Wednesday, May 31, 2006 

Does Cultural Identity Lead to Violence?

In his new book "Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny", Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen argues that people of the world can be partitioned into civilizational categories that can either reinforce their differences or contribute to mutual understanding of shared identities leading to a universal culture of peace.

Culture helps form identity and world view. We are shaped by our cultures, and perceived differences can be perceived as threatening. What can be done to transcend these tensions and bring about a greater sense of shared identity and a common, life affirming destiny?

We invite your participation by adding your comments to the right. Thank you!

Does Cultural Identity Lead to Violence


New World Bank Report:
Information and Communications for Development 2006: Global Trends and Policies

A new World Bank report, "Information and Communications for Development 2006: Global Trends and Policies," focuses on the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in economic development.

The volume discusses ICT trends in developing countries – covering issues such as infrastructure financing, the importance of public-private partnerships and effective competition to extending access, foreign investment trends, and the role of ICT in doing business.

For example, the report shows that developing country firms that use ICT grow faster, invest more, and are more productive than those that do not. It also stresses the importance of successfully transitioning to well-regulated and competitive service provision in order to attract needed investment.

The report includes an annex of 144 economy at-a-glance tables. These tables provide a snapshot of the ICT sector's structure and performance in economies around the globe.

For more on the report see:
° Report overview
° Chapter 2: Foreign Direct Investment in Telecommunications in Developing Countries
° Chapter 4: The Role of ICT in Doing Business
° Summary of main findings
° Regional highlights, by topic
° Audio and video interviews with experts
° Purchase information

©2006 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved.


UNESCO Guidelines for designing terminology policies now available

12-01-2006 (Paris)

UNESCO just published “Guidelines for Terminology Policies. Formulating and implementing terminology policy in language communities” that was prepared by the International Information Centre for Terminology (Infoterm).

The Guidelines address decision makers in different positions at various levels, who, for a variety of purposes, want to design, plan and implement a terminology policy, which is geared towards a conscious, systematic and controlled approach to the creation, maintenance and use of terminology in/for defined user communities.
Terminology planning has come to the fore in various countries in the world at different levels: national, regional, language community, local community, institutional or organizational level.
There are also many terminology planning activities in various professional fields such as chemistry, biology, physics, medicine, and the like. In addition, there is a terminology component to virtually all standardization and harmonization activities, whether in industry or elsewhere.
A terminology policy or strategy, especially when conceived and implemented at the national level, needs to take into account highly complex demographic, cultural, ethno-linguistic and geo-linguistic and socio-psychological factors. Infoterm, was founded in 1971 by UNESCO with the objective to support and co-ordinate international co-operation in the field of terminology.
Members are national, international and regional terminology institutions, organizations and networks, as well as specialized public or semi-public or other kind of non-profit institutions engaged in terminological activities.
Bibliographic reference: Guidelines for Terminology Policies. Formulating and implementing terminology policy in language communities / prepared by Infoterm. – Paris: UNESCO, 2005. – ix, 39 p.; 30 cm. (CI-2005/WS/4)

Contact information

° Claudio Menezes, UNESCO,
Information Society Division

Related Links

° Online version of the

° Infoterm

© Copyright UNESCO, 2005
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

Cuba, Lowest AIDS Rate in Caribbean

United Nations, May 30 (Prensa Latina) Cuba was highlighted on Tuesday as the Caribbean country with lowest HIV-AIDS levels as well as for carrying out one of the most efficient programs in the world to prevent the transmission of the illness from mothers to children.

The recognition appears in the UNAIDS report on the world AIDS epidemics, presented on Tuesday at the UN headquarters in New York, and contrasts the Island with the panorama in neighboring Caribbean nations, which is today the most affected region in the world after Africa for this scourge.

Last year alone the pandemic took over 2.8 million lives in the world, and four more million people were reported to be newly infected.

The document says that in the case of Cuba, there was a 0.1 percent rate for adults by the end of 2005, with some 4,800 people living with HIV and fewer than 500 dead due to diseases associated with AIDS.

The Cuban program to prevent mother-child transmission of HIV has kept the number of newborn HIV children under 100 so far, the report praises.

Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved.
Prensa Latina


Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Caribbean Aids fight 'is mixed'
By Simon Watts
BBC News

The Caribbean has achieved mixed results in fighting HIV/Aids, says the UN's annual report on Aids.

The region has the second highest rate of HIV infection, and the virus is the leading cause of death among young adults, hitting men and women equally.

The causes of the emergency are both cultural and economic, with Aids sometimes seen as a gay disease and using a condom regarded as not macho.

But the UN praises Haiti where projects have encouraged safer sexual practices.

Across the region, education programmes are under-funded, experts say, because governments prefer to spend their limited health budgets on the chronically sick.

Guyana epidemic

Along with the high cost of the drugs, tight budgets also explain this report's conclusion that the Caribbean is only providing a quarter of the anti-retroviral treatment needed.

So where are the success stories? The UN praises Haiti, which has the region's worst Aids problem.

The country's deep poverty and political instability have made it a priority for NGOs and drawn in an international peace mission.
UN officials say Haitians are now practising safer sex thanks to foreign-backed initiatives.

But this report contains alarming findings in parts of the Caribbean which are not on the international agenda.

It warns that in Trinidad and Tobago, teenage girls are six times more likely to be infected than their male counterparts.

The UN says this is partly for biological reasons.

And in Guyana, where information has previously been patchy, UN data now suggests a serious epidemic is underway.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Premier: We can be an example to Caribbean on sustainable development

