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U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms


Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher in Falfurrias, Texas, says he won’t let outside militia onto his property and he doesn’t think such groups will be trusted by most area landowners. (Dominic Bracco II/Prime/FTWP)

November 3

Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump’s warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border.

“We’ll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,” said Shannon McGauley, a bail bondsman in the Dallas suburbs who is president of the Texas Minutemen. McGauley said he was preparing to head for the Rio Grande in coming days.

“We’ve proved ourselves before, and we’ll prove ourselves again,” he said.

McGauley and others have been roused by the president’s call to restore order and defend the country against what Trump has called “an invasion,” as thousands of Central American migrants advance slowly through southern Mexico toward the U.S. border. Trump has insisted that “unknown Middle Easterners,” “very tough fighters,” and large numbers of violent criminals are traveling among the women, children and families heading north on foot.

[Migrant caravan: What Trump’s threats sound like to the Central Americans trudging north]

The Texas Minutemen, according to McGauley, have 100 volunteers en route to the Rio Grande who want to help stop the migrants, with more likely on the way.

“I can’t put a number on it,” McGauley said. “My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We’ve even got two from Canada.”

Asked whether his group planned to deploy with weapons, McGauley laughed. “This is Texas, man,” he said.

And yet, the prospect of armed vigilantes showing up beside thousands of U.S. troops — along with Border Patrol agents, police officers and migrants — is considered serious enough that military planners have issued warnings to Army commanders.

According to military planning documents obtained by Newsweek, the military is concerned about the arrival of “unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support” of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

President Trump’s misleading claims about the caravan of migrants headed toward the U.S. is a mirror image of his 2016 campaign tactics.

The assessment estimates that 200 militia members could show up. “They operate under the guise of citizen patrols,” the report said, while warning of “incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments.”

The military report provided no further details about the alleged thefts.

Manuel Padilla Jr., the top Border Patrol official in the agency’s Rio Grande Valley sector, the nation’s busiest for illegal crossings, said he has not issued any instructions to agents in the field or to landowners whose properties are adjacent to the river. But he plans to meet with community members in the coming week, he said, to address their concerns.

“We don’t have any specific information about the militias,” said Padilla, reached by phone along the border. “We have seen them in the past, and when things start getting really busy, we have to make sure to let the community know they’re out there.”

“But they’re doing that on their own,” Padilla said.

McGauley said that in addition to weapons and camping gear, his group will have night-vision goggles and aerial drones with thermal sensing equipment, capable of operating in darkness. He emphasized that the group would report any suspicious activity to authorities and would heed any instructions from Border Patrol agents or military personnel.

Several landowners in the area said they do not want the militias around.

Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher who lives an hour north of the border in Falfurrias, said that he will not let militia members from outside the area onto his property and that he doubts most area landowners would trust outsiders.

“They are a bunch of guys with a big mouth and no substance to them,” said Vickers, a Republican who heads the 300-strong Texas Border Volunteers. The group doesn’t call itself a militia, although it patrols ranchland to intercept migrants who hike through the brush to attempt to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. The group uses ATVs, night-vision goggles, spotlights and trained dogs.

“People on the [Rio Grande] have been calling us,” Vickers said. His group is in a “holding pattern,” he said, adding, “We can have 100 volunteers in a hot area in four to eight hours.

“We’ve already talked to a bunch of landowners who wanted to know if we’ll be operating if the Border Patrol can’t be there to keep their property from being vandalized and their crops from being messed up.”

“We’re ready to move,” he said.

Others in South Texas are less enthusiastic.

Lucy Kruse, 96, said immigrants often stop on her property as they walk through the bush country, sometimes breaking into a small cabin to sleep. Her family’s ranch lies amid the thorny mesquite brush, cactus and tawny dry grass 80 miles north of the border.

As the migrant caravans head north, she and other landowners in the area worry that the number of trespassers walking through their ranches will increase dramatically. But many say the militias coming to the area also pose a threat.

“I will not let militia on my land,” Kruse said. “They’re civilians stepping into a situation where the Border Patrol is supposed to be in control and make decisions. They could damage property or harm workers. I would guess they would be trigger-happy. If they shot someone, they might just say the person they shot was reaching for a gun.”

Joe Metz, 80, lives in what looks like a pastoral tropical paradise near Mission, a town of 84,000 in the Rio Grande Valley. Tall, green sugar cane grows beside the wide river, and citrus trees dot the sandy small hillocks away from the banks.

