Covid-19 in Caribbean
The Caribbean remains vulnerable to Covid-19, even as deaths have dropped in the Americas for the first time since the omicron variant took hold, according to the World Health Organization. Vaccination rates are continuing to lag in many countries and territories, and a surge in new cases is leading to increases in hospital admissions and deaths, said Dr. Carissa Etienne, the director of the WHO’s Pan American Health Organization. (Miami Herald)
The warning comes as several governments consider relaxing COVID-19 measures after placing limits on funeral attendance and large indoor gatherings like concerts, and as others consider resuming Carnival festivals this year. (Miami Herald)
Haitian police kill journalist
Haitian police fired into a group of protesters in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, killing a journalist and wounding two others. The move came after thousands of Haitian factory workers launched a new strike to demand higher wages than those the prime minister announced earlier this week. Earlier, police had fired tear gas as protesters threw rocks at them and used trucks to block a main road near the international airport in Port-au-Prince, reports the Associated Press.
Haiti’s government hiked the minimum wage by as much as 54 percent this week, following weeks of demonstrations by garment workers who say their wages are not enough to keep up with the rising cost of living. (Reuters)
The Haiti National Police force has begun an internal investigation into allegations that police officers carried out the deadly attack, reports the Miami Herald. (See yesterday’s post.) In recent years Haiti has seen an increase in the slaying of journalists, none of which have been solved.
- The Dominican Republic began building a wall to cover parts of its border with Haiti this weekend. The wall will cover almost half of the border between the two countries and will affect Haitians who cross the border in search of work in the fields or in the construction industry in the Dominican Republic, reports Deutsche Welle.
- There are concerns that the wall will bring opportunities for bribery, reports the Guardian.
- Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader’s popularity remains high. In a new poll 70 percent of respondents said they approve of Abinader, while only 24 percent disapprove. Abinader’s perceived strong stance on security and migration are likely giving him a boost, in addition to the country’s strong economic recovery from the pandemic, according to the Latin America Risk Report.
- A Trinidadian aboard a fishing vessel fired upon by Trinidad and Tobago’s Coast Guard has disputed the official account of events in which a Venezuelan baby in his mother’s arms was killed. (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian)
Democratic Governance and Decolonization
- The United Nations Security Council made it clear that it wants elections in Haiti before the end of the year and called on the country’s political and civic leaders to collaborate on resolving political gridlock, reports the Miami Herald. The government and its main opposition, known as the Montana group, have different visions for the country: Prime Minister Ariel Henry is angling for a new constitution and elections by the end of the year, while the Montana group is seeking a two-year transition process to guarantee free and fair elections.
- Puerto Rico’s recently announced debt agreement will not make it easier for citizens to find homes, schools, and jobs. But it will fuel and test Puerto Ricans’ ability to mobilize politically, argues Carlos A Suárez Carrasquillo in the Conversation.
Climate Justice and Energy
- The Suriname government has begun the process of ending a deal for the construction here of a state-of-the-art hydrogen plant by the Danish company, Hybrid Power System Group. According to the government it has become apparent that HPSG has “given an incorrect representation” and that the Danish company “has not and cannot fulfill basic obligations under the agreement.” (Caribbean Media Corporation)
- Electric buses in Bermuda and Barbados.
- A new book by Sharon Milagro Marshall traces the reverse migration of some CuBajans, the descendants of Barbadians who moved to Cuba in search of economic opportunities in the early twentieth century. While they have not always been regarded as true Barbadians by some among the local population, the CuBajans themselves have a sense of pride in what they have been able to achieve in Cuba, and they count themselves fortunate in having two homelands. (Repeating Islands)
- Jamaican maximum-security correctional facilities are largely identified by their extremely poor, anachronistic, and inhuman conditions of custody. This overriding identity shelves the positive influence of reforms that have taken place or are currently underway, writes Dacia Latoya Leslie in International Criminal Justice Review.
- A top beauty pageant in Jamaica has banned women who have bleached their skin from competing. (Repeating Islands)
- 25 February — 1 p.m. Book Launch: How Britain Underdeveloped the Caribbean: A Reparation Response to Europe’s Legacy of Plunder and Poverty by Hilary McD. Beckles — UWI TV
- 2 March — How does climate adaptation look in the Caribbean? — Caribbean Climate Network
- 9 March — Global climate negotiations and their impacts in the Caribbean — Caribbean Climate Network
- 10 March — “Women in Foreign Policy”, a space for female Latin American and Caribbean ambassadors in the UK to share their insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by women in global diplomacy — Canning House
- Two Fellowship Vacancies – the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. Programme of the UN Human Rights Office. More information
- Grant letters of interest for feminist and women’s, girl’s, and trans people’s and intersex people’s rights organisations and initiatives led by and for women, girls, and trans people and intersex people from anywhere in the world. — Mama Cash