Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In early May, the
government and opposition parties agreed to hold elections
by March 31, 2001, to try to put an end to the political
turmoil that arose after the government approved higher
pensions and benefits for the country's MPs. Labor and
political groups had demanded that the government resign.
COUNTRYAAH, Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell resigned August 20 as
party leader for the New Democratic Party (NDP) government.
He was replaced by Finance Minister Arnhim Eustace.
At a summit in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in early
July, the heads of government of the Caribbean, The
Caribbean Community (Caricom), signed a trade agreement with
Cuba. The agreement allows the fifteen Caricom member
countries to export goods duty-free to Cuba and develop
joint projects in the area, such as tourism. The United
States has long sought to limit Cuba's influence in the
Caribbean, but Cuba's leader Fidel Castro now states in a
written statement that the Caribbean states are united.