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News Round UP: Week Ending 6/11/16

Jamaica

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), said there is no reason to be alarmed by the recent crab invasion in St Thomas where thousands of the crustaceans with black-and yellow-hued heads and reddish-purple legs swarmed the Rocky Point seashore.

Residents of Rocky Point and other Jamaicans who had seen pictures and videos of the massive cast of crabs, had expressed shock and fright at the sighting of the crabs, identified as Chinese Mitten Crabs or Shanghai Hairy Crabs.

But Dionne Rose, manager, public education and corporate communication at the agency, said land-to-sea migration and vice versa are normal parts of the animal’s reproductive cycle.

She said similar events were witnessed a decade ago in Nine Miles and Bull Bay, both also in St Thomas.
“During the events, hundreds of juvenile crustaceans traversed the beach from the sea to the adjoining mangrove forest. What is now occurring is that the adult females are traversing the beach en route to the sea as part of their reproductive life cycle,” Rose explained.

“Ecologically, the black land crab plays a role in soil dynamics and nutrient cycling in the environment. The public is therefore encouraged not to harvest the egg-laden adults as this will negatively impact the population of the species,” she added.

Rose said that after mating, the female crab carries her eggs for about two weeks before migrating and releasing them into the sea. During the peak of the spawning period the land crab then moves to the sea along a migratory route that includes roadways, gullies, beaches and mangrove areas, causing it to appear as a mass migration.

The crabs then lay their eggs near the sea, incubate them for approximately two weeks, and then enter the sea briefly for the larvae to hatch. The larvae released into the sea must drift and develop for about 20 days and if the currents are favourable, those that are lucky to survive come back to shore to migrate inland to continue their life cycle, Rose explained.Caribzone_Jamaica

But residents, most of whom had witnessed the phenomenon for the first time, had different theories.

“Last week Thursday, the beach full a crab. Yuh see crab ‘til you stomach sick,” fisherman Alphanso told the Jamaica Observer last week Monday. “A di fus mi really see it, but mi hear a man say him see it already.”

According to him, the heavy rains that had lashed the parish drove the crabs out of their habitat in the nearby mangroves, forcing them to squat on the beach for two days.

“A di rain wash dem out. A water full up dem hole, so some a dem find hole pon de seaside,” he said.

Another fisherman, who identified himself only as Michael, added: “Practically every year dem come out plenty round da time yah, but dis time dem march out inna millions. But dem march gone back een now.”

“The only explanation is the weather. Yuh know like it is a sign dat say wi ago have heavy rain or hurricane,” he continued.

The mass crab sighting also amazed James, yet another fisher.

“De amount a crab dat did deh yah, three 10-wheeler truck caa move dem, you affi have more,” he said with a chuckle.

The amazement was, however, lost on bartender Nicky, whose establishment is located on the beach.

“Mi did frighten cause a di fus mi ever si so much crab in my life! Some small and some big, but mi hear say some people ketch some and eat dem,” she said.

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Jamaica

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie has ordered a temporary hold on all asset divestment at the Hanover Parish Council.

“With immediate effect there will be a temporary hold on all asset disposal transactions including the sale of motor vehicles,” McKenzie said in a press release from the ministry today.

This, according to the release, is among a raft of initiatives in the ongoing efforts in the investigations at the Hanover Parish Council.

Caribzone_Jamaica“I am not happy with the current state of affairs at this particular council and I will spare no effort to ensure that transparency, accountability and enforcement measures are strengthened to restore the council to the level of service delivery the residents and taxpayers of Hanover deserve,” the minister said. He was responding to the OCG’s findings of impropriety in the sale and disposal of a 2009 Toyota Prado that was sold below market value via closed-door auction to the former Mayor, Shernet Haughton.

McKenzie was addressing a meeting of senior managers at the ministry in identifying strategies and initiatives to enhance the performance management, monitoring and evaluation of the councils to ensure adherence to procedures and standards in keeping with Government guidelines.