The Rio Grande is less than a mile from Metz’s living room window, and a section of border wall crosses his property. He has watched for years as border-crossers ford the river and walk onto his land, their first step on American soil. The wall has slowed the flow significantly, he said, but between 50 and 100 people a day still cross through the farm next door.

He worries that the caravan, which includes many women and children, will surge through the area, but he doesn’t want armed vigilantes on his farm.

“The militia just needs to stay where they are,” said Metz, a Republican. “We don’t need fanatical people. We don’t need anybody here with guns. Why do they have guns? I have dealt with illegals for 30 years, and all of them have been scared, asking for help. The militias need to stay up north where they belong. We have no use for them here. They might shoot someone or hurt someone.”

But the heir to the state’s largest and most influential ranch disagrees. Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg, who has lived most of his life on the 825,000-acre King Ranch outside of Kingsville, said that he will allow militia groups on his ranch, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

“I think if the [caravan members] get across the river, they need to be caught and sent back,” said Kleberg, who wears a bushy handlebar mustache and chews an unlit cigar.

“Once they get on U.S. soil, they need to be stopped and detained. We don’t have enough Border Patrol, ICE and Highway Patrol to handle them. If we get 2,000 or 3,000 people, we will need the militia,” Kleberg said.

Miroff reported from Washington.

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Husband awaits outcome after changed guilty plea

Husband awaits outcome after changed guilty plea

Royal Montserrat Police Service has informed that on October 20, 2018 about 4:30am police officers responded to a domestic dispute report in the Olveston area.

On arrival at the scene it was revealed that the parties concerned are husband and wife. At the time the wife was met with a wound to her head. She was taken to the Glendon Hospital where she was seen, treated and discharged after receiving four sutures to her injury. The husband was subsequently arrested and taken to Police headquarters where he was later charged, with the following offences: armed with offensive weapon and wounding.

On October 26, 2018 the husband appeared at the Magistrate Court where the matter was adjourned to December 14, 2018 for sentencing.

Follow-up enquiry on the information revealed that the husband pleaded guilty at the hearing, but on advice changed his plea after explaining to the magistrate the circumstances of his actions.

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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//

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CCJ dismisses Titan’s million dollar claim

CCJ dismisses Titan’s million dollar claim

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 17, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice Wednesday dismissed a claim by the Belize-based Titan International Securities Inc (Titan) for US$4.46 million  in losses as a result of a search and seizure operation conducted at its offices in September 2014.

But the CCJ, which is the country’s highest court, ordered the Belize government to pay Titan vindicatory damages of BZ$100,000 (One Belize dollar=US$0.49 cents) for the way in which the operation was conducted.

The CCJ heard that in September 2014, an indictment was unsealed in the United States charging Titan, its president. Kelvin Leach, and 11 others with securities fraud, evasion of taxes, money laundering and conspiracy to commit those offences.

The US Department of Justice requested the assistance of the Belize government to have Titan’s offices searched as quickly as possible to prevent the destruction of evidence.

A magistrate acting under the mutual assistance law granted a warrant to local police officers as well as officers of the Financial Intelligence Unit to search for and seize documents which might be used as evidence.

The warrant was read to Leach, who was on the premises when the officers arrived, but it was not given to him. Additionally, he did not receive a list of items seized by the authorities and Titan’s attorney was not allowed to enter the offices during the search.

While the search was being conducted, Titan was informed, via email, by the International Financial Services Commission that its licence had been suspended. The licence has since expired, and it was never renewed.

In December 2014, Titan filed proceedings in the Supreme Court in which it alleged that the mutual assistance law was unconstitutional and that the search was executed in an unreasonable and oppressive manner, claiming that its constitutional rights were breached.

But Justice Abel disagreed with Titan’s contention that the law which granted the power to conduct the search and seizure exercise was unconstitutional. He found that there were limitations and safeguards within the law which sufficiently protected the public from a breach of their constitutional rights.

He did, however, find that the search was executed in an unreasonable and excessive, but not oppressive, manner. As a result, he concluded that Titan was entitled to compensation and awarded them US$4.46 million, representing 20 per cent of its original claim of US$22 million.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the search was carried out in an unreasonable and excessive manner but held that Titan failed to show a link between the loss claimed and the constitutional breach. In its view, the taking of the property was not the cause of the shutting down of Titan’s business; it was caused by the suspension and non-renewal of the licence.

The CCJ agreed with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal that the law itself was not unconstitutional, but that Titan’s right to privacy had been violated.

The CCJ concluded that Titan failed to prove the link between the breach of its constitutional right and the closure of its business.

