Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

A 73-year-old Italian national charged with murdering his 72-year-old ex-wife is to re-appear in court here this month.

Police said that Umberto Schenato, who appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh, stabbed his estranged wife, Edda Schenato to death in the parking lot of a supermarket recently.

He was not asked to plead and the committal proceedings will determine whether or not the matter will go to trial in the High Court.

Schenato, who was remanded into custody, was told that he could apply for bail before a High Court judge.

Bahamas

Crime in the Bahamas dropped seven percent nationally between Jan. 1, 2013 and July 16, 2013 compared to the same period last year, according to figures released yesterday by Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade.

In New Providence, crimes against the person increased by four percent. Not all crimes are available in the statistical report.

In major crime categories nationally, 6,133 crimes were reported during this last year. This compares to 5,726 crimes reported this year.

Murder decreased by 21 percent (from 73 to 58) attempted murder decreased by 62 percent (from 13 to five) rape decreased by two percent (from 58 to 57) and attempted rape increased by 117 percent (from six to 13).

Police also recorded an increase in armed robberies is significant as that has been an area of concern for many years. While armed robberies decreased nationwide, in New Providence specifically it actually increased by five percent. There were 519 cases in 2012 compared to 543 cases recorded so far this year.

Police have recorded a reduction in the number of attempted murders in New Providence. Murders decreased by 11 percent (from 62 to 55) and attempted murders decreased by 75 percent (from 12 to three). Nationally, property crimes decreased overall by seven percent.

Shop breaking increased by three percent while stealing increased by two percent. Burglary cases deceased by six percent; housebreaking matters decreased by 21 percent; stealing from vehicle by three percent and stolen vehicles by five percent.

Guyana

A joint meeting with senior management of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), together with its policy analysts as well the Crime and Social Observatory, it was emphasised that the police will win or lose the battle against crime, particularly in ‘A’ Division, of which Georgetown is part.

In a press statement the presentation, which was evidence-based, pointed to certain ‘hot spots’ in the city and other areas where crime can be anticipated and, from an operational perspective, the police should deploy its ranks and moveable assets to effectively deal with those specific areas fraught with potential criminal threats.

It noted that, at the end of the presentation, there could not have been a clearer message to the hierarchy of the GPF, especially to the acting commissioner, deputy commissioner (Law Enforcement), assistant commissioner (Operations) and the commanders of all divisions.

The statement said the Acting Commissioner has been requested, by the ministry, to adopt the appropriate operational posture to conform with the conclusions in the presentation with which all had agreed.

Further, the acting commissioner, with the support of the deputy commissioner (Law Enforcement), assistant commissioner (Operations) and, particularly commander ‘A’ Division, have been advised to inform the general public about actions contemplated by police to bring the situation under control, once again, the ministry said.

Jamaica

Jamaica could get assistance from Cuba to enhance its canine capability to combat illicit drug trafficking and the illicit arms trade. The National Security Ministry says it is one of the areas for improvement being looked at as the countries explore possible renewal of their Maritime and Police Cooperation Agreements.

National Security Minister, Peter Bunting recently returned from a three-day official visit to Cuba where he met with top security officials to explore the possible renewal of the agreements which expire in September 2013. The agreements speak to efforts by the countries to address the illicit trade in small arms and drugs, and trafficking in other forms.

St. Kitts

The seven Opposition parliamentarians have once again boycotted a session of National Assembly citing their refusal to “legitimize the proceedings.”

The National Assembly convened recently with only the eight government parliamentarians. Last Monday the Opposition members turned up to a sitting of the Assembly but left prematurely after the Speaker of the House, Curtis Martin declared he would hear no discussions relating to the Motion of No Confidence (MoNC) as the matter was still before the court.

Federal Opposition Leader Hon. Mark Brantley told The Observer he wrote to the Speaker recently inquiring if the Motion would be debated.

Martin said that the Opposition MPs had withdrawn the court case and thus there was no MoNC matter before the court brought by them.

Former government minister turned Opposition MP, Dr. Timothy Harris explained that his colleagues did not and would not participate in parliamentary proceedings as long as the “legitimate minority government of Dr. Denzil Douglas” and Speaker Martin “collude and refuse to bring the Motion of No Confidence to be heard for over seven months”.

