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Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

by staff writer

NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb 13, CMC – Two days after 22 Haitians were buried after they drowned while attempting to enter the Bahamas by sea earlier this month, the 18 who survived the ordeal have been charged with illegally entering the country.

The 17 men and one woman appeared before Magistrate Kara Turnquest-Deveaux telling her they were “looking for a better life” when they boarded they boarded the 40-foot vessel that ran aground in waters off Abaco on February 3.

So far 31 bodies had been recovered but the authorities said that nine were in such poor condition that they were buried in Abaco. The authorities have since called off the search for other survivors.

Magistrate Turnquest-Deveaux thanked the survivors for their early plea of guilt and turned them over to immigration officials for processing.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister, Darren Henfield, said that Nassau has in the past warned of the dangers associated with the illegal migration by sea to the Bahamas.

He said the survivors will be repatriated and the Department of Immigration also said that there will be no special treatment for the survivors.

“The department’s policy in reference to the handling of the illegal migrants remains the same. There has been no change in regard to this policy,” the department said.

During the funeral service on Sunday, Bishop Simeon Hall told the mourners “to be poor and destitute (in Haiti) is still far better than to be dead and gone.”

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Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, Elections, Environment, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

President Granger urges supporters to re-elect his administration

President Granger urges supporters to re-elect his administration

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 4, CMC – President David Granger has appealed to supporters to re-elect his coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) government even as he pledged not to resign despite the December 21, 2018 vote of confidence that tumbled his three and a half year old administration.

Last week, the High Court ruled that the motion of no confidence filed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo was valid after it received the support of then government back bencher Charrandass Persaud.

President Granger addressing supporters on Sunday

The APNU coalition had previously enjoyed a one –seat majority in the 65 member National Assembly and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has since called on Granger to announce a date for the polls in keeping with the Guyana Constitution that an election must be held 90 days after the successful motion of no confidence in the government.

But as he addressed he addressed supports at Vreed-en-Hoop in Region 3, Essequibo Island-West Demerara on Sunday, Granger acknowledged that his administration is faced with a challenging situation, albeit, not of its own making.

But he pledged ““we will rise to this challenge again,” telling supporters that while the government cannot reverse what happened in the National Assembly, Guyana must press on.

“The Speaker has spoken, and we respect the Speaker, and we also have spoken. We met with the opposition, and we agreed that that National Assembly has work to do. I have not dissolved Parliament, neither have I resigned.

“There is no such thing as an interim government or caretaker government. According to the Constitution, I remain President, until the next president is sworn in,” Granger said, adding that an estimated 207,200 Guyanese went to polls in May 2015 and registered their support for the coalition.

“The same must be done this time around. The work must be completed. You elected us to do a job, let us finish the job. Give us a chance to finish the job. Put us in the driving seat, and you will see the transformation, the change in every region,” Granger said.

He told the public meeting that his coalition administration remains a legal legitimate government and nothing done so far is outside the rule of law.

He promised that whatever decisions are made in the courts will be followed by due process and that the government will move to every stage until it has exhausted every element and aspect of the law.

President Granger said the actions of Persaud in voting with the PPP in bringing down the government were “undemocratic, cruel and callous” adding that the former government legislator had failed to consult with his constituents.

“You don’t consult with your constituency, you don’t consult with your leaders, you just stab in the back,” he said, adding that voting for a party that stamped on local democracy for 23 years is definitely not the way to go.

“We must not relent. We must ensure that every person in West Demerara is registered. We will support you, we will protect you, and we will guarantee your rights. Bring more persons into our organisation; let them know they have a home.”

Granger said that there had been a definite transformation brought to Guyana in the last three and a half   years.

He said prior to his administration taking up office, pensioners were receiving a mere GUY$7,500 (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) monthly.

“Today that amount stands at over GUY$20,000. Teachers who were receiving a minimum wage of just GUY$32,000 have seen a stark increase to GUY$60,000 in three short years.

