Archive | Featured

CCJ President respects the outcome of referenda in two Caribbean countries

CCJ President respects the outcome of referenda in two Caribbean countries

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Nov 7, CMC – President of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, said that the court would continue “ongoing initiatives with justice sector bodies” in Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada despite the population in those two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries voting in favour of retaining the London-based Privy Council as  their final court.

“While the news is not what we hoped for, we respect the people of both nations and their decision,” Justice Saunders said in a statement following Tuesday’s referenda in the two countries.

CCJ President – Justice Adrian Saunders

“One of the positives that came out of this exercise is that there was sustained public education in both nations and the conversation about the CCJ intensified. We can see the fact that there was more interest in our website, ccj.org, and on our social media platforms, on LinkedIn and Twitter.

“As we begin to implement our strategic plan for the 2019-2023, which includes a renewed focus on public education, we will certainly be taking advantage of the increased audience, and the interest that has been piqued, to provide more information about the work of the Court,” Justice Saunders said.

The governments in Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada had hoped to join Belize, Barbados, Dominica and Guyana as the only CARICOM countries that are full members of the CCJ that was established in 2001 to replace the Privy Council as the region’s final court.

The CCJ, which has both an Original and Appellate Jurisdiction, also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-mdmber regional integration movement.

Justice Saunders said despite the defeat, the CCJ “will naturally continue ongoing initiatives with justice sector bodies in each of these countries, and the wider Caribbean, through the JURIST project and otherwise.”

The turnout in the referendum in both countries were low.

In Grenada, of 21, 979 votes cast, some 9,846 persons voted to adopt the CCJ as the final Court of Appeal,, while in Antigua and Barbuda, there were 9,234 votes against and 8,509 votes in favour of the adoption of the CCJ.

“These results will not, of course, deter us from serving with distinction those nations that currently send their final appeals to us. As well, the Court will also continue to process and hear applications from all CARICOM States, and from CARICOM itself, in our Original Jurisdiction, and our justice reform work in the region will also continue,” Justice Saunders said.

The CCJ noted that Grenada has an Original Jurisdiction case currently before the Court and that the JURIST Project, which is a multiyear justice reform project being implemented by the CCJ on behalf of the Conference of Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM states, is working on a Sexual Offences Model Court to be housed at the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda in 2019.

The CCJ Academy of Law is also hosting a legal conference in Jamaica in December 2018 at which jurists from both countries, as well as the wider Caribbean, are participating, the CCJ added.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, Featured, International, Local, News, OECS, Politics0 Comments

Antiguans and Grenadians vote against replacing Privy Council

Antiguans and Grenadians vote against replacing Privy Council

Antigua and Barbuda vote in favour of staying with the Privy Council

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Nov 6, CMC – Antigua and Barbuda Tuesday voted in favour of retaining the London-based Privy Council as its final court, according to the preliminary figures released here.

The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) said that of the 17,743 votes counted, the “No” vote secured 9, 234 as against 8,509 for the “Yes” vote.

Voters here had been casting ballots to decide whether to retain the Privy Council or instead move to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that was established in 2001 to be the region’s final court.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne had hoped that Antigua and Barbuda would have joined Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana as the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to be full members of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty governing the 15-member CARICOM grouping.

“I have discharged my responsibility to make the option of transitioning from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice available to the people of Antigua and Barbuda. I think it is a great opportunity for them.

“ I urge them to go out and vote “yes” …and in any event whatever the decision I will be guided accordingly, but as far as I am concerned I have delivered in the responsibility to make this very important option available to the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Prime Minister Browne said, soon after casting his ballot on Tuesday.

But the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) has said it is not supportive of the move to replace the Privy Council and had urged supporters to vote their conscience.

ABEC said that 33.5 per cent of the electorate voted in the referendum and that the “No” vote had secured 52.04 per cent with the “Yes” vote gathering 47.96 per cent.

The chairman of the National Coordinating Committee on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry, said while he is disappointed in the results “the people have spoken and we accept the verdict.

“The result is a result that demonstrates democracy. The people have spoken and certainly we will need to reflect on the loss. However, I am of the firm conviction that as we move towards consolidation of the regional integration movement, our people whether in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada or Antigua, the greater appreciation of the institutions that we have created will become even more appreciated, celebrated in order for us to find our place in the global community.”

Henry said it is imperative for the region to “build our Caribbean institutions, no matter the struggles, no matter the challenges and no matter the defeats.

“We must redouble our efforts at deeper and fuller education of our institutions and ;place them within the curriculum of our schools in the region,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

Head of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), Peter Wickham, whose organisation had conducted an opinion poll and had predicted that the “yes” vote would have received the required support to take the island into the CCJ, expressed disappointment at the outcome.

“I am not Antiguan but I am disappointed for Antigua and the rest of the Caribbean. I think this is an unfortunate result equally so because the same thing was replicated in Grenada (today) and I really do hope that in the future we can get back on track.

“But the most I can say is that I am disappointed. I think this is an opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda to have created history and to set a course of a circle of development and ultimately the population said no,” he added.

