Friday, March 31, 2006 

Thursday March 30, 2006 - Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, N.A.

Proposal soon to make application for work, residency permits more flexible

PHILIPSBURG--Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards and Labour Commissioner Louie Laveist have initiated discussions on making the application process and issuance of work and residency permits more flexible.

The discussions are taking place in the wake of calls by Laveist for a second grace period to give undocumented persons another chance to legalise their status.

Laveist told The Daily Herald Wednesday that he was putting together a proposal that would recommend elimination of the need for non-nationals to obtain a lot of what he called “unnecessary documents” when filing for their employment permits and especially for renewals.
He is also proposing that first time employment permits be issued for an initial period of three years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. He said authorities would assess the labour market to determine whether there were local persons to fill the positions in question at the end of the first three years and again after the two-year extension. At the moment first time permits are issued for a period of one year.

“The basic principle is for a lot of the unnecessary red tape to be eliminated and reduce the frustrations of government, businesses and the applicant,” he said. “It will be a win, win, win situation.”

His proposal will also entail re-examining the circumstances of non-nationals who for some reason or the other have been unable to renew their employment permits “through no fault of their own” or who have “fallen through the cracks” where their permits are concerned, with a view of having their permits issued.

Laveist said many non-nationals residing in St. Maarten for a number of years had been unable to renew their papers through no fault of their own. He said too that his proposal would also have considerations for young persons residing in St. Maarten for a number of years who were left in jeopardy and risked being repatriated once they reached the age of maturity and their parents could no longer sign for them.

Laveist said these issues had been raised with the Lt. Governor during his preliminary discussions with him on Monday. He said the discussions had been promising, but no commitments had been made.

He told reporters during Wednesday’s Executive Council press briefing that his proposal would be sent to Justice Minister David Dick. The “comprehensive proposal” will also be tabled before the Executive Council.

“We are examining ways and discussing how we can better serve the public with regard to the issuance of those two very important documents,” Laveist said during the press briefing.

He also spoke about plans to merge the Police Affairs office at the Sun Color building and the section of the Labour Department that handles employment permits, to make “it more client friendly” and make the application process “less frustrating.” He also wants the Departments to be more efficient, with employment permits being issued within the stipulated six-week period.

Copyright ©1998-2005 The Daily Herald


Caribbean group in US awards two scholarships to students
published: Friday March 31, 2006

MEMBERS OF the Caribbean Educators Association (CARE) have awarded scholarships to two graduating high school seniors of Caribbean descent, and have donated school supplies and toys to the Woodlawn School of Special Education in Mandeville, Manchester.

The scholarship recipients are Kaidero Hutchinson, a Jamaican national of Pahokee Senior High School, who intends to attend Florida State University in Tallahassee, and Judith Olicia Monroe, a Bahamian national, who attends the Boyd Anderson High in Fort Lauderdale, and is desirous of attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Dr. Janice Cover, president of the organisation, which was launched in March 2005, commended members for the dedication and commitment through the growing stages. She was addressing the first annual banquet held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, recently.

Dr. Cover indicated that members of CARE have begun discussions with the Jamaican Government Education Reform Task Force, to provide professional support and development to educators in the country. Members of CARE include Caribbean nationals, representing teaching staff at all levels of education in Palm Beach county.

Membership is open to persons in other counties in the state of Florida.

© Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd.


Caribbean governments and businesses blamed for brain drain

Friday, March 31, 2006

by Dawne Bennett
Caribbean Net News Barbados Correspondent

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: Caribbean governments and businesses are being told they're partly to blame for their university graduates leaving their homelands and moving to other countries to work.

Head of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic research at the UWI Mona Campus, Jamaica, Professor Neville Duncan says politicians and the business sector have failed to properly plan to absorb and utilize these people in productive employment.

Speaking on day two of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Research (SALISES) 7th Annual conference being held in Barbados, he says, while most University of the West Indies graduates genuinely try to find meaningful and relevant employment in their countries, they have been blocked from doing this.

"Blocked through the existence of family firms that do not see an advantage and benefit in hiring highly qualified graduates of the university participating in their operations," he said.
"Also the idea that you can pay them less for quality work, and all of these things create frustration and generate a desire to get out of this environment and try somewhere else, which is usually overseas," he said.

On day one of the conference, Dean of the Faculty of the Social Sciences at the UWI Cave Hill Campus, Dr. George Belle revealed that more Masters programmes are coming on stream at that campus from September.

He says while there has been major emphasis on increasing undergraduate admissions at the Barbados campus, the next thrust will be on postgraduate programmes and research.
Dr. Belle say intense work is ongoing to have everything in place by the start of the next academic year, but he did not indicate what these programmes would be.

The SALISES conference is being held under the theme 'Social Policy Challenges in the Post-Independence Era' and it's expected that by the end of the conference, there should be a better perspective on social policy development in the Caribbean.

Copyright © 2003-2006 Caribbean Net News All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 30, 2006 

Vienna, 30 March 2006

IPI World Press Freedom Review 2005
THE CARIBBEAN: Oppressive Media Laws - A Looming Epidemic

Haiti once again ranked low on press freedom indexes, with three journalists killed during the year. Another matter of concern in the troubled Caribbean state was the pressure exerted on journalists and media outlets investigating political and gang violence in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Under the guise of wanting to preserve order, the authorities attempted to impede critical coverage of police operations and government policies, journalists claimed.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the introduction of restrictive new media legislation, the continued use of civil and criminal libel laws, and instances of government interference in state-owned media, all encouraged the tendency to self-censor.

In Trinidad and Tobago, and in the Dominican Republic, protests from the media and free press organisations forced the governments to withdraw proposed broadcasting regulations, although the authorities vowed to return to the subject at a later date.

Wesley Gibbings, president of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), warned of "a looming epidemic of oppressive broadcast media laws and regulations currently hovering over the Caribbean region."

The growing popularity of talk-radio also continued to be a major source of controversy during the year, with politicians across the Caribbean accusing the call-in programmes of being "irresponsible."

Speaking on the press freedom situation in the region, Michael Kudlak, IPI's press freedom advisor for the Caribbean, said, "Increasingly, authorities are attempting to use libel laws, broadcasting regulations, and other legal measures to stifle critical coverage, posing a serious threat to freedom of opinion and expression in the Caribbean."

"IPI urges the governments of the Caribbean to uphold everyone's right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right 'to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,' as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Kudlak added.

For further information contact Michael Kudlak, IPI coordinator for the Caribbean, Tel:+431-512 90 11


Posted on Thu, Mar. 30, 2006

Jamaican leader looks to S. Florida for advice

Jamaica's incoming prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has reached out to Jamaican Americans in South Florida for help charting a new course for her nation.


Among the swell of well-wishers today in Kingston, Jamaica, as Portia Simpson Miller makes history, will be Caribbean prime ministers, U.S. lawmakers, diplomats and a small contingent of South Floridians wearing American and Jamaican flags over their hearts.

This group of Jamaican Americans has the distinction of being an unlikely source of advice for their homeland's seventh -- and first female -- prime minister. For more than a month now, Team Portia Florida has been meeting just a stone's throw away from Lauderhill, the hub of Jamaican culture in South Florida, with a mandate from Simpson Miller: Help chart a new course for Jamaica.

This kitchen Cabinet of sorts helped bankroll the campaign -- raising about $40,000 in South Florida -- that led to Simpson Miller's victory last month. They might well help shake things up as she forms her own government within the 68-year-old, moderately socialist, ruling People's National Party.

''We've been asked to help her formulate policy to help Jamaica,'' Lauderhill City Commissioner Dale Holness said of the group's mission.

