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VOLUME 10 - No. 6

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BELONGERS OUT-NUMBERED

urks and Caicos Islanders continue to be a minority in their own country, accounting for 40 percent of the population. That’s the finding of a just-released Country Poverty Assessment (CPA) study which was a joint undertaking of a National Assessment Team including members from government and non-government organisations, and a team of consultants appointed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The report which was submitted to Cabinet last Wednesday, noted that migration accounts for around twothirds of TCI’s population increase over the last 10 years, reflecting a combination of the high demand for labour up to 2008 and a relatively liberal immigration policy. In combination with immigration during the late 1980s and the 1990s, this means that TCI islanders are now in the minority accounting for 40% of the population, although they remain the largest group. This represents a turnaround from 2001 when Belongers constituted 52% of the population, according to the report. This pattern varies between islands but non-nationals are heavily represented on every island, and are in the majority on Providenciales and North Caicos, the report stated. The largest migrant group is the Haitians with 35% of the population, followed by the Jamaicans (8%) and the Dominican Republicans (DRs) with 5%. Unlike other groups where there has been a high turnover, 45% of the current Haitian population was resident in 2001, and virtually all those resident in 2001 are still resident in TCI. Over 80% of Haitians aged under 15 years have been born in TCI as have over 30% of those aged 15 to 24 years. Taken together, the Haitian population in TCI exhibits a high degree of

permanence; yet only around 20% have permanent right of residence in TCI. Also noteworthy is the fact that there was a net emigration of TCI nationals between 2001 and 2012. As a result of the high level of immigration, the population is now more heavily concentrated in the main working age groups (25-64 years) - 61% compared with 54% in 2001 – while the proportions of children and the elderly have both declined. Nonetheless over a third of the population

is aged under 25 years; in contrast, the proportion of the elderly in the population (2.5%) is very low. It was stated that throughout most of its recorded history the population of TCI has varied between 5,000 and 6,000 and it is only since the mid 1970s that it has increased rapidly. The population, according to the report, is now some 5 times larger than it was in 1970. “This growth almost exactly parallels the development of the tourism industry. Growth was particularly rap-

id in the 1990s when the population almost doubled. The current population of TCI is around 31,500 representing a 57.5% increase over the 2001 population of around 20,000. The growth rate from 2001 to 2012 should not however be taken at face value and it is likely that the population increased rapidly up to 2009/10 but has declined somewhat since then due to the economic crisis,” said the report.

TCIG records $16M surplus

17 bodies returned to Haiti

Bambarra Rum wins big in The Bahamas

Former AG Huw Shepheard rejects settlement offer

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BIG WINNERS AT STAR AWARDS Sheniqua Outten, Stacy Cox and Nicholette Thomas were among the big winners at the Star Awards which were held in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday, February 27th. They were awarded for their outstanding service to the tourism industry.

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“The geographical pattern of population growth in TCI over the last 30 years is straightforward: the population of Provo has increased from under 1,000 in 1980 to almost 24,000 today. In contrast, with the partial exception of Grand Turk where there has been steady, if low, growth, the population in the other islands has declined or stagnated. The reason is also simple - Provo is where the tourist industry is concentrated and where the jobs have been created.” The report noted that the population structure of TCI cannot be properly interpreted without splitting the Belonger and non-Belonger populations. The results are essentially what one would expect with the Belonger population having higher proportions in the younger age ranges and the migrant population being heavily concentrated (54%) in the main working age group (25-44 years) with smaller proportions of the young and the old. Nevertheless, 45% of the population under 24 years are non-nationals. Average household size is 2.5 persons, slightly lower than in 2001 (2.7 persons). Around 30% are single person households and only 5% have more than 5 persons. 36% are female-headed (up from 30% in 2001. Some 40% have children present but 30% of children only live with one of their parents. Only 6% contain elderly persons. 10% of households are mixed, i.e. they have both adult (over 18s) Belongers and non Belongers present; these households contain 16% of the population indicating that most have children. The labour force has increased by 60% since 2001 from 11,300 to around 18,000 - slightly more than the increase in population due to immigration period. The overall labour force participation rate is around 83% which is high, again due to the high level of immigration.