Grenadians vote against replacing Privy Council

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Nov 6, CMC – Grenadians voted for a second time within a two year period, to reject efforts to replace the London-based Privy Council as the island’s highest court.

In a national referendum on Tuesday, the preliminary figures released by the Parliamentary Elections Office (PEO) show that the “No’ vote secured 12,133  as compared to 9,846  for those supporting the efforts to replacing the Privy Council with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that was established in 2001.

The CCJ also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement, CARICOM.

Grenadians voting in referendum (File Photo)

While most of the CARICOM countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana have signed on to the Appellate Jurisdiction.

The PEO said a total of 79,401 people were registered to vote in the referendum, where the voters were asked to either support or vote against the question “Do you approve the Bill for an Act proposing to alter the constitution of Grenada cited as Constitution of Grenada (Caribbean Court of Justice and renaming of Supreme Court) (Amendment) Bill 2018?”

The country needed a two-thirds majority of the total number of ballots cast for it to join the CCJ.

In 2016, Grenadians voted overwhelmingly to reject seven pieces of legislation, including that of the CCJ, which would have reformed the constitution the island received when it attained political independence from Britain 42 years ago.

They voted by a margin of 9,492 in favour with 12,434 against.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, soon after casting his ballot told reporters that if the referendum fails, there will not be another attempt to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ under his leadership.

Mitchell had said he was “quietly confident” that the two-thirds majority would have been achieved in getting Grenada to join the CCJ.

“I really don’t have a problem with voices who say they want to say no but to concoct false stories to confuse people, for what I reason I don’t know,” he said, “this is not about party, this is about our children and grandchildren”.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), which initially had supported the move to replace the Privy Council, had urged the population to vote “no” on Tuesday with the party’s interim leader, Joseph Andall, saying that the new position was taken  because members were not satisfied with the process.

“For example, two of the persons who were involved in drafting the Bill are members of the Advisory Committee, therefore they have a vested interest in defending and protecting the bill, it means there is no objectivity when it comes to a discussion regarding discrepancies, flaws or omission,” he said.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, Elections, Featured, International, Legal, Local, OECS, Politics, Regional0 Comments

The Washington Post

U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms


Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher in Falfurrias, Texas, says he won’t let outside militia onto his property and he doesn’t think such groups will be trusted by most area landowners. (Dominic Bracco II/Prime/FTWP)

November 3

Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump’s warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border.

“We’ll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,” said Shannon McGauley, a bail bondsman in the Dallas suburbs who is president of the Texas Minutemen. McGauley said he was preparing to head for the Rio Grande in coming days.

“We’ve proved ourselves before, and we’ll prove ourselves again,” he said.

McGauley and others have been roused by the president’s call to restore order and defend the country against what Trump has called “an invasion,” as thousands of Central American migrants advance slowly through southern Mexico toward the U.S. border. Trump has insisted that “unknown Middle Easterners,” “very tough fighters,” and large numbers of violent criminals are traveling among the women, children and families heading north on foot.

[Migrant caravan: What Trump’s threats sound like to the Central Americans trudging north]

The Texas Minutemen, according to McGauley, have 100 volunteers en route to the Rio Grande who want to help stop the migrants, with more likely on the way.

“I can’t put a number on it,” McGauley said. “My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We’ve even got two from Canada.”

Asked whether his group planned to deploy with weapons, McGauley laughed. “This is Texas, man,” he said.

And yet, the prospect of armed vigilantes showing up beside thousands of U.S. troops — along with Border Patrol agents, police officers and migrants — is considered serious enough that military planners have issued warnings to Army commanders.

According to military planning documents obtained by Newsweek, the military is concerned about the arrival of “unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support” of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

President Trump’s misleading claims about the caravan of migrants headed toward the U.S. is a mirror image of his 2016 campaign tactics.

The assessment estimates that 200 militia members could show up. “They operate under the guise of citizen patrols,” the report said, while warning of “incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments.”

The military report provided no further details about the alleged thefts.

Manuel Padilla Jr., the top Border Patrol official in the agency’s Rio Grande Valley sector, the nation’s busiest for illegal crossings, said he has not issued any instructions to agents in the field or to landowners whose properties are adjacent to the river. But he plans to meet with community members in the coming week, he said, to address their concerns.

“We don’t have any specific information about the militias,” said Padilla, reached by phone along the border. “We have seen them in the past, and when things start getting really busy, we have to make sure to let the community know they’re out there.”

“But they’re doing that on their own,” Padilla said.

McGauley said that in addition to weapons and camping gear, his group will have night-vision goggles and aerial drones with thermal sensing equipment, capable of operating in darkness. He emphasized that the group would report any suspicious activity to authorities and would heed any instructions from Border Patrol agents or military personnel.

Several landowners in the area said they do not want the militias around.

Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher who lives an hour north of the border in Falfurrias, said that he will not let militia members from outside the area onto his property and that he doubts most area landowners would trust outsiders.

