.

Body Found on Beach Was 55-year-old Doctor

By Onika Campbell

Isles Bay deserted fishing shed where the doctor's body was found

The Royal Montserrat Police Force (RMPF) is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a Canadian citizen of Bulgarian origin whose body was discovered in the vicinity of the Old Fishing Shed at Isles Bay last Sunday.

The dead man was identified by the police with the help of citizens as 55-year-old Dr. Lubomir Lubomiov Markov, who last resided in Olveston. Dr. Markov reportedly arrived in Montserrat in 2002 after which he practiced neurological medicine in a private capacity. 

The police reported that the badly decomposed body was beyond recognition and was clothed in a gray pair of short pants and black sandals when discovered.

Due to the state of decomposition, there was no immediate physical evidence with which the police could determine the cause of death, or whether or not foul play was involved. Deputy Commissioner Simon Morson said the death is still being treated as a possible homicide.

The body was initially inspected by the coroner and a medical doctor and removed to the Glendon hospital mortuary.

According to the police the body will be taken to Antigua where an autopsy will be conducted by a pathogist.

The families of the late Dr.Markov have since been notified of his death.


Looking Around

Old Towne, Vue Pointe Hotel, Lower Golf Course, and Old Road Beach and Jetty (note that the shoreline is now extended beyond the jetty)

Golf Course Club House, Selsi Sand Mining, Isles Bay Plantation Villa's

Happy Hill, Friths, Flemmings, and Hope Villages viewed from Garibaldi Hill, - MVO Hq at the top of Flemmings

Garibladi towards Cork Hill, Delvins, Weekes, St. Georges Hill, upper Dagenham and Amersham

From Garibaldi Hill - Looking at North Richmond Hill and Plymouth

can you identify the village above?  Tell the editor


3,000 Bags of Feed on Way To Aid Livestock Farmers

Livestock farmers in Montserrat are poised to benefit from 3,000 bags of animal feeds that were recently ordered from St.Vincent and the Grenadines aimed at preventing starvation of livestock after the July 12 volcanic eruption, Director of Agriculture Gerard Gray said.

According to a release from the Ministry of Agriculture, the dome collapse rained major ash over the entire island, destroying 95 percent of growing crops along with several acres of fruit trees, and causing widespread loss of ground vegetation on which livestock usually feed.

Gray revealed that of the 350 livestock owners registered in the Department of Agriculture database 300 have received feed. However, there is sufficient feed remaining in storage to last for the next 2 to 4 weeks.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is continuing its programme to assist local crop and livestock farmers, backyard gardeners, horticulturalists and fishermen,” Mr. Gray said. “We are distributing to farmers on the basic of the number of animals they have and how severely affected they are by the volcano.”

He told the Montserrat Reporter,” The animal feeds will be issued starting with livestock formers in Salem, which was most affected, and then towards the North.”

He added, “We are also in the process of getting worm medical block for the livestock The Department also continues to give out technical information to farmers as to how to feed the animals. This was important; as quite a number of farmers have not normally used this feed before.”

Further reports from the Ministry of Agriculture stated that, “officials have been busy coordinating the distribution of seeds, fertilisers and animal feeds for affected farmers.”

This according to them has prompted the Agriculture Department to buy some animal feed locally and also to import feed from overseas. The East Caribbean Group of Companies in St. Vincent had previously donated a quantity of animal feed to assist local livestock farmers.

The first provision of feed was distributed within a week of the eruption


Weekend Ferry Fares Rise 16.6% Month End

Despite the slight reduction in fuel costs, Montserratians and visitors will be rocked with the news of a 16.6-percent increase in the cost of transportation when traveling on the weekend to and from Antigua, which comes into effect on September 1.

The Honorable John Wilson, Minister of Communication and Works, told The Montserrat Reporter on Tuesday that the ferry and the helicopter are heavily subsidized by government and as a result there will have to be a restructuring and reduction of staff at the Montserrat Aviation Services (MAS).

Minister Wilson also admitted that the ferry increase could have a negative impact on the citizens.

“Since we have been trying to rationalize the Montserrat Aviation Services, there has to be reduction of staff and increased fare.”

“We subsidize the ferry and helicopter, they are not self supportive,” he stressed, “and its increase will have a negative impact on the citizens.”

Effective this weekend trips to Antigua will cost EC$140 for adults one-way. Children up to age 12 are required to pay EC$70.

The ferry travels every day except Sundays while the helicopter flies Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.  

Travelers depend on the ferry and helicopter services as the only means of transportation from Antigua to Montserrat since 1997, following the demolition of the terminal facilities at W.H. Bramble Airport by the Soufriere Hills Volcano.  This is the second ferry fare increase within 16 months.


Dr. Lewis Seeks Repeal Of Crown Land Title Act

Former Communications and Works minister Dr. Lowell Lewis, who resigned his Ministry and left the New People’s Liberation Movement he helped to form, is seeking support for the Repeal of the Crown Land Title Act 1998, which denies any person the right to claim land under the provisions of the Land Adjudication Act, 1978 after 31st December, 2003.

Claiming “that the actions prescribed by the Crown Land Title Act 1998 and its amendments are unconstitutional, and should be subjected to a judicial review,” Dr. Lewis seeks support for a petition that records “objection to the Crown Land Title Act 1998  which extinguished the right of any person to claim land under the provisions of  the Land Adjudication Act 1978 after a specified date, prescribed as the 1st Day of February 1999 by S.R.O No 5 of  1999, then postponed to 31st December, 2000, by the Crown Land Title Act Amendment  2000, and then further postponed by the present Government to 31st December, 2003.”
In the April 25 issue this year, The Montserrat Reporter revealed a document showing the secret intent of our present government while allowing persons the right to appeal the loss of their lands, a date was set to 31st December, 2003, but persons would not know that this opportunity existed.

In the petition Dr. Lewis hopes to argue as follows briefly:

1 The act was introduced in 1998, one year after about two thirds of the island’s population was forced to migrate…

2. As a result . . . many persons were not able to exercise their rights. . . In addition, Government has not made adequate arrangements to inform the Montserrat Community
abroad, that their rights to ownership of properties to which they are entitled,

3. …In addition to setting the date of enactment to be 31st December, 2000, provided for all claims to be “accompanied by a survey plan of the Land claimed which is acceptable to the Registrar of Lands.”(an expensive undertaking).  It also required claims for land in the exclusion zones to be entertained for no more than one year after a declaration that the area is no longer within the exclusion zone. 

The Crown Title Amendment Act No 1 of 2000 also gives excessive powers to the Registrar of Lands and restricts the rights of the courts.  Section 8(3) states  “No court shall entertain such action or other proceedings relating to a dispute as to ownership or to the boundaries of registered land arising from a claim under this Act, unless the matter has been determined as provided in this section.”
4. The Government of Montserrat has recently sought payment of property taxes
 from 1989, for properties claimed recently.  Some of these lands are isolated, have no access or services, and have not produced any revenues for owners for many decades.

Dr. Lewis further suggests, “It is unreasonable for government, having forced owners
to cover the cost of completing their claims, to now impose back dated taxes.
Taxes should only be paid from the date of registration of title.”

The petition will seek to obtain a further indefinite postponement of the enactment of this Act.

Dr. Lewis, who said he had opposed the act of secrecy on the issue, wants others to agree: “that the actions prescribed by the Crown Land Title Act 1998 and its amendments are unconstitutional, and should be subjected to a judicial review.”


EDITORIAL

"Travel to and from Montserrat Involves More than Airport Charges, Ferry Fares"

A few weeks ago we learnt, not in Montserrat, that the ferry fare was due to be increased and that the main reason for this might have been hinged to the fact that the ferry is being fueled in Montserrat rather than in Antigua.

We lost time looking into the matter but when we learnt last week that this would be reality come September it was time to do a little digging. There wasn’t much to learn, it seems, but the idea of another ferry increase certainly alerted us or reminded us of some other problems regarding travel into and out of Montserrat.

About six weeks ago travelers on the helicopter discovered that they were being hit with an additional $27 charge to the $150 one-way fare to Antigua. Apparently this new charge should have been collected since May but was not imposed until July. Since not an unusual amount of Montserrat travelers (mostly weekend) do not use the helicopter, there weren’t too many demands for explanation, the answer to which is that the charge is an airport charge by Antigua payable each time you touch down by air. If you travel, let’s say to St. Kitts, and took the ferry to Antigua, the $27 is included in your air ticket fare to satisfy your touch-down on your way back from St. Kitts.

Travel out of Montserrat is certainly not cheap and time consuming because of the limited number of departures – four each day, two by ferry and two by helicopter. The helicopter, though scheduled, provides a maximum of 16 seats into Antigua, but offers only one trip out of Antigua Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and two on Friday and Sunday, with none either way on Wednesday and Saturday.