Like the Court of Appeal, the CCJ was of the view that Titan’s loss was caused by the suspension and non-renewal of the licence.

The CCJ did, however, award Titan BZ$100,000 in vindicatory damages after it considered the high-handed manner in which the search and seizure operation was conducted.

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Caribbean Court of Justice orders release of convicted murderer

Caribbean Court of Justice orders release of convicted murderer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 17, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Wednesday ordered the release of Japhet Bennett, who had been found guilty of a 2009 murder in Belize.

Bennett had been convicted of murdering Ellis Meighan Sr. in Belize City and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013.

During his trial, Marlon Middleton, the brother in law of the murdered man denied sections of his statement to the police that had identified Bennett as standing over the body with a gun.   The jury, however, found him guilty of murder despite a submission by his attorney that there was little evidence to convict his client.

But the CCJ, by a 4-1 majority decision, allowed Bennett’s appeal after it found that there had been no other evidence which could have allowed the jury to properly assess the reliability of Middleton’s statement, and for that reason, the trial judge should have stopped the trial.

Justice Denys Barrow explained that there was no useful value in Middleton’s description of the shooter, his attire and the gun because there was no other evidence to confirm any of these matters.

He said that on the evidence “the jury would have been left to guess and could only reach a guilty verdict on a gut feeling”.

Additionally, Justice Barrow found the fact that Middleton waited two days to make the statement, in circumstances where he was first on the scene of his sister’s husband murder, undermined the reliability of his statement.

But Madame Rajnauth-Lee did not agree with the other members of the panel who heard the appeal. She contended that this was a case where an eyewitness sufficiently recognised someone known to him. In light of the very detailed description of the shooter, and the conditions in which he was identified, it was therefore a matter for the jury to determine whether to believe Middleton’s statement to the police or his denial of that statement in court.

In 2009, Mr. Middleton had given a detailed statement to the police two days after Meighan was shot and killed. He claimed that he was riding his bicycle in the vicinity of the shooting when he heard gunshots.   Middleton said that he then sped towards the area and saw a body on the ground. He said also he saw a man, who he recognised as Bennett, standing about two feet away from the body with a gun in his hand. His statement also revealed that Middleton had been approximately 40 feet away from the body, in a well-lit area, with nothing obstructing his view.  Additionally, he stated that he had known Bennett for about four months and had seen him one week before the shooting.

But at the trial Middleton denied that he had seen Bennett at the scene of the crime.

The prosecution pointed out that Middleton had given a contradictory statement to the police and that that statement was made of his own free will and was accurately recorded by a police officer, in the presence of a Justice of the Peace, and signed by Middleton.

The trial judge admitted the statement into evidence and it was read aloud to the jury. There was no other evidence linking Bennett to the shooting.

Bennett’s lawyer then requested that the judge stop the case and direct that the jury acquit his client of all charges as there was insufficient evidence linking him to the crime.

The judge refused the request and the jury eventually found Bennett guilty of murder.

The matter was then appealed to the Court of Appeal of Belize, but that court upheld. Bennett’s conviction.

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Observer

Teachers stripped search

Teachers at the All Saints Secondary School said they were violated by police when over a dozen of them were stripped searched after a colleague reported to police that over the $4,500 went missing from her bag.

OBSERVER media was told that last week Thursday, a female teacher called police after she claimed the money she left in her bag in the staff room was missing.

When lawmen arrived at the school after classes had been dismissed for the day at 1:30 p.m., 14 teachers, who were still at work were stripped searched by a group of police officers. The educators said one of the responding officers was an inspector of police.

“Man and woman had to remove every piece of clothing; panty and bra and we were made to squat and cough in front of strangers. It was humiliating and we feel like our civil decency was violated by the police and the woman who orchestrated this chain of events,” one of the teachers told OBSERVER media yesterday.

A teacher who was amongst the group of educators who were strip searched said they are outraged by the claim their colleague made specifically because according to them, although she reported it was stolen at school, she still went home to check for the money.

It was only after the woman returned to work she reported the matter to the police and lawmen responded.

“The claim was that the money was stolen at work, but the teacher left the compound to check to see if the money was there [at home] and then come back to work to call the police. Who is not to say she lied about even having the money in the first place,” the irate educator told our newsroom yesterday.

The teacher claimed that the educators who were searched were not aware that they could refuse the search from the police officers who were not armed with search warrants.

Police public relations officer, Inspector Lester Bagot confirmed to OBSERVER media that a female teacher from the All Saints Secondary School reported that an undisclosed sum of money went missing from her bag.

