Caribbean Report 27-09-1999



Table of Contents

1. Headlines with anchor Jessica Robertson (00:00 - 00:33)
2. Caribbean countries are making strong pitches in New York at the UN Conference on small island states. Top on the agenda is the topic on how free trade will affect the economies of islands which are dependent on bananas. The US opposed on principle the Caribbean trade preferences in the European market. The WHO upheld the US challenge ordering the EU to change import arrangement which guarantees Windward farmers higher prices. ST. Lucia Foreign Minister George Odlum set out in stark terms the fifty percent decline in exports for the years 1992-1997. Jamaica Foreign Minister Seymour Mullings spoke on the vulnerability and limitations of small states to participate meaningfully and effectively in global market place and made a plea for greeter international financial aid towards development (00:34 – 05:28)
3. Caribbean delegates at the UN Conference on small island states are paying close attention to the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington DC. At this meeting talks on debt is high on the agenda. BBC Business Affairs reporter Andrew Walker reports on this meeting highlighting the lenders’ proposal to sell and repurchase gold reserves to offset debt relief payments. Debbie Ransome Reports on the deliberations at these meetings. (05:29 – 09:32)
4. St. Vincent Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell voices his opinion on offshore banking as a potential revenue earner for some Caribbean countries. These comments are voiced in response to moves by the developed world to make off-shore banking far less attractive to individuals and international corporations. Report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development contends that tax havens in the Caribbean and South Pacific are illegally attracting large sums of money and denying the home country this source of revenue. Managing Director of Republic Bank in Trinidad and Tobago and President of Bankers’ Association in Trinidad Ronald Harford claims that low taxation levels and tax avoidance are legitimate business options, and that law and regulations governing off shore operations have been tightened in the last five to ten years but not applied consistently throughout the Caribbean countries banking sectors. Tony Fraser reviews the OECD document in the first of two reports (09:33 – 12:48)
5. The Amerindian group Garifuna or Black Caribs present in the Caribbean and Central America are seeking reparation from Great Britain for inhumane treatment of their people over the past centuries. The Garifuna lived in St. Vincent before the British colonists deported them to a small island off Honduras. They refused to change religious and music practices and are requesting compensation for dislocation, advocating that Great Britain has moral and legal responsibility for social enhancement and economic empowerment. Mike Findley reports from Kingstown St. Vincent (12:49 – 14:42)
6. Around the Caribbean there are widespread reports that fish are washing up dead on the beaches. Scientists and government authorities in Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent and Tobago are investigating the cause with theories ranging from dumping of hazardous waste to the red tide phenomenon (14:43 – 15:26)