Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition Stephenson King has once again declined Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony’s peace offer.
In an exclusive interview with HTS news on Saturday, the head of government says he will continue to offer the olive branch to the opposition in spite of the UWP’s withdrawal on bi-partisan initiatives.
The Prime Minister warned however - the conciliatory tone does not mean alleged transgressions by the former government will be overlooked.
At the same time - he stressed the two main political parties must put their differences aside and work together on affairs of state.
But King doubts the Prime Minister’s sincerity and has accused him of being duplicitous.
Last week King claimed the Castries City Council unjustifiably dismissed CCC contractors because of their political affiliation with the UWP-the municipality vehemently denies the charges explaining the terminations were based solely on legal and financial factors.
King remains unyielding on the issue of political co-operation. He has also shrugged off the Prime Minister’s suggestion he severe ties with embattled Castries Central MP Richard Frederick who Dr. Anthony claims hurt the image of the UWP at the polls.
King is also not worried about the Prime Minister’s revelations of a thorough investigation into the stewardship of his administration.
He says Dr. Anthony is free to conduct any investigation he so desires at this point in time and he has a clear conscious, secure in the knowledge his government worked in the interest of Saint Lucians.
The former Prime Minister has called on Dr Anthony to reconcile his differences with the people of Saint Lucia and not the leadership of the UWP.
Commitment warrant Story byCarmy Joseph
A Commitment Warranted dated 9th March this year has been issued for Francis Claxton of Aux Leon, Dennery.
On 17th January 2012, Claxton was convicted before the Dennery Court for intentionally causing harm to Valentina Pierre of Despin, Dennery.
He was sentenced to a two year prison term with hard labour. The sentence is to run concurrently with any prior sentencing.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Francis Claxton is asked to contact the Richfond Police Station at 456 3690 or the nearest Police Station.
Missing child Story byCarmy Joseph
Fifteen year old Una Joseph has been reported missing by her father Orin Johnson. The missing girl who resides in Agard, Morne Du Don with her father was last seen on Saturday 9th June at 8:30 AM.
Police say at the time she was wearing a blue strapless top, a colorful skirt and a black pair of sandals.
Una Johnson is14 years old and dark in complexion; she weighs about one hundred and fifteen pounds and is 5 feet 3 inches tall.
Johnson has a conspicuous mole on the left side of her face between her nose and upper lip; her hair is straightened and of average length.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of 14 year old Una Joseph is asked to call the Community Relations Brunch at 456 3714/3713 or the nearest Police Station.
Francois on cash for gold Story byWinston Springer
Saint Lucia’s Police Commissioner Vernon Francois says although investigators have not ascribed a motive in the Etienne Jewelry robbery case, the “cash for gold” phenomenon is a cause for concern.
The practice involves the sale of commodities like gold and other precious metals for cash and other forms of financial reward.
While there is no evidence the activity is widespread on the island, the police department is keeping an eye on the potential increase in seedy activities associated with the practice such as burglary, theft and money laundering.
Authorities in Barbados are attempting to remove the incentive to obtain cash for stolen goods, by revising outdated legislation.
The Law Enforcement community there wants to make it mandatory for individuals offering jewelry and metals for sale to be paid by cheque, thereby reducing the risk of violent crime.
Here in Saint Lucia the cash for gold scheme is not illicit and Francois reiterates there is no proof as yet of a crime trend on the island. However the police will remain vigilant.
Business man, Andrew Etienne, proprietor of Etienne’s Jewelry was attacked and robbed by two cutlass wielding assailants who made off with all the Jewelry in the store.
Etienne sustained injuries to his head and hands and the culprits are still at large. Anyone with information in the matter is asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Department.
Bristol on firearms Story bySant Justin
Last week’s shooting at the Spinners Night Club led the majority voting on the HTS E-Poll to call for tighter restrictions on licensed firearms entering public events.
Results from the HTS E-Poll revealed 59% of respondents agreed licensed firearms should be kept with security officers and not the permit holder.
And while this represents over half of the voting pool, firearm Instructor and licensed firearm holder- Anthony Bristol disagrees with the majority.
Bristol says while the incident which has since led to charges being filed against attorney Marius Wilson was tragic, it is also an isolated case.
Bristol says proposals for firearm owners to be away from their weapons at any point in time are more risky than making them wear the weapons.
Bristol also believes it is not realistic to have firearms stored at public events. Anthony Bristol says responsible licensed firearm holders shouldn’t be held accountable for the possible mistakes of one person.
