Caribbean News in Brief

CASTRO KNOCKS BIDEN

 Havana, Cuba: Former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, has criticized United States Vice President Joe Biden for saying that the U.S. will not lift its 47-year-old trade embargo against the Caribbean nation.

During a political summit in Chile last Saturday, Biden said transition is needed in the United States’ policy toward Cuba. However, he maintained that the embargo would continue to be enforced.

Biden said both he and U.S. President Barack Obama “think that Cuban people should determine their own fate, and should be able to live in freedom and with some prospect of economic prosperity”.

Castro called Biden’s comments “a pity” and said all Latin American countries view the embargo as a “burden of the past”.

 EXPLORING OPTIONS

 Kingston, Jamaica: Prime Minister Bruce Golding has announced that steps will be taken to prevent the closure of the Clarendon-based JAMALCO (Jamaica Aluminum Company) operations.

During an address to party supporters, Golding said unlike other mining companies, JAMALCO has placed itself in a situation where it can be assisted by government.

“We might be able to save JAMALCO for two reasons. One is that JAMALCO is the most efficient of our four plants whereas at Alpart (Alumina Partners of Jamaica) and WINDALCO (West Indies Alumina Company), it costs them US$310 to produce a ton of alumina.

“Because of the mechanical investment that has been made in JAMALCO over the years they are able to produce the same amount of alumina at about US$125. Because their costs are lower we might be able to save them,” he said.

Golding also said his administration is currently exploring options for the other bauxite companies.

 PM DENIES ELECTION RUMOUR

 Roseau, Dominica: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has brushed aside opposition suggestions that he intends to call an election in May.

Last week, Opposition leader Ron Green of the United Workers Party announced his party had reliable information about a general election being planned for May 5.

In response, Skerrit said “Roosevelt Skerrit has not spoken to anyone about the date of an election, including himself”. 

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