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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending February 15th, 2013

15 Feb

SMUGGLING SURGES IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—02/09/13
The Dominican Republic has become the chief transit location for drug smuggling in the Caribbean. Officials in the country confiscated nine tons of cocaine in 2012, the third record-breaking year in a row, according to the national drug control agency. In January 2013, authorities seized another three tons of the drug, and Pedro Janer, acting head of the Caribbean Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), expects the rest of the year to reach a new record in smuggling as well. The agency has called for more security in the nation’s ports to stem the tide of drug traffic.

MUSICIANS IN HAITI SAY THEY ARE BARRED FROM CARNIVAL PERFORMANCE—02/10/13
Three bands in Haiti report that they have been banned from performing during Carnival in 2013 and believe this is because their songs are considered critical of the government of President Michel Martelly. Martelly had a previous career as “Sweet Micky” and was known for his criticism of government authorities. Thomas Asabath, manager of the Brothers Posse band, says the songs reflect reality in Haiti and that Martelly is taking them the wrong way.

U.S. TROOPS TRAIN FOR MASS MIGRATION IN CARIBBEAN DRILL—02/11/13
A training drill designed to prepare troops from the United States and additional security agencies was held to simulate a mass migration of people from the Caribbean region to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba. A similar exercise is held every two years to ready the forces for a potential mass migration due to political turmoil or natural disaster. Over 500 troops and government workers from the U.S. traveled to Guantanamo Bay for the drill, which took place on the leeward side of the naval base.

ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGED CARIBBEAN NATIONS SELL CITIZENSHIP—02/12/13
Individuals in the Middle East and North Africa are able to send money to countries like Dominica in the Caribbean and buy citizenship status in those countries. Palestinians in particular have used this process to become citizens of a country since they have no legal citizenship status in their own region. Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis are doing a booming business in citizenship sales, and company based in Dubai is building a large facility in St. Kitts where investors may purchase property and citizenship at the same time.

90 PLAYERS TO SIGN WITH CARIBBEAN PREMIER LEAGUE—02/13/13
The new Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which is scheduled to begin in July, 2013, is slated to include six franchises and 90 contracted players in total. Among those named “franchise players’ are Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, and Kieron Pollard. Each of these players will be one of the six teams, which are expected to be from Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. Significant financial benefits are expected for players in the Premier League and will be funded at some US$360,000 per year by the CPL.

LABOR UNIONS MARCH ON PARLIAMENT IN THE BAHAMAS—02/14/13
Many former workers of the Wyndham Nassau Resort, along with the heads of several labor unions in the Bahamas, marched on that country’s Parliament to protest the layoffs of 140 workers from the resort in the past week. The protestors called for the government to intervene on behalf of the workers. Prime Minister Perry Christie spoke with the president of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union Nicole Martin before going into Parliament. He assured her that the government was doing everything it could. Christie told reporters the actions available to government on the issue were limited, however, since the government does not own the resort.

OTTEY, SPRINTER LEGEND, RECEIVES HONORARY DOCTORATE—02/12/13
Six-time sprint Olympian Merlene Ottey, 52. will receive an Honorary Doctor of Technology, Sport degree from the University of Technology (UTech) in a special ceremony. Ottey competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. She will receive the honorary degree in honor of her excellent athletic achievements and her contributions to world recognition of Jamaica as a leader in track and field. Ottey currently lives in Slovenia and competes for that country despite her age.

HIGH HOPES FOR TITANIUM HARVEST FROM ISLAND MUD—02/13/13
Promising signs of sufficient titanium in the bauxite/red mud waste in Jamaica have led to plans for harvesting the mineral if initial testing confirms predictions. According to Parris Lyew-Ayee, executive director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, Jamaica’s mud has iron and titanium content of six percent. Testing conducted by Nippon Metal Company, a Japanese firm, will reveal whether the minerals exist in sufficient quantity to be commercially harvested.

GROUP WANTS TO USE SORGHUM, NOT YELLOW CORN IN FEED—02/14/13
The Caribbean Broilers Group is looking to use sorghum instead of imported yellow corn as the main ingredient of its Nutramix animal feeds. Roger Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, toured the firm’s experimental plot of sorghum at Hill Run, St. Catherine, to see the proposed operations. About 4.8 million acres of sorghum was cultivated in the United States in 2010, and Dr. Keith Amiel, the group’s corporate affairs manager, believes Jamaica can grow between 140 and 150 bushels per acre, compared to the 120-126 bushels obtained by U.S. growers.

GOVERNMENT PLANS TO GET $16.4 BILLION IN REVENUE FROM TAXES—02/15/13
The revenue measures outlines to Jamaica’s House of Representatives by Peter Phillips, Finance Minister, are predicted to raise $16.4 billion in new taxes for the coming fiscal year. The taxes would include a special telephone tax, fees paid at local ports, fees paid by telecommunications providers, and taxes on dividends. There would also be a five-percent surtax on the income of “unregulated” firms, and increase in the Education Tax, and a customs administration fee would be imposed on all imports. Taxes would also be increased on gaming, local stamp duty rate, lotteries, and would include property tax reforms. Legislation will also be introduced concerning Transfer Pricing Rules and Thin Capitalization Rules, but no implementation date for these has been set.

 

OTTEY, SPRINTER LEGEND, RECEIVES HONORARY DOCTORATE—02/12/13

Six-time sprint Olympian Merlene Ottey, 52. will receive an Honorary Doctor of Technology, Sport degree from the University of Technology (UTech) in a special ceremony. Ottey competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. She will receive the honorary degree in honor of her excellent athletic achievements and her contributions to world recognition of Jamaica as a leader in track and field. Ottey currently lives in Slovenia and competes for that country despite her age.

 

HIGH HOPES FOR TITANIUM HARVEST FROM ISLAND MUD—02/13/13

Promising signs of sufficient titanium in the bauxite/red mud waste in Jamaica have led to plans for harvesting the mineral if initial testing confirms predictions. According to Parris Lyew-Ayee, executive director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, Jamaica’s mud has iron and titanium content of six percent. Testing conducted by Nippon Metal Company, a Japanese firm, will reveal whether the minerals exist in sufficient quantity to be commercially harvested.

 

GROUP WANTS TO USE SORGHUM, NOT YELLOW CORN IN FEED—02/14/13

The Caribbean Broilers Group is looking to use sorghum instead of imported yellow corn as the main ingredient of its Nutramix animal feeds. Roger Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, toured the firm’s experimental plot of sorghum at Hill Run, St. Catherine, to see the proposed operations. About 4.8 million acres of sorghum was cultivated in the United States in 2010, and Dr. Keith Amiel, the group’s corporate affairs manager, believes Jamaica can grow between 140 and 150 bushels per acre, compared to the 120-126 bushels obtained by U.S. growers.

 

GOVERNMENT PLANS TO GET $16.4 BILLION IN REVENUE FROM TAXES—02/15/13

The revenue measures outlines to Jamaica’s House of Representatives by Peter Phillips, Finance Minister, are predicted to raise $16.4 billion in new taxes for the coming fiscal year. The taxes would include a special telephone tax, fees paid at local ports, fees paid by telecommunications providers, and taxes on dividends. There would also be a five-percent surtax on the income of “unregulated” firms, and increase in the Education Tax, and a customs administration fee would be imposed on all imports. Taxes would also be increased on gaming, local stamp duty rate, lotteries, and would include property tax reforms. Legislation will also be introduced concerning Transfer Pricing Rules and Thin Capitalization Rules, but no implementation date for these has been set.

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