ABOUT 3100 UNEMPLOYED The number of employed persons has increased from 10,200 to just under 15,000 – an increase of 47% -which is lower than the increase in the labour force due to increased unemployment. The number of unemployed in 2012 was around 3,100 – almost 3 times the corresponding figure for 2001. The resultant unemployment rate in 2012 was around 17% compared with 10% in 2001. “This shows clearly that the employment impacts of the economic collapse of 2009/10 were still being felt in 2012. It is also noteworthy that around 1 in 8 employed persons work on a part time basis, which provides a further indication of the current labour surplus,” it was noted. Unemployment was higher amongst the non-national population – 20% compared to 12% for Belongers; amongst Haitians, unemployment has reached 27%.Nationality: in 2001, non-nationals accounted for just over half of all employment in TCI. By 2012, this

proportion had risen to 65% with increases in every sector. Government is the only sector where they do not predominate - over three-quarters of employment in the personal services, retail, and constructions sectors is non-national as well as 69% of employment in the tourism sector – the most important sector of all. “Non-nationals also accounted for almost the entire growth in total employment since 2001, which further reinforces their importance to the national economy,” the report continued. The male share of total employment has decreased from 57% to 49% with the most significant changes being in the wholesale/ retail, public (government and health/ education and other community services). The only sectors where males predominate are those where manual labour is revalent, e.g. transportation, agriculture and manufacturing, and, especially, construction..

GOOD HOUSING According to the report, housing conditions in TCI are generally good. “They (houses) are also improving: the great majority of households have access to electricity, an improved water supply and in house sanitation. Most too have concrete walls. Current proportions all show improvement over 2001 while over-crowding has also decreased (from around 14% to 8% of dwellings). Most occupied properties damaged by hurricane Ike have now been repaired (and others will be through an ongoing EU project); in 2012, around 9% of dwellings were assessed as needing major repairs. Overall, around 10% of dwellings exhibit 2 or more indicators of defective housing. Around three quarters of these are occupied by Haitians. Many of these are low quality privately rented properties but others are illegal constructions, mostly on crown land on Providenciales (e.g. Dockyard and Five Cays). Addressing this issue, both in terms of curtailing their spread and improving the quality of existing defective properties, is an important issue that needs to be addressed,” the report said.

DECREASE IN INCOMES AND PROBLEMATIC NHIP HEALTH CARE It was also noted that a large proportion of TCI’s population, Belongers and non-Belongers, have experienced, and are experiencing, a substantial decrease in incomes and living standards due to the economic crisis. “As a result, poverty will have increased, along with financial hardship for those above the poverty line but who have also been forced to make substantial changes to their spending patterns. There are also similarities between these groups in terms of the insecurity that the crisis has engendered. Based on PPA responses, both Belongers and non-Belongers express similar feelings of resentment and mistrust towards the other group; this is particular evident in relation to em-

TURKS & CAICOS SUN

ployment where both groups feel that it is the other which has an unfair advantage in securing the limited opportunities available. The requirement for those seeking non-emergency health care at the hospitals to have up to date NHIP cards is also proving problematic for those from both groups who have become unemployed or are experiencing other pressures which make it difficult if not impossible for them to maintain their NHIP payments. In addition, Belonger and non-Belonger families with children seeking entry to the high school on Providenciales are both affected by the pressure on places,” said the report. “It is at this point that the similarities cease. Belongers perceive that non-Belongers are securing employment because they are prepared to work for less money and are thus ‘preferred’ by employers. They also feel threatened by the increasing numbers of migrants, who now constitute the majority of the population -feelings which are exacerbated by continued illegal migration from Haiti. These feelings were noted in the 2000 CPA, but the crisis has served to heighten them. Resentment also results from the shortage of places in some government schools in Providenciales, the perception that crime in TCI is primarily caused by migrants, and the growth of illegal informal settlements on Provo.”

FEELINGS OF INSECURITY AND MISTRUST It was also noted that for Haitians (and other migrant groups, to a lesser extent), the feelings of insecurity and mistrust result from a more diverse range of factors, the most important of which are: Uncertain rights to permanent residency and citizenship for those resident in TCI for a long time and their children born in TCI; Discrimination and ill-treatment when dealing with government agencies; Often sub-standard housing conditions; Exploitation by employers and agencies providing work permits; Discriminatory practices relating to education – admissions and within schools; For those who are on their own, feelings of guilt towards their families who made financial sacrifices for them to come to TCI, but who they cannot support on the incomes they currently make. The study of poverty in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is one of a series of Country Poverty Assessments (CPAs) undertaken throughout the Caribbean since 1995. Its primary objectives are: To identify the extent, characteristics and causes of poverty in TCI; to evaluate the effectiveness of current policies and programmes in terms of their impact on the poor and vulnerable groups of the population; to make recommendations for future policies and programmes to contribute to the reduction of poverty in the country. The study started in late 2011. Data collection and processing continued throughout 2012 and was completed in early July 2013. An initial Draft CPA report was completed at the end of October 2013.

