Saturday, December 31, 2005 

Caribbean Isles Seem Idyllic But Have Major Development Needs

KINGSTON, Jamaica—This idyllic region of tropical islands widely known for its reggae music and vacation resorts also faces major development problems of poverty, crime, and education, which are being tackled through an extensive U.S. aid program based here.

Caribbean nations derive their income from tourism, which in Jamaica alone accounts for nearly two-thirds of the gross domestic product (GDP). But the global economic slowdown of recent years and the September 11 terrorist attacks slowed down tourism.

Most Caribbean economies face long-term problems, such as high interest rates, foreign competition, unemployment, and a growing internal debt, the result of government bailouts to ailing economic sectors.

“A major challenge the region faces is the image conveyed by commercials that you see on TV—the white sand beaches, lovely water, and pleasure that people can have here. But the reality is so different,” said Karen Turner, mission director for the Caribbean Regional Program. “Once you go off tourist resorts, the reality of these countries is incredibly different, and sometimes it’s hard for people to grasp that this other world that exists here is actually more the reality.

“Nobody would believe, for instance, that there are people in Kingston that don’t have running water, sanitation facilities, toilets—that they don’t even have latrines, or outhouses,” she added.
With a staff of 95 employees, the mission splits its staff between Jamaica, with 81 employees, and Barbados, with 14.

The mission will spend $14.2 million in Jamaica this year and another $13.6 in neighboring countries. Last year the budget was similar, but complemented by $42.3 million in Grenada, Tobago, and the Bahamas for reconstruction following Hurricane Ivan, which caused severe destruction in September 2004; and $18 million for hurricane recovery in Jamaica.

“The bottom line for the Caribbean region is that there is a real challenge to achieve the kind of economic growth that’s needed—to really maintain prosperity, meet expectations, and to be able to invest in their countries and their people for the future,” said Turner.

FrontLines Acting Deputy Managing Editor Kristina Stefanova visited the Caribbean regional mission recently and wrote this series of articles.

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Source: USAID FrontLines


Course - Working together, CIDA's Continuous Learning Section and the Gender Equality Unit have developed the Agency's new online, interactive, self-learning course.

CIDA designed the course, called Promoting Gender Equality – An Online Learning Course, for CIDA employees who work in Canada and abroad. However, the Agency has decided to post the course on its Web site to make it available to Canadians, CIDA partners and others interested in learning about CIDA's approach to promoting equality between women and men in international development cooperation.

This new course is based on CIDA's Policy on Gender Equality, which the Agency launched in 1999. As part of its commitment to gender equality, CIDA has been offering gender equality training sessions to its employees in the field and at headquarters for more than 15 years.This new online course replaces CIDA's 1997 Women in Development and Gender Equity CD-ROM.

The new online course will be one of many that CIDA's Continuous Learning Campus, which is currently being developing, will eventually offer.To access the course, you will need the Macromedia Authorware Web Player plug-in. Technical requirements are available below.


Sin Embargo: Never The Less Posted by Picasa
by Judith Grey, Katherine Cheng & Eva Orner
color, 49 min, 2003
After the revolution of 1959 and the U.S. embargo that followed, the people of Cuba were left to fend for themselves. Deprived of even the most basic goods, they scavenge the alleys and scrap heaps, giving new vitality to the discarded.
Their recycled products are often remarkably ingenious and creative. For Andrs the sculptor, Tomas the canary breeder, and the other subjects of Sin Embargo, even the greatest pressure – whether levied by government or circumstance – cannot crush the spirit nor quash the desire to forge a better life for themselves and their families.
Shot entirely in Cuba, Sin Embargo is a look into the hearts and dreams of struggling peoples and a tribute to their optimistic and resourceful determination to survive.
contact us for consumer pricing


Haitian Song Posted by Picasa
by Karen Kramer
color, 52 min, 1982
Haitian Song is a lyrical portrait of life in a small village in rural Haiti. The film focuses on the "rituals" which compose the texture of everyday life: getting water from the river; making rope by hand from sisal; cooking rice and beans in an outdoor kitchen; planting and harvesting.

Through intimate and detailed scenes, the film follows Gustav and Zilmen, a man and a woman, through the cycle of their day and follows the larger community through the cycles of the week: the market on Tuesday; the cockfight on Saturday; the dance on Sunday.

Narrated entirely in Creole (with English subtitles) by Haitian peasants and interwoven throughout with haunting songs, the film evokes a mood and feeling of rural village life. It is highly visual, as well as informative and educational.
contact us for consumer and 16mm pricing

Friday, December 30, 2005 

Life and Debt, A Film by Stephanie Black Posted by Picasa
ABOUT THE FILM: Life and Debt is a feature-length documentary which addresses the impact of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and current globalization policies on a developing country such as Jamaica.


Kingston's Business District, Jamaica Posted by Picasa


Title: JAMAICA: Gender and Development


Organization: SIT Study Abroad

Region: Jamaica

Language: English

Model used: interdisciplinary course, service learning with Community Based Organizations; field study seminar

In Kingston you examine the intense interaction of gender, race, and class in Jamaican society, including the country's gender based division of labor, the "marginalization" of the Jamaican male, Jamaican feminist movements, and problems of social cohesion related to gender. Through homestays, service work with local organizations, and an examination of Jamaican cultural traditions, including reggae and Rastafari, you gain additional insight into the complex role of gender in Jamaica's work for social and economic development.


Title: Distance Specialization Course in Gender Approach to Local


Organization: Delnet. Supporting Local Development

Region: general

Language: Spanish

Model used: distance learning

The objective of the Distance Specialization Course in Gender Approach to Local Development is to contribute to improving individual and institutional capacity in the design, execution and assessment of sustainable local development strategies that incorporate a gender dimension. The course is designed to support the participants in their daily local development work with a gender perspective by providing both theoretical models and practical tools. The contents serve as starting points for critical analysis and, above all, for their application to concrete situations. The Specialization Course in Gender Approach to Local Development uses the following training materials: Training Units, Case Studies, Working Papers, Handbook.


Title: Cisco Networking Academy Program: Gender Module. Promoting Gender Equity in the Networking Academy Program


Organization: Cisco Systems/ Cisco Learning Institute

Region: general

Language: English

Model used: online module

The Gender Module was designed for the Cisco Networking Academy Program community and provides insights into reasons for low female participation in IT, as well as strategies and resources for recruitment and retention of women in the Networking Academy program. Other areas on the website include recruitment and retention strategies and success stories in the countries where networking academy partnerships exist: India, Mexico and South Africa.


Free online course on poverty and social impact analysis


Organization: Worldbank
Region: general
Language: English
Model used: online course in three modules


Module 1. The PSIA Approach - How and When it is Applied: a 10 step conceptual approach that promotes the robust analysis of the impacts of policy reform. This module will help to identify, understand, and follow the 10 steps of the PSIA approach.

Module 2. The PSIA Approach - overview of tools and methods: an exploration of the range of tools and methods that are available to thoroughly analyze the poverty and social impacts of a reform.

Module 3. Implementing PSIA - PSIA Good Practice: focuses on carrying out PSIA in practice, examining how PSIA should be integrated into country work and what the good practices of PSIA are."

For questions or comments, or to get additional material on PSIA, contact:


UN World Economic and Social Survey

World Economic and Social Survey

The World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies. The analyses are supported by analytical research and data included in the annex.

