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Last updated: 26 November, 2009 - Published 20:58 GMT
 
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BBC Caribbean News in Brief
 
Vincies vote "No"

The queen will for a while yet, continue to have her representative in Kingstown as the Head of State of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Queen Elizabeth
Dr Gonsalves wanted to replace the Queen's representative with a native-born president

That's after nearly 56% of those who turned out for Wednesday's referendum voted against a proposed new constitution.

Preliminary results revealed that 43% supported the draft document that would have seen the British monarch replaced with a president chosen by the parliament.

The government of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves needed a two-thirds majority for the change to take effect.

The results show that the "No" vote dominated in thirteen of the fifteen constituencies.

Buoyed by the referendum results, New Democratic Party leader Arnhim Eustace on Thursday urged the prime minister to call a fresh general election.

Code of conduct snubbed

The two opposition parties in Dominica have refused to sign an election code of conduct being pushed by the Dominica Christian Council and the Dominica Evangelical Association.

The governing Dominica Labour Party (DLP) has signed on to the document.

Both the United Workers Party (UWP) and the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) say they support the code in principle.

However they are complaining about lack of access to state-owned Radio DBS, and have accused Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of deliberately making the station inaccessible to the opposition.

Opposition Leader Ron Green says the UWP is considering taking court action to ensure that the party's message is heard on the national radio station.

Commonwealth defended

This weekend's biannual summit of the Commonwealth group of nations in Trinidad and Tobago has seen questions about the organisation's relevance resurfacing.

While some critics consider it a useless accident of history, born of Britain's imperial past, others argue it is a club worth joining.

The Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Danny Sriskandarajah, says the grouping which represents a quarter of the world's population is still very relevant today.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he wants the Commonwealth leaders meeting in Port of Spain to give a push to climate change negotiations.

Guyana involved in "save the rainforest" talks

Representatives from Guyana and Suriname are among eight nations straddling the Amazon basin who are meeting in a Brazilian city in the Amazon, Manuas, to discuss how to save the rainforest from deforestation and climate change.

Amazon
Guyana wants to protect its portion of the Amazon

The one-day meeting was called by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

It is also being attended by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is representing French Guiana.

The leaders hope to use the talks to further draw up a "common stance" for the 7-18 December UN climate change conference in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

Investment funds move to collect debt

A British court has ordered Liberia to pay two Caribbean-registered investment funds more than $20 million for a debt that dates back to 1978.

The sum awarded to the firms, described as "vulture funds" by critics, is equivalent to about five per cent of the Liberian government's budget this year.

Liberia says it has no money to pay the debt back and has accused the firms of profiting from poverty.

The country is recovering from a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

The details of the case are still unclear, but it is thought Liberia borrowed $6.5 million from the US-based Chemical Bank in 1978 and that debt may have been resold a number of times.

The two funds requested London's High Court to grant a summary judgement in the case, making Liberia liable for the debt without the need for a full hearing.

 
 
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