DISEASE OUTBREAK GROWS, THREATENS U.S.—12/29/13
The number of cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean has increased from 26 to 66 on the island of St. Martin, the center of the outbreak. Health officials fear this could indicate a growing risk of the disease spreading to the United States mainland. Health care workers from the Netherlands have confirmed the first case of the disease on the Dutch side of the island; the initials cases occurred on the French side. The illness has also been found on Martinique and Guadeloupe.
CHILD BRIDES IN CARIBBEAN A CONCERN FOR UN AGENCY—12/30/13
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), about 29 percent of girls in the Caribbean region were married before they reached the age of 18. Representatives of UNFPA believe this represents a human rights violation that must be addressed immediately by leaders in the region.
OIL SPILL CLEAN-UP COULD TAKE THREE MONTHS—12/31/13
According to Brian Gove, a technical adviser from Oil Spill Response Ltd., the oil spill that occurred off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago could take up to three months to clean up. The clean-up operations are hampered by a lack of access to the area, said Gove. There is only a single access road to the storage facility where the spill occurred. The owner of the facility is Petrotrin.
TRAINING CENTER OPENS CARIBBEAN PROGRAM—01/01/14
Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) has created its first global branch on Trinidad and Tobago. The company provides training to workers in the oil and gas industry. AIS gained the approval of authorities to run its offshore training courses in the region, which is within reach of the lucrative North and South American markets.
SECOND CANADIAN PASSENGER MISSING FROM CRUISE SHIP—01/02/14
For the second time in a period of five days, a Canadian man has disappeared from a Caribbean cruise ship. The area around the Cayman Islands is being searched for a 65-year-old man who had been a passenger on the Independence of the Seas ship. Another Canada, a 26-year-old man, jumped from the Adventure of the Seas ship off the Puerto Rican coast a few days later. Both men were with their families on six-day cruises of the Caribbean.
CAYMAN ENTERPRISE ZONE COURTS TECH, MEDIA FIRMS IN UK—01/03/14
The special economic zone known as the Cayman Enterprise City is looking for technology and media firms in the United Kingdom to expand into the region. The economic zone is especially interested in companies in the Internet and technology sector, media, marketing, commodities, biotech, and academic and training sectors. The zone is designed to facilitate new business expansion in North and Latin American markets.
PHILLIPS REJECTS THIRD DEBT SWAP—01/01/14
Dr. Peter Phillips, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, does not support a third debt swap, noting that holders of Jamaican debt have been negatively impacted by lower interest payments and longer maturity dates in 2010 and 2013. The government is not considering any debt exchange, he said, although asset swaps are under review.
TAVERES-FINSON WANTS MORE DONE ABOUT POACHERS IN JAMAICA’S WATERS—01/02/14
Tom Taveres-Finson, Jamaican Opposition Senator, want s the government to take more and quicker action against poachers operating in Jamaican waters. His call to action comes after the passage of amendments to the Conch (Export Levy) Act. This law permits exporters to have a three-month grace period for making payments rather than paying one large sum. He noted the unfairness of placing quotas on Jamaican fishermen while allowing poachers to operate with impunity.
CITIZENS’ GROUP OPPOSES NEW FUEL TAXES—01/03/14
Citizens Action for Principles and Integrity (CAPI) has warned Jamaica’s government that it will strongly oppose any additional tax on fuel. According to Dennis Meadows, co-convenor of the organization, a new tax will have a damaging effect on Jamaica’s people, especially workers in the public sector and the poor.
PRIME MINISTER “SHARES THE PAIN” OF JAMAICA’S ECONOMIC HARDSHIP—01/03/14
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaican Prime Minister, says that she understands and shares the pain Jamaicans face in regard to economic hardships. The economic program undertaken in connection with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been hard on the people, she acknowledged, but she also said there is no alternative and people must continue along the path of economic adjustment.