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Bert Wilkinson

Stories by Bert

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Norway may pay Suriname to preserve forests

Back in 2009, Guyana and Norway signed off on a novel deal for a Caribbean Community country, under which that oil and gas-rich European nation would provide Guyana with millions in grant aid to preserve its standing stock of rainforest.

Free travel for more groups in Caricom bloc

One of the main bugbears to progress in the 15-nation Caribbean Community has been linked to the slow pace of implementation of rules regarding free movement and resettlement of various categories of workers but leaders say they are moving to improve the work pace.

Caribbean gets involved in congressional reparations fight

As the fight to make a racist U.S. government compensate African-American descendants of slavery heats up, the head of the Caribbean Community’s Reparations Commission has been invited to testify before Congress, to share the progress the region has made so far in its fight with former European slave trading nations.

New European nations nabbed in slave trade

Caricom has expanded its list of European slave trading nations to demand payment from them.

Norway to fund mega solar farms in Guyana

Norway’s government has approved grant aid worth $80 million to help the largest Caribbean Community nation build a number of mega solar farms to provide energy to several communities located near the jungle close to the borders with Venezuela and Brazil, officials have said.

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Trinidad registering desperate Venezuelans; officials probe trafficking ring allegations

Trinidad has begun a massive two-week registration exercise of Venezuelans living in the country in a bid to bring some semblance of order to its refugee crisis even as more are arriving from the finance-starved neighboring South American nation each week.

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Caribbean prepares for storm season; Dominica re-engineers

The commencement of the 2019 hurricane season is less than two weeks away with official predictions that it could be a rough one as usual but some Caribbean Community nations, which endure a battering each year, are not so nervous anymore because of major engineering and other changes at the political level.

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Trinidad cops move against opposition bigwigs, two charged

In the past week police in Trinidad arrested and charged two prominent opposition-connected attorneys with malfeasance for links to a scheme that allegedly involved officials of the previous government paying astronomical sums of money to friends and colleagues for legal briefs connected to cases the state was involved with.

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Caribbean warned to brace for more drought conditions

The wider Caribbean region is being warned to brace for a dry season that could extend well into July as weather experts in the region urge government to prepare for eventualities that could be compounded by events associated with the annual hurricane season.

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Guyana oil find spurs exploration campaigns among neighbors

American supermajor ExxonMobil is preparing to add a fourth drilling ship to its offshore fleet given the humongous amount of oil it has found so far and the accuracy of its well drilling campaign since 2015 officials say.

No Venezuelan refugee camp in Trinidad, says PM

Of the 15 nations in the Caribbean Community, Guyana and Trinidad are located the closest to crisis-ridden Venezuela and are both beginning to feel the brunt of the economic refugee migration problem.

Pilots take pay cut to keep lifeline island hopper afloat

People in the tiny tourism dependent Eastern Caribbean islands rely heavily on small island-hopping commuter airlines to move around the region.

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Guyana appeals court over turns opposition toppling of government for now

In a stunning reversal of political fortunes, a Guyanese appeals court has overturned a late December opposition no confidence vote.

US-Caricom meeting on Venezuela postponed

Washington has asked for a postponement of a meeting with a group of Caribbean Community leaders on the situation in Venezuela.

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Caricom leaders meet in St. Kitts

Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders are meeting in the Eastern Caribbean island state of St. Kitts this week with recurring issues.

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Central bank chief fired

President Desi Bouterse of Suriname has fired the head of the Caribbean Community nation’s central bank in a move that has sparked fears that the administration is seeking to replace him.

Major oil find excites southern Caribbean

U.S. supermajor ExxonMobil announced two major oil finds offshore Guyana in the past week, and the discovery has raised the hopes for similar massive oil discoveries in two of its neighbors that incidentally already produce oil and gas.

Caricom upset with OAS for recognizing Venezuela’s interim pres

Staying in an active role in the ongoing situation in neighboring Venezuela, Caribbean Community governments this week chided the Organization of American States in Washington.

