Archive | Regional

John McCain, ‘maverick’ of the Senate and former POW, dies at 81

John McCain, ‘maverick’ of the Senate and former POW, dies at 81

The Washing Post

August 25 at 8:21 PM

U.S. Sen. John S. McCain, the son and grandson of four-star admirals, was bred for combat. He endured more than five years of imprisonment and torture by the North Vietnamese as a young naval officer and went on to battle foes on the left and the right in Washington, driven throughout by a code of honor that both defined and haunted him.

Sen. McCain, 81, died Aug. 25 at his ranch near Sedona, Ariz., his office announced in a statement. The senator was diagnosed last July with a brain tumor, and his family announced this week that he was discontinuing medical treatment.

During three decades of representing Arizona in the Senate, he ran twice unsuccessfully for president. He lost a bitter primary campaign to George W. Bush and the Republican establishment in 2000. He then came back to win the nomination in 2008, only to be defeated in the general election by Barack Obama, a charismatic Illinois Democrat who had served less than one term as a senator.

A man who seemed his truest self when outraged, Sen. McCain reveled in going up against orthodoxy. The word “maverick” practically became a part of his name.

Sen. McCain regularly struck at the canons of his party. He ran against the GOP grain by advocating campaign finance reform, liberalized immigration laws and a ban on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — widely condemned as torture — against terrorism suspects.

To win his most recent reelection battle in 2016, for a sixth term, he positioned himself as a more conventional Republican, unsettling many in his political fan base. But in the era of President Trump, he again became an outlier.

The terms of engagement between the two had been defined shortly after Trump became a presidential candidate and Sen. McCain commented that the celebrity real estate magnate had “fired up the crazies.” At a rally in July 2015, Trump — who avoided the Vietnam draft with five deferments — spoke scornfully of Sen. McCain’s military bona fides: “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Once Trump was in office, Sen. McCain was among his most vocal Republican critics, saying that the president had weakened the United States’ standing in the world. He also warned that the spreading investigation over Trump’s ties to Russia was “reaching the point where it’s of Watergate-size and scale.”


Sen. McCain arrives in the Capitol to vote against a GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act in July 2017, less than two weeks after surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye and days after his office announced he was diagnosed with brain cancer. The vote marked a spectacular break with President Trump. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)

In both of his own presidential races, Sen. McCain had dubbed his campaign bus the “Straight Talk Express.” To the delight of reporters who traveled with him in 2000, he was accessible and unfiltered, a scrappy underdog who delighted in upsetting the Republican order.

“He was always ready for the next experience, the next fight. Not just ready, but impatient for it,” said his longtime aide Mark Salter, who co-authored more than a half-dozen books with the senator, including three memoirs, the final of which included a stinging critique of Trump. “He took enjoyment from fighting, not winning or losing, as long as he believed he was fighting for a cause worth the trouble.”

So broad and party-bending was his appeal that Senate Democrats in 2001 quietly tried to persuade him to become one of them. In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, a Senate colleague who later became Obama’s secretary of state, considered offering Sen. McCain the second spot on his ticket.

Sen. McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign turned out to be a far more conventional operation than his first bid for the White House. He stuck to his talking points and came to represent the status quo that he had once promised to topple.


Sen. McCain speaks with his 2008 vice-presidential running mate, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, surrounded by their families at a rally in Dayton, Ohio. Her presence on the ticket briefly boosted his campaign. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Her well-received convention speech initially gave the sagging Republican nominee a lift, and her independent streak reinforced Sen. McCain’s message and reputation. Looking back on the decision in 2012, Sen. McCain said he had been looking for “a way to galvanize and energize our campaign.”

But Palin’s performance in interviews and on the stump sowed doubts about whether she was prepared to be next in line for the presidency and, by Election Day, polls indicated that she had become a drag on his candidacy.

When he acted like an ordinary politician, trimming principles in the cause of ambition and expedience, it was all the more jarring because of the standard he had set. In the years that followed, a question often asked was: Which is the real John McCain?

