Caribbean News in Brief – October 28-10

FIGHTING CHOLERA

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: As the nation battles a cholera outbreak, The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says health authorities are relentlessly working to treat patients, contain the outbreak’s spread, and to put in place contingency plans should the situation worsen.

The outbreak, which began in the country’s rural Arbonite region, has reached Port-au-Prince, with five cases confirmed.

As of press time, 253 fatalities have been reported and 3,015 cases confirmed.

Twelve cholera treatment centres are being built to support isolation and treatment of cases.

“Individual and community based prevention measures such as distribution of soap, water purification tablets and rehydration salts are ongoing,” said a statement from PAHO.

“The situation continues to evolve each day, and officials are putting in place plans for a worst case scenario involving a national outbreak,” the health agency added.

PRESSURING GOVERNMENT

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Investors in the troubled insurance company Clico are continuing to put pressure on the Trinidad and Tobago government.

Some 14,000 investors say they will not wait for 20 years to get their nearly US$2 billion back, as proposed by the government.  They want 40 per cent now and the rest over the next five years, with interest.

The government is proposing zero interest repayments.

Clico Policyholders Group (CPG) Chairman, Peter Permel, says legal action is an option if the CPG does not receive a positive response from the government.

LOSS FOR FARMERS

St. George’s, Grenada: Conservative estimates have placed the annual loss resulting from praedial larceny to crop and livestock farmers in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at US$385 million.

The CARICOM Council of Ministers for Trade and Agriculture endorsed a report, entitled “Analysis of the State of Praedial Larceny in Member States of CARICOM”, during the Ninth Annual Caribbean Agriculture Week, which concluded last week.

The report said that in some countries the loss varied between six and 18 per cent of annual agriculture output.

“Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago provide the highest estimates of annual loss with Jamaica’s share being US$50 million annually or six per cent of agriculture output and Trinidad and Tobago US$22.6 million annually,” said the document.

Praedial larceny has been recognized at the highest level of leadership in CARICOM as one of the constraints to the successful implementation of the Regional Transformation Program for Agriculture.

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