CJ denies extra time, DPP has to present SIPT succession plan by March 1 or trial is over
#TurksandCaicos, February 16, 2021 – The historic nature of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team trial has made advancing in the major case one for deep consideration, in light of the sudden passing of Justice Paul Harrison there is a dilemma about how the seven-year-old trial will progress as Harrison, was both judge and jury.
Lead prosecutor in the SIPT case, Andrew Mitchell, QC appeared in person at the sitting Monday morning which was held at the SIPT courtroom in Providenciales.
Mitchell, to onlookers in the court and those tuned in via video link, seemed to struggle with a convincing reason why he and the Director of Public Prosecutions should be given more time to convey the future of the trial.
The session ended with the Chief Justice firmly committing the Prosecution to a 14-day re-appearance when the succession plan will either be presented or the case will be struck.
Bail for the eight defendants was also extended.
Chief Justice Mabel Agyeman now presides over the controversial government corruption matter and rejected the request for more time for the DPP to establish the way forward in the Crown vs Michael Misick and others.
Mitchell tried to secure 21-days in order for Eugene Otuonye, QC, Director of the Public Prosecutions Office to engineer the logistics for continuity of the trial, which is notoriously known as the most high profile, high cost trial in TCI history.
Expenditure over the years – in a conservative estimate – have come in at well over a $110 million dollars. The judicial process which brought criminal and civil charges against as many as 11 individuals, but is now dwindled to eight islanders, has long worn out its local welcome.
Residents, who in 2008 were eager to have Michael Misick and his so called “cronies” face justice, are now despondent.
The trial is seen by many as nothing more than a wasted effort which has made lawyers in the case filthy rich; and proven a travesty of justice with the TCI public purse, ravaged by the bills for luxury housing, high cost security, a renovation for a special courthouse and expensive attorney fees, including those for the defense teams.
The Special Investigation and Prosecution Team trial has been stymied by a string of pre-trial legal arguments spanning 2014 through to 2016.
Helen Garlick, the original lead prosecutor hired in 2009 vacated the post in 2017.
The proceedings were further waylaid by natural disasters including hurricanes Irma and Maria and most recently the Coronavirus Pandemic; which froze activity at the tailor-made court room for the bulk of 2020.
Proceedings reconvened in January 2021 with a plea deal approved for Lillian Boyce; now a freed defendant who is ordered by the court to pay a one million dollar fine in a suspended sentence. Some $700k was delivered up front.
It has been one week since the death of the retired president of the Jamaica Court of Appeal, Justice Paul Harrison, who had also come under fire in the early days of the process.
Harrison’s age and stamina were called into question by the embattled former premier Michael Misick.
Nonetheless, the Justice remained on after being hired in 2014 to preside over the trial which would for the first time in Turks and Caicos function without a jury.
The celebrated Paul Harrison passed away in his native Jamaica on Sunday February 7, 2021 after a short bout with illness and at the age of 83.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has the constitutional duty to determine if and how the matter will proceed.
The Chief Justice has made it clear however that if there is no determination by the DPP by March 1, 2021 when court is scheduled to reconvene; she is prepared to strike the matter which would end the trial.
What’s at LJMMA? President explains snazzy equipment
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Situated on a Cay of its own, the LJM Maritime Academy (LJMMA) is the Bahamas’ only school of its kind and with sponsorships from Campbell Shipping, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, Disney Cruises, and more it boasts an extremely well-equipped campus. The Turks and Caicos Community College (TCICC) is now partnering with the LJMMA to bring those amenities to TCI students through TCICC.
Brendamae Cleare, President of the institution, joined in on a maritime stakeholder meeting introducing the partnership to the Turks and Caicos’ residents on Tuesday, March 21, detailing everything that the LJMMA had to offer.
“We have– classrooms, workshops, a bridge simulator room, a crane simulator, an engine simulator and we also have a GMDSS simulator and radar simulator as well,” she explained.
The simulator building was commissioned to the tune of $30 million and is only in phase one. Also included alongside the fancy simulators, which give students hands-on experience with the boat engines and cranes that they will work with in the future, there are temporary administrative offices, libraries, nurse’s stations and more.
Other buildings on the Cay include, a firefighting simulator and the school even has lifeboat simulators, which mimic what it would be like pushing the lifeboat off the side of a huge vessel and maneuvering it in the ocean.
