Caribbean News Round – up

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Dominica waives charges on relief aid

Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

[CMC] – The Dominica government says it has taken a decision to waive all charges for relief aid coming into the country as the first aircraft landed at the Douglas-Charles airport since the passage of Tropical Storm Erika last Thursday.

Erika, the fourth named storm of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season has been blamed for the deaths of 31 people and more than 20 others including two French nationals missing. The authorities have said that several villages have been cut off as a result of the destruction caused by the storm that also destroyed bridges, roads and buildings.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in his nightly radio and television report to Dominicans on Tuesday, said that a decision had been taken by his administration “to waive all charges for all relief aid coming into the country whether it is consigned to the state or consigned to individual persons or organizations and institutions.

He said the Customs authorities have been effecting the decision that has already been ratified by the Cabinet.

“As far as reports coming to me I am not aware of any delays in processing items,” he said, adding “we have sought to remove all kinds of restrictions on persons who are coming to assist us.

“The Customs have been facilitating the entry and clearance into Dominica all items that are for relief purposes. One does not expect you to send a flat screen television to someone and expect it to be duty free.

 

T&T Newsday threatened with legal action by Political Party

Keith Rowley
Keith Rowley

[T&T Newsday] – The People National Movement (PNM) yesterday threatened legal action on behalf of its political leader, Dr Keith Rowley, whom the party believes has been defamed in a story carried last Sunday.

The publication was based on a letter which former PNM parliamentarian and minister Peter Taylor wrote to Rowley, making certain allegations and complaints against him.

Taylor is also being threatened with legal action by the party over the same letter.

The letter, obtained by Newsday on the weekend, and confirmed by Taylor that he was the author, was further distributed by the party at a press briefing conducted by the party’s Public Relations Officer, Faris Al-Rawi, at Balisier House, Portof- Spain yesterday.

In a follow up story on Monday, Newsday carried a story based on a statement issued by the party denying Taylor’s claims in the letter.

Disclosing that the PNM intended issuing pre-action protocol letters to both Newsday and Taylor, Al Rawi said the reason the documents were not yet sent was because “this kind of letter is often best left to be dealt with in the luxury of time.” Nevertheless, the letters were being drafted as he spoke, Al Rawi said.

Al Rawi said he contacted Taylor who confirmed writing the letter, and that “What the Newsday published and what the letter says, appears to be two entirely different things.” He said, “It is our respectful view that the Newsday seems to have applied a construction of the letter, to give it the sense which it lacks.” When Rowley received the letter, Al-Rawi said he gave it to his legal team to take action against Taylor. The Sunday Newsday article, he said, claim they could not contact Rowley to get a response from him, but both Rowley, and himself as the party’s PRO were always accessible to the media, including all of last week.

Noting the letter was widely circulated locally and copied to several local of f icials i n – cluding President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, he said, it was conspicuous that Newsday omitted to mentioned that it was also copied to several United States officials including Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defence to President Barack Obama, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Jim Seevers of Georgetown University.

Condemning the publication of the article, he said, “these allegations are completely and categorically denied” and claimed they were a “continuation of the No Rowley campaign.” The PNM was categorical, “that we will pursue both Mr Taylor and the Newsday and anyone else who has been engaged in the fabric of defamation.”

 

Father drives over daughter by accident

263677-accident1[T&T Newsday] – TRAGEDY has befallen a Rio Claro family after a man accidentally drove his van over his oneyear- old daughter in the yard of a property he owns in Chalieville yesterday, killing her in the process. The man later said he thought his children were playing on the other side of the property when he reversed his vehicle.

According to reports, Ashmeed Mohammed got into his vehicle shortly after two yesterday afternoon and rolled over a hump.

“But I know this road and I know it does not have any humps on it.

A cold chill came over my belly when I got out of the vehicle and I went to the back on the left side. I saw my daughter Salabila lying on the ground. When I picked her up she was bleeding from the nose,” Mohammed told reporters at the Francis Lalla Road, Charlieville house.

Little Salabila, one, was later pronounced dead. An autopsy will be done today following which her funeral will be held according to Muslim rites.

Mohammed’s family, who originally hail from Rio Claro, came to the house off Francis Lalla Road, to clean and prepare it for persons who had recently purchased it. He told reporters that the new home owners would be making their final payments within the next few days, so he and his relatives came yesterday to clean the yard and prepare the property for its new owners.

“After Dohar (noon prayer), I was reversing the van out of the driveway to go get something to eat and drink,” said Ashmeed. “After I reversed and I tried to straighten the van, I felt it roll over something in the road. One time my body went cold, because I wasn’t seeing Salabila. When I came out the vehicle hoping it was a dog or a cat, I saw my daughter there,” he said.

When he realised what happened, the emergency services were immediately called. Officers of the Central Division Police responded, however, the child was pronounced dead on the scene by a District Medical Officer. The vechicle was impounded by police and statements were taken from Ashmeed and the rest of the family.

The calm and soft spoken man described his daughter as a happy, jolly and bubbly child. This is the latest ordeal that Mohammed has had to deal with after a newspaper (not Newsday) published a lead story wrongly claiming that he was training with middle east militant group ISIS and was preparing to fight for that group in Syria. He was also accused of plotting to kill Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

 

Guatemala President Perez Molina barred from travelling

President Otto Perez Molin
President Otto Perez Molin

[BBC] – A judge has barred Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina from leaving the country. The travel ban was imposed just hours after congress voted to remove his immunity from prosecution.

Prosecutors accuse the president of masterminding a scheme to defraud the customs service of millions of dollars, which he denies.

The president, whose term runs out in January, could now be summoned to appear before a court.

A spokesman for Mr Perez Molina said the president would be “very respectful and submit himself to the rule of law”.

On Tuesday, all members of congress present at the vote endorsed a move to strip the president of his immunity after a previous vote to remove his immunity failed last month.

The new voters for the removal of immunity included members from his own party. But since then, more details of the corruption scandal have emerged and calls for the president to resign have increased.

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