News Round-up

Lakshmi Persaud
IMF advice to the Caribbean
Turks and Caicos anti-corruption legislation
Diaspora tale launched in London
Find flagship projects, IMF tells Caribbean
CI logo Officials from the International Monetary Fund have told Caribbean finance officials they need to increase regional trade within Caricom and develop big projects to transform their economies.
At an economic conference held in Port of Spain in September, the associate director of the IMF's Western hemisphere department, Saul Lizondo, predicted a difficult future for Caribbean countries unless their governments lower debt rates and seek to boost economic activity.
The IMF director noted the very difficult economic conditions existing in Caricom’s major trading partners - the United States and Europe - and said: “The implications for the Caribbean of the impact of downside risks from Europe are non-trivial, and risks persist from financial sector fragilities.”
Also at the Trinidad conference, IMF executive director Thomas Hockin said the region needed faster growth to accelerate poverty reduction.
He added that in order to deal with the debt overhang in Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean, “faster growth would be a direct attack on the debt.”
Each country, he said, should have a “flagship project that can probably transform its economy”.
He advocated that countries work with the IMF, the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank to tackle the problems.
More Turks & Caicos changes
CI logo In the wave of legislation which is part of the Turks & Caicos Islands' long-running bribery and corruption clean-up, new rules have been put in place for MPs after elections on 9 November.
The latest proposed legislation will impose large fines and possible jail sentences on MPs who accept bribes or on anyone who attempts to bribe MPs in an effort to influence parliamentary activity.
For example, any MP or officer of the House of Assembly found guilty of accepting a bribe or fee of any kind for “speaking, voting or acting” or “refraining from speaking” to further a cause could face a $50,000 fee and/or five years in jail.
Similar penalties face those attempting to bribe MPs and House officers.
The legislation – a collection of ordinances and standing orders dealing with privileges and immunities of Assembly members - has been discussed by the islands’ Advisory Council.
Governor Ric Todd told Turks and Caicos journalists that the legislation was an “updated and modernised” version of previous legislation.
It follows the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry in 2008 to look into allegations of high-level corruption in government.
Charges stemming from that commission are now before a judicial team.
Former Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick, who had been requested to attend the Commission “in respect of allegations of corruption and money laundering during his time in office”, is still missing.
A trip home
CI logo What would bring out a large group of Trinidad’s diaspora in the cold autumn rain to central London?
Answer: a trip back home in the form of readings from a book by Trinidadian author Lakshmi Persaud.
Her book Daughters of Empire reflects on life in Trinidad's Indian community and in London, as well as how people in the diaspora cope with visits “back home” to Trinidad.
It explores the subtle prejudices faced by a middle-class family on moving to Britain.
The book was launched earlier this year in Trinidad and had its London launch at London’s Nehru Centre this week.
UWI’s Professor Emeritus of English, Ken Ramchand, has described the book as “something new in the literature of migration”.
(Daughters of Empire is published in the UK by Peepal Tree Press and on sale at £12.99)
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