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Barbados

Two prominent Barbadian businessmen have been charged along with a sailor of the company’s yacht with trafficking in cannabis and importation of cannabis after police found 276 pounds of marijuana on board the vessel recently.

Chairman of Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Arthur Charles Herbert, 62, and Chairman of the Goddard Group, Chris Goddard, 56, and sailor Walter Prescod, 55, appeared in court recently to answer the charges.

Herbert and Goddard were granted bail in the sum of Bds$400,000, while Prescod was allowed $450,000 bail. Their cases were adjourned to Nov. 6, 2018.

The marijuana bust was made by customs and police officers who found the illegal “weed” valued around Bds$534,000 (US$267,080) on board the yacht.

A release from the Barbados Police Force said members of the Drug Squad discovered a quantity of marijuana on board the luxury yacht Ecstasy and three crew members were being questioned. They were later charged with various offences including the importation of cannabis.

Bahamas

The Bahamas government has embarked on a program to ban the use of plastics and Styrofoam which are proving to be detrimental to the country’s eco and marine system.

In an effort to make the public aware of the planned policy, the first in a series of town hall meetings on Single-use Plastics & Styrofoam Ban was held recently.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in addressing the gathering said the aim is to also simultaneously address main population and waste management and to ban single-use plastics, such as shopping bags, food utensils, straws and Styrofoam food containers by 2020.

He said reducing harmful waste streams such as plastics and Styrofoam is one of the first steps to be implemented in a more effective solid waste management strategy that priorities waste management prevention and minimization, while utilizing waste disposal as a last resort.

Guyana

Guyana and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative.

The MoU was recently signed by Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and China’s ambassador to Cui Jianchum.

The MoU is expected to see enhanced cooperation in five main areas such as policy coordination, facilities connectivity, trade, and investment, financial integration and people-to-people interaction.

Public infrastructure is also expected to be a major focus under the agreement.

Minister Greenidge said the MoU demonstrates the two countries’ commitment to further strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation which have characterized the relationship between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in l972.

He said the Government is looking to explore projects under the agreement that it can build on this priority.

Jamaica

Jamaica Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer, has called on faith-based and non-governmental organizations for a more structured and coordinated approach in responding to trafficking in persons.

Palmer, who is chair of the National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), said the organizations can give support of Government efforts by providing shelter for victims, helping raise awareness, operating hotlines and referral centers and maintaining vigilance within communities.

She was addressing a church service to start activities for Trafficking in Persons Week, which ran from July 22 to 28.

Palmer said the faith-based community must step forward with the resources that it has at its disposal-financial, material and human- to provide strategic leadership to Jamaica’s national campaign against human trafficking.

Trafficking in Persons Week was being observed under the theme, “From Victim to Survivor: The Hard Road to Recovery.”

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell says if the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves-led government wants to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), it should use a referendum to decide if the opinion of Vincentians has changed since 2009.

In that year, he said, Vincentians rejected in a referendum, proposed changes to the constitution, including replacing the Privy Council with the CCJ as the nation’s highest court.

Sir James has long been an advocate of retaining the Privy Council.

Speaking at a special sitting of the CCJ in Kingstown recently, Gonsalves said a post-referendum ruling of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, which says that a two-thirds majority of members of parliament rather than the electorate is needed to replace the Privy Council.

The prime minister said he is willing to bring such a law to parliament if the opposition would support it.

Sir James also rejected the suggestion by some that citizens should ascend to the Privy Council because one of its nationals is now its president.

Trinidad

Police and Customs officials are probing a possible Trinidad and Tobago link to a vessel on which Vietnamese police found an estimated US$35 million in cocaine hidden in packages inside a Liberian-flagged vessel.

The drug, which Vietnamese police described as the largest seizure in the history of the country arrived at Tan Cang Meop-Thi Vai Port in the southeast province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in a shipment of scrap metal purchased from a Singapore scrap metal company.

The ship had docked in Trinidad two months ago before leaving for Panama, China and eventually Vietnam.

Reports indicated the documents provided by the shipment’s owner did not match those of the seal on the container, which “aroused suspicion” among customs officials.

When they searched the ship they found the illegal drugs packaged and hidden among the shipment of scrap metal.

The company Pomina Steel Joint Stock has since distanced itself from the cocaine find.

Officers of the Organized Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) in Trinidad said the unit along with the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU), are making investigations into the drug bust aboard the ship which began its journey in T&T.

Trinidad and Tobago is known to be a major transshipment point for cocaine into Canada, USA and Europe.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 10:23 am, August 21, 2018
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