The South Florida contingent will have to tread lightly, lest they be accused of trying to call the shots from afar. Yet Jamaica's leadership has been trying to reach out to expatriates even before Simpson Miller opened the door.


''I think it's important for her to access and solicit ideas [from] the diaspora,'' said Jamaican-American attorney Marlon Hill, who is not part of the local group. ``Having that access and opportunity to have her ear comes with a high responsibility that should be used in an effective way and in the best interest of all Jamaicans''

A popular politician who enjoys immense support from Jamaica's poor, Simpson Miller, 60, defeated three other candidates in the divisive internal party leadership race to succeed retiring PNP President and Prime Minister P.J. Patterson.

Her victory has not only raised her profile among Jamaica's 2.6 million citizens on the island, but also among South Florida's growing 148,700 Jamaican-American community.
About 100 are expected at today's event.

The local community is watching closely to see if Jamaica's new prime minister can successfully confront the island nation's rising violence and deepening poverty.

By giving Jamaica's influential emigrants a real voice in her administration, Simpson Miller is signaling that she intends to maintain some of the political hallmarks of her predecessor. Two years ago, Patterson launched the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation to mobilize the estimated 2.6 million Jamaican citizens living abroad.

Sen. Delano Franklyn, minister of state in Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that by tapping the South Florida group, Simpson Miller is demonstrating that ``she will be placing greater emphasis on the overseas Jamaican community.''

During a two-day visit to South Florida last month, Simpson Miller said she recognized the contributions of Jamaicans overseas and wants their input.

''I want to ensure that I have consultation, and when I travel as prime minister, I am going to ask for meetings so that I can speak to Jamaicans,'' she said. ``For too long the people have been out there feeling that they are not part of the process.''


The South Florida group's experience is wide-ranging, a reflection of the social, economic and political success Jamaicans have achieved locally. The core group numbers around 20 and includes experts in literacy, disaster preparedness, criminal justice, real estate, entrepreneurship, healthcare, insurance and government consulting.

''The country has produced so many talented people,'' said Geri Peterkin, a benefits and risk administrator for the city of Lauderdale Lakes and a member of its disaster preparedness team. ``If we could get some of our expertise down on the island, it would be very helpful.''


Like many of South Florida's estimated 654,500 West Indians -- many of whom yearn to return to their respective homelands -- Peterkin, 57, dreams of the day she can pack and move into a house ''on a mountain overlooking the water'' in Jamaica.

But the Jamaica Peterkin left 46 years ago is far different from the one that exists now.
Progress has been made, but opportunities are limited. That, along with Jamaica's reputation for having one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world -- only South Africa and Colombia were higher last year when Jamaica recorded 1,669 homicides -- has created a desperate desire by both its poor and middle class to get out.

''It's ridiculous violence,'' said Anthea Pennant Isaacs, who teaches criminal justice. ``I've worked 10 years in law enforcement. I go to Jamaica and I am always concerned about the violence.''

Confronting the violence, Pennant Isaacs says, will be Simpson Miller's toughest challenge, and one the professor is prepared to help Simpson Miller tackle.

''We need to create programs that can facilitate life-skills training for our youths and our adults,'' said Pennant Isaacs, who visits Jamaica at least three times a year.

With some 70 alumni associations, church-based charities and other groups here already doing philanthropic work on behalf of Jamaica, the South Florida group has a foundation to build on.
''The future of the country is at stake,'' said Sherna Spencer, a Fort Lauderdale immigration lawyer who left Jamaica as a teenager 30 years ago. ``I believe we need to shore up Jamaica, we need to provide an avenue for the people who want to stay.'

It's this deep desire to make Jamaica better by stemming the brain drain, Spencer said, that encouraged her to get involved.

Though many of the group members haven't lived in Jamaica for years, Spencer said that's an advantage.

''We are looking backward and seeing what is going on, and we have a different perspective to bring to the table suggestions and ideas on how things can be done more efficiently or in a different way,'' she said.

Marrying American sensibilities with the Jamaican way of doing business will not be easy, as Spencer reminded the group during a strategy session at Holness' West Sunrise Boulevard office.


Business owner Robert Robinson proposed what he considered a simple change that would have a huge impact: a policy to get rid of the long wait for land titles.

''I agree the wait is long,'' Spencer said before issuing this warning: ``The lawyers are going to fight you. It takes a long time, but that is how they make money.''

Confronting these kinds of special interests -- and making sure they are not duplicating efforts by myriad other Jamaica-interest groups, including the Diaspora Foundation -- will be tough. But it shouldn't be discouraging, Holness said.

''We bring to the table the experience we've learned in America,'' he said. ``We are engaged, and at this point in time we are going to continue to be engaged.''

Copyright 2006 Knight Ridder
All Rights Reserved


Wednesday March 29, 2006 - Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, N.A.

Minister Dick takes action against human trafficking

PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Justice David Dick made a firm commitment yesterday that he is going to combat human trafficking through the Netherlands Antilles. He launched a preventive publicity campaign to deal with the issue.

Dick said women were transported to the Netherlands Antilles under horrible conditions and on false pretexts, and ended up in prostitution. “There are also situations of forced labour and people being exploited. We must give a clear signal that the Netherlands Antilles does not tolerate these kinds of punishable acts,” he said.

The International Organisation on Migration (IOM), subsidised by the United States, through its work worldwide with migrants, noticed that it was possible that human trafficking went through the Netherlands Antilles. In the investigation “Exploratory assessment of trafficking in persons in the Caribbean region” of June 2005 IOM came to the same conclusion.

That’s why a preventive publicity campaign was set up. The Dutch Ministry of Justice made funds available for the Netherlands Antilles to participate in the publicity campaign by IOM.
The United States makes a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report every year in which every country, including the Netherlands Antilles, is judged on its efforts to prevent human trafficking. The United States is thinking about taking measures against countries that don’t make sufficient effort.

According to Miloushka Racamy of the Netherlands Antilles Department Justice, the Netherlands Antilles does not have to fear repercussions, because “we are listed as part of the Dutch Kingdom, according to the 2005 report.”

A workgroup is being formed that will provide information on human trafficking through all media channels. A coordinator will be appointed in each island territory to fill in the way the publicity campaign is conducted.

Copyright ©1998-2005 The Daily Herald


March, 29 - 9:09 AM
Remittances contribute more than international financiers I.D.B., W.B. and IMF

Santo Domingo.- Remittances from Dominicans residing abroad during the past 11 years constitute a contribution ten-fold greater than disbursements received from international financing entities during the same time span, according to the Finance minister.

Vicente Bengoa said that “this is an economic assistance of offspring that seek brighter horizons abroad and never neglect their own.”

He added that the poor that emigrate mainly on yola-boats, risking their lives, have contributed in currencies to the country almost 10 times more since 1995 to date, than resources that have come to the country by way of disbursements made by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Bengoa stated that remittances to the country totaled US$17,800 million, while financial assistance from multilateral entities hardly summed US$2,100 million.

“And yet more important is the fact that these remittances are a dollar injection without interest charges and without conditioning stipulations for the country,” he affirmed.

Dominican Today - Portal Alta Tecnologia

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

IMF accept The Bahamas' national accounts statistics

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has accepted the National Accounts Statistics produced by the Department of Statistics, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Sen. the Hon. James Smith said on Monday, March 27.

"This might well be the first time in over 30 year," Minister Smith said at the Department of Statistics' seminar for senior public servants.

Minister Smith said the IMF's acceptance of the National Accounts Statistics is a result of a modernisation project carried out by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Statistics with the assistance of the IMF and Statistics Canada.

Minister Smith noted that over the past few years, the Department of Statistics has re-organised itself and has upgraded and expanded its capacity to provide useful and relevant information to both the domestic and international community.