Wilson is currently on $10,000 bail –his next court date in the matter is in July.
Wellness centre evaluation Story byCarmy Joseph
On Monday 11th June a minor from Morne Ciseaux, Jacmel was taken before the court on a charge of arson.
The incident took place on Friday 1st June at about 11PM. The plywood structure belonging to Justina Joseph of Cas-en-Bas was completely destroyed by fire.
The minor was taken to the First District Court where she was ordered to the Wellness Center for a psychiatric evaluation to determine if she is mentally fit to face trial.
The matter was adjourned to Monday 25th June.
Augier on band business Story byCarmy Joseph
On Carnival Monday July 16th it will be Cozy Guzzlers starting the Parade of the Bands followed in order by Royalites Extreme, Rituals, Just 4 Fun, St Lucian Spirits, Red Unlimited, Toxic Nation, La Mosaique, XS Neo, Lushan TNT Connection and finally Looshan Revellers.
Carnival Bands Association President – Adrian Augier – says this is the first time bands have selected the order of appearance so early into Carnival.
It is part of a changed agenda that includes an earlier proposed start to the Parade of Bands.
The bands have also proposed three judging points this year. For two of those – Augier says the Association is hoping to partner with the private sector.
Already a favourable response has come from the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce.
The third proposed judging point is the William Peter Boulevard – a traditional part of the Carnival route – the Boulevard has not been traversed by bands in several years.
The decisions were made during a Carnival Bands Association meeting this past Saturday June 9th.
Also up for discussion was the application of the Extreme Kiddies Carnival Band.
Band Leader Beverley Thomas made headlines last week when she railed against the Association for not allowing her to portray her costumes during the launch of Carnival.
Augier later revealed the decision was not his but that of the Stakeholders Committee in charge of the event and further Thomas was not a member of the Association.
Ten adult bands and a still undecided number of junior bands are expected to participate in this year’s Carnival.
NCA on lifeguards Story byWinston Springer
A number of drowning incidents and mishaps at the nation’s beaches has highlighted the lack of life guard services and safety measures.
The President of the Caribbean Mentorship Institute Felicia Browne on Monday called on the government, the private sector and civic groups to be more proactive, preventing a recurrence of such tragedies especially during the school summer vacation.
The National Conservation Authority, the body responsible for safeguarding Saint Lucia’s beaches says steps are being taken to address this problem.
General Manager, Denise Collymore says the NCA has sought expert advice to preserve the lives of locals and visitors.
Collymore acknowledges securing the island’s beaches is a necessity. However she assures the public the process is underway and should be completed in few months.
The NCA says while the onus is on the agency to provide adequate life guard services individuals must also act responsibly.
She has called for vigilance on the part of adults especially parents. Collymore recommends that in absence of the required services, parents and guardians must keep a close eye on their children when visiting the beach.
Tourism public speaking Story bySant Justin
The Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday hosted its annual National Public Speaking Competition.
During the contest - secondary school students across the island engage in debates on topics relating to the industry.
Director of Product Development in the Ministry of Tourism - Ann-Marguerite Xavier says a junior Minister for Tourism, who will later participate in regional competition is also selected.
Xavier says the junior Minister will also be used as the youthful face of Tourism, participating in other activities including an annual Tourism Conference.
Immediate past Junior Tourism Minister- Blossom Fregis says the experience contributed to her character development.
Fregis also has some advice for future Junior Ministers. St. Mary’s College came first and second in Tuesday’s National Public Speaking Competition.
Keith Isaac is the new Junior Tourism Minister and will represent
King responds to PM
Francois on cash for gold
Bristol on firearms
Wellness centre evaluation
Augier on band business
NCA on lifeguards
Tourism public speaking
Last week the main opposition party accused the Castries City Council of dismissing over 20 employees who support the UWP. One day later – the Chairperson of that Council read a statement in which Shirley Lewis systematically explained why the body had dismissed a number of employees and terminated contracts. Lewis says contracts ended because they made no financial sense and were not legally constituted. Employees meanwhile were terminated since the short term work they were hired to do had long since expired. The Prime Minister has since expressed disappointment in the manner the Opposition handled the matter – the UWP meanwhile – has not publicly responded to the CCC explanation.
Now that the Castries City Council has explained the dismissal of employees the opposition says was politically victimized – is it time for the UWP to let the matter lie?