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CARICOM sends delegation to New York to discuss Venezuela

Current Chairman and Prime Minister of St. Kitts Timothy Harris led the delegation to the talks at U.N. headquarters in the city after a string of worrying developments in the South American nation in recent weeks.

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Caribbean reparations fight takes new turn: Swiss were also involved

The fight by Caribbean Community nations to make Britain and other former slave-trading European nations pay for one of the worst genocides in human history has taken an interesting turn, with researchers unearthing evidence that the Swiss were also involved.

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Antigua threatens Scotiabank in row over asset sale

The bank has strongly resisted, contending that the sale is a private transaction and that it is free to choose a buyer rather than to be dictated to by any government.

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Suriname turns down Chinese mega fishing ships

Without any announcement or warning whatsoever, the mega Chinese mother ships appeared in local ports in the past month.

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Trinidad hurries to join others decriminalizing weed

As the year comes to a close, however, there has been a welcome change of heart and attitude toward decriminalization.

Exxon finds more oil in Guyana as Trinidad fades away

Just when Caribbean Community nations are scrambling to find an alternative supplier for oil, the region’s largest nation is preparing to crank up its own petroleum industry as age-old supplier Trinidad fades steadily away.

Caribbean wins reparations payments

In what is being represented as a major victory in the fight to make Europe pay reparations to the Caribbean for the brutal transatlantic slave trade, the umbrella University of the West Indies is reporting that the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom has agreed to begin making reparations payments in the near future after talks with a regional commission.

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Caribbean pressing UK to compensate those illegally deported

Caribbean governments, led by Jamaica, are beginning to press the British government to address compensation and general assistance issues to Caribbean nationals who have been inhumanely deported or denied re-entry into the United Kingdom because of drastic changes of immigration polices over the decades.

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Court to soon rule in military executions trial in Suriname

Dec. 8, 1982, revolutionary soldiers in Suriname rounded up 15 opponents of the then military government and executed them at a colonial era fort in the capital.

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Guyana prepares for oil as Trinidad fades away

An interesting development is taking place in relation to oil and gas prosecution in the 15-nation Caribbean Community. For decades, Trinidad and Tobago had ruled the roost of nations in the region producing oil both to supply its neighbors and to export farther afield.

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Trinidad under worst flooding in 50 years

Many citizens of Trinidad and Tobago would be justified in saying that the second half of 2018 was more than a bit unkind to the Caribbean’s most southerly island, as it has been battered by one disaster after another.

Governments complain about US sanctions and Venezuela

Some Caribbean governments are beginning to complain about the effects of American sanctions against neighboring Venezuela, indicating that it is becoming increasingly difficult to do business with the South American nation.

Jamaica moves into marijuana extracts export industry

As is expected with anything to do with progressive and or liberal thought on marijuana, Jamaica is moving ahead of the pack of nations in the Caribbean Community by announcing in the past week its first shipment of marijuana extracted oil to markets in Canada.

Yet another storm threatens the Caribbean

“There is a possibility of heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and high winds,” Craig said of the current trajectory should the storm pass just outside Guyana’s northern regions.

Caribbean sugar producers want protection from white sugar imports

With the region no longer enjoying fixed quotas and guaranteed access to the European raw sugar market, the region’s four remaining sugar producers have asked governments to clamp down on refined, or white, sugar imports, saying they can meet the required average demand for 100,000 metric tons.

More CARICOM countries easing marijuana laws, penalties

In recent weeks, several members of the 15-nation CARICOM have made progressive moves to soften legislation dealing with marijuana use for various purposes in the wake of an edict from leaders for the region to review the regional approach to the issue.

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Trinidad closes major refinery

Trinidad’s government is beginning to feel the expected political fallout from this week’s announcement that government will soon close the money-losing, debt-ridden and overstaffed major oil refinery and try to restructure it in the wake of declining daily oil production that has largely rendered the plant useless.