By Stuart Roberts

Bermuda will teach the rest of the Caribbean to be more sustainable at an upcoming multinational Environment Forum, Premier Alex Scott said on Monday.At a press conference in Cabinet, Mr. Scott said he would be the keynote speaker at a Caribbean Environmental Forum and Exhibition (CEF) in Antigua and Barbuda from June 5 to June 9.“We have to get it right,” Premier Scott said. “Probably we are a good example to the other territories because we are such a small Island community, 21 square miles. They generally have an abundance of land and an expanse of opportunities. Our margin of error is very small. If we get it wrong at Morgan’s Point that’s two-, three percent of the land-bank that came back to us from the US. So it’s crucial. What we do in Hamilton Harbour. If we throw concrete at it and ruin a beautiful little harbour, I’m not saying development is doing that, I’m saying we have to be very conscious of the impact both now and into the foreseeable future because we have a small margin for error.”Mr. Scott said the United Nations’ Division on Sustainable Development recently called Bermuda a “model for others” and a “useful case study”.“Similarly and most recently, the US Consul General commented that Bermuda can be an example to other Island Nations,” the Premier said. Morgan’s Point and future hotels would have to be developed with sustainable practices, he said.“I hope there is interest in developing our infrastructure from a tourism point of view,” he said. “This means the developer now has to develop in keeping with the concepts, precepts and parameters in which we see Bermuda developing.”Rather than developers coming in and putting up hotels “there, there or elsewhere”, Mr. Scott said they would be encouraged to develop in a ways sympathetic to what Bermudians want to see. “Bermudians want to see open space in a given area, you won’t be able to develop there,” he said. “But if there is a certain area where we want to have development, you might find the development of a closed tourist resort, notice I’m not saying hotel, will be sympathetic to our need for housing, sympathetic to our need for mixed housing and to have a resort development and invest in that type of complex will make it sympathetic to sustainable development as we are beginning to perceive it.”He said many people wanted to see something happen at Morgan’s Point but at the same time did not want to see it quickly overdeveloped.“The consensus appears to be – clean it up, open space, housing – and probably in that order,” he said. “If any developer was invited in they would probably be invited in under those terms of reference.” He said CEF was an important learning opportunity and a chance to teach those in the Caribbean who were about to start on the path to more sustainable communities.“The Government recognises, that while we can and must develop our own strategies for sustainable development, the need is a global one,” he said. “Our acceptance of the invitation is also in large measure our own recognition of the leadership role that Bermuda can play in the global arena.”Sustainable Development Director Erica Smith would also attend CEF, he said, to chair a workshop on the implementation of sustainable practices in Small Island Development States like Bermuda.Ms Smith said it was a compliment for Bermuda to be invited. Experts from the Caribbean, Canada, Kenya, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbuda and the US would attend CEF, Mr. Scott said.“We view this as an important learning opportunity for all concerned, especially as we head towards finalising, with the general public, our national Sustainable Development Strategy and Implementation Plan,” Mr. Scott said. He said Cabinet had concluded its review of the Plan, which should be released in June. However, the Premier was confident the recommendations made in it would be supported by Ministers who made mostly “constructive observations”.“I don’t think the draft suffered any fatal changes to the original notion,” he said, adding all contributors – Sustainable Development Round Table included – would be “comfortable” with the version of the Plan that comes out of Cabinet.

Copyright ©2005 The Royal Gazette Ltd.


Dear colleague:

You already know how the lack of rigorous, independent impact evaluations hinders poverty reduction. Each year billions of dollars are spent on thousands of programs to improve health, education and other social sector outcomes in the developing world. But very few programs benefit from studies that could determine whether or not they actually made a difference. This absence of evidence is an urgent problem: it not only wastes money but denies poor people crucial support to improve their lives.

Now a solution is at hand, and you can help to make it happen. Tomorrow CGD will release the final report of the Evaluation Gap Working Group with a presentation of key findings and a lively expert panel (see "When Will We Ever Learn: Improving Lives through Impact Evaluation" Policy Recommendations from the CGD Evaluation Gap Working Group" for event details and to reserve your seat). The report's recommendations are currently being discussed among stakeholders as a possible framework agreement for collective action.

At tomorrow's launch, I will distribute a statement endorsing the key principles of the need for collective action to close the evaluation gap. This is not a public petition, but rather a call to action signed by a diverse cross-section of the development community. People who sign share the belief that we can and must do a better job of learning from development.
Several prominent development practitioners have already signed in their personal capacity, based on our consultations in Mexico and India. By adding your name to the list today, you can be included when we distribute this call to action at tomorrow's launch event. More importantly, your endorsement can help to make improved impact evaluaiton a reality.

Please take a moment to read the statement now. If you agree, and are able to lend your support by endorsing the statement, e-mail Joselyn DiPetta (
Please include your full name and organizational affiliation. Organizational affiliations will be used for identification purposes only unless you are the head of your organization and specifically state you are offering a group endorsement (we welcome these, too!).
Thank you for helping to close the evalution gap.

Best regards,
Ruth Levine
Director of Programs and Senior Fellow
Center for Global Development


Safe staffing contributing to quality lives
Web Posted - Tue May 30 2006
IT has been shown that safe staffing contributes to better patient outcomes which are ultimately manifested in reduced health costs for individuals, families and communities and increased national productivity as patients return to the active workforce.

This was the view shared by Minister of Health Jerome Walcott recently, as he addressed the Barbados Registered Nurses Association (BRNA) seminar on Safe Staffing Saves Lives at the DC Conference Centre, Manor Lodge, St. Michael.

He said, "If our overall objective is to provide quality health services and produce a healthy population, in keeping with the Barbados Strategic Plan for Health 2002-2012, "The Health of the Nation is the Wealth of the Nation", then we must recognise that safe staffing saves lives and [should] bring about programmes and policies aimed at protecting, encouraging and managing our health professionals, especially our nurses."

The Minister noted that emphasis needed to be placed on the various categories of nurses, career paths and the appropriate training in the future, for those individuals who are interested in nursing administration, nursing education, the clinical areas, including that of nurse practitioner, and of course the neglected area of nursing research.

"Provision would have to be made to allow individuals to develop to their fullest potential in these various areas without [them] having to be transferred from a clinical stream to administration in order to progress or to be promoted as the case may be," he said.

He told members that Cabinet had already approved certain proposed changes to the structure and functioning of the General Nursing Council, and that legislative amendments relating to the nursing profession were currently with the Office of the Attorney General.

"Among the things these will address are the establishment of a registrar and a secretariat, the modernisation of various aspects of the Act, including the age of admission to nursing and importantly the area of continuing nursing education as it relates to continued registration of nurses," said Minister Walcott.

He contended that all of this was in keeping with the Report of the American Federation of Teachers that deal with nursing education and which defines Safe Staffing as an appropriate number of staff with a suitable mix of skilled levels available at all times, to ensure that patient care needs are met and that hazard-free working conditions are maintained.

With respect to the notion of hazard free working conditions, the Health Minister noted the importance of the relationship established between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the Medical Protection Society of the United Kingdom (UK) where, he said, "the issue of risk management is addressed in detail not only in terms of risk to the patient but in terms of risk to the staff and speaks clearly and specifically to the physical and mechanical risk that might occur in an institution like the QEH."

He disclosed also that this was included in the draft final report of the QEHs Redevelopment Consultancy where it speaks to the need to look at the reduction of hazards such as fires and malfunctioning equipment.

The issue of migration of skilled health professionals from developing to developed countries was also addressed by Minister Walcott who reiterated this was not a new phenomenon.
He explained: "In the 1960s regional health ministries were faced with a short fall of nurses as a result of migration. Now 40 years later, the phenomenon has returned; this time under the decorous term of trade liberalisation and is being classified as "trade in services". It is decorated with terms like Mode Four co-operation and the transfer of professional services from one country to another. But indeed, it is still the same."

According to the Minister, a Pan American Health Organisation study has revealed that the Caribbean is losing approximately 400 nurses per year through migration to Canada, the UK and the United States of America.
These countries are able to offer nurses more attractive terms and conditions of service and educational opportunities than we can at this present time.

Noting also that the World Bank had even attempted to show the importance of migration of nurses in terms of remittances to developing countries, Minister Walcott said that the innovative strategy known as "Managed Migration" was adopted by some governments to address the shortage of nurses. This development has been a major topic for discussion in recent years at international nursing fora.

