Caribbean Round-Up

Antigua

Two men were sentenced to life in prison recently for killing a Welsh couple while they celebrated their honeymoon in Antigua.

Justice Richard Floyd said that the case against Avie Howell, 22 and Kaniel Martin, 23, did not warrant the death penalty, but rather three consecutive life sentences. The two had been convicted earlier.

Floyd said the two men initially meant to steal something when they fatally shot Benjamin and Catherine Mullany at their beach cottage in July 2008 on the last day of their honeymoon.

Benjamin Mullany was critically injured and was flown back to London for treatment but died a week after the attack.

The two men face another trial for the killings of a Syrian national and a student who were home on vacation.

Bahamas

The Bahamas government is receiving a US$50 million loan to improve its air transportation system in a program expected to increase flights within the island chain and modernize its airports.

The Inter-American Development Bank says its loans will also be used to create an independent body to investigate aviation accidents.

Nearly US$48 million will be used for aviation reforms, while the remainder will be used for technical support and analysis of transportation issues between the smaller islands.

Five domestic and 17 international airlines currently serve the Bahamas.

Grenada

The five countries that are slated to benefit directly from a Trinidad-based inter-island ferry service have moved a step forward to finalizing the details of the proposed agreement.

The matter was recently discussed by representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Barbados.

Grenadian Trade Minister Joseph Gilbert said his Trinidad counterpart Trade and Industry Minister Stephen Cadiz disclosed that project representatives were ‘very optimistic’ the service could come on stream as early as the middle of next year.

It is anticipated that the ferry would service all the countries within one day. It would overnight in Barbados before making the “island-hopping” return trip to Trinidad.

Minister Gilbert explained that the privately-owned ferry service would not require subsidy from his government to ensure its viability and sustainability.

The Grenada-Trinidad ferry journey is expected to take just over two hours and cost a fraction of the cost of air travel between the two countries.

Guyana

Guyana Commissioner of Police Henry Greene has gone on leave pending the outcome of an investigation in a rape allegation made against him.

A release from the Guyana Government Information Agency said President Donald Ramoutar has acceded to Greene’s request for leave in light of the allegation against him with Assistant Commissioner Leroy Brumell to serve as commissioner in the interim.

A 34-year-old mother alleged that she had gone to Greene last month for assistance in a matter involving another police officer and was raped by the commissioner on Nov. 22 at a city hotel.

Greene has not made any comment on the allegation saying that matter is in the hands of his attorneys.

Jamaica

Popular Jamaican DJ Vybz Kartel, who is facing two murder charges, has been ordered by the Supreme Court to pay a $J15 million in damages to Jamaican promoter Alton Salmon for his failure to perform at a concert in the Turks and Caicos Islands in August 2009.

Salmon, who promotes his business under Abuka Entertainment, said because Kartel breached the contract he suffered significant losses. He said some of the tickets were pre-sold and there was a riot at the venue on Aug. 14, 2009, when people turned up and found that Kartel was not going to perform.

Kartel failed to file acknowledgment of service or made any attempt to defend the suit.

Jamaica

Jamaican authorities say 217 police officers who took voluntary lie-detector tests this year have failed.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Justin Felice said that was 60 per cent of the 362 officers who underwent the tests did not pass.

The Caribbean island’s police force has used lie-detector tests as part of its vetting process since 2008.

Officials denied re-enlistment to 62 officers this year. An additional 34 have been charged with corruption and seven dismissed for failing the test.

Jamaica

Police have charged a fifth man in connection with the murder of Clive Williams known as “Lizard.”

The accused Shane Williams was charged recently.

He is now charged along with dancehall entertainers, Vybz Kartel and Shawn Storm, fashion designer Calvin Haye, also known as Moonie and Cayro Jones.

A sixth person is now in custody in connection with the murder and is expected to face an identification parade.

When Kartel and his co-accused appeared in court recently they were remanded in custody.

St. Kitts

The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) is developing a Primary Exit Examination, according to Dr. Stafford Griffith, professor of research, measurement and evaluation at the University of the West Indies’ School of Education.

Professor Griffith said the exam will focus in primary schools in the region, acquiring the skills which will enable them to make a “proper” transition to secondary education.

He said the move is in response to multiple requests from CXC member countries and is guided by a study in which he served as a lead consultant.

The Barbados-headquartered CXC was established in 1972 by an agreement among 15 English-speaking Commonwealth Caribbean countries and territories.

Trinidad

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has called on United States counterpart Eric Holder to do what he can to ensure Trinidad and Tobago nationals (fathers) “hiding” in that country are made to pay child maintenance as ordered by the T&T courts.

Ramlogan said he raised the issue during the recent bilateral talks between Holder and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the Diplomatic Centre in St. Ann’s.

He said he intended to “vigorously pursue” the matter involving the reciprocal enforcement of orders and judgments from courts in T&T.

Ramlogan said this would affect fathers who had abandoned mothers and children in T&T.

Trinidad

Former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Basdeo Panday is throwing his hat back into the political ring saying that he intends to take back his United National Congress (UNC) party.

But he declared that he wanted no position.

He told a news conference in Port of Spain recently that he has acceded to the request of the rank and file who had been asking him to play a role in rescuing the party from its political leader Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Two years ago Persad-Bissessar wrested power from her former leader in a bitter internal elections.

Panday said he intends to offer a full slate to contest next March UNC’s internal election.

However, he conceded that it was not going to be an easy struggle. He chastised the current People’s partnership government saying it had severely fractured the UNC’s struggle for national unity.

“Over the past several months, I have been inundated with calls, mainly from the rank and file of the UNC, asking me to help them take back the party from those who stole it from them in 2010,” he said.

In a response Persad-Bissessar said Panday is entitled to fight any election because that is his democratic right.

Panday formed the UNC about two decades ago.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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