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Search continues for missing American child and Jamaican national

Search continues for missing American child and Jamaican national

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 23, CMC – The search is expected to resume Thursday for a five-year-old American national,  who was due to return home today, but has been missing since Tuesday after going on a raft up the Martha Brae River that winds through Jamaica’s tropical inland rain forests.

Members of the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard divers and raftmen are searching for Jace Jones of Massachusetts, United States and 65-year-old Llewellyn Reid, also known as “Bagga Jagga” of Zion in Trelawny.

(File Photo)

Media reports said that on Tuesday afternoon, Reid was navigating a raft down the river with the five-year-old boy, three male siblings — ages ranging from five to nine — and their female cousin when the five-year-old fell off the raft. Reid jumped into the water to save the child but got into difficulties and is feared dead.

The children were eventually rescued from the raft after it drifted to a section of the river bank.

Wesley Innis, the grandfather of the American boy, said life jackets had been put on the children before they went on the raft.

The five-year-old and his two older brothers were visiting relatives on the island when they went to the popular attraction.

The operator of Rafter’s Village, Johnny Gourzong, described Reid as a very experienced rafter.

“This raft captain (Reid) is one of the most experienced. He was a good swimmer ,” he told the Observer newspaper.

Posted in International, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Aug 21, CMC  – A 53-year-old Bermudian man who was fined US$700 for shouting obscenities at crew members and a family during a flight from London to Bermuda has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Attorney Peter Sanderson argued that his client, Helder Viera, could not be convicted in Bermuda as there was no proof the offence happened inside the island’s jurisdiction.

Supreme Court Puisne Judge Shade Subair found that under the legislation, the offence had to happen in Bermuda or on a Bermuda-registered aircraft to secure a conviction.

Justice Subair in a written judgement Tuesday said “regrettably, the learned magistrate (Khamisi Tokunbo) was never addressed on this jurisdiction issue.

“The Crown, having brought the charges before the court, clearly did so under a misguided notion that it was well placed to do so. Further, the appellant was not represented by Mr Sanderson in the Magistrates’ Court when he entered his guilty plea.

“The Crown did not present any evidence before the court to prove that any relevant part of the appellant’s offensive conduct occurred in Bermuda and there was no evidence before the court to suggest that the aircraft concerned was registered in Bermuda. For these reasons, the conviction is unsafe,” Justice Subair said.

Viera was arrested on December 31 last year after an incident on board a British Airways flight from Gatwick.

In January, the Magistrates’ Court heard that Viera began to hurl obscenities at a young family with an infant about two hours into the flight. Viera was warned by cabin crew to calm down.

He later pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive, insulting words and threatening behaviour under the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order.

That legislation does extend to Bermuda, but Justice Subair said that offences must happen in Bermuda or over its territorial waters to be prosecuted in the island’s courts.

During Viera’s court case seven months ago Magistrate Tokunbo said the maximum US$1,000 fine for the offence was “peanuts”.

“This penalty encourages people to behave like this,” he added.

Posted in Court, International, Legal, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

United Airlines announces historic additional flights to St Kitts

United Airlines announces historic additional flights to St Kitts

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Aug 22, CMC – For the first time in St Kitts and Nevis’ history, United Airlines will fly a second weekly nonstop flight from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, complementing the carrier’s existing Saturday service.

Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce Lindsay Grant said the addition of a mid-week flight marks yet another historic first for the twin-island federation this year.

“I could not be more pleased to welcome this additional service, which increases the available options for visitors and Diaspora to get to island during peak travel season from the New York metropolitan area, which is our primary source market for arrivals,” he said.

For the January 9 to March 6, 2019 period, United will operate a total of nine scheduled round-trip, non-stop Wednesday flights between Newark and St. Kitts.

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, said having the Wednesday flight gives travellers more flexibility in their vacation planning and provides increased capacity during the period when demand is highest.

“This is a testament to the success of our work to grow North American airlift from key gateways in order to accommodate new hotel developments and existing hotel product upgrades,” she said.

United first began serving St. Kitts in December 2015 and continues to operate non-stop Saturday flights from Newark.

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Grenade thrown at Parliament building

Grenade thrown at Parliament building

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Aug 21, CMC – Police were guarding the Parliament building on Tuesday after unidentified people reportedly threw a grenade at the building and shots were also heard on Monday.

The Commissioner of the Government, Ocname-Clamé Daméus, said that the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) had been ordered to question all the security officers assigned to building at the time of the incident.

Some of the bullet holes in the Parliament building

He said people who use social networks to incite members of the population into violence will also be questioned as part of the investigation by the National Police of Haiti (PNH).

The authorities said that the grenade model will most likely be determined during the investigation and that several bullet holes can be seen on the building.

They said that four surveillance cameras that had been installed were not functioning at the time of the incident.

One legislator, Senator Willot Joseph, speaking on a radio programme here, said he remained suspicious about the “attack” and supported the argument that the gunshots had been fired from inside the building.

