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Nevis Premier in search of cash to make geothermal project a reality

Nevis Premier in search of cash to make geothermal project a reality

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Nov 21, CMC –Premier Mark Brantley says an estimated EC$60 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) is needed to develop the stalled geothermal project on the island.

“I think that at this stage all of us know that what we’ve been waiting on is for production of the energy and that would require the necessary investment to drill the production wells and to build the plant and to do tie into the connectivity between the plant and NEVLEC (Nevis Electricity Company Limited) so that NEVLEC can transmit the power,” Brantley told a news conference.

(File Photo)

He said that is what has proven most difficult because Nevis Island Administration had been able to raise the resources to do the exploration and it’s just for the production.

“The developers have had difficulty raising those monies (and) they have brought in recent months Black Rock Securities which they say is going to provide some equity financing and OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) … which is an arm of the United States government which is supposed to provide some debt financing.

“If we had the money we would do it ourselves, to be honest cause then we would only have to hire experts but it would be something that we do as a project but the problem is the funding,’ Brantley said.

He told reporters that two sources for financing have been identified but that process might take several months to materialize if at all.

“The last that I’ve heard is that OPIC has okayed their side of things to do the financing for the project on the debt side but I’m not sure what the result of the Black Rock due diligence is going to be.

“Each of those entities takes between three to six months to do their due diligence and so that process has been an ongoing process. We have had visits from both OPIC and Black Rock Securities I believe they were all here towards the middle of this year and so we await final word,” Brantley said.

But he sought to assure citizens that the NIA remains committed to bringing geothermal on stream for the benefit of the people of Nevis and the rest of the twin island-federation.

Earlier this year, GeothermEX, a subsidiary of Schlumberger Company that focuses on geothermal energy testing, said its findings confirm the requisite temperature and flow necessary for a sustainable supply of geothermal energy on Nevis and the reservoir has been classified as high-grade commercial quality.

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Judge Orders White House to Restore CNN Reporter Acosta

Judge Orders White House to Restore CNN Reporter Acosta’s Credentials

Judge Orders White House to Restore CNN Reporter Acosta's Credentials
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta speaks outside U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, on Friday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Friday, 16 November 2018

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration on Friday to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, saying Acosta suffered “irreparable harm” from the decision to bar him.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision following a hearing. The judge said Acosta’s credentials would be returned immediately and reactivated to allow him access to the White House.

CNN had asked the judge to force the White House to return the credentials that give Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, access to the White House complex for press briefings and other events.

The judge granted CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order. A lawsuit that CNN brought against the Trump administration over the issue is continuing.

The White House revoked Acosta’s credentials after he and Trump tangled during a press conference last week.

The judge said the government could not say who initially decided to revoke Acosta’s hard pass. The White House had spelled out its reasons for revoking his credentials in a tweet from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and in a statement after CNN filed its lawsuit. But the judge said those “belated efforts were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process.”

The judge also found that Acosta suffered “irreparable harm,” dismissing the government’s argument that CNN could simply send other reporters to cover the White House in Acosta’s place.

The suit by CNN alleges that Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated by suspending his hard pass. While the judge didn’t rule on the underlying case, he signaled they were likely to prevail in their claims.

The judge told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.

“Let’s go back to work!” Acosta said outside the courthouse after the ruling.

Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office and continuing into his presidency. He has described the network as “fake news” both on Twitter and in public comments.

At last week’s press conference, which followed the midterm elections, Trump was taking questions from reporters and called on Acosta, who asked about Trump’s statements about a caravan of migrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border. After a terse exchange, Trump told Acosta, “That’s enough,” several times while calling on another reporter.

Acosta attempted to ask another question about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and initially declined to give up a hand-held microphone to a White House intern. Trump responded to Acosta by saying he wasn’t concerned about the investigation, calling it a “hoax,” and then criticized Acosta, calling him a “rude, terrible person.”

The White House pulled Acosta’s credentials hours later.

The White House explanations for why it seized Acosta’s credentials have shifted over the last week.

Sanders initially explained the decision by accusing Acosta of making improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.

