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Five killed in St Croix plane crash

 by Laura Dowrich-Phillips

Five passengers aboard a private plane are now dead following a plane crash at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St.Croix.

The crash occurred at 8.54 pm last night, Thursday, December 7, 2017.

The Virgin Islands Port Authority confirmed in a statement that the private plane experienced mechanical issues that caused the crash.

“Sadly, all five persons onboard perished – including the pilot,”  the Port Authority said. 

The deceased are believed to be members of a popular soca band in St Croix but the names of the deceased are withheld pending notification of next of kin. 

Governor Kenneth Mapp and the Port Authority’s board, management and staff offered their deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased.

Posted in Entertainment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

BAKERs from fine grains Barbados

Caribbean Grains spreads the fine art of baking

Bakers Michael and Ali with students from Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School Barbados

(PRESS RELEASE) – Caribbean Grains Ltd, which operates a production mill in Vieux Fort, considers itself more than just a manufacturer of flour.

The Company, which has been here for more than a year, sees itself as an ally of the present and future generation of bakers.

During the month of November, the Company has been conducting training sessions aimed at equipping bakers with new techniques in the areas of bread and pastry production.

The latest training sessions were held on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November 17th at the Caribbean Grains facility in Vieux Fort. A session with students of the Beanefield Comprehensive Secondary School, together with local bakers from the south, was conducted on day-one. Day-two was devoted to students from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School (VFCSS). The training sessions were conducted by two bakers from Guadeloupe and Mustique.

Managing Director of Caribbean Grains Ltd, Arnaud de Moussac said such training is very useful because it allows the Company to interact with bakers while they prepare various products made from flour from the Company.

“What we are aiming at is giving a consistent product every time the baker is starting his process, helping them to rationalise and practising economy, mostly by weighing the product because, at the end of the day, not weighing products can make a big difference in terms of earning and losing. And no one knows that you are winning when you are getting a little heavier product, but your bottom line will know it. So, we are trying to get the same cause and effect from these training sessions.”

The Managing Director added that Caribbean Grains is a new Company which must prove itself to its customers. He described the level of business with local bakers as “good” and “picking up.”

“The people have a better response to our product. We are very happy with the way they are willing to re-assess us. Nobody likes to change, but the change is welcome, and more and more we hear people saying that they want to buy Saint Lucian products because it generates Saint Lucian employment.”

Bakers were given an opportunity to learn and improve their skills in the areas of French and local bread products, as well as in baked goods such as pastries, cakes, croissants and pizza, using local flour manufactured by Caribbean Grains.  Sessions with the students are part of a practical training programme that Caribbean Grains conducts every other month with local bakeries and bakers.

Chef at Coconut Bay Resort, David Serieux, who has been a baker for 18 years, said he emerged from the training session with knowledge of how to refine his baking skills.

” Well, to be honest, it’s not something I never did before, but the techniques and the process I saw here seem much better here because of the equipment, such as the proof-box, and the way the oven works is amazing.”

Other bakeries represented at the training sessions were Bonne Baguette Bakery, the French Bakery, Mannee’s Bakery, and Kaision Bakery.

Participating students expressed gratitude to Caribbean Grains for exposing them to various techniques and opportunities in the field of baking.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Education, Entertainment, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Rescue

Top of the week Regional round-up

Sailing vessel sinks – two rescued

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Nov 18, CMC – Two people were airlifted to safety via helicopter  after their sailing vessel – ‘Tyago’, sank between St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
RescueThe marine authorities reported that a search for the two began late Thursday.
Two ships in the area – the French flagged ‘Club Med 2’ and the Liberian registered container vessel ‘San Cristobal’, took part in the search and rescue operation along with the  French navy frigate ‘Ventose’.
The two men, whose identities have not been released, were hoisted to safety by helicopter after spending  five hours in the water clinging to a cooler.

 

 

Prince of Wales tours hurricane ravaged BVI

The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles made his first visit to the British Virgin Islands on Saturday for a first hand look at the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

photo credit : BVI news
photo credit : BVI news

Accomanied by British Member of Parliament Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade, the Prince briefly toured Tortola and met local communities to hear about the ways they have been recovering since the BVI was hit by the hurricanes.

Charles also visited the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), “which has fought back since the storms to get up and running.

“There, he met some of the young people who have been a part of new support programs, which encourage them to talk about storm experiences and equip them with practical life skills to cope with difficult living conditions,” said the BIV Government in a statement late Saturday.

Prince Charles who is also the President of Red Cross, visited the local branch where he was introduced to a  several volunteers, including Deniese Gardener, “who risked her life in the middle of the storm, along with two others, to rescue a local woman.

This was Prince Charles’ first official visit to the BVI  and the first Royal visit since the Duke of Gloucester in March 2012, the statement said.

“I was honored to welcome His Royal Highness to the Virgin Islands to show him the devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Governor Augustus Gaspert.

“Their destructive force was unprecedented, and the lives of many on the island are still challenging. But, with the incredible community spirit and support from friends overseas, we are now on the road to recovery.