Government says it has not settled on any tax scheme BY VIVIAN TYSON

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ontrary to speculations and some instances rumors in some quarters that government has signed off on particular tax measures, including tax on professionals, the Dr. Rufus Ewing administration is reiterating that it has yet to decide what revenue-raising measures it would implement for the approaching fiscal year. After government’s successful anti-Value Added Tax fight, which supported by the opposition and the business sector, the administration said that revenue measures deemed non-oppressive would have to be sought to keep government coffers afloat, hence the number of tax measures it said it has on the table for consideration. Some of those measures were recommended by the blue ribbon commission on taxation, which was commissioned sometime last year by the administration. In an interview with The SUN following his bi-monthly cabinet news briefing on Thursday (February 27) at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales, Premier Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing said that govern-

ment has not decided on any of the revenue-raising measures it is considering including in the 2014/2015 budget. He told The SUN that the considered measures were not new, as his government made it clear over the past few months that it intends to impose nonrepressive tax measures in order to not resurrect the VAT debate. “Our consideration may include a number of different taxation options as we have suggested over the past few months since we have been in office. I can’t say whether or not it would happen in any one group or another, but we have talked about a number of other different things. “We have talked about Value Added Tax, we talked about general services and sales tax, we talked about professional tax, we talked about, property tax, we talked about payroll tax; we talked about a number of different taxation options as part of the rationalization. So, government is looking at a number of taxation options that it has to view and consider,” the premier indicated. Premier Ewing reminded the public that they would be able to have a say in some of the proposed tax measures, since consultations would be

held to inform the populace on the proposed options and to collect views, reactions and recommendations from the public in general before their implementation. “We will take all of these different options and put them to the public for consultation. And then after putting to consultation, we will say which ones that the government favours and try to defend them and show people why, and persons would have the opportunity to give their comments and these issues and also make their suggestions,” the premier said. Under previous governor Ric Todd, the implementation of VAT was far advanced, with officers from the Ministry of Finance visiting business places to pitch the measure. But after the Government and other stakeholders fought the tax’s implementation, the British Government decided to shelf it for now. However, the condition attached to the yanking of VAT was that government should find an alternative revenue-raising method that would satisfy British specification, and so, the administration has been searching for ways to enable a stable revenue stream.


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LOCAL NEWS

Bodies from Christmas Day tragedy shipped back to Haiti BY VIVIAN TYSON

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he bodies of the 17 Haitians drowned on Christmas Day as their intercepted boat capsized while being towed by local marine police to shore, were returned to Haiti in an IBC cargo plane on Thursday (February 27). The bodies enclosed in majestic-looking caskets and enveloped in white cardboard boxes marked “human remains”, were transported from the morgue located at the back of the former Myrtle Rigby Clinic on Providenciales, on board a flatbed truck to the Cairsea complex on Old Airport Road, where the caskets were taken from the boxes and loaded onto the cargo plane. Haitian Consular for the TCI, Karlo Pellisier and other officials from the consulate were on hand to see off the bodies. Pellisier told reporters on the scene that the process of preparing the bodies and to ship them back to Haiti cost the Haitian government about $150,000. “The Haitian Government is paying for the shipment. It cost about $140,000 to $150,000. The costs include the preparation of the bodies, we have the cost for local transportation, you have the cost for the caskets and you have the cost for the airplane,” Pellisier said. He told the media that except for six individuals, the bodies have not yet been identified, but government personnel in Haiti was slated be on hand to receive them when they land and to make the necessary interment arrangements. “There is somebody from the government in Haiti that is at the airport in Cap Haitien now waiting for the body. Everything is going to Cap Haitien,” he

Caskets containing bodies of Haitians perished in the Christmas Day Tragedy being prepared by IBC employees to be loaded to a plane said, noting that radio stations in Haiti had been notifying the populace of the bodies’ arrival, and those who had relatives that left that part of Haiti in boats recently should come forward to see if those persons were among the dead. “They (government) went to the radio station, they announced to the people that these people would be arriving here today, so if they suspect that their family members are among them, we are asking them to come and identify these people,” Pellissier said. After housing the bodies at the public morgue for a little over two months, Pellissier said that a number of options, including interring the bodies here were considered, but concluded that it would not be feasible for that to happen for at least two reasons – the TCI is too small to accommodate the burial of 17 bodies at one given time and that family members in Haiti would want closure.

