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CARIBBEAN NEWS: December 20th – 26th, 2014

RENEWED RELATIONS BETWEEN CUBA, U.S. WELCOMED IN CARIBBEAN—12/20/14
The leaders of Caribbean nations welcome the historic action taken by the United States and Cuba to normalize relations after many years of a trade embargo. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of St. Lucia, said the announcement of the new U.S.-Cuba policy is a “dramatic development” that will benefit the Caribbean region in terms of economic conditions.

BROOKLYN NATIVE INDICTED FOR DEFRAUDING IMMIGRANTS FROM CARIBBEAN—12/21/14
Nickya Wittington, 27, of Brooklyn, New York, faces charges of stealing US$12,850 from undocumented Caribbean immigrants. Wittington, who is also known as Nicky John, promised to provide green cards and work permits to the immigrants. Ken Thompson, district attorney for Brooklyn, said Wittington is guilty of preying on some of the most vulnerable people in society, victimizing immigrants who were trying to comply with the law.

SENIOR BAHAMIAN IMMIGRATION OFFICER PUT ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE—12/22/14
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Bahamas served notice that a senior immigration official was put on administrative leave in regard to a pending investigation of a sexual assault alleged by a Jamaican citizen. The police are also looking into the incident. The Ministry said it did not condone any abuses of any kind by its immigration officers and that strong measures will be taken when detainees’ rights are violated.

IRAN USES DUAL CITIZENSHIP IN CARIBBEAN TO AVOID SANCTIONS—12/23/14
St. Kitts and Nevis is an attractive destination for businessmen from Iran who are looking to exploit the citizenship-for-investment programs offered in the Caribbean to avoid international sanctions imposed on account of Iran’s nuclear program.  St. Kitts was the first country to allow overseas investors to gain citizenship through investment more than 30 years ago. More recently, more countries in the region have offered citizenship or residency program for foreign investors. St. Kitts’ program remains the most lax, requiring no residency and providing passports within three months for $250,000 or a qualifying real estate investment.

UNESCO CARIBBEAN HERITAGE ACTION PLAN CONFIRMED AT REGIONAL MEETING—12/24/14
The Caribbean’s path to World Heritage status was formalized at a meeting between the regional stakeholders organized by the World Heritage Center, UNESCO offices in Havana and Kingston, and together with UNESCO offices in Haiti. Financial support for the plan is being provided by the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust at the World Heritage Center. The meeting addressed issues such as the significance of the Caribbean in world heritage and the development of an action plan for the Caribbean that would span the years 2014 through 2019.

CARICOM COUNTRIES TO PARTICIPATE IN U.S. VISA PROGRAMS—12/25/14
The United States Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, consulting with the State Department, announced the five CARICOM nations with eligibility to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for 2015. Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Haiti, and Jamaica are eligible for the programs that permit employers in the U.S. to bring foreign nationals into the country to fill agricultural and non-agricultural jobs on a temporary basis.

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Staff Writer
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Written by Staff Writer