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Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.
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Bahamas

Police are hunting for a gunman who shot to death a female police officer last week at a club in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Reports are that shortly after 9 pm, police responded to gunshots at the club. On their arrival they found the police officer lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds.

She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. The name of the officer has not yet been released.

Barbados

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has denied that the island has no option but to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance in dealing with the ailing economy.

He was responding to former Prime Minister Owen Arthur that the country going to the Washington-based financial institution was inevitable and warned that Barbados could not tackle its Bds $3.3 billion debt crisis on its own.

It was during the debate of the 2017 / 2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in Parliament recently that Stuart rejected a suggestion from Arthur that he would have to seek assistance from the IMF to bail out the declining economy.

Arthur, who served as prime minister from 1994-2006 said, “we are not going to get over the debt unless there is some institutional arrangement that gives credibility to the creditors of Barbados that the government of Barbados is not acting unilaterally on the matter.”

But, Stuart reiterated that his government would not go to the IMF- at least not now.

Arthur recently assisted Grenada with its IMF-approved home grown fiscal adjustment program.

Guyana

The Guyana government has set up a three-member commission of enquiry to probe the discovery of an unnamed private vessel within its territorial waters.

The commission is led by retired brigadiers Bruce Lovell and includeds retired assistant commissioner of police Winston Cosbet and Ministry of the Presidency staff Christine Bailey.

The vessel which was tracked by Guyana’s drug enforcement authorities was intercepted in the vicinity of Shell Beach and brought into the Waini River and searched last month.

The authorities said no narcotics or other illegal substances were found on the vessel in which a six-member crew, including, five foreigners were on board.

The vessel was later released by the Customs Narcotics Unit but its release is now under investigation amid allegations the vessel had transferred narcotics to another vessel which was subsequently seized by United States authorities and found to be carrying over four tons of cocaine valued at about US$71.7 million.

The commission will investigate and report on a number of things by April 21 to President David Granger, including the circumstances under which the Customs Narcotic Unit received information and the circumstances under which the vessel was released.

Jamaica

Dr. Peter Phillips is now the new opposition leader of the Jamaica’s People’s National Party (PNP), replacing Portia Simpson-Miller.

He was sworn in by Governor Sir Patrick Allen.

Members of the parliamentary opposition, former leader of opposition Simpson-Miller, Phillips wife, attorney at-law Sandra Minott-Phillips, and other family members attended the ceremony.

The governor general noted that the opposition leader, in leading by example, has an opportunity to demonstrate that the national interest includes not only responsible reasons and defensible criticisms in the course of debate, but statesmanlike conduct and tone in handling the nation’s business in Parliament.

He said Phillips was a serious student of the political history of Jamaica “and for that reason, can be expected to benefit from that knowledge as well from his own years of experience as he takes up this new role.”

Phillips paid tribute to former opposition leader, Simpson-Miller, for her support during the transition process.

The new opposition leader is a graduate of Jamaica College and earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Science in Government from the University of the West Indies (UWI).

St. Vincent

Two men are charged with involuntary manslaughter following the 2015 fatal accident which claimed the lives of seven students after the bus in which they were traveling plunged into the sea in the North Windward community.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne upheld a non-case submission made recently by the attorneys representing the driver Davanan Nanton and 67-year-old conductor, Pastor Ehud Myers.

The two were each charged with seven counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths of the seven students at Rock Gutter on Jan. 12, 2015.

The students died when the minibus in which they were passengers traveling to school careened down a steep section of the road and plunged into the seas.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia will record economic growth of 0.5 percent this year driven mostly by continued strong performance in construction and agriculture.

This is the prediction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which noted that higher import prices, including oil, will cause inflation to rise temporarily and, together with weak tourist expenditures, will contribute to widen external imbalances.

The IMF said while the upcoming budget should bring some clarity about fiscal policies, in the absence of corrective measures, rising interest payments will add to expenditure pressures, leading public debt to an unsustainable path.

The Washington-based financial institution said that as commodity prices gradually rise from recent lows, the current account deficit will widen, reflecting low competitiveness.

Last year St. Lucia recorded gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.8 percent down from 1.8 percent in 2015.

Trinidad

Trinidadian Shane Dominic Crawford is among those declared by the United States as an alleged ISIS fighter last week.

The Department of State has posted that Crawford and other foreigners identified as El Shafee Elsheik, Anjem Choudray, Sami Bouras and Mark John Taylor were currently believed to be foreign terrorists fighters in Syria carrying out terrorist activity on behalf of ISIS, including acting as an English language propagandist for the group.

Crawford, also known as Asadullah, Abu Sa’dat-Trinidadi, is listed as others as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” under Section 1(b) of the United States executive Order 13224.

Crawford’s mother in an interview with a Trinidad newspaper a few months ago said she had not heard from her son for a long time and was not sure if he was still alive in Syria.

Crawford, who has a record of alleged crimes in Trinidad, left for Syria not long after being detained in the 2011 state of emergency but was later released. He was among 15 others involved in an alleged plot to assassinate former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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