Caribbean News Round-up

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Child shocked to death

child[Trinidad Newsday] – A LAVENTILLE man who allegedly tried to revive his seemingly unresponsive two-year- old step-daughter with powered electrical cords at his home has been detained by police for questioning in connection with the matter. The mother of the child is also assisting police in their investigations, sources confirmed last night.

According to reports, the infant, Kristha Knutt, who lived with her mother at Upper Erica Street, was said by relatives to be suffering from a cold. The man, on checking on her at about five o’clock yesterday morning, found her unresponsive. The man who had a relationship with the child’s mother told police when he realised the infant was not responding he became concerned and out of sheer desperation, tried to revive her by using “live” electrical wires carrying 110 volts of electricity.

The attempt however failed and the limp child was rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. When doctors noticed two burn marks on the child’s chest, they contacted the police.

An autopsy performed later in the day at the Forensic Science Centre in St James revealed that the child died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, aspiration due to pneumonia and electrocution.

The toddler’s grandmother Marlene Rawlins, who was at the Centre for the autopsy yesterday, suggested that little Kristha was an abused, child and that abuse in addition to neglect, led to her death.

“I could not say what happened that night, but I am going with what the autopsy report is saying,” Rawlins said. “I believe that he knew what he was doing and I have been warning him that what he was doing was wrong in the eyes of the Lord.” Mustering some advice for young mothers, despite her tears, Rawlins said when young parents do not listen and believe they are always right this (the death of a child) is what happens. “I am sorry for my granddaughter because she has to go through all of this because people were too harden,” Rawlins moaned.

The grandmother said she had always suspected that a male relative was abusing the young child. “The baby was always crying and running away from him,” Rawlins told reporters. “I used to warn that man not to do Kristha any wickedness and if he was doing it, stop, because Jesus don’t like it. I told my daughter I don’t like that man coming in the house.” Rawlins said she always told her daughter that she did not want her friend in her house because she feared the worse for her granddaughter. “I just got a bad vibe from him,” she said.

“From the bottom of my heart, I loved that child,” she said. “From the day she was born I said, ‘Lord, all I can do with this child is to raise her to know Jesus.’ And that is all I have been doing with this child. I even took her to church last Sunday and she was just there playing. I had to wait on her.” The grandmother explained that she had moved to Diego Martin having left her daughter to live in an apartment on Erica Street. She said that her daughter had gotten into a relationship four months ago, and ever since then she had a bad feeling about her daughter’s friend.

Port-of-Spain homicide detectives are continuing investigations.

 

Trinidad Company lay off 480 workers

[Trinidad Newsday] – THREE days after Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran declared this country to be in a recession, steel giant ArcelorMittal of Pt Lisas yesterday laid off 480 workers after due to the prevailing downturn in the economy as well as an inability to reach a consensus with the workers’ representing trade union.

The union — the Steel Workers Union of Trinidad and Tobago (SWUTT) — is claiming 600 workers were retrenched by ArcelorMittal.

Union president Christopher Henry, in reaction to the mass layoff, deemed the company’s action unlawful and apppealed to management to once again meet with the union to determine the way forward.

He also called on the Government to intervene and provide comfort to the workers.

“There is a way and method to do things by law. What the company did was unlawful. We are seeing our lawyers and advisors to deal with this matter. We are calling on the company to do the right thing and sit with us to put these workers back on the job,” Henry said.

He charged that the company issued 600 letters to workers a mere ten minutes after union representatives left a meeting with management. Only about a month ago, the company sent home 800 contract workers from the plant, Henry claimed.

“We met with the company last Thursday when management informed us that the company was having a cash flow problem, and that they want the union to agree with them to force workers to go on vacation.

“The union cannot agree with the company because the collective agreement under Article 14 speak about how they should proceed with vacation,” Henry explained.

He said that had the union agreed to such a move, members could be held liable for changing the terms and conditions of the work which are mandated to protect.

ArcelorMittal is a steel and mining company which operates in 60 countries. Some of the affected workers included supervisors, electricians, operators, time keepers, rollers and port workers.

“They said the vacation was a liability to them and therefore that was the only way forward. We will not agree with that.” In a press release from the company, it stated that the global steel industry is experiencing its worst recession in ten years, comparable to that experienced in the early 1990s.

