News Stories : February 07th 2013
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 8:15 PM
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A Grandmother’s outcry
Story by
Sant Justin


The family of the 6 year old who was hit by a stray bullet fired from a police officer’s gun in pursuit of a suspect on Friday evening is planning legal action.

The Grandmother of the minor returned to the hospital with the six old boy on Monday following complaints of excruciating pain.

The young boy was subsequently admitted to Victoria Hospital after seeing a bone specialist. He was discharged on Tuesday.


The Grandmother says the minor now needs support to move around. She says she last spoke to the police officers on Monday, after they dropped her off at the Hospital.

She has since visited her lawyer and intends to file a law suit against the police department. Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois describes the incident as unfortunate.

Francois says the Royal St. Lucia Police Force remains committed to providing assistance to the young boy and his family.

The distraught grand mother says the incident has brought about an unnecessary expense, one which she cannot afford.

The Police Commissioner says the issue of compensation would have to be dealt with through the Attorney General’s office. He says the determination would also have to be made through an investigation.

The six year old boy made another trip to the health center on Thursday morning for further medical attention on his leg.



Medical association VAT concerns
Story by
Winston Springer


The Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association has expressed what it says is deep concern with the imposition of the Valued Added Tax on prescription medication.

In a scathing press statement issued on Thursday, the medical professionals claim the increase price of medication has had a detrimental impact on patients who suffer with chronic diseases.

The Association says “it is with dismay that we see out patients


unable to fill their quota of necessary medications” It warns of increased morbidity and mortality of these patients and significant social and economic consequences due to increase hospitalization and a reduction in productivity as a result of blindness, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure.

According to the Association, the absorption of VAT by the state at public pharmacies has compounded the problem due to what it says are deficiencies in the service.

The Association which has called on government to establish a list of zero rated prescription medications says healthcare professionals are willing to partner with the government in the interest of patients.



Vigil for slain mom
Story by
Jade Brown


The family and friends of Simone Leandra Garnier have organized a vigil in her memory in the community of Bisee Thursday night.

The 47 year old Mother was brutally murdered exactly a week ago near her home.

Garnier was a well known community activist and her death has sent shock waves not only through out the neighborhood but the society.


Kimberly Calderon niece of the deceased is encouraging the public to come and offer the family of Simone Garnier their support in their time of need.

People who wish to attend the vigil are asked to bring a candle along with them. No one has been arrested or charged in connection with the case.

Law Enforcement Officials say two people were detained for questioning but were later released by authorities.



Court appearance
Story by
Lovely St.Aime Joseph


Murder accused, 28 year old Mc Arthur Lubrin a.k.a Fluff of Cas En Bas has been remanded to Bordelais Correctional Facility pending a sufficiency hearing on March 14th.

Lubrin who has been charged for causing the death of 24 year old Miguel Augustine a.k.a Reds of Morne Du Don, Castries made a second court appearance on Thursday.


Miguel Augustine had sustained multiple gunshot wounds at approximately 12:00am on Monday September 3rd 2012 on Coral Street; Castries.

He was transported to Victoria Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. A post mortem examination which was conducted on September 5TH 2012 revealed he died of Hemorrhagic Shock secondary to gunshot wounds.



Francois talks reform
Story by
Sant Justin


The islands Police Commissioner met with members of the Media on Thursday for the first of four Press Conferences scheduled for the year.

Vernon Francois says the idea is to host the activity regularly as a component of his Meet the Commissioner Initiative.

The press conference took a look at last year’s activities which included a train the trainers program, more boots on the streets and improvements to intelligence gathering.


He says a community aspect of the Meet the Commissioner Initiative will take effect this year. Francois says increasing public trust in Law Enforcers will be another focal point in 2013.

He says the intention is to weed out members of the force who are bent on bringing the agency into disrepute.

The top cop says last year a security vetting system to thoroughly screen police officers was put in place.
He says the force is currently working to incorporate the process into the criteria for promotion and career advancement.

The screening of police recruits includes a Polygraph Test and a Psychological evaluation. Francois says the police department will also continue to improve its Intelligence capabilities while also increasing traffic check points around the island. Additional reforms include a revision of the Police Act which was enacted in 1965.



VAT price complaints
Story by
Sarah Peter


Consumers claim that despite warnings by the Ministry of Commerce some businesses on the island continue to display the price of items which do not include the VAT.

The VAT is however included at the last point of purchase.

Consumers lament the move is misleading and can result in embarrassment when facing the cashier at a retail store.


Some are adamant the practice should be discontinued and have called on the Ministry of Commerce to address the issue.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Titus Preville during an earlier interview with HTS news force explains all advertised items should include VAT, if it does not, the vat component of the price should be very visibly displayed and doing otherwise contravenes the VAT act.

