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BVI government to improve border security

BVI government to improve border security

by STAFF WRITER

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jun 3 CMC – Over US$6-million will be spent to improve border security across this British Overseas territory.

Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley  says the move shows that the current administration is serious  about advancing the territory.

Vincent Wheatley

“For as long as I can recall, there have been complaints and heavy criticism levied against Labour and Immigration departments.That is why Cabinet recently approved the sum of $6.4 million for the purchase of a new state-of-the-art Immigration border management system.”

This comes several months after Governor Augustus announced that travellers arriving and departing the BVI will be subject to heightened security measures to include the implementation of an Advance Passenger Information (API) System.

Meanwhile, Wheatley said he intends to give support to the departments of Labour and Immigration by introducing policies and legislation to help reform and improve them.

Concerning plans for the online amalgamation of the Labour and Immigration departments, Wheatley, who is also Labour Minister, says this has already started.

“It’s currently undergoing testing. We are using a test group of 32 different businesses – which will soon be open to the wider public,” adding that the undertaking is scheduled to be ready for the broader public by July.

“It is only the beginning. Later on this month, we will be launching a few more initiatives within that department starting with a name change,” he said.

Posted in CARICOM, Local, News, OECS, Politics, Regional, Security, Technology, Travel0 Comments

DECLAR~1

DECLARATION ADOPTED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE SIXTH MEETING OF MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF CARICOM AND CUBA

 

 

  Date: 2019-Jun-Fri Web: www.caricom.org | Tel: 592-222-0001 | Email: communications@caricom.org  

We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba, having met in Georgetown, Guyana, on June 14th, 2019, on the occasion of the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting.

Recalling the Summit Declarations of Havana 2002, Bridgetown 2005, Santiago de Cuba 2008, Port of Spain 2011, Havana 2014 and St. Mary’s 2017; as well as the periodic meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba; and highlighting their indisputable contribution to the advancement of our political links and cooperation, materialized in the high level reached by the relations between our nations;

Recognizing the need to collectively address the challenges to sustainable development, including our vulnerabilities as Caribbean countries, especially in the economic and environmental areas, and in particular as Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States, in order to build just, inclusive and equitable societies;

Concerned by the loss of life and the extensive economic and infrastructure damage caused by the passage of frequent and intensive hurricanes in the Caribbean region, and the negative effect of natural disasters on our development processes;

Affirming that the Caribbean is an inseparable part of Our America, and highlighting the role of CARICOM in the regional integration process;

Reaffirming the importance of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for political consultation and promotion of the unity and integration of our region;

Recalling the significance to the Caribbean countries of taking advantage of the potential offered by the regional and sub-regional mechanisms such as CELAC, ACS, ALBA-TCP, PETROCARIBE as well as international mechanisms such as BRICS;

Determined to continue to strengthen the CARICOM-Cuba mechanism, based on deep historical roots and founded on solidarity, cooperation, and complementarity:

1. Reiterate that the unity and integration of our Caribbean Region is based on unrestricted respect and full adhesion to the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law, in particular the respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the prohibition of the threat or use of force. Also, reaffirm our commitment to the protection and promotion of all human rights for all;

2. Emphasize the importance of defending regional unity to preserve the peace and stability of our countries;

3. Reaffirm our solidarity with the Republic of Haiti, for which we feel a historic debt of gratitude, and a commitment to continue fostering cooperation with that nation, in accordance with the priorities defined by its government and in full respect of its sovereignty;

4. Call on the international community, in its relations with the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), to endorse the tenets of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana in January 2014, and that recognizes, among others, the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations.

5. Reject the imposition of unilateral coercive measures and, in that context, call for an immediate and unconditional end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba and, especially, to its extraterritorial nature and the financial persecution of Cuban transactions, whose severity has increased. In this regard, we denounce the application of the new measures under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, legislation which flagrantly violates International Law and undermines the sovereignty and interests of third parties, announced by the US government which strengthens the US blockade against Cuba, including the application of laws and measures of extra-territorial nature that are contrary to international law. Furthermore, we reiterate our endorsement of the principles of international law as well as our strongly-held view that economic development and stability in the Caribbean region contribute to international peace and security;

6. Agree to continue implementing the results of the Summits of Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba and the Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs as a platform for closer political consultation and coordination in other areas;

7. Recognize the cooperation between CARICOM and Cuba in areas such as health, human resource development, construction, sports, and disaster risk reduction and mitigation has effectively contributed to the development and well-being of our peoples. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to continue promoting the implementation of projects to improve air and sea ports, infrastructure and connectivity between our countries and broaden our economic and trade relations through the implementation of the Revised Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba;

