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Billionaire heir to Coca-Cola fortune jailed for drugs

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) – A Greek billionaire and heir to the Coca-Cola fortune remained in police custody here yesterday after making an appearance in court following his arrest on drug-related charges last Thursday.

Alkiviades “Alki” David, 50, was arrested by the Anti-Narcotics Unit at the Robert L Bradshaw International Airport after a search of his private jet uncovered more than EC$1.3 million worth of cannabis on board.

David was charged for possession with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug, was originally released on EC$30,000 cash bail and ordered to surrender all his travel documents and report to a police station daily.

But following his court appearance on Tuesday, his bail was increased to EC$300,000 and bail conditions changed due to new evidence submitted by the police.

The media were barred from entering the court building and some media houses here are reporting that David’s lawyers were seeking an urgent sitting of the High Court.

During a news conference on Monday, David claimed the plants on board his private aircraft were “all hemp” and were intended for a new venture to start a legal cannabis business in the region.

He and Chase Ergen, the heir to a satellite fortune, announced in April that they formed a consortium aimed at developing the cannabis business in St Kitts-Nevis, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.

A government statement issued here yesterday said several citizens were upset at the tone of David during the news conference saying that “over the last several hours launched a damning and disrespectful attack on the country’s Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris.

“In one instance Alki David said with a clenched fist, “Mr Harris, PM, you’re going to get a fisting.” He added, “Literally a legal fisting like no other.”

The statement quoted Prime Minister Harris as saying recently that “non-nationals would not be permitted to secure advantages over nationals of our federation as we set about to build out a marijuana industry”.

 

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Cop denies knowing reputed gang leader

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CHIEF Justice Bryan Sykes was amazed yesterday by an admission from Corporal Lloyd Knight that he had never heard the name Uchence Wilson or known of the Uchence Wilson gang before appearing in court in connection with the matter.

The detective corporal, who has worked at five different police stations in the St Catherine North Police Division over his 23-year career, was arrested and charged in December 2017 for allegedly being a member of the criminal organisation and for allegedly benefiting from the gang.

Knight also denied knowing any of the alleged members of the gang, except Wilson’s girlfriend Shantol Gordon.

“I did not know of him before this case started,” he said under cross-examination.

See full story at www.jamaicaobserver.com

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Caricom conducting CSME sensitisation meetings in Jamaica

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A delegation from the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat is here for a series of engagements with the various stakeholders including the private sector and the labour movement on the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour, and services across the 15-member regional grouping, and the week-long sensitisation programme is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

A statement issued by the Guyana-based secretariat said the Caricom representatives will today participate in the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 procurement seminar where Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke will address delegates on the Government’s procurement initiative for medium small and micro enterprises.

It said that Gladys Young, officer in charge of the Caricom Secretariat’s CSME Unit, will make a presentation on the ‘Future of Regional Procurement’.

A workshop on ‘Demystifying the CSME Regimes: Seizing the opportunities — addressing the challenges’ will take place on Wednesday at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI).

The Caricom delegation will also meet with officials from Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Media Association of Jamaica; and Press Association of Jamaica.

– CMC

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Let the public be the judge

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Let the public be the judge

Phillips mum on Integrity Commission’s failure to release Andrew Holness’ statutory declaration

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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OPPOSITION Leader Dr Peter Phillips says he is leaving it to members of the public to form their opinions on the failure of the Integrity Commission to publish a summary of the statutory declaration of Prime Minister Andrew Holness for last year.

Under the law the commission is to publish in the Jamaica Gazette the summary of the statutory declarations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition annually.

Government officials have claimed that the commission sought clarity on an aspect of the declaration provided by Holness and this has already been provided.

But up to late yesterday there was no indication that the commission had published the information.

The commission, on July 12, published information that showed Phillips and his family with total income of $53.8 million, assets of $60.4 million, plus US$61.5 thousand in saving accounts, US$502,000 in securities and US$19.7 thousand in life insurance cash value.

Following a media briefing where he provided further details on a crime summit being planned by the Opposition for July 30, Phillips told the Jamaica Observer that he would not want to get into any extensive discussion on why the Integrity Commission has so far failed to gazette the declaration of the prime minister.

“The expression of concern should be that expressed by the Integrity Commission rather than myself because then it would descend into a matter of political point scoring,” said Phillips.

“The law provides that the Integrity Commission is the watchdog, the protector of the country’s national institutions — our parliament, our civil service, security forces, and the like. It should be the one that discharges that responsibility in a non-partisan fashion which enables it to secure the widest possible support among the general public,” added Phillips.

Earlier Phillips told members of the media that the Opposition was disappointed with the failure of the Holness Administration to convene a meeting with stakeholders to discuss Jamaica’s high murder rate and criminality, as agreed in the Vale Royal Talks some seven months ago.

“Given the fact that Jamaica has had seven states of emergency and a continuing high murder rate, we can wait no longer to convene a meeting of stakeholders as envisaged by the Vale Royal Agreement,” said Phillips.

“We consider it vital to convene the national stakeholders meeting now to agree on a national position so that all stakeholders can embrace the decisions and support their implementation,” added Phillips.

According to Phillips, the crime meeting will be a national effort, non-partisan in tone and content, and one that delivers tangible results.

“We are not about scoring political points,” declared Phillips.

He said the meeting will be convened under the theme, ‘Securing a safer Jamaica’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre and will assemble key stakeholders including the church, the private sector, and academics.

“I should point out that I have extended invitations to the minister of justice (Delroy Chuck), the attorney general (Marlene Malahoo-Forte), the minister of national security (Horace Chang), the Jamaica Labour Party, and we do hope that they will join us in this non-partisan effort to fight crime,” said Phillips.

“The meeting’s objective is to highlight causative factors and identify possible solutions which may include a set of sustainable, actionable, and results-orientated measures which could ultimately bring the dire crime situation under control,” he added.

The Opposition leader said a report of the consultations, with recommendations, will be presented to the Government, “which we hope will be accepted and implemented”.

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