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Chief Justice could rule by month end regarding challenges to the validity of motion of no confidence

Chief Justice could rule by month end regarding challenges to the validity of motion of no confidence

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 15, CMC – Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire Tuesday said she intends to give a ruling by the end of this month regarding the three matters challenging the validity of last month’s motion of no confidence that led to the downfall of the David Granger coalition government.

She told lawyers representing the various parties during the case management hearing that they should submit their legal arguments within the specific deadlines

Lawyers awaiting start of case management hearing

“A decision will be ready before the end of this month ” she said, noting also that she is unlikely to grant a conservatory order for the President and Cabinet to remain in office due to the time frames.

“We are going to push ahead” and decide on those “matters as urgently as possible” because “the nation is awaiting the outcome of these matters,” she added.

On December 21st last year, then government backbencher, Charrandass Persaud, voted in support of a motion filed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo that gave the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) the 33 votes needed to ensure the success of the motion in the 65-member National Assembly.

As a result, the PPP is calling for fresh regional and presidential elections by March this year, while the government has gone to court challenging the validity of the vote.

On Tuesday, the Chief Justice heard the case management for the cases “Compton Reid vs The Attorney General, Persaud and The Speaker of the National Assembly; Christopher Ram vs The Attorney General and Speaker of the National Assembly and the Attorney General vs The Speaker of the National Assembly and the Opposition Leader.

She has given the lawyers in all three matters to file their pleadings and make their submissions by January 18 while rebuttals have been listed to take place by January 21.

Oral arguments have been set for January 24 in all of the matters. However, the attorney representing Ram will make his oral submissions on January 23.

Attorney General, Basil William’s was granted permission to make submissions in two of the three cases that Article 70 of the Guyana Constitution provides for the government to run its full five year term in office.

During the hearing,  a senior official of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) government,  Joseph Harmon was given the green light to join the Compton Reid matter. He is being represented by Attorney Roysdale Forde.

Williams told reporters that although the timelines that have been set out are “tight”, he intends to proceed with his submissions and arguments. He said the government maintains its position that the motion was not passed by a majority in the 65 member Parliament.

But attorney Anil Nandlall, who is the lead attorney for Jagdeo, said he is also ready to proceed.

He said the government has it wrong and the motion was carried by a majority of 33 votes and will make that point during his oral submissions.

CMC/gt/ir/2019

Posted in CARICOM, Court, Elections, International, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Man jailed for killing son over 300 dollars

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 9, CMC – A High Court judge has sentenced a 49-year-old man to 12 years in jail after he was found guilty of killing his son who had given his mother GUY$300 (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) to end a heated row in the home.

Justice Navindra Singh, sitting in the Demerara High Court, imposed the sentence on Amarnauth Chand, who on September 29, 2016 was involved in a heated argument with his wife over GUY$300.

The Court heard that the son, Mahesh Chand, 24, gave his mother the money in an effort to stop the argument.

Mahesh’s action is said to have angered the accused, who concluded that his son was ‘siding with his mother’. The father armed himself with a cutlass and inflicted a stab wound to the chest of his son, who was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Chand pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and the judge noted that he had use a base of 25 years, but deducted eight years for the guilty plea and not wasting the court’s time and three years for his genuine display of remorse.

Justice Singh told Chand that he should participate in anger management courses that may be available in prison, so that he would become a better person.

A tearful Chand told the court that he regretted the incident and begged for mercy and that he was aware that his family was hurt by his actions. He said during his incarceration awaiting trial he had turned his life around and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

Defence attorney Keoma Griffith told the court that his client, a father of four other children had acted in a spontaneous manner and urged the judge to consider the mitigating factors.

But in response, State Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs said that while the accused had shown genuine remorse the State had no problem with showing mercy but, at the same time, a strong message needed to be sent, since his behaviour was not acceptable and a life was lost.

Posted in CARICOM, Court, Crime, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Bulgarian - stole from ATM Antigua

Bulgarian charged with stealing more than $25K from ATM in Antigua

 

Police over the weekend charged Mark Vas Nelsen, a Bulgarian/Canadian citizen with stealing more than $25,000 from a local bank. The authorities did not name the bank but said the man used fraudulent means to obtain the funds from the ATM.