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Trinidad pushing for rules on unhealthy U.S. chicken imports

One of the Caribbean Community’s most influential leaders has raised an important issue regarding the sale of years-old, frozen American chicken to his island nation and to the Caribbean Community in general, saying the region should not be treated as a dumping ground for unwanted U.S. food products.

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Major weed summit in Jamaica

Authorities in Jamaica are trying their best to push the other members of the 15 nations in the Caribbean Community to seriously consider the benefits an organized medical marijuana industry could have for the region.

Governments to review money for citizenship scheme amid controversy

Governments in the smaller Eastern Caribbean subgrouping are to discuss major security lapses in a scheme through which several island nations sell national passports and citizenship to foreigners willing to pay specified amounts of cash or invest in property and other development projects.

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Trinidad president calls for formal observance of coup attempt

There were no major observances organized for last week’s 28th anniversary of the July 27, 1990, attempted coup in Trinidad that saw heavily armed but apparently misguided Islamic militants storm the island’s parliament while it was in session and attack the state’s television station and other installations in an attempt to dislodge a government that leaders say had become heartless and unrighteous.

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Trinidad government softens marijuana stance

Two weeks ago, Caribbean Community leaders meeting in Jamaica held extensive discussions on how the region should deal with the unrelenting pressure from civil society and law enforcement to amend laws that still imprison thousands of people each year for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

Barbados looks to IMF for economic solace

It’s been almost two full months since the Barbados Labor Party of Prime Minister Mia Mottley destroyed all previous political records by winning all of the island’s 30 parliamentary seats and running the country without an elected opposition, but the cabinet has vowed to help lift the economy from perhaps its worst state since independence in 1966.

CARICOM unhappy with single market and economy system

Leaders, former leaders and top officials from across the Caribbean assembled in Guyana last week to review the state of play, progress and problems associated with the decades-old Caribbean Single Market and Economy system, and most said the slow pace of implementation was frustrating them terribly.

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IMF on key mission to Barbados

Less than two weeks after the Barbados Labor Party did the unthinkable and carried away all 30 contested seats in general elections, the daunting task of rebuilding an economy in ruins is about to begin, and it appears that the Caribbean island might have to sign up for an austerity program with the International Monetary Fund.

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Historic election results in Barbados

As predicted by regional pundits, electors in the idyllic Caribbean island nation of Barbados voted emphatically to elect a new government in the past week and in doing so created history on several fronts.

Jamaica encouraged by 3D oil and gas surveys

Jamaica is fancying its chances of becoming the latest Caribbean Community nation after Guyana to find commercial quantities of oil and gas in the wake of encouraging indications from the most recent round of offshore surveys.

Caribbean wants formal talks with Trump

The seemingly chaotic nature of American foreign policy and limited engagement between Caribbean officials and people of influence in Washington are among factors pushing regional leaders for a summit with President Donald Trump, sooner rather than later.

Britain backs away from deporting Caribbean nationals

In the past week, Britain was hammered from nearly every section of society for its far-right-type decision to sound deportation warnings to thousands of Caribbean nationals who had, ironically, been invited in the colonial era to settle there to help rebuild the country after World War II.

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CARICOM countries urged to help Venezuelans

Several Caribbean Community countries are beginning to sit up and take notice of the increasing numbers of Venezuelan nationals seeking asylum,

Disbelief as Trinidad rejects storm-ravaged Dominica’s request for fee waiver

As everyone knows, Dominica was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in mid-September. Most of its buildings, farmlands, electricity and telephone systems were leveled, roads rendered impassable and schools pulverized by record high winds from that storm.

Bahamas struggles to enact more humane citizenship laws

Of the 15 nations in the Caribbean Community bloc of nations, it is perhaps easier to become a citizen in any of those countries than in the Bahamas, with its maze of very restrictive, parochial immigration laws.

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