Caribbean News in Brief — November 5-09

BLEAK OUTLOOK

London, England: The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a London-based think tank, says economic conditions in the Caribbean may deteriorate further before they improve.

The EIU has outlined a bleak list of economic indicators in the region.

Tourism performance is weak, remittances are not picking up, consumers are borrowing and spending less, unemployment is rising and government budget deficits are widening.

Given these dynamics, the EIU predicts all countries in the English-speaking Caribbean will experience recessions in 2009, with the exception of Dominica.

The EIU attributed Dominica’s economic success to its low reliance on tourism and a construction boom aided by fiscal stimulus measures.

In 2010, the EIU says growth will remain negative in some countries and in countries that begin to recover, expansion will be very weak.

TOTURE CRITICIZED

Georgetown, Guyana: Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee says the government does not condone torture and is not complicit in any reported torture cases carried out by the police.

Rohee’s statement follows widespread criticism of the nation’s security forces after allegations that police tortured two murder suspects.

The allegations have been backed by a graphic picture of the badly burned groin area of one of the suspects, a 15-year-old boy. The victim has alleged that while he was being interrogated by police, officers poured a flammable substance on his genitals and set it alight.

Two police officers have since been arrested.

The Guyana Bar Association, parliamentarians and the country’s human rights organization have spoken out against the alleged torture incident and called for an independent inquiry into the matter.

STRIPPED

Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: Disgraced Texas financier Allen Stanford is being stripped of his knighthood in Antigua and Barbuda by the government panel that approves the awards.

National Honours Committee Chairwoman Jacqui Quinn-Leandro said the panel voted unanimously to revoke Stanford’s title.

The financier, who was a benefactor of the Antiguan government, is in jail in Texas for allegedly defrauding some 28,000 investors out of $7 billion by selling them what U.S. authorities say were bogus certificates of deposits.

Stanford received his knighthood in 2006.

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