(For more info, email:


King Baudoin International Development Prize Posted by Picasa
Submitting a candidate's file

It is far from easy to designate a candidate every two years, which will do honour to the long list of winners which have been awarded the King Baudouin International Development Prize. The Selection Committee has managed to brilliantly fulfil this task up until now largely because of the quality of the candidacies that numerous personalities have gladly entrusted to them.
We therefore encourage you to submit the candidate of your choice and wish to draw your attention to the following criteria:

Submitting a candidate's file may only be undertaken by a nominator, in other words an individual or an organisation distinct from the candidate; the Selection Committee will not consider actions undertaken by individuals who are applying for the Prize themselves or for the organisation within which they are active.

The candidate must be either an individual or an organisation.
Several individuals or organisations that are not structurally linked cannot be presented as one single candidacy.

A former Prize winner may not be submitted a second time as a candidate. If a candidate was not withheld, it may however be submitted again for a next Prize.

How to submit a candidate's file?
Candidacies must be submitted by 1 February 2006 at the latest.
Candidacies are submitted using the electronic candidacy form, which you access by clicking the button below. The form is available in three languages: English, Dutch and French. Please select the language of your choice. In order to ensure that your candidacy is registered, you must fill in the entire form.

We recommend that you print out the form in order to familiarize yourself with the questions and to prepare your answers. Form download.You can then fill it in online (the spaces for your answers will adapt to suit the length of your answers), attach additional documents and send us the complete file by clicking the button at the bottom of the form.

If you are unable to fill in the document electronically, please print out the form and send your candidate's file to the following address: Secretariat of the King Baudouin International Development Prize, c/o King Baudouin Foundation, rue Brederodestraat 21, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium.

If you have any questions, please contact Anneke Denecker at or at +32.2.549.02.73.


Government to implement education plans
Friday December 30 2005

With the dawn of 2006 just a few days away, new plans for education in the Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis have been put in motion.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas presented the 2006 Budget address and indicated that for the upcoming year more focus will be placed on changing the educational system so that it better caters for students with varying abilities.

“…Our students continue to excel at the CXC exams … However, we are now changing the focus of the educational system to ensure that more students of varying abilities are given the opportunity to complete high school. We want to ensure that even those students, who are not capable of passing 10 or 11 CXC subjects, are provided every opportunity to complete their high school education and to attain whatever number of subjects might be consistent with their capabilities.

“Hence in evaluating the performance of schools we will not only be focusing on the number of passes as a percentage of the number of subjects sat. We will also place great focus on the number of successful students relative to the total number of students enrolled at the school,” Dr. Douglas said.

The PM also noted that efforts will be made to identify, at early stages, students with learning disabilities.
“The Ministry of Education would also be restructuring the remedial programmes in schools to make them more responsive to the needs of the slower students. Focus will be on improving reading and language skills as well as core mathematics skills, basic science and social studies.
“We are convinced that our success in guiding a greater percentage of our students through the entire school system and reducing the number of dropouts, would help to reduce crime dramatically.”

Douglas said also as part of the plan for 2006, the government intends “to ensure that even where students are not able to complete the formal academic requirements of high school education, they would be provided with alternative training that would prepare them to take up entrepreneurial and employment opportunities in our society.”

Plans of expanding certain learning institutions including Project Strong and Youth Skills were also outlined.

“We also intend to expand the role of the Advance Vocation Education Centre, Youth Skills and Project Strong to provide life long learning opportunities for school leavers, young adults and unemployed persons. Moreover, in expanding the roles of these institutions we will also seek to build an integrated Vocational Education System by creating linkages and exploiting synergies between the operations of these institutions.

“Already, The Youth Skills and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College have begun to play an invaluable role in retraining the former SSMC workers with the requisite skills to allow them to re-enter the job market. Indeed we propose to convert the Youth Skills Programme into a National Skills Training Programme and expand its mandate to cover a much wider range of skills and to serve a much broader clientele,” PM Douglas said.

© SUN Printing & Publishing LTD 2003-2004.


Are Caribbean news editors doing enough to develop young talent?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: Are Caribbean news editors doing enough to develop young reporters in the region? Or is their inattention turning off much needed talent?

The media is used to scrutinizing others, but the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) will turn the tables and subject the inner workings of journalism to self-examination.

"How can it be anything but healthy to encourage the media to examine itself,” asked Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, organizers of CMEx

"Maybe we have to work with editors to ensure they have the tools and skills they need to realize the enormous potential they possess for improving the quality of the coverage of tourism, the region’s most important industry,” said LeLaulu, himself a former journalist.
"We ignore the value of responsible desk editors at our own risk,” LeLaulu asserted, “and in San Juan I look forward to some creative proposals for reinvigorating this key element of quality media coverage.”

These will be some of the issues vented at the 8th edition of the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), to be held in Puerto Rico early next year even as delegates examine how to attract the best and brightest Caribbean minds to the region's tourism industry.
Organisers of the media and tourism talks announced that plans are moving apace for the February 9-13, 2006 meeting which will examine the theme "Sustainable Development: A Balancing Act", and how to motivate the region's best people to engage in tourism development which creates wealth while cultivating local culture and conserving the fragile environment.

Dr. Basil Springer, chairman of Counterpart Caribbean, co-producer of the meeting, said the conference will take a serious look at the quality of journalism in the Caribbean region, and how news rooms can best use the talents of local journalists.A number of the region's senior media managers and promising reporters have confirmed their attendance for the meeting which comes on the heels of a successful session in Nassau early this month, which tackled Caribbean niche marketing.

"Emerging from the Nassau meeting, there was consensus that the media was a crucial player in regional sustainable development – and must play a stronger role in educating the public on issues of the day," said Dr. Springer, who warned that media houses need to be united in their vision, and take steps to harmonise operations and unify vision in the news room. "Young reporters must have a say in what news to report and how to cover it, and in identifying training opportunities to sharpen their skills," said Dr. Springer, a columnist with the Barbados Advocate.

The San Juan meeting has attracted top media minds such as Wesley Gibbings of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers; Anthony Audain, Chief Executive Officer, The Nation Corporation in Barbados; Dennis Joseph, Managing Director of Q95 F.M in Dominica; Patrick Cozier, Secretary General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union; and Dolores Vicioso of DR1 News in the Dominican Republic.
Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Pamela Richards, CTO Secretary General Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, and President of the Caribbean Hotel Association, Berthia Parle have each been invited to attend the meeting, while youth delegate Kenrick Quashie of St. Vincent; Jared McCallister, editor at New York's Daily News; and Jamaican Noel Brown, president of the Friends of the United Nations, have confirmed their attendance.

The CMEx meeting, known for its intimate, lively interactive format will whet the appetite of participants planning to attend the Annual Sustainable Tourism Conference, mounted by the CTO and its partners in Puerto Rico next spring.

Copyright © 2003-2005 Caribbean Net News

Thursday, December 29, 2005 

Call for proposals: UNICEF organizational review

Organizational Review of UNICEF

UNICEF wishes to engage consultants to assist the organization to undertake a comprehensive Organizational Review.

The overall purpose of the review is threefold:

To identify the strategic direction which ensures that UNICEF will continue to be a flexible and dynamic organisation which improves the lives of children and women by helping to meet their basic needs and advocating for their rights;

To build the capacity of the organisation to maximise the effectiveness of its leadership and partnership on behalf of children;

To enable the organisation?s senior leadership to take ownership of the strategic direction, and to build the motivation and commitment of the staff to it.

Phase 1 of the review will begin in late January 2006 and be completed before the end of December 2006.