“They are a bunch of guys with a big mouth and no substance to them,” said Vickers, a Republican who heads the 300-strong Texas Border Volunteers. The group doesn’t call itself a militia, although it patrols ranchland to intercept migrants who hike through the brush to attempt to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. The group uses ATVs, night-vision goggles, spotlights and trained dogs.

“People on the [Rio Grande] have been calling us,” Vickers said. His group is in a “holding pattern,” he said, adding, “We can have 100 volunteers in a hot area in four to eight hours.

“We’ve already talked to a bunch of landowners who wanted to know if we’ll be operating if the Border Patrol can’t be there to keep their property from being vandalized and their crops from being messed up.”

“We’re ready to move,” he said.

Others in South Texas are less enthusiastic.

Lucy Kruse, 96, said immigrants often stop on her property as they walk through the bush country, sometimes breaking into a small cabin to sleep. Her family’s ranch lies amid the thorny mesquite brush, cactus and tawny dry grass 80 miles north of the border.

As the migrant caravans head north, she and other landowners in the area worry that the number of trespassers walking through their ranches will increase dramatically. But many say the militias coming to the area also pose a threat.

“I will not let militia on my land,” Kruse said. “They’re civilians stepping into a situation where the Border Patrol is supposed to be in control and make decisions. They could damage property or harm workers. I would guess they would be trigger-happy. If they shot someone, they might just say the person they shot was reaching for a gun.”

Joe Metz, 80, lives in what looks like a pastoral tropical paradise near Mission, a town of 84,000 in the Rio Grande Valley. Tall, green sugar cane grows beside the wide river, and citrus trees dot the sandy small hillocks away from the banks.

The Rio Grande is less than a mile from Metz’s living room window, and a section of border wall crosses his property. He has watched for years as border-crossers ford the river and walk onto his land, their first step on American soil. The wall has slowed the flow significantly, he said, but between 50 and 100 people a day still cross through the farm next door.

He worries that the caravan, which includes many women and children, will surge through the area, but he doesn’t want armed vigilantes on his farm.

“The militia just needs to stay where they are,” said Metz, a Republican. “We don’t need fanatical people. We don’t need anybody here with guns. Why do they have guns? I have dealt with illegals for 30 years, and all of them have been scared, asking for help. The militias need to stay up north where they belong. We have no use for them here. They might shoot someone or hurt someone.”

But the heir to the state’s largest and most influential ranch disagrees. Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg, who has lived most of his life on the 825,000-acre King Ranch outside of Kingsville, said that he will allow militia groups on his ranch, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

“I think if the [caravan members] get across the river, they need to be caught and sent back,” said Kleberg, who wears a bushy handlebar mustache and chews an unlit cigar.

“Once they get on U.S. soil, they need to be stopped and detained. We don’t have enough Border Patrol, ICE and Highway Patrol to handle them. If we get 2,000 or 3,000 people, we will need the militia,” Kleberg said.

Miroff reported from Washington.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, Local, News, Police, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi journalist’s body parts found, say Sky sources

Reports the writer’s “cut up” remains were found in the garden of the Saudi consul’s house, are “deeply disturbing”, says No 10.

Jamal Khashoggi
Image: Jamal Khashoggi’s remains were reportedly found in the garden of the Saudi consul’s official residence
By Alex Crawford, special correspondent, in Istanbul

Body parts belonging to murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been found, according to two Sky sources.

The sources have told Sky News the Saudi dissident had been “cut up” and his face “disfigured”.

One source also suggested the writer’s remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s Istanbul home – located around 500 metres away from the consulate.

It contradicts the explanation being made by Saudi officials that the body was rolled up in a carpet and handed to a local collaborator who was tasked with disposing of the evidence.

:: Jamal Khashoggi: How journalist met his death

Image: Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October

Theresa May’s spokesman said reports of Mr Khashoggi’s body parts being found were “deeply disturbing”.

“The location of Mr Khashoggi’s body is just one of the questions we need answers to and as such we await the full results of the Turkish investigation,” he said.

In a day of fast-moving developments in the case:

:: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Mr Khashoggi’s killing a premeditated “murder”

:: Mr Erdogan demanded Saudi officials reveal the whereabouts of Mr Khashoggi’s body

:: The dissident’s son met Saudi ruler, King Salman and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Riyadh

:: Turkish media said Mr Khashoggi’s belongings were found in suitcases in a Saudi consulate car

:: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “deeply concerned” to hear Mr Erdogan call it a premeditated murder.

President Erdogan says there can be no cover-up in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi 1:48
Video: Erdogan demands answers in Khashoggi case

In a speech to the country’s parliament, Turkey’s president Erdogan demanded Saudi Arabia hold those responsible to account and asked: “Why has the body of someone who was officially said to be killed not been found yet?”

He did not mention an alleged audio recording that Turkish authorities claim to have of Mr Khashoggi’s death that supposedly confirms he was tortured, killed, had his fingers cut off and was dismembered.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih says 'nobody can justify or explain' the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi 1:14
Video: Saudi minister on ‘abhorrent incident’

The apparent discovery of Mr Khashoggi’s body parts – and Mr Erdogan’s version of events based on what he described as “new evidence and information” – both contradict Saudi Arabia’s explanation for his death.

