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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending June 14th, 2013

14 Jun

NO BIRD FLU IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, SAYS OFFICIAL—06/08/13
Ruben Silie, the Dominican ambassador in Haiti, says that Haiti was mistaken when it reported that the Dominican Republic is experiencing an outbreak of avian flu. Haiti cited the outbreak as a reason for banning imports of meats, chicken, eggs, and other goods from the neighboring country.  The World Health Organization declared the Dominican Republic to be free of avian flu in 2010. Rafael Schiffino, Dominican health official, said the five people cited by Haiti as having died of bird flu actually died of swine flu.

OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS OF CARIBBEAN BANK INVESTIGATED BY IRS—06/09/13
FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB), which is based in Barbados, is the target of an investigation by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has requested information about an undisclosed number of U.S. taxpayers who have offshore accounts with the bank. The tax agency suspects these accounts were used to evade U.S. law. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which has a majority stake in the FCIB, says it is complying with all U.S. laws and regulations and working to understand the nature of the IRS order in order to fulfill all requirements.

INDIA HELPING TO RESTORE COCNUT FARMING IN TRINIDAD—06/11/13
Two members of a technical team from the Coconut Development Board (CDB) of India are helping Trinidad and Tobago revitalize the island’s coconut industry. Trinidad has many citizens of Indian origin. According to Remany Gopalakrishnan, deputy director of the organization, and technical officer Pramod P. Kurian, the ten days they spent in Trinidad were designed to assess the coconut sector and develop a “road map” for its revival. Some 148,000 Indentured laborers from India came to T&T between 1846 and 1917, many of whom were assigned to work in the coconut industry.

TRINIDAD TRADE MINISTER DEFENDS JAMAICAN COUNTERPART—06/12/13
Vasant Bharath, Trade and Industry Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, has defended A.J. Nicholson, Trade Minister of Jamaica, who is feeling pressure to resign due to continued trade disputes between the two countries. Bharath believes that the call for Nicholson to leave his post from the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) unfair because the current trade imbalance has existed for some time and is not the fault of Nicholson.

WTO SAYS CARIBBEAN MUST AVAIL ITSELF OF TRADE OPPORTUNITIES—06/13/13
Pascal Lamy, the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is urging countries in the Caribbean to ensure their ability to take advantage of changes in the global environment. Lamy made his remarks at the launch of the Caribbean Regional Aid for Trade (AFT) Strategy. Aid for Trade refers to the flow of development funding from developed nations and funding agencies to developing countries. It is hoped that participation in the multilateral trading system will enhance the economic progress of developing countries.

CUBA TO REJOIN CARIBBEAN SERIES—06/14/13
Victor Mesa, manager of Team Cuba, and Jose Abreu, first baseman, are ready to participate in the yearly Caribbean Series baseball tournament after 53 years. Juan Francisco Puello, commissioner of the Caribbean Confederation, and Higinio Velez, the president of the Cuban Federation of Baseball, announced that Cuba will rejoin the tournament in Venezuela in February 2014. The tournament includes Winter League champions from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

U.S. COURT FINDS JAMAICAN WIRETAP NOT COVERED BY 4TH AMENDMENT—06/12/13
The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that the continuing formal relationship between a U.S. law enforcement agency and its counterpart in another country does not create enough of an agency relationship to implicate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment on searches performed outside the U.S. The case involved a claim by Stephen Lee, a U.S. citizen and convicted smuggler of marijuana, who was caught on tape during a Jamaican wiretap talking about shipping drugs to New York.

PROTECTED FORESTS IN JAMAICA THREATENED BY CHARCOAL TRADE—06/12/13
Being a charcoal burner in Jamaica offers much-needed work for many citizens, but the trade is endangering many of the island’s unique plants, animals, and insects. Efforts to protect the environment have been inadequate to stop charcoal burners from conducting their business. Since 17 percent of Jamaica’s 2.7 million residents live below the poverty line, many cut down trees to make their living from charcoal. Environmentalists are alarmed by the rate of deforestation and erosion occurring in Jamaica, comparing the country Haiti, which has suffered much devastation.

IMF: JAMAICA NEEDS CHANGE IN POLICY TO IMPROVE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS—06/13/13
According to Dr. Gene Leon, the outgoing senior representative for the International Monetary Fund in Jamaica, the nation must develop appropriate policies in order to move out from under its serious economic burdens. Even if all Jamaica’s debt disappeared overnight, it would be back in a few years if the right policies are not put in place to protect the economy in the future.

CONSERVATION EFFORTS IN COCKPIT COUNTRY DIFFICULT TO IMPLEMENT—06/14/13
Jamaica’s Cockpit Country is home to environmental damage from pollution, timber cutting, and charcoal burning, and conservation workers in the area grow increasingly frustrated as they try to stop individuals and companies that cause harm to the unique ecology and culture of the area. The Cockpit Country comprises Trelawny, St. James, and Manchester, and leaders of these parishes are calling for more protection against major destruction from mining or quarrying there.

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