Caribbean News in Brief – May 10, 2010

CASINOS LEGALIZED

Kingston, Jamaica: Jamaica has legalized casinos despite fierce opposition from religious groups.

Information Minister Daryl Vaz says the appropriate legislation was signed by the nation’s deputy Governor-General, because Governor General Sir Patrick Allen was on vacation. Sir Patrick is a former leader of a Seventh-day Adventist Church and opposed the bill.

Its approval followed a nearly year-long debate on casino gambling.

The new law allows the government to create a Casino Gaming Commission to grant licences.

PONDERING ACTION

Roseau, Dominica: The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is considering taking legal action following the decision by the Speaker of the House to vacate the seats of two MPs who were absent for three consecutive sittings of parliament.

Political Leader of the UWP Ron Greene gave that indication last week, after House Speaker Alix Boyd-Knight declared the seats of former prime minister Edison James and Hector John vacant.

The two had not attended the House since the December 18, 2009 general elections. The boycott was to protest what the Opposition insisted were irregularities in the poll.

The Standing Orders of Parliament indicate that a legislator who misses three consecutive sittings can have his or her seat declared vacant.

Greene said the UWP is exploring its options after Boyd-Knight’s move, including the possibility of going to the courts.

In last year’s election, the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won 18 seats while the UWP took the other three seats. The third opposition MP, Norris Prevost, retained his seat after he showed up for a session of Parliament last Thursday.

CONTEMPLATING BID

Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, says his country is still contemplating whether or not to bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Gonsalves says successfully bidding for a seat would benefit the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

“There are some of course who would say that CARICOM should know their little place…When CARICOM asserts itself at that level, any state, the whole of CARICOM benefits,” he said.

Gonsalves dismissed suggestions that a bid for a UN seat would affect St Vincent’s relationship with Taiwan.

BUSINESSES ACCUSED

Georgetown, Guyana: Business owners in Georgetown have been accused of contributing to garbage pile-ups on the city’s streets.

The country’s Private Sector Commission (PSC) says they share the blame for the existing situation.

Both the city council and central government say littering and poor garbage disposal have facilitated flooding in some sections of the capital.

President of the PSC, Gerry Gouveia, says profit-seeking, anti-environment business owners must share the blame for the city’s condition.

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