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Man shot on Petrotrin's refinery compound

Man shot on Petrotrin’s refinery compound

Published on Feb 21, 2018

By Susan Mohammed Multimedia Desk

Petrotrin’s Pointe a Pierre refinery

 

A man was shot on the Petrotrin’s Pointe a Pierre refinery compound in on Wednesday morning.The man, police were told, attacked Petrotrin security officers with a piece of iron.

At around 2 a.m. officers were on patrol when the observed the man, bare-backed, sitting beneath a shed.

Officers confronted him and he allegedly attacked them.

They opened fire and he was shot in the abdomen.

He was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where he was expected to undergo emergency surgery.

Police said he is yet to be identified.

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PHOTO: Lewis Bennett is pictured in an undated booking photo released by the Broward Sheriffs office in Florida.

Husband charged with murder in high seas honeymoon disappearance

 
 
PHOTO: Lewis Bennett is pictured in an undated booking photo released by the Broward Sheriffs office in Florida.
Lewis Bennett is pictured in an undated booking photo released by the Broward Sheriff’s office in Florida.
Broward Sheriff

A British man was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the disappearance of his newlywed wife last May, who he claimed fell from their catamaran during a belated honeymoon sailing trip to the Caribbean, authorities said today.

Lewis Bennett, 41, was arrested on Feb. 16 after an FBI investigation found evidence discrediting his story that his wife, Isabella Hellman, the mother of his 9-month-old daughter, vanished from their 40-foot vessel when it hit something in open international waters while he was asleep in the cabin below deck, according to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News.

PHOTO: Lewis Bennett is pictured in an undated booking photo released by the Broward Sheriffs office in Florida.Broward Sheriff
Lewis Bennett is pictured in an undated booking photo released by the Broward Sheriff’s office in Florida

By examining photos and video the U.S. Coast Guard took of the catamaran before it sank, an expert hired by the FBI to help in the high-seas mystery determined Bennett’s story couldn’t be true.

“Based on the analysis it does not appear the vessel sinking was caused by accidental damage. Rather, it appears the vessel was intentionally scuttled,” an associate professor of nautical architecture and ocean engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy stated in court records.

Bennett was arrested when he appeared in a Florida court on unrelated charges of transporting $5,000 of gold and silver coins, which he pleaded guilty to in November, according to the complaint.

PHOTO: Isabella Hellman is pictured in an undated photo posted to the Find Isabella Facebook page on June 1, 2017.Find Isabella/Facebook
Isabella Hellman is pictured in an undated photo posted to the Find Isabella Facebook page on June 1, 2017.

“I respectfully submit that there is probable cause to believe that Lewis Richard Bennett knowingly and unlawfully killed Isabella Hellman with malice aforethought within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,” FBI Special Agent James Kelley wrote in the criminal complaint.

Investigators suspect Bennett killed his 41-year-old wife in order to collect on an insurance policy and take sole possession of their marital assets, including bank accounts and a home she owned in Delray Beach, Florida, according to court documents. He also raised suspicions when he asked the Coast Guard for a “letter of presumed death” on the day they called off the search for his wife, four days after she disappeared, according to the complaint.

Isabella Hellman’s body was never found despite a 4,900-square-mile search for her conducted by the Coast Guard.

Bennett, who had been a realtor in South Florida, and Hellman were married in February 2017 and set out on a belated honeymoon in May, according to the court papers.

Bennett told investigators that he and his wife began their sailing trip from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, journeyed to Puerto Rico and arrived in Cuba. They spent a day in Varadero, Cuba, before charting a course back to Florida on the evening of May 17, 2017, the complaint said. He claimed they had planned to either sail to Key West or Fort Lauderdale and around 8 p.m. he set the “auto pilot” on the vessel, told his wife to take watch on deck and headed below to sleep, according to the documents.