The Speaker of the Senate, Joseph Lambert, also criticised the action of the DCPJ officers who had sought to prevent journalists from covering the incident.

Media reports said that the equipment of some of the journalists were either damaged or destroyed as a result of the actions by the DCPJ.

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Private sector group wants an end to breaches of confidentiality

Private sector group wants an end to breaches of confidentiality

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Aug 22, CMC – The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture (SLCCA) s warning both private and public sector workers of engaging in breaching confidentiality. which it said is hurting the country.

SLCCA executive diretor Brian Louisy said he was urging the political parties here to speak out against the practice, which he said is hurting the economic interest of the country.

Brian Louisy

“We are concerned about frequent breaches of confidentiality in the public service and private sector, as this practice could inevitably result in harm to this country’s economic interests,” Louisy wrote in the latest issue of ‘ED’s Perspective’, the official publication of the private sector group.

He described confidentiality breaches as ‘a disturbing issue’ within the public and private sector, noting that “employees are now flippantly “leaking” documents of a private nature regularly without concern for the ramifications.

“The impact on business people’s confidence, both foreign and local, as to respect of privacy when doing business in Saint Lucia is now real.

“Will my competitor soon know my every business detail once I do business with the government of St. Lucia? Will my personal and business banking information make its way to social media?”  Louisy asked.

He said leaders in the country need to speak out and bring this practice to a stop, “or we will all pay the price”.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Education, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Region to benefit from re-launched climate change project

Region to benefit from re-launched climate change project

BELMOPAN, Belize, Aug 23, CMC – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) says it expects to roll out its “1.5˚ to Stay Alive – An Educational Initiative’ programme across the region in 2019.

The CCCCC Tuesday completed a teachers training workshop here as part of its education and outreach work to embed climate change in the region’s education sector.

CCCCC executive director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, addressing teachers at the workshop

It said the four-unit curriculum -the Warming Climate, Sea Level Rise, Pine Forest and Social Impacts of Global Warming –  includes teaching and learning activities and a range of supporting materials such as worksheets, photographs, posters, suggestions for power point presentations, and videos.

Teachers conduct experiments that simulated some of the impacts of climate change using safe household items and the CCCCC said that through this means of engagement, the educators examined ways in which climate change can be incorporated in their syllabus, with the intent to increasing sensitisation and awareness of climate change impacts and community vulnerability; heighten ability to link personal actions to the broader climate change discussion and increase capacity to conduct vulnerability assessments of communities.

In addition, it is also intended to identify practical adaptation measures to reduce vulnerability.

The CCCCC said that the training workshop here emphasised the need to educate children to build climate resilience through sustainable practices and development by utilising new-aged climate-smart technology and alternative energy sources.

It said educators who completed the programme have been provided with teaching materials, manuals and workbooks and will be awarded a certificate for eight Professional Development hours towards their licence by the Teacher Education & Development Services (TEDS).

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St. Vincent suspends importation of pesticides containing glyphosate

St. Vincent suspends importation of pesticides containing glyphosate

ST. GEORGE’S , Grenada, Aug. 24, CMC –  The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has placed an immediate suspension on the importation of pesticides that contain   the acting ingredient glyphosate.

Acting on the advice of the Pesticides Board, the government said the chemical is found in pesticides such as Round-Up, Touchdown and Glyphos.

According to a statement on Friday, the move is pending a technical review by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour.

“A preliminary review was conducted by the Pesticides Board which revealed that further research is needed regarding these listed chemicals. In the interim, a special technical committee was established to advise on sustainable alternatives to the listed chemicals. This committee is expected to present its findings by October 1,” the statement noted.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) have been requested to provide support to the Ministry of Agriculture  to conduct a full chemical analysis of these products.

The Ministry of Agriculture is also scheduled to launch a national sensitisation programme with all stakeholders within the sector.

“The Department of Labour takes this opportunity to remind farmers and farm workers of the duty of care needed while using all chemicals. All employers must provide protective gears and a safe working environment for employees in accordance with the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the statement added .

With the suspension of these products, Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar, has called on all stakeholders to be appreciative of the suspension on the importation of the chemicals “in light of the nation’s quest to promote a safe working environment and good agricultural health and food safety practices.”

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Dominica calls for cheaper roaming rates within sub-region

Dominica calls for cheaper roaming rates within sub-region

ROSEAU, Dominica, Aug 21, CMC – Telecommunication ministers from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are likely to agree on a policy regarding roaming rates in the sub-region when they meet in October, Telecommunications Minister Kelver Darroux has said.

He said that a decision on roaming rates is long overdue.

“We have met as the Council of Ministers of ECTEL (Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority) on the matter. We have had consultations held with various stakeholders to get the views as to what’s the best approach.

“Like we have said the European Union has gone ahead and done it and I believe for a smaller jurisdiction like the OECS member states there’s no difficulty in us moving forward. I believe we still have to take a practical step towards achieving it,” he said.

Darroux said that the ministers of the OECS ministers have listen to the plight of the consumers of the region as (it) relates to the high rates of roaming”.

