(V.I. Consortium) ST. CROIX — Hummingbird Air, in a letter addressed to its customers, announced on Tuesday the suspension of all its operations — passenger, SHOPNET and cargo/parcel delivery — effective April 1.

The announcement comes over a year after the company had experienced two crash landings in 2015, the first in Barbuda and the second in St. Lucia — two incidents that damaged the carrier’s reputation among customers.

Hummingbird Air said it was in the process of negotiating with a new management group to takeover the operation. “We recognize that aviation options are limited and had hoped for a seamless management changeover. However, due to a number of factors we have decided to suspend service at the end of this month,” reads the letter, issued March 14.

Indeed, Hummingbird Air, which has routes to and from the territory between Dominican and St. Kitts and Nevis, served as an important carrier to many Virgin Islanders who constantly send items to family members down island. The carrier became even more essential when Liat announced that it would soon suspend flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Hummingbird Air said customers of its SHOPNET service — which allows residents of Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis to make online purchases through virtual retailers like Amazon and eBay, and route those purchases through the carrier — should ensure that their final orders are registered no later than March 25 to guarantee delivery.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A law enforcement official says the Justice Department is preparing to announce charges against four defendants, including two Russian security services officers, in a mega data breach at Yahoo.

The official says two of the defendants are Russian FSB officers and the other two are criminal hackers. One of the defendants has been taken into custody in Canada.

The official was briefed on the matter but was not authorized to discuss it on the record and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The Justice Department was expected to publicly announce the charges Wednesday.

The charges arise from a 2014 compromise of Yahoo user accounts and would be the first case brought against Russian government officials.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyana has reached an agreement with Mexico allowing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to export duty-free an estimated 150,000 tonnes of rice and paddy to Mexico before yearend.

The ministry of agriculture noted that on March 1, 2017, the Mexican government gazetted the authorisation to import 150,000 tons of rice and paddy, duty-free from Guyana before the end of December 2017.

Since 2015, Guyana has been seeking to enter the Mexican market following the collapse of the Venezuelan market with a delegation of grain producers and exporters recently participating in Expo ANTAD 2017, considered to be the largest trade fair for food retailers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The Guyana team also met with representatives from Commercial Mexicana and Soriana,” the release said, adding “these are some of the leading brands in food retailing in Mexico; they operate in excess of 650 supermarkets in more than 200 cities.”

Extension Manager at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRBD), Kuldip Ragnauth said that rice production will be higher this year.

 “I like to let the figures speak for themselves. We have already seen an increase in acres sown when compared to last year. So far we have recorded 225,000 acres as opposed to 180,000 acres for the same period of last year.

“As a matter of fact, we had projected 210,000 acres to be sown for this crop, looking back at the weather impact on the spring crop for this year and last year,” Ragnauth was quoted in the statement by the ministry of agriculture.

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(Barbados Today) Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur made a strong case today for Barbados to end its currency peg to the United States dollar.

In setting out his case before Parliament during the morning session on the second day of the debate on the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Arthur said other currencies should be considered to help stabilize the Barbados dollar, which the fired Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell had warned was facing devaluation because of the continued printing of money to support Government programmes.

In fact, the former Prime Minister would have taken many by surprise when he dismissed any talk of devaluation as “false”, explaining that the Barbados dollars devalued often, whenever the US dollar moves down against other currencies.

“Our currency is pegged to the United States dollar that is not going down in value, but is going up in value and it is making Barbadian exports more expensive, not because we want them to be more expensive but because of how our currency is pegged.

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(Barbados Today) In a confession of sorts, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler Monday admitted that the Central Bank’s printing of money was “not good” for the ailing Barbados economy and it must be “brought to a halt as soon as is practical”.

“It is not a sustainable policy, it doesn’t work well, it doesn’t look good, it doesn’t smell good, it is not good,” he told the post-lunch session of debate on the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

According to the him, the Central Bank provided financial support to the tune of $714.5 million at the end of December 2016 to help finance the underlying deficit and to cover a shortfall arising from the refinancing of maturing debt.

Insisting that the Freundel Stuart administration had little choice but to resort to the Government’s primary banker to avert chaos in the Barbados economy, Sinckler said the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was prepared to stand guilty as charged.

“If the price of saving lives and livelihoods is a downgrade from Moody’s or a bad report from S&P . . . if that is the price that we have had to pay to protect ordinary citizens from the worst ravages of this recession it is a price we willingly accept as a Government.

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