The Impact Of The COVID-19 Pandemic On BRICS-Caribbean Relations

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Aug. 23, 2023: The COVID-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc across the globe, not only posed a formidable public health crisis but also brought about significant changes in international relations. One such dynamic that evolved during these trying times was the relationship between the BRICS group of nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the Caribbean region. This article delves into the multifaceted impact of the pandemic on BRICS-Caribbean relations, shedding light on how the crisis altered diplomatic, economic, and healthcare cooperation. Other than this If you want to invest in bit coins then you can visit online trading platforms like

Diplomatic Relations

At the onset of the pandemic, diplomatic relations between the BRICS nations and the Caribbean region were somewhat strained. Concerns arose regarding the provision of medical supplies, vaccine distribution, and overall support. However, as the pandemic escalated, both sides recognized the importance of cooperation in combating this global threat. Mutual assistance agreements and collaborative efforts began to take shape.

Humanitarian Aid and Healthcare Cooperation

One of the most visible changes in BRICS-Caribbean relations was the increase in humanitarian aid and healthcare cooperation. Nations like China and Russia extended a helping hand by providing medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and expertise in managing the crisis. These acts of solidarity not only bolstered the healthcare systems in the Caribbean but also contributed to a positive shift in diplomatic ties.

Vaccine Diplomacy

Vaccine diplomacy emerged as a prominent feature of the pandemic’s impact on BRICS-Caribbean relations. China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, Russia’s Sputnik V, and India’s Covaxin played pivotal roles in the vaccination campaigns across the Caribbean. The availability of these vaccines not only saved lives but also served as diplomatic tools, enhancing the influence of BRICS nations in the region.

Economic Fallout and Recovery

While the pandemic brought about cooperation in healthcare, it also presented economic challenges. Caribbean nations heavily reliant on tourism suffered a severe economic blow due to travel restrictions and lockdowns. In response, BRICS countries explored opportunities for economic collaboration, including investments in infrastructure, renewable energy, and trade partnerships.

Investment and Trade Opportunities

China, in particular, capitalized on the economic needs of Caribbean nations. Through its Belt and Road Initiative, China offered infrastructure investments that promised to stimulate economic growth. Additionally, trade partnerships were strengthened, with Chinese imports and exports playing a significant role in the Caribbean’s recovery.

Debt Relief and Financial Support

As Caribbean countries grappled with mounting debt and fiscal deficits, BRICS nations offered financial support and debt relief packages. These initiatives not only helped alleviate immediate economic pressures but also forged stronger economic ties between the two regions.

Challenges in Bilateral Relations

Despite the positive strides made during the pandemic, challenges persist in BRICS-Caribbean relations. Concerns have arisen regarding the transparency and effectiveness of some vaccine donations and infrastructure projects. This has underscored the importance of transparency, accountability, and mutual benefit in diplomatic engagements.

Environmental Cooperation

The pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of small island nations to climate change and natural disasters. BRICS nations, particularly Brazil and China, extended their support to the Caribbean in developing climate-resilient infrastructure and renewable energy projects. These collaborations demonstrated a shared commitment to addressing climate change and its impacts on the region.

Cultural Exchange and People-to-People Ties

The pandemic also fostered cultural exchange and people-to-people ties between BRICS and Caribbean nations. Virtual events, webinars, and educational exchanges allowed for a deeper understanding of each other’s cultures and histories. Such connections can serve as the foundation for stronger diplomatic relations in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic, despite its devastating effects, served as a catalyst for change in BRICS-Caribbean relations. It led to a newfound appreciation for international cooperation, particularly in healthcare and economic recovery efforts. While challenges remain, the diplomatic, economic, and healthcare collaborations forged during the pandemic have the potential to reshape the relationship between BRICS nations and the Caribbean region, paving the way for a more interconnected and resilient future.

As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the evolving dynamics between these regions will undoubtedly be closely watched by global observers. The lessons learned from this crisis will inform future diplomatic and economic interactions, setting the stage for a more cooperative and prosperous partnership between the BRICS and the Caribbean.

