john compton regains leadership of party
CASTRIES, St. Lucia (AP) – Former St. Lucia prime minister, Sir John Compton, has returned to the leadership of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), which he found-ed in 1964.
Sir John, 79, who had bowed out of active politics in 1966, convincingly defeated his hand picked successor, Professor Vaughan Lewis during the voting at the party’s convention on Sun-day in the west coast town of Soufriere.
Sir John tallied 260 votes to 135 gained by Dr. Lewis, who left the convention hall minutes before the final results were announced.
The announcement by a representative of the Electoral Commission was greeted with loud cheers from supporters and the former Prime Minister, who led this country into independence in 1979, warned the ruling St. Lucia Labor Party (SLP) that it would no longer be business as usual.
“They should prepare themselves to deal with the wrath of a newly energized opposition United Workers Party,” Sir John said in a statement immediately after the results were announced. A confident Sir John said it was no longer a question of “if” the UWP would win the next elections, and that his first priority on getting back to government, would be to get the economy going and urgently address issues of crime, education and unemployment.
Delegates also re-elected former minister Stephenson King as the UWP’s chairman, and Leonard Montoute as the deputy political leader.
ST. GEORGE”S, Grenada (AP) – Six months after Hurricane Ivan slam-med into Grenada destroying its infrastructure and killing more than 30 people, the Director of the National Emer-gency Relief Organization (NERO) Sylvan Mc Intyre, Monday described the ongoing recovery process as “re-markable.”
But he told the Associated Press housing and shelter remain the greatest challenge.
“As you would know, 90 percent of the housing stock and buildings were destroyed and that is a challenge for us,” he said.
Mc Intyre said buildings were being inspected and those with structural adjustment problems were being rehabilitated.
“We are building very meticulously to ensure that we are not building with the risk which we had before and en-suring that proper mitigation measures are implemented this time around,” Mc Intyre said.
But the NERO head is optimistic, that Grenada would complete the re-building task within another two years once the island continues to receive support.
“I’m sure within two years that most of our buildings would be back. On average it takes six months to a year to have a basic structure up. We are going to give that about two years to see most of our structures and then to take us to another level, we would say about another five years,” he said.
Apart from the rebuilding process, the National Emergency Relief Organi-zation is gearing up for the start of the 2005 hurricane season that begins in June.
Mc Intyre said given the experience of Hurricane Ivan, Grenada would not be taking any chances and that a comprehensive disaster management program is being implemented.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) – Caribbean Community (Caricom) Sec-retary General Edwin Carrington, said the Commonwealth provides “a valuable and enduring forum for Caricom” to partner with other nations in achieving a global community dedicated to improving the socio-economic life of their citizens.
In a message marking Common-wealth Day, Carrington said the region was also using the opportunity to re-affirm “the undertakings entered into in the 1996 Memorandum of Under-standing between the Caricom and Com-monwealth Secretariats to strengthen the relationship between our two entities.”
“The MOU creates a durable framework in which we continue to advance the joint implementation of projects, the exchange of information, consultations on matters of common interest, and collaboration in the preparation of technical and policy studies.”
He said the active participation of Caricom states in the Commonwealth Youth Program, the Commonwealth Games, as well as “our ongoing co-operation within the Commonwealth in areas such as the promotion of democracy, education, technical and vocational training, information technology, health, and diplomacy continues to be of immense benefit.
“We in the Caribbean Community use this opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to the educational development of the people of the region. We also restate Caricom’s endorsement of the international initiatives that seek to achieve the goal of universal access to quality education especially in poor countries.”
Carrington said the region considered education a major catalyst for development as well as a potent force in creating opportunity by promoting the accumulation of knowledge, skills and the social and economic empowerment of individuals.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) – The Barbados-based Caribbean Tour-ism Organization (CTO) is predicting continued growth for the region’s tour-ism industry in 2005.
CTO’s Director of Information Man-agement and Research Arley Sobers, said the region’s tourism sector would grow by at least five per cent this year over the 2004 figure, when a record 21.8 million stay-over visitors and 20 million cruise ship passengers visited the area.
CTO estimates that at least US$21 billion had been spent by visitors coming to the region last year, “based on the strength of the record year for both tourist arrivals and an increase in hotel occupancy rates and revenue per room.”
The CTO also announced that a round table discussion aimed at helping delegates identify avenues to market Caribbean products will form part of the program for the seventh Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-7), which takes place in Tobago from 26-29.
Meanwhile, CTO said it has received over US$4.03 million from the Euro-pean Commission (EC) to finance four major sustainable tourism development programs.
The money is part of an overall US$10.76 million, which the EC has allocated for tourism programs in the Caribbean.
The CTO also said that the Carib-bean is being well represented at the International Tourism Show in Berlin that ends today.
It said 17 countries are attending the show, considered to be “Europe’s leading tourism trade show in March.”
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) – BP Trinidad and Tobago wants to sell three oil fields off Trinidad’s southeast coast as the company moves to expand its production of natural gas, officials said.
The three oil fields – Teak, Samaan and Poui – produce about 21,000 barrels of oil a day, or 5 percent of bpTT’s production of oil and gas, said Robert Riley, the company’s chairman and chief executive.
The company said it will retain deep exploration rights around the three fields. Riley did not say whether any buyers had contacted the company.