But that rationale disappeared after witnesses backed Acosta’s account that he was just trying to keep the microphone, and Sanders distributed a doctored video that made it appear Acosta was more aggressive than he actually was. On Tuesday, Sanders accused Acosta of being unprofessional by trying to dominate the questioning at the news conference. 

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MNI vs ARU - WhatsApp Image 2018-11-17 at 2.59.50 AM

Montserrat beats Aruba 2-0

The following is taken from a  ‘blog’ (Living on the Island of Montserrat Montserrat’s only ironically meta blog covering football, human rights and shopping) that we were introduced to by pure coincidence as a result of the clip of the final score in Aruba just a bit earlier.

“So, can Montserrat win? Can Aruba go all the way to the Gold Cup? It’s really hard to predict. Neither side has qualified for even a Caribbean Cup before, but a win for one of them puts them on the brink of immortality. Both sides are well organised and can keep possession. Aruba has committed the most fouls in the tournament so far and has had only 9 shots at goal. Don’t expect a classic, don’t expect a goal fest. But for the winner, there will be a long agonising wait for the final decisive match of the tournament…”

So, Montserrat won!

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DSC_9991

Wasteful Motion defeated

No confidence motion just a show ignorance

A motion of no confidence described by The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) in its previous issue of the newspaper, as “… Wasting the people’s time of confidence…,”   was easily defeated as expected on Monday, October 29. All five (remaining) government legislators voted to keep the four-year old administration in office.
(See for details: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/a-motion-wasting-the-peoples-time-of-confidence-importance-and-business/)

Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, who had tabled the motion against the government, she was once a member, said, “I wish the PDM (People’s Democratic Movement) well in the next year in office,” after the defeated motion.

But as she wound up the debate, she said she wanted to caution Montserratians “to vote wisely” adding “let us not make the same mistake”.

Buffonge said that she was pleased in bringing the motion since it was important to “hold the government to account” but acknowledged that the vote would not be in support of removing the Romeo administration, no doubt in apparent reference to the decision by former agriculture minister Claude Hogan to side with the government.

Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan, it is felt in some quarters held the key to the survival of the government that faced an uphill task to complete its first five-year term,

Political observers had erroneously expected former agriculture minister Claude Hogan, who was fired by Romeo last year, to vote in support of the opposition that included two former PDM members. But when the debate on the motion was adjourned late the Thursday night before the Monday vote, Hogan had already made his position known to legislators. He said that he had no intention of voting against the government that came to power in 2014, winning seven of the nine seats at stake in the Legislative Assembly.

“We should withdraw the vote of no confidence.  If you want to change the premier there is a way to do it,” said Hogan.

Buffonge, had earlier said that she wanted to inform legislators, foreign investors and other stakeholders interested in the development of the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory that the motion does not signal “political instability” here.

“My colleagues in opposition and myself as well as others who will be elected in the next general election, and I do speak for some of them no, after four years of getting things so terribly wrong we pledge to get it right.”

Earlier Premier Romeo dismissed the arguments made against by the opposition as he defended his tenure in office.

He told legislators also that while being appreciative of the role Britain plays in the development of the volcano ravaged island, London was also imposing all manner of restrictions stifling his administration.

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FAC Inquiry Janice

Berating a destructive Submission

Shelley Harris gets the rebuke of Montserrat on her submission to the FAC Inquiry

No other British resident has gone this far!

Former DFID Miss Priti Patel

In the October 19, 2018 issue of the TMR newspaper the Editorial caption read, “We cringe at what the FAC submissions must look like”. We had in our possession a copy of one of the submissions, and were seeking to obtain any others that had been made to include Government of Montserrat (GoM).

The submissions could have been made orally or written; (and we believe both if necessary). On November 7, we noted that most written ‘evidence’ submissions were published on the 6th and accessible at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/inquiries1/parliament-2017/inquiry13/publications/

Two were published on Nov 13, while oral evidence was given by our Janice Panton on Nov 12 published 06 Nov 2018 – The future of the UK Overseas Territories – oral evidence | PDF version (247 KB) HC 1464 | (Published 12 Nov 2018) along with Elise Donovan, British Virgin Islands (BVI) Government representative in the UK, and Janice Panton, Montserrat Government representative in the UK.

