Caribbean News in Brief – July 2-09

UN SUMMIT ENDS

New York, USA: A United Nations summit on the global economic crisis ended last weekend with countries pledging to look at providing more help for developing nations.

During the summit, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, called for equal treatment of all tax jurisdictions and reform of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to help poor nations.

Addressing the summit, St. Lucia Prime Minister Stephenson King said his country couldn’t afford to incur more debt and pleaded for more financial grants.

Only 10 world leaders, mostly from the Caribbean, turned out for the three-day conference, which drew the ire of Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who called the absence of leaders from wealthy nations “disrespectful”.

CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington said the international response to the financial crisis has not helped highly indebted Caribbean nations.

SUPPORT FOR UNION

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Senior regional integrationist Sir Shridath Ramphal is supporting a proposed economic and political union between the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Trinidad and Tobago.

Sir Shridath said if the two sides believe that the proposed union could trigger other countries to quicken their own pace of integration, the union would have a positive affect on the region.

Sir Shridath said the OECS and Trinidad and Tobago have to open their union for other CARICOM countries to join.

VOTE OFFERED

Fort-de-France, Martinique: French president Nicolas Sarkozy has offered Martinique a referendum on autonomy.

Speaking in Fort-de-France, Sarkozy said the people of Martinique, a French department, were free to choose which road they wished to take.

Martinique and Guadeloupe, another Caribbean French department, endured violent strikes earlier this year fuelled by discontent at the high cost of living.

However, Sarkozy made it clear the island would always belong to France.

Following his visit to Martinique, Sarkozy will travel to Guadeloupe.

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