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Sufficiency Adjourned for Blind Defendant; case still stuck

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Reporter

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 19, 2024 – WOODLY VICTORIAN, aka Smokie Barnes, the incarcerated blind man, left the prison video link room to return to his cell so disappointed when the learned Chief Justice said, she was adjourning his matter to the next Sufficiency Hearing in February because she has not yet heard back from the Registrar as to his findings or decision regarding reassigning the defendant another counsel.

Barnes has explained that he does not wish to proceed with Mr. Ashwood Forbes as legal representation.

At the sufficiency hearing on the first Friday in December 2023, before the court closed for its Christmas holiday break, Victorian poured out his heart to the CJ about how long he has been in prison without a sufficiency hearing.  He had shared that he had letters written and sent to the Court, over a year explaining his situation yet his case has not progressed “one bit” since being remanded to His Majesty’s Prison(HMP).

As the CJ had promised him faithfully in early December that on his return on Friday January 5th 2024, his matter would proceed and the issue concerning an attorney would be resolved, Smokie had high expectations.

Her Ladyship also promised to send the learned senior Deputy Registrar to the prison to take all the relevant information regarding his complaints but the CJ, on January 5 informed the accused that she had heard nothing as yet regarding the investigation ordered by her.

Therefore it was back to prison, one more month for Barnes.

Mrs. Nayasha Hatmin appeared on behalf of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in this matter, no charges were read or mentioned at the proceedings, because, the accused awaits legal representation through legal aid.

The sufficiency hearing for Woodly Victorian, aka Smokie Barnes is set for February 2, 2024.

Government

Proposed Amendments for Business Licensing in TCI heard at June 4 Cabinet Meeting  

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor Anya Williams chaired the 17th meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday June 4th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members of Cabinet were present with the exception of Governor H.E. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, Attorney General Hon. Rhondalee Knowles and the Ministers of Home Affairs and Public Safety and Utilities.  Ms. Yaa McCartney attended in the capacity of Acting Attorney General.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Received a presentation from the Ministry of Finance on the proposed amendments to Business Licensing which was being put forward as a result of the consultations that had taken place and agreed next steps.

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Caribbean News

No Room for Failure; Leaders report to UN Security Council on Haiti Stabilisation Mission

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

July 19, 2024 – The new Haitian Government says its focus is on addressing gang violence and food insecurity, ensuring free elections through constitutional and political reform, and rebuilding public trust in the police.

Prime Minister Garry Conille told the United Nations (UN) Security Council recently  that the newly deployed Kenyan police will be crucial to helping control gangs, and moving toward democratic elections, as he described their initial days in the capital “extremely, extremely positive.

“More than ever Haiti must mobilise all the necessary and available resources to make this transition the last one, a transition that could set it on the path toward peace, security and sustainable development,” the PM told the Council.

With the help of the international police force, PM Conille is tasked with stabilising the country in preparation for democratic elections in February 2026. He said Haiti intends to “redefine our approaches” to build “strong and effective institutions” by the time the police leave Haiti.

In February, gangs launched coordinated attacks on government infrastructure, including roads, prisons, and the Port-au-Prince airport, eventually leading then Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign in April.

Violence on the island has resulted in the displacement of 580,000 people, more than half of whom are children, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The World Food Program reports that more than four million Haitians face food insecurity.

The Prime Minister told the Council that the international police force will require “close coordination and constant communication between all the parties involved to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

Meanwhile, head of the Kenya-led international force, tasked with curbing gang violence in Haiti, Godfrey Otunge said on Monday that “there’s no room for failure” and that the United Nations-backed police mission was committed to ensuring democratic elections in the Caribbean nation.

“We have a job that we are committed to do, and we intend to achieve this by working closely with Haitian authorities and local and international partners dedicated to a new Haiti.”

The U.N.-backed mission, to which the United States has pledged over $300 million in support, will have 1000 police officers from Kenya, and will be joined by police from the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Jamaica.

The force will total 2,500 personnel.

Haitian police chief Normil Rameau also addressed the nation on Monday, saying the U.N.-backed mission is focused on reclaiming all areas from gang control, reinstating police presence in regions lacking authority and assisting Haitians displaced by the gangs to return home.

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Caribbean News

Hurricane Help; Money donated to Jamaica, Barbados, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia and Grenada

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – The relief efforts in countries affected by Hurricane Beryl have been bolstered by a donation of US$800,000, from the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Executive President of the financial institution, Sergio Diaz-Granados said it is hoped that the funds will assist needs during the “critical period” in the immediate aftermath of a “very powerful and destructive Hurricane. The grant serves to address this emergency, through the designated Ministries and official Governmental channels,” in the five countries, he said.

Barbados and Jamaica will each receive $250,000, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will all receive $100,000. The Bank said it is essential that global awareness be elevated about the vulnerability to Climate Change in the Caribbean.

It said “decisive action” needs to be taken to tackle the effects of Climate Change, with emphasis on policies and investments in adaptation, as well as risk management tools, and it will continue to work closely with international partners, to gather data, produce specialised knowledge, innovate, and offer financial solutions to strengthen resilience in the region.

In early July, Hurricane Beryl ripped across the Caribbean, with winds of 150mph tearing roofs from buildings, uprooting trees, and devastating the islands in its path. At least three islands reported that more than 90% of the homes and buildings either destroyed or severely damaged, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency reported. All three are within the chain of Grenadine Islands, where the hurricane roared into the Caribbean on the southern end of the Windwards, between St. Vincent and Grenada.

Since the devastation, the United Nations (UN) and its partners have launched a US$9 million response plan to provide urgent humanitarian aid to 43,000 people in Grenada and Sanit Vincent and the Grenadines.

UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Simon Springett said “swift action” is imperative to meet the “pressing needs” of people whose homes and livelihoods have vanished overnight, he said.

Mr. Springett, who visited Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, after they were struck by Hurricane Beryl, said that the devastation is “immense and heartbreaking,” and he spoke to many families, and It is likely that utilities will take a long time to be restored,” the Resident Coordinator stated.

The response plan will help to both support immediate life-saving and early recovery efforts. The UN and its partners, who are supporting the Governments’ response, have identified shelter, food and health care as being among the top priorities.

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