It has said Mr Khashoggi died in a “fist fight” at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

3:03
Video: ‘Saudi double disguised as Khashoggi’

Mr Khashoggi was a known critic of the Saudi government and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Turkish president, who had promised the “naked truth” about the killing, did not mention the crown prince in his speech, though officials linked to the royal have been implicated in it.

CCTV shows 'suspicious movement' with Saudi consulate cars.
0:46
Salah Khashoggi, Jamal Khashoggi's son, meets Mohammed Bin Salman. Pic: Saudi Press Association 0:25

Video: Khashoggi’s son meets Saudi royals
Mr Khashoggi’s brother, Sahel, was also at the meeting at which the king and crown prince expressed their condolences over the Washington Post columnist’s death.

A family friend told the AP news agency that Salah Khashoggi had been under a travel ban and barred from leaving the kingdom since last year as a result of his father’s criticism of the regime.

Saudi authorities have not confirmed the restrictions.

Investigators search suitcases and possessions believed to belong to Jamal Khashoggi
Image: Investigators search suitcases and possessions believed to belong to Jamal Khashoggi

In Turkey media reports that could not be verified said investigators had found Mr Khashoggi’s belongings in a number of suitcases found in a Saudi consulate vehicle in a car park in Istanbul.

Local broadcaster Ahaber aired video showing crime scene investigators searching what appeared to be the contents of cases.

More from Jamal Khashoggi

  • Big trade deals for Saudi Arabia despite western boycott following journalist’s killing

  • ‘Savage Jamal Khashoggi murder was planned days in advance’ – Turkey

  • ‘Naked truth’ on Khashoggi murder leaves more questions

  • ‘Savage Jamal Khashoggi murder was planned days in advance’ – Turkey

  • Erdogan may still pull his punches when revealing Khashoggi ‘truth’

  • ‘Naked truth’: Turkey to reveal findings into death of Jamal Khashoggi

Sign here to force leaders to debate on TV

Thousands have signed our petition for an Independent Leaders’ Commission to organise election debates – have you?

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted he was “deeply concerned” to hear Mr Erdogan describe the Saudi dissident’s murder as premeditated.

“The world is still waiting for answers,” he wrote. Shortly after Mr Erdogan’s address, King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a statement pledging to hold Mr Khashoggi’s killers to account “no matter who they may be”.

Saudi Arabia has said the heir-apparent of the world’s top oil exporter was not involved, but any major decision must be signed off by the highest powers within its ruling Al Saud family.

It came as video was released showing a meeting between the journalist’s son, Salah Khashoggi, the Gulf kingdom’s ruler, King Salman, and crown prince Mohamed bin Salman, at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh.

 

 

Posted in Crime, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

earthquake-and-flooding

Amid Flood Disaster in Trinidad & Tobago, Earthquakes Hit

An aerial view of the flooding in sections of Trinidad (left) and the location
of one of two quakes that struck off the twin-island republic over the weekend.


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday October 22, 2018
– Two earthquakes struck off Trinidad and Tobago within 24 hours over the weekend, as the twin-island republic was dealing with massive flooding that caused destruction in some sections of the country and led Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to declare a national disaster.

There were no reports of any injuries as a result of the quakes, however.

According to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, the first, smaller one occurred on Saturday, around 4:41 p.m. That magnitude 4.2 tremor struck 92 km south of Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown; 166 km northeast of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago; and 191 km southeast of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Then on Sunday afternoon, at approximately 12:35 p.m., a 5.1 magnitude quake was recorded 78 km northeast of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago; 161 km northeast of Arima, Trinidad and Tobago; and 181 km northeast of the capital, Port of Spain.

 

In both instances, there were reports of residents of Trinidad and Tobago feeling the tremor. But the focus there was on the massive flooding that resulted from days of heavy rainfall that started on Friday.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said the country had received the equivalent of one month’s rainfall in a three-day period.

Video Player

 
 
00:00
 
00:10
 
 
 

Several homes were flooded out, and residents were trapped on roofs and on top partially-submerged vehicles as they sought to escape the rising flood waters.

Some of the severe flooring stemmed from the overflowing of the Caroni River.

Both disaster officials and residents used boats and dinghies to get the marooned residents to safety and deliver food and other supplies to areas inundated by flood waters.

“This is a national disaster, the flooding is quite widespread and quite severe and it is going to cost a lot of money to bring relief to people who have been affected,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said on Saturday after touring some of the affected areas.

Video Player

 
 
00:00
 
00:31
 
 
 

“Notwithstanding whatever shortages we are experiencing we will have to find the resources to help,” he added.

He said he would seek Cabinet’s approval to get TT$25 million (US$3.7 million) to assist those affected by the floods.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Earthquake, Entertainment, Featured, News0 Comments

EP newlogominimal

Saudi official gives new version of Khashoggi killing: Report

root

Read more at: https://epeak.in/2018/10/21/saudi-official-gives-new-version-of-khashoggi-killing-report-saudi-arabia-news/

Saudi official gives new version of Khashoggi killing: Report | Saudi Arabia News

 A senior Saudi Arabian government official has laid out a new version of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, that in key respects contradicts previous explanations. 

