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shot up car in nevis

Woman killed in Nevis shooting incident – another injured

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Apr. 17, CMC– A woman was killed and another injured early Monday in a shooting incident in the community of Cotton Ground.

shot up car in nevisA police source who confirmed the incident said the women were reportedly heading home from a bingo game, shortly before 4:00 am (local time) when the car they were in was attacked.

They were taken to the Alexandra Hospital where one of the women- Morella Webbe, 28, died from her injures. The other woman, Sonia Grant, 34, was admitted.

As investigations continue, it is not known how many persons were involved in what is believed to be an attempted robbery.

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Police officer freed of murdering pregnant woman

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 4, CMC – A police corporal has been freed of murdering a 25-year-old pregnant woman who was shot and killed during an attempt to arrest here for using obscene language in  September 2012.

The incident had sparked two days of protests in the vicinity of the Yallahs Police Station, a suburban parish in the southeasten section of the island,  where the shooting occurred on September 1.

CourtThe seven-member jury late Monday acquitted Dwayne Smart of the murder and manslaughter in the death of Kay-Ann Lamont, who was eight months pregnant at the time, He was also found not guilty of wounding with intent in the shooting of Lamont’s sister.

The prosecution had alleged that Lamont was being taken into custody for using expletives when she was shot in the head by Smart. There was also evidence, during the four-week trial that her sister was shot while rushing to her defence.

However, Smart, through his attorney, argued that the killing was an accident. He also contended that he was facing a hostile mob opposed to his decision to arrest Lamont. He said that during his attempt to arrest her, a scuffle ensued and they both fell to the ground. Smart said that he tripped and his firearm accidentally went off as he attempted to get back on his feet.

Lamont’s sister, Shemean Lamont, who testified that she witnessed the shooting, said “I don’t understand how this man can shoot a pregnant lady and get away with everything.

“This is not right, this is not true. Right now I don’t think I can explain this,” she told reporters.

Attorney Dorothy Lightbourne, QC, said that the family has filed a civil suit against the State for negligence.

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Gunmen in shooting spree in Trinidad and Tobago

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 31, CMC – At least three people were shot and killed as gunmen fired on a group of people in a village in Maraval, west of here on Thursday night, police said.

They said that eight people were in a group on the roadway in the Le Platte Village when a motor vehicle pulled up and gunshots were heard. Five people were shot while three others were said to have received superficial injuries.

crimmeThe authorities said Collin Letren, 25, Kayode Critchlow, 24 and Joel Le Platte, 35, were killed, while Dominique Le Platte and Dayna Le Platte were also injured.

Media reports said that the gunmen had come into the village in search of a gang leader.

Meanwhile, two brothers were shot and killed in Arima, east of here on Thursday as Trinidad and Tobago recorded at least  125 murders so far this year.

Police said Joel and George Hoyte were standing outside their home in Arima when a vehicle pulled up and the occupants pointed machine-guns at the brothers hitting them several times. One of the gunmen is reported to have come out of the vehicle and fired several shots in the bodies of the two brothers.

No arrests have been made in any of the killings.

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court rul

Criminal charges against three opposition legislators dropped

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Mar 28, CMC – Three members of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), including its leader and former finance minister Harold Lovell, were freed on Tuesday after the charges were dropped against them at a magistrate court here on Tuesday.

Jubiliant UPP supporters chanted and celebrated as Lovell, former education minister Dr Jacqui Quinn and the St. Phillip South Member of Parliament, Wilmoth Daniel, emerged from the court building.

court rulThe trio had been charged with larceny, fraudulent conversion and corruption in relation to the three Daewoo buses worth more than EC$600,000 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) that had been donated to the former UPP administration by Japan.

The prosecution had alleged that the trio converted the buses for personal use and had them registered in their names while they were in public office.

The UPP had labelled the charges as part of the “continued harassment and political persecution of former members of its administration” and accused the ruling Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) administration of orchestrating the charges on the eve of its second anniversary on June 12  last year, to deflect focus from its “dismal failures”.

