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Caribbean Updates: UK privy council to rule on Barbudan land rights

Just Caribbean Updates
A weekly compilation of Caribbean region developments and perspectives on issues of rights, justice, democracy and beyond.

Just Caribbean Updates
Nov. 8, 2023

The UK privy council is expected to make a final judgment this week on a case asking whether Barbudan citizens’ have the legal right to question the government’s development plans.

The controversial land battle stems from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma’s devastation of Barbuda in 2017, after which the Antigua and Barbuda government temporarily evacuated the entire population of the island.

“Even before many people returned, U.S. developers were allowed in and given permission to build an airport and luxury resort, a project that has angered islanders while the U.N. warns of danger to wetland and other fragile environments,” reports the Associated Press.

“In 2018, two Barbudans obtained a temporary injunction on the construction of the airport, challenging its impact on the island’s fragile ecosystem. The Antiguan government responded by questioning whether the citizens’ had any legal right to make a challenge. The case reached appeal in 2021 with the focus on the legitimacy of the Barbudans to object to government plans for Barbudan land. In 2022, the court ruled they had no standing – or right,” reports the Guardian.

Residents believe that the government’s decisions have favored wealthy foreign investors and could result in the island becoming an exclusive resort for billionaires, to the detriment of Barbuda’s unique ecosystems and communal land rights. The government argues that it is attracting investment to benefit the country and has empowered residents by changing land ownership regulations. (The Guardian)

The Caribbean and The World

  • The U.N. General Assembly called for the 31st time on the United States to end its decades-long embargo against Cuba — the U.S. and Israel were the only countries that voted against the non-binding resolution, with Ukraine abstaining. (Reuters)

  • All 14 member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) voted in favor of a United Nations resolution that calls for an end to the economic and trade embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba. (Loop)

  • Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel spoke with The Nation on the future of Cuban socialism, the U.S. blockade, and the economic difficulties facing the island nation.

  • A new report published by Cubalex that studies the participation of the Cubans in the Ukraine-Russia war suggests that disinformation in Cubans’ perception of the conflict, might have an important role in assessing whether the promotion of certain narratives can alter Cubans’ self-image while questioning the ethics of the legal measures taken by the Cuban state in this context.

  • Guyana has requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, for provisional measures in response to the Venezuelan government’s decision to hold a referendum seeking a mandate to seize a significant portion of Guyanese territory. (Guyana News Room


  • Analysis of migration from Cuba “crisis should include the consideration of previous crises and how they related to each other, leading to profound social changes that did not originate solely in the economic structure but in other aspects as well”, argues Aylinn Torres Santana, International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies researcher in Center for Democracy in the Americas


  • Guyana is raising concerns about the future of its oil industry regarding the decommissioning process and who will bear the costs associated with cleaning up the ocean floor after oil and gas projects conclude. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis Director of Financial Analysis, Tom Sanzillo, likens the decommissioning situation to a game of musical chairs, asking who will benefit and who will be left without a chair when the music stops. (Kaieteur News)

Climate Justice

  • A study of Coastal loss and damage for small islands published by Nature Sustainability estimates the implications of cost, land loss, and population exposure across all small islands worldwide focusing on flooding from sea-level rise.

  • Caribbean leaders representing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have identified their critical priorities in preparation for the 28th UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, emphasizing the urgent need for climate action and support from developed nations. (IND)

  • Governments from both richer and poorer countries have reached an agreement on establishing a “loss and damage” fund to assist the most vulnerable populations affected by climate breakdown. However, it has faced criticism from campaigners who believe it falls short of meeting the financial needs of vulnerable communities in coping with climate impacts and rebuilding their lives. (The Guardian)

  • “We wanted to signal that we’re not talking about the technical issues or data gathering anymore — we are probably more aware than most developed countries about how to deal with loss and damage. What we do need is support and financing”, says Michai Robertson, Antiguan lawyer Michai Robertson on his journey to the world’s most important climate negotiating tables the landmark UN Loss & Damage Fund. (Caribbean Beat)

  • At COP28, Parties have the opportunity to address the glaring gap in loss and damage support and get it right. The time taken to ensure that institutional arrangements and resourcing are fit for purpose will be well worth the boost to trust, global stability and climate-resilient development explains the latest UN report Taking Responsibility: Towards a fit-for-purpose Loss and Damage Fund.

