Caribbean News Round-up


Murder, suicide in Penal

family[TT Guardian] – The three-year-old-child, who was the victim of a stabbing by her father’s hand, is in stable condition at the San Fernando General Hospital.

This morning police were on the scene of a murder/suicide in Penal, where a 25-year-old man stabbed his wife and three-year-old daughter before hanging himself.

According to reports, around 6 am Purnanand Bhim, 57, got up to attend to his cattle when he discovered his son-in-law, Premanth Ramkhelawan, hanging from a shed at the back of his house.

As Bhim went back to call his wife, a neighbour told him that his 26-year-old daughter, Aarika Bhim’s car was parked on a side trace approximately 100 metres from their home. He rushed over to the car and found his daughter, lying dead in the back seat. Her child, Aarti Ramkhalawan was on top of her.

Aarika was pronounced dead on the scene, and her daughter was treated at the Siparia District Health Facility where she was transferred to San Fernando General Hospital.

Bhim said he immediately called the police and ambulance and got the baby out of the car.

According to Bhim, the three were on their way back from a wedding in Princes Town, but they never made it home. Both Aarika and Aarti were stabbed multiple times about the body.

Investigations continue

Gunmen on weekend shooting spree

POLICE INVOLVED SHOOTING[Newsday] – SEVERAL children playing in the open yard of their homes at Queen Street, Coffee Beach, La Brea on Saturday morning, miraculously escaped death when four masked gunmen entered the area and began shooting indiscriminately.

The children had to scamper to safety when the shooting began.

Newsday was told that the men who came in search of an elderly man also firebombed three vehicles which were parked in a yard.

Newsday further learnt that the indiscriminate shooting only stopped when some residents, dodging bullets called out to the men pleading with them to stop it. The trigger-happy men who came by boat and landed on Coffee Beach hastily made their escape in the same vessel, but not before injuring residents Gregory Williams and Keon Jackson.

Jackson, the brother of San Fernando attorney Jason Jackson who reports said only recently moved into the area, was shot through the left leg.

He was expected to be discharged yesterday from the San Fernando General Hospital. Williams was shot in the leg and hand and remains warded in stable condition at the southern city’s general hospital.

Newsday was told that while trying to evade bullets, one of the men was shot and wounded while diving into a boat which was moored near a house.

The incident happened at about 11 am on Saturday with police saying four armed men, brandishing their weapons arrived shooting – two of them from behind a chain link fence.

The man they claim managed to elude them – Jackson and Williams were injured while trying to escape the mayhem, a report further said. Up to yesterday investigators were searching for the gunmen.


89 Trinis fighting for ISIS

isis[TT Guardian] – There are now 89 T&T nationals—including families—known to Government who have joined the Islamic State of Iraq (Isis) in the last three plus years, T&T Guardian has confirmed.

That is the most up to date figure on the situation which was given by Government early last Saturday morning, shortly after deadly terrorist attacks on Paris claimed 129 victims, left 350 wounded and the world reeling in shock and anger. Isis has claimed responsibility.

Former National Security Minister Gary Griffith and former National Operations Centre head Garvin Heerah were among experts who yesterday came out in support of laws to block T&T-born Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFS) returnees on their way back, well before they reach T&T.

Muslim community leader attorney Nafeesa Mohammed also urges rapport between state apparatus and the fragmented leadership of the Muslim community to ascertain who’s gone to Isis and why so “innocent” people in the scenario wouldn’t suffer.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon was quoted yesterday as saying Isis poses “no threat to T&T right now” and  there’s no law to stop them returning. He said if they’d committed international crime, T&T could work with foreign partners to bring them to justice, but “for now they’re still T&T citizens.”

Dillon yesterday subsequently assured, authorities are monitoring returnees. On the 89 persons with Isis, which T&T Guardian learned about on Saturday, Dillon said there are 80-plus, including about 35 men and other persons who are family members. He said several of the T&T fighters have been killed.

On assessments earlier in the year from intelligence sources that a number of those who had gone were from T&T’s   criminal fringe element, rather than conservative Muslim basis, Dillon said that assessment was still on par and those persons were believed to be intelligent.

Dillon assured that he was aware of laws that block returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) in other countries before they reach T&T. He said that is done with international allies.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi who had been Paris two weeks ago for a conference, told T&T Guardian yesterday, T&T has met with international agencies to track people who leave T&T and head to Syria and Turkey to join FTFs. He added, “We’re also looking at Section 22b of the Anti Terrorism Act dealing with terrorist financing and operationalising in fuller form.

We’ll apply existing anti-terrorism laws in tracking and monitoring of alleged Foreign Terrorist Fighters from T&T, and specifically cases concerning potential returns. We also have a unit looking at strengthening of the package of laws to deal with terrorism and if it may be relevance to T&T’s context.”

“We assure T&T we’re sparing no effort in co-ordinating multiple resources in dealing with this so there can be efficient and confident positive outcome for T&T’s peace  of mind and security.”


Antigua Gov’t ‘actively’ reviewing citizenship for Syrian nationals

Syrian-refugee-JPEG2[CMC] – The Antigua and Barbuda government says it is “actively” considering preventing nationals from Syria obtaining citizenship under the island’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) as it denounced the recent terrorist attacks in Paris that left more than 129 people dead.

“I would admit that there is a growing concern in terms of the level of terrorism there and we want to make sure, too, that we have very secure borders and clearly it is not only about securing our national security interest but those of our neighbours so consideration is being given to exclude Syrians citizens from the programme,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said.

Browne said the issue was first considered during the last review in December 2014 when the government took the decision that it would instruct the CIP unit to deny citizens from Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Somalia, Yemen and Iran to acquire local citizenship.

“It is important for the nation to note we have not processed a single application from the countries so listed and that the list that was presented in June of his year would have been applications that were processed prior.

“So any notion that we are processing applications from residents from North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan and even Iraq and Iran without them …being permanent residents of the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. That is not so, that a policy my government introduced”.

Browne, speaking on Observer Radio here, said that Antigua and Barbuda has the “best regulated CIP programme” in the Caribbean and we have to keep it that way.

“It is part of our national security strategy and we will continue to monitor global affairs (and) where countries are sponsor of state terrorism …then clearly we will review the list”.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Browne has sent a letter to French President Francois Hollande, describing Friday night’s terrorists attacks in Paris as a “despicable act of terrorism”.

“The people and government of Antigua & Barbuda also deplore this vile act of terrorism and condemn ISIS strongly and unequivocally,” Browne said, adding “terrorism is a scourge upon our common humanity”



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