Caribbean

Caribbean countries are to get assistance from Japan in recovering from the global economic crisis and deepening cooperation on global issues, including nuclear disarmament and the reform of the UN Security Council.

During the recent Japan-CARICOM Summit in Tokyo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada urged Caribbean nations to endorse the Copenhagen Accord, which resulted from a key U.N. climate conference last December and aim for the adoption of a comprehensive agreement to tackle the problem.

The Caribbean countries asked Japan’s assistance to recover from the financial crisis, saying their economies have been slumping with declines in revenues from tourism, their major industry and in remittances from expatriates.

Bahamas

The decomposed remains of a human being were found inside a huge shark, which was caught by three fishermen in Bahamian waters.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Glen Miller said the fishermen reported the gruesome discovery as they were processing the shark and noticed that it had what looked like a human body part.

Miller said the fishermen then called in the Royal Bahamas Defense Force personnel, who boarded and searched the 30-foot Bahamian-registered fishing vessel recently.

He said the three fishermen reported that the 12-foot tiger shark they caught had regurgitated the parts.

The fishing vessel accompanied by the defense force vessel headedback to Coral Harbor where the predator was dissected and other body parts were discovered, the statement said.

Miller said the case is being investigated.

Barbados

Barbados Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin is challenging allegations of professional misconduct made against him by the Police Service Commission (PSC).

He has filed an affidavit in the High Court to get an injunction against the PSC taking any action.

The PSC has accused Dottin of; stating a falsehood, that a suspended sergeant did not have use of a government car while on suspension; requesting that disciplinary charges against that same officer be dropped despite being told the matter was sub judice ( being heard by a court); disclosing official information from Jamaica’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Waynemore Hinds to a local newspaper editor who used the information in a story published on March 25; and repeated failures to brief Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Bertie Hinds when proceeding on leave.

The PSC reportedly took action following complaints from DCP Hinds.

Commissioner Dotting called the claims “untrue” and “trivial and accused the PSC of being biased when dealing with issues submitted by him and his deputy.

Barbados

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has condemned the robbery and arson at Tudor Street, Bridgetown, that six killed young women saying that it has compromised the island’s reputation as a safe tourist destination.

The BCCI said it was a strong wake up call.

BCCI president Anthony Armstrong said one of the key factors for the tourism industry in Barbados is safety.

Armstrong said the BCCI had started efforts to revive Bridgetown as a center for cultural, sporting, culinary and commercial activities during the day and night.

However, safety and cleanliness of the city were identified as critical issues that required urgent attention, if the plans to have increased activity in Bridgetown were to succeed.

Guyana

People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive member, Dr George Norton, has called on Guyana’s Amerindians to nominate one of their own to be the presidential candidate and suggested that Rupununi pioneer, Sydney Allicock should be the person.

He was speaking at the launching of Indigenous Month at the Amerindian village at Sophia, Greater Georgetown.

But shortly after, President Bharat Jagdeo told the gathering, which included diplomats and a wide-cross section of the community, as well as opposition leader Robert Corbin, that there was no room for “race politics” and said Guyana had enough of that and it should not continue.

Norton, who is himself a Toshao and a member of the Guyana Organization of Indigenous Peoples, said that Amerindians have in the past played an important role in the country’s political history – apparently referring to the merger of the United Force, which was supported by most Amerindians in l964 when it joined forces with the Forbes Burham’s People’s National Congress (PNC) to form the government.

Jagdeo said that many people would like to see racial conflict continue, but stressed that his party is bent on unity among the races.

Amerindians now comprise nine percent of the population and Norton said that the Amerindian votes can be vital at the next general election.

Jamaica

Jamaican parents, who fail to send their children to school regularly, could face strict penalties under the Education Act and the Child Care and Protection Act.

This was the warning sent by Education Minister Andrew Holness, who said the current 80 percent school attendance rate was unacceptable and is considering having certain areas declared compulsory attendance zones, under the Education Act.

The minister made it clear that poverty would not be considered a valid excuse for absenteeism.

He said there are parents who are not sending their children to school regularly and “if the difficulty is an economic one, if your household does not have the economic resources to send the children to school on a regular basis that, in itself, is not an excuse.”

“I certainly do not accept it as an excuse,” Holness said.

The education minister said those who face economic challenges can reach out to the various relevant agencies established to provide financial assistance to the needy – such as the Program for Advancement Through Health and Education – as well as their political representatives, school principals, guidance counselors or ministers of religion.

He said records have shown that there were students in the system who were registered but only attend on certain days, while there were those who do not attend school at all.

St. Lucia

Investigations are being carried out into another escape from the Bordelais Correctional Facility in St. Lucia, the second prison break in less than a month.

It was unclear how the 21-year-old inmate from the east coast village of Dennery, who was serving time for possession of drugs, was able to escape from the facility.

Unlike the previous jailbreak, which was facilitated by persons from outside, there was no such interference on this occasion, prompting suspicion that the escapee may have either made his way out over the prison fence, or been facilitated from within.

The jailbreak comes in the wake of an audit done on the prison facility by a U.S. team, which has just submitted recommendations to the government into ways security in the jail can be improved.

Trinidad

As debate continues in Trinidad and Tobago over the resumption of hangings, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the death penalty is “the law of the land” and it “does not arise.”

Speaking at a post cabinet press conference recently in Tobago, the prime minister said there are moves to bring legislation to allow for the categorization of different degrees of murder and of the possibility that hangings may resume for the most severe cases of murder.

“The law is on our statue books. It is the rule of the law. We will act according to the rule of the law,” she said.

But while she stood firm that the law of the land will be enforced, the prime minister was not willing to go so far as to suggest that the jurisdiction of the Privy Council will be removed in order to clear the way for certain hangings five years after sentencing.

The Privy Council is seen as the major obstacle in getting killers to go to the gallows.

Trinidad

The new Trinidad and Tobago People’s Partnership government led by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar presented its first TT$49 billion budget for the fiscal year 2010/2011 in parliament recently.

In presenting the budget, Finance Minister Winston Dookeran allocated the biggest slice of TT$8.3 billion to the Ministry of Education, TT$5.9 billion to the Ministry of Works, TT$4.3 billion to the Ministry of Health, TT$4.7 billion to the Ministry of National Security, TT$1.8 billion to Ministry of Agriculture, TT$1.8 billion to Ministry of Housing, and TT$7 billion to the Public Service Sector Investment Plan.

The budget is based on real GDP growth of two percent, an average inflation rate of seven percent, an oil price of $65 a barrel and gas price of $2.75 per mmbtu.

Revenue projection is estimated at TT$15.2 billion from the energy sector, TT$26.1 billion from non-energy. Private sector investment estimated to reach TT$3 billion.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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