The latest account, provided by a Saudi official who requested anonymity, includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Khashoggi on October 2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted. A member of the team then dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for more than two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate.

An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated to Reuters.

Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal.

Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that.

The Saudi official presented what he said were Saudi internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Khashoggi.

He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team’s cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe.

He did not provide proof to substantiate the findings of the investigation and the other evidence.

This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. The authorities initially dismissed reports that Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering.

When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations “baseless.”

Asked by Reuters why the government’s version of Khashoggi’s death kept changing, the official said the government initial account was based on “false information reported internally at the time”.

“Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, it launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment,” the official said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Turkish sources say the authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s murder inside the consulate but have not released it.

Riyadh dispatched a high-level delegation to Istanbul on Tuesday and ordered an internal investigation but US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s handling of Khashoggi’s death and said questions remain unanswered.

Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia’s explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.

According to the latest version of the death, the government wanted to convince Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views, to return to the kingdom as part of a campaign to prevent Saudi dissidents from being recruited by the country’s enemies, the official said.

To that end, the official said, the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed al-Asiri, put together a 15-member team from the intelligence and security forces to go to Istanbul, meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

“There is a standing order to negotiate the return of dissidents peacefully; which gives them the authority to act without going back to the leadership” the official said.”

Al-Asiri is the one who formed the team and asked for an employee who worked with (Saud) al-Qahtani and who knew Jamal from the time they both worked at the embassy in London,” he said. The official said al-Qahtani had signed off on one of his employees conducting the negotiations

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for more than two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate.

An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated to Reuters. Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal.

Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that. The Saudi official presented what he said were Saudi internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Khashoggi.

He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team’s cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe. He did not provide proof to substantiate the findings of the investigation and the other evidence.

This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. The authorities initially dismissed reports that Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering.

When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations “baseless.”

Asked by Reuters why the government’s version of Khashoggi’s death kept changing, the official said the government initial account was based on “false information reported internally at the time”.

“Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, it launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment,” the official said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Turkish sources say the authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s murder inside the consulate but have not released it.

Riyadh dispatched a high-level delegation to Istanbul on Tuesday and ordered an internal investigation but US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s handling of Khashoggi’s death and said questions remain unanswered.

Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia’s explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.

According to the latest version of the death, the government wanted to convince Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views, to return to the kingdom as part of a campaign to prevent Saudi dissidents from being recruited by the country’s enemies, the official said.

To that end, the official said, the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed al-Asiri, put together a 15-member team from the intelligence and security forces to go to Istanbul, meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

“There is a standing order to negotiate the return of dissidents peacefully; which gives them the authority to act without going back to the leadership” the official said.”

Al-Asiri is the one who formed the team and asked for an employee who worked with (Saud) al-Qahtani and who knew Jamal from the time they both worked at the embassy in London,” he said.

The official said al-Qahtani had signed off on one of his employees conducting the negotiations.

Chokehold

According to the plan, the team could hold Khashoggi in a safe house outside Istanbul for “a period of time” but then release him if he ultimately refused to return to Saudi Arabia, the official said.

Things went wrong from the start as the team overstepped their orders and quickly employed violence, the official said.

Khashoggi was ushered into the consul general’s office where an operative named Maher Mutreb spoke to him about returning to Saudi Arabia, according to the government’s account.

Khashoggi refused and told Mutreb that someone was waiting outside for him and would contact the Turkish authorities if he did not reappear within an hour, the official said.

Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, has told Reuters he had handed her his two mobile phones and left instructions that she should wait for him and call an aide to Turkey’s president if he did not reappear.

Back inside the consul’s office, according to the official’s account, Khashoggi told Mutreb he was violating diplomatic norms and said, “What are you going to do with me? Do you intend to kidnap me?”

Mutreb replied, “Yes, we will drug you and kidnap you,” in what the official said was an attempt at intimidation that violated the mission’s objective.

When Khashoggi raised his voice, the team panicked. They moved to restrain him, placing him in a chokehold and covering his mouth, according to the government’s account. “They tried to prevent him from shouting but he died,” the official said. “The intention was not to kill him.”

Asked if the team had smothered Khashoggi, the official said: “If you put someone of Jamal’s age in this position, he would probably die.”

Missing body

To cover up their misdeed, the team rolled up Khashoggi’s body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it over to a “local cooperator” for disposal, the official said. Forensic expert Salah Tubaigy tried to remove any trace of the incident, the official said.

Turkish officials believe that Khashoggi’s killers may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest adjacent to Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, 90 kilometers south of Istanbul.

Turkish investigators are likely to find out what happened to the body “before long,” a senior official said.

The Saudi official said the local cooperator is an Istanbul resident but would not reveal his nationality. The official said investigators were trying to determine where the body ended up.

