Archive | Buisness/Economy/Banking


LIAT pilots apologise for inconvenience, outline new agreement

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Jun 13, CMC – The President of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIAPLA), Captain Carl Burke, has apologised to the travelling public in the Caribbean after pilots refused to fly the ATR72 aircraft operated by the regional carrier, LIAT, over salary increases.

“Well first of all, with the most recent situation which took place last week, I want to apologize to any persons that were inconvenienced and I want to give them all reassurance that the pilots normally, usually exhaust all means of negotiations with LIAT….,” Burke told WINN FM radio station here.

LIATTHe told radio listeners the LIAPLA had brought in an attorney to assist it with the negotiations and that “there was a deal that was brokered in the Attorney General Labour Minister’s office on the 24th of May and we thought that would have put the matter of negotiations to bed.

“Unfortunately the company did not follow through, or wrote us on the second of June indicating that they could not meet to some of the terms and conditions which were agreed to, but in general before any action is considered we always try to exhaust all means of negotiations that are arriving at….

“We just don’t take action like that and in this case the pilots had no alternative than to stop flying the ATR 72, I think that they could be viewed as being reasonable that they were negotiating a rate of pay for an aircraft that is not covered under your contract for four years, I think four years is a long time,” Burke said.

According to LIAT, it operates 10 ATR aircraft with the ATR72 capable of carrying 68 passengers, “by refusing to fly the ATR72 on the morning of June 7th, several aircraft and passengers were delayed at points of departure, including Trinidad, St Vincent, Tortola and Guyana”.

The airline which denied reports that it had ‘abandoned its pilots, said that “in this situation, the company’s priority remains to transport our loyal and paying passengers”.

Burke said that under the new the agreement that ended the three-day industrial action, “the pilots will start receiving the wage package or the new ATR salary from July 19th 2017”.

He said the retroactive payments will be in three tranches paid from August.

“So I guess August, September, October, and then there’s a gap and then there’s another schedule which will commence I think December for six payments. This was an agreement that was reached, it was formalized by way of a consent order which was filed in the Industrial Court on Saturday,” he said, adding “this has basically brought a close to the negotiations with LIAT as it pertains to wage packages with the pilots”.

Ask by his radio host as to whether the agreement will work given that the airline and its pilots have had a series of disputes over the years linked to pay and work conditions,’ Burke told listeners he was confident it would succeed.

“Well it should because as I said it is now a legal obligation on the part of the company, the mere fact that it is filed in the Industrial Court, any breach of the agreement, any party will be charged with contempt of court, we are hoping that everything stays on schedule, that we can have this matter behind us and we can move forward.”

LIAT’s main shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Efforts to get other regional governments to become shareholders have so far proven futile.

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5 ways to test your computer’s security – USA TODAY special

USA Today columnist Kim Komando guides you on how to test your computer’s security.

The moment you log onto the internet, your computer starts its game of Russian Roulette. I know that sounds bleak and frightening, but it’s true. Your personal data stored on the hard drive is a magnet for hackers and cyber-criminals, and they will stop at nothing to break into your system.

These attacks are often overt and frightening. Virtual bandits have committed wave after wave of digital crimes. They have extorted untold Bitcoin dollars from regular users desperate to decrypt their files.

Tip in a Tip: Just a few weeks ago, ransomware affected some 200,000 Windows computers all over the world. Learn how to protect yourself from ransomware attacks.

So how do you know if the security you set up on your computer really works?

Hackers use many different methods to invade your computer, so you’ll want to approach the problem from several angles. Think of it like a rancher leaning on the fence to make sure it’s still sturdy. Here are some ways to keep that fence from falling over.

1. Test your settings

The first tool in your arsenal is Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer. This free tool examines your Windows and Office settings for any potential problems, especially contamination.

First, MBSA will test your user account passwords and let you know if any account has a weak or disabled password, which is easy prey for hackers.

MBSA will also check many of your account settings. Is your computer set up to get automatic updates? Do you have more than one administrator account on the computer? This software will check all of that information for you.

MBSA also has guides to what settings are preferred and why. Just click the “What was scanned” or “Result details” links to read them.

Also, pay attention to your shared folders. MBSA will show you folders set up for sharing. You may have opened up some private folders in the past, so anyone on your network can access files in these folders. Make sure you’re only sharing what you meant to share, and with whom. Learn more about MBSA and download this free tool.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Keep your browser updated. Only the latest, safest version will help protect you from infections and attacks.

But an up-to-date browser is just the beginning. You need to make sure your browser plug-ins are up to date, as well. Just like an old browser, an outdated plug-in leaves your browser and your computer vulnerable.

