Caribbean Roundup

Bahamas

The Royal Bahamas Police Force recently detained 17 Cubans at Cay Lobos and the Perry Christie administration is seeking to repatriate them swiftly to Havana.

Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Mitchell said “we had advised the Cuban government that they are in center and we want them repatriated swiftly to Cuba in accordance with the provisions of our agreement with Cuba.”

Mitchell said his government is also aware that 16 Cubans allegedly escaped from the Turks and Caicos Island and ended up in the United States of America recently.

Cayman Islands

Former Premier of the Cayman Islands McKeeva Bush is due to appear in court on Apri1 12 to answer two charges of Misconduct in a Public Office, four counts of Breach of Trust by a member of the Legislative Assembly (contrary to S.13 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008) and five counts of Theft (contrary to S.242 of the Penal Code 2007 Revision).

The charges are another step in the long-running corruption investigation into the former premier, who represents the district of West Bay in the Legislative Assembly.

On Dec. 11, 2012, Bush was arrested on suspicion of theft, in connection with financial irregularities relating to the alleged misuse of a government credit card and Breach of Trust, Abuse of office and Conflict of interest, contrary to S13 and S19 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 respectively, in connection with the alleged importation of explosive substances without valid permits on or before February 2012. He has been on bail since his arrest.

Following his arrest, a majority of his Legislative Assembly colleagues, including members of his own United Democratic party, voted to remove him as premier. Bush’s charged come in the midst of a general election campaign, as voters in the Cayman Islands prepare to go to the polls on May 22.

Dominica

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal recently overturned a High Court ruling that Dominican journalist and talk show host, Lennox Linton, pay over EC$60,000 to an accountant in a defamation law suit.

The court granted the appeal on the basis of qualified privilege. In March 2011, High Court judge Brian Cottle ruled that Linton must pay EC$50,000 in damages to a chartered accountant, who he said had been defamed by an article aired on a local radio station in 2002.

The article entitled “Professional Conduct Procedure-The KPB Version” dealt with Dominica’s economic citizenship program and the court heard that Linton also commented on the article in a radio broadcast on Feb. 26, 2002. In handing down the ruling, High Court judge Cottle said the defendant, especially Linton “remained unapologetic.” In addition to the EC$50,000 in damage that both Linton and the owners of the radio station must pay, the judge also ordered Linton pay costs of EC$14,000.

Grenada

The World Bank says no new loans will be issued to Grenada unless the country makes good on seven overdue payments amounting to US$750,000.

The payments, ranging from over US$5,000 to more than US$317,000, were due on Feb. 15, four days before the last general elections.

The World Bank has written to re-elected Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell saying failure to make the loan payments on time is hampering its ability to assist other member countries.

The loans, covering projects, disaster management, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) education, skills for inclusive growth and Hurricane Ivan recovery, also include separate overdue amounts of more than US$6,000, US$17,000, US $20,000, US$95,000 and US$255,000.

The Washington-based financial institution told the new government that it has been forced to take this action since the seven payments, which should have been made on Feb. 15 under the Tillman Thomas administration, are more than 30 days overdue.

The World Bank’s action against Grenada comes on the heels of similar decisions taken against the Grenada government in recent months reflecting concerns about the general management of the local economy.

Guyana

A United Nations agency is urging Guyana to review the practice of granting mining permits and concessions in indigenous communities before obtaining consent from Amerindians who live there.

The letter was sent recently by the UN’s committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

It comes after the Amerindian People’s Association wrote the UN to complain that although Amerindians received land titles from the government, they have no power to prevent miners from working in or near their villages.

Spokeswoman Jean LaRose said that the group has repeatedly sought permission from the government to prevent miners from exploiting indigenous people’s lands.

Attorney General Anand Nandlall has said the government will consider the group’s request.

Haiti

An aide to Haiti’s prime minister was recently murdered in a drive-by shooting by two masked men on a motor cycle, the government said recently.

The office of the Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said in a statement that Georges Henry Honorat, 55, was killed at the house in the Delmas district in Port-au-Prince.