The ferry, on the other hand, which does not incur the $27 charge, costs $100 one way, except, until September, you can buy a weekend fare round-trip for $120, with children up to 12 years-old paying half price, beginning Friday to any time Monday. The ride requires more time for checking in, lasts for one hour and 15 minutes if the waters are even a little rough, and a little less on calmer waters. The helicopter ride is 15-20 minutes, requires an hour check-in and is very punctual.

Several people cut their travel to only when absolutely necessary and do not take the ferry because of motion sickness or other problems.

Interestingly Montserrat Aviation Services Ltd. (MAS) reveals that the ferry weekend travel is the most lucrative. It would appear that except for Tuesdays and Thursdays when there are special fares in place to encourage tourist day-trippers into Montserrat, the number of travelers on weekends exceeds the rest of the week put together.

It would appear that when the fare was increased the last time it was not only to accommodate the reduction in the transportation subsidy to Montserrat, but also to accommodate the increased cost of fuel for the ferry. It’s been discovered that whereas we paid approximately $3.28 per unit in Antigua, that price was increased by almost $2.00 when we began fueling from Delta in Montserrat.

The ferry fare used to be one-way $75 while the helicopter fare was $89. When the fare increases came then, they moved to $100 and $150 respectively. The question that needs yet to be answered, whether or not it influenced the previous increase, is who benefited by the change over from fueling in Antigua, and who suffered the most.

More interestingly, the new $20 increase only in the weekend fare comes when the Minister of Communications and Works said he was successful in getting a 95-cents-per-unit reduction in the cost of the fuel. But all of this, he says, is to reduce the cost of having to subsidise the ferry in the face of reduced subsidy from HMG.

Today the noise has abated from the business community about the weekend travelers or shoppers who go to Antigua. It is more and more realised that shopping could not be the main reason why up to 100 persons or more leave on the weekend. Then it is also a social event, and just as British paid employees on the island need a “stress buster,” locals are finding that this is very useful to their very health and minds.

But that leaves a question. We are one year away from the ferry’s being taken away, to be replaced by a supposed Twin Otter airport, which will never accommodate more than 15 passengers at a time, and then not fully loaded, when the fare will most likely not be lower than that of the ferry today. What will happen to the weekend travelers or the casual traveler?

Will the business sectors of Montserrat be prepared then to meet the needs of the shoppers and will island life advance enough to provide the relief that people seek today in their travel overseas?

That apart, while we know from the airport project manager that efforts are well underway to secure inter-airline connections and to have LIAT or the like organize air services to Montserrat, we must not nod off and pretend that this is not a very important and serious issue for Montserrat.


SCRIPTURE VERSE THIS WEEK

Doing What We Can- Read Mark 14:3-9

Jesus said, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.” – Mark 14:6 (NIV)

My friend Luther was one of the most effective evangelists I have known. He and his wife had three children. They were what folks in my hometown used to call “dirt poor.” Yet they were devout Christians who never failed to support the church with their presence, their service, and a portion of their meager income.

Frequently Luther enlisted me to go visiting with him. We would tramp the streets of a nearby subdivision, knocking on doors and inviting the residents to church. Luther would say, “I can’t do much, but I can do this,” as we strolled from door to door.

Doing what we can is a commendable thing, as Jesus told us. The Gospel of Mark records a story of a woman who performed a remarkable kindness for Jesus just days before he went to the cross. Jesus commended her, saying, “She did what she could” (mark 14:8).

The lesson is clear: when we do we can for God, we have an important part in what God is doing. Luther was no preacher, leader or singer. But he did what he could for the Lord, and the results of his efforts will be known throughout eternity.

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us grace and enthusiasm to do what we can for you each day. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Thought for the Week: What can I do for God today?

Charles W. Salmon (Texas)Prayer Focus: Someone whose example challenges me.


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 


LOCAL NEWS

Preliminary CAPE Results for Montserrat Secondary School

The Montserrat Secondary School has received preliminary results for students who sat the 2003 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations.

According to a release from the principal Miss Kathleen Greenaway fifteen students wrote the examination in nine subjects units.

The subjects includes:

Accounting Unit two – 60% pass

Biology Unit one –100% pass

Biology Unit two – 50% pass

Communication Studies –100 % pass

Information Technology – 92% pass

Management of Business- 67% pass

Mathematics –100%

Final results are pending for Economics Unit one and Mathematics Unit one. The teachers and parents congratulates the students.


Rhonda Lewis Wins $2,500 C&W Prize

Rhonda Lewis of Brades was speechless when she heard that she won the local Cable & Wireless Mobile Summer Promotion grand prize of EC$2,500, Joseph Cassell, Cable & Wireless (Montserrat) Sales and Major Accounts Executive, said this morning.

Mr. Cassell, presented the prize to Miss Lewis and thanked her for participating in the competition. He said he also hopes that an interpersonal relationship develops between Miss Lewis and the company.

The elated Miss Lewis told The Montserrat Reporter, “I am so very excited and happy at winning, had not even thought of what I am going to do with the money.”

Mr. Cassell while explained that to be eligible for the grand prize, an individual had to purchase a $40 telephone card when purchasing a Nokia 1220 cellular phone at the cost of $65.

According to Cable & Wireless their aim, “is to ensure that as many of the potential customers in Montserrat have a chance to get mobile service.”

Mr. Cassell said, however, that research done by the company revealed that the barrier for many people was the cost of the phones.

“Mobile phones are usually in the region for hundreds of dollars, but with the $65 phone, the barrier to entry which traditionally had been expressed as the cost of the phone has been removed.”

He pointed out that one out of every two residents on Montserrat has a mobile phone.

Mr. Cassell said there were approximately 700 entries for the competition. 


UWI Continuing Studies Is Relocated to Olveston

New home for UWI School of Continuing Studies, just East of the MSS Compound - classroom site is already being cleared

Montserratians are poised to benefit from the relocation of the University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies to Olveston commencing this academic school year.

The school, in existence for more than 50 years in Montserrat, hosts several other campuses across the Caribbean. At present 44 students are enrolled at the institution, which was relocated recently from Manjack.

The new location of the School of Continuing Studies, which is east of the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS), attracts four administrative members, two part-time ancillary members, other overseas tutors and personnel to serve the institution.

Sir Howard Fergus, the school’s Resident Tutor, told the Montserrat Reporter that since its relocation the institution will be able to carry out its operations more effectively.

“The Distance Education Center was always located upstairs of the new building in Olveston,” Sir Howard said. “Since adding on another floor, (which will serve as the new administration building) they are now in a position to manage the operations better.”

Sir Howard added that having the building gives the school a greater sense of direction and that in spite of the volcanic crisis there are rooms for upward mobility.

 “We are moving forward, we are making progress out of the emergency situation students will benefit from this move, as the new office will provide everything.”

Construction is already underway for the classroom buildings.


3 Men Leave for Canada To Work Apple Orchards

Three men from Montserrat left the island early Thursday morning for Toronto as part of the Canada’s seasonal farm workers programme for members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)..

John E. Corbett and Humphrey Meade, veterans of the farm workers scheme, are joined this year by newcomer Vernal Corbett, the teenage son of John Corbett.

Mr. Corbett and Mr. Meade are returning to the apple farm of Tom Watts in Toronto ad the personal request of Mr Watts.

 According to Labor Department officials, last year five workers from Montserrat were involved in the scheme.  Two workers returned home early.

The Montserratian workers are not due back home until the end of November this year. 

The Canada/OECS farm workers programme has been ongoing for more than a decade.


Montserrat Places 2d In Antigua Basketball

Montserrat basketball players retuned from Antigua on Monday after placing second at the Caribbean Splash basketball championship, a basketball tournament hosted by the Antiguan Jolly Beach Resort.

The eight-day tournament, from August 3-10, entertained five local teams from Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, which played against six teams from the United States.

Bevon Greenway, the national coach of the Montserrat Amateur Basketball Association (MABA), stated that the Montserrat team, which participated in six of nine games, was the runner-up to the champion Antigua in the tournament.

St. Kitts and St. Martin were not able to participate in the event, as a similar tournament is underway for St. Martin this October in which their basketball team will compete.

Because of low financial support, Mr. Greenaway is afraid that Montserrat will be unable to participate in the tournament. “Montserrat was invited to participate in the tournament, but is uncertain where they can attend because of lack of financing.”

He explained that scouts are already coming from the U.S. in a bid to generate new talents for U.S. Junior College basketball.

In congratulating the team for their exemplary performance, the elated Mr. Greenway expressed his satisfaction. “Even though we placed second in the tournament, the player performance was very good despite our late attendance.”