Janice Panton, Montserrat Government representative in the UK

On Nov 7 having been directed to the above link of the submissions, attention was drawn by a usually reliable source to a submission, by Shelley Harris husband to Nigel Harris of Montserrat Airways Ltd. owners of the airline FlyMontserrat.

The cringe was here and by the next day, the gates opened with the correspondence and the reaction of anyone Montserratian or just a friend of Montserrat.

The written submission was just over three pages long, but the contents became the subject of castigation, on Social media, radio statements, without discussion, except for ‘support’ from Speaker Shirley Osborne and distance statement from her husband Nigel on behalf of FlyMontserrat. That came in for its own criticism as well.

Mrs. Harris in the Statement in which she even denounced The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) and Radio Montserrat. “A free press would help,” she wrote. “Currently the only newspaper (TMR) hardly every(sic) ever comes out and is reduced to just republishing other agency material from off island. The Radio station is frightened to say anything anti-government and much goes unreported unless the speaker can get on air live.”

Attention was drawn to the BBC TV broadcast of the oral evidence being given https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/e2fd46fe-6270-4c04-a122-da37f8e5724a – on Tuesday 6 November 2018 Meeting started at 2.51pm, ended 4.37pm and was now being rebroadcast on the 8th.

Very quickly following the broadcast, it was noticed, former DFID Miss Priti Patel had stated: “We have also had evidence that the Montserrat Government are completely incompetence (sic) incompetent and waste enormous amounts of money, which comes from the British taxpayer!” then asked, “Is that something you think is true?” The answer was a straight “No.”

Soon after, the Committee Chairman asked Panton: “Is Montserrat sustainable as an individual territory anymore?”

Janice Panton: “I think it could be. If you look at what Montserrat as a territory has to offer…”

This one writer’s observation was directly taken from Harris’ submission. Their first reaction we received, to that and the rest, “she should be deported!” A strong feeling of disgust, suggesting, “In case anyone thought that what Shelley Harris said to the UK government could simply be ignored as the rant of an ungrateful guest in our country.  Think again.”

They cited the questions to Panton noting that Harris said in her submission: “2. Montserrat does not have a functioning government. The current one is completely incompetent and wastes enormous amounts of money – most of which comes from the British taxpayer.” The writer referenced the question (137) in the transcript from Patel as above, noting that “Panton was visibly taken aback by the ridiculous assertion and could only manage to respond; “No. That is not something I think…””

“So, there we have it; every negative word uttered by a woman whose salary is paid by Montserrat out of the mismanaged UK aid funds, is being thrown back in our face verbatim by a ranking member of the FAC… Can you imagine what else the Harris’ say to the UK government officials behind our back…” And showing more serious concern, “And who knows what other rubbish the UK officials take on board as factual,” concluding that “the matter was more serious”, than they thought at first.

There are those who suggested that Harris did not expect or realised that her submission would be publicized, believing, rightly that this was not a first that British residents have done previously and for some time.

This writer said: “When Shelly Harris wants to send secret messages to the FCO to talk about poor governance and waste of tax payers’ money, she would do well to remember that Fly Montserrat has never paid a penny in taxes into the Treasury so far in their entire existence on Montserrat, courtesy of the previous MCAP government.”

Other public comments, substantiated the writer, citing the waiver of taxes from 2009 – 2019: “S.R.O. 24 of 2014 – Exemption: Fly Montserrat Ltd. Is exempted from the payment of corporation tax for a period of five years commencing on 1st April, 2014 and terminating on 31st March, 2019.

Waiver of outstanding corporation tax: Fly Montserrat Ltd. Is granted a waiver of all outstanding tax owed before and up to 1st April, 2014.

This writer goes on to remind, that the MDC put EC$250,000 into the purchase of their 50-year-old aircraft; and, “it was the Government of Montserrat that bought the Medivac equipment for their aircraft;” and more, “They should tell everyone that they get a monthly hand out from the Access Division, yes a big fat check for EC$18,000. With no questions asked.”

No other company in Montserrat is treated so favourably… the writer states.” “Free Money! Help to buy money spinning Assets! and No Taxes!” 

