Caribbean RoundUp

Barbados

Secretary General of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Hugh Riley, recently called for legislation to regulate the disposal of waste in Caribbean waters.

Addressing the second Sustainable Conference, Riley said the Caribbean had a responsibility to protect and preserve its water resources.

He said that water was at the core of the Caribbean’s efforts at sustainability and that it was important that the necessary policies be put in place to safeguard this vital resource.

The two-day conference, organized by the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation with support from the CTO, has as its theme “Tourism and Water Protecting Our Common Future.”

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands were featured at the 20th annual World Travel Awards 2013, which was held on Sept. 14 in Antigua.

The Cayman Islands took home the award for the Caribbean’s Leading Dive Destination 2013. This award was bestowed on the Cayman Islands in 2012 and 2007.

The Cayman Islands were nominated in several categories including the Caribbean’s Leading Destination 2013 and the Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination 2013. The Cayman Turtle Farm was nominated for the Caribbean’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2013 and Grand Cayman nominated for the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination 2013.

Not to be excluded were the hotels and resorts of the Cayman Islands with two nominations. The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman was nominated for the Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Residences 2013 and the Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Suite 2013.

Nominated for the Cayman Islands’ Leading Resort 2013 were: Caribbean Club, Grand Cayman Mariott Beach Resort, the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman and the Westin Grand Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa with Grand Cayman Beach Suites taking home the award for the third year.

“I am absolutely delighted that the Cayman Islands has once again triumphed over strong competition in this year’s World Travel Awards, which is widely regarded as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry,” stated Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Hon. Moses Kirkconnell.

Guyana

Authorities in Guyana are seeking to relocate poultry farms due to concerns about increased numbers of scavenger birds circling around the South American country’s international airport. Airport Chief Executive Ramesh Ghir says the majority of poultry farms are located near the airport, and that moving them would help prevent future accidents.

Airport Operations spokesman Andre Kellman says the farms do not properly dispose of garbage, attracting scavengers that pose a danger as they cross flight paths. A Caribbean Airlines flight from New York hit several birds as it landed recently, while another flight in April was forced to turn back after one of its engines sucked in several birds.

Haiti

Experts have warned a Dominican court decision to strip citizenship from children of Haitian migrants could cause a human rights crisis, potentially leaving tens of thousands of people stateless, facing mass deportation and discrimination. Officials promised to create a path to Dominican citizenship but gave no details about how it would work or who would be covered.

The ruling by the Constitutional Court is final and gives the electoral commission one year to produce a list of people to be excluded from citizenship.

The decision applies to those born after 1929 – a category that overwhelmingly includes descendants of Haitians brought in to work on farms.

It appears to affect even their grandchildren, said Wade McMullen, a New York based attorney in the U.S. at the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights.

An UN-backed study released this year estimated there are nearly 210,000 Dominican-born people of Haitian descent and roughly another 34,000 born to parents of another nationality.

Jamaica

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) say four men have been arrested in Brooklyn, New York, and charged with participating in a fraudulent lottery scheme being operated from Jamaica.

Recently, ICE said the arrests are a result of an investigation by its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the US Postal Inspection Service.

According to U.S. Attorney William J Hochul, Jr, the scheme targeted elderly citizens throughout the United States, including two seniors living in western New York. Those arrested are Corey Buddle, Orlando Buddle and Otis Ricketts, all of Brooklyn, as well as Horace Buddle, of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Hochul said the defendants are charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He said the charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and fines up to US$500,000.

The criminal complaint alleges the defendants conspired with others to defraud senior citizens by luring them into believing they had won millions of dollars in the lottery, as well as a Mercedes-Benz in many cases, in exchange for fees paid up front.

Hochul said the scheme typically utilized contact by mail, telephone or fax, and also involved high-pressure tactics and threats to coerce the victims to send money.

The victims include an 83-year-old man from Buffalo and a 71-year-old man from Rochester, New York.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines police recently confirmed Recardo “Smokey” Roberts, younger brother of Hans King, press secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, had been shot and killed.

Initial reports said Roberts, a CD vendor, said to be in his 20s, died in a hail of bullets in Kingstown Park recently. The police recovered at least 20 spent shell casings at the scene.

The details surrounding the shooting are still not clear, but media reports said the shots were fired from a car occupied by masked gunmen.

Recently, the secretary at the Family Court, Velome Samuel, died after being shot several times while doing laundry at her home.

Trinidad

As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the United States government recently signed an agreement to provide Trinidad and Tobago with $11.3 million (US$1.8 million) for security assistance programs.

Signing the agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, were acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Roodal Moonilal and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Margaret B Diop.

According to the U.S. Embassy: “The agreement increases co-operative opportunities between the government of the United States of America and the government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to develop programs aimed at increasing citizen security in the areas of juvenile justice, youth development, counter-narcotics, military and police capacity, drug-demand reduction, and financial crimes investigations.”

The embassy added: “The goals of these programs are to improve security, promote social justice and counter the efforts of local and international criminal organizations.”

The US$1.8 million adds to the US$1.6 million previously committed.

Guyana

The ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is celebrating the 21st anniversary of its victory at the polls saying Guyana had advanced significantly under its stewardship.

“Even though it has been 47 years since we became independent, we have only had freedom in the last 21 years in this country.

Ramotar addressing the “Return to Democracy” rally at the Lusignan Market Tarmac, admitted however that corruption was an issue that the government was still battling with, mainly because it was so deeply entrenched within the pat government of the People’s National Congress (PNC)

The PPP/C was victorious at the October 1992 polls, regarded by many observers as the country’s first ever fair and free elections. The party assumed office on Oct. 5, 1992 with the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan as the head of state.

President Ramotar reminded supporters that historian and politician Dr. Walter Rodney and other political leaders were murdered simply because they opposed the PNC.

Meanwhile, former President Bharrat Jagdeo said that it was important for the PPP/C to fulfill its mandate and must be judged on the basis of how it has changed the social and economic landscape of Guyana.

He said in the past, only 35 per cent of Guyanese children were able to attain secondary education but the figure has risen more than 80 per cent, including children coming from the hinterland. He said Guyana is fast approaching the attainment of universal secondary education.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago and Panama recently signed a Partial Scope Trade Agreement recently which will help boost the economies of both countries.

The Partial Scope Trade Agreement provides the preferential treatment that exporters from Trinidad and Tobago will enjoy in the Panamanian market and the reciprocal preferential treatment that Panamanian exporters will receive in the Trinidad and Tobago market.

In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, there will be immediate tariff elimination in a number of important manufactured products and also tariff reduction in several other areas. This agreement will strengthen the existing trade relationship between the two countries, as it will afford further market diversification.

The agreement was signed in Panama by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Dookeran of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Ricardo Quijano Jimenez, Panama’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.

The signing was done in the presence of President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal of Panama and the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The agreement marks the end of four rounds of negotiations between the two countries, which commenced in January 2010.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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