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Gunmen go on killing spree in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 27, CMC-At least 10 people, including a 15-year-old student, were shot and killed during a 12-hour period as gunmen went on a rampage in several parishes in Jamaica.

Police said that at least five others were wounded as gunmen went on the shooting sprees in August Town, St Andrew, Linstead, St Catherine, east Kingston, St Elizabeth and St James on crimeeeeeFriday night.

Four people were killed and three others injured in August Town, while three persons were shot dead in Linstead.

Police said that several persons were standing outside a shop in August Town when the gunmen approached and open fire hitting seven people, four of whom died of their wounds.

In Linstead, police said that a man and his 15-year-old son who attends Bog Walk High School and a woman were shot dead by unknown assailants in Victoria district.

Residents discovered the bodies and alerted the police. In St Elizabeth, the police say a truck driver was shot and killed and his assistant injured after they were robbed by two men they offered a ride.

Earlier this month, the authorities imposed a state of emergency in the St. James area and earlier this week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told reporters that he is “prepared to do what it takes to address this crime problem”.

More than 100 people have been killed here since the start of the year. Last year, 1616 people were murdered.

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CARIFORUM

CARIFORUM to address crime and violence at launch of EDF in Barbados

GEORGETOWN, Guyana , Jan. 15, CMC – Another step towards fighting crime and violence across the region, will be made with the launch of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), CARIFORUM Crime and Security Cooperation, scheduled to be held in Barbados this week.

CARIFORUMThe 10th EDF CARIFORUM, to be launched on Wednesday will focus  on three main thematic area –  reducing the demand for and dependence on illicit drugs; advancing the thrust towards Drug Supply Control Initiatives with enhanced coordination and dialogue with Latin America, and addressing some of the critical factors for Crime and Violence Prevention and Social Development.

Other highlights of the programme include an overview of the crime and security programme by CARICOM Secretariat Director for Human and Social Development, Myrna Bernard, and updates on the specific focus of implementing agencies in advancing programme initiatives.

These agencies include the Regional Security System (RSS); Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS); Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Consejo Nacional de Drogas, Dominican Republic and the CARICOM Secretariat.

The Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) is a sub-group of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and serves as a base for economic dialogue with the European Union. It was established in 1992.

Its membership comprises the fifteen CARICOM States and the Dominican Republic.

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US cocaine haul

Philadelphia customs agents bag largest cocaine load from the Caribbean in 10 years

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 9, CMC – The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says officers from the Area Port of Philadelphia have seized the largest local cocaine load in 10 years when they discovered 709 pounds concealed inside cabinets that was shipped from Puerto Rico.

As a result of the seizure, CBP on Monday said that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark’s Office, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, initiated an investigation that is still active.

US cocaine haulThe cocaine weighed 321.64 kilograms – just over 709 pounds, and had a street value of about US$22 million.

While examining shipping containers at a seaport in Pennsauken, New Jersey on November 2, CBP said officers “detected an anomaly in one and transported that container to CBP’s Centralized Examination Station in Philadelphia.

“Officers emptied the contents of the container, and, after thorough inspection, discovered false walls in numerous pieces of bedroom furniture and kitchen cabinets,” CBP said.  “The false compartments concealed 256 bricks of a white powdery substance that field tested positive for cocaine.”

Additionally,  officers discovered a nearly 30-pound cocaine load at the same seaport November 28 concealed inside a wooden chest.

That load, 13.56 kilograms with an estimated street value of about $900,000, was shipped from Puerto Rico and destined for an address in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.

“Customs and Border Protection knows that transnational drug trafficking organizations will take advantage of natural disasters, and, in this case, an island struggling to recovering from a crippling hurricane, to smuggle dangerous drugs to our nation’s mainland,” said Joseph Martella, CBP Acting Area Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.

“CBP officers remain ever vigilant to interdict narcotics loads, and we are pleased to have stopped this deadly poison shipment before it could hurt our communities,” he added.

This is CBP’s largest cocaine seizure in Philadelphia since officers intercepted 864 pounds of cocaine concealed in a shipping container from the Dominican Republic March 8, 2007, CBP said.

It was CBP’s second significant cocaine seizure from Puerto Rico since officers discovered  386 pounds of cocaine that was concealed throughout the body of a pick-up truck  on July 9, 2012.

