Caribbean News Round-up

Phil Simmons

West Indies head coach suspended

Phil Simmons
Phil Simmons

[Trinidad Express] –  Indies cricket coach Phil Simmons was suspended on Monday with immediate effect and replaced by former West Indies fast bowler Eldine Baptiste for the tour of Sri Lanka scheduled to start in two weeks’ time.

The decision to suspend Simmons came after he spoke out during a news conference last Friday in Barbados, saying that there was “too much interference from the outside” when asked about the omission of Trinidadians Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the one day international side.

In a statement on Monday, the West Indies Cricket Board said: ““The West Indies Cricket Board has learnt of the comments from head coach of the West Indies team Phil Simmons in the print and electronic media which appear to question the legitimacy of the selection process of the one-day international squad for the tour of Sri Lanka. As a result, the management of the WICB has taken action to suspend the head coach, pending an investigation into the issue. The head coach will not now travel with the team on the tour of Sri Lanka.”

Meanwhile, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has labelled as “disturbing” claims made by Simmons, of outside interference in the selection of the One-Day International squad for Sri Lanka.

Mitchell, the Chairman of Caricom’s Sub Committee on Cricket Governance, said yesterday any selection panel needed to be “free of interference, fear, or favour”, and joined with Simmons condemning “any act that undermined his leadership and the discretion of the Board of Selectors to field the best team.”

“It is my view that West Indies cricket is fortunate to have a leadership team that includes head coach Phil Simmons, captain Jason Holder and chairman of selectors, Clive Lloyd,” Mitchell said in a statement.

“The team is now at an important crossroads, and it will require wisdom and good leadership to chart and follow the right path. It will therefore take the skill, motivation and priorities of the men who lead and the players who follow, to restore the team to world prominence.”

Caribbean rattled by three earthquakes

mon-night-quake(CMC) – Four earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 3.8 to 4.5 rattled the Caribbean on Sunday but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages, according to the Trinidad-based Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

It said that early Sunday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 struck 123 kilometers north-east of Bridgetown.

The 5.00 am (local time) quake, with a  depth of 70 kilometres, was also located 254 kilometres east of Castries, St Lucia and 279 kilometres east south east of Fort-de-France in Martinique.

The Unit said that 28 minutes later a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck at 136 kilometres north east of Bridgetown, 270 kilometres east of Castries and 295 kilometres east south east of Fort-de-France.

This quake had a depth of 82 kilometres.

The third quake occurred at 8.36 am (local time) with a magnitude of 3.9 and was again felt 130 kilometres north east of Bridgetown, 260 kilometres east of Castries and 284 kilometres east south east of Fort-de-France at a depth of 64 kilometres

The last earthquake on Sunday, according to the Seismic Unit, occurred 59 kilometres north west of Port of Spain, Trinidad.

It had a magnitude of 3.9.

In recent months, Caribbean countries have recorded earthquakes of varying magnitudes and the Seismic Unit has warned the region to brace for a major tremor.

Obama to meet Cuba’s Raul Castro Tuesday

OBAMA---CASTRO-1_w304[AFP] – US President Barack Obama will hold talks with Cuban leader Raul Castro on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the White House said Sunday.

It will be the second meeting between the two leaders, after a first historic encounter in Panama in April.

Washington and Havana reestablished diplomatic relations in July after more than half a century of enmity.

The Cuban leader, who succeeded his brother Fidel in 2006, will make his first-ever address to the UN General Assembly on Monday, only several hours after Obama takes the podium.

In an address to a UN development summit on Saturday, Castro took aim at the US embargo against Cuba, describing it as the “main obstacle” to his country’s economic development.

“Such a policy is rejected by 188 United Nations member-states that demand its removal,” he said, referring to a UN resolution calling for the end of the decades-old embargo.

The 193-nation assembly has voted each year since 1982 to approve a resolution calling on the United States to lift the embargo against Cuba, which has been in place since 1960.

Castro hailed the re-establishment of relations with Washington as a “major progress,” but stressed that the embargo was unfinished business.

“The economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba persists, as it has been for half a century, bringing damages and hardships on the Cuban people,” said Castro.

Since the rapprochement with Cuba, the Obama administration has expressed support for lifting the embargo, but the decision rests with Congress, where a Republican majority opposes the move.

The General Assembly is set to discuss a new draft resolution condemning the embargo at a session next month.


Guest apologises to Magdalena

Magdalena-Grand-Beach-Resort-in-Tobago-2[Trinidad Express] – All items claimed to be lost by a female guest from Trinidad staying at the Magdalena Resort and Spa, at Lowlands, Tobago, have been found.

This is according to Magdalena general manager Christopher Forbes and officers at Old Grange Police Station.

Forbes said the female guest remained at the hotel for the remainder of her stay, which concluded yesterday.

The police told the Express the female guest, who came from Trinidad last Friday to stay at the hotel, later admitted to them she left her personal items outside the door of her room. A document was signed by the woman confirming this.

The guest apologised to the hotel and police.

Forbes said when a report of the missing items came to the attention of the hotel management, the guest was given two options – to contact the police or to change her room.

“She contacted the local police and a report was made,” said Forbes.

“However, all her personal items, inclusive of a laptop, except $1,500 she claims remain missing…everything else was found. Nothing was missing from her roommate, who was also a guest of the hotel.”

The guest claimed she had left her room door open as the air-conditioning unit was not working.

Forbes did admit the air-conditioning units at the hotel were not fully operational for some time, but were fixed last Friday.

He said when the guest informed him of the room being warm, she was relocated to another room and remained at the hotel until the completion of her booked stay yesterday.

The manager said Magdalena Grand remains a hotel of honest staff who will ensure a high standard and no such report has ever been made at the hotel. He is encouraging those who may experience any problems at the hotel to contact management.

As to whether the guest will be charged for wasting the police’s time has yet to be determined.

PC Phillips of the Old Grange station is investigating.


Panama murder rate drops by 21%

murder_350_111412071506[BBC] – Panama’s murder rate has dropped by 21.4% in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, official figures suggest.

In Colon, Panama’s most murderous city last year, the number of homicides more than halved, according to figures by the security ministry.

Officials say a programme to rehabilitate gang members has been key in driving the figure down.

But a poll suggests the perception of insecurity in Panama remains high.

Panama does not have as serious a gang problem as other Central American nations such as Honduras and El Salvador.

But Panamanian gangs are believed to be behind the majority of the murders committed in recent years and also play a key part in drug trafficking.

Security Minister Rodolfo Aguilera says a programme offering gang members an amnesty and vocational training to lure them away from crime has been instrumental in reducing homicides in 2015.

He says that across Panama, 100 fewer people were killed between January and September of this year than in the same period in 2014.




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