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A Motion – Wasting the people’s time of confidence, importance and business

Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan

Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne set the opening of parliament to take place, successfully, on a somewhat grand scale on Tuesday, October 23 in the Sir George Martin Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. She sought to give some prominence by holding the opening against any competing matter of the house by dedicating the day to just the opening, especially with the knowledge that the first sitting after that would include the (strange, if not ill-conceived) motion of a vote of no confidence.

Speaker Osborne had asked for and looked forward to hosting a full house at the Opening Ceremony of the Parliamentary year 2018-2019, in her continuing attempt to bring (back) long lost interest in the proceedings of the newly named eight-year old Legislative Assembly (LegAss), known before that as the Legislative Council (LegCo).

The sitting therefore set to begin on the following day Wednesday, got underway with a full membership minus PDM Government backbencher Claude Hogan, who by the way, could be considered the most senior legislator having begun his political career since 2001. On a side 2001 was the first year that the Premier Romeo had sought to show his interest in a political career.

Hon. Dr Ingrid Buffonge

Speaker Osborne, who has very early and since been trying to lift the standard of the proceedings in the house, but perhaps to her own style found early at the beginning of the session she might have discord and poor behavior from some of our far from esteemed legislators, the reason in the first place certain matters appeared on the agenda for the sitting.

She was faced right away with a motion to bring forward the motion of no confidence to the  beginning of the order of business. That began a show of ignorance and incompetence to some degree among members and some no doubt to her own difficulties of trying to be firm and liberal. The motion was defeated when the ‘ex-officio members’ (non-elected) were able to vote.

So, the order paper remained as is and the more important matters, if only for relevance and importance proceeded.

Premier Donaldson Romeo

But with some interest, not surprisingly supposedly among the public of Montserrat at the end of the second day of the sitting and the arrival of Hon Hogan, Premier Donaldson Romeo (the government) from all appearance seemed to have staved off an attempt by disgruntled opposition legislators (old and new) to bring down his administration when a key government backbencher indicated that he had no intention of supporting a vote of no confidence in Romeo’s four-year-old administration.

Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan, it is felt in some quarters held the key to the survival of the government that faced an uphill task to complete its first five-year term, but when the debate on the motion was adjourned late Thursday night to Monday, Hogan had already made his position known to legislators.

“We should withdraw the vote of no confidence.  If you want to change the premier there is a way to do it,” said Hogan.

The government hold a slim one seat majority in the nine-member Legislative Assembly and political observers had expected Hogan, who was dismissed by Romeo last year, to have sided with the opposition that included two former members of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).

Premier Romeo has not yet made his contribution to the debate, but Hogan said while he had been disappointed when he was fired, “after a year I can’t remember what happened”.

Moreover, Hogan said he still intends to contest his present seat in the next general election, adding that the vote of no confidence is nothing more than an early start to the 2019 general election campaign.

Earlier, Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, a former member of the ruling PDM, who piloted the motion of no confidence, likened the situation to a “day of history” for Montserrat.

She said she also wanted to inform legislators, foreign investors and other stakeholders interested in the development of the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory that the motion does not signal “political instability” here.

“My colleagues in opposition and myself as well as others who will be elected in the next general election, and I do speak for some of them no, after four years of getting things so terribly wrong we pledge to get it right.”

She said encouraging and supporting foreign direct investment, encouraging local investors, assisting local producers with exporting the Montserrat product, securing capital projects, building equipping and appropriately staffing a new hospital   “are among the reasons behind the motion.

“In bringing this motion, I am simply fulfilling the will of the people who live on this island. A people who knows what happens in a place when you speak out against the government,” she said, adding that “people are afraid of losing their jobs and being victimised in other ways.

She said while she had sympathy for Premier Romeo this does not translate to support for his policies.

“She said he had failed to secure capital projects for the island, “his acceptance of a port project that will push as much development as the little airport that we have, his one-track mind focus on securing aid money instead of promoting investment all show his lack of vision and leave the people of this country feeling hungry.

“He claims he wants more control to be given to his government by the British government, but I ask what is it he wants more control of,” she asked.

Buffonge, who received the second highest number of votes in the September 2014 elections on the PDM slate, resigned from the party a year later and two weeks ago, called for the resignation of Health Minister Delmaude Ryan.

But Ryan told legislators that the debate was nothing more than a personal attack on her and that the government was doing its best to ensure the development of the health sector.

