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N. Korea, setting stage for talks, halts nuclear, ICBM tests

N. Korea, setting stage for talks, halts nuclear, ICBM tests


Associated Press
North Korea Suspends Nuclear, Long-Range Missile Tests, Will Close Testing Site

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea announced Saturday it will suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of its summits with Seoul and Washington, but stopped well short of suggesting it has any intention of giving up its nuclear weapons or scale back its production of missiles and their related component parts.

The new policy, which sets the table for further negotiations when the summits begin, was announced by leader Kim Jong Un at a meeting of the North Korean ruling party’s Central Committee on Friday and reported by the North’s state-run media early Saturday.

Kim justified the suspension to his party by saying that the situation around North Korea has been rapidly changing “in favor of the Korean revolution” since he announced last year his country had completed its nuclear forces. He said North Korea has reached the level where it no longer needs to conduct underground testing or test-launching of ICBMs.

He added that the country would close its nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri, though that site was already believed to have been rendered largely unusable due to tunnel collapses after the North’s test of what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb last year.

The announcement is seen as an opening gambit aimed at setting the tone for talks ahead of Kim’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next Friday and U.S. President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

Trump almost immediately responded with a tweet saying, “This is very good news for North Korea and the World” and “big progress!” He added that he’s looking forward to his upcoming summit with Kim.

South Korea’s presidential office also welcomed North Korea’s announcement as “meaningful progress” toward the denuclearization of the peninsula. Presidential official Yoon Young-chan said in a statement that the North’s decision brightens the prospects for successful talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the announcement too but was a bit more guarded in his reaction.

“What is crucial here … is how this development is going to lead to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear arms, weapons of mass destruction and missiles,” he said. “And I will keep a close eye on that.”

Some analysts believe that rather than denuclearizing, Kim feels he is entering the negotiations from a position of strength and is hoping to achieve tacit recognition that his country is now a nuclear power. They believe he wants engage in talks and make some concessions around the edges that would convince Washington and other countries to ease sanctions on his struggling economy.

In his speech at the party meeting, Kim praised his nuclear policy as “a miraculous victory” achieved in just five years. A resolution passed after his speech also stressed that the country had successfully achieved its goals of obtaining a viable nuclear force and suggested it intends to keep that force — at least for the time being.

Using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, it said the North would “never use nuclear weapons nor transfer nuclear weapons or nuclear technology under any circumstances unless there are nuclear threat and nuclear provocation against the DPRK.”

“This was a smart move by Kim,” said Vipin Narang, an associate political science professor and nuclear proliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Although it largely formalizes previous pledges on the moratoria from last November and March, it still leaves a lot of wiggle room for circumventing the pledges in the future, and nothing in there is irreversible. And nothing in there mentions denuclearization, of any variety.”

Narang noted that North Korea has already conducted as many nuclear tests as Pakistan and India, and may indeed not need to conduct any more underground testing.

“The aim of this, in my view, is to make it exceedingly difficult for Trump to say the North is uninterested in talks and walk away,” he said. “Kim is doing everything he can now — in a reversible way, mind you — to ensure the summit happens. Because that’s his ultimate victory.”

Tossing out another nugget that could be used at the summits, Kim stressed at the party meeting his desire to shift the national focus to improving the country’s economy, which has been hit hard by international sanctions and the “maximum pressure” strategy pushed by Trump.

 The announcement ends what had been an ominous silence from Pyongyang regarding the stunning diplomatic moves Kim has been making since the beginning of this year, including his first summit, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, last month.

It also gives the best idea yet of what Kim intends to bring with him in his summits with Moon and Trump.

Seoul says Kim has expressed genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons. But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of “denuclearization” that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its troops from the peninsula.

Some important items were also left off the North’s resolution, suggesting either that the North isn’t willing to go that far or that it wants to wait and see how much it can gain by further concessions once actual talks begin.

It did not announce a moratorium on short- or mid-range missile launches or ground-based engine testing. It also did not suspend the production of more fissile material to build additional warheads, or the production of the longer-range missiles, which are Washington’s primary concern.

