Caribbean RoundUp

Caribbean

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating a British trader who allegedly stashed millions of pound sterling in offshore bank account in some Caribbean islands.

The London Evening Standard reported that Navinder Singh Sarao, 36, who lives in a modest semi-detached house with his parents on Hounslow, West London, and doesn’t even own a car, was able to find $5million (pound sterling) to pay his bail.

The FBI insisted that Sarao hid his illegal gotten gains in a “complex” web of offshore accounts.

In the criminal complaint, United States of America Navinder Singh Saro, filed recently at the US District Court in Northern Illinois, FBI Special Agent Laberta claimed the Briton admitted to amassing “the majority of his (net) worth in no more than 20 days of trading on days when the market was particularly vulnerable”.

According to FBI Special Agent Laberta, the Briton stashed money he earned during the 2010 Wall Street “flash crash” and in his other high frequency trades in Nevis and Anguilla.

“Around the time of the Flash Crash, Sarao took significant steps to protect his assets,” says the criminal complaint.

Bahamas

The Bahamas government said it viewed sexual misconduct within schools “very seriously,” as it investigates an allegation of an incident of sexual misconduct involving four pupils, including one female.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said had recently been informed by a principal of an unidentified primary school of the incident. It said the report was also made to the police.

“The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology takes matters of alleged sexual misconduct within our schools very seriously and gives priority to such matters,” it said, adding that once an incident is brought to its attention “the protocols and procedures as set out by the Safe Schools Protocol, Manual for Public Schools, are immediately followed.

It said the pupils are being closely monitored and the alleged victim has been removed from having direct interaction with those involved.

Barbados

The Barbados-based Caribbean Mentorship Institute (CMI) said it is alarmed by the number of young persons who have been associated with gang-related activities with the Caribbean region.

“Many young persons are not receiving the type of guidance that is needed for them to flourish within their communities. We have seen too many examples of young men and women who have dropped out of school to engage in criminal activities,” said CMI President Felicia Browne.

“The growing trend should be of grave concern to everyone. Our youth are not finding their way and are often losing their lives due to errors and judgments. They need guidance and mentors to re-shape their thinking and understanding,” she added.

Browne said the CMI, which says it has made several types of intervention in countries across the region, is adamant that if community members and policy makers turn a blind eye to the plight of young persons.

Grenada

Grenada police confirmed they had detained seven Nepalese students, reported missing in St. Lucia recently.

In a brief statement, the police said the students are now in custody “after arriving Grenada by boat from St. Lucia.”

It said the six males and one female “are believed to be the victims of human trafficking” and a “Ghanaian national who reportedly is a resident of Trinidad is also in police custody, assisting with police investigations.”

The students are among a group of Asians who have been left virtually stranded in St. Lucia as a result of what has become known as the “Lambirds Academy affair.”

Guyana

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says officers nabbed a Guyanese national with cocaine in his sneakers at John F. Kennedy International Airport recently.

According to CBP, on April, 6, the arriving passenger, Thenga Adams “tried to sneak past” officers.

“During the course of the inspection, CBI officers discovered running shoes in his luggage that contained a white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine,” CBP said in a statement.

Jamaica

A 16-year-old teenager, who earlier this month was denied entry into Suriname on the grounds he was on his way to Turkey to join the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS), has been ordered released into the custody of his parents.

The ordered was given recently by a judge in Port Maria Children’s Court, less than a day after a magistrate had transferred the matter to the St. Mary’s Resident Magistrate’s Court after indicating she had no jurisdiction over the matter.

His attorney, Zara Lewis, said the judge gave a two-year supervision order for the teenager, meaning the Probation Department will monitor him until he turns l8 years old.

Relatives of the teenager, who was taken into custody on April 12, have denied he is a terrorist, saying the boy was on his way to the Netherlands where he was supposed to have been met by his mother and grandmother and taken to Britain.

The opposition Jamaica Labor Party earlier this month called for a full investigation into the matter after Suriname immigration authorities denied the teenager entry into the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

St. Lucia

A Barbadian national was fined EC$4,000 after he pleaded guilty to being in possession or nearly three kilos of cocaine in St. Lucia.

Richie Bonnett was arrested at the George Charles Airport in January and found to be in possession of 2.8 kilos of the drugs with a street value of EC$84,000.

At the time of his arrest, Bonnett was in company of Maria Shepherd also of Barbados, against whom the charges were dropped.

He was reprimanded and discharged on other charges relating to intent to supply and export of the illegal drug.

St. Vincent

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has sought to distance himself from the arrest of a secondary school teacher Jozette Bibby-Bowen after she posted comments on the social website Facebook.

Recently Director of Public, Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams discontinued two charges of obscene publication against the teacher, whose attorneys say they are now seeking possible compensation following her arrest.

Gonsalves suggested that the action of the police were not consistent with the direction of the DPP, saying, there was a communication from the DPP to the police and that communication “would have not being consistent with any arrest at the school and charging.”

The 37-year-old teacher was arrested in the staff room of the Bishop’s College in Kingstown on March 2, where she taught information technology, electronic document preparation and management and accounting.

Gonsalves, speaking at a press conference said that following the arrest, people “who have an interest not in truth but in hysteria and, in some instances, some persons who make judgment about others, perhaps on the basis of themselves,” had said that the arrest was political.

He said most of the commentary “pointed to Ralph.”

“I had absolutely no conversation with the police or the director of public prosecutions to charge this lady,” Gonsalves said.

“I have never in the 14 years plus since I am prime minister, never spoken to the commissioner of police, any commissioner, none of them can tell you that I’ve ever called them to speak to them about prosecuting somebody. I have never done it with any director of public prosecution. I respect the separation of powers as regards criminal prosecutions,” Gonsalves said.

Trinidad

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says that she will not be “jumbied” into calling the General Election,

She recalled that former Prime Minister Patrick Manning called the general election early (2010) and lost.

Speaking to thousands of United National Congress (UNC) supporters at the Rienzi Complex in Central Trinidad to celebrate the party’s 26th anniversary, Persad-Bissessar said: “Listen carefully, the last time a man (Manning) tried that. he lost an election when he called it before time.”

The PM said there have been repeated calls for her to call the general election and she will… but not yet.

Persad-Bissessar noted that her government adhered to every election when it was due, Tobago House of Assembly elections and the by-elections.

She said when the date is set, her team will sweep the polls and gain seats the opposition now holds.

Some political observers say that the PM may choose to go down to the “wire” and call the election when it is constitutionally due in September.

St. Lucia

Two men accused of setting fire to worshippers 15 years ago, have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

After spending 14 years in jail during which a re-trial was ordered, the sentence was handed down recently in the High Court in Grenada.

The men — Kim John and Francis Phillip were sentenced in the aftermath of the Dec. 31, 2000 tragedy when two men stormed into the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries.

They also bludgeoned Sister Theresa Egan, 73, to death, while Rev. Charles Gaillard, 62, died from severe burns to his body.

In all, close to a dozen worshippers suffered burns in the attack.

The men had pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the Privy Council overturned their death sentence for murder.

The crime – of the heinous in St. Lucia’s history, the police said the men declared that they were Rastafarian prophets sent by God to fight corruption in the Catholic Church.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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