News Stories - August 11th, 2011
Last Updated Thursday, August 11, 2011 7:34 PM
 

  Alleged rape case
Story by Sarah Peter
 

The mother of one of the alleged victims of sexual assualt recounted the horrible incident, which she says has seriously impacted her life. She first heard about what may have happened through a friend who had heard talk of the incident. When she questioned her only daughter about it she says the seven year old infant school student was initially reluctant, embarrassed and scared to say anything.

 

Nevertheless, after forcing it out of her, the young girl disclosed the shocking details. The alleged victims say were taken in the bushes a week ago where they were sexually assaulted. Another alleged victim was the fifty year old man’s niece who lives with him. What makes the matter more daunting is the mother of that alleged victim, the perpetrator’s sister, is protecting her brother and has not reported the matter to the police.  

The Grandmother of one of the alleged victims says her daughter cannot eat or sleep as a result of the incident.
She adds she is still shocked over what happened never believing the accused man was capable of such a gruesome act.

The family of one of the alleged victims expressed disgust over the way the matter has been handled by the St. Lucia Police Force. They point out they are turned off by what they describe as the authorities complacent attitude towards the case. They are calling on the police to find the accused and get him off the streets before he destroys the life of another little girl.


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  -Saint Lucia’s rankings drop
Story by Carmy Joseph
 

The World Bank Report has ranked Saint Lucia 53 out of 183 countries in its annual “Ease of Doing Business” review. Rated 45 last year in the same survey - it is an eight point decline over the same period. The survey which can be accessed at doingbusiness.org/ rankings shows the country has declined in every single category except one where its ranking stayed the same. The main opposition SLP says the current rank of 53 is a marked and significant decline from 27 which

 

was what the country attained in 2006 when the Party was replaced by the ruling UWP. Former Commerce Minister Philip J Pierre says the numbers – while influenced by the world wide recession – is also reflective of the government’s policies. According to him – the government continues to waste millions including on conferences with no immediate benefit.

Pierre has also questioned the government’s decision making process. These he says has negatively impacted and strangled the current business environment. The World Bank says for example that in starting a business the country has dropped 3 points from 41 to 38 and in getting credit Saint Lucia dropped two points from 89 to 87.
The country also dropped 3 points in paying taxes and 1 point each in registering property and trading across borders.

The World Bank Business Report ranking comes weeks after a consumer survey conducted by the UWI Management Department at the Cave Hill Campus said Saint Lucian consumers were more optimistic about their economic situation than most other CARICOM countries. Justin Robinson – the Head of that Department – attributed the results to a reduction in gas prices and optimism over the upcoming general elections.


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  -Government on Grynberg
Story by Winston Springer
 

Prime Minister Stephenson King has emphatically denied allegations he unwittingly signed a document in 2007 renewing the oil and gas exploration agreement with Jack Grynberg’s RSM production Corporation. The allegations were made by UWP former Economic Affairs Minister Ausbert D’Auvergne in a letter to the Prime Minister published in its entirety in the Thursday July 28th edition of the VOICE newspaper.
D’Auvergne claims PM King was

 

saved from mailing that renewal by the quick thinking of a Cabinet Minister. Last week the Prime Minister in an official statement denied any recollection of such events. On Thursday he issued an unequivocal denial during a press conference to update the media on the “Grynberg Saga”

Attorney General Lorenzo Francis is investigating possible administrative infractions and procedural impropriety in the deal signed by former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony. The government’s chief legal advisor says he is disturbed by a number of unusual circumstances. Among them is what he claims was a poor background check on the litigious Jack Grynberg, failure to seek expert advice, missing documents allegedly in the hands of a former public servant and the language of the agreement pertaining to the granting of an exploration license.

The government is also investigating whether the minerals vesting act was violated when the first agreement was inked in 2000. The King administration insists the oil and gas exploration contract with RSM lapsed on its own terms in 2007. Jack Grynberg is disputing that claim and according to the Government has hinted at possible international arbitration.

Brian King is a partner with an international law firm which is assisting the government in the matter-the same firm that won Grenada’s legal battle with the Denver Oil and Gas man. The expert lawyer on energy matters and arbitration citing attorney-client privilege declined to go into specifics when probed by the press. However he concedes arbitration could be a protracted and costly legal battle.