UNICEF invites proposals from suitably qualified companies with substantial, relevant consultancy experience in organizational development with international and non-profit organizations. Please see the attachment for full details of the Terms of Reference for the Review and requirments for proposals:

Please send your proposal to:

The deadline for submission of proposals is Friday January 6, 2006.


CARICOM - newest trade bloc on January 23
published: Thursday December 29, 2005

Ann-Margaret Lim, Contributor

COME JANUARY 23, 2006 the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) becomes the newest trade bloc, joining the approximately 194 other trade blocs in the battle for economic survival.

These trade blocs enjoy special and differential treatment within their boundaries, in addition to the removal of trade barriers within the bloc and they also have a common trade tariff for third countries.

A regional trade bloc provides a protective hedge from the winds of globalisation, acting as a trade union protecting its member countries. Benefits include, a unified and louder voice in world trade negotiations and the economies of scale accrued to larger manufacturing and trading entities.

In keeping with the global trend, CARICOM in January will inaugurate the CARICOM Single Market (CSM), here in Jamaica.

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which looks toward full implementation in 2008, seeks to go further than establishing a free trade area (FTA). It seeks to establish a Single Market and Economy, which will ultimately mean not only the removal of tariffs and special treatment amongst each other, but also harmonisation of tax and social regimes for example. To achieve this goal, CARICOM has earmarked US$70 million to be used over a 10-year period.

As the gradual removal of traditional preferential trading arrangements with the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Community (EU) under the current World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime indicates, the CSME is even now more than ever, a vital organ for the survival of the Caribbean market.

The CARICOM Member States - Montseratt, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, The Bahamas and Haiti - have been aware of this reality since as early as 1965 when the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) was crafted by the Premiers of Barbados, British Guiana and the Chief Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. As the integration drive deepened, CARICOM was formed out of the 1973 Treaty of Chaguaramas.


In 1989 at Grand Anse, Grenada, the decision was taken to further deepen the integration process by establishing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). It was also there that the Treaty of Chaguaramas was revised.

In essence, the CSME was birthed from the nine protocols or amendments to the Treaty negotiated at that meeting.

The nine protocols cover:

1. Institutions and structures

2. Establishment, Services and Capital

3. Industrial Policy

4 . Trade policy

5. Agricultural Policy

6 . Transport policy

7. Disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors

8. Competition policy, consumer protection and dumping and subsidies

9. Disputes Settlement

These nine protocols constitute the legal framework that establishes the CSME and therefore indicate necessary areas for integration.

As Senator Delano Franklyn, State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade told JIS News, these nine areas, which are further broken down into specific areas, have so far generated around 350 legal instruments to facilitate integration.

Also, there has to be integration on the following areas, among others:

1. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) � launched in April 2005

2. The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality

3. National Standards and Competition Authorities

4. Free movement of persons, services, goods and capital

5. The transference of social security benefits (under free movement)

6. Right of establishment for CARICOM-owned companies to establish and operate business in any CARICOM Member State

7. Public education

Three important organs/councils of the CSME are: the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), made up of CARICOM Ministers responsible for agriculture, industry, tourism, trade and transportation; the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD); and the Council of Finance and Planning (COFAP), made up of CARICOM Finance Ministers.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Edwin Carrington said that CARICOM is "a community which involves economic integration, foreign policy co-ordination and functional co-operation". Since the greater economic integration under the Single Economy is earmarked for 2008, whilst Single Market integration is set for January 2006, there is now a greater focus on areas for market integration.


As the CARICOM Secretary General announced in his 2005 year in review, much of the preparatory work for market integration has been achieved, thus signalling a January 23 signing of the CSM in Jamaica.

Senator Franklyn also tells JIS News that individual CARICOM Member States have specific areas of responsibilities, for which Prime Ministers give reports at the CARICOM Ministerial meetings.

"Guyana has agriculture; St. Lucia has justice and governance; St. Kitts and Nevis has health; Jamaica has external trade relations negotiations, with Prime Minister P.J. Patterson being the CARICOM spokesperson for the FTAA, and Trinidad and Tobago has security, for example," the Senator outlines.

In addition, Belize has responsibility for sustainable development, which includes environmental concerns; Antigua and Barbuda has responsibility for services, and Barbados has lead responsibility for the CSME.

Because of its internal political situation, Haiti has, for the most part, been outside of the ambit of CARICOM activities. Bahamas, although a CARICOM Member State, is not a signatory to the CSME.

� Copyright 1997-2005 Gleaner Company Ltd.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 

Old San Juan, Puerto-Rico Posted by Picasa


St John's, Antigua Posted by Picasa


Trinidad economy under inflation watch
by Stephen Cummings
Caribbean Net News Trinidad Correspondent

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: The Trinidad and Tobago economy is now under close watch by economists and financial experts both locally an abroad who, in the past two months, have recorded increased levels of inflation, which are having some impact on direct and indirect investment and personal spending.

The latest data released by the Trinidad Central Statistical Office indicate that inflation, measured by the index of retail prices rose to 7.03 percent in November 2005 up from 6.94 per cent in October 2005.

This means that there has been a decline in the purchasing power of the TT dollar because of a high level of currency circulation within the economy.

The development has now caused the Trinidad Central Bank to institute measures to reduce excess liquidity in the financial market and so arrest inflation. The bank in a statement said it will also maintain its "Repo Rate" (the process by which it engages in borrowing money and the selling of government securities to investors) at 6.0 percent. This, it adds, is to help cushion any financial fallout.

In November alone, economists also recorded a 3.3 percent increase in food prices, the second highest monthly increase for the year so far. Food prices rose by 22.6 per cent in the twelve months leading up to November 2005.

Increased public sector spending, is said to be a major contributor to the current inflationary environment.

Central Bank officials say they will maintain the 'Repo' rate at its current level of 6.0 per cent and will continue to keep monetary conditions under close review. The next 'Repo' rate announcement is scheduled for January 20, 2006.

Early in December members of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in their latest report on Trinidad and Tobago's economy warned against unwise spending and wastage of the country's resources.

The IMF reported that "surging oil prices have strengthened the external current account balance of the Trinidad economy and there were tentative signs that the country was producing at, or near, capacity and inflationary pressures were emerging".

The financial experts warned that if the Trinidad government did not implement measures to reduce high public sector spending the economy could fall victim to what they termed a "boom-bust" pattern of economic growth.

Copyright © 2003-2005 Caribbean Net News


China grants Suriname US$2.5 million for technical assistance
by Ivan Cairo
Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

PARAMARIBO, Suriname: Suriname has received a US$2.5 million (20 million yuan) grant from China. The documents were signed here on Monday by Chinese ambassador to Suriname Chen Jinghua and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk.

The minister noted that no specific programs are designated yet where to use the funds. “The grant is for technical assistance and with the experts of the various ministries we will determine how to spend these funds,” said the minister.

At the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Kraag-Keteldijk expressed “sincere gratitude for the grant”. The grant fits within the framework of the economic and technical cooperation between Suriname and China, she said. Since Suriname’s independence in 1975, the two countries have enjoyed friendly and warm bilateral relations.

With this grant, China has once again demonstrated within the framework of south-south cooperation its support towards development in Suriname. China is one of Suriname’s important partners in the Asian region, the foreign affairs minister further noted.