“It has been inspiring to see the resilience of our community over these last two months, and it was my pleasure to share this and a few stories of the heroic acts since then with His Royal Highness,” the governor added.

“It is important that the Virgin Islands, our challenges and our recovery remain at the front of people’s minds around the world,” Gaspert continued. “There is still a lot to do, and I continue to work with the premier to ensure we progress with the recovery plan.”

Caribbean island-nations take climate response into their own hands

BONN, Germany, Nov 19,  CMC – Caribbean and other island-nations, with no time to lose, are taking climate response into their own hands.

Following two weeks of negotiations on bolstering the Paris Climate Change agreement, leaders on Friday said their hopes that island issues would take center stage have mostly been dashed.

Climate ChangeThe New York Times reports that almost none of the measures to help their countries adapt to the impacts of global warming have been resolved, and few delegates said they were hopeful the final hours of talks would bring decisions.

“I’m anxious, and I’m fearful,” said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of St. Lucia.

“It can’t be that a prime minister’s only resource is to get down on his knees on the side of a bed and pray.”

From rising seas to the loss of fresh water, islands are among the most vulnerable nations to global warming, the Times said, noting that hurricanes, expected to become more ferocious with climate change, pummeled Caribbean island-nations into crisis this summer.

Hurricane Irma destroyed nearly every car and building on the the island of Barbuda and swelled the population of Antigua overnight as thousands of Barbudans sought shelter. Hurricane Maria knocked out power across the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and left Dominica in tatters.

Small islands also are among the smallest contributors to climate change, producing less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and leaders of the industrialized world said they owe some recompense for the disasters these vulnerable nations will suffer in the years ahead.

“The very thing that makes them wealthy is contributing to our vulnerability,” said Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda. “It’s only fair that they provide some level of compensation.”

But it’s reported that hopes are waning that Caribbean island-nations will see a major increase in financial support to help address the consequences of climate change.

On Friday, here created an expert group to formally include the issue of helping vulnerable Caribbean and other countries with immediate needs, known as loss and damage, in the United Nations climate process.

But the Times said “there is no money attached to it, though, nor means to raise any.”

So far, it said the biggest news came midweek, when Germany and Britain announced funding for a long discussed partnership to promote insurance coverage   in island-nations vulnerable to disasters.

“It can help people recover from floods or cyclones. But it doesn’t help against slow onset events like sea-level rise — no one will insure against that,” said Harjeet Singh, global head of climate change for ActingAid.

He also noted that many of the details of the new insurance proposal were still vague, like how much relatively poor island countries would have to pay in premiums.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) wrapped up, with delegations expressing a renewed sense of urgency and a need for greater ambition to tackle climate change.

The conference, which ran from November 6-17, was chaired by Fiji, an island-state particularly affected by the impacts of climate change. The Fiji Presidency announced an agreement on a Gender Action Plan, highlighting the role of women in climate action.

Apart from negotiations among Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , the UN said several new climate action initiatives, commitments and partnerships were announced by states and non-state actors in the areas of energy, water, agriculture, oceans and coastal areas, human settlements, transportation, industry, and forests.

Climate finance and climate resilience were also at the center of the discussions at the conference, the UN said.

It said more than 20 countries, including the Canada, Finland, France, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, launched a new global coal alliance aimed at achieving the rapid phase-out of existing traditional coal power and at placing a moratorium on any new traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage.

The conference took place one year after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. The agreement, which was adopted by the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015, calls on countries to combat climate change by limiting the rise of global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and strive not to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, the UN said. On Friday, 70 Parties have ratified the treaty.

A week before the opening of the conference, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere surged at “record-breaking speed” to new highs in 2016.

The UN said COP23 will be followed by a series of summits and conferences on climate change, which are scheduled ahead of the UN Climate Summit in September 2019, including the “One Planet” summit to be convened by France next month.

The “One Planet” summit focuses on financing, a gathering in California, bringing together non-State actors, and the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018, the UN said. Brazil has offered to host COP25 in 2019.

Britain providing more aid to hurricane ravaged Caribbean countries

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Nov 20, CMC – Britain is providing more financial assistance to Antigua and Barbuda as well as Dominica to help recovery and long-term reconstruction on the islands following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who accompanied Prince Charles on a visit to the two hurricane ravaged countries over the weekend, set out a new £15 million (One British Pound=US$1.32 cents) package for Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. Dominica will receive £12 million and Antigua and Barbuda three million pounds.

Maria 55
Hurricane damage in Dominica (File Photo)

The visiting British government official said this in addition to a further £15 million recently allocated to the affected Overseas Territories.

“We can be proud that in their time of crisis the United Kingdom stepped up to provide the vital immediate relief that was fundamental in getting these islands back on their feet,” said Mordaunt.

“The UK aid mission was huge, covering small islands stretching more than 1,000 miles apart, where buildings, airports and infrastructure had been razed to the ground. I want to pay tribute to the governments of the Overseas Territories, our humanitarian staff and to the military effort, which has been absolutely essential in delivering relief.

“Now as we move on from the immediate response phase, on to the long-term future of the islands, Britain will continue to stand by people whose lives were devastated. We are also talking to the international private sector who can support the reconstruction efforts to make sure the islands can build back, and better,” she added.

