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Dr Jimmy Fletcher, British High Commissioner Janet Douglas, Steve O’Malley UNDP

Climate change, the Paris Agreement and the Caribbean are inextricably linked, says former St Lucia minister


Dr Jimmy Fletcher, British High Commissioner Janet Douglas, Steve O’Malley UNDP

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Dr Jimmy Fletcher, former Chevening scholar and former minister for sustainable development in Saint Lucia, has during the past week travelled around the Eastern Caribbean and delivered insightful presentations on the contributions made by the region towards agreements to limit the growth of greenhouse gases.

He spoke to alumni and other interested parties in Saint Lucia, Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada on the importance of climate change to the vulnerable countries of the Eastern Caribbean and the Paris Agreement. This was reached at the Conference of Parties (or COP 21) in Paris in 2015, where the majority of the global community agreed to take steps to limit the rise of global average temperatures and to tackle the effects of already unavoidable climate change.

Having represented Saint Lucia and the region, Fletcher was able to share his unique take on the Paris Agreement and the Caribbean. As he explained, the countries of the Eastern Caribbean and the UK played their part contributing to the overall global effort in restricting the impact of climate change.

“It is important to spread the message about climate change and its impact on the small island developing states in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the world,” he said.

The enthusiastic audience was enlightened by Fletcher’s presentations and energetic Q&A sessions showed the high levels of interest and knowledge of this issue.

The presentations come just after the British government launched its clean growth strategy aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions, and ahead of the next round of negotiations at COP23 in November.

The presentations were organised by the British High Commission, together with the Chevening Alumni Associations of each island.

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Robert Mueller and President Donald Trump.

Trump Should Be Scared

On Monday, Mueller signalled where his investigation is headed

By Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern

Robert Mueller and President Donald Trump.

Robert Mueller and President Donald Trump.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Paul Manafort indictment is what it doesn’t say: the name Donald Trump. The indictment is a perfectly clean, amply substantiated case against two people—Manafort and his former business partner Rick Gates—accused of money laundering and tax evasion. By nowhere intimating that these charges have anything to do with the Trump campaign, or collusion between the campaign and Russia, the indictment denies Trump and his apologists the argument that the Mueller probe is a politically motivated witch hunt against the president.

This might be why Donald Trump’s first tweet in response to the indictment doesn’t claim that it is politically motivated but rather that it all happened a long time ago.

Still, so much of this document that is not about Trump is, in many ways, all about Trump. The charges against Manafort and Gates, for instance, mirror what many financial experts have long claimed about the Trump Organization: that they have been at pains to hide money from the IRS, including money from foreign sources; that they have engaged in conspiracies to launder foreign money; that they have made false statements and conspired to hide foreign funds. This is an indictment that should terrify Trump in that it shadows and hints at his own unlawful conduct and nabs two players who might be willing to cooperate to get out of their mess. And Trump can’t claim any of it is a direct attack on him.

The Manafort indictment was followed by the release of a guilty plea that George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, entered earlier in October. According to that plea, Papadopoulos admitted to making “material false statement and material omissions” during an FBI interview on Jan. 27. Back then, he told the FBI that an unnamed professor “told him about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails,’ but stated multiple times that he learned that information prior to joining the campaign.”

Mueller does not need to go after Manafort for crimes that might implicate Trump—not yet, at least.

In truth, Papadopoulos had already been hired to join the Trump campaign when the professor contacted him. Moreover, the professor mentioned the “thousands of emails” after Papadopoulos had been working on the campaign for more than a month. And while Papadopoulos had initially claimed that this professor was “a nothing,” Monday’s release indicates that the professor has “substantial connections to Russian government officials”—of which Papadopoulos was aware. More broadly, the statement illustrates that Papadopoulos was extremely eager to coordinate with the Russian government throughout his work on the Trump campaign and that the Trump campaign was eager to find lower-level channels to cooperate on this project.

Unlike the Manafort-Gates indictment, Trump’s name is all over this plea document. But again, where it’s missing is most revealing. The last line of the statement reads: “On July 27, 2017, defendant PAPADOPOULOS was arrested upon his arrival at Dulles International Airport. Following his arrest, defendant PAPADOPOULOS met with the Government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions.”

