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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending January 18th, 2013

18 Jan

T&T BATTLE GUYANA FOR TWENTY20 POINTS—01/13/12
Trinidad and Tobago provided a defeat to previously unbeaten Guyana at the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament in Trinidad. T&T managed to extend their winning streak and take the position of the favorite to repeat their championship performance at the Twenty20. After four matches, T&T is the clear front-runner with 13 points. Jamaica is in second place with nine points.

CHIEF OF CANCER CENTER ALLEGEDLY INVOLVED IN HEALTH CARE SCANDAL—01/14/12
Arthur T. Porter, professor of medicine and oncology and the person charged with heading the Cancer Center for the Eastern Caribbean (CCEC), has become the focus of a report into a major health care scandal in Canada. Questions have been raised about Porter’s management of several high-dollar projects around the world, including the EC$13.5 million CCEC. According to sources, during Porter’s leadership of the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) between 2004 and 2011 when he resigned, the organization’s planned deficit of $12 million has increased to $115 million, causing the hospital to be assigned a special overseer to watch its spending.

CUBA SEES 51 NEW CHOLERA CASES—01/15/12
The Ministry of Public Health in Cuba announced 51 new cases of cholera in Havana. There are increasing worries that the disease will spread further, and diplomats are unhappy about the government’s lack of transparency on the issue. No one has died from the latest outbreak as yet, and preventive measures have been put in place to stem its spread. The government has not responded to questions about the outbreak, which started on January 6, 2013, and has not made any experts available to discuss the disease with the public.

FIFA APPEAL DROPPED BY CARIBBEAN OFFICIAL—01/16/12
Patrick John has ended his appeal of a two-year ban imposed on him by FIFA in connection with the bribery case associated with Mohamed bin Hammam. A hearing scheduled with the Court of Arbitration for Sport was cancelled after John, who is a former prime minister of Dominica, withdrew his appeals request. The ethics committee of FIFA banned John and imposed a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs in November of 2011, but never specified exactly what John was accused of.

T&T DEFEATS BARBADOS, MOVES TO TWENTY20 FINAL—01/17/12
Trinidad and Tobago, defending Twenty20 champions, moved into the final of the tournament by easily defeating Barbados. T&T achieved five wickets and ended their preliminary round without a loss. Sendl Simmons had the top score with 36 from 23 balls, which set up the victory.

BRITAIN WANTS VAT IN TURKS AND CAICOS—01/18/12
Dr. Rufus Ewing, the premier of Turks and Caicos Islands, received a letter from Britain’s Minister for Overseas Territories rejecting his request for a delay in the value added tax (VAT). The letter also confirmed that the new VAT will go into effect on April 1, 2013, unless a real alternative is found. The government of Turks and Caicos has been seeking a delay in the imposition of the VAT since its election in November 2012. According to Simmonds, however, a delay would result in serious risks.

MASKED MAN SHOOTS PATIENT AT MAY PEN HOSPITAL—01/16/12
All public hospitals in Jamaica ramped up their security efforts after the shooting death of a patient at May Pen Hospital. Adiff Washington, 37, was shot four times when two gunmen entered his hospital ward. One of the men held off a security guard while the other killed Washington, who was out on bail related to charges of attempted murder and kidnapping. According to the Independent Commission of Investigations, Washington told an investigator that he had been shot by a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

AUDITOR GENERAL SHOWS EDUCATORS OWE GOVERNMENT $410 MILLION—01/17/12
The yearly report from the Auditor General’s Department indicates that many educators have not met their financial obligations to the Education Ministry after receiving funds to upgrade their skills. According to audits of the Ministry’s records, 212 teachers owed the government a total of $410 million because they did not meet their bond agreements as of March 31, 2012. Of the 212 teachers, 114 have never repaid their loans, 74 were inconsistent in repaying, and 24 were paying their loans on a monthly basis.

DEPARTMENT OF AUDITOR GENERAL FINDS RULE BREACHES IN ACCOUNTING—01/18/12
Several of Jamaica’s government ministries, agencies, and departments have breached financial and accounting rules, according to a report from the Auditor General. The problems were found during audits of the accounts for fiscal year 2011-2012. In the report, the Department discovered five entities in which payments totaling $838,928 and US$122,261 were made in breach of stipulated guidelines and rules. Overpayments totaling some $31 million were also found.

URBAN REPRESENTATIVES BELIEVE CONSTITUENTS OVERLOOKED—01/18/12
Desmond McKenzie, MP for West Kingston, and Karl Samuda, MP for North Central St. Andrew, believe that their urban constituents are being overlooked by the government’s farm work program. These Opposition legislators believe the people they represent are being stressed because they fill out the applications for the program and then are not chosen to participate in the program. The legislators believe that it is nearly impossible for their constituents to benefit from the farm work program, but did not tell Derrick Kellier, Minister of Labor, stop allocating the forms to them.

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