“Every steel company in the world is facing this difficult reality and ArcelorMittal Point Lisas has had no choice but to react to these changes in the industry,” it stated.

The document acknowledged that management and the union failed to reach an agreement on a proposal from management for workers with “accrued vacation days to proceed on paid vacation.” Management suggested that workers, however, who do not have vacation, leave to engage in alternative functions on a temporary basis outside of their normal duties.

As such, the company had no other option, but to begin a process of laying-off workers.

“Management of Arcelor- Mittal Point Lisas is also offering staff members the opportunity to encash a limited amount of accrued vacation entitlement…At a meeting with the union today, the company communicated its decision to lay off employees.

The company also informed the union of its preference for employees to proceed on vacation as proposed and left the door open in this regard,” it stated.

The release added that weeks ago, ArcelorMittal announced that because of over-supply of steel in the international market and the drying up of orders for its Direct Reduced Iron and steel products produced at the Point Lisas plant, it had to shut down operations temporarily.

 

4 face charges in mystery of missing Jamaican family

houseST ANN, Jamaica — The police have arrested four people in connection with an incident in St Ann, which has left a family homeless and missing since mid-November.

The four-member family, according to a news release from the police’s Corporate Communications Unit, were victims of an “unusual string of events”, which occurred on Monday, November 16.

Information received from the St Ann’s Bay police is that about 3:30 am, residents saw the house ablaze and summoned them. After the blaze was extinguished, it was observed that there were no occupants in the house.

The family has not been seen or heard from since. The police say preliminary investigations suggest that the fire was the work of arsonists.

Missing are: 57-year-old Joesph Lynch, 43-year-old Lascelle Lynch, 50-year-old Ruth Lawrence, and seven-year-old Rimeka Haynes, all of Authurs Mount, Lime Hall in St Ann.

Joseph is of dark complexion, slim build and is about five-foot-nine-inch tall, while Lascelle is of dark complexion, slim build and is about five-foot-nine-inch tall, and Ruth is about three-foot tall. The police say no description was provided for Rimeka .

The police say the four men in custody were questioned in the presence of their attorneys on Saturday and are expected to be charged with housebreaking and arson.

In the meantime, the police have urged anyone knowing the whereabouts of Joesph Lynch, Lascelle Lynch, Ruth Lawrence, and Rimeka Haynes to contact the St Ann’s Bay police at 972-2211, police emergency 119 number or the nearest police station.

 

Barbados could become first green economy in the West, minister says

Chris Sinckler
Chris Sinckler

[BRIDGETOWN, Barbados] – Finance Minister Chris Sinckler believes Barbados could become the first green economy in the Western hemisphere.

He says the country’s efforts to date on climate mitigation and adaptation were admirable and, as it moves into 50 years of Independence, it had “an unparalleled opportunity” to take that title.

And he says the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – a multilateral fund that provides grants and concessional loans for projects and programmes that enable developing countries to boost sustainable development, whilst curbing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change – offers an unprecedented window of financing that could advance the country’s quest.

“I truly welcome the progress made to date in the operationalization of the GCF. The Government of Barbados places great hope in this new and modern institution and believes that the GCF has the potential to deliver transformative, adaptive and mitigating climate project results. We also see the GCF as a pillar of the post-2015 climate regime that will channel concessional resources that should be accessible and responsive to our needs and priorities,” the minister said as he addressed a a National Sensitization and Readiness Consultation on the GCF Readiness Programme.

“Successful securitization of GCF concessional resources can facilitate our quest to become an economically-viable, socially-balanced and environmentally-friendly modern economy.”

Barbados represents small island developing states (SIDS) on the Board of the GCF and Sinckler gave the assurance that this advantage would be leveraged to advance the country’s readiness programme, and assist stakeholders to get quality projects in the pipeline for the future consideration of the Fund.

He suggested that every opportunity should be utilized to transform Barbados’ economy through the development of high impact, country-owned and innovative projects.

The finance minister added that it was necessary for Barbados to fast track a robust readiness programme to provide support and facilitate successful adaptation and mitigation projects.

Sinckler’s comments came as he warned that the threat of climate change is “real, serious and growing” and therefore requires urgent attention.

“All the data on climate change is pointing to the fact that no nation, and certainly not the ones in the Caribbean, can escape the impact of climate change. Living with climate change has become our new normal and, if not addressed effectively, could become an irreversible catastrophe,” he warned.

 

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