The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Celebrates Caribbean Storytelling And Culture For A Fifth Year

News Americas, Brooklyn, NY, Tues. Sept. 5, 2023: The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival, (BCLF), returns this year to celebrate its milestone fifth season in New York City.

Through the BCLF, Caribbean thought and intellectualism, which are often underrepresented in popular culture, have a unique platform to be celebrated, appreciated, and thrive. From September 7th-10th, lovers of literature will once again have the opportunity to experience this dynamic literary festival as it brings Caribbean stories and storytellers to the forefront of New York’s culture scene with interactive events.

“The BCLF festival has been bringing together talented writers, captivating storytellers, and passionate literature enthusiasts from all walks of life for the last four years,” said Director of Operations Mellany Paynter. “It’s a true celebration of culture, diversity, and the power of words. Festival 5 will be full of vibrant energy and more events than any year prior. It is a must-attend 4-day experience.”

Since its inception in 2019, the BCLF festival has gathered under its wing over 250 Caribbean writers, publishers, and creatives, including renowned contemporary and classic authors like Jamaica Kincaid, Elizabeth Nunez, Tiphanie Yanique, Velma Pollard, and P. Djeli Clark. This year, the organization selected Bahamian writer Ethan Knowles as the winner of the coveted BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award For Writers In The Caribbean for his short fiction story “Sponger Monkey.” The Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize was awarded to Jade Leatham from Dominica for her short fiction story “Jungle Siren.”

The festival will also feature celebrated writers from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, and other islands. The four-day event, which takes place at several locations across downtown Brooklyn, will include panel discussions, a film screening, a Kalinda workshop, and poetry readings and events such as “Writing For The Future,” exclusively featuring writers who write Caribbean stories for children.

Also on its roster is “5 Minutes With Elizabeth Nunez”, an original BCLF short film series celebrating a selection of novels by Elizabeth Nunez and “Bad Man Doh Cry”: a literary conversation about the norms, dynamics, relationships, and rites of passage of Caribbean masculinity through the selected works of three award-winning male writers.

“Festival 5 is a triumphant declaration of the persistence of Caribbean spirit and the insistence of its people to thrive. This year, we marry various disciplines (film, music, and indigenous art forms) that each holds a story at its center in celebration of Caribbean culture,” said Festival Founder Marsha Massiah-Aaron.

As the premiere literary festival taking place at the epicenter of the Caribbean diaspora, BCLF’s multifaceted programming continues to amplify, expand, and showcase the notable contributions of Caribbean and Caribbean-American writers.

“Without our stories, we are nothing. Our work at the BCLF has been to insist that the ones who own these stories and share them with the world are rightly acknowledged, credited and celebrated,” said Massiah-Aaron.

For more information on The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival and the daily schedule, visit

About BCLF

The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival is a celebration of culture as expressed through the pen of the storyteller and the voice of the poet. Our platform is designed to facilitate vibrant conversations about Caribbean identity via a series of readings of classic and contemporary stories, podcasts, and conversations. The highlight of our work is the annual capstone festival, which is supported by ever-evolving year-long programming.

Canada Slaps Sanctions On 3 Haitian Businessmen

News Americas, TORONTO, Canada, Thurs. Sept. 21, 2023: The Canadian government has enforced sanctions against three Haitian entrepreneurs, alleging their involvement in corruption and “other illicit activities” and their alleged facilitation of armed gang operations that have aggravated a severe social and humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

These sanctions, which target Marc Antoine Acra, Carl Braun, and Jean-Marie Vorbe, effectively bar them from traveling to Canada and prohibit Canadian citizens, entities, or residents from engaging in economic transactions with them.

Marc Antoine Acra is a prominent businessman who previously served as an advisor to former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

Carl Braun serves as vice president on the board of directors of Unibank, the largest Haitian bank, while Jean-Marie Vorbe is the CEO of Sogener, an energy sector company.

