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CIP Unit confirms billionaire fugitive mehul Choksi has Antigua passport

CIP Unit confirms billionaire fugitive mehul Choksi has Antigua passport

Mehul Choksi

The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) has this afternoon confirmed to OBSERVER that, Mehul Choksi, an Indian billionaire businessman wanted for alleged fraud in India, was granted Antiguan and Barbudan citizenship in November 2017.

Several reports surfaced online this week, stating that the wanted man was in Antigua presently prompting this media house to reach out to the CIU.

In its response, the CIU stated that “after extensive vetting, Mehul Choksi was granted citizenship by registration in November 2017.” The statement added that his application was “subject to robust due diligence international investigation” and that “the 2017 investigation revealed no derogatory information.

“The CIU also confirmed that after being granted citizenship in November last year, Choksi swore the Oath of Allegiance in Antigua on January 15, 2018.

One widely circulating article on the Times of India online dated July 24, 2018 and headlined, ‘Mehul Choksi has moved to Antigua, taken local passport’ states that Indian law enforcement have been informed by official sources in Antigua and Barbuda that the wanted man arrived here this month but OBSERVER has not confirmed this.

Interpol is also reportedly involved in the investigation according to several online sources.

Mehul Choksi is a diamond tycoon who is wanted for a US $2.1 billion fraud scandal in India known as the Punjab National Bank Fraud Case.

Choksi is 59-years-old and is the owner of the Gitanjali Group, a retail jewellery company with 4,000 stores in India.

OBSERVER emailed the CIU, the government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst, the Office of Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, and the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) this morning requesting statements in regard to the Choksi development but the only response so far has come from the CIU.

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Police warned before robbery at Sweetes-T's

Police warned before robbery at Sweetes-T’s

Antigua Observer – July 14, 2018 – Two men have been detained in connection with the robbery that occurred at Sweet-Ts on Tuesday July 10.

According to an officer involved in the investigation, a vehicle has been confiscated and is being examined for evidence at the Liberta Police Station.

The police source said Closed Circuit Security Cameras recorded the car parked on a “dead-end” road not far from the business place that is located on Falmouth main road.

And, the two robbers who ran from the establishment after the attack, went to that vehicle which left the scene shortly before the police arrived.

OBSERVER media has also been informed that the police at Dockyard Police Station got a call minutes before the robbery, informing them that it was about to happen.

The call came from individuals at the restaurant who saw the robbers with guns, lurking around. The men were clad in dark long sleeve shirts, long pants, full face masks, hoodies and gloves. This information was confirmed by police sources and staff at the restaurant which is known for its ice-creams and milkshakes.

A manager at Sweet-Ts who did not want to be named due to fear for her safety, said some customers left and the workers ran to safety within the restaurant even before robbers walked up to the entrance, jumped over the counter and grabbed a bag with documents and ripped out the cash register.

Six workers and a few customers were present at the time of the robbery but none of them had any interaction with the thieves.

During the robbery, the gunmen were waving their weapons in the air, but, according to the manager, they never spoke.

“It all happened within 10 to 15 seconds. The police were called a few minutes before that but unfortunately  the police did not get there while the men were inside,” the individual said yesterday.

And, apparently, no other police stations were informed of the pending robbery so there was no collaborative response.

The robbers escaped with only an undisclosed portion of the evening’s earnings as the workers grabbed whatever cash and documents they could and put them away before the attack.

Dockyard Police responded soon after the incident but by then the robbers were gone.

Since reporting this robbery, residents have come forward stating that there were several robberies in Swetes, Glanvilles and Bethesda in recent days.

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Case that never should be

Claude Gerald and Attorney-at-Law Warren Cassell

We concur ZJB’s lead reporting that “Agricultural Science teacher Claude Gerald is a free man”.

This is after a nine-member (mixed) jury of men and women, returned a not guilty verdict for indecent assault of a number of schoolgirls, at the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) only this afternoon.