“This seizure is an excellent example of how Customs and Border Protection officers leverage imaging technology to detect and intercept an immense amount of cocaine cleverly concealed in a shipment of furniture,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region.  “Narcotics interdiction remains an enforcement priority for Customs and Border Protection, and a mission that we take very serious.”

CBP said officers routinely conduct random inspections operations on international passengers and cargo and searches for narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products.

On a typical day, CBP said agents seize 7,910 pounds of illicit drugs along the US’ borders.

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crimeeeee

Bloody start to New Year

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – At least five people have been killed since the start of the New Year as Trinidad and Tobago recorded a total of 494 murders last year, 31 more than in 2016.

Retired police officer John Ramkissoon, 59, was among the five killed on the first day of 2018. Police said Ramkissoon was drinking with friends when he was involved in an argument with a man, who left and returned with a cutlass, chopping the former police officer about the body. He died at the scene.

crimeeeeePolice said the first murder of the year occurred just after midnight when Brandon Khan was liming with friends at a New Year’s Eve party at Enterprise in Central Trinidad when shots were fired.

Khan, 23, who was shot with five others, died while undergoing treatment at the Chaguanas Health Facility. Police said he was shot six times. The names of the five wounded people have not yet been released.

Police are also investigating the murder of 30-year-old Miguel Simmons, whose bullet ridden body was found in Malick along the East-West corridor.

Police said a man identified only as “Nic,” was killed as he drove his vehicle in Champ Fleur, east of here on Monday. The driver crashed into a concrete embankment and police said as the driver got out of the vehicle he was chased and shot dead.

Law enforcement authorities said Mark Bascombe was killed outside a children’s party in Bagatelle, Diego Martin, west of here, in a drive-by shooting.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Irwin Hackshaw, said the police would continue their activities in a bid to keep a lid on the murders.

“Our vision for 2018 is that, as it was last year, but we will put in that extra effort this year. We didn’t do too well last year but we will keep on pushing…the boots are on the ground and the police are on the ground,” Hackshaw told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

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Stacy Singh

Guyanese national first murder victim in 2018

QUEENS, NewYork, CMC – A 26-year-old Guyanese national became the city’s first murder victim of 2018 after she was reportedly stabbed to death by her husband, whose body was later found hanging from a tree in a city park.

Stacy Singh
Stacy Singh (right)

Police believe that Stacy Singh, the 26-year-old mother of two children, who came to the United States just over five years ago, was killed by her husband, who later killed himself.

They said they are treating the deaths as a murder-suicide after the bodies were discovered about three hours apart on New Year’s Day.

Police said a knife was found near her body.

A Guyana-based online publication said the woman was originally from the Mahaicony area, a a community that is made up several villages on the East Coast in the County of Demerara and Region 5 Mahaica Berbice of Guyana.

Police have named the husband as Vinny Loknath, 46, who had been described as a very abusive person.

. “She stayed with him no matter what because they had two kids together. She was hoping for him to change, but he never did. He’s such a coward,” said the dead woman’s brother-in-law Romain Shaw”

The couple had a five year old son and a one year old daughter.

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Cannabis farmers in Washington state tend to their plants

Legal Weed Isn’t The Boon Small Businesses Thought It Would Be

The business of selling legal weed is big and getting bigger. North Americans spent $6.7 billion on legal cannabis last year, and some analysts think that with California set to open recreational dispensaries on Jan. 1 and Massachusetts and Canada soon to follow, the market could expand to more than $20.2 billion by 2021. So it’s no surprise that you see eager business people across the country lining up to invest millions of dollars in this green rush.

But here’s a word of warning for those looking to dive head-first into these brand-new legal weed markets: The data behind the first four years of legal pot sales, with drops in retail prices and an increase in well-funded cannabis growing operations, shows a market that increasingly favors big businesses with deep pockets. As legal weed keeps expanding, pot prices are likely to continue to decline, making the odds of running a profitable small pot farm even longer.

Washington offers a cautionary tale for would-be pot producers. The state’s marijuana market, for which detailed information is available to the public, has faced consistent declines in prices, production consolidated in larger farms and a competitive marketplace that has forced cannabis processors to shell out for sophisticated technology to create brand new ways to get high.

“A lot of people (in Washington) are surprised, and a lot of people are in denial about the price dropping,” said Steven Davenport, a researcher with the RAND Corporation. “The average price per gram in Washington is about $8, and it’s not clear where the floor is going to be.”