PHOTO: The 37-foot catamaran, Surf into Summer, is pictured while partially sunk, May 15, 2017 in the Florida Straits 30 miles west of Cay Sal, Bahamas.U.S. Coast Guard District 7, FILE
The 37-foot catamaran, Surf into Summer, is pictured while partially sunk, May 15, 2017 in the Florida Straits 30 miles west of Cay Sal, Bahamas.more +

“Bennett claimed that he was next awakened by a ‘crashing underneath’ a few hours later,” Kelley wrote in the court papers. “Bennett said he went to the upper deck and Hellman was not there.”

Bennett told investigators he noticed the vessel was taking on water, so he gathered his personal belongings — including unexpended parachute flares, water, a tea set, and nine plastic tubes containing silver coins — and abandoned ship, jumping into a life raft and cutting himself adrift from the sinking catamaran, the court documents state.

When asked during a May 23 interview with investigators what efforts he took to locate his wife in the water, “Bennett said that he did not do anything,” the complaint said.

Instead, he used a satellite phone to call one of wife’s sisters, leaving her a voicemail informing her of Hellman’s disappearance, the complaint said. He then contacted a friend in Australia and asked that they contact the U.S. Coast Guard on his behalf, the complaint said.

“Bennett then made telephonic contact with USCG while awaiting his rescue,” Kelley noted in the complaint.

Within days of arriving back in South Florida, Bennett purchased airline tickets for him and his young daughter and took her to the United Kingdom on May 28.

He was arrested in the stolen coin case in August 2017, when he returned to South Florida for an interview on his insurance claim, the complaint said.

Bennett was arrested for his wife’s murder on the same day Hellman’s parents and sisters sent a letter to federal Judge James Lawrence King complaining that Bennett has kept them away from his daughter, Emilia.

“We do not want to say anything bad about Lewis, but we would like him to know how much it hurts us not to be able to see and spend time with our granddaughter and niece, Emilia, since he took her out of the country,” the family wrote in the letter obtained by ABC News. “Lewis knows that Isabella’s mother was very much involved in caring for Emilia from the time of her birth here in Florida until she was lost at sea.”

PHOTO: Members of the Coast Guard search for Isabella Hellman west of Cay Sal, Bahamas, May 17, 2017.U.S. Coast Guard
Members of the Coast Guard search for Isabella Hellman west of Cay Sal, Bahamas, May 17, 2017.

In his statement, Kelley indicated that Bennett’s story of his catamaran crashing into something in open waters raised suspicions. He said, according to the complaint, that the catamaran’s two escape hatch portholes were inexplicably opened and that holes seen in both hulls were almost identical, according to the complaint.

“I cannot think of any item that would accidentally cause similar holes in both hulls at roughly the same time,” the FBI’s nautical architecture and ocean engineering expert noted in the complaint.

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crimeeeee

Gunmen go on killing spree in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 27, CMC-At least 10 people, including a 15-year-old student, were shot and killed during a 12-hour period as gunmen went on a rampage in several parishes in Jamaica.

Police said that at least five others were wounded as gunmen went on the shooting sprees in August Town, St Andrew, Linstead, St Catherine, east Kingston, St Elizabeth and St James on crimeeeeeFriday night.

Four people were killed and three others injured in August Town, while three persons were shot dead in Linstead.

Police said that several persons were standing outside a shop in August Town when the gunmen approached and open fire hitting seven people, four of whom died of their wounds.

In Linstead, police said that a man and his 15-year-old son who attends Bog Walk High School and a woman were shot dead by unknown assailants in Victoria district.

Residents discovered the bodies and alerted the police. In St Elizabeth, the police say a truck driver was shot and killed and his assistant injured after they were robbed by two men they offered a ride.

Earlier this month, the authorities imposed a state of emergency in the St. James area and earlier this week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told reporters that he is “prepared to do what it takes to address this crime problem”.

More than 100 people have been killed here since the start of the year. Last year, 1616 people were murdered.

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Harmon press

Guyana beefing up surveillance along its borders

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 26, CMC – The Guyana government Friday announced plans to beef up surveillance along its borders after an illegal road that links Guyana to Venezuela in one of the border communities had been discovered.