Open up the browsers on your computer, even the ones that you don’t use, and go to Mozilla’s Plugin checker. It will show you every plug-in installed on the browser and whether it’s up to date. Even though it’s the same company that makes Firefox, the Plugin checker works for Internet Explorer, Chrome, and other browsers.

If you want to remove any plug-ins or toolbars you find, follow the instructions I provide here.

3. Test your firewall

One of the most fundamental security setups is a firewall. Windows and Mac have decent firewalls built in, and many third-party security programs include them.

A firewall keeps hackers from seeing your computer online when they’re searching for victims. Even if they know where your computer is, the firewall keeps them out.

But they’re not perfect. A wrong port setting can send up a flare, revealing your computer or giving hackers an opportunity to slip past. If you have a virus, it might have changed your settings without you even knowing.

A port test service like PortTest scans your firewall to make sure your computer is invisible. If it can see you, so can the hackers. Click here to test your computer’s firewall.

4. Permanently delete files

Newsflash: Deleting your files doesn’t actually remove them. They can still hang around your hard drive for days or weeks. Anyone who knows what they’re doing can recover them.

That’s why it’s a good idea to permanently delete any sensitive files that you no longer need. Here are step-by-step instructions.

But even then, you don’t want to just dust your hands and assume the files are gone. To confirm they’ve been deleted, fire up a file-recovery program like Recuva and see what it can even find on your system.

If it doesn’t find the files you permanently deleted, you’re in good shape.

5. Check your Facebook settings

Your computer isn’t the only place you store information. Facebook is packed with personal data that a scammer would love to mine.

That’s why they invented the “View As” tool. It shows you what your profile looks like to the public or specific people. If any of your information has the wrong settings, you’ll be able to spot it immediately.

Go to Facebook and open Settings >> Timeline and Tagging. Next, go to “Who can see my things on my Timeline” and click “View As.”

Consider this the “au naturel” setting of Facebook. You’ll see exactly what your profile looks like to strangers. Click through your Timeline, About, Photos, Friends, and other sections, and see whether vulnerable tidbits have slipped through.

Remember, you can edit every single thing in your profile. To the right of each item, you’ll find an icon with an upside-down triangle. Click this to choose who can see the information. It’s a shortcut that will save you a lot of headaches down the line.

There are plenty more settings you can use to change your Facebook privacy. Click here for a full walk-through of Facebook’s privacy settings and how they work.

How else can you keep your computer secure from trespassers? Be sure to listen or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.


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World leaders warn Trump: ‘Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated’

 The Hill

Inform Raw

Foreign officials and many of America’s overseas allies slammed President Trump’s Thursday announcement that he’ll pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy, three key supporters of the climate deal in Europe, responded quickly to Trump’s suggestion that the agreement could be renegotiated with better terms for the U.S. 

The deal, they said in a statement, is “a cornerstone in the cooperation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change.”


It is “irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated,” they added in response to Trump saying he’d “begin negotiations to re-enter — whether the Paris accord, or really, an entirely new transaction — on terms that are fairer to the United States.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the chancellor regrets America’s departure from the deal and added that Germany will continue to try to “save our planet,” while French President Emmanuel Macron responded in a video statement posted on Twitter. 

Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, called Trump’s decision a “brutal act,” and the Swedish prime minister tweeted, “We urge you to show global leadership, we need the USA on the team. Your Nordic Friends,” to Trump.

I condemn this brutal act against @realDonaldTrump Leadership means fighting climate change together. Not forsaking commitment.

.@realdonaldtrump We urge you to show global leadership, we need the USA on the team. Your Nordic Friends

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who worked closely with former President Obama on climate and energy issues, tweeted that “Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.” 

“We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” he added.

In a statement, the United Nations said it “regrets the announcement” and said the deal “cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single party.”

“We are committed to continue working with all governments and partners in their efforts to fast forward climate action at global and national levels,” Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, said.  

Trump spoke by phone Thursday with Merkel, Macron, Trudeau and Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, according to the White House.

He “personally explained his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord,” a readout of the calls said, and “thanked all four leaders for holding frank, substantive discussions on this issue during his first months in office.”

Trump also “reassured the leaders that America remains committed to the Transatlantic alliance and to robust efforts to protect the environment.” 

“He noted America’s strong record in reducing emissions and leading the development of clean energy technology, and he reiterated that the United States under the Trump Administration, will be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth,” the readout continued.

Trump announced Thursday his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris deal, aiming to end the U.S.’s involvement in a landmark 2015 pact in which nearly every country in the world agreed to begin tackling climate change. 

He said the voluntary terms included in the deal by the Obama administration are unfair to the United States and will hurt its energy and business sectors.  