The Papadopoulos plea may wind up being far more consequential for Trump than the Manafort indictment. It indicates that Mueller might already have proof of collusion—or at least evidence of an attempt by Trump’s campaign staff to collude with Russian officials.

Appellate attorney Deepak Gupta told us that Mueller’s decision to release the Papadopoulos plea on Monday signals “where the investigation is really going.”

Join Dahlia Lithwick and her stable of standout guests for a discussion about the high court and the country’s most important cases.

“The two cases together signal the breadth of the investigation—in time, and subject matter, small fish and big fish,” Gupta said. “The Manafort/Gates indictment deliberately omits anything related to the Trump campaign, which suggests that the play here is to force cooperation among these big fish who have no ideological interests.”

Top Comment

I went to lunch and a guy standing at the counter next to me looked at the tv and said “wow, they’re really gonna let Hillary walk on all of this, huh?  More…

Juliette Kayyem, former U.S. assistant secretary of homeland security for intergovernmental affairs, agreed, telling us in an email: “Manafort may very well end up being a bit of a distraction…

Mueller does not need to go after Manafort for crimes that might implicate Trump—not yet, at least. On Monday, he moved to take down two crooks for predictable financial crimes unrelated to Trump and followed that up with a shocking revelation that the investigation has uncovered evidence of attempted collusion between a member of the Trump campaign and the Russian government. In other words, he already has a lead on collusion; now he needs to flip the most flippable major players to get at the big fish—including, perhaps, the biggest fish of all.

One more thing

The Trump administration poses a unique threat to the rule of law. That’s why Slate has stepped up our legal coverage—watchdogging Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department, the Supreme Court, the crackdown on voting rights, and more.



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Bonn con

Dominica PM goes to COP 23 with a shopping list

BONN, Germany, Nov 16, CMC – Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Thursday came to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) with a shopping list of more than US$200 million as he reminded the international community of the disaster brought upon his country by Hurricane Maria on September 18 this year.

“Hurricane Maria was reported to be one of the most rapidly intensifying storms in recent history. Our citizens barely had time to prepare before the ferocious winds and incessant rain began assaulting our nature island,” Skerrit told the COP23 that ends here on Friday.

Bonn conThe conference is discussing the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015

Skerrit told the conference that the Category 5 storm left, according to the assessments conducted by the World Bank Group and other international agencies, 90 per cent of buildings either damaged or destroyed, over 22 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) wiped out with major damage sustained to agriculture, tourism and housing sectors.

He said public infrastructure was severely impacted and forests decimated.

“Two months later 95 per cent of the country remains without electricity, our water systems are compromised, and many citizens remain displaced and in shelters. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reality of climate change. Within a few hours an entire country was brought to its knees by the forces of nature.

“Two years ago we convened in a similar setting and signed on to the Paris accord. We pledged as an international community to take positive proactive steps to stem the tide of climate change. The developed world pledged funds to be made available for the mitigation and adaptation of the harmful effects of climate change.”

Skerrit said that Dominica knows the potential impact of climate change and of countries that may disappear.

“How many of the countries that continue to pollute the planet had to suffer a loss of two hundred and twenty four percent of their GDP this year?  Distinguished ladies and gentlemen I present to you today that our countries remain under threat.

“To ensure our very existence the world must do better. We argued at COP 21 for 1 degrees to stay alive – a commitment was made to two degrees but by all assessments we will not even achieve that goal.”

But he told the conference not enough is being done to ensure that the world effectively mitigate the warming of the planet

“How many of our vulnerable small island developing states have been able to access green climate funds to make us more climate resilient? What mechanism is there for us to be able to access emergency funds when facing a disaster like that caused by Maria?

“We have been put on the front line by others. We were the guardians of nature. We have not contributed to global warming. Sixty percent of Dominica is covered by protected rain forests and has been so long before climate change.

“Our marine environment is similarly protected. We are on the front line and this is not a metaphorical war, or a metaphorical line,” he said, adding “it is one in which we bury the dead, console the grieving, nurse our wounds and call out for reinforcements.”

Skerrit said that SIDS were growing weary waiting for the world to hear their cries.

“We hear that now is the time to act. We read headlines of funds set aside. We smell the sweet fragrance of agreements, promises and commitments. But we grow weary waiting. Ladies and gentlemen, despite the hardship we face we have decided to raise our standard.