“It is a large border and sometimes things happen before you can do something, but I want to give the nation the assurance that at the level of government and the security forces, we are taking some decisive steps,” Minister of State Joe Harmon told reporters.

Harmon press
Minister of State Joe Harmon (File Photo)

Guyana has in the past expressed concerns about the number of Venezuelans entering the country illegally, mainly in the gold mining areas close to the border.

Harmon said that the National Security Committee, which is chaired by the President, has been paying attention to the issues and more active surveillance of border communities will be conducted.

He told reporters that the borders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country are large and expansive and that people may have been able to construct the illegal roads because of the large land areas without being noticed.

Harmon reiterated that only the crossings that are identified as immigration points ought to be used.

Guyana and Venezuela have a long running border dispute with Georgetown indicating earlier this week that it is still awaiting word from the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres regarding a settlement of the matter.

In November last year, the two countries concluded another round of discussions in the presence of the presence of Guterres’s personal representative, Norwegian diplomat Dag Nylander, who was expected to submit a report to the Secretary general at the end of last year.

Guyana is seeking a final resolution to the decades-old controversy in which Venezuela contends the 1899 Arbitral Award, which delineated the border between the two countries is null and void.

On Thursday President David Granger told the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) that the Air Corps and Coast Guard would be upgraded to allow for continuous surveillance over our airspace, maritime space and land-space and to support search-and-rescue services to persons in distress.

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Police Boat training (7)web

RMPS Marine Unit prepares for new Heleconia Star

On Saturday morning, Jan 6, 2018 a small number of RMPS officers gathered to mark and witness the opening of Marine training workshop in preparation for the new police vessel which expected to be on island by April.

The course runs a full week with the practical continuing in Antigua the following week according to Mr. Peter Hopps, yachtsmaters, while giving brief remarks on the training.

Mr. Hopps as introduced is positioned in Antigua, but says he has been coming out to the Caribbean for the past 30 years from his home in the UK. He spends at least three months providing training.

Peter Hopps is flanked by Deputy Thompson (left) and Commissioner Foster (right)

Commissioner Steve Foster in delivering brief remarks took the opportunity to tell his participating audience, the Marine Unit will be at the fore front of efforts to fight crime and to ensure the islands security.

“You as Marine Officers will play a key role in boarder security, you will also play a key role because you will be also appointed as immigration officers,” he said.

He told the course participants, “…we expect that your training will also enhance our participation in both regional, local and international security, as we fight against crime transnational and organized crime on a whole.”

The course was conducted with 13 officers participating. They include one from the Fire & Rescue Service in the course which is required for the boat to be certified and to satisfy insurance policies, as explained Police Commissioner Steve Foster. He said the goal is to have up to 16 officers certified, as the boat needs a minimum of four officers on duty while at sea as there are restrictions on the number of hours they will be able to work in a shift. The police men and women will also be appointed as immigration officers.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police Charles Thompson joined the Commissioner as he declared the training course open, adding as he told the officers, “…the road thus far has been very long and extremely hard – see it as a golden opportunity, see yourselves as instrumental, as fitting pieces to the puzzle at the end of the day which cultivate the means to provide national security,” urging them to make the best use of the training.

The Commissioner while outlining to the officers as they began the two-week training exercise, that boarder security would be one of the main focuses of the police in 2018, announced that the RMPS would also be focusing on child safe guarding, crime fighting, traffic issues, intelligence led policing, community interaction and immigration.

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US cocaine haul

Philadelphia customs agents bag largest cocaine load from the Caribbean in 10 years

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 9, CMC – The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says officers from the Area Port of Philadelphia have seized the largest local cocaine load in 10 years when they discovered 709 pounds concealed inside cabinets that was shipped from Puerto Rico.

As a result of the seizure, CBP on Monday said that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark’s Office, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, initiated an investigation that is still active.

US cocaine haulThe cocaine weighed 321.64 kilograms – just over 709 pounds, and had a street value of about US$22 million.