In his contribution, Hogan said that “we can’t make a political issue of the health sector” adding that no one has come up with a solution to the governance of Montserrat.

“Everybody should behave and try to foster a proper democracy,” he added.

Former junior minister, Gregroy Willock, who resigned from the government and the party and government earlier this month, nonetheless predicted that the vote at the end of the motion will be a 7-2 in favour of the opposition.

‘When we done it will be history and it will be a very significant day,” he added.

The 2014 general election was a victory for the newly established PDM, which was formed by Romeo on April 30 that year, in order to contest the elections.

The party defeated the then ruling Movement for Change and Prosperity, the Alliance of Independent Candidates and 10 other independents.

Much of the meanderings that went on including at least one opposition member saying he was not going to support the motion, but will after hearing some government members; reminding that it was not the two MCAP members who lead the opposition bench that brought the motion; reports that one member sitting on the opposition benches on more than one occasion pointed a hand as if shooting a gun at a member or members, on the other side of the house.

All of this really showed that the motion of no confidence in the first instance only served to show some of these members interested only in their own self-interest and well-being, and not fit to be representatives of the people’s interests and business.

There was at least one instance the Speaker was known to say to the members, “let’s have a time out,” “take a time out” or words to that effect. Earlier on Tuesday there was dead air (ZJB even cut the broadcast) as she waited for members to begin debating the motion after it was moved and seconded.

It is obvious as it has been throughout that the eventual possibility of a rushed election what ever the outcome of the vote, is not in the interest of the island, much more some of the members and particularly those bring the motion.

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

Hawaiian Island Vanishes Overnight

It is slowly being accepted, the term ‘Climate Change’ with the further acceptance of the scientific explanation that earth continues to evolve. Makes for interesting education, discussions and debates, especially among students, scientists and yes, politicians. What is real is that ‘preparations’ must take place to deal with the effects on mankind.

LiveScience

A hurricane has wiped a Hawaiian island completely off the map.

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East Island, a tiny speck of land in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in northwest Hawaii, was washed away by Hurricane Walaka on Oct. 3 and 4, Honolulu Civic Beat reported Tuesday (Oct. 23). The island had been a critical nesting site for threatened Hawaiian green sea turtlesand critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, biologists told the news organization. 

“There’s no doubt that it was the most important single islet for sea turtle nesting,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) biologist Charles Littnan told Civic Beat.

East Island was a mere 11 acres (0.04 square kilometers) in area. Between 1944 and 1952, it hosted a small Coast Guard station, but the island has otherwise been a haven for wildlife, ranging from albatross to turtles and seals. Satellite imagery has confirmed the island’s demise, but a marine debris team will be headed to the area to survey the damage this week, the Civic Beat reported.

Researchers told Civic Beat that the island’s seals and turtles had left the island after their breeding season but before the hurricane struck. It’s unclear, so far, whether they’ll find a new haven on one of the nearby shoals.

“Species are resilient up to a point,” Littnan told Civic Beat. “But there could be a point in the future where that resilience isn’t enough anymore.”

The Hawaiian green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a genetically distinct species of green sea turtle found almost exclusively around Hawaii, according to NOAA. They are legally protected under Hawaiian law and the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and those protections have resulted in a 53 percent increase in population since the late 1970s. Their primary nesting grounds are the French Frigate Shoals, including the former East Island.

The Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi), which used East Island as breeding grounds, are in a more precarious position. These seals are found only in Hawaii, and despite their protections as a critically endangered species, their numbers are still declining, according to NOAA. Only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals are left in the wild, NOAA estimates. A couple hundred of those call the French Frigate Shoals home, Littnan told Civic Beat. And of those, about 30 percent were born on East Island.

The shoal was the victim of bad luck, given the storm’s direct hit. But researchers told Civic Beat that Walaka was strengthened by warmer-than-average ocean waters, a trend scientists predict will only worsen as the globe warms.

Originally published on Live Science.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

US Coast Guard repatriates Dominican and Haitian migrants

US Coast Guard repatriates Dominican and Haitian migrants

 
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Oct 21,  CMC – The United States Coast Guard says the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez   have repatriated 12 Dominicans and returned two Haitians to Dominican authorities following the interdiction of a migrant vessel in the Caribbean Seas off Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The US Coast Guard said the interdiction is the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

Two of the interdicted male migrants are Dominican Republic nationals, who are facing potential federal criminal immigration charges in Puerto Rico for attempted illegal re-entry into the United States, the Coast Guard said.

