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Barbados

One of two British women, who are convinced the man accused of raping them in Barbados is innocent, has stated in court.

Dr. Rachel Turner, from Hertfordshire and Diane Davies, of North Wales were attacked within days of each other in 2010.

Barbadian Derek Crawford, 47, has been charged with the attacks, but the women are certain he was not the rapist. Davies gave evidence before the magistrate in a Bridgetown court recently.

She told the court Crawford “is not the man that raped me.”

Davies told the BBC that at the hearing, where the press and public were excluded, she said Crawford was “the wrong age and wrong build.”

“He’s not the man. For the 18 months I have been saying that. I have been totally ignored by the police,” she said.

Turner also hoped to give evidence but the case has been adjourned to Dec. 13.

Turner and Davies are fighting to clear Crawford’s name with solicitor Andre Pilgrim.

Turner and Davies said they were concerned that while the Barbados Police Force continue to support the prosecution of Crawford, the real rapist is free to attack.

The two women, who have waived their right to anonymity, say Crawford looks and sounds nothing like the man who attacked them in Holetown, St. James parish.

Dominica

Leaders of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are expressing concerns over the visa requirement imposed on some countries by Canada and welcomed new efforts by the French islands in the Caribbean to be part of the regional grouping.

Following their summit, which ended in Dominica recently, chairman of the OECS St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told reporters “Martinique and Guadeloupe a few months ago applied for associate membership of the OECS and an OECS negotiating team has been established, its negotiating briefs have been prepared and it is ready to commence negotiations with Martinique and Guadeloupe negotiating teams.”

Dr. Gonsalves said the French teams have already indicated they “will shortly be ready to start talks.”

“This is a very important strategic development,” he said, noting that the nine-member sub-regional grouping is also concerned that the use of a driver’s license for travel by OECS citizens within the OECS, is not sufficient since it “does not have sufficient information.”

He said the difficulty comes about, “not so much for the travel between two OECS countries, but if you have to pass through Barbados or Trinidad to come to any OECS countries… we have difficulties clearly,”

Grenada

Grenada is embarking on a drive to increase the amount of local content available to Grenada Internet users.

Speaking at the launch of the relocated Grenada Internet Exchange Point, Minister of Finance and Energy Nazim Burke said the government of Grenada is in full support of initiatives to create Internet-based content that specifically targets the needs of Grenada and its citizens.

An Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is a facility that allows ISPs to keep domestic Internet traffic in a country instead of routing it through the U.S. or Europe.

Head of the Grenada Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) Aldwyn Ferguson said, “the Grenada Internet Exchange Point and the new local DNS Root server copy are important steps in our efforts to improve the quality, efficiency and resilience of Internet Services in Grenada.”

Ferguson commended local service provider Cable & Wireless Grenada (trading as LIME) and Columbus Communications (Flow) for working collaboratively to implement the new facilities.

Guyana

Outspoken Assistant Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine is suing the Guyana National Newspapers Limited, publishers of the Guyana Chronicle, for Guy$5 million, over alleged defamatory statements carried by that publication recently.

Attorneys Khemraj Ramjattan and Neil Persram, acting on behalf of Ramnarine have filed an action in the High Court against the publication.

According to the lawsuit, Ramnarine is seeking damages in excess of Guy$5 million for libel and defamatory statements published in the Guyana Chronicle on Nov. 6, under the captain “Corruption allegations leveled against Superintendent Ramnarine.”

The article quoted two men, who claimed to be miners, accusing Ramnarine of improper conduct.

Since the publication, which was carried on the front page of the newspaper, there has been no formal investigation by the police on the allegations made.

Haiti

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the number of cholera cases in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country of Haiti is on the increase.

It says Haitian officials have confirmed 3,593 cases and another 837 suspected cases since the passage of Hurricane Sandy in late October. Although the country was spared by the full brunt of the hurricane, it received heavy rains for several days afterwards.

IOM spokesman Jumbe Omari Jumbe told reporters, “the numbers are going up”, particularly in camps around the capital, Port-au-Prince.