Apart from the exorbitant legal costs to tax payers, The King Administration claims the RSM quagmire has also hurt the commercial opportunities with other investors which could have been of huge economic benefit to the island.


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  Poyotte on free movement
Story by Sarah Peter
 

Nationals from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States are now free to live and work within the OECS.
This free movement took effect on August 1st – Emancipation Day. The National Workers Union says they are not opposed to the initiative.  However, Grievance Officer Lawrence Poyotte says there isn’t enough economic activity in any of the OECS countries to justify moving from one to the other.

 

Further – the price of flights is a disincentive to intra-regional as witnessed by the decline in regional tourism since the emergence of LIAT. Poyotte also expressed concern with what he says is a lack of social benefits and laws protecting citizens moving from one island to the other.

In the advent of the OECS free movement, all restrictions have been lifted with nationals required to present only a valid ID card and Immigration form for entry into the participating states. However Poyotte says more discussion should have taken place on the matter in order to prevent any adverse impact form such a move.

Some people have expressed concern the island may not be fully be prepared for the initiative. They worry the measure could create an influx of workers to the island, possibly making the unemployment rate – already at 21% - worse. The islands of Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines agreed that from the 1st of August they would allow OECS citizens to enter their territories and remain for an indefinite period in order to work, establish businesses, provide services, or take up residence.

 
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  -Nahum on AIDS insurance
Story by Sant Justin
 

A forum aimed at building partnerships between the insurance industry and the public health sector was set for Thursday August 11th. The insurance and health forum was geared at providing HIV and Aids victims with benefits commonly denied by insurance agents. Director of the National Aids Program- Naham Jn. Baptiste says NAPS welcomes the new initiative- as it provides redress for people living with the virus. The first ever meeting on the introduction of the initiative was held in Port of Spain and was

 

attended by a number of interested partners. Jn Baptiste says he hopes the initiative will work in respect to fighting stigma and discrimination. Jn. Baptiste says since the introduction of anti retroviral drugs - the national fight against HIV/AIDS has become a bit easier. He says people living with the disease began accessing the treatment- which eventually led to a decline in deaths and the possibility of transmission. Jn Baptiste says there has also been a decrease in the number of reported cases on island.

The meeting is being attended by The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the Insurance Association of the Caribbean (IAC) and the Pan Caribbean Business Coalition (PCBC).
An application was also created and handed to the Global Fund on HIV and Aids by the OECS- in relation to financing a proposed health insurance scheme for people leaving with the HIV and Aids in the Eastern Caribbean.






  -Lester Arnold on road
Story by Sant Justin
 

The landslide in the La Haut area of Soufriere on Tuesday was of great inconvenience to the residents of the area- as it left the main access road on the West Coast impassable. The Ministry of Communication and Works on Wednesday confirmed they had been actively engaged in clearing the slide labeled a mammoth task. On Thursday- the Chief Engineer confirmed the reopening of the road on Thursday morning. Arnold says although the road has been opened- work still continues.

 

And motorists using the road should do so with due diligence- as traffic is expected. The Chief Engineer says this is the second landslide in the area in a matter of weeks due to a lack of drainage. He says the area in question is privately owned and a partnered effort will therefore be required to solve the problem. The Ministry of Communication says its current focus is to stabilize the area to reduce the amount of land slippage.





  -Police lay charges
Story by Sarah Peter
 

On Tuesday August 9th police intercepted a black Nissan Cresia, registration number: PG4474, at Richfond Dennery while conducting an operation in the area. A search of the vehicle revealed eight pounds of marijuana which resulted in the arrest of the three occupants who were all charged for possession of controlled drugs and possession with intent to supply. They are 49-year-old Vernon Belasse a.k.a “Daddyo” of West Hall Group, 30-year-old Dyle Serieux of Grace and 31-year-old, Telvern Mathurin of Contonment.

 

The three appeared at a Vieux-Fort court on Thursday August 11th where Dyle Serieux pleaded guilty to the charges. In relation to the charge of possession with intent to supply, he was fined the sum of $2000 to be paid by August 25th or in default three months imprisonment. He was then cautioned, reprimanded and discharged as it relates to the charge of possession of controlled drugs.

