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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending October 11th, 2013

11 Oct

 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC RULING ON HAITIANS WORRIES CARICOM—10/05/13
Irwin La Rocque, the secretary general of CARICOM, said that the 15 members of the regional integration organization are concerned about a ruling by the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court because it would have a negative effect on Haitians who live in that country. The ruling raises issues about the status of the more than 20,000 Dominican Republic nationals who are of Haitian origins. The human rights office of the United Nations has called on the Dominican Republic to ensure that its citizens of Haitian origin are not deprived of their nationality rights under the ruling.

CARIBBEAN REGION’S FAILURE TO INVEST IN AGRICULTURE CRITICIZED—10/06/13
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, the Minister of Agriculture in Guyana, criticized governments of Caribbean nations for not doing enough to invest and support agricultural research. He noted that less than 0.1 percent of the region’s yearly expenditures were put toward such research. The region lags research devoted to the propagation of commercially viable plant varieties and alternatives to dangerous fertilizers and pesticides.

PUERTO RICO THREATENED BY DEEPENING DEBT CRISIS—10/07/13
Puerto Rico is facing a debt crisis on a larger scale than that of Detroit, Michigan, in the United States, which recently went bankrupt. The island has been shut out of the bond market and currently finances its operation with short-term measures and bank credit. The greatest worry is that the territory will need federal aid, and there is no precedent for this activity. Puerto Rico is waiting for notice from the U.S. Treasury and the White House about what measures are available to help the country.

CARIBBEAN SERVANT BATTLES TO RETAIN INHERITANCE OF £20 MILLION—10/08/13
The British aristocrat, Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, died in 2010, leaving his St. Lucia fortune of £20 million to his loyal manservant of 30 years, Kent Adonai. However, a grandson of Lord Glenconner has filed a lawsuit claiming that his grandfather was not of sound mind when he made this bequest in a revised will before his death at age 83. This will left nothing to the immediate family. Tennant had been separated from his wife for decades, but never divorced. The couple rarely saw one another over the years, but the grandson and grandmother claim in the suit that she made frequent visits to the matrimonial home on St. Lucia to see Tennant.

UN AUTHORITY WANTS COMPENSATION FOR CHOLERA VICTIMS ON HAITI—10/09/13
Navi Pillay, a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has made a case for compensation to be made for the thousands of Haitians who died during a cholera epidemic on the island. Pillay did not say who should pay, but other activists have asked the UN to provide compensation for the disease, since it is believed to have been brought to Haiti by UN peacekeepers. The UN maintains it has legal immunity from such claims.

FOUR PEOPLE DETAINED FOR SUSPICION OF TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN KIDNEYS—10/10/13
Three doctors from Costa Rica and a citizen of Greece have been detained by authorities, suspected of being part of a crime rink that sold human kidneys to foreigners. According to Attorney General Carlos Jimenez, the physicians worked at Calderon Guardia hospital, a public facility in the capital, but performed kidney transplants with unlawfully purchased kidneys at two private clinics in other locations in the country. The Greek citizen owns a pizza parlor near the hospital where donors were recruited to sell their kidneys. Foreign recipients of the organs were charged between $80,000 and $100,000 per transplant.

JAMAICA’S GOVERNMENT HAPPY ABOUT RULING IN MYRIE CASE—10/08/13
According to Senator A. J. Nicholson, Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, the ruling from the Caribbean Court of Justice in the case of Shanique Myrie represents a significant move toward integration in the Caribbean region. The ruling included in the Court’s executive summary established guidelines for application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in regard to the free movement of CARICOM nations in the region. The Court found Myrie’s rights were violated by border officials in Barbados upon her entry to that country and ordered a fine of J$3.6 million be paid by the government of Barbados to Myrie as damages.

THWAITES WORKS TO IMPROVE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CURRICULUM—10/09/13
Reverend Ronald Thwaites, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, wants to make improvements in the foreign language curriculum on offer in the country. He said that new assessments for Spanish language education will include new attainment targets that involve speaking, reading, writing, and understanding. Students in Jamaica who learn a second language will also be given access to a number of scholarship and job opportunities, at home and abroad.

DEAL WITH AUSTRALIAN FIRM QUESTIONED—10/10/13
A deal with EWI, an Australian company that operates from Hong Kong has suddenly given the contract to build Jamaica’s new electric power station, raising questions about the award process. EWI is a 36-percent shareholder in Energy World Corporation (EWC), a firm listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. The government of Jamaica is facing questions from concerned citizens and the opposition for making what has been characterized as a “highly irregular” deal with the firm. Rather than bidding through the Office of Utilities Regulation, EWI went straight to the Jamaican cabinet for approval of its proposal.

ANTI-GAY FIREBOMB ATTACK CAUSES RESIDENTS TO FLEE HOME—10/11/13
Four homeless men fled for their lives after a mob firebombed their home in St. James, according to a gay rights group in Jamaica. The attack came after a summer of anti-gay incidents on the island. The four men, who are gay, were targeted by some 14 men who firebombed the house in St. James. The men were left with nothing in the way of possession but found shelter at another abandoned house new Montego Bay.

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