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Caricom Backs Antigua in Gambling Battle with US

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) said yesterday that it would continue to back Antigua and Barbuda in its ongoing battle with the United States over Internet gambling at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Yesterday, Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque, in accepting the credentials of  Clarence Henry as Antigua and Barbuda’s plenipotentiary representative to Caricom, said the region “reiterates its full support for Antigua and Barbuda in its fight to obtain the compliance of the United States of America with the ruling of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body on the subject of cross-border provision of gambling and betting services.

 “This stance is also fully in keeping with Caricom’s belief that all sovereign member states should be regarded as equals, and respected accordingly within the WTO,” LaRocque said, adding that “the Caricom family will accompany Antigua and Barbuda on this challenging journey and looks forward to being kept abreast of its developments.

Earlier this month, the Antigua and Barbuda Government said there had been no “substantial progress” with Washington over the long-standing Internet gaming dispute despite recent rulings in its favor by the WTO.

In 2007, the WTO awarded the Caribbean country the right to target U.S. services, copyrights and trademarks in retaliation for its online betting ban. But the WTO capped the limit of annual trade sanctions at $21 million.

The country’s administration had sought the right to impose $3.4 billion in retaliatory measures, while Washington offered a mere $500,000.

LaRocque said yesterday that Henry was no stranger to Caricom, having represented his country at numerous meetings of the councils of the regional integration movement.

Read more: Jamaicaobserver
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