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NCC chairman denies public education one-sided in favour of CCJ

NCC chairman denies public education one-sided in favour of CCJ

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 3, CMC – The chairman of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) spearheading the public education and sensitization programme on the Privy Council and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Dr. Clarence Henry, Wednesday dismissed suggestions that the campaign leading up to next month’s referendum is “one–sided” and appealed to nationals to get as much information on the issue ahead of the vote.

Antigua and Barbuda will vote on November 6 on whether or not to replace the London-based Privy Council with the CCJ as the island’s highest and final court.

Dr. Clarence Henry

Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce and the NCC, Henry urged nationals to ensure they are well informed on the issue before casting their ballots next month.

“Let your voices be heard. Please be an arm chair pundit utilizing the safety of your chair or bedroom to speak to the issues,” he said, noting “every time we approach persons who support the Privy Council to engage as a panelist, only a few answer the call.
“Yet I hear the untrue accusation of one-sided campaign. That is far from the truth or reality,” he said, insisting that the question in the education drive is whether Antigua and Barbuda should migrate from the Privy Council to the Trinidad-based CCJ.

“The voting public will determine that question in a referendum on November 6…, much like general elections, where you are required to go visit the prescribed voting station, and in the booth answer “yes” or “no”. It is your decision that will determine Antigua and Barbuda’s fate.”

He acknowledged the results of the referendum will have “wide ranging implications for the country’s future,” saying that the mandate of the NCC is to help in that determination by providing the requisite information and facts so that voters could make an informed choice.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, brother and sisters, comrades: please take these matters seriously. Please do not ignore the discussions, but take the time to obtain the unadulterated truth. Do not go down the wrong path believing that the decision on referendum day will not affect you. It will.”

He said he was challenging voters not to be overwhelmed by the avalanche of information, but carefully sift through to determine what fake or genuine.

“Only you, can determine that through research. There are a large volume of primary and secondary materials to assist in your discovery of the facts.

“Moreover, I urge you to critically analyze what the purveyors of gloom and doom, those arm-chair pundits that meddle in every discussion, who pretend to be the bastions of wisdom and the paragons of virtue on every conceivable subject, who never seem to see the greater good in developmental matters, only to espouse negative traits of discouragement ignoring the essence of a pragmatic vision surrounding the development of our countries. “

Henry said the time has come for Antigua and Barbuda to seriously discuss the ramifications of staying with the Privy Council or going with the CCJ  saying pivotal to the discussions is the macro-economic, political and legislative underpinning of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) “ the platform for growth and sustainable development of our countries”.

The CCJ was established in 2001 and while many of the Caribbean countries are signatories to its Original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana have signed on to the court’s Appellate jurisdiction. The CCJ also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement.

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Opposition Leader wins defamation lawsuit against her former cabinet colleague

Opposition Leader wins defamation lawsuit against her former cabinet colleague

 

October 10, 2018
88 views
 

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 10, CMC – A High Court Wednesday ruled in favour of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, in her defamation lawsuit against the Sunshine Publishing Company Limited owned by Austin Jack Warner, who once served as a senior minister in her coalition People’s Partnership government.

Austin Jack Warner and Kamla Persad Bissessar in happier times (File Photo)

Persad Bissessar had taken the legal action after the newspaper published an article on December 4, 2015, under the headline “Kamla facing extradition to US”.

The article was based on an October 12, 2012 letter allegedly from then United States Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

When the matter came up for hearing in the San Fernando High Court, south of here on Wednesday, Persad Bissessar confirmed that the contents of her witness statement filed in March 2017, were true.

Justice David Harris said there is to be damages for libel inclusive of aggravating and exemplary damages and cost for the claimant. He also ordered that there be an injunction restricting the defendant from further publishing the allegation or any similar allegation and cost for the claim.

Damages are to be assessed before a Master on a date to be fixed.

Warner was not present in court.

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Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is not a priority for  St Kitts and Nevis

Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is not a priority for St Kitts and Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Oct 10, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris says joining the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is not a priority for his coalition administration in St Kitts and Nevis.

