Caribbean News In Brief – December 30-09

JUBILATION

Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has described the signing of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) economic union treaty as an “incredible juncture in the historic evolution of the OECS”.

The treaty was signed on December 29 in Basseterre.

The economic union is expected to create a single financial and economic space in the sub-region.

Dr. Douglas says the treaty represents a fundamental philosophical transformation and political commitment to deepening the level of integration among OECS member states.

PENDING BILL

Georgetown, Guyana: Lawyers practicing in Guyana can soon be found guilty of professional misconduct if they fail to submit their tax returns and they can be prevented from practicing.

The Legal Practitioners Amendment Bill was referred to a Special Parliamentary Select Committee last week.

Approval of the bill will make Guyana the latest country in the Commonwealth Caribbean to have a code of conduct that legally binds lawyers.

Attorneys who violate the code of conduct can expect to be summoned to appear before a 14-member disciplinary committee.

BOYCOTT

Roseau, Dominica: Dominica’s opposition United Workers Party (UWP) says its three elected MPs won’t be taking the oath of office and plan to boycott the parliament.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won a landslide victory in the December 18 general election, taking 18 of the 21 seats, with the other three going to the UWP.

Opposition Leader Ron Green, initially declared the winner in the LaPlaine constituency he represented in the last term, lost the seat by two votes in a recount on December 19.

Green, who has accused the DLP of stealing the election, says he intends on challenging the decision in court.

DEFIANT

Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: Finance minister, Harold Lovell, has declared the government will fight any punitive actions against Antigua and Barbuda arising from the Allen Stanford fraud case.

In July, investors from four countries sued Antigua and Barbuda, arguing that the country benefited from and knew about the American financier’s alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

A group of American senators has also said the government in St John’s should be punished until it cooperates with the U.S. and compensates the victims of the scheme.

However, Lovell remains defiant.

REAFFIRMING SUPPORT

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, has reaffirmed the bank’s support to Haiti as the country’s main multilateral donor.

The bank has tripled the volume of grants originally planned for 2009-2010, and it anticipates record disbursements and debt relief.

Moreno said the IDB was working with the Haitian government and the international community to fight poverty and promote sustained economic growth.

The IDB’s portfolio as Haiti’s largest multilateral donor consists of programs worth more than $700 million.

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