NEW CREDIT CARD RULES IN U.S. CONCERN MERCHANTS IN CARIBBEAN—02/02/13
The United States has imposed a new tax regulation on credit card transactions, and this is of concern to some Caribbean merchants. Hotels and restaurants in the Caribbean region believe that a new layer of bureaucracy now stands between them and the revenue they gain from tourists’ purchases. The new rule requires credit card firms to withhold 28 percent of merchant revenue if they cannot verify the legal name and tax ID number associated with that merchant. Businesses must file tax returns with the U.S… Internal Revenue Service to retrieve the 28 percent.
2013 CARIBBEAN SERIES TO BE PLAYED DIN NEW BALLPARK—02/03/13
The Caribbean Series for 2013 is scheduled to be played in a new ballpark and with a new system of competition. Four teams will play in a week-long tournament in Hermosillo, Mexico, about 175 miles from the United States. The Dominican Republic is favored to win the series and is represented by Leones del Escogido. The Dominican Republic has won the title 13 times since 1990.
CARIBBEAN TO BE ALERTED AUTOMATICALLY ABOUT COASTAL HAZARDS—02/04/13
Countries in the Caribbean will now receive automatic alerts in the event of significant sea level changes resulting from earthquakes via a new alarm system. According to Dr. Lorna Inniss, acting director of the Coastal /Zone Management Unit, the new system is critical because of tsunamis that travel from nation to nation in the region. Cooperation among the countries is required to ensure the safety of the 34 participating nations.
CARIBBEAN NATIONALS URGED TO VOTE IN SPECIAL NY ELECTION—02/05/13
On February 19, 2013, there will be a special election to fill the Queens, New York, 31st council district seat. The election has drawn considerable attention because one of the nine candidates for the office, Jacques Leandre, has filed objections with the Board of Elections and suits in the Supreme Court against almost all the other candidates, six of whom he is seeking to remove. All six are Black Caribbean Americans and African Americans. Leandre himself is from Haiti. Because of the large number of candidates in the election, a small number of votes could determine the winner, so all Caribbean nationals in the district are being encouraged to vote.
SLOW ECONOMIC GROWTH PREDICTED FOR 2013 IN Jamaica—02/07/13
The World Bank has predicted a growth rate of one percent for Jamaica in 2013. And according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the economic conditions in the country have worsened so that the low rate of growth has been forecast. Jamaica is an example of the economic challenges that face many other nations in the Caribbean, even as conditions improve in other countries around the world that are recovering from the recent years of difficult global economic times.
MEXICO GETS TOP SPOT IN CARIBBEAN SERIES VERSUS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—02/08/13
Mexico’s team has secured its place in the finals of the Caribbean Series, defeating Puerto Rico 10 to zero. Mexico will face the Dominican Republic in the 2013 Series championship game. The win came as a result of Luis Mendoza’s pitching that resulted in 7.1 scoreless innings. Marlon Byrd also had three RBIs and helped the Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon reach the finals.
PAULWELL CLASHING WITH MIAN OVER JPS PROJECT—02/06/13
Ahmad Zia Mian, the outgoing Director General of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) in Jamaica, the Phillip Paulwell, the island’s Minister of Energy, are engaged in a “clash of wills” over the status of a proposed Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) project. According to energy sector sources, Mian, who is leaving office imminently, has ignored Paulwell’s efforts to provide the JPS with an extension so it can finalize its plans to continue with the 360-megawatt project. Paulwell said the government has yet to receive a final position from OUR concerning this issue.
JAMAICAN MANUFACTURERS URGE PUBLIC TO BUY JAMAICAN PRODUCTS—02/07/13
Responding to information about poor quality imports, the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) is supporting a plan to reject substandard products that are currently imported to the island. The JMA is concerned about a lack of appropriate monitoring of ports, inequality of treatment between manufacture red versus imported products, a poor regulatory environment, excessive bureaucracy, and what it says is an unfriendly business environment in Jamaica that raises the costs of producing local products. The JMA urges all authorized entities to protect consumers and reduce health risks by ensuring the safety of imported products.
JAMAICA GETS ANOTHER AREA CODE—02/07/13
Jamaica’s Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is in the process of obtaining an additional telephone area code for the island. According to OUR, an additional cod is necessary because of an expected increase in telecommunications business and products, which will mean greater demand on resources. OUR is waiting for the North American Numbering Plan to decide when the new area code will be issued to Jamaica.
POLICE IDENTITY CARD SYSTEM DEFENDED BY JCF—02/08/13
Police say the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) process for issuing identification cards to its members operates appropriately. The ID card system came under attack after Omar Bailey, a youth advocate, was murdered. According to the National Youth Council, Bailey had a police ID card and was a member of the force, as well as a School Resource Officer. Karl Angell, communications director of the JCF, said that Bailey was not a JCF member, however, and that he had been twice charged with impersonating a policeman and was convicted for doing so. The Youth Council has questioned how Bailey was able to obtain a JCF ID in this case.