At the height of Pyongyang’s standoff with Washington and Seoul last year, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters the country could conduct an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean.

That kind of test would also not be included in the suspension.


Talmadge, the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief, reported from Tokyo.

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Date set for hearing diplomatic passport case against former prime minister

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Apr 20, 2018, CMC – A High Court judge Friday set May 30 for the start of the case in which the St. Kitts-Nevis government is seeking to oust former prime minister Dr. Denzil Douglas from the Parliament on the grounds that he is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Douglas has already called on the Court to dismiss the application noting that “in the affidavit that I have sworn, I have asked the court not only to dismiss the charges that have been brought by the Attorney General, but also with costs because they must pay for wasting the court’s time”.

The St Kitts-Nevis government, through the Attorney General, Vincent Byron, is seeking a declaration from the High Court that, since the election to the National Assembly on February 16, 2015, Douglas became disqualified from being elected as a member of the National Assembly and was accordingly required to vacate his seat in the National Assembly by reason of his becoming a person who, by virtue of his own act, is in accordance with the law of Dominica, under an acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state, namely, Dominica.

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris (left) and
Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas (File Photo)

Additionally, the government is also seeking a declaration that Douglas has vacated his seat in the National Assembly; an injunction restraining him from taking his seat in the National Assembly and from performing his functions as a member as well as costs, and other relief as the court may deem just and expedient.

Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris has described the matter of one of grave constitutional, political and parliamentary significance to the Commonwealth.

When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, Justice Trevor Ward ruled that submissions should be made by May 11 with the matter to be heard on May 30.

Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, who is a member of Douglas defence team, said that his client had agreed to disclose the number of times that he had travelled on the diplomatic passport “because he said in his evidence he had in fact used the passport for convenience and travel….

“We insisted that we are not going to have the document disclosed in the High Court proceedings, we are not going to have it filed with the Registrar, we are not going to have it filed in the registry for copies to be made and a political pappyshow made out of the passport,” Astaphan said, describing as “absolutely deceitful, deception and fraudulent” a media report on the events that occurred in the Courts on Friday.

He told reporters that he had agreed with Trinidadian-based Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes  “that we would disclose in writing the number of times Dr. Douglas travelled , dates and so on and that after that is done we will submit the diplomatic passport to the judge for the judge to verify that the information that we are volunteering is accurate.

“Our initial position was that the Court had no jurisdiction to compel us to disclose anything and that is why the order before the judge was by consent ….and not mandatory or any order by the court imposed on us, ”he added.

Astaphan said that the media report “gives further support to us on Dr. Douglas side that this is all a piece of political manoeuvring to try score political points perhaps where things are not going the way the Honourable Prime Minister and his government would wish to go”.

Douglas has already indicated that the outcome of the Court matter will enable the main opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) “to settle down and pursue a spirited election campaign to remove the dictatorship from this land led by Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris”.

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Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd ‘sorry’ for appalling treatment of Windrush-era citizens

TMR: PM May will redeem trust and decency…

The Guaradian
Minister criticises Home Office and promises cases will be resolved in two weeks

Windrush-era citizens row: timeline of key events

Amber Rudd
Amber Rudd said action would be taken to rectify the situation for anyone who had been wrongly deported. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

The British home secretary has delivered an unprecedented apology for the “appalling” actions of her own department towards Windrush-era citizens, acknowledging that the Home Office had “lost sight of individuals” and become “too concerned with policy”.

In the face of mounting criticism, Amber Rudd announced the creation of a new Home Office team, staffed by 20 officials, dedicated to ensuring that Commonwealth-born long-term UK residents will no longer find themselves classified as illegal immigrants. She promised that cases would be resolved within two weeks and application fees would be waived.


What is the Windrush deportation crisis?

She made a significant criticism of her own department, adding: “I am concerned that the Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy and sometimes loses sight of the individual. This is about individuals, and we have heard the individual stories, some of which have been terrible to hear.”

She said she was very sorry for the anxiety suffered by numerous people who arrived in the UK as children after newly tightened immigration laws required them to prove that they were here legally.

