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CARIBBEAN NEWS: September 20th – 26th, 2014

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HAITIANS TO CREATE NEW STATION IN JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA—09/20/14
According to Dr. Ernst Michel, the co-owner of a new station dedicated to medical, legal, news, and entertainment programming in French and Creole, the main problem for people of Haitian descent in Florida is lack of information, education, communication, and a need to join together. The station will provide a way for this population to have these needs met. There are large Haitian immigrant communities in Orlando, Miami, and Tampa already, and Jacksonville will now be recognized as another large community of Haitians to be served by the new station.

HEALTH AUTHORITIES WARN ABOUT EFFECTS OF POT DECRIMINALIZATION—09/21/14
James Hospedales, the executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), is calling for nations in the Caribbean to be cautious as they consider decriminalizing marijuana. He noted that there is a link between marijuana and the development of mental health problems. The adverse effects of smoking cannabis may become evident in health and social and occupational functioning, he said, particularly among young people.

READING SERIES IN TEXAS FEATURES CARIBBEAN AUTHOR—09/22/14
The Master of Fine Arts program in writing, editing and publishing at Sam Houston State University opened its reading series for 2014-2015 with the participation of Caribbean author Tiphanie Yanique. She began the series by reading from her first novel “The Land of Love and Drowning,” which was described by the BBC as a story involving shipwrecks, storms, war, and love. The author exemplifies the “new Caribbean” style, said English professor April Shemak.

TRINIDAD WILL NOT STOP HIGHWAY PROJECT FOR ACTIVIST—09/23/14
The government of Trinidad and Tobago will not call a halt to a highway extension project in order to stop Wayne Kublalsingh, an environmental activist, from resuming his hunger strike in protest of the project. Kublalsingh was on a hunger strike in December 2012 for 21 days because he believes the project will have a negative impact on families in the area and cause serious damage to wetlands. After an impendent review of the project was completed, and the government planned to go ahead with the project, Kublalsingh threatened to resume the hunger strike. The government says it will continue with the project and has told the activist it cannot meet his request.

FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF RULING MARKED BY HAITIAN AMERICAN LAWYERS—09/24/14
The one-year anniversary of a 2013 ruling from the Dominican Court was marked by the Haitian American Lawyers Association. The case involved the family of a woman born in the Dominican Republic and her six children, only four of whom have birth certificates and citizenship in Dominica. Because of what Dominican authorities called her “strange” Haitian and “Africanized” last name – Basic Cofi – her child was denied Dominican citizenship.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR CASSAVA PRODUCTION ADOPTED IN CARIBBEAN—09/25/14
Training in how to implement new technologies for the production of cassava was provided to representatives of 11 nations in the Caribbean. The goal of the training is to improve competitiveness and promote innovations that can add value to cassava products. The training is provided by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA). Participating in the training were delegates from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, Belize, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Martinique, St Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Dominica, and Grenada.

NATIONAL REPARATIONS COMMISSION SAYS ISLAND DUE J$416.3 TRILLION—09/24/14
According to Jamaica’s National Commission on Reparations (NCR), Jamaica would be due about J$416.3 trillion in slavery reparations from any paid by Britain to the Caribbean region. The funds could be used to pay off the country’s national debt, which totals $2 trillion, as well as place the nation on a better economic path. The amount is based on the 30.64 percent of the £7.5 trillion calculated by Dr. Robert Beckford, academic theologian in Britain, as being Jamaica’s share of what is owed to the former British colonies in the region.

GOVERNMENT REVIEWS BAN ON E-CIGARETTES—09/25/14
Jamaica’s government plans to review its ban on the importation of e-cigarettes. According to Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, the review represents a response to the criticism of the ban from various social sectors and requests for some kind of concessions to be made. E-cigarettes are vaporizers powered by batteries that simulate tobacco smoking and produce an aerosol resembling smoke. Proponents of the device say it has fewer health risks than tobacco and presents an alternative for smokers who want to reduce nicotine intake. Critics say e-cigarettes cause nicotine dependence and create heart and respiratory problems.

SUPREME COURT BUILDING FUMIGATED DUE TO CHIKUNGUNYA FEARS—09/26/14
Justice Gloria Smith of Jamaica’s Supreme Court is calling for the court building to be fumigated due to fears of spreading the chikungunya virus. The Justice believes that the virus could cause serious damage to the court’s operations if it were to take hold in the building. She noted that there are many mosquitoes in the Supreme Court building in downtown Kingston. The virus is spread by mosquitoes. The Justice said that two jurors had exhibited chikungunya-type symptoms this week.

ENTREPRENEURS TO ADOPT PRUDENT BUSINESS PRACTICES—09/26/14
Because of changes in the loan market, Patrick Hylton, CEO of the National Commercial Bank (NCR) is advising entrepreneurs to be prudent in their business practices. He said the market changes include the introduction of credit bureaus, a credit rating system, and the Security Interest in Personal Property (SIPP), which allows individuals to use intellectual property as loan collateral.

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Written by Staff Writer