Caribbean Roundup

Antigua

The management of LIAT has rejected a number of claims that allegations made by representatives of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) and the National Workers Union of St Lucia during a recent interview on a radio station in Antigua.

LIAT’s chief executive officer Brian Challenger in a statement expressed regret at the biased and one-sided nature of the program, which he said exposed listeners to “a diet of inaccuracies, falsehoods, and distortions disguised as gospel truths, with no opportunity for rebuttal, questioning or clarification.”

Challenger noted that LIAT is currently seeking to restructure the company with a view to ensuring its survival in the midst of a global economic crisis. This involves efforts to enhance its revenues, but also involves cutting costs and taking other action which would regrettably lead to reducing the present complement of staff.

He rejected union claims that LIAT’s management was responsible for a breakdown in discussions and noted that it was in fact the unions that had rejected the latest call to meet and discuss the affairs of the company.

Barbados

St. Lucia’s Tourism Minister Allen Chastnet says the Barbados government has withdrawn low-cost airline REDjet’s permission to fly the Barbados to St Lucia route.

He said the airline was hopeful it would get its license and “I guess when they went to collect it, they discovered that while it was promised, it was not approved.

Officials of the Barbados-based airline had planned to host a joint press conference with the St Lucia Tourist Board to announce the introduction of the service from Hewanorra International Airport into Barbados, with connections to Panama.

But Chastanet told reporters that REDjet had been informed that permission had been denied.

The Tourism Minister is hoping the issue would be resolved soon “because REDjet is registered in Barbados and I am pleading with the government of Barbados that if they are going to have an airline, allow it to fly.”

REDjet was originally due to begin its operations to St Lucia last month.

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands’ Government has authorized an amendment to the British dependency laws to allow children and elderly people from Jamaica to visit without a visa.

The change applies to Jamaican nationals younger than 15 years old or older than 70. All others from the nearby island of Jamaica still need visas.

A statement from the government recently says airlines, the Cayman Island’s visa office in Jamaica’s capital and others have been notified of the change.

Haiti

Police in Haiti say a truck has struck a bus in the capital killing three people and injuring eight.

Police spokesman Gary Desrosiers said the driver of a rickety makeshift bus known as a tap-tap lost control of his vehicle and struck the bus on a busy street in a hilly and densely populated section of the capital.

Desrosiers says that eight people were injured, several of them with severe injuries. The two women and one man who died were aboard the public bus. The crash occurred recently in the Delmas area.

Jamaica

Jamaica is among 11 Caribbean countries ranked as very high or high on the United Nations Development Program’s (UMDP) Human Development Index (HDI) for 2011.

This was revealed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr Kenneth Baugh, as he addressed the opening ceremony for the 14th annual Conference of Presidents and Governors-General of Caricom recently.

He said that of the 14 Caribbean states ranked, most were categorized as Upper Middle Income Developing countries by the World Bank, with per capita Gross National Income ranging between US$4,000 and $12,000 in 2010.

St. Lucia

The St Lucia police have held a Barbadian man wanted in his country on several “serious criminal matters” had been shot during a police operation to apprehend him.

Police said 19 year-old, Aaron Idamar Roberts of Regent Hill, Pinelands, St Michael, had escaped lawful custody and according to the Barbados police he “was considered armed and dangerous.”

They said Roberts was arrested recently at La Clery on the outskirts of the capital, Castries and had been shot in the process.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago-owned Caribbean Airlines Ltd. (CAL) has announced a profit of TT$200 million.

This was announced by chairman of CAL George Nicholas 111 at the commissioning of the controversial-acquired ATR 72 600 series aircraft.

He said that even with reduced fares CAL will close a profit of around $200 million this year.

“We have also made the first ever consecutive profit in Air Jamaica’s 50-year history, of several million US dollars,” Nicholas said.

The first of three such aircraft arrived from France recently.

Nicholas was initially seeking to overturn the US$200 million contract for nine 9 Y-TTA aircraft, despite the approval by the Government.

The contract was signed on January 26, 2011,with Avions de Transport (ATR) for nine ATR 72 600 aircraft.

Nicholas said CAL would embark on changes which would bolster business towards a hub and open new regional and international routes, among them: Mumbai (before the year’s end), Johannesburg, Nigeria, Brazil and one of two United States major gateways.

After two weeks certification process, the ATR would initially be flying to the Sister Isle of Tobago and then within the Caribbean.

Trinidad

Prime Minister Patrick Manning has apologized to the people of Trinidad and Tobago saying that his former People’s National Movement (PNM) administration may have “disenfranchised” certain sections of the national population by its policies.

He said no leader of government or government was “perfect.”

“The people of Trinidad and Tobago may have thought that in me they would have found perfection. If that were the case, I could have said from quite early on you had the wrong man,” Manning said adding, “I am not perfect.”

“No human being is perfect, and to expect perfection in the conduct of public affairs is perhaps experiencing a little too much,” he added.

“I was not perfect in the governance of Trinidad and Tobago and I am sure that along the way it is not possible for any leader to conduct the affairs of any country and for such a long time, without, by the decisions that he makes, initiates or ultimately holds the responsibility (for) not adversely affecting some people,” he told a press conference.

“I wish to humbly apologize to all of them to say to Trinidad and Tobago, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, I am sorry,” he said.

Manning called a snap election on May 24, 2010 after two and a half months in office and lost to the People’s Partnership government led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar. His party suffered a humiliating defeat at the polls.

Trinidad

National Security Minister John Sandy said if sufficient evidence is not gathered against the 13 detainees, who were arrested in connection with an alleged assassination plot against Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and three senior Government ministers, they would be released.

He made the announcement at a press conference at the National Security Building in Port of Spain last week.

“By the end of the state of emergency (December 5), we should have enough information against the suspects. If not they will have to be released. Investigations are still continuing,” Sandy said.

The National Security Minister said detention orders for four of the detainees under the Emergency Powers Regulation 2001 were signed last week.

He said police investigations into the alleged plot were still ongoing and investigators are still gathering evidence.

Sandy said the police were exploring the possibility of charging the men under the Ant-Terrorism Act.

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