News from around the Caribbean

Barbados

Barbados opposition leader Ria Mottley has called on supporters of the Barbados Labor Party to prepare to take up the reins of government.

Speaking at the Party’s 78th annual conference recently, Mottley told party faithful that they must be “prepared for battle.”

“This is not a battle for the faith of the Labor party,” she said. “This is a battle not for just rescuing and the resuscitating of the Barbados economy. This is a battle for the protection of the social fabric of this country.”

She slammed the Freundel Stuart administration’s management of the country’s affairs over the past eight years, which saw government introduce a home-grown austerity program to revive the country’s ailing finances, saying Barbados cannot survive five more years of Stuart’s “uninspired leadership”.

Mottley also outlined the party’s plans for the country, should it be victorious in the next election, which is constitutionally due in 2018.

Cayman Islands

A company owned by United States billionaire Paul Allen has agreed to pay the Cayman Islands for damage to a coral reef blamed on his 300-foot yacht.

The government of the British territory and Allen’s Vulcan Inc. announced the settlement in a joint statement recently but did not disclose the amount the co-founder of Microsoft had agreed to pay for the damage to the reef in the Seven Mile Beach Park.

Environment Minister Wayne Panton announced in a statement the agreement with TDE Maritime, the owner of the yacht.

Authorities previously said the anchor chain from the MV Tatoosh caused significant damage to the reef in January.

Allen, whose company remediation work began in March, said in the statement that the agreement would “preserve the reefs and ecosystem for future generations”.

Caribbean

Climate change has a very important impact on climate variability and water resources in the Caribbea, according to Alberton Pacheco, Regional Co-coordinator for Ecosystems of the United Environmental Program, who said the region suffers from a lot of droughts which affects agriculture and when these droughts pass they are usually followed by periods of flood.

“If we are able to manage our water resources we might be able to save enough water for whenever we have an extended period of drought and likewise when we have floods we can manage ourselves a little better,” he said. “Because the problem that we have at the moment is that in either instance, either drought or floods, the region’s agricultural soil is being affected”.

Pacheco was leading a discussion on water management at the recent Caribbean Basin Forum in Trinidad.

Guyana

Guyana police Force has fired six police officers for criminal conduct last month.

Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine said they included one subordinate officer and five constables.

He also disclosed that five police officers, including an inspector, were also suspended during October pending investigation into misconduct.

Ramnarine said one of the officers on suspension is a female officer from the Brickdam Police Station, in Georgetown, who is reportedly unable to account for a .32 firearm that she received from a civilian while on duty.

The acting Commissioner said he considers the matter a very serious offence,

In September, Ramnarine said the Guyana Police Force fired 30 police officers for various offenses, ranging from corruption to larceny and robbery. That is addition to 15 others who were dismissed earlier in the year.

He said the force had taken a zero-tolerance to police officers being involved in any criminal offense.

Haiti

A prison guard is suspected of helping 173 inmates to escape from the Arcahaie prison in Haiti recently.

The inmates killed the head prisons guard and wounded two other guards in the process.

Reports are that the prisoners may have stripped the prison guards of their weapons before making their escape.

Some of the escapees were considered armed and dangerous. About 30 of them were serving long sentences of at least l0 years.

Police have so far recaptured 12 of them. The remaining inmates have been move to another prison.

Jamaica

Jamaica National Security Minister Robert Montague has urged Jamaicans to partner with the government to create a national closed-circuit television system.

He said the government is taking to Parliament an amendment to the law, “if you are doing a development of over 400 unites you must, at the developer’s expense establish a police post in close proximity to the development.”

The minister said this would support the work of officers in close proximity to the development.

Montague said as the Andrew Holness government seeks to establish the national closed-circuit system, “we are going to be setting up a system where we are going to be asking you to give us or lend us your feed from specific cameras.”

This, he said, would assist the police in solving crimes committed in specific areas and that the government is still exploring the option of electronically monitoring low risk offenders.

St. Vincent

Japan has given the St. Vincent and the Grenadines government US$5 million in aid to assist with disaster preparedness and boost its fishing industry.

The equipment was presented by non-resident Japanese Ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Mitsuhiko Okada at two separate functions- the Ministries of Health, National Security, Agriculture and Foreign Affairs.

Among the equipment presented by Okada were two command vehicles for use by the National Emergency Management Organization and another to the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.

He said the vehicles were important in times of emergency with flooding, landslides, and earthquakes. Okada noted that St Vincent was a small island state that was vulnerable to natural disasters.

Okada said the grant will significantly assist the fisheries sector in St Vincent.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told the ceremony for the handing over of the equipment at the Caliaqua Fishing Complex that he intended to visit Japan next year to continue to improve relations between the two countries.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago was among some 12 Caribbean countries which recently attended the 34th Havana International Fair in Cuba.

Among the 75 nations represented at the Fair were Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Belize, and several Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, who showed interest in the products and services offered by participating Caribbean private sector companies and government agencies.

Some 15 country delegations were headed at ministerial level including Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

The fair featured a number of business sessions including an inaugural business forum that addressed Cuba’s foreign capital business opportunities portfolio and another on the Mariel Special Development Zone.

The government ministers from Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana were also involved in bilateral meetings with their counterparts from Cuba and other participating countries.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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