they, according to him, carry out the violent acts they sing about.  He said he respected and admired them as they were being true to themselves.

“I have an extensive playlist including many different tracks in the club from an eclectic selection of artistes.  However, the music I enjoy the most is actually – I like the Jamaican music because what they sing about they mean,” Tate had explained.

“When they say if you look at me wrong, I will empty the clip, I am like ‘yeah’, but if you Google each Jamaican artiste afterwards, they usually tell the truth. And I respect that.  So I like Skeng is my favourite guy.  I listen to Skeng,” Tate had added.

There are several videos of Tate across the internet playing violent songs by Vybz Kartel, Tommy Lee Sparta and others in his much-bragged-about Bugatti.

In June last year, Tate shared a clip of himself playing and singing along to  Tommy Lee Sparta and Skeng’s Protocol in his Bugatti .

“I don’t think Tommy Lee Starta has been played in a Bugatti before.  I don’t think Tommy Lee Starta is Bugatti music,” he said sardonically, as he searched and found the song and then sang along.

Last year Tate had featured Manchester artist 1Biggs Don on his show. 

He and his brother Tristan had declared Biggs Don “G of the Week” in May last year, after watching a clip of his Boy affi song.   

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Guyana and India – A Relationship of Deepening Importance

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Dr. Scott B. MacDonald is the Chief Economist at Smith’s Research & Gradings, a Fellow at the Caribbean Policy Consortium, and a Global Americans Research Fellow. He currently working on a new book, The New Cold War and the Caribbean: Economic Statecraft, China and Strategic Realignments.

By Scott B. MacDonald

In January 2023, Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali visited India, meeting India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders discussed a broad range of economic opportunities, but the major topic was oil.

Guyana, which has emerged as the newest petro-state, has plenty of oil; India, one of the world’s largest economies, lacks oil. Indeed, India is one of the world’s largest importers of oil, ranking third behind China and the United States. The tempo of Guyanese-Indian relations have accelerated over the past two years and are likely to deepen, a development which has geopolitical implications for Guyana, the Southern Caribbean Energy Matrix, and the U.S.

India has long had relations with the Caribbean, with many people from the South Asian nation arriving in the region to work on sugar estates in the early nineteenth century. King Sugar has long been dead, but oil is the newest king, pumping up the Guyanese economy, helping to revitalize Trinidad and Tobago’s economy (more on the natural gas side) and holding out hope for Suriname. India began buying Guyanese oil in 2021.

The January Ali-Modi meeting demonstrated that there is a mutual interest in further developing relations between the two countries, with oil the key issue. However, other areas of potential cooperation were discussed including agriculture, infrastructure development, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, technology, and defense cooperation. President Ali also met with India’s President Droupadi Murmu and his itinerary included visits to Delhi (the country’s capital territory), Kanpur (a major industrial center), Bangalore (India’s tech capital) and Mumbai (the business and financial capital).

In February Guyana’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo arrived in India and met with President Murmu. One of the results of the meeting was a Memorandum of Understanding (pending approval of respective governments) over future oil sales. Additionally, it was reported that there was potential for Indian investment in Guyana’s oil sector.

Guyana has indicated that it plans to auction 14 offshore oil blocks, while taking back 20 percent of the Stabroek offshore oil block from ExxonMobil which could be sold to Indian oil companies.

The Jagdeo visit also discussed tapping Indian skilled workers to help develop Guyana’s emerging gas industry as well as help in several other sectors, including agriculture. Guyana also indicated an interest in defense cooperation (including potential fast patrol boat purchases from India) and improved transportation linkages between the two countries, which is expected to be backed by an air services agreement (ASA).

This would allow airlines from both countries to travel back and forth. Currently travel must transit through New York or London.

The main driver from the Indian side is energy. Despite efforts to develop clean energy, India remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Coal is the South Asian country’s leading energy source, accounting for 46 percent of total energy in 2021, followed by oil (23 percent), biomass (21 percent), natural gas (6 percent) and primary electricity defined as hydro, nuclear, water and wind (4 percent).

Although New Delhi understands the need to reduce its carbon footprint, it is not likely to make a radical shift away from fossil fuels anytime soon. Prime Minister Modi announced in 2021 that his country would zero out its greenhouse gas emissions by 2070.

This means that while India will work on developing clean energy alternatives, it will continue to be a major buyer of oil and gas over the medium term.

India’s energy picture has been further complicated by the Russo-Ukrainian War, which commenced in February 2022 and resulted in Western economic sanctions on the sale of Russian oil and natural gas. To mitigate its lost Western markets, Russia significantly increased its oil exports to “friendly” countries, like China, India, and Turkey.

In late 2022, Russia passed Saudi Arabia as India’s largest source of oil and in January 2023, the South Asian country’s Russian oil imports rose to a record 1.4 million barrels per day, up 9.2 percent from December.