“The outstanding work by the Coast Guard and our interagency partners focused on humanitarian efforts and preventing loss of life at sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rafael Battle, US Coast Guard Heriberto Hernandez commanding officer.

“The Mona Passage is a volatile waterway with heavy seas,” he added. “Transiting on dangerously overloaded and unseaworthy vessels poses large risk to anyone making the journey from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.

“Fortunately, we discovered and saved 16 people before they encountered other potential dangers,” Battle continued.

The Coast Guard said during a routine patrol of the Mona Passage Thursday night, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft detected a “grossly overloaded 25-foot migrant boat transiting without navigational lights,” about 10 nautical miles north of Mona Island.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan diverted the Heriberto Hernandez to interdict the vessel, the Coast Guard said, adding that the crew of the Heriberto Hernandez arrived on scene, stopped the boat and safely embarked all 16 migrants; 14 Dominican Republic nationals, 10 men and 4 women, and two Haitian men.

The US Coast Guard said Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents in Puerto Rico received custody of the two migrants facing prosecution, while the Heriberto Hernandez later rendezvoused with a Dominican Republic navy vessel and transferred custody of the remaining migrants to Dominican Republic authorities.

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Body of school girl found three days after being reported missing

Body of school girl found three days after being reported missing

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct 22, CMC – A human rights and advocacy group Monday called for more protection for children as a junior government minister condemned as “cruel, inhumane and barbaric” the murder of a 14-year old secondary school student.

The authorities said that the mutilated body of 14-year-old Raven Wilson, a third form student of Ocho Rios High School in St Ann, was found in a plastic bag, metres away from her home on Sunday, three days after she had been reported missing.

“I am seriously disturbed by the killing of yet another promising young girl, whose life was cut short by cold and heartless criminals. There is simply no justification for such cruelty against our children. The level of violence being meted out against them needs to stop, because it is robbing them of their right to life,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, said in a statement.

He said that there seems to be a worrying trend in the recent spate of child murders with the perpetrators dismembering their victims.

“We want to send a clear message to these perpetrators that there will absolutely be no safe haven for them. We continue to work assiduously with the police, and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring they are brought to justice,” Green said, urging the community to come forward with any information that can assist the police with their investigations.

The human rights group, Hear The Children’s Cry is calling for the prosecution of persons involved in carrying out criminal acts on children.

In a statement condemning the murder of Wilson, the group said “we have not even gone ten months of the year and nearly 40 children have already been murdered during 2018. That is double the usual gruesome annual statistic.

The truth is, children in Jamaica are at terrible peril and are at the mercy of vicious criminals on a daily basis. They are not safe in their homes, they are not safe at school, they are in danger in their communities and on the roads, they are at horrible risk on public transportation, not to mention being vulnerable targets of paedophiles when they are online,” said the organisation’s founder Betty Ann Blaine.

She repeated an earlier call for the government to convene an Emergency Child Summit to devise a plan to protect the nation’s children.

“For two years now, Hear The Children’s Cry has been asking Prime Minister Andrew Holness to convene an Emergency Child Summit to take practical steps to protect the nation’s children and safeguard their lives. After meeting with me, the Prime Minister asked us to prepare a detailed proposal outlining the objectives and format of the Summit, which would call together all stakeholders to enact urgent solutions.

“The proposal was submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister in 2017 and yet month after month has gone by with no word from the country’s leader, despite our repeated calls for action from him,” Blaine said.

Meanwhile, the ministry said a team of first responders from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) will visit the Ocho Rios High School to conduct counselling sessions with affected children, followed by a home visit during the course of the week.

Wilson’s death followed the killings of Shanoya Wray and Yetanya Francis, both 14, in the Corporate Area last month.

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

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi journalist’s body parts found, say Sky sources

Reports the writer’s “cut up” remains were found in the garden of the Saudi consul’s house, are “deeply disturbing”, says No 10.

Jamal Khashoggi
Image: Jamal Khashoggi’s remains were reportedly found in the garden of the Saudi consul’s official residence
By Alex Crawford, special correspondent, in Istanbul

Body parts belonging to murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been found, according to two Sky sources.

The sources have told Sky News the Saudi dissident had been “cut up” and his face “disfigured”.

One source also suggested the writer’s remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s Istanbul home – located around 500 metres away from the consulate.

