Caribbean Roundup


Barbadian health officials have issued a leptospirosis alert urging the public to wear adequate protective clothing when participating in outdoor work or recreational activities, such as gardening and construction.

Last year the island recorded three deaths from 44 cases and so far for this year, the number of people suffering from the disease has been out at 29.

The Ministry of Health said that people who are seriously ill with leptospirosis may be at risk of death and might need to be hospitalized.

The Ministry of Health said that although rodents, are the main carrier of leptospirosis in Barbados, the disease may also be transmitted by other animals which carry the leptospirosis organism, including pigs, horses and cattle.


Former Grenada attorney general Jimmy Bristol is predicting the downfall of the Tilman Thomas administration “the minute Parliament reopens.”

Bristol, the president of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), said while the constitution provides for the parliament to be prorogued “we all know the reason for the prorogation, an apparent reference to the move by Prime Minister Thomas in September to have Governor General Sir Carlyle Glean prorogue Parliament.”

A two-page statement from the Office of the Prime Minister gave no date for the start of the parliamentary session but indicated that “the traditional Throne Speech is expected to be graciously delivered by His Excellency, the Governor General.”

The decision to prorogue Parliament meant that the prime minister did not face a motion of no confidence that had been filed by his former foreign affairs minister Karl Hood and was expected to be debated in the last session of Parliament.

Four government ministers have resigned, including Peter David, the former Tourism Minister, Hood and former trade minister Michael Church. Three other government ministers, including Bristol have been fired.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) which won 11 seats in the 2008 general election now has only six legislators in the 15-member Parliament.


A Haitian government official says up to 10 persons died in the northern part of the country following a night of heavy rainfall recently.

Jean Henry Petit of Haiti’s Civil Protection Office said most of the Haitians died in the port of Cap-Haitien when flood waters crashed through the homes and swept them away. One person died after his house collapsed.

The fatal rains come just two weeks after Hurricane Sandy’s outer bands led to widespread flooding.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia Police Commissioner Vernon Francois has issued a stern warning to drug traffickers and others engaged in the illegal drug trade that their assets will be targeted in the battle against crime.

His warning followed the recent seizure of nearly EC$3 million worth of cocaine on board a pleasure boat. Police described the seizure of l00 kilograms of cocaine as one of the biggest drug busts on the island.

French national, Roger Tinard, 68, recently appeared in court charged with importation, possession and intent to supply the illegal drug. He was remanded in custody to re-appear in court later this month.

The police commissioner said that seizing assets linked to the illegal drugs trade will be a major focus of law enforcement officials.

‘We want the drug criminals to know that it is not only about arresting them and prosecuting then for possession of drugs or trafficking in drugs but also it is provided for us to chase after the assets of drugs dealers,” the Commissioner said.


Police recently seized a large quantity of cocaine at Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport in Suriname and detained two suspects who run a vegetable export business in the Dutch island.

The authorities said 60 kilograms of the illegal drug were destined for the Netherlands and the discovery was made by the specialist Ant-Narcotics Squad Unit at the airport.

The drugs were found stuffed in six bags of sweet potatoes after authorities found them extremely heavy. In recent weeks, the squad has seized several amounts of cocaine stuffed in salt fish, chocolate, okra, mandarins, coconuts, pumpkins, oranges and other fruits.


The Trinidad and Tobago government has won a US$131 million (TT$1.3 billion) lawsuit against UK-based British Aerospace Engineering Systems (BAE) over the cancellation of an order for three offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) last week.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan announced that the settlement was reached after a two-year dispute.

The settlement, he said, was a significant precedent for Trinidad and Tobago and created legal history by successfully standing up to one of the world’s biggest military defense companies.

BAE in a brief statement said, “The settlement with the T&T government is an amount consistent with provisions held.”

It said after the cancellation, the three OPVs were subsequently sold to the Brazilian Navy under a contract signed in December 2011 and the first ship was handed over in June.

In September 2010, the new People’s Partnership administration cancelled the OPVs, which were ordered by the previous People’s National Movement (PNM) government. The government said during the early months of 2010, concern had been raised over the capabilities of the OPVs combat system.

BAE Systems initiated arbitration proceedings in London hoping to recover US$100 million from the T&T government as it had taken a 100-pound sterling charge on its books.

In turn, T&T had issued a counter-claim of TT$1.6 billion for the boats, which were valued at 155 million pounds.


Europe will continue to provide assistance to the Caribbean on several issues, including climate change and security.

The assurance was given by newly-appointed head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mikael Barford, during a courtesy call on Barbados Prime Minister Frenduel Stuart.

A Barbados statement said, “during the meeting, the ambassador praised the maturity of the relationship between government and the EU and outlined ways in which it could be strengthened,” the statement said, noting that Prime Minister Stuart had also acknowledged the long-standing association with the European group of nations.

The statement said that the “two officials also shared their mutual view on a range of other topics, including human rights and the impact of sea level rise on vulnerable economies and greening initiatives.”

St. Lucia

St. Lucia recently marked the second anniversary of the passage of Hurricane Thomas with Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony saying that Oct. 30 must always be remembered.

“I urge St. Lucians to take a moment to reflect on that sad day, paying our respects to the 14 lives which were lost during this unfortunate ordeal.

“The trauma of the people of Fond, St. Jacques and Columbette in Soufriere as well as other parts of St. Lucia must remain etched in our minds. We must not forget them and their families,” Anthony said in a statement.


The unemployment rate in Trinidad and Tobago rose to 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012, up from 4.2 percent when compared to the last three months (fourth quarter of 2011).

This according to the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in a statement released recently.

The report stated that the number of persons unemployed during January to March 2012 was 33,800, which represents an increase of 0.3 percent over the previous quarter when the total number of persons unemployed was 25,900.

Even though the total labor force increased by 0.3 percent over the period under consideration, the increase in the unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2012 was 5.4 percent. In comparison, the unemployment rate for the previous quarter was 4.2 percent.

The report stated that the total labor force for January to March 2012 stood at 623,500 persons, up from 621,900 for the period October to December 2011. This represented an increase of 0.3 percent.

Compiled by Azad Ali