The support package, which brings the total UK contribution to £92 million, will include £10m to help Dominica to rebuild critical infrastructure damaged during the hurricanes. The United Kingdom’s contribution to Dominica also includes an additional two million pounds for early recovery, building on the five million pounds committed in September.

London said that for Antigua and Barbuda, it stands ready to assist with a three million pound  fund which will be deployed once the priorities for reconstruction on Barbuda are agreed with the local government.

For the Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos, the £15 million is delivering accelerated power reconnection and support to prisons, repairs to air and sea ports and support for policing. This is short-term funding to aid the territories’ early steps to recovery.

At the World Bank meetings last month the UK announced a private sector task force will mobilise business to play a prominent role in the reconstruction in the Overseas Territories.

The task force will identify and drive forward practical ways of increasing flows of private sector financial support to reconstruction in the region.

Mother’s drugs conviction quashed but son gets extra six years

November 20, 2017
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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Nov 20, CMC  — The Court of Appeal has quashed a mother’s conviction for money-laundering, but has increased her son’s sentence for running a drug-smuggling operation by six years.

court rulDenise Morris, 55, was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence earlier this year after a jury found her guilty of possessing more than US$15,000 in criminal proceeds that prosecutors said her 26-year-old son Damon had earned from drug dealing.

The mother appealed against her conviction and the Crown appealed against the 12-year sentence given to her son on the grounds it was too low.

The son was initially jailed for 12 years for orchestrating a major drug smuggling operation to import large quantities of heroin and cocaine into Bermuda.

The Court of Appeal has overturned the mother’s conviction and ruled there was no evidence to suggest that the money found in her bedroom closet was the proceeds of crime.

The panel also found that trial Judge Charles-Etta Simmons had erred by not dismissing the charge against the mother at the end of the prosecution’s case.

The appeal judges also ruled that Justice Simmons should have added an extra 50 per cent to the son’s prison term due to the seriousness of the drug offences and increased his sentence to 18 years.

Jurors heard at the original Supreme Court trial that in December 2015 an airline passenger was stopped as he arrived at L.F. Wade International Airport.

An X-ray revealed that he had swallowed several items that he later excreted and were found to be 86.38 grams of heroin with a street value of US$253,380.

Police later arrested Damon Morris on conspiracy to import controlled drugs after an investigation.

Opposition party files new motion in a bid to have ballot boxes inspected

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Nov 20, CMC – Attorneys for the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) have filed an amended motion for inspection of the ballots and counterfoils used in at least one constituency in the 2015 election that was won by the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

In addition, the lawyers have filed a supplemental affidavit in support of the amended draft order being sought by Ben Exeter, the NDP’s candidate in Central Leeward, who has brought one of two petitions challenging the outcome of the vote.

ball“The key objective is to clarify further for the court the particulars based on which it should make the order for inspection of the used ballots and counterfoils in all 15 ballot boxes,” a source with knowledge of the case told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

The motion comes up for hearing on December 12 and 13.

Exeter’s case is essentially that all ballots were designed contrary to how the election rules prescribed.

The NDP’s legal team is arguing that as a result of this alleged flawed design, the presiding officer handled the ballots improperly, and invalidated them by omitting to endorse the official mark and/or by the official mark appearing on them in such a manner that over 90 per cent of the ballot could not be folded so that the initials of the presiding officer and the official mark can be seen without opening them, as required under the Rules.

The NDP’s legal team is also arguing that the returning officer, Winston Gaymes, counted all these “invalid ballots” at the final count — against Exeter and his representatives’ objections.

The attorneys said the Organization of American States (OAS) report on the election confirmed this and that Gaymes swears under oath he counted the ballots despite his knowledge that all the ballots cast at polling station CLF were invalid pursuant to the rules.

The lawyers for the NDP are asking the court to order Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb to deliver to the Registrar of the High Court the documents relating to the election held in Central Leeward on December 9, 2015.

They are also asking the court to grant an order that the Registrar of the High Court open the ballot boxes in the presence of Exeter and/or his representatives and that permission be granted for the Registrar and the petitioner and or his representatives to inspect all ballot papers contained in the ballot boxes with a view to determining the accuracy of a number of allegations.

Gonsalves led the ULP to an 8-7 victory in the December 2015 polls for a fourth consecutive term in office.

POLITICS-CCM concedes challenges with implementing integrity legislation

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Nov 20, CMC – The leader of the ruling Concerned Citizen’s Movement (CCM), Mark Brantley, says his party if re-elected to office will bring into effect the Integrity in Public Life Ordinance “a matter of urgent priority”.

The CCM had come under criticism from the main opposition Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) regarding the delay in bringing the integrity legislation into effect following its passage in the Nevis Island Assembly (NIA).

Brantleyy
Mark Brantley (File Photo)

“I can assure the public this is a matter that is very important to us and will be operationalized in the next term of the Concerned Citizens Movement as a matter of urgent priority,” Brantley told WINN FM radio station here.