My £54,000 cancer bill: ‘It’s like I’ve been left to die’ – video

The Guardian has been documenting a growing scandal over the past five months affecting an unknown number of people who arrived in the UK as children from the Caribbean as children (often on parents’ or siblings’ passports) but were never formally naturalised or hadn’t applied for a British passport.

A colleague of Rudd’s, immigration minister Caroline Nokes, earlier appeared to suggest that people had been deported in error back to countries they left as children for not having the right documents. Rudd said she was unable to confirm if this was the case, and had asked Caribbean diplomats if they were aware of mistaken deportations.

Rudd’s announcement came after the prime minister was forced into an embarrassing U-turn over Downing Street’s refusal to schedule a meeting requested by 12 Caribbean heads of government to discuss the problem at a meeting of the Commonwealth heads of government (Chogm), which opened in London on Monday.

The rebuffal was described as “most unfortunate” by the Barbados high commissioner, just before the meeting began. Within hours, Theresa May’s spokesman announced that she had agreed to set up a meeting after all. He added that the prime minister “deeply values” the contribution the Windrush generation have made, but the outrage over the initial refusal overshadowed the opening of the conference.

The decision to back down on the refusal to schedule a Chogm meeting on the issue followed rising anger from politicians of all parties. Over 140 MPs from all parties sent a letter to May, expressing concern about the incorrect classification of many Commonwealth-born, long-term British as “illegal immigrants” and calling on her to find a “swift resolution of this growing crisis”.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said he was “deeply concerned” about the Windrush scandal, adding ”this should not happen to people who have been longstanding pillars of our community.”

Rudd’s announcement came in response to an urgent question called by Labour’s David Lammy who said it was “inhumane and cruel” for so many in the Windrush generation “to have suffered so long in this condition”.

‘National day of shame’: David Lammy criticises treatment of Windrush generation – video

“This is a day of national shame and it has come about because of a hostile environment policy that was begun under her prime minister. Let us call it as it is. If you lay down with dogs, you get fleas, and that is what has happened with this far-right rhetoric in this country,” he said.

“Can she [Rudd] tell the house how many have been detained as prisoners in their own country? Can she tell us how many have been denied healthcare under the National Health Service, how many have been denied pensions and how many have lost their jobs?” he asked.

She also called on the government to apologise to those people wrongfully detained. Neither Paulette Wilson, 61 nor Anthony Bryan, 60, who were both told they were illegal immigrants and detained in immigration removal centres – despite each having lived and worked in this country for over half a century – have had any apology from the Home Office for their treatment.

Until now individuals have struggled to provide the evidence required by the Home Office to resolve their status problems – often unable to submit the recommended four pieces of documentary evidence for every year spent in the UK, not least because relatives have died, schools have shut down and records have been destroyed.

Decades of national insurance records have not been deemed sufficient proof, but Rudd said that would change, and Home Office staff would attempt to work with other departments to source paperwork.

“The team will be tasked with helping these applicants demonstrate they are entitled to live in the UK and will be tasked with resolving cases within two weeks of the evidence being provided. They will work across government to help these applicants prove they have been working and living in the UK,” she said.

Satbir Singh, the CEO of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, welcomed the new team. “But that on its own is not enough: the Home Office must commit to a system which treats affected people with fairness, humanity and flexibility,” he added.

“In the past few days we’ve witnessed the culmination of years of government policy explicitly designed to turn us into a hostile society and which have made the Home Office into an island of inhumanity and incompetence. This is the first time that the government has been forced to account for these deliberate decisions. We hope it marks the start of a conversation about how we treat all those who seek to make a life here.”

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Former FBI Director James Comey gave a searing interview about his encounters with President Donald Trump to ABC News on Sunday

In Searing Interview, James Comey Unleashes Against ‘Morally Unfit’ Trump

Nick Visser
Former FBI Director James Comey gave a searing interview about his encounters with President Donald Trump to ABC News on Sunday
Former FBI Director James Comey gave a searing interview about his encounters with President Donald Trump to ABC News on Sunday

Former FBI Director James Comey gave a no-holds-barred interview on Sunday night in which he called Donald Trump “morally unfit to be president” and a liar who possibly obstructed justice.