While he did not know the nature of the police’s response to the report, Bagot said proper police protocol dictates that officers would be dispatched to the school to make inquiries.

The educators said they intend to put their outrage in writing to the Ministry of Education because they are not satisfied with the response of the school’s principal.

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT), Ashworth Azille said yesterday that the matter was brought to the attention of the union, however, he is awaiting the formal complaint from the teachers before making any public pronouncements on the matter.

OBSERVER media reached out to the Director of Education, Clare Browne and up to press time calls remained unanswered and messages were not returned.

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Opposition not in agreement with deployment of RSS troops

Opposition not in agreement with deployment of RSS troops

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Oct 16, CMC – The main opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) says it is not in agreement with a decision by the Timothy Harris government to allow for the deployment of members of the Regional Security Services (RSS) in a bid to  enhance the safety and security on the twin island Federation.

SKNLP leader and former prime minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has written to the chairman of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves expressing his party’s position on the matter. St. Kitts-Nevis belongs to the nine-member grouping.

Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas (File Photo)

In the letter, Douglas said that “since the coming to power of Dr Harris …(there has been) a palpable shift away from our position of democracy towards a dictatorship.

“The opposition is being systematically stifled through the illegal curtailment of our right to speak in parliament, to the denial of access to public spaces such as community centers and the denial of access to the state-owned radio and television,” Douglas said.

In a radio and television broadcast on Sunday night, Prime Minister Harris defended the deployment of the RSS troops telling the nation ‘we are concerned that there must be a reduction in the incidences of criminal acts in our country.

“In this regard, we have over time engaged civil society and our security forces in conversations about what can and should be done,” the Prime Minister said, adding that after consultation with the police high command and other technocrats in the Ministry of National Security , the Cabinet approved a recommendation to invite the RSS.

“The High Command of the Police has advised that the Force would benefit from additional manpower at this time.  The shortage of manpower affects the ability of the Police to properly execute their strategic plan and has prompted the call from them for the RSS to augment the number of security personnel on the ground.”

Harris said the RSS forces which started arriving here last week would “continue to arrive into St. Kitts and Nevis in sufficient numbers to assist our ongoing efforts at ensuring citizen safety and security”.

He said that they are already being deployed throughout the communities with local national security personnel, and it is believed that their presence will help local law enforcement to expand the extent of their coverage of the country.

But the Opposition Leader said that the party has understood there are plans to imprison key supporters in the coming weeks.

“We have learnt through our intelligence that the next phase of Dr Harris’ campaign of dictatorship will be the imprisonment of members of the opposition and key opposition supporters,” he said, noting that over the past four months, two senior police officers resident in his district and who performed security details for him had been shot “under unexplained circumstances.

“Two of the persons allegedly involved in the shooting deaths of the police officers have themselves been executed in shootouts, one in which the police was involved and the other under strange circumstances”.

Douglas further alleged that a police officer who had been assisting him was recently arrested and denied bail on the grounds that he was driving with an expired licence. He said the matter will be heard in court on November 29.

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DSC_9758

Tightening up on the proceeds of crime –

Training for the enforcers of the Act

The Proceeds of Crime Act was enacted in 2010 and according to the Deputy Commissioner of Police a three-day training workshop that began last Tuesday, was timely although it followed training that had taken place prior.

The DCoP who performed master of ceremonies functions for the opening told his audience, mostly of participants/trainees in the presence of the Deputy Governor and the Her worship Magistrate, members of the DPP and Attorney General’s Chambers, and private members of the local bar: “The purpose of this workshop is to enable prosecutors and financial investigators among other practitioners, to practice the skills techniques and legislative powers employed during the course of a confiscation case.”

He said one of the objectives of the Proceeds of Crime Act, “is to address ways of taking the profits out of crime – No longer should criminals be allowed to benefit from their illegal activities.”

“It is with this in mind that I view this workshop as timely,” he said, “as we prepare ourselves to ensure that we are equipped to deal with these cases.”

 The Ag. CoP welcomed and introduced the course facilitatory Miss Hilary Ryan, Criminal Justice Adviser in the UK. She would have been assisted by the DPP during the training which would cover investigation and evidence gathering.

In brief remarks from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who later in the day joined the Deputy Commissioner, who was also acting Commissioner at the time, at a press briefing on the workshop, said, “Our thinking as investigators and prosecutors should always be along the lines of whether there has been any benefit from particular criminal offences. If this becomes a part of our approach we will be well on our way to success.”

