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

20 Dec

TRAVEL WARNING ISSUED FOR ST. MARTIN DUE TO CHIKUNGUNYA—12/14/13
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States issued a travel notice for the Caribbean locale of St. Martin because of ten reported cases of chikungunya. The disease is transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes, and this is the first time cases of locally acquired disease have been reported. There is no treatment for the disease and no preventive vaccine. The mosquito that carries this disease is the same one that carries dengue fever.

FORMER JUNIOR TABLE TENNIS CHAMPION DIES—12/15/13
Gordon Delph, the former Caribbean Junior table tennis champion, died after a battle with brain cancer at the age of 56. He was also a former national player and coach and made significant contributions to the sport of table tennis. He represented Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean region and globally. He was named Under-17 champion in 1972.

HIGH BARBADOS DEBT PROMPTS FIRINGS—12/16/13
Barbados plans to fire 3,000 workers in the public sector by March 2014 and freeze wages in response to the nation’s rising debt burden. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that these “urgent” measures are required as Barbados’s debt-to-GNP ratio reached 94 percent in September 2014. The financial problems of Barbados are reflected throughout the Caribbean region, which has seen eight debt defaults in six nations since 2003.

CUBA WILL JOIN CARIBBEAN BASEBALL SERIES AS A GUEST—12/17/13
Cuba has decided to participate as a guest in the 2014 Caribbean Baseball Series in Venezuela on February 1 through 7, 2014. Cuba accepted an invitation to the series, which is organized by the Caribbean Baseball Confederation.

UK GOVERNMENT NOT LIKELY TO ADJUST ADP TO CARIBBEAN—12/18/13
Victoria Dean, the British High Commission to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, does not expect the government of the United Kingdom to rethink its position on the Air Passenger Duty (APD) rate to the Caribbean in the near future. While she understands and sympathizes with the problems the rate is creating for people in the Caribbean, the current condition of the UK economy makes it unlikely that the government will take any action to change the rate any time soon.

DREDGING IN TRINIDAD BLAMED FOR COOKING GAS SHORTAGE—12/19/13
The West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) is blaming suppliers in Trinidad and Tobago for a shortage of cooking case in Antigua, where the company is based, and in neighboring islands. The company said the shortage is the result of dredging of a dock by a Trinidad supplier. This has caused congestion at its other dock and impacted the vessels supplying gas throughout the region.

THWAITES DISMISSES CALL FOR SCHOOLS TO USE JAMAICAN LANGUAGE—12/18/13
Ronald Thwaites, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, rebutted an effort from a parliamentarian that suggested the Jamaican language be used in the formal school system in order to raise students’ competencies. Dr. Ken Baugh said that there is no reason for Jamaicans to struggle to speak Standard English. Baugh says that children who enter the school system do not understand this English because it is not their natural language.

JAMAICAN GIVEN GOOD MARKS BY IMF—12/19/13
Jamaica passed the second test under a four-year fund facility provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF’s Executive Board approved a disbursement of US$8 million to Jamaica’s government. The second review of the nation’s economic performance was completed by the board, and it confirmed that Jamaica has met all quantitative performance targets in September 2013.

CLARENDON ENCOURAGED TO READY ITSELF FOR COMING OPPORTUNITIES—12/20/13
The general manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, Earl Jarrett, is urging residents of Clarendon to get ready for more business opportunities linked to the global logistics hub being established in the parish. The hub, if it goes forward, will create a link between the Goat Islands and Clarendon and St. Catherine.

BUSINESS TAX REFORM LAW MOST SIGNIFICANT IN 30 YEARS—12/20/13
The Fiscal Incentives (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act is the most significant tax reform enacted in 30 years. It is expected to facilitate a better climate for investment, especially by reducing burdensome red tape, and having a positive impact on competitiveness. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

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