Caribbean Roundup

Bahamas

The Bahamas government is buying 11 new vessels for the country’s Defense Force and has appealed to nationals not to get into confrontation with nationals from the Dominican Republic on poaching in Bahamas waters.

Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government Minister Alfred Gray said a delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell, is due to visit the Spanish-speaking country for talks with authorities there on the issue.

Addressing fishermen at a meeting recently, Gray said the newly elected Perry Christie government has agreed to purchase the vessels to complement the four now in operation by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF).

He said the four vessels made it difficult for the RBDF to adequately patrol the local waters against poachers.

Gray warned local fishermen against approaching boats from the Dominican Republic and getting into any confrontation.

Bahamas

Violent crime in The Bahamas is down six percent overall for the first half of 2012, according to Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade.

The commissioner said that armed robbery, which was up “marginally,’ was the only exception to the downward trend, but cases of murder, attempted murder, rape, attempted and unlawful sexual intercourse are all down.

He said two cases which had previously classified as murders were recently reclassified as manslaughter.

Up to July, there were 73 murders for the year so far, police say.

July 2011 was the bloodiest month recorded in 2011, with 20 murders. May 2012 broke that record with 21 murders.

Guyana

At least three Brazilian miners were reportedly killed after a dredge they were working on capsized in the Cuyuni River recently.

They said investigators were sent to the Bartica area to investigate.

The Cuyuni mining area has been a scene of several tragedies for the year so far. In June, the co-owner of a mining dredge was shot and killed during an altercation with another man and two miners were killed after a tree branch fell on their mining camp.

Haiti

The Haitian government is promising to hold legislative and local elections before the end of the year.

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told a news conference in Washington DC recently that the vote will require about US$60 million to become a reality.

The election seeks to fill 10 seats in the 30-member Senate. The terms of those seats expired in May because elections were n0t held in time.

The race will include posts for mayors throughout the country.

Haitian President Michel Martelly announced in June the creation of a permanent election panel to oversee the vote.

He named a director to the nine-member body but the other seats have yet to be filled.

Jamaica

Jamaica police say they have “reliable information” that people involved in an illegal lottery scam are plotting to murder the head of the Lottery Scam Force, Superintendent Leon Clunis.

The intelligence arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JFC) said it has reliable information of the plot as a result of a threat assessment done by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) which was sent to Deputy Commissioner Glenmore Hinds recently.

Clunis revealed that threats have also been made against other members of the task force, but steps have been taken to ensure their safety.

Since its inception earlier this year the lottery scam task force has managed to disrupt the activities of several people involved in the illegal activity, which has conned unsuspecting Americans out of millions of dollars.

The money is then used to finance lavish lifestyles including the purchase of expensive homes and high-end luxury vehicles.

However, the task force has gone after these assets and has already seized over US4162, 000 and 90 vehicles.

The main opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) has already called on Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to demand the resignation of two local government officials, including the deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, following their arrest in the multi-million dollar scam.

Jamaica

There is an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease in Jamaica with most cases reported in the Corporate Area.

According to Dr. Eva Lewis-Fuller, chief medical officer (CMO) in the ministry of health, up to 25 cases have been reported recently, 22 of which are in the Kingston and St. Andrew area.

The CMO was quick to point out that there could be more of the disease in the island as not all cases have been detected, indicating she is trying to avoid panic.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a human syndrome caused by intestinal viruses. It usually affects infants and children and is contagious.

The CMO advised that persons should take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the illness.

Suriname

Suriname state-owned oil company Staatsolie is considering selling stock through a partial privatization similar to those carried out by state energy firms in Colombia and Brazil, a company official said.

Shares will also be sold in telecommunications firm Telesur and Suriname Airways, which are state-owned and the Hakrin Bank, which is partly owned by the government.

The official said the company is preparing to conduct a study on a possible share offer in Staatsolie, which could help finance exploration of onshore and offshore areas that have drawn interest of overseas oil companies.

Suriname will likely approach any stock sale with caution given that a plan to privatize Staatsolie in 1999 met with widespread protest that ultimately forced the president to leave office.

“Staatsolie wants to explore the possibility of issuing shares,” said the company’s General Manager Marc Waaldijk in a statement.

Trinidad

Former Trinidad and Tobago National Security Minister Martin Joseph was ‘hog-tied” and robbed at his upscale home at Flagstaff recently.

Joseph said in a statement around 11.30 p.m. on July 22, 2012 he was at his home at Flagstaff, when his stepson entered the house.

“I noticed that a masked man armed with a gun had followed him into the house. Upon entering the house, the man announced a robbery and proceeded to hog-tie my stepson. There was a short confrontation between the gunman and as I tried to wrestle the gun from his hands, I too was hog-tied as the bandit proceeded to rob me and others in the house.

“The robber then made his way upstairs to the bedrooms of the house and it was during that time I was able to untie myself, escape and call for help. The police were contacted and they arrived shortly after on the scene.”

The bandit managed to escape in his stepson’s car, which police later found abandoned a few miles away.

In his statement, Joseph said what happened to him showed the need for the entire country to work at all levels in the fight against crime.

Joseph served as minister of National Security from 2003 to 2007, then from 2007 to 2010.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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