“Yes, indeed Mrs Harris, what a waste of tax payers’ money.”

These questions flowed: How about the government takes your monthly hand out and uses that money in a manner that helps more people in Montserrat, rather than fund your large do-nothing salary?

 How about the FSC and Inland Revenue have a good look at your company’s accounts, which even your directors and shareholders can only take a peek at 10 minutes before your AGM, with no takeaway copies? What are you hiding? Perhaps a full audit of Fly Montserrat is in order! 

“Or better yet, how about you just leave the country?”

‘The Governor you testified is a wonderful chap. He tries to work in your interest. He calls Airport Management to smooth things.Well let me tell you one thing Mrs Fly Montserrat. You and the Governor don’t run this island. There will be never be UK Direct Rule here. Not in my lifetime.So, Thank You. Now everyone knows where you stand.”

Many questioned whether the Government would sit by without comment on the upsetting submission. It was not long before the Premier issued a statement, published in this issue for the benefit of the public. In the Statement which was also issued on radio, he said:

“While, like most, I was appalled at the tone of her unfounded accusations and ill-advised colonialistic suggestions, I must admit that I am not at all surprised.  Her statements clearly show the sort of attitudes and influences behind the scenes that have harmed and hampered Montserrat’s progress for many years.” 

Hylroy Bramble – Labour Speaks

Premier Donaldson Romeo

Visit to listen: https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/wednesday-november-14-2018-a-statement-by-premier-hon-donaldson-romeo-regarding-shelley-harris-comments/

Also speaking out publicly. David Brandt who filed a written submission to the FAC made a statement on radio very critical of the Shelley Statement, noting that the Government is the biggest investor in the airline, while Nigel did not put in a cent (that depends).

Also, speaking out especially on the statement on labour conditions – Hylroy Bramble on his Labour Speaks program. https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/wednesday-november-14-2018-labour-speaks-with-hylroy-bramble/

 

Visit to listen to these two: https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/wednesday-november-14-2018-a-statement-by-david-s-brandt-regarding-shelley-harris-comments/ 

 

Reaction on Social media was also quick and one controversial but somewhat colourful commentator and observer began: “a Big RAZZAH To The Fly M/Rat Lady. Well Done. Take A Bow. All our local reverences to you.I For One Am Happy. Your written testimony to the UK Parliament Committee was outstanding. Yes I know you thought it would be secret. Or were you trying to be a whistle blower. Madame That ship has sunk like Mundo Boat. What we have here is just another ungrateful Visitor.

Yes Mrs Fly Montserrat. We bent over like gymnasts and had you ram your Chanticleer up our rears. I guess you wanted us to imbibe your bahookies too. So when we couldn’t ingest no more of your Crappola. You defamed us in your testimony to the Select Committee.

I hope at least one person chooses another service provider to get to Antigua.

If we had a Government. They could have run the Ferry seven days a week. If we had a Government they would have told you John A Osborne Airport doesn’t belong to you.

 You’re just a tenant.

The Governor you testified is a wonderful chap. He tries to work in your interest. He calls Airport Management to smooth things.

Well let me tell you one thing Mrs Fly Montserrat. You and the Governor don’t run this island. There’ll will be never be UK Direct Rule here. Not in my lifetime.

So Thank You. Now everyone knows where you stand.

But, while more outpouring of anger and disgust at Harris’ submission kept surfacing, her husband as a director on behalf of the FlyMontserrat company issued this: “Flymontserrat would like to make it clear that Statements recently made by Shelley Harris are made by her on an individual basis and not made on behalf of the company.”

This he undid or exposed the real truth and the reason why so many connected her to the company, and not believing anything he or she said afterwards: “The views made by Shelley Harris do not necessarily reflect the views of Flymontserrat.”

The situation is that her husband has expressed publicly and privately, many of the same sentiments and discontent and disagreements towards Montserrat, behaving often in a dishonest and destructive way, always in favour of the progress of his airline.