While cheap Russian oil is being soaked up by India’s refiners, New Delhi is under pressure from the United States on this issue. New Delhi needs U.S. support to counterbalance China, with which it fought bloody border disputes in the Himalayas in 2021 and 2022. In this context, positive U.S.-India relations are key to balancing China. Enter Guyana.

Although Guyana is far from India, it offers a friendly and less controversial oil source than Russia or, for that matter, Venezuela which had earlier been an important supplier. Guyana is also friends with the United States; Indo-Guyanese constitute the country’s largest ethnic group (around 40 percent of the total population); and the two countries share a parliamentary form of government. Indian and Guyana also share faiths in Hinduism and Islam and similar experiences as British colonies.

For Guyana, deeper relations with India offers an opportunity to diversify its trade and investment partners. While the U.S. has positive relations with Guyana and remains its major economic relationship, especially considering the presence of U.S. energy companies like ExxonMobil and Hess, Indian involvement could broaden the investment base. A fulsome Indian economic engagement could also help contain the influence of China, which is active in trade, the oil industry and infrastructure development.

There are limits as to what India can offer Guyana and vice versa. It is easy to take a cynical view and opine that Guyana is after fast Indian money and that the Ali government is pandering to its Indo-Guyanese base. Moreover, India’s trade with Guyana, while on the upswing, remains relatively small; according to the International Monetary Fund’s Direction of Trade statistics for 2022, India was Guyana’s 9th largest source of imports and 28th in terms of exports.

Looking ahead, Guyana’s national interests are to maintain its independent role in the global economy, not become a satellite of a large power, and not fall victim to the Dutch disease (which afflicts oil producing countries). For India, Guyana could serve as a friendly source of oil and, over time, natural gas.

A more developed relationship with Guyana could also help India develop a larger role in nearby Suriname, which has yet to start exporting oil. Indeed, Suriname’s President Chan Santokhi also met with India’s Prime Minister Modi in January 2023. A more developed Indian role would broaden the set of economic relationships that have emerged with the Southern Caribbean Energy Matrix. A deeper Indian engagement in Guyana could help counterbalance China’s influence in the Caribbean and Latin America, something that plays well to Washington’s strategic concerns.

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UN 2023 Water Conference Delivers Water Action Agenda

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Last week, the UN held its first global water conference in nearly 50 years, where WRI had a strong presence. WRI President and CEO Ani Dasgupta called the conference a “much-needed wakeup call.”

The conference’s main output is the Water Action Agenda — made up of over 700 voluntary water management commitments from governments, cities, businesses, NGOs and others, with more expected to follow.

WRI conducted an analysis of all the commitments, and found that while more than one-quarter of the commitments are potential game-changers, the rest may not be strong enough to create substantial change in the world. Many lack the proper finance, quantifiable targets, cross-border action needed to truly overcome water challenges.

Still others failed to consider climate change or address industry and agriculture, some of the biggest water consumers.

WRI announced two major commitments of its own to the Water Action Agenda. The Water, Peace, and Security Partnership will support governments in building capacity to reduce risks of water-related conflicts. The Urban Water Resilience Initiative will offer cities throughout Africa technical assistance and financing to implement climate resilient water solutions, through the ACWA Platform and Fund, and additionally, six African cities committed to implement 90 water resilience initiatives, with support from the initiative.

These commitments are just the beginning. What is truly needed is an international treaty for water, supported by rigorous national and regional water management plans.

During the week, WRI participated in over a dozen events on topics such as: transforming the economics and governance of water; water resilience and blended financing in African cities; strategies to reduce the risks of water-related violence; corporate water stewardship; cross-sectoral partnerships in sustainable water management; industry’s role in improving water quality and wastewater management; and the importance of open data, technology, and nature-based solutions for water.

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St. Kitts and Nevis’ economic growth rebounded strongly in 2022, IMF says

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

In its latest report on the economic health of St. Kitts and Nevis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the Federation’s economy continues to rebound despite global hiccups post-COVID-19.

“St. Kitts and Nevis’ economic growth rebounded strongly in 2022 despite global headwinds. GDP is estimated to have grown by 9 percent in 2022 after contracting 14.5 percent in 2020 and 0.9 percent in 2021,” the Executive Board of the IMF reported after concluding the Article IV consultation with St. Kitts and Nevis on March 15, 2023.

The report said that the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions played a significant role in boosting a lagging economy.

“The lifting of all COVID-related travel restrictions in August 2022 sparked a strong rebound in the tourism sector and across the economy. The authorities’ proactive policy response, facilitated by the fiscal buffers accumulated from a decade of prudent fiscal policy, helped shelter domestic prices from high global energy and food prices,” the multi-lateral agency said.

