Caribbean Briefs for Nov 17-11

NDP Victory

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, Road Town: There has been a changing of the political guard, yet again, in the country. Dr. D. Orlando Smith has led his National Democratic Party (NDP) to a stunning victory over the incumbent Virgin Islands Party (VIP).

The 67-year-old physician who was Chief Minister from 2003 to 2007 will once again lead the government after his party trounced incumbent Ralph T. O’Neal’s VIP with nine seats to four.

Dr. Smith, who specializes in obstetrics, had been the BVI’s chief medical officer for many years. He was first elected to the legislative council following the 1999 general election as head of the then newly formed NDP.

In 2003 he led the NDP to victory, giving the VIP its first election loss since 1971. But the VIP regained the government in 2007 inflicting a severe defeat on the NDP which won only two seats, including Dr. Smith’s.

During the election campaign, Smith said that his manifesto had been “developed after a conversation between all of us, young and old; a dynamic conversation which began 12 years ago and one in which your thoughts, your ideas continue to be the rock on which this document is founded”.

Caribbean Reinsurance

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada: Randy Graham, president of the Association of the Insurance Institute of the Caribbean, says the establishment of a Caribbean reinsurance company will save CARICOM nations millions of dollars.

Graham was addressing an event organized by the Association of Grenada Insurance Companies (AGIC) on the topic, “The Role of Reinsurance in the Caribbean.”

“We make money as a region,” said Graham, who is also president of the Insurance Institute of Barbados and a lecturer in finance at the Cave Hill School of Business at the University of the West Indies. “The problem is we’ve been sending the money to the reinsurers” which, he added, are owned by business people in Europe and North America.

Not only would a Caribbean reinsurance company save on foreign exchange, said Graham, but it would also allow for “better regulatory monitoring of reinsurance adequacy”.

Families to Benefit

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: An ambitious health and sanitary program, which will benefit 80,000 families in Haiti’s Southwestern Grand’Anse region, was made possible by an innovative inter-municipal cooperation agreement signed by the President of the Association of Mayors from Grand’Anse, Saint-Antoine Hospital of Jérémie, France’s Nantes-Metropole community and Nantes University Hospital.

The agreement, fostered by Haiti’s Ministry of the Interior, launches a comprehensive public health policy on water supply and sanitation for all the department’s municipalities, enabling the construction of an extensive latrine and potable water program, which will help contain the spread of cholera in both urban and rural communities.

This cooperation will provide technical, financial and administrative support to the Saint-Antoine Hospital of Jérémie, including medical personnel training, renovation of health facilities and medical equipment.

Fraud attempted

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: An attempt has been made to defraud this country’s National Energy Corporation (NEC) of US$9.6 million through false documents to facilitate the wire transfer of funds to overseas accounts.

The NEC alerted its bankers, First Citizens, and also notified the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs.

First Citizens has been able to block 98 per cent of the funds on behalf of the NEC. The bank has alerted Interpol, the local fraud squad and the FBI in an attempt to find the perpetrators and has also retained the services of international private investigators to assist with the process of identifying and bringing the culprits to justice.

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