The alleged offences took place over the period of one month from November 27 to December 27, 2018.

Nelsen was arrested last Friday after police searched his hotel and found what appears to be a machine used in the act. Several credit cards were also found.

Earlier this year, another Bulgarian, Martin Dimitrov Dachenski was charged with larceny in connection with another ATM fraud. He was ordered by the court to repay close to $25,000.

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PHOTO: Michael Cohen sits down for an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says Trump knew it was wrong to make hush-money payments during campaign


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ERIC AVRAM, ELIANA LARRAMENDIA and JAMES HILLGood Morning America – December 14, 2018

Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to arrange hush-money payments with two women because then-candidate Trump “was very concerned about how this would affect the election” if their allegations of affairs became public, the president’s former personal attorney said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

Cohen’s comments are his first since being sentenced earlier this week to three years in federal prison for financial crimes, lying to Congress and two campaign finance violations in connection with the deals with the women, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who claim past affairs with Trump.

“I knew what I was doing was wrong,” Cohen told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. “I stood up before the world [Wednesday] and I accepted the responsibility for my actions.”

PHOTO: Michael Cohen sits down for an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on 'Good Morning America,' Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (ABC News)
PHOTO: Michael Cohen sits down for an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ‘Good Morning America,’ Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (ABC News)

When asked if the president also knew it was wrong to make the payments, Cohen replied, “Of course,” adding that the purpose was to “help [Trump] and his campaign.”

Cohen said he is “angry at himself” for his role in the deals, but that he did it out of “blind loyalty” to Trump.

(MORE: Cohen said Trump made him ‘follow a path of darkness rather than light’)

“I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty,” he said.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election. They allege that Cohen acted “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump, according to court filings. Prosecutors also reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, the publishers of the National Inquirer, in which the tabloid admitted to making a $150,000 payment to McDougal “in concert” with the Trump campaign.

The president has denied allegations of the affairs — but has had shifting explanations about when he learned about the payments to the women. He has also contended that the deals were private and unrelated to the campaign and that if anything illegal occurred, it was Cohen’s responsibility.

PHOTO: Michael Cohen sits down for an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on 'Good Morning America,' Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (ABC News)
PHOTO: Michael Cohen sits down for an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ‘Good Morning America,’ Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (ABC News)

Trump has lashed out at Cohen since his sentencing, contending in a Thursday tweet that his former close confidant only agreed to plead guilty “in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did.”

“It is absolutely not true,” Cohen said. “Under no circumstances do I want to embarrass the president. He knows the truth. I know the truth.”

(MORE: Tabloid involved in Trump hush money payment reaches deal with federal prosecutors)

Cohen was particularly distressed by another Trump tweet on Thursday, in which the president implied that prosecutors investigating Cohen had let his wife and father-in-law off the hook.

“Instead of him taking responsibility for his actions, what does he do?” Cohen said. “He attacks my family.”

And Cohen refuted the president’s contention that he never directed Cohen to do anything wrong.

PHOTO: In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen departs following a closed door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen departs following a closed door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE)

“I don’t think there is anybody that believes that,” Cohen told Stephanopoulos. “First of all, nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters.

“He knows the truth. I know the truth. Others know the truth,” Cohen continued. “And here is the truth: People of the United States of America, people of the world, don’t believe what he is saying. The man doesn’t tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.”

(MORE: Trump denies he ‘directed’ Michael Cohen to break the law as prosecutors contend)

When confronted about his convictions for lying to Congress and for tax evasion and banking crimes, Cohen said he was “done with the lying. I am done being loyal to President Trump and my first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son and this country.”

“Why should we believe you now?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Because the special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them is credible and helpful,” Cohen replied. “There’s a substantial amount of information that they possessed that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump answers questions from the press while departing the White House, Nov. 29, 2018 in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Donald Trump answers questions from the press while departing the White House, Nov. 29, 2018 in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Cohen — who is due to report to prison on March 6 — has professed his willingness to continue to answer questions for special counsel Robert Mueller and other federal and state investigators.

He declined in the interview to answer specific questions about the Mueller investigation “out of respect for process.”

