Caribbean Report 20-01-1999



Table of Contents

1. Headlines with anchor Emma Joseph (00:24)
2. Barbadians head to the polls with crime and the economy as the two dominating issues. The contest is between the incumbent Barbados Labour Party led by Prime Minister Owen Arthur and the Democratic Labour Party led by Opposition leader David Thompson. Journalist Bertram Niles reports on voting turnout which is expected to exceed 60% and priority issues identified by the electorate such as crime, leadership, and food. The Barbados Labour Party campaigned on its economic record and the recent fall in unemployment. Opinion polls shows that Owen Arthur will return to office (00:25-03:53)
3. The Guyana dollar reached a record low against the US currency. Colin Smith reports on how high import bills for consumer goods and companies repatriating profits faster than investments are adding to the nation’s currency problems with long-term foreign investment being a possible solution. President Janet Jagan reassures the nation that her government is committed to assisting foreign investors by removing bureaucratic methods. Opposition leader Desmond Hoyte states that there will be no foreign investment without economic confidence and political stability. Economists propose strategies for releasing foreign currency in the open market and selling security bonds (03:54 - 06:42)
4. Trinidad and Tobago currency is faring well against the US dollar and this has prompted officials to focus on exchange rate stability. Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Jerry Hospedales expects an increase in foreign exchange earnings from the natural gas and petrochemicals industries and identifies measures and instruments enacted by the government to ensure that the TT dollar remains competitive (06:43 - 0 7:48)
5. Race relations, the Caribbean and Africa received attention from US President Bill Clinton during his State of the Union address. Clinton stressed the importance for US to strengthen links with the Caribbean, educate children, wage war on drugs, strengthen democracy, increase trade, and bring political reform to Cuba and Africa. Author and syndicated columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson comments on Clinton’s commitment to investing in the future of the immigrant community, improving race relations and bringing democracy to Cuba (07:49 - 11:43)
6. The United Nations calls for elections in Haiti in 2000 and offers logistic support. Professor Alex Dupuy Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan Institute in the US comments that President René Préval cannot ignore the UN gesture and should welcome the UN as mediator, enact an impartial electoral council to oversee fair elections and work towards a mediated solution with other political leaders in Haiti (11:45 - 14:37)
7. US and Cuban sports officials agree on the location and dates for two baseball games between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuba National team. The delegation is still at odds on how to distribute proceeds from the exhibition matches with the US opting for distribution to a non-profit organization and the Cubans wishing to donate the money to assist victims of hurricane Mitch in Central America (14:38 - 15:30)