Stories written by Kathy Barrett

DEVELOPMENT: Libyan Investments in Caribbean Under Threat

Although located over 9,500 kilometres from the North African country of Libya, the turmoil there has not left the leaders of some small Caribbean nations unscathed.

Betty Ann Blaine at home. Credit: Kathy Barrett/IPS

Rights Activist Challenges Jamaica’s Status Quo

For the last 50 years, Jamaica's modern history has been shaped by two powerful parties - the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party. Although dozens of others have periodically emerged, the political graveyard has inevitably been their final resting place.

Women of Tivoli Gardens march in support of Christopher "Dudus" Coke on May 20, 2010. Credit: Kathy Barrett/IPS

JAMAICA: Women Caught Between Police and Loyalty for Gang Leader

"I am very much afraid...I'm traumatised," sobbed Marsha, as she recounted the violence that ripped through the constituency of West Kingston last month as police and soldiers searched for Christopher "Dudus" Coke, the reputed head of one of the most notorious criminal organisations in the Western hemisphere.

JAMAICA: Communities Pay High Price for Soaring Crime Rates

This week's ongoing standoff in Jamaica, in which 73 people have been killed as police search for a wanted gang leader in the Tivoli Gardens neighbourhood of Kingston, is focusing renewed international attention on the island's seemingly intractable violent crime rate.

Jamaicans Fear Mayhem Over Coke Extradition

Classrooms emptied and business owners pulled down their shutters this week as the word spread that the Jamaican government had finally signed an extradition request from the United States for alleged gang leader Christopher "Dudus" Coke.

JAMAICA: Nursing Exodus May Only Get Worse

The shortage of nurses throughout the Caribbean has reached chronic proportions, in a region already struggling with an ailing health care system.

Mangroves on the Negril River. Credit: Kathy Barrett/IPS

CARIBBEAN: Final Throes for Jamaica’s ‘Hippie Paradise’?

For centuries, Negril, a seven-mile stretch of white sand beach on the western tip of Jamaica, was cut off from the rest of the island by bad roads and a large swamp.

Mangrove on the Negril River. - Kathy Barrett/IPS

Final Throes for Jamaica's 'Hippie Paradise'?

What was once a magical place in Jamaica is on the verge of losing its best trait: the beaches.

Haitians arriving in Jamaica on Mar. 23. Credit: Kathy Barrett/IPS

JAMAICA: Haitian Refugees Sent Home

On the evening of Jan. 12 when Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake, Jamaica, which lies just 160 kilometres to the west, sought to assure President René Préval that Jamaica was is in the process of organising a "practical response" to their plight.

A street in Kingston following the 1907 quake. Credit: Courtesy National Library of Jamaica

DEVELOPMENT: The Caribbean Trembles

Better known for its hurricanes, the region that extends from the Cayman Islands in the west to the chain of Windward and Leeward Islands in the east is home to one of the earth's principal seismic belts.

A street in Kingston following the 1907 quake. - National Library of Jamaica

The Caribbean Trembles

The Haiti earthquake was a reminder that the beautiful Caribbean is one of the planet's most geologically active zones.

"Shoeshine", a transvestite sex worker, says prostitution of underage girls is common is Negril. Credit: Kathy Barrett/IPS

JAMAICA: The Other Side of Paradise

It's just before midnight, and the music pulsates through the massive speakers perched under the ceiling, scantily clad girls in their five-inch heels moving closer to the iron poles.

JAMAICA: Young Offenders Caught Up in Adult System

For years, Jamaica's correctional system has been under the glare of the international spotlight.

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