8. Commit to complete the required internal legal procedures with a view to giving effect to the Second Protocol to the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which will contribute to the strengthening of trade relations;

9. Reiterate the importance of trade for the Region’s sustainable development and reaffirm the necessity of appropriate policy space and special and differential treatment for small vulnerable economies like those in the Caribbean. In that context, we welcome the hosting by Barbados of UNCTAD XV in October 2020, which will be the first time that an UNCTAD quadrennial conference has been held in a Caribbean country;

10. Reaffirm the need to continue strengthening cooperation and exchange of experiences and good practices in the area of integrated disaster risk management in the Caribbean, aiming to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and all its goals by the Caribbean countries; and thus to promote the substantial reduction of disaster risk and loss of life, livelihood and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of people, enterprises, communities and countries;

11. Commit to continue cooperation in the areas of food security, nutrition and agricultural development including women empowerment and youth involvement, as key pillars in the fight against poverty, including actions for implementing the CELAC Plan for Food and Nutrition Security and the Eradication of Hunger 2025 (SAN-CELAC);

12. Reiterate our commitment to the protection and conservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources in the region, particularly in the Caribbean Sea. Support its designation by the United Nations as a “Special Area in the Context of Sustainable Development” and support the mandate of the ACS Caribbean Sea Commission, to promote its preservation and sustainable use. In that regard, strongly condemn the continued use of the Caribbean Sea for transit and transshipment of nuclear material and toxic waste, and urge countries that produce and transport them to urgently implement appropriate measures to end such activities;

13. Reaffirm the commitment to promote regional energy integration as a relevant element for sustainable development and to advance the diversification of the energy matrix of our countries, oriented towards the use of clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources, and universal access to energy services that contribute to the well-being of our peoples; we also welcome the fruitful exchanges held between the Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energetic Efficiency and Cuba;

14. Emphasize the urgent and global priority of climate change and its negative implications for our societies, ecosystems and economies. In this regard, commit to strengthening cooperation within CARICOM and with other international organizations and agencies to foster greater adaptation and mitigation, strengthen resilience and reduce our vulnerability, particularly Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States;

15. Commit ourselves to continue promoting joint actions and exchanges of experience and information on security, as well as on prevention and confrontation of transnational organized crime, the worldwide drug problem, corruption, human trafficking and other new threats related to cyber security among others;

16. Recognize the promotion of sustainable tourism as one of the keys to economic growth in the Caribbean region, as identified in the Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community 2015-2019, and agree to strengthen cooperation in this area, including multi-destination tourism;

17. Emphasize the importance of culture as a significant instrument in the advancement of sustainable economic development, unity, peace, education and mutual understanding between our people, and support a successful celebration of CARIFESTA XIV, to take place in Trinidad and Tobago on August 16 – 25, 2019;

18. Reaffirm our will to strengthen South-South cooperation as an expression of solidarity among our countries for the promotion of bilateral and regional programmes as well as triangular cooperation for development, taking into account the development priorities of our countries;

19. Agree to celebrate the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on 24 July 2019, recognizing the role it continues to play in advancing integration and sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean, through active collaboration in the focused areas of disaster risk reduction, sustainable tourism including multi-destination, trade, sustainable development and protection of the Caribbean Sea and transportation;

20. Reaffirm that the preservation and consolidation of CELAC as a regional forum for dialogue and political coordination and as an international political actor is one of our priorities. In that context, we consider it to be fundamental to continue strengthening regional integration through political dialogue, cooperation and increased trade among the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. In that regard, we reaffirm the importance of Caribbean countries’ active participation within CELAC and we recognize the role played by successive Chairs of Conference of CARICOM within the CELAC Quartet;

21. Acknowledge and support the effort deployed by CARICOM countries and its Pro Tempore President, alongside Mexico and Uruguay through the Montevideo Mechanism for respectful dialogue in Venezuela, guided by the principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, prohibition of the threat and use of force, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, respect for the constitutional framework and democracy, and reiterating the right of people to self–determination;

22. Express grave concern over the inclusion of CARICOM Member States in the lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions by the European Union which has negative effects on the economies of Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States which have implemented recognized international norms and have proven their willingness to cooperate and dialogue in order to find solutions;

23. Also express deep concern and rejection of the progressive decline in correspondent banking relations with developing countries, particularly CARICOM Member States, due to de-risking actions by some of the major international banking corporations, which threaten the financial stability of the affected countries and limits their efforts to achieve development and socio-economic growth;

