PORT OF SPAIN,
Trinidad, Friday June 7, 2019 – Opposition Leader Kamla
Persad-Bissessar has been cleared of any culpability in connection with the
discovery of marijuana found on her private residence six years ago when she
was Prime Minister.
At a press conference yesterday, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith
said that the small amount of ganja found on the premises could not be
attributed to Persad-Bissessar.
The illegal substance had been found in April 2013, while the then
prime minister was out of the country. It was two years later that the police commissioner
at the time, Stephen Williams, ordered an investigation into an alleged
cover-up of the find.
“If you have full access, control and authority of a home and
what enters it, then there can be some degree of responsibility in the
matter. In this case, based on the investigation, marijuana was found
outside her house. If it were found inside then there would be some degree
of responsibility,” Griffith said yesterday, noting that the marijuana was
found outside Persad-Bissessar’s home and more than 70 people had access to the
yard, including gardeners, drivers, soldiers, police officers and plumbers.
“I wish to clarify that the owner of the property, Kamla
Persad-Bissessar, she is in no way culpable, nor is she in any way accused of
any wrong dealing. And she is clear of any matter pertaining to this
However, the Commissioner stressed that the investigation was not
“There are other matters which have to be dealt with pertaining to
that incident,” he said.
Persad-Bisssessar and her United National Congress (UNC) welcomed the
announcement by Commissioner Griffith but expressed the hope that other open
cases, including ‘Emailgate’ and the fake oil scandal, could also be
In 2013, when in opposition, now Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
took a series of printed emails, which he said he had received anonymously, to
Parliament and read out the details of 31 email exchanges purportedly between
Persad-Bissessar, then attorney general Anand Ramlogan, then national
security advisor Gary Griffith and government minister Suruj Rambachan,
which detailed a plot to harm a journalist and payment of money to buy
freedom for an unnamed person.
In September 2017, the Opposition Leader raised the fake oil issue
at the UNC’s national congress where she cited an internal audit report dated
August 17, 2017, which alleged that A&V Oil had inflated its production
figures, resulting in state refinery Petrotrin paying it millions of dollars
for oil never received.
“The party commends the Commissioner for finally clearing
the air on this [marijuana] matter, which first surfaced four years ago in
June 2015 – an election year,” the UNC said in a statement, adding that it “hoped
that similar resources will be deployed into the investigations” involving
Petrotrin and A&V Oil.
“In addition, the allegations which were levelled against
Mrs Persad-Bissessar and other members of the party which came to be known
as ‘Emailgate’ remain unresolved, even though the probe ended two years
ago and nothing of substance was found as stated by the former Commissioner
of Police Stephen Williams on national television.
“We reiterate our call on the Director of Public Prosecutions to act on the ‘Emailgate’ allegations and clear those involved as has been done by both the Integrity Commission and the former Commissioner of Police,” the party added.
Death By Drowning: Italian Authorities Say No Foul Play Suspected in Case of Bahamians Pulled From River
TURIN, Italy, Monday June
24, 2019 –
Autopsies on two Bahamian men whose bodies were pulled from a river in Turin,
Italy earlier this month have concluded that they died from accidental
But the father of 28-year-old psychology Ph.D. student Blair John –
who had met up in the Italian city with his college friend Alrae Ramsey, a Bahamian
Foreign Service Officer who was the other man found in the Po River – does not accept
his son drowned.
According to Italian news outlets, preliminary results determined
the deaths were accidental and no foul play had been uncovered. Additional details
in the report indicate that both men had alcohol in their system before somehow
falling into the river but the toxicology report indicated that their alcohol
levels were not high enough for them to have been drunk.
Investigators suggest that it’s possible one of the men slipped or
jumped into the water and the other went to save him and they both drowned.
But John’s mother Cathleen Rahming told local media after his body
was found on June 5, a day after Ramsey’s, that he was fit and a strong
swimmer. Now the autopsy has been released, his father, Randolph John is
adamant his son could not have drowned.
He told the Bahamas Tribune that if the men did drown, it meant they
were “incapacitated” before being tossed in the river. He also rejected the
idea that his son or Ramsey did drugs.
“If I was born three times again I wouldn’t accept that. If it was
in fact a drowning then it means that they were incapacitated prior to being
thrown in the river. That’s what it would mean,” he said.
“I know my son and I know his friend. They probably might drink a
little bit of alcohol but these are civilized persons with their heads screwed
on right. Do you reach that point in your life at that age, if you’re not
John, a St Augustine’s College graduate of Class of 2009 who was
near completion of his Ph.D. in Psychology at Saint Mary’s University in
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, had travelled to Turin to present an academic
paper at a psychology conference.
Ramsey was employed with his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
from December 2013, and was formerly posted at the Bahamas Embassy in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti as third Secretary/Vice-consul in 2016-2017. Last year,
he was granted an In-Service Award to pursue a one-year Postgraduate Diploma
programme at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna in Austria for the September 2018
to June 2019 period. But sometime last week, he went to Turin.
The men both attended the same high school, Saint Augustine’s
College in New Providence.
Their bodies are to be returned to The Bahamas for burial. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was working assiduously with funeral homes in Turin and Nassau to have the bodies repatriated to The Bahamas as quickly as possible, so that they can be turned over to their families.
Illegal Haitian Migrants Apprehended in The Bahamas
NASSAU, The Bahamas, Monday June 24, 2019 – A joint operation by
the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT)
with the support of Bahamas Immigration Department has resulted in the
apprehension of a Haitian sailing vessel with 100 undocumented Haitian nationals.
The vessel was
intercepted approximately 30 nautical miles northwest of Inagua around 2:20
p.m. last Thursday, accoding to the RBDF.
helicopter spotted the vessel and the Defence Force interceptor stationed in
Inagua subsequently apprehended it. The vessel was later assisted by HMBS
The migrants – 89 males, 11 females – were transported to Inagua where they were handed over to Immigration authorities for processing.
Guyana President and Opposition Leader to Meet on CCJ Ruling
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday June 24, 2019 – President David Granger has invited Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to meet with him to discuss the political situation in Guyana resulting from last week’s decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that the no-confidence motion passed against the coalition government last December was valid and the appointment of the chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was unconstitutional.
The two are
expected to meet at the Ministry of the Presidency after today, when the CCJ makes
the consequential orders arising from its ruling last Tuesday.
The invitation to
Jagdeo was made in a letter dated June 20, sent on behalf of Granger by Director
General, Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.
Harmon said that
the letter serves to demonstrate President Granger’s commitment to “engagement
and dialogue” with the Opposition Leader in the interest of the development of
According to the
letter, the meeting will be held at the Ministry of the Presidency “at a time
convenient” to both parties “after Monday, June 24, 2019”.
The CCJ will today
hear from all parties on what should happen next after the court ruled that the
December 21 no confidence was properly passed with 33 votes in the 65-seat
National Assembly, and that President Granger acted outside the Constitution
when he unilaterally appointed retired Justice James Patterson as GECOM
The CCJ had urged
the parties to consult with each other on what the consequential orders should
be, in an effort to reach consensus.
Under the Guyana Constitution, elections should be held within three months of the passage of a no-confidence motion unless an extension is granted by a two-thirds majority vote of the National Assembly.
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