Caribbean Briefs as at October 1-09

PROVIDING SUPPORT

Kingston, Jamaica: The Jamaica Labour Party government has thrown its support behind parliamentarian Joseph Hibbert.

Hibbert was implicated last Friday in a corruption case against UK bridge building firm Mabey and Johnson.

The company was fined over US$5.6 million along with other costs after pleading guilty to bribing government officials in Jamaica and Ghana in order to get contracts.

Hibbert, who, at the time, was a senior civil servant in the previous Peoples National Party government, is alleged to have accepted an estimated US$160,000 in bribes.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK

Roseau, Dominica: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says despite the global financial crisis, the nation’s economy is doing well.

Speaking at a town hall style meeting, Skerrit rejected opposition claims that the economy was in bad shape.

Skerrit also defended controversial decisions that he insists have benefited the country, including becoming a member of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas and switching diplomatic ties from Taiwan to mainland China.

NO PAY

Havana, Cuba: Cuba has acknowledged a failure to pay cash-strapped farmers on time.

The authorities in Havana said some local officials lied to cover up the problem.

The state-run Granma newspaper has admitted that the issue is a main cause of discontent in the countryside.

The paper said that after an enormous effort to repay farmers that began in 2004, the problem has come up again.

According to Agriculture Minister Ulises Rosales de Toro, some local officials have falsified records to hide the lack of payments.

De Toro called the actions “unconscionable”.

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