24. Reiterate the call to review and modify the current “graduation” criteria for Official Development Assistance so as to adequately reflect the reality and specific needs of Highly-Indebted Middle Income Countries, particularly Caribbean States;

25. Emphasize the importance of reparation and compensation for the damages caused by slavery in the Caribbean as an act of justice and, in this regard, support the work of the CARICOM Reparations commission;

26. Express our thanks to the Government and People of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana for their warm welcome, hospitality and support in organizing the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting;

27. Decide to hold the Seventh CARICOM-Cuba Summit in Cuba, in 2020.

Declaration Adopted At The Conclusion Of The Sixth Meeting Of Ministers Of Foreign Affairs Of CARICCARICOM and Cuba Ministers and delegates and CARICOM Secretary-General pose for a photo after the opening of the Meeting (Photo via DPI)

Adopted at the Sixth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba on 14th June 2019, in Georgetown, Guyana.

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CCJ to hand down rulings in two sets of cases from Guyana

CCJ to hand down rulings in two sets of cases from Guyana

by staff writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun 12, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) says it will on Tuesday deliver judgements in two sets of cases from Guyana that could have implications for the political environment in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

The CCJ, which is Guyana’s highest court, said Wednesday that its first judgement will “determine whether the appointment, or the process followed in the appointment, of Guyana’s Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman breached the Constitution”.

President David Granger had appointed retired justice James Patterson as GECOM chairman following the resignation of Dr. Steve Surujbally, in November 2016. Surujbally stepped down from office at the end of February 2017.

Last year, Acting Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire dismissed an application by a senior member of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) challenging Granger’s decision to appoint a chairman from outside the lists provided to him by the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo.

PPP executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha, had called on the High Court to declare that the appointment of Patterson violated the constitution and is “accordingly unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect”.

The opposition party had also claimed that Justice Patterson is not constitutionally qualified to be appointed GECOM chairman and wanted the High Court to grant an order “rescinding, revoking, cancelling and setting aside the appointment”.

The CCJ said that its second judgement on Tuesday will “determine three consolidated cases arising from last December’s motion of no confidence in the government.

“One of the main issues in that case was whether 33 or 34 votes were required to carry the motion given that the membership of the National Assembly totalled 65 members. Another issue in dispute was whether one of the members of the National Assembly who voted in favour of the motion was ineligible so to vote because he was disqualified from membership of the National Assembly as a result of his citizenship of Canada,” it said.

Jagdeo had challenged the ruling of the Court of Appeal in his country that invalidated a motion of no confidence that was passed in the National Assembly in December 21, last year.

When the matters came before the High Court in Guyana in January, it ruled that only 33 votes were required. However, on appeal to the Court of Appeal, the three-member panel by a 2-1 majority held that 34 votes were required.

Charrandass Persaud, who was then a government legislator voted in support of the motion in the National Assembly, ensuring that the coalition administration lost its one-seat majority in the 65-member legislative body.

The Guyana government had argued in the appeal that Persaud was ineligible to vote because he held dual citizenship.

The CCJ said that it will begin delivering the rulings at 10.00 am (local time) on Tuesday.

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Regional fight against corruption to be discussed at “anti-corruption” conference

Regional fight against corruption to be discussed at “anti-corruption” conference

by Staff Writer

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Jun 3, CMC – Heads of anti-corruption agencies and government integrity commissions from across the Caribbean part of the Commonwealth are meeting here  this week to discuss the fight against corruption.

The conference, being held for the first time here, comes   five years after the government passed but failed to implement its own legislation to deal with corruption in public office. 

The theme for the fifth annual conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) is “Transforming Words into Action: Revitalising the Fight Against Corruption”.

Panel discussions will cover corruption in sports, modernising legislative frameworks, the investigative battle against corruption and new technologies to combat corruption. 

“I believe we all have a lot to learn and share in both the development and implementation of meaningful and effective strategies for controlling corruption,” said the Chairperson for the Commissions for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) Rosie Myles. 

“Attendees comprise delegates from anti-corruption units from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, as well as from the host country, the Cayman Islands. Others include representatives from the Commonwealth Secretariat, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, National Integrity Action Jamaica and the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland,” said Myles.

The conference is sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, CSPL and the Cayman Islands Government.

Posted in Crime, Featured, International, Legal, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Regional Sports, Sports0 Comments

Culture plays important role in Region’s sustainable growth, development...

