Caribbean Briefs – August 6-09

APPOINTED

St. George’s, Grenada: Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has appointed a former legal officer to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to temporarily serve as the nation’s Attorney General.

Rohan Phillip, 38, who also previously held the post of Solicitor General, has been appointed to act in the position of Attorney General for three months, initially.

Phillip replaces Jimmy Bristol, who resigned on July 24 after admitting he made “an error in judgment” in using his position to appeal for leniency for his stepson, who fled the United States six years ago before he could be jailed for drug crimes.

Phillip has served as legal officer to the OECS in various areas, including the Economic Union Task Force, OECS Family Law and Domestic Violence Reform Project/Initiative, ECTEL Board of Directors and during consultations for setting up an Ocean Management Project/Unit for the OECS.

NO REGRETS

Castries, St. Lucia: Foreign Minister Rufus Bousquet says his controversial decision to switch diplomatic relations from China to Taiwan has been vindicated.

St. Lucia and Taiwan re-established ties in May, 2007 – a decision which divided the government and triggered the firing of Bousquet.

He was subsequently returned to the cabinet.

“At this particular juncture in our development, Taiwan is a better partner for us,” Bousquet said, adding that “good things were happening” in such areas as agriculture, as a result of Taiwanese aid.

SUPPORTING PETROCARIBE

Castries, St. Lucia: Foreign Minister Rufus Bousquet says the nation should make use of Venezuela’s Petrocaribe initiative.

St. Lucia has signed on to the agreement, under which Caribbean countries buy oil from Venezuela at concessionary rates.

However, Castries has not taken up the offer so far.

Bousquet said despite the numerous benefits of the initiative, the matter must first be discussed in cabinet.

“But certainly, from my perspective, I would encourage the cabinet to move in that direction,” Bousquet said.

NON-NEGOTIABLE

Havana, Cuba: Cuban leader Raul Castro says he is willing to dialogue with the United States – but the island’s communist system remains non-negotiable.

Castro said he wanted to respond to recent overtures by America, which he said had been less aggressive under U.S. President Barack Obama.

However, during a recent speech before the Cuban assembly, Castro said he had not been elected to return Cuba to capitalism.

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