Mr. Greenaway hastily added that already scouts have shown significant interest in five of the players’ names such as Theodore White, Vancis Silcott, Daron Ogarro, Vacheal Murrain and Pounce Fergus were top priority.

“These players that were mentioned by the scouts may be eligible for a scholarship,” Mr. Greenaway said. “The scouts would have to first interview them to make their choice.” “The scouts will have to first acquire sponsorship for the guys before they can get a scholarship, which could be by the end of this year to early next year,” he said.


New Offshore Medical School Hopes to Open in Early 2004

Nearly four years after an application by the U.S.-based Interactive Technology Group (ITG) to set up the St John's Offshore Medical School, Dr. Daniel B. Harrington, head of what is now called the St John's School of Medicine and Health Sciences, says he is still keen to open a branch on Montserrat.

Dr. Harrington, an American, held discussions last Friday with the Hon. Idabelle Meade, Minister of Education, Health, Community Services and Labor, and other senior government officials about his plans to open a medical school on the island.

He told reporters at a news conference at the Tropical Mansions Suites that he had approached government with a proposal but subsequently other major national issues caused the matter to be put on hold.

Dr. Harrington says the St John's School of Medicine is associated with a multimedia company, Interactive Technology Group (ITG).

“We use this combination to develop digitally based education . . . partial online education  . . . we are interested in using multimedia for education streaming video, streaming audio, online chat rooms, online exams, in order to change the face of education," the doctor said.

He said the group is keen to use the events taking place in Montserrat to look at the type of education "we could do here." 

"The volcano to us presents a possible opportunity rather than a hurdle - there are many schools in the U.S. and elsewhere that have courses that cover these kinds of things. . . . Our interest is in trying to bring our technology to Montserrat and then begin to branch out into some education training revolving around the volcano," Dr. Harrington said.

The American medical school official said he has set up a school in St Lucia but, "we never gave up on the idea of coming to Montserrat."

Dr. Harrington said nearly 20 years ago he taught at the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine on Montserrat.  The AUC moved to St. Maarten at the start of the volcanic eruptions in 1995.

Almost three year ago, a lawsuit was filed by the Antigua University of Health Science against the St John's School of Medicine for alleged copyright infringement, but was thrown out. Dr. Harrington said another case was settled out of court in the United States under confidential terms.

Dr. Harrington confirmed that one of the key requirements for his multimedia operation is high speed Internet and that he has held talks with officials from Cable & Wireless (Montserrat) Ltd.

He said he was very pleased with his meeting with local government officials and is looking at start up operations in early 2004. He said there will be job opportunities for computer programmers and network specialists and he will be back in Montserrat for follow up talks with the government in about three weeks.

Meanwhile, after signing an agreement with university officials in Atlanta, Montserrat is reportedly gearing up to welcome the first batch of students from the Atlanta Central University Seoul Central College of Medicine at the end of this month.


Two Youths Charged With Robbery in Salem

Two 17-year-old youths who were arrested and charged for stealing and brought before Magistrate Clifton Warner on Monday were both released on bail of EC$10,000. 

They are identified by the police as Riddick Ponteen and Dalston Tuitt, both of St. John’s. The accused Ponteen and Tuitt are alleged to have stolen EC$250 from a man in Salem.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Simon Morson the incident occurred at about 3:45 a.m on Sunday, August 3.

The youngsters, who are both members of the Montserrat under-nineteen cricket team and past graduates of the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS), have reportedly been involved in similar incidents over the past few years.

Mr. Morson said, “The two accused will appear before the Magistrate on September 8, but there is a chance that the case can be referred to the High Court.”

 According to other reports the victim was said to be intoxicated at the time of the robbery during which he also sustained minor head injuries.


Cultural Retreat to Focus On  An Even Better Festival 2003

The Montserrat Festival Committee (MONFEST) will hold a cultural retreat on Saturday, August 16, at the Lookout Community Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"This retreat is intended to address issues that will impact on the Festival 2003 and expose all members of the management and sub-committees to matters relating to the workings of the Montserrat Festival Committee," said Gregory Willock, a senior officer with the Customs Department and chairman of the Montserrat Festival Committee (MONFEST).

Mr. Willock ssid the committee has begun preparations for the annual yearend festival, for which the slogan this year is “An Explosion of Talent and Creativity - Festival 2003.”

According to Mr. Willock, the idea is to improve the festival each year, hence the decision to plan the cultural retreat. 

He said last year Montserrat experienced a "very successful festival in that we had a lot of people and a lot of activities and it was well received by everyone."

Issues to be tackled at the retreat include the roles of government, the committee and all the other stakeholders, Mr..Willock said.

He also said the festival committee has invited local resource persons to address issues such as entertainment law as it relates to intellectual property, copyright and promotion and the media.

"We will be doing a lot of communication with the overseas groups so that they too can also have a say in the festival arrangements. . . . Last year, for example, we had a Montserrat troupe from the U.S. and a masquerade group from London; this is what we are looking forward to so Montserratians abroad come back at the end of the year," Mr. Willock said.

"Festival is not only about celebrating the year end. After a hard year's work everyone from at home and abroad come together and celebrate our culture and our heritage."


Montserrat to Send 16 To Suriname Carifesta

Cultural Coordinator Herman 'Cupid' Francis announced on Monday that a 16-member  delegation will represent Montserrat at the Carifesta 8 to be held in Suriname August 24-30.

Carifesta is a regional festival encompassing creative and artistic skills of the CARICOM countries and the wider world.

Mr. Francis told the Government Information Unit (GIU) that the Emerald Community Singers will not be participating in the regional festival because of a lack of funds.

He said the Hybrid Masquerades will spearhead Montserrat's delegation in Suriname. Hybrid is the leading masquerade group on the island.

The group made newspaper headlines and the front page in the St Thomas Daily News following a sterling performance during the carnival celebrations in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Montserrat also has a women's masquerade group.

Also traveling to the Surinamese capital Paramaribo will be Juliana Meade and Donna Henry, who will both be in charge of the Montserrat Booth, goat water cook Reuben Furlonge and Mr. Francis.  Goat water - a popular stew made with kid meat - is the island's national dish.

The Government of Montserrat has provided EC$25,000 to help with expenses associated with the Carifesta event. Mr. Francis said to date there have also been financial contributions from the Bank of Montserrat and Professor Sir Howard A. Fergus.

The delegation will leave the island on August 22 and return on September 1.

Montserrat participated in the last Carifesta, which was held in St Kitts in 2000.

Other countries that will participate in Suriname are Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, China, Cuba, French Guiana, Ghana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jamaica, The Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saba, Trinidad and Tobago and The Turks and Caicos. 


10 Young Montserratians Are Guests of Jamaica Red Cross

Ten children aged 9-15 years, accompanied by Miss Denelta Weekes, a teacher of the Lookout Primary School, left island last Saturday for three weeks in response to an invitation from the Jamaica Red Cross Society.

They spent this week at a summer camp in Runaway Bay, St Ann, and will spend the remaining two weeks with various families.  They are scheduled to return on island on Monday, August 25.

Air Jamaica and Montserrat Aviation Services donated airfares and ferry fares respectively0.  The Antigua Red Cross society coordinated their overnight stay in Antigua.

This initiative of the Jamaica Red Cross Society came about following the volcanic eruption on July 12, 2003. 


Exhibition, Concert End Summer School Program

A two-day exhibition followed by a concert in the evening brought the annual summer school program at the Brades Primary School to a close today.

The workshop gathered a total of 175 persons, ages 6-15, from Primary to Secondary level,, who displayed their skills and talent during the concert and two-day exhibition.

On Thursday residents had a chance to look at the work of the children during an art and craft exhibition. Mrs. Laura Taylor Scotland, Principal Community Services Officer, said, “The two day exhibition and concert gave parents and other people a chance to view what the children have been doing during Summer classes.”

The concert allowed parents and other residents to witness the talent and skills of the island's youths, with features such as songs, creative dancing, poetry, gymnastics and other cultural expressions.

Two of the major highlights of the concert were the Junior Steel Pan Players under the direction of Duvone Stewart, Trinidad and Tobago steel pan tutor and composer, and performances by young Masqueraders under the direction of James Frederick, leader of the Hybrid masqueraders.

Mr. Stewart arrived on Montserrat last month to conduct training sessions for both young people and adults.  His trip was coordinated by the Department of Culture.

Montserrat will participate in the Caribbean Junior Steelband Festival in Antigua on December 5-6, 2003.  The festival was originally scheduled for later this month but was postponed by the organizers, citing a clash of dates with the Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta) programme in Suriname from August 24-30.  