To Ambassador Chen Jinghua, the signing ceremony marks “another step” in the relations between Suriname and China. It also marks the first major step the Chinese government has made towards the new Suriname government, which came into office after the general elections of May 2005 this year. “This shows China is sincere in helping our friends in this part of the world,” said the diplomat. He further noted that the cooperation is to the benefit of both countries.

According to Minister Kraag-Keteldijk the past few years “have been full of encouraging developments”. Chinese company Dalian was contracted by the Wijdenbosch-government for a road improvement project in the late 90s, which contract was extended by the Venetiaan-government that came into power in 2000.

Currently, with a grant (US$5 million) from the Chinese government, Chinese contractors are building a new headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Paramaribo. Construction will finish in the first quarter of 2006.

Recently both countries have signed an agreement for a low-cost housing project in Suriname.
Although Suriname doesn’t give financial assistance to China, in the international political arena this CARICOM nation gives tremendous support to Beijing. Suriname on various occasions has supported the candidacy of Chinese nominees for international institutions, organizations and other bodies. The diplomat also mentioned Suriname’s support for Beijing’s ‘one-China policy’.

Ambassador Chen Jinghua further expressed that his country will continue “to make efforts in further developments of the bilateral relations”.

Copyright © 2003-2005 Caribbean Net News


Grenada government and opposition agree on four development motions
by Kishawn Thomas
Caribbean Net News Grenada Correspondent

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada: At a special sitting of Grenada’s House of Representatives last week, the government and the opposition agreed upon four motions that will help Grenada recover from the ravages of Hurricanes Ivan and Emily.

Loans for development purposes will be granted by some of the commercial banks in Grenada -- the National Commercial Bank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, Grenada Cooperative Bank and FirstCaribbean International Bank – and will provide an EC$40 million aggregate loan to assist the government with its current and development needs. An overdraft facility will also be combined with this loan, which will serve the same purpose.

Finance Minister Anthony Boatswain said, because of the need to present more favourable terms and conditions to the government to finance its outstanding obligations, and instead of incorporating the overdraft in the overall debt restructuring pool, the government decided to treat the commercial banks separately.

“The existing overdraft facility that was used for the purposes of assisting government with its recurrent and development needs will now be termed out over a period of 12 years, so the facility that was existing is now converted into a term loan,” said Minister Boatswain.

The overdraft facility carries an interest rate of 9.5 - 10.5 percent and, according to Minister Boatswain, this can be converted into a loan with moratorium of three years, which will result in government paying 5.75 percent on that loan.

The Opposition Shadow Finance Minister Nazim Burke said the opposition received no detailed information on the loan offers but given the country’s efforts to rebuild and restructure its debt they will support the bill.

Minister Boatswain said as a result of the this loan agreement with the commercial banks the government will save money on interest and servicing of its overdraft and debt. He said this is a prudent approach to debt management and debt restructuring.

Copyright © 2003-2005 Caribbean Net News


US banks going after Caribbean remittances
Sunday, December 25, 2005

MIAMI (AP) - US banks have raced to join the remittance industry in recent years, seeking a share of the billions of dollars immigrants send to their native countries, especially around the holiday season.

But as they try to get a piece of the business, many immigrants are reluctant to shift from the smaller mom-and-pop stores and the money transfer services they are accustomed to using to send money home.
With remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean estimated to be a US$45 billion (J$2.9 trillion) industry, and with Jamaica alone having received US$1.5 billion ($98 billion) in 2005, it is no surprise US banks are interested. Many also see remittances as a way to attract new customers to other services.

In the last year alone, major banks have unveiled an array of new services to court immigrants away from the hundreds of money transfer services operating in the United States. Wachovia Bank unveiled a card that allows families in Latin America and the Caribbean to withdraw money from an ATM linked to US bank accounts. Wells Fargo Bank expanded its money transfer service to El Salvador and Guatemala, and Bank of America announced it was offering free money transfers to Mexico.

The industry's efforts have won it an estimated 3 per cent of the market, according to remittance expert Manuel Orozco, of the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank based in Washington, DC.

But despite the banks' efforts, immigrants continue to shy away from sending money through banks for a variety of reasons. In many cases, banks have succeeded in attracting more Hispanic customers but not in getting them to send money, Orozco said.
"They don't think of the bank as a place to send money. They think of the bank as a place to save money," he said.

Many immigrants, especially those in the US illegally, do not have forms of identification required to do business with banks. Some US banks now accept consular identification cards from countries such as Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina, but customers still need a backup form of ID such as a driver's licence or birth certificate.

Cost is another concern. A report released in December by the national nonprofit Appleseed Center for Law & Justice found that while the entry of banks into the remittance business helped bring down the price of money transfers, banks did not always offer the cheapest services. The average cost of sending US$300 (J$20,000) was about US$15 (J$1,000), the report said.

Copyright� 2000-2001 Jamaica Observer. All Rights Reserved.


HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme in the Caribbean

ILO, through its global programme on HIV/AIDS and the world of work (ILO/AIDS), has entered into partnership with the United States Department of Labour (USDOL) to develop workplace education and prevention programmes in several affected countries. Four Caribbean countries are included in this international programme:

1. Belize
2. Guyana
3. Barbados
4. Jamaica

To date, ILO has signed two co-operative agreements with USDOL for the implementation of this international workplace education programme. Belize and Guyana form part of the first agreement signed in September 2002, covering the period 2002-2006. Barbados and Jamaica were included in the second agreement, signed in 2003 and covering the period 2003-2007.

Programme Strategy

The programme aims at increasing the capacity of the ILO’s tripartite constituents to develop and implement, in a collaborative manner, workplace HIV/AIDS prevention and education programmes and polices addressing stigma and discrimination. The strategy will build upon ILO’s comparative advantage in advocacy and policy development particularly drawing on the Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work.

The ultimate aim of the project is to develop sustainable national programmes on HIV/AIDS and the world of work integrated into the appropriate programmes of the collaborating partners. In this process every effort will be made to sensitize, mobilize and build the capacity of the tripartite constituents.

For more information, please click


National child labour committees

The ILO Regional Child Labour Project has adopted a multisectoral approach to addressing child labour in the region. The Project is cognizant that the complex task of combating child labour can only be effectively addressed by involving a broad range of political, social and economic actors. As such, National Child Labour Committees have been established in five of the six countries of the project. The Committees comprise representatives of Ministries of Labour, the major social Ministries, inclusive of health, education, social welfare, youth, representatives of worker and employer organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

National Child Labour Committees Posted by Picasa

Committees have generally been established as sub-committees within the Ministry of Labour, except in the cases of Trinidad and Tobago where the Committee was set up as a Cabinet-appointed Committee and Belize where it is set up as a sub-committee of the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC). In some instances, the Committees are integrally linked to Committees already established to implement the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. In these instances, there is closer collaboration on a more cohesive approach to child protection.

Each committee is developing a draft plan of action to combat and prevent child labour to recommend to its respective Government. In addition to their role as advisors to Government, National Child Labour Committees in Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and Guyana also provide support to NGOs that are implementing pilot rehabilitative programmes funded by the project.


