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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending January 11th, 2013

11 Jan

OFFICIALS IN HAITI RENEW DUVALIER’S PASSPORT—01/05/12
Haiti’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a passport renewal for the nation’s former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. Duvalier’s attorney, Reynold Georges, said the passport was reissued as is customary for former prime ministers and ex-presidents. Authorities in Haiti are investigating human rights abuses linked to Duvalier’s 15-year rule of the country, but a judge recommended that he be indicted only for financial crimes, which carry a prison term of only five years if he convicted.

MISSONI CEO ON PLANE MISSING NEAR VENEZUELA—01/06/12
Vittorio Missoni, the CEO of Italian fashion house Missoni is one of six people missing after a small plane disappeared from radar screens and failed to land as expected. The six people were flying from Los Roques to Caracas. No sign of the plane has been found to date. In addition to Vittorio Missoni, the flight carried his wife Maurizia, two Italian friends of the couple, and two Venezuelan crew members.

NEW FINAL RULE ISSUED BY U.S. AIMS TO PROTECT FAMILIES—01/07/12
Janet Napolitano, United States Secretary of Homeland Security, announced new rules that are designed to support Caribbean families. The new rules reduce the time period in which Caribbean nationals, along with nationals of other countries, are separated from their spouses, children, and parents. These relatives must be in the process of getting visas to become legal residents of the U.S. in some circumstances. The rules will go into effect March 4, 2013.

RAMPAUL INJURY PRECLUDES PLAYING IN CARIBBEAN T20—01/08/12
West Indies bowler Ravi Rampaul has suffered a knee injury that will keep him out of the Caribbean Twenty20. He is expected to remain out of the game for two to three weeks. Quick bowler Rayad Emrit was tapped to take Rampaul’s place in the Trinidad and Tobago squad. T&T are defending their championship at the T20 this year and have several famous players on the team, including Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, and Sunil Nanne.

OAS EXAMINES CARIBBEAN HUMAN RIGHTS—01/09/12
Human rights organizations in the Caribbean region fear that what has been called Caribbean “complacency” about civil liberties could undermine the Inter-American human rights system under initiatives brought forth by some members of the Organization of American States (OAS). A special session of the organization’s General Assembly will be held in March 2013, and members will decide on how to reform the human rights system by modifying the powers of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.

PARLIAMENT DISSOLVED IN GRENADA, VOTE SCHEDULED—01/10/12
The Prime Minister of Grenada, Tillman Thomas, has dissolved the nation’s parliament in order to prepare the way for general elections. Under government rules, elections must be scheduled within 90 days. Thomas announced his action in a television address to the nation. He delayed dissolving the parliament until a new voter registration system was ready for use.

MAROON FESTIVAL SUFFERS LOW PARTICIPATION—01/09/12
The Accompong Maroon Celebrations in St. Elizabeth have been going on for the past 275 years, but critics say poor organization, crowd support and degradation of the Maroon culture over the years contributed to the poor turnout for the 2012 festival. While Colonel Ferron Williams prohibited the sale of non-cultural products by vendors in Accompong Town during the festival, vendors continued to sell such items. There was also a decrease in the number of foreign visitors to the celebrations due to Hurricane Sandy, and local support did not offset these losses.

HURRICANE SANDY WASTE TO BE USED FOR COMPOST, MULCH—01/10/12
Much of the shrubs and trees destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in the Corporate Area are being transformed into useful products by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA). According to community relations manager Shauna Guthrie, most of the material will be processed into chips for use as compost or mulching by the Parks and Garden division. Some of these products could be made available for purchase by the public in the future.

10 DEAD IN FIRST 10 DAYS OF 2013 AT HANDS OF SECURITY FORCES—01/10/12
The Independent Commission of Investigations reports that Jamaican security forces killed ten people in the first ten days of 2013. Nine of the killings involved police officers, and one was committed by a soldier. The Commission is investigating each one of the incidents. However, officials noted that the number of major crimes dropped by seven percent in Jamaica in 2012, compared to 2011.

PRIMARY SCHOOL GETS NEW SANITARY FACILITIES—01/11/12
The Mount Rosser Primary and Infant School in St. Catherine will soon have modern sanitary facilities. The school is benefitting from efforts led by the past students’ association to replace pit latrines with modern facilities. Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education, took quick action and provided government assistance for the upgrade of the sanitary facilities at the school.

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