Caribbean Briefs — August 27-09

SEEKING PAY

Kingston, Jamaica: The nation’s trade unions are at odds with the government over salary increases.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Bruce Golding decided not to pay salary increases agreed to in a memorandum of understanding signed with the trade unions.

Golding said at the time that his decision was due to the effects of the global financial crisis on the local economy.

The Union of Schools, Agricultural and Allied Workers (USAAW) is one of the organizations that signed the agreement.

USAAW General Secretary Keith Comrie said the unions want a commitment from the government to pay the increases when the nation’s financial situation improves.

NOT FOR SALE

Castries, St. Lucia: Home Affairs Minister Guy Mayers has dismissed suggestions that the nation’s citizenship is up for sale.

“We do not believe that citizenship is something that you sell but there are a lot of non-nationals who have built retirement homes…and want to spend long periods of time in St. Lucia,” Mayers said. “That is the kind of discussion I’m prepared to hold to see how we can better facilitate those people through immigration.”

Mayers’ comments were in response to media reports that the local parliament may be considering changing immigration laws to grant residency status to foreigners who invest $US350,000 or more in the island.

FIT FIDEL

Havana, Cuba: Former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, has appeared on state television for the first time since June of last year, looking fit and healthy.

Three years ago, Castro, 83, underwent intestinal surgery and ceded power to his younger brother, Raul.

The pre-recorded report showed Fidel chatting with a group of Venezuelan students at an event which Cuban media said was held last Saturday.

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