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Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Alphonso Browne addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters Friday, Sept. 27, 2019.
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Antigua

Former head of the Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC), Leroy King was recently extradited to the United States.

The country final court of appeal, the Privy Council ruled against King’s request to quash the 2009 extradition order signed by the then Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer.

Based on King’s 10-year legal battle to void extradition, he was put on a flight bound for New York.

US prosecutors have accused King of being a key player in helping to conceal the massive Ponzi Scheme carried out by billionaire and financier, Allen Stanford.

Stanford was charged with operating the Stanford International Bank Ltd. he owned in Antigua and Barbuda, which sold certificates of deposit that the US Securities Exchange Commission said he conned thousands of investors out of billions of dollars.

It is alleged that King received thousands of dollars in bribes from Stanford to ensure the Antigua regulatory authority looked the other way and conducted sham audits of Stanford’s operations.

A US court in 2012 convicted and jailed Stanford for a total of 110 years.

Barbados

The Barbados government has identified a serious social problem that is reflective in the unprecedented number of homicides on the island. Educators met recently to discuss the issue of violence in schools following the fatal stabbing of one student by another a week ago.

Attorney General Dale Marshall, responding to the incident told reporters that Police Commissioner, Tyrone Griffith has been meeting with officials from the Ministry of Education to discuss a possible solution to violence in schools.

Marshall said: “What we are seeing is a growing number of people involved in the taking of human life,” adding that “if you look at the statistics you will see that the average age of persons charged with perpetrating homicides is dropping lower and lower and lower.”

He said the Mia Mottley government would be introducing new intervention programs aimed at least 5000 of the most at-risk households in a bid to avoid a re-occurrence of the recent homicide.

He said the Ministry of Social Care will seek to get a social program in place “so that those households can work their way out of those difficulti­es.”

Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne recently led a CARICOM delegation to the United States to participate in a roundtable discussion de-risking and correspondent banking.

The discussion which was hosted by the US House Committee on Financial Services included legislators and bankers.

The roundtable discussion followed a meeting in September between T&T Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and US Congresswoman Maxine Walters, chairwoman of the US House Committee on Financial Services.

Caribbean countries have been arguing that the threat by banks in developed countries to withdraw correspondent banking services would exclude the region from the global finance and trading system with grave consequences for maintenance of financial stability, economic growth, remittance flows and poverty alleviation.

Earlier this year, Browne called for the establishment of a Caribbean bank that would allow the region to counteract the position of international banks regarding corresponding banks.

Among the members of the Caribbean Community delegation were St. Lucia’s Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman, Allen Chastanet, Trinidad and Tobago National Security Minister Stuart Young and CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque.

Guyana

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has assured the country that the government has no plans to replace or neglect the mining sector.

Trotman was at the time addressing a two-day National Workshop and Training on the Development of a National Action Plan for Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining, said that as for as many years gone by, Guyana’s Artisanal Small and Medium-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) Sector had aided in the country’s development in a significant way and continues to do so.

He stressed that the government has no intention of replacing mining in Guyana.

The minister said that in Guyana, the Artisanal Small and Medium-Scale Gold Mining Sector was important to the national economy, adding that the ASGM sector accounted for 6.1 percent of Guyana’s GDP.

Trotman said in 2019, the government also generated 33 percent of the foreign exchange earned from gold production. It was also the main source of employment and revenue for hinterland communities including indigenous ones.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government is moving to make changes to the Sexual Offences Act and other legislation, including the introduction of new offences against children and the establishment of a Sex Offenders Registry.

The document was submitted by the Joint Select Committee of Parliament appointed to complete the review of the Sexual Offences Act, the Offences against Person Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Child Care and Protection Act.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange told Parliament that there is need for stronger laws to deal with gender-based violence, particularly sexual offences, as well as illicit acts against children, the elderly and pregnant women.

She emphasized that the review of the various pieces of legislation is indicative of a significant development also focusing on the technological implications of sexual exploitation in the contemporary society.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet said his administration is on track in dealing with the crime situation, even as he expressed his disappointments that magistrates were showing inconsistences in their rulings.

Chastanet told a news conference he has a goal of reducing serious crime by 10 percent this year, with a vision of reducing serious crime by 40 percent over the next three years.

He said St. Lucia is currently at about 5.5 percent reduction year over year in serious crime, adding that the horrific part has been an increase in crimes that was not normally seen in the rural areas.

The prime minister described the situation as a very worrisome issue, also in terms of how people are willing to compromise with criminals.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago-owned Caribbean Airlines Ltd. (CAL) released its unaudited financial result for January to September 2019 last week, showing earnings before taxes and interest of TT$121 million, comprising of TT$153 million on international and other operations.

The financial results showed losses of $32 million on the domestic air-bridge (Tobago). Revenue, it said for the nine months was $2.3 billion, up 3.8 percent.

The airline said increases in cargo revenue were up by 14 percent and year on year profit by 34 percent.

CAL attributes its success to the implementation of new technology, expansion of the airline’s route network, an increase in passenger demand and cargo business together with enhanced cost management.

There have been non-stop flights between Port of Spain to Curacao, non-stop services between Kingston to Barbados as well as seasonal service from Montego Bay to Ft Lauderdale.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:54 pm, November 26, 2019
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