Observing that this had resulted in various interpretations and positions on the topic of managed migration, Minister Walcott said, "In our region our strategy is to train adequate numbers of nursing personnel to deliver quality healthcare services to an ever demanding public, which is ever conscious of its rights, and of course to provide safe staffing in terms of the numbers of nursing personnel".

In addition, the strategy addresses such issues as recruitment, retention, continuing nursing education and the terms and conditions of work and mechanisms for recognising the importance and value of nursing  all key components of the managed migration strategy for this region.

Barbados Advocate ©2000


Gobierno presenta nuevo jefe de misión del FMI

El Secretario Técnico de la Presidencia, presentó este martes al nuevo jefe de la misión del Fondo Monetario Internacional en el país Andy Wolfe.

El ingeniero Temístocles Montás, quien recibió al funcionario en su despacho del Palacio Nacional, expresó que a partir de este momento Wolfe se integrará a los trabajos de revisión y evaluación del acuerdo Stand By que el país desarrolla con el organismo crediticio internacional.

Dijo que en el encuentro sostenido con el funcionario del FMI se pasó revista al estado actual del programa, tomando en cuenta cual ha sido el comportamiento de la economía en los primeros cinco meses del presente año, y como se refleja en los compromisos asumidos en la carta de intención firmada con el organismo prestatario.

Manifestó Temistocles Montás que por parte del gobierno se mantiene la voluntad de continuar haciendo todos los esfuerzos que sean necesarios con el propósito de cumplir con los compromisos asumidos.

Reveló que en encuentro sostenido con el Presidente de la República la pasada semana, la preocupación del mandatario giró en torno a hacer todo lo necesario por lograr que las metas y compromisos que se asumieron en la Carta de Intención de cara al primer semestre de este año sean cumplidos cabalmente.

El Secretario Técnico de la Presidencia informó que las evaluaciones que se han venido realizando a través del equipo técnico que trabaja en el seguimiento del programa indican que los objetivos serán cumplidos.

Afirmó que el cumplimiento de los compromisos con el Fondo Monetario Internacional por parte del gobierno, asegura el mantenimiento de la vigencia del programa.

Dijo que el país va tendrá la oportunidad de trabajar con un grupo de gente que realmente está comprometida con asegurar la estabilidad de la economía y garantizar que la República Dominicana vuelva a ser un ejemplo en America Latina en términos de su crecimiento económico.

De su lado, el nuevo jefe de la misión del Fondo Monetario Internacional en el país alabó la fortaleza que exhibe la recuperación económica en que se encuentra la República Dominicana en los actuales momentos.

El funcionario dijo que la recuperación económica que muestra la República Dominicana es exitosa.

Dirección de Información, Prensa y Publicidad de la Presidencia

Mayo 30, 2006

(c) Copyright 2004. Todos los derechos reservados


Telecommunications and ICT Sectors to Benefit From New Fiber Optic Cables

May 29, 2006
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua

The Telecommunications and ICT sectors in Antigua and Barbuda are to benefit from new undersea fiber optic cables, which are expected to be landed and lit by year end.

That's according to Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Honourable Dr. Edmond Mansoor, following a tour of the cable laying ship, the Peter Faber, which was in the St. John's Harbour on Saturday.

The ship, owned by the French Group Alcatel Submarine Network, was completing the ocean survey work for Southern Caribbean Fiber, a company owned by the French Group Loret, which is planning to land and operate an undersea fiber optic cable in Antigua before year end.

Joining Minister Mansoor on the tour of the ship were Telecommunications Officer, Clement Samuel, Director of the Information Technology Center, Dr. Patrick Lay, and Telecommunications Consultant, Delreo Newman.

The Ship's Captain, Soren Andersen, confirmed to the Government officials that more than 95% of the ocean survey work has been completed, with the remaining 5%, which is the near shore component, likely to be completed shortly. Once the entire sea survey is concluded, the fiber optic cable will be manufactured to meet the rugged requirements of sitting on the ocean floor for about twenty five years.

Minister Mansoor says that the current fiber optic cable system is owned by Cable and Wireless and forms part of the Cable and Wireless monopoly infrastructure.

"This monopoly continues to keep telecommunications and ICT costs inordinately high. The landing of additional undersea fiber optic cables will ensure greater connectivity, which in turn would provide tremendous economic opportunity. By licensing more than one submarine fiber optic cable operator, the Government is giving effect to rapidly extending ICTs throughout Antigua and Barbuda," Minister Mansoor said.

"Affordability and accessibility to cell phones and cable TV continue to increase under this administration. With the impending end of the monopoly on external telecommunications by Cable and Wireless, Antigua and Barbuda will see significant reductions in the cost of international telephone calls," Dr. Mansoor said.

The landing of additional cables will also result in enhanced and more cost effective broadband networks.

This is particularly relevant to the internet gaming sector but is also important for developing access to broadband networks for e-government, e-commerce, education, health care delivery and social development.

©Copyright 2005 - Government of Antigua and Barbuda. All rights reserved.


Tuesday 30 May 2006

Atia: Price control measures do not solve anything

ARUBA – The Aruban Association for Trade and Industry (Atia) concluded that the price control measures that the government has proclaimed do not solve anything; on the contrary, they produce an extremely negative effect on the tourism, the economy, and the society. Aruba prices herself out of the market.

According to Atia, it is about time that the government and the social partners sit down and talk and together come to a solution for the big- and still growing problems. Atia is of the opinion that the solution is not increasing the import tax on many products. “It is irresponsible to burden the community with more measures, without considering the micro- and macro economic consequences; especially now, after the price increases due to the increasing fuel prices.”

Atia admits that there are some external factors that influence the economy negatively. The Holloway-case plays an important part in this, but the government has to look at herself. The government apparatus is way too big. It is not the first time that this is being said.
The International Monetary Funds, the World Bank, the Central Bank of Aruba and a great deal of other independent local and international instances pointed this out at several occasions.

Atia says that the government expenses are way too high for such a small community like Aruba’s. You cannot go back on the consequences of this by introducing measures and by blaming others for the situation, neither by intimidating persons that are not in agreement with the policy. The only way to go back is to decrease the expenses, says Atia.

Atia is afraid that the proclaimed measures have disastrous consequences for the economy. “In addition to the alarming prognoses for this year’s tourism, this can influence the revenue of the government adversely on the long run.”

Not only the local population of Aruba will notice the price increases, but also the tourists. Clothing, jewelry, and watches are the most popular articles for the cruise tourists. Atia is afraid that they would buy these products in other cheaper islands where their ship go.
There are only two reasons why the government decided to increase the import tax on most of the products: the government has other priorities than the general interest, or the rulers do not have the capacity to take the right decision. In both cases, the result is extremely bad for Aruba.

© Copyright 2001,

Monday, May 29, 2006 

Life Expectancy in Cuba Near 80 Years

Cuba, May 28 (Prensa Latina) Life expectancy in Cuba is reaching 80 years, according to health specialists in the 4th International Conference on Satisfactory Longevity, which took place this week here in the National Hotel.

