Police commissioners from around the region recently spent four days in Jamaica discussing ways how they can better utilize technology to stay ahead of criminals.
The more than 20 top cops, together with officials from several related regional and international organizations in law enforcement, took part in the 26th annual general meeting and Conference of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP).
The theme of the conference was Harnessing Technology for the Advancement of Law Enforcement.
During the conference presentations were made by representatives from the U.S. Marshall Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of National Security Dr. Errol Court said the meeting came at a critical time for the region, given its heightened state of alertness and the prevalence of certain violent crimes being committed in the various territories.
Members of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force were called out to provide additional security at the country’s lone prison until repairs to a cell block damaged in an early morning fire is completed.
No one was injured but there was some damage to the two-story cell block that houses inmates on remand.
A statement from the Ministry of National Security said normalcy had since returned to the prison.
National Security Minister Dr. Errol Court and fire officials visited the prison after the blaze, which was set by inmates.
Bahamian authorities are working to provide new housing for more than 100 people who were left homeless after a fire party-destroyed a crowded shantytown filled with mostly Haitian immigrants.
Only a handful of those who lost their homes on Aback Island have arrived at shelters set up by the government, Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette said.
He said those who fail to register for aid and housing vouchers with social service workers sent to deal with the homeless from the fire will not receive government assistance.
Illegal immigrants who lost their homes in the fire will not be arrested, he said.
Those affected will not be allowed to rebuild on the property, according to the government.
It is the third major fire at a Haitian shantytown this year.
The government continues to dismantle at least 35 other shantytowns after complaints from Bahamians about illegal immigrants.
Bermuda National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief plans to tackle the country’s gang problem by offering thousands of dollars to hand in guns.
According to a report in Bermuda’s The Royal Gazette, Perinchief would also put gang legislation back on the cabinet’s agenda, despite police dismissing similar proposals from former Premier Dr. Ewart Brown two years ago.
The former assistant commissioner of police has promised drastic action to deal with the escalating gun violence, which has seen three people murdered so far for this year and seven in Bermuda in 2010.
The Pembroke Central MP, promoted after David Burch’s surprise resignation recently, has already discussed a buy-back guns program with police for a figure around $5,000 to $10,000 understood to have been mentioned.
The minister said the move would yield better results than gun amnesties which have done little more than to encourage people to hand in relics.
He believes removing guns from the street would make a big dent in the gang culture.
Jamaica recorded more than 20,000 arrivals in one day last month.
This was disclosed by Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett while speaking at the closing session of the fourth annual tourism outlook seminar in Montego Bay recently.
Bartlett said the visitors arrived by air and at the Sangster International Airport and by sea at Montego Freeport, as well as the Falmouth and Ocho Rios Ports.
“Wednesday April 20, 2011 was a particularly strong day for Jamaica in terms of visitor arrivals. It was a joy to see all the major cruise ports being very active, with Montego Bay welcoming 6,600 visitors, the new Falmouth Pier saw 5,500 visitors, while Ocho Rios welcomed 3,500. In addition, more than 5,000 visitors arrived at the Sangster International Airport,” he said.
The tourism minister said that “if the trend of high arrivals continues, Jamaica’s tourist arrival figures will be hitting new heights by the end of the year and more Jamaicans will see the full impact of the industry in their communities.”
Bartlett said there was a 5.6 percent increase in stop over arrivals in Jamaica’s 2010-2011 winter tourist season, which came to an end on April 15.
Exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who returned to a hero’s welcome in his homeland Haiti in March this year has disappeared from the public eye, vanishing behind the high walls of his compound.
He has made no speeches and granted no interviews.
He has not even taken a tour of the devastation of last year’s earthquake, at least not that anyone has seen.
Aides rebuff questions and security guards at the compound have turned away journalists.
Such a low profile is hardly what anyone expected of Aristide, one of the most charismatic leaders in Haitian history.
The former priest, who led the opposition to the Duvalier regime, became the first democratically elected president.
Many Haitians expected Aristide would quickly return to politics, doubting the claims by aides that he only wanted to rebuild the university and foundation that withered after he was driven from power in a violent rebellion in 2004.
The U.S. warned that he could be a disruptive force and he seemed to signal his intentions upon his return by immediately denouncing the exclusion of his party, Lavalas, from the presidential election.
The St. Lucia government has lauded St. Lucian Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Derek Walcott on his recent success in winning the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Walcott was the inaugural winner of the prize, which was introduced for the first time this year and is a major award for literary books by Caribbean writers, the office of the press secretary of the government of St. Lucia said in a statement.
“Mr. Walcott’s success in securing the first prize is evidence of his established brilliance as perhaps the greatest living writer today. The government and people of St. Lucia celebrate our Nobel Laureate this latest achievement,” the statement said.
“We continue to share and identify with the work of Mr. Walcott, which in many ways has been inspired by the rich social and cultural reality of St. Lucia,” the statement ended.
High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad and Tobago, Karen McDonald says that bilateral trade between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago increased by almost 30 percent in 2010.
“Trade flows between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago increased significantly in 2010. It is clear that the mutually beneficial relationship between our two countries flourish even in uncertain economic times,” she said.
In 2010, Canadian exports to T&T grew 11.3 percent to reach almost Can$300 million, including products such as vegetables, meat, fish, machinery and plastic.
Exports from Trinidad and Tobago to Canada jumped almost 46 percent compared to 2009, totaling just under Can$460 million, in products such as mineral fuel, organic chemicals, iron, steel, fish, seafood and beverages.
For T&T, these increases reflect a trade surplus of more than Can$161 million in its trade relationship with Canada.
New Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs recently got kudos from Attorney General Anand Ramlogan for his efforts in keeping down the escalating murder rate in Trinidad and Tobago.
Ramlogan said that the government is seeing a “light at the end of the tunnel” and is hoping that the murder rate can be reduced by 100 this year.
Minister in the Ministry of National Security Subash Panday said there had been 34 fewer homicides so far for this year compared with the same period last year (January-April).
The murder toll up to May 15 stood at 141, while this time last year the figure was 175.
Ramlogan described the declining comparative murder toll as a “glimmer of hope” and “a moment for quiet optimism.”
Compiled by Azad Ali