It contradicts the explanation being made by Saudi officials that the body was rolled up in a carpet and handed to a local collaborator who was tasked with disposing of the evidence.

:: Jamal Khashoggi: How journalist met his death

Image: Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October

Theresa May’s spokesman said reports of Mr Khashoggi’s body parts being found were “deeply disturbing”.

“The location of Mr Khashoggi’s body is just one of the questions we need answers to and as such we await the full results of the Turkish investigation,” he said.

In a day of fast-moving developments in the case:

:: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Mr Khashoggi’s killing a premeditated “murder”

:: Mr Erdogan demanded Saudi officials reveal the whereabouts of Mr Khashoggi’s body

:: The dissident’s son met Saudi ruler, King Salman and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Riyadh

:: Turkish media said Mr Khashoggi’s belongings were found in suitcases in a Saudi consulate car

:: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “deeply concerned” to hear Mr Erdogan call it a premeditated murder.

President Erdogan says there can be no cover-up in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi 1:48
Video: Erdogan demands answers in Khashoggi case

In a speech to the country’s parliament, Turkey’s president Erdogan demanded Saudi Arabia hold those responsible to account and asked: “Why has the body of someone who was officially said to be killed not been found yet?”

He did not mention an alleged audio recording that Turkish authorities claim to have of Mr Khashoggi’s death that supposedly confirms he was tortured, killed, had his fingers cut off and was dismembered.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih says 'nobody can justify or explain' the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi 1:14
Video: Saudi minister on ‘abhorrent incident’

The apparent discovery of Mr Khashoggi’s body parts – and Mr Erdogan’s version of events based on what he described as “new evidence and information” – both contradict Saudi Arabia’s explanation for his death.

It has said Mr Khashoggi died in a “fist fight” at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

3:03
Video: ‘Saudi double disguised as Khashoggi’

Mr Khashoggi was a known critic of the Saudi government and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Turkish president, who had promised the “naked truth” about the killing, did not mention the crown prince in his speech, though officials linked to the royal have been implicated in it.

CCTV shows 'suspicious movement' with Saudi consulate cars.
0:46
Salah Khashoggi, Jamal Khashoggi's son, meets Mohammed Bin Salman. Pic: Saudi Press Association 0:25

Video: Khashoggi’s son meets Saudi royals
Mr Khashoggi’s brother, Sahel, was also at the meeting at which the king and crown prince expressed their condolences over the Washington Post columnist’s death.

A family friend told the AP news agency that Salah Khashoggi had been under a travel ban and barred from leaving the kingdom since last year as a result of his father’s criticism of the regime.

Saudi authorities have not confirmed the restrictions.

Investigators search suitcases and possessions believed to belong to Jamal Khashoggi
Image: Investigators search suitcases and possessions believed to belong to Jamal Khashoggi

In Turkey media reports that could not be verified said investigators had found Mr Khashoggi’s belongings in a number of suitcases found in a Saudi consulate vehicle in a car park in Istanbul.

Local broadcaster Ahaber aired video showing crime scene investigators searching what appeared to be the contents of cases.

More from Jamal Khashoggi

  • Big trade deals for Saudi Arabia despite western boycott following journalist’s killing

  • ‘Savage Jamal Khashoggi murder was planned days in advance’ – Turkey

  • ‘Naked truth’ on Khashoggi murder leaves more questions

  • ‘Savage Jamal Khashoggi murder was planned days in advance’ – Turkey

  • Erdogan may still pull his punches when revealing Khashoggi ‘truth’

  • ‘Naked truth’: Turkey to reveal findings into death of Jamal Khashoggi

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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted he was “deeply concerned” to hear Mr Erdogan describe the Saudi dissident’s murder as premeditated.

“The world is still waiting for answers,” he wrote. Shortly after Mr Erdogan’s address, King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a statement pledging to hold Mr Khashoggi’s killers to account “no matter who they may be”.

Saudi Arabia has said the heir-apparent of the world’s top oil exporter was not involved, but any major decision must be signed off by the highest powers within its ruling Al Saud family.

It came as video was released showing a meeting between the journalist’s son, Salah Khashoggi, the Gulf kingdom’s ruler, King Salman, and crown prince Mohamed bin Salman, at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh.

 

 

Posted in Crime, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

earthquake-and-flooding

Amid Flood Disaster in Trinidad & Tobago, Earthquakes Hit

An aerial view of the flooding in sections of Trinidad (left) and the location
of one of two quakes that struck off the twin-island republic over the weekend.


