The Ward Post Monthly Brief
Vol. 1. No. 1. (October-November 2016)
The Ward Post Monthly Brief, which is published monthly,brings together in one convenient location a synopsis of, and links to the TWP blogs posted during the month.
Jamaica Justice System – Cluttered with Relics of Post-British Colonialism – Ambassador Ralph Thomas used the retirement of Justice Lennox Campbell from the Jamaican Judiciary as an opportunity to take a close look at the lack of operational and administrative management of the Jamaica Court system. Ambassador Thomas offered some ideas to help bring the Jamaica justice system out of the post-British Colonial era into the 21st Century in order to function efficiently and make the judicial process better able to serve the Jamaican people.
Trump Presidency Threatens Caribbean Partnership Programs – Ambassador Curtis Ward highlights important U.S.-Caribbean partnership programs in all areas of foreign policy – economic, political, security – that may be at risk under a Trump presidency. Ambassador Ward identifies the programs most at-risk and why: the CBI/CEBERA, and the successor United States Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA); Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI); and special programs for Haiti under HOPE II and HELP. Noting that CBSI programs are already underfunded, Ambassasdor Ward concludes that this program will be less of a priority and will receive even less funding under a Trump administration.
Brexit and the Impact on the Caribbean – CaribNation TV program – Host Dr. David Hinds discusses some possible implications of Brexit for the Caribbean with trade specialist Atty. Andrea Ewart and Ambassador Curtis Ward. Each offered their assessments of the possible medium- to long-term impact of Brexit and possible responses by Caribbean governments.
Jamaican Lives, Jamaican Way of Life Matters – Ambassador Curtis Ward responds to the Chinese proposed coal-fired power plant as an energy source at the Alpart bauxite/alumina complex at Nain, St. Elizabeth (parish), by highlighting the severe environmental impact on the parish, the country, and in particular farming and South Coast tourism. Ambassador Ward calls on the people and government of Jamaican to reject coal-generated power in Jamaica, and, in particualr urges the people of Treasure Beach and other stakeholders in the tourism and agriculture sectors to protect the area’s tourism and agriculture from this threat.
Jamaicans Face a Matter of Life and Death – Not Economic Opportunity – Ambassador Ralph Thomas draws attention to the Chinese company Jiuquan’s proposal to build a coal-fired power plant at their newly-acquired bauxite alumina plant, Alpart in St. Elizabeth. Ambassador Thomas used examples of the severe environmental impact of Chinese coal-fired industrial plants on China’s major cities and environs and warns against similar conditons in Jamaica resulting from the Chinese plan. Ambassasdor Thomas decries the Jamaican government’s silence on this issue and calls on the government to reject the Chinese proposal and protect Jamaica’s environment.
Sanctions Enforcement – Violations and De-Risking – Ambassador Curtis Ward while highlighting the de-risking process of U.S. banks and its impact on Caribbean financial institutions, also identifies sanctions enforcement as an issue for U.S. and European banks in the de-risking process; in particular the enormously high penalties imposed by the U.S. Justice Department on sanctions violators. Ambassador Ward suggests that U.S. banks are ending relationships with Caribbean banks also because of lack of confidence in the latter to enforce U.S. sanctions thereby exposing U.S. banks to penalties.
Taxing Caribbean Diaspora Savings and FATCA Reporting – Ambassador Curtis Ward examines expectations that all Caribbean governments will accede to the FATCA reporting requirements, and identifies concerns in diaspora circles about possible tax liabilities that may arise from reporting on these accounts to the U.S. government (USG). Ambassador Ward assures there is nothing in FATCA reporting requirements to prevent members of the Diaspora from continuing to take advantage of saving in financial institutions in their countries of origin as long as they otherwise comply with U.S. tax laws.
Engaging Caribbean Diaspora: The Jamaican Experience – Ambassador Curtis Ward traces the origin of engagement of the Government of Jamaica with its Diaspora; highlighting the genesis of the first broadly based Jamaican Diaspora organization, NAJASO formed in the United States as a patriotic diaspora group in 1977. Ambassador Ward applauds the efforts of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson’s government to organize the Diaspora through the 1964 Diaspora Conference in Kingston; but concludes that no appropriate mechanism is yet in place for effective engagement between the Government of Jamaica and the Diaspora; and supports new initiatives to fill the gap.
Jamaica Crime “spike” a Perpetual Challenge – Ambassador Curtis Ward in this post is critical of certain crime fighting methods employed by Jamaica which have proved ineffective year after year; and highlights major deficiencies in the training of law enforcement personnel. Ambassador Ward used the example of crime scene protection and investigation among the many areas that are lacking in sophisitication; and suggests government’s lack of engagement with the diaspora in order to take advantage of available diaspora expertise also contributes to the lack of capacity in Jamaica law enforcement, prosecutorial, and justice systems.
Caribbean Financial Sector Challenged by U.S. FATCA Requirements – Ambassador Curtis Ward discusses the challenges faced by Caribbean governments and Caribbean financial institutions (FIs) forced by U.S. laws to implement new requirements for anti-money laundering/countering financing of terrorism, and helping the U.S. government identify U.S. tax evaders. Most Caribbean governments and FIs began from a lack of legal and operational capacities required to implement effectively the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) provisions by Janaury 2017. Ambassador Ward suggests that failure to comply will affect U.S. FIs de-risking and issues related to correspondent banking relationships.