Caribbean News in Brief – April 29-2010

MINISTRY CRITICIZED

Kingston, Jamaica: The National Workers Union (NWU) is chiding the Ministry of Labour for what it says is its silence about the problems at Air Jamaica.

Granville Valentine, NWU Vice President, says the Labour Ministry has been written to on a number of issues relating to the sale of the national airline, but there has been no response.

“We the unions wrote to the company and we copied the letter to Ministry of Labour since last week and the ministry normally intervenes in these matters but to date it has not said a word,” said Valentine.

“This is the national airline and it clearly falls under essential services and it is also a part of the public sector, but the Minister of Labour who is also a trade unionist, has not (shown) once ounce of interest in calling the parties together.”

HAITIANS WELCOMED

Veracruz, Mexico: A group of 250 Haitians has been transported to Mexico by a navy ship, after being granted humanitarian visas to join relatives living in that Latin American country.

The Mexican Navy said the ship, Usumacinta, docked at the Gulf coast port of Veracruz on Sunday after a five-day voyage from the quake-ravaged Caribbean country.

An earthquake on January 12 killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti and left 1.3 million people homeless.

Since the quake, 324 Haitians have been given Mexican humanitarian visas which allow them to work and travel freely in the country.

VENUE SWITCH

Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: Officials in Antigua and Barbuda say the country may benefit from a decision by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to shift the opening leg of South Africa’s tour to the Caribbean to another venue.

The WICB has taken the decision because of next month’s general election in Trinidad and Tobago.

Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards stadium is one of the alternative venues said to be under consideration.

It was originally excluded from the schedule because of a one-year ban imposed by the world governing body, the ICC, after a 2009 Test match between the West Indies and England had to be abandoned after just 10 balls because of an unplayable outfield.

The facility was inspected last Sunday by ICC match referee, Jeff Crowe.

PAY CUTS DELAYED

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands: Civil servants in the Turks and Caicos Islands will get their full salaries for one more month, as the interim government delays a 10 per cent pay cut.

Planned cuts in allowances, however, will be made at the end of this month as planned.

Chief Executive Officer, Mark Capes, who last month told government workers they would be going home with less money from the end of April, has announced that acting on a request from the Consultative Forum, the interim government will push back the deductions for another month.

“The government has given careful consideration to this recommendation by the forum and agrees that the 10 per cent pay cut in salaries and wages will be postponed for a month,” Capes said.

The Consultative Forum is made up of members from the community who make recommendations on proposed legislation, policies or proposed policies referred to it by the governor or on any other matter brought to it by one of its members.

The pay cuts were intended to deal with revenue shortfalls after an $85 million loan, which the government was seeking from a consortium of local banks, was postponed when details were leaked to the public before the loan was finalized.

 

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