Caribbean Roundup


The United States Coast Guard says crew members aboard the Cutter Alligator off-loaded cocaine valued $5.1 million in St Petersburg, Florida.

The Coast Guard said the cocaine was seized in support of Operation Caribe Venture. During a routine patrol a Customs and Border Protection Officers of Air and Marine aircraft detected a 25-foot “go-fast” vessel in the Caribbean Sea.

Coast Guard officials report that an armed Coast Guard helicopter crew aboard observed suspicious packages on board the “go-fast” Vessel.

The armed helicopter crew employed warning shots and then disabling fire to stop the vessel.

The Coast Guard said three suspected smugglers aboard the go-fast vessel were detained and later turned over to law enforcement officials.


Police had shot and killed escape prisoner Trevor Jacobs Jr. in Antigua recently.

He succumbed to his injuries he suffered during his recapture recently, hours after his escape from Her Majesty’s Prison.

Police said Jacobs was shot when they attempted to recapture him and he later died at the Mount St John’s Medical Center from his injuries during an altercation with the police.

Police acting on a tip came across a prisoner in a house in Green Hill where they confronted Jacobs who was armed with a cutlass. A confrontation took place between Jacobs and the police during which he was shot.

He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Jacobs, who was already serving a sentence was charged in August this year for the alleged murder of another inmate.


British tourists are being warned of the dangers of the chikunguyana virus that is sweeping the Caribbean.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, “British tourists in the Caribbean are being struck down by a debilitating and potentially deadly virus carried by mosquitoes. An unprecedented outbreak of the chinkunguyana virus is affecting islands, including Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent , where many U.K. holidaymakers flock during the festive season,” it added.

The newspaper said thousands have been hit by the illness, which leaves victims bedridden for days and the “more vulnerable victims have died.”

“There were fears that British tourists may not realize the dangers until it is too late, amid reports that tour operators are playing down the problem,” the report said.

Chikunguyana, which is contracted through mosquito bites, causes a sudden onset of fever and agonizing joint pain, particularly affected the hands, wrists, ankles and feet.

British tourists and ex-pats are among hundreds of thousands of cases reported since the beginning of the outbreak last year.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency reports that, as of last month, 739, 420 suspected cases and ll8 deaths have been reported in the Caribbean and Americas.


Bermuda’s LF Wade International Airport will get a new terminal building at a cost of US$200 million.

This was disclosed by Finance Minister Bob Richards who told a news conference recently that government had signed the redevelopment agreement with the Canadian Commercial Cooperation (CCC).

He said it was expected the project would generate “hundreds” of construction jobs, hailing it as “one of the most important capital projects ever undertaken on our island shores” after signing the agreement with CCC’s Luc Alrai.

Groundbreaking could start as early next year, with the project expected to take around three years to complete, Richards said.

He said the project would play a crucial role in the renaissance of the Bermuda economy under a public-private partnership with CCC.

“We will ensure the project is built on time, on budget and on schedule,” he said.

The new terminal will be built close to the current one which suffered roof damage during two storms, Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo.


Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Irwin La Rocque says problems related to the freedom of movement across the region have undermined the credibility of the regional body.

La Rocque, in an address at the University of Guyana’s graduation ceremony recently acknowledged the difficulties facing Caribbean nationals.

“I am acutely aware of the difficulties still being experienced at the ports of entry in some of our member states by those who seek to exercise their rights of free movement and to hassle-free travel. All Caricom nationals have the right to automatic stay of six months, subject only to circumscribed exceptions” he said.

The Caricom secretary general said the problems are being addressed and “all the enabling structures in place, to see them fully, consistently and equitably enacted enforced and implements.”

La Rocque added that the region must remember the outcome of the case involving Jamaican Shanique Myrie and stated the training of the relevant points-of-entry officials is continuing to minimize difficulties.

He made reference to the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that provided for the free movement of skilled Caricom nationals.


Jamaica’s Opposition Leader Andre Holness has reiterated his Jamaica Labor Party’s stance on the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice as the country’s final court of appeal.

Holness told supporters at the party’s annual conference recently that the party has no interest in abandoning the U.K.-based Privy Council, at least for now.

“This is an example how not to use foreign policy. One of our great assets is that our final court is an internationally-recognized court of arbitration and appeal and we want to take ourselves from it,” he said.

The statement from the leader follows a call from Foreign Affairs Minister Al Nicholson for support towards the island going with the court.

Nicholson said the reasons for moving away from the Privy Council “are so relevant, easily understood and everybody out to have known that. But the most important of it all is affordability,” he said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said based on the fact that the ruling People’s National Party has two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, it is expected that the bill will be passed.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia Police Commissioner Vernon Francis has spoken out against vigilante justice in the aftermath of the attack in the capital Castries recently by irate mob of youths on a man accused of snatching a woman’s purse.

The man, who was pursued by about 12 men from the La Clery community, northeast of the capital, sought refuge in a local supermarket, but was cornered, beaten, and tied up.

He was later handed over to the police who took him to hospital for medical treatment.

Francois told reporters that the police would like to discourage such actions by members of the public, warning that if people take matters in their own hands and exact revenge, they will be held responsible for the injury or death of the person.

While acknowledging that citizens are frustrated and want to contribute to dealing with the crime situation, the commissioner stressed that there was due process.


Suriname has barred a Dutch journalist from entering the country one year after he participated in the “kidnaping” of a little boy from a school and taken back to his father in the Netherlands.

John van den Heuvel was preparing for a flight to Suriname when he received an e-mail from KLM airline that it had been instructed to bar him from its flights.

Suriname did not provide an explanation as to why Vande Heuvel is not welcome, but a KLM spokesman said the airline would not make statements about an individual passenger.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested an explanation from Suriname’s embassy in The Hague.

Van den Heuvel angered many Suriname nationals last year when he aided Nizaad Nabi in kidnapping his son Nishayad.

The presenter of the television program “Ontvoerd” (“Kidnapped”) follows and assists parents who are out to retrieve their children taken out of the Netherland.

Nizaad traveled to Suriname snatched his son from school and then slipped into French Guiana from where he caught a flight to the Netherlands. The entire process was filmed by Ven de Heuvel’s team for an edition of “Ontvoerd.”

Suriname’s prosecutor’s office said it was considering legal proceedings against the journalist for kidnapping.


The Joint Trade Union Movement leader and Oilfield Trade Works Union president general Ancil Roget has announced plans for another amalgamation of civil, political, social to march through the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad to protest allegations of rampant corruption in the People’s Partnership government.

The march, planned for Dec. 1, 2014 will be the second mobilization efforts to highlight the actions of the “corrupt” administration led by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Speaking at a news conference in Port of Spain, Roget declared that corruption is now spelt “with a capital K.”

The collaborative march, Roget said, will follow the same route as the March 23, 2014 when several union leaders marched with the opposition People’s National Movement, the Movement for Social Justice, members of the Independent Liberal Party and a number of civil and social groups.

He said nothing has been done to persons who have been accused, or who are involved in state corruption and so the country continues to suffer.

Roget listed several examples of corruption, saying the net effect is poorer service for the tax-paying citizens.

— compiled by Azad Ali