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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending January 17th, 2014

17 Jan

HAITIAN PRIME MINISTER NOTES PROGRESS FOUR YEARS AFTER EARTHQUAKE—01/11/14
The Prime Minister of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe, delivered a progress report to mark the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake of 2010 that destroyed much of the island. He said the rebuilding efforts have gone well and the over 5,000 homes had been constructed. Haiti had over 700,000 tourists in 2013, and 55,000 seed kits had been distributed to farmers to help them rebuild their lives.

CARIBBEAN NATIONS UNLIKELY TO RECEIVE SLAVE-TRADE REPARATIONS—01/12/14
While a group of Caribbean countries threatens to sue 11 nations in Europe in connection with the lingering impact of the Atlantic slave trade, there is little change reparations will be granted in court. The Caribbean countries may obtain political leverage by bringing the focus of the United Nations on the issue, however. The 15 CARICOM nations involved say that their underdeveloped economies reflect the lasting consequences of the slave trade on populations.

JAMAICAN FIRM OPENS FIRST CALL CENTER IN GRAND BAHAMA—01/13/14
The Jamaican offshore firm, Island Outsourcers, has launched the first call center in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The company, which is based in Montego Bay, will provide jobs for 55 people in the Bahamas. The company will receive inbound sales and customer service calls for the Bahamas Tourist Board and make outbound calls to travel agents.

HUNTING BAN IN TRINIDAD ANGERS HUNTERS—01/14/14
Hunters have pursued deer, armadillo and agouti in northern Trinidad for decades. However, since October, the government has transformed the nation into a no-hunting, no-trapping zone in order to give game animals a chance to reproduce, as well as to conduct wildlife surveys. According to conservationists, hunters are responsible for the depletion of wildlife populations. The island is home to over 100 mammals and is an internationally recognized site for birdwatchers. There have been no limits on the number of animals a hunter could kill; even allegedly protected birds were hunted because of a huge market for “wild meat.” Hunters vow to overturn the attempts to limit their activities, however.

CARPHA TAKE OFFENSIVE AGAINST CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER—01/15/14
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which is based in Trinidad, is working with French and Dutch authorities in the region to control the spread of chikungunya disease. According to Dr. James Hospedales, executive director of CARPHA, three cases have been found in the British Virgin Islands.

CHRISTMAS EVE STORM DAMAGE UNDER ANALYSIS BY OAS—01/16/14
The Organization of American States (OAS) is analyzing the damages related to the storm that hit the Eastern Caribbean on Christmas Eve 2013 and left several individuals dead. A report on the damages was received from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Dominica, which were hardest hit by the storm. La Celia Prince, ambassador to the OAS from St. Vincent, said the storm impacted 15 percent of the nation’s population and caused enormous agricultural damage.

TAX ADMINISTRATION SETS DATE FOR REQUIRED INFORMATION DISCLOSURES—01/15/14
Tax authorities in Jamaica may request third-party information from businesses and government ministries and agencies under the Amendments to the Revenue Administration Act of 2013. Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) plans to phase in the policy beginning with the coming fiscal year. Businesses in some sectors will be required to submit information about suppliers, independent contracts, and customer as of April 2014.

TOURISM GROUP SAYS CARIBBEAN MARKETPLACE EVENT SUCCESSFUL—01/16/14
Evelyn Smith, the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), said Jamaica was marketed successfully to the travel trade during the 2013 Caribbean Travel Marketplace trade show. Tour operators reported doing a good business, and the organization is waiting for additional reports from its members about how their businesses are doing in the coming months.

HOLNESS DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM COMMENTS MADE BY WARMINGTON—01/17/14
Andrew Holness, the leader of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), is distancing himself from remarks made by Everald Warmington, Member of Parliament for Southwest St. Catherine. At a conference in Spanish Town, Warmington said that individuals who do not vote “do not count” and should not expect to receive benefits from his office. Holness called these comments “regrettable” and said they do not reflect the position of the JLP.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ITEMS VALUED AT $1.5 MILLION STOLEN—01/17/14
According to Cross Roads Police, a number of consumer electronics devices were taken from a business in Kingston. The devices included laptops, televisions, cell phones, table computers, and computer keyboards. The total theft was estimated at $1.5 million. Police are asking the public to watch for anyone trying to sell these items and warning them not to buy items they suspect may be stolen.

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