Brantley, who is also the Deputy Premier of Nevis acknowledged that “some issues raised in some quarters as to the scope of the bill …was quite extensive…

“So we had to go back to the drawing board in relation to that and so that ended up leading to considerable delay. There was of course legislation passed in St Kitts at the federal level and there was a question of how those two would interact,” he told radio listeners.

Former attorney Patrice Nisbett had been critical of the NIA for not implementing the legislation which the CCM had brought to Nevis parliament shortly after its election to office. He said under the CCM there is rampant corruption in government, which is what Integrity in Public Life legislation is designed to safeguard against.

“They told you that there was no decency, there was no integrity, they told you that corruption was rife within the NRP led administration. They told you that they were going to return integrity and honesty and decency to government.

“In 2013 the Nevis Island Assembly passed an Integrity In Public Life ordinance and you know up to today that ordinance has not commenced. It is there gathering dust on the statute books of Nevis, it was not meant to gather dust, it was meant to ensure that there was accountability, transparency and integrity in public life in Nevis,” Nisbett said, adding “and I’m sure you have heard from various quarters the rampant and open nepotism that is occurring over on the island of Nevis.”had campaigned on a good governance and transparency platform in the last election, but political observers note that the Integrity in Public Life Act passed by the then Denzil Douglas-led government in September 2013 has not yet gone into effect.

Colourful dancehall deejay Ninjaman guilty of murder

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Nov 21, CMC – Desmond Ballentyne, the colourful dancehall deejay known as “Ninjaman” will re-appear in court on December 15 for sentencing after he and two other persons including his son, were found guilty of murder on Monday.

The seven-member jury deliberated for more than three hours in the Home Circuit Court before returning the guilty verdict against the singer, his son, Janiel, and Dennis Clayton. The three were accused of the murder of Ricardo Johnson, also known as “Trooper”, in March 2009.

NinjamanNinjaman was found guilty of murder and shooting with intent, while his co-accused were convicted of murder after the jury heard testimony from the main witness whom the prosecution named only as “Witness A”.

He was arrested in 2009 and remanded in custody for three years before being offered bail.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn told reporters that the murder had its foundation in a domestic dispute between two tenants that escalated on March 16, 2009 and continued the following day.

“One tenant contacted her granddaughter, who was the babymother of Clayton. The other tenant basically had ‘Witness A’ dealing with the matter. Out of that threats were issued and the following morning, on the 17th of March, 2009, Desmond Ballentyne, his son Janiel, and Dennis Clayton returned to the scene,” Llewellyn said, adding that just before the shots were fired, Ninjaman and his son were seen with guns.

The DPP said that on March 17, Johnson, who had gone to visit his friend, who was inside the yard talking when Clayton and other men, including Seymour Samuels, who was also accused but has since died.

An argument developed between Clayton, Johnson and the key witness; however, Clayton and his friends left the yard. But shortly after there was a stone-throwing incident between the parties after which Clayton threatened to kill the witness, according to the DPP.

She said Clayton, who was armed with a cutlass, was seen among a group of people who were talking and pointing in the witness’s direction.

Shortly after, Janiel Ballentyne was seen in a motor car that drove to Johnson’s gate and stopped. He alighted and confronted Johnson and ‘Witness A’ .

Subsequently, the men went to their respective homes on Lower Marl Road. Minutes later, Johnson went to the witness’s house.

Hours later the car returned with Ninjaman, his son, and Clayton who all threatened to kill the men.

The DPP said that in an attempt to get away both men went through a hole in a fence. The witness said he saw Johnson, armed with a cutlass, chopping and pushing the fence to prevent his attackers from entering through the hole.

“So in all the circumstances, the Crown used circumstantial evidence to infer that not only were they properly identified, not only were Jeniel and Desmond Ballentyne armed with guns, but that they were the persons who fired, causing the demise of Ricardo Johnson,” Llewellyn said.

US government ends TPS for Haitians

By Nelson A. King

WASHINGTON, Nov 21, CMC – The United States government Monday terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 60,000 undocumented Haitian nationals living in the United States.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Elaine Duke said she made the decision to terminate the TPS designation for Haitians, with a delayed effective date of 18 months, “to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019.”

TPS haitiaDuke said the decision follows then-Secretary John Kelly’s announcement in May 2017 that Haiti had made “considerable progress, and that the country’s designation will likely not be extended past six months.

“The decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute,” Duke said.

“Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process,” Duke said, adding that she determined that “those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist.

“Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated,” she said, stating that she met with Haitian Foreign Minister Antonio Rodrigue and Haitian Ambassador to the United States Paul Altidor recently to discuss the issue.

Duke said that, in 2017 alone, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) conducted “extensive outreach to the Haitian communities throughout the country.”

She said these included but were not limited to community forums on TPS, panel discussions with Haitian community organizers, stakeholder teleconferences, regular meetings with TPS beneficiaries, news releases to the Haitian community, meetings with Haitian government officials, meetings at local churches and listening sessions.

Since the 2010 earthquake, Duke said the number of displaced people in Haiti had decreased by 97 per cent.

“Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens. Haiti has also demonstrated a commitment to adequately prepare for when the country’s TPS designation is terminated.”

