A tiny, tourism dependent nation in the Eastern Caribbean is openly accusing the U.S. of persistently bullying it into submission, largely because the island took Washington to the international trade court and won in a bitter and ongoing row over internet gambling.
Now that Hurricane Matthew, one of the deadliest storms to have roared through the Caribbean and the U.S. in more than a decade, has made landfall in Florida, relief officials at the Caribbean’s main response agency are getting ready to roll out assistance efforts to member countries lashed by the storm.
One of the worst storms to have hit the Caribbean in about a decade is being blamed for at least two deaths in Haiti and infrastructural damage in a number of countries, including Barbados and Jamaica, as people in Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida are also bracing for its arrival.
In a rare show of political unity, government and the main opposition party in Trinidad met to discuss the island’s escalating crime situation, as murders averaged one a day in the oil-rich republic and as fears of a worsening situation spiked.
Several Caribbean Community countries are moving to draft new bills or pass legislation to make cyber crimes punishable under law, including heavy fines and jail terms for offenders, but the main regional media umbrella body is perplexed by clauses in some of the drafts.
Several Caribbean leaders Monday used the 178th anniversary of the emancipation from the transatlantic slave trade to push Europe into paying reparations to the region, months after governments formally sent demand documents to European governments.
This issue just would not go away. In the past week, finance ministers from across the nine-nation Eastern Caribbean sub-grouping faced up to the issue of de-risking, the situation of American commercial banks cutting ties with those in the region because of increased pressure from the Feds to scrutinize transactions.
Trinidad and Jamaica, two of the more influential members of the Caribbean trade bloc, began talks in Jamaica this week, mostly to sort out fears among Jamaicans that authorities in Trinidad are biased against them and usually turn them away in droves whenever they visit the most southerly island in the region.
Tired of being bullied by larger and more powerful neighbors, two of the Caribbean Community’s largest member states with border disputes have decided to approach the World Court for final rulings, hoping that a win would end decades of political uncertainty.
Caribbean Community leaders have given their clearest signal yet that the region is in real danger of being cut off from the rest of the world if the large American banks carry through with threats to cut ties with those in the bloc because of alleged high risks of doing business.