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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending July 5th, 2013

05 Jul

OFFENSIVE ONLINE STATEMENTS TO BE PUNISHED BY GRENADA GOVERNMENT—06/29/13
Lawmakers in Grenada have given their approval to a bill that will criminalize making statements offensive to people on websites like Twitter and Facebook. The bill was approved as part of legislation to address electronic crimes. The same bill provides penalties for other online activities, including electronic stalking and identity theft. The bill is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and allows complaints about offensive online statements to be filed with police. A judge makes the determination if a comment is actually offensive and a penalty of up to three years in prison or a fine as high as $37,000 may be imposed.

“HILARIOUS” COMPLAINT LETTER RECEIVED BY AIRLINE—07/01/13
A letter from a frustrated airline traveler was posted online by Sir Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin Airlines, as an example of a “hilarious” complaint. The letter write describe the airline food as a “culinary journey of hell’ and cited frustration with multiple stops and delays.

INTERPOL CONDUCTS OPERATION AGAINST DRUG AND GUN SMUGGLERS—07/02/13
Interpol, the international police agency, headed an operation in the Caribbean and Central America that captured about $822 million in cocaine and other drugs. The operation also resulted in 142 arrests. Called “Operation Lionfish,” the effort targeted smugglers who transport guns and drugs using sea routes. It involved 34 countries and territories, including 20 nations in the Caribbean.

LEADERS IN CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY MARK ANNIVERSARY—07/03/13
It has been 40 years since the regional trade bloc of the Caribbean Community was founded, and leaders in the group met in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, to commemorate the historic occasion. The community, known as CARICOM, was founded on July 4, 1973, during a gathering of leaders from Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad. These leaders signed the Treaty of Chaqueramas then, and the signing will be re-enacted at the 2013 meeting.

STUDY SHOWS CARIBBEAN ATTRACTIONS INADEQUATE DRAW FOR TOURISTS—07/04/13
While the Caribbean region has depended on its beaches, nightlife, and culinary delights to attract tourists, a study by TravelSat found that these features are no longer enough to draw tourists away from other areas of the world. Travelers are increasingly basing their travel choices on things like security and overall cleanliness of the destination. The Caribbean does present love beaches, but other areas around the world offer the same experience, according to the survey.

CUBA DISPUTE OVER ESTATE OF ALFREDO GUEVARA—07/05/13
Alfredo Guevara, a Cuban filmmaker, intellectual and friend of the Castro brothers, left a large estate that includes art, books, furniture, and documents. When several paintings were found to be missing after a surprise search of his home, family members accused the authorities of conducting an unjustified raid in which they broke down doors and hauled items away in trucks, refusing to explain their activities at the time. He died in April 2013 at the age of 87. He was a major figure in the 1959 revolution. Police were assigned to secure the house after neighbors saw several people coming and going from the building at night.

UNESCO GIVES JAMAICAN HISTORY COLLECTIONS SPECIAL AWARDS—07/03/13
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized the importance of Jamaica’s heritage to the world by providing special awards to several collections. These include records of the period of slavery in Jamaica, indentured immigration from Asia, and Jamaica’s involvement in building the Panama Canal. These collections are now included in the organization’s Memory of the World Register. Two special plaques to mark the importance of the collections were unveiled on June 27, 2013, in St. Catherine.

HOUSE IN MILLSBOROUGH DEMOLISHED—07/04/13
A house in the Millsborough community in St. Andrew in which a number of gay men had been living has been demolished. The group was thrown out of the abandoned house by police armed with weapons and wearing gas masks. The action was taken because the men, who had been living in the abandoned house for some time, had cause complaints from other residents of the area. The men believed they were evicted because of their sexual orientation.

SIX JAMAICANS WIN SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS FROM EU PROGRAM—07/05/13
Six students from Jamaica have received top scholarships that are offered by the Erasmus Mundus program sponsored by the European Union (EU). The students are Kadian Alicia Davis, Allison Anthonette Pearce, Shaneil Stewart, Channelle Kerry-Ann Ferron, Marshalee Jones, and Jason Holness. They will be pursuing their academic interests in a wide range of countries, including Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.

STOP-AND-SEARCH SUPPORTED BY VAZ—07/05/13
Jamaican Member of Parliament for West Portland believes that the police should receive support for their efforts to reduce the high national crime rate with stop-and-search procedures. While there may be some inconvenience associated with the measure, said Vaz, the police actions are for the “greater good” of the country.

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