Caribbean Roundup

Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados , the war against drugs will continue if those involved do not have an alternative means of feeding their families, Barbados Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite stressed during a recent courtesy call by secretary general to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza.

Brathwaite pointed out that there was a need to create more opportunities for young people to move them away from that type of life style.

If they can’t be an employee, they must eat and live, he said, stressing there must be a parallel approach.

Nothing that the drug trade was one of the main links to crime, the attorney general also expressed concern over reports that indicated the region should expect to see increases in being used as a trans-shipment point.

Insulza noted that the war on drugs was not unsuccessful, as about 50 percent was confiscated annually. However, he noted that it was time to start working on outstanding matters in terms of penalties for such crimes, and treating drug addiction as a chronic, disease and not a crime.

Dominica

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has denied allegations of misuse of European Union funds by his government.

From time to time because of partisan politics sometimes, we enrage ourselves in untruths and unfortunately, some in the media for political reasons; publish these things as if it is the gospel according to the book of Luke.

Skerrit refuted these allegations while addressing the launching of the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) IN La Plaine last week.

An EU delegation led by EU Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mikael Barfod were on island for the launch of the EC $54 million (15.5 million Euros) injection of funds towards BAM.

BAM is a series of measures aimed at strengthening the viability of agriculture and increasing its productivity and competitiveness.

According to the Prime Minister, the EU conducts its own auditing of all programs and projects which it finances.

The EU has made over $185 million available to Dominica for various projects over the last ten years.

EU Ambassador Barfod told the media last week that the EU shares an excellent relationship with Dominica at all levels.

Grenada

Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has a warning for Grenadians.

He wants them to beware of the politics of the New National Party (NNP), which defeated Thomas’ incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) 15-0 in general elections on February 19.

“Not because the NNP won a majority, that is not an indication that they are on the right track,” Thomas said. “We respect the democratic process and we respect the majority in the country. But, at the same time, that doesn’t mean it is right.”

According to Thomas, Grenadians should not “surrender our values and our morality to the NNP brand of politics. It’s not the healthiest thing for Grenada I maintain this and I’m very strong on this”.

Many have been speculating on Thomas’ political future since his failure to hold his government together during its tenure that began in July 2008 and ended with February’s whitewash that included Thomas losing his own St. Patrick East constituency.

The party’s leadership is likely to be on the agenda of the 2013 annual convention of the NDC.

Last year’s convention was held September 30 when 10 senior members, including then General Secretary Peter David and Acting Chairman Stanford Simon, were expelled from the party.

Guyana

Relatives of a well-known attorney in Guyana who defended drug traffickers and gang members are asking police to further investigate his death.

A state pathologist has ruled that 57 year old Vic Puran died from asphyxiation after his car veered into a canal in October. However, daughter Mikhaila Puran said she believes her father was killed and that his death was made to look like an accident.

Puran died around the same time that three of his clients were shot and killed. All were suspected gang members. Puran at the time also was defending Guyana’s national security minister amid a state probe into the police killings of three demonstrators.

Deputy Police Chief Seelall Persaud on Friday upheld the autopsy results, although he added the case has not been closed.

Jamaica

A 20-year-old pregnant Jamaican woman, who passed out 17 packages of marijuana at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, has told a magistrate that she was transporting the drug to support her family.

Shanique Ameike Hyman, of 90 West Street, Kingston, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, possession with intent to supply, trafficking in the drug and importing the drug when she appeared at the District “B” Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Magistrate Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell sentenced the drug mule to 12 months on each charge to run concurrently.

In relating the case against Hyman, prosecutor Sergeant Wendell Greenidge told the court that she arrived in Barbados on Friday from Trinidad. She cleared Immigration and was subsequently interviewed by the police.

She was arrested and taken to the hospital and examined by a doctor where she confessed that she was pregnant. This was also confirmed by ultrasound.

The young woman also admitted that she had ingested drugs and tests revealed that there were foreign matters in her digestive system.

Hyman was detained in Ward C6 where she passed out 17 packages of marijuana, weighing half a pound.

The quantity was valued at $2 000.

Hyman apologized to the court and said she was offered money to transport the drugs and she did it in order to support herself and her family. (MB)

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago being placed on a US Trade Representative (USTR) watch list.

In a report released on May 1, the USTR said T&T had been placed on its watch list because of the concern that the local cable operator refuses to negotiate with the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) “for compensation for public performance of music, including for music written by American composers”.

“The United States is also concerned by ongoing delays in the resolution of the long-standing litigation over the collection of unpaid performance royalties from the same cable operator,” the report said.

The report requested the Government to take “all necessary action” for compliance to intellectual property rights agreements.

Speaking at the launch of the Caribbean Investment Forum at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel in Port of Spain, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said he was aware, through news reports, of the situation but did not have details, and would therefore need to be apprised of the situation by COTT.

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