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Caribbean Updates: Migrant accuses Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard of rape (June 07, 2023)

Just Caribbean Updates:Migrant accuses Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard of rape (June 07, 2023)
Just Caribbean Updates:Migrant accuses Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard of rape (June 07, 2023)

A Venezuelan migrant said she was beaten and raped by Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard personnel while detained at the Heliport Immigration Station in Chaguaramas. She was raped so badly that she began “violently haemorrhaging” to the point where she had to be hospitalised for two days, reports the Trinidad Express.

The woman has since disappeared from the Coast Guard-manned immigration station at the Chaguaramas heliport — authorities said she escaped.

The accusation adds to “disturbing reports” of ongoing sexual abuse of women detained at the heliport by administrative staff, according to a letter the Caribbean Centre for Human Rights wrote to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds. (Newsday)

The senior superintendent of the police Special Victims Department Claire Guy-Alleyne said there was no evidence of sexual assault. (Newsday and Newsday)

Instead, Trinidadian officials at a news conference following reports of the allegations focused on chastising the media saying that reports such as these placed on the “front pages” could put police into a “retrograde step” in their investigations. (Trinidad Express)

The presentation by the Ministry of National Security “ left the public with more questions than answers,” wrote Caribbean Centre for Human Rights executive director Denise Pitcher.

The alleged victim has since escaped and is now missing, reports the Trinidad Express.


Hurricane season starts

The Atlantic hurricane season, which starts this month, could have between 12 and 17 named tropical cyclones this year, similar to the number of named storms last year and a “near-normal” amount, according to forecasters. (New York Times)

While the El Niño weather cycle usually reduces the number of tropical storms in the Atlantic, this year the phenomenon is joined by unusually warm ocean waters, creating conditions that could instead fuel an active storm season, reports the Washington Post.

Tropical cyclones or hurricanes historically represent the most dramatic and devastating extreme weather phenomenon in the Caribbean, reports Global Americans.

“As global average temperatures warm, the Caribbean stands out as particularly vulnerable to the catastrophic, compounding effects of climate change in the form of extreme weather events. Contending with tropical cyclones, droughts, heat waves, and heavy rains require practical solutions which will invariably touch upon politically sensitive issues—ranging from questioning the rationale of the current international financial architecture, acknowledging the responsibility of high-emitting countries for warming temperatures, and tackling regional structural problems such as corruption and government mismanagement.”

Climate and Environmental Justice

  • Developed nations have pledged to funnel a combined total of $100 billion a year to help developing nations reduce emissions and adapt to a warming world. But a Reuters investigation found that a portion of the money is going to esoteric projects — which is legitimate as there is no legal definition for “climate finance”. The problem is compounded by the lack of transparency around these transactions.

  • Rich nations are undermining work to protect poor and vulnerable countries from the impacts of the climate crisis, by providing loans instead of grants, siphoning off money from other aid projects or mislabelling cash, according to a new Oxfam report. (Guardian)

  • Guyana has the potential to avoid the negative consequences typically associated with the “oil curse,” but it requires strong governance, transparency, and sustainable development practices to effectively manage its newfound oil wealth for the benefit of its people and long-term development, according to the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network.

  • Recording of Global Americans’ webinar “Extreme Weather Events and Resilience Efforts in the Caribbean,” which covered extreme weather events in the Caribbean and the region’s resilience efforts.

  • Guyana’s Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) has been unable to meet with the national Amerindian Affairs Minister for nearly two years, despite repeated requests. The group argues that Guyana’s assignation of forests for carbon trading is a violation of Indigenous rights. (Stabroek News)

  • The Loss and Damage Collaboration discusses the expectations and challenges associated with the decision on which entity will host the Santiago Network Secretariat and how it should function to addressing best loss and damage resulting from climate change. The Caribbean Development Bank is one of the contenders.

  • The International Organisation for Migration highlights five key considerations for addressing climate and environmental mobility from a human rights perspective, starting with “disregarding social and environmental rights can act as an adverse displacement factor”.

Development

  • The communities north of the Rabacca Dry River in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been facing severe challenges, including heavy rainfall and flooding, as well as a lack of bridges. The completion of the Yurumein/Taiwan bridge is seen as a temporary relief, but long-term solutions are still required to address the ongoing flooding issues in the region, reports the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network.

