PRESIDENT OF FRANCE IN MARTINIQUE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING—05/09/15
The president of France, Francois Hollande, joined Caribbean leaders in Martinique to discuss climate change and how it could impact tourism in the region. The Caribbean Climate Summit attracted leaders and officials of more than 40 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and the Bahamas. The representatives were meeting with experts to discuss waste and water management and renewable energy options.
IMF ENDS CONSULTATION WITH ARUBA—05/10/15
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board finished its Article IV consultation with Aruba for 2015, endorsing the staff appraisal without holding a meeting. Aruba has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean, and 85 percent of its economy is dependent on tourism. This is the chief reason that Aruba’s growth volatility is the highest in the Caribbean as well. Its fixed exchange rate versus the U.S. dollar has managed to keep the economy in balance until recent times. The nation continues to recover from a serious recession resulting from the global financial crisis and the closure of the Valero oil refinery in 2012.
CLIMATE CHANGE DECLARATION SIGNED BY CARIBBEAN LEADERS—05/11/15
Leaders of nations in the Caribbean and the President of France signed a declaration designed to provide a unified expression of the challenges and solutions to climate-related issues in the region. Most nations in the Caribbean depend heavily on tourism to support their economies, and changes in climate could have a devastating impact on this factor. It is hoped that the “Declaration of Fort de France” will help the areas most vulnerable to climate change.
FIRST VISIT TO CUBA BY A PRESIDENT OF FRANCE OCCURS—05/12/15
President Francois Hollande of France became the first French president in history to visit Cuba since its independence in 1898. Hollande visited Havana, noting the emotional nature of the first-ever visit by a French president to that country. He participated in a five-day tour of Cuba and paid tribute to the historic relationship that exists between the French Republic and Cuba.
UK TELEVISION PROGRAM FEATURES HEROES OF THE CARIBBEAN—05/13/15
On the anniversary of VE day, a BBC documentary tells the stories of volunteers who risked their lives for their country. Entitled “Fighting for King and Empire: Britain’s Caribbean Heroes,” the program reveals how thousands of individuals from colonies in the Caribbean volunteered to join the battle against Hitler. They paid their own way to Britain in order to make their contributions in World War II.The documentary was produced by Marc Wadsworth and Deborah Hobson.
SCHOOLS CLOSED AS PUERTO RICO FACES ECONOMIC DOWNTURN—05/14/15
Several schools in Puerto Rico are facing closure because the economic problems in the country. Because of a combination of budget reductions and decreasing enrollments, many schools could no longer afford to operate. The government has warned that conditions could become even worse, and that over the coming five years, almost 600 of the 1,460 public schools in the country could close.