Culture plays important role in Region’s sustainable growth, development…

June 7, 2019

We have had on several previous occasions commented on the fact that culture is important and should be seriously considered when the occasion is warranted. That is expressly so in so many areas of our onward thrust for change and progress.

Consequently, we have always reminded, there is bad and good culture,

we always say. That alone is cause for common sense and seriousness when the topic is raised.

Here are a few excerpts taken from the Thirty-Sixth Meeting of the Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Thursday, June 6, 2019, at the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.

The two-day meeting was being held under the theme ‘Leveraging CARICOM’s Cultural Assets for the Sustainable Development of the Community’. The Secretary-General said that the theme further emphasised the commitment of the Region to develop its rich and diverse cultural assets.

“It has been asserted that Culture should be seen as the fourth pillar of sustainable development, as both an enabler and driver of economic and social development and environmental sustainability, which constitute the three dimensions of sustainable development,”  said Ambassador LaRocque.

In supporting his point, he said further that cultural industries in the Region had out-performed sectors such as agriculture, finance, insurance and construction in some Member States. He, however, said that there needed to be the necessary enabling environment for the creative industries to be more competitive, and to increase their contribution to employment and growth.

Speaking about the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA),

He noted that since CARIFESTA XI in Suriname, a business component – the cultural marketplace – was introduced where managers of venues, international festivals and performing arts, buyers and booking agents were invited to see and network with Caribbean artists.  According to him, that initiative was intended to create more opportunities for the professional development of artists and for the export of their products and services.

Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Trinidad and Tobago, who gave the feature address at the opening, was also of the view that the theme chosen for the hosting of the Meeting was very relevant, remarking that a paradigm shift was needed to create a more self-sustaining cultural economic cycle.

“We must place ourselves in the driver’s seat – charting together the course for cultural development based on already identified cultural assets – driving the way forward, instead of accepting windfall successes.”

She expressed the view that in addition to developing the creative sector, the Community’s icons and citizens who had made outstanding contributions should be honoured so as to “incentivise” excellence in the cultural sphere.

Hon. Dr. George Norton, Minister of Social Cohesion, Guyana, also posited the value of culture, saying it was time for it to be mainstreamed in the Regional agenda.

He noted that the Community’s culture was dynamic and that the cultural and creative industries would continue to evolve, even while being the key vehicles driving the development of the Region. He encouraged those present to continue to work together to achieve tangible outcomes.

See: Full CARICOM Release: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/caricom-culture-plays-important-role-in-regions-sustainable-growth-development/


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Do we need Education or Connection to succeed on a politically insecure Montserrat?

By Claude Gerald

Since people management is a myth on Montserrat, slackness in the Public Sector is chronic and allowed. Friendship and family connections and moral weaknesses run the ball game.

Montserrat is thus soaring high on the corruption index and out-does its own poor standards at each check point. Subtle, persistent and cumulative, it is ruinous potentially.

Agriculture as an example requires a microscope to locate it on the contribution landscape. Grieved undertakers at least 10 years ago, dismissed its existence with last rites.  Permanent Secretary, Agriculture, Eulyn Greaves who energetically flirted between Ministries with aplomb, seemingly cultivating if not manipulating obedient politicians advantageously at will, must disentangle the puzzle as to how her husband, Lorenzo, continues to occupy the comfortable position he has had for a number of years on the technical staff of the Department of Agriculture. (Her son at Lands and Survey now attracts nepotistic queries too)

The fact is he is being made to hide out under the radar, staying low and reap rewards that are not due to him.

It is a choking moral dilemma and neither ignorance nor silence from Mrs. Greaves is countenanced by any means.  Culpability, by aiding and abetting at least, rests in her lap and those with experience and know-how of this matter are crying foul on the issue.

Lorenzo has zero certification in the very basics. He has no requisite training in the science of agriculture and experience prior, to match the position assigned in the Department of Agriculture. His salary and perks additionally, have been higher than other decorated and experienced officers of the last twelve years in his undeserved role. He has been covered by indifferent officials, who continue to look the other way in an apparent grand conspiracy. It is a scandal and a debacle. It is a rogue arrangement.

It should never have been contemplated, in a system with valued standards, or are there? Though one suspects some level of opportunistic and meticulous planning over many years, his positioning is a gut-wrenching portrait of business in our pint–sized volcanic isle. It is way out of line with due processes: highly irregular and easily the most scandalous public service event, amongst many, current in the Ministry of Agriculture, since the narrow-minded splitting of Environment from Agriculture, which signaled the rapid decline of both portfolios.