He represented the end of an era during which the nation looked at wartime military experience as practically mandatory for those who aspire to high office. “McCain was part of the tradition of being able to say, ‘I did public service when I was young,’ ” historian Douglas Brinkley said.

Sen. McCain, who rose to become chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was among the Republicans’ most hawkish leaders on military matters and foreign affairs.

It was a mind-set that came, in part, from his conviction that the Vietnam War, in which he had suffered grievously, was a noble and winnable endeavor. The real failure, he believed, was that of a spineless political class.

During the Iraq War, often compared to Vietnam, Sen. McCain was an early and ardent proponent of a 2007 “surge” of troops. President Bush ultimately adopted that strategy, and it was widely credited with stabilizing Iraq, albeit temporarily.

Sen. McCain was also a persistent critic of Obama’s foreign policy.

“The demand for our leadership in the world has never been greater. People don’t want less of America — they want more,” Sen. McCain said in 2012. “Everywhere I go in the world, people tell me that they still have faith in America. What they want to know is whether we still have faith in ourselves.”

A military family

John Sidney McCain III was born Aug. 29, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone and into a family whose military lineage included an ancestor who served as an aide to Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

He was named for the first father and son in Navy history to become full admirals: John S. “Slew” McCain Sr., a top Pacific-theater commander in World War II, and John S. McCain Jr., commander for all armed forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War.

The middle of three children, Sen. McCain manifested his famously hot temper early: As a toddler, he would hold his breath until he blacked out. His tantrums were so severe that a Navy doctor advised his father and mother, the former Roberta Wright, to drop him, fully clothed, into a bathtub of icy water at the first sign of an outburst.

After transient early years spent mostly at military bases, he graduated in 1954 from a Virginia boarding school, Episcopal High School in Alexandria. Following his father’s and grandfather’s path, and his parents’ often-stated expectations, Sen. McCain then enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy, which he later recalled as “a place I belonged at but dreaded.”

At Annapolis, he rebelled against the hazing and the regulations and racked up so many demerits that he was at risk of expulsion. (That, too, was something of a family tradition.) As Sen. McCain often boasted later in life, he graduated fifth from the bottom of the 899-member class of 1958.

From there, he headed to Pensacola, Fla., to be trained as a Navy pilot and continue the rowdy existence of his days at the academy.

One girlfriend at the time was a stripper who went by the professional name Marie, the Flame of Florida. Sen. McCain recalled taking her as his date to a party of young officers and their mannerly wives. Marie became bored, drew a switchblade from her purse, popped it open and cleaned her fingernails.

He did a stint as a flight instructor in Meridian, Miss., at McCain Field, named for his grandfather. It was there, Sen. McCain recalled, that he matured and became dedicated to distinguishing himself as a pilot.

“As a boy and young man, I may have pretended not to be affected by the family history, but my studied indifference was a transparent mask to those who knew me well,” the senator wrote in a 1999 memoir of his early life, “Faith of My Fathers,” co-authored by Salter. “As it was for my forebears, my family’s history was my pride.”

Sen. McCain also became involved in a serious romance, with Carol Shepp of Philadelphia, whom he had known since his days at the academy. They wed in July 1965, and he soon adopted her two sons from a previous marriage, Douglas and Andrew. The couple later had a daughter, Sidney.

Sen. McCain requested and got orders to do a Vietnam combat tour, joining a squadron on the supercarrier Forrestal in the Tonkin Gulf. On July 29, 1967, having flown five uneventful bombing runs over North Vietnam, he was preparing for takeoff when a missile accidentally fired from a nearby fighter struck the fuel tank of his A-4 Skyhawk, Sen. McCain wrote in his memoir. It set off explosions and a fire that killed 134 crewmen, destroyed more than 20 planes and disabled the ship so severely that it took two years to repair.

His own injuries being relatively — and miraculously — minor, Sen. McCain, then a lieutenant commander, volunteered for dangerous duty on the undermanned carrier Oriskany. He joined a squadron nicknamed the Saints that was known for its daring; that year, one-third of its pilots would be killed or captured.