Comey, speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, touched on many of the scandals that have plagued the Trump administration over the past 16 months, including the Russia dossier and the litany of sexual misconduct allegations leveled at the president.

“A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds,” Comey said.

Highlights from the interview include:

  • Trump may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail. “I think it’s possible. I don’t know. These are more words I never thought I’d utter about a president of the United States, but it’s possible.”
  • The president “treats women like they’re pieces of meat.”
  • In regards to Trump asking Comey to drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, there was “certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.”
  • Comey said Trump was “of above average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on.”
  • “I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president.”
  • He said Trump “will stain everyone around him. And the question is, how much stain is too much stain…”
  • Trump was obsessed with disproving allegations that he paid prostitutes to urinate on a bed in a Moscow hotel room. Comey recalled the president asking “Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?” 

The interview comes just days before the release of his highly anticipated book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, which has already sold close to 200,000 copies

As the interview continued, Comey appeared to have no fondness for the man who fired him last May.

“The challenge of this president is that he will stain everyone around him,” he told Stephanopoulos. “And the question is, how much stain is too much stain and how much stain eventually makes you unable to accomplish your goal of protecting the country and serving the country?”

The former FBI director said, however, he’d still be working for the government had he not been removed. “I was dreading it,” Comey said, noting he’d be “an unhappy F.B.I. director, but in a way proud of the organization and in my role in trying to protect it.”

“The challenge of this president is that he will stain everyone around him,” Comey said in the interview which aired Sunday. (ABC News via Getty Images)
“The challenge of this president is that he will stain everyone around him,” Comey said in the interview which aired Sunday. (ABC News via Getty Images)

Comey also recounted his conversation with Trump in which he said the president asked him to drop an investigation into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has denied doing so and threatened to release “tapes” of the conversation to prove so.

Comey reiterated that he hoped such tapes existed and said the secretive nature of the meeting might imply Trump knew he was flouting convention. “If he didn’t know he was doing something improper, why did he kick out the attorney general and the vice president of the United States and the leaders of the intelligence community? I mean, why am I alone?”

“I’d be a crazy person to make it up,” he continued.

Stephanopoulos also asked if Comey believed the president obstructed justice, to which he replied: “Possibly.”

 “I mean, it’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. It would depend and ― and I’m just a witness in this case, not the investigator or prosecutor ― it would depend upon other things that reflected on his intent.”

Among the more salacious topics during the interview focused on the infamous Steele dossier that was compiled by a former British spy and alleged that footage exists of Trump watching prostitutes urinating in a Moscow hotel suite. Comey informed Trump about the allegations in private before his inauguration several times, and he writes in his book that Trump was obsessed with disproving them.

On Sunday, he said he was unsure if the rumors were true, but said they left the president open to blackmail by the Russian government.

“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the ― the ― current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

Stephanopoulos also asked if he thought Russia had “something” on the president.

“I think it’s possible,” he said. “I don’t know. These are more words I never thought I’d utter about a president of the United States, but it’s possible.”

The interview prompted immediate reactions from Republican leadership.

“James Comey’s publicity tour reaffirms that his true higher loyalty is to himself,” Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement. “The only thing worse than Comey’s history of misconduct is his willingness to say anything to sell books. He has no credibility and President Trump was right to follow through on the bipartisan calls for him to be fired.”

As the reviews on Comey’s tell-all began to pour in, Trump immediately fired back on Twitter, calling the man an “untruthful slimeball” and intimating that he should be jailed for his actions at the helm of the FBI. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said Comey would “be forever known as a disgraced partisan hack that broke his sacred trust with the president of the United States.”

Trump unleashed another wave of fury on Twitter early Sunday, just hours before the ABC interview was set to air, accusing the former FBI chief of pushing “many lies” and predicting Comey would go down as the “WORST FBI Director in history, by far!”

Donald J. Trump



Donald J. Trump


I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His “memos” are self serving and FAKE!


