Sunday, December 09, 2018

Medical marijuana legislation to be continued...

Update 13 December 2018: Two of the cannabis bills have been approved in Parliament.

These are the Medical Marijuana Industry bill and the Medical Marijuana Amnesty Bill.
The third Bill “Permitted Use of Cannabis for Religious Purposes Bill 2018”, was withdrawn after members of the Rastafarian community told the government that a law could not give them permission to use marijuana, which they consider a sacrament. Jah Mon.

10 December 2018: The draft bill about legalization of medicinal cannabis in St. Vincent and the Grenadines still has not been debated in Parliament. Several experts have been clarifying and explaining legal and economical issues that legalization would involve. The debate is scheduled to start December 10th, we'll keep you updated.
By now it is clear that the governments main aim is (as it should be) that by legalizing medical marijuana the local stakeholders benefit.
This would especially happen if investors with specialized extracting and processing knowledge stepped in to prepare the products suitable for the export market and by doing that get everybody to make more money, less worries.
Here are 2 videos depicting marijuana farming as it is now, first one is from 2012, the part about St. Vincent starts at minute 25 and the second one is 2018, done by a Canadian marijuana legalization activist.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tropical storm Kirk

Tropical storm Kirk

Update 27 September 2018: As of 8pm Kirk was at 13.9N, 60.7W, just East of St. Lucia. Kirk is slowly falling apart, the center is ahead of the convection. In Barbados, just behind Kirk's center it is raining heavily at the moment.
Here in Bequia it was nice weather during the daytime, hardly any wind.

Update 26 September 2018: Kirk is back, as of 2pm the position was 12.5N 55W. A plane has investigated the storm and found winds up to 55 knots. Kirk is moving slightly North of West, so the center is expected to pass between Martinique and St. Lucia, where a tropical storm warning has been issued.
There is a tropical storm watch in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. My weather forecast stays the same.

Update 25 September 2018: Kirk is still called the remnants of Kirk, but looking at the infrared satellite picture these remnants look very active! He has gone a lot faster than initially expected, so rain and gusty winds are to be expected probably on Thursday, the Southerly wind on Friday.
Summary of current weather in the Grenadines:

Update 24 September 2018: As of 11 am advisories and updates from the national hurricane center on tropical storm Kirk have been discontinued as there is no closed circulation anymore.
I'd still suggest watching it closely as it will at least be a strong tropical wave when it passes through the island chain.

23 September 2018: There is another tropical storm named Kirk far to our East.
Kirk is very low latitude and is expected to reach the island chain on Friday, most probably passing just North of St. Vincent
He is rapidly (20knots) moving west and approaching warmer waters where he could strengthen some.
By the time Kirk approaches the island chain upper level westerly winds are expected to weaken him significantly and Kirk could pass the islands as a tropical depression, minor tropical storm or a strong tropical wave.
Regardless this expected weakening there could be a lot of rain and gusty winds on Friday, and strong Southerly to Southeasterly winds Saturday.
At 1700 September 23rd Kirk was located at 9.5N 32.3 W.
Updates to follow.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Tropical storm Isaac

Isaac again

Last update 13 sept 2018 11.00: At 11.00 the center of Isaac was located at 14.9N 61.8W which is between Dominica and Martinique. Isaac is now a weak tropical storm with winds of 45 knots. However, the rain bands behind it will affect the island chain throughout the day today, mostly right behind and to the North of the storm, but even the Windward Islands could get some.
In Bequia the wind has already shifted to a Southerly direction and it is partly sunny.

Update 12 sept 2018 11.15: Isaac has weakened a little more, and is now at 15N 54.7W.  A hurricane hunter plane has just been investigating the storm and found winds of 50 knots. So Isaac is now expected to pass through the island chain as a "normal" tropical storm. This will still mean significant amounts of rain at the former center of the storm, and even here in the Grenadines we might get some rain as Isaac is falling apart.

Update 11 sept 2018 12.00: Isaac is now a strong tropical storm at 14.6N 49.7W. There still is a high level of uncertainty as to Isaac's intensity when it passes through the island chain. This is why there is a hurricane watch for Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

Update 10 sept 2018: Surprisingly Isaac did not strengthen and is still a minor tiny hurricane. As of 5 pm he was located at 14.4N 45W. To give you an idea about how tiny he is: hurricane force winds of 64 knots or greater extend only 10 miles from the North of the center. Tropical storm force winds of 34 knots or greater only have a maximum radius of 40 nautical miles.

Update 10 sept 2018: As expected Isaac has strengthened into a minor hurricane and is continuing on its westward track. Isaac is a tiny hurricane which means that fluctuations in strength can be rapid and significant. For that reason there is a high level of uncertainty in the forecasts as to at which intensity it will pass through the island chain. My favorite computer model has it as a minor storm, but the National Hurricane center has it as a minor hurricane.
Consensus is very general now that it will pass somewhere North of Martinique, with Antigua getting the strongest winds..
For us here in Bequia that will most probably mean no wind at all on Wednesday before Isaac, and a nice breeze after he has passed through the island chain.

