Caribbean News Round-up

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Murder on the beach

POLICE INVOLVED SHOOTING[Trinidad Express] – A Chatham man was chopped to death on the beach at Granville, Cedros on Tuesday night.

Jasent Clement, 22, was killed not far from the scene of the massacre in July where four members of a family were killed at Chatham South Trace.

Police were told that Clement was on the beach with a 14-year-old girl when he was confronted by a man.

Clement was chopped across the face and died at the scene.

The killing happened at around 7.15p.m.

A party of police officers of the South Western Task Force, Cedros Police Station and Homicide detectives visited the scene.

Police are searching for the suspect.

Pregnant woman charged with fraud

Teenage pregnancy[Trinidad Express] – A PREGNANT woman appeared in court yesterday charged with fraud.

Indira Rangoo-Solomon, 28 faced Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington on Wednesday and had her case transferred to the Point Fortin court for Friday.

Rangoo-Solomon, who is five months pregnant, was arrested on Tuesday and placed on $250,000 bail.

Hours later, she sat and waited in the public gallery of the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court and then made her way before Wellington as her name was called. He read the charge which alleged that between May 14 and 26, 2015 at Rousillac, Rangoo-Solomon stole $210,000 cash from a male victim. The charge was laid by acting corporal Errol Lewis. The alleged incident occurred at her home and the money was allegedly to be used to purchase a vehicle.

 

Murder toll moves close to 1,000 mark

 

Crime-1[Jamaica Observer] – CRIMINALS who continue to wreak havoc across the island have now snuffed out the lives of close to 1,000 people since the start of the year.

Statistics gathered by the Jamaica Observer showed that, up to the 14th of October, 981 people have been killed, which is a 25.4 per cent increase in killings when compared to corresponding period last year when 781 murders were recorded.

Statistics show that the parish of St James continues to record the highest number of murders, recording 171 so far, compared to 111 up to October 14 last year.

Clarendon follows closely behind with 107 murders, compared to 71 last year this time.

Hanover also has recorded a big jump, with 54 murders up to October 14, compared to 30 over the same period in 2014. Police say this is the highest ever for the tiny parish.

Police have blamed criminals involved in the lotto scam for the bulk of murders committed in the western parishes.

If the killings continue at this rate, the country could end the year with more than 1,200 murders. The country ended 2014 with 1,005 murders — the lowest in 11 years.

 

MP’s office torched

raymond-pryce-1a[Jamaica Observer] – Tension in the troubled People’s National Party (PNP) St Elizabeth North Eastern constituency organisation went up a notch yesterday after a fire believed to have been started by arsonists damaged the constituency office here.

“We suspect it is an act of arson, based on the evidence,” head of the St Elizabeth Fire Department, Senior Deputy Superintendent Conroy Ghans told the Jamaica Observer.

 

The Santa Cruz Fire Station responded to a call from the Santa Cruz police (located just across the road) at about 2:00 am yesterday morning and put out the blaze which damaged internal fittings, as well as computers, a television set, and furnishings as well as documents. Preliminary estimates place the damage at $1 million.

 

Member of Parliament Raymond Pryce, who has been displaced as the likely PNP candidate for the next parliamentary elections, in favour of businessman Evon Redman, who received the support of a majority of delegates at a ratification exercise late last month, and chairman of the PNP’s Region Five Mikael Phillips were among those expressing outrage yesterday.

 

Ghans said the fire started at the rear (away from public view) of the constituency office which is made of recycled metal containers.

 

The fire chief said “remains of what appears to be tyres” at the rear of the constituency office suggested that was the material used along with “propellants, possibly gasoline” to start the fire. He suggested that the arsonists may have “made a trail (of fuel) away from the tyres” before starting the blaze.

 

Ghans said the blaze shot through metal louvre blade windows which had been “prised open” as well as possibly through entrances to the roof to damage a restroom as well as the internal fittings.

 

Pryce described the fire as an “attack” on the PNP’s St Elizabeth North Eastern constituency organisation. He said damage to documents including records pertaining to the welfare of constituents seeking help in various ways, was particularly painful.

 

“This shows some people harbour the view that their destructive ways will hamper the constructive approach towards development in the constituency,” the MP said.

 

He referred the Jamaica Observer to social media postings as evidence of hostility towards him, his supporters, and his political career.

 

However, Redman who was attending a PNP retreat in St Ann to develop strategies for parliamentary elections, which are expected soon, distanced himself and his supporters from the incident.

 

“What would we gain from such an action?” he asked. “I am striving to unite the constituency, what has happened here can only lead to further divisions,” he added.

 

Redman urged the police to conduct a thorough investigation and do all in their power to find out “what could have caused this most unfortunate incident”.

 

Phillips, who was also in St Ann for the retreat, cautioned Comrades to avoid jumping to conclusions. “Let us allow the police to do their work,” he said.

 

Police area chief, Superintendent Lanford Salmon pledged a thorough investigation and said investigators were keeping their options open.

 

“At this time, the investigation is wide open,” he said.

 

After months of turmoil in the PNP’s St Elizabeth North Eastern organisation, 63-year-old Redman received the approval of 339 of 467 delegates who turned out for a ratification exercise in late September.

 

That followed the PNP’s announcement of Pryce’s formal withdrawal from the contest.

 

Pryce’s withdrawal came in the aftermath of the highly unusual decision by his supporters, including former Mayor of Black River Daphne Holmes, to take the PNP to court over the selection process. The move was said to have deeply angered the PNP hierarchy.

 

St Elizabeth North Eastern is routinely considered one of the safest seats for the PNP in rural Jamaica. Pryce won by more than 4,000 votes in December 2011, despite entering the constituency just weeks before that election.

 

Low rainfall has farmers uneasy

james-paul0603-450x303[Nation News] – THE LACK of rainfall in recent times could set the farming community back considerably, according to Paul Davis, owner of Walkers Dairy Farms in St George.

But James Paul, chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, says the rains recorded in recent weeks should be of some help both for foot-crop and sugar cane farmers. Davis, who spoke to the DAILY NATION earlier this week at his farm, said that given the low rainfall next year’s sugar crop was in dire trouble. “The 2015 crop was terrible, the 2016 crop is going to be worse and the 2017 crop, well God help us. It’s going to be challenging but the effect won’t be immediate; it would be felt a couple months down the road.” Speaking of the low rainfall recorded in recent months Davis warned that it was going to have a long-term effect on all of us.

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