Comey responded to the tweets with a message of his own, saying his book was “about ethical leadership & draws on stories from my life & lessons I learned from others.”

He continued: “3 presidents are in my book: 2 help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership; 1 serves as a counterpoint.”

“I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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US repatriates 50 Haitian migrants

MIAMI, Apr 14, CMC – The United States Coast Guard says it has repatriated 50 Haitian migrants following an exercise at sea earlier this week in which a vessel was intercepted with 127 Haitians.

The Coast Guard said it located an overloaded 70-foot sail freighter last Saturday about 20 miles off the northeast coast of Cuba, and transferred 50 Haitian migrants.

migrationIt said the other 77 migrants refused lifejackets and that the vessel entered “Cuban Territorial Seas.”

The US Coast Guard said the Cuban Border Guard “took custody of the remaining 77 migrants for further disposition.

“This case is one of many inherently dangerous voyages interdicted this year in the unforgiving waters of the Caribbean Sea and Florida Straits,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Montes, 7th District duty enforcement officer.

“These ventures are ill-advised because they place the people aboard in grave risk of injury or death due to the unsafe loading of the vessel and lack of adequate lifesaving equipment. The Coast Guard and our partner agencies continually monitor the maritime border of the US to deter, detect and rescue migrants who embark on illegal and life-threatening voyages,” he added.

The US Coast Guard said about 1,334 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally migrate to the US via the maritime environment since last October compared to 1,869 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2017.

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Mara Thompson

Government legislator Thompson bows out of politics

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Apr. 12, CMC – The member of parliament for the constituency of St. John, Mara Thompson has formally announced that she will not be contesting the upcoming general election.

Thompson, the widow of David Thompson, the sixth Prime Minister of Barbados, said that after eight years, she has decided to retire from public life.

Mara Thompson
Mara Thompson

“I have taken a long hard look at myself and the needs of my family and I have decided to retire from public life,” said Thompson, who made the disclosure at a meeting of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), General Council late Wednesday.

Thompson also thanked her constituents for supporting her over the years.

“Just as I walked throughout the constituency and sought the support of the people of St. John when I wanted to become their MP, I am walking around in St. John, knocking on doors thanking the good people of St. John for their support for me over the years.  I intend to do so face to face.  They will see me.  I will continue to visit each home because I want to thank you.”

She added that following her husband’s death, her family was “cradled and buoyed by the people of St. John”.

“They swept me into Parliament, giving me the very distinct honour of becoming their Parliamentary representative   – I consider myself blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to serve my party and my St. John family.”

Thompson, who was the first female Deputy Speaker of the House,  has also endorsed  the party’s General Secretary, George Pilgrim, as her successor.

“I now publicly throw my support behind and endorse the long serving General Secretary Mr. George Pilgrim. George Pilgrim has been in and around St. John for many years now working on behalf of my late beloved predecessor David Thompson, working with Families First and working with me”

The constituency of St. John has been hailed as the DLP’s most secure seat since 1958.

St. John was  once held by the late Prime Minister Errol Barrow who died in office in 1987.

Former Prime Minister David Thompson, was later elected for the seat, which he held until his death – also  in office in October 2010.

His widow won the seat in a by-election in January 2011 and also ran successfully during the 2013 general election.

A date for a general election – that is constitutionally due by June this year, has not been set although Parliament was  automatically dissolved on March 6.

The government has 90 days since the dissolution, to name a date for the general election in keeping with the Representation of the People Act.

In the 2013 general election the DLP won 16 of the 30 seats, with the remainder going to the main opposition Barbados Labour Party.

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Baptiste taking oath

Dominica PM defends decision to include former opposition legislator in Cabinet

ROSEAU, Dominica, Apr 13, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Friday defended his decision to include former opposition legislator, Joseph Isaac, into his new look cabinet, insisting that his hurricane battered island “required all skills and talents” going forward.

Speaking soon after Isaac, was sworn in by President Charles Savarin as the new Minister for the Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal, Skerrit said his decision should not be viewed as a political move to strengthen his ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP).

“We have 15 seats in Parliament so this is not about mathematical configurations. This is about working with people who are prepared to work (and) be of service to Dominica.

