Caribbean News in Brief for March 17, 2011


St. George’s, Grenada: Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Hood says Grenada is prepared to assist the government and people of Japan as they struggle to cope with last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

The reassurance was conveyed to Japan’s Ambassador to Grenada and the Eastern Caribbean Ambassador Tatsuaki Iwata via telephone, said Hood.

“Japan has been of assistance to Grenada in so many ways and we stand prepared to assist in whatever possible way,” the foreign affairs minister said.

Hood also expressed condolences for the victims and expressed hope that the rescue efforts currently underway will save lives.

“We pray that they will be able to handle the situation as quickly as possible, and that those in need of being rescued will soon be rescued and that stranded persons will know that there is hope,” he said.

Assistance provided by Japan to Grenada includes a multi-million-dollar Coastal Fisheries Development project which is under construction and previous construction of a fishing complex and other fishing facilities.

A number of local senior fisheries officials have also been trained in Japan.

Grenada and Japan established diplomatic ties in 1975.


Kingston, Jamaica: Officials of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has criticized the main opposition party’s decision not to contest a parliamentary by-election next month.

The election was caused when JLP MP Everald Warmington resigned his seat in the St. Catherine parish on the grounds that his previous dual citizenship violated constitutional law.

Four by-elections have been held in Jamaica since 2007 involving governing party MPs who quit on similar grounds.

The JLP has successfully defended all four seats so far.

The opposition People’s National Party has said it won’t contest elections where candidates were ineligible when elected.

However, the JLP says it wants a challenge in the by-election.


Kingston, Jamaica: Digicel is buying out the operations of one of its rivals in Jamaica, while selling two of its businesses to that same competitor.

The company has signed an agreement with América Móvil to acquire the Claro operations in its only English-speaking Caribbean market, and to sell to América Móvil its businesses in El Salvador and Honduras.

The financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

However, according to a statement issued by Digicel, it will receive a net cash payment.

“The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second calendar quarter,” it said.

América Móvil, Claro’s parent company, was spun out of Mexico’s Telmex in September 2000 and is the largest wireless service provider in Latin America. It operates under the brands Telcel, Claro, Comcel, Porta, Tracfone and Oceanic Digital through its subsidiaries in 17 countries.

Digicel has 11.5 million customers across its 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific.


Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Five former candidates who were defeated in the first round of Haiti’s presidential election have given their support to pop singer Michel Martelly in the second round.

Martelly will face former First Lady Mirlande Manigat in the run-off vote this Sunday.

The five former candidates – Dr. Josette Bijou, Eric Smarcki Charles, Jean Chavannes Jeune, Wilson Jeudy and Genard Joseph – said Martelly was the candidate most likely to promote democracy and development.

However, they said the best solution would have been to annul the first round because of widespread fraud.


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