The charges were first filed in the St John’s Magistrates’ Court on May 30, 2016 and when the three accused appeared before Magistrate Conliffe Clarke on Tuesday, he ruled the defendants did not have a case to answer.

He said based on how the charges were laid there were no charges for them to answer.

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Media group expresses concerns over new cybercrimes legislation

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 21, CMC – The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Tuesday expressed concerns about aspects of the Cybercrimes Act that deal with “malicious communication”.

In a statement, the PAJ said that w the Defamation Act 2013 repealed criminal defamation and Jamaica was hailed for this significant legislative advance by groups like the International Press Institute (IPI).

It said freedom of expression is a fundamental right that, like many others, is subject to restrictions.

PAJ“Those restrictions include the law of defamation to protect the reputations of others. These are matters for the civil courts. Restrictions are also often placed by criminal law on types of speech that incite violence, or are threatening in nature, for example.”

But the PAJ noted that criminal defamation laws that penalise statements that injure reputation are understood by freedom of expression advocates all over the world to be an enemy of freedom of expression, to have a chilling effect on free speech, and to facilitate the repression of criticism by governments.

The PAJ said that when Jamaica’s Cybercrimes Act was being reviewed, representatives from the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions recommended the inclusion of cyber defamation as an offence.

But the media group said that together with the Media Association of Jamaica (MAJ) they “strongly opposed” the move adding “  we were of the clear understanding that the Joint Select Committee reviewing the legislation fully appreciated the negative consequences of attempting to reintroduce criminal defamation, albeit to apply in cyberspace.

“Indeed, on the face of it, section 9 does not appear to allow for charges for statements that may be defamatory.”

PAJ said that recent arrests by the police, on the facts available, make it appear that the police are interpreting the legislation as having re-introduced criminal defamation by the back door.

It said that the section states that a person commits an offence if that person uses a computer to send to another person any data -whether in the form of a message or otherwise- that is obscene, constitutes a threat or is menacing in nature and with the intention to harass any person or cause harm or the apprehension of harm to any person or property….”

The media group said that the penalty in a Parish Court can be a fine of up to four million Jamaican dollars (One Jamaican dollar =US$0.008 cents)  or four years imprisonment, or five million dollars or five years in jail in the case of a second offence or if “damage” is caused.

“Before the Circuit Court the penalty is a fine and imprisonment for up to 10 years, or up to 15 years if “damage” is caused, or the penalty is up to 20 years in the case of a second offence.”

The PAJ recalled that in one recent case, the Ministry of National Security reported that a woman was charged under the section after she “posted pictures in social media claiming that her ex-boyfriend is wanted for rape, assault and murder.”

In another case, a women’s rights advocate was arrested after posting on social media sites the names of persons alleged to have carried out various sexual assaults.

“The allegations in each case relate to what would, offline, be matters for the civil courts through the law on defamation, and could not be subject to any criminal charge. These cases are before the courts, which will decide whether the offence detailed in section 9 is made out in these specific cases.

“However, we do not believe it serves the public interest for us to remain silent and wait for court rulings which may take several years, and which in any case, may not prevent continued arrests of this type,’ the PAJ said.

It said this will entail arrested persons being exposed to the trauma of arrest, and force them to spend time, and perhaps significant sums of money to defend themselves.

“Making arrests for what are essentially matters for the civil courts places Jamaica on a steep, slippery slope where freedom of expression is at risk. We do not believe this was the intention of the legislature.

We therefore call on the Jamaican legislature to stand by the principled position by which it abolished criminal defamation.

“This may necessitate the amendment of section 9, and introducing words to make it clear that actions which would comprise defamation offline, cannot be caught by the section,” the PAJ said, noting it is also  possible that the Ministry of National Security” may wish to ask that a legal opinion on the interpretation of section 9 and the elements of the offence be prepared for the police to help guide their actions from here”.