Harris, speaking on WINN FM radio here said that his government is not treating membership of the CCJ that was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, as a priority at this time.

“In terms of the CCJ the cabinet has not made a determination with respect to that matter, it is a matter we will perhaps consider at a more proficient time. At this moment I think there is a sense that the Privy Council is favoured by the national community,” Harris said.

St. Kitts-Nevis is among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have signed on to the original Jurisdiction of the CCJ. However, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana are signatoresi to the appellate Jurisdiction of the Court that also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement, CARICOM.

Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada are due to hold national referendum on November 6 to determine whether or not to replace the Privy Council.

Harris told radio listeners that the issue of replacing the Privy Council with the CCJ is among the matters “that before we attend to this we will put before the people, have an educational programme with regard to any movement away from the Privy Council and get a good grounding from the people where they want to go because there are very strong views for and against on that one.

“It is a matter someday we will have to confront, we don’t need to confront it today, so it is not a priority consideration at this time for the Team Unity administration,” he added.

Former CCJ president, Sir Dennis Byron, a citizen of the twin island Federation, said recently that the CCJ is not a party issue and that a referendum often requires a two-thirds majority for change.

“What has been happening in our country is because of the cost, and the complexities and the difficulty of going to the Privy Council our people have not been having a final appeal. They just have a case and a court of appeal and most people have to stop there even if they are not satisfied.

“The CCJ has put a stop to that because, in the countries that have adopted our jurisdiction, people are coming to us. It’s easier, it’s cheaper, it’s on the spot and if you look at some of the decisions that we have made it’s impacted on the day to day life of the communities in ways in which the Privy Council never do,’ Sir Dennis had said.

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The Washington Post

GOP’s Grassley says FBI probe finds no hint of ‘misconduct’ by Kavanaugh; Democrats dispute that, say White House restricted FBI

TMR: Here goes! Will the suppresion of truth and minimising of investigation convince those important to the fray and injustice (improper research and investigation and misguided attention to inability to prove supported ‘sexual misconduct’ forgetting or ignoring all the rest that points to underlying misbeliefs, win the day for America and the (western) world eventually? But, it didn’t start there, it just got hightened! Yet it is still unbelievable.
White House says it has received FBI report on Kavanaugh

The White House said Oct. 4 that it had received the FBI’s completed report on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.

October 4 at 10:56 AM

BREAKING NEWS: The dueling assessments on Thursday came as senators read the FBI background check of the Supreme Court nominee. Brett M. Kavanaugh had faced allegations of sexual misconduct, including an accusation from Christine Blasey Ford that he assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement that the “uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, told reporters that the report was a “product of an incomplete investigation.” Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he disagreed with Grassley’s assessment.

The Senate is heading toward a procedural vote on Friday and if Republicans prevail, Kavanaugh would be on track to a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.

This a developing story and will be updated.

As the Senate began reviewing the new FBI report on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Thursday, both Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley and the White House stood by President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, saying the investigation found nothing sufficient to corroborate allegations of sexual misconduct while Kavanaugh was a teenager.

“There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know,” Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement after being briefed on the report by his staff. “It’s time to vote.”

Democrats have protested that the FBI probe was rushed and too limited in scope, and lawyers for Kavanaugh’s accusers say the bureau declined to interview multiple witnesses who could have backed up their accounts.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the FBI agents had reached out to 10 witnesses — nine of whom were interviewed — and that no one had corroborated the account of Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

“The president, the White House are firmly behind Brett Kavanaugh,” Shah said during an appearance Thursday morning on CNN. “We believe that all the Senate’s questions have been addressed through this supplemental FBI investigation.”

In an earlier tweet, Shah said the White House is “fully confident” that the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh, whose nomination has been roiled by the allegations of three women about his behavior more than three decades ago.

 
 
‘Wrong, vile, appalling’: Trump mocking Ford spurs outrage

President Trump’s comments mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on her allegation against Brett M. Kavanaugh caused widespread backlash.

