Caribbean News in Brief – Sept. 23, 2010

VACANT SEAT

Kingston, Jamaica: Another seat in Jamaica’s parliament is to be declared vacant after it was revealed that the sitting MP is a United States citizen, something forbidden in the nation’s constitution.

Shahine Robinson became the fourth politician to have her seat declared vacant since the country elected the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to government in 2007.

Robinson, a JLP member, had initially challenged the declaration that she is American.

But she recanted when opposition lawyers filed evidence that at the time she was nominated she was a naturalized American.

CHASTISED

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has chastised her justice minister for his severe criticism of the country’s chief justice.

In his budget debate presentation last week, Justice Minister Hebert Volney accused Chief Justice Ivor Archie of being in collusion with the former attorney general in the previous administration.

The prime minister called Volney’s comment “unfortunate and unnecessary”.

In her statement, Persad-Bissessar said the views expressed by former judge Volney are his and not those of her government.

CLEANING UP

Hamilton, Bermuda: Bermudans are cleaning up after Hurricane Igor battered the island with ferocious winds and rains on Sunday, causing power outages but no loss of life.

There had been fears that the Category One storm would cause as much damage as Fabian which, in 2003, was the last powerful hurricane to make landfall in the British overseas territory.

As of press time, over 20,000 homes and businesses are still without electricity. Bermuda’s power company, Belco’ said it is working to restore services for all its customers.

Last week, the high surf kicked up by Igor swept two people out to sea in the Caribbean – one in Puerto Rico and another in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

DISAPPOINTED

St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) has announced it is disappointed with the level of consultation from CARICOM leaders over plans to set up teaching councils across the region.

CARICOM said the councils are aimed at “raising the bar of excellence in the teaching and learning environment”.

The CUT says although it supports the idea of establishing teaching councils, it should have been brought into the discussions earlier.

There have been recent concerns that in some countries people were still being allowed to become teachers without any formal training, and this had led to poor academic rates.

The CUT met in Antigua last weekend to review the proposals.

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