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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The Caribbean has begun reacting to the victory of Portia Simpson Miller, who led her People's National Party (PNP) to a resounding victory in the Dec. 29 general elections in Jamaica. Professor Norman Girvan, former secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), said the immediate challenge for the government will be the economy and more specifically, the multi-billion dollar Stand By Agreement signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). "The latest agreement has been off-track for most of the last year; the government has no choice but to re-establish it in order to access badly needed funds," he said. "...A fresh austerity package is a virtual certainty." Girvan, who is also professor emeritus of the University of the West Indies, (UWI), also said that the victory of the new PNP government "will probably be welcomed in the region" as traditionally the party, unlike the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has always been seen as a supporter of the regional integration movement. But he noted recent issues including Jamaica's huge trade deficit with Trinidad and Tobago remains a " festering sore on the body of CARICOM relations."
Newly elected Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has pledged to unite Jamaicans at home and abroad, following her party's massive victory in the Caribbean country's general elections late last month. Simpson Miller led the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) back to power in Jamaica after a four-year absence, toppling the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) by winning 42 of the 63 parliamentary seats contested, according to the preliminary count of votes. The JLP secured the remaining 21. She was sworn in as prime minister on Jan. 5. In her post-election speech at the PNP's St. Andrew headquarters on Dec. 29, Simpson Miller said "this leader with her team will be working with all Jamaicans as one Jamaican family as we shape the future together. "We will be working with you," she told the crowd of jubilant supporters later, "as well as Jamaicans in the diaspora."
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) announced today that she is leading a bipartisan effort by members of the Florida delegation to help Haitians get family-based visas and low-skilled, temporary employment visas while their homeland rebuilds from the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake. Joining Congresswoman Wilson on a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano are U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, and U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Deutch, Corinne Brown, David Rivera and Mario Diaz-Balart. According to the National Visa Center, of the more than 100,000 Haitians waiting for their approved family-based visa numbers to become available, 15,584 are the spouses and children of U.S. citizens, and another 16,216 are the adult children of Legal Permanent Residents.
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, CMC – Outgoing chairman of the Caribbean community (CARICOM) Dr. Denzil Douglas has extended congratulations to Portia Simpson Miller after her People's National Party (PNP) romped home to victory in last month's general elections in Jamaica. "I congratulated her on behalf of the Conference of the Heads of Government of CARICOM and more so on behalf of the Government and People of St. Kitts and Nevis," said Dr. Douglas, who is also the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.