Caribbean Round-Up

Barbados

Barbados police arrested and charged five men with possession of Bds $13million worth of cocaine.

Officers of the Drug Squad conducted a sting operation at a Sunset Crest, St James residence where they allegedly found the drugs concealed in several wooden pallets.

Three Guyanese and two Barbadians were held in the raid.

They appeared before a magistrate and were remanded in custody until next week.

The drugs, disguised in the wooden pallets, are believed to have entered the island by boat.

Barbados

Immigration and Customs authorities in Barbados have denied charges by a Jamaican woman that she was finger-raped and thrown out of the country when she arrived on the island recently for a vacation.

In a front page story carried in the Jamaican Observer newspaper, Shanique Myrie alleged that she was subjected to two demeaning cavity searches by a female immigration officer, who also shouted degrading comments about Jamaicans when she arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

But parliamentary secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Immigration Harcourt “Harry” Husbands said there was no record of Myrie being searched by either immigration or customs officers and a full statement would be issued after more investigations.

Husbands said indications suggest that Myrie was a victim of human trafficking, a racket-like affair that exist between Barbados and Jamaica.

He said the authorities had become fully aware of the trafficking between the two countries.

Dominica

A judge in Dominica says she will issue a ruling soon on a complaint that the prime minister and a cabinet member broke the law by allegedly running for office while holding dual citizenship.

Opposition leaders claim that both Prime Minister Roosvelt Skerrit and Education Minister Peter Saint Jean held French and Dominican citizenships while running in the 2009 general election.

The leaders have asked the court to overturn the election results.

Judge Gertel Thom said that she would soon decide whether to order Skerrit and St. Jean to submit their passports as evidence.

Dominica

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt has reiterated his government’s position that Dominica will not break ties with Libya because of the ongoing political turmoil in the North African country.

The opposition has called for him to review his existing relationship with Tripoli in light of the citizens’ revolt against the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution recently to block military action and enforce a no fly zone over Libya.

The Dominican government said it regrets the loss of life on both sides and hopes that a solution can be found to solve the existing crisis so that Libya can get back to normalcy.

Jamaica

Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding has denied that alleged drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke paid the legal fee of US$50,000 to the U.S. law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

He disclosed to the Commission of Enquiry probing the circumstances of Coke’s extradition to the U.S. that the fees were paid by two donors, who he did not name, but said one was connected to a large corporation.

Golding made the disclosure while being cross-examined by KD Knight, attorney for the opposition People’s National Party (PNP).

Meanwhile, the Commission Chairman Enil George said the Commission has been given yet another extension by the governor general to complete its work by May 16.

Jamaica

The search for a member of the New York Police Department (NYPD), who was on vacation in Jamaica visiting relatives but went missing recently ended in his body being found in a swimming pool at his father’s home.

Roxroy Bucknor, 40, was born in Jamaica but migrated to the U.S. about 25 years ago, his family said.

Local police have not yet been able to determine the cause of death.

However, there was no evidence of foul play.

Investigators said that Bucknor and other family members were at the poolside at his father’s house in the St. James parish having fun, after which they all returned to the house.

It was later discovered that the cop was not in the house and a searched was launched. He, however, was not found.

The police carried out a search which also proved futile.

They returned to the area after being informed that a body was seen in the water.

Bucknor was fished out the water and taken to hospital where a post-mortem is expected to be performed.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts and Nevis first Governor General Sir Clement Arrindell has died at the age of 79.

Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas said he is “deeply saddened” at the passing of Sir Clement.

Sir Clement, who also served as the last governor of the twin-island Federation, post independence from l980 to l988 served until his retirement in l996.

Before becoming head of state, Sir Clement served as a magistrate in St. Kitts and in the British Virgin Island and a judge of the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court.

Trinidad

Inflation in Trinidad and Tobago has dropped to l0.7 percent in February, a drop of 1.8 percent from the month before according to statistics from the Central Bank.

In its monthly rate report the Central Bank said based on data release from the Central Statistical Office, food inflation, which has been the major driver of the headline inflation rate, slowed to 25.1 percent in the 12 months to February 2011 from 30.9 percent in January.

There were slower price increases in meat, vegetables, sugar and confectionary products.

However, faster price increases were recorded for milk, cheese, eggs, fish and fruits.

The Central Bank also noted recent macroeconomic indicators suggest the sluggish rate of private demand is delaying recovering in the non-energy sector.

The bank said there were declines in lending to several key non-energy sub-sectors including distribution, construction, finance, insurance, real estate and manufacturing.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar recently visited Washington, USA to attend meetings at the OAS and with Microsoft.

She also held talks with OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin.

She also delivered the feature address at the public sector leaders’ forum organized by Microsoft.

She discussed Trinidad and Tobago’s learning program, its laptop project and the Caribbean Investment Forum to be held locally in June.

She held discussions with Stuart Levy, U.S. Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial Intelligence.

Persad-Bissessar held talks with the UNDP program for T&T (2012-2015) concerning poverty eradication, security and other issues.

Turks and Caicos

A politician, who turned reporter, has been excluded from press conferences with the Turks and Caicos Islands interim Advisory Council.

Robert Hall, a former Progressive National Party (PNP) minister who previously appeared on the TCI New Media television as a talk show host moved over to Radio Turks and Caicos when the New Media government station which had been started by the PNP was shut down due to its unrecoverable costs.

Radio Turks and Caicos is also a government owned station which broadcasts from the capital island of Grand Turk.

Hall, an employee of RTC, is therefore a government employee.

Many people in the Turks and Caicos have accused Hall of favoring his PNP and while he has claimed to be unbiased, he has announced on air his continuing support for the PNP.

Last year, Hall announced that he was considering dropping out of his broadcasting role and running for the leadership of the PNP. However, Clayton Greene became the elected leader when former premier Michael Miscik threw his support behind Greene.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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