AFRICA/CARIBBEAN NOW: S. African President Condemns Political Killings

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa (Courtesy of the African National Congress via Twitter)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned political killings in KwaZulu-Natal‚ saying the country can’t allow political leaders to be slaughtered.

“We are going to make moves to stop these killings,” Ramaphosa said to the media shortly after his closed-door address at the South African Communist Party central executive committee meeting in Johannesburg, The Sowetan reported. “We are resolved to do it because we can’t allow leaders of various organizations … to go on being slaughtered as though they were cattle.”

Ramaphosa said the state was going to take serious and decisive action to stop the killings. He said at a government level, the state would speed up the investigations and arrest perpetrators of the killings.

“We cannot continue to be living in a country where people just take potshots at other people who hold a different view and kill them‚” he said.

He said he had directed ministers in the criminal justice cluster to come up with reports on what was happening with investigations into the killings.

New Envoys Pledge to Strengthen Cooperation

New ambassadors of Russia, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania who presented their letters of credence to President Kagame have pledged to strengthen the existing bilateral relations between Rwanda and the respective countries they present, The New Times, Rwanda’s leading daily, reported on June 3 in an article written by Eugène Kwibuka.

The new envoys, who briefed the media in Kigali yesterday shortly after presenting their credentials, included Hazza Mohammed Farah Kharsan Alqahtane, Ambassador of United Arab Emirates (UAE); Karen Chalyan, Ambassador of Russia; and Ernest Jumbe Mangu, the High Commissioner of Tanzania, all who are residents in Kigali.

UAE’s envoy said that his country is determined to enhance the relationship between his country and Rwanda in all aspects.

“My main mission is to do whatever I can to develop relations with the government and the people of Rwanda,” he said.

He lauded Rwanda for being a safe country with zero tolerance to corruption and hinted that this profile could attract tourists from his country to come and visit.

Chalyan said that Rwanda and Russia want to further develop the existing cordial relations especially in areas of education, defense, and political affairs among others.

“I have a very clear mandate to be as active as I can possibly be,” he said.

Tanzania’s new High Commissioner to Rwanda said that he intends to promote more trade and movement of people.

“We have to make sure that we strengthen the relationship between the two countries with the objective of increasing trade and movement of people between the two countries,” he said.

Both Rwanda and Tanzania are members of the East African Community regional bloc whose governments have stepped up efforts to improve business environment and promote cross-border trade over the past few years among other cooperation efforts.

PM Mottley Announces National Cleanup Campaign

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced Saturday a national cleanup campaign for the country.

Mottley made the announcement at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Mile and a Quarter, St Peter during a thanksgiving service attended by members of Cabinet and the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Barbados Today reported.

She disclosed that discussions were initiated with the Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson; Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey; Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod; and Minister of Transport Works and Maintenance, Dr William Duguid.

Although she did not give a specific date, the Prime Minister revealed it was in the works. She said the objective of the campaign is to prepare Barbadians for the hurricane season, especially its most devastating months September and October.

“We are committed to embarking on a national clean up campaign because we recognize that while you do not have control over natural disasters, we have control over how prepared we are and how quickly we recover,” Mottley said.

“We have to get through this season . . . we have now to hope and pray that we are not confronted with additional challenges that move beyond that which we have inherited.”

In keeping with the Barbados Labour Party’s manifesto on hurricane preparedness, Minister Hinkson said his ministry was working with stakeholders to ensure the safety of vulnerable groups.

Ministry to Spend Big on Squatting Census

It has been estimated that a low of 500,000 to a high of one million Jamaicans are squatters, but to end the guesswork, the country’s government is preparing to spend $37 million to undertake a comprehensive census to assess the characteristics and scope of informal communities in the country.

According to Luthrine Scarlett, senior director for housing and land administration at the Ministry of Job Creation and Economic Growth, the census is expected to begin within another two to three months, the Jamaica Gleaner reported.

“We would have identified the funding, we would have set up a steering committee that will drive the process, and so we are now working out all the administrative details to put us in a position to start this census,” Scarlett told the Gleaner last week. “At the end of that, what will come out is a comprehensive overview of squatting; so it is not just figures that we are going to be looking at, we are really looking at a total assessment of these communities.”

She said the census is expected to last for about 18 months and information collected will help to direct future policies on squatting. The information will be presented using a geographic information system.

$150M Bond Issued to Recapitalize GuySuCo

The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) has issued a US$ 150M equivalent bond facility, arranged by Republic Bank Limited exclusively through its Investment Banking Division, a statement from NICIL said.

Transaction attorney Devindra Kissoon of London House Chambers, a local law firm, was instrumental in the process. According to the statement, the bond will be issued in multiple tranches, with the first tranche of roughly G$17B or US$85M equivalent being issued to local investors May 24, the Guyana Chronicle reported.

“With the issue, NICIL becomes the first public issuer to raise debt in the local capital markets in over 10 years. The bond is the largest ever bond facility arranged in Guyana and was oversubscribed by local investor on the first tranche,” the statement said.

According to NICIL, the proceeds of the bond will be used towards capital expenditure and general operations for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). NICIL’s team, lead by Colvin Health-London, the Head of the Special Purpose Unit (SPU), secured the bond to recapitalize the GuySuCo’s operations.

Historically, cash-strapped GuySuCo struggled on its own to raise the funds needed to revamp its operations. However, under the management of Heath-London, funding was secured through the stated-owned entity with the support of the Government of Guyana through a sovereign guarantee.

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