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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending May 31st, 2013

31 May

FAO TO FIGHT HUNGER IN CARIBBEAN—05/26/13
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is recommitting itself to sustainable agriculture and the fight against hunger in the Caribbean region. Dr. J. R. Deep Ford has been appointed sub-regional coordinator of the agency, which has headquarters in Rome. Dr. Ford is a Guyana national with a PhD in agricultural economics. He has worked with FAO for the past 13 years and is optimistic about how the organization can improve food security for Caribbean citizens.

U.S. TAX INSPECTOR FOCUSES ON CARIBBEAN BANK—05/27/13
A Caribbean bank, formerly owned by Barclays, is the focus of tax authorities in the United States, which have requested information about alleged American tax evaders since 2004. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed its request on an unknown number of U.S. taxpayers who have offshore accounts at the FirstCaribbean International Bank. The agency suspects they use these accounts to illegally evade taxes.

BIDEN SIGNS TRADE AGREEMENT, SPEAKS WITH LEADERS IN CARIBBEAN—05/28/13
United States Vice President Joe Biden met with political leaders of 15 Caribbean nations in Trinidad and Tobago to sign a trade agreement and talk about issues including security, investments, and energy. The trade agreement provides a framework for trade and investment between the U.S. and the Caribbean Community. Biden said he knew that the Caribbean countries faced unique challenges and noted that the U.S. wants to ensure that its economic growth

SENATOR IN GRENADA WANTS REVIEW OF ANTI-SODOMY LAWS—05/29/13
Lawrence Joseph, the president of Grenada’s Senate, believes that the island should reconsider the laws in has enacted to prohibit sodomy. Joseph said that “the day is fast approaching” when Grenada and other nations in the English-speaking Caribbean must amend their anti-sodomy laws to be part of the mainstream culture. He also said that there is a trend toward acceptance of homosexuals around the world, and wealthier countries could decide to impose sanctions or withhold aid from the Caribbean region in protest of local anti-sodomy laws.

CARIBBEAN VOLLEYBALL ATHLETES COMPETE FOR LARGE PRIZES—05/30/13
Many of the best volleyball players in the Caribbean will compete for huge prize money at the second Caribbean Volleyball League tournament at the Sports and Physical Education Center (SPEC) at the University of the West Indies’ St. Augustine campus. Four men’s’ teams and four women’s’ teams will battle for the championship in their section, with the winners to be awarded US$5,000 each.

FAST FERRY SERVICE IN CARIBBEAN NEEDS PRIVATE INVESTORS—05/31/13
St. Vincent Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves believes that the creation of a fast ferry service in the southern part of the Caribbean requires investment from the private sector. He also recommended government assistance for the endeavor. Gonsalves says that it takes a significant amount of money to implement a fast ferry service, and it is the private sector that needs to take some risk. Gonsalves has the responsibility for transportation in CARICOM and noted that governments should help private investors through a variety of concessions.

HEAD OF INVESTIGATION CENTER TOUGH ON POLICE—05/28/13
Superintendent Gladys Brown, who is the head of the Center for the Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse (CISOCA), says that more police officers are facing accusations of rape than initially thought, and she has warned the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) that they will not receive special treatment in regard to such charges. Brown says she will “name and shame them.” Her position results from reports that a sergeant with the JCF is under investigation for the alleged rape of his female companion on the grounds of a police station in the Corporate Area.

POPULATION OF JAMAICA RAPIDLY AGING—05/29/13
According to a report from Mona Ageing and Wellness Center, Jamaica’s population is growing older very rapidly, as is the entire Caribbean region. Over 71 percent of the senior citizens in Jamaica own their homes, however, and most are financially independent. The “older population” is defined as comprising people aged 60 and over. In this group, more than 65 percent suffer from diabetes or hypertension, while 22 percent have both chronic conditions. The report’s findings were made public by Professor Denise Eldermire Shearer, director of the Center.

JAMAICA WORKS TO REDUCE NUMBER OF DEATHS AT SEA—05/30/13
Jamaica is joining with the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce the number of deaths at sea by 50 percent by 2015. Koji Sekimizu, head of the organization, has focused on reducing maritime casualties since taking office. In 2012, the IMO estimates the number of people who died at sea at about 1,000, 500 of them in international shipping.

WEST DEFENDS ANTI-GAY COMMENTS, SAYS THEY ARE “RATIONAL”—05/31/13
Dr. Wayne West, chairman of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS), believes that it is not “homophobic” to say that homosexuality is fundamentally at odds with nature. According to West, to call some “homophobic” is to say that person is mentally ill, since homophobia refers to a mental illness in his view. He believes that homosexual behavior “does not serve the common good” and has a negative impact on society overall, giving the example of AIDS to support his position.

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