Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Caribbean news briefs

Caribbean news briefs

JAMAICA: PM says commission to probe gov't handling of alleged drug kingpin's extradition to US
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Jamaica's prime minister announced Tuesday that a commission of inquiry will be formed soon to probe his government's handling of a U.S. extradition request for alleged drug kingpin Christopher "Dudus" Coke.
During an address in Parliament, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said the membership and terms of the new inquiry will be made public in coming days. He said the panel would also look at the hiring of a lobbying firm to contest the U.S. extradition request for Coke, who the U.S. Justice Department listed as one of the world's most dangerous drug lords.
Church groups, civic organizations and the island's opposition have been calling for a commission of inquiry to be established for months, arguing that Golding's explanations for the Coke affair didn't answer many nagging questions.
"We need a commission of inquiry to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I wish it would have been earlier, but I don't want to make the good the enemy of the best," said Trevor Munroe, a political scientist at the University of the West Indies.
The prime minister's handling of the case, in particular his authorization of a U.S. firm to lobby Washington to drop the extradition request for Coke, provoked an outcry that threatened his political career.
In recent days, ruling party insider Harold Brady added to the pressure on Golding by publicly disputing the prime minister's claim that he didn't act as government leader in the hiring of the U.S. lobbyists, the Los Angeles-based firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Brady's allegations were detailed in a letter warning Golding of a libel lawsuit.
Golding said in a nationally televised address in May that he regretted bringing in the lobbying firm in Coke's case, but insisted he acted only in his capacity as head of the Jamaica Labor Party, not as prime minister.
The prime minister stonewalled the U.S. extradition request for nine months, claiming the indictment relied on illegal wiretap evidence. His stance strained relations with Washington, which questioned Jamaica's reliability as an ally in the fight against drug trafficking.
___
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Pothole protest turns deadly; 1 killed as riot police, protesters clash
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ A protest leader in the Dominican Republic says a man has been killed in a clash between police and demonstrators demanding highway repairs.
Victor Breton says riot officers opened fire with live ammunition, killing a 28-year-old man and wounding four other protesters.
Police say they are investigating the incident in the northern province of Espaillat, but decline further comment.
Protesters in the towns of Licey al Medio and Canca la Reina blocked the road with burning tires Tuesday to demand authorities fix rampant potholes.
After the shooting, dozens more joined the demonstration to call for the arrest of any officers who fired weapons.
___
JAMAICA: Island detains 48 Honduran fishermen abandoned by 2 fishing boats along coastal bank
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Jamaica has detained 48 Honduran fishermen who were abandoned by two fishing boats in an area known for its lobster, conch and shrimp.
The Jamaica Defense Force said in a Tuesday that the fishing boats sped off when patrol vessels approached, stranding the fishermen who had been wading along Pedro Cays collecting shellfish.
The fishermen were being interviewed by police and will likely be charged with illegal fishing.
In recent years, Jamaica's military has arrested several Honduran fishing crews for illegal fishing in Pedro Cays.
___
CUBA: Gov't says undersea telecomms cable from Venezuela will cost $70M; won't be ready until July
HAVANA (AP) _ An undersea cable from Venezuela to Cuba to improve Internet and telecommunications on the communist-run island won't be ready until July at the earliest and will cost more than initially thought, Cuban news media reported Tuesday.
The Communist Party newspaper Granma said the project will lay 3,125 miles (5,000 kilometers) of cable linking Cuba, Jamaica and Venezuela, and that its anticipated cost has risen from $63 million to $70 million.
The story cited Alberto Rodriguez, Cuba's vice minister of information and communications, as saying that the project won't be completed until July 2011 at the earliest. It did not say whether work has begun.
Venezuela's government has an agreement with the Paris-based company Alcatel-Lucent to produce and install the fiber optic line, but the project has been delayed repeatedly since it was first announced in 2007.
Cuba says the U.S. embargo blocks it from using telecommunication systems in nearby countries, and that it must rely on satellite service from Europe and other faraway locales, making Internet and phone service costly and unreliable.