The Bahamas government has described as “a complete falsehood and an outrageous concoction” a video showing Cuban detainees being beaten by officers at a Bahamian detention center.
Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said the government has since referred the matter to its lawyers. He said he had seen a copy of the video purporting to show the beating at the detention center and that is from a news broadcast by a Spanish-language TV station in Florida.
“That video is a complete falsehood and an outrageous concoction. We have had the video examined by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force and it is being further reviewed by the Royal Bahamas Police Force,” Mitchell said.
He said that the Royal Bahamas Defense Force has found that the “video appears to be staged, the accent is not Bahamian; no faces were shown (and) the interior does not appear to be the Detention Center.”
Mitchell said that these “comport with the Department of Immigration’s own conclusions with regard to this matter.
Former Finance Minister Sir Richard Christopher Haynes has died after a prolonged battle with throat cancer. He was 77.
Sir Richard, a surgeon, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Sunday. The former opposition leader, who was once dubbed the second most powerful man in Barbados, because of his close relationship with the then prime minister Errol Barrow, is being remembered here as an intellect, an excellent doctor, a wily politician and a fierce, analytical debater.
The former member of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) entered elective politics in 1976, contesting his hometown seat of St George North seat. He was appointed finance minister in 1986.
“Ritchie” as he was popularly known, left the DLP in 1989 to form the National Democratic Party, but returned to the DLP after the party was trounced in the 1991 polls.
He was knighted in 2003, four years after quitting politics.
The European Union has awarded Guyana US$6.3 billion to help boost the South American country’s struggling sugar industry. The money will be used to buy harvesting machines and lessen dependence on cane cutters, many of whom have abandoned fields to work in the country’s booming gold mining business.
The announcement comes just days after the state – owned Guyana Sugar Corporation reported its lowest ever first crop production of 43,500 metric tons, 18,100 metric tons less than projected. The company has blamed serious labor shortages, bad weather, mounting debt and management problems for the decrease in production.
The deal was signed late Thursday. Sugar generates about 20 percent of Guyana’s gross domestic product, and the industry is the country’s largest employer.
Minister of Haitian Living Overseas, Bernice Fidelia, has quit the Cabinet of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe amid allegations that she holds United States citizenship. A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister confirmed the resignation of the 51-year-old minister in the wake of allegations by several Haitian law makers that she is an American citizen, even though it has not yet been proven.
One legislator, Joseph Joel John, said he has the number of Fidelia’s United States passport as well as the information when she became an American citizen. Haiti’s Constitution prevents nationals from holding government office while being a citizen of another country.
The prime minister’s office did not give reasons for Fidelia’s resignation, but confirmed that Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Richard Casimir will assume her previous duties, in addition to his own, until further notice.
Fidelia, who lived in the United States before joining the government, began working for President Michel Martelly’s government as a liaison for Haitians abroad after he took office in May 2011. She became a minister following the cabinet shuffle in January.
Opposition members have in the past accused several top members of the Martelly administration, including Martelly himself, of holding U.S. citizenship and thus being ineligible to hold office.
St. Kitts and Nevis has a new Labor Party – the People’s Labor Party (PLP). “We are formally, officially and properly registered. We are…a legal entity and we have done all that is required in relation to that, PLP leader Dr. Timothy Harris told WINN FM on Friday. Harris, a former senior government minister, and former deputy prime minister Sam Condor, the PLP’s deputy leader, were due to officially launch the new party at a press conference recently.
Speaking recently, Harris was reluctant to provide many details about the party ahead of yesterday’s launch. “What I would say though is that we are still a committed partner to the concept of unity, and nothing that we do now or will do in the future will detract from the ultimate need and imperative for all of us Kittitians and Nevisians to come together to save our country.”
The People’s Labor Party will host its first political meeting in Greenlands Park, Basseterre – Condor’s constituency – tomorrow night. Harris, a 17-year MP, was fired by the prime minister as a member of Cabinet earlier this year, while Condor, who was then the deputy prime minister, was removed from his post as leader of government business.
Among the reasons given for their sackings was their objection to two controversial pieces of government-sponsored legislation and public utterance deemed unfavorable to the administration. Condor lately resigned from Cabinet and a deputy prime minister.
Police say they have arrested and charged two Guyanese nationals after seizing a quantity of drugs during a raid at a prominent hotel in the north of the island. Police said they have charged John Christopher Louis and Ashley Rebecca Louis of Georgetown with drug possession and intent to supply after 1.5 kilograms of cannabis and 2.3 kilograms of hashish had been found in the room by a joint security team that included members of the Customs and Immigration Department.
In addition, the authorities have seized nearly EC$12,000 and a quantity of jewelry. “The occupants of the room at the time namely, John Christopher Louis and Ashley Rebecca Louis both of Georgetown, Guyana, were arrested and subsequently charged for the offences of possession with the intent to supply controlled drugs,” Police Commissioner Vernon Francois told reporters. The accused are due to appear in court later this week.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has handed over her laptop and desktop to police, who are probing the 31-emails, purported to be an exchange among key government members, which were exposed during a no-confidence motion against her in Parliament by the Opposition.
She and her attorney Israel Khan met with Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson at Police Headquarters, Port of Spain recently.
Following the meeting Persad-Bissessar told reporters “we had a very fruitful discussion.”
“As you know, this matter is an ongoing investigation and, therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on,” she said.
The police investigation began on May 22, two days after Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley released a package of e-mails implicating the prime minister and several key government ministers, including the Attorney General and Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan in the Section 34 fiasco.
A U.S.-based computer forensic expert, Jon Berryhill, was retained by Persad-Bissessar, who claimed that the e-mails were “fraudulent”.
The police are seeking to contact Google, the service provider to assist in the investigation.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage has announced that he has directed the commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) to deploy up to 150 officers to assist the police force in fighting crime in The Bahamas.
“We are not going to take it anymore,” said Nottage, while contributing to debate on the 2013/2014 budget in Parliament recently.
Nottage said the Defense Force officers can assist with patrols or with fire services.
“I don’t mind how it’s done, but there must be a greater presence within our communities in order to give our citizens relief from their fear of crime and to enable us to get a handle on these young men who are marauding our community,” he said.
Nottage said the government is developing several crime prevention programmes targeted at the nation’s youth. He called on the opposition to join the crime fight.
Nottage also released statistics that show that crime throughout the Bahamas decreased by ten percent between January 1 and June 11, 2103.
However, some categories, including armed robbery and sexual offences, recorded a jump. Not all crimes are included as part of the statistics officials release from time to time. Of the categories included, 5,238 crimes were reported up to June 11 last year, compared to 4,703 during the same period this year.
The statistics show that rape cases increased by two percent, with 45 cases recorded last year compared to 46 this year. Armed robbery cases rose by four percent, from 487 to 506. Murders were down 14 percent, from 64 to 55.
Compiled by Azad Ali