Caribbean Round-Up

Inter-regional travel could come to a halt if industrial action hits LIAT. The Antigua-based LIAT and the Antigua and Barbuda’s Workers Union (ABWU) are up in arms following its recent announcement that it was terminating employment of 25 airline workers.

The Ministry of Labor has invited the two parties to the bargaining table in last ditch effort to stave off threatened industrial action.

LIAT recently issued redundancy notices to all but three employees in its Cargo and Quickpak Department in a cost cutting plan. The cargo section was launched a year ago and in a release recently the cash-strapped airline announced plans for the further outsourcing of its Cargo and Quickpak operations at several of its stations in the Caribbean.


Bahamians will go to the polls on May 7. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he has advised the Governor General Sir Arthur Alexander Foulkes to dissolve Parliament paving the way for general elections in The Bahamas.

“My government has completed its mandate. It is now time for the Bahamian people to decide in whose hands they will grant a new mandate for the governance or our country over the next five years,” he told supporters of the Free National Movement (FNM).

In the last general election, the FNM won 23 seats as compared to l8 for the main opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) headed by former Prime Minister Perry Christie.

The PLP has been campaigning on a promise of fixing The Bahamas after accusing the NFM government of squandermania and unkept promises to the electorate.


A waste-to-energy facility expected to process approximately 350 tons of solid waste a day and provide between 10 to l4 megawatts of electricity is being planned for Barbados.

This was announced by the island’s Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr. Dennis Lowe, as he disclosed that Cabinet recently approved Bds$377 million for the creation of a Mangrove Pond Green Energy Complex.

Along with the waste-to-energy facility, the complex will include a solar power facility, a wind energy facility, the Mangrove Pond Beautification Program, the construction of a new mechanical maintenance facility and the Landfill Gas Management System.

Dr. Lowe said the complex formed part of the government’s efforts to develop a comprehensive program to manage solid waste disposal and create energy options for the country.


Recently retired chief justice Richard Ground has been appointed to the Court of Appeal, Government House announced.

The statement said Ground’s appointment to the higher court – to take effect next year – was made after consultation with Court of Appeal President Edward Zacca, a Jamaican.

Ground took up the post in 2004 after serving the previous six years as chief justice of the Turks and Caicos. Earlier, he was attorney general of the Cayman Islands from l987 to l992.

Ground’s appointment as chief justice was made over the objections of then-premier Alex Scott whose choice was Jamaica-born judge Norma Wade Miller, ex-wife of former opposition leader Frederick Wade.

Governor of Bermuda Sir Richard Gozney announced that Ground’s appointment will take effect from Jan. 2, 2013.


During the first quarter of 2012 Cuba has already received one million tourists, according to a recent announcement by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism.

According to the Ministry, during the first three months of this year, the number of arrivals had grown by four percent while the tourism industry’s revenues showed a 12 per cent growth.

Tourism officials say Russia had become its main source of travel, along with Canada, Argentina, Italy, UK and Germany.

In the first three months of 2012 more than 26,000 Russians visited Cuba, almost double the figure for the same period last year.

In 2011, Cuba received more than 2.7 million visitors, including 78,500 Russians. Previously, Canada has been its biggest source market.

Last year, Cuba’s Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero announced that tourist arrivals in Cuba were expected to increase in 2012 with the arrival of 2.9 million foreign visitors.


Guyana is seeking a national debate on whether to eliminate its death penalty and change laws discriminating against homosexuals and transgender.

Town-hall style meetings will be held across the country as part of a promise made to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The government also plans to analyze public opinion before deciding whether it will submit any bills to revise current laws.

National Security Minister Clement Rohee has already launched the debate on hangings via televised panel discussions that allow for call-ins. The public will also be able to attend meetings on the issue later this month.

No one has been hanged in Guyana since l997, even though the law remains on the books. Nearly 30 prisoners are on death row.

Officials also plan to meet with leaders from Christian, Hindu and Islamic communities, who represent the country’s prominent religions. Many religious leaders oppose legislation of homosexuality.


Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has warned that her administration would adopt a tough stance against people who abuse or cause harm to children whether through neglect or deliberate action.

She said Jamaicans must be feeling a sense of shame with regards to what is happening in terms of the abuse of children, adding, “children have a special place in my heart; they are precious and must be protected.”

The prime minister said she has already had discussions with the minister of justice with a view of reviewing the relevant laws, and along with the children’s advocate, will be implementing a series of measures to help change the culture of ignoring acts of abuse against children.

“We will be holding parents and guardians responsible, as well as offenders, who must never escape serious punishment, for hurting a child,” the prime minister said.


Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar held bilateral talks with Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff on the final day of the recent Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

A release from the Prime Minister’s office said Persad-Bissessar discussed several areas for partnering between the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.

Persad-Bissessar raised the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding between Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago for an air services agreement, which will allow for a direct air transportation link between the two countries, the release said.

And she discussed a proposed Embrapa model farm for CARICOM, which is to be located in Trinidad, reminding President Rousseff about her promise to donate land for the project.


Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar recently signed a multi-million dollar loan agreement with the Andean Bank in Colombia which would provide Trinidad and Tobago with funds for major infrastructure work, including the TT$7 billion Point Fortin Highway in South Trinidad.

The signing, which took place in Colombia after the two-day Summit of the Americas will see T&T becoming a special member of the Corporacian Andia de Fomento (CAF).

The loan agreement clears the way for a portfolio of local government projects to become eligible for CAF financing. These include infrastructure of roads, transportation, telecommunications, power generation and transmission, water and sanitation.

The CAF is a development bank established in 1970 which comprises l8 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe as well as 14 private banks from the Andean region.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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