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Letter to the Editor – Judge in SIPT Trial Setting Precedence on Government Corruption

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#TurksandCaicos, October 4, 2023 – On September 25th, 2023, a significant event unfolded in the Turks and Caicos Islands, leaving an indelible mark in our history.
After an arduous process spanning 15 years and involving substantial financial resources, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands finally received the long-awaited verdict in the initial phase of the former government corruption trial.
Former Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Floyd Hall, was pronounced guilty of bribery, while former Progressive National Party House of Assembly Speaker, party leader, and attorney at law, Clayton Green, was found guilty of money laundering. Now, the Turks and Caicos Islands Chief Justice, Mabel Agyemang, finds herself facing a decision with potential lasting consequences for both current and future government officials and civil servants.
She must determine whether to impose fines, custodial sentences, or both. Should the Chief Justice opt for a fine, it may be perceived by current and future government officials as a mere slap on the wrist, potentially failing to discourage corrupt practices.
Conversely, if custodial sentences are imposed, it would send a resolute message that no government or civil servant is exempt from the law, and they shall face imprisonment for engaging in acts of corruption.
The general public remains stunned by the acquittal of the other two defendants, despite their attempted defrauding of the government.
However, the court has spoken, and they are legally considered not guilty. We now patiently await October 10th, 2023, the sentencing date for the convicted individuals. In most civilized societies, these individuals would likely face imprisonment and substantial financial penalties. Countries such as The Bahamas, Jamaica, Canada, the United States, and the Cayman Islands have stringent penalties for money laundering and bribery offenses.
For instance, in The Bahamas, giving or accepting a bribe from a government official is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, a maximum prison term of four years, or both.
Meanwhile, in the United States, bribery of a public official can result in fines up to three times the value of the bribe and imprisonment for up to 15 years in a federal penitentiary.
The final decision of the judge in this case will establish a precedent, shaping the course of justice and serving as a deterrent for future instances of corruption.

Caribbean News

Calls made for reparations tribunal

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

Barbados ambassador to the Caribbean Community, David Comissiong, reportedly called for an international tribunal to seek reparations for the transatlantic slave trade that had milions of Africans forcibly sold into slavery. He was speaking at the third session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD) in Geneva, Switzerland on April 17, and he expressed that this is needed as there is currently no international court, to deal with the issues of reparations and that having a tribunal would require positive decision by the UN General Assembly.

In support for Reparatory justice, UN Secretary Antonio Guterres in a video message, addressed the forum while acknowledging that racism is still a major issue today’s society

Comissiong’s view was also supported by other nations at the meeting.

 

 

 

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Caribbean News

St Vincent and the Grenadines Cruise Industry Development Efforts

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

St Vincent and the Grenadines is working to expand its cruise tourism industry, joining the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), as a 2024 Destination Development Strategic Partner, as announced at the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami on April 10.

Minister of Tourism Carlos James, at the Conference, spoke on the significance of the partnership.

“It’s a significant strategic move in terms of working closely with the FCCA, to leverage a lot of the support that they can offer to our island. In fact, some of the reviews that we just had from this recent discussion here at Seatrade, are really valuable about how we can go back home to St Vincent and the Grenadines and further develop our product. It puts us closer with the cruise lines, it puts us closer with a lot of the service providers within the industry,” he maintained.

 

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Caribbean News

Jamaica and Bahamas teams named for World Relays

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

The World Relay Championships is coming up and The Bahamas has named its team of 28 members called team 242, according to reports. Jamaica has also named its team of 31. The relays will be held in Nassau, Bahamas at the Thomas Robinson Stadium from May 4 to 5 and about 450 athletes from 36 national teams are expected to compete.

 

 

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