Meanwhile, operative Mustafa Madani donned Khashoggi’s clothes, eyeglasses and Apple watch and left through the back door of the consulate in an attempt to make it look like Khashoggi had walked out of the building. Madani went to the Sultanahmet district where he disposed of the belongings.

The official said the team then wrote a false report for superiors saying they had allowed Khashoggi to leave once he warned that Turkish authorities could get involved and that they had promptly left the country before they could be discovered.

Sceptics have asked why so many people, including military officers and a forensics expert specialising in autopsies, were part of the operation if the objective was to convince Khashoggi to return home of his own volition.

The official said all 15 team members had been detained and placed under investigation, along with three other local suspects.

Read more at: https://epeak.in/2018/10/21/saudi-official-gives-new-version-of-khashoggi-killing-report-saudi-arabia-news//

Posted in Crime, Featured, International, Local, News, Police, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Dr Ingrid Buffonge

An uphill Task?

Hon Dr Ingrid Buffonge

Is Premier Romeo facing an uphill task to keep his government in power

by staff writer

Popular news this week pose that Premier Donaldson Romeo’s four-year-old government faces an uphill task to complete its first five-year term in office after an independent legislator filed a motion of no confidence in his administration.
The motion by Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, a former member of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) is scheduled to be heard on October 23.
Dr. Buffonge sits as an independent member of the Legislative Assembly, having left the PDM party after just a year. She did so ‘crossing the floor’, following much upheaval of dissatisfaction with the way she felt things were in particular in the area of health and more so with conditions especially the lack of equipment at the hospital. She, according to official sources served as a health advisor to the Minister of Health, which was part of her contractual duties to the government.
Buffonge, who received the second highest number of votes in the September 2014 elections on the PDM slate, resigned from the party a year later and two weeks ago, called for the resignation of Health Minister Delmaude Ryan. Willock had also called for Ryan’s resignation, saying that he supported Buffonge

Hon. Gregory Willock

In September 2014 general election, the PDM won seven of the nine seats in the Assembly, but since losing Buffonge, recently, in support of further grouse, personal and otherwise, Parliamentary Secretary Gregory Willock, who has acted as Minister in every Ministry except the Premier’s, formally resigned from the government and the party last week.
Prior to this, last year, Romeo dismissed Claude Hogan his agriculture minister. Earlier this week, with the pending motion in the Assembly, the crossing of the floor by Willock, putting four people on the side of the house, a call from the opposition leader for the government to resign, Hogan called on Premier Romeo to be “bold and put loyalty to country before any personal loyalty.
“There has been much change over the last week and with good reason,” he said in a statement somewhere, “Some people are looking to me to create further change to lead our nation out of the impasse our government finds itself in. I do not see the need for the constant rush to deny and exclude anyone.”
Hogan said that while he agrees that “further change has to come” it must come from the people themselves.
.
The 2014 general election was a victory for the newly established PDM, which was formed on April 30 that year, in order to contest the elections.
The party defeated the then ruling Movement for Change and Prosperity, which seats two members in the Legislative Assembly on the opposition benches.

Posted in Featured, Local, News, Politics0 Comments

DSC_3163

Montserrat not ‘blacklisted’ in OECD CBI/RBI report

On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, The Guardian in the UK carried a story captioned “Tax: Evasion: blacklist of 21 countries with ‘golden passport’ schemes published”.

The article says: “A blacklist of 21 countries whose so-called “golden passport” schemes threaten international efforts to combat tax evasion has been published by the west’s leading economic thinktank.

“Three European countries – Malta, Monaco and Cyprus – are among those nations flagged as operating high-risk schemes that sell either residency or citizenship in a (report released on Tuesday – http://www.oecd.org/tax/automatic-exchange/crs-implementation-and-assistance/residence-citizenship-by-investment/ ) by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“The Paris-based body has raised the alarm about the fast-expanding US$3bn (£2.3bn) citizenship by investment industry, which has turned nationality into a marketable commodity. In exchange for donations to a sovereign trust fund, or investments in property or government bonds, foreign nationals can become citizens of countries in which they have never lived. Other schemes, such as that operated by the UK, offer residency in exchange for sizable investments…

“Also, on the OECD blacklist are a handful of Caribbean nations that pioneered the modern-day methods for the marketing of citizenship. These include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis, which has sold 16,000 passports since relaunching its programme in 2006.”

Montserrat is not mentioned above, but the report said, without mentioning anything about ‘blacklisting’: “Financial Institutions are required to take the outcome of the OECD’s analysis of high-risk CBI/RBI schemes into account when performing their CRS due diligence obligations. (Further detail is available in our Frequently Asked Questions section below).

“The OECD has analysed over 100 CBI/RBI schemes, offered by CRS-committed jurisdictions, identifying the following schemes that potentially pose a high-risk to the integrity of CRS.”

On reading the report it will not surprise if Montserrat is removed from the list that appeared even at the suggestion of being ‘high risk’.

However, in a news report which noted, Montserrat has on its books laws for an Economic Residency Program (ERP), it was against this background that a local economic and financial analyst Peter Queeley was asked why he thinks the island has to be named on this blacklist.”