He said in this modern and increasingly important information technology-driven world, it is imperative that all nations are in a position to make instantly available, a wide range of data on national accounts, import and export trade statistics, balance of payments; fiscal and monetary information with respect to national debt, budgetary deficits, money supply; interest rates and credit; and labour force data, including unemployment figures.

"Over the past few decades, The Bahamas was not among the most prolific information providers in the region or even in the world," Minister Smith said.

He said many international data banks, including the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States, CARICOM and the Caribbean Development Bank would often place the symbols "NA" or "Not Available" in the column representing The Bahamas' contribution to international, hemispheric or regional data collection effort.

"No country can even begin to develop realistic socio-economic programmes and plans unless and until it has in place an adequate statistical system which produces, at a minimum, good quality, reliable, timely and relevant data on the social and economic conditions existing in that country," Minister Smith said.

"Up until recently," he added, "there was a tremendous gap in The Bahamas between the demand for universally available information and the supply or availability of that information locally."

The Minister said that in an attempt to close that gap, a considered and deliberate effort was made by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Statistics with the assistance of the IMF and Statistics Canada to put in place the necessary resources - equipment, manpower and training.

As a result of that collaborative effort, he said, the Information Technology system at the Department was upgraded utilising the latest fiber-optic technology.

A state-of-the-art database using the latest data processing software was installed by experienced software developers who were contracted for that purpose, the Minister said. Additionally, he said, state-of-the-art scanning hardware and software was installed as well as a modern security system to adequately address confidentiality concerns. "I am pleased to report today that we are already reaping the benefits of this modernisation project. For a start, the IMF has now accepted the National Accounts Statistics produced by the Department of Statistics," Minister Smith said.

He noted the Department has also published the 2001 Living Conditions Survey as well as the recent 2003-2004 Occupation and Wages Report
But Minister Smith cautioned that despite the notable progress in the Department to date, the real work has just begun," said Minister Smith.

He said statistical data is only as helpful as its usage, and stressed the importance of the use of statistics by the various ministries, departments and agencies represented at the workshop in meeting the development goals of The Bahamas.

"It is expected that at the end of this workshop, many of your organisations may recognise the urgency and usefulness of developing permanent mechanisms for collecting and making available statistical information for use in the national development process," Minister Smith said.

He said the critical value of statistical information for national development goals became clearly apparent in the 2001 Living Conditions Survey.

Minister Smith said the survey confirmed the suspicion that children from low or no-income families are less likely to attend pre-school or a tertiary institution and those poor children are also more likely to leave school without a qualification.

"With this concrete knowledge of the situation, the Government's programmes, which are aimed at stamping out illiteracy and eradicating poverty, could now be more appropriately targeted," he said.

"As it is, this kind of information, which is so essential to good policy development, is found in every Ministry, Department or Agency of Government," Minister Smith said.

"What is needed, therefore, is a more systematic and coherent way to collect, collate and make available that information to the policy makers and the wider society." He said the need for reliable statistical information extends beyond the Government into the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

Minister Smith commended the Chamber of Commerce for its contribution to the project by entering into a partnership arrangement with the Department of Statistics to collect data from the private sector.

"A private-public partnership is critical to the collection and dissemination of reliable national statistics," he said.
Copyright © 2006 The Nassau Guardian. All rights reserved.


Poverty and Growth: Where To?

In the heated debates over the relationships between poverty and growth, arguments have been lined up to engage these perspectives along with more comprehensive and aggressive agendas in Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS).
These elements point out to the facts that adequate growth relies heavily upon strong control mechanisms to contain increases in poverty levels in relation to growth and GDP.

However, to further expand these issues, it remains essential to look upon certain determinants within the process of growth, and how dynamics in macro-economic stabilization programs might impede upon the delivery and provisions of social programs, as these latter components can be crucial to guarantee the implementation or orientations of pro-poor policies, and their impacts on redistributive schema.

In the lights of these debates, a recent publication by the World Bank takes as case study the region of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), where discussions underline the complexities in the relationships between poverty and growth, and mostly the need to look upon these elements with pragmatism when assessing and evaluating the impacts of pro-growth strategies, and public expenditure programs.


March 28, 2006
Haitian president-elect visits IDB

René Préval, president-elect of Haiti, today visited the Inter-American Development Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., to meet with IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno.

Préval and Moreno discussed the social and economic challenges facing Haiti and reviewed the IDB’s portfolio of loans and grants for the country. Preval welcomed future assistance from the IDB and described his administration’s priorities, which include strengthening Haiti’s state institutions and capacity for good governance, promoting economic growth and employment, and rapidly expanding access to vital services.

Moreno assured the new Haitian president that the IDB will continue to adapt its operations to suit Haiti's unique conditions, particularly through the application of simplified loan and technical assistance administration procedures specially introduced for Haiti. He also said that the IDB Country Office staff will marshal all available resources to expedite project execution and to assist Haitian authorities in improving the government’s capacity to administer foreign assistance.

“This is a watershed moment for Haiti,” Moreno said. “The IDB will do everything in its power to support Haiti’s efforts to meet its citizens’ needs and create new opportunities for employment and growth. We are honored by President Préval’s visit and look forward to working closely with his administration.”

The IDB is Haiti’s principal source of long-term financing. Since its re-engagement in Haiti began in July 2003, the Bank has disbursed US$152 million in loans and grants for projects in transportation, water and sanitation, agriculture, education, health, urban infrastructure rehabilitation, disaster preparedness, job training, community development and public sector reform. As much as US$554 million remains available through the Bank’s existing commitments to Haiti.

Also available in: Français, Español

© 2006 Inter-American Development Bank. All rights reserved.


Crowne Institute takes on educational challenge
published: Wednesday March 29, 2006

"ONLY WHEN the vast majority of Jamaicans are able to have access to the highest quality education and training facilities will we be able to tackle successfully the scourge of crime, deviant behaviour among our youth, or begin the journey towards sustainable economic development," said Victor Edwards, chairman of the Crowne Education Foundation.


The noted educator was outlining the rationale for the recently-created Crowne Education Foundation, brainchild of businessman Robert Forbes, CEO and founder of the Crowne Institute of Professional Studies and the Olympia Crowne Hotel. Mr. Edwards said that much of the dislocation and despair found among many residents, particularly in less affluent communities, had its genesis in the inability of a large proportion of the youth population to fulfil their dreams.


He called for the adoption of a stakeholder partnership approach in order to widen the social base to educational opportunities. To this end, the foundation's chairman said that he was looking to corporate Jamaica for annual budgetary allocations for the establishment of the trust fund.

The foundation proposes to defray 50 per cent of the tuition costs for City and Guilds Courses available at the Crowne Institute of Professional Studies.

© Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd.


Easterly Urges Independent Evaluation of Foreign Aid

March 27, 2006

Download the full text transcript (PDF, 91 KB)

Watch Dr. Easterly's presentation**(Video streams in Quicktime-- if you do not have Quicktime on your computer download it for free)

William Easterly, author of The White Man's Burden: Why The West’s Efforts To Aid The Rest Have Done So Much Ill And So Little Good, has added his voice to the growing demand for independent evaluation of foreign aid. A professor at New York University and a CGD non-resident fellow, Easterly said in a CGD talk last week that development assistance lacks CIAO: Customer feedback, Incentives, Accountability, and, therefore, good Outcomes. The solution, he said, is independent evaluation.

"We need independent evaluation of foreign aid. It’s amazing that we’ve gone a half century without this," he said. Truly independent evaluation of aid would "give feedback to see which interventions are working and give incentives to aid staff to find things that work,” he said. As a result, aid agencies would “start specializing much more in individual, monitorable tasks for which they can be held accountable.”