Meanwhile, Shelley issued a ‘comeback’ statement which she circulated, omitting TMR whom she had misrepresented directly in her destructive submission. That single act of exclusion on her part tells a picture that over time the public will know about. This writer and editor of TMR here takes responsibility for being in the forefront (not in that official capacity) of establishing the very name FlyMontserrat and lots more for an airline that turned out, not to be what had been envisioned and agreed before he was cast aside as one of three directors, the other having walked away from the company very soon after the ugliness exhibited in this saga of FlyMontserrat and its owners soon emerged.

ZJB radio carried a report on Shelley follow-up statement, as they may have received a copy thereof.  The report reflected some of the issues raised and explained from her submission. “The submission to the U.K. parliament to a FAC continues to attract the ire of some people both on Montserrat and in the diaspora. Shelley Harris has issued a statement in her defense.

In her submission to the FAC Mrs Harris launched what some perceived to be an attack on the people of Montserrat, its institutions (media included) and government. Among the statements thought to be provocative is a suggestion that the U.K. government should reduce the ferry service to 10 days of operation a year, productivity in the public service and the inability of the island to govern itself.

“As far as the access issue is concerned, Managing Director of Montserrat Nigel Harris distanced himself from the statement. made by his partner saying in a subsequent statement that the View made by Mrs. Harris did not necessarily reflect the views of the company.”

The report on the matter continued: Editor James White said: “Mrs. Harris in a statement on Tuesday, reveals that a submission to the F.A.C. in her own right was done without the knowledge of anyone in fly Montserrat until after the submission was made… She said she did it publicly because she believed in putting her name to her submission and not hiding behind anonymity Mrs. Harris highlights that being part of our democracy also have duties stressing that the freedom which the forefathers of Monserrat and the U.K. fought for.

(See abstracts of her statement highlighted elsewhere in this issue)

Yet, not every Montserratian agreed that the Shelley was more than offensive, as Shirley Osborne, the Hon Speaker of Montserrat’s Assembly, sprang up in her defence, or FlyMontserrat’s, exposing a natural but in our opinion, unprofessional bias.

Here is more social media reaction, some excerpts, this time to Shirley’s self-expose.

“Low and behold who was the appointed one. A black eye for St Peter’s Village. Bassie would say “a wa happun to mi pickney. A Drum Jam a real Jumbie Dance is needed To get di hex off SHIRLEY OSBORNE. It must be OBEAH not Filthy Lucre to meek shurli tun sell out.  Now me kno how dem brave boys felt on St Patrick’s Day so long ago.

Now Madame Speaker the outspoken defender of all things Montserratian. She is the one (they) chose.

Ms Osborne you claim we should be: Sensible, Strategic, Sophisticated and Objective. Is she throwing big words to fool some of us. Well The Conscience don’t have to look in no Dictionary to find out the meanings.

Let’s be SENSIBLE. Question. Is Fly M/Rat of any benefit to us? Let’s be STRATEGIC. Can we do better elsewhere? Let’s be SOPHISTICATED. We’re not backward ppl as Shelly and Shirley seem to think we are. Let’s be OBJECTIVE. How can we be. A Redneck is calling us Dumb, Corrupt, Lazy and Incapable Of Governing ourselves. And we should keep personal feelings out of it. HELL NO.”

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Kevin Breuninger

CNN sues President Trump and White House for banning reporter Jim Acosta

  • CNN is suing President Donald Trump and multiple White House aides for revoking press pass of the news network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
  • The lawsuit comes less than a week after the White House announced it would suspend Acosta’s “hard pass” in the wake of the reporter’s fiery exchange with Trump at a news conference Wednesday.
  • CNN alleges in its legal action, which has been filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were being violated with the ban.

 
 
 
 
 
 

CNN sues President Trump and White House for banning reporter Jim Acosta  

CNN is suing President Donald Trump and multiple White House aides for revoking the press pass of the news network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

The lawsuit comes less than a week after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced it would suspend Acosta’s White House credential, often called a “hard pass,” in the wake of the reporter’s fiery exchange with Trump at a news conference Wednesday.

Sanders, White House chief of staff John Kelly, deputy communications chief Bill Shine and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles are also included in the suit. The Secret Service officer who yanked Acosta’s pass is included as well, though he is not identified by name.