In reference to the OCG’s recommendations, he also indicated that as the oversight body for the local authorities, the ministry’s team will have to take a more hands-on approach within the context of a monitoring framework, the release said.

He identified the recently constituted Land Divestment Advisory Committee as a major plank in the sale, lease, disposal and management of Council lands. The committee will meet monthly and operate with a terms of reference guided by the land divestment policy of the Government of Jamaica.

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Jamaica

The Jamaica Customs Agency’s Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) and officers from the Port Security Team seized 605 pounds of marijuana at Kingston Container Terminal, yesterday.

The marijuana reportedly has an approximate street value of J$3,932,500. Caribzone_Jamaica

The agency said in a press release today that officers alerted them about “inconsistencies” regarding a shipment.

The release added that a detailed examination of the shipment led to the detection of five large packages containing 109 parcels of marijuana.

The agency said that the shipment arrived from China and was being trans-shipped to Suriname via Jamaica.

The Border Protection Unit of the Jamaica Customs Agency and the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Narcotics Division are investigating.

–end—


National

The Southern U.S. state of Louisiana has joined the nation in celebrating National Caribbean-American Heritage Month (NCAHM), News Americas has learned.

The Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana declared June NCAHM in the state with a proclamation introduced by State Senator Karen Carter Peterson while the Mayor of the City of New Orleans celebrated National Caribbean-American Heritage Month by recognizing the Caribbean Carnival/Friends of Culture with a Certificate on June 4, 2016.

The state resolution lauded Caribbean-Americans across the state and the nation for ensuring “that the United State remains a magnet for the best and brightest from around the world by lifting up those hard working individuals throughout the Caribbean and partnering with governments to build the foundation for the next century of progress and prosperity.”

It also noted that “Caribbean-Americans have shaped the course of the United States since the earliest chapters of its history.”

The New Orleans City Council also recognized the month with a special sitting on Thursday, June 8.

The Caribbean link to Louisiana dates back to 1791, when the Haitian Revolution erupted and sent a wave of migration from the Caribbean region. Between the 1790s and 1809, a large number of Haitians migrated to Louisiana, according to Damani Davis in “Ancestors From The West Indies.

“These Haitian émigrés influenced some of the unique character associated with New Orleans and southern Louisiana – including that region’s music, religious practices, cuisine, and other customs,” Davis added.

Louisiana and her Caribbean parent colony developed intimate links during the eighteenth century, centered on maritime trade, the exchange of capital and information, and the migration of colonists.

From such beginnings, Haitians exerted a profound influence on Louisiana’s politics, people, religion, and culture.

–end—

 

St. Lucia

 Voters in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia have chosen change – electing the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), as their new government on June 6, 2016.

Economist Allen Michael Chastanet of the United Workers Party (UWP), won a resounding victory in Monday’s general election, claiming 11 of the 17 seats in preliminary results.

Caribzone_St LuciaChastanet, a former Air Jamaica executive and local businessman, immediately signaled his intention to turn around an ailing economy, deal with a ballooning debt while at the same time keeping citizens at the heart of the new socio-economic plans for St Lucia.

“I want to say a big thank you to the people of St Lucia…let them know we are not going to let them down,” Chastanet said at his first news conference.

Chastanet was officially sworn in as Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, succeeding Dr. Kenny Anthony at 2:00 pm, on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

Meanwhile, the now former Prime Minister, Dr. Anthony, extended congratulations to the UWP and leader Allen Chastanet on the win.

“I wish the people of Saint Lucia the very best as we embark on this new journey,” he said adding that he will be stepping down as leader of the Opposition and as political leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLLP), but will continue to serve as a Member of Parliament for constituents of Vieux-Fort South.

Dr. Anthony is the latest incumbent Caribbean government to be voted out of power by a large scale majority of the electorate in recent months.