ZJB accurately reports: “The incident arose out of New Year’s greetings up to start of the school year on an open field around the midday on January 10 at the compound of the Montserrat Secondary School.

“Many students were said to be present at that time when the assault allegedly occurred and the teacher was arrested and charged after a three-week investigation.”

Gerald faced six counts, one each of six girls at the start of a two-week trial.

“Indecent assault carries a five-year jail sentence for each count Gerald’s defense team led by Attorney Warren Cassell was able to twiddle the charges down to four in a no case submission argument before the court on Tuesday.”

The no-case submission was an expected one and based on a ruling issued by Justice Morley who presided on the case, and who refused the press (especially Bennette Roach) from witnessing the trial when the evidence began, he ruled, “and so there is no case to answer as pleaded on counts 2 and 6. Accordingly, the trial shall proceed on counts 1, 3, 4, and 5, and the jury shall be directed to return a verdict of not guilty on counts 2 and 6 as pleaded…”

It was no surprise as ZJB reported: “after the acquittal defense attorney Warren Cassell says the not guilty verdict was expected.”.

Cassell said: “I am not at all surprised by the verdict and – there were six counts of indecent assault. Indecent assault is specifically defined in Montserrat’s law as ‘an assault accompanied by words or circumstances of indecency’.

“All of the accusers agreed that Mr. Gerald said nothing to them when he hugged them, therefore there were no words. And I said to the jury look where are the circumstances of indecency? This thing took place in the open, on the field of the of the M.S.S. campus. Where are the circumstances of indecency? No such thing existed. It cannot be that just by virtue of hugging, just by hugging a child and even kissing the child on the cheek. That is not indecent assault, or else fathers and brothers siblings would be guilty of it every single day – it happens every single day. Is it wise for a teacher to do it to a student, maybe not, but it doesn’t make it an indecent assault.

Attorney Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Oris Sullivan meanwhile, did not address the charges. But, while accepting the jury’s decision commended the witnesses and victims for courage to come forward and testify.

“Our system as I said on numerous occasions provides for trial by a jury of one peers. We accept the verdict of the jury of course, but we are still commending the witnesses and the victims for coming forward. This should not be a deterrent to other victims and other persons who are aggrieved who have been assaulted or sexually molested. We want to still encourage everybody who have been the victim of offences to come forward. It is the jury’s decision but that is not to say that every case will result in the same decision. We have seen our Jury at work and we’ve seen our jury convicted on prior occasions high profile cases, but today the prosecution was unsuccessful, but we still respect the Jury’s decision.”

TMR will present a more comprehensive report in a future issue, as there is much to reveal about the investigation, trial, its origin and the matters of child abuse and molestation, protocols and prosecution.

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Holness signs CARICOM agreements

Holness signs CARICOM agreements

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, Jul. 7, CMC – Chairman of the Caribbean Community(CARICOM), Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, on Friday signed three agreements pertaining to matters of the regional body.

The signing took place during the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM that ended here on Friday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and CARICOM
Secretary General Irwin LaRocque

One agreement relates to the CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty, which seeks to establish a system of arrest and surrender of requested persons within the Community for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution for an applicable offence; or executing a custodial sentence where the requested persons have fled from justice after being sentenced for an applicable offence.

Another pertains to the Revised Agreement for the Establishment of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

This seeks to update the CXC’s legal structure in light of subsequent organisational practices, recent market developments and current needs, with particular emphasis on accommodating requests from additional territories and institutions to join or otherwise participate in the CXC.

The other document is the Protocol amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the community and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security as an institution of the community.

The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing CARICOM, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), was signed in 2001.

Among the objectives, are improved standard of living and work in member countries; accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development; and organisation for increased production and productivity.

The Conference of Heads of Government, which consists of the Heads of Government of the Member States, is the supreme organ of the CARICOM and determines and provides its policy direction.

