Caribbean RoundUp

Barbados

Former senior government minister Dr. Timothy Harris has described “instability” as the political climate in St. Kitts and Nevis and that opposition politicians will launch a fresh campaign to get the National Assembly to debate a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas.

“We are going to begin our mobilization of our people, of our stakeholder groups to say that our prime minister cannot continue to be a rogue. St. Kitts and Nevis must not continue by and large to be a pariah nation in its practice of democracy.

In April, the six opposition legislators filed a motion in the court on the grounds that under Section 52 (6) of St. Kitts – Nevis Constitution they had a right to bring a motion of no-confidence and that right was violated by the failure of the executive, including the House Speaker, to bring the matter before the Parliament.

The MPs are also asking the court to declare that the motion must be heard as a matter of urgency or least with reasonable time. The Court will hear the matter on July 11 and Prime Minister Douglas has already said he would not be debating the motion of no confidence until the Court hands down its ruling.

Guyana

A student of the Government Technical Institute, who allegedly hid three nine-millimeter caliber bullets in his mouth, was recently refused bail and remanded to prison on a charge of possession of ammunition without a license.

Nineteen-year-old Frane Mikhail Braithwaite pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before City Magistrate Fabayo Azore. Although defense lawyer Mark Waldron maintained that his client was innocent, the magistrate upheld the prosecutor’s submissions for opposing reasonable bail.

Braithwaite of 41 Station St., Kitty, was remanded to prison until June 26 for the commencement of a trial. The prosecutor told the court that the offence of possession of ammunition without a license was prevalent in Guyana and the defense has not advanced any special reason to the courts for bail to be granted to the accused.

Police alleged in the charge that Braithwaite had the three rounds in a small Ziploc bag which was in his mouth, during the time that he was stopped and searched after he was found to be acting in a suspicious manner. Braithwaite was arrested and subsequently charged after he could not produce a license.

Haiti

A United Nations food relief agency says it remains “extremely concerned” by the plight of 1.5 million people in Haiti who need food assistance following extreme weather conditions and poor harvests.

In addition to the 1.5 million people facing food insecurity, the World Food Program (WFP) said a further 6.7 million people in the impoverished, French-speaking Caribbean country are struggling to meet their own food needs on a regular basis.

Before the hurricane season, which runs from June to November, WFP said it had pre-positioned emergency supplies to cover the needs of $300,000 people for two days with ready-to-use food and for four weeks with staple food rations.

The agency also said it had established agreements with 15 partners and had begun emergency distribution to 200,000 beneficiaries through schools in the worst-affected communities.

WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told reporters here that the agency plans to assist 1.1 million people in 2013, more than half of them children, through school meals and specialized food to treat malnutrition.

Meanwhile, the National Coordination for Food Security identified 44 communes in Haiti, where the prevalence of severe food insecurity was above 50 percent of the rural population.

WFP said it is also providing about 34,000 vulnerable people in rural areas with income opportunities via cash for assets programs.

But Byrs said WFP urgently needs US $17.2 million in funding to meet these needs and that the agency is currently facing a shortfall of US $1.5 million to cover emergency preparedness.

Jamaica

The Jamaica Manufactures’ Association (JMA) has called for the resignation of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister AJ Nicholson as the fall out continues over the alleged trade dispute between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

The JMA said that Nicholson had contradicted earlier statements by Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton, who had promised to take the trade issues as far as the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The CCJ, established in 2001 to replace the London based Privy Council as the region’s final court, also acts as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional grouping.

St. Lucia

A police officer who was caught last year with drugs while on court duty was recently sent to prison for two years.

Police Constable Dervin Wilson was sentenced to two years each for the possession of a controlled drug and possession with the intent to supply a controlled drug.

Both sentences will run concurrently, which means he will serve only two years in prison.

Wilson had pleaded not guilty but following a trial he was found guilty on May 7, 2013 and sentenced recently when he appeared in the Gros Islet court.

Wilson, who functioned as the High Court orderly, was suspected of passing drugs to prison officers.

He was reportedly searched on the morning of July 31, 2012 outside the High Court while he was in full police uniform and a quantity of cannabis was found on his person.

Suriname

A Dutch student was killed and three others injured following a vehicular accident here recently, police said. They said that the un-named 21-year-old female student was part of a group of Dutch students and Surinamese nationals in a minibus returning from the popular Ston Eiland holiday resort in the Brokopondo district.

The police said, apart from the Dutch nationals, four locals were injured and three of the injured have been hospitalized. Media reports said that the bus was travelling down a hill when the brakes failed and the vehicle flipped over.

In December last year, a minibus carrying eight Dutch tourists overturned on the same Afobakka Highway.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago Police are seeking assistance from Google in connection with the probe into the e-mail messages, which were revealed on May 29 by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in Parliament during a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.Google is the domain that hosts one of the e-mail addresses used in the alleged discussions.

The series of e-mails alleged a conspiracy among certain senior government ministers to commit crimes that included possibly physically harming a journalist and perverting the course of justice.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson confirmed that Google has been contacted by his investigating team.

An attorney representing PM Persad-Bissessar hired a foreign computer expert, Jon Berryhill, who after spending some six hours shifting through the e-mails claimed that they were fraudulent.

Berryhill said there were inconsistences and fatal flaws in the e-mails.

Jamaica

Jamaica intends on joining its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) partners in banning smoking in public areas and the workplace. So far the legislation exists in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname and Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson says he will be seeking the assistance of local and international partners, including the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in the effort to reduce tobacco use here.

He said the Portia Simpson Miller administration is seeking to table the Tobacco Control Act, which will protect citizens from the harmful effects of tobacco smoking, by prohibiting its use in public areas and workplaces.

Statistics from the 2008 Jamaica Health and Lifestlye Survey show that by the age of 16 years, 19 percent of smokers had initiated the habit and 14.5 percent smoke cigarettes, while 13.5 percent admit to marijuana use.

Figures provided by the Jamaica Cancer Society reveal that approximately 80,000 young people across the world become addicted to tobacco each day and if trends continue, an estimated 250 million children and young people will die as a result of tobacco-related illnesses.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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