Track of Isaac 2012
In 2012 I wrote a post about a storm named Isaac that in a way affected Bequia. At this moment there is a next storm named Isaac to our East.

This Isaac, since coming off the coast off Africa as a tropical wave, then depression #9 is currently intensifying and may even become a hurricane soon.
The forecast track of Isaac 9-9-2018

This Isaac is so far following a very similar track as his namesake in 2012, and is forecast to pass through the island chain next week.

Where and at what intensity?
The official forecast has it passing through a minor hurricane/strong storm, the numerous "amateur" marine forecasters I follow and which are usually right have it passing through  as a minor storm/depression.

I'll keep updating this post as new information becomes available, stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Marijuana legalization in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Marijuana legalization

It may finally be happening, the legalization of marijuana for medical and religious purposes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

3 draft bills have been prepared, these will be debated in Parliament tomorrow, Thursday the 6th of September.
The first bill is an Amnesty Bill, giving farmers a chance to apply for a certificate of amnesty  while surrendering any harvest they may have at that time to the government. This amnesty period is supposed to have started already, and last well into 2019, but that was under the assumption that these bills would have been passed.
The second bill is the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill. This aims to legalize marijuana used for medical purposes. This is a very broad spectrum and includes: (a) pain associated with cancer;
(b) severe and treatment resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
(c) status of human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency
(d) Parkinson’s disease;
(e) multiple sclerosis;
(f) severe intractable epilepsy;
(g) damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological
indication of intractable spasticity;
(h) post-traumatic stress disorder;
(i) rheumatoid arthritis or any similar chronic autoimmune
inflammatory disorder with severe or debilitating conditions;
(j) autism;
(k) glaucoma;
(l) sickle cell anaemia;
(m) anxiety;
(n) sleep disorders;
(o) chronic pain;
(p) Alzheimer’s disease;
(q) Crohn’s disease;
(r) Hepatitis B;
(s) Dravett’s syndrome; and
(t) any other illness or condition declared by the Minister, acting on the
advice of the Council, by order published in the Gazette, to be a qualifying
medical condition;

What this means for the farmer: Once the farmer has the above certificate he or she can apply for a traditional cultivation license. With that it will be legal to grow, harvest, dry, trim, and package marijuana for medical purposes.

To make this economically as feasible an undertaking as it is now the marijuana farmer will need a purchaser of the product in bulk. And this is where in my opinion the glitch is, as this will involve big money. Medical marijuana is already a booming business and growing for big pharmaceutical companies. Chances are that they will simply take over the entire medical marijuana industry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with no or only slight benefits to Vincentians.
This same bill covers a whole lot of other licenses: Types of licences.
(a) a cultivation licence, which shall be issued to allow for the growing, harvesting, drying,
trimming, curing or packaging of medicinal cannabis;
(b) a research licence, which shall be issued to allow for the conduct of scientific
research relating to the development of medicinal cannabis;
(c) a manufacturer licence, which shall be issued to allow for activities relating to the
processing and manufacturing of cannabis material and medicinal cannabis products,
including but not limited to, edibles and other derivatives;
(d) a dispensing licence, which shall be issued to allow for the dispensing of
medicinal cannabis to patients;
(e) an import licence, which shall be issued to allow for the importation of
medicinal cannabis products and planting material from any country where it is
legal so to do;
(f) an export licence, which shall be issued to allow for the exportation of
medicinal cannabis to any country in keeping with the laws of any such country;
(g) a transport licence, which shall be issued to allow for the transport of medicinal
cannabis; and
(h) a traditional cultivator’s licence, which shall be issued solely to citizen of Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, to grow, harvest, dry, trim, cure or package

The third act is the Permitted use of Cannabis for religious purposes bill, which simply permits rastafarians for example to use marijuana at their churches/ceremonies or events.

Comments on these Bills are still invited, you can send them to:
Hon. Attorney General
    Ministry of Legal Affairs
    Methodist Church Building
    Tel: 1 784 457-2586

You can view the bills in full here:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Toyship Adventure position updates

Instead of putting them below the previous post, I will put the coordinates of the little pirate ship here, this is the latest position:
12th May UTC: It is finally escaping Barbados' current, drastically changed course:
Speed: 0.5 knots @ 293.03°
Position at: 12 May 2018 00:00 UTC
Lat/Lon: 13° 23.24 N, 060° 5.57 W

Speed: 0.2 knots @ 6.68°
Position at: 11 May 2018 18:00 UTC
Lat/Lon: 13° 22.15 N, 060° 2.94 W

Speed: 0.2 knots @ 354.36°
Position at: 10 May 2018 06:00 UTC
Lat/Lon: 13° 15.48 N, 060° 3.74 W
As you see it has changed course again.
A speedboat went from Barbados yesterday (9th of May) to look for it but the mission was unsuccessful.
It must have been caught in a massive riptide west of Barbados, once it starts going West again a search mission is ready to start looking from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Here is the link to the map again, battery is almost empty, 3% remaining.
position of "Adventure"

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Little toyship aproaching the Grenadines caught in seaweed or riptide?