 

In a statement, Sanders said the lawsuit was “just more grandstanding from CNN,” and vowed that the White House will “vigorously defend” itself.

 

Watch President Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta heated exchange  

CNN alleges in its legal action, which has been filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were being violated with the ban.

Lawyer Ted Olson, who served as Solicitor General under President George W. Bush and who reportedly declined Trump’s request to join his personal legal team in March, is one of CNN’s attorneys in the suit, a court filing shows.

Acosta, who has frequently clashed with Trump administration officials, had challenged the president about his characterization of a “caravan” of Central American migrants traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border.

A female staffer then attempted to pull the microphone out of Acosta’s hand, which he initially refused to surrender. “You are a rude, terrible person,” Trump responded as Acosta continued to speak into a microphone being passed around to the gaggle of reporters present for the news conference in the White House.

Later Wednesday, Acosta tweeted that he had been denied entrance to the White House grounds.

Sanders, in a series of tweets the same same day, said the Trump administration will “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”

Critics and media colleagues quickly pushed back on the statement, arguing that Sanders had mischaracterized the altercation. The press secretary received even more criticism after she tweeted a video of the exchange, which The Washington Post and other outlets said was doctored. That video was first shared by a right-wing commentator associated with conspiracy theory website Infowars, the Post reported.

Later that week, Trump appeared to discard the notion that Acosta had inappropriately placed his hands on the intern — the reason stated by Trump’s administration for revoking the pass in the first place.

Acosta “was not nice to that young woman,” Trump said in remarks to reporters Friday, but “I don’t hold him for that because it wasn’t overly, you know, horrible.”

CNN is asking the court for a preliminary injunction that would reinstate Acosta’s press credentials as soon as possible.

“While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone,” CNN said in a statement Tuesday morning. “If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”

Minutes after the lawsuit was reported Tuesday morning, White House Correspondents’ Association President Olivier Knox offered a statement of support for the media outlet.

“Revoking access to the White House complex amounted to disproportionate reaction to the events of last Wednesday. We continue to urge the Administration to reverse course and fully reinstate CNN’s correspondent,” Knox said.

He added: “The President of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him.”

The president has regularly slammed numerous mainstream media outlets “fake news” for their coverage of him and his administration, including The New York Times, NBC News, The Washington Post and others.

Trump has repeatedly singled out CNN in his attacks. And days after CNN’s New York offices were targeted with mail bombs allegedly by Trump fanatic Cesar Sayoc, the president said “the Fake News Media” was “the true Enemy of the People.

Acosta has also been the target of criticism for his style in front of the news cameras. Writer Todd Purdum argued in The Atlantic in August that Acosta’s “performance journalism” provides the Trump administration with “another convenient villain” in the press.

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Theresa May said at the lord mayor’s banquet that there remained ‘significant issues’ to resolve in the Brexit talks.

Brexit: time running out as Theresa May claims talks in ‘the endgame’

PM says negotiations with EU ‘immensely difficult’ as summit deadline comes under threat

Theresa May said at the lord mayor’s banquet that there remained ‘significant issues’ to resolve in the Brexit talks.
Theresa May said at the lord mayor’s banquet that there remained ‘significant issues’ to resolve in the Brexit talks. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Theresa May’s efforts to secure a Brexit deal by the end of March have suffered a serious setback after it emerged that UK and European Union negotiators were struggling to bridge the gap over the Irish border backstop in time for a November summit.

The prime minister was forced to admit that “significant” issues remained despite talks that went on until the early hours of Monday morning. Unless there is dramatic progress by the end of Wednesday, the exit timetable will become increasingly squeezed.

Cabinet members, who had been expecting to sign off the final Brexit negotiating position on Tuesday, were told that the issue would hardly be discussed at the meeting beyond an update of the UK’s preparedness for no deal.

Negotiators stayed up until 2.45am on Monday in pursuit of a breakthrough that did not come as the EU made a series of last-minute demands by attaching fresh conditions to the customs backstop, which is designed to come into force if no long-term free trade deal can be signed by the end of 2020.

