Caribbean News In Brief – September 30, 2010

BACK HOME

Bridgetown, Barbados: Prime Minister David Thompson is back in Barbados three weeks after seeking medical treatment in New York, but he is not back on the job yet.

It’s unclear when he will resume duties.

Thompson flew to New York on September 6 to seek treatment for a clot in the veins around the pancreas.

Ten days later, his physician, Dr. Richard Ishmael, announced Thompson had pancreatic cancer.

Ishmael said at the time that Thompson had been undergoing chemotherapy to shrink the tumour in the pancreas and had been responding well to treatment. He also insisted that Thompson was physically well enough to continue leading the country.

 

WARNING SYSTEM

Bridgetown, Barbados: The government has implemented a warning system that will track the nation’s economic performance in various sectors and assist enterprises in reorganizing business to sustain employment.

The program, which was produced by economists in the Research and Planning Unit of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in conjunction with University of the West Indies’ lecturers Professor Roland Craigwell and Dr. Winston Moore, is a tool for economic planners to predict potential downturns in the business cycle in advance.

The model is designed to be used by policy makers on a quarterly basis, as a means of implementing corrective actions during the initial phases of the public and private sectors’ budgetary and planning stages.

Consultants examined a number of indicators to come up with three overall indices that “speak to economic performance at different time periods”, the officials said.

They identified leading, coincident and lagging indices, as the benchmarks to gauge the movement of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Based on the results of the three indices, government officials, managers and the business sector will be equipped with additional information to implement plans to weather an economic crisis.

 

CALL FOR PEACE

Roseau, Dominica: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has appealed for peace and tolerance in Dominica after five people were murdered over a one-week period.

The slayings have prompted both government and church reaction.

Skerrit, in calling for a greater sense of tolerance, said the government needed to do more in the maintenance of law and order in the country.

Acting Police Commissioner, Cyril Carrette, has called for harsher penalties to be imposed on convicted criminals.

In addition, a pastor who called for a resumption of hanging on a Dominican radio broadcast, said “you cannot stop murder in Dominica when murderers are prowling the country free”.

POLICY SCRUTINIZED

Kingston, Jamaica: The practice by some employers in Jamaica of asking workers to take polygraph tests is being scrutinized by the Ministry of Labour.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, says polygraph testing should only be done in specific circumstances.

“If you employ a group of workers for five, six, seven or eight years, to go and tell them that, come Monday morning, everybody has to take a polygraph test to stay on the job, I cannot support you.

“But, if you tell me that you are going to employ some people next week, and a standard that you are setting is that they must convince you, through a polygraph test, that they are the right employees that you need, then I can discuss that with you.”

Pointing out that there is no statute in Jamaica that currently prohibits the use of polygraph testing as a basis for granting, continuing or terminating employment, Charles said that the ministry is carefully examining and researching the matter, with a view to recommending policy on the issue.

The Jamaican media has reported increased use of polygraph testing in labour situations over the past decade.

Charles said that there is concern that polygraph testing could indicate a lack of trust, which is not conducive to good worker/management relationships.

 

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