REGIONAL NEWS

New Turks and Caicos Chief Minister to be sworn in on Friday

Turks and Caicos Islands, CMC - Former Opposition Leader Micheal Misick will be sworn in as new Chief Minister of the British colony on Friday, an official Government statement said on Thursday.
It said that other members of the new Government including Misick's deputy, Floyd Basil Hall, would be sworn into office on Friday evening.
Misick replaces Chief Minister Derek Taylor, who was stepping down after his Government lost its majority in the Legislative Council last week.
His resignation follows the victory by the Opposition Progressive National Party (PNP) in two crucial by-elections last week.
The PNP effectively took control of the Government and the Legislative Council by winning the Five Cays, Providenciales and South Caicos, North constituencies.
In the April 24 general election, the then ruling PDM had won seven of the contested 13 seats, while the PNP won the remaining six seats. With the result of last Thursday's by-elections, the PNP now has eight seats to the PDMs five.


Caribbean environmentalists to stage series of demonstrations in the region

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC - The Barbados- based Caribbean Regional Environmental Programme (CREP) will launch two programme aimed at sensitizing regional states on environmental issues.
CREP's will spent an estimated 2.7 million Euros (US$) on the projects to be held in 13 Caribbean states.
The "Demonstration Project" has identified a number of Amenity Areas in the region of significant ecological and economic value, a CREP statement said. It will be launched in each country during the period from September to December this year.
It noted that through a process of training and capacity building, it is envisioned that these sites will serve as examples of how similar areas can be better managed by strengthening collaboration between governments and civil society organizations.
"The objective is to set into motion a long-term sustainable development process where resident communities derive social and economic benefits from activities which internalize environmental conservation as the basis for their value," said Cathal Healy-Singh, CREP programme manager.
The Amenity Areas identified are Codrington Lagoon in Antigua and Barbuda, Central Andros National Park in the Bahamas, Scotland District in Barbados, Port Honduras Marine Reserve and Payne's Creek National Park in Belize, the Carib Territory in Dominica and Sandy Island/Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area in Grenada.
The other participating areas are Negril Environmental Protection Area in Jamaica, Bath House/Bogs Area in St. Kitts/Nevis, Fond D'or Nature and Historic Park in St. Lucia, North Leeward Communities - Richmond & Lashum in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Brownsberg Nature Park and Brownsweg Community in Suriname, and Galleons Passage which comprises of northeast Trinidad from Matura to Matelot and the Buccoo area in South West Tobago.
Healy-Singh said he believed the "Demonstration Project" will assist national governments in formulating policies that would focus on the sustainable use of resources.
"CREP can put good food on the table of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, by demonstrating how key stakeholders in Demonstration sites can turn the corner towards sustainable use of their natural resources, by striking a balance between economic activity, social well-being and environmental management," he said.
"Ultimately the lessons learnt are intended to inform Government policy on future development planning," he added. 


Jamaica court orders Cable & Wireless to reinstate interconnection of rival telecom company

Jamaica, CMC - The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Cable & Wireless Jamaica (C&W) to reinstate the inter-connection privilege of Oceanic Digital, pending the hearing of a lawsuit on the matter on August 25.
Last month C&W blocked the termination of Oceanic's international calls through its network, claiming that it was a breach of its license.
Oceanic, Jamaica's third mobile phone service provider, responded by taking the matter to court. It said that the action by C&W was illegal and was severely affecting its operations. Oceanic Digital said it had also lost a substantial amount of revenue since the Cable & Wireless intervention last month.
Responding to the court's interim ruling, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic Digital, Albert Gencarella, said he was pleased with the decision and the ruling was a good sign for his company.
But Cable & Wireless said it was prepared to defend its original position.
Head of Corporate Communications Errol Miller said the company was confident it would prevail in its on going battle with the rival company.
Miller said that while he was disappointed with the court's ruling, Cable & Wireless would nonetheless abide by the decision and reinstate Oceanic's interconnection circuits.


St. Vincent government warns against seeking refugee status in Canada

Jamaica, CMC - The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government has again appealed to nationals residing in Canada to desist from applying for refugee status from the Canadian Government.
Foreign Affairs Minister Louis Straker said that he has received correspondence from this country's high Commissioner in Canada, Maureen Williams, indicating that the situation was worsening.
Officials figures released here showed that up to June 30 this year, there were 211 Vincentian nationals applying for refugee status in Canada, "the highest number for any Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country except Guyana".
"The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board estimates that if this trend continues there could be between 480 and 530 applications by the end of 2003," a Government statement said.
Straker told a news conference that unscrupulous lawyers, aware that the applicants were unlikely to succeed, were nonetheless encouraging them to do so.
"Because of the increasing numbers of Vincentians applying for refugee status in Canada, it is becoming more certain that the Canadian authorities would impose a visa requirement for Vincentians wishing to travel to  Canada," the statement said.
Starker said he was urging Vincentians at home who have relatives and friends in Canada, to encourage them to desist from this practice, so that Vincentians may continue to travel to Canada with little restriction.
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government had earlier made a similar plea to nationals. 


ST. Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution Review Commission meeting with nationals overseas
St. Vincent, CMC - Members of the Constitutional Review Commission are visiting a number of European and Caribbean states holding constitutional consultations with the Vincentian nationals living in those countries.
A four-member team has traveled to the United States while the Commission's deputy chairman Parnel Campbell QC is heading the team to London, according to a Government statement.
The teams, which left here over, the last weekend will spend an estimated 13 days in each country.
On Thursday, another team headed by Bertram Commission will leave for Canada and will remain there for 11 days holding discussions with Vincentians on constitutional reform.
The statement said that over the coming weekend, other teams would travel to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the United States Virgin Islands.
It said that the first round of local public consultations on Constitutional Reform was held at the end of July. 


Merger plans between two Barbadian Internet service providers collapse

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC - Plans by two Internet service providers in Barbados to merge their operations have collapsed.
Last November, Sunbeach and its smaller competitor, Cariaccess, had announced plans for the merger.
But Cariacess' Chief Executive Officer Anthony Gunn confirmed that he had received communication from Sunbeach that it was no longer in amalgamating the two operations.
Gunn told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that he could not go into detail on the position taken by Sunbeach, but indicated that the matter had been turned over to his attorneys.
The deal was to have been completed by December 15, months ahead of the issuing of new cellular licenses by the government.
Government last week announced that it had given new cellular licences to Sunbeach, the US-based AT&T Wireless and the Irish-owned Digicel.
Cariaccess operates in St. Lucia and St. Vincent offering a range of PBX and other phone systems and officials of Sunbeach had said the combination would have given the company an opportunity to enter the sub-regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) market as part of the company's expansion drive.
But Gunn said he was not entirely surprised by the pull out by Sunbeach, adding that the decision was a culmination of months of developments.
However, he noted that the Cariaccess' customer base has not been affected by the setback. He said his company was signing up about 20 customers weekly in Barbados.
"We have what we think is probably one of the best customer service charters for internet service in Barbados and because of that, we have developed a very strong local following," Gunn said.
When contacted, technical director of Sunbeach, Damian Dunphy told CMC that the merger was conditional on a due diligence study and ensuring that they were comfortable with what Sunbeach was acquiring from Cariaccess.
"Having gone through that process it was not something that we felt we could take to our shareholders and hope for their approval since they would have the final say. We did not think it made good sense for Sunbeach and for the shareholders," Dunphy said. 


Antigua and Barbuda to review taxes on used motor vehicles

Antigua, CMC - The Antigua and Barbuda government has announced new plans to review the existing tariff on the importation of used motor vehicles into the island.
An official statement said that Cabinet at its weekly meeting on Wednesday had agreed to the measure "after careful consideration".
It said that the Cabinet had agreed to the interim measure pending the receipt of a complete policy document, by a technical team comprising members from the Ministry of Tourism and the Environment and the Ministry of Planning and Trade.
"The Technical Team has been mandated by Cabinet to review all the issues as they relate to used vehicles including the environmental impact and revenue implications. They will also address the high volume of old cars in Antigua and Barbuda as it relates to emissions and disposal," the statement said..
The team will develop a "comprehensive policy document" for presentation to Cabinet on August 20, the statement added.