“We have publicly committed to the international community that we will rebuild ourselves as the first fully climate resilient nation in the Anthropocene. Our small island will shine the torch for others to follow. But, we grow weary.”

The Dominica Prime Minister said that the international community has an opportunity now to truly demonstrate its commitment to battling the effects of climate change, saying “we need you to partner with us to build a truly climate resilient nation a nation adapted to the new reality of fiercer, more frequent and more ferocious storms”.

Skerrit said that Wednesday night’s high level event provided the platform where a selection of non-party stake holders championed the critical message of accelerated climate action and how best to bridge the gap between non-party actors and negotiations.

“We call on all stakeholders to help us to rebuild better and smarter.  Maria that winged messenger of climate change destroyed thousands of homes. US$200 million is required to rebuild in more suitable locations and to a standard that makes them climate resilient. We call on stakeholders to partner with us to rebuild. Maria destroyed our education and health sectors.”

Skerrit said that the World Bank Report supports that US$90 million is needed to rebuild and make schools, hospitals and clinics climate resilient in Dominica.

“We call on the global community to partner with us to help us take on that challenge. Maria ripped apart our water pipes. We need US$56 million to get running water again. US$37 million is needed to establish an entire system of climate resilient agriculture irrigation and food production

“Dominica needs US$15 million to complete an investment in geothermal that would provide a significant boost to its renewable energy sector. We are determined to restore our rainforests and protect our blue horizons. We have grasped the moment to be the change we want in this world.”

Sketrrit told the conference that this isn’t a rash promise, saying “it is what we are struggling to do today.

“But battered as we are we stand before you today awake and tall to the challenge. We call for your assistance, support and partnership. We ask you to not allow climate change to be reduced to a cultural war fought from armchairs.

“We ask you not to allow the sceptics to sneer saying ‘I told you COP was all hot air’ and that ‘nothing real will change’. I urge you today not to betray the Paris Agreement! Operationalise Paris. Give meaning to Paris.Now. Not on paper, but here in this forum! Stand with us. Pledge today to help fund the first climate resilient nation,” Skerrit said.


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Grenadian national jailed on drug charges

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Nov 17, CMC – A 31-year-old Grenadian national was jailed for more than five years after he was found guilty of trafficking, attempting to export and being in possession of more than 370 pounds of marijuana.

CourtRonald Thomas, appeared in the Serious Offences Court where he was jailed for 16 months for possession of 373 pounds of marijuana with intent to supply to another on November 13, this year.  He was also sentenced to 20 months for attempting to export the marijuana and 28 months for trafficking the illegal drugs.

Thomas and Reynold Humphrey, a St. Vincent and the Grenadines national, were arrested on Monday after the Coast Guard intercepted their go-fast boat in the waters, north east of here.

The court heard that both men were arrested after they were seen throwing nine nylon sacks and two plastic

bales of marijuana

bags from the speedboat. The bags were retrieved and the marijuana found.

When they appeared before the Kingstown Magistrate Court on Tuesday, Thomas pleaded guilty to all charges while Humphrey pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution asked that the matter be adjourned and transferred to the Serious Offences Court for Thomas to be sentenced. Humphrey was granted EC$20,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) bail. He will return to court on January 29, next year.

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Jamaicans arrested for attempting to import cocaine

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman islands, Nov. 17, CMC   – The police in the Cayman Islands have arrested two Jamaicans after they were in possession of cocaine at the Owen Roberts Intenrational Airport last weekend.

arrestThe police report that they arrested a 25 year old Jamaican man for the importation of cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

A 59 year old Jamaican woman, who is a work permit holder, was also arrested for the importation of the drug.

According to the police, the man arrived on a Cayman Airways flight from Jamaica last week and the cocaine was found when his luggage was x-rayed and searched, the drugs were discovered.

Officials did not say whether or not the woman, who  lives here, had arrived on the same flight or the nature of her connection to the man.

However, Assistant Collector of Customs Gidget Powell, who has responsibility for the Customs Airport Section, confirmed that the two arrests were related.

The police say investigations are currently ongoing by the Customs Narcotics Enforcement Team.