In anticipation of the FBI report’s arrival, on Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) teed up a key vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday.

Until that vote, senators will be rushing in and out of a secure facility at the Capitol to review the sensitive FBI report.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats plan to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. to speak about the report.

In morning tweets, Trump decried what he said was “harsh and unfair treatment” of Kavanaugh, who has undergone previous FBI background checks for other federal jobs, and accused Democrats of obstructing the confirmation process.

“This is now the 7th. time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh,” Trump wrote. “If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats.”

In his statement, Grassley said that “this investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh’s 25 years of public service.”

In tweets starting around 4 a.m., Grassley announced that the panel had received the report from the White House and that he and its top Democrat had “agreed to alternating EQUAL access for senators to study content from additional background info gathered by nonpartisan FBI agents.”

The FBI’s report will be available at a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, in the Capitol Visitor Center, a secure room designed for senators to review sensitive or classified material, two Senate officials said. Just one physical copy of the report will be available, and only to senators and 10 committee staffers cleared to view the material.

The two parties will take turns having access to the FBI report in shifts, according to a senior Senate official. It will rotate throughout the rest of the day Thursday and potentially into Friday, with staff members simultaneously briefing senators.

But even before the report was formally sent to the Senate, lawyers for Ford criticized what they viewed as an incomplete FBI probe.

“An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony — cannot be called an investigation,” her legal team said in a statement. “We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”

On Thursday, a lawyer for Deborah Ramirez, who has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself while in college, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray making the same claim.

The letter noted that Ramirez had been interviewed by the FBI for two hours Sunday in Colorado and later provided a list of 20 people who might corroborate her account of Kavanaugh’s behavior.

“Fewer than four days, later, however, the FBI apparently has concluded its investigation — without permitting its agents to investigate,” wrote Ramirez lawyer William Pittard. “We are deeply disappointed by this failure.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, also took issue Wednesday with the decision not to interview Ford and Kavanaugh, both of whom testified at a high-stakes hearing last week, suggesting that the White House had prevented the FBI from contacting them.

“Last week’s hearing is no substitute for FBI interviews, especially when you consider the tenor of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony,” Feinstein said in a statement. “When he wasn’t yelling and demeaning senators, he was making misleading statements that cast doubt on his overall trustworthiness. I don’t think that would happen with FBI agents seated across the table.”

The reopened FBI investigation was prompted by reservations expressed last by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) about moving forward on a full Senate vote without further examination of the accusations of Ford and other “credible” accusers.

Even as the White House gave the FBI permission to broaden its examination, it continued to hold the bureau to a strict timeline.

Moreover, the inquiry focused mainly on the account of Ford, the research psychologist who alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in the Washington suburbs.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the White House had restricted the FBI from scrutinizing the nominee’s drinking habits, as well as possible disparities between his alcohol consumption as a young man and his account before Congress.

Much of the focus Thursday will be on the reactions of three Republicans whose votes are considered key to Kavanaugh’s fate: Flake, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

On Wednesday, all three took issue with Trump’s mocking of Ford the night before at a political rally in Mississippi that drew laughs from his supporters.

“What I want is I want to see the report,” Murkowski told reporters last night. “That’s what I’m waiting for.”

Besides Flake, Collins and Murkowski, Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) also have yet to announce how they will vote.

While trying to round up votes on his side, McConnell has also taken sharp aim at Democrats, accusing them of trying to “move the goal posts” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight by suggesting that Friday would be too soon for a key vote on him.

Senate Democrats opened a new front Wednesday in their objections to the investigations of Kavanaugh’s conduct, suggesting in a letter to Grassley that past FBI background checks of Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior, without disclosing specifics.

The letter, signed by eight of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, challenged the accuracy of a tweet from the committee’s Republican staff on Tuesday that said: “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.” 

The Democrats said the information in the tweet is “not accurate,” urging the GOP to correct it.