Senior Fellow Ruth Levine, who chaired the event, is co-chair of the CGD Evaluation Gap working group that recently put forward a draft proposal for a new independent evaluation organization focused on social sector interventions, such as health and education. Levine said that the group has been investigating “why there has been such a deficit of good evaluation about what works in social development programs” and how the development community could do a better job of learning what works. Levine and Easterly testified Tuesday at U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on improving the effectiveness of the multilateral development banks. (Read Levine’s testimony; access this and other materials from the hearing on the Senate Website.

Presenting the main arguments of his book at the packed CGD event, Easterly contrasted two approaches. First, an ineffective planners' approach that he said lacks the knowledge and motivation to achieve overambitious, arbitrary targets. Second, what he regards as a more constructive searchers' approach: individuals always on the lookout for piecemeal improvements to poor peoples' well-being, with a system to get more aid resources to those who find things that work.

Kicking off the lively discussion, David Devlin-Foltz, director of the Aspen Institute’s Global Interdependence Initiative, saluted Easterly’s “terrifyingly acerbic wit” but challenged him to present his arguments in ways that would build support for more effective aid rather than demolish support for aid altogether. “I would ask Bill to do what he can to frame this book consistently as a call for reform, not a death sentence, to mend aid, not end it,” he said.

© 2006 Center for Global Development.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
Promoting prosperity in the rural communities of the Americas


Given growing concern about Avian Influenza and its potential for devastation in the Western Hemisphere, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will convene an Ambassadorial Briefing Friday, March 31.


Trinidad 's Prime Minister sees full employment by year's end

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

by Stephen Cummings
Caribbean Net News Trinidad Correspondent

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: Trinidad's Prime Minister Patrick Manning says the country is likely to achieve full employment status for its people by the end of the year. The Prime Minister was speaking at a conference under the theme: A Nationalist Party in the Age of Globalization.

The conference was organized by the National Association for the Empowerment of African People (NAEAP) at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya Trinidad. "When I became Prime Minister for the first time, the unemployment level in the country was 20.3 percent.

The Minister of Planning and Development announced that the unemployment today is 6.7 percent – below 7 percent for the first time ever in the country's history and heading for another that got me into very hot waters in 1995 when I talked about full employment. "We are likely to achieve full employment this year precisely what we were told then was not possible", said the Prime Minister.

According to the Prime Minister a boom in the country's construction industry, and expanding production capacities in oil and gas, along with the government's prudence in economic management have brought the wealth now being experienced.

Copyright © 2003-2006 Caribbean Net News All Rights Reserved


Success can be deep-rooted and rewarding

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Agricultural Society’s third annual Awards and Appreciation Ceremony took place at the Stacy Watler Agricultural Pavilion in Lower Valley. Minister of Agriculture, Hon Kurt Tibbetts, spoke about the progress that agriculture had made over the past year, as evidenced by the impressive display of animals, fruits and vegetables at the Agricultural Show on Ash Wednesday.

Mr Tibbetts went on to praise farmers for their efforts in livestock and crop improvement: “I am totally certain farming is alive and well, and I am confident about next year’s show,” he said. Mr Tibbetts also commended the Agriculture Department in their commitment to offering assistance to farmers.

He also spoke of a new Agro-Tourism scheme, and encouraged farmers to attend a special meeting to discuss it on 10 April. “We are going to see the project through…and end up with a project we can all be proud of,” he commented.

As he ended his speech, Mr Tibbetts confirmed his ministry’s commitment to encouraging and supporting farmers. After everyone enjoyed eating the locally produced and prepared food, a practical reminder of what the Cayman Islands can produce, the trophies were awarded.

Errol Watler, President of the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society began by presenting an award to Prison Director, Dwight Scott, for the participation of the prisons. There followed awards of appreciation for the continued support of the K9 dog-handlers demonstration team.
The Cayman Islands Boy Scouts Association, the Seventh Day Adventist Pathfinders, and Savannah, North Side, and Red Bay Primary Schools also gained appreciation awards. The Award of Long Service and Dedication went to Mr and Mrs Neals Godfrey, for their 20 years of dedicated service to the management of the gate on the day of the Agricultural Show.

The Awards for the Most Consistent Schools’ Agricultural Programme were won by Cayman Brac High School for their Hydroponics and Aquaculture Programmes, and the Lighthouse School for their ‘Grow Box’ project. Shirley Ann Tibbetts presented the awards for the best District stalls. The first place went to East End, second place to North Side, and the third place went to George Town.

North Side farmers William and Zelmalee Ebanks gained several trophies during the evening, including Champion Exhibitor of Fruits and Champion Exhibitor of Vegetables. Zelmalee Ebanks also gained another award, along with Adelaide Ebanks: ‘Champion Exhibitor of Home Products.’
Dr Alfred Benjamin, Chief Agricultural and Veterinary Officer, then awarded trophies for livestock. John McLean Senior won trophies for both the Grand Champion Rabbit and Grand Champion Bull. The trophy for Champion Poultry, Male, went to Lascelles Johnson and the trophy for Champion Poultry, Female was presented to Lloyd Ramoon.

The trophy for Grand Champion Goat went to Iverston Ebanks, and Paul Bodden won the trophy for Grand Champion Cow, one of several other trophies that he gained during the evening. Livestock Farmer of the Year trophy for Grand Cayman went to Kent Rankin, and Dwayne McFarlane won the Cayman Brac trophy.

Grand Cayman Crop Farmer of the Year trophy went to Kenneth Billings, while Merchirito Chantilope took the trophy for Cayman Brac. Finally, and most fittingly the largest, most spectacular trophy of all, went to William Ebanks, for being the Most Outstanding Farmer of the Year. The organizers of the Agricultural Show have also announced the raffle winners.

Copyright © 2003 - 2006 Cayman Net Ltd All Rights Reserved


Bernal: RNM welcomes interchange with civil society
Web Posted - Tue Mar 28 2006

SPEAKING to members of the press over the weekend ahead of the Fifth Meeting of CARIFORUM-EU Principle Negotiators taking place here in Barbados yesterday and today, Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) Director General Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal reaffirmed the RNM's commitment to interfacing with civil society. "We welcome regular interaction with non-state actors," he said, emphasising that the RNM's outreach activities are geared at engaging a broad cross-section of stakeholders, to the extent that resources allow. We want to hear their concerns and views. We consider the involvement of civil society an integral part of the process".

Heading the CARIFORUM delegation in his capacity as Principal Negotiator in the two-day meetin g with European Commission representatives underway today in Barbados, Ambassador Bernal told reporters that the objective of the meeting is to take stock of and provide overall guidance for Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations involving CAR I FORUM and the EU. These negotiations are at an important stage, with the third phase having been launched in St. Lucia last September.

The first of six technical rounds of negotiations in 2006 involving CARIFORUM and the EC was convened in Brussels l a st month, with a second round of talks held last week in Barbados, preceding and setting the stage for the two-day encounter of Principal Negotiators this week.
Ambassador Bernal noted that last week, on the margins of the CARIFORUM technical discus sions with the EC, a team of RNM officials met with civil society representatives, including the Barbados-based Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC).

He noted that the consultation afforded an exchange of views, especially with the RNM's Brussel s Representative. "This most recent consultation between the RNM and the NGO community demonstrates the RNM's commitment to regular interchange with these set of stakeholders. Emerging from that consultation the RNM gleaned NGOs" concerns as regards the EPA negotiations, but importantly the frank, informal exchange provided a forum for the RNM to bring them up to date with the negotiations.

We in the RNM consider such exchanges extremely valuable not just for us, but we would expect for the NGO c ommun ity, too, Ambassador Bernal emphasised.

