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Regional Round-up

Regional Briefs

Region “failing” to prevent HIV spread

CARICOM SECRETARIAT, GUYANA: The Caribbean Community (Caricom) says the region is failing prevent the spread of HIV.

The regional grouping says high-risk groups are still finding it hard to gain access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

The number of newly-diagnosed people living with HIV has increased between 2001 and 2008, with 70% of the people living with HIV being in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The Bahamas has the highest adult HIV prevalence at 3%, followed by Suriname at 2.4% and Haiti at 2.2%.

Import trading dominates

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat says import trading continues to dominate in the region while production for export within and outside of the Caribbean remains at low levels.

The regional grouping has released its 2010 Caribbean Trade and Investment report at a conference in Port of Spain.

The report says there is no discernible trend of an increase in intra-regional trade in goods and services produced in the region.

It also points out that despite opportunities to produce and export on favourable terms under the European Partnership Agreement and several others, most of them remain unexplored by Caricom manufacturers.

Taxing rum and cigarettes
Jamaicans have been told that they have to pay new taxes as part of the revised spending plans of the Bruce Golding administration.

Hard liquor and cigarettes are included in a pre-Christmas tax package announced by Finance Minister Audley Shaw.
He told parliament that the government had decided to cut its expenses by US$3 million this year.

The minister is hoping that the incoming taxes will raise US$9 million in tax revenue.

Climate change fund
Small island states at the Climate Change Summit in Mexico have called for a “climate change insurance fund” to protect their countries from extinction.

The push for such a fund comes as a new UN report warned that rising sea levels will make whole nations uninhabitable.

The research by Oxford University said the impact of climate change in the Caribbean would lead to sea levels rising by up to two metres by the end of this Century.

It also warned that if global warming continues, the region will be at higher risk of more hurricanes and storm surges.

Local group to monitor elections
ST. VINCENT: In St Vincent and the Grenadines, the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism (NMCM) is encouraging parties to sign up to its code of conduct, following allegations of election related violence.
The NMCM has confirmed that it will be involved in both pre-election and Election Day monitoring of the 13 December general election.

The body is chaired by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council.

Its members include representatives from several local organisations, among them the country’s three political parties, the National Youth Council, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Bar Association.

Drug trafficker jailed

DOMINICAN REPPUBLIC: A Colombian drug trafficker arrested in a sting in the Dominican Republic has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge in New York.

Prosecutors told the court that 44-year-old Francisco Gonzalez Uribe tried to buy a DC-9 jetliner and other large aircraft to smuggle cocaine.

The court heard that Gonzalez smuggled tons of cocaine to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, where the drugs were taken to the United States and Europe.

According to court documents, some of the cocaine was hidden in phoney tubes of Colgate toothpaste.
The reputed drug lord was arrested in 2009 during a sting in the Dominican Republic, and pleaded guilty to trafficking charges in June.

Opposition walkout

DOMINICA: In Dominica, members of the opposition United Workers Party walked out of the parliament on Monday, alleging that Speaker Alix Boyd-Knights had prevented a number of their questions being placed on the order paper.

The UWP staged a protest outside the parliament, where Opposition Leader Hector John and the UWP’s political leader Ron Green accused the Speaker of undemocratic behaviour.

Speaker Boyd-Knights has refuted the UWP allegations.

She gave one example of the opposition party wanting details on the prime minister’s overseas trips.
She said her recommendation that the word “official” be included in the question was ignored by the UWP parliamentarians who never got back to her on that matter.

“Green Marshall Plan”
MEXICO: A new round of talks on climate change, sponsored by the United Nations, has begun in Cancun in Mexico, the first such negotiations since the Copenhagen climate summit a year ago.

Delegates to the 12-day conference hope to make progress on protecting forests, and on providing help for poorer nations struggling to cope with the impact of climate change.

A United Nations human rights expert has called on the conference to launch a “Green Marshall Plan” for agriculture.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food says such a major plan is needed to counter the impact of global warming on hunger and Poverty.

Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schuetter says the negotiations in Cancun are crucial to guarantee the right to food for hundreds of millions of people.

