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Prime Minister condemns attack on Roman Catholic priest

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun 12, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley Monday condemned the attack and robbery of a popular Roman Catholic priest, who has been working with young people to help rid Trinidad and Tobago of crime.

Father Clive Harvey was robbed at gunpoint as he prayed at the Holy Rosary/St. Martin’s, Church in East Port of-Spain by three men at around 6.00 am (local time) on Monday. Harvey is the parish priest there.

Rowley TVS
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

In a statement, Prime Minister Rowley said that the attack on Father Harvey “by able-bodied, gun-toting men sadly represents the worst that exists within our communities.

“Notwithstanding what difficulties one may be facing in life there are limits beneath which the human form should not sink. Unfortunately, there are people who have chosen criminal conduct as a way of life and such persons, regardless of their circumstances, should be condemned in the strongest terms, as I so do now.”

Rowley said that these “miscreants have parents and I hope that somewhere in this country today there are a few parents who are hanging their heads in shame as they reflect in private as to what more they might have done to prevent any of our citizens from behaving in this despicable way”.

A statement issued by the Archdiocese of Port of Spain noted that Father Harvey was tied up and robbed by three men who threatened to kill him.

It said that the priest, who previously served as chaplain at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and parish priest in the volatile Laventille/Morvant area, and is actively involved in social and community programmes, had spent the night at the church to prepare for a seminar at the Seminary of the St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict.

The statement said that Father Harvey was tied up while the men ransacked the presbytery and took TT$1,000 (One Tt dollar =US$0.16 cents), a mobile phone and other items.

“The assailants also threatened to kill the priest,” the statement noted, adding that the priest managed to escape and made his way to a parishioner’s home where he contacted Archbishop Joseph Harris and the police.

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guyana marijuana

Five detained in drug bust

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun 12, CMC – Five people, including a woman, were arrested on Monday fter police intercepted a taxi and seized a quantity of marijuana.

guyana marijuanaIn a brief statement, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) said that bust occurred along the Aurora Public Road in Essequibo, when the car was stopped and searched.

The police said they were acting on a tip off and has not yet released the names of those arrested, including a taxi driver.

They said they found 25 taped parcels of the marijuana in a carton box in the car.  The five occupants were immediately arrested and taken in for questioning. They are expected to be charged later this week.

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Sky - 4112f155005273987816387869a5815b62e37a3a117c3937952dfd6afbdbc696_3962780

Terror threat level reduced to ‘severe’ after Manchester arrests

As raids continue, Theresa May says armed soldiers will be gradually withdrawn from the streets after the bank holiday weekend

By Connor Sephton, News Reporter

Adapted: The UK’s terror threat level has been reduced from ‘critical’ to ‘severe’, the Prime Minister has confirmed.

At an emergency COBRA meeting, the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre advised that the UK should return to the second highest level, which indicates an attack is highly likely rather than imminent.

Operation Temperer, which has seen armed soldiers support police on the streets, will be gradually stood down after the bank holiday weekend.

The terror threat level had been upgraded to critical following the Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people on Monday night.

Theresa May said the decision followed a “significant amount of police activity over the last 24 hours”. A total of 11 people suspected of having links to the terror attack are now in police custody.

However, the Prime Minister warned that the “country should remain vigilant” during the hundreds of events taking place over the coming days – including the FA Cup final at Wembley and the Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham.

Greater Manchester Police said the adjusted terror threat level will not affect its investigation, with the force stressing “the level of resources we have available to us remains the same”.

Armed police to guard bank holiday events

A bomb disposal van was sent to an operation in Moss Side on Saturday morning

Image: A bomb disposal van was sent to an operation in Moss Side on Saturday morning

The announcement came as an evacuation took place in Moss Side as part of a search linked to the Manchester terror attack.

Greater Manchester Police described the evacuation in the inner-city area as a “precautionary measure to ensure everyone’s safety”.

Boscombe Street was cleared by counter-terror officers on Saturday morning, and a bomb disposal van was sent to the scene.

Police lifted the cordon shortly before 12.30pm and residents were allowed back into the area.

Mark Rowley, the head of national counter-terrorism policing, said 17 searches had either concluded or were continuing – mostly in the North West.

Speaking outside Scotland Yard, he stressed there was still much to do and warned more searches and arrests were likely to take place in the coming days.

Overnight, officers performed a controlled explosion at a property in Cheetham Hill. Two men, 20 and 22, were arrested.

A bus was also stormed to detain a 44-year-old man in Rusholme.

Ariana Grande set for Manchester return

  Daughters, wives, friends – victims of the Manchester attack

Police say they have tracked down a large part of the network linked to suicide bomber Salman Abedi – with “thousands of exhibits” now being examined by investigators.