“You don’t look at what is cheaper; sometimes there are emotional sides to this. When you have dead people in your family it is very emotional. Probably to bury them here would be cheaper; other places do that; and I don’t think that could be done in the Turks and Caicos Islands because it is a small place. You don’t have that many space to bury 17 bodies,” he said. A seemingly relieved Pellissier said that after contacting a number of airlines to assist with the repatriation of the bodies, IBC offered the cheapest rate and so they contracted that entity to ferry the bodies back to Haiti. He said that a number of entities and individuals assisted with preparing and subsequent shipping of the bodies back to Haiti. At a post cabinet news briefing held two weeks ago, Minister for Border Control and Labor Hon. Don-Hue Gardiner told the media that he would be conducting a meeting that very day with the Haitian Consulate to inform it that sending the bodies back to Haiti was long overdue. The Christmas Day tragedy was only the latest in a string of calamities suffered by Haitian Nationals who brave miles of treacherous waters in rickety sloops to voyage to the Turks and Caicos Islands in search of a better life. In 2007, about 90 Haitians drowned during a thunderstorm after their boat which was intercepted being towed ashore capsized. A number of them were eaten by sharks. In 2008, many more drowned when their boat capsized as it tried to make its way on West Caicos. Few dehydrated survivors were found on that island and clinging to reefs nearby.

Former TCI Chief Justice Sir Richard Ground passes away S ir Richard Ground, a former Chief Justice and Court of Appeal judge of the Turks and Caicos Islands, died last Saturday, February 22nd, in Grindelford, Derbyshire, in his native England. He was 64 years old.   He is survived by his wife Dace McCoy Ground. Sir Richard was Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands from 1998 to 2004. He was held in very high esteem by his colleagues and friends in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands where he served with distinction from back in the 1980s. In addition to being a highly-respected judge, Sir Richard was an avid amateur photographer and natural historian who captured the beautiful array of bird life in the Turks and Caicos Islands in a book called The Birds of the Turks and Caicos Islands. He

was also an enthusiastic underwater photographer. Sir Richard was born on Dec. 17, 1949, in Stamford, England. He attended Lincoln College, Oxford, and the Inns of Court School of Law. In 1967, Sir Richard won an open scholarship to Oxford and captured the Violet Vaughan-Morgan University Prize for literature the next year.   His undergraduate degree was in English Language and Literature in 1970, and he was called to the Bar in 1975. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in Cayman Islands in 1987.  Although his private law career began at 1 Brick Court, Middle Temple in London – and included a specialization in media law – Sir Richard would Sir Richard Ground soon make his move to the Caribbean, starting off in the Cayman Islands.   tually succeeding Mr. Bradley as In 1983, he served as Crown Coun- Attorney General in 1987. He would sel under then Cayman Islands Attor- remain in that post until 1992.   Sir Richard then departed the Cayney General Michael Bradley, even-

BAMBARRA WINS BIG AT 1ST ANNUAL FESTIVAL RUM BAHAMAS

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o kick off the first ever Festival Rum Bahamas, event organizers put together a juried tasting competition with more than 50 of the world’s best rums. 10 judges from the Bahamas and the US evaluated these rums based on a variety of characteristics and chose the top three in each category. Bambarra Rum saw success in 2 categories. Bambarra Reserve (8yr) Silver Medal (Gold/Dark Rum) (Bambarra Reserve also won Gold in 2008 at the Puerto Rican Rum Festival) Bambarra Coconut - Bronze Medal (Flavoured Rum) Team Bambarra was in attendance to receive their 2

Galmo “Gilley” Williams

awards and is committed to participating in the 2015 Festival. Congratulations to the Festival Rum Bahamas organizers for putting together this great event which showcased Rum, Art and Culture. Bambarra Rum was created to pay homage to the ancestral beginnings of the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands, taking its name from the settlement in Middle Caicos where slaves from West Africa settled after surviving the shipwrecked Trouvadore in 1841. Bambarra was developed by businessman and former Premier Galmo “Gilley” Williams

man Islands to accept an appointment as a Judge of the Bermudian Supreme Court, where he served between 1992 and 1998.   His final posting in the Caribbean prior to retirement was in 2004, as the Chief Justice of Bermuda, where he served eight years until his retirement in 2012.  During his time as Chief Justice in Bermuda, Sir Richard began service on the Turks and Caicos Court of Appeal, where he sat along with Barbadian Queen’s Counsel Elliott Mottley and Jamaican Edward Zacca, QC, President of the court. He also sat on the Cayman Islands and Bermudian appeals courts after his retirement.   Sir Richard was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 1991 for his service as attorney general. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 2012 for his service as chief justice of Bermuda.  

