Caribbean Briefs for September 1, 2011


Castries, St. Lucia: The ruling United Workers Party (UWP) suffered a setback ahead of the general elections later this year when the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Marcus Nicholas tendered his resignation on Monday.

Nicholas, the parliamentary representative for the Dennery North constituency, said that his resignation, which also applies to UWP, would take effect immediately.

Nicholas was critical of the government’s decision to redirect funds from the Dennery North Rural Council to the Dennery South Village Council.

“That has not gone down well with the people of the valley who are not happy with the treatment meted out to their district rep, and this has caused a lot of problems within the constituency and I personally cannot take it anymore,” he said.

Political observers say Nicholas’ resignation could have political implications for Prime Minister Stephenson King, who must now appoint a deputy speaker from among his existing Cabinet ministers.

Under the law, the deputy speaker cannot be a minister and Nicholas was the only government legislator not holding a ministerial position.

King has already indicated that he will call a general election later this year. In the 2006 poll, the UWP won 11 of the 17 seats with the remainder going to the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP).


Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, says the time has come for small states and smaller economies to be officially included in deliberations of the G20 – the Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from 20 major economies.

His call followed recent meetings in Trinidad and Tobago with the twin-island republic’s Finance Minister and Chair of the World Bank Small States Forum, Winston Dookeran.

“In this inter-dependent world the voices of small economies must be represented at this level as discussions progress on measures to address economic issues,” said Ramdin. “Small economies need to be represented at the global table.”

Dookeran has already issued a call to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pay special attention to small states.

“Recent developments have revealed the additional frailties and vulnerabilities of Small States to natural disasters and financial collapse. Small States everywhere are facing specific challenges that deserve greater attention at the international level,” he said.

Ramdin said leaders of smaller economies must also be encouraged to balance both caution and creativity.

“We must all become more resourceful and creative with what we have in hand, while acting responsibly and carefully,” he said.

While in Trinidad, Ramdin also held discussions with Trade Minister Stephen Cadiz on concrete initiatives to expand CARICOM trade markets.


St. George’s, Grenada: Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has called for greater emphasis on a hemispheric approach to confronting criminal activity and security. He says small states are challenged by a lack of resources to effectively confront crime and insecurity.

“Our success in meeting and overcoming the challenges associated with fighting crime and improving the security of the region is affected by limited resources. The geography of our island states, characterized by hundreds of inlets and bays, makes accomplishing this task even more problematic. Regional collaboration is therefore necessary,” he said at the recent Third CARICOM-SICA Summit in El Salvador.

Thomas noted that criminals are increasingly using sophisticated boats and technology for transnational organized crime, allowing them to take advantage of limitations in the security capacity of CARICOM states.

He said that Caribbean countries are also affected by an increase in criminal activity due to the United States’ policy of deporting persons of Caribbean descent who are found guilty of crimes that are committed in the U.S.

Thomas said the “integrity deficit” in some elements of the security forces, evidenced by their facilitation of criminal activity, was also at the heart of his call for a new approach to security.

“There is a need for the development and institutionalization of necessary steps to ensure that those who are there to protect and provide security to our people are not themselves involved in criminal activity,” he said.


Daegu, South Korea: Teenager Kirani James won a thrilling 400-metre final to give Grenada its first world championships medal on Tuesday.

Just two days short of his 19th birthday, James chased down defending world and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt on the home straight and surged past the American just before the line to claim the gold medal in a personal best time of 44.60.

“It’s a great feeling, but it’s great just being here representing my country,” said James. “I was just trying to relax and finish strong.”

Merritt, who returned from a 21-month ban for doping in July and set the best time of the year in the first round in Daegu, took his second world championship silver medal in 44.63.

“He’s a great athlete, I just didn’t have a great day,” said Merritt. “44.60, I’ll take it. I’m back.”

James, the third youngest men’s champion at a world championships, made his debut as a professional athlete at the Diamond League meeting in London last month after racking up a string of junior titles and records.

Two years ago, he broke Usain Bolt’s six-year old CARIFA Games 400-metre record and was named Grenada’s sportsman of the year at the age of 17 after winning the 2010 world junior title.

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