Davenport has watched the legal weed market from its inception, starting with his work as a consultant to regulators in Washington state in 2013 when they were writing the rules that would govern the country’s second legal weed market,1 which allowed for both growing pot and licensing businesses to sell the product the following year.

There wasn’t a lot of data on how the market for cannabis worked back in 2013, and the regulators in Colorado and Washington were trying to write rules for a product that had never been sold on any regulated market. Questions about the market dynamics behind selling pot were in some ways unanswerable, the telltale information buried deep in the ledgers of black market dealers.

Now, four years later, as entrepreneurs launch recreational cannabis businesses in California and Massachusetts, the tables have turned. With legal pot sales happening every day in five states, there’s a wealth of data about how the market works. In fact, there might be more public data on how this market works than any other market in the world thanks to a public database2 containing each legal weed transaction that has taken place in Washington state. The massive, 45-gigabyte database tracks every plant as it is harvested, processed and sold.3

This data shows that legalization has been extremely disruptive to the previous ways of growing and processing pot, when small, underground weed businesses could stay afloat with a basement full of grow lights.

“Prices are declining, the industry is consolidating, product variety is exploding — and none of that is a surprise,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a former co-director of RAND’s Drug Policy Research Center who co-authored a book in 2012 called “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know.” “Those are all things that we predicted well in advance because they are natural consequences of legalizing along a for-profit commercial model.”

Declining Pot Prices

Pot shoppers didn’t have much of an economic incentive to purchase legal weed when Washington’s first recreational stores opened in July 2014. With only a handful of farms and stores licensed to sell legal pot, the market’s supply was constricted, and the average retail price per legal gram in that first month of sales was $32.48,4 considerably higher than the black market or medical market prices.

The average retail price went up to $35.67 the following month, according to the state’s data as provided by TopShelfData.com, but pot prices have seen a steady decline since then: Within six months, the average retail price had dropped to $21.07 a gram; a year later, after a change in state taxes,5 pot was averaging just $12.32 a gram; and by September of this year, the average retail price for a gram was $7.45, or 77 percent cheaper than when the legal market first began. Producers in September were getting an average wholesale price of $2.53 a gram of pot.

Those prices are a lot lower than what the pot farmers thought they would be getting for a wholesale gram when they were first applying for licenses at the end of 2013, according to Susan Gress, a legal pot farmer on Vashon Island, just outside of Seattle.

“It was just blue sky estimates, anything from $5 to $25 — nobody had any idea. We were hoping for somewhere around seven or eight (dollars a gram), and back in those days, we were able to get $8 a gram,” Gress said. “But things have changed.”

Gress, who used her retirement savings to start the Vashon Velvet pot farm in an old horse barn on her property, said she thinks her brand has a better chance of surviving because it is considered premium and she is able to charge closer to $5 for a wholesale gram. But not everyone will manage to keep going as prices go down.

It’s fairly obvious why growing has gotten cheaper, Caulkins noted: On the one hand, pot farmers no longer have to spend time and energy avoiding police; on the other, industrial farming techniques and engineers are now involved in the industry, designing state-of-the-art grow facilities to increase efficiency and lower production costs. These changes — with their related price drops — are only likely to continue.

California and Massachusetts are starting their own legal markets in 2018, and prices will decline even further if the federal government ends its prohibition, according to Caulkins.

“Once it’s nationally legalized and farmers can grow it just like tomatoes and asparagus, it will be crazy cheap to grow compared to what it was in the past, and it will be either crazy cheap or pretty darn cheap to process, depending on which kind of product you are making,” Caulkins said.

Consolidating Cannabis Farming

When Washington’s regulators set up their market for legal cannabis, they created three tiers of pot producers based on the square footage of each farm. License different sizes of farms, the thinking went, and the market will support a range of small, medium and large producers.

Fast-forward three years, and it appears this thinking was flawed. Big recreational producers have swallowed up most of the market, pushing out the small-scale growers of the black and medical markets. From January through September of this year, the 10 largest farms in Washington harvested 16.79 percent6 of all the dry weight weed grown in the state, which is more than the share produced by the 500 smallest farms combined (13.12 percent).

Davenport said this consolidation of cannabis farming in Washington is just a harbinger of what’s to come. “I think what has become more clear is the inevitability of pretty large-scale production, and that is really going to start to drive down production costs,” Davenport said.

