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Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government says the efforts by the owners of a hotel on the island to have Prime Minister Gaston Browne jailed over an outstanding multimillion dollar debt by the government have failed.

In a statement recently the government said the owner of Half Moon Bay were seeking the payment of outstanding debt, “owed for forced acquisition of the property.”

The statement said a High Court has ruled Prime Minister Browne cannot be held in contempt for not paying the debt.

“The country is not in a position to pay Half Way Moon Bay US$40 million. We do understand they are owed and we do understand the principle in the constitution when you acquire someone’s property that you have to pay them. We recognize that in law there is no discretion. We must pay,” Browne said in a statement.

The prime minister said paying a lump sum of EC$208 million would mean no payment for pensioners and sending home government workers.

He accused the owner of the hotel of “being greedy.”

Barbados

The Barbados government said it has signed an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago that would protect local fishermen and vessels from being detained in each other’s territorial waters.

A government statement said that the Protocol on Common Procedures for dealing with the issue was signed recently by non-resident High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago Robert Morris and Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran.

“The protocol is designed to be reciprocal in nature and will set out standards and procedures on how fishing vessels and crew are handled in the event that they are detained or arrested by either party,” the statement said.

The high commissioner stated that the signing of the protocol by Barbados was in keeping with the management of the Caribbean Sea and its resources and the development of the blue economy. The blue economy refers to the use of maritime resources for development.

Haiti

Thousands of anti-government protestors have clashed with police in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

They burned tires and threw stones at officers who responded with tear gas.

The protestors want President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to resign and long overdue elections to be held.

Some protestors accuse the U.S. of supporting Haiti’s leadership and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin for help.

Hundreds succeeded in reaching the National Palace, an area which has been restricted for several years.

President Martelly was supposed to call elections in 2011, but the elections have been postponed in a stalemate between the government and a group of opposition senators over election law.

Haiti is still struggling to recover from a 2010 earthquake.

Jamaica

A fact-finding panel appointed to examine a bloody 2010 security operation in Jamaica has started its work in the island’s capital.

The three-member commission is led by Sir David Simmons, a retired chief justice and ex-attorney general of Barbados.

The panel recently convened and has started holding hearings two weeks ago and will resume in 2015.

They will examine a 2010 operation during a state of emergency that killed more than 75 people as police and soldiers hunted for the island’s biggest gang boss, Dudus Coke.

Most of the bloodshed occurred in a Kingston slum called Tivoli Gardens.

Jamaica’s public defender has said 76 civilians and one soldier were killed.

There have been numerous claims of unlawful killings by the security forces.

St. Lucia

A British MP has called on the United Kingdom government to assist with the investigation into the murder of prominent hotelier Oliver Gobat, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reported.

It said that the Conservative MP for Eser and Walton, Dominica Raab made the request during a sitting of the British parliament.

“The foreign secretary knows my constituent Ollie Gobat was brutally murdered in St. Lucia in an apparent assassination. I’m very grateful discussing assurances on the death penalty to allow the UK police to support the investigation at St. Lucia’s request,” Raab said.

However, the issue of contention is that the United Kingdom cannot examine cases where a suspect could face the death penalty.

While the death penalty has not been applied in St. Lucia for 19 years, the island has not abandoned the old law.

British Foreign Minister James Duddrige told legislators that he had written to Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony on Oct. 14, to seek assurances that any person convicted of this crime will not have the death penalty applied.

Gobat’s body was found in his Range Rover on Cap Estate on April 25, 2014 burnt beyond recognition.

His family has offered an EC$500,000 reward to find the killer or killers.

Suriname

Police say they have arrested and charged five Brazilian men suspected of robberies in the gold fields.

They said four of those detained were held in connection with a fatal robbery last month when gunmen ambushed a boat on a river in District Sipaliwini and shot and killed Brazilian Renato Alves de Carvalho.

The victim was traveling with his employer, who was subsequently kidnapped by the robbers and released only after the bandits stole several kilos of gold from him.

Police have charged the four suspects with aggravated robbery and murder. The men are between the ages of 19 and 36.

Police gave few details about the incident but in February robbers attacked the gold mine there killing one person and stealing more than 800 grams of raw gold.

Trinidad

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Police Commissioner William Bratton will return to Trinidad and Tobago to help the local police service improve the dismal detection rate.

This was revealed by National Security Minister Gary Griffith who said the two U.S. crime fighters are expected in the country next month to conduct an audit of the police service to help improve investigation methods, including better forensic testing to improve the detection rate.

The two New York cops were retained previously by the Ministry of National Security to help map a way forward.

Griffith said while serious crimes were at the lowest level in 31 years, homicides continue to pose some challenges for the police service. The murder rate is just short or five to reach the 400-mark for this year.

Jamaica

Grammy-winning reggae artiste Buju Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, who was convicted on cocaine trafficking charges in 2011, has filed a motion in a USA court in an attempt to secure an earlier release date.

The Tampa Bay Tribune reported that Buju filed his own motion from prison asking to be released early based on a recent change in federal drug sentencing guidelines. This would mean an earlier release date and deportation to Jamaica.

Buju is currently serving a mandatory 10-year sentence for his conviction on a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

He is scheduled to be released in 2019.

However, the amendments do not apply to those serving minimum mandatory sentences under the law.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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