Caribbean News in Brief for June 16, 2011


Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Floods caused by heavy rainfall and mudslides in Haiti claimed the lives of 23 people and damaged 470 homes last week, the United Nations humanitarian office reported, citing information provided by the country’s authorities.

As of press time, eight people were injured and six others remain missing after the Artibonite River broke its banks, flooding the Grande Saline commune in Artibonite Department of northwestern Haiti, according to an update issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Tents, tarpaulins, and non-food items have been distributed in community shelters housing those displaced by the floods. Drainage in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) needs to be improved and there is also a scarcity of water treatment tablets in those settlements.

This year’s humanitarian appeal for Haiti that seeks $915 million is currently 24 per cent funded, with $223 million having been received, according to OCHA.


Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis: There are no conditions attached to the US$84 million Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will give to St. Kitts and Nevis over the next three years, a senior official from the Washington-based institution has disclosed.

“The good news is there are not really conditions; I think the term conditions is really a misnomer in this particular case,” said Alfred Schipke, the Washington-based Division Chief, Caribbean 1 Division, Western Hemisphere Department of the IMF.

Responding to questions from the local media last week, he said the government of St. Kitts and Nevis “in its own program has set itself targets and what we would do with the government jointly is to review the targets on a regular basis.”

“The government has put forward a set of complimentary reforms and we support them,” said Schipke. “As a matter of fact, what we will try to do is to demonstrate to the international community all the efforts that the government is making.”

Last week, government and an IMF staff mission reached broad agreement on the key elements of the economic program.

The IMF Executive Board is expected to consider the SBA at the end of June, to give final approval.


Kingston, Jamaica: New data show Jamaica continues to see a steady recovery in remittances.

Information from the Bank of Jamaica indicates that inflows in April were at a two year high.

During the month, net remittances were US$152.5 million, which represented an improvement of US$11.4 million or eight per cent relative to the corresponding period last year.

This resulted from an increase in gross inflows though partially offset by higher remittance outflows.

Total remittance inflows were US$175 million, an improvement of US$12.9 million or eight per cent.

For the review month, increases in outflows of US$1.5 million partially reduced the positive growth in net remittances.


Manchester, Jamaica: The owner of the West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO), bauxite plants in Jamaica, UC Rusal, is considering a share offering in order to help pay off its debts.

Russian owned-UC Rusal is looking to raise between $1.5 billion and $2 billion as part of its long-term debt repayment plan.

The company raised $2.2 billion in a landmark Hong Kong IPO (initial public offering) last year to solve its chronic debt problem, but still had more than $11 billion on its balance sheet as of March 31 this year.

A source said UC Rusal is studying the possibility of the sale of a stake of between seven per cent and 10 per cent.

A group spokeswoman said no decision had been made on future debt repayment plans.

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