Doctor Eugenio Selman-Houssein Abdo highlighted the conditions developed in Cuba to maintain good quality of life conditions, including nutrition, health, physical activity, culture, motivation and the environment.

"Cuba guarantees education and healthcare free of charge, full access to sports and culture. We also have a high-quality health infrastructure that includes 430 multi-disciplinary teams for gerontology services and a pharmaceutical industry that produces 80 percent of the medications used in the country," Selman stated.

That combination of factors will soon make it possible for life expectancy in Cuba reaching 80 years, according to Doctor Alberto Fernandez Seco, director of the National Program for Attention to Older Adults.

An example of goal is Benito Martinez Abogan, aged 125 years, the oldest man in Cuba.
The aging of the population increases the risks of disabilities and illness that come with it, which requires specialized medical services, Fernandez stated.

Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved.
Prensa Latina


29 May, 2006 - Published 12:53 GMT

MOU misunderstanding

The planned signing today of a new memorandum of understanding between the Jamaica government and labour unions has been delayed.

More unions are now saying they are not happy with it.

The president of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) Dwight Nelson has called an emergency meeting of member unions for Tuesday citing discord within the organisation over the details of the document.

In a statement Mr. Nelson said at least three major unions had indicated to him that they were not satisfied with the final draft of the agreement.


The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has also refused to sign and the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) has pulled out of the JCTU over the issue.

The government had wanted to have the new memorandum of understanding with the unions in place by April 30 when an extension to its hardship allowance expired.

The previous MOU, signed two years ago, put a tight cap on wage increases to public sector workers in exchange for maintaining 15,000 public sector jobs.


Kingston conference to focus on social housing in the region

Monday, May 29, 2006

SOCIAL housing in the Caribbean will be discussed on June 19 and 20 when builders, social development workers, financiers, contractors and construction professionals gather at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston for the 2006 Housing Conference.

The conference is being hosted by the National Housing Trust (NHT), as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations.

According to a press statement from the NHT, the lack of and poor housing was one of the most important issues facing governments in the Caribbean.

"Since venturing into social housing, the National Housing Trust has invested billions in social housing projects such as the Inner-City Housing Project and Relocation 2000.

Successive governments have long recognised the need to address the escalation in sub-standard housing, particularly in the cities and have implemented a range of solutions. However, many are still searching for ways to minimise the costs of these solutions," the NHT statement said.

The conference will draw on the expertise of speakers from the region and local agencies, who will offer insights into a number of key issues including the sociology and design of inner-city communities, increasing social and political capital, the challenges of housing the poor and the national approaches to social housing in the Caribbean.

Plenary speakers include Professor Patricia Anderson (Jamaica), Dr Carol Archer (Jamaica), Senorita Martha Garcilosa de la Vega Pena (Cuba) and Karen Charlton (Canada).

In addition to plenary sessions, the conference will host workshops which will include case studies on the NHT's Inner-City Housing Project, the Guadeloupean Social Housing System and informal housing and the environment.

Copyright© 2000-2001 Jamaica Observer. All Rights Reserved


St Kitts readies for e-government

Monday, May 29, 2006

BASSETERRE, St Kitts: A forum that will address E-Government Policy Formulation and Implementation is scheduled for May 30-31 at the new NEMA Headquarters in St Kitts.

The focus question for that occasion is: “How can Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) enable public sector modernization, improved service delivery and productivity?”

Additionally participants will explore how supporting evidence, with respect to e-government policies and strategies, can be collected and applied to ensure transparency, relevance and effectiveness. The objective of the workshop organized specifically for top-level government officials is to identify priorities for E-Government and ICT public administration as well as assess emerging ICT’s and development of strategies for the adoption of Information Technology (IT) solutions.

Permanent Secretary of Public Sector Reform, Douglas Wattley said the workshop is critical, given the pace of online communication and business in the globalised community. Wattley explained that the Government must facilitate the transition of its clients from traditional business to e-government business.

He explained that apart from providing convenience, online transactions also help to eliminate lengthy periods for transactions across borders.

Copyright © 2003-2006 Caribbean Net News All Rights Reserved


Caribbean grappling with a range of challenges
Web Posted - Mon May 29 2006
THE Caribbean has been challenged to find ways to revitalise its relationship with Canada. The challenge has come from Dame Billie Miller, Barbados Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

She spoke at a specially convened Inter-American Dialogue/FOCAL forum that explored a range of policy issues and related challenges the Caribbean is grappling with. Dame Billie characterized the gathering as an important opportunity to focus attention on the long-standing friendship between Canada and the Caribbean that needs to be revitalised at this time.

With a view to determine areas and how the relationship between Canada and the Caribbean could be strengthened, participants examined challenges facing Caribbean countries as they relate to Trade and Economic Development, Social and Health issues, Security, and Migration matters.

The meeting also explored how Caribbean countries are addressing the challenges that confront them, whether Canada and the international community (including international and regional institutions) are contributing effectively to national and regional efforts in this regard, and what more Canada and the international community could and should be doing to support these efforts.

In identifying specific measures to enhance ties between Canada and the Caribbean, that are already broadly positive in nature, the intention of the forum was to generate new ideas for future areas of cooperation that can be advanced by policy makers in Canada and the Caribbean. Director-General of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal reiterated the on-going interest of CARICOM in securing a modern, comprehensive trade agreement with Canada.
He emphasised the Region's readiness to commence negotiations with the Canadian Government in this regard.

The one-day forum took place in Washington, DC, and was chaired by former Canadian Prime Minister Hon. Joe Clark. It brought together policy makers, academics, diplomats, experts in Caribbean affairs and senior officials from various intergovernmental organisations, including Sir Ronald Sanders and Professors Anthony Bryan and Anthony Maingot.

Barbados Advocate ©2000

Sunday, May 28, 2006 

Helping a country to raise its voices
Ivan Duran preserves and promotes Belize's music, a stew as beguiling and obscure as its homeland.
By Reed Johnson, Times Staff Writer
May 28, 2006

