Caribbean

Judges in the Caribbean are to be warned of the dangers of social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, according to an agreement reached by regional judges.

A communiqué was issued after the conclusion of the 10th Meeting of Caribbean Chief Justices and Heads of Judiciary on Oct. 5, at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas.

According to the communique: “Heads discussed the possible impact of various social media on the jury selection process.”

“There was general consensus on the need to review jury legislation, which does not contemplate this type of media, in the jurisdictions represented at the meeting,” the communiqué noted.

“The heads of the judiciary pledged to ensure that their judges and court staff are sensitized in respect of the various social media networks and the risks associated with them in their professional and personal capacities,” it noted.

“Each jurisdiction should establish a policy which will provide guidelines on the use of the internet and social media for judges and court staff,’ the communiqué said.

There was also agreement on the need for respective governments to “address the question of uniform and appropriate protocol standing for chief justices and heads of judiciary throughout the region.”

Antigua

Authorities in Antigua have moved to regulate the security industry by introducing, for the first time, mandatory certification of all guards to take effect from July 31, 2012.

National Security Minister Dr. Errol Court said security guards need to be vetted to ensure their suitability for that line of work.

The guards will be required to complete three stages of training to achieve certification by the commissioner of police.

A training manual is being developed and extensive courses put in place to ready persons to pass both written and practical examinations, a government statement said.

The minister said too that certification will allow guards to have powers of arrest while on duty, however, this will be limited to their place of work.

There are about 3,000 private security guards working in Antigua and Barbuda.

Barbados

Following the discovery that some manufacturing companies have been purchasing products from outside of CARICOM and re-labeling them as local products, Barbados Minister of Industry Dennis Kellman has assured manufacturers that all necessary incentives will be provided to allow them to manufacture their goods.

“It is unfair for us to be producing and paying cost, while some people can pretend they are producing, going next door, buying goods and claiming them to be goods from CARICOM and paying the same rates as if they are from CARICOM,” Kellman said.

The minister pointed out that such a practice would result in an unusually large decrease in the price of items, which would lead to a loss in foreign exchange.

He stressed that the Barbados Manufacturing Association would continue to monitor and deal with the situation.

Guyana

Guyana says it will supply Venezuela with more than 50,000 metric tons of rice worth Guy$54 million.

A statement from the Ministry of Agriculture says the shipments will be sent in upcoming weeks as part of four supply contracts signed between the two South American countries in recent years.

The rice shipments will help pay for oil Guyana receives from its neighbor each month under preferential terms. Guyana is the region’s largest rice producer and exporter. It expects to produce a record 395,000 tons of rice this year.

Guyana

Voters in Guyana will go to the polls on Nov. 28 to vote for a new president ending months of speculation as to when President Bharrat Jagdeo would announce the date.

Jagdeo speaking at a rally of his ruling People’s Progressive party Civic (PPC) recently, also announced that the four-month ban placed on the privately owned television station, due to have gone into effect on Oct. 3, will now begin on Dec. 1.

At least l7 political parties have already indicated their willingness to contest the regional and national elections.

The Guyana Elections Commission said everything would be ready for the polls by Nov. 14.

Jagdeo, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term in office, said the opposition parties should have no excuse for their defeat after he announced the decision to defer the four-month suspension of CNS TV6.

Haiti

Spain’s Queen Sofia recently visited Haiti to check on aid efforts that seek to help the Caribbean nation rebuild after last year’s earthquake.

The queen spent two days touring reconstruction projects that the Spanish government and her own foundation hope will improve housing, education, sanitation and health in Haiti; one of the world’s poorest countries.

Queen Sofia was met on arrival by Haitian President Michel Martlley. Her visit followed a trip Martelly took to Spain, his first visit to Europe since he was inaugurated in May. The new president met with King Carlos of Spain.

Martelly said he hopes the queen’s visit will serve as an example of how Haiti can forge relations with countries that have long overlooked Haiti as a place to invest and explore as tourists.

Spain and Haiti have not traditionally had strong diplomatic ties but Spain is among the countries that have made the biggest pledges to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake. According to the Office of U.N. Special Envoy, Spain has pledged $395.7 million for 2010 and 2011.

Haiti

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously recently to reduce the number of UN peacekeeping troops and police in Haiti and bring the force closer to its level before the January 2010 earthquake devastated the impoverished Caribbean country.

The council’s resolution states, “the overall security situation, while fragile, has improved, while extending the U.N. force’s mandate for another year.

Council members backed a recommendation by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to reduce the mission’s current authorized military strength of 8,940 to 7,340 troops and its international police force from 4,391 to 4,241 officers,

The U.N. force had an authorized strength of 6,940 troops and 2,211 police before the quake devastated Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, killing an estimated 230,000 to 300,000 people and destroying more than 100,000 buildings.

The U.N. force has helped keep order in Haiti since 2004, when political violence engulfed the country.

Jamaica

Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said that Jamaica was expecting 1.2 million visitors from North America alone this winter season.

Bartlett strongly discounted recent pronouncements by the rating agency, Standards & Poor’s that Jamaica would experience a major fall off in visitor arrivals to Jamaica as a result of the continued impact that the global economic recession was having on Europe and North America.

S&P said the expected tourism slump would drag down Jamaica’s economic growth over the next two years to less than two percent.

The Wall Street-based ratings agency said it was basing its outlook on the contractions in gross domestic product witnessed for Jamaica in 2010.

Bartlett said the Ministry of Tourism has ramped up its drive to target new markets in South America, Asia and parts of Europe.

Jamaica

Jamaica will be targeting the main players in criminal gangs across the country next year.

Police Commissioner Owen Ellington told men under his command to go after the “significant actors” in organized crime and gangs come 2012.

“Some of these persons are little known; others are well known. In short, these are persons in the leadership of gangs whose greed drives them to kill or order the killings of hundreds of Jamaicans each year,” Ellington said.

“The known ones are the gang leaders and their second-tier leadership. The little known ones are those who appear to be respectable business persons but whose activities cross over from the licit to the illicit and provide the disguise for money laundering,” he said.

The police have captured or killed several alleged major gangsters in the past two years leading to a disruption of several gangs, but several other criminal groups continue to cause mayhem.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has approved a three-year agreement between Lake Asphalt Trinidad and Tobago Ltd. and China Railway Road Construction (CRRC) Caribbean which will see asphalt from Trinidad exported to the People’s Republic of China.

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine who made the announcement said T&T will receive US$49 million in revenue through the export of asphalt to China.

He explained that the revenue will be invaluable to Lake Asphalt, which has been ‘comatosed’ for many years and help the company to retool and modernize to face the challenges of today’s market.

Ramnarine explained that CRRC Caribbean will assist Lake Asphalt in the area of research and development, to help the company tap into the downstream market for asphalt.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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