Caribbean News in Brief – October 12, 2010

GOLDING RESPONDS

Kingston, Jamaica: Prime Minister Bruce Golding has responded to claims made by U.S.-based media entity, Caribbean Voice, that he currently holds a U.S. Alien registration card, or green card visa.

Golding said in 1977 he decided to pursue post-graduate studies abroad, and was accepted into Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. At that time, he applied for permanent residence to enable him to work part-time in the United States, in order to meet the cost of living and studying there. The application was approved in August, 1978.

However, he subsequently decided to defer these plans, in order to assist the JLP in its preparations for the elections that were eventually held in 1980.

Before being sworn in as a minister in November 1980, Golding went to the U.S. Embassy and surrendered his alien registration card, and was granted a non-immigrant visa, which has consistently been renewed since then.

EARTHQUAKE

St. Margaret’s Bay, Jamaica: A 4.5 magnitude earthquake rocked sections of Jamaica last Thursday. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

The Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies confirmed the tremor’s epicenter was St .Margaret’s Bay in Portland on the country’s northeast coast.

The Earthquake Unit said the tremor occurred about 4:32 p.m. and lasted about 30 seconds.

DUTCH ANTILLES DISSOLVED

Philipsburg, St. Maarten: The former Dutch Caribbean colonies of St. Maarten and Curacao became autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands last Sunday in a change of constitutional status dissolving the Netherlands Antilles.

The two countries joined Aruba, which gained this status in 1986 but which maintains direct ties with Holland. Three other islands, Bonaire, St. Eustastius and Saba became autonomous special municipalities of the Netherlands in the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles territory.

Under the new arrangement, the Dutch government will remain responsible for defense and foreign policy in the new countries, and have initial oversight over Curacao’s finances under a debt relief deal.

While all six former Dutch colonies in the Caribbean already had wide autonomy as members of the now-dissolved Netherlands Antilles, Curacao and St. Maarten will have more power of government and use of their own tax revenue.

The previous Netherlands Antilles, which had existed since 1954 as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, had experienced tensions between its island members over debt and revenue sharing.

CRITICIZED

Bridgetown, Barbados: Patrick Robinson, a prominent Jamaican jurist, has scolded eligible CARICOM member countries which still use Britain’s Privy Council as their final court of appeal.

Robinson is the president of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Speaking in Barbados, he said the failure of more than three nations to make the Caribbean Court of Justice their final court has saddened him.

“Judicial sovereignty is a natural companion of political sovereignty and, in my view, that should have been ours from the minute we became independent,” said Robinson.

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