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Antigua

Two St. Vincent and the Grenadines nationals were denied bail and remanded in custody on charges linked to an EC$1.8 million drug bust.

The men, Godfrey King and Sydney Norville, appeared before Magistrate Ngalo Emanuel in a Kingstown court charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to transfer, and drug trafficking.

They were refused bail on the grounds they are flight risks. The case was adjourned to May 8, 2019.

The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) said the two men were held during a counter-trafficking operation when a vehicle was intercepted and several blocks of compressed marijuana weighing about 469 pounds with a street value of EC$1.87 million seized.

Barbados

The judiciary is moving to increase the number of judges and additional resources for the Department of Public Prosecution (DD), which are some of the initiatives to deal with the growing incidents of crime across Barbados.

Attorney General, Dale Marshall, took issue with the fact that Barbados had in some cases as many as 1,000 matters on indictment waiting to the heard in the High Court, some of which date back to a decade.

He said if the criminal element feels they could do as they please and appear before the court and get bail and the next thing they hear about the case is five years from now they would feel that they could do what they want in the island.

The attorney general said justice has to be swift and the end of that court justice is the court system.

Marshall was at the time addressing members of the media at Police Headquarters before going on a tour of “hot spots” in Bridgetown.

He was accompanied by the high command of the Royal Barbados Police Force and Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey.

Marshall said that a number of changes in the judiciary are coming soon, while the DPP’s office will be getting additional resources.

Guyana

The Guyana government is seeking the assistance of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to assist in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three children at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GHPC).

Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence said PAHO’s assistance in the probe into the deaths of Curwayne Edwards, Roshini Seegobin and Sharezer Mendonca is to ensure the process is open and transparent.

Lawrence said that the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shamdeo Persaud has put together a team that will be examining the drugs administered to the children while at the hospital.

The hospital recently issued a statement urging the public to “resist the urge to speculate,” as it announced its own probe into the adverse reaction a particular medication had on several children suffering from cancer.

Chairperson of the GPHC board of directors, Kesaundra Alves said the hospital has since discontinued the medication that was administered.

Haiti

More than 28 Haitians recently drowned near the island of Abaco in the Bahamas after the vessel carrying them sank.

The death toll grew after divers with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force said it found an additional 15 bodies in the submerged vessel.

Also, two Haitian migrants were found alive on a nearby cay, bringing the total number of survivors to 17 so far.

The latest Haitian boat tragedy at sea unfolded before dawn and comes as the local Haitian currency, the gourde, continues its precipitous devaluation against the US dollar, inflation rises to 15 percent in the impoverished Caribbean country and an ongoing fuel shortage continues while the government recorded an $89.6 million budget deficit in the first few months of the year.

The Support Group for Refugees and Returnees, a Haitian nongovernmental organization that works with returning migrants, said it is worried about the increasing number of Haitian nationals risking their lives in search of a better life.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government says it is taking steps to fully fund the education of students up to the age of 18 years.

This was revealed by Education, Youth and Information Minister, Ruel Reid, who said, “this is how we are going to revolutionize Jamaica to make sure that we have every one of our young people trained and certified at least to the minimum of an associate degree, facilitated through the collaboration of the Council of Community Colleges.”

He said once the initiative is finalized, this will be implemented over three years.

Reid recently told the annual conference of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ) that he would be meeting with CCCJ representatives to outline the feasibility of the public free-education strategy.

He said the government is seeking to provide a better avenue for students whose parents are unable to fund their education, while pointing out the need to stem the issue of persons being employed without the required qualification and training.

The minister said that the education sector must be revolutionized to prepare students for a modernized job market.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Sandals Resort International (SRI)-owned Beaches Resort Villages and Spa has confirmed the “indefinite” closure of its facilities in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) from January 2021.

Media reports indicated that the shutdown is linked to a multi-million dollar tax bill which is in dispute with the TCI government.

In a statement Sandals Resort said,” Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa will be closed from Sept. 3, to Oct. 15 in 2019, 2020 and then for an indefinite period from January 2021.”

“Guests traveling between now and January 2021 that are not impacted by these closures will receive the vacation experience that will have become known for all features and facilities of the resort will open and operating as usual”, the statement said.

It added that guests may also choose to travel to any of the 16 Sandals Resorts.

Media reports said that the government taxes owed by the hotel are around US$60 million and that discussions are taking place to settle the issue.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Appeal Court judge Justice Peter Jamadar will join the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in July this year.

Justice Jamadar was one of two judges who were chosen by the Regional and Judicial and Legal Services Commission (RJLSC), ahead of 16 other applicants from regions such as Africa, Australia, Europe and North America.

The other judge who was selected was Justice Andrew Burgess, a former Appeal Court judge in Barbados. He was sworn in recently.

Justice Jamadar will assume office in July after Justice David Hayton demits office.

In a news release issued by the CCJ and RJLSC Chairman, Justice Adrian Saunders said the court continues to attract some of the most qualified and talented jurists.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 1:11 pm, February 11, 2019
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