While examining shipping containers at a seaport in Pennsauken, New Jersey on November 2, CBP said officers “detected an anomaly in one and transported that container to CBP’s Centralized Examination Station in Philadelphia.

“Officers emptied the contents of the container, and, after thorough inspection, discovered false walls in numerous pieces of bedroom furniture and kitchen cabinets,” CBP said.  “The false compartments concealed 256 bricks of a white powdery substance that field tested positive for cocaine.”

Additionally,  officers discovered a nearly 30-pound cocaine load at the same seaport November 28 concealed inside a wooden chest.

That load, 13.56 kilograms with an estimated street value of about $900,000, was shipped from Puerto Rico and destined for an address in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.

“Customs and Border Protection knows that transnational drug trafficking organizations will take advantage of natural disasters, and, in this case, an island struggling to recovering from a crippling hurricane, to smuggle dangerous drugs to our nation’s mainland,” said Joseph Martella, CBP Acting Area Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.

“CBP officers remain ever vigilant to interdict narcotics loads, and we are pleased to have stopped this deadly poison shipment before it could hurt our communities,” he added.

This is CBP’s largest cocaine seizure in Philadelphia since officers intercepted 864 pounds of cocaine concealed in a shipping container from the Dominican Republic March 8, 2007, CBP said.

It was CBP’s second significant cocaine seizure from Puerto Rico since officers discovered  386 pounds of cocaine that was concealed throughout the body of a pick-up truck  on July 9, 2012.

“This seizure is an excellent example of how Customs and Border Protection officers leverage imaging technology to detect and intercept an immense amount of cocaine cleverly concealed in a shipment of furniture,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region.  “Narcotics interdiction remains an enforcement priority for Customs and Border Protection, and a mission that we take very serious.”

CBP said officers routinely conduct random inspections operations on international passengers and cargo and searches for narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products.

On a typical day, CBP said agents seize 7,910 pounds of illicit drugs along the US’ borders.

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crimeeeee

Bloody start to New Year

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – At least five people have been killed since the start of the New Year as Trinidad and Tobago recorded a total of 494 murders last year, 31 more than in 2016.

Retired police officer John Ramkissoon, 59, was among the five killed on the first day of 2018. Police said Ramkissoon was drinking with friends when he was involved in an argument with a man, who left and returned with a cutlass, chopping the former police officer about the body. He died at the scene.

crimeeeeePolice said the first murder of the year occurred just after midnight when Brandon Khan was liming with friends at a New Year’s Eve party at Enterprise in Central Trinidad when shots were fired.

Khan, 23, who was shot with five others, died while undergoing treatment at the Chaguanas Health Facility. Police said he was shot six times. The names of the five wounded people have not yet been released.

Police are also investigating the murder of 30-year-old Miguel Simmons, whose bullet ridden body was found in Malick along the East-West corridor.

Police said a man identified only as “Nic,” was killed as he drove his vehicle in Champ Fleur, east of here on Monday. The driver crashed into a concrete embankment and police said as the driver got out of the vehicle he was chased and shot dead.

Law enforcement authorities said Mark Bascombe was killed outside a children’s party in Bagatelle, Diego Martin, west of here, in a drive-by shooting.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Irwin Hackshaw, said the police would continue their activities in a bid to keep a lid on the murders.

“Our vision for 2018 is that, as it was last year, but we will put in that extra effort this year. We didn’t do too well last year but we will keep on pushing…the boots are on the ground and the police are on the ground,” Hackshaw told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

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Stacy Singh

Guyanese national first murder victim in 2018

QUEENS, NewYork, CMC – A 26-year-old Guyanese national became the city’s first murder victim of 2018 after she was reportedly stabbed to death by her husband, whose body was later found hanging from a tree in a city park.

Stacy Singh
Stacy Singh (right)

Police believe that Stacy Singh, the 26-year-old mother of two children, who came to the United States just over five years ago, was killed by her husband, who later killed himself.

They said they are treating the deaths as a murder-suicide after the bodies were discovered about three hours apart on New Year’s Day.

Police said a knife was found near her body.