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How to build back better after a hurricane with the next one a few months away

By Irwin LaRocque and Achim Steiner*

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Nov 17, CMC – Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back home. Now imagine spending several nights in a shelter and taking a stroll the next morning only to find what you used to call community, city or country reduced to an apocalyptic scene.

Hurricane damage in Dominica (CMC Photo)

This is no fiction. Irma and Maria, two back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, swept across the Caribbean in September, cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives, devastating infrastructure and severely damaging the economies of small climate-vulnerable countries.

Entire islands were decimated, like Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, both members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also devastated while The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were severely affected. Haiti and St Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage. All of the islands are members or Associate Members of CARICOM.

The island of St Marten, divided between Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands and St Martin, a dependency of France as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic were impacted, in addition to Puerto Rico and Florida, in the United States.

The principal economic sectors of tourism and agriculture have been very significantly affected, the resulting loss of jobs compounding the anguish of the loss of homes. In-depth damage assessments in Barbuda and Dominica are still on going, but initial estimates indicate recovery costs could be more than three billion US dollars.

These hurricanes were a game changer. Not even in the Caribbean, which is the most natural disaster-prone Region in the world, had anything like this been experienced before. The occurrence of successive Category 5 hurricanes signals a dangerous change in the intensity and frequency of climate-related storms, and heralds the advent of a new normal.

The number of severe hurricanes is projected to increase by 40 percent, if global temperatures rise by 2°C and up to 80 percent should they rise by 4°, according to a World Bank report entitled “Turn down the Heat”. With the resulting sea-level rise, this will have devastating effects on all Small Island Developing States (SIDS), but particularly those in the Caribbean, this study confirms.

Since the hurricanes hit, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the Dominica along with the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) have been working on the ground hand-in-hand with UN teams, co-led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) with an urgent task.

Also on the front line have been other CARICOM member states and specialised Institutions, France and its departments in the Caribbean, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, the United States and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Women and men are working around the clock to build back better. They need more resilient communities that are ready to cope with the next hurricane season only seven months ahead.

But rebuilding from the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters will be impossible without international support, particularly considering the overwhelming climate-vulnerability and crippling debt burdens of these vulnerable SIDS.

The needs are urgent. But there are three crucial opportunities at hand. First, the Conference of The Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, 6-17 November, is a vital moment for the world to come together and act on climate change.

Then, on 21 November at the UN headquarters in New York a UN-CARICOM pledging conference provides the opportunity for the world to support affected Caribbean countries as they build back better, especially considering that they have been bearing the brunt of climate change without having contributed to the problem.

Finally, now, more than ever, it is fundamental that the international community rethinks traditional criteria for concessional development financing based primarily on GDP per capita. These affected nations are being denied full access to such financing based on being ranked as Middle Income countries.

The criteria must take into account the economic and environmental vulnerability of SIDS.

Now is the time to act. If Caribbean countries are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 they need urgent accessing to financing—including for climate change adaptation. In view of such urgent needs, UNDP’s Caribbean Human Development Report “Multidimensional Progress: human resilience beyond income”, launched a year ago, called for improved standards that take into account multiple indicators, or well-being measurements beyond income alone.

If the world has vowed to eradicate poverty by 2030 it is crucial to invest in boosting communities’, countries’ and entire regions’ resilience in the social, economic and environmental fronts.

Building back better is an essential part of this effort. We invite the world to support the Caribbean countries through global action on climate and during the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference: Building a More Climate-Resilient Community. We must all act now, before it’s too late.

*Irwin LaRocque is the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

*Achim Steiner is UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator

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J.A. Lester Spaulding

Chairman of RJR/Gleaner Communications Group Lester Spaulding has died

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Nov. 17, CMC – The Chairman of the RJR Gleaner Communications Group, J.A. Lester Spaulding, died in hospital on Friday.

J.A. Lester Spaulding
J.A. Lester Spaulding

Spaulding, who became the Managing Director of  Radio Jamaica in 1978, led the company through its expansion up to its recent merger to become the RJR Gleaner Communications Group.

Spaulding who also served as a board member of the Caribbean News Agency (CANA), began his career as an accountant at what is now PricewaterhouseCoopers prior to joining Radio Jamaica Limited (RJR) in February 1965

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Melford Nicholas

Antigua government seeking clarification from Britain on former minister’s arrest

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Nov 17, CMC – The Antigua and Barbuda government says it will seek clarification from the British government regarding the decision to arrest then tourism and investment minister Asot Michael on his arrival in London last month.

