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Bert Wilkinson

Stories by Bert

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Caricom braces for yet another election in bumper 2020

The Caribbean Community is bracing for yet another tense general elections in the region with voters in resource-rich Trinidad and Tobago being next in line to face the polls in the wake of those held in Guyana, Suriname, St. Kitts and Anguilla so far this year.

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COVID-19 sends lifeline carrier into liquidation

The lifeline commuter service had been ailing for years, with regional governments shelling out millions to keep it in the air, but the strain of weeks of downtime from the COVID-19 lockdown has proven to be too much to bear for its already cash-strapped regional shareholding governments.

Growing movement to dump white, colonial-era statues

With the Black Lives Matter movement sparking a spirited reform movement throughout the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world, some Caribbean Community governments and prominent citizens are leading a growing call to rid the region of colonial-era statues that glorify slavery and symbolize oppression.

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Guyana elections riddled with fraud says chief officer

Guyana’s elections commission (Gecom) at the weekend dropped a bombshell on the country by ruling that the Caribbean Community nation’s March 2 general elections had contained so many irregularities, including dead and migrated people voting, that it has not met the basic threshold to be deemed free, fair and credible.

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St. Kitts and Nevis gives government a second term

The third of six major general elections in the 15-nation Caribbean single trading bloc this year was held last Friday.

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Suriname picks a new gov’t; St. Kitts to vote this week

It is almost now a certainty that a brand new government will run the Caribbean Community nation of Suriname for the next five years following general elections on May 25th that saw voters denying former military strongman Desi Bouterse a third consecutive term.

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Suriname goes to the polls

Dutch-speaking Suriname, the second largest and one of the richest countries in the Caribbean Community, voted for a new government amidst coronavirus restrictions, but it could take several weeks before a new president is elected by the 51-member national assembly.

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Caricom countries begin to slowly open up

Locked down because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a number of Caribbean Community nations this week announced plans for a phased restart of economic activities and a reopening of borders in the coming weeks.

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Positive test stymies return of stranded Bahamians

Authorities in The Bahamas have suspended repatriation flights for citizens to the regional tourist paradise after an arriving passenger from the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Guyana voter recount finally gets cracking

A recount and audit of ballots and documents of Guyana’s highly disputed March 2 general election was scheduled to get underway on Wednesday, May 6, nearly 10 weeks after the first ballot was cast.

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U.S. reps object to Bahamian oil exploration; could deal major blow to energy self-sufficiency

Already devastated by the travel and tourist lockdown and still struggling to recover from Hurricane Dorian last year, the Bahamas is now facing a strange new adversary that is demanding that it to abandons plans to explore for oil and gas offshore.

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Airlines beg for help to wait out pandemic

Authorities in Guyana and Suriname have arranged virtual emergency meetings this week to discuss better enforcement of their river borders in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the slow but steady increase in the number of confirmed cases, officials said.

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Caricom leaders in emergency coronavirus session

Caribbean Community leaders will meet in emergency session by video conference to discuss the fight against the deadly coronavirus and the devastating economic consequences of the pandemic, officials said this week.

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Caribbean continues battle against corona

Caribbean governments this week continued the fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic, with several importing special medical teams from Cuba while others, like Guyana, belatedly ordered a nationwide lockdown to stem the outbreak, community spreads in particular.

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Caribbean under severe pressure from virus; lockdowns increase

Several Caribbean Community governments moved this week to lock down countries or severely restrict free movement as the region battles to contain the march of the deadly coronavirus, in particular the feared community spread.

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Caribbean in uphill fight against coronavirus

Some of the major hotel chains have already served notice of closure in the coming days, most cruise ships are no longer allowed to dock, governments have closed borders and shut down air travel as authorities move to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the Caribbean.

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Governments fight back against coronavirus

Well aware of the effects the coronavirus pandemic could have on a region where travel and tourism are lifeline industrie

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Guyana election results still undeclared a week after

More than a week after Guyanese voted in general elections, the results are still to be declared by Gecom, the elections commission, because there is a simmering row between the two main parties as to exactly which one beat the other to the presidency and for control of the 65-member parliament.

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Caricom braces for the virus as neighbors confirm cases

With the Dominican Republic confirming a case of the corona virus on the same day Caribbean leaders and health professionals met in emergency session in Barbados, the umbrella regional health agency has raised the alert level to high as the travel sensitive region prepares measures to cope with a looming pandemic.

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Guyana votes

The first of five general elections in the Caribbean Community is set to be held in Guyana next Monday, March 2, with the governing multiracial coalition pitting itself for a second five year term against an Indo-led main opposition party as both fight to control oil revenues that could make the country one of the richest in the hemisphere in less than a decade.

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Caricom leaders to look at feared coronavirus

Caribbean Community leaders were scheduled to meet this week in Barbados for their two day half yearly summit with agenda items like preparations for the corona virus high on their schedule.

