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Caribbean

Seven Caribbean countries have signed on to a hemispheric initiative to end child labor in this part of the world ahead of a global deadline of 2020.

Recently Guyana, Bahamas, Dominica Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago endorsed a declaration on the Latin American and Caribbean Free of Child Labor Regional Initiative which follows up from 2013 Brasilia Declaration against Child Labor, signed by 154 countries in Brazil.

Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are said to be considering the matter.

Officials say the intention is to make Latin America and the Caribbean “the first child-labor-free developing region in the world.” The declaration calls on “development partners at the regional and global level “to provide technical and financial assistance to enable us to strengthen our capacities and enhance our responses to the problem.”

The Brasilia Declaration aims at eliminating ”the worst form of child labor” by 2016 and all forms by the year 2020.

Barbados

Barbados recently hosted the eighth meeting of the board of South Korea-based Green Climate Fund (GFC).

More than 200 delegates from all the United Nations member countries attended the Oct. 14-17 meeting of the GCF, which is the central global investment vehicle for climate finance.

The meeting enabled the 24-member board to examine the final critical issues related to making the Green Climate Fund operational.

The GCF was adopted as a financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2010.

It will play a key role in channeling new and predictable financial resources to developing countries.

The finance flows of the Green Climate Fund will come from developed countries, but also from developing countries and private investments.

Cayman Islands

Work crews from the Cayman Islands are on standby to travel to Bermuda to aid the recovery effort following Hurricane Gonzalo, which caused extensive damage and power outages recently.

The strong category 2 storm barreled into the tiny Atlantic Island, uprooting trees and downing power lines. Some roofs were ripped off and several buildings were severely damaged, but no injuries or loss of life was reported.

The Bermuda regiment was assisted by British Navy officers from the HMS Argyll, which traveled to Bermuda following its visit to Cayman earlier this month, to assist with the cleanup exercise.

As many as 6,000 homes were still without power, while thousands more were without Internet access.

Cayman crews from the Caribbean Utilities Company and telecommunications firm Logic, which is headquartered in Bermuda, have been put on standby to assist.

The Bermuda Electric Light Company announced that support crews would also be coming in from across the Caribbean.

The Bermuda government was allowing applications for temporary emergency work permits to assist with repairing and rebuilding following the storm.

Guyana

The publisher of Guyana’s Kaietur News newspaper Glen Lall and his wife Bhena, will re-appear in court on Nov. 24, 2014 on multiple tax evasion charges.

The charges are in connection with importation of two luxury vehicles brought into the country by an elderly couple under the duty-free re-migrant scheme.

The prosecution alleges that between June 1 and Sept. 20 last year, Lall and his wife “made and subscribed to false declarations on two Lexus LX 570 motor vehicles to be US$44,158 respectively, contrary to Section 117 (1a) of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01.

They are also facing two counts of aiding and abetting in a conspiracy to defraud the government of the due taxes.

The Lass pleaded not guilty to the charges and were given their own bail by Chief Magistrate, Priya Sewnarine in the Georgetown Magistrate Court.

Haiti

The United Nations Security Council has extended the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti by another year and approved a plan to cut more than half the number of military personnel by June 2015.

The unanimous approve came recently amid questions from some troop-contributing countries about the fast pace of the drawn-down.

Argentina’s ambassador said the security situation in Haiti is still not improved enough, but Britain’s deputy UN ambassador pointed out that peacekeepers have called out just that peacekeepers have been called out just twice in the past 18 months to deal with incidents.

The UN peacekeeping mission, established in 2004 after the ouster of then president Jean-Bertrand Artistide, now has a troop strength of 5,021. The resolution approved recently would cut that to 2,230 by June 2015.

Jamaica

Jamaica says Latin America and the Caribbean will have to take additional steps in securing their borders as the region confronts the risk of a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

National Security Minister Peter Bunting addressing a recent Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americans in Peru said that the region needed to treat the virus as an issue threatening national security.

“Many of our countries have been ravaged by the Chikunguyana virus… and with the recent an even more deadly disease, the Ebola virus, is now on our doorsteps.”

“The devastation caused by the Ebola virus in countries across the West African continent is clear evidence that we must not take these threats lightly,” Bunting said.

The Ebola virus has claimed more than 4,500 lives in West Africa and there have been cases in United States, Spain and Germany. Caribbean countries have been putting measures in place to deal with the virus which there is no known cure.

Bunting said Jamaica was using the conference to garner further technical information on the establishment and management of military health systems in emergency situations, including states of emergency that may be declared in the midst of a pandemic.

Trinidad

Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr was deported from Jamaica when he and one of his wives and his son, Fuad arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport last week to attend the 19th anniversary of the Louis Farakhan march which took place at the National Arena in Kingston.

He was detained under Jamaican Immigration Laws and also under protocols associated with the UN resolution on terrorism which was recently supported by both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Bakr, who led 113 Jamaat al Muslimeen members in a failed coup against the Trinidad and Tobago government in l990, said he was not a threat to Jamaica’s national security and is blaming the Trinidad and Tobago government for his deportation.

Bakr issued a statement about the incident that took place at the Norman Manley International Airport on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 in which he was detained and handcuffed, when he became agitated after immigration officials said that he would not be admitted into Jamaica.

The incident came at a time when Jamaica has called on T&T National Security Minister Gary Griffith to “refrain from continuing to muddy the integration waters” as it responded to his statement that the influx of thousands of illegal Jamaicans into Trinidad and Tobago is putting a strain on the country’s resources.

Recently 13 Jamaican nationals were deported when they arrived from Jamaica after immigration authorities declared them “undesirabl­es.”

The Jamaicans told the Jamaica Gleaner they were not only denied entry but treated badly and claimed they were traumatized as a result.

Jamaica

The Jamaican government has been asked to hold talks with the government of Qatar concerning the imprisonment of a Jamaica pilot in that country.

The opposition Jamaica’s Labor Party (JL) spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Edmund Bartlett, wants the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have “dialogue with the government of Qatar to facilitate the pardoning of Paul Andrew Stephens, a Jamaican pilot now languishing in a Qatar prison for the past three years.”

Stephens was charged with raping a co-worker’s daughter, but was sentenced for “mistrust of a minor” because the court did not establish a case for rape.

According to Bartlett, the parents and friends of Stephens have written several letters to Foreign Affairs Minister AJ Nicholson and Information Minister Sandrea Falconer seeking the government’s assistance.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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