Caribbean News Round-up

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Guatemala families evacuated for fear of new landslide

_85896967_029433743-1[BBC] – The authorities in Guatemala have ordered some 40 families to leave their homes close to where a landslide killed at least 253 people last week.

They say there is a risk of another landslide hitting the area, near the capital, Guatemala City.

The government will decide on Monday whether to suspend the rescue work.

An official investigation is under way to determine why houses where built in El Cambray 2 neighbourhood despite warnings of a possible accident.

Guatemala’s National Disaster Reduction Commission (Conred) warned as early as 2009 that there was a risk of collapse.

The middle-class neighbourhood was built at the bottom of a steep hillside next to a river, some 15km (nine miles) east of Guatemala City.

Flying sign kills man

[Trinidad Express] – High winds reported throughout the country on Thursday resulted in the death of a man as he was hit in the head by a church sign dislodged by the adverse weather.

According to police reports, around 12.45 p.m. on Thursday, John “Amigo” Mathews, 54, of Sawmill Avenue, Morvant, was walking along the Eastern Main Road, when upon reaching near “The Gate Church”, which has stood for over 20 years, he was struck on the head by a sign which had been broken off its hinges by the winds.

A doctor who happened to be driving in the area at the time and saw what happened, stopped to render assistance and began administering CPR to the man who had been knocked unconscious by the heavy blow.

Officers in a marked police vehicle in the area at the time observed the doctor and the unconscious man and also stopped to render assistance.

The officials were assisted in removing the sign from the man’s head by good Samaritans who had observed the commotion.

The injured man was then rushed to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

However, he died undergoing treatment.

Speaking to the Express yesterday, several business owners described Mathews as a “cool going fellow” who loved to interact with people and make jokes.

They said he used to sell fruits and vegetables along the roadway, and would usually do odd jobs for business owners in the area.

One man told the Express that the sign which hit Matthews had been on the church “for about 24 years” and that the entire incident was a “freak accident” and the fault of no one.

Officers from the Morvant CID and Barataria police are continuing enquiries.

SPENCER SAYS ASHE LIED

Baldwin Spencer
Baldwin Spencer

[Antigua Obesrver] – In his first media outing since news of a corruption scheme involving former president of the United Nations General Assembly Dr John Ashe, former prime minister Baldwin Spencer defended his party’s integrity and said the former Antiguan and Barbudan diplomat lied.

“While I am deeply saddened by the circumstances in which Dr Ashe now finds himself, based on the court document, he gravely misrepresented the United Progressive Party government by implying that bribe money was necessary to gain an audience with me or my colleague ministers. That was never the case during the 10 years of our administration,” Spencer said in a pre-recorded statement on Friday.

The Leader of Opposition said Dr Ashe was asked to provide assistance in raising such funds, and in no way did he (Spencer) hesitate to accept his money as he had no reason to question his (Ashe’s) integrity.

“I had absolutely no cause to distrust him, or to suspect the source of the donations he brought to the party,” Spencer said. “As a senior, seasoned, and highly respected diplomat of more than 20 years’ good standing, Dr Ashe served the government of Antigua & Barbuda — both the ALP and the UPP administrations with distinction,” he added.

Spencer said in the same vein he accepted donations from local persons representing other business interests that did not wish to be named.

Search for crew of missing ship called off

sarch-called-off[CMC] – The US Coast Guard has suspended the search for the more than 30 crew members who disappeared with their ship during Hurricane Joaquin a week ago.

US Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Air National Guard and tugboat crews have searched more than 183,000 square nautical miles off the Bahamian coast in a joint effort to locate the 28 American and five Polish crew members who were on the vessel when it sank but, after a full week of looking, only turned up one dead body in a survival suit on Sunday night

“I have come to a very difficult decision to suspend the search for the crew of the El Faro at sunset tonight. My deepest condolences go to the families, loved ones, and friends of the El Faro crew,” said Rear Admiral Scott Buschman, commander, Coast Guard 7th District.

“U.S. Coast Guard, U.S Navy, U.S. Air Force, and the Tote Maritime tug crews searched day and night, sometimes in perilous conditions with the hope of finding survivors in this tragic loss.”

A heavily damaged life boat, a partially submerged life raft, a survival suit, life jackets, life rings, cargo containers, Styrofoam, packaged food and an oil sheen were also found, but there have been no signs of life or the missing ship.

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