 

Queeley responded, not realizing perhaps that Montserrat was not blacklisted ‘for such’, except for the Guardian’s misguided report, showed some understanding of the topic, said in part: “Montserrat and the other countries that offer the economic citizenship and economic residency programs is that their programs now have been elevated too what they call a high-risk status,” going on to say however, “essentially these programs are now under attack…and these programs now which would have provided sizable income to those countries in terms of raw cash… now are now under scrutiny and under attack…and those persons who are engaging in purchasing economic citizenship and economic residency you are actually you now attacking the actual business fabric of the whole programs.”

He said further, referring specifically to Montserrat, “I would call this in no uncertain terms terrorism because it threatens the fabric of our society and our economic growth…” going on to speak to the history of the attitude towards the Caribbean: “It’s not for the first time we are seeing these things. If you go way back you would have seen that when we were doing sugar and we were into bananas in particular you had he whole preferential treatment access thing which came up pushed by the U.S. of course and once our profession access in the UK markets were taken away…”

Meanwhile however, while noticing the only OTs listed were Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands, there were vehement denials by Bahamas and Barbados, that the report did not, as reported by The Guardian, show them as being blacklisted.

The Oct 17, CMC report coming out of NASSAU, Bahamas, stated: “This report is false and misleading,” the Ministry of Finance said, noting that the OECD Tuesday published a report that includes a list of jurisdictions around the world, including The Bahamas, which operate Citizenship by Investment (CBI) or Residence by Investment (RBI) programmes.

The government insists that “this report is not a blacklist” and added that representatives of the Ministry of Finance, who are currently attending meetings in Paris, met with the Head of the OECD International Cooperation and Tax Administration Division, which published the report.

“The Ministry was assured that the characterization of the list as a blacklist is completely inaccurate. The Bahamas is under no obligation to take any measures to change its investment schemes.“

Coming also from BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Oct 17, CMC – “The Barbados government Wednesday said it has never had a Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) as Bridgetown responded to a statement issued by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) linking several Caribbean countries to the initiative.

“At the outset, it must be emphasized that Barbados has never had, and does not have, a citizenship by investment programme.”

The report continues: “However, among several other countries, Barbados High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) Special Entry Permit (SEP) regime was identified as one which poses a high-risk to the integrity of the CRS. This is not a “blacklist”, although some media establishments have chosen to headline their articles on the issue as such,” Toppin said.

“He said that the government, which came to power in May this year “forcefully rejects any and all such news reports which state that Barbados has been blacklisted by the OECD.

“These reports are false and erroneous, but can, unfortunately, have deleterious effects on our reputation.

“The OECD report simply provides practical guidance to financial institutions on how to undertake enhanced due diligence on clients that are citizens or residents of the countries with Citizenship By Investment (CBI) or Residence By Investment (RBI) programmes so as to prevent cases of Common Reporting Standard (CRS) avoidance and tax evasion,” Toppin noted.

In the end, Commissioner of Montserrat’s Financial Services Commission commenting on the report said, she did not see any complication in the issue and while she would not expect to see a listing in these connections, do look forward to the removal of Montserrat from the ‘high risk’ register.

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

DSC_9803

ECCB donates to the elderly and children for FIM

The East Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is celebrating its 35th Anniversary and also observing Financial Information Month (FIM) (during October). As part of its activities in Montserrat, the Bank through its resident agency representative Mrs. Claudette Weekes, at the office in Brades delivered financial support to two organisations.

Before making the delivery, Mrs. Weekes to note the theme for FIM 2018 which is, “Financial Empowerment Through Education with a focus on Conducting and Protecting your Business in a Digital Environment.”

She explained: “It challenges us to use the digital environment to create opportunities; to take advantage of the possibilities that these opportunities present, by optimising them i.e. make the best of them.”

She said, “It also challenges us to research, explore, and find new horizons everywhere. A lot of what we seek to know is buried in the life experiences of our senior citizens and the best person to tap these resources are the children and young people in general.”

It was because of this that the Bank took pleasure through her office to give and to announce that the sum of $1,000.00 had been deposited to the account of The Children’s Society at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC); and equal sum of $1,000.00 deposited into the account of ‘The Senior Citizen’s Association’ at the Bank of Montserrat Ltd. (BOML). The gestures she said, “are a part of the Community Outreach effort for Financial Month 2018.

Mrs. Weekes noted further that the ECCB in collaboration with RBC, BOML, Montserrat Building Society (MBS), St. Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union (SPCCU), Social Security Fund, Financial Services Commission and the (Govt.) Ministry of Finance, “is of the view that on Montserrat there are at least two associations with responsibility for protecting and caring for the vulnerable in our society.”

Mrs Claudette Weekes

She said the Bank had therefore identified the groups and selected them, “to be our FIM recipients this year.”

Following the brief remarks, she called on the presidents of the associations, Mrs. Helena Dorsett and Miss Bernadine Collins, to whom she said thanks, “for allowing us to contribute to your efforts.”

