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A year in review: Africa and the Caribbean in 2017

PICTURED: Robert Mugabe (Photo credit: Themba Hadebe/AP/PA)

JANUARY

SEVERAL US Congressional representatives boycotted President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, said that she could not attend in the wake of Trump’s attacks on civil rights icon John Lewis.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said he deeply regretted the “accidental” killing of civilians in an air strike by the military in a remote part of north-eastern Nigeria, aimed at defeating Boko Haram.

FEBURARY

EXXONMOBIL’S affiliate and Guyanese producers started drilling in Guyana’s waters. ExxonMobil said it expected the first oil by 2020 and that the anticipated 100,000 barrels of oil per day had been one of the biggest oil finds for years.

Meanwhile, an argument between Trinidad’s National
Carnival Commission and the pan governing body, Pan Trinbago, over the share of gate receipts, nearly turned the sweet sound of pan sour.

Cameroon, won their fifth Africa Cup of Nations title after defeating seven-time champions Egypt 2–1 in the final at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville, Gabon.

MARCH

TRINIDAD’S government questioned figures of Trinidadians allegedly involved in terrorist activities abroad. Global news articles placed the figures at around 400 Trinidad nationals who had travelled to join Isis.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, put the figure at 130 Trinidadian nationals believed to be involved in terrorist activities overseas. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, pulished Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, to much acclaim.

APRIL

ST VINCENT and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced plans to outlaw the hunting of killer whales after two
orcas were killed in the presence of a whale-watching tour group, causing Thompson Cruises to announce a review of its tours.


Violet Moss Brown

Jamaican Violet Mosse Brown, was officially named as the world’s oldest human. She was born on March 10, 1900 in Trelawny. Joe Walker-Cousins, head of the UK’s Libya mission and the former head of the British embassy in Benghazi warned that as many as one million migrants are already on the way to Libya and Europe from countries across Africa.

MAY

THE Caribbean’s biggest operational solar plant opened in Puerto Rico. The Oriana Solar Park has an estimated production capacity of 100,000 megawatt-hours of energy for its first year.

Meanwhile, a love letter addressed to a sail- or based in Trinidad 72 years ago and never delivered was found in a New Jersey home. Postmarked May 1945, the letter had been returned and stored. It was finally sent on to Rolf Christofferson – who was still alive.

JUNE

CARICOM’S statement on the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change said that it was “deeply dismayed and disappointed”, CARICOM said that “for us, climate change is an existential threat”.

JULY

REGIONAL politicians paid tribute to former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who stepped down as an MP after more than 40 years in politics.


Portia Simpson Miller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CARICOM leaders met in Grenada for their annual summit. New Bahamian leader Hubert Minister told fellow leaders that "our people will know CARICOM is working for them when they can see, hear, and feel it themselves."

AUGUST

FOLLOWING defeat in his final international race at the World Championships in London Usain Bolt apologised to his fans in Jamaica. But Culture and Sport Minister, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, she did not accept his apology. “He gave everything,” she said.

Paul Kagame, the controversial president of Rwanda, won a landslide victory in the state’s election, securing a third term in office and extending his 17 years in power. The former guerrilla leader was praised for bringing stability after genocide, but was criticised as authoritarian.

And South African President Jacob Zuma survived a vote of confidence in the country’s parliament.

SEPTEMBER

HURRICANES Irma and Maria battered parts of the Caribbean in back-to-back swoops through the region. The category 5 hurricanes wreaked havoc through the region.

Irma hit Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, the Turks & Caicos, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Bahamas – media reports put the Caribbean death toll at 38.


Hurrican Irma wrecked the Caribbean island of Dominica (Photo credit: Carlisle Jno Baptiste/AP/PA)

Hurricane Maria followed, hitting Barbuda, the whole of Dominica, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The hurricanes also went on to take their toll on the US mainland.

Fatalities were estimated this month as having surprassed 1,000.
In South Africa, thousands of workers took to the streets to protest against government corruption, state capture and job losses.

OCTOBER

THE UNITED NATIONS’ top official for Dominica, Stephen O’Malley, has said that the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency had “come of age” following its handling of the 2017 hurricane devastation.

In Liberia, more than two million people went to the polls to pick a new leader with president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf set to leave office.
But neither of the leading candidates, former soccer star George Weah and current vice president Joseph Boakai were able to garner the 50 per cent majority of votes required to take office in the first round.

NOVEMBER

BELIZE decriminalised possession and private consumption of ten grams or less of marijuana. The law applied to the smoking of cannabis on private premises.

Dominica announced plans to be “in a state of readiness” for cruise ships from January 1, 2018 following the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

The British Virgin Islands introduced rebuilding rules to speed up repair work following Hurricane Irma. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term amid the thunderous applause of supporters even as pro-government forces fired on protesters angered by the contentious election process that kept him in power.

The AU chairman, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, demanded prosecutions over a “despicable” trade “from another era”.

Robert Mugabe, finally bowed to pressure and stood down as president of Zimbabwe on November 21, ending a 37-year rule that eventually took the country to the brink of economic collapse.

DECEMBER

FOUR Caribbean nations, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago appeared on an European Union list on for “non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes”.

The EU said that the countries named faced potential punitive measures related to “foreign policy, economic relations and development cooperation.”

But the so-called tax havens blacklist was immediately questioned by CARICOM.

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