Canada contends that these businessmen are contributing to violence and instability in Haiti through corrupt practices and other criminal activities, as well as by enabling illegal actions by armed gangs that are terrorizing the Haitian population.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly emphasized that these sanctions are a crucial element of a comprehensive approach to address Haiti’s political situation.

Canada has actively participated in diplomatic initiatives aimed at establishing a multinational peacekeeping force under the United Nations’ auspices to intervene in Haiti.

Since November 2022, Canada has imposed sanctions on 28 Haitian individuals, described as the country’s “political and economic elite,” due to their alleged involvement in armed gang activities in Haiti.

Earlier this week, Joly appointed André Francois Giroux as Canada’s new ambassador to Haiti, underscoring Canada’s commitment to engaging with the situation in Haiti.

Canada is home to over 165,000 people of Haitian descent.

Cuban Embassy In Washington, D.C. Attacked

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Sept. 29, 2023: Cuba’s embassy in the U.S. capital of Washington D.C. was the target of a violent attack late on September 24. In a statement shared on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said that an individual had thrown two Molotov cocktails at the embassy building.

He added that no personnel had been injured in the attack and the details of the incident were being looked into. He also noted that this was the second such attack against the headquarters of Cuba’s diplomatic mission in the U.S. An individual had fired multiple rounds of bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle at the building in April 2020.

Cuba’s embassy in France was also attacked with Molotov cocktails in July 2021.

“Anti-Cuban groups resort to terrorism because they feel impunity, something Cuba has warned U.S. authorities about,” Rodríguez said.

In a report released in 2020, Cuba’s Center for Historical Investigations of State Security (CIHSE) documented 581 attacks against the country’s diplomatic representations abroad since the Cuban Revolution in 1959. These attacks have led to the deaths of approximately 365 people and injured 721, including foreign nationals.

The September 24 attack took place just hours after President Miguel Díaz-Canel arrived back in Havana after attending the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Cuba is currently serving as the chairman of the G77+China bloc of countries.

SOURCE: Global News Service

US Salutes Curaçao on Curaçao Day

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Oct. 10, 2023: The US is saluting Curaçao on Curaçao Day – a public holiday that is observed annually on October 10th to celebrate the island’s 10th anniversary of becoming a nation inside the Dutch Kingdom.

“On behalf of the people of the United States of America, I congratulate the people of Curaçao as you celebrate Curaçao Day,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said this morning in a statement. “Our longstanding friendship is a testament to the people-to-people ties, shared history, and common values that bind us. The United States and Curaçao will continue working together to disrupt transnational criminal networks and make life safer for all our citizens. Together, we are expanding economic opportunity by investing our time and resources into education and entrepreneurship. Through regional initiatives such as the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis (PACC 2030), we are partnering with Caribbean institutions to improve Caribbean resilience and our ability to face future challenges.”

The celebration comes as the island is set to get a maximum of €66 million in a budget from The Hague for Dutch Caribbean islands. The funds are specifically designated for social initiatives and policy enhancement.

Jamaica MP’s Partner Accused Of Killing His Child And Her Mother

News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Weds. Oct. 18, 2023: In a bizarre twist, the alleged partner of Jamaican Member of Parliament Phillip Paulwell, and a US Navy petty officer stands accused of abducting and murdering his 10-month-old daughter and her mother.

The United States (US) Navy Criminal Investigative Service has become reportedly involved in the inquiry surrounding Leoda Bradshaw, who is in jail in Jamaica for the alleged double murders.

The allegations against Bradshaw were disclosed in a press release from the Jamaica Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) on October 13, following the revelation by the police that 27-year-old Toshyna Patterson and her 10-month-old daughter, Sarayah Paulwell, had been murdered and their bodies disposed of.

It is claimed that Bradshaw was in a relationship with Paulwell, with whom she shares a child and whom she considered her spouse. A US resident, she is alleged to have arrived in Jamaica on September 6, and on that very day, began conspiring with her cousin Roland Balfour, Richard Brown, and Roshane Miller in the alleged kidnapping and murder plot.

