Caribbean News in Brief for March 31


Brades, Montserrat: Montserrat has a new constitution which will take effect on September 1 of this year.

Chief Minister Reuben Meade has announced that Montserrat’s constitutional reform is now completed after more than five years of discussion, and that his administration has successfully negotiated, with Britain, the Montserrat Constitutional Order.

Meade said the government recognizes that many persons would have liked to see more radical changes. However, the new constitution improves the 1989 Constitutional Order and there is a mechanism for change, where appropriate and justifiable.

Meade told legislators during the budget presentation last week that the new Constitutional Order contains significant advances recommended by citizens.

He said it also introduces a number of improvements to the island’s relationship with the United Kingdom.


Kingston, Jamaica: The findings of a survey published by the Bank of Jamaica show that a significant number of Jamaicans who receive remittances from overseas have been affected by the global recession.

More than 50 per cent of the respondents stated that they have been negatively impacted by the 2008/2009 recession, both in terms of delays in receiving money and the amount of money sent to them.

Thirty-nine per cent claimed that they had not been affected while less than three per cent stated that they have been receiving more money and at more frequent intervals.

Overall, 75 per cent of respondents were concerned about the impact of the recession on their senders.

About 70 per cent of all responses showed that senders have been affected by reduced hours, job loss, job uncertainty, higher bills or mortgage problems.

Twelve per cent reported job losses and 30 per cent stated that their sender now works fewer hours than before.


Kingston, Jamaica: Leader of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Portia Simpson-Miller, says the environment is now ripe for the party to return to power.

Addressing a National Executive Council meeting last Sunday, Simpson-Miller said Jamaica’s economy is in dire straits and the Bruce Golding government has lost the trust of the people.

She said that 120,000 Jamaicans have lost their jobs under the current government and also pointed to the fact that the country’s debt has moved from J$950 billion dollars in 2007 to J$.6 trillion today.

She also noted the poverty index has increased from 9.8 per cent in 2007 to 20 per cent.

Simpson-Miller called on NEC members to hit the streets to demonstrate and convince the Jamaican public that the PNP is the better choice.


Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has announced that there will not be a cabinet reshuffle on May 24 – the first anniversary in office of the People’s Partnership coalition government.

The Trinidad Express reported that the prime minister was responding to rumours of a reshuffle, and also made it quite clear that Theresa Baptiste-Cornelius will continue to be Minister of Health despite calls from members of the Medical Association for her to be removed.

It was also reported that Persad-Bissessar had assured doctors that Baptiste-Cornelius would be transferred to another ministry. However, this has not occurred.

Political analyst Derek Ramsamooj said that a reshuffle is not a bad idea and pointed out that it is important that the prime minister gets the cabinet correct for the good of the nation.

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