“Tracking and confiscating the proceeds of crime has become of paramount importance in the fight against crime,” he said.

“It has become increasingly difficult to detect such offences as drug trafficking, corruption, human trafficking and those offences from which criminals derive most of the ill-gotten gains. That is why the focus has now shifted to focusing on depriving criminals of the proceeds of crime. It is concluded that if criminals are deprived of their l ill-gotten gains it will make it more make it less attractive to offend,’ he concluded.

The acting CoP then declared the course open.

Press Briefing

The DPP and the Deputy Commissioner met later with the press where they were questioned more deeply on the Act, and the training courses which was due to end on Thursday.

Both DPP and the Ag. Commissioner spoke to the need of the public being sufficiently aware of the Proceeds of Crime legislation. They said that while money laundering is not new to Montserrat, or the region for that matter, legislation itself is new. It is necessary to educate the public to increase the awareness level of the pitfalls that can come from non-compliance.

Sullivan spoke directly to money laundering, which he says, “…in its simplest form, is the cleaning up of dirty money. The proceeds of crime legislation really seeks to take the benefits out of crime so it is no longer attractive for criminals to commit crimes, bearing in mind that if they are found to be in procession of procedural crime we will ensure that those proceeds are withdrawn.”

“Now the public needs to be aware because when one speaks of money laundering terrorist financing terrorist financing aspects certainly is quite clear,” he said. “But when you speak of the benefits of criminal conduct it does not necessarily mean it has to be in major drug trafficking…”

“So it’s almost as simple -any offence that profits or benefits are derived, then there can be a procedure of crime investigation and further confiscation and forfeiture.,” describing the difference between the two (confiscation and forfeiture) being, “confiscation, if it’s based on criminal conviction, and in terms of forfeiture in the legislation – in that you do not have to have a conviction; all we have to prove before the court is that there is recoverable cash or recoverable benefits meaning that you benefited from your criminal conduct…”

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Court grants man million dollar bail

Court grants man million dollar bail

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 9, CMC – A 42-year-old man, who was arrested in January after police allegedly found an estimated EC$12 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) worth of cocaine in his possession, has been granted bail.

High Court judge, Keith Thom granted bail to Deon Perkins who has been charged with possession, possession with intent to transfer, being concerned with the supply of cocaine and trafficking 286 bricks or 740.8 pounds of cocaine.

The drugs has a street value of EC$11.807 million.

Police said that the accused was arrested by officers of the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) on January 3 near the Sir George Walter Highway.

His attorney Warren Cassell said bail had been secured in the sum of one million dollars and that 10 pieces of land had been put up as security to make sure Perkins is available for all his court dates and trial.

In addition, Perkins has to surrender his passport to the court, avoid any contact with the witnesses in the state’s case against him, and report to the policy on a daily basis.

The accused is also required to continue residing at his current address and should give the authorities, in writing, 48 hours if he plans to re-locate.

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

Minister condemns “sexual demeaning” video of mental patient

Minister condemns “sexual demeaning” video of mental patient

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Oct 5, CMC – Social Development Minister, Delma Thomas, Friday expressed her disgust at a recent video which showed a mentally challenged young woman being sexually exploited.

She said that the police are investigating the origin of the video with a view to bringing criminal charges.

Delma Thomas

“The video has been transmitted to thousands of people. On the video what appears to be the voice of two men taking pleasure in conducting the filming as well as making inappropriate demeaning remarks,” Thomas told Parliament.

She told legislators that the young woman was identified by the police and taken to the relevant institution for treatment.

Thomas said that the unidentified woman has a long history of mental illness and called on society to be more sensitive to people with mental illness.

 

“What was seen on the tape was not a girl, a woman or sister deserving of ridicule but a fellow human deserving of our help and intervention. At a time when she was most vulnerable we as a society failed her.

“The young men who took the energy and the effort to film her so that she could be the object of ridicule, should have used the same energy to reach out to help her,” said Thomas.

“To the scores of people who have distributed the video and who have taken pleasure in extending the scope of the video should think deep within themselves,” she said, insisting that mentally ill people are not crazy.

“They are sick like other people who have an ailment and we have to do a better job at identifying people with mental illness and not dismissing that behaviour for what it’s not.”

Thomas said mental illness comes in many forms and that science has provided for the different forms to be “manageable and treatable.

“The time as comes to discuss and debate whether our system is adequately set up to identify people with mental disorder and if enough resources are being put in place once they are identified. We can no longer afford to dismiss people with such challenges,” Thomas said.

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