Trump vowed to renegotiate the deal, though a White House official said what a renegotiated deal would look like is “up to the president” and provided no details.  

The United States now joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries that do not support the deal.

The front page of a German tabloid marked the occasion with a simple message on Thursday: “Earth to Trump: F**k you!” 

Jordan Fabian contributed

 Statement by France,Germany + Italy: Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, it is a vitalinstrument for our planet,

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Alden McLaughlin

Cayman Islands governor confirms finally, ‘national unity’ coalition

After General Elections – fallout

(L-R) Moses Kirkconnell (PPM), Alden McLaughlin (PPM), McKeeva Bush (CDP), Roy Tatum (PPM official), Austin Harris (IND), Dr Joseph Marzouca (CDP official), Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Governor Helen Kilpatrick and Eugene Ebanks (CDP)

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick has confirmed that Alden McLaughlin, the leader of the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), has enough support to form a government with him at the helm and the former opposition leader, McKeeva Bush, as speaker, after the two political leaders went to meet with her Monday.

There were no further details yet about who will be in Cabinet and on the government backbench or who will lead the opposition benches, as there has been no official word from the politicians involved, but Swearing In Day is now set for Wednesday.

As they say, a week is a long time in politics and the week since the election is not over yet, so anything can happen, but as it stands at present the government benches will only include two independents because others who were offered seats at the government table from the various factions of independent members elected last Wednesday have refused to serve under McLaughlin.

Nevertheless, with seven PPM members returned to the LA and supported by independent Tara Rivers, McLaughlin has the largest solid group and has been able to pull together a coalition.

Following the meeting with the politicians, Kilpatrick said in a release that on Monday afternoon she met with elected representatives Alden McLaughlin, McKeeva Bush, Moses Kirkconnell, Austin Harris and Captain Eugene Ebanks.

“Mr McLaughlin provided me with evidence that he had sufficient support to form a ‘Government of National Unity’,” she said.

She added, “Accordingly, I have signed the proclamation to a call a session of the Legislative Assembly for 10:00am Wednesday, 31st May 2017 for the purposes of swearing in all newly elected and appointed members of the Legislative Assembly, voting for a premier pursuant to section 49 (3) of the Constitution of the Cayman Islands, and other attendant matters. Mr McLaughlin has indicated that he will be seeking election to the position of premier and Mr Bush to speaker of the House.”

But Not before this reported saga

Cayman Islands coalition government deal reportedly falls apart                                                                 

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Following a very mixed result in the first ever election in the Cayman Islands under the system of ‘one man, one vote’ in which no party, group or alliance has enough seats to form a government, a second attempt at putting together a potential coalition administration that was cobbled together just before midnight on Friday and which would have put former premier

McKeeva Bush back at the helm of government was reportedly on shaky ground by Saturday morning.

Various unverified sources suggested that veteran independent MPs, Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean, are not entirely enamoured of the idea of propping up Bush as leader. They appeared to be looking to shape another potential cabinet line-up that could see Bush maneuvered into the speaker’s chair or off the government frontline altogether.

The possibility of a new mix of the independents on the front bench, or an ‘eastern alliance’ with the former incumbent People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), was beginning to emerge.

Meetings were reportedly taking place in hotels in Grand Cayman on Saturday and, in a third possible government deal so far at the weekend, another compromise was being discussed to secure an Independent-PPM alliance that could see deputy premier and tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell as the new premier.

It is understood from Bush’s correspondence on Friday with his Cayman Democratic Party (CDP) officials that the first attempt at a CDP alliance with the independent candidates had collapsed, as Miller in particular was not keen on working with Bush in Cabinet and that Chris Saunders, formerly a Bush supporter, was also reluctant to support him as premier.

As a result, Bush went to the PPM and accepted the offer of a neutral position as speaker. In return, his two elected party colleagues Bernie Bush and Capt. Eugene Ebanks would sit on the government backbench, with Bernie Bush as deputy speaker, propping up a PPM-led cabinet with Alden McLaughlin as premier and independent Tara Rivers remaining as education minister.

But that deal lasted around five hours after Bush received significant backlash from his own supporters, who accused him of betrayal, and from the various supporters of the non-party candidates, who saw Bush as collaborating with McLaughlin deliberately to keep the group of non-aligned MLAs out of power.

Following the intervention of former MP Dr Steve Tomlinson, Bush reneged on the deal signed with the PPM and, in a classic piece of political maneuvering, he managed to secure enough support from the independents to be premier instead.

But that line-up began to splinter on Saturday. Whether further talks can hold it together to make it to ‘Swearing in Day’ on Wednesday remains to be seen. But given the lack of agreement and cohesion between the various independent groups now propping up Bush as leader, that new administration would not be a stable government.

