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Caribbean

Morocco will send a technical team this year to the Bahamas to lure investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahamas Foreign Minister Frederick Mitchell said.

This followed recent talks between officials from several CARICOM countries and their Moroccan counterparts as the region seeks to attract investors from the UAE.

Mitchell said apart from the Bahamas, the other CARICOM countries represented at the talks were St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada

He said the discussions with the Morocco government included the possibility of scholarships for Caribbean students to attend Moroccan technical schools, tourism exchanges, agricultural and fisheries processes and developments.

Mitchell had traveled to Morocco recently to attend the Fourth Summit of the Group of Friends of Syria and he told reporters that the summit afforded The Bahamas can opportunity to have an outreach to Dubai.

He said Morocco which attracts an estimated ten million tourists annually, is interested in The Bahamas program of promoting the tourism industry.

Antigua

The second suspect in the double murder of two Dominican men has escaped police custody. Kergus Martin Jr. jumped through a bathroom window at the St. John’s Police Station recently. It is not the first time a suspect has used the window as an escape route.

Martin’s escape came hours after another person of interest in the killing broke loose from Montserrat police.

The Montserratian cops were delivering that suspect- Kenroy “Satu” Marshall – to local lawmen at the VC Bird International Airport. Marshall and Martin Jr were captured in Montserrat recently.

Reports indicate that the foreign police officers unlocked Marshall’s handcuffs to allow him to sign immigration documents when he made his dash for freedom.

Barbados

The Barbados Port Inc. has invested about $2 million in upgrading infrastructure at the Inner Basin of the Careenage as the island’s government continues to facilitate the development of yachting as a new niche market for Barbados’ tourism industry.

Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hustson said recently between the last 18 months and two years, the Barbados Port had cone substantial work in developing the infrastructure at the Inner Basin of the Careenage to facilitate such activity.

He made the comments after touring two of the 12 yachts that took part in the Classic Trans-Atlantic Race to Barbados.

“The Port has done substantial work in developing the infrastructure. We have put enough buoys to berth 40 yachts and we are going to put additional buoys in the outer careenage, “ he said, noting the design for the latter would accommodate approximately 50 vessels.

Bermuda

The new cabinet of Bermuda’s Premier Craig Cannonier has pledged to take a 10 percent cut in salaries. Cannonier’s 12-member government, which includes two women was recently sworn it by Governor George Ferguson.

Cannonier said the primary focus of his new government “is to get our economy growing again, creating the conditions for new jobs and opportunity… creating the conditions to help people meet their daily needs and to ease the pressure they face.”

“The work ahead will not be easy, but we will get the job done. One of my government’s goals is to change the way we conduct politics, to bring forward a new emphasis on cooperation and collaboration” he said.

“People of this country are going through very tough times and it is essential they know that their elected representatives are with them. We cannot expect Bermudians to tighten their belts without their leaders doing the same. Sacrifice must be shared,” Cannonier said.

Dominica

The Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) says it will not accept the government’s offer of one percent for public servants even after the parties agreed to meet this month for another round of talks.

The two parties met last month and according to DPSU general secretary Thomas Letang, the Roosevelt Skerrit administration is not moving from the offer on the table. The union is seeking a three percent increase for the period 2010-2012 and has not ruled out the possibility of industrial action.

Letang made it clear the union would be sticking to its demands.

“We made it quite clear that under no circumstances we would accept the government’s one percent,” he said.

Guyana

Guyana says it will receive an additional US$45 million in cash from Norway as a reward for protecting its Amazonian rainforest.

President Donald Ramoutar says the money will help fund a hydroelectricity project in central Guyana and provide electricity and Internet services in remote jungle communities.

He said in a statement that Guyana has so far received US$115 million of US$250 million grant it negotiated with Norway as part of a 2009 agreement. The money serves as incentive for Guyana to protect its lush forests through sustainable mining, timber harvesting and other projects.

Most of Guyana’s 730,000 people live on a narrow strip of coastal island, leaving the interior largely unoccupied. About 70 percent of Guyana is covered in forest.

Haiti

Haitian officials have renewed the diplomatic passport of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, his attorney said.

Lawyer Reynold Georges said the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs reissued the expired travel document for Duvalier last month as is customary for ex-presidents and former prime ministers.

“They have to, because he’s an ex-president,” Georges said.

Duvalier suddenly returned to Haiti in 2011 following 25 years in exile in France. Upon his return, Haitian authorities opened an investigation into the human rights abuses associated with his 15-year rule. But the judge instead recommended that Duvalier be indicted for only financial crimes and faces no more than five years if convicted.

The case is currently dragging its way through an appeal process, and hearing in scheduled for Jan. 24.

Trinidad

National Security Minister Jack Warner says that there has been a decline in serious crime since the People’s Partnership Government came into office in 2010.

In a statement to the House of Representatives last week Warner said from the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2012, murder had declined by 26 percent; wounding by 18 percent; breaking and robbery by 26 percent; fraud offences by 45 percent; general larceny by 11 percent; larceny of vehicles by 41 percent and larceny from dwelling house by 14 percent.

He said the statistics were provided by the Crime and Problem Analysis unit of the Police Service.

Warner pointed out that the figures for 2012 were lower than those of 2011, notwithstanding the fact that there was a state of emergency in 2011. He said there were 1,221 serious reported crimes by November 2011, while there were 1,1184 by November 2012.

He said in 2012 there were 377 murders compared to 354 in 2011. The National Security Minister promised this year there will be more police vehicles, a sustained police presence, visibility and enforcement.

Dominica

Dominica will have access to EC$50 million under the European Union Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) during the first quarter of this year,

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Samuel Carette, said the funds had been allocated to Dominica over a three -year period.

“Government is embracing collaborative approaches in charting a course for the transformation of the agricultural sector,’ he said, noting that some people have been advocating for the government “to implement the same prescriptions administered over the past 40 years and of course they expect change in the sector.”

He said the loss of the market preferences in Europe and the support mechanism from the European Union “which supported the production and export infrastructure seems to be really a distant past.”

Compiled by Azad Ali

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