Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

Vere Bird, the elder brother of former Prime Minister Lester Bird has died at the age of 76.

Bird, the first son of the island’s first prime minister Vere Cornwall Bird, died of a heart attack at Dr Joey John’s hospital recently.

Bird, an attorney entered politics in l981 and served as a minister of aviation, information and public service.

He also served as chairman of the Antigua Labor Party (ALP).

As Public Works and Communications Minister he oversaw the reconstruction of the VC Bird International Airport, which was the subject of controversy after it was discovered that he had granted a contract for the construction of a new runway to a company he was a shareholder.

He was later fired after a scandal in which Israeli weapons, sold to Antigua and Barbuda, were found in the hands of the Medellin cartel of Colombian drug smugglers and a report by Sir Bloom-Cooper recommended that he be debarred from holding public office again.

But despite that report, Bird returned to government in l996 serving as a minister of science, technology and communications and after the l999 general election, he served as minister of trade, industry, agriculture, lands and fisheries.

Bahamas

The mother, sister and brother-in-law of former Bahamas Cabinet Minister Sidney Collie were recently killed when a plane crashed into a truck on the runway at the Mayaguana airport.

Police said they were inside one of the trucks that they were using their high beam to guide the nine-seater plane on the runway at the airport at night- a long-standing practice at the airport at night.

The trucks were stationed on either side of the runway to light the plane’s path as the airport has no light.

The pilots came to pick up Collie’s uncle, who had a medical emergency. The victims were trapped inside the burning truck and their bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

The victims are Collie’s mother, Edith Collie, 82, sister, Emanate Polowick and her husband, Tina Polowick, a Canadian.

The plane’s pilot, co-pilot and a nurse on board escaped the crashed unharmed, but the aircraft was badly damaged.

Barbados

Barbados is sending a delegation to the United States for talks with the major cruise lines at it seeks to promote southern destinations as an attractive brand.

Tourism Minister Richard Sealy will head the delegation which will leave for Miami this month.

He said officials from the Barbados Tourism Authority and Barbados Port Inc. would also be part of the delegation and would use the opportunity to also discuss with stakeholders other issues that are affecting the industry.

Sealy acknowledged that the island had lost some of its cruise market share as a result of the singular marketing approach of destinations which were unsuccessful at regaining the major cruise lines.

Grenada

After almost four years, hundreds of Grenadians will soon find employment with Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), which will resume work later this month.

The New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell promised to quickly reinstate the construction company, during the recent general election campaign and a little more than a month in office, the promise has been fulfilled.

Minister of Communication and Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities and ICT, Gregory Bowen made the announcement at a recent press conference.

The Kuwaiti Fund suspended disbursement to Grenada last February after the Tillman Thomas NDC government failed to make overdue payments on four loans. Bowen said the government has entered into a new agreement with the Kuwaiti Fund, which allows CCC to resume operations in April 2013. Projects coming on stream include the construction of 10 roads.

Jamaica

The House of Representatives in Jamaica has passed a bill calling for tougher prosecution of those involved in multimillion-dollar lottery scams that have targeted mostly elderly Americans.

The governor general is expected soon to sign the bill, which the Senate also passed on March 21. The bill targets advanced fee fraud, identity theft and the use of technology for illegally accessing financial accounts. The bill also prohibits making threats and coercing victims over the phone. Those found guilty could face up to 20 years in prison.

Authorities say at least 30,000 calls are made daily from Jamaica to the U.S. as part of the scams. Suspects usually tell victims they’ve won millions but must first wire payments to cover taxes before they can receive the prize. The scams generate at least J$300 million a year.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts and Nevis has established diplomatic relations with Paraguay. The relevant documents were signed recently by Organization of America States (OAS) ambassador/ permanent representative Jacinth Henry-Martin on behalf of St. Kitts and Nevis and Martin Sannemann for Paraguay.

Henry-Martin said this is an important step to deepen existing bonds of friendship, paving the way for more focused attention to collaboration in areas of mutual interest.

These range from language instruction, information and technology exchange in the area of small farming and agricultural development to tourism and cultural exchange.

Permanent Secretary in the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Foreign Sffairs, Elvis Newton, said this move represents another component of the government’s efforts to form strategic relationships with countries in order to promote mutual interests in the international arena.

Suriname

A Haitian “bush” doctor is facing a manslaughter charge after one of his “patients” died after drinking a concoction aimed at healing his illness.

Police said Hosner Guerrier, 42, also a Haitian national had been taken to the “doctor” by his relatives after he complained of feeling unwell. But he died soon after he was given the “medicine” to drink.

When the officers arrived at the location in Kwatta, a residential area in west Paramaribo, they found the victim’s lifeless body, according to a statement by the police.

Police said they recovered the drink the “doctor” gave his “patient” adding that they man could be charged with manslaughter.

Two other people, including the “doctor’s” assistant, were questioned by police.

Trinidad

A Trinidadian mother was extradited to the United States recently to face charges for her alleged role in the 2005 kidnapping and subsequent murder of her lover retired U.S. war veteran, 62-year-old Balram “Balo” Maharaj of Mount Vermont, New York.

According to the U.S. Embassy, in Port of Spain, Dooren Alexander-Durity, 47, appeared before Judge Deborah A Robinson in the District Court of Colombia on April 2, 2013 on a two-count indictment filed in September 2010.

She is accused of organizing the kidnapping of Maharaj when he visited his native country in 2005.

It is alleged that she arranged to have him kidnapped from a bar in San Juan a few miles from Port of Spain. The plot went awry and the Army veteran was shot to death. Twelve other co-conspirators from Trinidad were extradited and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colombia. They are waiting to be sentenced. If convicted, Alexander-Durity faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

She has previously denied the allegations and fought extradition since 2006.

Trinidad

Tourism planners, policy makers and stakeholders in the tourism industry will meet in Trinidad and Tobago later this month for the 14th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, which will explore ways the Caribbean can enhance destination sustainability and competitiveness in the current global environment by examining several critical issues.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which organizes the conference, has chosen as its theme, “Keeping the Right Balance: Enhancing Destination Sustainability through Products, Partnerships, Profitability.”

The conference program will feature focused panel discussions, special presentations and interactive workshops to create opportunities for delegates to interact with leading local, regional and international experts and tourism practitioners.

Compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC