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Trinidad Opposition Leader Cleared of Marijuana Found at Her Home Six Years Ago

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Commissioner of Police Gary Grif­fith said the small amount of ganja found on Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s premises could not be attributed to her.

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
investigation.”

However, the Commissioner stressed that the investigation was not
over.

“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
concluded.

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.

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Barbados Prime Minister Says Small States Not Accessing Markets On Fair Terms

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Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley delivering the 16th Prebisch Lecture at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday September 13, 2019 – Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has expressed concerns about small island
states failing to access markets on fair terms.

She highlighted correspondent banking services as an example, as she delivered the prestigious 16th Prebisch Lecture at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, on the topic, ‘Invisible Yet Indispensable’ on Tuesday.

“It matters not that the absence of that correspondent banking will cause
our countries, our regions and our people to be cut off and be quarantined,
just as lepers were in centuries past, from a global community, as we seek to
buy goods and services from outside our borders,” Mottley told her global audience.

“How will our people trade if they don’t have access to a banking system
that allows them to transmit and to pay for services and goods across the
borders?  It is pure, unadulterated
hypocrisy and at worst, contempt and insensitivity as to what happens to human
beings, who happen not to live within the borders of the developed world.”

During the near 90-minute address, Prime Minister Mottley said that unless
the fundamental obstacle to our development was addressed, she feared that the
imbalance of power and wealth in the global community of nations would remain.

“Let us not be shy to confront it; middle income countries refused today to
be allowed access to development aid and assistance, purely on the basis of
arbitrary determinations of per capita and GDP formulations that bear no
relationship to the reality of our lives.

“And even when money is promised in the midst of disasters, money promised
and money delivered are two totally different experiences. We must not be naïve
in appreciating that the head start given the developed world to build their
countries and to build out their industrial base was done on wealth extracted
from millions of people across the developing world.  It is a difficult conversation but…you cannot
be mature as an adult, or mature as a country and not have difficult
conversations,” she stressed.

Emphasizing the importance of reforming international institutions, Mottley
said this restructuring was overdue, and the task must now be completed. 

“The worthiness and pursuit of this reform we all know is unquestionable,
but yet it remains, decades after, unresolved. We need to put it to bed…so we
can get on to the other issues that are truly confronting us,” she stated.

The Prime Minister said countries should not sign up to international treaties, charters, commitments and declarations and then treat them as if they were not meaningful and not apply to them.

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Bahamas PM Announces National Prayer Service; Flags to be Flown at Half Mast as Country Mourns Hurricane Dorian Victims

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Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday September 13, 2019 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced plans for a National Prayer
Service to honour the lives lost when Hurricane Dorian slammed into the
northwest of the archipelago a week and a half ago.

The Government has invited the Bahamas Christian Council to plan the
National Prayer Service, which will take place next Wednesday, marking the culmination
of a National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

Flags are also to be flown at half-mast on all public buildings to mourn
the dead. The date of a National Day of Mourning will be announced at an
appropriate time.

“We are a nation in mourning,” said Prime Minister Minnis in a national address.
“The grief is unbearable following the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian,
which has left behind death, destruction and despair on Grand Bahama and Abaco,
our second and third most populous islands.”

The Prime Minister acknowledged that there are many deaths and many still
missing. The number of deaths is expected to significantly increase but the confirmed
number is currently 50.

“Many are grieving the loss of loved ones. Many are in despair wondering if
their loved ones are still alive,” said Minnis.

“To those who have lost loved ones, I know there is absolutely nothing we
can say that will lessen your pain and your loss. Our sympathies go out to the
families of each person who died. Let us pray for them during this time of
grief.”

The Prime Minister assured that accurate and timely information will be
provided on the loss of life as it is available.

“We will first and foremost put the priority on notifying families and
giving them the help they need to grieve,” he said.

Efforts are ramping up to collect the dead bodies, with the help of
international aid agencies.

“We are being transparent and responsible in this process,” Minnis said.

The Government is also providing counseling to those who need help to get
them through this difficult process.

“We will need as many spiritual resources as we will need physical
resources, to rebuild lives and to recover,” Minnis said.

“Hurricane Dorian is an historic tragedy,” he added, noting a report by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) that described the storm as “the strongest Atlantic hurricane documented to directly impact a land mass since records began, tying it with the Great Florida Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.”

Hurricane Dorian affected the northwestern Bahamas for about 68 hours, with the southern eye-wall planted over Grand Bahama, for about 30 hours.

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Hurricane-Hit Bahamas Under Tropical Storm Warning as New System Approaches

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NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday September 13, 2019 – Less than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian slammed into the northwest of
the Bahamas, that part of the archipelago is bracing for more bad weather with
the approach of a potential tropical cyclone that has triggered a tropical
storm watch.

The warning which is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, excluding Andros Island, comes as the system being referred to as Tropical Cyclone Nine, carrying maximum sustained winds near 30 miles per hour, is forecast to move across the central and northwestern Bahamas today and could develop into a tropical storm by then.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said the system is forecast to produce two to four
inches of rain and, isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches, over areas that are already waterlogged following the Category 5
Hurricane Dorian downpours that left some communities underwater. However, no significant storm surge is expected.

In its latest advisory at 11 a.m., the NHC said the system was located about 280 miles east southeast of Freeport in Grand Bahama and
190 miles east southeast of Great Abaco Island, and barely moving northwestward at 1 mile per hour.

“The system…is expected to resume a slow motion toward the
northwest and north-northwest later today. On the forecast track, the system is
anticipated to move across the central and northwestern Bahamas today, and
along or near the east coast of Florida Saturday and Saturday night,” it
said.

“The disturbance is forecast to become a tropical depression or a
tropical storm later today or Saturday.”

While more than 1,000 people are still reported missing after Hurricane
Dorian – down from the 2,500 said to be on the list on Wednesday before it was
cross checked with the list of people in shelters and evacuees – only 50 people
have been confirmed dead.

But officials acknowledge that number will rise as the search and cleanup continues in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

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