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Bert Wilkinson

Stories by Bert

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Jamaican government apologizes to Rastafari community

Earlier this month, a leading Caribbean government took the highly unusual step of publicly apologizing to a section of the population for an atrocity authorities committed on the group when police killed eight of its members and injured several others during the racially sensitive colonial era.

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France approves billion-dollar package for Guiana after protests

Authorities in Paris, France, have approved a billion-dollar package for its Overseas Department of French Guiana, ending weeks of crippling strikes, street protests and general unrest as locals came out vehemently with complaints of decades of rank neglect and discrimination from France.

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Exxon finds more oil off Guyana, Jamaica ramps up seismic surveys

American oil giant ExxonMobil has reported major success with its latest probe of its Snoek well off Guyana, saying that nearly eight weeks of drilling have paid off with positive results in the latest of six wells drilled so far.

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More uncertainty for Caribbean sugar producers

In just six months, sugar producers in the Caribbean Community will be forced to confront a major new challenge linked to a decision by the European Union to end decades of fixed quotas for exports from the region.

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Trinidad moves to resume hangings

Authorities on both political sides are so fed up with the number of murders in Trinidad that they are moving to make the oil and gas-rich nation among the first of the Caribbean Community countries to resume hangings of criminals convicted of heinous crimes.

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Trinidad, latest to sign US tax bill

Trinidad has become the latest in a string of Caribbean Community nations to approve controversial legislation allowing the U.S.

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Frantic scramble by Caribbean for oil, gas

From all appearances, several countries in the 15-nation Caribbean Community are rushing to sign offshore oil exploration agreements with big name Western oil companies, hoping to find oil and switch economic dependence away from traditional sectors, such as bananas and tourism.

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Lobbying firm to work for Caribbean governments

A Trinidad-based umbrella regional security agency is planning to help governments scrutinize the backgrounds of foreigners applying to become citizens of a string of Caribbean nations that have schemes offering passports and citizenship to expatriates in exchange for investment dollars.

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New look at Antiguan passport holders

Just when the administration of President Donald Trump is applying greater scrutiny to who enters the U.S. and who doesn’t, authorities in Antigua are preparing to pull the plug on nearly 20 foreigners who bought passports and citizenship rights under its Citizenship by Investment Program in recent years.

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Tillerson will not write Guyana’s laws

While the newly minted administration of President Donald Trump fights with the justice system on immigration issues, Guyana’s government has found itself on the defensive about the role former ExxonMobil boss and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could play in the country’s fledgling oil and gas sector.

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Reparations commission cranks up 2017 agenda

A Caribbean reparations commission appointed by governments is meeting this week to help lay the groundwork for a proposed summit with the region and former slave-trading nations in Europe.

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Jamaicans leading the rush to get visas

Jamaicans appear to be among the most anxious of Caribbean Community citizens who are rushing to obtain non-immigrant, or visitor, visas to the U.S., fearing that promised policy changes by the administration of President Donald Trump might make it harder to do so in the coming months.

Guyana summit agenda to include Brexit, US

Caribbean Community leaders have finalized the date for their annual half yearly summit in Guyana in mid-February, and a number of key agenda items, including Britain’s impending departure from the European Union and Caribbean relations with the incoming Donald Trump Administration, are likely topics of discussion, officials said this week.

Trinidad cabinet to examine terror suspects list

When cabinet ministers meet in Port of Spain, the Trinidad capital, early in January, they will spend time considering an intelligence report identifying nearly 200 locals with alleged links to international terrorism.

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Caribbean chair praises collective efforts

The outgoing chairman of the 15-nation Caribbean Community has praised the region for the way it collectively responded to Haiti and other islands hit by Hurricane Matthew in early October, saying it has become clear to all that there is no other way for the string of mostly island nations to survive other than through collective efforts.

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Barbados hedging on breaking away from Britain

Almost two years ago, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados vowed that his tiny but well organized Caribbean island would ditch Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as the country’s head of state and make the Barbados a republic like neighbors Trinidad and Guyana, but now there is every indication that nothing will happen in the very near future.

Tiny Antigua and US at it again

The government of a tiny Eastern Caribbean nation and the mighty United States are at it again over the refusal of the U.S. to comply with a ruling by the World Trade Organization that went in favor of Antigua instead of the U.S.

Caribbean’s best known leader is no more

In early December 1972, then Guyana’s Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and three of his regional colleagues sprang a monumental political surprise on the world when they officially established diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro’s communist-ruled Cuba, largely ending the island’s American-imposed and policed hemispheric isolation and opening the floodgates to a rash of other nations to follow suit.

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Jamaica urged to remain in trade bloc

The man credited with pulling the single market trading aspects of the Caribbean Community together is leading an effort by people of influence in the region to urge Jamaica to remain a key and leading member of the family of nations.

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Trump presidency could mean windfall for some states

Not many governments or citizens in the bloc of 15 nations in the Caribbean were hoping or praying to have to live with an administration led by Donald Trump, but his victory in the 2016 presidential election could mean a financial windfall for some countries, particularly those in the Eastern Caribbean.