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Regional

Muhammad Ali, ‘the Black Super Man,’ is no more. Ali passed away at a Phoenix-area hospital at age 74 years old on Friday evening, June 3, after a three decades fight with Parkinson’s, a progressive neurological condition that slowly robbed him of both his verbal grace and his physical dexterity.

But the world cannot stop talking about his greatest boxing matches – including of course his very last fight in the Caribbean region.

The day was December 11, 1981. Ali, born Cassius Clay, was at the time attempting his second comeback from retirement after losing and regaining the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champ crown in 1978.

He re-emerged in October 1980 to fight a championship bout against Larry Holmes, who knocked him out in the 11th round in a one-sided battle. Ali refused to accept the result, however, and pushed to set up the fight with Jamaican boxer, Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas in order to prove himself.

But Berbick beat the former heavyweight champion in a unanimous 10-round decision, before a crowd of 10,000 at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassau, Bahamas.

Ali put in his best performance in the middle of the Berbick fight, seeming to win the fifth and sixth rounds with his combinations and aggressive punches. From the seventh round on, however, control belonged to the 27-year-old Berbick, whose speed and power allowed him to inflict a series of damaging punches, batter Ali in the corner, land a punch to the head in the ninth, and get him on the ropes in the tenth. In the end, all three judges gave the match to Berbick.

Ali retired for good after the fight, finishing his career with an overall record of 56-5, and earning a lasting reputation as one of the 20th century’s most influential sportsmen.

A funeral service is planned for Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, June 10.

–end—

Region

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness says he expects a number of high-level visits to Jamaica and increased bilateral co-operation, emerging from discussions he started at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) summit in Havana, Cuba, last weekend.

Holness, in a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said that among the invitees were Cuban President Raul Castro, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

He said that he was pleased to have discussions with Castro on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

“I was pleased to extend an invitation to the (Cuban) president to pay an official visit to Jamaica at a time to be determined through diplomatic channels. President Castro graciously accepted,” he stated.
“Prime Minister (Keith) Rowley has also agreed to pay an official visit to Jamaica in the near future, to continue discussions with me at the political level,” he added.

He said that, at the summit, he had reviewed Cuba-Jamaica relations at various levels, and pledged to identify ways to deepen the prospects for greater collaboration and exchanges in the areas of trade, tourism, climate change and disaster mitigation, culture and education, in the short term.

“I reiterated Jamaica’s unwavering commitment for an end to the economic embargo against Cuba, and to ensure that this call is maintained until it is lifted and Cuba can operate without the strictures of the unilateral action taken by the United States,” Holness stated.

He said that, among the possible areas of co-operation identified with Castro, was culture, through their creative industries, including a commitment to explore initiatives for the provision of increased language training on both sides.

He said that issues such as climate change and sea-level rise in the region, and potential consequences for human life and economic development were also discussed with Castro.

He said that, following the signing of a multi-destination tourism memorandum of understanding (MOU) by Jamaica’s Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, and Cuba’s Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz on Saturday, the two countries committed to have their “respective competent ministries” define the appropriate mechanisms to implement the MOU in a manner that will bring tangible benefits to both.

Holness said that he expects improved relations will be facilitated with Costa Rica through the existing Caribbean Community-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement of 2004, and the Jamaica-Costa Rica General Agreement on Economic, Technical and Commercial Cooperation signed in 1992.

“Within this context, the president of Costa Rica has encouraged Jamaica to participate in a trade exhibition to be held there in September, to identify possible increases in trade in goods and a variety of manufactured products in order to address Jamaica’s negative trade balance with Costa Rica,” he said.

He said that, in terms of the discussions with Trinidad and Tobago, he is expecting an early completion of the designated area at the Piarco Airport in Port-of-Spain to accommodate Jamaicans detained by immigration.

“Any administrative delays in the processing for return of Jamaican nationals in detention to allow them to be speedily reunited with their families is of immediate concern to my administration,” the Prime Minister said.

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