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Today’s news:

Anguilla

A voluntary electronic tagging system could be introduced in Anguilla early next year to monitor inmates who have been released early from her Majesty’s Prison.

Governor Alistair Harrison said the system, which has been successfully applied in the United Kingdom and several British Overseas Territories, would reduce prison overcrowding and save cost.

He said any tampering would send off a signal to a central monitoring system that would then trace the offender who will be restrained.

Prison Consultant Vince Walker estimated that use of the electronic monitoring tags could save the country up to six times the cost of keeping an offender in prison.

The governor said once it has been proven to work satisfactorily, steps would be taken to have the system introduced in 2012.

Antigua

LIAT pilots resumed flying after they staged a two-day sick out recently.

The pilots were standing in solidarity with chairman of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) Captain Michael Blackburn who was terminated recently.

The company said the outspoken senior pilot had irreparably damaged the employer-employee relationship with his public comments about the airline’s safety record among other vexing matters.

LIAT said that 50 percent of the flights scheduled to leave Antigua took off.

The sick-out caused major disruptions for travelers causing chaos in some of the Caribbean airports.

Barbados

Barbados has given low-cost regional airline REDjet the green light to fly to St. Lucia in time for the Christmas season, as Caribbean Airlines Ltd. (CAL) complains that its St. Lucia route has been stalled by aviation authorities there.

After several weeks of waiting for permission from the Barbados government, even after receiving a license from the government in Castries, REDjet announced that it would start flying from Dec. 16, with service initially being on Fridays and Sundays.

CEO Ian Burns said he expected the service to create several benefits for St. Lucia’s tourism sector.

Meanwhile, CAL has blamed the Barbados aviation regulatory authorities for preventing it from flying between the Grantley Adams International Airport and Castries.

CAL officials have complained that an application was made since January this year to introduce the service seeking to fly between Guyana, Barbados and St. Lucia but approval is still pending.

Barbados

Embattled Prime Minister Frenduel Stuart faces a revolt by some of his cabinet colleagues, says political analyst Tennyson Joseph.

And that is because he did not stamp his own style on the party immediately following the death of David Thompson, Joseph said.

Speaking during Voice of Barbados Brass Tacks program recently, Joseph said if Stuart was removed from the leadership position, it would signal a sense of panic that could cause the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) to lose the next General Election.

In addition, the DLP, which made a big noise over the leadership issue in the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) when Mia Mottley was removed as leader in favor of Owen Arthur, would lose their high moral ground.

Dominica

Flooding and landslides caused by unseasonal intense rainfall this year have caused damage in the excess of US$100 million or 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the tiny eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, a U.N. Climate conference was told.

Last year, Dominica, which promotes itself as the Caribbean’s nature island suffered its most severe drought and months later, a hurricane.

Dr. Kenneth Darroux, Dominica’s minister for the environment told the high-level session of the conference which debated issues of reducing impact on climate change that “climate change is real and gone are the days when climate change was thought to be a figment of the imagination of a new made scientists and environmental extremists.”

Grenada

The Grenada government has announced a delay in the presentation of the country’s 2012 budget, triggering concerns among the private sector.

The new estimates of revenues and expenditures, normally presented in January for the latest, will now be presented at a date to be disclosed in March, officials in the Ministry of Finance said.

It is the first time for many years, the budget will be presented so late and political and economic observers say the delay reflects an ongoing economic crisis in the country.

News of the delay in the budget presentation was announced recently by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Timothy Antoine, during a recent meeting with the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Haiti

President Michel Martelly said he intends to ask American talk show host Oprah Winfrey to serve as a goodwill ambassador for Haiti to boost aid to the impoverished country.

He said the request would be made during her visit to the country this month.

Hundreds of people were displaced following the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. Many continue to live in makeshift camps.

During her visit Winfrey will visit a camp for displaced people run by Hollywood actor Sean Penn and his aid group.

She is also expected to meet with American fashion designer Donna.

Winfrey’s visit will coincide with a five-day trip to that country by Louis Farrakhan, leader of the African-America religious movement, Nation of Islam, who is looking at ways his organization can assist with rebuilding the country.

Jamaica

Air Jamaica pilots working with Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) were blocked from taking strike action recently after they threatened to stop flying during the lead up to the busy Christmas season.

CAL was served with industrial action to be taken by the Jamaican Airline Pilots Association (JALPA).

The pilots are taking issues about wages, which they have been complaining about for some nine months but an agreement is yet to be reached.

CAL in a statement to Jamaican media said the threat of strike action was “regrettable” as the pilots themselves wrote there is nothing CAL is in breach with them.”

Jamaican Minister of Labor Pearnel Charles told reporters in Kingston that the matter between the pilots and CAL was referred to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal in that country and an attempt was made to prevent the shutdown of the airline’s operations out of Jamaica. The tribunal met with the parties and issued a stop order against JALPA, with respect to the dispute.

Jamaica

A University of the West Indies student who allegedly used a screwdriver to stab the mother of his child to death was placed on $200,000 bail when he appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court recently.

Nesseine Mardners, 20, of Bedward Gardens, Kingston 7, allegedly murdered his girlfriend, Kemesha Matthews, a 24-year-old entertainer, during a dispute over the welfare of the six-week old baby.

She was stabbed in the head.

The incident occurred when the accused went to visit Matthews and an argument arose over support for their child.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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