“I don’t want to jeopardize any of their investigations,” he said.

(MORE: Federal judge orders Stormy Daniels to pay Trump nearly $300K in legal fees)

But when asked if he thinks the president is telling the truth about the Russia probe, Cohen replied simply, “No.”

Cohen once said he would “take a bullet” for the president, but now he finds himself opposing the president and facing the prospect of becoming a witness against him.

“It’s never good to be on the wrong side of the president of the United States of America, but somehow or another this task has now fallen onto my shoulders and as I also stated … I will spend the rest of my life in order to fix the mistake that I made.”

PHOTO: Michael Cohen, center, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, accompanied by his children Samantha, left, and Jake, right, arrives at federal court for his sentencing in New York, Dec. 12, 2018. (Craig Ruttle/AP)
PHOTO: Michael Cohen, center, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, accompanied by his children Samantha, left, and Jake, right, arrives at federal court for his sentencing in New York, Dec. 12, 2018. (Craig Ruttle/AP)

Cohen said as he observes Trump’s actions in the White House, he barely recognizes the man he served for more than a decade at the Trump organization.

“He’s a very different individual,” Cohen said. “I think the pressure of the job is much more than what he thought it was going to be. It’s not like the Trump organization where he would bark out orders and people would blindly follow what he wanted done. There’s a system here; he doesn’t understand the system and it’s sad because the country has never been more divisive and one of the hopes that I have out of the punishment that I’ve received as well as the cooperation that I have given I will be remembered in history as helping to bring this country back together.

“I will not be the villain of his story,” he said.

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

In Plea Deal, Russian Woman Admits to Being a Secret Agent

In Plea Deal, Russian Woman Admits to Being a Secret Agent

Associated Press

Published 13 December 2018

Image via AP Photo/File

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian woman accused of being a secret agent admitted Thursday that she conspired to infiltrate the American gun-rights movement to gather intelligence onconservative political groups as Donald Trump rose to power.

Maria Butina, 30, agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

The case, which is separate from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has offered insight into how Moscow seeks to influence American policy.

Prosecutors say Butina and her Russian patron, Alexander Torshin, used their contacts in the National Rifle Association to pursue Russian back channels to American conservatives during that campaign, when Republican Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Butina’s case, brought by federal prosecutors in Washington, also comes amid a broader push by the Justice Department to enforce U.S. laws governing foreign agents, including those accused of working for Russia.

As part of her deal, Butina pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent and she agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Prosecutors also say it is “very likely” that she will be deported from the U.S. after her sentence is completed. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, though the defense noted Thursday that federal sentencing guidelines recommend no time to six months.

According to her plea agreement, Butina’s work was directed by Torshin, a Russian government bank official now under sanction by the Treasury Department for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Butina admitted that she “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics.” She said her boyfriend, conservative political operative Paul Erickson, helped her as she tried to use his ties with the NRA to set up the back channels. Erickson, who is referred to as “U.S. Person 1” in court papers, he has not been charged.

In their filings, prosecutors have said federal agents found Butina had contact information for people suspected of being employed by Russia’s Federal Security Services, or FSB, the successor intelligence agency to the KGB. Inside her home, they found notes referring to a potential job offer from the FSB, according to the documents.

Investigators recovered several emails and Twitter direct message conversations in which Butina referred to the need to keep her work secret and, in one instance, said it should be “incognito.” Prosecutors said Butina had contact with Russian intelligence officials and that the FBI photographed her dining with a diplomat suspected of being a Russian intelligence agent.

Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, had previously decried the charges against her as “overblown” and said prosecutors criminalized her mundane networking opportunities. He has said his client was a student interested in American politics and wanted to see a better relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Butina, jailed since her arrest in July, had mounted an aggressive defense and tried to have the charges against her tossed. But for several weeks, Butina’s lawyers and federal prosecutors had indicated in court papers that they were working toward a resolution in the case.

___

Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed to this report.

