Caribbean News in Brief — September 17-09

PROBE WELCOMED

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Attorney General John Jeremie has welcomed a probe into allegations of a political deal between Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Jamaat al Muslimeen leader, Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr says he made the deal with Manning in order to void a TT$15 million fine for damage to government property during the Jamaat al Muslimeen’s attempted coup in 1990.

Jeremie said he welcomed the probe “as an opportunity to demonstrate to the people…that we are fit to govern”.

The nation’s director of public prosecutions ordered the investigation following an observation by the British Privy Council.

The Privy Council had thrown out a case brought by Abu Bakr over the issue, but said the seriousness of allegations made against Manning warranted an investigation.

STATING CASE

Bridgetown, Barbados: The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Bar Association wants regional governments to amend their constitutions to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the region’s final court of appeal.

Barbados and Guyana are the only Caribbean countries that recognize the CCJ, which was established in 2005, as their final appellate body.

OECS Bar Association president Tapley Seaton says they are satisfied with the court’s rulings since its establishment four years ago and Caribbean governments should take steps to replace the London-based Privy Council with the regional court.

“The question of a final court of appeal is up in the air simply because of the state of our constitutions,” Seaton said.

CITING DEPORTEES

Kingston, Jamaica: National Security Minister Senator Dwight Nelson says criminal deportees continue to be a significant problem and are involved in gang activity sweeping the country.

Addressing the Clarendon Crime Prevention Committee last weekend, Nelson said some deportees have brought back criminal techniques learned abroad.

“We have had 2,000 deportees come back to this country from the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada since the year started and these countries, particularly the UK, is deporting an average of 50 every month back to Jamaica and this has contributed to the gang culture in Jamaica,” Nelson said. “Eight per cent of the murders committed by the gun are committed by gangs in this country.”

Nelson warned that the authorities will be going after the wealth of these criminal gangs which have strong international connections.

“You see a $60 million house and a $12 million car but when you see the tax registrar you don’t see his name,” Nelson said. “We have a law, a law called the Proceeds of Crime Act and in one month between June and July we were able to seize J$20 million, US$2.5 million and £98,000 from one gang.”

CALL FOR HELP

Nassau, Bahamas: Authorities in the Bahamas say Haiti needs more help from the international community to curb the number of illegal migrants leaving Port-au-Prince.

Each year hundreds of Haitians risk their lives in search of a better life abroad. Many of them live in the Bahamas, but the Bahamian government is now tightening its borders.

Illegal immigration has become a major issue in the Bahamas, which has been severely affected by the global financial crisis.

Bahamas National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest says the large number of illegal immigrants is putting a strain on the island’s social services, particularly health care and education.

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