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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending May 17th, 2013

17 May

LIAT CRITICIZES SUBSIDY OF CARIBBEAN AIRLINES—05/11/13
LIAT, the Caribbean airline, has criticized the subsidy of Caribbean Airlines by the government of Trinidad and Tobago. LIAT calls the subsidy constitutes “unfair competition” and says the government continues to encourage closer ties with the airline. LIAT has formulated a legal opinion that will be presented to the Prime Minister of T&T, Kamla Persad-Bissessar. St Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves also said facts about the extent to which LIAT has faced disadvantages in the market will be presented as well.

JUSTICE MINISTER OF FRANCE SUPPORTS AID TO SLAVE DESCENDANTS—05/13/13
France’s Justice Minister Christiane Taubira supports land reform in her nation’s foreign territories in order to help the descendants of slaves. She made her remarks just two days after the President of France François Hollande said such reparations were impossible for the role of the country in the slave trade of the colonial era. Taubira said France should think about “regrouping” properties divided in that era and institute some type of land reform.

BELIZE CONDEMNS DESTRUCTION OF LARGE MAYAN PYRAMID—05/14/13
The government of Belize will investigate the destruction by a road building company of a large Mayan pyramid in the northern part of the country. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture was shocked at news of the demolition of the Nohmul complex to obtain crushed rock for a road building project and has launched an investigation into how this happened. The ceremonial complex dated back at least 2,300 years, and its destruction was called “ignorant” and “unforgivable.’

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INITIATES CRACKDOWN ON PROSTITUTION—05/15/13
In the Dominican Republic, individuals who force other people into prostitution and the clients of prostitutes will be arrested as part of a crackdown on sex trafficking in the country. Attorney General Francisco Dominguez said that prostitution has been openly practiced in the nation for some time, but the trafficking of people has become increasingly widespread. It is time to impose some control on the sex industry, he said. Prostitutes will not face arrest, since there is no law that specifically prohibits the activity. It is illegal to profit from the sex services of another, however, or to force someone to work as a prostitute.

HAITI CAMPS FEAR EVICTION AFTER ATTACKS—05/16/13
Reynold Georges, an attorney in Haiti, along with a judge and police officer, visited a collection of makeshift shelters near the country’s capital and told the 30,000 people living there that they were “squatting” on his land. He said he would have the place burned and then bulldozed. Residents, who had been there since the 2010 earthquake, threw rocks at Georges and protected their homes, but the situation has become a symbol of the threats and violence focused on the displaced person camps in the country and the 320,000 people who live in them. There has been an increase in the number of evictions from such camps in the past 12 months, according to reports from Amnesty International.

ST. LUCIA CELEBRATES INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY—05/17/13
St. Lucia has celebrated its first Indian Arrival Day, which is meant to commemorate the time when the first group of Indian indentured workers came to the island some 150 years ago. This is the first time that an event has been held to celebrate the arrival of these people. Leonard Surage, a founder of the new Indian Diaspora of St. Lucia organization, noted that few residents in St. Lucia know much about their origins. The association was formed to keep the Indian heritage alive.

HEAD OF BITU COMMITTED TO WORKERS’ RIGHTS—05/14/13
Kavan Gayle, the president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) has warned the government that the union will not back down from its obligation to protect the rights of workers in Jamaica, although it also wants to see the country’s economy improve. The union will continue to help with economic improvement efforts, but it intends to maintain its commitment to protecting gains made by workers thus far. His remarks were made during a church service commemorating the union’s 75th anniversary.

CHINESE, JAMAICAN MILITARY OFFICIALS HOLD DISCUSSIONS—05/15/13
Fang Fenghui, a member of the Republic of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), and Antony Bertram Anderson, visiting chief of staff of the Jamaican Defense Forces, met in Beijing on May 13, 2013, to discuss relations between the militaries of the two countries. The relationship between China and Jamaica has developed and deepened over the years, and both parties are willing to cooperate in pragmatic areas, including personnel training and military cultural exchanges.

FORCED MIGRATION OF JAMAICAN GAYS, LESBIANS TO BE DISCUSSED—05/16/13
A symposium to discuss the forced physical and mental displacement of Jamaica’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, “Homeless at Home,” to be held May 17 and 18, 2013, will focus on how this population is impacted in its own country. Many LGBT Jamaicans have been forced to leave their homes by landlords, families, or neighbors. Most people evicted from their homes find safe places to live, but some fear continuing harassment and violence against them, and are forced to leave the country altogether and travel to the U.S., Canada, England, and the Netherlands.

WILLIAMS PROPOSES POWERS TO CHARGE, PROSECUTE POLICE PERSONNEL—05/17/13
Because the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has not yet ruled on whether charges should be sought against police involved in the shooting death of Vanessa Kirkland, student at Immaculate Conception High School, Terrence Williams, head of INDECOM, has renewed a proposal to allow his office charge and prosecute police officers. The proposal was first introduced in 2011.

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