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Bahamas

Two American visitors were robbed at gunpoint outside the Royal Towers, Atlantis Resort and Casino, early recently, Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said.

Police said around 1:00 a.m. a man armed with a handgun approached them and demanded cash.

The suspect fled the area on foot after robbing them. No one was hurt during the incident. It is unclear whether the visitors were exiting or entering the hotel. Police believe the victims were guests at Atlantis, though no hotel representative confirmed this.

Ferguson said the suspect, who was only described as a dark man, was still at large yesterday. While general theft of personal property remains the most common crime against tourists, an American visitor was recently murdered.

Kyle Bruner, 34, of Chicago, Illinois, was shot dead during an armed robbery around 4:30 a.m. on May 12, police said.

Police said Bruner was trying to defend a female friend who was being robbed on Mackey Street near East Bay Street.

Acting U.S. Charge d’ Affaires John Armstrong told The Nassau Guardian in March that crime is a major issue here.

“The murder rate has recently dropped some and that’s a good sign, but with some other crimes, based on what the media said and Bahamian law officials, basically the trend has been in a different direction.” Armstrong said.

He added that the U.S. Embassy has an obligation to warn U.S. citizens of crime trends. The most recent warning was issued last month. The release said that armed robbery remains a major threat facing U.S. citizens in The Bahamas.

It also said that since the beginning of the year, several U.S. citizens have fallen victim to armed robbery with some seriously injured in the commission of these crimes. Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said recently that something must be done to arrest the crime situation in the country before it is too late.

Dominica

The Dominica government says it has no intention of changing the present buggery laws even as the advocacy group, Minority Rights Dominica (MiriDom) said it was seeking talks with the authorities on the matter of equal rights.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio recently, said his administra­tion’s position on the matter is stated in law “and this matter is still on our books and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

“I respect the views of this new group. I understand from persons they intend to write to the government. We welcome their writing to the government, we welcome meeting them as a matter of fact…..they are citizens of this country and they would like to express their views.

“But one has to look at the broader context of this request and it will be dangerous for the country to move in the direction of repealing laws against buggery.”

Prime Minister Skerrit said, “as it is now anybody who wants to engage in whatever activities can do so in the privacy of his home. But one should not believe that the government is prepared or thinking of wanting to make this a public affair.”

Skerrit said he has not heard “any compelling arguments can be made for it to be repealed. So we respect the rights of the group and if they write to us requesting a meeting. we will be more than willing to meet with them.”

Guyana

The South American country of Guyana has been given until November to approve a bill that would tighten financial regulations and crack down on money laundering and drug smugglers.

The announcement comes after Guyana sought more time from officials with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force that are meeting in Nicaragua recently.

The organization said late on Thursday that it would blacklist Guyana if the new deadline is not met. Guyana was supposed to approve the bill on May 27, but opposition leaders voted against it, saying it needs more safeguards against corruption.

Haiti

UN efforts to tackle cholera in Haiti are “almost non- existent.” The world body faces court action for inadvertently starting a cholera epidemic in the country.

Last year, the UN launched a US$2.2 billion appeal to improve water supplies in Haiti.

The UN is accused of negligently allowing peace keeping soldiers to pollute Haiti’s water with cholera. The epidemic, which is spread by infected sewage, has killed more than 8,000 people since late 2010. There have been grand plans - a 10-year (US) $2.2 billion project, Duncan McClean, a senior manager for MSF, said.

But the UN plan had not been implemented, he added. “I travel regularly to Haiti; the impact on the ground today is almost non-existent.”

The UN plan to improve drinking water and sewage outlets – which MSF says is unfulfilled – was widely seen as the international body’s attempt to deflect calls by the victims of cholera for financial compensation.

Responding to the MSF charge, the UN said that, “enormous efforts” had been made to support Haiti’s cholera eradication plans. These efforts had resulted in significantly fewer cases and reduced mortality rates.”

But the UN also recognized that a shortage of funds meant “resources mobilized to date are clearly insufficient to face a potential peak of cases “in the forthcoming rainy season.

It has called for more resources from member states to tackle the cholera epidemic. The UN says it has legal immunity from the compensation case. Lawyers for the cholera victims say that unless talks on compensation begin in the next few weeks, they will take the UN to court in New York.

