Caribbean Briefs April 19, 2010


Kingston, Jamaica: Heavy rains washed out roadways in the eastern part of the nation and marooned hundreds of people, emergency authorities said last Sunday.

The rain began last Thursday. Flooding and mudslides were reported in six parishes, including the City of Kingston, which only days before was facing a drought that authorities called the worst of the century.

In the eastern parish of Portland, roadway collapses cut off several areas from the rest of the island and left residents stranded.

“We are reminding all residents in flood prone or low-lying areas to exercise caution and make the necessary plans to evacuate,” the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management said in a statement.


Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: The public consultation process on the reform of the Trinidad and Tobago constitution has been suspended.

A release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister on the weekend said that public consultations on the Working Document on Constitutional Reform had been suspended “with immediate effect until further notice”.

The next consultation in the series was supposed to have taken place on Saturday at the Laventille Regional Complex.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning first hinted that the multi-million dollar consultations would officially be suspended during a prayer and strategy session at his San Fernando East Constituency office on Wednesday where he said that suspension of the consultations would allow him to focus on the upcoming May 24 general elections.


Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Three women drowned when a boat sank in waves produced by a magnitude 5.1 earthquake on Sunday.

The quake struck at 4:16 p.m. local time last Sunday at a depth of 53.6 miles (86.2 km) in the Mona Passage, which separates Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

“The information indicates that the boat capsized as a result of the heavy waves that formed after the quake,” said Luis Ortiz of the Emergency Operations Centre.

No other casualties were immediately reported from the quake, which was felt in the east of the Dominican Republic.


Havana, Cuba: Hundreds of friends and relatives have bid farewell to Alejandro Robaina, the nation’s most famous cigar maker, who was buried Sunday in a casket adorned with a half-smoked cigar bearing his name and a yellow tobacco flower.

Robaina, who was the only person to have a brand of Cuban cigars named after him, died a day earlier at the age of 91.

Known as the “godfather” of Cuban tobacco, Robaina had been a roving ambassador for the nation’s cigar industry.

However, he usually could be found on his small farm in western Cuba, tending his beloved tobacco plants.

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