“These measures nonetheless took a heavy toll on fiscal accounts in 2022. The primary balance ex-CBI revenue and land buybacks, an indicator of the underlying fiscal stance, deteriorated to a deficit of 17 percent of GDP (vs. 15 percent in 2021). Large CBI inflows in 2022 helped finance this expansion, keeping public debt below the ECCU regional target of 60 percent of GDP,” the report concluded.

With the strong rebound in the economy, the IMF said that the country can see a return to pre-pandemic levels next year.

“Return to the pre-pandemic activity level is expected by end-2024, and beyond that, growth should converge towards its medium-term path. The budget is expected to be broadly balanced through 2025 and then go into deficits–predicated on current policies. Risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside in the short term, but with some upside potential in the medium term,” the report stated. “Downside risks primarily stem from a global slowdown, particularly in the United States, global inflation, and sustained commodity price volatility from lingering geopolitical uncertainty.”

The Report critiqued the CBI programme and hinted at economic diversification such as a transition to renewable energy.

“The growing dependence on volatile and uncertain CBI revenue is a major source of vulnerability. But prospects for an acceleration of the transition to renewable energy and increased investment in resilience by the broader public sector could represent a material upside risk,” the IMF said.

However, the Executive Board said that the government authorities are “committed to maintaining a prudent fiscal stance going forward. Small budget surpluses are planned for the next three years, supported by the phasing-out of electricity price subsidies and streamlining of income support measures. They reiterated their intention to undertake structural fiscal policy changes to reduce dependency on CBI revenues over the medium term. They also remain committed to investing in natural disaster resilience and climate change adaptation”.

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Dutch Caribbean Islands move to save coral reefs

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Denuded areas to be restored (YELLOW), area to be replanted as beautification/community support (RED), high priority ecological areas to be reforested when roaming livestock are removed with a start beyond the duration of the project (PURPLE), nursery/Reforestation central site (GREEN), known major sediment outlets (WHITE).

A major environmental project is under way in St. Eustatius – affectionately known as Statia – and Saba to reduce erosion and safeguard endangered reefs around the two islands in the Caribbean Netherlands. The project, dubbed “Healthy and Resilient Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Through Reforestation of St Eustatius and Saba”, will include the reforestation of areas stripped bare of vegetation due to land erosion caused by heavy rainfall.

“Due to large increases in above-ground water movement during heavy rainfall, along with the low abundance of vegetation on the islands, the near-shore coral reef ecosystems have been severely impacted,” said Anthony Reid, Statia’s director of economy, nature, and infrastructure (ENI). “In response to this impact, this project aims to enhance the ability of the governments and national parks foundations on both islands to respond to the needs of the marine environment through reforestation. This will improve the ecosystem services, biodiversity, and economic resilience of Statia and Saba.”

The EUR722,165 project is funded by the European Union, through its 11th European Development Fund programme, a EUR30.5 billion aid package for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and overseas countries and territories (OCTs). The Dutch Caribbean islands’ undertaking falls directly under the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID), a 69-month programme which began in 2019 to support the sustainable human development efforts of the 12 Caribbean OCTs, namely: Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Cura?ao, Saba, Statia, St. Maarten and St. Barths.

The implementing partner for RESSEMBID is Expertise France, the French public agency for the design and implementation of international technical cooperation projects, which signed an agreement with the Statia government late last year, under which Statia will oversee implementation of the venture.

The St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) will execute the project as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the Statia government. Other partners for this activity are the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) and the Government of Saba.

As part of the MOU, Statia (8.1 square miles) and Saba (five square miles) will share expertise and experiences. Statia will also begin cultivation of plants for Saba, while that island builds the necessary infrastructure. Statia’s beekeepers will also train potential new beekeepers in Saba.

“The team at STENAPA and SCF look forward to continuing, improving, and expanding our planting efforts working on the experience and knowledge we’ve gained over the last few years. Working with the government and each other to reduce erosion around Statia and Saba will help safeguard our reefs, benefiting fishermen, divers, and everyone who values our islands’ valuable marine environment,” said Erik Bowman, the STENAPA director. “Increasing biodiversity – especially of pollinators, such as bees – will benefit not only Statia and Saba’s nature, but also help our agricultural sectors and help towards improving our islands’ food security and hurricane resilience.”

The non-government organisations and the Statia Government signed an agreement late last year, financed by the EU and implemented by the Expertise France programme, RESEMBID. This project will benefit both Statia and Saba by reforesting erosion-prone, watershed and discharge areas, which in turn will slow and redirect water into below-ground aquifers in the denuded areas. It will also restrict the release of sediment onto surrounding coral reefs. Thus, it will improve the resilience of both the forest and coral reefs, for the benefit of the local populace.

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