  • The privatization of beaches and the controversial sale of prime heritage or beachfront sites to developers have become normalized throughout the Caribbean, writes Kenneth Mohammed in the Guardian. This leaves ”citizens’ access to public spaces threatened as the region’s natural beauty and cultural birthright is jeopardized.” (See April 13’s Just Caribbean Updates.)

Gender and LGBT

  • While Trinidad and Tobago’s government implemented various measures and initiatives to address domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic, many survivors of domestic violence were unaware of these specific measures and did not benefit from them, according to the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network.

  • Haiti’s LGBT movement ignores women, according to grassroots lesbian activist Djennifer Mercer. (76 Crimes)

The Caribbean and the World

  • Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador Dennis Francis was elected as the next president of the U.N. General Assembly. (United NationsAssociated Press)

  • Guyana secured a seat on the United Nations Security Council and will serve as a non-permanent member for the 2024 to 2025 term. (Newsroom Guyana)

  • The First Secretary at the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the United Nations, Asha Challenger, was elected to serve as Vice President of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution. (Loop News)

  • Barbados and other countries in the Caribbean recognize the importance of Pan-Africanism as a powerful tool for development, according to the country’s CARICOM ambassador David Comissiong, who emphasized that Barbados and other states have taken steps to build ties with the African Union because they understand the significance of Pan-Africanism in promoting dignity, justice, peace, and overall development. (Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation)

Public Security

  • The rise in violent crime in the Caribbean — though not homogenous — merits the crisis stance several of the region’s governments have taken, writes Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith in a Global Americans report that analyses recent reports and symposiums on violence in the Caribbean.

  • Haitian vigilante groups have been somewhat celebrated in recent reports, as an imperfect tool in a desperate situation. (See last week’s Just

    Caribbean Updates.) “But analytically, it is a grave misnomer to characterize these organized community groups wielding machetes and gasoline as “civilians,” as opposed to armed actors bent on unlawful, violent conduct in revenge for gang activity,” argues Charli Carpenter in World Politics Review. “Bwa Kale should instead be seen and portrayed as what it is: an understandable and predictable response to horrific conditions that will in all likelihood quickly constitute a serious threat to Haiti’s civilian communities.”

  • Ongoing violence and damage to roads are hampering relief efforts for back-to-back natural disasters in Haiti — torrential rains over the weekend that provoked flooding followed by an earthquake on Tuesday, reports the Miami Herald.

Democratic Governance

  • Lack of preparation ahead of the rainy season made storm damage a lot worse, according to Haitian media collective DÈYÈ MÒN ENFO.

Culture

  • “Will the cultural life of Port-au-Prince resume ever so slightly now that kidnappings are down?” asks Haitian media collective DÈYÈ MÒN ENFO.

  • A collection of Cuban movie posters have just been registered as a Documentary World Heritage by UNESCO, thus giving recognition to its designers and visibility to a hidden gem of the island’s art of the last decades, reports EFE. (via Repeating Islands.)

  • Caribbean chefs are embracing local food traditions and homegrown ingredients, “attracting travelers who want authentic culinary experiences and raising the area’s reputation as a foodie paradise,” according to Travelers Pulse. (via Repeating Islands.)

  • Emma Lewis reports on Jamaica’s “Donut Wars”. (Global Voices)

History

  • The feature film “Akwantu: The Journey” documents a specific resistance movement, which established a stronghold in the Cockpit Mountains of Jamaica and triumphed as Maroons. (Caribbean Life)

Critter Corner

  • Capture and sale of parrots for the illegal pet trade is the greatest threat to the bird species, followed by habitat loss due to deforestation for housing, tourism projects, and agricultural development. (Global Voices)

Opportunities and Resources

  • Add your voice to Caribbean organizations urging the U.S. Biden administration to support multilateral, global action that will mobilize the tools and resources needed for the region to address the twin crises of debt and climate change.

  • A publication for coordinators of GCF Watch, a civil society initiative from the global South aimed at improving monitoring of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the world’s leading multilateral climate finance institution. — AIDA

Events

  • 20 June —’Questioning Disaster Capitalism in the Caribbean’ — Stronger Caribbean Together — University of West Indies and the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies — Register

Just Caribbean Updates
https://caribbeannewsupdates.blogspot.com/

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