Caribbean Round-Up

Caribbean

The Organization of American States (OAS) has extended condolences to the people of Barbados, after the death of Prime Minister David Thompson recently.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said “today, not only Barbados, but all of the Americas, has lost a dedicated statesman and a distinguished public servant.

The secretary general noted that Prime Minister Thompson had devoted his life to improving and expanding social services and creating opportunities for economic growth in Barbados.

Condolences and tributes continue to pour in from the Caribbean for Thompson, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer recently.

Haiti

Health officials in Haiti are probing a cholera outbreak in a rural part of the country that could be responsible for more than 250 deaths and a surge in hospital patients, U.N. aid workers said.

Haitian government said people have died after suffering brief bouts of fever, vomiting and severe diarrhoea, with dozens of more deaths suspected. Most are reportedly children.

More than 3,000 patients reporting those symptoms have overcrowded a hospital in the seaside town of St. Marc, some 45 miles north of the capital Port-au-Prince, said Catherine Huek, country deputy for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

U.N. and Haiti health care workers are carrying out tests for cholera, typhoid and other diseases.

Jamaica

Jamaica has honored 136 nationals who have contributed to nation building on National Heroes Day recently.

Five Jamaicans received the nation’s highest honor, the Order of Jamaica (OJ), for outstanding contribution in the fields of public service, community development, education and diplomacy.

They are Reverend Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon for service to community development and the care of the poor and disadvantaged; Arnold Foote, for service in advertising, sports and diplomacy; Dr. Marshall Hall, for public service and contribution in the fields of agriculture, industry and education; Professor Emeritus Sylvia Wynter for service to education, history and culture; Ambassador Sue Cobb, will receive an honorary award for service as United States Ambassador to Jamaica and her continuing efforts to promote Jamaica’s interests and support development.

Jamaica

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has warned that Jamaica will not achieve “developed country status” within the next 20 years, unless the Vision 2030 national plan is embraced by the entire country.

He said the plan is only going to be worthwhile if “all of us take ownership of it and be vigilant in making sure that it succeeds.”

He was at the time speaking at the launch of the ‘popular version’ of the document at the historic Montego Bay Civic Center.

He argued that human development must play a critical role in achieving the desired objectives of the plan adding that the country’s youths, in particular, must be fully engaged.

The document, which was prepared by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) with the input of a wide range of people across the island, is aimed at making Jamaica a developed country by the year 2030.

St. Kitts

An update on the ECCU Eight Point Stabilization and Growth program was among the agenda when the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) met recently in St. Kitts for its 68th meeting.

The ECCU Eight-Point Program, which the heads of governments of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union signed on Dec. 29, 2009, is the region’s coordinated and strategic response to the global economic and financial crisis.

It comprises a set of consistent policies and approaches designed to stabilize, stimulate and restructure the economies of the ECCU member countries.

During the meeting, which was held via videoconference, the council also received updates from the Ministerial Sub-Committees, in addition, the governor of the ECCB also presented his report. The ECCB Monetary Council is the highest decision-making body of the Central Bank.

It comprises the ministers of finance from the eight-member governments, which are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves recently met with Syria President Bashar-al-Assad in Damascus to develop relations between Arab and Caribbean countries for the best interest of the two countries.

The meeting was attending by Syria’s Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, Information Minister Dr. Mohsen Bilal and the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Gonsalves.

Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri discussed with Gonsalves, cooperation and improving relations between the two countries in areas of development and prospects of developing St. Vincent and the Grenadines on all levels.

Suriname

The murder trial for Suriname’s leader Desi Bouterse resumed recently for the first time since he returned to power as the elected president, but the judge postponed it again after none of the defense witnesses appeared to testify.

Bouterse and 11 associates are charged with the December 1982 slaying of 15 politicians, journalists and others who opposed his military dictatorship.

Bouterse, who completed a political comeback with his inauguration in August, did not attend the hearing on a naval base outside the capital. But he has vowed he will not interfere in the trial, which has progressed slowly since it began in November l987.

The judge, Cynthia Valstein Montor postponed the trial until Nov. l9.

St. Lucia

Former governor general and a stalwart in St. Lucian politics, George Mallet died recently after a long battle with cancer. He was 87.

Mallet entered St. Lucia’s Parliament in 1958 as a representative of central Castries electoral district. He held the seat for 38 years until 1996, when he became governor general and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Mallet emerged as a political leader in the late l950s, when St. Lucians began pressing for independence from the United Kingdom, which was relieving responsibility for its Caribbean islands.

In 1964, Mallet and John Compton forged an alliance of two opposition parties that resulted in the creation of the United Workers Party (UWP), which has dominated St. Lucians politics.

Mallet was a long-serving deputy to Compton, who was the first prime minister upon independence in 1979. He also served as minister of tourism, trade and industry for more than 30 years.

Trinidad

A retired British judge has been appointed to head a one-man Commission of Enquiry into the collapsed CL Financial Ltd. and Colonial Life Insurance and other subsidiaries in Trinidad and Tobago.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan announced the appointment of Sir Garvin Lightman, a leading queen’s counsel in insolvency, administration law and other related matters.

Counsel to the Commission is another British QC, Peter Carter, “who has unparalleled experience in financial crime and fraud,” the AG said.

Ramlogan said the enquiry would be geared towards an analysis of the situation and would also determine whether there are any grounds for civil and criminal liability.

He said the overall aim behind the government’s action in establishing the enquiry was to prevent a recurrence of the “octopus-ole” financial collapse.

Trinidad

Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr and his co-accused Brent Miller walked free of a murder charge after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard discontinued the charges when they re-appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrate court recently.

Both men were charged for the May 20, 1998 with the killing of a former Jamaat member Israel Sammy outside his home in Maraval, Port of Spain.

Magistrate Nalani Singh presiding in the Magistrate Court ruled on Sept. 29, 2010 at the end of the inquest into Miller’s death that a prima facie case was made out against the two men.

Bakr and 114 other Jamaat members had led an unsuccessful coup at the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government in 1990.

They were charged with treason and murder but were freed after the Privy Council ruled that they have a valid amnesty.

Compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC

>