“It is troubling that the committee majority has characterized information from Judge Kavanaugh’s confidential background investigation on Twitter, as that information is confidential and not subject to public release,” the Democrats, led by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), wrote to Grassley. “If the committee majority is going to violate that confidentiality and characterize this background investigation publicly, you must at least be honest about it.”

The two committee Democrats who did not sign the letter were Sens. Christopher A. Coons (Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). 

Grassley’s staff responded on Twitter that “nothing in the tweet is inaccurate or misleading.” 

“The committee stands by its statement, which is completely truthful,” the committee Republicans said. “More baseless innuendo and more false smears from Senate Democrats.”

Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis, Tom Hamburger and Isaac Stanley-Becker contributed to this report.

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Former CCJ President to speak at educational seminars ahead of upcoming referendum

Former CCJ President to speak at educational seminars ahead of upcoming referendum

ST. GEORGE’S. Grenada, Sep. 13, CMC – Former President of the Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, is scheduled to address two education seminars ahead of the November 6 referendum which is seeking to make the CCJ the island’s final appellate court.

Sir Dennis will be the guest speaker at  the educational activities on September 18, organised by the CCJ Advisory Committee aimed at bringing a better understanding about the work of the Court to the voting population.

Sir Dennis Byron

“He will be engaging the students at TAMCC (T.A. Marryshow Community College) on matters of the CCJ and then we expect him to address the public at the Deluxe cinema on the same day,”  said Senator Norland Cox

Sir Dennis, who has a long history as a regional and international judicial officer demitted his CCJ post in July 2018. He was replaced by Adrian Saunders.

In 1986, as Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Grenada on secondment from the  Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court  Sir Dennis presided over the famous murder trial of the Grenada 17 who were all accused of playing a role in the assassination of then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others.

Since launching its promotional activities last month,  members of the CCJ Advisory committee have been engaging in radio and television discussion programmes all aimed at enlightening the voting population about the role of the regional court.

Last week Friday members of the Lower House of Parliament unanimously approved the CCJ  Bill as it went through its first stage of Parliamentary approval.

On Friday, the Bill will be presented in the Upper House for deliberation and approval .

Following this, it must be Gazetted ahead of the referendum.

The law provides for two third of the voting population to vote yes for the constitutional change to occur.

This will be the second time that the CCJ Bill will be voted on a referendum. In 2016, Grenadians voted against the CCJ by a margin of 9,492 in favour and 12,434 voted against.

The  CCJ settles disputes between Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States and presently serves as the highest court of appeals on civil and criminal matters for the national courts of Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana.

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ECSCourt-logo

2018-2019 Law Year Opens September 18

A Release (adapted) from the High Court Registrar’s office on Montserrat on Thursday this week, informs that: On Tuesday,  September 18, 2018, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court will commence the New Law Year 2018/2019 with its usual Ceremonial Opening in the form of a Special Sitting of the Court in Montserrat.  There will be simultaneous special sittings in the other eight (8) Member States and Territories of the OECS.

The proceedings will commence with a church service in each Member State and Territory, followed later by the procession to the High Court where the formal sitting will be held. 

In Montserrat, the Church Service will be held at The St James Anglican Church in Salem, commencing at 8.00 a.m., followed by the inspection of the Guard of Honour and a Mini Parade at the Car Park at Government Headquarters Brades. This will then be followed by the formal Court Sitting which will be held at the High Court at Government Headquarters Brades.

Chief Justice Janice Pereira

The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE will deliver the Opening Address at 10:00 a.m. from Saint Christopher & Nevis where the Court of Appeal is scheduled for its first sitting in the New Law Year.

The theme for the opening of the Law Year’s address is “Challenges, Opportunities and Resilience: The ECSC paving the way to a Modern and Efficient Judiciary for the Eastern Caribbean”.

The Chief Justice’s address will be carried live via simulcast to the other Member States and Territories of the OECS and will also be broadcast throughout the region via the local media.

The public is encouraged to participate in the Ceremonial Opening of the Law Year 2018/2019 by attending either the church service or the special sitting or by listening to the events live on ZJB Radio. 

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) was established in 1967 by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order No. 223 of 1967.