Given the new voting system of single member constituencies, which has created an opportunity for greater accountability, voters are able to speak directly to their single representative and apply pressure to indicate what they want to see.

Although current politics is reminiscent of the horse-trading and backroom deals before the advent of party politics in 2001, there is, in addition to the formation of political parties, another significant difference between then and now: backroom talks are no longer as closed as they once were. Pictures, messages and speculation make their way on to social media with lightning speed, shaking the deals even before the ink is dry.

New Cayman Islands coalition government appears set

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Following an inconclusive result to last week’s general elections in the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin looks set to remain as the British territory’s leader in a coalition between his People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) and some of the independent MPs, following a weekend of deals, counter-deals, backroom talks and double-crossing.

While the front bench line-up is not yet firm, McLaughlin said on Sunday he “expected to have a government in place” and would be “going to the governor tomorrow”. Although the PPM leader has not revealed details about the make-up of his new coalition government, it is believed to include some former PPM members.

Already dubbed by pundits as ‘the weekend of the long knives’, since McLaughlin and Cayman Democratic Party (CDP) leader McKeeva Bush signed a deal on Friday afternoon joining their parties in a coalition, there has been an enormous amount of backroom dealing to arrive at a new government line-up and a significant amount of double-crossing.

The Sunday evening agreement will probably sit well with the territory, as it is believed to be a broader coalition and more reflective of what the people voted for than the first deal. The deeply controversial agreement the independents struck late Friday night, which had Bush back as premier, did not appear to reflect the election result any more than the first deal with McLaughlin.

Sources close to the final deal have indicated that Bush, despite his about-face on Friday, may have accepted the neutral position of speaker of the House.

The late night agreement that Bush struck with the independents Friday night, which was brokered by former MP Dr Steve Tomlinson, fell apart just as quickly as the deal Bush made with the PPM leader on Friday afternoon. But the West Bay veteran politician left Grand Cayman early Saturday morning, and almost immediately the elder independents made it clear they were not prepared to support Bush as premier.

Talks then went on throughout the weekend between the various groups of independents and the PPM, with deals, demands, counter deals, offers and proposals over the premiership until late Sunday. At one point, it appeared that the 19 elected MPs were going to struggle to form a government at all and a second election was on the cards, not least because of the difficulties of negotiating with the independents, who did represent a cohesive bloc.

In the end, however, some independents have apparently agreed to support a PPM-IND coalition, with, it is understood, subject to discussions, three cabinet seats going to the independents and four to the PPM.

Although the deal has taken five days to broker, it was somewhat less “closed-door” than days of old, with details of the talks leaking constantly and appearing on Facebook.

The last time anything like these types of negotiations took place was before the emergence of the party system. In 2000, it took several days to get the first deal, which fell apart within 24 hours, and it was not until the eve of ‘Swearing-in Day’ that a deal was struck that put Kurt Tibbetts at the head of a coalition of various teams. That lasted 12 months, when a 2001 ouster gave rise to the emergence of political parties, which has prevented this type of backroom horsetrading over the last three elections.

The resurgence of independent candidates in this national poll has underscored the problem of electing a group of non-aligned individuals who have not discussed their policy platforms with each other before being elected, leaving the question of who forms the government being answered, once again, in back rooms rather than in the ballot box.

While there is still the possibility that everything might change again, the existence of parties and the fact that almost half of the independents are aligned in a group has meant that a government that reflects the vote appears to have finally emerged.

But now that the government appears to have been settled, the next question is who will lead the opposition benches.

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Trinidad rattled by earthquake

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, May 29, CMC – An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 rattled the west of Trinidad on Sunday night, the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has reported.

earthquakkIt said the quake, which occurred at a depth of three kilometres, was felt at 7.06 pm (local time).

It occurred west of Trinidad in the Gulf of Paria and was located at 10.51°N and reportedly felt widely in Trinidad, the SRC said.

Earlier this month, the SRC reported that an earthquake occurred north west of Trinidad and Tobago with a magnitude of 4.6 and was felt in Trinidad and Tobago and neighbouring Grenada.

On both occasions there were no reports of injuries or damages.

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Alternately charming and boorish, Trump plays the role of a lifetime overseas

Play Video 0:51  – President Trump appeared to push past Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic at a NATO event in Brussels on May 25. (Reuters)
May 27 at 2:57 PM
TAORMINA, Italy — Little matters more to Donald Trump, the brander-turned-American president, than imagery. Trump staffed his government out of central casting, and this past week it was time for him to audition for his role: Leader of the free world.In Washington, Trump is mostly seen only when he chooses. At a lectern in the Rose Garden. Saluting as he boards Marine One. Behind the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office signing jumbo-sized executive orders, pushing his red button to summon a butler with Diet Coke or flashing a thumbs up from his high-backed cherry leather chair.