CIVILIZATIONS come and go in this remote Central American outpost: Mayan Indians, British colonizers, African slaves who fled here from neighboring Honduras. As the years pass, monuments turn to ruins. Voices fall silent.
But the timeworn music of this unique cultural crossroads stubbornly survives. Once in a while it may even flourish.
Whenever that occurs these days, Ivan Duran is likely to be hovering somewhere nearby, microphone in hand, digital recorder at the ready. Deep in the interior of this poor, resolutely easygoing nation between the Caribbean and the Guatemalan border, Duran's boutique independent label, Stonetree Records, is helping to preserve a lush musical ecosystem.
Though Stonetree sells only several hundred or, at most, a few thousand copies of each album it puts out, the company has almost single-handedly taken this country's reclusive musical culture out of smoky Belize City bars and late-night jam sessions in small coastal villages and given it the makings of a global platform. Since 1995, the company has been recording the aging masters and emerging young stars of Belizean popular music, including the wildly infectious Garifuna sounds that define the country's uncanny Afro-Indian heritage.
Belizean music has been a swirling sonic cocktail ever since the Garifuna, or Garinagu, people, the descendants of shipwrecked African slaves and Carib Indians, were driven off the Caribbean island of St. Vincent in 1796 and scattered to Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and the American South.But before Stonetree, few outsiders had much chance of hearing it.
At the time, there were no other studios, and Duran had to rent equipment to make his first recording."Nobody else was doing it, so it was easy for us to do it," says Duran, 34, who was born in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula of Spanish parents, immigrated to Belize as a babe-in-arms and studied music in Fidel Castro's Cuba.
Formerly the colony of British Honduras, Belize was fought over by Spain, Britain and Guatemala before it gained independence in 1981. Its culture is the product of a chain of historical accidents and unlikely encounters.
"I think that's what Belize is about: very unexpected," says Duran, who speaks Spanish, English and Creole. "Our existence as a country is totally unique."
So is the existence of Stonetree. On a quiet street in this sleepy town one mile from the Guatemalan border, the studio complex is only a five-minute drive from the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich and a comfortable distance from the coastal hot spots where the cruise-liner crowd snorkels and slurps down parasol drinks.
Stonetree is Belize's most ambitious studio-recording venture, in a country with a dearth of practically everything except natural beauty and raw human talent. Although Belize now has around 10 to 15 recording studios, all but two or three are small enterprises that mostly turn out demo tapes. Stonetree, Belize's only record label, is the only studio that makes album-length recordings. Yet per capita, Belize (population 266,000) produces more local roots music than much larger neighbors such as Guatemala and El Salvador, Duran says.
Cross-breeding past, present
AS its name implies, Stonetree aims to cross-breed the country's rock-solid musical past with its still-germinating present. Today, echoes of Belize's polyrhythmic birthright live on in the work of scarred virtuosos including Paul Nabor, 74, a buyei (spiritual healer) and much-beloved master of paranda, a form of Garifuna with a solid beat that incorporates Spanish guitar influences.
The ache of exile and the melancholy of ordinary life color paranda the same way they do Mississippi Delta blues, and an indomitable spirit blows through these stark lamentations.
Another Stonetree living legend is Wilfred Peters, 75, a Belizean accordionist and leader of the Peters Boom & Chime band. He's known as the King of Brukdown, a pun-happy, satirical music that originated decades ago in Belize's logging camps as a way of transmitting news and gossip with a danceable beat.
"My music is not too common, because everybody want to leave their culture for another culture," Peters says in sing-songy Creole English from his home in Belize City. "But me, I just want to keep on with my culture."
In addition to harvesting traditional sounds for posterity, Duran and his staff are constantly prowling the musical backwaters for new outgrowths and mutations. Stonetree's small catalog is energized by young- and young-ish performers such as Andy Palacio, 49, a regional star of Garifuna music who came up from the "punta rock" movement of the early 1980s. Punta rock, a funky, fast-tempo music similar to merengue and Trinidadian soca, was one of the first alternative styles to emerge in the wake of Belizean independence.
Another young Stonetree artist, Aurelio Martínez, 36, has revolutionized paranda by harmonically enhancing the music while retaining a very authentic roots sound. Last year he was elected to the Honduran congress, the first Garinagu from his province ever to hold that office. He's planning a U.S. musical tour this summer, with an L.A. show possibly next year.
Martínez agrees with Palacio that operations such as Stonetree are all too rare in this corner of the world. "There aren't [music] impresarios that can invest much," he says. "Ivan is a special case in Central America."
Going where the music is
BECAUSE the musicians he records tend to live in small, scattered towns and villages, Stonetree often must take its show on the road. For several recording projects, Duran has packed up the studio equipment into his '91 Ford Ranger and set up a temporary studio in the middle of some obscure fishing village or dusty settlement of a few hundred people.
Stonetree's upcoming CD/CD-ROM release "Umalali" (Garifuna for "voice"), due out early next year, involved recording more than 50 women at various locations in Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. None of them is a professional singer, and Duran estimates he and his crew visited about two dozen communities, some two or three times, to make the recordings. In such cases, Duran says, it helps to move the recording studio on location and spend as much time there as necessary, an option that's not possible when you're renting a Belize City recording studio for $100 an hour.
In recent years, Stonetree has gotten indirect support from the Peace Corps, which shares the company's goal of preserving native Belizean culture. Austin Arzu, a Corps associate director for Belize, says the agency has assigned two volunteers to work with Stonetree through the Music Industry Assn. of Belize, a nongovernmental organization of which Duran is president and a founding member.
Arzu says he dreams of a future in which Belize can attract as many cultural tourists as eco-tourists.Stonetree's artistic mission remains a tough sell. Its most successful release, a paranda anthology, has sold about 5,000 copies since it was released seven years ago. To spur domestic sales, the company has 60 listening stations spread around the country; its website helps generate overseas sales. "I'm even scared to use the term 'recording industry' in Belize," Duran says. "There's no Bob Marley, and this is not Kingston."
Tapping the essence of such an unusual musical culture requires sweat and patience. The typical Stonetree release takes two years to produce. But for Duran and his artistic colleagues, the exploration seems as important as the discovery. "Beyond just the exoticness of the language and the beats," he says, "it needs to be something that goes directly to your heart."

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times


Exposing the propaganda on the Caribbean Court of Justice
published: Sunday May 28, 2006

Edward Seaga, Contributor

MICHAEL DE la Bastide, the learned president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), revealed in a lecture sponsored recently by the Caribbean Development Bank in Montego Bay, how distressed he was because the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords (The Privy Council) upheld the appeal to declare unconstitutional the three acts passed by Parliament to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal for Jamaica.

The intention of these pieces of legislation was that the CCJ replaced the Privy Council which constitutionally is Jamaica's final court of appeal. The appeal to the Privy Council was submitted in my name as the then Leader of the Opposition, the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights (IJCHR), Jamaicans for Justice and others.

The real basis of this historic decision by the Privy Council in February 2005, had nothing to do with depriving the CCJ of the role as the final court of appeal for Jamaica, but every thing to do with maintaining Jamaica's constitutional sovereignty. The objection of the Privy Council was based on sound judicial principles which ensure that the people must be consulted on constitutional changes which establish the CCJ as a final court of appeal to replace the Privy Council.
The effect of the Privy Council judgment is that the CCJ should enjoy the same level of security of tenure as the high courts of Jamaica.

The protection enjoyed by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Jamaica is a constitutionally-entrenched security of tenure for the courts and the judges which provides that the Jamaican courts cannot be established or abolished without the approval of the people in a referendum and no judge can be removed without approval of Her Majesty the Queen in Privy Council.


