News in brief from the Caribbean and abroad
Human rights in the Dominican Republic
British travellers wish list
Windies under-19 fly home
NY restaurant takes Jamaican dollar
Bridging Trinidad and India
Barbadians have been getting advice on how to trace their roots and the movement of their ancestors, particularly those who travelled to the US.Tweet
For the week ending 9 December
Tributes to Nelson Mandela continued to flood in and Caribbean leaders prepared to join the growing number of world leaders planning to attend a week of commemorative events, ending with the funeral on 15 December.
Caribbean Intelligence© has been rounding them up in our news tweet round-up from home and abroad.
To check them out, go to our news analysis page and scroll through for continued updates.
You can find the tributes to Nelson Mandela on our dedicated page.
People have also been sharing their memories of Nelson Mandela on our LinkedIn group which you can join by clicking on this link.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has recommended that the Dominican Republic should guarantee the rights of people who already had citizenship before a Constitutional Court ruling in September deprived many of Haitian descent of their status.
Caricom and a number of international human rights groups have asked Santo Domingo to take action after the September court ruling retroactively stripped automatic Dominican citizenship from people born in the country between 1929 and 2010 if their Haitian descendants had not been fully documented.
Santo Domingo responded by saying that people could apply to establish their status from June 2014 and invited the IACHR to visit the country last week to look into alleged human rights abuses and deportations of people of Haitian descent.
In its preliminary report at the weekend, the commission said that it had received 4,000 testimonies from people affected by the court ruling.
The IACHR said that the Dominican Republic was deciding people’s nationalities based on private arbitration and that people considered by the ruling were “not migrants, but have deep roots in the Dominican Republic where they were born”.
In an initial response to the commission, the Dominican Republic’s government accused the human rights group of being “subjective”.
Protests against the ruling, its impact and the response of the Santo Domingo government have been taking place outside Dominican Republic embassies and consulates in the Caribbean, in London and in the United States.
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Island-hopping airline Liat is promising a good service for the Christmas holidays.
Following a summer which saw a sequence of delays, a spate of complaints, the loss of the airline’s chief executive and a spat with business mogul Richard Branson, Liat has said it is doing all it can to stabilise travel during the Christmas season.
It has added some new planes and says that it has been working with “external agencies” to improve the level of customer service provided by Liat employees.
But, if you’re packing a few extra Christmas pressies for that journey home, take care – Liat said it is imposing an embargo on excess baggage!
Going on a Caribbean cruise ranks as the seventh most popular trip that Britons want to make for their holiday of a lifetime.
Research for travel comparison website TravelSupermarket found that seeing the Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis in Norway – was top of the Brits’ “must see” list, with 37% of respondents mentioning this destination.
Visiting the pyramids in Egypt came second, with 35% ticking this as a must-see destination.
A road trip on Route 66 in the US came in third, with 33% saying they had to do that journey.
After that, 32% ticked a wish to walk on the Great Wall of China and 31% ticked an African safari.
With 30% ticking the Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip as must-do holidays, a cruise in the Caribbean came in next in the survey, with 29% saying this was a must-do holiday.
TravelSupermarket’s adviser said that the choices reflected holidays that had seemed far away only 10 years ago and which now seemed more accessible as “once in a lifetime” opportunities.
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Tributes to the US’s Fast and Furious film actor Paul Walker in Puerto Rico caused huge traffic jams in the capital, San Juan.
The actor, who died on 30 November in a car accident, was popular in Puerto Rico, where the film’s fifth edition was made.
More than 100 tickets had to be issued by police as fans organised a caravan to honour the late actor, creating major tailbacks with their tribute.
Puerto Rican police said they had issued more than 70 speeding tickets, arrested some drunk drivers and fined some of the drivers who had organised the caravan tribute.
The West Indies Under-19 team ended their tour of Bangladesh early because of security concerns.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced on Sunday night (8 December) that the team was being brought home early.
The Board’s decision follows a WICB-requested report on the political situation there which found that “the current security environment in Bangladesh is not conducive to the playing of cricket in light of the 72-hours nationwide blockade and calls for countrywide dawn-to-dusk protests”.