The RNM's outreach to non-state actors is considered a critically important aspect of its outreach activities as a whole, and consists of: i) Collaboration: Convening joint Seminars /Workshops (in some cases par tnering with the CPDC); ii) Briefings: The RNM Director General, Senior Director Mr. Henry Gill and RNM Technical Staff meet regularly with civil society representatives, to exchange views; iii) Dissemination of Information: The RNM regularly update s th e NGO community on developments in trade negotiations germane to the Caribbean, sharing with several dozen NGO institutions its newsletter - RNM UPDATE; and, iv) Participating in NGO Forums: RNM staff participate in a variety of NGO-sponsored forums, ofte n as feature speakers.

Additionally, an RNM official serves as the organisation's focal point on labour issues, in that vein interacting with labour groups /trade unions throughout the Caribbean. The RNM has also collaborated with envi ronment al stakeholders.

The RNM's outreach to non-state actors is not restricted to social partners alone, it extends to the Region's private sector by way of a dedicated programme of outreach/capacity building activities intended to shore up t heir con tributio n to the trade negotiation process.

Barbados Advocate ©2000


En este año 2006
Gobierno invierte más de 5 mil millones de pesos en la región Este

El gobierno del Presidente de la República, doctor Leonel Fernández, informó que ejecuta obras por más de cinco mil 300 millones de pesos en todas las provincias de la región Este del país, en obras de infraestructura.

La información la ofreció el ingeniero Mariano Germán, presidente de la Comisión de Apoyo al Desarrollo Provincial, en rueda de prensa en el salón Orlando Martínez, del Palacio Nacional.

La reunión del Consejo de Gobierno fue encabezada por el Presidente de la República, doctor Leonel Fernández, no obstante haber llegado el domingo pasado a las cuatro de la tarde de agotar una apretada agenda de trabajo durante diez días por varios países de Europa.

El ingeniero Germán informó que los trabajos de construcción y reparación de obras de infraestructura son parte de los compromisos del gobierno contraído este lunes en los consejos de desarrollo provinciales de la región Este del país.

Dijo que como resultado de esa convocatoria y con la participación de los titulares de las diferentes instituciones del gobierno que tienen que ver con el sector infraestructura, se contrajeron 286 compromisos para este año 2006.

Reveló que las obras a construir y reparar, son calles, aceras, contenes, centros hospitalarios, alcantarillado sanitario y pluvial, complejos deportivos, carreteras, redes eléctricas y escuelas entre otras, que tendrán un impacto positivo en más de un millón y medio de personas residentes en la región Este dominicana.

El funcionario indicó que la inversión millonaria en la región este demuestra que el gobierno garantiza una inversión por más de cinco mil pesos por cada habitante de la región, superando las expectativas de todas las demás provincias de la República Dominicana.

Informó que en las provincias de El Seibo, Monte Plata y San Pedro de Macorís, por sus elevados niveles de pobreza, las inversiones contempladas están por encima de los compromisos del gobierno durante todo el período 2005-2008.

Hay obras que ya iniciaron y las demás deberán iniciarse en el transcurso de los próximos meses, manifestó Germán.

Dirección de Información, Prensa y Publicidad de la Presidencia

Marzo 27, 2006

(c) Copyright 2004. Todos los derechos reservados


Mon Mar 27, 2006
EU/Caribbean negotiations attract protest for development

Tuesday major protest action is planned for Barbados to coincide with ongoing negotiations between Europe and the Caribbean for a new Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The EPA will define Europe's future relationship with its former colonies beyond 2007.

To coincide with the fifth meeting of the principal negotiators in Bridgetown, Barbados this week, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre is bringing in several farmers from the region to protest.CPDC spokeswoman, Chantel Munroe Knight, says they want to send a strong message that development must come first in the EPA negotiations.

Meanwhile, the European Union's lead negotiator, Karl Falkenberg, has sounded a warning to the Caribbean.He says the removal of preferences is inevitable.

The Caribbean wants the EU to retain preferential arrangements on the European market.

But Mr. Falkenberg says while the region will continue to have market access, the Caribbean needs to be more competitive.

Copyright© 2005 RJR Communications Group


the 1325 Award.
This award aims to honour and encourage an individual or a civil society organisation in a conflict country or region, that has developed groundbreaking and effective initiatives to promote the rights of women and to increase their participation at decision-making levels in peaceprocesses.

More Insights Here

Monday, March 27, 2006 

Government to review overseas scholarships

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Education Council up to May 2005 had granted 67 overseas scholarships at a cost of $1.2 million and 84 local scholarships worth $644,000, the Legislative Assembly (LA) heard last week. Members were also informed during the question and answer session that the policy for granting overseas scholarships is under review.

Replying to a question raised by Bodden Town MLA Osbourne Bodden, Education Minister Hon Alden McLaughlin gave a breakdown of overseas scholarships as: One in Humanities (English); 11 Professional studies, 10 Education; 21 Social and business studies; 19 Engineering, and 5 in Medicine.

Parliament was informed that the majority of the 84 students on local scholarships attend the University College (UC), six pursuing six bachelor degrees; 40 associate degrees and 16 one-year certificates. Of the others, ten students are pursuing ‘A’ levels; six attend Cayman Islands Law School and three are students of the International College of the Cayman Islands.

In reply to supplementary queries from West Bay MLA Roltson Anglin, the minister explained that the policy followed by the Education Council when he assumed chairmanship is still in operation but is under review.

According to the policy, if UC or other tertiary institution offers a degree programme locally, no scholarship is available for those who wish to pursue the same degree overseas, unless they have completed the two-year associate degree at UC and are continuing on in a degree programme in an overseas institution.

However, if UC’s associate degrees cannot fulfil requirements for an overseas bachelor’s degree in a particular discipline, then a full scholarship is awarded for overseas study, Mr. McLaughlin detailed. The policy was designed to ensure that the UC could develop properly and to reduce the costs of scholarships by government, since half of a first degree would be covered locally.

However, this policy is under review and awaits a decision. Since UC has started offering bachelor’s degrees only since this academic year, the council did not until now have to consider whether it should insist that students seeking overseas scholarships complete bachelor’s degrees in Cayman. This matter is now under review.

Mr McLaughlin said the application process for scholarship closes on 31 March, following that, the Education Council would decide on the matter, adding that it is a brand new era. Asked for a cost analysis of local vis-a-vis overseas study in view of the fact that sometimes the cost for local students who have to rent accommodations and pay for food could be high, Mr. McLaughlin noted the point was a legitimate one but he had not seen any cost analysis in this regard.

As a result of the National Education Conference last year, “We are going through a major reform exercise,” he said, adding that one of the strategies addressed tertiary education. Additionally, a separate strategy was considering the validity and usefulness of a well-established secretariat for the Education Council.

Such a secretariat would be better able to deal with the whole question of educational scholarships. At present, the Education Council’s criteria for eligibility for a scholarship to UC are that the student has to be Caymanian and accepted at the institution.

This is tantamount to free tertiary education for such students. It did not appear there is need for the procedure to go through the Education Council, he noted. The hope was to get a full-fledged secretariat established by the start of the next school year.

Minister McLaughlin agreed that such a secretariat could also deal with ensuring enhanced dovetailing of scholarship grants with human resource requirements, such as employment of returning overseas graduates who received scholarships.

He added that meetings were underway even as he spoke to deal with human resource issues and make recommendations. To another query, he expected that UC’s bachelor degree programme would be as well received as the associate degree programme is presently by reputable overseas universities and other educational institutions.