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday October 22, 2018
– Two earthquakes struck off Trinidad and Tobago within 24 hours over the weekend, as the twin-island republic was dealing with massive flooding that caused destruction in some sections of the country and led Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to declare a national disaster.

There were no reports of any injuries as a result of the quakes, however.

According to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, the first, smaller one occurred on Saturday, around 4:41 p.m. That magnitude 4.2 tremor struck 92 km south of Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown; 166 km northeast of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago; and 191 km southeast of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Then on Sunday afternoon, at approximately 12:35 p.m., a 5.1 magnitude quake was recorded 78 km northeast of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago; 161 km northeast of Arima, Trinidad and Tobago; and 181 km northeast of the capital, Port of Spain.

 

In both instances, there were reports of residents of Trinidad and Tobago feeling the tremor. But the focus there was on the massive flooding that resulted from days of heavy rainfall that started on Friday.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said the country had received the equivalent of one month’s rainfall in a three-day period.

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Several homes were flooded out, and residents were trapped on roofs and on top partially-submerged vehicles as they sought to escape the rising flood waters.

Some of the severe flooring stemmed from the overflowing of the Caroni River.

Both disaster officials and residents used boats and dinghies to get the marooned residents to safety and deliver food and other supplies to areas inundated by flood waters.

“This is a national disaster, the flooding is quite widespread and quite severe and it is going to cost a lot of money to bring relief to people who have been affected,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said on Saturday after touring some of the affected areas.

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“Notwithstanding whatever shortages we are experiencing we will have to find the resources to help,” he added.

He said he would seek Cabinet’s approval to get TT$25 million (US$3.7 million) to assist those affected by the floods.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Earthquake, Entertainment, Featured, News0 Comments

PM to seek Cabinet approval for flood relief funds

PM to seek Cabinet approval for flood relief funds

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct. 21, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley says he will approach Cabinet for funds to help with flood relief.

Rowley was speaking during a joint media conference on Saturday

“I would speak ahead of the Cabinet here and indicate that I would ask Cabinet to approve and authorize TT$25 million initially to assist persons who may require assistance from the treasury. We will ensure that this money is well spent and is spent as quickly as possible on those persons who have been affected,” he said.

Heavy rainfall over the last few days have resulted in widespread flooding across Trinidad and Tobago.

“This is a national disaster, the flooding is quite widespread and quite severe and it is going to cost a lot of money to bring relief to people who have been affected. Notwithstanding whatever shortages we are experiencing we will have to find the resources to help,”   Rowley said after touring some of the affected areas.

According to the Prime Minister, the Defence Force, especially the Coast Guard and Fire Service have been using small boats going streets to reach residents stranded in their homes.

Meanwhile, there are no re­ports of fa­tal­i­ties as a re­sult of the floods in sections of the twin island republic.

During a press conference on Saturday, National Security Minister   Stu­art Young  made the state­ment in reference to information being circulated on  so­cial me­dia.

He told reporters that  fake in­for­ma­tion be­ing cir­cu­lat­ed on­line has caused first re­spon­ders to di­vert at­ten­tion from af­fect­ed ar­eas.

Young has also mobilised    the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) to conduct an aerial reconnaissance .

The ODPM says the adverse weather situation will continue until Sunday and urged motorists to seek alternative routes where possible and be extremely vigilant of rising flood waters.

“The ODPM appeals to all persons to take the necessary precautions to preserve life and property,” it said, adding that people should also desist from driving or walking through flood waters.

“Vehicles do not provide adequate protection from flood waters. Vehicles can be swept away or may stall in flood waters,” the agency said.

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Serious flooding in Trinidad and Tobago

Serious flooding in Trinidad and Tobago

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 20, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government Saturday said teams were working to rescue people trapped by floods and landslides caused by heavy rains here over the past 48 hours and that the full extent of the damage caused will be revealed as the water subsides in the coming days.

“This is a national disaster, the flooding is quite widespread and quite severe and it is going to cost a lot of money to bring relief to people who have been affected. Notwithstanding whatever shortages we are experiencing we will have to find the resources to help,” Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said after touring some of the affected areas.

The Met Office said that an active ITCZ continues to produce periods of rain/showers and thunderstorm activity which can lead to flash or riverine flooding as well as landslides/landslips in areas so prone. Gusty winds can be experienced in the vicinity of heavy downpours.