How did this pass the Public Service Commission and other key personnel that checks and balances? It is tantamount to administrative fraud, designed to give a favored one an unfair advantage in the market place for relevant skills. Lorenzo Greaves, in all likelihood could never have brazenly put forward an application for the job. One is hoping that all relevant records remain intact for certain scrutiny and determination as this one should not and cannot be swept under the table anymore.

He ought to be made to repay British tax payers money along with others, like him who manipulates the public system as glorified water- cart carriers. His excuse is that he did not ask for all this and is well aware and delights in this undeserving gift.

Can Mrs. Greaves any longer conduct her important overarching roles with good conscience and credibility? Questions remain and only a vhands; she most likely cannot be a supporter of schooling and education; and likely to be a hater of academic excellence; reasonably she must be in a world of generalized hypocrisy where narrow personal interest trumps everything else.

Neither can she credibly deny personal knowledge that has sustained this travesty in the processes of public service employment. To whom much is given much is expected; especially given her lead role in youthful Seventh Day Adventism and her staunch, vocal, visible and energetic advocacy of Christian principles, even beyond the Montserrat world. She being at the heights of her present powers, how can public service watchers put confidence in her decision making regarding the just placements of personnel?

Agricultural Science is multidisciplinary and the mother of all sciences. The curriculum at University is intimidating and mindboggling for the range of subjects. It features the pure and applied sciences, the arts, economics and social sciences. It has breadth; it has depth and students are truly tested in that setting.

It thus prepares one for most walks of life. Uncertain teenagers opt for the grounding it gives and then branch elsewhere later; but you have to be academically prepared to enter such an undertaking. For 15 years prior to the volcanic eruption, given the centrality of agriculture to the overall political economy, equipping staff was singled out for special attention. The Department of Agriculture boasted a team of highly trained technicians, many with first and second degrees in the field, outstanding in the OECS, measured per head of population.

Lorenzo Greaves was a hired hand and pound keeper who did not dispose himself to preliminary certification for further training. Management reached out to entice and encourage him to make him eligible. He migrated after the volcanic eruption and returned to operate both a seed and health food store, which evaporated in quick time.

Subtle and direct attempts to get him into the Department failed. Did Mrs. Greaves feature in those? Management at that time bluntly rebuffed the idea, insisting that training would be the first avenue to enter the door of the Department of Agriculture.  Proven experience in the practice of agriculture could get you in: just barely conditionally. To proceed otherwise was to set the bar so low that the educational endeavor from kindergarten would have been a waste of effort.

With a change of technical head the theory behind Lorenzo Greaves’s existence in the Department of Agriculture reads thus:  ‘Lobby to get him in despite his complete lack of credentials. Some mice, in the rare presence of a cat, will hear you; and if one happens to meet an ass, then go riding since no one stands for anything anymore. Play the game and nice up and keep a low profile; show up and be present only when you have to, if at all; production and commitment is unimportant; your swollen salary is sure since prior to the change of government, outgoing powerful politicians, with Salem City attachments would see to your establishment; you are now pensionable at your current salary and you can just glide; the story is over. No fuss. Life could not be easier’.

Easton Farrell Taylor, a lay preacher and the immediate former Minister of Agriculture proved himself a formidable and experienced technician without the academic requirements. He applied self from early. He became the backbone of many outreach efforts for many years and was a household name even beyond the farming community. Management had confidence in him and dispatched him on a special one year program to Guyana to round him off. He was duly promoted to an Agricultural Officer years later.

Sadly he failed to effectively transition to a Minister’s role and no doubt oversaw the dying of the Department of Agriculture and the Environment. He was clearly trapped into allowing Lorenzo in against his better judgment. He sought to wrestle control once revelations were being made especially regarding Lorenzo’s salary but was outdone. He typically lacked the will to stand up to anything not in his personal interests. Now out of office he still frets about the monster of a problem left over by this fly-by-night employee.

By Easton Farrell’s neglect of his core duties the situation was created that allowed Lorenzo Greaves to continue to grade himself annually, rendering himself top marks for his questionable service, and then to have them signed off by a complaining but compliant management; thus cementing his stay in the work place, in a vicious cycle of brazen deception of the system.

How did we reach this stage? Is it that we have a lot of people who go to church, but we do not have a lot of God fearing people? What kind of philosophy can so infect the minds of individuals who lead in our various churches but yet descend to levels that call evil good? Woe to them that call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20).

Public sector leaders seem to be polluting their potential to stand for people centered principles, undermining trust in their leadership and dodging responsibility with flippancy.