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Light at end of economic tunnel for Suriname

Of the many nations in the Caribbean Community facing economic problems, Suriname this week said that tough economic austerity measures that were imposed by government and the International Monetary Fund in the past year are beginning to help the country emerge from its worst crisis since military rule in the 1980s.

Caribbean keeps up reparations pressure

Caribbean Community nations are raising awareness about reparations among member nations and keeping up pressure on Western nations such as Britain and France to agree to make reparation payments for the horrific trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Tiny Caribbean nation being bullied by the US

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.

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Caribbean rolls out relief efforts after Hurricane Matthew

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.

Major storm troubles Caribbean

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.

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Violent crime spirals in Trinidad—Government, opposition meet

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.

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Cyber crimes bill causes worry

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.

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Caricom is right to demand reparations

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.

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Governments again complain about US banks

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.

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Trinidad and Jamaica move to sort out major row

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.

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Caribbean bloc supports move to World Court

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.

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CARICOM fears banking isolation

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.

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Barbadians and the Panama Canal

A delegation of officials from Barbados, including Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, traveled to Panama on the weekend for the formal opening of the expanded Panama Canal project.

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Ganja kiosks for tourists a possibility

When Caribbean Community leaders meet for their main annual summit in Guyana in two weeks, one of the agenda issues will include a discussion on how the region will deal with medical marijuana and decriminalization of the narcotic for personal use across the single trading bloc of nations.

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Trinidad/Jamaica row addressed at summit

The simmering years-old row between Jamaica and Trinidad over an alleged Trinidadian bias against Jamaican nationals traveling to Trinidad is to be addressed at the highest level, with a planned visit by Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley to Jamaica in the coming months.

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Cash-strapped Venezuela turns to Caribbean

Facing perhaps its worst ever political and economic crisis, despite being the world’s fith oil producer, Venezuela has turned to its Caribbean neighbors for help as President Nicolas Maduro struggles to hold on to power.

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Ministers to discuss Jamaica-Trinidad row

Jamaica’s government has formally written to the 15-nation Caribbean Community demanding an extensive discussion of whether Trinidad, is obeying rules regarding the free movement of people within the region.

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First Zika pregnancies reported in Caribbean

The first Caribbean case of the Zika virus in pregnant women has been confirmed in Barbados, where three women are currently seeking treatment as the virus continues to storm the region.

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Afro-led government to probe Guyana death squad killings

On Carnival day back in 2002, four inmates awaiting trial for various felony offenses broke out of a maximum-security prison in Guyana’s capital, formed a gang that traded deadly rifle fire with police, staged a serious of armed robberies and killed several people at the start of a murderous six-year period that ended in 2008

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Caribbean taking credit for climate change

The agreements that nearly 200 countries signed in Paris to mitigate the effects of climate change last month have been well publicized, but the 15 members of the bloc of Caribbean Community countries are taking some of the credit regarding limiting increases in global temperatures to acceptable levels.

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Barbados to finally dump Queen Elizabeth

Tiny, idyllic Barbados, a place where British tourists have persistently said they are most comfortable visiting in the entire hemisphere, now says that it plans to dump Queen Elizabeth as the island’s head of state—just in time for the country’s 50th independence anniversary next year.

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Trinidad officially in recession

One by one, governments in the 15-nation Caribbean Community are beginning to complain about having a full blown or creeping economic recession.

Nominee from the real Caribbean loses battle for top job

Leaders from more than 50 former British colonies in the past week voted to give the Commonwealth grouping of nations its first female secretary general.

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French attacks force renewed focus on IS

Terrorist attacks in Paris forces a renewed focus by Caribbean governments on international terrorism.

Caricom takes reparations fight to OAS

Caricom continues to fight for reparations from Europe.

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Caribbean appeals court hands down key land rights ruling

A Trinidad-based umbrella Caribbean appeals court has forced authorities in Belize to recognize ancestral lands of its historical Mayan people.

The queen still reigns supreme

General elections in Jamaica are due in about a year, and if the governing People’s National Movement is forced to demit office because of the will of the electorate, it could mean that its sacred political promise to replace Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as the island’s head of state would not have been kept.

Too much sun in the Caribbean?

Browse through any magazine or website relating to the Caribbean and you will find that the region usually promotes itself as a place where tourists can enjoy sun, sand and the sea, but in recent months, governments and tourism industry officials are ironically complaining bitterly about too much sun and its effects on economies.

Pay us money for slavery, region tells UK PM

The head of a group appointed by Caribbean leaders to force Britain and other European countries to compensate the region for the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade wants British Prime Minister David Cameron to own up to the genocide against Caribbean people and be prepared to act accordingly.

Sugar struggles in Guyana

Just recently, authorities in Guyana set up a commission of inquiry to find out what exactly has gone wrong with their decaying sugar industry.

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