Caribbean News Round-up

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Coast guard charged with baby’s shock death

child[TT Guardian] – A 33-year-old able-bodied seaman with the T&T Coast Guard has been charged with the death of 23-month-old Kristha Knutt.

Emile Garraway, of Erica Street, Rock City, Laventille, was charged on Friday night with manslaughter by officers of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations.

Garraway is expected to appear before a Port-of-Spain magistrate tomorrow.

Baby Knutt was pronounced dead at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital on December 7 after being brought in unconscious by a relative.

Doctors observed marks on the baby’s body and an autopsy later revealed that Knutt died of blunt craniocerebral trauma, aspiration pneumonia and electrocution. It was revealed that a male relative attempted to use live wires from a fan on the child in a botched attempt to revive her.

She was laid to rest at the Tunapuna cemetery after a funeral service held at the Saint Rose Funeral Home, Basilon Street, Tunapuna.

Knutt’s mother was released from police custody on Wednesday night and it was reported that she viewed the child’s body but was not present at the funeral.

The investigation was spearheaded by Supt Corbett and included Asst Supt Nurse, along with other officers. WPC Lezama of the Belmont Police Station laid the charge.

 

14-Y-O boy charged with father’s murder

murder[Jamaica Observer] – A 14-year-old boy is to appear in court next week to answer to murder charges.

The victim: his father – 37-year-old Dwight McKenzie of Cambridge Street in Franklyn Town, St Andrew.

The police say another person is also to be charged in connection with McKenzie’s murder.

Reports from the police are that while McKenzie was scolding his son on Monday, December 7, a knife was brought into play and he was stabbed.

McKenzie succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. His son was then arrested and charged with murder on Friday.

The police say the boy is to appear in the Family Court on Friday, December 18.

 

Kamla: Pay the people the money

Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Kamla Persad-Bissessar

[TT Newsday] – Public servants would have been given their backpay if the People’s Partnership government was still in office. This was how former Prime Minister, now Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar weighed in on the backpay issue following the announcement in Parliament by Finance Minister Colm Imbert on Friday that Government did not have the money to give the public servants and members of the protective services their due in time for Christmas .

He however promised that all arrears and backpay will be paid early next year through bonds raised by private banks .

In his presentation, Imbert put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the past regime saying that his Government’s inability to pay was because of the overspending of the former government. That, Imbert said, led to a “an unforeseen cash flow challenge,” leaving the People’s National Movement (PNM) Government strapped for cash to pay workers their just due .

Persad-Bissessar’s position expressed in a news release yesterday was: pay workers their backpay – it’s priority .

She said “The failure to meet this obligation is something that would never have been allowed to happen under the administration I led, because we took responsibility .

We planned and worked by a clear economic plan. The Government I led would never have allowed the nation to pay for a minister’s failure, as the Rowley PNM is now doing.” Persad-Bissessar who was not in Parliament on Friday for the Finance Minister’s announcement said it all came down to Imbert and the Government .

She believes the situation should not be the way it is as the Dr Keith Rowley-led Government came into office knowing the impact of falling oil prices and did not act accordingly. Persad-Bissessar said Imbert should have moved immediately to address the borrowing limits so he would have been able to pay the money for Christmas .

The former Prime Minister’s statement continued, “The Rowley Government came to office fully aware of the impact of falling energy prices on the nation’s revenue, so even if Mr Imbert’s claims were true, the fact is that it was the Government’s responsibility to assess our financial situation, find the alternatives and make appropriate arrangements to meet its obligations.” Persad-Bissessar was not ready to buy into Imbert’s excuses yesterday saying the Finance Minister did not have a plan .

According to the Opposition Leader, “He (Imbert) said part of the reason for the failure to meet backpay commitments was due to the overdraft reaching its limit at the Central Bank, and when told (in Parliament) that former prime minister (Persad-Bissessar) said that in-flows amounting to $12 billion were due to come in the Treasury, he said all did not come in. Even if we assumed that the said inflows were legitimately delayed, the minister should have moved immediately to address the borrowing limits so that he would have been able to pay the backpay for Christmas.” The Opposition Leader’s release went on to suggest: “One option in the short term (until the delayed payments came in), is that they could have used the increased borrowing limits and raised short term financing in the market, to pay the salaries .

“They could then have subsequently issued a long term bond to retire that short term debt, if they so chose, or, use the delayed inflows when they came in. This would have made available immediate funding to address whatever impediments existed.” Saying that her government was faced with similar problems like billions of dollars in budget overruns, debts, missed payments and unsettled wage negotiations when they entered office in 2010, Persad-Bissessar said rather than complaining about it and making excuses, they addressed the problem .

“We moved to meet all obligations, and made it our priority to ensure salaries and backpay were fully covered,” she said. “The people must always be a government’s priority.” “But the present situation is what happens when you are not ready for the job of government,” Persad-Bissessar added. “You spend three months doing nothing, making excuses for things you failed to do, and now you are making the people pay the price for your incompetence. This Government is clearly not up to the challenge .

Following three months of wreaking havoc with the nation’s economic stability, Mr Imbert is now saying that the Government has no money and cannot pay the back-pay due to public servants .

We would have made backpay a priority.” Persad-Bissessar stated that $3.8 billion was due from the Trinidad Generation Unlimited; $1.5 billion from the NGL IPO and $6 billion in tax payments. Imbert, however, has said the necessary arrangements for these revenue streams were never made by the Persad-Bissessar administration

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