The VAT Act states all prices of good should include the vat prices; the act also stipulates all customers should be given a proper receipt of a purchase following a transaction.

The ministry of Commerce has warned that there are penalties for retailers who disobey the law which includes a maximum fine of ten thousand dollars.

The value added tax system was implemented in October 1st 2012 at a rate of 15 %. The move has been met with severe criticism from some members of the public and the opposition who contend the rate is too high.



Church break in
Story by
Jade Brown


Thieves have reportedly desecrated a house of worship after making off with the church’s prized musical equipment. 

Pastor Marcellus Regis of the Bethany Seventh Day Adventist Church at Babonneau is appealing to members of the public who may have information on the brazen robbery to assist the authorities.

He says the break-in which occurred on Wednesday also


resulted in extensive damage to the church premises. Pastor Regis says the robbers stole an expensive amplifier. The preacher says this is not the first time the church has been targeted by criminals. He warns the perpetrators should return the plunder immediately

Pastor Regis advises citizens to be vigilant as the bandits may attempt to pawn the item by selling the amplifier as a legitimate item.



Economists say time for sacrifice
Story by
Lovely St.Aime Joseph


The 2010/2013 triennium is nearing its end and public servants are growing increasing anxious about intense wage talks between the Government Negotiating

Team and the Trade Union Federation. The union’s President says a wage increase is what is being negotiated and by virtue of that fact no 0% offer by the GNT will be entertained.


Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony has said on many occasions that based on the country’s fiscal position, government simply cannot afford a wage increase to the public service and proposed a wage freeze and a one off payment of 1000 dollars.

Unions scoffed at the offer and have since returned to the negotiating table with a 15% proposal.
Financial expert Carol Eleuthere Jn Marie from a economic financial standpoint urges more understanding and compromise.

Eleuthere Jn Marie says Saint Lucians must take stock of what is happening with the economies of other countries.

She says the country must learn from their mistakes and be guided accordingly.

Jn Marie says making prudent choices and improving or balancing the bottom line is an issue which the private sector must contend with on a daily basis.

She says many industries have had to make difficult decisions to downsize year after year just to improve their bottom line.

The financial advisor says now the government must make some tough but prudent choices. How it plays out it, is left to be seen.



Minister denies trouble at the GIS
Story by
Sarah Peter


There is no unrest at the Government Information Service, GIS. So says Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Dr. James Fletcher.

He made the disclosure Thursday amid reports of infighting within the organization. However, the Minister has totally dismissed the reports claiming staff members are totally oblivious about the alleged conflict.
Employees reportedly took their grievances to the Civil Service


Association which represents the interests of staff. The complaints purportedly center on the role and function of the consultants assigned to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Minister Fletcher sought to clarify the duties of the advisors amid several questions about their relevance to the operations of the department.

According to certain media reports frustrated staff lodged complaints with the CSA about the cloud of uncertainty hanging over organization and the presence of three consultants.

The CSA has reportedly given assurances that the matter will be investigated and clarification sought from the government.


Warning against petrocaribe
Story by
Lovely St.Aime Joseph


Saint Lucia has toyed with the possibility of joining Petrocaribe on more than one occasion under the Dr Kenny Anthony administration.

Dr Anthony, following a recent trip to Venezuela to explore and reassess the initiative said the benefits of Petrocaribe fall in line with some of his government’s priorities.

Opposition leader Stephenson King was quick to warn of possible dangers associated with the agreement saying years of debt could be accumulated if the Venezuelan initiative is adopted.


Adding a new perspective to the mix, HTS newsforce asked a leading financial expert to weigh in on the possible merits or pitfalls of joining Petrocaribe.

Jason Julian who serves as the General Manager for First Citizen’s Investment Services believes it’s the wrong move to make.

Julien who presented at First Citizen’s Global Outlook Seminar on Thursday says while energy is an important commodity, it is one which can be sourced elsewhere.

He says cost is an issue which countries must manage while making long term plans about how to diversify their energy needs.

But he warns against looking to any sole initiative as the answer to a countries energy needs especially in the case where that answer lies in an economy that is under as much pressure as Venezuela’s .

Petrocaribe is an oil alliance with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment. The alliance was launched in June, 2005. There are a total of 18 CARICOM members in the alliance excluding, Barbados, Montserrat and Trinidad and Tobago. So far Saint Lucia has yet to sign on to the alliance nonetheless Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony has expressed his government’s interest in the alliance.



Millennium development goals
Story by
Sarah Peter


The island is making significant strides in reducing the infant mortality rate and enhancing maternal health.
The achievements are part of the United Nations Millennium Development goals.

All 193 UN member states and twenty three international organizations have agreed to attain these goals by the year 2015.

