Caribbean and Diaspora News in Brief
Ian Brunton calls it quits
Haiti's new army recruits
The Caribbean gets tsunami-ready
Jamaican school discipline
Puerto Rican budgeting
Trevor McDonald on prison films
Toronto film winners
Usain is the toast of London town
Liat changes – He came in with a new-broom approach expected of any new chief executive of a key company.
However, Ian Brunton announced on 16 September that he was stepping down as chief executive of Caribbean island-hopping airline Liat.
No reason was given, but his step down follows a spring and summer full of woes for the airline ,which ranged from servicing the first Caribbean T20 cross-island cricket series to a spat with Virgin mogul Richard Branson.
“Nobody is indispensable,” the chair of Liat’s stakeholder governments, Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, is reported to have told the Caribbean Media Corporation.
Liat’s board of directors will meet to discuss their next step.
Haiti’s new army, phase one – The first 41 soldier recruits for Haiti’s new army received an official welcome on 16 September.
The recruits moved from high school to spend eight months in Ecuador before returning for the rest of their training in Haiti.
This will include working with foreign engineers on public service work, aimed at improving Haiti’s infrastructure, damaged in the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Haiti’s Defence Minister, Jean-Rodolphe Joazile, told the Associated Press news agency that the reconstituted army’s priorities would be in reconstruction.
“Haiti’s needs are not in infantry, but in technical service,” he said.
Not everyone in Haiti wants the return of the army, which would still need to be approved by the country’s parliament.
Many have called for foreign funds and training to go into beefing up the country’s police force.
Tsunami-ready by 2015 – A network of earthquake sensors to alert the entire Caribbean to quakes and tsunamis should be fully operational by 2015.
That’s according to Marino Protti, a Costa Rican geologist who is part of a team delivering the network to the Caribbean.
The sensors can detect early activity in tectonic plates, alerting the region to seismic activity that can lead to natural disasters.
The network of sensors sends alerts to Unavco, a geo-science research consortium based in Colorado, that processes the data.
The Coconet project [Continuously Operating Caribbean GPS Observational Network] is already analysing the speed of plate movements and should be operational by the time the set-up funding runs out in 2015.
Not in those shoes – A Jamaican school made the national headlines when it barred a number of students at the start of the academic year for turning up in footwear that breached school regulations.
Calibar High School in Kingston said that some students continued to attend school in footwear deemed to be improper.
School officials said that students needed to be “properly attired” and that most students complied with the school guidelines.
“Calibar is about raising the bar,” school principal Albert Corcho told Jamaica’s Observer newspaper. ”Why we call it uniform is we want everyone to look the same.”
A poll by the paper found that only 65% of respondents thought that the students should be barred from school for wearing the wrong sort of shoes.
Puerto Rico's historic deficit - Puerto Rico's government has said that the island's overall deficit stood at a historic $39bn in the last fiscal year.
In the latest edition of the annual report that Puerto Rico must submit to US federal officials, figures show a $5.4bn increase from 2011.
According to the Associated Press, Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta says that the island's deficit is being brought down as the territory tries to climb out of a seven-year recession.
The speaker of the island's House of Representatives, Jaime Perello, said on 17 September that the figures demonstrated the critical state of the government's finances.
Sir Trevor McDonald – never again: Despite work as a Northern Ireland and Middle East war-zone correspondent, the Trinidad-born veteran British broadcaster says he will not be filming another TV series on prison life.
Sir Trevor told the Independent newspaper that it was more difficult moving on from meeting prisoners than returning from war zones.
With the earlier Inside Death Row and the new Women Behind Bars now completed, the 74-year-old broadcaster said it was time to call that George.
“I used to be shot at in Beirut one day and the next week in the pub, I’d be talking about the test match,” he said.
“These people [in jail] talking about their crimes, I never want to hear those again.”
Toronto film winners – Seven awards were handed out on 14 September in the Annual CaribbeanTales Toronto Film Showcase.
The eighth year's event featured features and documentaries from 25 countries.
Categories included best feature documentary, best narrative feature, best short narrative and an audience award.
Winners depicted life in Jamaica, Haiti, Grenada, Trinidad and the UK, as well as Dominican Republic diaspora life in the US.
For excerpts from some of the films and more information on CaribbeanTales, check out caribbeantales-events.com
Usain Bolt was the toast of London town with the launch of his book Faster Than Lightning, appearing in British newspapers and live in a one-hour programme on BBC national sports Radio 5Live.
Asked about being the fastest man on earth, he said "It's kinda cool when I think about it...but I never think about it."
On retirement after the 2016 Olympics, he said "My fans are really saying no....so I might go one more year."
Quote of the week
"I knew that I was born to run." Usain Bolt on BBC National radio.
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