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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending October 18th, 2013

18 Oct

DRUG TRADE IN CARIBBEAN RISES WITH NEW GENERATION OF CRIMINALS—10/12/13

The Caribbean region is again becoming a trouble spot for drug smuggling into the United States due to a new generation of so-called “Cocaine Cowboys.” About 14 percent, or 42 tons, of the cocaine destined for the U.S. came through the Caribbean in the first six months of 2013. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic act as the chief hubs of the new trade, according to reports from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This was twice the amount trafficked through the region in the first half of 2012.

U.S. OWNED OIL SHIP DETAINED BY VENEZUELA IN CARIBBEAN—10/13/13
The government of Guyana reported that the Venezuelan navy had detained a ship owned by an oil company in the United States in waters whose ownership is disputed by the two South American nations. The ship had five U.S. citizens on board and was performing a seismic survey for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. Venezuela believes it has legitimately detained the ship for operating without authorization in its territory, but Guyana says the actions of its navy in arresting the ship and crew were “unprecedented’ in the history of the relationship between the two countries.

GOVERNMENT IN UK BLOCKS SLAVERY REPARATIONS ATTEMPT—10/14/13
The government of the United Kingdom has blocked attempts by a number of Caribbean nations to force payments for slavery during the colonial era. According to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the government does not consider money to be the solution to righting the wrongs of the past. Instead, the government wants to focus on finding ways to confront future challenges that face these countries. Slavery was abolished in Britain in 1834, and slave owners were paid £20 million by taxpayers for the loss of their “property.” This was about 40 percent of its yearly income at the time.

ANOTHER CARIBBEAN NATION TO SELL CITIZENSHIP TO INVESTORS—10/15/13
Antigua and Barbuda has joined the list of countries in the Caribbean willing to sell citizenship to international investors in order to collect additional revenue. The country, which has about 90,000 inhabitants, began accepting applications for citizenship through a program modeled on that of St. Kitts and Nevis, which also sells citizenship. Antigua and Barbuda expects to generate about $550 million over three years by attracting 1,800 new citizens.

CARIBBEAN TOURIST ORGANIZATION TO HOLD MAJOR CONFERENCE—10/16/13
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is ready for the start of the most important gathering in the area of tourism development in the region, the State of the Industry Conference for 2013. The conference, which will be held in Martinique, will feature speeches by several regional dignitaries and offer the opportunity for those in the field to exchange ideas on training, education, service quality, visitor satisfaction, and regional transportation, among other issues facing this economic sector.

REPORT LINKS THREE CARICOM NATIONS TO MODERN DAY SLAVERY—10/17/13
According to a report from Walk Free Foundation, an organization based in Australia, Haiti is the second most prevalent country in the world to be engaged in modern day slavery. Other Caribbean nations listed in its rankings are Suriname and Guyana. The Global Slavery Index for 2013 defines slavery as “possession or control of a person negating their freedom and exploiting them for sex or as a commodity.” It ranks 162 countries by estimating the number of individuals in each affected by practices like forced and bonded labor, human trafficking, forced marriage, and use of children in military forces. India took the top spot in the rankings, with 13.96 million people estimated to be living in slavery. Comparatively, Haiti was in second place with between 200,000 and 220,000 people living in these conditions.

JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER TO SPEAK AT INAUGURAL CONCACAF SPORTS SUMMIT—10/16/13
Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, will be among those speaking at the first CONCACAF Sports Summit, which will be held in the Cayman Islands. Simpson Miller will join representatives of football’s leadership at the meeting, which is designed to bridge the activities on the field with those of the boardroom and government. In addition to several high-ranking government officials, representatives of FIFA, and officials of CONCACAF, former players will participate in the summit, which is themed “Transformation through Partnership.”

POLICE ERASE GANG MURALS IN SOME AREAS—10/17/13
The Jamaican police were enlisted to erase graffiti and murals painted in some areas of Kingston that experience high rates of gang activity. In addition to searching for drugs, guns, and fugitives, the police erase murals that celebrated the leaders of violent underworld gangs. Murals of’ gang strongmen, or “dons,” were painted over, along with representations of gunmen memorialized at the locations in which they died.

JAMAICAN GANGSTERS TAKE EXTREME MEASURES TO AVOID POLICE—10/18/13
The “yardie” gangsters of Jamaica have begun dressing as women and bleaching their skin to avoid police detection as a result of a crackdown by Jamaica’s military and police forces. Gangsters are donning women’s clothing and wigs so they won’t be identified, and others are growing beards or bleaching their skin to change their physical appearance. Danger to police officers has increased during the crackdown, and the official threat level has gone to “extreme,” which means attacks on police are deemed as imminent.

JAMAICA’S REPUTATION RESTORED AFTER GOOD IMF PERFORMANCE—10/18/13
According to Colin Bullock, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), international markets are looking more favorably at Jamaica due to its performance under the fund facility of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  The international community is showing greater confidence in the country and becoming more willing to invest money in development. Before the deal with the IMF, few investors were willing to commit resources to the nation, but the success of the program has changed their opinion.

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