Caribbean News in Brief for May 26, 2011
EASING FUEL FEARS
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Seeking to calm fears of motorists following a strike by workers at the state-owned Nation Petroleum Marketing Company (NP), Energy Affairs Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, has assured there is no fuel shortage in the twin-island republic.
Some gas stations reportedly ran out of gasoline and diesel over the weekend, after the Oilfields’ Workers Trade Union (OWTU), which represents the workers, urged people last Friday to stock up on fuel because of the strike action.
But in a statement issued over the weekend, Seepersad-Bachan said there was no need to stock up on fuel as NP was still continuing its distribution as normal.
“Let me assure citizens of Trinidad and Tobago that there is no shortage of fuel being supplied to the nation’s service stations,” she said.
“The question of a need to panic-buy simply does not arise. The management team at NP is out in full force doing what needs to be done to ensure delivery.”
The Energy Minister said that NP had activated its contingency plan to ensure full operations would be maintained.
As of press time, workers at NP are still on strike.
St. George’s, Grenada: The three Caribbean countries that have so far not yet ratified the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been urged to do so after Grenada took the step last week.
While they joined regional countries more than a decade ago in signing the Rome Statute that established the court, the Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica have not yet approved it in their parliaments.
The treaty does not become binding until it has gone through that process of ratification.
The European Union’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, congratulated Grenada on its decision to go all the way.
“I am sure that Grenada’s ratification will serve as an encouragement to the remaining three countries in the Caribbean region – The Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica – which have not ratified the ICC yet,” she said.
Ashton said Grenada’s move was in line with the commitments to work towards ratification of the Rome Statute taken by the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries under the Cotonou agreement.
The ICC was set up on July 1, 2002 to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The court can generally exercise jurisdiction only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council.
St. George’s, Grenada: Grenada Labour Minister Glynis Roberts says efforts at further Caribbean integration must also be championed by trade unions and non-governmental groups such as private sector organizations.
“Governments must not be seen as being alone in pushing the integration process,” Minister Roberts said in an address at the recently-concluded ‘Tripartism and Social Dialogue: Comparative Experiences in Dealing with Economic and Social Development Issues’ symposium in Barbados.
Roberts, who is also Minister of Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs, said both the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OCES) need greater input from labour and non-governmental organizations in decisions that affect the people of the region.
Roberts suggested a “tripartite approach” to educating nationals on specific issues such as the free movement of people across the region; the development of common certification and standards in education, training and job requirements; and in drafting legislation to “ensure that workers’ benefits are preserved as they move from state to state”.
Roberts said that since each of the social partners represents an important interest group, they have a responsibility to those they represent to work together to advance those people’s cause and influence decisions which will have an impact on their lives.
NEW TELEVISION PROGRAM
Port-au-Prince, Haiti: A television program is now available for the English-speaking Caribbean to get a new perspective on Haiti.
Titled “Haiti Now”, the program is being produced by the Haiti Communications Group, with funding and oversight by the CARICOM Representation Office in Haiti (CROH), supported by the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency.
The 15-minute program, which started airing earlier this month, is broadcast through the Caribbean Media Corporation and can be viewed on CaribVision every Sunday at 6 p.m. and Monday at 7:30 p.m.
“It is the Caribbean’s window on Haiti. For the first time, the English speaking Caribbean will be receiving news from and about Haiti without it being filtered through the lens of the international media,” stated a synopsis of the program provided by the CARICOM Secretariat.
“It is part of the CROH’s “Bonding With Haiti” project which aims at providing the public of other member states with information about Haiti so they can develop a more positive appreciation of that country.”
The first program featured the preparations for the inauguration of the new President Michel Martelly and documented how a group of young men, who have been inspired by his victory and call for change, clean up their community. It also featured one of the most successful young businessmen in Haiti and his efforts to assist other young entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.