joe_biden_2.jpgU.S. trade pact
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – Vice President Joe Biden and political leaders from across the Caribbean met here May 28 to sign a trade agreement and discuss a range of security, investment and energy issues.

After a more than three-hour session, Biden signed an agreement providing a framework for trade and investment between the U.S. and the Caribbean Community, a group of 15 nations and territories.

At a news conference, Biden said he was aware that island nations face unique challenges and added that the U.S. administration’s goal was “not simply growth but it’s growth that reaches everybody.”

The leaders also discussed efforts to combat drug trafficking and other transnational crimes under a U.S. program launched in 2009 dubbed the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. More than $200 million in funding has been committed to it so far.


Gay rights
SAN JUAN – Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed a bill that prohibits employment discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. He said he met his obligations as a Christian by signing the bill and he congratulated legislators on approving the proposal.

The original measure would have also banned discrimination in commercial transactions, property rentals, public transportation and other circumstances. Those clauses were removed after heavy opposition by religious groups.