“We think it is appropriate that the question be asked and that at all times, the civilities and protocols that need to be exercised between states are recognised by all states large and small,” said Information Minister Melford Nicholas.

Melford Nicholas
Information Minister Melford Nicholas (File Photo)

Nicholas, speaking to reporters at the end of the weekly Cabinet meeting, said the Gaston Browne government believes that this is a relevant question in light of the treaty on diplomatic relations which countries usually adhere.

“TO whom much is given much is expected,” Nicholas said, acknowledging that the government could not at this time state what protocols had been breached.

“Everyone was jolted by the way the intervention was done and to the extent that the British government may have been led to believe that they were justified in taking that action is a matter of their own determination.

“But we must now ask the question from the reverse standpoint in terms of whether or not that would have been the prescribed way of handling such circumstance were it involving a state of a different size,” he told reporters.

Michael, who has already said that it was “unfortunate” that Prime Minister Browne did not contact him before relieving him of his portfolio, has said he had been advised by his lawyers to remain quiet on the issue.

Prime Minister Browne, who acknowledged that he had, “no firm details of the reasons for Michael’s arrest,” nonetheless said that he had advised Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams to revoke immediately Michael appointment “pending the outcome of his arrest …by the Metropolitan Police in London.

Michael had also indicated to his constituents of St Peter, “who are very dear to me, that they have no reason to doubt my sincerity and my continued devotion and commitment to their interests”.

But Prime Minister Browne Friday announced that the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) is planning ahead and that someone had been appointed to take care of the constituency.

“As it stands now, Michael has not been charged but we have made it abundantly clear that in the event he is charged then clearly we will have to replace him”.

He said an approach had been made to Shermane Jeremie, who has been working in the New York office of the island’s tourism department for at least a decade, to be the standby candidate.

“She is not challenging the present representative Asot Michael….but in the event he is charged then she will be the automatic choice to replace him,” Browne added.

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Police seize drugs in container from Suriname

 KINGSTON, Jamaica, Nov 17, CMC – Jamaica police have seized J$30 million (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) worth of cocaine at a wharf in the capital after a container arrived here from Suriname on Thursday.

crimeNo one has been arrested in connection with the discovery.

Police said law enforcement authorities including the Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) of Jamaica Customs, were conducting operations at the facility on Thursday during which they searched a refrigerated container and found 24 rectangular parcels, each containing cocaine.

The police said that drugs, which weighed 26.7 kilograms, was processed and secured. The authorities said that the container had arrived in the island from Suriname on Thursday.

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Edouard Junior

Warrant issued for former tourism minister

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Nov 16, CMC – A warrant has been issued for the arrest of former tourism minister tourism minister Edouard Junior less than a month after he claimed he was being politically persecuted and prevented from leaving the country.

According to the warrant issued by Clame Ocnam Daméus, the Government Commissioner at the Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, the former minister is accused of “embezzlement of public property and attempted embezzlement of public goods…”.

Edouard Junior
Edouard Junior (File Photo)

But the former minister has strongly denied the allegations describing them as “threats, acts of intimidation and instrumentalization of justice for personal and political ends…”

He said while he is aware he is “is not and cannot be above the law” he is nonetheless “prepared to answer, if necessary, the questions of the justice of his country to the extent that the procedures laid down in Articles 42, 185 and 186 of the Constitution are scrupulously respected.”

He is urging the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation to audit the former government so as “to put an end to attempts to discredit its administration and to manipulate public opinion.”

Junior  has re-affirmed his “attachment to the ideals of law and justice” recalling that “the construction of our democracy must necessarily obey the strict respect of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic.”
Last month, Junior told radio listeners that unknown gunmen had fired shots at his home and that he had also received death threats.

“From now on, my safety and that of my family are in the hands of (President) Jovenel Moïse..,” said Junior, who served in the 2016-17 administrations of former president Jocelerme Privert and former prime minister Enex Jean-Charles.

In October, Daméus, as part of the preliminary investigation sent a letter to the Director of the Immigration and Emigration Service asking him formally to “pass the necessary instructions” so that Junior and former economy minister Yves Romain Bastien be prohibited from leaving the country by air, sea and land.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017