Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government is considering establishing a law school and will soon conduct a feasibility study for the project.

This is according to Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Steadroy Benjamin who said the issue was discussed at the Executive Council meeting of the Legal Education when it met recently in Jamaica.

He said the government will be retaining the services of a specialist in this area to conduct a study to show how many persons in the region who wish to be educated and are unable to find places, because the law schools are overwhelmed.

Benjamin said Guyana is in the process of undertaking a similar study.

Last month, Guyana signed an agreement with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and the Law College of the Americas (LCA) as it moves to establish its own law school and ease the difficulties being experienced by Guyanese students wishing to attend the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago.

Barbados

Three St. Vincent and the Grenadines students, who were due to return to their homeland, were among four people killed in a recent two-car crash in Barbados, which also claimed the life of a Barbadian.

The three dead teenagers were part of a seven-member group who had been in Barbados since last December for an internship program at the Crane Resort, St. Phillip and were due to depart the island on Jan. 29, 2017.

Police said that Danee Deverey Horne, 17, Carianne Lee-New Padmore, 19 and Aziza Awanna Dennie, 18, died as a result of the crash and that two other St. Vincent and the Grenadines nationals, Darren Renaldo Daniel, 18, and Kemelius, 21 escaped death.

Investigators said the driver of the other vehicle in the accident, Andre Jabarry Gittens, 23, also died.

Grenada

Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has chastised former finance minister Nazim Burke for not paying taxes owed to the state for several years.

Government figures show that Burke, who served as finance minister under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, did not pay taxes for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.

In a television interview Dr Mitchell said an EC$30,000 tax relief was offered to Burke, who was due to receive more than EC$70,000 dollars in gratuity.

Burke wrote to the prime minister, who is also the minister of finance asking for relief on the fact that he did not pay, Mitchell told television viewers.

Mitchell asked, “How could a minister of finance of a country, that has tax liabilities of your family for 2011, 2012, and 2014 and you did not pay and you are calling on us to pay?’

Burke has denied owing the government EC$478, 456.91 saying that he is owed funds by the government.

He said the government owes him EC$21,300 and he does not owe the government any money.

Jamaica

Jamaica police have warned that gangs are recruiting children after a 14-year-old boy was arrested by police with a firearm and several rounds of ammunition.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell is calling on the community; parents, the churches and schools to play a greater role in guiding these youngsters who are “ripe” for recruitment by gangsters.

Powell, who heads the Criminal Investigation Branch, questioned the circumstances in which the 14 year-old had been found with gun recently.

Police were conducting a stop and search exercise when a 9 mm pistol with seven rounds of ammunition was found tucked in the teenager’s waistband.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts and Nevis is moving to establish a labor code that will serve to improve the laws governing the world of work and better relations between employers and employees.

Labor Minister Vance Amory made the revelation at a town hall meeting on Jan. 24 dubbed “Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity”.

Amory said the government has taken a positive approach to labor issues since taking over the reins of government in 2015. This would include the creation of the code, which is essentially the revision, upgrade and amalgamation of related laws.

Consultations were held between officials from the government; employer representative groups, including the Chamber of Industry and Commerce as well as trade union representatives who speak on behalf of the workers.

The minister said the process is ongoing and must be completed in order to produce a draft document.

The wider public will then be engaged in meetings on the changes to the draft labor code before it is finalized and taken to Cabinet and then to Parliament for approval.

St. Lucia

The opposition St. Lucia Labor party (SLP) has called on minister in the Ministry of Finance Senator Dr. Ubaldus Raymond to tender his resignation following the release on social media of nude photographs purportedly of him and the arrest of an 18-year-old college student charged with attempted blackmail.

The student, identified as Curshaby Alexander of Gros Islet, recently appeared in court in Castries and will reappear later this month.

Raymond told a news conference that he was blackmailed and there have been attempts to extort monies from him through devious means.

In a statement on behalf of the SLOP, Alvina Reynolds, former minister of health, wellness, human services and gender relations, said she has been anticipating Raymond’s resignation in the wake of the scandal.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Two more vessels carrying 125 Haitians, 98 males, 27 females and two juveniles were recently intercepted in the waters of the North West Point of Providenciales by police and immigration officials in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).

At the time law enforcement officials were searching for bodies that may still be in the waters when another vessel capsized in the same area.

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Marine Police intercepted a 36-foot wooden boat about three miles from South Doc with the Haitians aboard.

Another boat was intercepted two miles from Five Cays with 53 men and seven females.

A total of 178 persons from both sloops were taken to the Detention Center and handed over to immigration officials for processing and repatriation.

This brings the total number of persons caught attempting to enter the TCI for the month of January 2017 to 275.

Trinidad

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has written to US President Donald Trump, asking him to state his position on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

She by-passed Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and wrote to President Trump recently informing him of the “controversy” the FATCA legislation has caused Trinidad and Tobago.

She wrote; “As we consider the full impact of FATCA compliance on our citizens, taxpayers and institutions, as well what some see as a compromise of the sovereignty in submitting to a foreign law, it is appropriate to ask you about what your administration plans to do about FATCA.”

The former prime minister added; “specifically, as you know, the Republican Party Platform for 2016 calls for its repeal.” She was referring to March 2015 2015 bill brought by Paul, titled S.663.

In that bill, Rand Paul described FATCA as a “complete violation of every American’s constitutional right to privacy and adds burdensome regulations that negatively impact our country. It is a defective law which disregards the mutual respect of sovereignty among nations and drains money from the federal treasury, on top of discouraging overseas investment in the United States.”

— compiled by Azad Ali

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