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Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012

‘Baby Doc’ continues to evade justice

Haiti: Human Rights Watchdog Amnesty International said on Jan. 16 that former Haitian President Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier continues to evade justice, one year after authorities launched an investigation into crimes against humanity committed under his rule. Comment.

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012

Historic verdict in Haiti prison massacre

Haiti: In a country where authorities who abuse their power are almost never held accountable, a judge in the southern Haitian city of Les Cayes on Jan. 19 found guilty seven of 13 Haitian police officials who stood trial for a prison massacre that occurred a week after the massive 2010 earthquake. Comment.

Haitians now eligible for US guest worker visas

Haiti: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Jan. 18 that low-skilled Haitian workers can now apply for jobs in the U.S. under a federal guest worker program. Comment.

Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012

New Yorkers pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King

Brooklyn: Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC) held its annual tribute to Dr. King on Friday, Jan. 13 featuring the world-renowned Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., minister emeritus of Riverside Church and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation as then keynotye speaker. Comment.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

U.S. gives nod to oil drilling off Cuba

Cuba: The United States Coast Guard and environmental safety officials have inspected and approved an offshore oil drilling platform headed to Cuba, under an unusual arrangement designed to allay concerns about a possible spill that could foul the U.S. coastline. Comment.

JFK airport terror plotter gets life

Trinidad and Tobago: A United States federal judge on Jan. 13 sentenced to life in prison a Trinidadian man who was convicted of plotting to blow up fuel tanks at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Comments (1).

‘Quake: Haiti In Jamaica’ premieres

Jamaica: “Quake: Haiti in Jamaica,” a documentary focusing on the implications on Jamaica should the island experience a similar earthquake as the one which struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010 premiered to launch Earthquake Awareness Week in Jamaica. Comment.

Monday, Jan. 16, 2012

Event raises $5 million for Sean Penn’s Haiti org

Movies: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A publicist says $5 million was raised in Los Angeles for actor Sean Penn’s humanitarian group based in Haiti. Comment.

Venezuela sends Miami consulate personnel home

Venezuela: CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela is withdrawing personnel from the country’s consulate in Miami more quickly than planned because the personnel have been threatened by exiles with links to terrorism, the foreign ministry announced on Monday. Comment.

Cuba & Jamaica to form youth alliance

Jamaica: Lisa Hanna, Jamaica’s new minister of youth and culture staked a claim for her portfolio by meeting with the Cuban ambassador to the island to discuss possible areas of cooperation between the islands. Comment.

Jamaica: Hazard mitigation funds to rescue tourist mecca

Jamaica: KINGSTON, Jamaica - In the latest efforts to mitigate the hazards associated with climate change, the Jamaican authorities are turning their attention to Negril, where decades of unplanned development is destroying the local ecosystem and eroding the famous beach. Comment.

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012

Pan in the spotlight at Tropicalfete countdown

Music: Steel pan was the focus at the recent Tropicalfete Countdown of the top-100 international Caribbean songs for 2011. Comments (1).

Judge dismisses petitions against Dominica PM

Dominica: High Court Judge Gertel Thom on Jan. 10 dismissed election petitions filed by the defeated candidates of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) challenging the nomination of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his Education Minister Petter Saint Jean to contest the 2009 general election. Comment.

Virgin Islands judge up against the legal establishment

Caribbean: “Oh what a tangled web se weave, Comments (1).

Friday, Jan. 13, 2012

Caribbean Round-Up

Trinidad and Tobago: Antigua and Barbuda will try to buy two parcels of land from a development company owned by jailed Texas financier Allen Stanford, said Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer. Comment.

Garden to host Visa track & field meet

Jamaica: As part of the transformation at Madison Square Garden, the basketball and hockey venue will give way to a new track and field meet on Saturday evening Jan. 28 when it will host the initial of a Visa Championship Series for the 2012 track season. Comment.

Make 2012 a year of change: Bouterse

Suriname: New CARICOM Chairman Desi Bouterse has called on the region to make 2012 a year of change. Comment.

‘Tia’ Iris Donaldson marks 101st birthday

Brooklyn: “Tia” Iris Donaldson as she is affectionately called by family and friends celebrated her 101st birthday in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with family and friends recently. Comment.

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012

Haiti quiet as quake marked with national holiday

Haiti: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitians are marking the second anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake with church services throughout the deeply religious country. Comment.

Trinidadians benefit from scholarships

Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidadian college students who recently completed their first semester at Monroe College in New Rochelle, N.Y. are on-track to save thousands of dollars in college tuition costs. Comments (2).