The cases were withdrawn against the other two men. Meanwhile, police have also charged 36-year-old Christopher Constantine of Bruceville, Vieux-fort for possession of controlled drugs and possession with intent to supply. On Monday August 8th, a Search Warrant was executed at his residence by police who found a quantity of six pounds (6lbs) of marijuana. He appeared in court on Tuesday the 9th of August, 2011, where he pleaded guilty to the charges.

With reference to the charge of possession with intent to supply, he was fined the sum of $6000.00EC of which $1000.00EC to be paid in seven days, $2500.00EC to be paid in thirty days and the balance of $2500.00EC, also to be paid in thirty days. With reference to the charge of possession of controlled drugs, he was Cautioned, Reprimanded and Discharged.







  Chastanet on Staycation
Story by Sant Justin
 

Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet has expressed reservations about the annual Staycation campaign that encourages Saint Lucians to vacation at home at a number of participating properties and attractions. The Minister believes there should be more aggressive campaigning for the initiative. He also says the plan should have been called discover St. Lucia. The Minister further added there should be more events in the different communities across St. Lucia to persuade individuals from one community to travel to another.

 

Meanwhile – the Minister is continuing to rail against the Air Passenger Duty he says is affecting Caribbean economies. Caribbean tourism Ministers have argued the tax discriminates against long-haul travel and is hugely unfair because it penalizes destinations where there is no alternative to aviation travel. 

According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization the APD tax increased the cost of flights to the Caribbean between 25 and 87 per cent, depending upon the class of travel. In November 2010 those increases reached as high as 94 per cent.






  -Brian Bernard lecture
Story by Carmy Joseph
 

The seventh annual Brian Bernard Memorial lecture will be held on Thursday evening at the Bay Gardens Inn. This year’s lecture will be delivered by Professor Rose Marie Belle Antoine on the topic “Ethics and the Law.” NCF Executive Director – Juliana Alfred – says the featured speaker is well versed in a number of areas and made history recently by becoming the first Caribbean woman to be elected to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

 

The annual lecture is part of the NCF’s management of the donor fund named for deceased former Police Commissioner – Brian Bernard. Alfred says the fund focuses on instilling good ethical and Christian values especially with its Virtues project conducted in secondary schools across the island. The Brian Bernard Memorial lecture will begin at 7PM and is free to the public.






  -Jah cure
Story by Sant Justin
 

Fans of the highly rated Jah Cure were not sure if he would show up for the advertised show a few weeks ago. Explosion by the Ocean was set to take place at Samaans Park on Saturday 30th July- and began to receive mixed signals- one week before the show due to rumors.

The Artiste arrived on the island on along with the other featured artist of the show- Munga Honorable.

 

The show began with a slow start but saw an overwhelming amount of people by the time the featured artistes took to the stage. HTS news caught Siccature “Jah Cure” Alcock backstage where the reggae artist spoke of his music- stating it is made for no one person to enjoy. Alcock became a victim of the system at nineteen- where he was prosecuted in 1999 and subsequently jailed for eight years.

The singer released many hits singles whilst serving time in the Jamaican prison. Jah Cure- whilst in St. Lucia took the time off to send a word of advice to the young populace. The show also saw local acts such as Zionomi, Meshach and Ashadan. The show was organized by BT Entertainment and featured the two artistes which were both from Jamaica.













  Headlines
  Alleged rape case
  Saint Lucia’s rankings drop
  Government on Grynberg
  Poyotte on free movement
  Nahum on AIDS insurance
  Lester Arnold on road
  Police lay charges
  Chastanet on Staycation
  Brian Bernard lecture
  Jah cure
   

The Labour Commissioner says it is time for the government to establish a Labour Advisory Board. Gregor Brathwaite says the body would work to regulate the minimum wage as well as address the current unemployment rate. While constitutional provision has been made for such a body – it has never been formed. Brathwaite believes such a body – made up of different groups like trade unions – would ensure labour laws are current and reflective of a changing society while also protecting workers rights.

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