Copyright © 2003 - 2006 Cayman Net Ltd All Rights Reserved


Monday 27 March 2006

Tilburg helps unemployed persons getting a job in Curacao

CURACAO – The city of Tilburg is going to help 15 Antillean persons between the age of 17 and 27 that cannot find a job in the Netherlands, to get one in Curacao. For the time being this will be a two-year experiment. About 100 to 150 young Antilleans move to Tilburg on an annual basis. Some have problems finding a job or integrate in the society.

The city wants to help this group and create an alternative via the return home project. For this, Tilburg is going to work together with the re-integration company Hudson that has developed a program that lasts 6 months max and that guarantees young Antilleans a job.

City councilor Gon Mevis (Labour market and Social Affairs) indicated that only motivated persons that have been living in the Netherlands for quite some time already and that think that they may have a better chance in the Antilles, will qualify for the experiment. “There are conditions attached to this experiment though, same as with re-integration in the Netherlands.
The experiment will be stopped immediately if the participant does not cooperate.”

The persons are selected with the cooperation of Direkshon and the Regiepunt Jongeren. In order to qualify for the experiment, the persons must have been living in Tilburg for at least one year. During the experiment, they get the possibility to gain work experience via a work placement.

The experiment starts in the Netherlands, where they will be prepared for the re-integration in the Antilles. Hudson takes care of temporary accomodation, living acompaniment, coaching, and counciling towards a permanent job in the Antilles. The experiment costs 14.000 euro per person, which includes cost of living and housing.

© Copyright 2001,


Step Up Travel is a Global Network for Travelers, established to address the needs of a world that suffers from broadening financial inequality. It also offers a more rigorous virtual global forum through which people can come together to address the needs of small communities across the world.

Step Up Travel was created to be the meeting ground where travelers connect with local people who want to offer their own services and goods. The traveler is more authentically immersed in the destination country, its culture, and its people, while the local people advertising their services can gain from self-employment. So much commercial tourism stands in the way of interesting cultural exchange between traveling parties and local people. It stands not only as a cultural barrier, controlled by large global companies, but also an economic barrier to the people of destination countries who make their culture what it is.

So Step Up provides a way for travelers to connect directly with local to help empower local populations who stand at the margins of a tourism industry dominated by big business--and the result is a more authentic and adventurous way to experience another country and its people.

Step Up Travel has often been called the “free market of traveling” because it is a site that allows anyone or any organization of any country to post an advertisement for their services or goods for travelers to book--private guides, short-term apartment rentals, non-profit organizations that need volunteers, language instructors, hosts for community events, artist’s work, chauffeurs, private chefs, sports instructors, etc.

Travelers can formally associate with one another and "link" profiels so that they can build their own personal international network.Travelers and organizations can also start collaborative projects to address the inequalities that they witness in any part of the world; collaborative projects can be artistic, political, humanitarian, economic, socialist, democratice, etc. It is meant to be a dynamic forum through which an effort can be sustained by people across the world. We witness so many things that need to be changed in the world, but yet we lack a formal way of addressing it in a sustained fashion. "Collaboratives" allows for that to happen.



CRNM to defend region's interest at EU talks
Published on: 3/27/06.

THE CARIBBEAN REGIONAL Negotiating Machinery (CRNM) says it has a top-notch team of negotiators defending the interests of the Caribbean as intense trade talks begin this week in Barbados with the European Union.

Director-general of the CRNM, Dr Richard Bernal said he was confident the very best people had been selected and that they were committed to ensuring the development agenda of the region remained a priority.

Bernal explained the principal negotiators' meeting at Grand Barbados Hotel today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) would review the process and progress being made in the subject negotiations.

"Any problems that have arisen which couldn't be resolved have been referred to us for guidance, and thirdly, we will be charting the course for the immediate process including the schedule, the meetings and ensuring that we stay on track for completing the process by 2007. That date is important because the WTO waiver which covers the current trade arrangement expires in 2007," Bernal told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.

His comments came also as the Barbados-based Caribbean Policy Development Centre and the National Union of Public Workers plan a march and rally to coincide with the trade talks. They are demanding that NGOs be part of the process, charging also that very little information was released on what was on the negotiating table, the Caribbean's chief advisor on trade said. (GE)

© 1997-2005. Nation Publishing Company Limited.


DOMINICA: Bird flu nears region, health official warns
published: Monday March 27, 2006

A DOMINICA health official warned yesterday that bird flu could hit the Caribbean in 2007 and said the government was preparing to combat the virus.

Government epidemiologist Dr. Paul Ricketts said bird flu could hit North America this year, then travel to the Caribbean "with the summer southerly migration of birds."


The ministries of Agriculture and Health are "finalising plans for a quick response," Ricketts added.

The H5N1 strain of avian flu has killed or forced the slaughter of tens of millions of chickens and ducks across Asia since 2003, and has been spread more recently by migrating birds to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

There have been 184 confirmed human cases and 103 deaths linked to the virus; no cases have been reported in the Caribbean.

Veterinarians, environmental health officials and poultry producers from the Caribbean will meet in Trinidad on April 4 to discuss a regional response to the virus.

Ricketts also said the Pan American Health Organisation will host a meeting in Colombia on April 19 to consider a bird flu plan for Latin America and the Caribbean.

© Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd.

Sunday, March 26, 2006 

Vaccination Week in the Americas 2006

From April 22 to 29, countries from Canada to the tip of South America and throughout the Caribbean will be part of Vaccination Week in the Americas. The beneficiaries will be millions of children, young women, and seniors, mostly in remote areas.
More information on the Vaccination Week in the Americas, as well as information on Vaccines and Immunization in general, can be found at PAHO's Vaccines & Immunization Web Page.

Press Releases

Vaccination Week in the Americas Fact SheetBasic information, guidelines, coverage numbers, and other essential information.( MS Word Document, 29KB)

Technical/Background Information

Final Report: Vaccination Week in the Americas 2005
( PDF, 119KB)

Regional Goals for 2006
( Excel, 16KB)

Regional Goals - North America
( Excel, 14.5KB)

Regional Goals - Caribbean Countries
( Excel, 22.5KB)

Regional Goals - Central America, Spanish-speaking Caribbean
( Excel, 18.5KB) - In Spanish

Regional Goals - South America
( Excel, 19.5KB) - In Spanish


25th March
Urban Renewal Gets Special Attention
By Stephen Gay

Prime Minister Perry Christie met with leaders of the Urban Renewal Project in a special workshop yesterday focused on sharing ideas and improving the scheme aimed at meeting special needs in the country’s inner city communities.

It was the first meeting between the prime minister and project heads since Mr. Christie took official responsibility for the Urban Renewal Project, following last month’s Cabinet reshuffle.
He called on all government ministries and agencies - social services, youth, sports and housing, immigration, labour and training, education, science and technology, works and utilities and the Royal Bahamas Police Force - involved in the project to work together in moving the scheme forward.

According to Mr. Christie, the pilot programme in the Farm Road area was seen as a way to develop solutions aimed at improving the life of Bahamians living in the inner city.

"In putting together different ministries and different agencies of the government we must find a way to have them work in an integrated and coordinated fashion," Mr. Christie said.

"The reason why I have chosen, as prime minister, to allocate to myself the responsibility for Urban Renewal is to impress upon all agencies that every aspect of government must now be in evidence in the community in urban renewal."

Mr. Christie said although the project has received "international acclaim," he believes there is still much work to be done, noting that education is a major component of the Urban Renewal Project.

He encouraged project heads to continue to work with non-governmental organisations in their communities, such as churches, to deepen their commitment to the project through education.
"The child who cannot read will obviously be screened and assessed to determine the disability and make a determination as to how best that child should be dealt with. The country needs, wants and demands that," said Mr. Christie.

Since the implementation of the Farm Road project, eight additional projects offices have been established throughout New Providence. Seven offices were established in Grand Bahama and two in Abaco.