Mr. Harcourt Brown, Director of Labour Relations, Ministry of Labour and Immigration

Ms. Shelley Carrington, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Security

Mr. Paul Williams, Labour Commissioner, Ministry of Local Government and Labour

Mrs. Varshnie Jagdeo, First Lady of Guyana

Ms. Jennifer Edwards

Trinidad and Tobago
Ms. Shanmatee Singh, Director of Research and Planning (Ag.), Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development

©Copyright ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean All Rights Reserved



Programa de Formación Virtual 2006 by Egl Virtual - Wednesday, December 7 2005, 07:55 PM

Esta abierto el período de inscripciones para el Diplomado en Gestión y Desarrollo Local y para la Especialización en Gerencia Pública.
Estas actividades formativas son parte de la Maestría Virtual en Dirección y Gestión Pública Local.
El Programa Virtual es modular y tiene la particularidad de poder ser cursado en forma integra o completa, o bien por nivel independiente. Para conocer todos los detalles contáctenos.


IFCS National Focal Point
Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety

Caribbean Countries
Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, St Vincent & Grenadines, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, Venezuela

Communications facilitator for Caribbean Countries:
Ms Jacqulyn Joseph
Director, Human Development
Directorate of Human and Social Development
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Fairlie House Annexe, Duke Street Kingston
Tel: + 592 2 09281
Fax: + 592 2 67816

© World Health Organization 2005. All rights reserved


ECAT CD Cover Posted by Picasa
Caribbean Course on Emergency Care and Treatment

In many Caribbean countries, it is common that ambulances responding to accidents with a large number of casualties have no formally-trained medical technicians on board.
Other agencies, such as police and fire services, also may arrive first at the emergency or disaster site, yet many of their personnel lack training on how to handle these situations. For many years, countries have expressed the need for a simple but formal course for all first responders.
Therefore, in collaboration with many emergency medical technicians and Caribbean and U.S. doctors, PAHO has developed an emergency care and treatment course (ECAT) for the Caribbean.
The course, which is available on CD-ROM, addresses basic medical response for disaster and emergency situations. The course includes a participant’s manual, tips for the instructors, a PowerPoint presentation and review tests. Participants will benefit most from this new course if they are familiar with other PAHO courses on mass casualty management and incident command systems.

The CD can be ordered from PAHO's Emergency Preparedness Program (


St John's, Antigua Posted by Picasa



Early Childhood Education- The first Years are Forever

Dominican parents will soon know what to look for in selecting a quality early childhood centre for their children. This is because of a communication campaign being developed by the Council for Early Childhood Education which will provide information to parents and caregivers on the signs of a quality facility.

Veda George, the acting Assistant Education Officer for Early Childhood Education, noted that the campaign was important because parents need to recognize that pre-primary education is very important to laying the foundation for a child’s future development.

She also stated that parents also need to know that they have the right to ask questions about the staff and the facility to which they are entrusting the care of their child. “Whom are you leaving your child with? Is the caregiver healthy enough to take care of your child?” These are some of the questions, she stressed, that parents need be asking.

Under the theme: Early Childhood Education – the First years are Forever - some of the campaign materials that will be developed are a Quick guide to choosing an early childhood centre, two radio ads (one in Creole and one in English) two Television ads, 12 newspapers ads and a two-minute infomercial. The campaign is expected to be launched in January 2006




© UNICEF Office For Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean/2005/

One Minute for My Rights Training Expands in Barbados

By the end of this year, twelve more Barbadians between the ages of 17 and 25 will be qualified to teach One Minute for My Rights video production to children and youth. This was as a result of a Training of Trainers workshop conducted by the Youth Development Department of the Ministry of Education Youth Affairs and Sports.

Since returning from the Caribbean One Minute for My Rights Training workshop held in Suriname in May 2005, the Department has reached more than 50 children from three communities across Barbados. This was done using primarily one trainer Nicolas King, one of the persons who attended the workshop in Suriname.

Chief Youth Development Officer, Colin Clarke, noted that the purpose of the Training of Trainers workshop was to increase the number of trainers so that more children can be reached with this project. In addition, the Youth Development Programme also intends to integrate the One minute for my Rights into its Project Oasis programme, which is designed to provide “boys on the block” with positive alternatives.

The workshop was supported by the UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and was facilitated by Nicolas King and Rivelino Simmons, who were trained during the workshop in May.


CARICOM Youth plan regional communication campaign on HIV/AIDS

Twenty five young people ages 17 – 29 years representing 10 Caribbean countries recently converged at the UN House in Barbados to work on drafting a communication campaign for young people on HIV/AIDS.

After having been presented with information relating to the situation of HIV/AIDS in the region, and information on how to design a communication campaign, the young people then went into working groups where they sought to identify the problem, the purpose of the campaign, their target group and messages that would reach their target group.

At the end of the two-day meeting, which was organized by CARICOM/PANCAP with support from the UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, the young people decided that the 15-19 age groups was a key target group for information on HIV/AIDS.

They also concurred that effective messages on correct condom use and abstinence needed to reach this group in order to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. Finally working along with a professional graphic artiste as well as radio and television script writers they reached consensus on the content of messages for radio, television as well as the artwork for printed materials.

This messaging workshop, which was facilitated by Elaine King and Lisa McClean-Trotman of UNICEF and Sarah Gordon of PANCAP, is just phase one of the larger process. The second phase will involve the actual production of the materials, which will then be pre-tested with 15-19 year olds in each of the participating countries. It is expected that the campaign will be launched in January 2006.



UNICEF - Unite for Children Campaign Posted by Picasa

The most important thing you can do is to alert people in your school, community and workplace to the fact that HIV/AIDS is not a disease that affects only adults, and that millions of children are adversely affected by the AIDS pandemic.
Press your local, national and international leaders not only to recognize the affect of HIV/AIDS on children but to make sure that children have a prominent place in discussions about AIDS, and that addressing their specific needs are a part of any HIV/AIDS programmes and budgets.


Press release

Children out of sight, out of mind, out of reach

Abused and Neglected, Millions of Children Have Become Virtually Invisible

LONDON, 14 December 2005 – Hundreds of millions of children are suffering from severe exploitation and discrimination and have become virtually invisible to the world, UNICEF said today in a major report that explores the causes of exclusion and the abuses children experience.

The agency said that millions of children disappear from view when trafficked or forced to work in domestic servitude. Other children, such as street children, live in plain sight but are excluded from fundamental services and protections. Not only do these children endure abuse, most are shut out from school, healthcare and other vital services they need to grow and thrive.

The State of the World’s Children 2006: Excluded and Invisible is a sweeping assessment of the world’s most vulnerable children, whose rights to a safe and healthy childhood are exceptionally difficult to protect. These children are growing up beyond the reach of development campaigns and are often invisible in everything from public debate and legislation, to statistics and news stories.

Without focused attention, millions of children will remain trapped and forgotten in childhoods of neglect and abuse, with devastating consequences for their long-term well-being and the development of nations. The report argues that any society with an interest in the welfare of its children and its own future must not allow this to happen.

“Meeting the Millennium Development Goals depends on reaching vulnerable children throughout the developing world,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, launching the report in London. “There cannot be lasting progress if we continue to overlook the children most in need – the poorest and most vulnerable, the exploited and the abused.”


In the past, UNICEF has reported extensively on how poverty, HIV/AIDS and armed conflict are undermining childhood itself. Excluded and Invisible details how these factors, as well as weak governance and discrimination, deprive children of protection from abuse and exploitation, and exclude them from school, healthcare and other essential services at alarming rates.

