CARIFTA CHESS TOURNAMENT DOMINATED BY JAMAICA—04/13/13
The Carifta Chess Tournament of 2013 was dominated by Jamaican players, who collected the most points and took home the team title, plus three of the six official titles at the competition. Barbados was second, with Trinidad and Tobago third. Jamaicans were close to making a clean sweep of the unofficial title categories, winning in seven of the eight available titles.
ACTOR MATT DAMON AND WIFE RENEW WEDDING VOWS IN ST. LUCIA—04/14/13
Hollywood’s Matt Damon and his wife Luciana Barrosso, who have been married for almost eight years, renewed their wedding vows in St. Lucia. Damon rented the entire Sugar Beach Resort for the occasion and hosted some 50 guests. The couple has four daughters, all of whom were present at the ceremony.
TEN BRITISH TOURISTS ROBBED AT GUNPOINT IN ST. LUCIA—04/15/13
Ten British tourists were among 55 passengers robbed by three gunmen on a bus in Soufriere, St. Lucia. The bus was at the Botanical Gardens. There were no injuries resulting from the robbery, but money and jewelry were taken from the group. Lorne Theophilus, the island’s Tourism Minister, said the attack would have a negative impact on income from tourism. Chairman of the St. Lucia tourist board, Matthew Beaubrun, said such incidents are rare on the island and that authorities are serious about taking an appropriate response to the crime.
VENEZUELA’S MADURA BLAMES OPPOSITION FOR POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE—04/17/13
The political supports of Hugo Chavez, former leader of Venezuela, blame opposition leader Henrique Capriles for inciting post-election violence. The incidents killed seven people and injured another 61 individuals. Nicolas Madura, president-elect and Chavez’s heir to power, also charged that the violent activity was funded and directed by the United States. The U.S. has said it would not recognize Madura’s election without the provision of a vote-by-vote recount, as demanded by Capriles.
HEAD OF JAMAICA FOOTBALL FEDERATION TO LEAD CONCACAF COMMITTEES—04/18/13
Captain Horace Burrell, the president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), has been chosen to lead several CONCACAF committees, including the Legal and Finance Group of Committees. Burrell will also head the National Association Committee and the Statutes and Regulations Committee.
PHYSICIANS LEAVING PUERTO RICO FOR MAINLAND UNITED STATES—04/19/13
A growing number of health care professionals in Puerto Rico are leaving the country for the United States mainland, citing higher salaries and greater reimbursements from insurance companies. Many patients in Puerto Rico, who are frustrated by long waits for care and a lack of specialist practitioners, find they have no choice but to follow their doctors off the island. The number of doctors in Puerto Rico has fallen 13 percent in the past five years, according to the nation’s Medical Licensing and Studies Board.
BUNTING COMMENT CRITICIZED—04/16/13
Critics of comments made by Peter Bunting, Jamaica’s National Security Minister, believe he sent the wrong signal concerning his efforts in fighting the country’s crime problems. According to Terron Dewar, head of the UWI Guild of Students, the remarks were the wrong message to criminals, essentially telling them that Jamaica has run out of options to control crime and had to rely on “divine intervention” for help. Speaking at Northern Caribbean University, Bunting said “the best efforts of the security forces by itself will not solve the crime problem in Jamaica, but it is going to take divine intervention, touching the hearts of a wide cross section of the society.”
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION FINDS INCREASE IN KILLINGS BY SECURITY FORCES—04/17/13
The Independent Commission of Investigations, an agency in Jamaica that investigates charges of abuse against police and soldiers, found an increase of 15 percent in the number of killings attributed to security forces in the first three months of 2013. There were 78 killings of civilians by security forces between January and March 2013. In 2012, there were 66 such killings during the same months. Most killings occurred in Kingston and neighboring areas.
POLICE INVESTIGATE CAYMANS CONNECTION TO JEWELRY STORE ROBBERY—04/18/13
Jamaican law enforcement authorities investigating the robbery of Rolex watches from Swiss Stores in Kingston have turned their attention to the Cayman Islands, where a similar crime occurred. Some of the watches from the Cayman robbery were transported to Jamaica, police said. Authorities are examining previous jewelry store robberies in Montego Bay in connection with those in the Caymans.
FINANCE MINISTER OPTIMISTICE ABOUT JAMAICAN SITUATION—04/19/13
Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Dr. Peter Phillips has expressed confidence that help from overseas, designed to enhance revenues for the government, will make significant improvements to the country’s economic condition in 2013-2014. Phillips said there has been a “real improvement” although much more needs to be done. He noted the aid from bilateral partners like the United States Agency for International Development, as well as help from the Inter=American Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.