That failure to progress the talks almost certainly delays agreement at an EU level until a summit scheduled for 13/14 December and makes it increasingly difficult for the critical “meaningful final vote” of MPs on May’s deal to be held before Christmas.

Addressing the lord mayor’s banquet at the Guildhall in London on Monday night, May said: “The negotiations for our departure are now in the endgame”. But in remarks aimed at Brussels negotiators, she added that they could not expect concessions this week just to keep the idea of a November Brexit summit alive.

“We are working extremely hard, through the night, to make progress on the remaining issues in the withdrawal agreement, which are significant,” the prime minister said. “Both sides want to reach an agreement, but what we are negotiating is immensely difficult.”

May’s remarks came as No 10 tried to accuse the EU of trying to bounce the UK into a deal. There had been a brief flurry of speculation at lunchtime, following a report in the Financial Times, that a deal could be close, based on one account of a briefing given by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, to European ministers. One witness said that Barnier had said “the parameters of a possible agreement are very largely defined”, but No 10 said any suggestion that a deal was close should be taken with “a bucket of salt”.

Labour, meanwhile, is to step up the pressure on the government by launching a bid on Tuesday to force ministers to publish the government’s legal advice on May’s Irish backstop plan before MPs vote to approve her Brexit deal, saying it would be unacceptable for MPs to be kept “in the dark” on how any agreement was reached.

In Brussels, Barnier told European affairs ministers for the 27 EU members that the negotiators had so far failed to make the decisive progress. “Barnier explained that intense negotiating efforts continue, but an agreement has not been reached yet,” a statement said.

No 10 is faced with a series of emerging demands from the EU, which wants to attach new conditions to the backstop.

Brussels wants the UK to sign up to “dynamic” alignment with state aid and future environmental, social and labour regulations, which would in effect force parliament to cut and paste EU rules into British law.

A commitment on the side of the British to provide the European fishing fleet with access to UK seas after Brexit has also been proposed by member states as a condition for agreement on the customs union.

It is not yet agreed how the backstop can be terminated and there are growing concerns across the Conservative party that it could be used to keep the UK in a long-term customs union with the EU without a say in its regulation. More than 50 hard Brexiters have said they will vote against the Chequers plan, which proposed to keep the UK aligned with EU rules on food and goods after Brexit.

Jo Johnson, the former rail minister who resigned from the government on Friday to support a second referendum , will speak to a rally in Westminster on Tuesday opposing the prime minister’s plan to take Britain out of the EU.

“I am concerned that a Conservative government is preparing to leave the British people ill-informed over the consequences, with the decision not to publish evidence showing this is a worse deal that the one we already have inside the EU,” Johnson wrote in an article for the Times.

Earlier on Monday, Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, became the second cabinet minister in two days to warn that the prime minister did not have a completely free hand in her negotiations with Brussels.

“The important thing is that there’s two checks on this deal – there’s cabinet and there’s parliament. And so cabinet’s job is to put something to parliament that is going to deliver on the referendum result. We need to work together as a cabinet to do that,” Mordaunt said.

Brexiter Andrea Leadsom said on Sunday that she was “sticking in government” to ensure the UK was not trapped in a customs arrangement against its will.

UK sources said last week that they hoped Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, could make a visit to Brussels on Tuesday to unveil a deal and prepare the way for a Brexit summit. But No 10 said on Monday that there were no plans for him to make that journey.

EU capitals also want time to examine any agreement made between the European commission and the UK before it is published. France and Germany are understood to have made the point forcefully to Barnier.

The withdrawal agreement, the draft exit treaty, is already running to more than 400 pages of dense legal text. It is expected to be published when a deal is agreed in principle between the UK and the EU, accompanied by a political declaration about the future trade relationship between the two.

Michael Roth, Germany’s minister for the EU, said the member states had made “many compromises but the room for manoeuvre is very much limited and our British friends know exactly where our discussions are”.

Belgium’s deputy prime minister, Didier Reynders, told reporters: “We have time but not so much, so for this moment it’s very difficult to make real progress but before Christmas I’m hoping that it will be possible”.

Simon Coveney, the Irish deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said it was “a very important week for the Brexit negotiations”.