  • The San Bernardo archipelago, consisting of 10 tiny islands, is home to about 1,500 people who rely on small-scale artisanal fishing and tourism for their livelihoods. Rising sea levels and erosion are threatening the existence of these islands, with some already disappearing. The islands are suffering from changes in sea temperatures, acidity, and marine biodiversity, affecting the fish population. (The Guardian)

  • Derval Barzey explores the ABCs of Climate Change on the latest episode of Climate Conscious Podcast.


  • Martinican writer Michael Roch “opens the door to a post-colonial vision of cultural emancipation,” in his novel Les Choses Inmobiles, writes Valentine Costantini for ActuaLitté. “How? By questioning the hypermasculinity of a culture, but also the inaction of a distant government—questions that are both political and social. This quintessentially Afro-Caribbean imaginary is an important, revealing, and powerful text”. (Repeating Islands)

Human Rights

  • The Latin America and Caribbean region has high rates of adolescent pregnancy, which has significant socio-economic and health implications for young girls and their communities. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) organized events and initiatives during Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Week in collaboration with partners like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). These initiatives aimed to create awareness and engage the community to reduce adolescent pregnancies. (Kaieteur News)

  • The 11th Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference (CWSDC) focused on the needs of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LBTQ) people assigned to females at birth. The conference brought together over 70 activists from 18 countries in Sint Maarten to address various issues and challenges faced by this community such as trauma, discrimination, familial rejection, lack of access to health services, and the absence of legal and social protections for this community. (Erasing 76 Crimes)

Public Security

  • A former Haitian military officer, Joseph Félix Badio, wanted for questioning in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, was arrested in Haiti after a chance encounter at a local supermarket. The arrest of Badio, who was accused by some individuals involved in the assassination of ordering President Moïse’s killing, was a surprise to many and raised questions about the intensity of the search for him. (The New York Times)


  • November 8th from 10:30 EST, the webinar Transforming Guyana, Season II, Episode VI, Workforce Development and the emerging Guyanese Oil and Gas Economy organized by the Guyana Business Journal and The Caribbean Policy Consortium will be held virtually. Register

  • November 14th, “When the people lead, the leaders follow”, a series on Extractivisim in the Caribbean will be held virtually via Zoom. Register

  • November 15th,  the webinar Covering COP28 From a Caribbean Perspective: Media Insights and Trending Topics for the UN Climate Change Summit organized by Climate Analytics Caribbean will be held virtually. Register.


  • The United Nations has announced a call for submissions from Parties and non-party stakeholders regarding tools and methodologies for assessing and addressing capacity gaps and needs related to accessing climate finance. This call is in line with the mandate of the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) and its 2021–2024 work plan, as directed by the Conference of the Parties (COP). The deadline for submissions is November 10, 2023. Apply.

  • The Pulitzer Center is actively seeking applications for fellowships in the Rainforest Investigations Network (RIN), which is its initiative dedicated to uncovering the root causes of deforestation. These fellowships provide financial support and training to journalists, with a focus on corporate investigation techniques and geospatial data analysis. More information

  • The OAS extended the deadline to the 30th of November to apply for their open call for nominations from legitimate Indigenous Peoples organizations for the roles of principal and alternate representatives in the Working Group for the Implementation of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (ADRIP). More information.    

  • Open call for all Caribbean feminist creatives within the region and beyond, as well as creatives with no affiliation to the Caribbean to share their pieces expressing transnational feminist solidarity with Palestine. Intersect Antigua, a Caribbean feminist storytelling organization. Submit.

  • Registrationcontinues for the third edition of The University of the West Indies Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean’s training module Caribbean Small States and the Diplomacies of Climate Change: Negotiations in Practice. This training will be held virtually from the 4th to the 7th March 2024.  More information.

Jordana Timerman/Just Caribbean Updates

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