This protection is not provided for the three acts passed by Parliament to establish the CCJ as the Jamaican final court of appeal. In fact, there was no security of tenure at all for the CCJ, as the legislation was enacted by a simple majority vote leaving the way open for the court to be abolished, similarly, by a simple majority of one vote in Parliament.
This would have made it quite possible and politically easy for the court to be abolished by a displeased government, posing a constant threat to judges whether perceived or real and to the three-tier structure of our judicial system as provided for in the constitution. In this unhealthy and unacceptable situation for the dispensation of justice, this real or perceived threat would weaken the resolve of the court at the highest level.
The Privy Council surely recognised this opening for abuse when they ruled in favour of the Jamaican appeals against the unconstitutionality of the three acts of Parliament.

In so doing, the Privy Council left open the door for the possible establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice as Jamaica's highest appellate court for those who still wish to pursue this course.
What would be required is to pass legislation which would entrench the CCJ at least to the same degree as exists for the high courts of Jamaica. This would provide that its security of tenure would be guaranteed unless otherwise decided by a two-thirds majority in each house of Parliament and by referendum in which the people voted to abolish the court. This is the same level of protection currently enjoyed by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal of Jamaica.

This step is not likely to be taken by the Government of Jamaica which recognises the real possibility that in a referendum, the people would reject the CCJ as a replacement for the Privy Council as the highest appellate court of Jamaica.
Such a rejection at the polls in a referendum would very likely be considered by the electorate to be a national rejection with the widest political repercussions. This is not a route which is likely to be taken by Government. Hence, the CCJ as the Jamaican final court of appeal can be considered a closed issue for political, not judicial nor constitutional reasons as the propaganda would indicate.


The President of the CCJ, is particularly stunned by the ruling of the Privy Council which prevents its establishment as the highest appellate court by a single majority vote in Parliament, because the Jamaican Constitution provides that the Privy Council, the highest appellate court of Jamaica, can also be abolished by a single majority vote in Parliament. But despite this concurrence, there is a huge difference.
In the case of Jamaica, a real threat of vulnerability exists that abolition of the court by a single majority vote opens a real threat of political interference, while the Privy Council would be exposed to no such threat as it is outside the reach of political influence from Jamaica or elsewhere. Hence, where the Privy Council is insulated from influence or interference and needs no protection, the CCJ in the Jamaican context would most definitely have to be constitutionally protected to be acceptable.

There is another set of arguments pleaded by those who propose the CCJ as a replacement for the Privy Council. It is the underlying emotional appeal, as the president of the CCJ reminds us, that replacement of the Privy Council by the CCJ as Jamaica's final court of appeal would repatriate the last element of Jamaican sovereignty which lies in an overseas jurisdiction.
This argument provokes unkind thoughts about those who are so naïve as to fail to recognise that real sovereignty is the right of a people to make their own choices in their own best interests. There are those who in their naïvety pointedly disregard the sovereign decision of the Jamaican people that the Privy Council should continue as Jamaica's final court of appeal and this would prevail until otherwise replaced by a court which is approved by the people in a referendum.

Strangely, the same people who argue for the right to fully determine the course of Jamaican justice at home regardless of the circumstances, have readily embraced the need for foreign nationals to play pivotal roles in the protection of the national security of Jamaica at home, as has been the case in the recruitment of Scotland Yard police officers who have been appointed to top-level decision-making administrative and executive positions in the police force without derogating from Jamaican sovereignty.

The Government sought the best available skills, senior Scotland Yard police officers, to successfully assist in the fight against the problem of runaway crime in Jamaica and the people of Jamaica have constitutionally selected the best skills, the Privy Council, to ensure the availability of the finest judicial system.
Both are exercises of the sovereign will of the people of Jamaica, not enforcements by some foreign power from which we must rescue our sovereignty.

Every time reference is made to sovereignty in the circumstances of enabling or strengthening a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) institution, it is an attempt to treat CARICOM as a sovereign entity to which sovereign rights in a colonial domain can be repatriated. There is no CARICOM nation and CARICOM has no sovereign rights.
But all this hype on the restoration of sovereignty may not be in reference to CARICOM at all, but to setting the stage for the great leap forward to the creation of a federation of the CARICOM states for which all the parts have been in the process of assembly for the past three decades. Fortunately, the people are awakening to this grand design which would give them a new national citizenship and identity as 'CARICOMIANS' or 'CARICOMITES'.

I understand the feelings of disappointment expressed by President de la Bastide who was much enthused by his CARICOM colleagues when he was recruited as the intended president of a court of final appellate jurisdiction for the entire CARICOM region.
It has been an awesome embarrassment to find that only two countries, Guyana and Barbados, have agreed for the CCJ to serve their countries in this ultimate capacity, while all others have either rejected the service of the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction or have remained in various stages of doubt.

But it is a greater embarrassment yet for the people of the region who pledged US$100 million to support a body of learned justices with little call for their justice to be dispensed, but plenty of time, adorned in robes and wigs, to sharpen their domino skills.

What a glorious expression of sovereignty!

Edward Seaga is a former Prime Minister. He is now a Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies. Email:

© Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd

Saturday, May 27, 2006 

A&B to host Caribbean Environmental Forum
Saturday May 27 2006

Antigua & Barbuda will host the 3rd Caribbean Environmental Forum & Exhibition (CEF-3), in collaboration with the 12th Annual Wider Caribbean Waste Management Conference (ReCaribe) at the Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Resort on 5 – 9 June.

This event is being organized by the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute, with support from a broad-based local organizing committee and a number of regional and international partners.

The five day conference is expected to attract some 200 participants involved in the field of environmental management, environmental health, policy-makers responsible for the environment and technical officers from around the region.
The conference theme, “Investing In The Environment: Protecting The Future”, is meant to illustrate the intent to focus public attention on key sustainable development concerns of the region and the global community.

The objective of the conference is to present an opportunity for networking and partnership arrangements among a wide and diverse group of people and institutions, concerned with or involved in the environment and development.

The Conference will also expose the region to new and relevant environmental technologies and products; provide a regional forum for presenting and discussing issues related to Small Island Developing States and act as a regional arena for bringing together key Caribbean and international stakeholders to discuss issues and share experiences related to the environment and development.

Some of the topics that the delegates will be discussing include Sustainable Energy practices such as wind, solar and biofuels, integrated water and coastal zone management, Green Governance and green Events: Implications for Cricket World Cup 2007; Waste Management, including Solid, Liquid and Hazardous wastes; and Management of Technological Waste
During the opening ceremony Honorary President of the Caribbean Environmental Forum and Health Minister, John Maginley, will give the welcoming remarks while Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer will give the official opening address.

The Premier of Bermuda, W. Alexander Scott will be one of the high-level guests and will deliver a Keynote presentation. Minister of State in St. Kitts/Nevis Nigel Carty will also be attending and will deliver a Keynote address on Energy Security.

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26 May 2006

New Development Initiative Set for Latin America, Caribbean

Plan by Inter-American Development Bank aims to reduce region's poverty

By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced a new plan to promote economic opportunities for low-income people in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In a May 26 statement, the IDB said the Building Opportunity for the Majority Initiative is aimed at the low-income "majority" of the region, where it said some 360 million people, or 70 percent of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean, have incomes below $300 a month.