“There is clearly work to do between the two negotiating teams and I think we need to give them time and space now to finish that job,” he said.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, TOURISM, UK - Brexit0 Comments

IMG-20181112-WA0006 (1)

No access to areas south of Belham Valley

Important Notice especially for visitors, tourists and sightseers

This will be a setback for tourists on the Windstar Vessel due to arrive on Tuesday, Crafters, and especially taxi drivers who according to DiscoverMNI were urged to be ready!

 Further to potential flood warnings – comes this news later in the day

The Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) in consultation with the Commissioner of the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) has taken a decision to cease access to areas south of Belham Valley.

 The decision was taken due to the road being compromised and also to allow the authorities to carry out remedial work on the road in an effort to ensure the safety of all users.

 The road at Belham Valley will, therefore, be closed from 5 o’clock this afternoon and a further update will be given in due course.

 Persons, south of Belham are asked to make their way to the north immediately.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Featured, Government Notices, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Region eyes “vigorous” tropical wave as 2018 Hurricane season near the end

Region eyes “vigorous” tropical wave as 2018 Hurricane season near the end

Little change in the status of the weather with suggestions it can get worse

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Nov 12, CMC – Caribbean countries were keeping a close eye on a “vigorous” tropical wave east of the Leeward Islands, Monday,  as the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season ends later this month.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that the wave, located about 200 miles east of the Leeward Islands – Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla –is producing a large area of disturbed weather over most of the western tropical Atlantic Ocean.

It said shower and thunderstorm activity have increased Monday and that the forecast is for the disturbed weather pattern to pass westerward to west-northwestward passing near the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the southeastern Bahamas during the next few days.

“Interests in these areas should closely monitor the progress of this system,’ the NHC said, noting that there’s a 90 per cent chance of the system developing over the next five days.

If it further intensifies into a named storm, it would be called Patty.

While Caribbean countries have been spared for most of the 2018 hurricane season, heavy rains in several countries have led to floods, landslides and millions of dollars in damage.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

passengers

10 Injured as Fly Jamaica Plane Crash Lands at Airport in Guyana

 

The Fly Jamaica plane crash landed 43 minutes after takeoff. (Credit: Cheddi Jagan International Airport-Facebook)

 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday November 9, 2018 – Ten people were injured this morning when a Fly Jamaica aircraft carrying 120 passengers and eight crew members made an emergency landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in Guyana.

Officials say none of the injuries are life threatening but did not say which of the passengers, who include two infants, were hurt.

The passengers – 82 Canadians, 35 Guyanese, one Pakistani, a Trinidadian and an American – along with six crew members from Guyana and two from Jamaica, departed the CJIA at 2:10 a.m. and were heading to Toronto, Canada, when the Boeing 757 plane began experiencing technical difficulties.

The flight, which was estimated to arrive at its designation at 6:55 a.m., returned to the CJIA airport where it landed at 2:53 a.m.  Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson meeting with passengers who were on board the Fly Jamaica flight. (Credit: DPI)

“There were no broken bones or other serious injuries reported,” a statement from the Department of Information said. “However, six passengers suffered minor injuries due to the impact to the back of the aircraft. They were rushed to Diamond Diagnostic Hospital.”

Later in the morning, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud said 10 people with a variety of “expected sorts of injuries” were taken to hospital.

“So far, we have five persons who are under investigation further for spinal injuries…They are having further X-rays and so on done,” he said, adding that seven of them were subsequently transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital because the Diamond Diagnostic Hospital could not handle all of them.

“They weren’t any direct injuries associated with the plane [crashing]; at this point, nothing life-threatening, although we still will look to the results, especially with the persons with spinal injures.  You understand these are some of the expected kinds of injuries when you use a slide to get off of the airplane.”

Arrangements are being made to fly out the passengers, who were taken to a holding facility after the incident, from tomorrow.

The CJIA has been reopened but the Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson said travellers should expect some delays.

An investigation is being conducted into the incident. The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority is leading the probe and the United States National Transportation Safety Board, which assists with inquiries under international rules, was notified, officials said.

Investigators at the crash site. (Credit: Cheddi Jagan International Airport-Facebook)

The crash site has been secured by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Environment, Featured, General, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

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