Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

A British police officer will be sentenced on July 11, 2019 after he was found guilty of raping an American student in Antigua four years ago.

Metropolitan Constable Lee Martin-Cramp was found guilty by a jury at Antigua’s High Court recently after being extradited to the island in what was reported to be a legal victory for the island.

The court heard that the 26-year-old used his job to get the victim into trusting him before carrying out the “most deplorable” attack while he was on vacation in Antigua in May 2015.

The officer, who was attached to the Met’s Merton borough, is suspended from duties and will be subjected to expedited misconduct proceedings, the police force said.

Commander Catherine Roper, from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said Martin-Cramp had been found futility of an “extremely serious” offense.

According to the evidence, the British officer reportedly met the victim, an American student, on a dating app Tinder. The court heard he went to her apartment, where he allegedly out something in her wine that made her pass out, the Daily Mail reported.

Martin-Cramp was first arrested over the rape in June 2016 by the Met’s Extradition Unit.

Antiguan authorities had lodged an extradition request which was heard at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court and granted in June 2018.

In September, he was extradited to face trial in Antigua.

Barbados

The Barbados government has approved five medicinal marijuana drugs to be placed on the National Drug Formulary and warned businesses already selling the products they were infringing the law.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic said the drugs, which will be imported by the Barbados Drug Services, had been submitted by the Drug Formulary Committee.

Speaking to participants at the training seminar for healthcare providers recently on Therapeutic Prescribing of Medical Marijuana Products, Bostic said he also wanted to make it clear that the smoking of marijuana would not be part of the process since there was no scientific evidence to suggest that there were benefits in terms of ailment.

The Drug Formulary Committee made a strong recommendation on the issue that was presented to Cabinet and it was accepted that “we are going to stay with that until any other information is available to the ministry to suggest otherwise.”

The minister said he had been made aware that there were already selling the products.

He said while the Ministry of Health and Wellness was responsible for this aspect of the project, the major part of the project would be overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture since it was government’s intention to get involved in every aspect, including cultivation, production, marketing, research and development.

Caribbean

Cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT will have to find US$1.55 million to pay compensation to a dismissed employee after a judge of the Supreme Court in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) dismissed an appeal by the airline.

Justice Douglas A. Brady in his ruling recently said that “the totality of the trial evidence was sufficient to permit a jury the inference that LIAT’s proffered reasons were false” when it dismissed William Cherubin.

Cherubin had taken the airline to court in February claiming he had been dismissed because of his age.

According to court documents, on June 4, 2015, LIAT fired Cherubin, who was then 70 years old, without notice, citing several incidents involving violation of company’s policy, including two alleged incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2012.

The judge also noted the airline, which is owned by several Caribbean governments had “discharged Cherubin because of his age and in violation of the Virgin Islands Civil Rights Act.”

“The court will deny LIAT’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law,” Justice Brady said in his ruling.

Accordingly, he said, the court will not interfere with the jury’s award and LIAT’s motion for a new trial will be denied.

Dominica

Four Caribbean countries Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis have commenced consultations toward the development of a National Safe School Policy that will provide the context for amending existing legislation to integrate disaster reduction and environmental protection measures for schools.

The consultations, with technical support from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) through Environmental Solution Limited (Jamaica) were recently held in Roseau, Dominica.

The goal of the Model Safe School Program (MSSP) in the Caribbean — also known as the MSSP Project — is to create safe, secure/protective and green educational institutions from pre-primary to tertiary levels, including public and private institutions through the development of simple, applicable and adaptable tools.

The first-stage of policy consultations was signed to garner stakeholder participation and consensus building within the national context.

The CDEMA Coordinating Unit has received grant funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to the tune of US$832,685 to implement the Model Safe School Program in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Jamaica

Jamaicans could face a possible jail term as the National Water Commission (NWC) issued a prohibition order making it a prosecutable offence to waste water or use excessive amounts of potable water for non-essential purposes.

Jamaica, like several other Caribbean countries, is facing a severe drought situation and the NWC said the prohibition order, which went into effect recently, is aimed at dealing with the worsening water situation.

NWC Corporate Communications Manager, Charles Buchanan said the prohibition notice that the commission normally publishes in time of extreme drought is usually intended to send a signal to the population to indicate that not only it is not right to be wasting water from an already limited supply but it is also not legal.

He said some of the breaches of the prohibition order include using NWC-supplied water in a drought-affected area to water gardens or lawns, using portable water to irrigate farms, refilling ponds and swimming pools, washing motor vehicles with a continuously running hose, using NWC-suppled water to wash walkways.

In a statement, the NWC defended its position saying more stringent water conservation measures must now be observed.

Trinidad

Officials of the Inter-America Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations have expressed deep concern about the disappearance of Venezuelan migrants in the waters between Guiria and Trinidad and Tobago.

The IACHR is appealing to the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela to organize search and rescue operation and investigations to identify and locate the missing people whose relatives have complained about getting contradictory information about the number of people who remained unaccounted for.

At least 60 Venezuelans remain unaccounted for from the two vessels enroute from Guiria to Trinidad and Tobago, which reportedly sank.

The IACHR and UN experts noted that the recent incidents were not the first to occur in the Caribbean Sea.

On Jan. 11, a vessel carrying 30 Venezuelan people heading to Curacao capsized. Four people died and the others were not immediately found.

Last month a boat carrying 34 Venezuelan migrants capsized near Patos Island, off Trinidad after leaving Guiria.

Of the 34 passengers, 12 were rescued, and 22 are feared drowned, but no bodies have been found.

Given the situation with Venezuelan migrants, IACHR and United Nations officials said the two countries need to strengthen and coordinate their search and rescue operations, investigation and forensic protocols and make every effort to ensure the dignified treatment of the remains of deceased persons.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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