Which amongst us will elect to watch the watchers? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Claude Gerald is a social commentator on Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com

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Former Prime Minister’s funeral to be held on June 23

Former Prime Minister’s funeral to be held on June 23

by Staff Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun. 4, CMC – The state funeral for former Prime Minister Edward Seaga is to be held on Sunday June 23.

The details of the funeral arrangements and related activities were revealed by Culture Minister Olivia Grange on Monday during a media briefing .

The funeral service will be held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Corporate Area.

Grange added that the period of mourning has been declared and will be observed from June 19 to June 22.

“It means that government will not have any social activities; official activities that were scheduled will be postponed where possible; travel by government officials will be limited and the flag will be flown half-mast,” she said.

Ahead of the funeral, Seaga’s body will lie in state at several locations, however, the casket will remain closed at the request of the family.

Seaga’s remains will be interred at National Heroes’ Park.

The government is appealing to the public to also observe “a certain decorum during that period,” she said.

Seaga, Jamaica’s fifth prime minister, died at a Miami Hospital last week Tuesday, following a battle with cancer. 

He died on his 89th birthday.

Seaga, who was prime minister, from 1980 to 1989, also served as the leader of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from 1974 to 2005 when he retired from active politics.

Since his retirement from politics, he has been an honorary distinguished fellow at the professorial level at The University of the West Indies (UWI), and also served as chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Seaga was chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association, one of Jamaica’s governing football bodies, from its inception until 2010. He also served as president of the football club of his former West Kingston enclave, Tivoli Gardens.

Seaga is credited with building the financial and planning infrastructure of the country after independence, as well as developing its arts and crafts, and awareness of national heritage. As a record producer and record company owner, Seaga also played a major role in the development of the Jamaican music industry.

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Body of former prime minister returns on Sunday

Body of former prime minister returns on Sunday

by staff writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun 1, CMC – The Jamaica government says the body of the late former prime minister, Edward Seaga, is scheduled to arrive here on Sunday, as the region and international community continues to pay its respect to him.

A government statement said that Seaga’s remains, draped in the national flag, will arrive on a Caribbean Airlines flight at the Norman Manley International Airport, escorted by members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

Edward Seaga (File Photo)

It said family members, including widow Mrs. Carla Seaga and daughter Gabrielle, will be on the flight and that the body of the country’s fifth prime minister, will be received by the Government with the appropriate honour guard in place.

On hand will be Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen; Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Members of the Cabinet; Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips; Members of Parliament as well as other relatives of the late prime minister, who died in a United States hospital on Tuesday at the age of 89.

The government said that Seaga will be accorded a State funeral and that a period of mourning will be announced.

It said condolence books have opened at locations across the island and people overseas will have the opportunity to sign condolence books, which will be opened in all diplomatic missions.

Meanwhile, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said Seaga was instrumental in reviving the integration movement as host in 1982 to the first heads of government conference after a seven year hiatus.

“The meeting served to reinvigorate the integration process,” LaRocque said, adding that Seaga made an indelible contribution to the development of his country in many spheres.

“Recognised as the longest serving member of the Jamaican Parliament, he was also the youngest ever nominated to the Legislative Council prior to Independence.  His record of service in both the Lower and Upper Houses was marked not only by his passionate oratory but also by his initiation of innovative legislative actions which resulted in significant changes in his country.

“Mr Seaga lent his considerable experience and expertise to the University of the West Indies (UWI), where, upon his retirement from public life, he was appointed as a Distinguished Fellow at the regional institution’s Mona Campus.  The Campus’ Research Institute had earlier been named in his honour.”

LaRocque said that Seaga has done his part and that Jamaica and the region “ have lost a towering figure.”

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

John Gordon DFID OT Dir DSC_7353 web

UK OTs directors urge spending of monies well…


by Bennette Roach

The Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) Overseas Territories (OTs) and Department for International Development (DFID) (OTs) Directors concluded a two day visit to Montserrat, their final stop speaking with the local media at the Governor’s office on Thursday, May 23, 2019.

The Interview turned out to be too short, as it is most time even though it lasted just about an hour. The two were on a familiarisation tour of the Caribbean and we never got to ask how many and which islands they had visited before coming to Montserrat and after they leave Montserrat.

Premier Romeo
H E Governor Pearce

They were joined by the Hon. Premier Romeo and H E Governor Pearce with Miss Moira Marshall the DFID local representative sitting in the back of the room.

Both gentlemen were making their first visit to Montserrat with the FCO director William Gelling being in post for just of a year while John Gordon DFID director in position for just under three years, neither of them familiar enough to be articulate about conditions regarding Montserrat going back of 2016.

