CARIBBEAN NEWS: October 25th – 31st, 2014

CRUISE LINES THREATEN PULL-OUT OF BELIZE DUE TO EBOLA SCREENING—10/25/14
Belize could lose the Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines due to stringent measures imposed in regard to the Ebola virus at the Belize Harbor. The cruise lines have objected to the new screening protocols, saying they cause delays in the ships’ tight scheduling and the large numbers of tourists who want to go ashore. Belize has also stopped issuing visas for individuals from Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

CARIBBEAN SOCCER LEAGUE IDEA POPULAR, BUT OBSTACLES REMAIN—10/26/14
There is support for a regional Caribbean soccer league, and a new league could be in operation within two years if significant obstacles can be overcome. CONCACAF, soccer’s regional governing organization, discussed the issue at the Soccerex Americas Forum. A taskforce was established to look into the establishment of a regional league.

$2.5 MILLION GIVEN TO HAITI FOR DISASTER INSURANCE BY CDB—10/27/14
The Caribbean Development Bank gave $2.5 million to Haiti to cover Port-au-Prince disaster insurance premiums for the year ending May 31, 2015. Collin Cunningham, communications officer for the bank, said that the recurrent nature of the insurance premium payments is recognized, Haiti’s government is unable to pay the insurance right now due to social and economic challenges. The bank gave the same amount in 2013 for the annual premium to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility

UK POLITICIANS RECOGNIZE CARIBBEAN DIASPORA—10/28/14
Representatives of the United Kingdom Caribbean Diaspora were invited to an event sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society to discuss issues of interest to the Caribbean community. Events such as this have been organized since 2009. In 2014, the event was recognized by the three major political parties in the UK as well, suggesting that politicians no longer view the population of Caribbean ancestry in the UK with disinterest. They are ready to respond to this community as an important source of potential voters.

STUDENTS FROM NIGERIA, GHANA BARRED ENTRY DUE TO EBOLA FEARS—10/29/14
St. Martin barred entry to nine students traveling from Lagos to Dominica due to fear of the Ebola virus. None of the students, who came from Ghana and Nigeria, displayed evidence that they had tested negative for Ebola; but they were denied entry anyway. None of the students had even been exposed to the virus. Rather than finish their trip, the students were sent back to Nigeria on a journey that lasted five days and cost them N575, 000, as they were required to travel via Panama, Brazil, Togo, and finally Nigeria.

U.S. DIPLOMAT CALLS FOR RESOLUTION TO END ELECTION BLOCKING IN HAITI—10/30/14
Thomas Shannon, counselor to the United States Secretary of State John Kerry, traveled to Haiti to aid in the resolution of a political impasse that is stopping legislative and local elections there. He met with Haiti’s Prime Minister, members of Parliament, and representatives from political parties in an attempt to find a way to hold elections before Parliament is dissolved in 2015.