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Guyana prevents cartons of tuna from entering country

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 22, CMC – Guyana has refused entry of 2,000 cartons of tuna imported from China saying the action was prompted by an Inspector’s  report  on samples taken from a container  on March 9 this year.

The Government Analyst- Food and   Drug Department (GA-FDD) said it was advising consumers and the general public that the exact address of the manufacturer in the country of origin of the tuna labelled   “BUIWICK” instead   of “BRUNSWICK was not stated.

TUNAThe authorities have since advised consumers “ to always take a second look at  labels/brands  and to ensure the country of origin and  the exact name  and address of manufacturers  are stated  on the  label.”.

The GA-FDD serves as a regulatory body, ensuring that consumable goods including drugs, food and beverages meet international standards and requirement.

The Department has since written to the Commissioner of Customs to suspend  the  processing of documents of a known third party agent out of the United  States that “knowingly and deliberately facilitates the importation of products into Guyana that are substandard and/or are with inadequate labels”.

The department said that the company has on numerous occasions exported items of food to Guyana in the absence of documentation in the prescribed form from the country of origin.

“The department will notify the  regulatory agency of the People’s  Republic  of  China on their findings and action, because official   documentation   with  attestation was used to facilitate  the shipment of falsely labelled Tuna to Guyana.”

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court rul

Two charged in the death of a police woman

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 20, CMC – Two persons, including a 36-year-old woman, will return to court on April 18 after they were charged with murder and illegally disposing of the body of woman police officer Nyasha Joseph, whose body was fished out of the sea last week.

Melissa and Kenneth Browne, (not relatives) appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers Caesar in the Port of Spain Eighth Court on Monday, less than 24 hours after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had given police the go-ahead to charge them.

court rulKenneth Browne, 36, is charged with knowingly assisting in the murder of the police officer illegally disposing of a body, while Melissa Browne, 36, charged with murdering WPC Joseph sometime between March 8 and March 16, at Sea Lots, just on the outskirts of the capital. She was not required to plead as the charge was laid indictably.

The police woman had been reported missing on March 8, and her body was found by a fisherman in Gulf of Paria on March 16. The cause of her death could not be determined by the pathologist.

Police said that the accused are not married but have a relationship.

Meanwhile, defence attorney Criston J Williams told the court that he had written to the Commissioner of Police and the head of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) requesting an investigation into the conduct of the police officers during their probe.

He said the officers used unfair interrogation techniques and were disrespectful to the lawyers representing the accused.

Williams said that when he and other attorneys attempted to meet with the accused during the investigation, the officers resisted and claimed that one police officer placed his hands on Williams in an attempt to push him away.

Williams said his clients’ fundamental rights had been breached.

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Dr. Orlando Smith

Premier calls for overseas help in crime fight

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands , Mar. 19, CMC – Premier Dr Orlando Smith has vowed to leave no stone unturned as security officials in this British Overseas territory deal with an upsurge in crime.

In a recent press release, Smith said that if necessary, overseas help sought be sought and highly trained cops should be pulled from retirement.

Dr. Orlando Smith
Dr. Orlando Smith

“No stone should be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice of all crimes, and particularly the heinous crimes that have been committed in this territory. If this calls for bringing in assistance from abroad, let’s do so immediately.”

The Premier’s resolve follows a directive issued by Governor John Duncan late Friday in which he used his constitutional power to force the Government to add US$800,000 to the police budget for this financial year.

The government, in its budget had allocated US$161 million to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

Duncan, told journalists that he was reluctant to resort to his constitutional power, but said the police force is currently under funded at a time when crime is a big concern.

Governor John Duncan
Governor John Duncan

The Governor’s announcement has been endorsed by the Premier.

“Yes, we must provide the police with financial resources. In addition, the Commissioner (of Police) and the Force must continue to be innovative and creative in carrying out their duties….” He said.

However, a member of the main opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP),Julian Fraser – said the order issued by Duncan has set the territory back in its constitutional advancement.

“I didn’t think the day would come when I would see a governor exercise a monarchical take-over of our Treasury. This is what I call a soft takeover of the democratically elected Smith government. The governor was wrong and he has to be stopped,” Fraser said in a post on his Facebook page.