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Regional Briefs

Region “failing” to prevent HIV spread

CARICOM SECRETARIAT, GUYANA: The Caribbean Community (Caricom) says the region is failing prevent the spread of HIV.

The regional grouping says high-risk groups are still finding it hard to gain access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

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The number of newly-diagnosed people living with HIV has increased between 2001 and 2008, with 70% of the people living with HIV being in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The Bahamas has the highest adult HIV prevalence at 3%, followed by Suriname at 2.4% and Haiti at 2.2%.

Import trading dominates

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat says import trading continues to dominate in the region while production for export within and outside of the Caribbean remains at low levels.

The regional grouping has released its 2010 Caribbean Trade and Investment report at a conference in Port of Spain.

The report says there is no discernible trend of an increase in intra-regional trade in goods and services produced in the region.

It also points out that despite opportunities to produce and export on favourable terms under the European Partnership Agreement and several others, most of them remain unexplored by Caricom manufacturers.

Taxing rum and cigarettes
Jamaicans have been told that they have to pay new taxes as part of the revised spending plans of the Bruce Golding administration.

Hard liquor and cigarettes are included in a pre-Christmas tax package announced by Finance Minister Audley Shaw.
He told parliament that the government had decided to cut its expenses by US$3 million this year.

The minister is hoping that the incoming taxes will raise US$9 million in tax revenue.

Climate change fund
Small island states at the Climate Change Summit in Mexico have called for a “climate change insurance fund” to protect their countries from extinction.

The push for such a fund comes as a new UN report warned that rising sea levels will make whole nations uninhabitable.

The research by Oxford University said the impact of climate change in the Caribbean would lead to sea levels rising by up to two metres by the end of this Century.

It also warned that if global warming continues, the region will be at higher risk of more hurricanes and storm surges.

Local group to monitor elections
ST. VINCENT: In St Vincent and the Grenadines, the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism (NMCM) is encouraging parties to sign up to its code of conduct, following allegations of election related violence.
The NMCM has confirmed that it will be involved in both pre-election and Election Day monitoring of the 13 December general election.

The body is chaired by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council.

Its members include representatives from several local organisations, among them the country’s three political parties, the National Youth Council, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Bar Association.

Drug trafficker jailed

DOMINICAN REPPUBLIC: A Colombian drug trafficker arrested in a sting in the Dominican Republic has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge in New York.

Prosecutors told the court that 44-year-old Francisco Gonzalez Uribe tried to buy a DC-9 jetliner and other large aircraft to smuggle cocaine.

The court heard that Gonzalez smuggled tons of cocaine to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, where the drugs were taken to the United States and Europe.

According to court documents, some of the cocaine was hidden in phoney tubes of Colgate toothpaste.
The reputed drug lord was arrested in 2009 during a sting in the Dominican Republic, and pleaded guilty to trafficking charges in June.

Opposition walkout

DOMINICA: In Dominica, members of the opposition United Workers Party walked out of the parliament on Monday, alleging that Speaker Alix Boyd-Knights had prevented a number of their questions being placed on the order paper.

The UWP staged a protest outside the parliament, where Opposition Leader Hector John and the UWP’s political leader Ron Green accused the Speaker of undemocratic behaviour.

Speaker Boyd-Knights has refuted the UWP allegations.

She gave one example of the opposition party wanting details on the prime minister’s overseas trips.
She said her recommendation that the word “official” be included in the question was ignored by the UWP parliamentarians who never got back to her on that matter.

“Green Marshall Plan”
MEXICO: A new round of talks on climate change, sponsored by the United Nations, has begun in Cancun in Mexico, the first such negotiations since the Copenhagen climate summit a year ago.

Delegates to the 12-day conference hope to make progress on protecting forests, and on providing help for poorer nations struggling to cope with the impact of climate change.

A United Nations human rights expert has called on the conference to launch a “Green Marshall Plan” for agriculture.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food says such a major plan is needed to counter the impact of global warming on hunger and Poverty.

Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schuetter says the negotiations in Cancun are crucial to guarantee the right to food for hundreds of millions of people.