In May 2017, Kelly, now White House Chief-of-Staff, announced a limited extension for Haiti’s TPS designation, stating that he believed there were indications that Haiti – if its recovery from the 2010 earthquake continued at pace – may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018.

At the time, Kelly said that his six-month extension should give Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States, and should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients.

“To allow for an orderly transition, the effective date of the termination of TPS for Haiti will be delayed 18 months,” Duke said, adding “this will provide time for individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible.

“It will also provide time for Haiti to prepare for the return and reintegration of their citizens,” she said, noting that, during this timeframe, USCIS will work with the State Department, other DHS components and the Government of Haiti “to help educate relevant stakeholders and facilitate an orderly transition.”

Duke said Haitians with TPS will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the United States until the end of the respective termination or extension periods.

The decision, while not a complete surprise, set off immediate dismay among Haitian communities in South Florida, New York and beyond.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still struggling to rebuild from the earthquake and relies heavily on money its expatriates send to relatives back home, the New York Times reported on Monday.

The decision to terminate TPS for 58,000 Haiti nationals living in the US comes 14 days after DHS announced it was terminating TPS for 2,500 Nicaraguans and delaying a decision for 57,000 Hondurans, which automatically gave them a six-month extension after their current status expires in January.

The announcement, while pleasing to immigration hardliners who argue that the provision was never meant to be permanent, deals a hard blow to long time Haitian and immigration advocates, the Miami Times reported.

It said that, for months they lobbied the Trump administration to extend the status for at least 18 months. It had been set to expire January 22.

“Haiti is not ready to absorb 58, 000,” said Marleine Bastien, a South Florida Haitian activist who has pushed for at least an 18-month extension of TPS. “It’s going to be a disaster for the 58,000 families in the US and a disaster for Haiti.

“Clearly, they are not making decisions based on facts on the ground, but rather politics. This is purely unacceptable,” she added.

Members of the United States Congress from South Florida also reacted with dismay with Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, describing the decision “unconscionable,” and urging the administration to reconsider its position.

Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, and Frederica Wilson, a Democrat, both vowed to look for legislative solutions.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Court, Crime, Entertainment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Police, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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Royal Bank of Canada, Montserrat celebrates its 100th year of presence

100 years – “no mean feat” a cause for celebration

It was described ‘as no mean feat’ as the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) today, Friday, celebrated the land mark existence which comes on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at its branch offices in Brades.

Clients, customers and well-wishers joined in the celebration with members of the local staff as well as visiting officials of the RBC family.

Branch manager Miss Lucille Irish was excited to be a part of the history of the bank as she recalls her own time with the bank. “It’s been an experience for me,” she said. “I came from town (the buried Plymouth) as a teller… I worked myself right up to being the bank’s manager right now. It’s been a challenge but it has been a good one,” she continued as she praised her support. “I had good strong support right throughout RBC with my boss, with the managing director, being my strength, my power and staff here and everybody throughout RBC.”

Visiting RBC Managing director and marketing head, personal banking of the Eastern Caribbean, Isaac Solomon, along with Regional vice president, Southern Caribbean Roger Cogel, were also on hand for the occasion.

Isaac spoke to the press in a very brief interview, aired live as Radio Montserrat obliged with their outdoor crew, setting up its broadcast for the middle of the day, morning into the afternoon, in the reception area of the Bank.

“It is a real pleasure for me to be here in Montserrat. So first of all let me thank the citizens of Montserrat our employees past and present and the business community citizens, who would have collaborated over those one hundred years,” he said.

“I want to say special thanks for your loyalty, he continued. “So 100 hundred-year milestone is significant by any measure, being many of us wouldn’t get to that age. And so for us to be celebrating 100 years of service to the people of Montserrat, is indeed significant.”

The MD on behalf of the bank recognized one of its longest serving members Erica Gibbs during the celebrations. Branch manager Irish introduced: “We’re going to give a presentation to Dr. Barbara Erica Gibbs. She’s one of our oldest clients; she’s been active, she actually comes to the bank and do all her banking still, so we’re going to give her a little token of appreciation and it will be presented by Mr. Solomon and Mr. Cogel.In presenting the token gift, Solomon spoke to Mrs Gibbs: “We want to thank you for your many years of loyalty. We wouldn’t have recognized that in spite of the fact that we’re here for one hundred years… there’s a significant part of that one hundred you were a part, one of our clients and we really want to thank you for your loyalty. It gives us great pleasure to show our appreciation by presenting this token to you today.”

Mrs. Gibbs wife of a former Administrator in Montserrat, responded with an explanation. “My husband and I came to Montserrat in 1964-65, he came in a hurry because the administrator who he was taken from was sick. Then I followed him with two children in 1965. We opened our account in 64 and you can work that out.” She then expressed her elation. “Well this is very, very special and unexpected,” she concluded.

The bank’s 100-year celebrations saw the Montserrat Children Society receiving a boost of cash. Mrs. Helena Dorsette received the donation delivered to her by the branch manager, Lucille Irish, in direct support of the Society’s support for the Dominica hurricane relief fund as the president and others of the society host Dominica children in Montserrat.

