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Antigua

The biggest drug haul to be made in recent times by Caribbean law enforcement agencies was carried out by The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) in Antigua recently.

Lawmen swooped down on a property at Old Runway and seized 480 kilograms of cocaine worth about EC$17 million.

The cocaine, which was wrapped in more than400 parcels was stashed in bags.

A 41-year-old Antiguan male and 41-year-old Guyanese female, both residing in Old Runway, are assisting the police in the investigation.

Director of the ONDCP Lieutenant Colonel Edward Croft said, “it is the largest by any Caribbean law enforcement agency.”

The raid follows the seizure of approximately 2,300 pounds of marijuana that carried an estimated street value of EC$37 million and the arrest of a Jamaican crew comprising of six men who are presently awaiting trial in the High Court.

Bahamas

President of the Bahamas Christian Council Dr. Ranford Patterson has warned that the pending introduction of VAT (Value Added Tax) could lead to more social ills.

Lest than six months before the introduction of the tax, Patterson said that while his organization supports efforts towards tax reform, the timing could cause more problems.

“No government can operate without tax reform, but I believe this is a bad time to impose any new tax on the Bahamian people. But we understand there is a need for tax reform,” he told the Nassau Guardian.

Recently Junior Finance Minister Michael Halkitis said the government intends to bring the VAT legislation to the House of Assembly before the end of this month. He said an education campaign will move into high gear following the tabling of the bill. He also said that the education process will ease some of the fears surrounding the new tax.

A 15 percent VAT will apply to a wide range of goods and services.

Barbados

Opposition politicians of the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) are planning public meetings to protest the Municipal Solid Waste Tax (WSMT), but Finance Minister Chris Sinckler has appealed for residents to give it time to work, promising possible amendments.

Announced last year, the new tax comes due by July 28, 2014 with a sweeping .03 percent charge on the site value of real estate property across the island, but there have been widespread complaints about the financial burden on residents.

Noting that there were just a few days left to the deadline for the first tax payment, the BLP announced it would hold rallies and meetings to sensitize people of the effects of this levy.

Guyana

Two gay sex workers were murdered recently in Guyana.

The suspect in the two homosexual killings later committed suicide by setting himself afire.

The suspect, Samuel Bristol, 31, doused himself with gasoline and set his body on fire outside Bourda Post Office in Georgetown.

Before succumbing at the Georgetown Hospital, Bristol confessed to the murders and said he had nothing to live for.

The two gay men were stabbed to death on the streets of Georgetown in the early hours of the morning by Bristol, the rejected lover of another.

The body of Jason John was found on Leopold Street and that of Carl Sinclair was found about a block away on Lombard Street. Both were lying in pools of blood.

The gay men were all commercial sex workers.

Jamaica

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller administration says it is taking steps to prevent a food shortage as the country continues to experience an extended dry spell.

Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke said a decision will be made soon on whether permits will be issued for the importation of some agricultural products.

According to Clarke, the record decline in rainfall is taking a toll on agricultural production, particularly the southern parish of St. Elizabeth — the “bread basket” of the country, which he says is having a “severe, severe, dry spell.”

The crippling drought has also had an impact on the multi-million dollar sugar industry, with the Sugar Industry Authority stating that the sector is under major threat due to the lack of water.

In an effort to ease the water shortage, Clarke said J$34 million has been set aside to assist in trucking water to some affected areas.

St. Kitts

Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas said he was “appalled by this brazen act” after gunmen shot and killed three people and injured four others at the Frigate Bar Strip in St. Kitts recently.

In a statement, Dr. Douglas quoted eyewitnesses as saying the “victims seem to have been targeted.”

The police have not yet release the names of the victims or details of the shootings at the Frigate Bay Strip, but media reports say two men who had been sitting on a bench near a bar, had been shot and killed. St. Kitts media also reported that a third man died near the water’s edge as he attempted to flee the area. Two female bystanders were struck in their legs during the early morning shooting that occurred around 3:00 a.m.

Dr. Douglas said that the twin island Federation had been experiencing almost “two years of peace and tranquility” and praised the police and the Defense Force for having “worked extraordinarily hard” in ensuring the peaceful environment.

St. Lucia

Police Commissioner Vernon Francois says intelligence obtained by the St. Lucia police suggests that the recent spate of violence and shootings in the capital over the past weeks is as a result of the activities of criminal gangs.

Addressing a news conference, Francois said his officers will spare no effort in going after the criminals and ensuring they are brought to justice.

Police have been investigating five murders and several other shootings within city limits over a two month-period. Several arrests have been made.

Francois told reporters that the police force has developed new strategies to deal with the issue, adding that instead of conducting regular patrols, intelligence is being used to target specific communities.

Suriname

A 55-year-old man killed his elderly parents recently and subsequently torched their home and an SUV vehicle.

Police said the gruesome incident took place in the community of Livorno, several miles south of Paramaribo.

Neighbors rushed to the home on seeing the fire but the son, who had a machete, was locked in the building.

On further investigations, the father was found at the back of the house, in a pool of blood, while the mother who was severely wounded was lying in a hammock.

On arrival, the police held onto the son who then slashed both his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.

He is currently warded at hospital under police guard. So far no motive has been established for the attack.

Trinidad

Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr has warned “injustice” against the Muslim community in Trinidad and Tobago will not be tolerated.

The warning comes four days before the 24th anniversary of the attempted coup by 114 members of the Jamaat led by Bakr on July 27, 1990.

Several insurgents stormed the Red House in Port of Spain and took then prime minister ANR Robinson and most of his cabinet colleagues hostage during the insurrection. A total of 24 people were killed.

Over two decades later, police raided a mosque in East Trinidad and arrested several people just after their evening prayers.

In a radio interview Bakr said the unlawful detainment of people, especially in the holy month of Ramadan will not be tolerated and he warned the acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams and the Minister of National Security Gary Griffith that “if you continue this transgression against us, we will respond appropriately, end of talk.”

A total of 13 members of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, including two women of the Carapo mosque in East Trinidad were detained for several offences, including an alleged kidnapping of two Latin American tourists four months ago.

Jamaica

Several flight delays have rocked Fly Jamaican Airways over the past month leaving passengers angry at the inconvenience.

Recently, flights to New York from Georgetown, Guyana, which were scheduled to leave, were delayed for two days.

Before that, on July 10, 2014, the Kingston to New York flight was canceled, according to passengers.

They were later accommodated on another airline.

The airline said the delays were due to maintenance of the aircraft to ensure the safety of safety.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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