Caribbean Report 15-07-2002



Table of Contents

1. Headlines (00:00-00:28)
2. In Guyana, two persons were charged with treason. Two protesters entered the President’s Office compound during a protest march. Two of the protesters were shot dead by the security guards. Colin Smith reports. Treason in Guyana carries the death penalty. The men shot by police were identified as Phillip Bynoe and Mark Benschop. The men were charged with unlawfully entering the premises of the President and encouraging others to unlawfully overtake and distort the office of the President (00:29-01:43)
3. One thousand police in Suriname are on a four-day strike. They are demanding a new salary scale. Traffic department closed on Friday. The President of the Police Union, John Stellar stated that further demonstration is likely if the Government and the Union do not come up with an agreement to correct the scale of salary. Government says there is no argument with the police and the Government and there was no reason for the strike Steven Van Frederick Lewis reports, from Paramaribo. (01:44-03:46)
4. Suriname’s Legal Affairs Minister, Siegfried Gills says the Government cannot afford any salary increases at this time, due to the country’s financial issues. In an interview with Ben Meade, Siegfried Gills says that the police have the best pay conditions and if the Government gives the police an increase, then it will have to be done for others and this is not possible due to financial problems. He says they can go to the Dutch Government and ask their opinion of the strike actions. Mr. Gills is of the opinion that they are in negotiations with the Police union and that they should not be striking at this time (03:52-06:07)
5. In Dominica, a highly unpopular budget has led to a series of protest demonstrations which is fuelling moves to remove the Government of Prime Minister Pierre Charles. Ken Richards reports that according to the Sun newspaper a plot was hatched to replace the Pierre Charles Coalition Government. A high-ranking official is linked to these protests. Police Commissioner Mathias Lystra has denied any knowledge of an attempt to overthrow the Government. Ben Meade speaks to Opposition Leader Eddison James about any initiatives to form a coalition to remove the Pierre Charles Government by force if they were called upon to do so. He refuted all claims of such a plan (08:01-10:09)
6. Dominica is mourning the loss of its former President Joaquim Balaguer, he died at the age of ninety-five. He held the presidency for no fewer than twenty-two years. A BBC correspondent looks at his life - he worked for the notorious dictator Rafael Trujillo before he himself became president in the 1960s. He was not as brutal as Trujillo however many people went missing and his critics went into exile. Jean-Michel Caroit was interviewed by Ben Meade, who said that the majority of people did not express any sadness over his passing because he was a controversial character (10:10-13:46)
7. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is due for an official visit to Havana, Cuba today. The state’s newspaper The Granma describes him as a teacher, anti-colonialist, and a friend of Cuba. Natalie Williams reports that Robert Mugabe is expected to meet with several officials. The main item on the agenda is a private meeting with Fidel Castro. There are no details on what is to be discussed. President Mugabe will also visit ongoing projects that pertain to social and cultural development in Cuba, the only Communist State in the Caribbean. Cuba and Zimbabwe have had diplomatic relations since 1980. Cuba has sent more than 100 doctors to work in the African nation. Zimbabwe is under the world’s spotlight because of Mugabe’s Land Acquisition Act, which has forced Zimbabweans from their property (13:48-15:29)