Cable and Wireless's monopoly on Barbados' mobile cellular market ends

Barbados, CMC - Cable and Wireless' monopoly on the Barbados' mobile cellular market ended on Friday as the Barbados government officially issued three new players and the incumbent new 15-year licenses to compete in the market.
Utilities Minister, Anthony Wood handed top officials from Irish firm Digicel, American telecoms giant AT&T represented by Cellular Communications and Sunbeach, a locally owned Internet service provider with their documents, during a brief ceremony.
"These new licenses remove this exclusivity from the provision of telecommunications. Today is a landmark in the provision of telecommunications services as the government moves towards full liberalization of the market," Wood said.
But he called for a speedy resolution to the interconnection negotiations between the four players.
"In respect of the discussions on interconnection agreement that the companies will be engaged in, I sincerely look forward to speedy resolution to those discussions so that the market can truly be reflective of four players actively participating," he said.
Chief Telecoms Officer Chelston Bourne said as far interconnection was concerned, Cable and Wireless must file a reference interconnection offer (RIO) within 52 days from the June 30 date given by the Fair Trade Commission declaring it a dominant player.
Commenting on the negotiations, Cable and Wireless Chief Executive Officer, Donald Austin told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that his company had already agreed to meetings with the other competitors in the  market to discuss interconnection rates and pole-sharing.
"We are already putting things in place to make sure interconnection goes through, but it is a very complex issue and not something that can be done overnight because there is an impression given that Cable and Wireless is stalling because of interconnection."
Essentially, the Mobile Telecommunications licenses allow for the four telecoms companies to build networks, provide service and authorizes the use of frequencies for the provision of mobile telecommunications.
General Manager of AT&T Wireless Bermuda, Jonathan Koshar said Barbados was an excellent market for his company and one that they have been seeking to develop.
He indicated that although some cell sites had already been identified it would be difficult to indicate when the company would begin to offer service.
Chief Executive Officer of Digicel, Donal O'Shaunghnessy, said his company was looking forward to commencing interconnection negotiations so it could meet an October start up date.
"That is where the longest time line will be .We will be network ready within eight weeks and be able to launch the service, provided we have interconnection," he said. 


Nevis legislators to examine future Constitution

Nevis, CMC - Premier Vance Amory has presented the Nevis Island Assembly with the draft constitutional proposals for the island.
He said the 86-page document entitled "Full and Detailed Proposals for the Future Constitution of Nevis" would give citizens an opportunity to examine the type of constitutional arrangement that the ruling Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) government envisages for an independent Nevis.
"The Explanatory Memorandum, in particular, allows the average man or woman in Nevis to understand the importance of the constitutional proposals in language that is easy to read and readily appreciated," Amory told legislators on Tuesday.
Amory said that his administration had undertaken the same process during the first referendum in 1998, which it narrowly lost.
He said the proposals were the direct result of months of consultation with citizens and the process would not be new to anyone, "except perhaps young persons who were not able to vote at the time the first referendum was held".
"I believe that the tabling of the constitutional proposals and the Explanatory Memorandum presents an excellent opportunity especially for those young persons, who are now able to vote in a referendum, to pause and give serious thought to the future they wish to see for our island," Amory said.


FBI helping Bahamas in search for missing boys

The Bahamas, CMC - A team from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is assisting local authorities with investigations into the mysterious disappearance of four boys.
The team headed by Miami liaison officer to the FBI for The Bahamas, Jeffrey Favitta arrived in the country Tuesday and held a lengthy meeting with local police on the investigations.
Since May, police here have been searching for 12 year Jake Grant, Mackinson Colas, 11 and 13 year old DeAngelo McKenzie.
On May 9, Grant, a seventh grade student of Sir Jack Hayward High School, left home and never returned.
One week later, Colas, a sixth-grade student of the Lewis Yard Primary School failed to return home after running an errand for his mother who sent him to a nearby house to purchase some items.
Police said that on May 27, McKenzie left his home on Pioneers Way East for Sir Jack Hayward High School, where he is an eighth-grade student. It is reported that he attended classes for the entire day, but disappeared afterwards.
A fourth boy, 11-year-old Junior Reme, a Haitian national, disappeared on July 30.
Two separate rewards, U$75,000 and U$10,000, are being offered for information leading to the return of the boys. 


Jamaica launches programme to deal with crime and violence among young people

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC - The Ministry of National Security here has launched a J$10 million (US$169,205) scholarship programme aimed at getting young people back to schools and away from a life of crime.
The project is being administered through the Youth Initiative Against Crime and Violence to provide educational support to youths at risk, including those on the streets, in juvenile institutions, inner city or abandoned.
Junior National Security Minister Kern Spencer said that the scholarship programme would allow youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18, to access grants of J$30,000 (US$507) to return to school.
He said that programme would be administered over a three-year period with some 115 persons to benefit within the first year.
Scholarship application forms are available at all Police Community Relations offices and the deadline for application for this year is August 15.
Spencer said that under the Youth Initiative Against Crime and Violence, established one year ago, nearly 7,000 youngsters have been counseled about the dangers and ill effects of a criminal lifestyle.
In addition, efforts are being made to point young persons to the various areas of opportunity for development, including the National Youth Service (NYS), Youth in Agriculture Programme and the Labour Market Information System, which allows persons to post their resumes on the internet in order to realize job opportunities.
Noting that the Ministry's assistance to the young was aimed at stemming crime and violence, he cited statistics, which revealed that over 1,400 persons between the ages of 12 and 30 were the perpetrators of major crimes from January to June this year.
In addition, 1, 626 young persons were the victims of major crimes during the same period.
"The future of this country is being threatened because our young people are being killed, and in most cases, it is our young people who are doing the killing and committing other major crimes," he said.
Spencer also emphasized that engendering self-respect in young persons was another strategy that would help to reduce crime amongst the youth.
"Until we truly have self respect, it will be quite difficult to show respect for others and to show respect for the law," he added. 


Retreat for British Virgin Islands Ministers and senior officials

British Virgin Islands, CMC - A one-day retreat for newly elected British Virgin Islands government Ministers and senior public sector officials gets underway here on Thursday.
It is being organized by the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and will focus on how to effectively manage the dynamic relationship between Ministers and their senior public servants.
PSDP said the retreat would allow for open and free discussion with the participants likely to develop a strategic vision for the BVI government.
Barbados-based management consultant Dr. Aubrey B. Armstrong will be the facilitator at the retreat, an official statement here said.
Dr. Armstrong is a former United Nations (UN) Adviser in Management Training Methods and has worked extensively in the public and private sectors throughout the Caribbean Commonwealth. 


Youths charged with faking own kidnapping

Trinidad, CMC - A magistrate has denied bail to five persons including a 17-year-old school girl who told police she had been kidnapped and released only after a TT20, 000 (US$3,300) ransom had been paid.
Rene Hinkson has been jointly charged with Calbert Audain, 23, Michael Edghill, 20, Alister Bomes, 24, and Canute McBurnie, 21, for wasting police time, conspiring to extort TT$500,000 (US$83, 300) from Arthur Hinkson,(Rene's cousin) and fraudulently obtaining TT$20,000 from him.
When they appeared before magistrate JoAnn Connor in the Tunapuna court, east of here on Tuesday, they were not asked to plead since the charges had all been laid indictably.
The charges against the five arose out of an incident on July 21 in which the Hinkson was reportedly kidnapped while walking near her home in Curepe, east of here.
In addition, Audain also faces a separate charge of demanding TT$500,000 from Hinkson, on July 24. The case will be held in the San Fernando magistrate court on Friday.
Defence lawyer Samatha Lawson had made an application for bail, but the magistrate upheld the prosecution objection on the grounds that tracing of the accused had not yet been completed.
The case has been adjourned to August 14.
Trinidad and Tobago has been rocked by a number of kidnappers so far this year with police estimating that over 120 persons had been abducted and over TT$2 million (US$330,000) had been paid for the release of some of the victims.