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012

US tweaks rule for Carib immigrants

Immigration: The Obama Administration has proposed a fix to a Catch-22 in the nation’s immigration law that could spare hundreds of thousands of Caribbean and other citizens from prolonged separations from their spouses and children. Comment.

MICHEL ADMITS ERRORS

Haiti: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitians still have much to do to recover from the 2010 earthquake, President Michel Martelly said Monday, and he conceded to having made political blunders. Comment.

U.S.: Oil rig bound for Cuba meets int’l standards

Cuba: HAVANA (AP) — A U.S. inspection of a Chinese-made oil rig due to begin drilling in waters off Cuba has determined that it meets international safety norms, the American government said Monday. Comment.

Guantanamo closure hopes fade as prison turns 10

Cuba: SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Suleiman al-Nahdi waits with dozens of other prisoners in a seemingly permanent state of limbo five years after he was cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay. Comment.

Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012

Guyana bows to pressure; appoints Black envoys

Guyana: Unable anymore to deny that there was no racial motive behind nearly all of Guyana’s overseas-based diplomats being of East Indian ancestry, Guyana’s Indo-dominated government has bowed to stinging criticism from opposition parties and rights groups and has named two Blacks to senior ambassadorial positions and a third to head up a consulate in Barbados. Comment.

Jamaica to probe case against Guyana police chief

Jamaica: GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Authorities in Guyana say Jamaica is sending a team of detectives to probe rape allegations against the South American country’s police chief. Comment.

Exploring Earth’s deepest vent in Caymans

Caribbean: A ship packed with U.S.scientists earlier this week set out for a three-week Caribbean cruise to the Mid-Cayman Rise, described as one of the most extreme and least explored places on Earth. Comment.

Monday, Jan. 9, 2012

University helping restore power in Haiti

Haiti: BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — University of Colorado engineers are heading to Haiti to set up renewable energy projects to cope with power outages. Comment.

U.S. expels Venezuelan diplomat

Venezuela: WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is expelling Venezuela’s consul general in Miami after allegations surfaced that she discussed possible cyber-attacks on U.S. soil while she was stationed at her country’s embassy in Mexico. Comment.

Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012

New PM eyes republican status for Jamaica

Jamaica: Newly-installed Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, the first ever woman to head a government in the largest of the English-speaking Caribbean islands, said she wants to get rid of the British monarch as head-of-state, replacing her with a republican form of government. Comments (4).

Time to break colonial bonds

Jamaica: In a unifying, optimistic and determined inaugural address to the nation, Jamaica’s history-making leader Portia Simpson Miller said although she affectionately embraces HRH Queen Elizabeth II, the time had come for an end to the sovereign rule over the island. Comment.

Little for LatAm in new US defense strategy

Caribbean: In rolling out its new defense strategy on Jan. 5, the Obama administration said little about Latin America and the Caribbean. Comments (3).

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012

Help sought to get more Haitians visas to U.S.

Haiti: MIAMI (AP) — Some members of Florida’s congressional delegation are asking federal officials to help more Haitians get visas to live and work in the U.S. Comment.

Cuba criticizes Twitter for Fidel death rumor

Cuba: HAVANA (AP) — State media on Wednesday accused the social networking site Twitter of helping spread a rumor that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro had died, and criticized anti-Castro expatriates it dubbed “necrophiliac counterrevolutionaries” for jumping on the story. Comment.

‘X Factor’ winner still has dreams of nursing

Music: NEW YORK (AP) — She’s got a $5 million recording contract, but Melanie Amaro still sees herself as a nurse someday. Comment.

Friday, Jan. 6, 2012

Caribbean Round-Up

Venezuela: An analysis by the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has shown that economic growth has slowed throughout the Caribbean region, with decreased private sector activity creating an environment for meager growth in output, employment and income despite eased monetary policy by central banks. Service-based economies like the Bahamas, St. Lucia and Jamaica are performing worse than goods-producing economies like Belize, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. In a recent presentation at ECLAC’s offices in Port of Spain, Trinidad, entitled “The Caribbean in the World Economy-Context and Insights,” recently, Professor Dillo Alleyne, of ECLAC’s sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean, said the issues faced by Caribbean economies were only emphasized by the current global economic crisis and will persist even when the crisis is over unless fiscal policies are put in place to deal with them. He said there were two important phenomena impacting the Caribbean even if the world economy were to right itself; an emerging fiscal crisis due to rising debt, deficit and reduced capacity by governments to undertake countercyclical policy and provide social protection and intense reliance on primary commodities and intense reliance on primary commodities, with all the fluctuations for demand and volatility of prices. Comment.

Bird, Gonsalves disagree over LIAT’s future

St Vincent: Former Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Lester Bird has rejected the suggestion by St. Vincent and the Grenadines leader Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for regional airline LIAT to be scrapped and replaced with a new airline. Comments (1).

