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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending February 14th, 2014

14 Feb

CARIBBEAN ATHLETES LOOK TO MEDAL AT WINTER OLYMPICS—02/08/14
The athletes from the Caribbean who are competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, include the five-member bobsled team from Jamaica, a husband and wife representing Dominica, and several athletes from the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Caymans, and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The athletes have shown their perseverance and talent at getting to the games, said Larry Romany, CEO of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee Broadcasting Inc.

OUTBREAK OF CHIKUNGUNYA CONTINUES TO SPREAD—02/09/14
The spread of Chikungunya in the Caribbean continues, with nearly 1,500 cases reported to date. The virus first appeared in the Western Hemisphere in December 2013 on Saint Martin, and it has now spread of many parts of the Caribbean region. The number of cases has risen by several hundred in just one week.

MEXICO AGAIN CHAMPION AT CARIBBEAN SERIES—02/10/14
Mexico’s team, the Naranjeros de Hermosillo, defeated the Indios de Mayaguez of Puerto Rico by a score of 7-1 to win the championship at the Caribbean Series. A Mexican team has won the series championship for two years in a row and three times in four years.

UNITED STATES EMBASSY ISSUES WARNING OF POSSIBLE THREAT FROM GUYANA—02/11/14
The United States Embassy in Guyana issued a warning based on “unconfirmed threat information” concerning a regional airline flight from that nation to the U.S. The message about flights of Caribbean Airlines was unusual in its specificity, although no details about the threat were provided. U.S. citizens were advised to make alternate arrangements for travel through mid-week.

PETITION TO SAVE ENDANGERED SPECIES ON ISLANDS SIGNED BY HUNDREDS—02/13/14
Developers from China want to purchase several Caribbean Islands that were once owned by Dato Tan Kay Hock, but an online petition in favor of making Rabbit Island and Red Head Island off Antigua into nature reserves has garnered some 400 signatures. According to the Antigua Conservation Society, the petition was launched due to concerns about the Chinese Investors and how they will handle the endangered species that make their homes on these islands. These include the Antigua racer snake, the whistling duck, brown pelican, noddy and bridled terns, as well as nesting habitats for the West Indian tree duck.

OPPOSITION PARTY CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF ST. LUCIA HOSPITALS—02/14/14
The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is calling for investigations into sudden deaths that have occurred at various hospitals across the country. According to the UWP, Alvina Reynolds, the nation’s health minister, just account for the problems in the Public Health System that could be the reason for the patient deaths. The UWP has raised concerns about health and safety, medical procedures, and the competence of some surgeons and other medical personnel at the hospitals.

RESCUE MISSION COULD BE EXPANDED BY JDIC—02/12/14
The Jamaica Deposit Insurance Corporation may be able to expand the terms by which payouts are made to customers of policyholders due to changes in deposit insurance law. The agency is considering whether it will lend money or act as guarantor for banks that need financial help, as this is now possible under new rules.

GOVERNMENT SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH INTERPOL ON ENTRY RULES—02/12/14
Jamaica’s government has signed an agreement with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) that provides for the recognition and acceptance of Interpol’s Travel Document when this document is used by the agency’s officers at Jamaican borders. The Interpol passport is an electronic book that will be presented with a letter of invitation from Jamaican authorities and a valid national passport to allow individuals entry to the country.

IMF TARGETS MET—02/13/14
Dr. Peter Phillips, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, announced that more expeditious improvement in business to encourage economic growth. However, the third review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that all quantitative targets under the program were met and that the board would consider Jamaica’s performance by the end of March 2014.

VYBZ KARTEL PLEADS FOR UNDERSTANDING AT TRIAL—02/14/14
Vybz Kartel, Jamaican entertainer, pleaded with his jury in the High Court and asked that they separate his show-business identity from his real identity. Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, told jurors that his skin bleaching and tattoos represented part of his entertainment persona and that his physical appearance was only superficial. He asked to be considered a “normal man” and not “an alien who came from space.”

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