But a nine-day, marathon foreign trip that concluded Saturday here in Sicily has offered the first extended — and often unfiltered, thanks to the steady stream of raw camera footage provided by his host countries — look at Trump on the world stage.

Trump was both charming and boorish. He was deferential to the berobed king of Saudi Arabia and Pope Francis, yet aggressively rude to his European colleagues, brushing aside a Balkan prime minister to get to his place lining up for a photo shoot at NATO. The French newspaper Le Monde admonished Trump for “verbal and physical brutality” toward NATO allies and said he “lectured them like children.”

He strode around hulkingly. He nervously buttoned and unbuttoned his suit jacket. He sometimes seemed unsure whether to smile his toothy grin or glare, as he does when posing for portraits, so he alternated back and forth. At formal events, Trump did not always know where to go or what to do.

“What is the protocol?” he asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they walked down a red carpet at an airport arrival ceremony in Tel Aviv.

“Who knows,” Netanyahu replied. “I think they’ll just tell us where to stand.”

Trump was visibly comfortable in environs that evoked his own, like Saudi Arabia’s gilded-and-chandeliered palaces, yet appeared out of place in others. He arrived like a wrecking ball at the new NATO headquarters, a glass-and-steel behemoth that stands as a symbol of globalism and bureaucracy.

Trump’s family members took center stage. Daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, both White House advisers, stood behind or next to the president when he delivered his speech to Muslim leaders, prayed at the Western Wall, addressed Israeli-Palestinian peace and met Pope Francis. They peeled off the trip in Rome, mid-way through.

First lady Melania Trump was omnipresent, though largely silent and emotionless. She and her husband were rarely seen exchanging words, and he sometimes walked ahead of her, almost as if she were an ornament. 

But the first lady came out of her shell at solo events, handing out Dr. Seuss books and coloring with children. She was especially moved by her visit to Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, where she read a book to and held hands with a boy who was awaiting a heart transplant. A few hours later, the first lady learned the hospital had found a donor. “Receiving that news is a moment I will never forget,” she said.

A Slovenian-born former model, Melania received considerable attention for her fashion. The Saudi media fawned over her attire in Riyadh as “conservative” and “classy,” though she raised eyebrows strolling the streets of Sicily in a colorful floral jacket by the Italian designer Dolce & Gabanna that reportedly retails for $51,500.

While critics at home had predicted major gaffes, the president made none. And Trump participated in and contributed to substantive meetings on issues ranging from counterterrorism and trade to climate change and migration.

“A president becomes presidential,” said Fred Davis, a Republican media strategist. “I’m hoping this trip brings him a level of personal peace, confidence and gravitas that he can use back home.”

In Saudi Arabia, Trump’s call for cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State unquestionably pushed the issue forward, with renewed emphasis on stopping terror financing and blocking militant messaging and recruitment. Beyond any substantive accomplishment, Trump revitalized Arab leaders, particularly in the Persian Gulf, who felt they had been disrespected and ignored by President Obama.

“The United States shifted over the last eight years as a neutral player, at best, that looked the other way at Iranian aggression around the world,” said Ari Fleischer, a White House press secretary under former president George W. Bush. “We are now where we should be.”

In Israel and on the West Bank, Trump repeated his pledge to bring Israelis and Palestinians together in a peace deal, although no progress was made on starting that process. He delighted Netanyahu, and likely discouraged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, by not mentioning a two-state solution as a goal.

In Europe, Trump’s badgering remarks on defense spending — during a NATO ceremony memorializing the joint alliance response to the September 2001 terrorist attacks — left a bad taste. There was widespread disappointment at Trump’s failure to use the occasion to reaffirm U.S. commitment to the alliance’s joint defense pact, Article 5, although national security adviser H.R. McMaster said that “of course” Trump supports it.

Trump’s behavior, said Stefan Leifert of Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, was “a slap in the face of all other alliance members.”

But there were also positive reactions. Germany’s Die Welt newspaper commentator Christoph B. Schiltz wrote that Trump’s “urging, his bugging and his persistence have left the alliance finally engaging more in the fight against international terrorism.” 

The White House appeared to step on its own media applause lines by failing to provide timely fact sheets or copies of signed agreements Trump was touting in public as “historic” and “epic.” Press spokesmen sometimes were ill-equipped to provide basic information. And unlike virtually every president before him on similar journeys, Trump held no news conferences.

