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Antigua

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has handed down a judgement in favor of the former head of Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FRSC), Leroy King, granting him leave to appeal an earlier High Court rejecting an application for judicial review of the 2012 decision by the government to approve his extradition to the United States.

King is wanted by the United States authorities to face charges of facilitating the multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme by convicted former businessman Allen Stanford.

In April High Court Justice Darshan Ramdhani in a 71-page judgement said, having reviewed King’s arguments, he saw no reason why either King’s claim for constitutional relief against extradition or the application for leave should be allowed.

The judge said he had seen no reason why the order of extradition to the United States for trial should be stayed or quashed.

Following the latest court ruling, King may now pursue his application for judicial review, a process that could take as long as another two years.

Bahamas

The United States Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge intercepted a boat carrying 11 Cuban migrants recently within Bahamas territorial waters, southeast of Cay Sal Island.

The migrants were transferred to the Coast Guard Isaac Mayo, which took the migrants to the Bahamas immigration in Freeport.

The Coast Guard routinely partners with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force to facilitate interdiction and human repatriation of alleged and unsafe migrant ventures on the high seas.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and medical attention.

Close to 2,000 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally migrate to the United States via the maritime environment since October 1, compared to 7,411 in fiscal year 2016.

The Coast Guard and partner agencies have interdicted 33 Cubans migrants who have attempted to enter the country illegal via maritime means in June.

These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

Barbados

A delegation of UK firms recently took a trade mission to Barbados to attend the first CARIB Food and Hospitality Exhibition. The purpose of their visit was to pursue business opportunities and partnerships with local stakeholders in the food and beverage industry.

Representatives for UK firms Tg Teas (green tea drink manufacturer) and Par Foods (UK distributor) made the long journey to Barbados to attend the special event, where they joined with local representatives for UK brands Franklin & Sons (gourmet soda manufacturer) and the ADHB (English beef and lamb growers) to exhibit in the UK Food and Beverage Display being staged within the CARIB Food event.

The products offered were the latest innovations from the UK and include gluten-free and health conscious options packed with positive health benefits.

Grenada

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has called on the United Kingdom to increase its quota of scholarships offered to students in Grenada and other Caribbean countries.

He made the request during a meeting with the United Kingdom’s new High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Janet Douglas.

The prime minister said Britain’s assisting in bolstering its quota of scholarships to the region is particularly important.

The new high commissioner conceded that Britain was losing out to countries such as China which have been increasing scholarships to Caribbean students.

Mitchell, expressed his thanks to the British for their support in several areas, especially the Caribbean Infrastructure Fund announced by former Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to Jamaica in 2015, under which the UK government invests 300 million pound sterling in vital new infrastructure such as roads, bridges and port to help drive economic growth and development across the Caribbean.

High Commissioner Douglas said one of the main objectives in her four-year tenure is to ensure that Britain’s exit from the European Union is done in a way that will not have negative on trade and development relations with the Caribbean.

Suriname

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a loan of US$17.5 million to improve Suriname’s agricultural sector’s competitiveness and raise rural incomes and exports.

The farming industry is Suriname’s second largest export sector after mining, accounting for seven percent of total export revenues. It employs 16 percent of the labor force and contributes nine percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The CBD-funded project will help Suriname’s farmers improve sanitary conditions, food safety, and agricultural research and technology transfer services.

Additionally, the project will strengthen the country’s network of laboratories with new protocols and diagnosis techniques.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines High Court judge, Justice Esco Henry has ruled in favor of allowing the hearing of two election petitions initially brought by two opposition new Democratic Party (NDP) politicians, Benjamin Exeter and Lauron Baptiste more than a year ago.

The judgement now allows the petitions to be heard on its own merit.

The latest ruling delivered a week ago rejected an application by the governing party to strike out the petitions as invalid.

Initially, the elections petitions were struck out by Justice Cottle in April 2016 based on a technicality, having accepted the submissions by lawyers for the government that they were filed improperly.

However, Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal sitting in St. Lucia recently reversed Cottle’s decision, noting apparent bias, and ruled that the case be returned to the High Court in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be heard by a different judge.

The NDP said it is confident that the evidence to be presented will be overwhelming and will show that the electoral procedures in at least two constituencies on Dec. 9, 2015, were violated, resulting in a general election that was not free and fair according to the country’s Representation of the People’s Act.

The 2015 election resulted in a one-seat majority for the ruling Unity Labor Party (ULP).

Trinidad

The escalating murder rate in Trinidad and Tobago has forced Prime Minister Keith Rowley to announce that Cabinet has agreed to hire 16 more Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) to the current 15 that are involved in searching for clues which can lead to the arrest of hundreds of killers who are at large.

The murder rate so far for the year stands at 260. Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams said the detection rate has moved from 26 percent to 29 percent.

Rowley said “given the level of criminal conduct and the demand for crime scene investigators, we can’t rely on the current 15 we have, because they are not sufficient.”

Rowley said the government had no alternative but to keep working to improve the ability of law enforcement, which under the Constitution was largely the responsibility of the Police Service, along with other law enforcement agencies.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Posted 12:00 am, July 10, 2017
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