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Antigua

Antigua businessmen have been warned against scammers who are re-directing payments from customers to other bank accounts.

The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) said it has received reports from Antiguan businesses that their customers invoices have been intercepted and emailed to their clients with substituted bank account information, allowing funds to be directed into accounts set up by the fraudsters.

The ONDCP said it appear that businesses affected have had their computers or email accounts hacked, enabling the interception to occur and the fake invoices to be sent in place of the real ones.

Officers say that the fraud is not usually detected until the customer is alerted by complaints from suppliers that payments were not received.

They explained that scammers were hacking into vendors’ / suppliers’ email accounts and obtaining information such as customer lists, bank details and previous invoices.

The ONDCP has urged businesses to be vigilant and to establish anti-fraud measures that independently double check if a regular supplier provides different bank account details for the payment of invoices.

Barbados

The Barbados government is seeking to deal with a problem of providing internships for medical students from the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Health Minister John Boyce is suggesting the use of off-shore medical schools as one way of dealing with the situation.

The government is expected to hold talks with various stakeholders, including the Barbados Medical Council to address the situation.

Boyce said one of the challenges recently confronting the Ministry of Health is an increasing demand that outstrips the placements of new interns.

The minister was at the time addressing a function hosted by the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) and the UWI to welcome the 2016 batch of graduating doctors.

He told the ceremony that the government is aiming at talks to try and correct this situation, indicating that some of the 2014 graduates had threatened to take legal action last year to secure internships at the island’s main health institution, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

He is hoping that a solution would be found and that Barbados had been approached by at least five off-shore medical schools seeking to locate and develop training for undergraduates in the field of medicine over the last five years.

Guyana

International oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil Corporation said that drilling results off Guyana confirm a world-class discovery with a recoverable resource of between 800 million and 1.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

This follows last year’s success with Liza-1, which was declared to be the world’s biggest discovery in 2015.

The recent find was made during a second exploration and the well is one of two Liza wells located in the 6.6 million-acre Stabroek block, approximately 120 miles off-shore Guyana.

Data from the successful Liza-2 well test is being assessed. The production test of the Liza-2 well confirms the presence of high-quality oil from the high-porosity sandstone reservoirs.

Exxon said it is continuing to further evaluate the commercial potential for this exciting prospect.

Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. holds 45 percent interest in the Stabroek block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 percent interest and CNOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 percent interest.

The Liza-2 well was drilled by ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd, approximately two miles from the Liza-1 well.

Grenada

A former elder of the Soubise Seventh Day Adventist Church in Grenada was jailed for a total of 11 years at the Richmond Hill Prison after he was convicted of raping his 12-year-old daughter six years ago.

Terry Noel, 36, a contractor by profession was charged with two counts of rape.

He was sentenced by Madam Justice Paula Gilford in the High Court in St. George’s recently to a total of 11 years on the two counts, but he will only serve five years and nine months as the sentences are to run concurrent.

Police said the victim attended the same church as Noel.

Justice Gilford also ordered Noel to undergo psychological counseling as part of his sentence.

Jamaica

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has launched a summer advertising campaign, targeting several cities in the United States, particularly those with direct flights into the country.

Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook in making the announcement said the campaign is aimed at promoting the island as a first-choice destination.

He was at the time addressing the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) 55th annual general meeting in Ocho Rios recently.

Pennicook noted that the JTB is also taking advantage of online advertising versus traditional media such as print, television, out-of-home and radio.

He pointed to the recent TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice recognition naming Jamaica as one of the world’s best islands, as a powerful marketing tool.

Pennicook said the popular reality television franchise “The Bachelor” filmed episodes in Jamaica, reaching more than nine million television audience inside the U.S.

The Tourism minister noted that the island was featured on the cover of the New York Times Travel section on April, 3, 2016, reaching more than 2.1 million print readers and 6 million more online.

Suriname

Suriname President Desi Bouterse recently instructed the country’s attorney general to immediately stop his trial in relation to the abduction and execution of 15 political opponents in l982 when he was the military dictator of the Dutch island.

He invoked Article 148 of Suriname’s constitution, which allows the president to issue such an order in the interest of national security.

Bouterse returned to power in 2010 when he was democratically elected president by parliament. Two years later, Bouterse’s supporters pushed an amnesty law through parliament and he was re-elected after general elections last year.

However, in June, the court declared the amnesty law invalid and ordered the resumption of the trial against Bouterse and 24 co-defendants.

Bouterse has accepted what he calls “political responsibi­lity” for the military’s killing of the 15 well-known journalists, lawyers and union leaders but said he was not present when the executions took place. Witnesses in the trial have denied that claim.

St. Lucia

Former St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony has broken his silence on why he has stepped down as political leader of the St. Lucia Labor Party (SLP) saying “that is what honorable people, people of integrity do,” during a television interview last week.

Following his party’s 11-6 defeat at the June 6 general election, Anthony announced that he was quitting as SLP leader.

He said: “Having lost two general elections, very clearly I would not have had the credibility to continue as political leader or for that matter as leader of the opposition.”

The former prime minister said that after a party has lost a general election, there is always anguish and pain, stating it is a difficult time and emotionally.

Anthony said once that period is over, explanations are needed.

Voters say he won his Vieux South seat by a small margin for a sitting prime minister.

Trinidad

Law enforcement officials in Trinidad and Tobago have been complicit in human trafficking crimes, according to the U.S. Department of State Trafficking of Persons Report 2016.

The report noted that T&T’s “government reported one new investigation of a police officer complicit in sex trafficking and the 2013 prosecution of a law enforcement officer for the sex trafficking of three Colombia nationals remained ongoing.”

The report also stated that “some (T&T) government and immigration officials received bribes in exchange for protection and sabotaging police investigat­ions,” while a “national security ministry source said one police station routinely sent new recruits to purchase commercial sex from a local brothel.”

According to the document, there was a report which claimed that “police frequented a brothel to procure commercial sex, including from protection trafficking victims, and brothel owners intimated victims by claiming friendship with police officials.

It said in 2015, the government did not report any evidence of official complicity in a case from December 2014, which reportedly involved a “trafficking network in which immigration and police officers were supposedly involved in facilitating the sex trafficking of Venezuelan women.”

The Department of State said T&T remained in the Tier 2 Watch Lists and need more to become compliant with the requirements to deal with human trafficking.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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