Caribbean Round-Up


CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has rejected claims that CARICOM is in crisis and that its very existence is in question.

La Rocque made the statement recently when questioned by the media on the matter during a function at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port of Spain hosted by the T&T Coalition of Services Industries at the time.

Referring to a report submitted by a Project Management team to CARICOM Heads of Government Conference recently that “CARICOM is in crisis,” LaRocque said, “I categorically reject that CARICOM is in crisis.” Noting that “crisis” refers to something bad or fatal, he said the matter was mentioned mostly in the opening lines of the consultancy’s report.

“It is most unfortunate. There was probably a target audience,” he said.

LaRocque admitted, though, “We (CARICOM) have challenges and we have to find solutions rapidly. I will not stand and say everything is honky dory.”


A judge in the Bahamas has dropped murder charges against a Pennsylvania teenager who had been accused of killing her mother in the Caribbean island chain.

Judge Roy Jones said prosecutors did not have sufficient evidence against 18-year-old Madison Pugh. She had been in custody since her extradition from Pennsylvania in May 2010.

Murder charges are still pending against her Bahamian boyfriend, 25-year-old Zyndall McKinney.

It is the second time that the couple has been tried for murder. A judge declared a mistrial last November. The body of Anna Garrison was found wrapped in sheets in the eastern New Providence Island in July 2009.


Barbados recently hosted security chiefs from eight regional central banks.

The two-day event discussed issues pertaining to harmonization of procedures, fighting criminal activity and sharing information and intelligence.

The meeting brought together security chiefs from Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana, Cayman Islands, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, as well as local enforcement and government security agencies.

Coordinator of the conference and Chief of Security of the Central Bank in Barbados, Charles Pile said the meeting covered issues pertaining to regional cooperation, the regional legislative framework as it applies to a central bank’s security operations, security units’ support for departments with a central bank and the management of emergency situations.


Police in Guyana have charged the wife of a New York taxi driver and her cousin with his death.

Hemwattie Majid of Queen’s, New York, appeared in court recently and the case was put off to later this month.

The 36-year-old nurse is not required to enter a plea since it is an indictable charge.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Seelal Persaud said her cousin, Seerojonie Permaul, is accused of contracting two men to kill Shakeel Majid in April this year. Persaud said Majid’s wife is accused of luring him to an isolated beach, where the two men beat him to death.

The two alleged attackers have not been held.

Police have asked the FBI to help investigate whether a multimillion dollar insurance policy on Majid’s life was a motive.


The Haitian government has launched a program that uses mobile phones to transfer cash credits to mothers who keep their children in school.

The program is called “Ti Manman Cheri,” or Creole for “Dear Little Mother.”

It aims to reach l00,000 families in four of the capital’s poorest neighborhoods.

Mothers with children enrolled in the first through six grades can receive up to US$20 a month if they keep their youngsters in school.

Venezuela’s Petrocaribe fund is providing the US$15 million for the program. The fund supplies fuel to Caribbean and Central American countries.

Similar conditional cash transfer programs have been employed in Brazil, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.


Amnesty International has urged Jamaica’s government to appoint an independent fact-finding panel to investigate human rights violations allegedly committed during a bloody state of emergency to catch gang boss Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

The London-based human rights organization complained that “two years have passed with no answers” since the May 2010 emergency was declared and security forces launched an offensive to capture the fugitive leader of the Shower Posse, a notorious Jamaican gang named for its members’ tendency to spray victims with bullets.

Amnesty said an independent inquiry commission with a broad mandate and powers offers “the best way to shed light on the overall scale of the alleged human rights violations.”

“It is now time for the government to take effective measures to prevent such violations being repeated,” the group said.

An investigation by Police Defender Earl Witter into more then 1,000 complaints about rights violations by security forces during the state of emergency is still pending.

St. Kitts

The magnitude 4.0 earthquake recorded off the coast of Antigua on May 11 is a warning that the Caribbean should prepare for a much more severe earthquake to come.

This warning has again been sounded by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad and Tobago.

In confirming an earthquake occurred 50 miles east of Antigua and Barbuda’s capital around 5:00 a.m., seismologist Dr. Joan Latchman said the region has not seen its largest earthquake for more than a century and based on historical data that indicated that the region has recorded a major earthquake every l00 years, the islands of the English-speaking Caribbean were overdue for one.

Dr. Latchman has stated that the pattern in which earthquakes have occurred in the region has been consistent, although authorities cannot predict when and where it will happen.

Speaking during a three-day visit to Nevis to make a presentation on disaster preparedness, Dr. Latchman said Caribbean islands live in an area of relatively high earthquake activity and that an earthquake of 8.0 could hit the Caribbean any day based on the patterns previously recorded.


Two members of the media have been charged with robbing the owner of a Liquor Mart in East Trinidad of more than TT$300,000 recently.

Express Crime Reporter Akile Simon and Caribbean Communications Network (CCN) TV6 cameraman Brendon Alexander along with two security guards from the company appeared in the Arima court on charges of robbery, shooting with intent and impersonating a police officer.

Simon is also charged with uttering a forged document (a search warrant) and with breaking into the home of Justin Maharaj of Arima, on March 17, and stealing a safe containing TT$120,000, US$38,000, Can$500 and $90,000 worth of gold jewelry.

He is also accused of receiving a pistol, which was stolen from the home of former Commissioner of Police Kenny Mohammed last January.

Police alleged that they caught the accused men as they were leaving the liquor mart after receiving a tip-off. The men who were armed were wearing bullet-proof vests.

A TV6 vehicle was parked outside the business place with Alexander behind the wheel waiting for the alleged bandits.

They were remanded in custody.

Compiled by Azad Ali