Caribbean News Round-up
Search on for software founder
Back to direct rule - the TCI's new government
New coastguard direct line in St Vincent & the Grenadines
Goodbye to a principled conservationist
PJ Patterson delivers home truths on politics
Belize’s McAfee search
It might have just been another tiff between neighbours in one of Belize’s reclusive expat areas which would have gone unnoticed by the wider world.
Except that one neighbour is dead and the other man being sought for questioning by police is the eccentric founder of the anti-virus software system, John McAfee.
Mr McAfee, 67, has protested his innocence through his contacts at Wired Magazine describing his "struggle" in Belize.
Wired reported that he spent his first night on a Belizean beach, fearing that the local police will kill him if he is taken in for questioning.
John McAfee has had a colourful life since founding the anti-virus software for which he is best known. He has had an earlier encounter with Belize’s police which he says has left him afraid to turn himself in.
He denies killing his neighbour.
Police in Belize have held a number of people working on Mr McAfee’s estate and seized a range of firearms.
Belize’s Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, has publicly requested that Mr McAfee turn himself in.
"I don't want to be unkind, but he seems to be extremely paranoid - I would go so far as to say bonkers," Prime Minister Barrow said.
"He ought to man up and respect our laws and go in and talk to the police."
New TCI government
The Turks and Caicos Islands has its first autonomous government in three years, bringing to an end direct rule from Britain.
In elections on 9 November, the Progressive National Party (PNP) won a narrow victory over the People’s Democratic Movement, taking eight of the 15 parliamentary seats
PNP leader Rufus Ewing was sworn in on Tuesday 13 November as the new premier.
Following an investigation into alleged high-level corruption, autonomous rule had been suspended in the islands in 2009.
Senior officials, including the former chief minister, are still being sought for questioning. Former Chief Minister Michael Misick has denied all wrongdoing.
In October, final legislation cracking down on possible corruption was put in place, while officials have been given training in the new anti-bribery guidelines.
“I welcome the return of democratic government to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). I am particularly pleased that so many Islanders voted in this historic election,” said Britain’s Overseas Territories Minister, Mark Simmonds.
I’m on the phone and all at sea
New low-cost mobile radio connections are about to give Vincentian sailors a one-touch connection to their coastguard.
The new handheld mobile radio will allow St Vincent and the Grenadines’ 2,500 sailors to hit one button which puts them directly in touch with the coastguard.
“Boats in distress previously had to tune between radio channels to try to find the coastguard or another vessel,” a statement from Lime said.
The coastguard, in turn, will use Lime’s broadband network via a VHF radio antenna which increases the distance which the coastguard can monitor.
The handsets come in at $400 Eastern Caribbean (around US$148) each.
The project is funded by St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Universal Services Fund (USF).
Death of a principled conservationist
Trinidadian legislator and conservationist Angela Cropper died on 12 November, 10 days short of her 67th birthday.
She had served as the United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) between 2007 and 2011.
Before that, she had been co-chair of the UN Millennium Assessment Panel, which looked at global ecosystems.
Angela also served on a range of UN Development Programme bodies (Wikipedia link) and, in the 1970s and 1980s, on Caricom and other regional organisations.
A statement from the Angela Cropper Foundation in Trinidad said: “Angela Cropper commanded enormous respect and esteem internationally and as such, she was invited to contribute as an adviser or trustee to numerous international organisations.”
She picked up a number of awards during her lifetime, including the 2005 Zayed Prize for Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society and the Green Leaf Award from the Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Angela Cropper had a lasting impact on her friends and colleagues; as a role model to many of those with whom she came into contact and as mentor to the many young people with whom she worked. She inspired others with her high standards of professionalism, integrity and service to community,” her Foundation said.
“Life is more than personal advantage,” was the motto she gave to The Cropper Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation which she had founded in 2000 with her husband to pursue work in sustainable development and environmental management.
Her family appeared in the international news following the 2001 murder of her husband John, her sister, the former BBC TV News presenter Lynette Lithgow, and her mother, Maggie Lee, at their home in Cascade, Port of Spain.
After the conviction of the two men responsible for the murders, Angela Cropper maintained her stand against capital punishment.
PJ says 'Thanks' but with some home truths
In saying Thank you for a tribute to him in the Jamaican parliament, former Prime Minister PJ Patterson could not resist a few home truths about the nature of politics.
"It seems as if it’s always open hunting season on politicians and we must happily expect abuse for the things we have failed to complete while also accepting that whatever our successes may be – great or small – neither recognition nor praise is due," he told the Jamaican parliament.
"I feel impelled to admit publicly that we who sit in Parliament have contributed to this sad state of affairs by our utterings both here and on political platforms."
He said that politicians themselves were to blame for the image politics has today.
"Sadly, we have helped to set the tone and create, or at least reinforce, the negative image of politics and politicians," he said.
"The inevitable result? There is a widely held public perception that 'Politics is dirty', 'All Politicians are corrupt, seeking to acquire power only for its own sake and for self-aggrandizement'.
Mr Patterson told parliamentarians that it had been an honour and a pleasure to serve as prime minister.
"If this negative image and characterization of what I have offered to the people of Jamaica, the regional and international community is the price I have pay, so be it.
"I underline this problem purely to warn of the dangers ahead: if we fail to foster a political environment which encourages, rather than discourages, our brightest minds and proficient citizens to participate in the political process, we place our precious democracy at risk.
"Let us ensure the perpetuation of our democracy by also strengthening its roots and extending the branches of civic participation," he concluded.
The former leader recently also spoke out about Jamaica and Trinidad's failure to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final appeal court when he spoke to Caribbean Intelligence© during a visit to Trinidad.