“During these conversations until September 9, 2023, there was an agreement orchestrated by Leoda Bradshaw for these men to kidnap and kill Toshyna Patterson and her 10-month-old daughter, Sarayah Paulwell, who was the result of Ms. Patterson’s relationship with Mr. Phillip Paulwell. This plan also included a partial payment, which had been made by Bradshaw to the men for the successful execution of the plan,” the ODPP stated in the release.

It is also alleged that on September 9, Patterson and her 10-month-old daughter were taken from their home at Gilmore Drive in Kingston by Bradshaw in a tinted SUV. The mother and child were then handed over to men, including two of Bradshaw’s co-conspirators in St Andrew.

In addition, Richard Brown, also known as “Richie,” of a Kingston address, Roland Balfour, a 30-year-old assistant graphic designer, also of a Kingston address, and Roshane Miller, a 29-year-old air conditioning technician, are the other three individuals facing kidnapping and murder charges.

The ODPP has indicated that the capital murder charges against Bradshaw are based on allegations of a contract-for-hire arrangement, where she purportedly paid individuals a sum of money to kidnap and murder Patterson and little Sarayah.

On September 9, Paulwell confirmed reports that his 10-month-old daughter Sarayah and her mother were missing.

Paulwell revealed that the two were apparently abducted from their home at Gilmore Drive, Kingston 20, on the morning of September 9 and have not been seen or heard from since.

The Member of Parliament had offered a $500,000 reward for information that could aid in the safe return of the mother and daughter. In his first public comments since Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey revealed that the two were shot and killed and their bodies burned after they were kidnapped from their St Andrew home on the morning of Saturday, September 9, Paulwell said his heart is heavy with sadness. In a statement Saturday, the longstanding Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal stated that he wants those involved “punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

He added: “I cannot comment on the investigations nor matters before the court, but I wish to thank the police for their tireless work.”

Bradshaw is charged with two counts of conspiracy to kidnap, two counts of conspiracy to murder, two counts of kidnapping, and two counts of capital murder. Balfour was charged with two counts of accessory before the fact to kidnapping and two counts of accessory before the fact to murder.

Cubans Rally For Palestine

News Americas, HAVANA, Cuba, Fri. Oct. 20, 2023: Around 300 Cubans and Palestinians came together this week to express their outrage over the bombing of the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza.

Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

This rally, held in Havana, was a show of support for the Palestinian people and an outright condemnation of the Israeli regime’s actions. The participants, consisting mainly of state employees, students, and Palestinian residents of Cuba, waved Palestinian flags, passionately chanted “Free Palestine,” and fervently called for an end to what they labeled as a “genocide” against the Palestinian population.

Young Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel voiced his condemnation of Israel, using his X account (formerly Twitter), stating, “Cuba condemns in the strongest terms the bombing perpetrated by Israel against the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza, which has caused hundreds of deaths and injuries. We demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to these flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.”

Jamaica Prime Minister Strongly Condemns Barbaric Murder of Schoolboys

News America, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thurs. Nov. 9, 2023: Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has strongly condemned the “barbaric and merciless” murder of two schoolboys in Jamaica earlier this week, emphasizing that all forms of violence are abhorrent and must be severely punished. The victims, Justin Perry and Nacholive Smith of Chetwood Primary School, were shot and killed by gunmen while traveling in a taxi in the Flower Hill community of the Salt Spring area, which is plagued by an ongoing gang feud.

Holness expressed his heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families and urged all Jamaicans to offer support and comfort during this tragic time. The Prime Minister highlighted the alarming increase in violent crime, with figures showing 1,159 murders in Jamaica as of October 28, compared to 1,301 during the same period the previous year.

He stressed that violence in all its forms should be strongly condemned and punished but emphasized that when it affects innocent children, society must unite and say, “Enough is enough.” Holness referred to the perpetrators as “criminal terrorists” and called for stronger punitive measures to deter such acts of terror.