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Suriname’s central bank misused state funds

President Desi Bouterse has appointed a new acting governor of Suriname’s central bank in the wake of a massive scandal involving the unauthorized use of US$100 million in commercial banking deposits by the state to buy regular merchandize like onions and potatoes.

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Busy year for elections in Caricom

Seven key Caribbean Community nations will hold general elections this year and in at least three of them, the economy and racial tensions will be key campaign issues.

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Suriname president to challenge mass murder sentence

On Wednesday, Jan. 22, Pres. Desi Bouterse of Suriname will appear before a war tribunal court for the very first time to lead in a defense against a conviction of mass murder...

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Trinidad tweaks weed laws. To remove some convictions

Authorities in Trinidad moved to the courts system in the past week to ask judges to release more than 100 prisoners who were either convicted or on remand for possession of small amounts of marijuana given significant changes to legislation regarding possession of marijuana.

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Guyana on cusp of becoming oil producer

Preparations are racing ahead for Guyana, the Caribbean Community’s largest and most resource-rich nation, to become the world’s newest oil producer perhaps before the end of 2019 as an international consortium led by American oil giant ExxonMobil prepares to begin producing its first set of crude from below the seabed.

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Trinidad switches dollar notes to undermine organized crime

Authorities in Trinidad in the past week dropped a monetary bombshell on the country by moving to outlaw the old $100 currency notes aimed at undermining the strength of the underground economy, including a thriving counterfeit trade, and contending that it is just part of a studied plan to deal with organized crime.

Surinamese parties want clarity about convicted president

Opposition parties in the Caribbean Community nation of Suriname have asked for a special meeting with parliamentary speaker Jenny Geerlings-Simons to discuss the future relationship between President Dési Bouterse and the assembly in the wake of his recent jail sentence for mass murder.

Surinamese president fights jail sentence

The 15 were killed at a colonial-era Dutch fort that is ironically steps away from Bouterse’s current presidential and cabinet office.

Surinamese president fights jail sentence

As was widely expected, a court in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community nation of Suriname has sentenced incumbent president and former army commander Dési Bouterse to 20 years in prison.

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Opposition ups pressure in Dominica for electoral reforms

Dominica’s Eastern Caribbean neighbors and local churches have appealed for calm and good sense in the wake of crippling opposition-led protests over demands for election reforms ahead of general elections on Dec. 6.

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Bahamas send back more Haitians

Once again, hurricane-ravaged The Bahamas is using the opportunity of the rebuilding and recovery period to purge the country of some Haitian refugee boat people who had settled on various Family Islands in recent decades and had been accused of establishing shanty towns in the tourism dependent archipelago.

President Bouterse fights to stay out of prison in Suriname

During the past week, a slew of political parties officially launched their election campaigns in Suriname ahead of general elections slated for next May.

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Jamaican officials rocked by U.S. visa cancellations

Jamaica’s political community, both at the government and opposition levels, has been rocked by news that the U.S. entry visas of several of its top officials have been canceled in the past week, leading to speculation that Washington might be using strong arm tactics to force Jamaica to sing to its policy tunes.

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Bahamas to continue deporting illegals

Still battling to cope and recover from Hurricane Dorian last month, authorities in The Bahamas are coming under increasing international pressure to cease mass deportations of undocumented foreigners, Haitian nationals in particular.

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Reparations movement boosted by two-day meeting

Regional academics, politicians and researchers spent two days in idyllic Antigua last week breathing new energy into the movement to make European nations pay for their part in the Transatlantic Slave Trade and organizers say they have walked away from the sessions with new momentum to confront this monumental task.

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Bahamas ramps it up against immigrants, housing pressure to blame after Dorian

Under pressure to provide housing for the displaced following the pounding the nation took from Hurricane Dorian last month

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Bahamian authorities brace for higher death toll

Some of the claims from authorities that the death toll will rise dramatically in the coming days have subsided for now, but Haitian immigrants who live in The Bahamas have formed themselves in to groups to help in the relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and to ensure welfare issues are looked after.

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Bahamas’ neighbors pitch in to help

International aid organizations and authorities in The Bahamas are stepping up the evacuation of people from Grand Bahama and Abaco, which were flattened by a slow-moving Hurricane Dorian in the past week, as authorities prepared islanders for a steep rise in the death toll as searches of the rubble continued.

Scottish university pays £20mil, admits slavery link

After irrefutable evidence of its links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade were recently exposed, a Scottish university has stepped forward to offer Sterling 20 million as first-step reparatory justice payments for its role in the worst crime against humanity.

Afros must do better in Trinidad, says PM

People of African descent across the English-speaking Caribbean will largely observe Aug. 1 as the day their foreparents were emancipated from slavery.

Gang violence spirals in Trinidad; govt. appeals to public

Twenty-four murders in a seven-day period in the past week in Trinidad have so shaken up the sensibilities of people on the island that various umbrella groups have said the country is close to a breaking point as it relates to violent crime and now authorities have asked the public to help them identify the leaders behind the spik

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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.