“I think it is fair to say that there has been enormous progress with the investigation, but there is still an awful lot of work to do,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said police cuts must be halted following the attack – and claimed the public would be willing to pay more to boost officer numbers.

“The feeling in Greater Manchester now is that police visibility has noticeably dipped. We have seen a 20% cut in police funding since 2010 and lost 2,000 officers,” Mr Burnham told The Times. “We need half of that back, probably more.”

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In the Magistrate’s Court – April/May

FLASHBACK Marijuana Cultivation in the Barzeys area

Towards the end of April and through early May from April 24, 2017 the Magistrate’s Court was busy as Chief Magistrate Lakmal Wickramasooriya, who was nearing the end of his appointment in Montserrat, disposed of several charges, sufficiency and bail hearings on varying matters.

On April 24, 2017, the Chief Magistrate adjudicated two matters involving Elvis Bradshaw of Salem and Kamron Kirwan of Davy Hill; also, involving Rhakeem Weekes of Look Out.

Both Elvis and Kamron appeared before the Magistrate on a charge of theft of three goats valued at $900. Both pleaded guilty resulting in a sentenced of both to four months imprisonment. Additionally, both men who were represented by defense counsel David  S. Brandt were fined compensation in the sum of $400.00 each to be paid in five (5) months. Failure to pay, they will serve two (2) months imprisonment. unrep

On the same day unrepresented Rhakeem Weekes appeared on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. Upon request by Director of Public Prosecution Oris Sullivan that the matter be set for sufficiency hearing, the Magistrate referred the matter to the High Court for hearing on June 30, 2017.

According to the police release, on April 25, 2017 Vaughn Fenton of Peaceful Cottage appeared before the Chief Magistrate on several charges to include a charge of aggravated assault on a male child which was subsequently changed to Common Assault, indecent language, threatening language, insulting language and Assault. Fenton was represented by Brandt.

Fenton subsequently plead guilty to the charge of common assault and the Magistrate ruled under section 3 of the Probation Act and imposed a Bond on Fenton for three (3) years to be of good behavior, in his own recognizance in the sum of $5,000.00. In relation to the other charges Senior Crown Counsel Kenroy Hyman offered no evidence in relation to the other matters hence the mattes were dismissed.

On April 27, 2017 Shill Blaize of Friths Salem represented by Attorney-at-Law Fitzroy Buffonge appeared before the Chief Magistrate on a charge of indecent assault. Upon presentation by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Oris Sullivan appearing on behalf of the prosecution the Magistrate referred this matter to the High Court for Sufficiency Hearing on the June 30, 2017.   

Same day in the magistrate courts, Charles Liburd of Look Out also appeared before the Chief Magistrate on several charges to include being armed with an offensive weapon, indecent language, being in possession of cannabis sativa with intent to supply to another and being in possession of cannabis sativa.

According to the police report, following presentation of a psychiatric evaluation of Liburd who was unrepresented by counsel, the DPP offered no evidence hence the mattes were dismissed.

A male juvenile the following day, appeared before Chief Magistrate Wickramasooriya on a charge of theft. Ruled guilty, the Magistrate ruled under Section 9 (1) (d) of the Juvenile Act and Section 3 of the Probation Act that the male juvenile be entered into a bond of good behavior for three years with one surety.

On the same day Frantz Germaine of Davy Hill appeared unrepresented in the magistrate’s court on several charges to include assault, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. Germaine pleaded guilty to the assault charge and the Magistrate acting under Section 30 of the Penal code, caused Germaine to enter into a bond of good behavior in his own recognizance in the sum of $3,000.00 for a period of one (1) year. Crown Counsel Kenroy Hyman consequently offered no evidence in relation to the other charges.

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Andre West arrested on charges of allegations of deception on the job

Fire Chief Andre West

In June last year authoritative sources were unwilling to disclose or confirm the reasons why Mr. Andre West of Barzey’s had been relieved of his duties as Fire Chief at the Royal Montserrat Police and Fire Services where he was also in charge of Search and Rescue Services.

Up to April last, with West not yet having returned to his duties, still, no one wanted to be quoted but confirmed that investigations were ongoing into allegations of activities conducted by West surrounding his duties. Eventually just under two weeks ago TMR learnt of charges and arrest being made in the matter, not published since for two weeks adequate resources have prevented the publication of the newspaper.

Now amidst questions of procedural correctness, the police on Tuesday, May 9 confirm magistrate court hearings that Andre West appeared before Chief Magistrate Lakmal Wickramasooriya, on several charges for allegedly using his position to illegally obtain services, to include obtaining services by deception and two counts of Evasion of liability by deception. West plead not guilty, and as such the matter is adjourned to September 4, 2017.”

According to one report, under the penal code of Montserrat a person who by any deception dishonestly obtains property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for ten years. A ZJB report had stated part of the offences is regarding Customs duty and shipping cost on items coming from the United Kingdom.