Jamaica

Children rights groups have condemned the recent murders of three children here in recent days as the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) announced plans to provide counseling to affected parents and communities.

Police have already detained a woman who confessed to be-heading four-year-old Natasha Brown, while the country remains in shock at the murder of eight-year-old Tamera Laing.

Police said the body of a new born baby was found in a latrine at a house in the community of Stetin in Trelawny. Residents conducted the search after a teenager, who recently gave birth could not account for the child. The teenager and her mother have since been taken into police custody.

OCR registrar Greg Smith said a team had been mobilized to conduct visits to the homes and communities affected by these killings.

Meanwhile, children’s advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison, described the killings as a worrisome moment in Jamaica’s history, while Minister of Youth Lisa Hanna expressed outrage at the beheading of Natasha and urged Jamaicans to take seriously their responsibility for the care and protection of children.

“The instances of children going missing or subjected to violence, often leading to death, are too prevalent, “Hanna said.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Kenny Anthony described Cuba as a special friend upon his arrival in Havana on Monday for an official visit.

After arriving at Havana’s Jose Marti International airport, where he was welcomed by deputy foreign minister Rogelio Sierra, Anthony said he is very grateful to the Cuban government and people, who have always stood by St Lucia in difficult times.

Anthony recalled that his small island nation has closely collaborated with Havana in regional projects, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

He described as a decisive the Cuban assistance in educating St Lucian professionals in the areas of medicine and engineering as well as to the services given by Cuban specialists in his country.

Anthony said that Caribbean islands are currently going through a very difficult economic situation, which he called “the most severe crisis we’ve ever faced since independen­ce.”

He said he was eager to exchange views with Cuban authorities on this reality and on what he called “the new economic dynamics of the world.”

The St. Lucian prime minister said that every time he comes to Cuba he feels he is in his second home, a second family, and a very special family, he stressed.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago has been accepted by the United States to the accession to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects on International Child Abduction.

The announcement was one of several made recently following talks between Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and US Vice President Joe Biden at the Diplomatic Centre, St. Ann’s.

The accession, which makes T & T the 69th to be accepted by the US, would have happened sooner as the US expressed interest in partnering with Trinidad and Tobago. However, discussions only began in November 2011 when the head of the central authority was appointed.

According to the International Child Abduction Act, 2008, a central authority known as the Civil Child Abduction Authority, was established in the Ministry of the Attorney General to deal with all matters relating to the civil aspects of international child abduction between Trinidad and Tobago and other countries

Under this authority to date, Trinidad and Tobago has partnered with 48 member states. The accession was confirmed in Cabinet note No. 121 dated May 21, 2013. The convention, also known as the Hague Abduction Convention, is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law which provides an expeditious method of returning a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member nation to another.

The convention, however, covers children under the age of 16 only.

Turks and Caicos

A new governor has been appointed to the Turks and Caicos Islands as the British territory emerges from a corruption scandal.

Peter Beckingham will replace Gov Ric Todd in October. Beckingham is currently a British deputy high commissioner in India and previously served as ambassador in Manila.

Todd was appointed governor in September 2011 and oversaw an election last year in which the territory resumed self-government after three years of direct rule imposed by Britain following an inquiry into rampant corruption. Governor’s office spokesman Neil Smith made.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago and the United States Department of Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation on scientific, technical and policy aspects of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies through the exchange of ideas and information.

The MOU commits both countries to establish a Renewable Energy Research Centre, to be located at the St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies.

The intention of this center will be to promote the rapid development of critical technologies for renewable energy in the Caribbean, the Office of the prime minister said in a statement yesterday.

The MOU announcement followed the visit to Trinidad and Tobago recently by United States Vice-President Joe Biden to meet Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and other government officials.

“Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) stands to benefit greatly from the establishment of the Regional Renewable Energy Research Centre (CREC) with support from the United States Department of Energy (USDOE),” the office of the Prime Minister said.

“This provides T & T with the opportunity to partner with a developed country, which is a global leader in green energy technology for knowledge transfer and information exchange “the statement said.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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