Throughout the day as Radio Montserrat broadcast live with JGP (George Piper), from the bank’s offices as he kept everyone listening, on location and the airwaves, with live interviews and brief intervention with local entertainers. There were lots of refreshments on the outside to include the national dish, the ever-popular goat water.

Posted in Entertainment, Featured, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Some in Houston wary of helping Puerto Rico

Hurricane relief concert: All 5 living ex-presidents put politics aside, call for unity

 By Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas  — The five living former presidents put aside politics and appeared together for the first time since 2013 at a concert on Saturday to raise money for victims of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush gathered in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, to try to unite the country after the storms.

Texas A&M is home to the presidential library of the elder Bush. At 93, he has a form of Parkinson’s disease and appeared in a wheelchair at the event. His wife, Barbara, and George W. Bush’s wife, Laura, were in the audience.

Grammy award winner Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance at the concert that also featured country music band Alabama, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer ‘Soul Man’ Sam Moore, gospel legend Yolanda Adams and Texas musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen.

The appeal backed by the ex-presidents has raised $31 million since it began on Sept. 7, said Jim McGrath, spokesman for George H.W. Bush.

President Donald Trump offered a video greeting that avoided his past criticism of the former presidents and called them “some of America’s finest public servants.”

Some in Houston wary of helping Puerto Rico

Some in Houston wary of helping Puerto Rico

Those who voted for Trump debate how much support the federal government should give Puerto Rico.

“This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and devotion to one another,” Trump said in the greeting, played during the concert.

Four of the five former presidents — Obama, George W. Bush, Carter and Clinton — made brief remarks that did not mention Trump. The elder Bush did not speak but smiled and waved to the crowd. They appealed for national unity to help those hurt by the hurricanes.

“The heart of America, without regard to race or religion or political party, is greater than our problems,” said Clinton.

The last time the five were together was in 2013, when Obama was still in office, at the dedication of George W. Bush’s presidential library in Dallas.

There is precedent for former presidents joining forces for post-disaster fundraising. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton raised money together after the 2004 South Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina the next year. Clinton and George W. Bush combined to seek donations after Haiti’s 2011 earthquake.

“It’s certainly a triple, if not a home run, every time,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “Presidents have the most powerful and prolific fundraising base of any politician in the world. When they send out a call for help, especially on something that’s not political, they can rake in big money.”

Much of Puerto Rico still dark, dry, frustrated

Much of Puerto Rico still dark, dry, frustrated

Much of the island lies in the chokehold of a turgid, frustrating and perilous slog toward recovery.

Amid criticism that his administration was initially slow to aid ravaged Puerto Rico, Trump accused island leaders of “poor leadership,” and later tweeted that, “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes” while saying that Federal Emergency Management Agency, first-responders and military personnel wouldn’t be able to stay there forever.

But Rottinghaus said ex-presidents are seen as less polarizing than the current president.

 

“They can’t get away from the politics of the moment,” he said of current White House occupants. “Ex-presidents are able to step back and be seen as the nation’s grandfather.”

Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25, unleashing historic flooding in Houston and killing more than 80 people. Shortly thereafter, all five ex-presidents appeared in a commercial for a fundraising effort known as “One America Appeal.” In it, George W. Bush says, “People are hurting down here.” His father, George H.W. Bush, then replies, “We love you, Texas.”

Hurricane Irma subsequently hit Florida and Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, while both devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A website accepting donations, OneAmericaAppeal.org, was created with 100 percent of proceeds pledged to hurricane relief.

Is Puerto Rico Trump's Katrina?

Is Puerto Rico Trump’s Katrina?

Though Trump has staunchly defended his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, his critics blame his slow response and mismanagement for turning the crisis into an even worse disaster.

–By Will Weissert

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Hurricane relief concert for victims of Irma, Maria and Harvey - October 21, 2017

Hurricane relief concert for victims of Irma, Maria and Harvey – October 21, 2017

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24529684_1508283345.6847

Crowdfunding Campaign to Help Young Montserratian Attend BerkleeCollege of Music

SALEM, Montserrat – A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help a young Montserratian attend the school of her dreams.

Vocalist Nia Golden successfully auditioned and was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston. She is the first Montserratian to do so. 

Her mother Nerissa Golden, Founder and Editor of Discover Montserrat has opened a GoFundMe page to assist with her tuition.

Click to Donate Now!Nia was unsuccessful in her request for a scholarship from the Government of Montserrat as it is not seen as a priority area for study.

The goal is to raise US$ 33100 by November 2017 so she can complete her paperwork and begin school in January 2018.

GoFundMe Campaign for Nia Golden to Attend Berklee College of Music →

 “You can give anonymously online or offline and every contribution will count towards the goal,” said Nerissa Golden. “Nia has benefited tremendously from the Montserrat Foundation started by the late Sir George Martin. Rebecca Chalmers, Cris van Beuren and Ines Lapa saw her potential and worked with her. Ines Lapa helped with her online audition and that is why we have reached this stage.”