Former Liberia Leader was denied an opportunity to run the country, says ex-wife

Trinidad, CMC - Liberia's Special Envoy for Presidential Affairs for the past five years, Yolanda Emmanuel, says international sanctions had denied ousted leader Charles Taylor an opportunity to effectively run his country.
Emmanuel, the first wife of ousted Liberian leader who was forced into exile on Monday, said that allegations of war crimes against Taylor had never been proven, insisting that his removal was engineered by the United States.
"Seeing his people suffering he decided, let me step down. Show me a president that will do that anywhere in Africa. No nation in the world can fight Big Brother (the US). If Big Brother says you go, you go," she said in an exclusive interview with the Trinidad Guardian newspapers on Tuesday.
The newspaper said that it had been granted the interview by Emmanuel, a Trinidad born national, to dispel earlier allegations that she had fled Liberia and was hiding out at a local hotel here.
Further, she said, local media reports had been referring to her as Taylor's wife.
"I am not the President's wife," she told the paper, saying that while she had married Taylor at age 19, they had long been divorced.
The couple, Emmanuel said, spent their married life in Boston in the United States, before Taylor returned to his homeland, became a rebel and was later elected president, according to the newspaper report.
Taylor and Emmanuel have two children, Charles Taylor Jr, 14, and Zoe Taylor who is in her twenties.
Charles Taylor Jr, lives with his father while Zoe lives with Emmanuel.
Emmanuel said newspaper reports that said she was hiding out her with Taylor 's son were erroneous, adding that the boy is her son from her present marriage.
Speaking on the situation in Liberia, she said that had she been involved in the political arena "I would have to flee Liberia."
She said her job, which requires her to liase with other sovereign states on the president's behalf, is secure. Despite Taylor's departure she will continue to work as an envoy.
"I have to go back to work," she said.
"I didn't get this job because of Charles Taylor. I went to school for this, to be in the foreign service," she told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.
She said inaccurate media reports have strained her 19-year marriage to a "wonderful Trinidadian" living in Boston and declined to be photographed from the front because she felt media reports and speculation that she was full of diamonds had made her a possible target for criminals.
"If I had these diamonds, honey, trust me, I would have a mansion somewhere in Trinidad."
Emmanuel said for his own safety, Taylor has not revealed specific details of his location in exile, describing the ousted leader as one of the most giving, open, kind-hearted, sweet people she knew.
She said the allegations of war crimes could be traced "all the way back to the United States."
"Is it fair for one man to be the fall guy for everybody? Because of an allegation that is not even proven?" she told the newspaper.
She also said the crippling of Liberia's economy by international sanctions had denied Taylor the chance to run his country properly.
"How do you run a country without an economy?" she asked.
"She also said he had a vision for the nation. She admitted, however, that he has made mistakes. One of his mistakes, she said, was his need to have a say in everything and his failure to allow the Government to run freely," the paper quoted her as saying.
Emmanuel left Trinidad and Tobago at the age of nine, and has worked as Liberia's Special Envoy for Presidential Affairs for the past five years, the Trinidad Guardian said.


Two Dominican men charged with smuggling weapons

Dominica, CMC - Dominica police have charged two men with smuggling weapons into the island.
Police said that Felix Bethelmie and Delvin Marshall were arrested and charged with bringing into the island a gun, 22 rounds of ammunition, three canisters of tear gas and seven smoke flare guns.
Customs officials discovered the items during a search of the men's luggage when they arrived here from Guadeloupe on the vessel Caribbean Ferries last weekend.
The men are due to appear in a magistrate's court here on Tuesday. 


Caribbean scholar makes out case for reparations

Jamaica, CMC - Principal of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Hilary Beckles, says the continuing discussion on reparations was a necessary discourse in "reconciling the inequities and rectifying the historic imbalances" which have confronted Caribbean societies since Emancipation.
Professor Beckles was addressing a forum last week at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington D.C., in commemoration of Jamaica's 165th year of emancipation.
The forum was organised by the Jamaica Information Service and sponsored by the Embassy of Jamaica, the Embassy of Barbados, and the George Washington University.
The discussion was the third of a week-long series of activities designed to celebrate Jamaica's independence and to mark the 1838 Emancipation Proclamation.
The forum was attended by several members of the CARICOM Ambassadors Caucus, the Washington Diplomatic Corps, representatives from the government of the United States and the District of Columbia, members of the Caribbean communities, as well as opinion leaders and historians from several academic institutions in the Washington area.
In demonstrating the deep-seated and adverse impact of the colonial experience, Professor Beckles argued that it was understandable that many Jamaicans still questioned the merits of sovereignty in light of the significant challenges that had confronted the island since its independence in 1962.
The Cave Hill Principal said that many contemporary obstacles to Caribbean advancement had their roots in the so-called "Atlantic System of genocide, slavery and colonialism, which served to revolutionise international trade and engendered large-scale production which significantly benefited (the colonial powers) participating in this activity".
He described the practice of racialised chattel enslavement as one of "modernity's greatest crimes against humanity" and said that this history continued to affect the descendants of those enslaved by perpetuating "a cycle of shame and guilt" which served to undermine social integration and subvert efforts to forge a unity of purpose in the pursuit of common national goals in many Caribbean societies.
Citing the resistance of European colonial powers to allow the practice of slavery within their own societies, Professor Beckles stressed that there was "a clear recognition of the impact that these crimes (of slavery), which allowed human beings to be regarded as property, would undoubtedly have on their own domestic populations. The practices could exist in distant colonies but were unacceptable at home".
Professor Beckles told the gathering that the French Government's receipt of 20 million gold francs from the Haitian government, between 1825 and 1922, as compensation to French slave owners "for effecting their own liberation", ensured that Haiti's entire productive capacity, as a young nation, was "fully centred on repaying the French government rather than dealing with the urgent task of educating and empowering the newly liberated Haitians."
Calling the need for reparations a "matter of fairness", Professor Beckles noted that European colonial powers paid former slave owners substantial compensation when formal slavery ended in the Caribbean.
He argued that compensation programmes were established to "facilitate a new start for slave owners" and that fairness dictated that former African slaves in the post-mancipation period had a right to also be compensated for their central role in sustaining the plantation economies of the Caribbean.
The Professor also encouraged academics and opinion leaders, through continued research, publication, and curriculum development to "tell the story of the real scope and impact of uncompensated African labour" and its contribution to the building of contemporary European society.
He also noted that while transparency, effective public stewardship and public accountability must be key components of contemporary Caribbean governance, it must be appreciated that "Caribbean countries, over the last forty years, have been asked to compete and compare favourably with their European counterparts. 


Legal adviser to Trinidad Opposition Leader resigns

Trinidad, CMC - The legal adviser to Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday has resigned, citing the need to "explore alternative avenues" that would help him achieve his goals.
Garvin Nicholas, who also unsuccessfully contested last October general election here, said that his decision to resign was also influenced by a robbery at his home earlier this year, when gun-totting bandits accosted him.
"I realised that had my life ended on that day I would not have accomplished a great many of the tasks I have set to achieve for myself and my family and my country," he said in his resignation letter.
"On recent reflection and examination of the course of my life, I have come to the conclusion that on my present path, I may not realise my goals in a way that best serves myself or my country," Nicholas, 36, said.
Nicholas said that these "goals" were the "driving force behind his return to Trinidad and Tobago" from England two years ago and that "it would be quite unfair for me to seek to continue in the capacity as counsel to the Leader of the Opposition in my present state of mind".
Nicholas told reporters that despite his resignation, he would continue to be a member of the opposition United National Congress (UNC) which is now reviewing its constitution in anticipation of internal elections later this year or early 2004.
Nicholas had been part of the team reviewing the party's constitution. His resignation takes effect as of August 31.


Jamaica police fighting uphill battle against crime

Jamaica, CMC - The Jamaica police has admitted the failure of a plan to reduce the high murder rate in the country, even as it acknowledged that there was an overall reduction in major crimes.
Police Commissioner Francis Forbes told reporters on Monday that homicides were up by one per cent, even as the country recorded 400 and odd less major crimes so far this year.
"I think we have to go back to the drawing board. We had hoped that by now we would have been at least 15 per cent (of the target) and we did get very close to that. The 20 per cent proposed reduction target ...is right now out of the window," Forbes said.
Police statistics show that murders, year-to-date, total 570 compared to the same period last year when 566 murders were reported. Of this year's total, police have categorised 134 as domestic killings, compared to 168 last year.
According to the police data, major crimes reported since the start of this year total 4,111, compared to 4,616 for the same period last year, a drop of 11 per cent.
"We had hoped that by now we would be at least at a 15 per cent decrease, and we did get very close to that. At one stage we were way up there, but as time went by the domestic type murders, the conflict type murders, the reprisals have grown, and certainly the outbreak from the elections has not ceased," Forbes said.
He listed areas such as Mount View, West Kingston and Arnett Gardens as places where gang violence and murders were keeping the police extremely busy.
"So that has kept us occupied in a significant way and we can't really be satisfied with things at this time," Forbes said.
Last December, the Government, in response to deepening concerns about crime in the island, launched a major anti-crime initiative in the Kingston and St Catherine communities most affected by violence. Their order to the police was to stay in those communities for as long as it took to rid the streets of criminals and restore law and order.
But the Police Commissioner said that that the programme had hit a few bumps.
"Not everything is going as planned," he said, although he remained optimistic that the island could see an overall reduction in crimes this year.
"I must confess that it is still possible to reach the overall reduction of crime. I look at the overall crime, but high on my agenda is homicide, and when homicide is not down, I am not comfortable at all."
But he said that the police had been able to "make a dent in the drug trade and that has really helped us keep a cap on some of the potential crimes that could have been committed". 