The report finds that children who lack vital services are more vulnerable to exploitation because they have less information on how to protect themselves, and fewer economic alternatives. Children who are caught in armed conflict, for example, are routinely subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence. It is these children – alone and defenseless – who are being ignored.
The report argues that children in four circumstances are most likely to become invisible and forgotten:

Children without a formal identity. Every year, over half of all births in the developing world (excluding China) go unregistered, denying more than 50 million children a basic birthright: recognition as a citizen. Children who are not registered at birth do not appear in official statistics and are not acknowledged as members of their society. Without a registered identity, children are not guaranteed an education, good healthcare, and other basic services that impact their childhood and future. For example, unregistered children are denied a place in school when birth certificates are required to gain access. Simply put, children who do not have a formal identity are not counted, and they are not taken into account.

Children without parental care. Millions of orphans, street children, and children in detention are growing up without the loving care and protection of their parents or a family environment. Children caught in these circumstances are often not treated as children at all.

* An estimated 143 million children in the developing world – 1 in every 13 children – have suffered the death of at least one parent. For children in deep poverty the loss of even one parent, especially a mother, can take a lasting toll on their health, and education.
* Globally, tens of millions of children spend a large portion of their lives on the streets, where they are exposed to all forms of abuse and exploitation.
* More than 1 million children live in detention, the vast majority awaiting trial for minor offenses. Many of these children suffer gross neglect, violence, and trauma.

Children in adult roles. The report argues that children who are forced into adult roles too early miss crucial stages of childhood development.

* Hundreds of thousands of children are caught up in armed conflict as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks, and sex slaves for armed groups. In many cases they have been forcibly abducted.
* In spite of laws against early marriage in many countries, over 80 million girls across the developing world will be married before they turn 18 – many far younger.
* An estimated 171 million children are working in hazardous conditions and with dangerous machinery, including in factories, mines and agriculture.

Children who are exploited. Shut away by their abusers and held back from school and essential services, children who are the victims of exploitation are arguably among the most invisible. Their lives and numbers are virtually impossible to track.

* Some 8.4 million children work in the worst forms of child labour, including prostitution and debt bondage, where children are exploited in slave-like conditions to pay off a debt.
* Nearly 2 million children are used in the commercial sex trade, where they routinely face sexual and physical violence.
* Every year, it is estimated that millions of children are trafficked into underground and illegal worlds where they are forced into dangerous and degrading forms of work, including prostitution.
* A vast but unknown number of children are exploited as domestic servants in private homes. Many are banned entirely from going to school, suffer physical abuse and are underfed or overworked.

The report also asserts that children who live in ‘fragile states’ – countries that are unable or unwilling to provide basic services for their children – are virtually invisible.

Discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity or disability also factors into the exclusion of children. For example, discrimination shuts millions of girls out of school and blocks critical services for children from ethnic minorities and indigenous groups. An estimated 150 million children live with disabilities globally, many without opportunities for education, healthcare, and nurturing support because of routine discrimination.


The State of the World’s Children argues that the world must go beyond current development efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind. Governments bear primary responsibility for reaching out to these children, and must step up their efforts in four key areas:

* Research, monitoring and reporting: Systems to record and report on the nature and extent of abuses against children are essential to reaching excluded and invisible children.
* Legislation: National laws must match international commitments to children, and legislation that fosters discrimination must be changed or abolished. Laws to prosecute those who harm children must be consistently enforced. For example, weak law enforcement perpetuates the climate of impunity that surrounds the rape of children.
* Financing and capacity-building: Child-focused budgets and the strengthening of institutions that serve children must complement laws and research.
* Programmes: Reform is urgently required in many countries and communities to remove entry barriers for children who are excluded from essential services, for example, eliminating the requirement of a birth certificate to attend school.

The report also outlines concrete actions that can be taken by civil society, the private sector, donors and the media to help prevent children from falling between the cracks. These and other efforts by people and organizations at all levels of society help to build a protective environment for children – one that protects children from abuse in the same way that immunization and adequate nutrition protect them from disease.

Governments, families and communities must do more to prevent abuse and exploitation from happening in the first place and to protect children who fall victim to abuse. Laws that hold perpetrators of crimes against children accountable must be implemented and vigorously enforced; attitudes, traditions and practices that are harmful to children must be challenged; and children themselves must get the information and life skills they need to protect themselves.

“Those who harm children rob them of opportunities to grow up safe, healthy and with dignity,” Veneman said. “To ensure that children are protected, the abuse and exploitation of children must be brought to light and those who violate children brought to justice.”

* * *

The Authority on Children
The State of the World’s Children is UNICEF’s annual flagship publication. It is the most comprehensive survey of global trends affecting children and provides the most thorough almanac of up-to-date statistical data on children. SOWC is used globally by governments, NGOs, and academic institutions as the authority on childhood. Data tables from the report are fully searchable at

This year, the launch of SOWC officially kicks off UNICEF’s 60th anniversary. UNICEF is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 158 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.

Note to broadcasters: The international launch of SOWC 2006 in London will be broadcast live by APTN Direct and webcast live on B-roll is now available.

For further information and interviews please contact:

Alfred Ironside, UNICEF Media, on assignment in London
(+1 917) 476-1635

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, on assignment in London,
(+1 917) 378-2128

Gina Dafalia, UNICEF Media, London (+ 44) 207 312 7695

Allison Hickling, UNICEF Media, New York (+1 212) 326-7224

Oliver Phillips, UNICEF Media, New York (+1 212) 326-7583



Building a protective environment for children

When Boriana turned 14, her father decided that she should find a job in a neighbouring country to help support the family instead of attending secondary school. After contacting an employment agency in her hometown, Boriana was offered a job abroad as a waitress and promised a high salary.

In actuality, she was forced to become a sex worker in a brothel.
After being hospitalized for physical abuse in the neighbouring country, Boriana called an emergency hotline and revealed that her father was abusive and that she was afraid of returning home.

Boriana's story is composite of the 1.2 million children who suffer from sexual exploitation every year. Variations of this illustrative story occur every day around the world.
Tens of millions of children across the globe are victims of exploitation, abuse and violence each year. They are abducted from their homes and schools and recruited into armed conflicts. Millions of others are trafficked and forced to work in abominable conditions.
Children can only be freed from exploitation and abuse when they live in a “protective environment” that shields them against this exploitation. A protective environment is a safety net which prevents abuses from happening.

The safety net all children need
A protective environment is about living in safety and dignity. It helps to ensure that children are in school, laws are in place to punish those who exploit children, governments are truly committed to protection, communities are aware of the risks which children face, civil society addresses certain “taboo” issues and monitoring is in place to identify children who are at risk of exploitation.

Children will never be free from exploitation until all levels of society—from the family to the international community—work together. When any of the layers of the protective environment is stripped away, a child becomes more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence.
Boriana’s story might have been very different in a protective environment:
If there had been laws in Boriana’s home country requiring compulsory education through secondary school, she would have been required to stay in school.

If her teachers had been sensitized to the issue, they might have recognized that Boriana’s increasing absenteeism was the result of abuse at home.
If the local media had publicized the issue of trafficking, Boriana herself might have been alerted to the deception and exploitation which awaited her.

If a cross-border agreement had existed between her home country and its neighbour, Boriana would probably not have been allowed to enter the neighbouring country.

If border police would have been trained to recognize signs of trafficking, they would have not allowed her to leave the country and would have alerted the correct people to help her.

Key to understanting the protective environment approach is recognizing that child protection cuts across all of UNICEF’s priority areas. Even strong, physically healthy children can be victims of abuse. A well-nourished and immunized child who is beaten is not a healthy child. A young girl in school is not likely to learn if she is sexually abused at home.

Creating a protective environment is the basis of UNICEF’s strategy for protecting children.