Mr. Christie said the project is intended to be the single most innovative intervention in the lives of Bahamians by instilling a greater respect for law and order.

"The country cannot afford to be slack and indifferent to the strong application and enforcement of rules, and Urban Renewal has that as part of its function," Mr. Christie said. "But this is calculated to ensure a society that allows the government of the day to know what is happening and therefore not have to guess on spending money for the benefit and advancement of the people of our country."

As part of the first meeting held at the Radisson Cable Beach Resort on Friday, representatives from various agencies involved in the project presented up to date reports on the project.
Mr Christie said, "There has to be a belief and a passion that we can fix problems that has put some of our children at an incredible disadvantage."

The Bahama Journal - Bahamas News Online Edition
Copyright Jones Communications Ltd. ©2005 - Nassau, Bahamas.


The CEDAW Assessment Tool

In 2002, CEELI developed the CEDAW Assessment Tool as a resource to measure the status of women through the lens of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). As of February 28, 2006, 181countries have ratified CEDAW, making it the second most ratified United Nations treaty.

The CEDAW Assessment Tool examines a nation's laws and measures the degree to which these laws protect the rights of women as mandated by CEDAW.

Designed to uncover the legal obstacles that frustrate the achievement of greater gender equality, the tool separately measures the degree to which women, in practice, are accorded the rights and status guaranteed to them under CEDAW. For this reason, a major focus of this assessment tool is on "real life" impediments to equality, many of which are not necessarily the product of poor or non-existent legislation. The assessment tool generates a wealth of information that is essential to comprehensive analysis of the status of women's rights in a country.

To date, CEELI has conducted the CEDAW Assessment Tool in Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Serbia. An assessment using the tool is currently being conducted in Moldova.

The process of conducting the CEDAW Assessment Tool has proved to be an important capacity-building exercise for local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Additionally, the results of the CEDAW Assessment Tool have served as the basis for a constructive dialogue between the NGO community and governmental officials on concrete steps these two sectors can take to increase compliance with CEDAW, and, by doing so, improve the quality of women's lives.

For more information about the CEDAW Assessment Tool, contact Gender Issues Focal Area Co-Coordinators Michael Maya at <> and Jennifer Denton at <>.


PROLEAD recognizes that the goals and strategies to enhance women´s leadership and representation in Latin America and the Caribbean are as diverse as the countries and the people in the region.

PROLEAD's goals are strategic and comprehensive: to promote women’s leadership in every sector and at every level through grants to diverse competent organizations that promote women’s active participation and leadership. PROLEAD also provides opportunities for organizational capacity-building to grantees and other organizations in the region through promotion of networks to foster connections and information exchange, and through sharing successful experiences and best practices, both in and outside the region



More women in Parliament, Access to Information and unattended motions
Balford Henry
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Government senator Trevor Munroe says that despite the fact that Jamaica was about to swear-in its first woman prime minister, he expects little change in the limited number of women in Parliament without a change in the current first-past-the-post system of electing MPs.

Senator Munroe was making his contribution to the annual State of the Nation debate in the upper chamber on Friday. The debate closed a week ahead of next Friday's prorogation of Parliament's 2005/2006 session.

He noted that only 15 per cent of the representatives in both Houses of Parliament were women and suggested that the answer lay in introducing a system of proportional representation.He said that the UN millennium goal was 30 per cent and, therefore, Jamaica's 15 per cent was not unusual. However, he said that the "unacceptable situation", is not going to change unless a number of things are done, including combining the current first-past-the-post system with some form of proportional representation.

For Full Article

Copyright© 2000-2001 Jamaica Observer

Saturday, March 25, 2006 

Friday March 24, 2006 - Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, N.A.

French side signs newwater supply contract

MARIGOT--Mayor Albert Fleming yesterday signed the first phase of the new contract with water distributor Générale des Eaux (Guadeloupe) that will finally relieve the Commune of the burden of absorbing losses it has incurred by being middleman in the water production and distribution process for the French side.

Under the terms of the 20-year contract, production company UCDEM and Générale des Eaux will form one company under parent company Veolia and will be totally responsible for the production and distribution of water, and repairs, while the Commune will be in control only of pricing, investments, and extension of networks if needed.

The restructuring coincides with the new reverse osmosis water plant that will come into operation this August, promising a greater capacity of water production. In addition there are plans for two more reservoirs in the Marigot area.

The Commune hopes to be able to extricate itself by June from its intermediary role which resulted in its incurring an annual debt of 1,500,000 euros. This was caused by the Commune purchasing water from UCDEM and then selling it back to the consumer at a cheaper price than it had paid for it, due to the cost being unaffordable to lower income families.

The Commune also had to absorb in its budgets all cost associated with burst pipes, repairs and other debts. The total now owed to UCDEM stands at 6 million euros.

Régie des Eaux, the entity set up by the Commune that allowed it to purchase water from UCDEM and monitor cost, will be disbanded under the new arrangement.

“For us (Commune) this is a great day and I hope in the next couple of months we can finally conclude this whole matter of water production and distribution,” Fleming said.

It was clarified in the meeting that frequent water shortages were not the fault of badly placed pumps, but inadequacy of the outdated production plant to produce enough water for the French side during high season. The evaporation method of production also meant very high water temperatures that created their own set of problems.

Good news is on the horizon for consumers, as the price of water will eventually be reduced by nearly half from the present rate. But First Deputy Mayor Jean-Luc Hamlet cautioned that reductions would be passed on to the consumer gradually, as the deficit still has to be paid back to UCDEM.

“We are currently negotiating with UCDEM on the conditions for its reimbursement, which hopefully can be paid back rapidly,” said Hamlet.

Copyright ©1998-2005 The Daily Herald


Saturday March 25, 2006


The South Trinidad Chamber of Industry and Commerce (STCIC), the voice of the energy sector in Trinidad & Tobago, has released a document making proposals for the creation of a Common Caribbean Energy Policy. The objective of the document is to stimulate discussion and debate aimed at creating a single energy policy for the Caricom Single Market and Economy.

The proposed policy framework is based around the following principles:

° Energy policy is central to the economic and social development of the region.

° Caribbean energy resources must be utilised for the social and economic benefit of the people of the region.

° Trinidad & Tobago has considerable expertise and experience in the energy sector, in both the public and private-sectors, and Trinidad & Tobago must, therefore, play a leadership role in the development and implementation of a regional energy policy

° Caricom must adhere to the established practice of negotiating trade, economic co-operation and related agreements with external parties as a region. Trinidad & Tobago must play a leadership role in these negotiations, but include all parties.

A regional trade agenda, including energy issues, must be agreed upon and pursued with respect to agreements with Venezuela and the United States of America, in particular.

Caribbean ownership (private and public) of energy resources and of the energy industry is a key factor in ensuring energy security and in ensuring a pricing structure that meets regional development objectives.

The size of the energy market in different members of the CSME varies considerably and different solutions will be needed to meet the particular issues facing different markets.

Caribbean energy policy must be driven by the realities of the global, regional and local market-forces.

The Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) has submitted this discussion document to regional Ministers of Trade for their consideration and further discussions will be held amongst the regional private-sector and with regional Governments over coming months.

The full text of the proposed policy is available at the STCIC website:

© 2003 Pam Democrat. All rights Reserved


Saturday 25 March 2006

Free eye surgery in Venezuela and Cuba

CURACAO – The consul-general in Curaçao, Lorenzo Angiolillo announced that people of less resource can soon register for free eye operations in Venezuela or Cuba at the expense of the Venezuelan government.

The Venezuelan government takes care of also the airfare and accommodation and calls the mission a ‘Misión Milagro’ (operation miracle). “With this mission, the people profits for the first time from the petroleum industry”, says Angiolillo. The association of ophthalmologists in Curacao is really questioning this plan.