Brutal captivity

On Oct. 26, 1967, Sen. McCain was on his 23rd mission and his first attack on the enemy capital, Hanoi. He dove his A-4 on a thermal power plant near a lake in the center of the city.

As he released his bombs on the target, a Russian-made missile the size of a telephone pole blew off his right wing. The lieutenant commander pulled his ejection-seat handle and was knocked unconscious by the force as he was hurled from the plane. He came to when he hit the lake, where a mob of Vietnamese had gathered.

With both arms and his right knee broken, he was dragged from the lake, beaten with a rifle butt and stabbed in the foot with a bayonet. Then Sen. McCain was taken to the French-built prison that American POWs had dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton.”

So began 5½  years of torture and imprisonment, nearly half of it spent in solitary confinement. During that time, his only means of communicating with other prisoners was by tapping out the alphabet through the walls.

At first, his family was told that he was probably dead. The front page of the New York Times carried a headline: Adm. McCain’s Son, Forrestal Survivor, Is Missing in Raid.

The North Vietnamese, however, perceived that there was propaganda value in the prisoner. They called him the “crown prince” and assigned a cellmate to nurse him back to health. As brutal as his treatment was, Sen. McCain later said, prisoners who lacked his celebrity endured worse.

Shortly before his father assumed command of the war in the Pacific in 1968, Sen. McCain was offered early release. He refused because it would have been a violation of the Navy code of conduct, which prohibited him from accepting freedom before those who had been held longer.

“I knew that every prisoner the Vietnamese tried to break, those who had arrived before me and those who would come after me, would be taunted with the story of how an admiral’s son had gone home early, a lucky beneficiary of America’s class-conscious society,” Sen. McCain recalled. “I knew that my release would add to the suffering of men who were already straining to keep faith with their country.”

His lowest point came after extensive beatings that broke his left arm again and cracked his ribs. Ultimately, he agreed to sign a vague, stilted confession that said he had committed what his captors called “black crimes.”

“I still wince when I recall wondering if my father had heard of my disgrace,” Sen. McCain wrote. “The Vietnamese had broken the prisoner they called the ‘Crown Prince,’ and I knew they had done it to hurt the man they believed to be a king.”

In March 1973, nearly two months after the Paris peace accords were signed, Sen. McCain and the other prisoners were released in four increments, in the order in which they had been captured. He was 36 years old and emaciated.

The effects of his injuries lingered for the rest of his life: Sen. McCain was unable to lift his arms enough to comb his own prematurely gray hair, could only shrug off his suit jacket and walked with a stiff-legged gait.

Entering politics

Sen. McCain had hoped to remain in the Navy, but it became clear that his disabilities would limit his prospects for advancement.

In the meantime, he found himself drawn toward the civilian world of politics — and it toward him. Hobbling on crutches in his dress-white service uniform, he shook President Richard M. Nixon’s hand. Sen. McCain also struck up a friendship with then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan, who invited the former POW to speak at an annual prayer breakfast in Sacramento.

He developed a network of political contacts while working in the Navy’s legislative affairs operation in the late 1970s. His office on the first floor of the Russell Senate Office Building was a popular late-afternoon socializing spot for younger senators and their staffs.

Sen. McCain’s marriage, meanwhile, frayed and fell apart. That was not an unusual story among returning Vietnam POWs, and in his case, the dissolution was aggravated by his infidelities.

While he and his wife were separated, Sen. McCain visited Hawaii, where he met Cindy Hensley, the daughter of a wealthy Arizona beer distributor. A few months after his divorce became final in 1980, he married Hensley. Then-Sen. William S. Cohen (R-Maine), later to be a defense secretary, was his best man, and then-Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.), a future presidential contender, was an usher.

The couple had three children: Meghan McCain, who became a media personality and blogger, and sons Jimmy McCain and Jack McCain, both of whom served in the military. They also adopted a daughter, Bridget McCain, whom Cindy had met while visiting an orphanage in Bangladesh.

Besides his mother, his wife and seven children, survivors include a brother, Joseph P. McCain of Washington; a sister, Jean McCain Morgan of Annapolis; and five grandchildren.