According to Fraser, who the governor recently removed as opposition leader – the Governor should stay out of “our local politics”

“He has the Protocols for Effective Financial Management to hold the government accountable with. That is an administrative arrangement between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Government of the Virgin Islands to keep the government frugal in its financial affairs,” Fraser noted.

Since the start of the year three persons have been murdered across the territory – with two being murdered in less tan 24 hours.

According to police statistics, last year, four people were murdered and 18 gun robberies were reported.

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Rowley KK

Trinidad PM supports death penalty

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 16, CMC – Prime Minister Dr, Keith Rowley Thursday said he supports the death penalty and that his administration is working towards having it implemented as it moves to deal with those citizens bent on committing murder ‘with impunity” in Trinidad and Tobago.

Rowley, speaking at the end of the weekly Cabinet news conference, told reporters that “this fight against the criminal element is a national crusade” and urged the public to assist the police in carrying out their investigations.

Rowley KK
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

“This just require that we stay on the job and do what is required. There are people in this country who has chosen crime as a way of life,” he said, adding that “we are being traumatised by a very small minority and we are going to take the best chance in law to protect us”.

Rowley said that even when people are incarcerated “they are running criminal empires from inside the jail and we are going to take steps to ensure that this does not go on”.

He told reporters he does not care whatever the backlash could be from his position but he wanted to make it abundantly clear that he is a “firm believer in capital punishment.

“It is the punishment for the crime,” he said, noting that “it is my view that people acting with impunity that nothing will happen” when they commit the crimes including murder.

Rowley said that the Attorney General Faris Al Rawi has set up in his office the mechanism to monitor persons who have been convicted of murder and is moving to ensure that they pay the penalty keeping in mind the Pratt and Morgan ruling of the Privy Council that persons on death row for more than five years can’t be executed.

Despite Trinidad and Tobago hosting the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the oil rich twin island republic still uses the London-based court as its final court.

Rowley said that former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj is also assisting the government so that “persons of recent vintage (convicted of murder) will pay the ultimate penalty”.

Rowley said that his administration is providing all the necessary resources to the security forces to deal with the crime situation here and reiterated a call for the law abiding public to help the police in their investigation.

Rowley said there were some people who were bent on committing crime not as a result, for instance of having lost their jobs, but who believe that it is their right to take lives and property from other nationals.

The last execution in Trinidad and Tobago occurred on July 28, 1999 when Anthony Briggs was hanged after being convicted for the August 1992 murder of a taxi driver, Siewdath Ramkissoon during a robbery in August 1992.

Briggs was hanged just over a month after the members of the Dole Chadee gang were hanged over a three-day period.

Dole Chadee, Joey Ramiah and Ramkelawan Singh were executed on June 4, 1999, while Clive Thomas, Robin Gopaul and Russell Sankeralli were hanged on June 5, 1999.

On June 7, 1999 Joel Ramsingh, Steve Eversley and Bagwandeen Singh were hanged.

The Chadee gang were hanged for their involvement in the murder of the Baboolal family in 1994.

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Regional Security Council ministers meeting in St. Kitts

 BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Mar 17, CMC – The annual Regional Security System (RSS) Council of Ministers’ meeting is taking place here on Friday with officials underscoring its importance to security in the Caribbean.

“There has been a significant increase in drug seizures in collaboration with security forces of the region, as well as the RSS Air Wing.

Captain Errington Shurland (Left) and Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris

“There has also been a significant increase in the assets that have been seized or forfeited, to include money and property, and this is through the recently developed Regional Security System Asset Recovery Unit,” said the RSS executive director, Captain Errington Shurland.

The meeting here is being held under the chairmanship of St.. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris.

The chairmanship of the Barbados-based RSS rotates on an annual basis among Council members from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadine, Grenada and St. Kitts-Nevis.

The RSs was formed in October 1982, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Barbados to provide mutual assistance upon request

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