Posted in CARICOM, Crime, Local, OECS, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Loans Available For Marijuana Production In The Caribbean

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): June  25, 2018 – With Canada recently legalizing marijuana for recreational use and a number of Caribbean countries contemplating taking that step, Invest Caribbean Now, a global private sector investment agency of the Caribbean, has announced it plans to make millions of dollars available to the region for marijuana production.

According to the investment company, it will help facilitate loans from US 1 Million up to $50 Million.

The loans, however, cater to funding the growing of marijuana for medical purposes.

Invest Caribbean Now says “As Caribbean nations continue to focus on legalizing medical marijuana in the region, financing for loans to grow and funding for commercial buildings has become a top priority. To cater to this need, Invest Caribbean Now, the global private sector investment agency of the Caribbean is now offering the option of loans on land deals and commercial real estate properties to qualified medical marijuana entrepreneurs in countries where the herb is legal.”

The loans would come from ICN’s private funding network and will be determined on a case by case basis, based largely on 55 percent of the appraised value of the collateral and the strength of the borrower. 

Invest Caribbean Now says whether the borrower is looking to fund a grow operation or a dispensary, there are lending and financing options now available to Caribbean nationals as well.

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CCJ strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados

CCJ strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun. 27, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that the mandatory death penalty in Barbados is unconstitutional.

The CCJ, which is the highest court for Barbados, made the ruling based on two unrelated death penalty cases from Barbados.

The cases, Jabari Sensimania Nervais v The Queen and Dwayne Omar Severin v The Queen, were consolidated because both appeals challenged the murder convictions of each of the men and the constitutionality of the mandatory death sentence for murder in Barbados.

The Court stated that a section of the Offences Against the Person Act was unconstitutional because it provided for a mandatory sentence of death.

In addition, both men had their appeals against their convictions dismissed.

Before examining the issues raised by the appeal, the regional court considered the state of the mandatory death penalty in Barbados for murder and found that it was indisputable that the nation, through its actions, had acknowledged that it had an obligation to remove such mandatory sentence under section 2 of the Offences against the Person Act.

The court also noted that Barbados had also given undertakings to the CCJ and the Inter American Court of Human Rights to rectify the mandatory sentence which was reflected in the Barbados Privy Council’s consistent commutation of the mandatory death penalty.

The CCJ held that section 11 of the Constitution, which gives the right to protection of the law, was enforceable.

The CCJ also found that the mandatory death penalty breached that right as it deprived a court of the opportunity to exercise the quintessential judicial function of tailoring the punishment to fit the crime.

The CCJ ordered that the appellants be expeditiously brought before the Supreme Court for resentencing.

As it relates to the cases  – Nervais was convicted of the murder of Jason Barton and the mandatory sentence of death by hanging was imposed on him.

It’s reported that Barton was selling from a booth when an alarm was raised that caused him, and the people gathered around, to run away. Gunshots were fired by a group of men and  . Barton was struck by a bullet and died.

Nervais was  later arrested and charged with Barton’s murder after he made oral statements and a written confession to a police officer.

The Court of Appeal in Barbados dismissed his appeal against conviction and affirmed his sentence.

In the other case,   Severin was convicted before a judge and jury for the murder of  Virgil Barton in the parish of St. Phillip.

The prosecution relied heavily on the evidence of  Barton’s nephew,  who testified that he saw two men shoot at the deceased.

During investigations,  the police conducted a search of   Severin’s residence and found a Taurus semi-automatic gun along with thirty-one 9mm rounds in his bedroom.

In his appeal to the CCJ,   Severin challenged the reliability of  his nephew’s evidence, the fairness of the informal identification parade, and the instructions given by the judge to the jury at the trial.

The appeals were heard together on January 25 by the Bench of the CCJ comprising the  CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron.

These are the last judgments that the Byron will deliver as CCJ President as he will demit office on July 4.

