The Internal Monetary Fund (IMF) has declared it will help Caribbean countries recently devastated by two Hurricanes, Irma and Maria to get back on their feet.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde gave the assurance while delivering an address to regional leaders and other top officials in Jamaica on an IMF / Caribbean forum at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Jamaica.
Lagarde said there was no mistaking the ravaging impact of natural disasters on regional economies and the IMF would not turn its back on the vulnerable states.
“The IMF stands ready to do whatever it can in those situations in accessing macroeconomic implications, determining the financing needs and providing financial support that could also help to catalyze broader financing from the rest of the international community,” she said.
The IMF pledge came as Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit appealed to officials from the international community, who recently attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference which took place in Bonn, Germany, to deliver on their commitments to help rebuild the country, which was left with an estimated damage of more than US$200 million.
The one-day conference was held under the theme, “Unleashing Growth and Strengthening Resilience in the Caribbean.”
From Nov. 15, 2017 anyone found guilty of unlawful possession of a gun or ammunition in Antigua and Barbuda will be jailed.
Minister of Public Safety, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said the Firearm (Amendment) Act is now in effect since the legislation has now become lawful.
He said anyone found in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition the courts will be under an obligation to make certain those persons are incarcerated, except of course in very special circumstances where the court has discretion to take other action.
An offender convicted before a magistrate can be jailed for a maximum of two years.
The law came into effect just as the gun amnesty granted by the government from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15 has ended.
Benjamin said he was disappointed that only three firearms were turned in and several rounds of ammunition noting that not many more persons did not take advantage of the amnesty.
The minister said a reward of $20,000 is still being offered to anyone who provides the police with information that helps them catch and convict people with illegal weapons.
The Barbados government has recently introduced amended road traffic legislation in Parliament for random drug testing for operators of public service and heavy duty-vehicles.
Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley also announced that the much talked about breathalyzer testing will soon become a reality under the Road Safety Amendment Act.
During the debate on the Act, the minister pointed out the 24 road deaths recorded so far for this year, some of the serious accidents on drivers “using drugs or alcohol or some other substance” were blamed for the accidents.
He said the Freundel Stuart administration was determined to rid the country of the “reckless and inconsiderate behavior” of some drivers.
Lashley said the government wanted to bring the Road Traffic Act for the random alcohol and drug testing of any person who was granted a driver’s license for a public service vehicle.
He said the amendment is necessary in promoting and protecting the traveling public and general road users.
The Transport Minister said when the breathalyzer testing is introduced under the amended law members of the Royal Barbados Police Force would have the power to request a breathalyzer test from individuals suspected of driving under the influence.
Failure to comply with the regulations, he said, could result in fines and imprisonment.
Issues relating to the challenges of the delivery of justice in the Caribbean will be discussed at the inaugural Advanced Performance Exponents (APEX) convention which will be held in the Bahamas later this month.
The convention described as a “milestone even for the justice sector in the Caribbean” will bring together national, regional and international jurists, attorneys, legal practitioners and senior court officials.
In attendance will be government ministers and senior policy makers, as well as leading academics, technologist and business leaders.
The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which established APEX, describes it as a Caribbean-based, special purpose, non-profit agency governed by jurists and legal practitioners across the region.
The CCJ said that the APEX Convention starting on November 27, 2017 in the Bahamas is designed to define actionable approaches toward justice sector improvement; and raise awareness of regional, technology-enabled options by providing insight into the latest challenges and initiatives for re-filing and end-to-end case management.
The organizers say the convention, which is being held under the theme “Enabling Caribbean Court Excellence” comes against the backdrop of efforts to accelerate the development of Caribbean jurisprudence being challenged by constraints of finances and human resource capacity, and also by a lack of clear purpose.
More than 24 former Guyanese government officials will be dragged before the courts for alleged wrongdoing in public office.
The Guyana State Assets Recovery Agency has served notice that is has 25 cases of officials under the former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration using their high office to unlawfully acquire properties.
The agency’s deputy director Aubrey Heath-Retmeyer said with Cabinet’s approval of required resources for its work, lawyers would soon begin proceedings against the accused.
He assured that the agency was not on a witch-hunt but simply collecting what belonged to the people of Guyana.
The David Granger government has promised to be tough on corruption but has been accused of unfairly targeting former People’s Progressive Party officials.
Attorney General Basil Williams made it clear that anyone charged with corruption or related offences would not be allowed to continue in the post once investigations are ongoing.
A Grenadian criminal defense attorney has called for jurors to be given at least one week training in order to adjudicate over high-profile cases.
Anslem Clouden, described as one of Grenada’s most experienced attorney made the call as he commented on the stiff prison sentence handed down by a female judge, Madam Justice Paula Gilford after a 12-member jury returned an unanimous guilty verdict on 6- year-old Albert Alexis for murder.
Justice Gilford imposed a life sentence on Alexis for manslaughter for the May 2015 death of 31-year-old Alson Henry of Plaissance, St. Andrew.
Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, Clouden said that jurors need some form of training to get more acquainted with certain legal concepts before being empaneled for high court service.
“You take a fellow from his workplace, you put him on the jury, he doesn’t know anything…and then he hears all kinds of technical arguments by counsel and counsel’s submissions and he feels if the police bring an accused person here, he’s guilty and that’s where we are today,” he said.
Clouden said he would appeal against the stiff sentence imposed by the judge.
Henry died following stab wounds during an argument with Alexis over a piece of land.
Trinidad and Tobago state-owned Estate Management and Business Development Company (EMBD) has sued former Housing Minister Dr. Roodlal Moonilal and four other companies for allegedly engaging in an elaborate scheme of bid-rigging, bribery and collusion, which led to hundreds of millions of dollars being disbursed to five contractors just prior to the 2015 general election.
The lawsuit against Moonilal and four other EMBD officials, under the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration alleged fiduciary duty, cartel behavior and unlawful means of conspiracy.
The Office of the Attorney General said in a statement that the lawsuit was filed in the Port of Spain High Court recently.
According to the statement, the lawsuit concerns ten contracts awarded in August 2015 to five contractors for the upgrade and rehabilitation of certain access roads in Central Trinidad and two contracts for rehabilitation.
The EMBD is also seeking compensation and repayment of sum paid.
_ Compiled by Azad Ali