Sen. McCain retired from the Navy at the rank of captain and moved to Arizona in 1981, with an eye toward running for Congress. The opportunity presented itself the following January when a longtime Republican congressman, John Rhodes, announced his retirement. That same day, the McCains bought a house in Rhodes’s Phoenix district, and John McCain was soon in a race against three other candidates.

He was called an opportunist and a carpetbagger — accusations he dispatched with a single answer at a candidate forum.

“I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and spending my entire life in a nice place like the 1st District of Arizona, but I was doing other things,” he replied to one critic. “As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

John McCain was a Capitol Hill celebrity from the moment he was elected to the House.

In many areas, he was a reliably conservative voice and vote. But from the beginning, he showed what became a trademark streak of independence. He called for the withdrawal of Marines from Lebanon in 1983 after a terrorist bombing left 241 U.S. service members dead; he voted to override President Reagan’s veto of sanctions against the apartheid regime of South Africa in 1986.

And — surprisingly to many — as a member of the Senate, he worked to normalize relations with Vietnam.

Sen. McCain crusaded against pork-barrel spending, the practice by which lawmakers direct taxpayer money to projects in their districts. He was also the only Republican to vote against the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a deregulation measure he said had been “written by every [special] interest in the world except the consumers.”

Acclaimed by the media, he was not popular in the Senate. Many of his colleagues were put off by his certitude.

“John puts things in terms of black and white, right and wrong,” then-Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.) told The Washington Post in 2000. “If you disagree with him, you’re wrong. He doesn’t see that there could be legitimate differences of opinion that deserve respect.”
Journalists surround Sen. McCain as he walks to the Senate floor for a vote in January 2017. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Over the years, Keating had contributed heavily to Sen. McCain’s House and Senate campaigns. The senator’s family had taken at least nine trips, at Keating’s expense, to the Bahamas, where Keating had a luxurious vacation estate.

Sen. McCain and the four Democrats — Alan Cranston of California, Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, John Glenn of Ohio and Donald W. Riegle Jr. of Michigan, all of whom had also benefited from Keating’s largesse — became known as the “Keating Five.”

The Senate Ethics Committee finally determined that Sen. McCain had not done anything more serious than showing “poor judgment” by attending two meetings with the regulators and the four other senators. It was the lightest reprimand the committee gave in connection with the scandal. The others were rebuked but were not charged with crimes.

Sen. McCain felt that he bore a permanent taint. “It will be on my tombstone, something that will always be with me, something that will always be in my biography,” he said, “and deservedly so.”

The experience also lit the fire for what would become his signature issue and biggest legislative achievement: an overhaul of campaign finance laws. Sen. McCain teamed up with one of the Senate’s most liberal members, Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), to author a measure that called for the most dramatic change to the system since the post-Watergate reforms of 1974.

It took them more than seven years to get the legislation through. The 2002 law’s main thrust was to ban unlimited, unregulated “soft money” donations to parties, which were used as a means of skirting the contribution limits to individual candidates.

In less than a decade, however, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision opened the money floodgate and led to the rise of super PACs, which can spend unlimited sums, as long as they do not coordinate directly with candidates. Sen. McCain called it “the worst decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st century.”

Presidential campaigns

When Sen. McCain announced in September 1999 that he was running for the Republican nomination for president, it was yet another assault on the political establishment, which had put its chips on then-Texas Gov. Bush, the son of a former president.

“In truth, I had had the ambition for a long time. It had been a vague aspiration,” he later wrote. “It had been there, in the back of my mind, for years, as if it were simply a symptom of my natural restlessness. Life is forward motion for me.”

He ran as a truth-telling reformer, held a record-setting 114 town hall meetings in New Hampshire (while effectively ignoring the Iowa caucuses) and pulled off a stunning 18-point victory over Bush in the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary. But his campaign ran aground in South Carolina in what came to be regarded as the nastiest primary in memory.

