Caribbean News in Brief as at December 16-09

MINISTER DIES

Georgetown, Guyana: Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox, has died from complications after being hospitalized following a car accident.

Fox died last Friday at the Georgetown Public Hospital. She was 54.

On December 8, Fox was driving her SUV in Georgetown with her son, daughter-in law and her grandson in the vehicle when her car collided with an ambulance.

The minister suffered severe lacerations to her head and body, while her grandson, who is recovering at hospital, received injuries to his head and hand. Last Thursday, the minister’s relatives said a CAT scan revealed she was suffering from internal bleeding.

Fox was one of only three Amerindians serving in the nation’s 65-member Parliament.

She was a former university professor who served eight years as a legislator and previously led the Amerindian Affairs department at the University of Guyana.

ON SCHEDULE

Georgetown, Guyana: Haiti is expected to be ready to be part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market’s trade in goods next year.

The CARICOM Secretariat says the country is on target to be compliant with the necessary provisions by that time.

“The country is now close to completion of a process of revising and developing legislative frameworks to facilitate this process,” a statement from the Guyana-based Secretariat said. “The level of preparation in Haiti, which for the first time assumes the Chairmanship of the Community on July 1, 2010, has been very intense.”

CARICOM, with the assistance of the Canadian Agency for International Development (CIDA) reopened a CARICOM Representation Office in Port-au-Prince in 2007 to assist the process.

As part of the development program, the CARICOM Secretariat has been helping to build capacity through training in several aspects of Haiti’s public sector to strengthen the country’s ability to participate fully in the Single Market and the regional integration movement generally.

VOLCANO ALERT

Brades, Montserrat: An increase in activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat has forced the National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee to raise the hazard level to one short of the highest alert.

The move to level four – which signifies that lava extrusion threatens the north or west and that there is a large unstable dome to the north or west – follows a large pyroclastic flow on the morning of December 10, which went beyond the trigger point.

The Montserrat Volcano Observatory has said that larger pyroclastic flows are a more likely possibility and could be formed by a partial dome collapse, which could involve several million cubic metres of material.

Since November 24, an increase in volcanic activity has been associated with growth of the lava dome at the summit, and in the last two weeks growth has become focused on the northern side.

SEEKING LEGALIZATION

Kingston, Jamaica: MP Dennis Meadows is urging parliament to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use.

Meadows, a deputy general secretary of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, issued a statement last weekend making a case for relaxing laws against marijuana cigarettes, commonly referred to as “spliffs”.

Meadows said doing so would free up the nation’s courts and police to focus on violent street crime and harder drugs.

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