Antigua Government Sued For US$1Million

National Security Minister Dr Errol Cort is facing a US$1 million lawsuit filed by investors in the Stanford International Bank (SIB) yesterday – the last day they were allowed by law to submit such a claim. Read more of this post

Stanford Trial Delayed Over Drug Addiction

Fraud accused Allen Stanford has been granted a delay in his criminal trial while he gets treatment for a prescription drug addiction. Read more of this post

Digicel Faces Possible Disconnection Millions Owed

The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) is threatening to cut off Digicel, unless it settles millions of dollars in arrears by the beginning of next month. Read more of this post

Antigua Woes Deepened As Stanford’s Victims Racks Up Pressure

One motion is still awaiting a vote, but another resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to pressure Antigua and Barbuda into cooperating with Allen Stanford’s jilted investors. Read more of this post

Antigua Delays Extradition In Stanford Fraud Case

A hearing on a U.S. extradition request for Antigua’s former financial regulator has been postponed until December.

The public prosecutor’s office says the hearing for Leroy King is delayed after defense lawyers requested more time to prepare.

King has been fired as Antigua’s top financial regulator for ties to an alleged $7 billions scheme to swindle investors by jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford. Read more of this post

PM David Thompson: “Barbadians Feel Good About A Black Man Running For President Of United States” Examining Obama And McCain Polices For The Caribbean


While Barack Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, appears to be the rage across the Caribbean, some analysts express concerns about how his policies would affect the region. And, although John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, generates less attention in the Democratic-leaning Caribbean, some observers say his support of free trade and his policy experience could be better for the islands.

Still other analysts see the Caribbean as a low priority for each and express little optimism that either will produce radical change.

Neither McCain nor Obama has ”expressed serious positions on the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba, where there is a difference between the two candidates,” said Rupert Lewis, a political-science expert at the University of the West Indies (Mona) in Jamaica

Peter Hakim, president of the Washington think-tank Inter-American Dialogue, said he believes the lack of focus by either candidate on the region is a hint of what’s to come regardless of who wins in November.

”Americans right now are very insecure about their future. They are unhappy with the effects of globalization. There is not a great deal of interest in having the United States really engage in overseas these days,” Hakim said.

Others say it will be hard to ignore the Caribbean or Latin America, especially when so many nationals are registered U.S. voters. Brian Meeks, director of the Center for Caribbean Thought at the UWI, said that while many in the Caribbean are ”fascinated with the fact that there is a black candidate with a credible chance of becoming president,” leaders are not looking closely at either Obama’s or McCain’s policies.

”I don’t think they are approaching it in a hard-nosed realist way,” Meeks said, ‘which is to say `What is in it for the Caribbean? What is in it for Latin America and to what extent Obama, or for that matter McCain, will be addressing our concerns?’ ”

Caribbean leaders have increasingly complained of neglect following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as U.S. foreign policy shifted to other parts of the world. The region as a bloc opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In 2004, the Caribbean Community demanded an international investigation in the Feb. 29 ouster of Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Relations in the past year have warmed under President Bush, but they point out that he — unlike his predecessor Bill Clinton — has yet to set foot in Haiti or the English-speaking Caribbean. Clearly, Obama’s race has captured the imagination of many in the Caribbean.

”The idea of having a black man or a man of mixed race running for the president of the United States is very historic and important,” Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson told The Miami Herald.

“Barbadians feel good about that.”

And George Lamming, a Barbados-born novelist and intellectual, adds: “The planet has been ruled by white power for 500 years, and you have the overwhelming majority of the world’s population [as] nonwhite people. It’s not only black people down here.”

But symbolism isn’t good enough, critics of U.S. policy say, when leaders consider the challenges facing a region wrestling with crime and economic troubles.

”The United States has defaulted in the last decade in having any meaningful aid relations with the Caribbean, and that is where Venezuela has stepped in and has provided that,” Meeks said. “How does Obama view that? What are the prospects for that kind of mutually beneficial relations?”

Both McCain and Obama speak of a shift in policy. McCain supports expanding trade with the Caribbean basin, while Obama is much more restrictive on trade preferences.

”It seems to me that from an economic and foreign policy point of view, Obama may be more destructive to Trinidad and Tobago interests specifically, and Caribbean interests more generally, than a Category 5 hurricane,” said Anthony Wilson, editor in chief of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

Obama’s position on trade ”has the potential to cast thousands of workers into unemployment throughout the region,” Wilson said in an e-mail to The Miami Herald. “From the perspective of foreign relations, [John] McCain would be much better for Caribbean economies than Obama.”

While Obama’s support for wiping out poor countries’ debt is welcomed, his push to tighten regulations of offshore banking jurisdictions have riled others. He currently is sponsoring the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, legislation that targets tax havens. The bill lists Antigua and 14 other Caribbean jurisdictions among those countries singled out for increased scrutiny.

”I put that down to his lack of information,” said St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, a critic of the legislation but an admirer of Obama.“Once he is properly informed — he would see that these islands, which are among the closest friends of the American people — he would not do anything knowingly for them to suffer.”

While McCain and Obama have spoken of a need to address transnational crime in the region, neither has given any indication that the U.S. policy of deporting criminals will change.

Adapted from Miami Herald

Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy Summoned To Emergency Meeting

Tourism is the life blood of the Barbados economy. Any decisions made outside Barbados that would have a negative impact on our survival is cause for concern. Like the recent decision by American air carriers to cut their carrying capacity by as much as 20% because as you guess it, rising fuel costs which would mean less travellers coming to these shores.

Let’s face it. If plane A, used to carrying say 780 passengers to region A decided to slash their passenger load by 20%, that’s 156 less travellers coming to region A. If plane B, used to carrying say 830 passengers to region B decided to slash their passenger load by 20%, that’s 166 less travellers coming to region A.

So plane A brings 624 passengers and plane B brings 664 passengers. Now it may not be the case of each carrier slashing their capacity by 20% more likely a combination of the air carriers percentage. The point is that is already 322 travellers less coming to the Caribbean and a lesser extent Barbados.

We have not even touch on the thousands much more the millions of travellers that the region would be losing in subsequent years. Imagine the dollar figures people!!!.

So dire is the situation that Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy would be just one of the tourism ministers receiving correspondence inviting them to a 29th May meeting [next Thursday] in Antigua to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the gravity of the situation.

According to the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation [CTO] and St Lucia’s Minister Of Tourism Senator Allen Chastanet said that the decision by the air carriers,

would have a serious impact on visitor arrivals to this tourism dependent region. He warned that this would be made worse over the next six to nine months as the ongoing economic downturn, plus the traditional low spending in an election year, would equal a fall-off in holiday bookings to the Caribbean by visitors from the United States.

And he does not stop there. Mr Chastanet went on to say that if a US$30m marketing plan by the CTO did not get the support from the ministers needed to propel it into action, then that May 29th meeting would be the last regional meeting that he would attend!!!.

All because the Caribbean is still relying on sun, sea and sand!

Further readingTourism Ministers Summoned To Emergency Meeting

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