Carib sex workers willing to pay taxes

Jamaica: Head of the Caribbean Association of Sex Workers Miriam Edwards says sex workers throughout the region are willing to pay taxes if respective governments would start recognizing what they do as a job. Comments (1).

West Indian Day Carnival prez resigns

Arts & Theater: After being president for 10 years of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), organizers of the annual parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway, the Trinidadian-born president Yolanda Lezama-Clarke says she is resigning. Comment.

Jamaicans say political scandal doomed the JLP

Jamaica: Jamaicans at home and abroad say the political scandal over reputed drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke doomed the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), according to a media report here. Comment.

Five Grenadian police officers charged with manslaughter

Grenada: Five Grenadian police officers have been charged with manslaughter in the death of 39-year-old Canadian Oscar Bartholomew, and the man’s family plans to file a civil lawsuit against the state, the family’s lawyer says. Comment.

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Jamaica: The swearing-in yesterday of Portia Simpson-Miller as Jamaica’s new prime minister was expected to usher in a new era of politics on the Caribbean island. Comment.

One-party politics must end: Granger

Guyana: Leader of Guyana’s parliamentary majority, David Granger, has called for the end of 50 years of one-party politics in the South American country. The possibility that a single party can rule the deeply divided country has been completely exhausted, he added. Comments (2).

Suspense over Guyana speakership deadlock

Guyana: Guyana’s two major opposition parties appear unable to decide which one of them should supply the nominee to become the new parliamentary speaker. Several rounds of negotiations between them to settle the impasse ended in a stalemate last weekend. Comment.

Moderate quake rattles Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic: SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A moderate 5.3-magnitude earthquake rattled the southern coast of the Dominican Republic just before dawn Thursday, resulting in cracks in several buildings but no injuries or evacuations. Comments (2).

Oleta Adams to sing for Haïti

Music: Acclaimed recording artist Oleta Adams remembers seeing commercials for Ajax laundry detergent as a child in which a knight on a white horse sweeps into the homes of apron-clad but iron-fisted women to help them with their household chores. Comment.

Darren Bravo shows signs of greatness

Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies batsman Darren Bravo has already shown the cricket world that he has the potential for big innings, bringing in lots of runs for the West Indies. The left-hander took a while before he scored his first Test century but after he stroked the three figures, he followed that up with other huge innings and he has ben very consistent in Test and One-day internationals. Comment.

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012

NEW ROAD AHEAD

Jamaica: Newly-elected Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has urged nationals to put aside their political difference and join her People’s National Party (PNP) in a building a new Jamaica. Comment.

Suriname moves to conscript soldiers

Suriname: Suriname’s multiparty coalition government is preparing to do what federal officials in the U.S. and counterparts in Europe can’t accomplish by moving to enlist youngsters in the military through conscription. Comment.

Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012

Grenada cops detained in visitor’s death

Grenada: Two Grenadian police officers have been detained in the death of a Toronto man, while the government turns down his family’s call for an outside official to investigate the case. Comment.

Jamaica elects first female PM

Jamaica: Jamaicans voted their first female leader by electing Portia Simpson-Miller, the new prime minister of the island. Comment.

Caribbean has blueprint for illegal drugs

Immigration: A prominent Washington-based think tank says the Caribbean is a “blueprint” for illicit drug trafficking at a time when it is being “heavily influenced” by organized Latin American criminal groups. Comment.

Maroons mark 274th anniversary

Jamaica: Jamaicans voted change in government recently but on, Jan. 6, Maroons on the island will reflect on the 274 years since their leader Captain Cudjoe signed a peace treaty with the English colonial powers. Comment.

Caribbean Round-Up

Trinidad and Tobago: Two men were sentenced to life in prison recently for killing a Welsh couple while they celebrated their honeymoon in Antigua. Comment.

Trinidad judge elected to ICC

Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago High Court Judge Anthony Carmona has been elected a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hague. Comment.

Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011

Coast Guard intercepts $billions in Carib drug trade

People: A U.S. Coast Guard unit that uses armed helicopters to go after maritime drug runners in the Caribbean said on Dec. 29 that, working with other federal partners, it has intercepted more than US$10 billion in illegal drugs and related assets since it was commissioned in 1998. Comment.

Friday, Dec. 30, 2011

Jamaica’s opposition wins elections in a landslide

Jamaica: KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — On Jamaica’s rutted streets, the complaints have been chronic — home ownership is out of reach for most wage earners, the cost of electricity has skyrocketed, water service regularly fizzles out and decent jobs are scarce. Comment.