On the campaign trail, as Trump assessed Obama’s foreign policy, he fixated on an image from China that he thought symbolized America’s declining power: Obama disembarking Air Force One in Hangzhou, where he was attending a Group of 20 summit, on a metal ladder extending from the plane’s belly.

“They have pictures of other leaders who are. . .coming down with a beautiful red carpet. And Obama is coming down a metal staircase,” Trump said at a stop in Ohio. “If that were me, I would say, ‘You know what, folks, I respect you a lot but close the doors, let’s get out of here.’”

Trump did not have to make that call on this trip. At each stop, there were better than satisfactory staircases from which he could descend. At the Riyadh airport, trumpets blared, soldiers stood at attention, fighter jets flew overhead, and a spotless red carpet stretched across the tarmac. The aging King Salman, arriving in a golf cart, and aided by a cane, warmly greeted the president at the foot of the staircase.

“It was very spectacular,” Trump later told European leaders, using his characteristic hyperbole to describe his welcome in Saudi. “I don’t think there was ever anything like that. That was beyond anything anyone’s seen.”

On arrival in Tel Aviv, another band, another red carpet and another head of state stood waiting. Even in Rome and Brussels, which are hardly Trump-friendly locales, the president received a grand welcome.

Trump often found himself the center of attention, both because of America’s place in the world and his singular standing as an international curiosity. But he seemed most at ease playing the undisputed leading man, such as in Riyadh, where the Saudi royal family treated him like one of their own, or in Jerusalem, where Netanyahu lifted him up every opportunity.

“It is disturbing to see how impressionable he is,” said Jennifer Palmieri, a former communications adviser to Obama and Hillary Clinton. “His standard for whether or not a visit went well is how well he was treated. It is unnerving to see the leaders of other countries attempt to outdo each other in appealing to his ego as a means of bending the United States to their will.” 

Trump’s confidence was less apparent at the Vatican, where he played the supplicant to Pope Francis, sitting across a wooden desk as if he were interviewing for a job.

As the trip went on, Trump seemed to be having less of a good time, perhaps in part because scandals were brewing in Washington that would await him.

In Brussels, where he attended a series of events celebrating NATO, Trump looked downright bored. As the king of Belgium and other leaders took turns at the lectern, Trump got fidgety, shifting in his seat, looking up to the sky and down to his feet, and crossing his arms over his chest.

The president — whom aides say has little patience for listening to other people speak — then endured a dinner session in which the leaders of all 28 NATO partners gave remarks.

And here in picturesque Taormina, at the Group of Seven summit on the rocky Sicilian coast, Trump struggled to look interested during long meetings with allies in a room decorated with the flags of other countries. As the other G-7 leaders strolled the streets of this ancient fortress town, Trump followed along in a golf cart.

A weight seemed to lift from Trump’s shoulders when he touched down by helicopter at the U.S. Naval Air Station Sigonella, on the Sicilian island, for a pep rally with military families before flying home to Washington.

The need for diplomatic niceties was over. The music playing was his campaign soundtrack. The American flag hanging behind him was several stories tall. Trump could be Trump. 

The president riffed about winning — “you’re going to do a lot of winning!” — and, evoking President Reagan, said his trip would pave the way for “peace through strength.”

“That’s what we’re gonna have,” Trump said. “We’re gonna have a lot of strength and we’re gonna have a lot of peace.”

Anthony Faiola and Stephanie Kirchner in Berlin, Stefano Pitrelli in Giardini Naxos, Italy, and Michael Birnbaum in London contributed to this report.

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Six including opposition legislators charged in multi-million dollar fraud

 GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 19, CMC. -Six persons including two opposition legislators and a former deputy Permanent Secretary were charged on Friday in connection with a multi-million dollar fraud at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), dating back to 2011.

The six, all former GRDB board members were slapped with a fines totalling GUY$400 million, they were also ordered to surrender their passports.

CourtThe court was told that the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) legislators Dharamkumar Seeraj and Nigel Dharamlall along with GRDB head Ricky Ramraj, former General Manager Jagnarine Singh, former GRDB board member Badrie Persaud and Former Ministry of Agriculture Deputy Permanent Secretary, Prema Roopnarine,conspired to omit entering different sums of money into a ledger .

Dharamlall was only charged in relation to the 2011 and 2012 omission while the others were slapped with all five charges.

The  six were charged following investigations that were prompted by the findings of a forensic audit.

All  of the Attorneys asked that their clients be released either on their own recognizance or reasonable bail as the prosecution requested more time for the filing of statements.

Defense Anil Nandlall argued that the charges do not relate to any missing money but rather to an omission to make an entry into a ledger.

He said that is largely a clerical function and the Board Members should not be held responsible for it adding that the error is miniscule and that the Auditor General, a Chartered Accountant and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament did not raise any red flags.