The IDB said the initiative establishes benchmarks and targets to measure performance over the next five years. The IDB will use the plan as a guide for focusing on a few priority areas, such as expanding the access of low-income people to formal financial services by building on the experience of microfinance. The plan also will guide IDB financing for projects in such areas as expanding access to affordable housing and modern communication technologies. The plan is to be launched at a June 12-13 conference at IDB headquarters in Washington.

Although the region’s low-income population constitutes a $510 billion-a-year market, "these neglected consumers and producers pay a ‘poverty penalty’ that raises their living costs, stunts their productivity and limits their opportunities to accumulate assets," said the IDB.

The region's low-income population, said the IDB, lacks access to running water, reliable electricity, good roads and safe transportation, while their homes tend to be built precariously on land "they probably can't prove they own."

In addition, the businesses of low-income people are hobbled by a scarcity of credit and excessive bureaucratic requirements, the IDB said. Even though the Latin American per capita gross domestic product has grown 95 percent since 1960, the IBD said, poverty and inequality levels barely have budged.

The IDB said its president, Luis Alberto Moreno, believes his institution must work with the region's governments, the private sector and civil society to help more people move into the middle class.

U.S. officials continually have expressed concern about high poverty rates in Latin America and the Caribbean. But Clay Lowery, the U.S. Treasury Department's assistant secretary for international affairs, said in April 4 remarks that poverty reduction in the Western Hemisphere "is both possible and essential."

Lowery said nations successful in reducing poverty have sustained robust economic growth, maintained low inflation and sound finances and have pursued reforms that spread opportunity.

Even though there is no single recipe for success, the best performers are countries that have opened markets, reduced barriers to starting businesses, invested in health and education, and linked their poor populations to markets, Lowery told the Getulio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo, Brazil. (See related article.)

Another official, Adolfo Franco from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said in September 2005 congressional testimony that the challenge to democracy in the region derives from the "vast levels of inequality and poverty."

Franco, USAID's assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, said that "unfortunately, the region's classification of mostly middle-income status disguises the harsh realities of its economic disparity" where about 96 million people live in extreme poverty on less than $1 a day.

Furthermore, Franco said inequality in Latin American is higher than any other region of the world, despite increases in per capita income over the last decade. Franco's comments were made in testimony before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on International Relations. (See related article.)

More information on the IDB initiative is available on the bank’s Web site.

For more on U.S. policy in the region, see The Americas.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

Friday, May 26, 2006 

Caribbean officials at UN-organized conference promise to improve rural education

26 May 2006 – Calling for assistance from regional and international organizations, especially the specialized United Nations agencies, high-level officials from several Caribbean nations have pledged to reduce poverty in rural communities and to open up new opportunities by changing approaches to education and training, the UN agricultural agency said today.

“We pledge to use our best efforts to reinforce action to further reduce poverty among communities dependent on agriculture, fisheries, forestry and micro-enterprises for their well-being,” a communiqué from the meeting, released by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), said.

“While we can certainly expect our governments, our civil societies, our business sectors and even rural people themselves and their communities to support local initiatives in Education for Rural People, we shall need and indeed require the support of the Caribbean Development Bank, the World Bank and our bilateral partners,” the communiqué, adopted at the end of the Caribbean Conference on Education for Rural People last Friday, said.

Caribbean ministers of education, agriculture and rural development noted that training and education had progressed at all levels in their region, despite setbacks from such natural disasters as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, as well as an adverse world economy.

Poverty and indigence rates remained higher among rural people than among the rest of the population, according to conference participants, who recognized that they could do more, in association with civil society and the business sector.
They called upon regional and international agencies, particularly FAO and the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), two of the meeting’s sponsors, to help develop locally feasible systems of monitoring, evaluation and research to measure progress and devise strategies to deal with emerging issues.

Education for rural people has a direct impact on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the list of targets the UN World Summit of 2000 issued to improve the socioeconomic situation in all countries, FAO education expert Lavinia Gasperini said.

“In this respect, the Caribbean conference helped raise awareness on the importance of education for rural people as a crucial step towards eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equity,” she said.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Report reveals growing economic gap between U.S., island

Lower employment rates, greater educational challenges among public-school students, and considerably lower per capita income are some of the aspects discussed in the study that the Brookings Institution did while comparing Puerto Rico’s economy with that of the mainland U.S.

According to Washington sources, the findings that were made public this week and that are contained in the book titled “The Economy of Puerto Rico: Restoring Growth”, are in line with what the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is expected to find once its report is completed.

The findings in the Brookings report show that the existing gap between the local and stateside societies isn’t just big, it’s getting bigger.

Some of the reasons for this difference were found to be the U.S. tax policy of providing tax exemptions to companies based in the States, under Sec. 936 of the Internal Revenue Code, with little or no local employment.

Further tax exemptions, like the Sec. 243 proposal planned by the Acevedo Vilá Administration are questioned by the fact that much of the income from manufacturing companies in Puerto Rico ends up leaving the island.

According to the report, drug companies earn 10.5 times what they pay in wages on the island vs. 2.1 times in the States.

One of the island’s most serious problems, the report says, is the low labor participation rate or the percentage of people in the labor force.

The report states that an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be the primary solution to the low employment and participating rate on the island.

This tax credit provides for payments to low-income workers with incomes too low to have an income tax liability.

The report added that the Child Tax Credit also provides for a payment to workers who cannot benefit from an income tax credit. In PR, only workers with three or more children qualify for the Child Credit refunds. In the States the EITC covers payments for workers with one child or two. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has proposed a bill to cover workers in Puerto Rico with one child. President Bush's FY7 Budget proposes ending Child Credit Social Security tax refunds in Puerto Rico—as policy opposite to this major recommendation of the report.)

As for the per capita income, the report states that when compared to per capita incomes of the mainland, the gap has widened in the past 16 years. Also gross national product per capita was 20% of in 1950, 40% by the early '70s, but is only 30% now.

Job growth has been equal to that in the States but wage growth has slipped behind the States, and the local private sector is underdeveloped.

It also criticizes Puerto Rico for providing an inhospitable climate for local business because of practices such as slow and bureaucratic permitting.

The following findings are also mentioned:
° Local corporate taxes are too high but are also undermined by too many
tax incentives (special breaks)—which diminish the revenue base.
° Puerto
Rico hasn’t penalized companies that got local tax exemptions but did not employ
as many people as they said they would.
° Tax collection is weak and the
underground economy is a significant problem.

As far as education policies go, the Brookings report found that Puerto Rico spends half of the U.S. average on elementary and secondary education.
Educational reforms on the 1990s have not been followed through and, as a result, half of poor youth face serious educational challenges and the state university has ended up favoring students from high-income families who had the means to pay for private schooling before going to college.

Copyright © 2000-2006 Casiano Communications Inc. All rights reserved.