He underlined his government’s commitment to enhancing the capacity and capabilities of the security forces to combat criminal terrorists, citing recent legislative changes to increase penalties for illegal firearm possession and amendments to the penalty scheme for murder. Holness called on Jamaicans to unite in condemning these heinous acts and to support measures aimed at preventing their recurrence.

The Princess And The Parrots

News Americas, ORANJESTAD, ARUBA, Fri. Nov. 10, 2023: On November 10, 2023, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands extended her Caribbean visit to the picturesque island of Aruba, where she made a significant stop at the renowned National Park Arikok. The visit to this natural sanctuary showcased the Princess’s commitment to environmental conservation and specifically focused on the welfare of rescued lora parrots.

National Park Arikok, known for its stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna, welcomed Princess Beatrix as she explored the efforts dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of Aruba’s native wildlife. The highlight of her visit was an encounter with the rescued lora parrots, underscoring the importance of conservation initiatives for endangered species.

Princess Beatrix visits National Park Arikok for rescued lora parrots on November 10, 2023 in Oranjestad, Aruba. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)

The Princess engaged with park officials and conservationists, gaining insights into the challenges faced by the lora parrot population and the ongoing efforts to preserve their habitat. Her presence emphasized the global significance of protecting biodiversity and the integral role individuals, communities, and nations play in ensuring the well-being of our planet’s diverse ecosystems.

ORANJESTAD, ARUBA – NOVEMBER 10: Princess Beatrix visits National Park Arikok for rescued lora parrots on November 10, 2023 in Oranjestad, Aruba. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)

Princess Beatrix’s visit to National Park Arikok not only celebrated the natural beauty of Aruba but also served as a reminder of the collective responsibility to safeguard the environment for future generations. As a prominent advocate for environmental causes, the Princess’s engagement highlighted the importance of international cooperation in addressing conservation challenges and promoting sustainable practices.

The tour represents another chapter in Princess Beatrix’s longstanding commitment to environmental awareness and wildlife conservation, aligning with her dedication to fostering a deeper understanding of the delicate balance between humanity and the natural world. Aruba, with its rich biodiversity and conservation efforts, served as a fitting backdrop for this meaningful leg of her Caribbean journey.

The Princess’s visit to National Park Arikok concluded with a positive outlook on the collaborative efforts underway to protect and preserve Aruba’s unique ecosystems, leaving a lasting impression on the local community and reinforcing the global call for environmental stewardship.

Saudi Fund For Development Bolsters Caribbean Resilience With $90 Million in Funding

News Americas, RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Weds. Nov. 22, 2023: In a significant move to boost sustainable development in the Caribbean, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has signed two vital Framework Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the governments of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

This strategic partnership, led by SFD’s Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, was formalized in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the heels of the Saudi – CARICOM Summit held on November 16, 2023.

Under the first MoU, SFD will allocate $50 million USD to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the Expansion, Construction, and Rehabilitation of several facilities and buildings impacted by natural disasters. This initiative, signed with Prime Minister Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, aimed to bolster the nation’s infrastructure, fostering sustainable development and enhancing economic resilience in the aftermath of environmental challenges.

The second MoU, inked with Prime Minister Hon. Terence Drew of Saint Kitts and Nevis, involves a $40 million USD funding commitment for the expansion of the Needsmust Power Plant Project. This project is pivotal in supporting the nation’s energy needs, contributing to the socio-economic development of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

These agreements highlight SFD’s longstanding commitment to fostering sustainable development in the Caribbean. They underscore the vital role of international cooperation and solidarity in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promoting social and economic growth, especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The SFD, with a mission to champion global sustainable development since 1975, has financed over 800 development projects totaling $20 billion in more than 100 countries. Its engagement in CARICOM member states spans nearly four decades, with approximately $670 million allocated to 12 development projects since the beginning of this year alone, marking a new chapter in Caribbean development supported by international collaboration.