U.S. RE-ENGAGEMENT IN CARIBBEAN REGION WELCOMED—06/12/10
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of Antigua has labeled the return of the United States to efforts in finding solutions to common problems between the two regions as a “re-engagement.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and foreign ministers of Caribbean nations met in a two-hour meeting marked by “vigorous dialogue.” Both sides welcomed the new discussions.
GOVERNMENTS IN CARIBBEAN READY A REGIONAL HEALTH AGENCY—06/13/10
The Caribbean Public Health Agency has been created to replace five agencies, including a regional drug-testing laboratory. The agencies are currently spread throughout the Caribbean in St. Lucia, Jamaica, and Trinidad. The consolidation of agencies is designed to eliminate waste and inefficient operations.
AMERICAN SOLDIERS BATTLE CRIME IN PUERTO RICO—06/14/10
The central mountains of Puerto Rico have become a refuge for drug gangs forced to leave the island’s cities. Governor Luis Fortuno has deployed National Guard troops to aid police in restoring the peace in this area. While there has been some criticism of the use of American troops, most Puerto Ricans are tired of the crime wave and want to see an end to the violence.
GUYANA SAYS U.S. NOT NEEDED IN CRIME FIGHT—06/15/10
The security minister of Guyana, Clement Rohee, does not see any reason to employ United States advisers as aides in fighting crime, despite the fact that the nation is having a difficult time battling rising gang-related violence and other crimes. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made an offer of American advisers to Guyana’s government, and other Caribbean nations have accepted help from Canadian or British authorities in their fight against crime.
PRIME MINISTER OF HAITI TRAVELS TO FLORIDA—06/16/10
The Prime Minister of Haiti visited Florida looking for potential investors for rebuilding projects on the island estimated at $5.3 billion. Jean-Max Bellerive stated that major financing and construction contracts will be available soon. Some smaller road-building contracts have already been signed. Bellerive hopes his trip to Florida will enhance Haiti’s image among potential investors.
MOST CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES RANKED ON TIER 2 OF TRAFFICKING REPORT—06/17/10
Most Caribbean nations have yet to fully comply with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. This places them on Tier 2 of the United States trafficking-in-persons report for 2010. Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados are on the Tier Two Watch List, which means they are making major efforts to comply with the standards. Cuba and the Dominican Republic are listed on Tier Three, which means they are not trying to meet the minimum standards identified in the Act.
POLL SHOWS PUBLIC BELIEVES DRUG LORDS REDUCE CRIME—06/15/10
According to a newspaper poll, Jamaicans believe that the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, alleged drug lord, will probably be followed by a wave of criminal activity in Kingston. Most people surveyed would be glad to see Coke go away, but 69 percent believe that crimes like rape and theft would be likely to increase in Tivoli Gardens once the neighborhood is no longer under his protection. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed believe that drug lords are “bad” for Jamaica, but nine percent said they were “good” for the nation. Thirty percent said they were unsure.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY SHOULD ACT IN “ENLIGHTENED SELF-INTEREST”—06/16/10
Critics of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) plans to increase electricity rates believe the agency should take a different approach in order to continue its operations in an effective manner. The increase, which was approved by the Office of Utilities Regulation, allows the monopoly JPS to act without regard to the welfare of Jamaican residents, who already feel the burdens of a global economic crisis.
IMF ESTABLISHES OFFICE IN KINGSTON—06/17/10
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened a Resident Representative Office in downtown Kingston. The office is based in the Bank of Jamaica, and its opening coincides with the naming of the first IMF representative to Jamaica in 15 years. The representative, Dr. Gene Leon, who was introduced to the media at a question-and-answer session at the Bank of Jamaica, has served in Oman and Qatar, among other places.
REWARD PROVIDED FOR CAPTURE OF “DUDUS” COKE—06/18/10
Jamaica has offered a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the capture and arrest of the alleged drug lord, Christopher “Dudus” Coke. Coke is wanted on charges of drug and arms trafficking by the United States. The reward was offered three weeks after Jamaica’s security forces launched a four-day effort to find Coke in Tivoli Gardens. The assault ended with the deaths of 73 civilians and three security officers. Coke remains at large.