Caribbean RoundUp

Bahamas

A man was shot and killed recently, becoming the eleventh person murdered in The Bahamas in 12 days.

Police said the man was shot shortly before 10:00 p.m. Details were still sketchy up to press time.

Police also reported that a teenager was shot and killed during a game of backgammon recently. He was identified as Alexander Joseph, 20.

Regarding the teenage murder, police said the victim was playing backgammon with a group of men shortly before 2:00 p.m. when he got into an altercation with one of the men.

The victim was shot several times in the chest, police said. He died at the scene.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson appealed for anyone with information regarding this murder to come forward.

“I wish to say at this moment that I would like for members of the public and those persons who were around and in the company of the deceased when this incident took place, to provide us with information so we can bring closure to this particular matter,” he said at the scene.

These latest incidents pushed the murder count to 80 for the year.

Dominica

The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) is calling for a study to determine the impact the “crisis” with the regional airline, LIAT, is having on the economies of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

DHTA has written to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, whose administration became the latest shareholder of the cash-strapped Antigua-based airline, indicating that it is concerned at the “large number of flight cancellations, delays and re-routing of flights.” LIAT, which services more than 20 destinations in the region, has come under severe criticism from the travelling public. But the airline says it is in the process of implementing a multi-million dollar upgrade of its ageing fleet and has urged the public to bear with it.

In the letter to Prime Minister Skerrit, the hoteliers said the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Economics Division of the OECS secretariat should be commissioned to research and publish the impact of the LIAT crisis on the ECCU economies.

The hoteliers say the response of LIAT management to the crisis so far has “left much to be desired” and that the island had been hard hit by the travel woes “because of its inordinate dependence on LIAT for its arrivals.”

The DHTA said it is concerned that with the upcoming World Creole Music Festival and the independence celebrations later this year, visitors to the island could experience many hardships in arriving here.

Jamaica

Three businessmen in Jamaica have been charged with money laundering after an operation by security forces in several upscale neighborhoods in the Caribbean island’s north.

The three men were formally charged recently, two days after they were arrested by police who raided their luxury homes in the Montego Bay area.

Police spokeswoman Dahlia Garrick said the operation was not targeting the island’s notorious lottery scam, but she alleges that evidence collected during the raid suggests the men could have links to that cross-border fraud.

Jamaica’s lottery scam targets mostly elderly people overseas who are told they have to pay upfront fees to collect winnings.

The three money laundering suspects are due to appear in a magistrate’s court Wednesday. It is not clear if they have lawyers.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago has been ranked 92 out of 148 countries in this year’s edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).

This is an eight-position decline from last year’s 84 out of 144 ranking. It was T&T’s second consecutive fall after a high of 81 out of 142 in 2011.

The results of the Geneva, Switzerland-based forum’s annual GCI ranking were released yesterday at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (GSB), Mt. Hope, Trinidad.

Like last year, the biggest hindrances to conducting business in Trinidad and Tobago were crime and theft, inefficient government bureaucracy, corruption, and poor national work ethic.

The country has, however, been promoted from an “economy in transition” to an “innovation-driven” economy—the highest tier of development—because of its high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, estimated to be $19,000.

Trinidad and Tobago’s rank under the development indicator pillar of innovation and capacity for innovation was 123.

The last time T&T was classed in this grouping was in 2008.

St. Lucia

The United Workers Party (UWP) recently challenged the St. Lucia Labor Party (SLP) government to come clean about its position on the Syrian crisis, at the same time as the U.S. president was pressing congressional leaders to support strikes against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

In a press release dated Sept. 4, the opposition party quoted from a February 2012 meeting of the “leftist bloc” Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA), out of which came a firm denouncement of what members called a “conspiracy” against the Syrian government.

“The heads of state and government of the Bolivarian Alliance reiterate their condemnation of the systematic policy of interference and destabilization in the brother Arab Republic of Syria, which (the policy) intends to impose by force on the Syrian people with a change of rulers.

The statement was issued despite condemnation by the UN Human Rights Council after the massacre of 108 residents of Houla by al-Assad’s forces in May, which was supported by all member states bar China, Russia and a couple of abstainees.

Suriname

President Desi Bouterse of Suriname distanced himself recently from his son following the younger man’s arrest and quick extradition to the United States to face drug and weapons charges.

The president told reporters that Dino Bouterse is an adult and no longer holds a government position with the South American country.

The remarks were the first from the president since his son was arrested recently in Panama and quickly extradited to New York to face charges in a cocaine smuggling case. News of the younger man’s arrest came as Suriname hosted UNASUR, the organization of South American nations.

Bouterse has had strained relations with the U.S. government over his own past, which includes presiding over a military dictatorship and being convicted in absentia in the Netherlands of drug trafficking, and he said the arrest was intended to “disrupt the UNASUR summit,” through he did not explain what or who might be behind it.

Jamaica

President of the ruling People’s National Party (PNP) Portia Simpson Miller recently vowed to remain champion of the poor and oppressed, despite harsh economic times.

Addressing hundreds of party faithfuls, Simpson Miller, who is also prime minister, said defense of the poor and oppressed was the platform on which her party was established 75 years ago. That legacy, she stressed, must be protected despite the harsh economic conditions.

“During this difficult period I will do everything that is possible to ensure that we protect the interest of the poor and the oppressed, because it has always been a part of the People’s National Party’s administration, and under my leadership it will be no less,” Simpson-Miller told a Region Six banquet to mark the 75th anniversary at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James recently.

She urged the large gathering to uphold the founding principles of the party, which she said seeks to protect the poor, which constitutes the masses of the society.

She urged the PNP gathering to trumpet the many achievements of the 75-year-old party, saying: “It is us, the members of the People’s National Party who must tell our story and carry the achievements of this noble party across the country. If we do not do it, no one else is going to do it.”

Jamaica

Nine children were reported missing, including three girls have been killed during the period January to August this year even as the Jamaica government says more than 85 per cent of children reported missing during that period have since returned home.

Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna said that 1,297 of the 1,518 children reported missing over the period have been successful reunited with their families. But she said nine children were found dead and 212 are still missing.

“I have mandated the OCR (Office of the Children’s Registry) to devise a successful and reliable system of informing the public of when there is recovery and the return of missing children because still, persons feel that a lot of the children have not been recovered when they actually have and successfully so,” Hanna said.

She also urged parents to ensure that they have a recent photograph of their child, and also supply a copy to the school at the start of every academic year, as this assist in the recovery effort in the event a child goes missing.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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