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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending March 1st, 2013

01 Mar

 

$100 MILLION IN ENERGY INVESTMENT MADE BY IFC—02/23/13
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested $100 million for developing clean energy in the Caribbean and Latin America in partnership with another World Bank Group fund. The IFC and the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund will each put $50 million toward InterEnergy Holdings, the owner of power assets based in the Cayman Islands. InterEnergy is slated to invest in the power industry of Haiti, wind and solar power in the Dominican Republic, and importation of liquefied natural gas to that nation as well.

PARLIAMENT OF CUBA TO SELECT PRESIDENT—02/24/13
The Parliament of Cuba is expected to call on Raul Castro to serve another five-year term as the nation’s president. While it appeared that younger politicians were being considered for the post, and Castro, 81, intimated that he might retire, it was uncertain whether he would be chosen. If he names a younger person as a top deputy, it could mean that his administration is in the process of deciding who will take the country into the future. Castro’s two current top aides are both in their 80s as well, so Cuba must find its leaders from outside the core group of those who fought in the 1959 revolution.

U.S. SUPREME COURT ALLOWS CARIBBEAN IMMIGRANTS TO BE DEPORTED—02/25/13
A ruling from the United States Supreme Court has stated that the High Court will not act to block the deportation of thousands of immigrants, from the Caribbean and other nations, who entered guilty pleas to serious crimes in 2011. These individuals had not been warned by attorneys that they would be the targets of deportation actions in the future. The law requires mandatory deportation of immigrants who have “aggravated felony” charges on their records.

AIRPORT IN PUERTO RICO TO BE PRIVATIZED—02/26/13
The governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, has approved making the operations of the island’s biggest airport private. The privatization of the airport is part of a deal worth an estimated $2.6 billion. Padilla said he would have done things differently, but noted that the government had already made a commitment to the deal. Unions and legislators criticized the 40-year contract with Aerostar Airport Holdings, believing it will cost jobs, lower wages, and ultimately mean high costs to travelers.

RESEARCHERS INVESTIGATE WHERE FISH GATHER IN CARIBBEAN SEA—02/27/13
Research funded by NOAA is using the underwater sounds of fish like groupers to find the areas where reef fish gather to spawn. Spawning behavior makes fish easier to catch and make these locations susceptible to over-fishing. The study could result in better measure designed to protect spawning areas. This will permit depleted fish populations to recover and rebuild their numbers.

NEW REGIONAL POLICY TO REDUCE FISH-IMPORT COSTS—02/28/13
Milton Haughton, the executive director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), believes that a new policy in the region will help decrease the area’s very high fish-import costs. The Draft Regional Fisheries Policy, which is expected to be approved by CARICOM later in the year, is designed to encourage value-added fish production and the exploitation of additional fish species. The policy will define the best available technologies for taking advantage of fish in different zones and to manage and protect fish stocks to ensure future yields.

GOVERNMENT WANTS TO PREVENT LOSSES WITH CARIBBEAN AIRLINES—02/26/13
The government of Jamaica plans to implement permanent measure that will prevent Caribbean Airlines from incurring huge debts with agencies in Jamaica. The carrier, which is based in Trinidad, reduced the large debt accumulated in fees and other duties in Jamaica. Dr. Omar Davies, Minister of Transport, noted that it is necessary to prevent such a situation from arising in the future. A new arrangement will be negotiated between officials from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

JAMAICAN TEACHERS MAY BE LICENSED—02/27/13
Teachers in Jamaica could face additional stress due to the proposed licensing initiative. The Jamaica Teaching Council, created by the Ministry of Education, wants to have all teachers on the island licensed, believing that this will ensure improvements in children’s school performance. The bill stipulates that all teachers will be required to be licensed every five years.

LEGISLATION AIMED AT LOTTO SCAM TO BE ENACTED BY END OF MARCH—02/28/13
According to Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Minister of Justice, legislation designed to prosecute individuals who are involved in the illegal lottery scam is scheduled to be passed by the end of March. The Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, 2012 was tabled by Peter Bunting, Minister of National Security, on February 26, 2013. It targets advanced fee fraud and creates an offense for possessing paraphernalia involved with scamming. It also focuses on elderly theft and future technologies that could access financial accounts.

GOVERNMENT TO AMEND NHT ACT—03/01/13
Jamaica’s government has stated that proposed amendments to the National Housing Trust (NHT) Act do not signal admission of illegal doings. Instead, the changes are meant to ensure that pending legal action by one civil society group does not have a negative impact on the nation’s economic programs. A planned $45.6 billion drawdown from the state-owned NHT has been characterized as illegal. Patrick Atkinson, attorney general, believes that there are those who want to imperil the deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for political advantage, but the deal must go through if economic conditions are to improve.

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