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Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness addresses the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.
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Barbados

Barbados and Russia are seeking to strengthen and deepen relations, as the communist country is seeking to setting up a permanent mission in the Caribbean island.

This was revealed when Russian Ambassador to Barbados, Alexander Kurmaz met with Barbados Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott during a courtesy call recently.

During the discussions, Ambassador Kurmaz, who is non-resident diplomat based in Guyana, with responsibility for Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Grenada, said he would very much like to have a permanent mission in Barbados to aid in efforts at dealing with the four countries, to enhance bilateral relations.

The ambassador noted that it was Russia’s decision to build constructive cooperation with Barbados in all areas, preferably in bilateral and multilateral fora.

Minister Walcott, agreeing with the need to strengthen the relationship, noted that Barbados and Russia established relations over 25 years ago, but more had to be done to conclude some bilateral agreements as well as technical assistance.

The discussions also centered on judicial assistance Russia could offer and the need for Barbados to continue accessing scholarship programs provided by that country.

Haiti

Canada has deported more than 160 Haitians during a nine-month period this year, according to figures released by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

It said that the l60 Haitians were expelled during the period April 1 to Nov. 15 and that up to September it had rejected more than 32,000 asylum requests of nationalities including Haitians.

Last month, the Canadian Department of Immigration temporarily suspended the deportations of Haitians because of the on-going political situation in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country where opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations calling for the removal of President Jovenel Moses from office.

Media reports said Haitians being deported had arrived in Canada in 2017 after illegally cross the border.

Guyana

Four Guyanese men who were intercepted in a trawler in international waters last year with over four tons of cocaine valued US$71.7 million pleaded guilty in a United States federal court recently.

They now face up to life in prison, United States Attorney Gretchen Shappert announced.

According to a press release Mohammed Hosein, 70, and Richard La Cruz, 51, both of Guyana pleaded guilty on Nov. 28, 2018 to possession of cocaine on board a vessel.

Neville Jeffrey, 66 and Mark Anthony Williams, 32, of Guyana, pleaded guilty in federal court on Nov. 29, 2018 and Dec. 3, 2018, respectively, to the same offense.

The release said the plea agreements filed with the court state that the United States Coast Guard Cutter Napier on Feb. 16, 2017, intercepted a suspicious vessel in a joint operation with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, about 70 nautical miles north of Paramaribo, Suriname, in international waters.

“The US Coast Guard boarded the vessel pursuant to a bilateral agreement between the United States and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They discovered 185 bales containing numerous packages of cocaine in the vessel’s fish hold weighing 3,769 kilos,” the release said.

Hosein was identified captain of the vessel, claimed that they were in search of a missing vessel for two months. La Cruz was said to be the engineer of the boat.

Apart from facing life in prison, the four also face a fine of up to US$10,000,000.

Jamaica

Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness has directed the board of state oil refinery, Petrojam, to take the necessary actions to recover funds misappropriated from the entity.

He gave the instructions following a report of the auditor general into the refinery, which identified certain administrative and oversight shortfalls.

Holness said the board should seek legal advice and prepare to recover such funds through civil means. That, he said, is part of the principle of restitution that will ensure that there is accountability.

The prime minister noted that in the past where issues of the magnitude of what occurred at Petrojam were brought to public attention.

He emphasized that this is an important principle that the government must “not just speak about in words, but (put into) practice and reinforce it.”

Holness said that every effort will be made to ensure that the relevant committees of Parliament are furnished with the auditor general’s report.

St. Vincent

A high court judge in St. Vincent and the Grenadinesrecently sentenced a former police officer to a total of 45 years in jail after he was found guilty last month of having sex with a 12-year-old girl to whom he had given a ring and cellphone.

However, Eugene Noel, 32, will only serve 30 years as some of the sentences are to run concurrent.

Justice Brian Cottle imposed the prison term on Noel during a sentencing hearing in which the convicted man challenged his conviction and accused the jury of not considering all the facts in the case.

A nine-member jury returned a guilty verdict in November and the trial saw the use of a provision under the Witness Special Measures Act, which prevented Noel, who represented himself, from cross-examining the victim directly.

Instead, the cross examination was done by a lawyer appointed by the state.

The court heard that Noel was involved in a “relationship” with the girl, a secondary school pupil, whom he befriended after meeting her on the street four years ago.

After meeting her on two occasions, he took the girl to a restroom of a nearby restaurant and had unprotected sex with her. He made another attempt to have sex with her at the same venue but she refused and reported the matter to her parents. Noel said he would appeal the sentence.

Trinidad

The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) membership has voted to refer allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Ivor Archie for consideration of impeachment proceedings against him.

At a Special General Meeting at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain last week, 150 members voted for and 32 against a resolution to send the matter to the prime minister.

The vote came after the members examined the report compiled by Aamon Harrison Courtenay and Francis Alexis, two eminent regional attorneys hired by the association to probe allegations made against the chief justice.

The majority were swayed enough by its contents to believe it should now go before the PM for the triggering of the impeachment process under Section 137 of the Constitution.

The controversy surrounding Archie arose late last year following a series of articles in a daily newspaper, accusing him of attempting to persuade judges to change their state-provided security in favor of a private company where a convicted fraudster, Dillian Johnson worked.

He was also accused of allegedly attempting to fast-track Housing Development Corporations applications for two friends.

Prime Minister Rowley said he would not rush into making any decision since the matter is of a constitutional nature.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:03 pm, December 24, 2018
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Reader feedback

Cheri Fistel from Norwood says:
Russia-Barbados: It sounds as if Russia has been taking advice from Germany. There's nothing wrong here, as long as the Monroe Doctrine has been unratified
Dec. 19, 2018, 9:23 am

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