Current regulations keep pot farms from infinitely expanding, but as legalization marches forward, bigger farms could well be permitted. This summer, regulators in Washington expanded the maximum farm size from 30,000 square feet to 90,000. California plans on capping farms at 1 acre, or 43,560 square feet, when the market first launches. But the state rules do not currently stop farmers from using multiple licenses, which opens the door for larger farms.

What would happen if pot farms could be as large as wheat or corn fields? According to Caulkins, 10 reasonably sized farms could conceivably produce the entire country’s supply of tetrahydrocannabinol, pot’s most famous active chemical (usually shortened to THC).

“You can grow all of the THC consumed in the entire country on less than 10,000 acres,” Caulkins said. “A common size for a Midwest farm is 1,000 acres.”

The economic pressure on small pot farmers is only likely to increase if a nationwide market for cannabis opens up and the country’s largest, multibillion-dollar agriculture companies are able to invest in production — something they are blocked from doing7 until the federal government changes its laws.

“The professionalization of the industry is an ongoing thing,” Caulkins said. “There has been enormous change, but there is at least as much change still to come.”

It’s Not Your Parent’s Pot

Walk into a legal weed store, and you’ll see shelves of products that hardly resemble the pot of Cheech & Chong. From weed mineral waters to pot topical rubs to cannabis sodas, producers use sophisticated and expensive equipment to get creative with how they deliver pot to their customers. And Washington’s weed data shows that consumers have clearly developed a taste for these processed products.

When legal weed stores first opened in Washington in July 2014, flower — the unprocessed nuggets of cannabis that can be put into pipes or joints — made up 94.80 percent of the market, but a year later, flower accounted for only 72.62 percent of sales. That share had further dropped to 54.50 percent by September of this year, the date of the most recent available data from TopShelfData.com.

Other forms of pot — like concentrates, vapes and edibles — take up the rest of the market. Concentrates, highly potent products that can be consumed in a variety of ways, made up just 5.2 percent of all sales in July 2014 but accounted for 17.96 percent in September of this year. Vape cartridges, which allow cannabis to be consumed through electronic cigarettes, accounted for 7.67 percent in September, while edibles made up 8.46 percent of sales.

Caulkins said this kind of diversification is only natural in an industry where the basic product — loose-leaf flower — is relatively cheap to produce. “If you take the same amount of marijuana and put it into an edible, then your edible might taste different than a competitor’s and so be differentiated by its other ingredients,” Caulkins said. “They are trying everything they can to differentiate their product so they can command a price premium.”

While it’s relatively cheap to grow and sell unprocessed pot, it can take a massive investment in equipment to produce the edibles and concentrates that are becoming increasingly popular. Products like flavorless pot mineral water or concentrates so pure they form crystals are made with a combination of pharmaceutical and food science technology and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment to produce. For small-business owners, it can be difficult, or impossible, to buy the equipment it takes to produce modern pot edibles themselves.

This business climate appears to limit the number of companies willing to produce edibles. Of the more than 1,000 Washington companies with active licenses that would allow them to process edibles in the 12 months prior to September 2017, only 74 companies sold an edible, according to TopShelfData.com. And, just like with flower, a few large companies dominated the edible market. The five largest edible producers were responsible for 51.15 percent of the $38.7 million in edibles sold during those 12 months. The top 20 edible producers accounted for 90.48 percent of edibles during that time period.

As legal weed expands across the continent, that drive to find a way to charge a premium for pot won’t end anytime soon. Combined with dropping pot prices and consolidating production, it isn’t likely to get any easier for small-business owners to find a profitable way to sell legal weed.

Lester Black is an independent journalist and the cannabis columnist for the Seattle newspaper The Stranger. He supports pot legalization.

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President David Granger-300x160

Regional briefs –

Jamaica records more than 20 per cent increase in murders

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 26, CMC – Jamaica has recorded a 21 per cent increase in murders with one more week to go before the end of 2017, according to figures released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The JCF’s Periodic Serious and Violent Crimes Review show that 1, 581 people were murdered, an increase of 257 for the corresponding figure last year.

crimeeeeeThe figures show that St. James, the suburban parish, located on the north-west end of the island, recorded the highest number of killings with 325 followed by St Andrew, south east of here with 88, with the southern parish of Clarendon 166, Westmoreland, the westernmost parish recording  147, St Catherine North 138 and Kingston Western 125.

The police also recorded 1443 reported cases of shootings, compared with 1100 over the corresponding period last year.

According to the police figures, nearly 100 people have been murdered so far this month with illegal funs featuring in 82 per cent of all the murders recorded for the year.

The police said that 53 children were killed during the year so far as well as eight police officers.

The authorities said they have seized 846 illegal guns so far this year and 21,000 rounds of ammunition as compared to 632 illegal guns and 8,000 rounds of ammunition last year.

The number of people shot and killed by police increased from 93 last year to 156 people so far in 2017.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec. 24, CMC – President David Granger, has pardoned five women who have completed part of their prison sentence for non-violent offenses.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Granger has signed off and granted the Presidential pardon to Shabana Asgar, 34, Shellon David,24, Ronella Junor, 27 Maxine Baird Sampson,27 Reina Vargas, 54.

The Ministry says the prisoners “have each served a portion of their respective sentences for offences ranging from larceny, fraud and giving false oath.”

The pardons will take effect on Monday – Christmas day.

Since taking office in 2015, the President has been offering pardons to non-violent women and youths who find themselves behind bars.

Once freed, they will participate in programmes geared towards reintegrating them into society.

Gunmen kill three in early morning raid

by STAFF WRITER

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Dec 23, CMC – Police are searching for gunmen who killed three people but spared the lives of two children during an early home invasion on Saturday.

The police said that the incident occurred at Cunupia, a town in central Trinidad. The authorities said a woman was among those killed. They have identified the victims as Vinta James, Wellington Thomas and Tristan Guy.

Resident said that gunshots were heard at around 6.00 am (local time) and later saw a group of men fleeing the area.

Two of those killed were found on a bed while the third was found in a corridor to the home.

Two children, who were said to be in the house at the time were not harmed.

So far this year, more than 473 people have been murdered in Trinidad and Tobago. Last year, the death toll stood at 463.

Two killed in plane crash

by STAFF WRITER

 

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands, Dec. 24, CMC – An investigation has been launched into a plane crash that killed two people here  on Saturday.

The police report that the small plane crashed shorting after take off.

The plane was enroute to The Bahamas.

According to the CEO of the Airport Authority here, John Smith, the aircraft was enguled in flames and thick smoke when it crashed on a road close to the airport.

The police have not released the idenities of those killed.

Two killed as vehicle ploughs into crowd

by STAFF WRITER

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Dec 26, CMC – At least two people were killed and 18 others injured after a vehicle ploughed into a group of young people celebrating Christmas in the K-Soleil neighbourhood of , Gonaïves in northern Haiti, the authorities have said.

The driver of the vehicle is reported to have fled the scene of the accident that left 23-year-old Robenson Ulcera and 27 year-old Jean-Fito Marc dead.

The authorities said that 18 people including some as young as 13-years-old were also injured and taken to the hospital of La Providence.

They said that the causes of the accident remain unknown, but the Justice of the Peace, Blondel Petit-Frère, who was accompanied by members of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) , said he believes that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol or that the brakes of the vehicle had malfunctioned.

Police seize nearly 150 pounds of cocaine

by STAFF WRITER

 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 26, CMC – A taxi driver is due to appear in court later this week after police said they found more than 145 pounds of cocaine in a cooking gas cylinder on Sunday.

The authorities said that they found the drugs after carrying out a search of the man’s vehicle at his home in the Boodhoo’s Housing Scheme, West Coast Demerara.

On cutting up the gas cylinder, the police said that they found the drugs and arrested the unidentified taxi driver.

The value of the drugs were not disclosed.

 

 

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David Jessop

Consultant says new US security policy raises difficult questions for the Caribbean

LONDON, Dec.24, CMC – A consultant with the London-based Caribbean Council says the Trump administration’s new United States security policy raises difficult questions for the Caribbean.

Writing under the syndicated column, “The View from Europe”, David Jessop says that, by law, every US President must publish a national security strategy.

David Jessop

The objective, he says, is to provide the highest-level guidance on the responses required by the country’s military, diplomatic, and executive branches to real or perceived threats.

Last Tuesday, following a speech by Trump outlining his approach to national security, Jessop noted that the White House released a 53-three-page document setting out how his administration intends putting “America First” in the world.

Jessop says the strategy paper paints a bleak picture, seeing all states as being in a” relentless competition for power and influence.”

The US, the strategy argues, according to Jessop, has been “weak and must now become engaged in a determined struggle to restore the unipolarity it achieved when it won the Cold War.”

The strategy “all but rejects interdependence and multilateralism, suggesting that what happens in the world today is a zero-sum game in which only by advancing US principles will prosperity spread around the globe,” according to Jessop.

He noted that the document has some broad themes: “’America First’ will be the ‘foundation of US leadership in the world through outcomes, not ideology’, a policy described as ‘principled realism’; China and Russia want to ‘shape a world antithetical to our interests and values’, and are perceived to be challenging US power, influence and interests; unless they and others adapt their thinking, the US ‘will compete with all tools of national power’ to ensure ‘that the regions of the world are not dominated by one power’”.

Whether one accepts the underlying philosophy or the interpretation of history or not, Jessop says that the document has “potentially profound implications for any nation or government that sees the world differently.

“Although it contains some positive language, for instance on organized crime, corrupt officials, terrorism, and engaging the private sector in development, it suggests that a divide is likely to emerge between the US and the Caribbean if Washington decides to deploy its world view in a regional context,” he writes.

“Any reading of the whole document suggests numerous points of divergence,” he adds. “The most obvious relates to China, which over the last decade has become for almost all nations in the region an important investor, trade partner, and advocate of issues of vital importance, most notably climate change.”

Jessop says the section of the new US strategy paper on the Western Hemisphere “could not be clearer.”

That section says “competitors have found operating space in the hemisphere.  China seeks to pull the region into its orbit through state-led investments and loans.”

The document criticizes both Cuba and Venezuela, and Russia and China’s relationship with both, noting that the US “will isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity”.

The section, according to Jessop, indicates that, together with Canada, the US will deliver in the Western hemisphere a policy that “limits the malign influence of non-hemispheric forces,” while, as in the past, working to increase economic opportunities for all, improving governance, and reducing the power of criminal organizations.

“Whether Canada sees the region in this way – what this means for example for Grenada’s reported request to China’s Development Bank to help draft a national development strategy; how US policy will in future relate to the Caribbean’s special relationship with Cuba, enshrined in the recent declaration at a CARICOM-Cuba summit in Antigua; or how it might relate to the possible rescue of Venezuela’s mismanaged oil sector by Russia Rosneft – are just some examples of the practical issues the region is going to have to reconcile in its dialogue with Washington,” Jessop writes.

“More importantly still, the region is going to have to take a position on what the document totally fails to mention: the existential issue of climate change,” he adds. “Not only does the strategy paper fail to recognize global warming, vulnerability, or smallness, it suggests that US interests in future, in relation to natural disasters, will solely relate to building resilience at a domestic level while for others placing emphasis on the export of fossil fuels and renewable technology.”

Elsewhere, Jessop says the document introduces new conditionalities.

“When it comes to future US development assistance this ‘must support America’s national interests’, contains potentially contentious language in its qualified support for multilateral institutions, and more generally suggests that the US will respond negatively to those nations that do not support its foreign policy,” he says.

For the Caribbean, this will likely pose a conundrum, Jessop says.

“Smallness, the importance of the US and a trade and investment partner, its physical location, its good relations with neighbors and others that the US now sees as an unwelcome influence, and CARICOM’s renewed drive for a rapid multilateral response to climate change, all suggest that future relations with Washington may become difficult.What now seems to be on offer is far from the approach taken by the Obama administration foreign policy, which had healed many hemispheric rifts,” he adds. “If followed through on, the Trump doctrine will be divisive and significantly less in the interests of the region and its desire for a joined up global approach to its future development.”

The Caribbean Council is a long-established trade and investment consultancy and membership organization, specialized in providing advisory services to companies, trade associations, governments, public sector organizations, and regional organizations.

Through its activities, the Caribbean Council said it supports responsible private-sector led investment and development in the Caribbean, Cuba and Central America.

The former managing director of the Caribbean Council, Jessop says he has worked on Caribbean issues for over 40 years and continues to speak and write on Caribbean issues.

He is the editor of our “Caribbean Insight” and “Cuba Briefing” publications.

Jessop is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) in Washington, D.C. and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

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Be careful how you complain the justice system!

Be careful how you complain the justice system!

It can never enough, certainly not currently, to have the conversation relating to sexual, child and women abuse. But because of how Miss Shirley Osborne an organiser of women’s affairs, who also functions as a dominant person as Speaker of the Montserrat Legislature has recently and prior address issues surrounding issues as above, we think it important to touch on her posture on the issues.

December 23, 2017

Miss Osborne has come out and is critical of the ‘justice system’, unfortunately using recent matters that appeared before the High Court during the last criminal assizes. Her take on the matter: “…the terrifying thing for me is that the court, the judicial system which is what you look to when all else fails, or we should look to when all else fails, by some accounts and in some people’s informed opinion has failed this time… We’re going to talk about this last high court session,” speaking in the end as to planned meetings and perhaps consultations going forward.

She stressed the point further. “There’s too many questions too much disappointment too much anger too much failure there.”

In fairness to her she had preceded those words with an admission, which we believe is exactly what needs to be fixed, these issues having gone through many interventions. “Clearly, we’re not doing nearly enough to protect women not just adult women but young women and our more vulnerable women also and our more vulnerable girls,” she said.

Since 2010 and earlier these matters surrounding women, girls and children; sexual abuses, were brought out into the public. HMG joining almost the rest of the world poured monies into the region to address the issues. Montserrat has not been left out, and it is one of the areas, under the heading of ‘Child Safeguarding’

She refers to a domestic violence bill before the house which like several other matters surrounding the issues is one of the mistakes being made on the issues.

How familiar is the public with what that domestic violence bill seeks to do for the ‘people’ of Montserrat? The same question can be asked about various pieces of legislation surrounding ‘Child Safeguarding’. Going to the people who will be affected by the outcomes of the legislation to tell them what it is, cannot be called consultation.

That issue, by the way, is a serious issue in Montserrat. Take the discourse at and coming out of the recent ‘consultation’ on the Economic Growth Plan.

The issues that Miss Osborne took up with the court and the ‘justice system’ were clearly not studied. When they do, it is hoped that a double back will be taken if and when they discover that the approach at attempting to show that somehow the system is rigged against the interests of women, is simply because the facts are not truly or even honestly being considered, preventing the kind of preparations needed to create a solid foundation.

Sometimes and often the personal agendas all round are not sincere, taking the matter at hand with the proper focus obviously skewed.

There are issues promoting one thing and then backing away or looking at the issue only because of who is involved and not really the situation at hand, which is supposed to be for the benefit of good. That is a serious issue facing this country, one that must be corrected if good is going to fall over this land. It is the goal that is important, always.

“You can’t remedy what’s already been done, but we could look really intentionally purposely look for ways to ensure as far as that’s possible that we don’t have this occurring again,” Hon. Shirley said.

That she will find has been overlooked time and time again and will continue if serious examination is made into the motives of those seeking to promote what we believe is not ‘women domination’ but rather correcting and if necessary punishing, what has been for far too long a kind of scourge; that fact being an issue in itself. Full support is forthcoming but that can only bring success if ‘proper’ discussions and consultations take place.

With that a blessed Christmas is our wish to everyone, whichever side of love you may be. And if we do not see you again before the new year, may 2018 bring nothing less than joy and more blessings.

Posted in Court, Crime, Features, Legal, Local, Police, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Harold Brady

Disbarred attorney arrested on fraud charge

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC -The police on Wednesday arrested disbarred attorney Harold Brady on a fraud charge.

The police report that Brady was charged with fraudulent conversion that reportedly involved just over J$4-million  (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents)related to the sale of a real estate property.

Harold Brady
Harold Brady

According to police reports, the attorney turned himself over to the Fraud Squad on Wednesday afternoon after being questioned by investigators.

He is also scheduled to face further questioning on Thursday regarding another alleged case of fraud.

This surrounds the sale of property owned by Factories Corporation (FCJ) of Jamaica for approximately  $150 million.

The FCJ had complained to the General Legal Council (GLC) that it is still owed approximately  J$110 million from the transaction.

Earlier this year,Brady, who is also a senior member of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), was struck from the list of licensed legal practitioners in Jamaica .

He was disbarred after being found guilty of professional misconduct in relation to allegations that he misappropriated funds belonging to the FCJ.

Brady has denied the allegations.

Posted in Court, Crime, News, Regional0 Comments

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