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Bert Wilkinson

Stories by Bert

‘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.

Unusual rains batter south Caribbean

Heavier than usual annual year-end rains have battered the south Caribbean in the past week, collapsing roads and homes, causing extensive flooding and forcing the closure of schools and state and private sector agencies.

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Holder’s last session with Caricom

Outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was scheduled to meet with his colleagues from the Caribbean trade bloc in idyllic Barbados Wednesday of this week to discuss security and other issues, officials said.

Guyana parliament dissolved

This week, Guyana’s Indo-led governing People’s Progressive Party used an unusual clause in the national constitution to duck an opposition no-confidence motion that would have forced it to resign and call general elections in 90 days.

Summit called to address Ebola scare

Caribbean Community leaders were scheduled to fly to Port of Spain, Trinidad, this week for an emergency summit primarily organized to review the state of readiness in the event of an Ebola infection or outbreak in the tourism-dependent region.

Caricom and U.S. to meet on trade

An umbrella body overseeing trade and aid relations between the U.S. and the Caribbean will convene in the Bahamas this week for its annual review meeting, which will include updates on a simmering international gaming row between the U.S. and Antigua, the Guyana-based trade bloc said.

Farrakhan pushes reparations

Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan flew to Jamaica last week to celebrate the 19th anniversary of his Million Man March on the U.S. Capitol in 1995.

The Ebola threat and the Caribbean

Some Caribbean community governments are preparing for the possibility of an outbreak of the Ebola virus, knowing full well that a single confirmed case in the region could significantly affect its lifeline tourism industry.

Caribbean Muslims and ISIS

Islamic leadership groups in Trinidad are to meet this week to discuss and assess reports that dozens of local Muslim activists have left the prosperous twin-island republic with Tobago for the Middle East to fight with the Islamic State, with some reportedly earning up to $1,000 a day for their services.

Race for top post in ACP brings internal row

Caribbean governments have nominated three prominent professionals to lead a 79-nation, Brussels-based group of former European colonies, but some member states are very upset that those shortlisted come from countries that they say have traditionally dominated the top positions of umbrella regional and international organizations.

Jamaica Calculates Its Reparations Money

“It also does not include the trauma and pain of the ‘Middle Passage’ journey, punishment, death through execution and the sexploitation which were daily features of the plantation society, both during and after slavery,” said the commission boss, Verene Shepherd. “And it excludes the cost of repatriation. There is no doubt that the punishment meted out to the enslaved people was severe, and this level of suffering must be accounted for in any demand for repair and restorative justice.”

Aussie firm vows not to bribe officials

When general elections are held in the Caribbean trade bloc headquarter nation of Guyana later this year or early in the next, the issue of runaway corruption is likely to take center stage.

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China’s Caribbean plan

If there were any doubts that China has its eyes on Latin America and the Caribbean, just look at the latest statements emanating from Beijing about its plans to assist the Caribbean trade bloc.

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Trinidad general elections heat up

Two key, hotbed political issues are dominating the news in Trinidad this week

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Opponents rally against bill designed to keep Hindu government in power

The Trinidad Senate is set to debate a controversial bill this week that the Lower House has already passed, which some say is designed to ensure that the Indo-led People’s Partnership maintains power at general elections due by the last quarter of next year.

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Opposition motion may force out government

Last week, the two opposition parties in Guyana’s Parliament announced plans to use their one-seat majority to vote for a no-confidence motion when Parliament returns from its annual break in October, to force the Indo-led People’s Progressive Party from office, citing runaway corruption and the alleged economic rape of the country as key reasons.

Tumultuous week for Trinidad

Last week, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar fired controversial Sports Minister Anil Roberts from her cabinet, blaming him for seriously mismanaging a government-funded program that was designed to create employment for youths and give others who have dropped out of school and the workplace system a second chance in life.

Carib takes reparations case to UK Parliament

Caribbean trade bloc countries fighting to make Britain and other European countries pay for the transatlantic slave trade have formally taken their case to the British Parliament, with their leading reparations advocate urging legislators to correct wrongs that were enacted into law by that very House of Commons, because millions in the region are still suffering from the effects of slavery.

Aruba Reaches Out but has Problems

Just last weekend, the Aruban prime minister, Mike Eman, other cabinet ministers and high officials ended a week-long hunger strike to protest what authorities said were efforts by the Netherlands, the island’s so-called mother country, to sabotage the 2014-15 budget.

Jamaica’s top cop quits

In the past month, Owen Ellington, Jamaica’s top cop, abruptly handed in his letter of retirement to authorities, years before his due date, fueling island-wide speculation that his unexpected departure was the result of pressure from Western nations, such as the United States, over allegations that the local force ran a death squad responsible for dozens of extrajudicial killings.

Caribbean steps up fight for payment from Europe

Not surprisingly, Caribbean trade bloc leaders, who wrapped up their four-day main annual summit in the small but idyllic eastern Caribbean island of Antigua on the weekend, pressed on the accelerator regarding their demand for payment from European nations that participated in and benefitted from the African slave trade.

Caribbean leaders to meet. reparations on agenda

Plans by Caribbean community leaders to make Europe pay for reparations for the African slave trade, stalled free trade talks with Canada and a progress report on the overhaul of the 15-nation integration movement will be among key agenda items when heads of government meet in the Eastern Caribbean island nation of Antigua this week.

