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Caribbean Round-Up

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Caribbean

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are working on easing the convertibility of their individual currencies even though regional leaders have decided that certain aspects of the single currency will not be addressed in the immediate future, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque said.

La Rocque was recently in St. Lucia to brief Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony on the July 4-6 CARICOM Summit held in St Lucia.

He told reporters that a single currency will not be among the dominant issues for the meeting.

La Rocque said there is still much to be done before the single currency, which regional leaders hope will form an integral part of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), can become a reality.

“There is not going to be choice between the currency of the Eastern Caribbean Union (ECCU) or any other currency for that matter, the different currencies will contend.

The summit discussed several issues aimed at deepening the regional integration movement including the development of a foreign policy.

Antigua

An Antiguan man convicted of killing a Hispanic woman two years ago was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Damien O’Garro, who was described as a person of exemplary and impeccable character, was initially charged with the murder of Maria Felix, a native of the Dominican Republic. However, on June 5 he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.

The 28 months that O’Garro spent in prison while awaiting trial was taken into account and will be deducted from the sentence,

O’Garro allegedly committed the unlawful act in February 2006, 2010, while at Felix’s home on Lionel Hurst Street. The woman was stabbed in the chest and later succumbed to her injuries.

Barbados

As policyholders of CLICO International Life (CIL) anxiously await word on their fate, regional officials have warned there are “no easy” solutions to the now three-year-old debacle.

Following a presentation made by judicial manager Deloittee Consulting’s Oliver Jordan and Patrick Topping to a meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Finance and Planning in St. Lucia recently, officials said the Barbados government needed more time to study the prescribed plan of action.

One official was insistent that there was no “quick fix” solution.

“It is not a straight forward thing, it requires a regional approach and you must remember that Barbados started late in this whole (judicial) process,” the official told the Barbados Sunday Sun.

Guyana

A Guyanese man, who was caught with 21 pounds of cocaine in an X-Box game and packets of biscuits during a stop over in the country was jailed for five years and in addition fined Guy$1.5 million, which it not paid can serve another five years in prison.

Ivan Noel, 42, an electronic trader of Georgetown, was sentenced in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate Court following his previous guilty plea for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and importing cocaine.

He was fined $500,000 on each charged or serve five years in prison. However, the sentences are to run concurrently.

Noel was caught at the Norman Manley International Airport on June 11 when he arrived on a flight from Curacao. He was destined for Panama.

Haiti

More than 1,000 Haitian marched through the capital to protest against a reported plan to destroy their irregular hillside homes for a flood-control project before they can find better, more permanent places to live.

Police fired tear gas in an attempt to control the protestors in Port-au-Prince, some of whom threw rocks.

The demonstrators walked through the city’s metropolitan area, chanting threats to burn down the relatively affluent district where the shanties are located, if the authorities flatten their homes.

Pierre Andre Gedeon, the deputy chief of the environment ministry said on a local radio program recently that officials want to demolish several hundreds homes to build channels and reforest the hillsides in an effort to curb the deadly floods that come with the annual rainy season.

The protestors say that President Michel Martelly has already fallen short on his promise to build homes destroyed in the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The disaster destroyed ten of thousands of houses in the capital and other cities in the south and officials said 314,000 people died.

Jamaica

Fifty years after the pullout, which led to the collapse of the Caribbean Federation, Jamaica’s leader Portia Simpson-Miller has assured that the Federation’s replacement – CARICOM - of her country’s continued support.

CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque has been assured of Jamaica’s full support to the integration movement by Simpson-Miller and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.

The secretary-general was on a recent three-day official visit to Jamaica to meet with the prime minister and with Holness.

He also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator AJ Nicholson and Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton.

The prime minister and the secretary-general agreed on the need to put people at the center of the integration process and for more widespread dissemination of information on CARICOM and its benefits.

Trinidad

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that her government will review the defamation laws of Trinidad and Tobago and bring them in line with international best practice.

Persad-Bissessar was at the time speaking at the closing ceremony of the International Press Institute (IPI), World Congress 2012 at the Diplomatic Center, Port of Spain.

The World Congress was held in Trinidad and was attended by journalists from across the globe.

The prime minister said an IPI-led delegation met with Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and held discussions.

“Following the meeting with the attorney general, I want to signal our intention to review our defamation laws to bring them in line with international best practice,” she said to a lofty round of applause from the IPI delegates.

Persad-Bissessar took the opportunity to remind journalists of the huge responsibility they carry, noting a free press was an integral component of democracy, which informed the public.

In Trinidad and Tobago, she noted, freedom of the press and of expression were constitutionally guaranteed, regardless of whether it coincided or diverged of the government or of state institutions.

Her government, she said, held firmly to press freedom.

Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board has advised the traveling public that the Ministry of Health and Education (MOHE) and the Environmental Health Department (EHD) have continued to address the recent norovirus outbreak that occurred at a few hotels on the island of Providenciales.

The board reported that since, the commencement of this collaborative work and with help from the Caribbean Epidemiology Center (Carec) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), there has been a significant decline in the number of new cases.

The Tourist Board reminded visitors and residents to follow all health and sanitary guidelines promoted by health officials and report any symptoms of gastroenteritis immediately to health officials or tourism officials and/or doctor.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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