The WICB thanked Bangladesh for ensuring the safe accommodation of the Under-19 team and said that travel arrangements were being made for their return as quickly as possible.
Trinidadian McDonald Bailey, who won the 100m Olympic bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Games, died on 5 December at the age of 92.
Bailey, who went on to become a sports administrator, had been ailing for some time.
He won the Olympic bronze at a time when West Indian territories competed under the flag of the British Empire.
He held the 100m world record time of 10.2 seconds between 1951 and 1956.
McDonald Bailey had been awarded Trinidad’s Chaconia medal in 1977 and a Spirit of Sport Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
The first-ever New York restaurant to accept Jamaican dollars has been getting good reviews from the Jamaican press.
Jamaica Breeze, a popular restaurant in Queens, opened in June of this year. It was soon hailed by the Jamaican media for what the Gleaner newspaper called its “back-a-yard atmosphere”.
The coverage made it so popular that Jamaicans took to heading straight there from nearby JFK airport.
So, the next natural step was for the restaurant to announce that it would be accepting Jamaican dollars from 9 December.
Cricket Canada has sacked West Indies cricketing veteran Gus Logie as its senior men’s coach.
The Canadians said in a statement on 2 December that this was a “challenging time” for the organisation after the team finished 13th in the world Twenty20 qualifier in the United Arab Emirates.
Cricket Canada’s President, Ravin Moorthy, thanked Gus Logie for his efforts in 2003 in South Africa, which he described as “part of Canada’s sporting history”.
“It’s unfortunate that his tenure had to end after the disappointing tour of UAE, but unfortunately this is a results-driven business and the results weren’t there,” Mr Moorthy said.
The Caribbean Diaspora in the UK has been urged to get more involved in British politics.
The call came at a forum called Caribbean Question Time, held in London’s Westminster area.
A Caribbean audience turned out to put questions to MPs from the three main political parties and to Operation Black Vote, which helped to organise the event.
For our report on the meeting on Caribbean Intelligence©, click here.
Barbadians have been getting advice on how to trace their roots and the movement of their ancestors, particularly those who travelled to the US.
The word from Barbados Free Press is to start with the US Federal Census records for the many Bajans who were known to have moved to America in the early 1900s.
“It is true that everywhere you go today, you’ll find a Bajan,” the publication said.
“Here at Barbados Free Press, we’ve been contacted by Bajans in China, Greenland, Panama, Russia, Antarctica and Peru, to name a few.”
From his birth in India to a civil engineering job in England, followed by introducing the first Indian film to colonial Trinidad and doing the engineering work behind some of Port of Spain’s most well-known infrastructure, Ranjit Kumar led a full life.
Anyone who has travelled on Wrightson Road and knows Trinidad’s Hilton Hotel will be familiar with Mr Kumar’s construction work, even if they had not previously known his name.
A book on his life, Ranjit Kumar: Bridging the East and the West, was launched in Trinidad in early December.
Ranjit Kumar was born in Rohtak, then in Punjab, in 1912. He trained as a civil engineer in England before returning to India, where he served in the police force.
When a chance came for him to travel to Trinidad, he went and became an assistant city engineer in Port of Spain in 1937.
In that post, he provided the civil engineering work on the land created from the newly reclaimed Port of Spain harbour area, which was to become the country’s first dual carriageway - Wrightson Road.
The book also describes him as instrumental in the construction of Trinidad’s Hilton Hotel.
Not content with civil engineering, he went into local politics, both at the Port of Spain Council and Legislative Council levels.
According to the book, he even found time to bring the first full-length Indian film to Trinidad in 1935, which gave birth to Trinidad’s own Indian film traditions.
Historian Brinsley Samaroo, who wrote the book’s foreword, said at the 2 December launch that Ranjit Kumar was “a man for all seasons, linking East with West”.
Quote of the week
"His indomitable spirit will forever inspire people in pursuit of freedom and justice; his humanity will be a beacon for all who are wronged." Former Commonwealth Secretary-General on Nelson Mandela.