Caribbean News in Brief as of July 9, 2009

Castries, St. Lucia: The government of St. Lucia has announced that Castries will be the site of a new Libyan embassy to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

St. Lucia Foreign Minister Rufus Bousquet said talks have already begun between Castries and Tripoli on opening the Libyan office.

Bousquet also said St. Lucia has approached the United States regarding having an American embassy based in the country.

The U.S. embassy in Barbados serves the OECS countries, but Bousquet said having an office in St. Lucia would mean significant savings in travel and accommodation costs for OECS residents.

SEEKING CHANGE

Bridgetown, Barbados: President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr. Compton Bourne, says the bank would like to raise additional funds to lend within the region.

He said, however, member countries would have to agree to raise current limits on how much the bank can borrow.

CARICOM countries have agreed to co-ordinate their efforts to source international funds that would help them through the economic crisis.

Dr. Bourne said the bank is willing to do what it can to assist, and has already relaxed some lending conditions.

HIV RATES FALL

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: According to research by the Associated Press, the nation’s HIV infection rate has decreased.

The AP attributed Haiti’s success, in the face of chronic political and social turmoil, to the co-operation of organizations which created programs addressing the country’s specific challenges.

According to the United Nations AIDS program, the rate of HIV infection among the nation’s population between age 15 and 49 is 2.2 per cent.

SWINE FLU DEATH

Kingston, Jamaica: The government has reported its first death from the H1N1 virus (previously known as swine flu).

Minister of Health Rudyard Spencer said that the male victim (unidentified at press time) died at the University Hospital of the West Indies after being transferred from Spanish Town Hospital.

The victim was also suffering from an undisclosed medical condition.

A total of 389 cases have been confirmed throughout the region, resulting in three fatalities.

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