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Bahamas

Fire officials in the Bahamas say a blaze destroyed as many as 70 homes in a shantytown, leaving about 200 Haitian migrants homeless.

No deaths or serious injuries have been reported from the early morning fire that ravaged the shantytown on Great Abaco Island. Investigators suspect arson.

Abaco’s fire service director Colin Albury said about 65 percent of the Sand Banks community was destroyed before a volunteer team of 12 firefighters was able to bring the blazed under control.

He said at least 200 people are now without homes in the community of several hundred Haitians and people of Haitian descent.

Many Haitians have migrated to the Bahamas in recent years to work low-wage jobs or to try and get to the United States.

Barbados

Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Leslie Worrell, has banned The Nation newspaper, including all its journalists from attending any of his press conferences or other Central Bank media events.

Worrell, chief economic adviser to the Frenduel Stuart government, notified Nation Publisher and Chief Executive Officer Vivian-Anne Gittens and Editor-in-Chief Roy Morris of the unprecedented move in a one-paragraph letter sent recently to the newspaper.

“Consequently upon the lack of professional integrity manifest in the Nation’s front page headline of Thursday, May 8, you should be aware that Nation/Sun staff will not be invited to any future press conference or media even hosted by myself as governor of the Central Bank,” the letter said.

The events unfolded within hours of a Daily Nation Front Page story recently headlined; “60 To Go” in which it was revealed that hard times had hit the Central Bank and its staff were about to feel the fallout.

Grenada

Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has called for more investment in science and technology saying there is a tremendous opportunity to develop agriculture in the Caribbean.

Mitchell was at the time speaking at a recent workshop jointly sponsored by the International Science and Technology and Innovation Center for South-South Cooperation under the auspices of UNESCO, at the Grafton Beach Hotel, in Tobago, Trinidad.

The prime minister expressed concern that science and technology, while far from being stagnant, is underutilized in the Caribbean.

He said hurricanes Ivan and Emily did extensive damage to Grenada’s nutmeg industry in 2004 and wondered why science and technology could not develop a nutmeg plant that produces fruit in four years - half the time it currently takes- as well as more nutritious rice in Guyana.

Guyana

A former Guyana beauty queen, who was charged with the murder of her wealthy husband, was freed by a magistrate in the Georgetown recently.

Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry said there was insufficient evidence to link Carol Ann Lynch to the murder of her 44-year-old husband Farouk Razack on May 7, 2007.

Lynch was first charged in May 2007 with killing her husband at the upscale Bel Air Park residence but the case against her collapsed in 2008 due to insufficient evidence.

In 2010, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Hack recommended that the charge be re-instated and during the preliminary inquiry into the matter Lynch’s attorney told the court the handyman, who also had access to the house, was never charged.

The attorney said there was not even any circumstantial evidence to prove that Lynch was involved in the crime.

Jamaica

Jamaica will for the first time host a global sugar industry conference from May 27-29 under the theme: “Positioning for the New Market Frontiers”.

More than 100 delegates from various sugar-producing countries will discuss a wide range of issues affecting the global sugar industry, including energy co-generation, financing, research and export markets

The London-based International Sugar Organization (ISO) Council aims to ensure enhanced international co-operation, in connection with world sugar matters and related issues including ways to improve the world sugar economy; facilitate trade by collection information on the world sugar market and other sweeteners; and encourage demand for sugar, particularly from non-traditional uses.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Roger Clarke said while Jamaica will still have duty-free and quota-free access for sugar in the export market after 2017, there will be no price guarantee.

The tree-day, 45th annual ISO conference will be the first for executive chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority Derick Heaven since assuming the position of chairman in January.

St. Lucia

The family of property developer and hotelier in St. Lucia, who was reported missing, has acknowledged that he is dead.

In a statement, the family confirmed the death of the 38-year-old St. Lucian born businessman, Oliver Gobat.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Francis Henry told a news conference recently that a post-mortem examination of the charred remains of Gobat presented two scenarios - blunt force trauma to the head or possibly gunshot.

The police had relied on DNA test results before issuing a definitive statement.

Gobat’s body was reportedly in his Range Rover, hours after he was reported missing to the police.

Gobat is the son of Theo Gobat, who came to St. Lucia in the l970s and ran several hotels. About six years ago, the family opened the Cap Maison, a 49-room hotel spread out in villas that the younger Gobalt managed.

The Gobat’s family took to the foreign press expressing devastation over the death of the British educated multi-millionaire who also held British citizenship.

Trinidad

A Jamaican attorney, who is a gay, has been granted special leave by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to commence proceedings against Trinidad and Tobago and Belize after he claimed that their existing legislations impinged upon his rights to freedom.

Maurice Tomlinson is seeking special leave to invoke the original jurisdiction of the CCJ and interpret the Treaty of Chaguaramas that only member countries can invoke the original jurisdiction.

He wants the CCJ to rule against Section 8 of the Immigration Act of Trinidad and Tobago Act and Section 5 of the Immigration Act of Belize, which dates back to 1958.

Both acts are similarly worded and prohibits entry to prostitutes, homosexuals or people who may be receiving or living on the proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior.

As an activist for the lesbians, gay, bisexuals and transsexual community, Tomlinson had traveled to both countries previously, but when he discovered the existence of prohibitions he decided to refuse invitations from either country to avoid violating their immigration laws and “he claims to have suffered prejudice thereby.”

In the ruling handed down recently, the CCJ, the region’s highest court, said; “that there is an arguable case that the mere existence of the legislative provisions in question amount to prejudice, as demonstrated by the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee.

Guyana

Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza has issued another call for the Guyana Parliament to approve the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act (AML-CFTA), which has been under consideration for several months.

Insulza said that passage of this act is crucial to bring the country up to standard on these matters, noting that several of Guyana’s Caribbean Community (CARICOM) partners have already adopted similar legislation in compliance with the requirements of the Caribbean Financial Task Force (CFATF).

Insulza warned further delays could result in unnecessary damage to the country’s financial stature.

“The secretary general, therefore, appeals again to all political parties and other stakeholders in Guyana to exercise leadership and understanding in seeking prompt passage of the AMLCFTA,” the statement said.

Insulza offered the cooperation and support of the OAS, through the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), noting that Guyana’s draft law is “fully consistent with the most recent recommendations of CICAD’s expert group on money laundering,” which were, in turn, endorsed by CICAD commissioners at the 55th regular session recently.

CFATF recently warned of harsh consequences should Guyana fail to pass anti-money laundering legislation before May 29 conference.

Trinidad

The three Trinidad and Tobago Imams who were detained by Venezuelan authorities more than two months ago were released last week.

However, five other T&T nationals who were held with the Imams are still in custody, according to T&T Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said.

The Imams remained in Venezuela trying to obtain their passports, other documents and money which were seized from them by the Venezuelan authorities.

They were held in a hotel on March 19 in Venezuela when they went to obtain visas from the Saudi Arabian Embassy to travel for a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Fifteen women and three children who were in the group with the Imams were released a few days later.

They were detained under Venezuela’s terrorism act.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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