Caribbean and Diaspora News Round-up

Usain Bolt and Mo Farah
Bolt, Kirani, Collins, Gordon for London Games
 
Caribbean runners in Boston
 
Belize gets an upgrade
 
Venezuela’s elections
 
 
CI logo Bolt, Collins and other Caribbean talent for London
 
Britain’s finance minister changed the tax rules, London Olympics chief Sebastian Coe made the appeals and the efforts have paid off.
 
Usain Bolt will be attending the London Anniversary Games in July.
 
Bolt’s London agent had said that the six-time Olympic track champion and his team had been looking at his packed schedule to allow him to attend.
 
An announcement on Wednesday on Bolt’s Twitter feed said he would return to the Olympic stadium on 26-27 July to compete in the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League.
 
“I’m looking forward to coming back to the UK, especially with it being a year since winning three gold medals in the Olympic Stadium,” Usain Bolt said in a statement.
 
“The crowds were amazing at the Games and I hope they will be out again in their numbers at the end of July,” he added.
 
Bolt is scheduled to run the 100m on the evening of 26 July and in the 4x100m on the afternoon of 27 July before heading to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
 
Also included in what the organisers promise to be a stellar line-up is Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis, who did not get a chance to run in the main Olympics events after a clash with his national Olympic committee.
 
“My story from London was well documented and to have the opportunity a year on to run in the stadium is something that I’m really grateful for,” Collins said.
 
“This is my Olympic final and I’m going to take full advantage of the occasion and show that, even at 37, I’m still a force to be reckoned with.”
 
Other Caribbean track and field stars confirmed for the London Games are Grenadian 400m Olympic gold medallist Kirani James and Trinidad’s Lalonde Gordon, who took the bronze medal in the same event.
 
After the announcement of the line-up, tickets went on sale on 19 April and were sold out within 75 minutes
 
 
 
CI logo Boston: Social media sends assurances
 
Caribbean runners took to Twitter and Facebook to report that they were safe after the two bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon on 15 April.
 
The blasts and the confusion saw social media take up the slack as runners, their families and well-wishers tried to find out how their people had fared.
 
Marlon Bascombe, who lives in Brooklyn, Christopher Battoo, living in Massachusetts, and Learie Lezama had already crossed the finishing line before the blasts took place.
 
The other Trinidadian runner taking part was 50-year-old Ingrid Mathison, living in New York.
 
“I’m safe guys. Thnx for ur concern,” Bascombe tweeted overnight after the blasts.
 
Christopher Battoo posted a Facebook picture under a Trini flag, wrapped in a blanket, hugging friends.
 
Another Caribbean runner, 47-year-old Jamaican Wayne Levy, also cleared the finishing line before the blasts. 
 
Jeff Short from the Cayman Islands crossed the finishing line only 15 minutes before the first bomb exploded.
 
Fellow Caymanians included Kim Landry, Derek Larner, Tom Gammage and Beth Florek.
 
On the Cayman 27 Facebook page, news of Cayman runners in Boston was updated.
 
 Other Caribbean competitors included Dennis Murray of Guyana, whose official time was 3:47:56.
 
And in the spirit that many have adopted since the Boston explosions, Marlon Bascombe came back on social media later in the week.
 
“Up next, New Jersey marathon. I will not be stopped,” he said.
 
 
 
 
CI logo Belize gets an upgrade
 
Moody’ Investors Service has given Belize’s debt rating an upgrade.
 
The agency said on 15 April that it had moved the nation from a Ca grading to Caa2, with an outlook described as “stable”.
 
"The upgrade balances an improvement in the government's liquidity position following a pre-emptive restructuring of its external commercial debt against a debt overhang that was not cured by the default and continues to impair Belize's credit solvency,” Moody’s said in a statement.
 
The government in Belize had announced last month that it had convinced enough of the holders of its superbond debt to swap the amount they are owed for a negotiated downgrade, which can pave the way for a formal total debt restructuring.
 
CI logo Venezuelan elections
 
Caribbean countries have been extending cautious congratulations to Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro as he fought off calls for a recount, following his narrow victory in the 14 April presidential elections.
 
Cuba’s President Raul Castro was the first to issue congratulations overnight after the outcome of Sunday’s voting emerged.
 
Venezuela’s immediate neighbour, Trinidad and Tobago, one of the few Caribbean members not in the Petrocaribe cheap oil alliance, has been keeping an eye on the dispute.
 
Some of the tension spilt over as some Venezuelan nationals staged a small demonstration outside their embassy in Port of Spain on 15 April.
 
“As of now, we are just viewing this as the aftermath of the electoral process and we hope that it will subside,” Trinidad’s Foreign Minister, Winston Dookeran, told the Trinidad Guardian.
 
Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, called the election “closure” after the death of  Mr Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
 
“In many respects, this has brought closure to the process of rejuvenating Venezuela and Venezuelans, following the loss of your late revered leader, President Hugo Chavez,” the Dominica leader said in a letter to Mr Maduro.
 
Energy experts are divided on whether Mr Maduro’s win will preserve the Petrocaribe deal, under which Venezuela buys influence by providing its poorer neighbours with oil at below market prices.
 
University of the West Indies academic and US energy specialist Prof Anthony Bryan wrote for Caribbean Intelligence© that a post-Chavez administration would see the diplomatic value in keeping the alliance.
 
However, the new chief executive at the Petrocaribe Jamaican Development Fund, Wesley Hughes, said before the election that Caribbean nations benefiting from the deal should have sought modification some time ago as pressure mounted on Venezuela’s domestic economy.
 
"I think that we need, as a country, to be prepared for all these eventualities," Hughes said at an 11 April Rotary meeting in Kingston, suggesting that the alliance could be modified under a new president.
 
"One [candidate] may be more favourable to a continuation, but it is not going to be a continuation in the form that the agreement was structured. So, whatever happens Sunday, we have to be prepared for some changes."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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