Sen. McCain was the target of rumors: that he had fathered a black child (twisting the facts about his dark-skinned adopted daughter); that his wife had a drug habit (she acknowledged having been addicted to painkillers and stealing them from a charity she ran); that his years as a POW had left him brainwashed and insane.

One of his regrets, he later said, was getting tangled up in South Carolina’s emotional debate over flying the Confederate flag at the capitol in Columbia. After describing the banner as “a symbol of racism and slavery,” Sen. McCain bowed to the pleas of his panicked strategists and issued a statement saying he could “understand both sides” of the question.

Later, he wrote that he regretted not having told the truth, which was that he believed “the flag should be lowered forever from the staff atop South Carolina’s capitol.”

“I had not been just dishonest. I had been a coward, and I had severed my own interests from my country’s. That was what made the lie unforgivable,” he recalled. “All my heroes, fictional and real, would have been ashamed of me.”

Bush handily defeated Sen. McCain in South Carolina, beginning the end of the senator’s insurgent campaign. In April, a month after he dropped out of the 2000 race, Sen. McCain returned to the state and publicly apologized for having chosen “to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth.”

Sen. McCain blames the Obama administration at a January 2013 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

The bitterness of that campaign lingered for much of Bush’s presidency. Sen. McCain was, for instance, one of only two Senate Republicans to vote against Bush’s 2001 tax cuts. He said they were fiscally irresponsible and benefited “the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.”

But by the time he ran again in 2008, Sen. McCain had come to terms with Bush and the Republican Party, and they with him. He not only voted to extend the tax cuts in 2006, but also advocated making them permanent.

Whereas Sen. McCain had lashed out at evangelical leaders Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance” during his first presidential bid, he delivered the commencement address at Falwell’s Liberty University in 2006. Falwell introduced him with lavish praise, saying, “The ilk of John McCain is very scarce, very small.”

The shift rightward caused a breach with a constituency that Sen. McCain had long counted as in his corner: the media.

“Are you going into crazy base world?” comedian Jon Stewart asked Sen. McCain during an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” a few weeks before the speech at Liberty.

“I’m afraid so,” Sen. McCain deadpanned.

His campaign all but collapsed in the summer of 2007, but Sen. McCain battled back and won the nomination.

Still, he was flying into head winds in the general election. The war in Iraq, which he had supported, was unpopular, as was the Republican incumbent in the White House. Palin’s erratic, unprepared performance became a story in itself.

Most important, he was up against a Democrat who seemed tailor-made for that moment in history: Obama was better financed, ran a better campaign, had opposed the Iraq War and offered the captivating prospect of putting an African American in the White House for the first time.


Sen. McCain pauses for a portrait during his “Straight Talk Express” campaign bus tour in Manchester, N.H., in 2007. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Returning to Congress, Sen. McCain became a frequent antagonist of the man who had defeated him for president. He contended for instance that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2014 invasion of Crimea was a result of “a feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”

When Sen. McCain got the gavel of the Armed Services Committee in 2015, he told The Post that he was having more fun than at any time since his 2000 presidential campaign. That same year, he announced plans to run for a sixth term in the Senate.

Sen. McCain won handily, and in his victory speech to supporters, he predicted that campaign “might be the last.”

“Thank you one last time,” he added, “for making me the luckiest guy I know.”

In his final book, reflecting on his life as it came to an end, McCain wrote: “It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.”

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

US Embassy to waive visa renewal interviews for Barbadians

US Embassy to waive visa renewal interviews for Barbadians

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Aug 23, CMC – The United States (US) Embassy has announced that from August 28, it will waive visa renewal interviews in Barbados for qualified applicants.

It said the move is part of the US Government’s efforts to improve customer service and streamline the visa process.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Embassy said Barbados passport holders may qualify for a visa renewal interview waiver if their previous visa expired within the past 12 months and they are applying for the same visa category as their previous visa.

“The applicant must be physically present in Barbados or within the consular district of the US Embassy in Bridgetown to avail themselves of this option. Additionally, the previous US visa must be in the applicant’s possession, and the applicant must have submitted a ten-fingerprint scan in conjunction with the previous visa application,” it said.

