Caribbean News in Brief as of January 12-12

PM wants JDIP adjusted

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has held initial talks with China’s Ambassador to Jamaica on adjusting the structure and implementation of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) which is funded by China.

The Prime Minister with Ambassador Zhen Qingdian on Saturday, two days after she was sworn in as the new head of government.

Simpson Miller was accompanied to the meeting by Dr. Omar Davies, Minister of Transport, Works & Housing, Dr. Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance and Planning and Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land and the Environment.

The infrastructural program is funded through a US$400 million (J$36 billion) loan from China’s Export Import (EXIM) Bank.

Last November, former Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, took control of the initiative after serious management shortcomings – such as lack of transparency and inadequate capital project planning – were identified in a report by the Auditor General.

The controversy led to the resignations of then Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry and Patrick Wong, then Chief Executive Officer of the National Works Agency, which had program oversight.

Qualified to run

ROSEAU, Dominica: High Court judge Gretel Thom has ruled that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his education minister, Petter Saint Jean, were qualified to contest the 2009 general elections.

The judge handed down her ruling in the case brought against Skerrit and Saint Jean by the leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Ron Green, and Maynard Joseph.

The two opposition politicians had asked the court to declare that both Skerrit and Saint Jean were illegally nominated to contest the December 2009 general election because they held dual citizenship at the time.

IMF advice

BRADES, Montserrat: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is urging the country to reduce its dependence on recurrent and capital grants from the United Kingdom.

In a report issued in the wake of Article IV consultations that concluded here last November the IMF board said this should be a key fiscal policy objective.

The grants finance around half of Montserrat’s expenditure and buffered the impact of the global crisis on the British Overseas Territory, the report said.

The IMF urged the authorities to reach agreement with the UK on a “revised fiscal framework and timetable for reforms in light of implementation delays in key projects and the current economic environment”.

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