Suspended US democracy project back on track

A U.S. government-funded leadership and democracy project that was suspended several weeks ago has restarted following assurances to the contrary, outgoing American Ambassador Brent Hardt said.

Reparations Fight Gaining Steam

Caribbean serious about making Europe pay

Caribbean governments this week erased any lingering doubts that they are serious about making Europe pay for the horrors of the Transatlantic slave trade by holding their most important preparatory meeting yet ahead of plans for a high level delegation to travel to Europe to serve demand payment letters in the coming weeks.

Walter Rodney murder probe to resume

A commission of inquiry probing the June 1980 assassination of Caribbean and American civil rights activist Walter Rodney is to resume hearings after a short break later this month.

Caribbean eyeing hurricane season

The annual hurricane season officially began this week, and several governments in the Caribbean say they are reviewing plans to deal with any eventuality despite international predictions that this year will be quieter than usual.

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Caricom foreign ministers call in help

Caricom foreign ministers who met for several days at regional headquarters Guyana in the past week say they plan to utilize the services of academic and other experts from around the trade bloc in the future to help governments shape the region’s foreign policy and to assist them in dealing with various challenges.

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CARICOM Forign ministers call in help

Caribbean Community foreign ministers met for several days in regional headquarters in Guyana

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Caricom-Canada talks stall again, near collapse

In the clearest indication yet that Canada and the 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc might not have a free trade agreement anytime soon

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Caricom backs Antigua in fight with US

The Caribbean trade bloc governments appealed to the U.S. to honor a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in favor of Antigua

Rodney commission starts work

An international commission of inquiry into the mid-1980s assassination of a Guyana-born U.S. and Caribbean Black Power and civil rights activist, Walter Rodney, began in earnest in his homeland this week.

Big sugar conference to look at future for region

A major international conference involving sugar producers from Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and other regions is slated for Jamaica next month as fears grow that a new protocol governing sales of crystal to the Europe is being implemented over objections from manufacturers.

Caricom countries feuding over border dispute

In the very near future, Caribbean trade bloc governments might be called upon to intervene in a feud dating back to the British and Dutch colonial era.

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Most crucial round of Canada talks starts Monday

This week, Caribbean trade bloc nations and Canada commenced a crucial round of negotiations for a free trade agreement in Ottawa, Canada.

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Guyana to begin FACTA talks with the US

A number of Caribbean trade bloc nations have announced plans to begin talks with US financial officials in the coming months to negotiate an agreement with the US discouraging American citizens and residents from hiding millions of tax free dollars in accounts overseas.

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Compensate 1990 Trinidad coup victims, says report

The report of a commission of inquiry into the July 1990 attempted coup in Trinidad is out and has come up with some interesting recommendations for authorities

Medical marijuana for Caricom

Caribbean trade bloc leaders have agreed in principle to decriminalize the narcotic in the region and have even dared to suggest that the move could help reduce crime.

Reparations, Marijuana on Leaders Summit

When Caribbean Community leaders meet in the tiny Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent next week two unusual items will be on the agenda of their two-day mid-year summit, one to do with an effort to win compensation for Slavery from Europe and the other a debate as to whether regional citizens should be allowed to possess and smoke marijuana, at least for medical reasons.

China increases influence in region. Nurses, military boats for Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister is currently on a state visit to China

Governments call in regional airlines

Worried about the health of air carriers operating in the Caribbean trade bloc, regional governments have called in the chief executives of major airlines.

Caribbean can win reparations fight

When Caribbean community leaders meet in St. Vincent for the first of two summits this year, a key agenda item will be the efforts by regional governments to make European nations like Britain and France pay for enslaving millions of Africans during the colonial era transatlantic slave trade.

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Review of CARICOM functioning moving apace

A team of experts hired by Caribbean community leaders is moving ahead with a mandate from leaders to recommend an overhaul of the way the Guyana-based regional secretariat operates

Review of Caricom functioning moving apace

The regional secretariat has been operating in Guyana from its inception but with a growing mandate of responsibilities in recent years, the widely held view is that the time has come for a complete review of the way it operates, staffing levels and financing among other issues.

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Big drug bust sends DEA rushing to Trinidad

A huge shipment of cocaine that customs and border patrol agents found in Norfolk, Virginia this month has sent more than 50 Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and other federal agents scampering to the South Caribbean island of Trinidad.

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Barbados gov’t, unions lock horns

The government of Barbados is going ahead with the retrenchment of more than 3,000 civil servants this year

Radioactive cars from Japan turning up in Caribbean

Last month, customs and other enforcement authorities in Jamaica intercepted and quarantined a 40-foot container of vehicle parts destined for Guyana

Caribbean to focus on climate change

Heavier than usual December rains caused havoc in the region, killing nearly a dozen people, triggering mudslides and floods and causing general mayhem for thousands.

Heavy rains kill more than a dozen

Caribbean governments activated the Barbados-based Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in the past week.

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US to go ahead with democracy project

For most of this year, the U.S. government has been toying with the idea of plowing money into nongovernmental civic organizations and political parties in Guyana to help them strengthen democracy at the local level largely because the system has gradually broken down over the years.

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