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Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

One of the men wanted in connection with October’s killing of two Dominicans – who escaped police custody at the airport last year – is due to return to Antigua.

Local authorities said arrangements have been made for Kenroy Marshall to be sent back to the island from the U.S. where he was recaptured last month.

National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort said appropriate arrangements have now been made for Marshall’s return and he will be returned to Antigua at which time the police will take the matter forward.

In December 2012, Montserrat police caught and transported Marshall, along with Kergus Martin Jr. from the Emerald Isle to Antigua after Antiguan authorities issued a wanted bulletin for them in connection with the Oct. 5 homicide of Dermouth Alix Riviere and Alwin Robin.

However, on arrival at the airport, Marshall escaped. Martin Jr. also fled from police custody shortly after they took him to St John’s Police Station. While there the latter surrendered some time. Marshall left Antigua and ended up in the U.S.

Dr. Cort said, “based on information, Marshall was somehow able to leave Antigua, we assume by boat and went to Guadeloupe and flew from there to Philadelphia in the U.S.

“He was shortly thereafter arrested by U.S. authorities and has been in U.S. custody ever since.”

Bahamas

Human rights organization Amnesty International has called for an independent body to investigate police “abuses” in The Bahamas after two men died in custody recently.

Amnesty said the deaths underscored the “urgent need for greater accountability” of alleged wrongdoing by police.

Amnesty said the deaths of Jamie Smith, 20 and Aaron Rolle, 33, were examples of “human rights abuses” at the hands of the police.

“The circumstances of the men’s deaths and the reasons for their original detention are still unclear,” said Javier Zuniga, special advisor at Amnesty International, in a statement.

The statement noted that Amnesty had documented several alleged “human rights abuses” by police officers. Zuniga said many victims of police abuse do not receive justice.

He urged authorities to put serious consideration into the creation of an independent body to look into allegations of police abuse and outfit the organization with adequate resources.

Haiti

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed regional crime with Caribbean leaders recently during a summit in Haiti.

Holder talked with the leaders of mostly English-speaking Caribbean countries about crime problems, efforts to curb weapons and drug trafficking and a need to alert countries in the region about imminent deportations at the conference of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held at a hotel in the Haitian capital.

Hundreds of thousands of people from Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and other nations have been deported to homelands they barely know since the U.S. Congress mandated in 1996 that every non-citizen sentenced to a year or more in prison be deported to their country upon release.

“With regards to deportees, I think what we need to do is make sure that we give as much notice as we possibly can before people are to be released and deported from the United States,” Holder told reporters.

“As we increase the more general capacity, law enforcement capacity, security of the nations of CARICOM, they will be in a much better position to deal with these deportees from the United States,” he said.

Holder also met privately with Haiti’s President Michel Martelly, who assumed the chair of the CARICOM group in January and will hold the title for the next six months.

It’s the first time Haiti has hosted a CARICOM conference.

Jamaica

The Jamaica Appeal Court has dismissed the appeal of the Head of the Fellowship Tabernacle Church, Reverend Al Miller.

He was seeking to overturn his 2011 conviction, on a charge of criminal negligence, in the loss of his licensed firearm.

He was fined J$80,000 for the offence or three months in prison.

He argued there was no basis for the conviction.

But the appeal court disagreed and argued that the preacher should not have left his firearm in a place where criminals had access to it.

At his trial, the Crown led evidence that Miller left his licensed weapon on his car on Jan. 22, 2011, when he stopped to pick plums on the playground of the Shortwood and Junior High School. The weapon was discovered missing on his return to the vehicle.

The Reverend argued that he should not have been held criminally liable for the loss of the weapon.

In the meantime, Miller is still awaiting trial on charges of allegedly harboring a fugitive, after former Tivoli Gardens strongman, Christopher “Dudus’ Coke, was found in his vehicle along the Mandela Highway in 2010.

St. Lucia

Police is St. Lucia has confirmed that a Jamaican man who was wanted on attempted murder charges has turned himself in.

Miguel Garnett who is also known as Deno B’Jorn escaped recently from the Vieux Fort Police Station where he was being held for allegedly trying to kill a Canadian national.

He surrendered to police recently.

At a news conference, St. Lucia’s Police Commissioner Vernon Francois said Garnett and another man were arrested recently for the attempted murder of Canadian Adisania Ojo.

Commissioner Francois said Ojo sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago National Security Minister Jack Warner said legislation for the precepting of soldiers is due to come to Parliament “in the next 60 days.”

He said everything was in the hands of Attorney General, who will bring the legislation to Parliament.

Selected soldiers will be given powers of arrest.

Reiterating that the 2013 was one of the safest Carnivals ever, Warner said in 2011 there were 64 Carnival-related offenses, in 2012 there were 74 and in 2013 there were 42.

These offenses, he said, included robbery, larceny, wounding, disorderly behavior, resisting arrest, fighting, assault occasioning a wound, malicious damage, rape, and possession of offensive weapons.

He said 33 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

Warner said there was one Carnival-related murder, but there were five murders over the Carnival weekend.

In 2011, there were 10 Carnival-related killings and in 2012, there was one Carnival-related murder.

He said the ministry was inviting Bill Bratton, the most successful crime-fighter in the New York Police Department, to give a series of lectures to improve the crime detection rates.

Turks and Caicos

Dr. Rufus Ewing, premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), has asked the United Kingdom to recall Governor Ric Todd, Attorney General Huw Shepheard and Chief Financial Officer Hugh McGarrel Groves from office.

In a letter to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Dr Ewing, who is premier in an evenly-split House of Assembly, criticized what he alleged were atrocities and wrongful acts being committed by the Governor and UK officials on the island.

A spokesman for Governor Todd said he has full confidence of the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.

Dr. Ewing, who led the Progressive National Party’s victory in the November 2012 elections, its first since 2009, also said the country’s 2011 Constitution Order should be amended. He said it is not a constitution of the people.

It was drafted and implemented by the Interim Administration during a period of direct rule by the UK, which has suspended the TCI’s constitution following evidence of widespread corruption under the administration of former Premier Michael Misick.

Bahamas

The Bahamas government has ordered its various departments and agencies to cut 10 percent from their budgets in response to serious challenges facing public finances.

Minister of State for Michael Halkistis said critical agencies such as the police and Department of Social Services would not have to cut their budgets.

The government is expected to formally announce the spending cuts in its mid-term budget statement to the present in the House of Assembly later this month.

The Minister said; “we are trying to bring down the $550 million deficit.

“Part of our problem is that we give so much concessions, not only to the hotels, but duty-free concessions and other concessions,” he said.

Government debt is forecast to stand at $4.6 billion or 54.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of the fiscal year 2012/2013.

Recurrent expenditure in 2012/2013 is projected as $1.82 billion, while current revenue for 2012/2013 was projected at $1.55 billion, up from $1.45 billion at the end of 2011/2012.

Various credit rating agencies and the International Monetary Fund have repeatedly pointed to concerns regarding the government’s fiscal position.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago President–Elect Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmon was given the instrument confirming his election to the Office of President from House Speaker Wade Mark at a simple ceremony held at the Diplomatic Reception Lounge of the Office of Parliament, International Waterfront Center, Port of Spain, recently.

Carmon will be sworn in as T&T’s fifth president on March 18. His inauguration ceremony is due to take place at the Hasley Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.

In a brief address to the media, Carmona pledged to serve as President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago with “clarity, objectivity, fairness and due process.”

The former judge thanked the people, saying that there had been an “abundance of goodwill and it makes my responsibility eve greater and in some ways my job even harder.”

Compiled by Azad Ali

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