Haiti: Grim reality for street children

By Kun Li

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 27 December 2005 – Homeless children stand in the middle of a busy street in order to stop passing cars and beg passengers for money. This scene has become far too common in many neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.

In this city alone there are thousands of street children. Extreme poverty and political instability have left them no other choice but to fend for themselves. To stay alive, many of them wash cars, load buses, or beg, while others become involved with armed gangs in the hope of protection and a better chance of survival.

“These children are deprived of affection and protection. They do not have access to food and education, and are constantly under the threat of all kinds of violence, including sexual abuse and exploitation,” said Sylvana Nzirorera, UNICEF Haiti Communication Officer.
The health and hygiene conditions for street children are precarious. Many of them suffer from a range of skin and respiratory diseases, as well as sexually transmitted infections. HIV/AIDS infection rate is as high as 20 per cent among street children, with most cases being among girls.

Lakou – a ray of light for many street children

Amid the grim reality, a number of foster care centres have served as a ray of light for many children. The Lakou Centre is one of them. Headed by Father Attilio Stra, an Italian native who has been working with Haiti’s children for 30 years, the centre provides the children with a safe place to play, laugh and learn useful skills.

Every day about two hundred children and young people pass through the large courtyard of the centre (‘Lakou’ means ‘courtyard’ in Creole). Whether riding around on unicycles or gliding on wobbly roller blades, within the Lakou compound these children are free to be children again.
“Almost all the children who come to the centre are traumatized by bad experiences. They were treated badly,” said Father Attilio, who is the director of the centre. “You can hardly find a child who doesn’t have a scar on his body. We invite them to the centre and teach them vocational skills to prepare them for a better future,” he continued.

Here the children are given a chance to learn mechanics, metal work, hair dressing and tailoring. The centre also runs a nursery for the children of street children, who became mothers at a very early age.

“I had my first child at 14, and I gave birth on the streets,” said Nana Pierre, 18.
“I have three children, the first was born when I was 16. This is my son, and he is 4 years old. I gave birth to them on the street,” said Marienette Azor, 20.

Young women like Nana and Marienette are the most vulnerable. Poor living condition and the dangerous nature of a street life have made them easy targets for sexual exploitation and HIV/AIDS.

Although the Lakou centre has been a safe haven for many homeless boys, girls and babies, it can only shelter them for so long. Each day, after of a few hours of peace and comfort, the need to make a living will once again drive the children back onto the streets.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 

Launch of Caribbean Coalition on Women and AIDS

Date: 16 December 2005

A Caribbean Regional Coalition of Women and AIDS (RCWA) was launched in November 2005 in Trinidad and Tobago, by the Caribbean Regional Network of Persons Living with HIV (CRN+) and the UNAIDS Inter Country Team for Trinidad and Tobago. The regional coalition is a component of the larger Global Coalition of Women and AIDS, a UNAIDS initiative created in February 2004 to focus specifically on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls.

The regional coalition was established as a response to the alarming increase in HIV infections across the Caribbean. HIV/AIDS is now considered the leading cause of death among young Caribbean men and women aged 15?45 years, with young women in the 15?24 age group particularly at risk. Recent data show that in the 15?45 age group, the number of AIDS cases among males is two times greater than that of women. However, between the ages of 15 and 24, the incidence of AIDS among females has been estimated between three to six times higher than that of males in the same age group. The rate at which HIV/AIDS infection of females has been rising is also dramatically illustrated by the fact that, while in 1985 the male to female ratio of AIDS case was 4 males to 1 female, in 2002 it was 2 to 1 (Caribbean Epidemiological Centre, CAREC, 2004).

The regional coalition will use regional and national advocacy to highlight the effects of HIV/AIDS on women and girls, focusing especially on improving prevention for women and girls, addressing social and legal inequities that compound the impact of the disease on women, and supporting the overall regional AIDS response.

For more information, contact Monique Springer, monique.springer [at]



ILO Online Gender Courses - Application Deadline

Event Type: Course or Workshop

Date: 9.01.06

Location: International - Virtual Learning Classroom

The International Training Centre of the ILO will offer in 2006 a range of training activities on gender equality. The first courses to be launched are online programmes on "Gender, Poverty and Employment" and "Mainstreaming Gender Equality in the World of Work," both starting on 23 January 2006.

Applications must be received by 9 January 2006 at the latest, and selected candidates will be contacted by 16 January 2006.

Sponsored by: International Labour Organization

For more details:


Commentary--World's least Developed or Poorest Nations Need Help
By Fritz Kenol
Dec 27, 2005, 13:46

Despite the differences expressed (during the World Trade Organization Conference) in Cancun in September 2003, I am convinced that we are all aware of the need to give effect, as quickly as possible to the commitments undertaken in Doha in November 2001.

Our presence in Hong Kong (at the WTO Trade Ministerial conference was) a testament to that resolve.While the Fourth Ministerial conference held in Doha in November 2001 marked the launch of the Development Round (of WTO Trade negotiations), the issue of development was in fact addressed in the context of the multilateral trading system prior to the inauguration of the Doha Round.Thus in the Marrakech Agreement establishing the WTO, signed on April 15, 1994, the (States) Parties recognized the need to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least developed among them, secure a share in the growth of international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development.

Special and differential treatment (S&D) in favor of these countries is consistent with that approach. We therefore request as provided in Paragraph 44 of the Doha Declaration, that all S&D provisions be reviewed with a view to strengthening them and making them more precise, effective and operational.At the end of the 1980s, Haiti began a process of trade liberalization, which reduced its MFN (Most Favored Nation) duties to an average of 2.9 per cent, with zero rates for roughly 67 per cent of its tariff lines. In addition, in the context of accession to the WTO in 1996, Haiti bound its customs duties at a very low rate and submitted a schedule of specific commitments providing for a degree of liberalization of trade in services. These reforms were unfortunately not accompanied by adequate measures to cushion the potentially negative effects of the opening up of our economy.

We cannot fail, in this connection, to refer to the potential importance of the Integrated Framework. As a pilot country in the first phase of implementation of the program of trade related technical assistance and capacity building on behalf of the lesser-developed countries, Haiti derived no great benefit. It thus places great hope in the enhanced integrated Framework to help it better integrate trade into its national development.While it is clear that each country bears responsibility for its development strategies, it is equally clear that the success of these strategies, in the case of a country like Haiti, depends largely on the complementary policies of its development partners, both bilateral and multilateral. It is with this in mind that we venture to draw the attention of our development partners to the need for technical assistance to be provided to us on the basis of the order of priority we have ourselves established.Much remains to be done in this Development Round (of the WTO trade negotiations).

However, we are bound to acknowledge that the situation of the least developed countries has received a measure of special attention, particularly in the negotiations on agriculture and market access for non-agricultural products, NAMA. This is reflected in the fact that the LDCs are under no obligation to reduce customs duties in these two areas of negotiations. Regarding market access to the markets of the developed countries, we are extremely concerned about the preferences erosion to which these negotiations might give rise.

Given this reality, we would argue in favor of flexible rules of origin, and technical assistance enabling us to comply with technical standards and the sanitary and phytosantiary standards established by our partners.In the area of services, we hope that our partners, particularly the developed ones, will take greater heed of the interest we have always shown in Mode 4. This mode of services supply is of great export interest to Haiti. We would also like to see tourism accorded more importance in the services negotiations as we are convinced that it can contribute to technology transfer, to attracting foreign direct investment and to strengthening our infrastructures.