Starting May 15th, people can register for this free treatment at the consulate. The patients should have a first diagnose of the problem with their eyes. The decision will then be made whether the patient can be treated in Venezuela or should go to Cuba for a more specialized treatment. All the patient needs are 8 days off for the trip, surgery and recovery.

The patients will travel with Angiolillo in a presidential- or a military aircraft to the Military Hospital.

Mision Milagro is already in operation in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay and is taken to also Curacao on the initiative of the consul-general. According to Angiolillo, the program should be seen as an action in which, as part of the Latin-American integration policy, this possibility is offered to sister countries in the region.

The association of ophthalmologists in Curacao is warning everybody that is considering this offer. Ophthalmologist Victor Wiedijk reacted on behalf of the association that patients that want to become eligible for this operation abroad, whether on own expenses or not, need to realize that they do not know where the surgery will take place, who is going to do it, and do the surgeon in question have any qualifications or not.

Surgery done by a non-qualified surgeon, the use of obsolete equipment or catching multi-resistant hospital bacteria, can lead to serious consequences for the healthcare in the Antilles in general.

Almost everybody in the Antilles have some kind of medical insurance. Completely in line with the charter of the United Nations, which clearly states that each government is responsible for the healthcare of her nation, the Antilles have a taxation and premium system that allows every resident, including the unprivileged and illegal ones in the Antilles to have direct access to adequate medical care.

In consideration of this, the Neth.Antilles is way above all countries in the Caribbean, including Venezuela and even the developed countries like the Netherlands and the United States, said Wiedijk.

Wiedijk sees the Venezuelan plan as a worrisome development. Patients go on a regular basis abroad for surgery that qualitatively can be done better locally. “Sometimes people return to us with completely screwed up eyes and we cannot be responsible for what went wrong abroad and we cannot fix it either.”

© Copyright 2001,


Differing views shared on school programmes
Web Posted - Sat Mar 25 2006

MINISTER of State in the Ministry of Education Cynthia Forde and Member of Parliament (MP) for St. Philip West Dr. David Estwick expressed differing views on programmes in schools during the debate on the Estimates on Thursday night.

Ms. Forde said the before and after school care programme, which provides supervision of children, is important and fills the vacuum left as a result of a lack of parental guidance.
She said more Barbadians support this, as it would provide better monitoring of children and forge linkages and relationships within communities and with parents. According to her, it would avoid the trend of "latchkey children" that have to provide for themselves after school.

In his contribution, Dr. Estwick asked for an evaluation of the early childhood development programme, adding that he believes that evidence would show that it is not in the best interest of the child.
He called for "alternative methods to deal with this problem", saying that the pre-school is not a substitute for the home or the community.

Minister Forde also said Project Oasis is successful and funding allocated to it is "very worthwhile". She said the Block Committee has touched 25 communities within the year, and those involved do courses with entities such as the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, in a range of areas such as electrical installation and organic farming.

Ms. Forde also lauded the Parent Volunteer Programme, saying that it helps parents, children and teachers to embrace each other and is now at all primary schools.

Barbados Advocate ©2000

Friday, March 24, 2006 

Barbadian ‘Xchangers’ help youths adopt positive lifestyles and resolve conflicts

By Lisa McClean-Trotman

BARBADOS, 24 March 2006 - Violence among school children is a growing concern in Barbados, and UNICEF is helping peer groups tackle the problem. The Barbadian ‘Xchangers’ is one such group, which holds workshops and special events encouraging children to resolve conflict peacefully.

D’Andra Howard, 22, is one of three members of the group who received leadership training from the UNICEF. The course focused on the development of skills and techniques to reach young people and help them adopt a positive lifestyle.

“The workshop sessions helped me to learn more about the students and the causes of their violent and disruptive behaviors,” said Ms. Howard. “Poverty is high. There is the influence of drugs, the block culture and the minibus culture, and these are all negative. In addition, the home environment is sometimes not supportive, and in the students’ view some of the teachers seem not to be giving them the attention they need.

“It is not that they do not want to behave or be educated, it is because they are not getting the attention or love from the other environments.”

Support from youth and NGOs

Most recently, Ms. Howard worked with Kathy-Ann Bellamy, the Assistant Guidance Counsellor of the Grantley Adams Secondary School in Barbados, to organize Peace Week.

Ms. Howard had witnessed violent incidents at the school while she was a student and urged the other students to help change its image. She also encouraged them not to give up and reminded them that change will not occur in a day but it is a process that will take time.

“Every day youth are being presented in the media on a negative note,” she said, “so why not look for influences that can help lead them in a positive lifestyle?”

With virtually no budget, Ms. Howard was able to mobilize support from not only the other Xchangers but also of some of the key non-governmental organizations in Barbados, including the National Council on Substance Abuse and the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.

Positive peer pressure

“Very often young people have the answers, and other young people respond better to them than to adults when they are the ones telling them how to address issues confronting them,” said Senior Programme Officer Niloufar Pourzand of UNICEF’s Eastern Caribbean Office.

“It is this kind of positive peer pressure that we must encourage and support as we help young people to fulfill their right to participation on issues affecting them,” she added. “It is for this reason that we support the Xchangers and the Xchange movement that they are trying to develop.”

Some 57 students out of the 90 who participated at Grantley-Adams made the pledge before their classmates to become Xchangers and adopt a positive lifestyle. Twenty peer supporters at the school also recommitted themselves to the Xchangers’ pledge. At the end of the workshop, students received youth-friendly UNICEF materials on conflict resolution and anger management.

“Every day youth are being presented in the media on a negative note,” she said, “so why not look for influences that can help lead them in a positive lifestyle?”
With virtually no budget, Ms. Howard was able to mobilize support from not only the other Xchangers but also of some of the key non-governmental organizations in Barbados, including the National Council on Substance Abuse and the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.
Positive peer pressure“Very often young people have the answers, and other young people respond better to them than to adults when they are the ones telling them how to address issues confronting them,” said Senior Programme Officer Niloufar Pourzand of UNICEF’s Eastern Caribbean Office.
“It is this kind of positive peer pressure that we must encourage and support as we help young people to fulfill their right to participation on issues affecting them,” she added. “It is for this reason that we support the Xchangers and the Xchange movement that they are trying to develop.”
Some 57 students out of the 90 who participated at Grantley-Adams made the pledge before their classmates to become Xchangers and adopt a positive lifestyle. Twenty peer supporters at the school also recommitted themselves to the Xchangers’ pledge. At the end of the workshop, students received youth-friendly UNICEF materials on conflict resolution and anger management.

“Every day youth are being presented in the media on a negative note,” she said, “so why not look for influences that can help lead them in a positive lifestyle?”
With virtually no budget, Ms. Howard was able to mobilize support from not only the other Xchangers but also of some of the key non-governmental organizations in Barbados, including the National Council on Substance Abuse and the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.
Positive peer pressure“Very often young people have the answers, and other young people respond better to them than to adults when they are the ones telling them how to address issues confronting them,” said Senior Programme Officer Niloufar Pourzand of UNICEF’s Eastern Caribbean Office.
“It is this kind of positive peer pressure that we must encourage and support as we help young people to fulfill their right to participation on issues affecting them,” she added. “It is for this reason that we support the Xchangers and the Xchange movement that they are trying to develop.”
Some 57 students out of the 90 who participated at Grantley-Adams made the pledge before their classmates to become Xchangers and adopt a positive lifestyle. Twenty peer supporters at the school also recommitted themselves to the Xchangers’ pledge. At the end of the workshop, students received youth-friendly UNICEF materials on conflict resolution and anger management.

Copyright © UNICEF

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