Caribbean News in Brief – September 29, 2011


Castries, St. Lucia: Housing Minister Richard Frederick has resigned from Cabinet amid an ongoing scandal over the revocation of his U.S. diplomatic and travel visas, but will remain the Member of Parliament for Castries Central.

Frederick said the decision was taken to spare his colleagues further distractions from important work “during these especially difficult times”.

“I want to assure the Prime Minister and my other colleagues that my support for them and the United Workers Party is never ending,” he said.

“To my people of Castries Central I say, let not your hearts be troubled as I have every intention of contesting the upcoming general elections. I am confident you will reelect me to continue the unprecedented development of Castries Central that I started since the last four and a half years.”

Frederick, whose tenure has been dogged by allegations of criminal activities, announced his decision Sunday, just days after he refused to bow to opposition pressure.

Frederick insists he has done nothing wrong, and said he was constantly targeted by “political enemies” since his decision in 2006 to run for elected politics.

The opposition St. Lucia Labour Party has claimed that Frederick was fired following a meeting with his cabinet colleagues.


Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: There are mounting calls for swift disciplinary action against police officers who are using excessive force during the State of Emergency, which has been in force for more than a month.

The Law Association and Transparency Institute have demanded a higher level of accountability for the officers, similar to what has been applied by the Defense Force.

“We certainly would like to see a more public accounting for alleged abuses by the police authorities,” chairman Richard Joseph said following complaints, including of people being held in custody for days without charge.

“There should be some sort of indication to the public that either corrective actions have been taken or that the allegation has no substance,” he added.

In a media release, the law association urged the police to move expeditiously to address claims against members who are accused of using excessive force.

It also advised officers to prepare for the end of the State of Emergency, which officially ends December 7.


George Town, Cayman Islands: The Cayman Islands is reporting no cases of dengue fever for the year, amid fears caused by an outbreak in some Caribbean territories.

The heath authority has issued a travel advisory stating the Cayman Islands are still considered not endemic to dengue, as there is no sustained transmission of the disease here.

“With the regional outbreak in mind, we are not complacent and medical personnel are on high alert to look for any local cases,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar.

The authorities said seven cases were reported last year, two of which were imported.

Dengue fever outbreaks have been reported in Aruba, Bahamas, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago, among other countries.

The U.S. Centre for Disease Control recently issued a travel advisory and outbreak notice to its citizens travelling to the Bahamas, and listed precautionary measures persons should take to avoid mosquito bites.

The symptoms of dengue include high fever, severe headache, backache, joint pains, nausea and vomiting, eye pain and rash.


Nassau, Bahamas: The Bahamas will receive US$200,000 in emergency aid from the Inter-American Development Bank to help cope with the effects of Hurricane Irene, which affected the chain of islands last month.

The grant agreement has been signed by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hubert Ingraham and President of the Inter-American Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno.

A government statement said the funds will be used to provide food supplies, clothing, potable water, medicine and material for temporary shelter among other relief items to affected people in the islands of Eleuthera, Cat Island, Long Island, Rum Cay, Acklins, Crooked Island and Mayaguna.

Irene caused particular damage in the Southeastern and Central Bahamas, the government said, though no injuries or deaths were reported.

Several communities were flooded and there was severe structural damage to many homes and government buildings including health clinics, schools and police stations. More than 1,300 people were forced into shelters.

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