A Guyana-based online publication said the woman was originally from the Mahaicony area, a a community that is made up several villages on the East Coast in the County of Demerara and Region 5 Mahaica Berbice of Guyana.

Police have named the husband as Vinny Loknath, 46, who had been described as a very abusive person.

. “She stayed with him no matter what because they had two kids together. She was hoping for him to change, but he never did. He’s such a coward,” said the dead woman’s brother-in-law Romain Shaw”

The couple had a five year old son and a one year old daughter.

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President David Granger-300x160

Regional briefs –

Jamaica records more than 20 per cent increase in murders

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 26, CMC – Jamaica has recorded a 21 per cent increase in murders with one more week to go before the end of 2017, according to figures released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The JCF’s Periodic Serious and Violent Crimes Review show that 1, 581 people were murdered, an increase of 257 for the corresponding figure last year.

crimeeeeeThe figures show that St. James, the suburban parish, located on the north-west end of the island, recorded the highest number of killings with 325 followed by St Andrew, south east of here with 88, with the southern parish of Clarendon 166, Westmoreland, the westernmost parish recording  147, St Catherine North 138 and Kingston Western 125.

The police also recorded 1443 reported cases of shootings, compared with 1100 over the corresponding period last year.

According to the police figures, nearly 100 people have been murdered so far this month with illegal funs featuring in 82 per cent of all the murders recorded for the year.

The police said that 53 children were killed during the year so far as well as eight police officers.

The authorities said they have seized 846 illegal guns so far this year and 21,000 rounds of ammunition as compared to 632 illegal guns and 8,000 rounds of ammunition last year.

The number of people shot and killed by police increased from 93 last year to 156 people so far in 2017.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec. 24, CMC – President David Granger, has pardoned five women who have completed part of their prison sentence for non-violent offenses.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Granger has signed off and granted the Presidential pardon to Shabana Asgar, 34, Shellon David,24, Ronella Junor, 27 Maxine Baird Sampson,27 Reina Vargas, 54.

The Ministry says the prisoners “have each served a portion of their respective sentences for offences ranging from larceny, fraud and giving false oath.”

The pardons will take effect on Monday – Christmas day.

Since taking office in 2015, the President has been offering pardons to non-violent women and youths who find themselves behind bars.

Once freed, they will participate in programmes geared towards reintegrating them into society.

Gunmen kill three in early morning raid

by STAFF WRITER

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Dec 23, CMC – Police are searching for gunmen who killed three people but spared the lives of two children during an early home invasion on Saturday.

The police said that the incident occurred at Cunupia, a town in central Trinidad. The authorities said a woman was among those killed. They have identified the victims as Vinta James, Wellington Thomas and Tristan Guy.

Resident said that gunshots were heard at around 6.00 am (local time) and later saw a group of men fleeing the area.

Two of those killed were found on a bed while the third was found in a corridor to the home.

Two children, who were said to be in the house at the time were not harmed.

So far this year, more than 473 people have been murdered in Trinidad and Tobago. Last year, the death toll stood at 463.

Two killed in plane crash

by STAFF WRITER

 

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands, Dec. 24, CMC – An investigation has been launched into a plane crash that killed two people here  on Saturday.

The police report that the small plane crashed shorting after take off.

The plane was enroute to The Bahamas.

According to the CEO of the Airport Authority here, John Smith, the aircraft was enguled in flames and thick smoke when it crashed on a road close to the airport.

The police have not released the idenities of those killed.

Two killed as vehicle ploughs into crowd

by STAFF WRITER

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Dec 26, CMC – At least two people were killed and 18 others injured after a vehicle ploughed into a group of young people celebrating Christmas in the K-Soleil neighbourhood of , Gonaïves in northern Haiti, the authorities have said.

The driver of the vehicle is reported to have fled the scene of the accident that left 23-year-old Robenson Ulcera and 27 year-old Jean-Fito Marc dead.

The authorities said that 18 people including some as young as 13-years-old were also injured and taken to the hospital of La Providence.