Nandlall also questioned why from a Board of 15 members, only six were identified to be charged.

The matter has been adjourned until June 22 .

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Justice Adrian Saunders

Judge surprised by CCJ’s ‘light’ caseload


KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, May 17, CMC — A judge with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has expressed “surprise” at the court’s “light” caseload in its original jurisdiction, 12 years after it was established.

“After 12 years, it is a little surprising that the court’s original jurisdiction caseload is still as light as it is,” Justice Adrian Saunders said in Kingstown on Tuesday.

“In the appellate jurisdiction, the court has delivered over 140 or so judgements but we have heard less than a dozen cases and delivered about 20 judgements in the original jurisdiction,” he said.

Justice Adrian Saunders
Justice Adrian Saunders

Saunders’ comments came as he delivered a lecture entitled “The Treaty of Chaguaramas: Conflicts and Contradictions for the Island State”.

The lecture is part of the “Issues in International Affairs Lecture Series” organised by the University of the West Indies Open Campus in Kingstown, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and Legalease SVG Inc.

Saunders said  the flow of cases that relate to the treaty – which established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – is “very sluggish”.

“The question is why. I can only hazard a few guesses,” Saunders said, adding that he thinks many companies and persons who are prejudiced by the unlawful conduct of CARICOM members states still feel constrained to rely on the delinquent member state for a host of things.

These range from the expeditious and favourable processing of licences, to direct business opportunity.

“They prefer, therefore, to suffer in silence rather than displeasing a government and possibly losing business by brining legal proceedings.”

The judge said that there was actually a litigant who gave evidence to this effect to the court.

“He said there are other actions that he could bring but if he did so, he believes that spiteful measure would be taken against him.”

Saunders said that another issue is that in its original jurisdiction, the CCJ applies the rules of international law.

“And the vast majority of lawyers in private practise are not experienced in this branch of the law. Many of them have never even read the treaty and they are, therefore, unable or reluctant to advise their clients to institute cases in the original jurisdiction.”

Another consideration is that the vast majority of CARICOM nationals are still ignorant about their rights that proceed from the treaty and about the role of the court in vindicating those rights, Saunders said.

On the issue of sensitization , he noted  that when the court was established in 2005, it seems that CARICOM could not afford to concentrate anymore of its slender resources in widespread public education about these matters..

“In the court’s early years, it attempted itself to do some of this work and judges of the court went to various member states and conducted public education sessions about the treaty and the rights of CARICOM citizens and the role of the court, Saunders said.

“But, interestingly, when we embarked upon our first strategic plan, our stakeholders told us in no uncertain terms that they didn’t consider it seemly that the judges of the court should be doing this kind of public relations work. And so we have cut back considerable on it.”

The judge said that the case of Jamaican Shanique Myrie — who won a lawsuit against the Barbados government — the public spiritedness of a few Jamaican lawyers who were willing to work pro bono for her, “have demonstrated that with courage, with an abiding faith in the legal system, it is possible to take on a member stage and to secure justice”.

The CCJ awarded Myrie US$38,000 after she sued the Barbados government, claiming she was subjected to a dehumanising cavity search by a female immigration officer at Grantley Adams International Airport, locked in a filthy room overnight and deported to Jamaica in March 2011.

Regarding what he finds most significant about the original jurisdiction and the court’s role as the guardian of the treaty, Saunders said: “I would say, without hesitation, that despite the fact that only four countries have acceded to the appellate jurisdiction, despite the challenges we experience, in securing law and order in the region, despite everything you see and hear about the justice system in the region, what impresses me most is that the governments in the region have demonstrated the utmost respect for the court and its judgement.”

He said that after the Myrie decision, CARICOM governments re-examined their protocols relating to admission of entry of CARICOM nationals and made alterations to those protocols to confirm with the prescriptions of the court.

The same thing happened when the court decided a case against CARICOM itself, Saunders said.

“Every single judgement of the court has ben fully complied with,” Saunders said, noting among them, that Myrie was paid her damages in full by the Barbados government.

In 2001, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries established the CCJ to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court.

But so far only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana have signed on to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ, even though most of the 15-member grouping are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the integration movement.

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Guyana Flooding

Government to assist hundreds affected by flood waters

 GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 18, CMC – Over 1,000 people have been affected by flood waters reported to be at least 15 feet high.

This was disclosed by Minister of State Joseph Harmon who has responsibility of the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) and the coordination of disaster response.

Harmon told reporters at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday that a team from the CDC was dispatched to the flood affected communities on the outskirts of the capital.

Guyana Flooding He said the team dispatched will have, “a firsthand look and do a proper assessment as to what the true situation is,” adding that “they have already started taking steps to get relief to those persons who are there.”

