BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Call for G20 to consider poor countries

Barbados’ Prime Minister David Thompson has called for the Caribbean’s concerns to be taken on board by rich countries seeking to turn around the global financial crisis.

The economic downturn was the main talking point at the just concluded G20 meeting in the US city of Pittsburgh.

On a stopover in London, Thompson told BBC Caribbean that prescriptions being put forward by rich countries might not always be suited to circumstances of poor nations.

Torture allegations

A United Nations spokeswoman says peacekeepers are investigating the alleged use of excessive force by troops stationed in Haiti.

The statement from Sophie Boutaud de la Combe followed media reports in Brazil that a Haitian community leader alleged that troops on patrol recently invaded his house, took him to an undisclosed location in Port-au-Prince and tortured him.

The UN’s 9,000 member peacekeeping mission has been in Haiti since 2004, following the ouster of then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Thousands face lay
offs in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican government has announced plans to lay off more than 16,000 public workers in November.

This in a bid to help close a multi-billion dollar deficit as the island struggles through its third year of recession and a 15% unemployment rate.

Union leaders in San Juan have announced an island-wide strike in protest next month.

But the President of the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, Carlos Garcia, said the layoffs are needed to prevent the government from shutting down and sinking the island’s credit.

Request for UN
office on drugs

St Kitts and Nevis has asked the United Nations to re-open its office on drugs and crime in the Caribbean.

Prime Minister Denzil Douglas told the UN General Assembly on the weekend that the bureau is needed as the region seeks to deal with an increase in criminal activity linked to the illegal drugs trade and other factors.

Douglas said there is increased focus on human security in relation to higher levels of crime, especially among youth.

British Navy makes
record drug haul

The British Royal Navy says it has made its biggest-ever seizure of cocaine.

The Ministry of Defence in London said a warship, HMS Iron Duke, found five-and-a-half tons of the drug on a fishing boat off the coast of South America.

It says the boat was spotted acting suspiciously in an area known for drug smuggling.

The cocaine was hidden in a secret compartment under a layer of concrete in the vessel’s ballast tanks.

The ministry said the cocaine had an estimated street value of $400 million.

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