SUPPORT FOR CARIBBEAN
Montego Bay, Jamaica: The United States will be increasing its financial support to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) with US$77 million in funding committed for the coming year.
U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, made the announcement at a press conference last week at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay following high-level talks with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) foreign ministers.
Clinton said that the amount represents an increase of more than 70 per cent over the US$45 million allocated in the first year of implementation in 2010.
“We are pleased with the progress that we have made so far and optimistic about what we can accomplish in the future,” she said.
One of the initiatives to come out of the inaugural Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue held in Washington, DC on May 27, 2010, the CBSI brings all members of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic together to jointly collaborate on regional security issues with the U.S. as a partner.
The aim is to develop a joint strategy to tackle the full range of security and criminal threats to the Caribbean basin.
Paris, France: The historic section of Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown, has become the country’s first entry on the United Nations-managed World Heritage List after a committee of experts approved its inscription and that of two other sites.
The World Heritage Committee, meeting in Paris, said Bridgetown and its Garrison Savannah deserved a place on the list, which is comprised of more than 900 cultural or natural sites around the world regarded as having outstanding universal value.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported that the committee found the Bridgetown site – comprised of a well-preserved old town and a nearby military garrison – to be an outstanding example of British colonial architecture.
“With its serpentine urban layout, the property testifies to a different approach to colonial town planning compared to the Spanish and Dutch colonial cities of the region, which were built along a grid plan,” according to a UNESCO press release issued over the weekend.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Cases of cholera are on the rise in Haiti and neighbouring Dominican Republic, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has reported, saying more than 18,000 new cases in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, have been recorded recently.
“This increase may be partly due to the beginning of the rainy season and the flooding that hit the capital,” said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic.
“Data from the Ministry of Public Health of Haiti showed that since the beginning of the outbreak until 12 June, there had been 344,623 cases of cholera and 5,397 deaths,” he said.
The cholera epidemic in Haiti first erupted last October.
In the Dominican Republic, the health ministry reported that since the first cases were reported in the country late last year, there have been 1,727 confirmed cases, including 46 deaths. The ministry is continuing its epidemiological research and response, which included improving water quality and sanitation services, and public awareness campaigns on prevention.
Jasarevic said that the occupancy rate of the 2,300 beds in cholera treatment centres in Haiti and the cholera treatment units in the Port-au-Prince Metropolitan area was about 72 per cent.
Access to clean water and proper sanitation in Haiti remains the main challenge in fighting the epidemic, according to WHO.
PHONE RATE INCREASE
Kingston, Jamaica: As of August 1, LIME will be charging residential and business customers up to eight per cent more for their landline service.
The company announced the rate hike, blaming “inflationary pressures” for its decision. It said the cost of delivering service to consumers had been rising steadily.
Residential landline rental rates will be increased eight per cent, moving from J$850 (US$9.97) to J$920 (US$10.79) per month.
The increase for business customers is slightly less – 7.5 per cent. This pushes the monthly cost of landline rental from J$1,600 (US$18.76) to J$1,720 (US$20.17).
LIME says that it will now offer services such as call waiting, call forwarding and three-way calling free of charge.
Meanwhile, it was also announced that with a five cent (US) levy being charged by the Haitian government on all calls to that country from July 15, it will also become more expensive for Jamaicans to connect with people there.
LIME said it is increasing the charge for calls to Haiti from its landlines, effective August 1.
The more than 16 per cent hike in charges will see rates moving from J$25 (US$0.29) per minute to J$29.65 (US$0.35) per minute.