 Sources has said that West has opted to have his charges heard summarily in the Magistrate’s Court.

Fire Chief Andre West. The investigation into the suspected wrong doing began in June 2015 and resulted in West being charged with several offences in the Magistrates Court last Tuesday. Among the offences was obtaining services by deception and two counts of evasion of liability by deception. ZJB News understands that the offence of evasion of liability by deception is regarding Customs duty and shipping cost on items coming from the United Kingdom. West will appear before the court again in September, was appointed Chief of the Montserrat Fire & Rescue Service in 2014 he was reportedly sent on leave last year to allow for a full investigation into the allegations.

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French nationals detained for illegal fishing in Antigua and Barbuda waters


ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Apr 11, CMC – Five French nationals are likely to face charges and appear in court later this week after they were detained following a joint patrol involving Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) and US Coast Guard.

vesselsAn ABDF statement said that an estimated 1763.7 pounds of conch and 100 pounds of fish were confiscated during the joint patrol south of Antigua between April 8 and 9 when the two French fishing vessels were apprehended in Antiguan and Barbudan waters for illegal fishing and transshipping of conch, respectively.

“This has been an ongoing issue where we have come across a number of foreign vessels mainly from the French territory of Guadeloupe that have been fishing in Antigua & Barbuda waters, and the Coast Guard, over the years, has made a number of interceptions,” according to the Acting Head of the Coast Guard, Lieutenant Commander Elroy Skerritt.

“What happened here is that the ABDF Coast Guard had this opportunity to engage the US Coast Guard with a joint patrol where we had a number of persons on board one of their vessels,” he added.

The cases are being jointly investigated by the ABDF Coast Guard, Customs, Immigration and Fisheries departments.

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Media group expresses concerns over new cybercrimes legislation

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 21, CMC – The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Tuesday expressed concerns about aspects of the Cybercrimes Act that deal with “malicious communication”.

In a statement, the PAJ said that w the Defamation Act 2013 repealed criminal defamation and Jamaica was hailed for this significant legislative advance by groups like the International Press Institute (IPI).

It said freedom of expression is a fundamental right that, like many others, is subject to restrictions.

PAJ“Those restrictions include the law of defamation to protect the reputations of others. These are matters for the civil courts. Restrictions are also often placed by criminal law on types of speech that incite violence, or are threatening in nature, for example.”

But the PAJ noted that criminal defamation laws that penalise statements that injure reputation are understood by freedom of expression advocates all over the world to be an enemy of freedom of expression, to have a chilling effect on free speech, and to facilitate the repression of criticism by governments.

The PAJ said that when Jamaica’s Cybercrimes Act was being reviewed, representatives from the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions recommended the inclusion of cyber defamation as an offence.

But the media group said that together with the Media Association of Jamaica (MAJ) they “strongly opposed” the move adding “  we were of the clear understanding that the Joint Select Committee reviewing the legislation fully appreciated the negative consequences of attempting to reintroduce criminal defamation, albeit to apply in cyberspace.

“Indeed, on the face of it, section 9 does not appear to allow for charges for statements that may be defamatory.”

PAJ said that recent arrests by the police, on the facts available, make it appear that the police are interpreting the legislation as having re-introduced criminal defamation by the back door.

It said that the section states that a person commits an offence if that person uses a computer to send to another person any data -whether in the form of a message or otherwise- that is obscene, constitutes a threat or is menacing in nature and with the intention to harass any person or cause harm or the apprehension of harm to any person or property….”

The media group said that the penalty in a Parish Court can be a fine of up to four million Jamaican dollars (One Jamaican dollar =US$0.008 cents)  or four years imprisonment, or five million dollars or five years in jail in the case of a second offence or if “damage” is caused.

“Before the Circuit Court the penalty is a fine and imprisonment for up to 10 years, or up to 15 years if “damage” is caused, or the penalty is up to 20 years in the case of a second offence.”

The PAJ recalled that in one recent case, the Ministry of National Security reported that a woman was charged under the section after she “posted pictures in social media claiming that her ex-boyfriend is wanted for rape, assault and murder.”

In another case, a women’s rights advocate was arrested after posting on social media sites the names of persons alleged to have carried out various sexual assaults.

“The allegations in each case relate to what would, offline, be matters for the civil courts through the law on defamation, and could not be subject to any criminal charge. These cases are before the courts, which will decide whether the offence detailed in section 9 is made out in these specific cases.

“However, we do not believe it serves the public interest for us to remain silent and wait for court rulings which may take several years, and which in any case, may not prevent continued arrests of this type,’ the PAJ said.

It said this will entail arrested persons being exposed to the trauma of arrest, and force them to spend time, and perhaps significant sums of money to defend themselves.

“Making arrests for what are essentially matters for the civil courts places Jamaica on a steep, slippery slope where freedom of expression is at risk. We do not believe this was the intention of the legislature.