By Associated Press

Published 13 December 2018

Filed Under russia , russian spy

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Man jailed for beating girlfriend whom he accused of having sex with senior government official

Man jailed for beating girlfriend whom he accused of having sex with senior government official


by staff writer 

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Dec 14, CMC – A magistrate has sentenced a 26-year-old man to three years in jail who assaulted his girlfriend after accusing her of having sex in the office of a senior government official last month.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett handed down the sentence, after hearing that woman had to be rushed to the emergency department of the hospital on November 30.

The court heard it was the third such beating in four days.

The accused had been in custody since he pleaded guilty, on December 3, to the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm, stemming from the incident.

The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) is withholding the name of the man and his 26-year-old girlfriend, who live in south-western St. Vincent, in the interest of the abused woman and her children, who are now receiving support from the Social Services.

At the sentencing hearing, the woman told the court she and the man have been together for three years and have three children including twins, who will be three years old next month.

She told the court that while the abuse started some time ago, she never believed her boyfriend would have gotten so aggressive over simple things.

She said she was beaten by the man on November 26 when he accused her of being in a sexual relationship with their neighbour and even though he said he would not do it again, he did so three days later.

On November 30, the man beat her so severe after she had gone to the office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture in search of a job that she had to be taken to hospital.

The boyfriend had accused her of having sex with the senior government official and even searched her underwear.

The man was arrested at the hospital and charged.

The woman told the court that because of the beating, she did not get a chance to take up the job and even though the children have been asking for their father.

She said since the last incident she has been receiving counselling and assistance from the government.

Even though the man told the court he was “sorry” over the incident, Senior Magistrate Burnett said “the sentence of this court is three years in prison”.

Posted in Court, Crime, Kids, Local, News, Police, Regional0 Comments

Fox’s Napolitano: Trump Could Be Charged, Indicted

https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/judge-andrew-napolitano-michael-cohen-robert-mueller-indicted/2018/12/10/id/893887/?ns_mail_uid=c6848497-cf4a-4717-ada6-56955d112658&ns_mail_job=DM10110_12102018&s=acs&dkt_nbr=010502vjj7un

(Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime”)

By Solange Reyner    |   Monday, 10 December 2018 

Donald Trump could be charged with three crimes and indicted while serving as president, says Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano.

“This is the Southern District of New York,” Napolitano said during an appearance on Fox News’ “America Newsroom” on Monday morning. “This is the oldest and most prestigious federal prosecutors’ office in the country. They would not make an allegation like that if they did not have corroborated evidence to support it.”

“And they cannot make an allegation like that unless they’re going to do something with it,” he added.

Federal prosecutors Friday said Trump during the 2016 election directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with the then-Republican nominee, a violation of campaign finance laws.

Trump has not been charged with a crime and has repeatedly denied having affairs with the women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The filing in the Southern District does not directly name Trump, but makes multiple references to him as “Individual-1.”

Napolitano said he believed prosecutors could press ahead with an indictment.

“My view is that he can be indicted, but cannot be prosecuted until leaving office because the disruption to the government of the prosecution would be far more than the Constitution tolerates,” he said.

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MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: ‘Donald Trump Will Be, Must Be Impeached’

“Michael Cohen is facing substantial prison time for those same crimes. And Donald Trump is facing, what?”

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By Lee MoranX

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell said Friday that President Donald Trump “will be, must be impeached because of the crimes prosecutors say he committed” in the case of his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

“The Last Word” host noted that “nothing in the Constitution” says a president cannot be indicted, charged with a crime or put on trial.

“And so the only conceivable reason why Donald Trump has not been indicted as a co-conspirator in the Cohen case is that he won the presidential election, that he conspired with Michael Cohen to illegally affect,” he explained.

O’Donnell suggested that had Trump lost the 2016 presidential election to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, then “he would be facing exactly the same consequences as Michael Cohen.”

He also noted how both Cohen and prosecutors had named Trump as a co-conspirator in Cohen’s crimes. “Michael Cohen is facing substantial prison time for those same crimes. And Donald Trump is facing, what?”

“Will Donald Trump be the only president in history accused by federal prosecutors of committing federal crimes who does not then face impeachment for those crimes?” he added. 

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

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