“There is too much negativism in the country and we have to close the gap on this and I think today is an opportunity for us to close the gap and I am hoping and praying that we can continue to close the gap,” he added.

Baptiste taking oath
Joseph Isaac taking oath of office before
President Charles Savarin

Isaac, who resigned from the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP), a few days ago was appointed a minister in the Skerrit administration even as he told his constituents in Roseau Central and the country in general that he would be an “independent” legislator in the Dominica Parliament..

Isaac thanked Prime Minister Skerrit for the “trust and confidence” in him, acknowledging that his new portfolio would be challenging.

“I would also like to tell the world that even in the political arena you may have opponents but even when you are a person’s opponent and you admire that person, you have to show the respect. I admire the Prime Minister,” he said, saying he was offering his talents and skills “for the love of country.

“At the time when I said that, I remember a lot of people said that I didn’t consult but that in and of itself is a consultation by saying that we should all of us work together and offer our services to rebuild our country after a major, devastating hurricane.

“No one had problems with that statement in Parliament. No one had problems with that statement in the media, no one had a problem with it when I spoke about it in the bars …but after I made a decision, after consultation, after a long time, some people have a problem with it.”

Earlier, this week, the Roseau Central Constituency Association pledged its “unequivocal support and admiration for the leadership of our party” and condemned “the sinking sand approach of Joseph Isaac, the ironical, self-proclaimed, independent representative of the Roseau Central Constituency and wish him well and good riddance”.

At a public meeting here on Thursday night, UWP leader Lennox Linton said the party would push for legislation outlawing the crossing of the floor by parliamentarians.

He told supporters that this would be a major priority of a future UWP administration and it would be done in the interest of voters.

“When we come in government, therefore, one of the first orders of business will be to outlaw floor crossing in the Commonwealth of Dominica,” he said, adding that there are several Caribbean countries where legislation exist making it illegal to cross the floor.

“In Antigua, you cannot cross the floor of the parliament from one party to the next because there is legislation, there are laws protecting the people’s interest,” he said, adding “you cannot come to people saying you are part of a political organization that believes in this, believes in that, stands for this, will do this, will do that and you don’t think the other party is doing a good job and then mid-stream, while people are suffering, while after a disaster there are so many people waiting to have their roofs covered, so many people awaiting the assistance of the government, you can take the vote of the people of Roseau Central and go across.

“It should not happen. It should not be allowed to happen but it has happened.”

Isaac had claimed that his decision to quit the party was as a result of his failure to convince the UWP hierarchy “that there is a wisdom in changing from the traditional opposition approach to politics and to adopt a more nationalistic approach one in which the country comes first.

“I have tried selling the idea to the leader (Lennox Linton) the executive, the general council of the party but to no avail,” he said, adding that he was against the present party centered approach in favour of a more nationalistic approach. The UWP had won six of the 21 seats in the 2014 general election.

Skerrit said that he looking forward to other nationals joining in partaking in the development thrust.

“I am not only talking about people who are directly in politics…professionals out there, people who just on the fences, being negative and being critical, come forward.

“Write to me, come see me, tell me what ideas you have, tell me how you think you can contribute…obviously in terms of remuneration, the treasury has a finite sum of money, so it has to be reasonable and within what the treasury can afford,” he said.

“But we are prepared to embrace people and the country is at a stage where we really need everybody to make a positive contribution to the efforts.”

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Lovell UPP

Opposition party preparing for next general election in 2023

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Mar 27, CMC – The leader of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, says the party has started the process of preparing itself for the next general elections, a few days after it suffered a near total whitewash in a general election in Antigua and Barbuda.

Lovell UPP
Harold Lovell

Lovell, who was among the casualties when the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) won a convincing 15-2 victory in the March 21 poll, said the party needs to do “deep searching and we have to make certain we are prepared for the next election”.

The UPP won just one seat in the election down from the three it had following the 2014 general election. The other seat was won by Trevor Walker of the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM).

Lovell, who has not been named among the Opposition Senators in the new Parliament, said “the process of getting ourselves on track for 2023 or when it (general election) is called, that process has started”.

