Caribbean News in Brief for May 19, 2011



Harbor View, Jamaica: Lloyd Knibb, an influential Jamaican drummer who played with The Skatalites and helped develop the ska beat, has died at the age of 80.

Knibb’s widow, Enid, said he died from liver cancer last Thursday at his home in Harbor View, St. Andrew.

Knibb had been receiving treatment in the United States but returned to Jamaica last week, she said.

Knibb was an original member of The Skatalites, a Jamaican ska and reggae band created in 1964.

His frenetic style was one of the band’s hallmarks and is best heard on songs including ‘Guns of Navarone’ and ‘Freedom Sounds’.

The Skatalites broke up in the 1960s, but reunited two decades later in New York. Two of their albums, Hip Bop Ska and Greetings from Skamania, were nominated for Grammy awards in the 1990s.

Their music has influenced a number of bands including 311, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt.

Knibb last performed with The Skatalites in April.

“Knibb was simply the most important and influential modern drummer this country produced,” said Herbie Miller, director of the Jamaica Music Museum.

Knibb is survived by his widow, five children, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild.




Kingston, Jamaica: Finance Minister Audley Shaw is expressing confidence that Caribbean Airlines Limited’s takeover of Air Jamaica will be completed in two weeks.

He says the notice issued to the Trinidadian air carrier on Monday to complete the transaction was not a sign of impatience in sealing the deal.

Shaw said it was a mere formality to preserve all rights under the agreements which were signed earlier and against the background of the two-week extension, which expired on Monday.

“We think the time is adequate, it’s been over a year now and we should be at that point where we should really think about completion,” said Shaw. “The correspondence that we have gotten from them (say) it’s a statutory requirement in accordance with details of the agreement.”

An earlier statement from the Ministry of Finance said the government and Air Jamaica are also mindful of the obligation to the North American authorities, who issued the route authority to Caribbean Airlines.

It said this was based on the understanding that the transaction would have been completed by April 30.




Basseterre, St. Kitts: The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) voted on Sunday to expel former minister of National Security and Tourism, Justice and Legal Affairs, Dwyer Astaphan, from the political organization because of his efforts to undermine it.

The disclosure was made in a statement issued during the party’s 79th Annual Conference, where the vote was taken.

The resolution to oust Astaphan said that since January 2009, he has been holding the policies of the Labour Party administration under constant political attack, even though many of those policies were recommended by him when he was a member of the government.

It noted that Astaphan had been attempting to undermine the Labour Party “by his unrelenting political attacks on our National Political Leader, Comrade Dr. Denzil Douglas, and has been colluding with Richard Caines, a former Minister of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) Party, and other members and supporters of that party to undermine the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and government and promote PAM’s chances to form the next government”.

In response, Astaphan said his expulsion was a mere formality since he had stopped receiving invitations to party conferences nearly four years ago while he was still a minister, indicating that ties to the party had already been broken.


Port-au-Prince, Haiti: The Pan American Health Organization announced last week that Haiti has come up with a plan to immunize 90 per cent of its newborns by 2015. 

According to an article in the New York Times Haiti needs over $100 million to carry out this task. 

If the former Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) approves the plan, Haiti will be the last country in this hemisphere to adopt a pentavalent vaccine that protects against haemophilus influenza type B and hepatitis B, as well as diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.

The plan, which will depend on international support to be successful, will also include the relatively new rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines.

Even before cholera reached Haiti in 2010, 2,000 children each year died of rotavirus, which also causes diarrhea.

Haiti has been free of polio, measles and rubella since 2002.

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