In handing over the symbolic pictures of the deposited checks, Mrs. Weekes told the two recipients, “we pray that you will experience successful outcomes as you continue to serve in this noble manner.”

Both Mrs. Dorsette and Miss Collins responded with thanks and appreciation on behalf of the associations.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Hon. Gregory Willock

Willock resigns from PDM puts 4 In opposition

MCAP calls for new polls

Hon. Gregory Willock

On Tuesday this week, following his rant last week during which he came out in support of the Hon. Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, Hon. Gregory Willock resigned all but his legislative seat in the Legislative Assembly.

Willock resigned his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary, and as a member of the questionable existence of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), sending a letter to the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo, copied to His Excellency the Governor Andrew Pierce and the Hon. speaker of the Legislative Assembly Shirley Osborne. (see letter here).

This new development comes after Dr. Buffonge, having returned from her one-year master’s degree studies in the UK as she described, said the island’s healthcare was in bad condition, citing the sudden departure of three medical doctors among other issues. But she had her own personal complaints as she found she had to wait for a contract to be concluded as was required, so she can work as a doctor.

Willock had followed this, throwing his already disgruntled position against the Minister, saying he supported Dr. Buffonge’s claims standing with Dr. Buffonge and supported her call for the premier to fire Minister Ryan. He said he was willing to cross the floor and sit as an independent member of parliament if this was not done.

The premier followed Buffonge’s statement by saying he stood behind his health minister, invoking an accusation from her when he quoted something out of scripture when he said: “He who must destroy others to succeed must know that destruction awaits him at the gate of his success.  In other words, be careful not to dig a hole for yourself.” Sounded much like, “What Goes Around Comes Around”. She said that it was a serious threat, and that the premier was attempting to suppress criticism.

In the meantime, Minister Ryan spent a long time on radio responding to Dr. Buffonge’s claims. She was adamant about not stepping down from her Ministry, and explained in some detail the state of the Health Ministry.

Willock then said he stood with Dr Buffonge and supported her call for the premier to fire Minister Ryan. He said he was willing to cross the floor and sit as an independent member of parliament if this was not done.

There has been no comment from the other members of the (PDM) government members, Minister Lewis, and deposed Minister Hogan, who has been off island, while news of a ‘motion of no-confidence’ in the government has reportedly been filed with the speaker.

There is a long and old background to the Gregory ‘Saga’ Willock sojourn in or with the Government. Speculations are that his actions are all part of a strategy for immediate changes in government or preparation for new parties to contest the due elections from September next year.

In September 2015 Willock had hit the ZJB air waves to clarify rumours that he had left the PDM party, which had already given indication that there was serious disunity among the government members.

Willock had explained he had been in discussion with the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo about stepping down from the position as parliamentary secretary to avoid some of the conflicts which were arising in the party over his desire to push for the ratification of a new legislators conditions of pay.

He claimed the current position is outdated and should have been adapted to suit the current requirements as laid out in the Montserrat Constitution Order of 2010; that the legislators conditions of pay in use does not deal adequately with issues of gratuity, pensions, vacation for legislators, he added.

Willock explained that due to some party members not in agreement with his push to have this document updated and approved to the benefit of all legislators, he said he would prefer to remain only as a member of Parliament. Currently, he supports the sectors of culture, youth and supports in his role as parliamentary secretary. A role he said he is not compensated for over and above what is the standard payment for members of Parliament.

“I’m not here all about Gregory as I have been working for over a year as Parliamentary Secretary without additional pay,” he said. “I want to work for the people.”

Premier Romeo had little to say then, regarding Willock’s position the Premier: “Please also do not think that there is anything wrong with the Honorable Gregory Willock proposing to step back from the Parliamentary Secretary post and remain a part of the PDM team,” he said, giving his commitment regarding his government’s position repeating his earlier comments regarding their forward movement as it relates to his government’s performance for the previous year.

(see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/confusion-sets-in-the-pdm-administration-at-the-turn-of-its-second-year/)

Willock’s position then had come just after the announcement of Dr. Buffonge’s resignation from the party.

We reported it was a surprise move, though from the beginning “she had shown some restlessness in her relationship with the PDM.” She resigned a week after she had spoken on ZJB radio at length recapping her role in the first year of the PDM in office. She had said that people were somewhat impatient, but she declared at the end of her recap, having called for unity and togetherness: “…people can look forward to a stronger more assertive PDM in the future with better decision making and faster progress with some restructuring…, I am asking the public don’t give on the PDM just yet. This is still a strong red machine, there is a lot of positive to come in the near future.”

Her position this time in 2018 had been little different, but Willock thought it prudent, having had more than he can take working with or under Minister Ryan.

Posted in Featured, Local, News, Politics0 Comments

Please Support The Montserrat Reporter

This is bottom line for us! Unless we receive your support, our effort will not be able to continue. Whatever and however you can, please support The Montserrat Reporter in whatever amount you can (and whatever frequency) – and it only takes a minute.
Thank you

Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo 2019 New Year Statement

Newsletter

Archives