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Guyana President declares national day of mourning

Guyana President declares national day of mourning

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun. 24, CMC –  President David Granger has proclaimed Monday as a national day of mourning for the victims of the massacre of Guyanese fishermen off the Coast of Suriname between April 27 and May 3.

The proclamation which is in keeping with Article 99 (1) of the constitution of Guyana, calls on “all authorities, Boards, Commissions, Corporations, Public Agencies, Ministries and citizens to fly the National Flag of Guyana at half-staff to demonstrate solidarity with the families of those killed in these grisly and gruesome acts and to accord due homage, respect and reverence to the memory of the victims.”

The piracy attack which took place on April 27, left 16 fishermen missing and feared dead.

According to survivors, they were assaulted with machetes and forced to jump into the sea by the assailants who are suspected to be of Guyanese heritage.

Some of the survivors also recounted that several victims had batteries tied to their legs.

Granger, speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony for Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) workshop for judges and prosecutors had described the attack, as a grave one.

“We are deeply grieved by the tragedy. Clearly, some Guyanese have been victims and we are in touch with the Surinamese government, also the Surinamese police authorities. Our police in the East Berbice, Corentyne division are in touch with their families and we plan to observe formal mourning. It is a great massacre, a great tragedy,” the president said.

In addition, The Head of State had extended sympathy to the bereaved families and said the recent attack is a setback to successes achieved in the fight against piracy over the past three years.

Following the attack, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan and a team of security personnel visited the neighbouring country and met with relatives of the deceased. The Minister said the visit was timely and yielded important information.

“The very first morning of our arrival I met with about 25 relatives of the victims and we had a meeting at the Guyana Embassy in Paramaribo, myself along with Ambassador George. A number of issues were raised and the ways in which we could assist were also discussed.” Minister Ramjattan added, “we then had a meeting on Monday morning with the Minister of Justice, Minister of Defence, Minister of Agriculture, the Police Commissioner and the chief detective who was the person in charge of the investigations. From that meeting, we received a better understanding as to how far the investigations had gone,” Ramjattan explained.

According to The Minister of Public Security a formal request was made to the Surinamese government, to have an estimated seven persons who may have information on the recent piracy attacks on Guyanese fishermen, provide same to the local police.

“Recently, a team of Surinamese detectives working on the case indicated that they are going to help us in relation to getting more evidence because we had asked them for more evidence in relation to people who we suspected in Guyana,” the Minister said during a media briefing.

In the aftermath of the attack,  the government declared moves to heighten counter-piracy efforts.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that government will be intensifying its counter-piracy activities in Guyana and has assured local fisherfolk of the government’s commitment to ensuring that they continue to ply their trade and earn their livelihood in an environment of safety and security.

The Surinamese authorities have also agreed to the implementation of a number of regulatory measures aimed at ensuring the safety of fisher folks and their vessels.

Nakool Manohar called “Fyah”, 39, the alleged mastermind of the massacre of Guyanese fishermen in Suriname, was on charged on May 30, with the murder of one of the men.

Manohar appeared at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court b  to answer to charges of piracy on the high seas however, he was instead slapped with the murder charge.

The charge stated that between April 26th and May 3rd, while in Guyana’s territorial waters, he murdered Tilacknauth Mohabir called ‘Caiman’.

Another man  – Premnauth Persaud, also known as ‘Sinbad,’ who is said to be the ringleader of the April 27 piracy attack off of Suriname, was jointly charged  with the murder of two fishermen.

Persaud, 43, the third accused, was jointly charged with Nakool Manohar, also known as “Fyah”, 39, with the murders of Tilaknauth Mohabir, also known as “Kai” or “Kaiman,” and Mahesh Sarjoo. The charge read that the two men, between April 27 and May 3, murdered Mohabir and Sarjoo during the course of a robbery in Corentyne waters.

The second accused Alexander DenHart, called “Shame Face”, earlier this month and was not required to answer to the charge.

