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Bert Wilkinson

Stories by Bert

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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.

Trinidad heats up, Rowley fears assassination

In just under a month from now, voters in oil- and gas-rich Trinidad and Tobago will decide whether to dump the administration of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar amid widespread allegations of corruption and graft and an inability to deal with runaway violent crime, among other simmering societal ills.

Reparations battle picks up steam

Usually at this time of the year, international legislators and high flyers at umbrella organizations such as the European Union, its Parliament and even the Caribbean Community Secretariat take an extended break from the daily grind of trade negotiations and global conferences to refocus on the main issues in the fall.

Caricom can approach WTO in rum dispute

A simmering row between rum producers in the Caribbean and the U.S. government over generous tax subsidies it gives to American companies operating in the region has flared again.

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Trinidad picks up coup leader

Before daybreak Monday, police swooped down on the Trinidad headquarters of a Black Muslim sect that staged a bloody coup attempt on the island 25 years ago.

Guyana-Venezuela situation worsens

Venezuelan authorities last week turned away and generally hassled a Guyanese fuel boat that had docked there for oil supplies.

Dominican Republic neighbors condemn atrocities against Haitians

A Caribbean Community leaders summit that ended in Barbados on the weekend warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in the region if the Dominican Republic continues its heartless deportation of people of Haitian descent, including those born in the island nation neighboring Haiti.

Key issues on Caricom agenda include reparations, Venezuela, Guyana

Three key issues will attract the attention of Caribbean trade bloc leaders when they meet for three days at one of their two most important annual summits in Barbados starting Thursday.

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Trinidad votes in September

Citizens of oil- and gas-rich Trinidad and Tobago go to the polls in early September, and the governing People’s Partnership administration faces an uphill task if it doesn’t want to become the latest government in the Caribbean to be voted out by dissatisfied electors.

Canada goes to WTO for Caricom

Because neither Canada nor the 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc can agree on a new deal governing trade between the two, Canada has said it now has no choice but to ask the Geneva-based World Trade Organization to intervene in the dispute.

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Who is next to go in the Caribbean?

May 25, voters in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean trade bloc nation of Suriname will go to the polls to elect a new government.

Second Caribbean government taken out by voters

In all this year, six general elections are to be held in the 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc, and if internal and other polls hold true, four of these are expected to yield new governments or result in wafer-thin majorities.

Largest shareholder plotting to collapse regional island hopper

Barbados and Antigua, two of the largest shareholders of the regional commuter air service that is an aviation lifeline to many islands in the Caribbean Community, are at the center of a heated row with Antigua.

Jamaican teen stopped from joining Islamic State

Of all the leaders in the 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc, Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad would appear to have an obsession with terrorist organizations in the Middle East and their impact on the rest of the world, vulnerable youth in particular.

Ex-officers line up behind Guyana elections coalition

When the Caribbean trade bloc headquarter nation of Guyana votes for a new government May 11, the elections will most likely be a straight race between a multiracial opposition coalition group and the Indo-dominated governing People’s Progressive Party...

Controversial ‘dollars for passport’ scheme under review

The six-week-old government in the Eastern Caribbean twin island federation of St. Kitts and Nevis says it is planning a complete overhaul of its economic citizenship program through which foreigners can buy a local passport and citizenship through cash and investment projects because the system was badly abused by the previous administration.

Barbados to dump the queen

Tiny Barbados is preparing to dump Britain’s Queen Elizabeth after centuries of imperial colonial rule. The nation has decided to replace her with a local head of state and, like Guyana, Trinidad and a few other Caribbean trade bloc states, soon proclaim itself a republic.

US coming down on Caricom for copyright

The U.S. is beginning to crackdown on Caribbean trade bloc countries that have used American television and other programs without respecting copyright issues for decades.

No backing down on reparations demands

Caribbean governments restated their intention to pursue Britain and other European nations that participated in the brutal transatlantic slave trade for reparations. Likewise, they want those nations to know that they should negotiate with the region in good faith.

Caribbean banks in deep trouble with US counterparts

Caribbean trade bloc governments have agreed to establish a special committee of finance ministers to probe reasons why American and European commercial banks are reluctant to conduct business with regional counterparts, saying they fear many will soon face closure if the situation is not corrected.

Marijuana, reparations on summit agenda

Caricom leaders are scheduled to meet in the Bahamas to discuss a number of key issues, including the push to make European nations pay for slavery and to establish a commission on marijuana decriminalization, the bloc said.

Official probe into the Dudus saga begins in Jamaica

An official investigation has begun into the bloody operation that dislodged Jamaica’s most wanted man from a fortified city stronghold. The politician at the helm of government at the time claims he was forced to sever all ties with the drug dealer because he had not only become a political liability but also because he had been hiding fugitives in the community.

Jamaica gets liberal with weed

As Caribbean governments prepare to review region-wide legislation allowing for medical marijuana use and a relaxation of laws for possession of infinitesimal amounts, the Obama administration wants the island to know that it is not comfortable with the move towards decriminalization.

Five general elections in Caricom this year

At least five general elections are scheduled to be held in the 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc this year, including three in the politically volatile Southern Caribbean region, and if opinion polls are anything to go by, at least three elections could result in new governments.

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Trinidad reeling under lower oil prices

Trinidad, the bloc’s largest producer of oil and recently a major supplier of gas for Eastern Seaboard states in the U.S., is being forced to significantly cut back on spending as international prices plunge, leaving the oil- and gas-dependent nation in the financial lurch.

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Britain and Commonwealth may suspend Guyana for breaching rules

The 53-nation Commonwealth grouping of former British colonies this week threatened to sanction Guyana’s government for its suspension of the country’s parliament and for its refusal to hold local government elections.

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Bahamas PM new head of CARICOM

The Bahamas has taken over the rotating chairmanship of the 15-nation Caribbean Community from Antigua and Barbuda and will be the venue for next month’s mid-year regional leaders summit, the bloc said this week

Would an open Cuba affect Caribbean tourism?

By the time Obama had finished outlining plans to normalize relations after 18 months of astonishingly secret talks, academics were releasing studies that had already predicted not so good news for countries that are members of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization.

‘Who’s in, who’s out’ under President Obama’s executive action plan

In the early hours of Monday morning, Dec. 1, I appeared on the “Tony Cobb Radio Show” on 93.5 FM to chat about the details of the recent immigration changes following the executive action of President Barack Obama Nov. 20.

Caricom makes progress in mother-to-child transmission

Thirteen Caribbean nations are close to eliminating HIV transmission from mothers to children and could likely win international certification in a year’s time, officials said this week.

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