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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending September 20th, 2013

20 Sep

 

EVACUATIONS OCCUR IN TRINIDAD DUE TO HEAVY RAINS, FLOODING—09/14/13
A number of families in West Trinidad had to evacuate their homes after heavy rains resulted in flooding and overflowing rivers. The rains, accompanied by thunder and lightning in the Diego Martin and Petit Valley areas submerged the areas in several feet of water. Significant damage totaling in the millions of dollars resulted from the storms and at least two people were killed.

RUSSIA MAY HELP CARIBBEAN WITH OIL EXPLORATION—09/15/13
The Russian ambassador to Guyana, Nikolay Smirnov, has stated that Russia is willing to provide aid to the Caribbean for oil and gas exploration and to address the influence of the global economy on the region. He made his remarks at Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) and noted that the relationship between his country and the Caribbean was strong. While Russia may not provide direct investment into oil and gas exploration, it will assist with “specific projects.”

NATIONS IN CARIBBEAN CONSIDER LEGALIZING MARIJUANA—09/16/13
The smaller economies in the Caribbean region have begun to examine the possibility of legalizing or decriminalizing the use and possession of marijuana. Puerto Rico has spurred the effort, and its Senate will soon start to study the matter. There has been a debate in the country about the possible decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of cannabis and even legalizing its sale and medical use.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NAMED HAPPIEST CARIBBEAN COUNTRY—09/17/13
The 2013 World Happiness Report has named Trinidad and Tobago as the happiest nation in the Caribbean. The report is sponsored by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The 2013 report is the only the second to be issued by the organization and follows the 2012 Gallup World Survey that found Trinidad to be the fifth-happiest country in the world. The report makes its determinations on the basis of six variables, which include the “real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity.”

CARIBBEAN GOES FORWARD WITH EFFORT TO OBTAIN SLAVERY REPARATIONS—09/18/13
Representatives from around the Caribbean met in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to continue the effort by several countries in the region to obtain slavery reparations from Britain, France, and the Netherlands. These three European nations benefitted from the Atlantic slave trade and the Caribbean Community is demanding compensation for the slavery and genocide of native peoples. The Prime Minister of St. Vincent, Ralph Gonsalves, is leading the effort to force the former colonial powers to pay reparations.

DIRECT MAIL SERVICE CONSIDERED BETWEEN CUBA AND U.S.—09/19/13
Representatives from Cuba and the United States are meeting to renew discussions about the re-establishment of direct mail service between the two countries. This service was ended 50 years ago during the Cold War. The resumption of direct mail transportation between the U.S. and Cuba is consistent with the goal of promoting the free flow of information to and from each nation, said Johana Tablada, deputy director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s U.S. affairs division.

NEW LEADER OF JFLL CALLS FOR MORE PUBLIC SUPPORT—09/17/13
Merris Murray, the new executive director of the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) is calling for more support of the organization’s programs by the public. The JFLL will continue to provide Jamaicans educational opportunities as part of its mission to improve the island’s human development capacity into the future.

PRIME MINISTER BACKS ANTI-DOPING AGENCY—09/18/13
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, is supporting the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in its battle against doping. The organization warned Jamaicans that the athletes need to address claims by a former official of the island’s anti-doping commission concerning lack of adequate testing and other “troubling” problems. Simpson Miller has contacted the organization and reassured its director that Jamaica is committed to resolving any difficulties in its testing program.

ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY WARNS AGAINST KILLING, EATING CROCODILES—09/19/13
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has called for Jamaicans to stop catching and eating crocodiles. Those who do not cease this illegal activity may be prosecuted. According to Monique Curtis, environmental officer of NEPA, noted that it is illegal to possess or interfere with any part of a crocodile, which is given protection under the nation’s Wildlife Protection act. There have been reports of growing consumption of crocodile meat in Jamaica.

JAMAICA NOT QUALIFIED FOR DIVERSIT VISA FROM U.S.—09/20/13
The United States Department of State has decided that Jamaicans do not have eligibility to apply for the 2015 Diversity Visa program. Diversity visas will be made available to countries that have low rates of immigration to the U.S. Only 55,000 diversity visas will be provided each year. Other countries not eligible for the diversity visa are Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil.

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