He said that the party was also seeking to determine just how many votes it had accumulated in last Wednesday’s general election, noting that its figures are different that those put released by the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC).

“The Electoral Commission has posted it at 14, 440. So I have been in touch with somebody at the Electoral Commission drawing their attention to the fact that our numbers are different to theirs. We will try to have that remedy over the next day or two,” he said.

He said the party had a person from one of the key accounting firms here “double check it for us and that person came up with just over 15,000”.

Lovell, who led the UPP into a general election for the first time on Wednesday, has not indicated whether he intends to step down following the defeat.

But Barbados-based regional political scientist, Peter Wickham, said his absence from the senate, is a wise move by the party.

“The names I’m hearing sound like they are reflective of a level of political maturity. I think it is wise for Mr. Lovell not to take up a seat, and I think it probably signals a concession on his part that he will not be part of the UPP’s politics going forward,” Wickham told the Antigua Observer newspaper.

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Gonslaves for CMC

PM Gonsalves says he’s subject of SCL’s ‘nasty’ campaign

By Kenton X. Chance

Gonsalves: …entities associated with the SCL, such as the “bandits” who want to sell St. Vincent and the Grenadines citizenship and passports have paid the SCL to work on behalf of the NDP.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Mar 28, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he has been the  subject of a two-decade campaign by the Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), the parent company of the British-based Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of mining data to influence election outcomes around the world.

Gonslaves for CMC
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

Gonsalves, whose Unity Labour Party (ULP) is celebrating 17th anniversary in government this year, condemned what he termed the way in which “backward political forces” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and “elements overseas” wanted to undermine progress in the country for their own selfish purposes.

“And in this regard, I speak about an organisation like Strategic Communication Laboratories, which has been here since 1998 seeking to undermine the ULP and from 2001 and onwards. They have been very nasty towards the ULP on behalf of the NDP (New Democratic Party) and they have been particularly so to the leadership of the ULP, including comrade Ralph,” said Gonsalves, speaking on the party’s own radio station.

He said other entities associated with the SCL, such as the “bandits” who want to sell St. Vincent and the Grenadines citizenship and passports have paid the SCL to work on behalf of the NDP.

Gonsalves has repeatedly referred to citizenship by investment as selling of passports and the island remains the only independent Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) without such a programme, through which citizenship if granted to foreign investors in exchange for making a substantial financial contribution to the socio-economic development of the island.

The NDP says that citizenship by investment can help to improve the economic fortunes of the island, while not imposing any further tax burden on citizens.

In his radio interview, Gonsalves said that Cambridge Analytica had undertaken “a lot of nasty work — you notice I am repeating this word nasty, nasty work for Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton in the election [in the 2016 US presidential election]…”

He said special prosecutor in the United States, Robert Mueller, the US senate and Congress, and the British parliament are investigating Cambridge Analytica.

“The evidence has emerged of SCL doing the nasty work to undermine democracy in several Caribbean countries,” he said, adding this was done in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“And I will be talking about their nefarious role,” Gonsalves said, adding that from the time they were formed in 1993, SCL proudly stated on their website and promoted themselves as “mind benders — bending minds of unsuspecting people, they trafficked in lies, distortions.

“They said that they can use behavioural analysis to twist people for them to vote particular ways if they didn’t want to vote that way,” Gonsalves said, adding that SCL once boasted on their website that they have learnt from and apply tactics used by Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda.

“That is the organisation which the New Democratic Party had working against the ULP from 1998,” he said, noting that in 2001, there was an offshore bank here called Grenadines Bank, whose owner, Douglas Lees, also owned an offshore bank in Barbados and an offshore financial institution in Bermuda.

Gonsalves said that when he arrived in office, Lees’ company from Bermuda was being used by the NDP to do due diligence on persons interested in investing here.

“Making a lot of money and doing very little work because can you imagine getting a company that is associated with an offshore bank doing due diligence for investors?” Gonsalves said.

He said that in 2001, Lees had hired SCL as his multi-million contributions to the NDP that year’s election campaign — in which the NDP was voted out of office, after 17 years.