Nia plans to study for a bachelors in Vocal Performance and Film Composing. “I really love to perform and write my own songs. Also I want to create iconic music that audiences will remember when they watch a movie,” Nia shared. “My mom and a few organizations helped me to attend the Berklee Five Week Summer Camp in 2016 and it confirmed that this was where I wanted to study. The school is located in Boston, and is right in the heart of a lot of creativity and I will have many opportunities to grow as an artist.”

“I am really proud of Nia and what she has accomplished so far. I want to see her go as far as she possibly can and I hope everyone will contribute as much as they can to this goal. I am thankful that the opportunity exists for us to crowdfund her future,” her mother stated.

Follow Nia’s journey on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/goldennia .

https://www.gofundme.com/NiaGoesToBerklee

Links to Performances

How Come You Don’t Call Me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv3Emg0-BTo 

Jason’s Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTa1bGfT66c

ENDS

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Kevin 'King Natte' Farrell

King Natte Ready for Leeward Island Calypso Competition

The Montserrat Arts Council has revealed that Mr. Kevin ‘King Natte’ Farrell is preparing to represent Montserrat in the 21st Annual Leeward Islands Calypso Monarch Competition which is scheduled to take place on Saturday  August 12, 2017 in the island of Anguilla.

This will be King Natte’s first time representing Montserrat regionally since he won the Calypso Monarch title in Festival December 2016. The Leeward Islands Calypso Competition allows reigning Calypso Monarchs, of participating countries to compete against each other and showcase the calypso art form in two rounds.

King Natte will compete against calypsonians from Anguilla, Antigua, BVI, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and USVI.

Acting as manager to King Natte while in Anguilla is Kenneth ‘Rabo’ Silcott. Mr. Silcott will also be representing the Montserrat Arts Council as the Head of Planning & Production. He is also a veteran calypsonian. He is assisting the King in his preparation to leave Montserrat and while in Anguilla, he will ensure that things run smoothly so that our national representative can be ready for the show on Saturday, August 12, 2017.

Former Montserrat calypso Monarchs have represented previously in the Anguilla competition over the years; such as Candi, Silk, Cepeki, Tabu, Baptiste, and King de Bear.

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Early Childhood Funday (10)

Awards ceremony for Early Childhood practitioners

Early Childhood practitioners on Montserrat, some for the first, second or many times since 2008 gathered on the evening of Tuesday, June 26, 2017 at the Goodlife Night Club in Little Bay, where they received special awards for their work and dedication to the care and education of the very young.

The award ceremony a highlighting activity for the month-long celebrations was organised in their honour where in the presence of the practitioners, young and old with parents, male and female listened to congratulatory greetings to acting Permanent Secretary and Director of Education Glenn Francis lauded the efforts of these teachers who as he said, ‘have dedicated their lives to nurturing the islands youngest minds.’

Early Childhood Education Month as the celebrations have been dubbed is usually held during the month of June each year. Looking back on the now tenth year celebrations, we were reminded of the third year which ran under the theme Young Children: Heroes in Our Community.

Education Officer Early Childhood Inez Thompson officiated the ceremony beginning with the disclosure of the theme “Explore, Discover, Grow, Enrich” and announced that it was the tenth year that the Ministry of Education was honoring practitioners in this sector. She articulated her own belief in the old adage “encouragement is half of laborers pay”.

Almost as usual the month celebrations had begun with a church service and this year the staff, parents and children worshipped at the St. John’s Anglican Church.

Each Centre chose a day to showcase the activities the staff and children participate, this year under a theme of their choice. On each eventful day, the other Centres visit and engage themselves in the activities put on by the particular centre.

Before all twenty-seven staff members were appreciated with tokens, compliments of the Ministry of Education, Glen Francis told them: “We meet on another occasion to celebrate the efforts of this outstanding sector, of all the workers in this sector. I know there are a lot of hard workers in this sector I have seen them at work, workers who are absolutely dedicated to the education safety and the development of our youngest and I dear say even the most vulnerable of our children.”

“I know that the future development of our young people is impacted by the quality of education that they receive at this level, I know it and government knows it,” he said. “But yet of course within the existing structures and processes and rules including DFID rules, it is enormously difficult to adequately reward the workers of this sector for the value they bring to education of our people.”

Francis as he continued is feature remarks, went on to say: “I know government does not do you justice for the hard work and for your efforts day after day and what one does miss sometimes is how come you’ve stuck with it, there’s some of you who stuck with it twenty years that’s a lifetime thirty years that’s a generation and through all the challenges that you face every day you’ve stuck with it.”

Special awards were given to the following persons: Mrs. Elizabeth Lee – 22 years of service:– 1975 – 1997;

Mrs. Henrietta Lindsey known to many as “Miss. Sissie” for her initiative for starting Early Childhood services in 1970 – 1973;

Mrs. Madge Donoghue – 16 years of service in the private sector:– 2001 – 2017;

Mrs. Frances Riley – 22 years of service: – 1970 – 1992;

Mrs. Ursula Irish for over 25 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Early Childhood Sector. 

The six public centres, along with Aunt Madge Child Care, participated in the Exhibition which was held on Wednesday, June 28 and Thursday June 29, 2017 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. Quite a number of persons from various communities visited and were really impressed with the items that were on display.

