Caribbean News Round-up

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St Lucia to host first ever Miss Gay Universe Pageant

gay pageant[St Lucia News Online] – For the first time in years, Saint Lucia will be hosting a gay beauty pageant dubbed Miss Gay Universe, on Friday, December 4.

The Las Vegas-themed pageant will seek to highlight the issue of human rights.

Seven delegates will represent countries around the world. They include: Rubella Belle Jour – Miss Saint Lucia, Sahara West – Miss France, Aaliyah fierce – Miss Brazil , Dae Ja Davenport – Miss Canada, Anousqua Queer – Miss Jamaica, Roxanne Edwards – Miss USA, Sasha Amelia Fierce – Miss Egypt and Dae Ja Davenport – Miss Canada.

Organizer Sharmark Leon told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today (Nov.18) that it will be an eye-opening event and noted that it is also being used to help the contestants build strong self-esteem and self-confidence.

Asked why he decided to host this pageant, Leon said: “I have attended gay pageants years ago and I have always liked pageants; any type of pageant I was drawn to, especially pageants that promote good values.”

While this is the first Miss Gay Universe Pageant in Saint Lucia, there have had a few gay pageants years ago such as Queen of the Bees and Pink Powder Puff, which were both very private.

“My last pageant, which was in 2005, was called After Dark. There were six contestants, held at the Gaiety in Rodney Bay. The reigning queen was Miss Cruella De Ville, the first runner-up was Miss Ursula Clark,” Leon recalled.

Leon recognised that being gay in Saint Lucia is extremely difficult, because many persons are not open to the idea of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in society.

Leon said he also hopes that it will empower more persons to come out and be brave about their sexuality.

The pageant will be hosted at the Golden Palm Event Centre which is located behind Super J Rodney Heights. It will commence at 8 p.m. and tickets are $75.

Hair Factory, Gregory Lord Productions, Charlene Lagor and Cherryanne Gilliard are some of the sponsors.

The evening will start off with the opening number/introduction of contestants, lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit, costume a night in Las Vegas, talent and poise and elegance in evening wear and interview segment.

 

Cayman to deport J’can teacher imprisoned for sexually assaulting 3 schoolboys

[CMC] – A Jamaican teacher who was sentenced to three years for sexually assaulting three teenage boys, has had his sentence reduced by two years.

Earlier this year, Delroy James – a drama teacher, admitted to several acts of indecent assault and gross indecency on three 15-year-old students at a government school in Grand Cayman.

He was then slapped with a three-year prison sentence.

However on Tuesday, his defense attorney argued before the Court of Appeal that the sentence of three years on a count of gross indecency deviated from the basis of the pleas James had entered into with the prosecution.

James, who has been on remand since he pleaded guilty in June 2014, has served more than 16 months in prison and will now be eligible for early release.

He will be deported to Jamaica.

 

Several trained Trinis already back from Syria

isis[Trinidad Guardian] – There are groups who have been recruiting T&T nationals for Syria-based terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS), former minister of national security Gary Griffith has confirmed.

And the fact that local authorities have evidence that people have left T&T to become foreign terrorist fighters with (ISIS), also confirms the high probability that some nationals have returned home and are not only recruiting locals but training them as well, he said yesterday.

Former head of the National Operations Centre, Commander Garvin Heerah, also confirmed several Trinis had returned home in the last three years after linking up with ISIS in Syria.

Both men made the comments following word from local intelligence sources that a number of T&T-born foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) had returned home alongside their families in the last couple years.

Speaking about intelligence which had been tracking the situation in T&T during his tenure, Griffith also confirmed the past government had been monitoring persons who had been aiding and abetting T&T nationals to join ISIS. “And that included assisting such persons with getting visas and making their way from T&T to the Middle East,” he said.

Yesterday, the T&T Guardian was also informed that a 22-year-old Belmont youth was the most recent person to head out of T&T for the Middle East, earlier this month. That case was prompted by financial gain, intelligence sources said.

The T&T Guardian also learned from the Muslim community yesterday that an East Trinidad man in his late 20s, a former St Mary’s College student who had graduated from university with a law degree, was among those who went to Syria in mid-2014.  He is believed to have been killed a few weeks ago, a source said. The man comes from a prominent Muslim community family.

Scrutiny on T&T FTFs continues following last Friday’s ISIS-claimed terrorist attacks in Paris and Tuesday night’s raid by French security forces in St Deni where two suspected terrorists were killed, including a female who blew herself up. Eight others were arrested. Some 129 were killed and 352 injured in the Paris attacks last Friday.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon on Tuesday put T&T on heightened vigilance with a framework of monitoring and surveillance measures. He also indicated Government was discussing revisiting the current situation of free, unrestricted/unhindered entry of T&T nationals who have joined ISIS. Some 89 fighters and family members are said to have linked with ISIS to date.

Contacted yesterday, attorney Nafeesa Mohammed, who said local Muslim community Maulanas were scheduled to meet last night to discuss the situation, called for mechanisms for the communities to locate geographically exactly who had gone to Syria, those killed and who had returned.

“The National Security Ministry is justified to take every action to deal with anyone who leaves T&T with the intention of going to another country and killing human beings but there’s a thin line between hysteria and vigilance and we need to deal with the merits of each case,” Mohammed told the T&T Guardian.

Efforts are also being made for law enforcement officials to go on air soon to speak to communities to help local Muslim members ascertain who had left.

Expressing concern at the recruitment of youths who lack a sense of belonging, Mohammed said of particular concern was the family structure situation where there may be more than one wife involved. She also expressed concern about cyber recruiting. Heerah said he had advocated implementing systems to track cyber recruiting by ISIS.

Yesterday, Umar Abdullah, of Tobago’s Lowlands masjid, who said persons had gone to Syria from Rio Claro, San Fernando, Chaguanas, Diego Martin and Port-of-Spain, said some FTFs were not attached to particular masjids. “What they had in common is a sense of isolation. Those who return may not want to go back since their experience might be a deterrent,” he told the T&T Guardian.

 

Time to clear Kamla

kamla-1[Trinidad Express] – SENIOR COUNSEL Israel Khan has written acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, calling on him to clear Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s name in the Emailgate affair, as there is not a “scintilla of evidence” to implicate her.

Khan said it is “both morally and legally wrong” for the police to remain silent on the issue and is now calling for an official statement from them on the matter.

The letter is dated November 16.

“I have been instructed by my client, Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, to seek clarification of a statement appearing in the printed news media that the police investigation in the ‘Emailgate affair’ cannot implicate or clear her of any criminal conspiracy,” Khan wrote.

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