We therefore call on the Jamaican legislature to stand by the principled position by which it abolished criminal defamation.

“This may necessitate the amendment of section 9, and introducing words to make it clear that actions which would comprise defamation offline, cannot be caught by the section,” the PAJ said, noting it is also  possible that the Ministry of National Security” may wish to ask that a legal opinion on the interpretation of section 9 and the elements of the offence be prepared for the police to help guide their actions from here”.

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National Security Minister, Robert Montague (file Photo)

Jamaicans urged to show more support for police

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 22, CMC – National Security Minister, Robert Montague, has called on the population to be more appreciative of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) role in safeguarding the country’s security.

National Security Minister, Robert Montague (file Photo)

Addressing a ceremony here where a vehicle valued at J$7.6 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) was donated to the Jamaica Police Federation, Montague said that the JCF’s members often worked under severe conditions “that leave much to be desired”.

He said against this background, the government is taking steps to effect improvements, to include repairing more police stations and boosting the organisation’s mobility.

He said the latter intervention will entail the acquisition of 200 additional motor vehicles at a cost of J$418 million and would augment the 114 motor cycles that were recently repaired after being side-lined since 2012.

Montague told the ceremony that the JCF is among some of the most “under-appreciated” institutions in Jamaica, and emphasised the need to “place on record, our thanks and appreciation for the work and worth of the members.

“We need to show more appreciation, as a nation, for the persons who put on the uniform of the constabulary force… or who simply serve this country in the many ways that they are called upon to serve.”

Police Federation Chairman, Sergeant Raymond Wilson, noted the “arduous and challenging” environment under which the JCF’s members work.

But he welcomed the government’s undertaking to improve the conditions under which the police work, and expressed gratitude “for your unrelenting support given to the men and women of the JCF”.

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st luciaexplo

Four killed, several others injured in explosion

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Mar 22, CMC – At least four people were killed, more than 20 injured and at least four others airlifted to the neighbouring French island of Martinique as police launched an investigation into an explosion at a construction site in Cul de Sac, east of here on Tuesday evening.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has called on the nation to pray for the families of the victims.

st luciaexplo“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones and those who are still waiting to find out information about their family members. You are all in our prayers in this difficult time. We must all support each other at this time and pray for our fellow St. Lucians,” Chastanet said.

“We must say thanks to the emergency personnel, the police and fire officers, who responded to the incident and who are still working tirelessly … at the site to find persons. The staff, the nurses and doctors, of the Victoria Hospital, who responded, some without being called and who are working overtime to attend to the injured must be thanked for their selfless dedication in the wake of this crisis,” he said, adding that the incident has taken the nation by shock.

The explosion was heard miles away, shattered glass windows and doors of nearby businesses, and destroyed offices and several pieces of heavy duty equipment on site.

It remains uncertain as to what caused the explosion but a supervisor told reporters that it may have been triggered by workers engaged in a welding operation in close proximity to a container loaded with explosive material, including dynamite.

Initially, many persons in communities further away from the blast, called state radio saying that they mistook the explosion for an earthquake, as another section of the capital engaged in a major regional tsunami response exercise referred to as “Caribewave 2017”.

The exercise held across the Caribbean and Latin America stimulated a widespread tsunami watch and warning situation throughout the region requiring the activation of local tsunami response plans.

According to health officials 22 persons had been brought to the Victoria Hospital (VH) with four people, including three at the site confirmed dead.

The officials said that four persons had to be airlifted by military aircraft to Martinique and that one person is reported missing following the incident that occurred at Rayneau Construction.

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Police to investigate government seasonal programme

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Mar 21, CMC – The Grenada police have launched an investigation into a multi-million dollar government seasonal programme amid allegations that “phantom workers” were benefiting from the scheme.

Minister of Works Gregory Bowen, speaking to reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, said that Audit Department as well as the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) will also be involved in the investigation into the “debuhing programme” of the Ministry of Works.

Gregory Bowen

The government debushing programme, usually conducted during the Easter, August and Christmas periods, employs more than 3, 500 workers under the EC$1.9 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) programme per season.

“It’s been reported that certain persons are getting contracts because of their closeness with certain officials, be that as it may, we are not saying that all the allegations are true but when persons come forward and say to me I have reported this years gone by I say to them you also have to take the steps and give assurance that if called upon and substantiate the claim,” said Bowen, noting that most of the allegations are on contracts that are not tendered.

“The audit, the police and FIU will just do what they have to do,” said Bowen, adding that apart from the debushing programme, the authorities will also be investigating the Physical Planning Unit, which approves residential and commercial architectural designs for construction.

Bowen said that there are allegations that the staff of the PPU are offering private service to persons and ensuring that the plans are approved quicker.

Bowen said that there is no time line for the investigations.

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