Flooding in La Horquetta along the east-west
corridor in Trinidad

Many parts of the country were flooded and there have been widespread reports of landslides and road blocks caused as a result.

While there have so far been no reports of deaths or injuries, the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service has issued a “Red Riverine Flood Alert” warning persons to take all precautions to protect life and property.

“Riverine flooding occurs when water levels in a river over-tops its banks and spills into surrounding areas. This type of flooding is more widespread and usually lasts for several days,” the Met office said, adding that currently river levels have exceeded threshold levels and some have already over spilled their banks.

In a statement early Saturday, Prime Minister Rowley said that he had been receiving “timely updates” from the relevant government agencies responsible for spearheading the ongoing rescue operations as well as those coordinating relief efforts in the communities affected by severe flooding.

He said “throughout the night and into this morning the men and women of our protective services and the various Regional Corporations have been working diligently on the ground to respond to this disaster”.

Rowley said that members of the Coast Guard and Defence Force are working to rescue those who are trapped, adding “for those of you who are still stranded I know that patience may be running thin but help is on the way”.

Rowley said that National Security Minister Stuart Young is mobilising with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) to conduct an aerial reconnaissance “so that we can better ascertain the scope of the intervention required.

“The Government through its respective agencies is working to ensure that much-needed resources reach those who require assistance. In the coming days the full extent of the damage will be revealed as the water subsides. Today there are families seeking shelter at community centers and schools,” Rowley said, urging citizens to ‘continue to remain vigilant and heed the warnings and alerts from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management and the Meteorological Office”.

The OPDM said that the adverse weather situation will continue until Sunday and urged motorists to seek alternative routes where possible and be extremely vigilant of rising flood waters.

“The ODPM appeals to all persons to take the necessary precautions to preserve life and property,” it said, adding that people should also desist from driving or walking through flood waters.

“Vehicles do not provide adequate protection from flood waters. Vehicles can be swept away or may stall in flood waters,” it said.

CMC/rl/ir/2018

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EP newlogominimal

Saudi official gives new version of Khashoggi killing: Report

root

Read more at: https://epeak.in/2018/10/21/saudi-official-gives-new-version-of-khashoggi-killing-report-saudi-arabia-news/

Saudi official gives new version of Khashoggi killing: Report | Saudi Arabia News

 A senior Saudi Arabian government official has laid out a new version of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, that in key respects contradicts previous explanations. 

The latest account, provided by a Saudi official who requested anonymity, includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Khashoggi on October 2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted. A member of the team then dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for more than two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate.

An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated to Reuters.

Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal.

Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that.

The Saudi official presented what he said were Saudi internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Khashoggi.

He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team’s cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe.

He did not provide proof to substantiate the findings of the investigation and the other evidence.

This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. The authorities initially dismissed reports that Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering.

When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations “baseless.”

Asked by Reuters why the government’s version of Khashoggi’s death kept changing, the official said the government initial account was based on “false information reported internally at the time”.

“Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, it launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment,” the official said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Turkish sources say the authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s murder inside the consulate but have not released it.

Riyadh dispatched a high-level delegation to Istanbul on Tuesday and ordered an internal investigation but US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s handling of Khashoggi’s death and said questions remain unanswered.

Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia’s explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.

According to the latest version of the death, the government wanted to convince Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views, to return to the kingdom as part of a campaign to prevent Saudi dissidents from being recruited by the country’s enemies, the official said.

To that end, the official said, the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed al-Asiri, put together a 15-member team from the intelligence and security forces to go to Istanbul, meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

“There is a standing order to negotiate the return of dissidents peacefully; which gives them the authority to act without going back to the leadership” the official said.”

Al-Asiri is the one who formed the team and asked for an employee who worked with (Saud) al-Qahtani and who knew Jamal from the time they both worked at the embassy in London,” he said. The official said al-Qahtani had signed off on one of his employees conducting the negotiations

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for more than two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate.

An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated to Reuters. Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal.

Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that. The Saudi official presented what he said were Saudi internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Khashoggi.

He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team’s cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe. He did not provide proof to substantiate the findings of the investigation and the other evidence.

This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. The authorities initially dismissed reports that Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering.

When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations “baseless.”

Asked by Reuters why the government’s version of Khashoggi’s death kept changing, the official said the government initial account was based on “false information reported internally at the time”.

“Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, it launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment,” the official said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Turkish sources say the authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s murder inside the consulate but have not released it.

Riyadh dispatched a high-level delegation to Istanbul on Tuesday and ordered an internal investigation but US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s handling of Khashoggi’s death and said questions remain unanswered.

Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia’s explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.

According to the latest version of the death, the government wanted to convince Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views, to return to the kingdom as part of a campaign to prevent Saudi dissidents from being recruited by the country’s enemies, the official said.

To that end, the official said, the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed al-Asiri, put together a 15-member team from the intelligence and security forces to go to Istanbul, meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

“There is a standing order to negotiate the return of dissidents peacefully; which gives them the authority to act without going back to the leadership” the official said.”

Al-Asiri is the one who formed the team and asked for an employee who worked with (Saud) al-Qahtani and who knew Jamal from the time they both worked at the embassy in London,” he said.

The official said al-Qahtani had signed off on one of his employees conducting the negotiations.

Chokehold

According to the plan, the team could hold Khashoggi in a safe house outside Istanbul for “a period of time” but then release him if he ultimately refused to return to Saudi Arabia, the official said.

Things went wrong from the start as the team overstepped their orders and quickly employed violence, the official said.

Khashoggi was ushered into the consul general’s office where an operative named Maher Mutreb spoke to him about returning to Saudi Arabia, according to the government’s account.

Khashoggi refused and told Mutreb that someone was waiting outside for him and would contact the Turkish authorities if he did not reappear within an hour, the official said.

Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, has told Reuters he had handed her his two mobile phones and left instructions that she should wait for him and call an aide to Turkey’s president if he did not reappear.

Back inside the consul’s office, according to the official’s account, Khashoggi told Mutreb he was violating diplomatic norms and said, “What are you going to do with me? Do you intend to kidnap me?”

Mutreb replied, “Yes, we will drug you and kidnap you,” in what the official said was an attempt at intimidation that violated the mission’s objective.

When Khashoggi raised his voice, the team panicked. They moved to restrain him, placing him in a chokehold and covering his mouth, according to the government’s account. “They tried to prevent him from shouting but he died,” the official said. “The intention was not to kill him.”

Asked if the team had smothered Khashoggi, the official said: “If you put someone of Jamal’s age in this position, he would probably die.”

Missing body

To cover up their misdeed, the team rolled up Khashoggi’s body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it over to a “local cooperator” for disposal, the official said. Forensic expert Salah Tubaigy tried to remove any trace of the incident, the official said.

Turkish officials believe that Khashoggi’s killers may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest adjacent to Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, 90 kilometers south of Istanbul.

Turkish investigators are likely to find out what happened to the body “before long,” a senior official said.

The Saudi official said the local cooperator is an Istanbul resident but would not reveal his nationality. The official said investigators were trying to determine where the body ended up.

Meanwhile, operative Mustafa Madani donned Khashoggi’s clothes, eyeglasses and Apple watch and left through the back door of the consulate in an attempt to make it look like Khashoggi had walked out of the building. Madani went to the Sultanahmet district where he disposed of the belongings.

The official said the team then wrote a false report for superiors saying they had allowed Khashoggi to leave once he warned that Turkish authorities could get involved and that they had promptly left the country before they could be discovered.

Sceptics have asked why so many people, including military officers and a forensics expert specialising in autopsies, were part of the operation if the objective was to convince Khashoggi to return home of his own volition.

The official said all 15 team members had been detained and placed under investigation, along with three other local suspects.

Read more at: https://epeak.in/2018/10/21/saudi-official-gives-new-version-of-khashoggi-killing-report-saudi-arabia-news//

Posted in Crime, Featured, International, Local, News, Police, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Barbados rocked by 4.2 magnitude earthquake

Barbados rocked by 4.2 magnitude earthquake

by STAFF WRITER

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Oct. 21, CMC – An earthquake with a  magnitude of 4.2 was recorded here on Saturday afternoon but there were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

The Seismic Research centre (SRC) of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West indies (UWI), in Trinidad and Tobago said that the quake occurred at 4.41 p.m. (local time).

It was located Latitude: 12.29N, Longitude: 59.74W with a depth of 60 km.

The SRC said the quake was felt 92 km south of Bridgetown, 166 km north east of Scarborough, Tobago and 191 km south east of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Earthquake, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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