Students who wish to renew their visas, and who satisfy the requirements may qualify for interview waiver if they are applying to continue attendance at the same institution, or will continue the same major course of study at a different institution. Applicants seeking to renew work-related visas who are returning to work for the same employer/company as annotated on the previous visa may also qualify. Applicants under the age of 14 and over 79 will continue to qualify for interview waiver in most visa classifications.

However, third country nationals must schedule an interview.

The US Embassy stressed that eligibility for interview waiver does not automatically entitle applicants to a waiver of the interview requirement.

It added that there will be further expansion of interview waivers in US Embassy Bridgetown’s consular district in the coming weeks.

CMC/2018

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, Security, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Search continues for missing American child and Jamaican national

Search continues for missing American child and Jamaican national

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 23, CMC – The search is expected to resume Thursday for a five-year-old American national,  who was due to return home today, but has been missing since Tuesday after going on a raft up the Martha Brae River that winds through Jamaica’s tropical inland rain forests.

Members of the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard divers and raftmen are searching for Jace Jones of Massachusetts, United States and 65-year-old Llewellyn Reid, also known as “Bagga Jagga” of Zion in Trelawny.

(File Photo)

Media reports said that on Tuesday afternoon, Reid was navigating a raft down the river with the five-year-old boy, three male siblings — ages ranging from five to nine — and their female cousin when the five-year-old fell off the raft. Reid jumped into the water to save the child but got into difficulties and is feared dead.

The children were eventually rescued from the raft after it drifted to a section of the river bank.

Wesley Innis, the grandfather of the American boy, said life jackets had been put on the children before they went on the raft.

The five-year-old and his two older brothers were visiting relatives on the island when they went to the popular attraction.

The operator of Rafter’s Village, Johnny Gourzong, described Reid as a very experienced rafter.

“This raft captain (Reid) is one of the most experienced. He was a good swimmer ,” he told the Observer newspaper.

Posted in International, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Aug 21, CMC  – A 53-year-old Bermudian man who was fined US$700 for shouting obscenities at crew members and a family during a flight from London to Bermuda has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Attorney Peter Sanderson argued that his client, Helder Viera, could not be convicted in Bermuda as there was no proof the offence happened inside the island’s jurisdiction.

Supreme Court Puisne Judge Shade Subair found that under the legislation, the offence had to happen in Bermuda or on a Bermuda-registered aircraft to secure a conviction.

Justice Subair in a written judgement Tuesday said “regrettably, the learned magistrate (Khamisi Tokunbo) was never addressed on this jurisdiction issue.

“The Crown, having brought the charges before the court, clearly did so under a misguided notion that it was well placed to do so. Further, the appellant was not represented by Mr Sanderson in the Magistrates’ Court when he entered his guilty plea.

“The Crown did not present any evidence before the court to prove that any relevant part of the appellant’s offensive conduct occurred in Bermuda and there was no evidence before the court to suggest that the aircraft concerned was registered in Bermuda. For these reasons, the conviction is unsafe,” Justice Subair said.

Viera was arrested on December 31 last year after an incident on board a British Airways flight from Gatwick.

In January, the Magistrates’ Court heard that Viera began to hurl obscenities at a young family with an infant about two hours into the flight. Viera was warned by cabin crew to calm down.

He later pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive, insulting words and threatening behaviour under the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order.

That legislation does extend to Bermuda, but Justice Subair said that offences must happen in Bermuda or over its territorial waters to be prosecuted in the island’s courts.

During Viera’s court case seven months ago Magistrate Tokunbo said the maximum US$1,000 fine for the offence was “peanuts”.

“This penalty encourages people to behave like this,” he added.

Posted in Court, International, Legal, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

United Airlines announces historic additional flights to St Kitts

United Airlines announces historic additional flights to St Kitts

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Aug 22, CMC – For the first time in St Kitts and Nevis’ history, United Airlines will fly a second weekly nonstop flight from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, complementing the carrier’s existing Saturday service.

Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce Lindsay Grant said the addition of a mid-week flight marks yet another historic first for the twin-island federation this year.

“I could not be more pleased to welcome this additional service, which increases the available options for visitors and Diaspora to get to island during peak travel season from the New York metropolitan area, which is our primary source market for arrivals,” he said.

For the January 9 to March 6, 2019 period, United will operate a total of nine scheduled round-trip, non-stop Wednesday flights between Newark and St. Kitts.

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, said having the Wednesday flight gives travellers more flexibility in their vacation planning and provides increased capacity during the period when demand is highest.

“This is a testament to the success of our work to grow North American airlift from key gateways in order to accommodate new hotel developments and existing hotel product upgrades,” she said.

United first began serving St. Kitts in December 2015 and continues to operate non-stop Saturday flights from Newark.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Grenade thrown at Parliament building

Grenade thrown at Parliament building

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Aug 21, CMC – Police were guarding the Parliament building on Tuesday after unidentified people reportedly threw a grenade at the building and shots were also heard on Monday.

The Commissioner of the Government, Ocname-Clamé Daméus, said that the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) had been ordered to question all the security officers assigned to building at the time of the incident.

Some of the bullet holes in the Parliament building

He said people who use social networks to incite members of the population into violence will also be questioned as part of the investigation by the National Police of Haiti (PNH).

The authorities said that the grenade model will most likely be determined during the investigation and that several bullet holes can be seen on the building.

They said that four surveillance cameras that had been installed were not functioning at the time of the incident.

One legislator, Senator Willot Joseph, speaking on a radio programme here, said he remained suspicious about the “attack” and supported the argument that the gunshots had been fired from inside the building.

The Speaker of the Senate, Joseph Lambert, also criticised the action of the DCPJ officers who had sought to prevent journalists from covering the incident.

Media reports said that the equipment of some of the journalists were either damaged or destroyed as a result of the actions by the DCPJ.

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

Private sector group wants an end to breaches of confidentiality

Private sector group wants an end to breaches of confidentiality

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Aug 22, CMC – The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture (SLCCA) s warning both private and public sector workers of engaging in breaching confidentiality. which it said is hurting the country.

SLCCA executive diretor Brian Louisy said he was urging the political parties here to speak out against the practice, which he said is hurting the economic interest of the country.

Brian Louisy

“We are concerned about frequent breaches of confidentiality in the public service and private sector, as this practice could inevitably result in harm to this country’s economic interests,” Louisy wrote in the latest issue of ‘ED’s Perspective’, the official publication of the private sector group.

He described confidentiality breaches as ‘a disturbing issue’ within the public and private sector, noting that “employees are now flippantly “leaking” documents of a private nature regularly without concern for the ramifications.

“The impact on business people’s confidence, both foreign and local, as to respect of privacy when doing business in Saint Lucia is now real.

“Will my competitor soon know my every business detail once I do business with the government of St. Lucia? Will my personal and business banking information make its way to social media?”  Louisy asked.

He said leaders in the country need to speak out and bring this practice to a stop, “or we will all pay the price”.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Education, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Jaden Sun

Special Day Trip to Guadweloupe reported a success

The Access Division, reports that under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier, embarked on a special daytrip to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe on Saturday July 28th, with more than 80 passengers. 

Jaden Sun

Highlighting the fact that they do not advertise with The Montserrat Reporter, the report states as follows: “Following months of promotions on Radio Montserrat (ZJB), ZDK Radio in Antigua and social media posts, 130 persons registered for the day trip.  87 of those registered took to the seas, via MV Jaden Sun, alongside Marketing Officer in the Tourism Division, Cherise Aymer and a Nurse Nadine Sweeney from the Glendon Hospital. 

Jaden Sun

While in Guadeloupe, there was a plaque exchange between a representative of the Mayor of Pointe a Pitre, Cherise Aymer and Captain Elvis Gooding of MV Jaden Sun.  As part of the activities, some persons had pre-arranged tours to the Botanical Gardens, Rum Factory and Waterfall, Rainforest, the Zoo and Chocolate factory. Meanwhile, others chose to explore Pointe a Pitre city on their own, where they took in the sites, cultural performances and retail therapy.