The Maritime Academy was birthed in 2011 when executives at Campbell Shipping including Lowell J. Mortimer (which is the only Bahamian-owned shipping company Cleare says), realized that there were no Bahamians working on their ships and were determined to change that.
“We had the college of the Bahamas, which is now the University of the Bahamas. We had a technical and vocational institution. We had banking and tourism colleges, but nothing like maritime but [we said] why not maritime?”
And the LJMMA so was born, named after its founder Mortimer. In its first year, it fielded over 180 applications and accepted just over 40 students. It is semi-regimented, which means strict rules for students, just as they would have to abide by on vessels.
The institution is accredited by the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas, the Bahamas Maritime Authority, the Institute of Materials, Minerals, Mining and others.
Cleare said the vision of the school was to become a globally recognized institution of excellence, in maritime education and training.
Negril Benefits From Improvement Projects
#MontegoBay, March 27, 2023 – The Ministry of Tourism and its public bodies have undertaken a variety of improvement projects, to enhance Negril’s standing as a tourist destination.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said since 2017, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has committed $465 million to projects in Negril, including road rehabilitation, beautification works, drain cleaning, renovation of the Negril Fire Station and the Hanover Parish Church.
“We can also include the purchase of an ambulance for the Negril Fire Station for use in the resort area, the upgrading of the main community centre and the installation of the popular Negril Jam-Iconic sign, just to name a few,” Mr. Bartlett stated.
The Minister was speaking at a Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy consultation meeting, held at the Negril Community Centre, Norman Manley Boulevard in Westmoreland on March 23.
Mr. Bartlett noted that the government is aware that there is still much work to be done particularly concerning the improper disposal of garbage, harassment, crime and violence, and non-compliance with rules, regulations, and licensing requirements.
“Be mindful however, that an enhanced Negril space is a collective responsibility and many of these issues are social, rather than economic and require a shift in the mindset of the people and businesses that reside in and benefit from the town’s tourism economy,” he stated.
Mr. Bartlett informed that the Ministry and its public bodies are willing to work with stakeholders to address “these issues and tackle Negril’s social, civic, and environmental concerns in a tangible way”.
He added that the Negril Destination Assurance Committee will be central to this process.
In the meantime, the Minister said Negril is an integral part of the tourism product, bringing in one-third of all tourism revenue and being the island’s second largest direct employer of tourism workers.
Mr. Bartlett stated that over the decades, Negril has become one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world, with its unique features, including the well-known seven mile stretch of beach.
“The ‘capital of casual’ is the place to do everything or nothing at all and leave knowing you have had a great trip,” Mr. Bartlett said.
Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach has been voted many times over as one of the best in the world, known for its dramatic sunsets, silky white sands, clear turquoise waters, and spontaneous island spirit.
Contact: Garwin Davis
JAMAICA: Loads Of Fun In Store For Coffee Festival Patrons
#Kingston, March 27, 2023 – Lots of fun and exciting activities are in store for patrons attending the sixth annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival on Saturday (March 25) in Newcastle, St. Andrew.
Director, Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley, told JIS News that the event will feature diverse coffee by-product displays, including candles, rubs, scrubs, and foods.
“We will [also] be having a mixology competition, which is coffee with an infused liquor, [and] we will be having barista competition, which is the different ways in which coffee is made,” she informed.
Mrs. McDonald Riley pointed out that the Coffee Festival will not be just about drinking the popular beverage.
“We have over 35 persons who will be showcasing different coffee products [in the Festival Marketplace],” she indicated, adding that there will also be a Kids Village for children to enjoy various fun-filled activities.
Mrs. McDonald Riley said another major highlight is the entertainment package, which will feature performances by Etana, DBurnz, the Silverbirds Steelpan Orchestra, and the Charles Town Maroons.
Persons attending the event are required to park at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) in Papine, and utilise the arranged shuttle service.
“We have some beautiful shuttle buses that will be taking you up in the hills, and we have tour operators. Once you take that shuttle bus, there will be excitement. The idea is that you’ll be given a tour by a certified tour guide, who will be able to tell you all of what’s happening in that area,” Mrs. McDonald Riley advised, adding that the journey will be an interesting 45 minutes.
Tickets are available for purchase online at www.touchstonelink.com or from authorised ticket vendors, including Blue Brews Bistro, Rituals Coffee House, Starbucks, Cannon Ball Café, Café Blue, Island Coffees Café, and Deaf Can Coffee.
The prices are $5,000 for adults and $3,000 for children, 12 years and older.
Contact: Shanna K. Salmon
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