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Three dead in Haiti fuel-price hike riots, Govt suspends increase amidst international pressures

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Photos shared via social media from Haiti

#Haiti, Saturday July 7, 2018 – Police stations set on fire, hotels ambushed and three people reported dead so far; all stemming from Friday’s reaction to a major fuel price hike announced by the Haitian government.

Radical protests are capturing world headlines and have led to international flight cancellations to the impoverished nation, whose government is met with the deadly revolt after the Prime Minister reportedly refused to back down from the planned increases.  

Gasoline prices were announced to rise by 38 percent, diesel by 47 percent and kerosene by 51 percent starting this weekend.  

Prime Minister of Haiti, Jack Guy Lafontant has doubled-back on the increase, at least for now.  Prime Minister Lafontant had explained to the Haitian people the increase was necessary in order for the administration to move forward with major infrastructural development.

A Friday night press conference featured the Finance Minister of Haiti, reported the Miami Herald.  The Minister explained that, Haiti is losing nearly 800 million in revenues due to the low gas prices and that only 25 percent of the population was benefitting from the government’s subsidization of fuel stations.

From the Miami Herald:  Haiti’s Finance Minister Jude Alix Patrick Solomon said Friday at a press conference about the fuel hikes. “It’s difficult for you to be asking your international partners to give you budgetary assistance or support and at the same time you have revenue that you are not capturing.”

 

Up to $96 million in budgetary support is at risk if Haiti does not make fiscal changes as agree to with the International Monetary Fund, IMF. The IMF is demanding public administration reforms and compliance with a 1995 law, which requires fuel prices to be altered with each shipment.  

The Police Force was overwhelmed and out-manned by the rock-throwing melee.

Officials were reportedly beckoning to Haitians to stop the rioting. Reminding the protesters in Cap Haitien and Port Au Prince that the outbreak of violence and damage to businesses is only costing the Haitian people, exacerbating the problem and not helping.

American Airlines, Jet Blue and Spirit Airlines have cancelled flights to Haiti.  The U.S. Embassy has also issued an advisory, asking Americans to stay away from riot zones.

Air France has also suspended flights to the embattled cities.

Government of Haiti is now under serious pressure to cool down the rioting in their major cities after countries issue travel warnings and alerts, while aiming to appease international agencies and donors who are demanding immediate reforms.

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Caribbean News

Jamaica agricultural advancements despite bad weather

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Credit:JIS

Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Jamaica#Agriculture, April 11, 2024 Despite the bad weather conditions in 2023, especially the drought period, Jamaica was able to achieve its second highest domestic crop production on record with over 700 thousand tonnes of local crops produced. This was announced by state minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Franklin Witter, on Sunday April 7, at the 41st annual National Farmers’ Month church service held in Trelawney.

 

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Caribbean News

Guyana Wildfires

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Wildfires#Guyana, April 11, 2024 – Wildfires have been affecting Guyana, the most recent in the Timehri Community on the north-eastern side since April 4, according to a release from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO).

The report says according to PAHO, as of April 5, 28 people have been displaced in a shelter in the Santa Aratack Village. Additionally, the JRC Global Wildfire Information System, also featured in the release, says the total burnt area is more than 16,500 ha.

This comes nearly a month after a 93 year old man was killed by a wildfire in north West Guyana.

Reports say the entire region is dealing with wildfires including Venezuela, Central America and Mexico with a record number of fires, and a major increase compared to the same period in 2023.

 

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Caribbean News

Efforts to deliver education to Children in Haiti – Schools still closed

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti#Education, April 9, 2024 – With schools across Haiti still shut down due to intense gang violence, UNICEF is making efforts to deliver education to students, working with the Ministry of Education. They are trying to deliver distance learning through radio, television and e-learning platforms and right now, solutions are being explored through Haiti’s national radio station. Announced in a press release by UN News on April 7, this comes as UN agencies warned that Haitian children are suffering from not just a lack of education but also primary exposure to violence.

 

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