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Caribbean

Caribbean Community countries (CARICOM) have condemned the kidnapping of hundreds of school children in Nigeria by members of the militant group Boko Haram last month.

They have joined the international community in demanding the return of the children.

The St. Kitts-Nevis government in a statement described the abduction as “morally reprehensible and has left a gaping vacuum in the entire community of Chibok and has had ripple effects across the nation of Nigeria and indeed the world.

Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said he was pleased that Nigeria “is now seeking support from the outside to help them deal with the abduction issues pertaining to the particular political conflict.”

The Grenada government said it was expressing its “collective disgust about the situation.”

“We are of the view that in a modern world community such barbaric actions must not be allowed to stand,” Social Service Minister Delma Thomas said.

Bahamas Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell said the Bahamas government is joining the international community “in demanding the return of the more than 200 Nigerian girls abducted from their school”.

On April 14, 2014 Boko Haram which means “Western education is forbidden” invaded an all-girl secondary school, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon.

Bermuda

Bermuda Premier Craig Cannonier resigned after a long-standing political controversy that finally came to an end last week-end.

Deputy Premier Michael Dunkley was sworn as the new premier by Governor George Fergusson during a ceremony at Government House

Cannioner issued a statement saying that the so-called “jetgate” controversy and consequent allegations had called into question his leadership, the confidence of his colleagues and his support of his party- threatening the going forward.”

Prior to the December 2012 General Election, Cannonier, as the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, met with wealthy U.S. developer Nathan Landow and other entrepreneurs, who agreed to donate $300,000 to the party.

It is alleged that Cannonier and two of his colleagues flew to Washington, DC on Landow’s private jet last year.

There is no law that requires political donations in Bermuda to be publicly disclosed.

The opposition Progressive Labor Party (PLP) has called for a mass resignation of the OBA government following fresh allegations over “Jetgate”.

Grenada

A former senior member of the then Grenada ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas is getting ready to join the ruling Dr. Keith Mitchell government.

Peter David, a former NDC member got the endorsement of Dr. Mitchell and senior executive members of his New National Party (NNP).

David convincingly won the Town of St George’s constituency in the 2003 and 2008 general elections, but did not contest the 2012 poll, in which the PNP won all 15 seats.

He was among several NDC stalwarts, who were expelled from the party when delegates at its Sept. 30, 2012 annual convention agreed with a resolution tabled by then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas to have them expelled.

The others included then foreign affairs minister Karl Hood, tourism minister, Glynnis Roberts and trade unionist Chester Humphrey.’

Hood is now serving the island’s Ambassador to China.

Guyana

The Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ordered Guyana to repay more than US$6.04 million to a Suriname-based beverage company over an environmental levy it imposed on the importation of non-returnable beverage containers.

The CCJ ruled that the government also repay to Rudisa Beverages any further tax paid from Oct. 25, last year, to the date of the judgment.

The Suriname-based company, whose products are imported into Guyana and distributed through CID Distributor, the other co-claimant, claimed that the environment levy under the Customs Act of Guyana did not contain any exemption in relation to CARICOM goods.

It said that the environmental tax had the effect of raising the cost price on each imported container by Guy$10 and that no similar tax is imposed on local producers of non-returnable beverage company.

It also argued the under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which governs the regional integration movement, the imposition of the levy must be regarded as an import duty.

Haiti

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) says shipwrecks of boats carrying migrants on the Caribbean Sea from Cuba, Haiti, Dominica Republic and other countries in the region have jumped significantly.

The IACHR report that the latest of those tragedies took place on May 1, 2014 when a boat with l8 Haitians headed to Puerto Rico sank off the coast of Boca Chica, in the Dominican Republic. Of the Haitians aboard the boat, six died and 12 were rescued by the Dominican Republic’s navy.

The tragedy forms part of the more than 20 incidents at sea in various places in the Caribbean in 2014 so far, affecting around 320 people of which 19 drowned and 12 are still missing.

“We call upon all governments to carry out tasks to search for, rescue and intercept migrants at seat to establish appropriate measures to identify persons who may be refugees or have special protection needs for condition of their vulnerability, such as children,” the IACHR said in a statement.

The UN High Commissioner says 440 maritime accidents with boats carrying migrants on the Caribbean Sea have taken place since 2010, affecting 15,190 people, of which 240 have died and 176 others missing.

St. Lucia

Police Commissioner Vernon Francois says while he welcomed the probe into extra-judicial killings by member of the St. Lucia Police Force, he is also hoping it will bring “a degree of closure” to the situation.

The probe was conducted by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force under the auspices of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).

The probe was initiated after the United States announced that it was cutting back aid to the police in St Lucia and the Kenny Anthony administration had said the assistance from Washington would remain suspended until the enquiry was held.

The Jamaican investigators were conducting the independent probe into 12 extra-judicial killings dating back to 2010, during which period there were claims that local officers had a “hit list” of criminals who were being targeted.

Suriname

Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse is making another effort to have dismissed the jail sentence and conviction imposed on him in absentia by a court in the Netherlands.

His attorney, Inez Weski said his client has filed an appeal against an 11-year jail term handed out by the court in the Netherlands in l999.

She said that Patrick van L, the Belgian who had given incriminating statements against Bouterse has since recanted his story and for years has tried to clean the president’s slate.

Weski said Van L. was under pressure when he incriminated Bouterse. The attorney said the Prosecutor’s Office had ordered him a lesser sentence for his involvement in the 474 kilos of cocaine that was intercepted in the Netherlands in l997, if would help them build a case against Bouterse, the former army sergeant who rose to power following a l980 coup.

The l999 sentenced was read in The Hague in his absence, was the result of the so-called Co-Pa investigation, in which a Dutch intelligence unit unearthed the drug link between Suriname and Colombia.

Bouterse was democratically elected president of Suriname in 2010.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago nationals may be able to travel without a visa to the European Union (EU) by April next year.

Recently, the European Council approved an amended list allowing citizens from 16 countries - including Trinidad and Tobago - to be exempt from the visa requirement when traveling to the Schengen Zone.

The Schengen Zone comprises 26 European countries (mostly part of the (EU) that have abolished passports or any other type of border control in between their common borders.

“The exemption will only come into force when bilateral agreements on visa waivers between the EU and the respective country have been concluded in order to ensure full reciprocity,” the EU said in a release.

“The regulations that open for the visa waiver for Trinidad and Tobago have been done. So from our side it becomes effective, but it really becomes a reality only when we sign an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago. To sign an agreement we have to finalize negotiations, which being an international agreement it is based on reciprocity,” the EU said.

Suriname

An eight-year-old girl is recovering from injuries received when she was bitten by a piranha while on vacation with her parents while on vacation in Suriname recently.

He father Adjai Ramdhadjan said his children were playing in shallow waters when his daughter screamed.

She was pulled from the water by another tourist who discovered a large chunk of flesh had been bitten from her foot.

Doctors at the Academic Hospital in Paramaribo confirmed that it was a piranha bite.

Rambahadjan wrapped up his vacation and returned to the Netherlands, where his daughter got further treatment.

The incident took place at a popular nature resort, Overbridge that is located in District Para on the outskirts of the capital Paramaribo.

A regional District Commissioner Jerry Miranda says his office has launched an investigation into the incident. The resort management which had used nets to ward off the carnivorous fish is looking to see if there was a possible tear.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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