Fritz Kenol, Haiti's Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. The above is an edited version of his address to the WTO Ministerial Trade ministers conference in Hong Kong.

Caribbean World Radio


Top WTO Diplomat Worries About Caribbean Young Men
By Tony Best
Dec 27, 2005, 15:51

It's a sorry Caribbean tale, like a recurring decimal, repeating itself throughout the Caribbean.It's one of young men in the region being surpassed by females in the classroom and on the job and that's true whether it's in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas, Antigua or Haiti."Young men in the Caribbean aren't competing as they should," said a sociologist recently.

"It's observable everywhere, even on the cricket field as the West Indies team continues to perform poorly. When confronted with a serious challenge the West Indies team fails. This is something that is in need of seriously examination by the University of the West Indies.

Young women tend to remain focused but not the men."So, it didn't come as a surprise when Barbados' top diplomat to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Trevor Clarke, recently took a hard look at the state of the male in his Caribbean country he didn't like what he saw.Specifically, Clarke until recently a captain of Barbados' private sector in his capacity as BET's Chief Executive Officer, is worried about the lack of focus on education and the absence of discipline among young men. Just as bad is the disrespect shown to senior citizens, women and children as well as the growing indifference to the rule of law, he says.At the same time the Ambassador hailed the rapid strides of women in preparing themselves for top public and private sector jobs, and he predicted that within a few years, women would be occupying the CEO positions in many of the country's leading firms.

"I am concerned at the attitude to education among the young men," he told the Carib News in Hong Kong where he attended the recent WTO Ministerial conference on global trade. "I am concerned about the lack of discipline more so than education. You don't have to have a good education to be a good citizen but you certainly have to be disciplined to be a good citizen. Certainly, there are females who are indiscipline but it seems to be more of a male thing."What was particularly disturbing, Clarke added, was the young men's bad public behavior, whether along the boundary at cricket matches or in public transportation.

And he wonders if the weakened extended family and the attitude of teachers didn't have something to do with it."Even if you see a young man's behavior on the bus and his behavior on the sides of the cricket field, he is not on the block, but I am still disturbed by the lack of discipline and how they seem to feel quite comfortable mistreating and disrespecting older people, and mistreating and disrespecting females and children," he complained. "There is no respect for the rule of law and the discipline of getting into line and waiting your turn, all those sorts of things are happening."Clarke, a former Chairman of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, was the second leading public figure in Barbados to voice concerns in recent weeks about the apparent indiscipline of Bajan young men.Stephen Cozier, Scotiabank's' Managing Director in the Eastern Caribbean, said in Miami he was disturbed at the number of young Bajan men who were opting out, preferring to spend their time on the block, instead of pursuing a path to development.

Like Cozier, Clarke said that Bajan females were setting their sights on upward economic and social mobility by securing the best possible education and training for future opportunities. The Ambassador recalled being struck by the stark reality of the situation when as coordinator of a private sector trade team in Barbados he had to deal with a flood applications from qualified women seeking positions as consultants but was confronted with a paucity of suitable men two years ago."Ninety nine per cent of the applicants were female and you could have chosen anyone of four, five or six of the female applicants but you had to be very cautious about the males because of a lack of fit," he noted.

Clarke traced much of the problem to declining parental guidance and the inability of the extended family's to have a strong hand in bringing up young men."Looking at my own experiences, the role of a mother and father, uncle, aunt, a grandmother and a neighbor in managing the upbringing of a child in the village was crucial," he said. "Today, more parents are working and, therefore, pay less attention to the broader aspects of the child's development. Certainly, I pay tribute to all the teachers that I have had in my youth. They did not only pay attention to arithmetic, English, Spanish and those subjects, but they focused on deportment and they observed your behavior inside and outside of the classroom and did something about it."

The attitude of some teachers to their students was clearly problematic. "I am puzzled about the teacher thing because I am not sure they are playing the traditional role, perhaps because they see themselves as teachers of math, for instance, and not as teachers of people," he went on. "Perhaps, it may be that they no longer do that because the students are not responding and don't show that they care about these things."

Caribbean World Radio


At WTO Caribbean Nations Make Allies With Former Adversaries
By Tony Best
Dec 27, 2005, 14:09

Hong Kong: Caribbean nations are finding substance and meaning in the Middle Eastern maxim "my enemy's enemy is my friend."

They are finding it in the links being forged to advance their cause in the global trade arena. For they are forging alliances with countries whose trading "enemy" is the developed world, especially the members of the European Union or the United States or both.

And the groupings come with interesting labels, the G20, G33 and the G90. Of course, there is longstanding ACP, African, Caribbean and Pacific grouping, all beneficiaries of a special trading relationship with the EU.

For Caribbean banana and sugar producers and African cotton farmers who are pushing for a continuation of European preference and for special and differential treatment for small and vulnerable economies, SVE's, have come together with states which were opposing each other on specific issues before the World Trade Organization's ministerial conference in Hong Kong. They have established blocs of "solidarity" or convenience to fight the perceived common enemies, the United States and the European Union.

"It's a matter of solidarity," said Dame Billie Miller, Barbados' Foreign Minister and Minister of Foreign Trade. "We have to come together as a group of developing countries in order to protect our interest and garner support for our cause. There is a clear understanding that we disagree on certain issues but we unite as allies to strengthen our respective positions on matters on which we agree."

That question of common cause among countries, which opposed each other on sugar, bananas cotton or preferences was evident in the formation of highly visible groupings at the WTO meeting.

Take the case of sugar. Although Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Belize are demanding the continuation of preferences for sugar, they have linked arms with Brazil, which hauled the EU before the WTO seeking the dismantling of sugar preferences provided to African Caribbean and Pacific, ACP, nations.

Why? To secure the backing of two of the most powerful developing nations at the ministerial meeting Brazil and India, the movers and shakers in the G20, a group of developing countries which are insisting that the European Union and the U.S. reform their agriculture, especially with regard to subsidies. China, Cuba and Chile belong to the G20, so too are Venezuela and Peru.

"We are dealing with solidarity here," said Dr. Arvin Boolel, Mauritius' Minister of Agro Industry and Fisheries who also happens to be the ACP spokesman on sugar. "We know where some of these countries stand but we have to prevent the tactic of dividing us in the developing world in order to conquer."

Both Boolel and Charles Savarin, Dominica's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Labor were asked about these unusual alliances when they held a joint press conference attended by African and Caribbean representatives and Glenys Kinnock, a member of the European Parliament and one of the most outspoken critics of the EU's policy on sugar and bananas.

Kinnock, a strong advocate for the dismantling of the subsidies which the U.S. provides to its cotton farmers that are hurting African cotton producers, said that what the developing countries were doing in the WTO is "unusual."

"These countries have to form alliances and sometimes they must do so with others with which they disagree on special matters," she said.

So, Caribbean producers and the Central American states which fought each other over bananas, an action which hurt farmers in St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Jamaica and Dominica all belong to the G 90, an umbrella grouping of ACP states and the world's poorest nations, the LDCs, the least developed countries.

Most Caribbean nations, including many of the OECS banana producers are also members of the G33, a group of 42 member-states, which are all concerned with agriculture. Nicaragua and Panama are also in the G33.

India has found a place under the G33 umbrella, despite their strident opposition to the preferences provided by Europe to bananas and sugar from Caribbean, African and Pacific regions.

"These alliances are important to us," Ken Valley, Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Trade and Industry told Carib News in Hong Kong.

Caribbean World Radio

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