Based on feedback survey forms completed by the passengers on board the ferry 63% of the responders expressed that they had a good experience on the Jaden Sun and the service provided by the crew.  All passengers that completed the survey commented that they would participate in another day excursion organised by the Access Division.  Although the majority of persons are requesting a follow-up overnight trip in the near future to Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, there is also a huge demand for visits to St. Maarten or Martinique.

The journey took approximately four (4) hours each way.

The Access Division expresses heartfelt gratitude to the authorities in Pointe a Pitre, Montserrat Border controls, the Ministry of Health, Captain and crew of MV Jaden Sun and all of our valued customers who made this day trip possible.”

In an observation and following up on TMR’s earlier questions and suggestion we wonder how many readers of TMR both online and in print did not know of the trip to Guadeloupe. Meanwhile among other queries, how come with the huge St. Kitts/Nevis support of festivals in Montserrat, no reciprocity is offered when St. Kitts/Nevis are having their festivals for residents in Montserrat and Antigua to take a trip to celebrate with the neighbors across the waters.

We trust that those read

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Entertainment, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

Region to benefit from re-launched climate change project

Region to benefit from re-launched climate change project

BELMOPAN, Belize, Aug 23, CMC – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) says it expects to roll out its “1.5˚ to Stay Alive – An Educational Initiative’ programme across the region in 2019.

The CCCCC Tuesday completed a teachers training workshop here as part of its education and outreach work to embed climate change in the region’s education sector.

CCCCC executive director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, addressing teachers at the workshop

It said the four-unit curriculum -the Warming Climate, Sea Level Rise, Pine Forest and Social Impacts of Global Warming –  includes teaching and learning activities and a range of supporting materials such as worksheets, photographs, posters, suggestions for power point presentations, and videos.

Teachers conduct experiments that simulated some of the impacts of climate change using safe household items and the CCCCC said that through this means of engagement, the educators examined ways in which climate change can be incorporated in their syllabus, with the intent to increasing sensitisation and awareness of climate change impacts and community vulnerability; heighten ability to link personal actions to the broader climate change discussion and increase capacity to conduct vulnerability assessments of communities.

In addition, it is also intended to identify practical adaptation measures to reduce vulnerability.

The CCCCC said that the training workshop here emphasised the need to educate children to build climate resilience through sustainable practices and development by utilising new-aged climate-smart technology and alternative energy sources.

It said educators who completed the programme have been provided with teaching materials, manuals and workbooks and will be awarded a certificate for eight Professional Development hours towards their licence by the Teacher Education & Development Services (TEDS).

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Education, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

St. Vincent suspends importation of pesticides containing glyphosate

St. Vincent suspends importation of pesticides containing glyphosate

ST. GEORGE’S , Grenada, Aug. 24, CMC –  The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has placed an immediate suspension on the importation of pesticides that contain   the acting ingredient glyphosate.

Acting on the advice of the Pesticides Board, the government said the chemical is found in pesticides such as Round-Up, Touchdown and Glyphos.

According to a statement on Friday, the move is pending a technical review by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour.

“A preliminary review was conducted by the Pesticides Board which revealed that further research is needed regarding these listed chemicals. In the interim, a special technical committee was established to advise on sustainable alternatives to the listed chemicals. This committee is expected to present its findings by October 1,” the statement noted.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) have been requested to provide support to the Ministry of Agriculture  to conduct a full chemical analysis of these products.

The Ministry of Agriculture is also scheduled to launch a national sensitisation programme with all stakeholders within the sector.

“The Department of Labour takes this opportunity to remind farmers and farm workers of the duty of care needed while using all chemicals. All employers must provide protective gears and a safe working environment for employees in accordance with the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the statement added .

With the suspension of these products, Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar, has called on all stakeholders to be appreciative of the suspension on the importation of the chemicals “in light of the nation’s quest to promote a safe working environment and good agricultural health and food safety practices.”

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

Newsletter

Archives