Fun Day should have been held on Friday June 30, at the Blake’s Football Field, however, because of the inclement weather, this was postponed until Wednesday, July 5, it being the culminating activity for the Early Childhood Month.

In 2010 a TMR reporter asked management if there was anything that came out of their 3rd year of early childhood celebration that needed improvement, Dr. Burns stated “we could do with more financial support…” This year that question was just about the same.

But Mrs. Thompson in her opening this year had said, “We have another opportunity to demonstrate our appreciation for the hard work and commitment of those who assisted in the development of something that we can be proud of and are beneficiaries of today.”

Quoting scripture, she said, “In the Book of Joshua 24:13 (from the New International Version) – So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant, this tells me that we are blessed to be beneficiaries of good gifts. In the words of John Adams before any great things are accomplished a memorable change must be made in the system of education to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher.”

Click to view more pictures

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Theresa May Reshuffles Cabinet Amid Calls for Her to Step Down

Time
by  Jill Lawless / AP

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks after returning from Buckingham Palace outside 10 Downing Street on June 9, 2017 in London, England © Karwai Tang—Getty Images

(LONDON) – Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed ministers to her shaky government Sunday, as some Conservative colleagues rallied to support her – and others said her days were numbered after last week’s disastrous election.

May is seeking a deal with a Northern Irish party to prop up the Conservative minority government, and lawmakers said the rebuff from voters meant the government would have to abandon planned policies and re-think its strategy for European Union exit talks.

A stream of senior lawmakers entered her office at 10 Downing St. on Sunday afternoon, to learn what roles they had been given in government.

May’s weakened position in the party rules out big changes to the Cabinet lineup. Downing St. has already said that the most senior ministers – including Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd – will keep their jobs.

As rumors swirled about plots to oust May, Johnson denied he was planning a leadership challenge. He tweeted that an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper headlined “Boris set to launch bid to be PM as May clings on” was “tripe.”

“I am backing Theresa May. Let’s get on with the job,” he said.

The Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday’s election – a vote May called in a bid to strengthen her mandate ahead of exit talks with the EU. Instead, she has left Britain’s government ranks in disarray, days before the divorce negotiations are due to start on June 19.

May’s party won 318 seats, 12 fewer than it had before the snap election, and eight short of the 326 needed for an outright majority. Labour surpassed expectations by winning 262.

Former Treasury chief George Osborne – who was fired by May last year – called May a “dead woman walking,” and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was ready to contest another election at any time.

Many senior Conservatives say May should stay, for now, to provide stability. But few believe she can hang on for more than a few months.

“I think her position is, in the long term, untenable,” Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry told Sky News.

But Graham Brady, who chairs the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative lawmakers, said a “self-indulgent” party leadership campaign would only cause more uncertainty.

He acknowledged that the government would be unable to get many of the measures promised in its election platform through Parliament.

May called the election to win explicit backing for her stance on Brexit, which involves leaving the EU’s single market and imposing restrictions on immigration while trying to negotiate free trade deal with the bloc. Some say her failure means the government must now take a more flexible approach to the divorce, potentially softening the exit terms.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who took the party from one Scottish seat to 13, said there would now have to be “consensus within the country about what it means and what we seek to achieve as we leave.”

To stay in power, the Conservatives are seeking support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. May’s office said Saturday principles of an agreement had been reached, but the two sides later clarified that they are still talking.

“We have made good progress but the discussions continue,” DUP leader Arlene Foster said.

Downing Street said it hopes to finalize the deal next week, after Parliament resumes sitting.

The two sides are looking to form a “confidence and supply” arrangement. That means the DUP would back the government on confidence motions and budget votes, but it’s not a coalition government or a broader pact.

The alliance makes some modernizing Conservatives uneasy. The DUP is a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and had links to Protestant paramilitary groups during Ireland’s sectarian “Troubles.”

Conservative lawmaker Nicky Morgan told ITV that she could support a confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP, but any closer deal would be “a step too far.”

A deal between the government and the DUP could also unsettle the precarious balance between Northern Ireland’s British loyalist and Irish nationalist parties, whose power-sharing administration in Belfast collapsed earlier this year.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny tweeted Sunday that he had spoken with May “and indicated my concern that nothing should happen to put (the Good Friday Agreement) at risk.”

The 1998 Good Friday agreement set up power sharing in Northern Ireland, largely ending years of sectarian violence.

The British government doesn’t have long to ink a deal. It is due to present its platform for the next session in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on June 19. The speech will be followed by several days of debate and a vote. By tradition, defeat on a Queen’s Speech vote topples the government.

Corbyn said Labour would try to amend the Queen’s Speech to include its own commitments to end austerity and boost public spending. Without the amendments, he said Labour would try to vote down the speech.

“I don’t think Theresa May and this government have any credibility,” Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror, predicting that there could be another election within months.

“I can still be prime minister,” Corbyn said. “This is still on.”

See Corbin “I can still be prime minister.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/jeremy-corbyn-insists-he-can-still-be-pm-and-vows-to-fight-theresa-may-all-the-way-a3562121.html

 

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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