Caribbean

The CARICOM Secretariat is collaborating with Caribbean labor stakeholders to promote buy-in for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The secretariat recently held a consultation with regional labor stakeholders in Barbados to discuss public education messages and strategies aimed specifically at the labor sector. Funding for the event was provided under the ninth European Development Fund (EDF), Caribbean Integration Support Program (CISP).

The consultation was aided by a recently completed draft report and strategy based on research carried out by a consulting firm.

At the completion of the consultation, the key messages and strategies for their dissemination was agreed upon.

The meeting formed part of the CARICOM Secretariat public education program which seeks to target the various regional stakeholder groups to ensure CSME buy-in.

Anguilla

Anguilla’s Chief Minister Hubert Hughes said he was asked by the island’s British Governor Alistair Harrison to resign following a letter he gave to him during a recent meeting of the Executive Council.

Hughes said in addition to the governor asking him to resign, he also called for the immediate dismissal of the Minister of Communication and Works Evan Gumbs and the Minister of Labor and Home Affairs Walcott Richardson.

But the chief minister has assured residents that the government they elected in February continues to function.

“He told me I should call elections and I told him no,” Hughes said.

Earlier Governor Harrison issued a statement in which he denied ever asking the chief minister to resign.

The governor said he raised his own concern about other ministers and noted that any reshuffle should take into account those concerns.

Hughes, however, believes that the governor was apparently peeved after some outspoken Anguillians expressed their negative feelings about the attitude of the governor to the new government.

Barbados

Health authorities in Barbados have reported another dengue death.

The Ministry of Health said a young female was the latest person to succumb to dengue fever,

The death occurred on Sept. 16 and was confirmed by laboratory tests on Sept. 22. Barbados has recorded 199 confirmed cases of dengue fever and three deaths, so far for this year.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John confirmed recently that Barbados is experiencing a dengue epidemic.

The Ministry of Health has urged Barbadians who are experiencing symptoms of the disease to seek medical attention.

Dominica

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt has appealed for peace and tolerance in the country.

His call followed a spate of murders over a one-week period.

Five murders during that time, seen as a record, have prompted both government and church reaction.

Prime Minister Skerritt, in calling for a greater sense of tolerance, said the government needed to do more in the maintenance of law and order in the country.

Dominica’s acting Police Commissioner, Cyril Carrette, has already called for harsh penalties to be imposed on convicted criminals.

One pastor, who called for the resumption of the hanging, said in a local radio broadcast that “you can not stop murder in Dominica when murderers are prowling the country free.”

Jamaica

The Jamaica government is seeking a grant of $7 million from the Chinese government to build 17 additional childhood infant schools.

Education Minister Andrew Holness said this will form part of the administration’s thrust to increase the number of government-run infant schools island wide, which currently stands at 31.

Speaking at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting in New Kingston recently, Holness noted calls have been made for the rationalization of the early childhood sector, to enhance the provisions, especially from the government.

“We are now developing a program where we have identified the poorest communities, by virtue of the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s poverty map, and we plan to expand infant schools into those communities, to ensure that the poorest communities are able to access early childhood services free of cost,” the minister said.

He also urged private stakeholders to partner with the government in expanding the sector’s facilities and other provisions.

Jamaica

The National Land Agency (NLA), in collaboration with Globe Insurance Company Ltd., has launched its ground-breaking interactive map of the island, iMap Jamaica that will allow people anywhere in the world to identify any parcel of land in Jamaica and access related information.

Access to the information will be made available through the web-based application, elandJamaica, which allows persons to obtain copies of land related documents, such as certificates of title, valuation roll reports and deposited plans. It is being made available to the public free of charge.

Comparing the product to Google Earth, iMap can empower Jamaicans to access and use land information in ways that were thought impossible not so long ago.

Trinidad

The People’s Partnership (PP) government said it is making good on its “32 immediate actions” pledges during the May 24 General Election.

While all the promises listed under the title “120 days of immediate action” in their manifesto have not been fully completed, a review has shown the government fulfilled 20 out of 32 pledges, with others coming soon.

On May 24 the PP government led by United Congress (UNC) political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar was elected into office and three days later she was sworn in as prime minister.

Some of the pledges kept within the first 120 days include the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) laptops; removal of the property tax; expansion of the Government Assistance for Tertiary Expenses (GATE) to include technical and vocational students; establishment of a Ministry of the People; replacement of the Senior Citizens’ Grant with a TT$3,000 old age pension’ a review of the minimum wage to TT$12.50 per hour; funding and development of the children’s life fund and consultations for such things as poverty alleviation and constitution reform.

The government is yet to unveil its promised crime plan to deal with the escalating problem.

Turks And Caicos

Turks and Caicos British Governor Gordon Wetherell has assured irate residents of the island that there would not be another three-year delay to call a general election, which was put off for July next year.

Following public outcry and confrontation with residents, the governor issued a statement saying that some people had misrepresented the message delivered by UK Minister for Overseas Territories Henry Bellingham, who announced the postponement of the election.

“The minister did not say that the postponement of elections would be for three years. This has perhaps confused with the need for the TCI government to balance its budget within three years, which is a condition for the temporary package of financial support that is currently being prepared by the Department for International Development,” Wetherell said.

He insisted that Britain wants elections to take place in the TCI as soon as practicable, but July 2011 is just too soon for the interim government to complete its program of reforms.

Turks And Caicos

A Jamaican banker accused by federal prosecutors in Orlando, Florida of scheming more than $200 million from thousands of investors was sentenced to six years imprisonment in the Turks and Caicos Islands recently.

David Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges. He also faces 23 counts in Orlando federal court, ranging from wire fraud to money laundering.

U.S. prosecutors say more than 6,000 people from Florida, Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands and elsewhere invested in Smith’s companies, which include the Olint Corp.

Court documents say Smith touted Olint as a private investment club. He claimed to pool investors’ money to engage in foreign currency trading on their collective behalf.

But prosecutors say Smith failed to invest the funds as promised and paid returns to some investors from their own money, or money paid by later investors – typical of a Ponzi scheme.

Smith transferred millions of investors’ dollars to his personal bank accounts, which he used to finance a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors say.

Jamaican authorities raided Smith’s investment company’s office in 2006 and barred him from operating in the country. He then moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands after the raid.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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