Police said Honorat was shot twice outside his home when the men drove by. He died on the spot.

Honorat also worked as the editor in chief for the weekly newspaper Haiti progress and was secretary general of the Popular National Party that opposed the regime of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier and his father Francois.

The slayings of government officials often occur during electoral seasons, but have been rare of late.

In 2008, Honorat said two journalists who worked for Haiti Progress were killed in an outbreak of mob violence in northern Haiti as they considered campaign runs for the Senate. A spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti said a mob killed two men suspected of helping to steal more than $1,800 from an informal credit union.

Jamaica

More than 270 Jamaicans were deported from CARICOM countries last year. This is according to Minister of Foreign Affairs AJ Nicholson, who said another 254 Jamaicans were sent back from Curacao.

He was responding to questions posed by Opposition senator Robert Montague in the Senate.

Of the 525 Jamaicans deported from CARICOM member states and Curacao, 332 were males and 193 females.

It was reported that 167 persons were sent home for overstaying their time.

Another 58 were rejected for drug-related crimes, including possession of narcotics and drug trafficking.

The top five countries from which Jamaicans were deported are Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Bahamas and Antigua.

Meanwhile, Jamaica deported 26 Caribbean nationals in 2012.

It was also revealed that 794 Jamaicans were refused entry from other Caribbean countries last year.

Suriname

In a bid to strengthen bilateral relations with Suriname and offer diplomatic services to its nationals, Haiti will open a Consulate in Suriname, Haitian President Michael Martelly told his fellow countrymen recently at a meeting in Jarikaba, Suriname.

The Haitian leader was on a two-day official visit to Suriname.

He said by the end of April a consulate in Paramaribo. Suriname will also establish a diplomatic post in Port-au-Prince,” he told his audience.

Haitians living in Suriname are having difficulty in obtaining official documents such as passports, birth certificates and other relevant papers, since they have to send their requests all the way to Curacao, French-Guiana or even Washington for procession.

“Sometimes it takes as long as four months before we received or documents,” said Dejan Fleurentin, chairman of the Haiti-Suriname Cultural Association.

Several thousand Haitian immigrants are living in Suriname and play a significant role in Suriname’s agriculture and banana sectors.

Martelly told his countrymen that the Haitian and Suriname authorities are working closely together to resolve problems regarding Haitian nationals who had been living illegally in Suriname for many years.

Suriname’s foreign affairs minister, Winston Lackin said his government is seeking to secure rice exports to Haiti. According to Lackin, Haiti needs about 400,000 tons of rice annually.

Trinidad

A government minister is taking legal action against several media houses in Trinidad over a report that the Integrity Commission has referred him to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), in relation to a complaint of alleged misappropriation of funds at the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board of Control.

Sports Minister Anil Roberts told a post Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Center, Port of Spain that he is under no investigation and produced a letter dated, March 21, from the Integrity Commission stating that he was not under any probe.

Roberts said the Integrity Commission has categorically stated that no allegations of misbehavior in public office against him have been referred to the DPP.

He is suing Guardian Media Ltd, publishers of the Guardian newspaper, the Trinidad Express and I95 FM radio over the reporting that he is under investigation. He also intends to sue Ricardo Phillip, a former boxing board member who had filed the complaint with the Integrity Commission in 2011.

The Guardian carried a front page story stating that the Integrity Commission had referred a matter concerning Roberts, permanent secretary Ashwin Creed (who also taking legal action) and adviser to the Boxing Board to the DPP.

The Guardian in another article the next day stating there were calls for Roberts to step down as a minister.

Phillip was fired from the board after it was discovered that he was jailed for l8 months for fraud.

Guyana

Guyana recently became the 99th country to recognize Kosovo’s independence, according to that country’s foreign minister.

The information was confirmed by Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Enver Hoxhaj, who spoke to his Guyanese counterpart, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birket who informed him of the decision of the government of Guyana to recognize Kosovo as an independent and sovereign state, according to a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kosovo lobbied Guyana tremendously hard through bilateral and multilateral forums such as the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC