Archive | Crime


Secondary school student in brutal attack on mother

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 20, CMC –Education Minister Anthony Garcia said that the necessary resources and experts from the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education will be sent to a secondary school, south of here, after a student is reported to have severely injured his mother in a fit of rage over school work earlier this week.

crimmeeGarcia said that the Ministry had received a report regarding the incident in which the 15-year-old Presentation College student allegedly chopped his mother almost severing one of her arms, and also inflicting multiple wounds to her head, chest and arms.

The student has since been taken into police custody following the incident on Wednesday night.

Police said that the woman had been found at the house by her husband on his return from work on Thursday and that the student had been found in a nearby village after fleeing the house.

The mother has since undergone emergency and the Head of Central Division, Senior Superintendent,  Inraj Balram described the incident as very disturbing.

“It is appalling for a 15-year-old who is attending a prestigious school to resort to that kind of violence against his own mother. I am pleading with people who have troubled children to seek counselling for them,” Balram is quoted in the Friday edition of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

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Former health minister renews call for decriminalising marijuana

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 20, CMC – Former health minister Dr. Fuad khan Friday renewed his call for the decriminalisation of marijuana for medical purposes.

“Trinidad and Tobago needs to join the march towards decriminalization of marijuana, particularly for medical use” Dr. Khan, an opposition legislator, said in a statement in which he noted that as of this year several countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, India, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, and some U.S. jurisdictions, had done so.

marijuuuThe global community is Friday observing International Day of Cannabis, commonly referred to as “420’ and Dr. Khan said “on the occasion of 420, I once again renew my call for the decriminalization of the use of marijuana”.

The opposition legislator, a medical practitioner, said that in his contribution to the budget debate last year “ I pointed out the many benefits to the economy by legalizing marijuana, its medical uses and the need to desist from criminalizing young men in particular for using small amounts.
“ I went to great lengths to show the benefits but the current government has constantly ignored all calls for changes to the law. Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley when asked about the legalization of marijuana in 2015 said that while the issue might be “fashionable” at the moment, it isn’t a priority for his government.”

Dr. Khan said that the government’s “continuing failure to broach matters of national importance has become a serious drawback when it comes to our society evolving based on science, pragmatism and common sense.”.

He said Trinidad and Tobago has some of the highest rates of cancer, hypertension and diabetes in the region and if marijuana licences are granted, the country can begin to benefit from the positive medical benefits.
“Patients with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions will be able to have access to legal marijuana, not having the added burden of trying to evade law enforcement,” Khan said, noting that while the debate continues on the efficacy of medical marijuana, several major research have been undertaken to understand the positive effects of the marijuana.

He quoted the findings of several research studies on the issue insisting that Trinidad and Tobago must move swiftly to separate marijuana from the very real and dangerous illegal drug trade and allow the people who use it as medicine to do so without being incarcerated.

“Marijuana smokers are not second class citizens. Adults have the legal right to consume alcohol, tobacco and other legal drugs but are criminalized if they choose marijuana, a natural herb. That is neither reasonable nor fair,” Dr. Khan added.

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court rul

Man denied bail on charges of sexually assaulting a minor

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 18, CMC – A 53-year-old man has been denied bail after he appeared before a city magistrate on charges of sexual penetration and sexual touching of a seven-year-old girl.

Ted Dookie, 53, appeared before Magistrate Adia Mohammed charged with one count of sexual penetration and two counts of sexual touching against a minor. He will return to court on May 1.

court rulThe court heard that the incidents are alleged to have occurred between December 17, 2017 and Thursday February 1, this year.

Meanwhile, a 56-year-old man charged with raping a 12-year-old girl and molesting her 13-year-old sister, has been committed to stand trial in the High Court.

Hubert Mannette was granted TT$200,000 (One TT dollar=US$0.17 cents) bail after he was charged with charged with two counts of sexual touching of a 13-year-old girl and one count of sexual penetration of a 12-year-old girl.

Police said they have also charged a 26-year-old man with two counts of having sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14-years-old and one count of sexual penetration of a female child on March 26 this year.

Anthony Michael Mitchell, who was granted TT$100,000, has since been committed to stand trial in the High Court. He has been ordered not to come within 500 feet of the alleged victim or have any form of communication with her.

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Jamaica records increase in murders since start of year

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 13, CMC – Jamaica police say 385 people, including 13 children, have been murdered here since the start of the year, a 4.1 per cent increase over the same period last year.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said shootings increased by 0.6 per cent over the period January 1 to April 7, 2018. However, there was a 17.6 per cent reduction in the number of reported cases of rape and a 33.1 per cent reduction in aggravated assault.

crimeeeeeThe JCF said 301 people were killed by gunmen and that approximately 205 firearms, including 15 rifles and 150 pistols, have been seized up to April 7, this year.

The figures show contrasting crime figures for the two areas in which a state of public emergency is now in effect.

According to the police, in the St. Catherine North division, the police say up to Sunday, 51 murders had been recorded as compared to 38 murders in 2017, a 34 per cent increase.

However in St. James, there were 46 fewer murders or a just over 66% reduction when compared with the similar period in 2017.  The figures show that there were 69 murders last year as compared with 23 during the same period this year.

The police figures show that in St Andrew South, there were 55 murders since the start of this year, up from the 16 recorded for the same period last year and in Portland and Manchester there were four murders each recorded during the period.

Last year, Jamaica recorded more than 1,600 murders.

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Hermangild Francis

St Lucia starts process of returning prisoners to BVI and TCI

CASTRIES, St Lucia, Apr, 12 CMC – St. Lucia has began the process of returning prisoners to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and the British Virgin Islands.

The prisoners who were transferred to St Lucia last year following hurricane damage to both British overseas territories.

Hermangild Francis
Hermangild Francis

On Thursday, National Security Minister Hermangild Francis, announced that one of the 24 prisoners has so far been been repatriated.

“Today one of them is being repatriated because his sentence in the Turks and Caicos Islands has expired, so we have to send him back. Two Marshals came from the Turks and Caicos Islands and the gentleman has been sent back – so we now have 23,” the National Security Minister explained.

“We will be in touch with the Turks and Caicos Islands and the BVI as to the condition of the prisons so that as soon as we are satisfied that they are secure, those persons will be repatriated,” Francis stated.

He disclosed that although housing the TCI and BVI inmates  at the Bordelais Correctional Facility here comes at a cost, St Lucia will be repaid.

Francis disclosed that the travelling expenses of the inmates are not St Lucia’s responsibility.

He said St Lucia would ensure that the prisoners from the British colonies remain safe until they can be repatriated.

However in the BVI,  the  government is close to completing provisions to allow for the return of the hardened inmates of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP).

“It is time for our prisoners housed in St. Lucia to be back at Balsam Ghut where they can be in touch with their families and friends,” said Dr. Orlando Smith, the BVI’s Premier and Minister of Finance.

The BVI has to pay US$78,000 to the government of St. Lucia, to accommodate the prisoners for six months.

Government had anticipated that the inmates would return by March.

Last month, Myron Walwyn, Minister of Education and Culture said that repair works on the Balsam Ghut penitentiary have commenced and are progressing well. He indicated that this will allow for the inmates to return soon.

The BVI Government in its proposed Recovery and Development Plan for the Territory, indicated that US$10.5 million will be needed to repair the prison.

According to the plan, the monies will allow for prison infrastructure repairs, including security fence, infrastructure improvements and expansion, ICT infrastructure, and vehicles.

The inmates were sent to St. Lucia after the September hurricanes, which caused extensive damage to Her Majesty’s Prison at Balsam Ghut.

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Businessman sentenced to life for murdering family of six

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr. 12, CMC –  A 50 year old businessman was sentenced to 120 years behind bars for the murder of a family of six in the eastern parish of St. Thomas, 12 years ago.

prisonsIn handing down the sentence on Thursday, Justice Bertram  Morrison said  McLean must serve 48 years before being eligible for parole.

McLean, a chef, was convicted  of murder on all six counts after a seven member jury handed down a unanimous verdict, on March 6.

He was convicted of killing his former girlfriend Terry-Ann Mohammed, her son, Jessie O’Gilvie, 9, her niece –  Patrice Martin-McCool and her children, Lloyd McCool, 3, Jihad McCool, 6, and Sean Chin, 9, in the eastern parish on February 25, 2006.

However, McLean has  denied any involvement in the killings.

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Vladjimir Legagneur

Media association condemns silence of police as search continues for missing journalist

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Mar 27, CMC – The National Association of Haitian Media (ANMH) Tuesday said it is concerned at the silence of the police and judicial authorities following the disappearance of photo-journalist Vladjimir Legagneur.

The ANMH said that he left for an assignment in Grand-Ravine, in the district of Martissant, on March 14, the one of the areas where, in recent years, gang clashes have been particularly violent.

Vladjimir Legagneur
Vladjimir Legagneur

The ANMH said it was calling on the Director General of the National Police of Haiti and the Government Commissioner of the jurisdiction of Port-au-Prince “to make every effort to find Vladjimir Legagneur and reassure his family, his loved ones and his colleagues”.

The media group said that while many officials including Limond Toussaint, the Minister of Culture of Communication, have expressed some concern about the disappearance of the photo-journalist he has not been found.

The ANMH said that Toussaint statement that the police and judicial authorities “are hard at work “is the first official reaction of the government in this matter.

The spokesman for the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Frantz Lerebours, said the authorities have received no information regarding the journalist’s disappearance.

“In such cases, without a ransom demand, we fear a fatal outcome,” he said, adding “the situation is very worrying but we cannot presume of his death without having found his body.”

The head of the Latin America office of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Emmanuel Colombié, has also expressed concern about the slow pace of the investigation.

“It is extremely worrying that, 10 days after his disappearance, the police were unable to bring no new element,” he added.

In recent years, a number of people including journalists and media workers have disappeared without ever having been found.

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Man jailed after abducting six-year-old girl

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Mar 30, CMC – High Court judge Brian Cottle has sentenced a 24-year-old man to five and  half years in jail after he was found guilty of abducting a six-year-old child and attempting to rape her earlier this month.

The judge sentenced Kural Baptiste to one year imprisonment for abduction, two years for indecent assault, and six years for attempted rape. The sentences will run concurrently and will include a discount for the time the man spent on remand. The exact date of the incident was not disclosed except that it occured in March.

Baptiste pleaded guilty to the charge when he was arraigned one week earlier.

courtThe court heard that on the date in question, the victim went to use an outside toilet and the defendant saw her and waited until she was finished. He later took her to his house, kissed her on her lips and undressed her.

The defendant also undressed himself and attempted to have sex with the child.

He, however, abandoned the crime and gave the child an EC$0.25 cents( One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents)  coin and let her out of the house.

The child’s mother, who had gone in search of her, saw her exiting the house and questioned her. She reported the matter to the police.

When he came up for sentencing on Thursday, attorney Ronald Marks, who had defended Baptiste during the preliminary inquiry noted that his former client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

He said that while a psychiatric evaluation of Baptiste he had requested had not been provided, the guilty plea was a powerful mitigating factor, which, he said, was buttressed by the fact that at 34 years old, Baptiste had no previous convictions.

The lawyer said that the offences for which Baptiste had pleaded guilty were quite out of character for the man and that Baptiste had told the social worker that at the time of the crime he was in such a drunken state that his judgement was altered.

He said that Baptiste had shown remorse via his guilty plea.

But in handing down his sentence, Justice Cottle noted the seriousness of the offences, adding that abduction can attract a maximum sentence of five years, while the maximum penalty for rape or attempted rape is life imprisonment.

The judge noted that Baptiste had pleaded guilty and had expressed remorse and that the accused had realised that his conduct was wrong and had stopped, and this is why he would not get a more severe sentence.

“It is good that you stopped but you shouldn’t have started,” the judge said, adding that there is no way to know how the ordeal might affect the girl when she is grown.

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World Bankk

World Bank report calls for more to be done regarding violence against women

WASHINGTON, Mar 30, CMC – The World Bank is urging Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries to do more to address violence against women even as it acknowledges they have done much to improve women’s economic inclusion.

In a report titled “Women, Business and Law 2018”, the World Bank said reforms have been taken in several LAC economies in the past two years to improve women’s economic position.

World BankkIt said that most of the reforms focused on making it easier for women to work by expanding maternity leave benefits.

“However, the region’s economies need to do much more to protect women from violence by enacting laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment in public places,” the report notes.

Now in its fifth edition, the report introduces, for the first time, a scoring system of zero to 100, to better inform the reform agenda.

According to the World Bank, scores are assigned to every monitored economy on each of the report’s seven indicators: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit, and protecting women from violence.

“Women’s entrepreneurship is a driving force behind economic activity in the region. So, the more women can realize their full economic potential, as workers or business owners, the more the region’s economies and societies will benefit,” said Rita Ramalho, senior manager of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces “Women, Business and the Law.”

The report says the region’s strengths lie in the areas of using property, with an average score of 98. All but four of the region’s 32 economies score a perfect 100, the report states.

It says the region also performs well in the area of accessing institutions, with an average score of 97, “as most economies do not differentiate between women and men in a range of public interactions, such as registering a business, opening a bank account or obtaining a national identification.”

The report also highlights areas where the region is not faring as well and where progress on indicators, such as getting a job, building credit and legislation on sexual harassment and domestic violence, could be improved.

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Carol Palmer

Jamaica partners with UN to launch campaign against human trafficking

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar. 25, CMC – The Government of Jamaica has partnered with the United Nations to launch the Global Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking.

Carol Palmer
Carol Palmer

The campaign is an international awareness initiative by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to fight human trafficking and its impact on society. It seeks to encourage involvement and inspire action to help stop the crime.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Chair of the National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), Carol Palmer said she is pleased that Jamaica is the first English speaking Caribbean Country to partner with the UNODC.

She noted that the strong global brand of the UN and the internationally recognized Brand Jamaica, will make a compelling partnership in the fight against human trafficking.

“The combined resources of Governments everywhere are more than enough to secure an aggressive and sustained agenda against human trafficking. These resources must be made available to law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies as well as the judiciary in an unprecedented onslaught against this (crime),”  said Palmer at a recent press briefing .

The official launch of the campaign will take place on Wednesday.

It will be held concurrently at the St. William Grant Park, in Downtown Kingston and at the Rudolph Elder Park in the eastern parish of St. Thomas.

A central feature of the launch is the simultaneous symbolic turning on of Blue lights at all three locations at 6:00 p.m. (local time).

The locations were carefully chosen given their significance in the fight against slavery, bondage and oppression which are all negative features of human trafficking.

In addition, Cabinet has approve Jamaica’s participation in the campaign which will see the local use of the Blue Heart Logo, fact sheet and brochures in its public education activities.

Schools, non-government organizations, donor partners and custodes, private sector, private citizens and Government officials are among the target audience.

Meanwhile, the NATFATIP will be continuing with its Country Tours which target persons in rural areas and urban town centres with a wide array of material about the crime.

To this end, on March 27, NATFATIP will conduct a Trafficking in Persons country tour from Boone Hall, St. Andrew to Stony Hill and on March 28, from the Town Centre in Morant Bay to Rudolph Elder Park.

Human trafficking is considered a transnational crime with the primary objective of gaining profit through the exploitation of human beings.

NATFATIP is a multi-agency body, comprising representatives from Ministries, Departments and Agencies and non-governmental organisations, which support the Government’s policy and action in combating human trafficking in Jamaica.

Other countries that have adopted the Global Blue Heart campaign are Brazil, Columbia, Lebanon, Mexico and Switzerland.

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