Caribbean Roundup

Dominica

Venezuela is providing assistance to Dominica to help the island with an outbreak of the deadly Black Sigatoka disease that affects banana plants.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said Caracas is providing US$64,000 worth of fungicide as well as three experts to help deal with the outbreak. The disease, which kills banana and plantain plants, has been confirmed in the island, with agriculture officials admitting that they are worried about the situation.

Minister of Agriculture Mathew Walter recently told a news conference vigorous steps were being taken to deal with the problem.

Grenada

Grenada has provided 85 acres of land for the University of the West Indies (UWI) to build a campus.

The transfer of the land at Hope in St. Andrew makes Grenada a contributor of the third-largest parcel of land to the university.

Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas called the move for a UWI campus in Grenada a “significant investment in the future of the people of Grenada,” particularly the island’s northeastern section.

“This project will afford both a short-term and long-term progress to Hope and surrounding areas, similar to the changes and enhancements that came with campus locations in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica,” he noted.

Work on clearing of the land will begin soon, with construction to be done on a phased basis, according to UWI Vice Chancellor Nigel Harris.

Grenada

A 23-year-old Grenadian primary school teacher was remanded in custody when he appeared in a St. George’s court charged with the murder of a 19-year-old woman whose dismembered body was found by garbage collectors on a street overlooking the capital recently.

John Redhead has been charged with killing Akera Lalgie. An autopsy revealed that she was strangled to death.

Redhead will re-appear in the St. George’s Magistrate Court on Aug. 20.

Guyana

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says despite a deteriorating external environment, including the deepening Euro-zone crisis, Guyana’s economy continues to be resilient.

It said last year, the economy recorded another year of impressive growth of more than five percent driven in part by high commodity prices, foreign direct investment and domestic credit expansion to the private sector.

“Real Gross Domestic Product is projected to grow by about four percent this year supported by increased activity in bauxite, gold, rice and the services sectors, which should offset any expected fall off in sugar production,” the IMF said.

It said while inflation remained low, an IFM team, which has just concluded the yearly review of the Guyana economy, noted a marginal drop in gross foreign reserves to about four months of imports at end of June 2012, as capital imports rose.

The IMF said the Donald Ramoutar administration has been commended for its continued prudent macro-economic management.

Guyana

The Guyana government has ordered the police and the military to forcibly reopen the sole bridge connecting a mining town to Brazil that protestors have blocked for more than two weeks.

President Donald Ramoutar issued the order shortly before he visited Linden, where police fatally shot three protestors and injured 20 others on July 18.

Residents in the impoverished area are still protesting a proposed electricity rate increase from Guy$25 monthly to about $100. They said they will not remove obstacles including huge logs and trucks from the bridge until National Security Minister Clement Rohee resigns and the police officers are charged with murder.

The bridge across the Demerara River is the main access to gold and diamond mines as well as timber grants owned by local and foreign companies.

Minister Rohee said he has no intention of resigning.

Jamaica

Jamaica police are seeking the assistance of the International Police, Interpol, to assist in the investigations into three Americans who were found hiding on the island recently after fleeing the United States.

The family of three – Donald Henderson, 45, his wife, Maria Henderson, 43, and daughter Aja Henderson, 21, arrived on a Carnival cruise ship in St. Ann.

They were later reported missing by authorities. But following a search by the police, the Americans, who are from Virginia, were found hiding in a villa at Discovery Bay.

Police say they are trying to determine whether the Americans are fleeing law enforcement in the U.S.

They are being held in custody while police are interrogating them as to why they abandoned the ship and stayed in Jamaica.

The family was on a six-day cruise when they disembarked the vessel and failed to return.

Jamaica

Four men were killed in a recent shootout with police in Jamaica.

Residents of Windsor Heights in Central Village, St. Catherine have challenged claims by the police that the men were involved in a gun battle with them.

They claim that Tyrone Reid, 17, a graduate of Jamaica College, Dwayne Johnson, 29, Mario “The Devil” Gabbidon and Delano “Jermaine” Pinnock were killed in cold blood.

Three of the men were coming from a dance in a vehicle and police waited until they reach a spot in the community and opened fire on the vehicle.

Police had reported that the four – whom they say are wanted for several crimes in and around the Corporate area – were killed during a shootout with members of the Area Four Special Operations Team. According to the police, the men opened fire on them after refusing to stop the vehicle in which they were traveling.

Trinidad

Newly-appointed National Security Minister Jack Warner said he planned to take a special initiative for Cabinet approval that will allow U.S. forces to patrol the country’s maritime border.

Warner made the statement following a recent closed-door meeting with United States Ambassador Beatrice Wilkinson-Welters at the Ministry of National Security office in Port of Spain.

It was the first meeting since Warner assumed office on June 25.

Warner said he wanted to take the Customs Patrol Assistance Program in order to help crack the drug trade.

“Our borders are porous and all the drugs and arms come through our borders and we need help…. and the Americans can help us,” he said.

He said the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBSI) was high on both his and the Ambassador’s agenda.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago will host two tourism conferences scheduled for next year, which are intended to promote the country as a travel destination.

Minister of Tourism Stephen Cadiz told a press conference that the two meetings are the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) conference on Sustainable Tourism Development as well as the 11th Travel Professionals of Color (TPOC) International Conference and Trade Show.

Gail Henry, CTO’s sustainable tourism product specialist, said the organization’s conference will address issues facing the economy, society and the environment and find solutions to them

Charlotte Haymore, president of TPOC said the conference, which is to be hosted next August, will help Trinidad and Tobago and the United States to intertwine through workshops and seminars.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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