CIBC FCIB DROPS BAN ON CELL PHONE USE IN BANKS

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IBC FCIB has dropped its ban on the use of cell phones in its banks, following complaints from several members of the Providenciales Chamber of Commerce. Last week, Wendy Hill, office administrator of Providenciales Chamber of Commerce wrote to CIBC FCIB’c Country Manager Larry Lawrence saying: Mr. Lawrence,  I have had several inquiries as to why FCIB does not let cell phones usage while in the bank.  Upon many negative comments and no answers I am seeking a comment from you in regards as to why this policy was put in place.  Many people do businesses on their cell phones (ie: watersports) and need to answer their phones while standing in line (as it can take up to one hour to get to the front).  Some have commented they need to be available in case of an emergency such as schools calling in regards to their children, etc.  People are not happy with this policy and I think some adjustment needs to be made to this policy so you can keep clients happy and remain a customer of your bank.” Lawrence replied: “We have reviewed the subject policy and have taken the decision to suspend same with immediate effect. Thank you very much for your engagement on same. Much appreciated.”


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TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Government records $16million surplus BY HAYDEN BOYCE – PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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he Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) recorded an operating surplus of $16.3million for the first nine months of the fiscal year, Accountant General, Arnold Ainsley has reported. In his just-released financial report for the period October to December, 2013, Ainsley said the $16.3 million was a positive variance of $12.4 million over the estimated surplus of $3.9 million for the period. He noted that year to date recurrent revenues came in with a positive variance of 1% relative to budget estimates and it was 7% above last year’s results. Year to date recurrent expenditures are $13.4 million or 11% lower than budget, primarily resulting from savings in personnel cost and other operating expenses. The net operating balance of the consolidated fund was a surplus of $5million for the third quarter, compared to an estimated deficit of $1.5 million and surplus of $19.5 million in the same quarter last year. According to the Accountant General, TCIG remains committed to achieving a fiscal surplus in the financial year ending March 31, 2014, even though it may be less than originally projected. He said that the Year to date recurrent revenue outturn was very favorable coming in above both budget and forecast amounts. “Some contributors to this were the increase in the rate of customs processing fee from 6% to 7.5% and also the increase in fuel tax from 75 cents to 85 cents per gallon. It is therefore expected that recurrent revenues will meet the budget estimates. Savings in recurrent expenditure, especially in the area of personnel cost are expected to continue to the end of the year,” Ainsley added. “However, a supplementary appropriation has been approved by the House of Assembly and executed, for the emergence of additional historic liabilities, increased costs associated with repatriation of larger than anticipated illegal immigrants and additional funds required for healthcare. Ministries are being encourages to vire funds from areas of savings where they can, nonetheless, it is expected that a final supplementary appropriation will be required in the last quarter of the year.” He noted that there are considerable under expenditure in the development fund which had an original budget of $16.7 million and after the first nine months of the fiscal year, only $6.1 million has been spent. Therefore, he said, the government will need to make a decision on how to utilize these funds beyond the final supplement.

