Caribbean Report 26-02-2002

Table of Contents
1. Headlines (00:00-00:27)
2. Bahamians vote in their first referendum crucial to the political future of the country. The Administration of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is seeking approval for changes to the country’s independence constitution. The opposition Progressive Labour Party, Leader Perry Christie, however, is calling on voters to throw out the proposals. Bertram Niles reports (00:28-02:34)
3. Rosie Hayes speaks with BBC correspondent in the Bahamas, Jerome Sawyer, about the referendum -this important step in the Bahamas’s political future. He explains that the referendum had always been on the government’s agenda however with the approaching elections it is being seen as a political vote rather than a national referendum (02:35-05:07)
4. On the twenty-second anniversary of the coup he led in Suriname, Desi Bouterse calls for the resignation of the government of President Robert Venetiaan. Mr. Bouterse who now heads the biggest opposition party in parliament, wants a national unity government to replace the present government. Steven Van Fredericks-Lewis reports from Suriname (05:08-07:21)
5. Tourism specialist from the United States, Bill Silvermintz claims that many African-Americans are given poor treatment in the Caribbean (07:22-08:20)
6. St. Lucia’s Director of Tourism, Hilary Modeste, on a visit to New York tells Rosie Hayes there must be some mistake about the claim that many African-Americans are given poor treatment in the Caribbean because to his knowledge there is no discrimination there (08:21-11:23)
7. Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, says he is not worried about planned demonstrations as he is confident his supporters will out-number his opponents. A fourth Venezuelan military officer, Airforce General Roman Gomez has called on Mr. Chavez to resign fuelling speculations of military discontent at a time when the country faces worsening economic and political instability. Adam Easton reports from Caracas (11:24-12:55)
8. The authorities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) say they have stepped up monitoring procedures following a series of light tremors. Puerto Rico’s seismic network is keeping a close watch on seismic activity but the BVI is also requesting help from the Port of Spain-based Seismic Research Unit. Ken Richards reports that Virgin-Islanders are taking it in their stride but BVI Governor, Frank Savage says the territory is taking the tremors very seriously (12:56-15:26)