St. Lucia

Recently, the inaugural flight of United Airlines touched down at Hewanorra International Airport, Vieux Fort from Newark International in the U.S.

The flight was greeted with the ceremonial water salute by the Saint Lucia Fire Service. Passengers then disembarked to the sound of steel band music on the tarmac.

Among the hundreds of passengers on the flight were Minister of Tourism Lorne Theophilus, Director of Tourism Louis Lewis, Lorraine Charles St. Jules, Regional Manager North-East Region USA, as well as the Director of United Airlines. They were greeted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Port Services Phillip J. Pierre and other tourism officials.

During a short ceremony in the VIP Lounge at the airport, Theophilus spoke of his elation with the arrival of the flight following months of negotiations. “This indeed shows the commitment of the government of Saint Lucia towards answering the needs of our hoteliers in Saint Lucia, one of those being the fact that we need to drive airlift to the destination,” the minister stated. “And this effort between ourselves and United Airlines is in fact the realization of months of work which has gone into making this dream a reality,” he added.

The minister went on to express the expectation that with increase in demand, the flight that is now once weekly, could increase in time to come. Millie Urinate, director of United Airlines said the airline was pleased to be launching its new weekly service from Newark.

The flight will provide convenient connections to 22 key cities in the U.S., including Chicago, Boston and Washington DC. “We also connect to various Canadian destinations which is also great, bringing all that traffic Saint Lucia,” said Urinate.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says recent talks with the Trinidad and Tobago government to address the issue of the fuel subsidy given to Port of Spain-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL) have failed to resolve the matter.

Gonsalves is chairman of the regional shareholder governments that own Antigua-based airline LIAT, which has accused the administration in Port of Spain of providing an illegal subsidy to CAL.

Trinidad and Tobago Finance Minister Larry Howai said recently that Port of Spain provided US$40 million to CAL last year in subsides

He said the issue had been raised in Port of Spain during the just-concluded Caribbean Community (CARICOM) summit and both LIAT and CAL maintained their respective positions. “I am of this view that this matter is going to be resolved only through arbitration and/or the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). I don’t think that Trinidad and Tobago would want to settle this matter,” he told a news conference.

Prime Minister Gonsalves told reporters that during the talks, the position of the different persons who spoke for Trinidad and Tobago was “to admit that they do give a subsidy then to deny that they give a subsidy, then that if they give a subsidy, it doesn’t mean that it impacted negatively on LIAT.”

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago has recorded four consecutive quarters – one year- of economic growth.

This was disclosed by Finance Minister Larry Howai at a recent press conference.

He also said Trinidad and Tobago had received a triple A rating from CariCris gives, the Caribbean credit ratings agency.

Howai said GDO (Gross Domestic Product) has been growing from July of last year.

Over the last three quarters to end of March, the GDP grew, he said.

Noting that T&T has the largest GDP in the English-speaking Caribbean and is one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Howai said.

He said CariCris indicated the rating reflected the country’s strong external position as reflected by a healthy foreign exchange position(which at the end of June was $9.4 billion) and the Heritage and Stabilization Fund (which at the start of July had US$5 billion).

St. Lucia

Prime Minister Kenny Anthony has called on hoteliers to redefine their approach to the industry and do more to improve quality and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Addressing the 49th annual general meeting of the St. Lucia Hotels and Tourism Association, the Prime Minister said developed countries such as the United States and Europe, which are major source markets for the industry, are currently jostling for number one status as visitor magnets.

“The economic benefits of travel and tourism are immense and no country can afford to ignore this fact in their future developmental planning.

“Nowhere in the region has escaped the volatility of investment in the tourism sector. Hotels and resorts in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, and Cayman have been bought and sold as a result of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s,” he said.

The prime minister told the weekend convention that players in the tourism industry must look at “the bigger picture” and concentrate efforts on discovering what today’s traveler considers value for money.

He said the government has a responsibility to pursue all paths of economic growth, but “public-private partnership is more than just desired it is necessary” to achieve any goals set for the tourism industry.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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