He insisted that it is a situation that has to be addressed “in a timely manner.

“There has been enough talk on the matter and it is time to take action. I think we have to put more pressure on the telecom service providers in the region,” he said, acknowledging that while they individually have made “significant investments, they have held their grounds now and I think we have to put more pressure on them.

“And I think with that pressure from the Council of Ministers of ECTEL we will implement it. The Council of Ministers meet again in October of this year and that will be one of the items on the agenda at this meeting to see where we are at, what progress we have made and I am hoping at that meeting we can come to a final decision as it relates to roaming rates in the Caribbean and the OECS in particular,” Darroux said.

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Mottley says Barbados needs new international business

Mottley says Barbados needs new international business

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Aug. 24 CMC – Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Barbados needs to pick up new business in the area of international business and financial services.

Barbados PM Mia Mottley

Mottley who made the comment after the Barbados International Business Association’s (BIBA) Task Force  presented a report to the Government on Thursday said many opportunities were available to Barbados but enough people had to be put in place to pursue them “in a credible and structured way”.

She stressed that if this was done, additional business would be brought to the country.   

The Prime Minister also gave the assurance that Barbados would be marketed aggressively and proffered the view that there had to be a different approach to the diversification of marketing, both in terms of product and countries.

Those attending the meeting included Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott; Governor of the Central Bank, Cleviston Haynes; Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington; members of BIBA and other senior public officers.

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Trump’s Potential Criminal Exposure Is Not Comparable To 2008 Obama Campaign’s Fine

The president wants to deflect with misinformation, but his attempt misses the mark.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday responded to his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s assertion in court that the president directed him to commit felony violations of campaign finance law by whining on Twitter and in an interview with Fox News that former President Barack Obama “had a massive campaign violation,” but no one was charged with any crime. Unsurprisingly, for a president who has made over 2,321 false statements since taking office, this is a false comparison.

Trump is talking about the $375,000 fine Obama’s 2008 campaign received from the Federal Election Commission in 2013 for failing to file numerous reports in the waning days of the 2008 campaign and for receiving improper excessive contributions and failing to properly refund them in the legally necessary timeframe. It remains the largest fine ever handed out by the FEC and its size shows that this was a significant case with significant repercussions.

President Donald Trump is trying to deflect from his lawyer implicating him in felony campaign finance law violations by talk

Leah Millis / Reuters
President Donald Trump is trying to deflect from his lawyer implicating him in felony campaign finance law violations by talking about an unrelated fine the 2008 Obama campaign received.

There are however two crucial distinctions between Cohen’s violations, which implicate Trump, and those of the Obama campaign. But while the Obama campaign’s violations were serious, they fall into a category that campaign finance lawyers call routine violations, said Larry Noble, who served as the FEC’s general counsel from 1987 to 2000. These violations would be a failure to file reports in a timely fashion or inadvertent receipt of excessive contributions. But the violations Cohen admitted to in court, of which he likely has evidence, are not routine; they are admitted felonies.

The Obama campaign was not found to have “knowingly and willfully” violated campaign finance law while Cohen admitted to the court that he did “knowingly and willfully” break the law and that Trump directed him to do so. Whether or not something is done knowingly and willfully is what separates an improper action from being a civil infraction or a criminal law violation.

“It really is apples and oranges ― two totally different things,” Noble said.

The FEC did not determine that the Obama campaign intended to break the law in its failure to file 48-hour notices in the final weeks of the 2008 election or in its failure to refund excessive contributions in the legally appropriate amount of time. Nor was there any indication that Obama himself ordered the campaign to not file the unfiled 48-hour reports or fail to promptly refund excessive contributions. The 2008 campaign was the most expensive presidential campaign in history at the time and was the first to raise hundreds of millions of dollars online, many in the form of small donations. The campaign clearly had a lot of problems managing these contributions and that led to a host of unintended violations.

These unintended violations are committed by practically every presidential campaign, particularly those that receive a huge number of online contributions from a large number of donors.

The FEC sent letters to the Trump campaign asking it to explain a litany of potential violations including excessive contributions, anonymous contributions and failure to file 48-hour reports ― the exact the same violations as the 2008 Obama campaign. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was cited for similar potential violations in his 2016 presidential campaign. So was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Even Herman Cain got rung up with a fine for these violations.

That is entirely different from what Cohen has admitted to in court documents. Cohen’s plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York states that Cohen “knowingly and willfully made and caused to be made a contribution to,” Trump, named as “Individual-1,” that was in excess of contribution limits in order to buy the silence of women alleging affairs with the then-presidential candidate. Cohen further admitted in court that Trump personally directed him to pay the hush money to the women and promised to reimburse Cohen for those payments through his real estate corporation.

In doing so, Cohen implicated the president in the commission of multiple felonies. This has not happened to a sitting president since Richard Nixon was named as an unindicted co-conspirator as part of the Watergate burglary ― a fact that did not come to light until June 1974, two months before he resigned the presidency. Unfortunately for Trump, there is no comparison to another president available.

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