Gonsalves said that in 2001, a young lady who was a supporter of the ULP and front desk worker at Mariners Hotel, had copied and given to Michael Hamlett — the ULP’s candidate for East Kingstown — a fax that SCL had given her to send on their behalf. The ULP used the fax as part of its campaign against the NDP.

In 2001, the SCL attempted to use race against him in the election campaign, said Gonsalves, who is of Portuguese descent.

By the 2005 election campaign, the SCL came only as advisors because then leader of the NDP, Arnhim Eustace, wanted to distance himself from prime minister and NDP founder, Sir James Mitchell Gonsalves said, adding that during the constitution referendum campaign of 2009, an entity associated with selling passports in other countries hired the SCL to work for the NDP.


“And they used every species of nastiness in that referendum,” he said.

The NDP was able to convince the electorate to reject proposed changes to the constitution. However, the ULP retained office one year later, winning the December 2010 general elections by an 8-7 margin.

Gonsalves said that the SCL was also present here in the 2015 election, which saw the ULP returned to office by the same 8-7 margin as in 2010.

“So when you see the NDP, I want the people of St. Vincent to see these nasty people from England, SCL — Strategic Communication Laboratories, who are bent on undermining democracy, bending people’s minds, having contempt for black people, having contempt for the people of the Caribbean, the leaders of the Caribbean, but they want money for themselves and their clients want to sell our passports and our citizenship,” Gonsalves said.

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Jumaane D. Williams

Caribbean American legislator condemns question on citizenship included in 2020 Census

NEW YORK, Mar 28, 2018, CMC –New York City Council member, Jumaane D. Williams,  has condemned the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

“I am a first generation American, the son of Grenadian immigrants. I represent a community of immigrants, in a city of immigrants, in a state and nation of immigrants. Each is immensely proud of their heritage, just as they are proud of their new home in the United States,” said Williams, who represents the largely Caribbean 45th Council District in Brooklyn, New York.

Jumaane D. Williams
Jumaane D. Williams (File Photo)

“Given the onslaught of unrelenting unwarranted, bigoted attacks on immigrants from our government in the last 14 months, it is egregiously clear that the Trump administration’s appalling move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is designed to serve one of two purposes,” said Williams, a candidate for Lt. Governor in New York State, the second highest position in the state.

“Either the Trump administration and its allies want to collect information on immigrants with the intent of carrying out heinous programs, or they hope to create a pervasive fear that will discourage immigrant populations from participating in the census, and so damaging democracy by denying fair representation in government for diverse communities like the one I represent,” Williams told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

He said no matter the intent, “this action continues what we know to be the Trump administration’s primary driving policy goal- to create an ‘other,’ a second class, and to exploit that division, separation and inherent bigotry.

“We have a moral obligation to stand with and support our immigrant communities against this nationalist, xenophobic, supremacist and hateful agenda that threatens the very ideals of being an American.”

Williams said the fears of this and other recent actions, and the context in which they were taken, “are rightfully alarming.

“The demonizing and discounting of the ‘other’ happens not suddenly but through incremental and steady changes to law and policy. The threat to our immigrant communities is real, imminent, and cannot be ignored.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also condemned the Trump administration’s latest move.

“We already strongly suspect that urban populations like Brooklyn have been chronically undercounted, and President Trump’s call for a citizenship question in the 2020 US Census will further undercut the accuracy of this critical count by discouraging the participation of immigrant Americans,” Adams said.

“This decennial process is hard enough without putting additional barriers in place. I thank (New York) Attorney General Schneiderman for bringing a lawsuit against this misguided policy on behalf of all New Yorkers.

Adams said In the months ahead, his administration will work in partnership with community-based groups throughout the borough to make certain that all residents are accurately reflected in the census.

“It’s time for Brooklyn to ensure we receive the representation and resources that we are entitled to and deserve.”

Schneiderman said he is heading a lawsuit by at least 12 US states in an attempt to prohibit the Trump administration from adding the citizenship question on the 2020 census.

New York and the other states say the initiative would patently violate the US Constitution.

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