The bodies of Tilacknauth Mohabir and Mahesh Sarjoo were the only two that were positively identified by relatives in Suriname after the   attack .

One other body that was found in Surinamese waters is still to be identified via DNA testing while the body of Gowkaran Outar called Gavin was found on a beach and was positively identified by a tattoo on his chest by relatives.

Five persons survived the ordeal while 11 are still missing and feared dead.

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Police investigating murder of woman who came to St. Vincent to bury her mother

Police investigating murder of woman who came to St. Vincent to bury her mother

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jun 16, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines police are investigating the death of the 69-year-old sister of social commentator Renwick Rose, whose body was found bound and hanging at the home of another brother.

Police said that the New York based Antonia “Toni” Rose had arrived here to attend the funeral of her mother, Germaine “Granny” Rose, who was buried on May 26.

Her body was found Friday at the home her brother, Dexter Rose and his wife, Lotier. The murdered woman’s body was found by her sister-in-law when she returned to the house, where Antonia has been home alone on Friday.

Police say they are working on the theory that she was robbed then murdered.

Meanwhile, police have also launched an investigation into the death of a 15-year-old student, whose body was discovered on Saturday.

Police said that the female student died at hospital after she was found hanging.

The death of the student comes less than two weeks after a Mesopotamia man was found dead in similar circumstances.

On June 5, the mother of the 20-year-old resident of Glenside, Mesopotamia, found his body hanging at their home, police said.

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

times caribbean

St.Lucia Police investigate 16th homicide for 2018

 
 
 
 

St. Lucia – June 14, 2018

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Anna Cecilia Mitchell of Flambouyant Crescent, Cap Estate, Gros Islet.

Officers attached to the Gros Islet Police Station were summoned to a residence at Cap Estate, about 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. On arrival the body of Anna Mitchell was discovered along her driveway and appeared to be lifeless.

Medical assistance was sought and she was pronounced dead on the scene by a medical practitioner.

A post mortem examination is scheduled for a subsequent date. This is the sixteenth recorded homicide for the year 2018.

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Marcia Gilbert-Roberts (left) and Eric Khant sig ning MOU (JIS Photo)

Jamaica signs MOU with United States to combat child trafficking

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun 1, CMC – The United States is providing US$4.5 million in funding for projects and other activities over the next four years under an agreement with signed with Jamaica  for a Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, which is aimed at combating the trafficking of children here.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Marcia Gilbert-Roberts, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy here, Eric Khant, said that the objective of the partnership is to save Jamaican children and at-risk youth from being trafficked.

Marcia Gilbert-Roberts (left) and Eric Khant sig ning MOU (JIS Photo)

“One of the most valuable assets for the future of any country is its young people – our children. We are pleased, therefore, that Jamaica was invited by the Government of the United States to participate in this project,” she told the signing ceremony on Thursday.

She said that the MoU signing represents another milestone in the relationship between the two countries, noting that ‘without partnerships of this kind, our journey towards achieving our targets under the sustainable development goals and Vision 2030 would certainly be more extensive and arduous”.

Khant said Washington is pleased to be partnering with Jamaica on this initiative, and stressed that human trafficking is a very serious offence which must be eliminated.

“Approximately 2.5 million people are victims of human trafficking every year and many of those victims are children. This type of modern-day slavery should not exist in our society…because of that, we work closely with our international partners to fight this heinous crime, and we’re delighted that we can now partner with Jamaica under this Child Protection Compact Partnership.”

He said the four-year agreement will help to strengthen Jamaica’s ability to prosecute and punish traffickers, identify and provide comprehensive services to victims and prevent these crimes from happening.

“Our hope is that together, we will be able to eliminate child trafficking altogether in Jamaica and the wider region,” he added.

Jamaica is the fourth country to have been selected for a CPC Partnership and the first country from the Caribbean region. The others are Ghana, Peru and the Philippines.

Posted in Crime, International, Labour, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

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