William Gelling

Gelling expressed joy to have visited. “I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get here,” he said adding that it (Montserrat) is “really remarkable!” as he looked over Plymouth from Garibaldi Hill, “and over the destruction that was wrought over two decades ago and I think a tribute to Montserrat and its resilience…”

As Gordon said speaking after Gelling, after the Governor opened the briefing, he said, “I align myself with all of his comments, I share all of that. It’s really great to be here, we’re really grateful for all the people that made time to meet with us.” Gelling had gone on to say in his introduction, “I think Montserrat can be proud of what it’s done over the last 20 years to pick it up after that really shocking and tragic event. I’ve also been really struck by the warmth of Montserrat and Montserratians and the beauty of the place.”

Gelling having said the above, I would raise later with him, continued though not similar reminded me of then DFID Minister Alan Duncan in December 2011, when he said that ‘no where that Britain has responsibility, has ever suffered what Montserrat has gone through from the volcanic activity.’

Gelling said, “I think Montserrat can be proud of what it’s done over the last 20 years to pick it up after that really shocking and tragic event. I’ve also been really struck by the warmth of Montserrat and Montserratians and the beauty of the place. I don’t think there’s many places I’ve been where you arrive to this enormously verdant scenery, and the level of biodiversity.”

The Governor and the Premier both joined in expressing satisfaction at how the meetings have turned out. The two OTs directors shared a common view, Gordon saying: “We’ve had really productive discussion with the premier and with his team. We met civil society. We met opposition politicians. We’ve talked to a range of people. And that presented a very good picture of Montserrat – This is been a good couple of days. A bit of a whistle-stop visit. But you can do quite a lot in two days, as we found. We didn’t really stop from morning till night, so. Thanks to all those that that helped us to get a clearer picture…”

Gelling had said: “I do feel that we’ve really built a level of trust that I hope will make things going forward, more straight forward, more productive, and I hope will allow all of us to see more results…”

In addition they also said they met with, and, “…we’ve talked to a whole range of people, public servants. And we met with a group of private sector representatives yesterday to talk about what their views are on what they need to happen to enable them to sort of invest more in Montserrat.”

John Gordon

There was a recurring theme from particularly the DFID director regarding the delayed approval of the development funds of £30 million. Repeatedly referring to the funds as substantial, Gordon said: “we approved 30 million pounds which is a substantial amount of money…For a country of moderate size and the size of a public service and its capacity – we think that’s the right amount of money.”

Following discussion on that he concluded: “We have a history in this country of investing in infrastructure and things generally take longer than we expected them to. But that happens in many countries, not just Montserrat. Because infrastructure projects generally aren’t easy to implement.”

Responding to a question as to should those funds get drawn sooner within the five years, will there be a supplement, he said: “My objective and the premier’s objective is to move forward as quickly as possible to deliver effect through that investment.”

“So,” he continued: “I’m not gonna think now about what happens when all the money’s exhausted or if there’s another phase of this. We’ve only just approved this. This is a couple of months in so we’d rather just focus on spending the money and spending the money well, rather than thinking about what more might be down the road.”

The discussion and questions continued, while Gordon concluded: “So let’s just focus on spending the money and if they spend it in 18 months, let’s confront that problem when it arrives.”

Oversight of the funds spent on behalf of and in Montserrat followed and this report will continue…

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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Mueller undercuts Barr’s narrative that downplayed the impact of DOJ guidelines against charging a sitting president


By Marshall Cohen, CNN

Updated – May 29, 2019

Trump attacks late senator amid tensions over moving USS McCain

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Trump ally: Mueller press conference was ‘political’

Nadler: Mueller clearly demonstrated that Trump is lying

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Mueller says charging Trump was ‘not an option’

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Differences between Barr and Mueller are telling

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O’Rourke: Call to impeach Trump isn’t a rushed decision

MCLEAN, VA - MARCH 22: U.S. Attorney General William Barr departs his home March 22, 2019 in McLean, Virginia.  It is expected that Robert Mueller will soon complete his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and release his report. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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He broke with GOP under Nixon; his advice for them today

Trump: I’m not a John McCain fan, but I didn’t do it

Fact-checking Trump’s Mueller statements

Trump attacks late senator amid tensions over moving USS McCain

WSJ: White House wanted USS John McCain ‘out of sight’

Pelosi: I am ‘gravely disappointed’ with attitude of DOJ

Trump ally: Mueller press conference was ‘political’

Nadler: Mueller clearly demonstrated that Trump is lying

Sanders: We’re ‘always prepared’ for impeachment fight

Mueller says charging Trump was ‘not an option’