Banana production in the Windward Islands decreases

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC - Banana exports from the Windward Islands dropped by more than 20,000 tonnes in the first half of this year, compared to last year, according to figures released by the Windward Islands Banana Exporting and Development Company (WIBDECO).
The company said production during the period January to June 2003 was 34,572 tonnes compared to 56,435 tonnes last year.
There was also a corresponding drop in revenue earned by the industry. WIBDECO said revenue for this year was EC$34.5 million (US$12.7 million) as compared with EC$64.2
million (23.7 million) last year.
Although St. Lucia exported a little more than half of the total Windward Islands output during the six months, its 18,515 tonnes this year was woefully short of the 26,785 tonnes the island exported during the first six months of last year, WIBDECO said.
St. Lucia's banana revenue during this past half year was just EC$23.6 million (US8.7 million) compared with EC$31.8 million (US$11.7 million) earned last year.
Exports from St. Vincent and the Grenadines have dropped by nearly 50 per cent this year. Up to the end of June, St. Vincent and the Grenadines output stood at 10,420 tonnes valued at EC$13.8 million (US$5.1 million) compared with 19,475 tonnes valued at EC$18.2 million (uS$6.7 million) last year.
Dominica's exports show a similar decline from 9,649 tonnes valued at EC$9.1 million (US$3.3 million) last year to just 5,428 tonnes valued at EC$6.6 million (US$2.4 million) this year.
Grenada's exports was 210 tonnes this year valued at EC$228,000 (US$84,000) compared with 256 tonnes valued at EC$200,000 (US$74, 000) last year. 


Air Jamaica sued by former employee

Jamaica, CMC - A former employee of Air Jamaica has filed a multi-million dollar suit against the airline.
Former manager for Community Relations and Special Markets, Miguel Gallimore, on Monday filed the suit in the Dade County Circuit Court, alleging that the company breached his contract of employment when he was dismissed in March.
Gallimore, who is seeking in excess of US$3 million,  is also claiming damages for what he says is the airline's use of his image in a promotion campaign without his permission.
According to court documents, Gallimore is also claiming that he has not been paid commission for business secured for Air Jamaica, in keeping with his contract.
Meanwhile, Air Jamaica's Chief Executive Officer Chris Zacca has denied any knowledge of the lawsuit.
Miguel Gallimore was employed by Air Jamaica on April 2, 1997 and dismissed on March 21, 2003.
On July 30 the airline announced that it would be relocating its marketing, sales and reservations departments from Miami, to Jamaica, as a cost-cutting measure.


Trinidad police arrest girl for bogus kidnapping

Trinidad, CMC - A 17 year old girl who told police she had been kidnapped and a released after a TT20, 000(US$3,333) ransom had been paid, was arrested on Sunday for making a false report.
The girl and her four male accomplices, between the ages 21 and 23, were held along the east-west corridor here following police investigations into her kidnapping.
Police said that the girl was allegedly kidnapped three weeks ago while walking along a road in Curepe, east of here and dropped off in St. Augustine four days later after the ransom was paid.
The alleged "kidnappers" had threatened to kill the unidentified girl if the ransom was not paid, police said.
Police said they had recovered several items of clothing that the girl and her four accomplices bought with the ransom money.
There have been over 120 kidnappings here so far this year with at least two million dollars (US$333,000) paid to secure the release of those abducted. At least one person has been killed by his abductors this year.


Cable & Wireless wants increase in telephone rates in Barbados

Barbados, CMC - Cable & Wireless (C&W) has applied to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) for an increase in local telephone rates as well as to introduce a metered rate system in Barbados.
The company made the announcement during the launch of its Global System Mobile (GSM) over the last weekend and comes less than 48 hours after Government issued licences to AT&T Wireless, Digicel and Sunbeach to provide cellular services here.
 "We have asked for an adjustment of the domestic rate for both residential and business and we have also asked for a usage-based price for fixed-to-fixed lines; what is ordinarily called metered rating," C&W's vice-president of legal, regulatory and public policy, Glenda Medford said.
 The proposed plan offers three-line rental packages. The current basic rate of BDS$28 (US$14) will remain for people who use 2, 000 minutes or less per month, or just over an hour each day, while the company would charge BDS$38 (US$19) for a package of 4,000 minutes per month.
Subscribers who use more than the minutes assigned to their package, will have to pay an additional BDS1.7 cents per minute, while subscribers who want to continue having unlimited use of their telephones, the company wants to increase the basic rate by BDS$20 (US$10) to BDS$48 (US$24) monthly.
C&W President, Donald Austin said its application to the FTC is not for increased revenue but to help the company adjust to the new deregulated environment
 "We have been working in a regime where once you had an exclusive license, the international (calls) subsidise the national (calls). You're moving to a regime where the market is opened up and prices will go towards costs and basically the domestic has been subsidise by the international," he said.
"So all that we're saying is I'm paying the price for what is being delivered," he added.
 Medford added that the rate increase was also be consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the Barbados government in 2001.
"In order to facilitate the introduction of competition in the domestic network service, it is important for the network prices for domestic services to move to costs. So clearly there would be an opportunity for new entrants to come into that sector as well," she said.
 The changes could also see increases on special phone features like call waiting and caller identification, while international calls will be cut in some cases by as much as 30 or 40 per cent.
 But the company says this will depend on the FTC's response to its application, which forms part of the rebalancing exercise.
The full effect of the rate adjustments on businesses will be revealed completely on Wednesday when the rate application document becomes available to the public from the FTC. 


CHA says yes to cooperation, but merger unlikely with other major regional tourism body

Puerto Rico, CMC - The Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) says while it is willing to cooperate fully with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) in the development of the regional tourism sector, it is unlikely that a merger of both organisations would be in the near future.
"CHA and CTO must co-exist parallel but separate, in order to serve their very distinct constituencies," says CHA director general and chief executive officer Alec Sanguinetti.
 Sanguinetti was reacting to a recent statement by CTO secretary general Jean Holder for a possible merger of the two regional tourism bodies.
"It's important that our members and partners understand that a merger of both organizations is not something that CTO has discussed with CHA, or at the leadership and ministerial level.  The goal continues to be an enhanced collaboration wherever possible to maximize opportunities, resources, and benefits," Sanguinetti said.
 Sanguinetti said that CHA brings together the members of the Caribbean hospitality industry to address a broad range of issues that are common specifically to their development interests.
Over the course of 40 years, the organization has evolved from a straight trade association to one that is now actively involved in ensuring that the tourism private sector plays a developmental role in the region, he added.
"To use one example, CHA has a responsibility to serve as advocate of the hotel sector it represents.  In that role, CHA actively lobbies the governments represented by CTO on issues affecting competitiveness, such as taxation and government regulations.  Any merger of CHA and CTO would effectively neutralize such efforts," he said.
 The CHA chief executive added that developments in recent years clearly support the private sector position.  In 2001, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government decided to place the proposed joint regional marketing program under the administration of what at the time was a private sector Trust.
 He said, since then, the public sector has come on board to jointly develop and implement the program, dubbed 'Life Needs the Caribbean'.
Sanguinetti also noted that last year, the European Union included the Caribbean private sector in its 8th European Development Fund (EDF) for the first time, designating CHA as the agency to manage the private sector programme.
 In previous agreements, the European Union only assigned development funding to the public sector.
 Sanguinetti also made reference to other examples of the private sector being more involved in the development process, noting that most recently, Pro-Invest, a partnership programme of the European Commission will join with the CHA in their investment funding program for the Caribbean region.
 In addition, the World Travel & Tourism Council and CHA are partnering to conduct research on the impact of tourism on jobs and the economy of approximately 27 Caribbean countries.
American Express has also teamed up with CHA to conduct consumer research on consumer trends for the Caribbean.
"The vote of confidence of governments and international funding agencies and organizations speaks for itself," he said. 


Biggest Power Outage Ever Hits Northeast U.S., Canada

The largest blackout in U.S. history slowly receded early Friday, with power returning in fits and starts throughout the Northeast, the Midwest and eastern Canada. Officials struggled to understand what had caused the power system to fail, and more importantly, why the disruption spread so rapidly and across such a wide area.

THE ENORMOUS blackout cascaded across the eastern seaboard and Canada late Thursday afternoon, knocking out electricity to millions of people in New York, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Ottawa and elsewhere. Power began to return to some areas about four hours later, and on Friday efforts were being made to restore public services:
Light was restored to skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan (50th Street north to Central Park), according to WNBC-TV.
By 5 a.m. EDT, power had been restored to 819,000 of 3.1 million customers in the five boroughs of New York City and Westchester County, a Con Edison spokesperson said. One-third of customers in Manhattan had their power restored, leaving an estimated 2 million without.
Buses in New York City, a quarter of which were running Friday morning, will be free until full service is restored, transport officials said. The NYC subway system is completely shut down.
Officials of the Homeland Security Department said there were no indications that terrorists were responsible for the blackout. The CERT Coordination Center, an Internet security clearinghouse, said it also did not appear to be related to the W32/Blaster worm or other recent computer intruder activity. 


