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Worry over high-end hotel closure

facing PoRt oF SPAIn — US Vice-President Joseph Biden yesterday announced that he will visit trinidad and tobago during the week of May 26 as part of his travel in the region. Biden also said he looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. he also said he is eager to meet with other Caribbean leaders, whom Persad-Bissessar has invited to come to Port of Spain, to discuss inclusive economic growth, development, energy and security cooperation throughout the Caribbean basin. A release from the White house, forwarded by the US Embassy in Port of Spain, stated that Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel to Brazil, Colombia, and trinidad and tobago. “In each country, the vice-president will meet with key leaders to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues. “In Brazil, he looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President Rousseff and Vice-President temer and discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional, and global issues that connect our two countries.” “In Colombia, the vice-president will meet with President Santos to build on security relations and focus on ways to further the prosperity of our two countries. “In trinidad and tobago, the vice-president looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar as well as leaders of other Caribbean countries, whom Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar has graciously offered to invite. this trip will be an important chance to discuss our collective efforts to promote economic growth and development, access to energy and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security,” the release said. Persad-Bissessar said in a statement she welcomes the visit of Biden and his wife to Trinidad and Tobago. The prime minister confirmed that she had invited regional heads to discuss collective efforts to promote economic growth, energy interdependence and development in the region. Ritz Carlton Hotel, Montego Bay. St. John’S — the religious community will be asking those vying to represent the public at the next general election to sign a code of conduct, which will govern their behaviour throughout the political process. that’s according to President of the Antigua Christian Council, Bishop Kenneth Richards, who said the body would address the issue at its next general meeting. “For the upcoming election, the church will be interested in establishing a code of conduct for the various persons who are competing for office in the election, that there is a common understanding with respect to probity, honesty, etiquette, and not being inflammatory,” Richards said. the head of the local Catholic Church said the push for a code of conduct follows an international meeting on the subject last year. “the vice president of the Christian Council attended an international conference in December, with respect of the church’s involvement in monitoring political campaigns,” he said. Richards said the council intends to bring other “umbrella” religious bodies, such as the United Evangelical Association, on board for input when drafting the document. Meeting of minds “the council will need to sit down, and this is where meeting with the other umbrella groups is important, so we can have a meeting of minds,” he said. “I am new to the island, so I would have to rely on the wisdom and knowledge and experience of the other ministers who have been here for a longer time, to advise me on some of the things we need to be wary of and to provide oversight at the next election.” Last February, Bishop Richards, originally from Jamaica, was elected to head the Diocese of St John’s Basseterre, which encompasses Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts nevis, Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands. the Bishop said although some are uneasy about mixing the two, the church has a place in politics. “In so far as politics touches the lives of persons, the church is concerned about people and so anything that is going to affect people, the church has a role to play. that is the reason we will get involved,” he said. (Antigua Observer) expulsion month before. Despite the public fallout between Warner and local government, works and infrastructure Minister Dr. Suruj Rambachan, Perad-Bissessar said their relationship was not as bad as reported in the media. ‘solid as a rock’ “When there’s an election, people get more excited, but been there, done that as they would say. All will be well. the party remains, as I said on Monday night, solid as a rock, will continue to work together and in any mass of humanity, any gathering of persons, you will have different views from time to time, but the democracy will prevail in the end,” she said. Persad-Bissessar said she has not lost touch with the citizenry as suggested by Warner. While admitting her schedule is busy, Persad-Bissessar said she and the rest of the MPs try “as much as we can ... to stay connected”. (Express)

Ritz Carlton Hotel, Montego Bay.

KINGSTON — Opposition Spokesman on Tourism and Travel Services Development, Edmund Bartlett, has expressed regret at news of the imminent closure and loss of over 400 jobs at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay.

Bartlett described the impending closure as a body blow to Jamaica’s tourism sector, as the Ritz Carlton remains the “only internationally acclaimed high-end brand on the island”.

He said that the implications for Jamaica’s appeal as a destination to the high-yielding demographics in the marketplace is of tremendous concern, as country is yet to determine whether the entity that will replace the Ritz Carlton will fit the profile and be of equal stature.

Bartlett, who is Member of Parliament for East Central St. James where the property is situated, also questioned the fate of over 400 workers employed to the Ritz Carlton, and called on the Government, part owners in the entity, to clarify the situation and indicate what protection is being given to the workers, many of whom have spent all their adult life in the employ of the Ritz.

“The departure of the Ritz Carlton, coupled with the failure of the Palmyra development, is a double whammy for the prospects of the Elegant Corridor fulfilling its promise of being the high-end destination of Jamaica,” the opposition spokesman said.

“It is imperative that the minister of tourism moves quickly to dispel the pale of doubt hovering over destination Jamaica at this time, following a disturbing five per cent decline in both earnings and arrivals in the just concluded winter-tourist season, the withdrawal of one of the pioneers of the all-inclusive model and a highly respected hotelier in the global marketplace, as well as Jamaica’s apparent inability to attract investments at the higher-end of the market,” Bartlett outlined.

“Nothing short of a clear and convincing strategy to reposition the industry and restore full confidence across the sector and throughout the marketplace is required at this time,” he added. (Observer)

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