Mueller details the parts of the Russia probe report

Differences between Barr and Mueller are telling

Bennet: My cancer diagnosis could have been disastrous

O’Rourke: Call to impeach Trump isn’t a rushed decision

MCLEAN, VA - MARCH 22: U.S. Attorney General William Barr departs his home March 22, 2019 in McLean, Virginia.  It is expected that Robert Mueller will soon complete his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and release his report. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Barr’s response to treason question called ‘astonishing’

He broke with GOP under Nixon; his advice for them today

Trump: I’m not a John McCain fan, but I didn’t do it

Fact-checking Trump’s Mueller statements

Trump attacks late senator amid tensions over moving USS McCain

Washington (CNN)Special counsel Robert Mueller’s public statement Wednesday presented a stark contrast to the attorney general regarding the significance of the Justice Department guidelines against indicting a president.In his own public comments, Attorney General William Barr has leaned heavily on the idea that Mueller did not feel the guidelines are what prevented him from charging President Donald Trump with obstruction.But Mueller on Wednesday undercut that narrative, making clear in his comments that the guidelines had a significant influence on the investigation, tying his hands from the very start from even considering whether a crime had been committed.Indicting Trump while he was in office was “not an option we could consider,” Mueller said, explicitly citing the official guidance from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Mueller: 'If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so'

Mueller: ‘If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so’His comments largely echoed the explanation in his 448-page report, which was publicly released in April. The report presented substantial evidence that Trump obstructed justice on a few fronts, but didn’t offer a conclusion on whether he had broken the law or whether he should be charged. The Justice Department and the special counsel’s office issued a joint statement Wednesday evening saying “there is no conflict” between Barr’s and Mueller’s comments about the OLC opinion.

Here’s what Mueller said

In his rare public appearance, Mueller said how he was authorized in May 2017 by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate obstruction of justice, in addition to the core mission of getting to the bottom of Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election. “As set forth in our report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. He then brought up the Office of Legal Counsel guidelines, and later explained how the internal guidelines “informed our handling of the obstruction investigation” in a few different ways. “Under long-standing department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view — that too is prohibited,” Mueller said.

He continued, “The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”These comments, plus the extensive explanations put forward in Mueller’s report, make it clear that Trump’s presidential immunity played a major role in the investigation. Mueller knew the rules from the start and they guided the entire outlook of the obstruction inquiry. “So that was Justice Department policy, those were the principles under which we operated,” Mueller said. “And from them, we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the President committed a crime. That is the office’s final position. And we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.”

READ: Robert Mueller's full remarks on the special counsel investigation

READ: Robert Mueller’s full remarks on the special counsel investigation

Here’s what Barr said before

Before Mueller spoke up, much of the public discourse about the conclusions of the probe had been shaped by Barr, through his public statements and closely watched congressional testimony. At times, Barr has cherry-picked Mueller’s report to fit a different narrative that is rosier for Trump.On at least six occasions after Mueller submitted his final report, Barr downplayed the role that the Office of Legal Counsel guidelines had played in the investigation. Examined closely, Barr’s comments may not be technically contradicted by Mueller, because he hedged his words carefully. But these comments were highly misleading and did not broadly align with Mueller’s stated rationale. On the day he released the Mueller report, Barr was asked how Mueller had reached his decision not to offer a formal recommendation whether to charge Trump with obstruction. Barr said he’d defer to the report itself, but then he brought up a meeting he’d had in early March with Mueller, Rosenstein and another top Justice Department official, where the guidelines were discussed.

Nadler on impeachment: 'All options are on the table'

Nadler on impeachment: ‘All options are on the table’“I will say that when we met with (Mueller) … we specifically asked him about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking the position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion,” Barr told reporters. “And he made it very clear several times that that was not his position. He was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found a crime. He made it clear that he had not made the determination that there was a crime.”In written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee this month, Barr suggested that the investigation should have proceeded like any case against a typical defendant, ignoring the sweeping limitations imposed on Mueller’s team by the Justice Department guidelines. And during the hearing, Barr repeated his comments about the early March meeting with Mueller and continued to downplay the weight of the OLC guidelines on the special counsel’s decision-making. “He reiterated several times in a group meeting that he was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found obstruction,” Barr told the senators. Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, then asked the attorney general, “If the special counsel found facts sufficient to constitute obstruction of justice, would he have stated that finding?”Barr’s response: “If he had found that, then I think he would state it, yes.”

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Court, Elections, International, Legal, Local, News, Politics0 Comments

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