Antigua and Barbuda and United States fail to reach Agreement at WTO

Antigua, CMC - Antigua and Barbuda and the United States have failed to reach an agreement on the composition of a Panel within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to adjudicate in a dispute over the provisions of cross-border Internet Gaming services.
Antigua and Barbudas Chief Foreign Affairs Representative Sir Ronald Sanders said as a result he has asked the WTO Director-General to constitute a Panel within the next ten days.
The delegations from both countries had on Tuesday and Thursday of this week met in Geneva with representatives of the WTO to try to agree on the membership of the Panel, which was authorised on July 21 by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body.
Sir Ronald said the WTO Secretariat had produced two lists of potential panellists, but both had been "largely rejected by the US".
"It seems that the US is unwilling to agree on the proposed panellists in an effort to delay the establishment of a Panel and the early consideration of Antigua and Barbuda's complaint.   Therefore, I have notified the US that Antigua and Barbuda sees no value in continuing a futile exercise." Sir Ronald said.
"Under the rules of the WTO, Antigua and Barbuda can now ask the Director-General to establish a Panel of his own choosing giving due consideration to the criteria for the panel that has been provided by both Antigua and Barbuda and the US.  Consequently, I have written to the Director-General requesting that he proceed to appoint the Panel."
"I expect that the Director-General, after final consultations with both parties, will establish the Panel by August 24," he added.
Antigua and Barbuda took its complaint against the United States to the Dispute Settlement Body in June this year, after direct consultations with US government representatives failed to find a resolution to the issue.
In July, the Dispute Settlement Body authorised the establishment of a Panel to adjudicate the dispute, and the parties were given 20 days in which to try to agree on the composition of the Panel.
Antigua and Barbuda argues that the United States, by prohibiting the provision of cross-border gambling and betting services to its residents, is violating its own commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, and is causing harm to the Antigua and Barbuda economy and a loss of jobs.
The US counter argues that it has made no commitments to allow cross border gambling, but the Antigua and Barbuda government says "beyond this blanket statement, the US has made no effort to substantiate its claim."
Several countries have formally indicated their interest in the matter as
third parties to the WTO procedure.  They include the European Union,
Mexico, Canada, Japan and Taiwan.


Cable and Wireless gets support for metered rates

Barbados, CMC - A senior official of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  s supporting a call for the introduction of metered rates for domestic telephone lines in Barbados.
The ITU's Senior Expert Costs and Tariffs, Dr. John Prince, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) Friday that as a regulator it had recommended since 1998, that Cable and Wireless introduce a metered rate system in the island.
He noted that the fixed line market was growing at a very slow rate of five per cent globally compared to the mobile phone sector, which has been averaging growth rates of 55 per cent annually.
"People must pay for what they use. When you are on a fixed phone you may either be a beneficiary or you may be a loser. There are people who do not use their telephone but they pay a fixed rate, while there are others who abuse the telephone," Dr. Prince said.
Dr. Prince made the comments as the battle for market share in the local cellular market heats up with three new players entering the local market.
Last week, the Barbados government granted licences to Sunbeach, a 95 per cent locally-owned company, the US-based AT&T Wireless and Irish firm Digicel, thereby ending the monopoly once enjoyed by the British telecommunication giant.
The ITU spokesman said that in the Caribbean and Latin America,  cellular  phone usage has been growing at a rate of 11 per cent compared to the rest of the world which is expanding at between 30 and 60 per cent.
Dr. Prince said this is an indicator that there is a lot more potential in the regional market for increase telecommunication activity.
However, he believes the growth will come with full liberalization of the telecommunications market. Dr. Prince believes this will also result in cheaper telephone rates and better roaming arrangements.
"In that there is tremendous growth potential because of the multiplicity of services that can be had with mobile handsets such as roaming, calling party pays.  The very fact that you can pick your call on a mobile when you are not at home you can see that there is a very tremendous amount of opportunity for growth," he added.


FEATURES

BELHAM BRIDGE

By Anthony Simpson 

To further the Chamber’s goal for increased residential tourism, one of the primary targets should be to ease access across the Belham Valley.

The present method of crossing, while only causing the occasional problem to hardened veterans, is quite unacceptable for visiting owners, their guests, island visitors, and the general public both for safety and environmental reasons. The view from Garibaldi could be a major island attraction if accessible.

Assume half, say 10 of the 20 or so houses on the south side of Belham Valley, are occupied for half the year. At an outlay of approximately EC$8,000 per household per month, this totals EC$480,000 per year. Add to that a further EC$192,000 for an estimated two full-time occupancies, this results in an annual extra income to Montserrat’s economy of EC$672,000 – roughly a quarter of a million U.S. dollars every year with very positive prospects for future house sales and taxes. This figure would increase markedly if cleanup and repairs were included as well as the opening of parts of Cork Hill and Foxes Bay.

The following are essential in order for this to take place:

  1. Safe uninterruptible access across the valley with good connecting roads.

  2. Reliable water, electricity, telephone, television, and normal speed Internet services.

  3. A cessation of beach sand mining operations.

The access road appears to be the only major holdup at present. With the current respite from volcanic activity, a perfect window of opportunity exists. Immediate plans should be made to select the preferred location and configuration of access. The final choice must be able to handle the occasional water/mud/rock flows in bad weather. A robust temporary structure should be given priority over a more expensive and time-consuming permanent choice.

With the potential great benefits to the economy outlined above, funding should not be permitted to be a stumbling block. Every effort must be made to avoid endless unproductive meetings and extended visits by prospective tenderers. The whole project should be treated in a highly proactive manner and the sooner the better.


TOURISM HIGHLIGHTS

 


VOLCANO LIMERICKS

        Weekend Boost

The two ways to get here from there,

Ferry by sea and copter by air,

Are both subsidised

So why so surprised

That again we are raising a fare?

 

        Treasure Hunt

New Bobcats, shovels and brooms

Are here but locked in some rooms,

Leaving many confused

That they’re not being used

But kept like someone’s heirlooms.


JUS WONDERIN

Jus Wonderin if when the CM holds meeting in the UK with Montserratians, He will  come to Leicester this time.

Jus wonder if because Montserrat so nice why we can’t leave.

Jus wonderin how many foreigners make more money than the local for ash cleaning.

Jus wonderin since the junior pan players play so good if dem goin keep him a while longer to continue training dem young people.

Jus wonderin if its true some nurses at the hospital appear to be unfriendly on weekends.

Jus wonderin if the li’l boy incident causing serious divisions between the expat community.

Jus wonderin why PWD haven’t cleaned up the ash from the Little Bay Beach.

Jus wonderin if they waiting for the sea to wash it off.

Jus wonderin why de ferry fee raising so steady so fast.

Jus wonderin if the ferry fee increase have anything to do with the fuel cost.

Jus wonderin what really will happen to the ferry when we get the new airport.

Jus wonderin if we can  expect the population to increase.

Jus wonderin who replace the Montserratians that leave, if other Montserratians come back.

Jus wonderin what will happen when some the die-hards decide to leave.

Jus wonderin if soon we can’t travel off de island.

Jus wonderin how de ash cleaning done in Olveston and de place still look like a mess.

Jus wonderin if dem contractors think dem can do messy jobs and lef it so.

Jus wonderin if dem see when the rain don’t come for one day, how it show up all the ash still on the ground.

Jus wonderin if de marryin business can catch on.

Jus wonderin if that is the best way to survive these days.

Jus wonderin if any of the foreigners here doin like they say bout the Guyanese who go to Canada from St. Vincent.

Jus wonderin if we got over our own Guyanese passport connection.

Jus wonderin if now we hope to get more aid to do the ash clean-up, some consciences will come clean.

Jus wonderin if the travel agents here will ever be able again to book a flight MNI-JFK-MNI.

Jus wonderin if we shouldn’t begin thinking about sweeping off the WH Bramble runway and build a terminal at Jackboy Hill.

Jus wonderin if it is too late to plan that and still build the grass strip at Geralds, the sports complex and bring life a little more bearable.

Jus wonderin if the ferry fare increase will cut down the weekend travel.

Jus wonderin if the airplanes coming into Geralds will bring the carton of chicken.

Jus wonderin if our expert boat and sea man CM will buy a boat to replace the ferry.

Jus wonderin if Delta will put in a fuel terminal at the new airport.

Jus wonderin when the new ZJB radio and TV building will commence.

Jus wonderin if it will be near the Emergency Operation Centre as already planned or next to the present location of Bank of Montserrat.

Jus wonderin how many deals that will involve and who will be involved. 


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