A little Playmobil toyship belonging to 2 British brothers aged 8 and 6 that was launched off the coast of Africa is within a 100 mile of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The ship, named "Adventure" completed its first 390 mile voyage from Aberdeenshire to Denmark in 2017.
It was then fitted with a tracker sponsored by OPEX group and dropped a 100 miles off Mauretania by the Norwegian square rigger Christian Radich.

The brothers lost track of the little boat for months, but it has recently started transmitting its position.
Adventure has now covered nearly 3000 miles, first coming within a 100 miles off the coast of the Guyanas, and is
now being swept  North West by strong currents towards Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Its latest "ping" can be followed via the link below.
position of "Adventure"

It is very possible that the little pirate ship ends up on Petit Tobac just East of the Tobago Cays where part of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. That little island is like a magnet for lost stuff, even part of a space ship fell on it some years ago.
And maybe it will make people more aware of how far a piece of plastic can travel!

Update 1: It is now right between Barbados and St. Vincent at
Speed: 0.9 knots @ 341.78°
Position at: 09 May 2018 00:00 UTC
Lat/Lon: 13° 5.87 N, 060° 7.43 W
Update 2: I suppose it has been found or is in a bunch of Sargassum weed, it is travelling at an odd course for a plastic pirate ship!
Speed: 0.4 knots @ 24.92°
Position at: 09 May 2018 18:00 UTC
Lat/Lon: 13° 12.42 N, 060° 4.31 W
Update 3: still on a strange course, it is still East wind there but the ship is travelling almost North:
Speed: 0.3 knots @ 21.36°
Position at: 10 May 2018 00:00 UTC
Lat/Lon: 13° 14.16 N, 060° 3.61 W

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

American Airlines flying to St. Vincent

Great news, American Airlines has added a new route: a direct flight from Miami to St. Vincent.
The scheduled flights will be on Saturdays starting December 22nd 2018 and are expected to be year round.
Flights will be on an Airbus A319 plane.
Tickets will be on sale starting May 14th 2018.
This will make American Airlines the only USA carrier with a regular flight to Argyle International Airport I Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Update: according to the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines tourism authority tickets will be on sale starting the 12th of May, and flights are scheduled to begin the 15th of December!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Icecubes fall from the sky in Martinique

Just an interesting little event that could in theory happen anywhere. This time it was on the 16th of April in Martinique, where a very warm and humid low level air mass from the South East collided with a very cold airmass descending from the North West.
This produced an area of heavy rain and thunderstorms, hanging around for several hours right in the middle of Martinique producing up to 235 mm of rain in 3 hours!
To the surprise of the inhabitants it also rained icecubes. Not rain, not snow, ice.

© MartiniqueLa1ere

Here is the scientific explanation:

So you see, under the very rare but exactly right circumstances this could also happen right here in Bequia!
For now, sunny and warm greetings as usual, Maria

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The 2017 Hurricane season in the Eastern Caribbean

Hello everybody, for several reasons I was not in Bequia during the past hurricane season, so no first hand reports here. The 2017 hurricane season did have some interesting statistics, which I will summarize here:
There were 17 named storms, normal is about 12. Of these 10 developed into hurricanes, of which 6 became major hurricanes (Lee and Ophelia cat 3, Harvey and Jose cat 4 and Irma and Maria cat 4).
This was not quite a record year, that was 2005 with a whopping 15 hurricanes of which 7 were major. (Total 28 named storms).

Though not record setting in general terms, it was an  extraordinary season for the lesser Antilles,
as this was the first time since reliable record keeping began in 1850 that 3 major hurricanes threatened and impacted the islands in 2 weeks time: Irma (5 and 6 September) and Jose (9 September) in the North and Maria (18th and 19th September) in the center.

Harvey contributed greatly to making 2017 the costliest season on record by its effects on Texas. In the Southern Antilles there was major flooding, this was Bequia:

Irma, a Cape Verdian named hurricane sets several records: as far as we know since 1850  this is the first  hurricane to make landfall in the Lesser Antilles as a category 5.
Irma also sets a record for packing maximum sustained winds of about 300km/h for 75 hours!
With a 295km/h sustained in the Caribbean Sea Irma ranks equal with Gilbert (1988) and Wilma (2005), just after Alan (1980) packing winds of 305km/h.

Maria, named close to Barbados, sets a record for the fastest intensification close to the island chain: from 130km/h to 260km/h in just 24 hours. Maria devastated Dominica.