According to Harmon, residents are receiving support from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) which has a presence in the community, assessing the situation to provide relief. However, the Minister explained that, “it is important to note that some of these communities are in valleys, and therefore, when the rains come down heavily, the waters come down from the mountain and they flood these villages.”

He added that “some of these flood waters you have just to wait until they recede, there is very little that you can do except to provide for the comfort of the residents who are affected by it and that is what we are doing.”

Meanwhile, President David Granger has given certain directions to the CDC, and to the regional administration for actions to be taken, and the support which the government is going to give to the residents who are affected by the flooding.

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Regional integration provides resilience – CARICOM Secretary General


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 18, CMC –  Secretary General of the  Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque says the strength of the regional integration movement provides a solid platform for which CARICOM member states can build resilience within a global environment that is constantly in flux.

LaRocque, made the statement here on Thursday when he addressed the opening of the 20th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR).

COFCOR_MayAccording to LaRocque, COFCOR is meeting at a time when international order was in greater flux than usual.

“Globalization and multilateralism, characterised by open borders, the institutionalization of economic and political cooperation, and shared sovereignty are unravelling, increasingly challenged by the rise of populism, protectionism and isolationism,” the CARICOM Secretary-General told the gathering of the Region’s Foreign Ministers

He noted that some international developments have had far-reaching implications for the Community’s well-being – highlighting the commencement of the Brexit process and a new US administration whose policy positions towards the Region were not yet clear.

He said the uncertainty that potential policy reversals in the US brought to a number of critical global issues was also crucial to CARICOM.

Concerning Brexit, he said, involved parties are among the region’s major trading and development partners, making it important for the Community to maintain the strong relationships with both.

He said imminent negotiations on the post-Cotonou arrangements which would define the future relationship between the ACP (African Caribbean and Pacific) Group of Countries and the EU; the discussion on the revitalisation of the ACP itself, a construct which had been useful in bringing three regions together in common cause; and the ever-present existential threat of climate change were among the other issues he highlighted that had far-reaching implications for CARICOM.

The Secretary-General said CARICOM was adapting to change and building the resilience, even as it sought new opportunities for advancement and a strengthened Community.

“The Caribbean Community has a complex and formidable task at hand.  With change, comes uncertainty but also the potential for opportunities.  I believe, as I have said in another forum, that “the strength of our integration movement gives us a solid platform upon which to build our resilience,” LaRocque said.

He noted that CARICOM had been pursuing engagements with Third Countries to address the issues including graduation from access to concessional development financing, with some success; engaging relevant authorities in foreign capitals to address the withdrawal of correspondent banking services; and confronting in an aggressive manner, those nations that persist in labelling some CARICOM Member States as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

“The unilateral black listing of our Member States by countries who we think of as our traditional friends, is unwarranted, unhelpful and indeed harmful to our economies,” Mr LaRocque stated.

However, he noted that the Community had begun to see the value of acting in concert. That has become evident as the Community prepares for the upcoming high-level UN Conference on Oceans, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, to be held in New York 5-9 June, 2017.

“The Community has brought together the negotiating skills of its Permanent Representatives to the UN, the guidance of their capitals, and the inputs of technical experts from UWI and CARICOM specialized institutions to maximize the effectiveness of our participation,” the CARICOM Secretary-General said,

The meeting is being chaired by  Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados who is also the incoming Chairman of COFCOR.

“It is imperative that we deepen and strengthen community engagement and, as a cohesive body, leverage our voices as one to derive maximum benefit for the region,” she said while adding that recent political developments in the hemisphere and Europe involving long-term CARICOM partners would likely have “a profound impact” on the region.

The Foreign Minister said the region must devise a clear policy on how they will engage with the EU following the exit of the United Kingdom, as well as the Africa Caribbean Pacific-European Union relationship after the Cotonou Agreement expires in 2020.

She also highlighted the issue of climate change, which she stressed was a “priority issue” for CARICOM.

“We also have to determine what effect the new stand of the United States administration on climate change may have on the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and other efforts to mitigate climate change,” she stated.

Outgoing COFCOR Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir Louis Straker, also reiterated the need for CARICOM to “pay closer attention and forge closer relations” during a time of changing global dynamics.

“In order to be effective within this new and emerging landscape, CARICOM as a unified body must ensure its ability to leverage its position on various thematic issues that are achievable and supported by strong political will.

Following the opening ceremony, the CARICOM Foreign Ministers engaged in the first plenary session and a retreat.

The meeting will conclude on Friday.

The COFCOR meets formally once each year, and is responsible for determining relations between the Community, international organisations and Third States

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