They said that the causes of the accident remain unknown, but the Justice of the Peace, Blondel Petit-Frère, who was accompanied by members of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) , said he believes that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol or that the brakes of the vehicle had malfunctioned.

Police seize nearly 150 pounds of cocaine

by STAFF WRITER

 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 26, CMC – A taxi driver is due to appear in court later this week after police said they found more than 145 pounds of cocaine in a cooking gas cylinder on Sunday.

The authorities said that they found the drugs after carrying out a search of the man’s vehicle at his home in the Boodhoo’s Housing Scheme, West Coast Demerara.

On cutting up the gas cylinder, the police said that they found the drugs and arrested the unidentified taxi driver.

The value of the drugs were not disclosed.

 

 

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Be careful how you complain the justice system!

Be careful how you complain the justice system!

It can never enough, certainly not currently, to have the conversation relating to sexual, child and women abuse. But because of how Miss Shirley Osborne an organiser of women’s affairs, who also functions as a dominant person as Speaker of the Montserrat Legislature has recently and prior address issues surrounding issues as above, we think it important to touch on her posture on the issues.

December 23, 2017

Miss Osborne has come out and is critical of the ‘justice system’, unfortunately using recent matters that appeared before the High Court during the last criminal assizes. Her take on the matter: “…the terrifying thing for me is that the court, the judicial system which is what you look to when all else fails, or we should look to when all else fails, by some accounts and in some people’s informed opinion has failed this time… We’re going to talk about this last high court session,” speaking in the end as to planned meetings and perhaps consultations going forward.

She stressed the point further. “There’s too many questions too much disappointment too much anger too much failure there.”

In fairness to her she had preceded those words with an admission, which we believe is exactly what needs to be fixed, these issues having gone through many interventions. “Clearly, we’re not doing nearly enough to protect women not just adult women but young women and our more vulnerable women also and our more vulnerable girls,” she said.

Since 2010 and earlier these matters surrounding women, girls and children; sexual abuses, were brought out into the public. HMG joining almost the rest of the world poured monies into the region to address the issues. Montserrat has not been left out, and it is one of the areas, under the heading of ‘Child Safeguarding’

She refers to a domestic violence bill before the house which like several other matters surrounding the issues is one of the mistakes being made on the issues.

How familiar is the public with what that domestic violence bill seeks to do for the ‘people’ of Montserrat? The same question can be asked about various pieces of legislation surrounding ‘Child Safeguarding’. Going to the people who will be affected by the outcomes of the legislation to tell them what it is, cannot be called consultation.

That issue, by the way, is a serious issue in Montserrat. Take the discourse at and coming out of the recent ‘consultation’ on the Economic Growth Plan.

The issues that Miss Osborne took up with the court and the ‘justice system’ were clearly not studied. When they do, it is hoped that a double back will be taken if and when they discover that the approach at attempting to show that somehow the system is rigged against the interests of women, is simply because the facts are not truly or even honestly being considered, preventing the kind of preparations needed to create a solid foundation.

Sometimes and often the personal agendas all round are not sincere, taking the matter at hand with the proper focus obviously skewed.

There are issues promoting one thing and then backing away or looking at the issue only because of who is involved and not really the situation at hand, which is supposed to be for the benefit of good. That is a serious issue facing this country, one that must be corrected if good is going to fall over this land. It is the goal that is important, always.

“You can’t remedy what’s already been done, but we could look really intentionally purposely look for ways to ensure as far as that’s possible that we don’t have this occurring again,” Hon. Shirley said.

That she will find has been overlooked time and time again and will continue if serious examination is made into the motives of those seeking to promote what we believe is not ‘women domination’ but rather correcting and if necessary punishing, what has been for far too long a kind of scourge; that fact being an issue in itself. Full support is forthcoming but that can only bring success if ‘proper’ discussions and consultations take place.

With that a blessed Christmas is our wish to everyone, whichever side of love you may be. And if we do not see you again before the new year, may 2018 bring nothing less than joy and more blessings.

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