He said his organization has responded by handing out about 10,000 cholera kits in 31 camps “badly hit by cholera in the area.”

Cholera is a bacterial infection that spreads through water and Haiti’s lack of proper sanitization and sewage systems makes the country more vulnerable.

The first case was recorded in October 2012 and more than 7,000 cases have been recorded since then.

Jamaica

One man drowned and ll persons arrested following the seizure of 3,000 pounds of marijuana during an anti-crime and counter narcotics exercise by the Jamaica constabulary and soldiers in St. Ann’s, recently.

Police said the man drowned while trying to escape from police officers during the joint police and military operations in Ocho Rios, St. Ann’s.

Reports indicate that the man and several others jumped from a boat while the police were trying to apprehend them. The man is said to have drowned while the others were taken into custody.

Police say two motor boats, a truck and several motor vehicles were also seized during the operation. The drowned man’s body has since been recovered.

St. Kitts

The recently installed automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) is proving to be a useful tool in securing justice for victims of crime in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Police say that since AFIS was introduced in October, a positive match has been made, which links an individual to a crime that is currently being investigated.

The introduction of the AFIS comes as the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force continues to modernize operations and upgrade its forensic capabilities.

AFIS is used by several countries in the Caribbean region and is also popular with international law enforcement agencies. This allows for a wider integrated database of finger and palm prints that can be accessed by security forces anywhere in the world.

“Presently we are linked with Antigua, so we have the capability of searching their files and they have the capability of checking our files as well,” a police official revealed adding that St. Lucia and St. Vincent will soon be added to the system as well.

Before any cross inter-island agency check is facilitated, officials will have to submit a request to the respective authority seeking permission to access the files.

The United States government through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) assisted St. Kitts and Nevis’s introduction of AFIS.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago was ranked 80th out of 176 countries in the 2012 Transparency Corruption Perception Index with a score 39 out of 100.

The period under review was the last 12 months.

On a scale of zero to l00 (with l00 being a corruption-free

Society and zero a corruption society, Trinidad and Tobago scored only 39.

This was revealed by head of the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) Deryck Murray at the Professional Center, Port of Spain.

He said this meant public institutions need to be more transparent and leaders need to be held more accountable. Murray said corruption is a continuous source of concern for all countries, particularly developing countries as this affects trade as well as valid development grants, since donors would want to know their resources are used for the reasons intended.

‘You need to ensure, as a government, a country, that we have processes in place that safeguard those sorts of funds and safeguards the image of Trinidad and Tobago in terms of being able to attract new investment and new business opportunities,” Murray said.

The Index revealed that Barbados ranked the highest in the Caribbean and Latin America region with a score of 76, while Haiti ranked the lowest with a score of l9. Barbados ranked 15, followed by Bahamas and St. Lucia 22. Guyana ranked 133, while Venezuela ranked 165, Jamaica ranked 83 with a score of 38.

Trinidad

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says President Max Richards has no constitutional authority to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to probe the contentious Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (indictable Proceedings Bill) Bill 2011, which the government recently repealed.

Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley together with various groups including the Movement for Social Justice and the Trade Union Movement sent a letter to Richards calling on him to initiate and enquiry under Section 81 of the Constitution into the proclamation of Section 34 – which provided a legal avenue for people such as businessmen Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson to have their matters thrown out of court if their cases were 10 years old or more.

Parliament moved swiftly in October to repeal the section and former Justice Minister Herbert Volney was fired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for misleading Cabinet on the issue.

Commenting on Dr. Rowley’s move, the attorney general said, “the president would be stepping outside his constitutional boundary if he were to attempt on his own volition to appoint a Commission of Enquiry without the sanction of Cabinet’s advice or approval. Any action by the president in response to Dr. Rowley’s demands is likely to be undemocratic, unconstitutional and illegal.”

He pointed out that the role of the President in a Westminster system of parliamentary democracy was largely ceremonial and non-executive in nature.

The AG noted that acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith had already issued a statement on behalf of the Office of the President in this matter and found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the entire government and concluded that the prime minister had already taken appropriate action.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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