Caribbean RoundUp

Prime Minister Gaston Alphonso Browne of Antigua and Barbuda addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014.
Associated Press / Jason DeCrow, File

Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government said it would release the names of persons issued diplomatic passports in recent years, regardless of whether or not their passports had since expired or revoked.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said a new list of current holders on the list will be issued soon following a review by Cabinet of which individuals remain qualified for diplomatic passports under the new policy in this respect announced earlier this year.

This is in response to questionable names who have been issued diplomatic passports, and are reportedly wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in connection with money laundering.

One name on the diplomatic list is said to be a Chinese-born United States citizen who was charged by United States Federal prosecutors last year with paying a $500,000 bribe to buy diplomatic positions with the government of Antigua and Barbuda four years ago.

Bahamas

A former Bahamas minister has appeared in court charged with extortion and bribery.

Kendred Dorsett, minister of the environment under the former Perry Christie administration is charged with extorting $120,000 from Johnathan Ash, who had a government contract at the New Providence Landfill. He is also charged with accepting bribes in the same amount.

Dorsett was charged with four counts of extortion, four counts of bribery and one count of misconduct in public office. It is alleged that the offences were committed between March 1 and May 9, 2017.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges and his case was adjourned to Aug. 31, 2017 by Magistrate Samuel McKinney. It is alleged that between March 1, 2017 and May 9, 2017, while acting as a public officer.

Dorsett, 46, served in the Christie cabinet from 2012 to 2017, is accused of willfully misconducting himself without reasonable excuse of justification.

Barbados

The United States Embassy recently hosted a workshop on tourism security in Bridgetown, Barbados as part of ongoing efforts to promote citizen security and support of the country’s economic requisite.

The workshop was organized by the embassy’s Regional Security Office and Overseas Security Advisory Council, in partnership with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and the American Chamber of Commerce for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

The workshop focused on recognizing and preventing the most common types of crimes targeting the tourism industry, including credit card fraud, ATM skimming, document and travel fraud, human trafficking and counterfeit currency.

Among those who attended the workshop were tourism industry officials, who heard presentations from security experts with the Diplomatic Security Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service.

Dominica

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is moving to sue a member of the Elections Commission for a statement he made that was said to be defamatory.

Attorneys represent Skerrit has written to Hilary Shillingford demanding a “prompt retraction and an apology in terms to be agreed by him and his attorneys.”

The attorneys are also demanding payment of compensation and costs and if the radio station fails to meet those demands, a lawsuit will be filed.

Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, who is leading the team of attorneys said during a radio program Q95 on June 21, 2017 Shillingford made statements that implied the prime minister abused his office.

Skerrit, who is also finance minister claimed that Shillingford made allegations that he unlawfully in breach of his duties, diverted and used monies and in particular monies intended for use at the Princess Margaret Hospital, for the illegal and unlawful purpose of paying for the transportation of supporters in the Diaspora to travel to Dominica.

His attorneys are claiming that the allegations are false, dishonest and lies manufactured by Shillingford.

Jamaica

Jamaica National Security Minister Robert Montague says intelligence is showing there is a reduction in guns and ammunition coming into the island.

He said this is due to the two ships and surveillance plane acquired by the government.

The minister said the government is equipping the security forces so criminal elements will have no cover from the law.

Earlier this year, the government acquired and deployed the two vessels and aircraft for protection of Jamaica’s border from illicit activities.

Montague was at the time addressing a handing over ceremony of 30 vehicles for the Jamaica Constabulary Force recently.

He said the vehicles will increase mobility of the police who will be able to go into communities and provide security for citizens.

St. Lucia

The opposition St. Lucia Labor Party (SLP) is arguing that an acting prime minister or Cabinet has no power or authority to accept the resignation of a minister and that the resignation of Senator Jimmy Henry that was accepted by acting prime minister Ezekiel Joseph, is null and void.

Senator Henry recently announced his immediate resignation from the Senate and as minister of the ministry of agriculture, fisheries, physical training, natural resources and co-operative which he handed to the acting prime minister while Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is currently out of the country.

He is due to return to office on July 31.

The SLP said in a statement that the people of St. Lucia require a full and unambiguous explanation on what transpired with the former minister, noting that there has been neither a proper response to or denial that Henry was briefly detained and questioned at the George F. L. Charles Airport while en route to a neighboring Caribbean island.

The SLP said it is highly and unprecedented that the prime minister, already armed with the requisite information, chose not to address the nation on this serious matter before he proceeded on vacation leave.

Trinidad

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar met last week for a closed-door three-hour meeting to discuss the crisis in the judiciary and other issues plaguing the government.

One of the major points was how to rectify the imbroglio following the appointment of former Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar to the High Court, which left some 53 cases in limbo.

Dr. Rowley had proposed a legislative solution following consultations between the attorney ceneral and “elements in the judiciary, namely the DPP and the chief justice,” involving amendments to the Summary Courts Act and the Preliminary Enquiries Act, which did not find favor with the opposition leader.

However, Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the discussions were “fruitful” but there was no agreement on the pressing issues facing the judiciary.

“It is very clear from our discussions that the government is in need of advice and help in many areas put forward by the prime minister,” she told reporters after the meeting.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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