 It is the superior court of record for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including six independent states: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and three British Overseas Territories (BOTs) Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat. It has unlimited jurisdiction in each member State.

 

 

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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.

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Former Attorney General urges country to put aside partisan politics ahead of referendum

Former Attorney General urges country to put aside partisan politics ahead of referendum

ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA, Aug. 16, CMC – Former Attorney General Justin Simon QC, has called on the population to put aside partisan politics in the runup to a referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), scheduled for later this year.

During an interview on state media, Simon this is what he will be pushing while on the trail to promote the Trinidad based CCJ.

Justin Simon

“I am not saying that people will not have their political difference, but let us sink them in respect to this particular cause.”

Simon, who served as AG under a previous administration of the United Progressive Party (UPP), made comments following  calls by the UPP – now the main opposition party, for the referendum to include more than one item in the context of constitutional reform.

However, the former Attorney General believes that the referendum should remain a one issue initiative.

“I am of the strong opinion and view that the CCJ should be dealt with on its own by itself. We look at the experience of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines which placed other issues of constitutional reform on the table and that was rejected,” Simon said.

The London-based Privy Council presently serves as the island’s final court and the referendum on November 6 will allow for the population to indicate whether they intend to join the CCJ that was established in 2001.

While many of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana have signed on to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the court that also serves as an international tribunal that interprets the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.

CMC/kb/2018

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Antigua announces “non-stop” campaign ahead of CCJ referendum0

Antigua announces “non-stop” campaign ahead of CCJ referendum0

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Aug 14, CMC – Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin has announced the start of a “non-stop campaign” ahead of a referendum vote in November on whether or not Antigua and Barbuda should make the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court.

The London-based Privy Council presently serves as the island’s final court and Benjamin said that the referendum on November 6 will allow for the population to indicate whether they intend to join the CCJ that was established in 2001.

Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin

“We want to make sure Antiguans are brought up to date with the real purpose of the CCJ. So we are starting a campaign, a non-stop campaign from now until the day of the elections.

“I just want to talk with my fellow Antiguans and Barbudans today. Search your soul, search your heart. Are you really independent? Are you really a Caribbean person? How can you say you are independent when you don’t control your Court of Appeal,” Benjamin asked.

Benjamin urged nationals to ensure that they are registered to participate in the referendum, saying that the last date for registration is August 31.

“So you could have your challenges, objections etc. But to get on the final list. The list will be published in October you’ve got to register by the 31st of August this year,” Benjamin said.

The referendum will be held on November 6.

While many of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana have signed on to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the court that also serves as an international tribunal that interprets the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.

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(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired Over Anti-Trump Text Messages

Ryan J. Reilly

HuffPost
 
 
(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
 
(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

WASHINGTON ― FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, who was taken off special counsel Robert Mueller’s team after his texts disparaging President Donald Trump were discovered by Justice Department investigators, has been fired from the bureau despite the recommendations of a career FBI official.

Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, said in a statement that Strzok was fired late Friday afternoon despite a FBI career official’s recommendation that Strzok face a 60-day suspension and a demotion.

Goelman called the decision “a departure from typical Bureau practice” and said it contradicted FBI Director Chris Wray’s guarantee that the bureau would follow its regular process, despite Trump’s disdain for the now-former FBI official.

“This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans. A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of Congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work,” Goelman said. “In fact, in his decades of service, Special Agent Strzok has proved himself to be one of the country’s top counterintelligence officers, leading to only one conclusion ― the decision to terminate was taken in response to political pressure, and to punish Special Agent Strzok for political speech protected by the First Amendment, not on a fair and independent examination of the facts. It is a decision that produces only one winner ― those who seek to harm our country and weaken our democracy.”

Strzok exchanged texts with former FBI official Lisa Page that disparaged Trump as well as other politicians, including various Democrats. He testified last monthafter the release of an inspector general report on the handling of the FBI’s Hillary Clinton probe that described anti-Trump texts exchanged by bureau officials.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at ryan.reilly@huffpost.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
 
 
 

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