Director of the National Aids Program Secretariat, Nahum Jn Baptiste has lauded the efforts made in advancing the health sector.


However he acknowledges there is still a lot of work to be done. Jn Baptiste supports a more collaborative approach with other Ministries to help fight the epidemic which claimed nine lives on the island in 2012.
Sixteen persons died from complication due to Aids in 2011.

The Millennium Development will reach its target date in two years. The latest global report indicates the Caribbean region has attained many successes including increasing access to treatment and lowering new infections in children and adults.
However the report has recommended that the region must do more to address prejudice and social inequities while ensuring financial sustainability of the Aids response.

The three main Millennium Development goals for health include reducing mortality rates, improving maternal health and combating HIV/Aids malaria and other diseases.



Clinton foundation
Story by
Sant Justin


A Delegation from the Clinton Foundation was on island again, following the signing of the MOU late last year.

The Clinton Foundation has vowed to continue working with the island on Energy and Clean Water Initiatives.

Minister for Sustainable Development, Dr. James Fletcher says the reputable organization is keen on providing the assistance for a green society.


A Senior Advisor to the Clinton Foundation, Jan Hartke says small islands are at greater risk to dangers associated to global warming.

He says Caribbean islands should have been in the advanced stages of developing renewable energy.

Fletcher says initiatives under the program include the replacement of current street lights with LED lights.
These he says will save the government over 4 million dollars annually.



UWI open campus
Story by
Vanda William


The University of the West Indies held its annual open campus at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community college for students, teachers and the public.

The program commenced Monday February 4th and ended today 7th February. UWI campuses form around the region came to support this venture.

The groups visited secondary schools from the north and south of the island.


Veronica Simon, head of the UWI open campus, says the open day is to sensitize St. Lucian’s on higher learning. So far, there have been a number of individuals who have shown interest in the programs.

Simon indicated that she was very satisfied with the turn out of individuals for the open day. Short term courses will also be offered at the university such as public speaking, event management and project management.



National performance program debut
Story by
Lovely St.Aime Joseph


The National Performance Program began in earnest on Thursday with performances by national artistes in various art forms.

The artistes performed at venues in Castries, Vieux Fort and Soufriere. The National Performance Program which is a government showcases local talent while also providing income to creative people.

In Castries the event took place at Pointe Seraphine. Creative Industries Minister, Lorne Theophilus says it’s now left up to Saint Lucians to take


ownership of the program and support Saint Lucian artistes and the arts in general. Artistes included Penn Joseph, DYP and silver shadow dancers. Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Creative Industries, Kentry Jn Pierre, says the performances demonstrated the talent and potential of local artistes. He says the aim is to improve the showcase.

The creative industries ministry says further information on the recently launched programs including the Music Video Stimulus Package under which artistes, producers, recording labels, sound engineers and bands can apply for funding grants music video production is available on its Website.



Audi Store Launch
Story by
Lovely St.Aime Joseph


Current owners of the luxury brand of Audi vehicles got a first-hand dose of the Audi experience at the grand opening of the brand’s new dealership showroom facility at Choc Estate.

The inauguration of the Audi St. Lucia showroom was a result of the company’s partnership with the J.Q. Charles Group of Companies(J.Q.. Motors) and their shared vision of innovation, excellence and top customer service.


Though reports of declining economies seem to be prevalent, Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Phillip J. Pierre, believes that the spinoffs of the continued penetration of luxury vehicles into the St. Lucian market cannot be undervalued.
According to Vice President of Audi Latin America and the Caribbean, 2012 has been a fantastic year for the company worldwide, with St. Lucia being one of the most successful markets.

The Audi theme of fresh and modern concepts was well demonstrated by the architecture of the building as well as the red carpet service provided throughout the event. General Manager of J.Q. Motors Ltd, Mr. Jason Clairmonte referred to it as the Audi experience of getting more than just a car.

Though the project was undertaken during a period of both local and international economic hardship, according to CEO of J.Q. Charles Group of Companies, Mr. Gordon Charles, it is a statement of the Group’s commitment and confidence in the St. Lucian economy to survive and prosper.


The Trade Union Federation, a body comprising public sector unions like the Police Welfare Association, Civil Service Association and Saint Lucia Teachers Union began wage negotiations with the Government Negotiating team on Wednesday. The talks are part of negotiations for the triennium 2010 to 2013.
It comes days after the TUF wrote a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intercession on negotiations they say was being stalled by the Government Negotiating team. While most parts of the agreement, had been ironed out, it was the wage talks they were most insistent had to begin and end before December. Civil servants have not stated the percentage wage increase they are pursuing – however government has indicated this is not the best financial time to increase salaries. This as the main Opposition contends the government wants to give workers a 3% increase over the next three years; a charge the government has denied.

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