April 25, 2006

The city of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, will host the Thirty-Sixth Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly, which will bring together the hemisphere’s Foreign Affairs Ministers from June 4 to 6, to debate issues relating to “Good Governance and Development in the Knowledge-Based Society.”
Carlos Troncoso, the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, will chair the three-day meeting, which is being held for the first time in this Caribbean country.
Secretary General José Miguel Insulza will report to the member states on his first year at the helm of the OAS General Secretariat. The 34 member state foreign ministers will consider actions to take on priority issues such as human rights promotion, follow-up to the Fourth Summit of the Americas, democratic governance, social and economic development, hemispheric security and the fight against corruption, poverty and inequality. Other issues they will consider include racism and intolerance, conflict resolution and cooperation against terrorism and drug trafficking.
Ahead of the ministerial meeting, the OAS will host a forum on “Democratic Stability in the Americas: The Institutional Role of the OAS,” slated for Saturday, June 3. It will focus on regional experiences and efforts to preserve and strengthen democratic institutions, drawing on specific examples from 2005.
Entrepreneurs from around the hemisphere will also gather in the Dominican capital June 2 and 3, for the OAS Private Sector Forum, under the theme “Inter-American Public-Private Partnership for Competitiveness and Job Creation in the Knowledge-Based Society.”
Participants will draft recommendations for submission to the foreign ministers on June 4.Also within the context of the General Assembly, on June 4 the foreign ministers will engage in a dialogue with the permanent observers to the OAS and with civil society. Representatives of non-governmental organizations from across the hemisphere will have an opportunity to express their views and make recommendations on the implementation of the Declaration of Florida (June 2005) and on the Mar del Plata Declaration and Plan of Action (November 2005).
Following Sunday morning’s Private Dialogue between the Foreign Ministers and the OAS Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General, President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic will inaugurate the General Assembly session during a ceremony at the National Theater.
At 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin will brief reporters on the details of the General Assembly agenda.
Media accreditation information is available on the OAS website:

© Copyright 2005.


Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 25, 2006):
Youth Director Geoffrey Hanley and Commonwealth Youth Ambassador Jeneve Mills are in the Bahamas representing St. Kitts and Nevis at the 6th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting. The May 22 – 26 conference is an opportunity for ministers and senior officials from across the Commonwealth to meet with young people to discuss progress in member countries on youth related issues.
Examples of workshop topics include: ‘Young People and the Digital Divide’, ‘Crime and Violence’ and ‘HIV/AIDS: The Challenges for Young People’.During a telephone interview, Director Hanley told SKNIS that he was learning a lot being among and dialoguing with the 200 participating delegates from across the Commonwealth.
“It is also a time for me to learn from the experience of the youth ministers … ways of improving youth development,” he stated. “I have already (taken) note of at least six new projects that I intend to introduce to the youth of St. Kitts.”Hanley also secured funding for St. Kitts and Nevis’ implementation of the Commonwealth Youth Credit Initiative – a model programme designed to develop entrepreneurial qualities and provide credit to young people across the Commonwealth. It is fashioned after other successful micro-credit schemes.
“The youths of St. Kitts can rest assured that on our return we will put measures in place so the funds can be accessed,” Hanley stressed.At the meeting, youth ministers were encouraged to advocate for raises in the national budget for their respective ministries in order to enhance the development and participation of youths in their country.
On Wednesday, Hanley met separately with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Don McKinnon, as well as the Bahamian Governor General H.E. Arthur D. Hanna and Prime Minister Hon. Perry Christie.The 6th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting is being held at the Radisson Cable Beach & Golf Resort, Nassau.

St. Kitts & Nevis Information Service


Annan pressures G8 on Caribbean trade aid
published: Friday May 26, 2006



UNITED NATIONS Secretary General Kofi Annan on Wednesday called on the leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised countries to adopt at their upcoming summit, bold trade liberalisation measures in aiding Caribbean and other developing countries.

In a letter to the leaders, ahead of their summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July, Annan said assistance should include duty- and quota-free access and aid in addressing the energy crisis "in a way that respects the environment.

"The lack of significant progress on trade is conspicuous, even perilous," he said in the letter to the leaders of Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Developing countries need genuine market access opportunities for their goods and services, and the least developed countries should enjoy duty-free and quota-free access for theirs," he added in the text of the letter released on Wednesday.

"It is also time for all trade-distorting subsidies for agriculture to be eliminated, and to do so rapidly for sensitive products," he continued, noting that many countries will need assistance in order to benefit from current and newly created opportunities, such as the so-called Aid for Trade programme.


"These are just some of the many sensible steps which, while fostering prosperity and opportunity for people everywhere, would allow poor and marginalised people, especially in the least developed countries, to lift themselves out of poverty," Annan said.

"Yet, I fear that the difficulties the negotiations have encountered have led some participants to contemplate settling for something less than a true development round. That must not be allowed to happen," he said, referring to the Doha Round, which is meant to restructure world trade policy in favour of development in poorer countries, such as those in the region.

Annan said 1.6 billion people in developing countries live with no electricity at all and lack access to modern energy services, stating: "It's a formidable barrier to poverty reduction."

Annan usually dispatches a letter to the G-8 leaders ahead of their annual summit, which he usually attends.

© Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd.

Thursday, May 25, 2006 

Grenada government promises tough stance against violence against women.
May 25th, 2006

The Grenada government Wednesday warned it was prepared to adopt a tough stance against persons involved in violence against women on the island.

Social Development Minister Yolande Bain Horsford said the Keith Mitchell administration would be closely monitoring reports of abuse against women, children and other vulnerable persons and urged victims of abuse to report the matter promptly to the police.

Ms Horsford said her Ministry was taking all reports of abuse seriously and warned that anyone violating the laws and abusing others in society would be dealt with.

"It does not matter who you are, who your parents are or even your friends, if you commit acts of violence of abuse against others you will be dealt with. I have asked my team in the Ministry of Social Development to give priority to reports of abuse and to treat the victims with empathy and confidentiality."

"It is unfortunate that some women and children in our society feel afraid or ashamed to report abuse, many of them feel this way because they believe that their case will not be handled professionally," she said.

"It is time that we break this cycle where unprofessional behaviour provides a cover for sexual predators and violent individuals. Women and children must not be afraid to speak out. Those of us in positions of authority and influence must not use our position to take advantage of vulnerable persons," she added.



Lighting up at age eight

- survey finds smokers starting younger than ever
Thursday, May 25th 2006

The age at which people start smoking in Guyana has lowered, with children as young as eight years old joining the ranks, a recent survey said.

According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), which released the results of data that was collected from Guyana in 2004, early initiation of tobacco use has emerged. The survey addressed the issue of health promotion awareness programmes being included in school curricula at both the secondary and primary levels.

Students at some secondary schools are currently benefiting from such programmes, but as the survey showed many of them are still to say no to tobacco because the overall percentage of young smokers has increased within the last few years.

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