“To meet fiscal surplus targets there is a need to continue and in some cases intensify cost control measures in all ministries and departments of government, while ensuring that current accounts payable are paid on a timely basis,” Ainsley said. The Turks and Caicos Government’s outstanding debt as of December 31, 2013 is $209.5 million. Total debt repayments for the third quarter totaled $2.5 million and year to date was $7.4 million. The guaranteed loans are secured by a United Kingdom/DFID guarantee in the amount of $260 million. All loan principal and interest payments are up to date as of December 31, 2013. The Sinking Fund balance as at end December 2013 stood at $43.7 million, with interest income of $29,203 generated in the third quarter of FY2013-14. Net public debt at the end of December 2013 is therefore about $165.8 million when the Sinking Fund is taken into consideration. The total amount spent on capital projects in the third quarter of FY2013-14 was $1.6 million, which was funded by capital contributions totaling $1.6 million provided by the Consolidated Fund. The capital expenditure of $1.6 million in the third quarter was $1.9 million below the budget and $1.0 million less than the amount spent in the same period last year. The total capital expenditure for the nine months to December stood at $6.1 million, which was $5.1 million below the budget of $11.3 million and $0.4 million ahead of the amount spent for the same period last financial year. Major capital projects so far included the Construction of a new block for both the H J Robinson High School and the Ona Glinton Primary School, while the repairs to the causeway bridge are ongoing, with $1.4 million spent to date. Total Recurrent Revenue outturn for the quarter was $45.4 million. Of the total collected during the third quarter of FY2013-14, one third 33% or $15.0 million was derived from Import Duties, while $5.4 million from Hotel & Restaurant Tax and $6.1 million from Customs Processing Fee, together accounted for 25% of recurrent revenues. Non recurrent revenues were $0.6 million for the third quarter, falling short of budgeted amounts by 87% or $4.0 million. Recurrent expenditure outturn for the quarter was $37.6 million, which was $8.4 million or 18% lower than the budget estimates and $0.2 million or 1% below last year’s results. Personnel costs stood at $16.3 million for the quarter and were $1.2 million or 7% below the budgeted amount of $17.4 million and 17% or $2.4 million above the same period last financial year.

Turks and Caicos Sun Suite # 5, Airport Plaza Providenciales Turks and Caicos Islands Tel: (649) 946-8542 Fax: (649) 941-3281 Email: sun@suntci.com Read us online at www.suntci.com Publisher & Editor-in-Chief: Hayden Boyce Senior Editor: Vivian Tyson Office Manager: Dominique Rigby Information Technology and Production Manager: Kelano Howell Design by Design2pro.com The Turks and Caicos SUN is a subsidiary of The SUN Media Group Ltd. We are committed to excellence in journalism, educating and informing our readers, serving and satisfying our advertisers and assisting in the overall development of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Non Recurrent Expenditure amounted to $3.4 million in the third quarter, which primarily included civil recoveries and SIPT costs. The third quarter of FY2013-14 recorded a net cash flow surplus of $2.3 million relative to a budgeted deficit of $7.8million and prior year surplus of $14.7 million. The additional transfer to the Sinking Fund was interest earned on the amount in the bank during the period. The year to date net cash flow was $6.6 million surplus, increasing the Consolidated Fund Cash Balance by the same amount. The year to date net cash flow compares favorably with the projected cash flow deficit for the period of $19.7million but was below the prior year surplus of $15.3 million; due primarily to non-recurrent revenues. Recurrent payments for Inter-Health Canada, National Health Insurance Board, Herzog and debt servicing payments were made during the quarter, as scheduled. The cash flow forecast for ensuing months indicates that cash flow should remain positive and there should not be a need to draw on the credit facility.

Police report gun crime increase in 2012 BY VIVIAN TYSON

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he Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force are reporting an increase in illegal firearm activities in 2013 over the previous year of 2013. At a news conference to release its crime statistics gathered over 2013, at its headquarters in Providenciales on Wednesday, February 26, the police said that 125 firearm incidents were reported across the country in 2013 compared to 85 in 2012. The 2013 figure was, however, much lower than that of 2011, which was 139. The gun crimes are among the 3,337 criminal infractions reported in 2013, up from the 2,692 in 2012. The police said the number was 3,366 but further investigations revealed that 29 of the crimes reported were reclassified as no crime. Of the number of crimes committed in 2013, 944 or 28 percent were detected. The police also stated that 26 crimes that were reported in previous months were detected between January and December 2013, making an overall detection of 970. An average of nine crimes per day

was reported over the period. The police said that 29 percent or 782 of the 2,692 crimes reported in 2012 were detected, while 63 crimes reported in previous months were detected that year, making an overall detection of 845. An average seven crimes a day was reported. Two thousand eight hundred and fifty seven crimes were reported in 2011, of which 516 or 18 percent were detected. The police pointed out that 173 crimes reported in previous months were detected in 2011, which brings an overall detection of 688. An average eight crimes was reported per day in 2011. There were 867 burglaries and aggravated burglaries reported in the TCI in 3013, compared to 802 for 2012, and 895 in 2011, which the police said shows an increase of 65 or 8% and a decrease of 28 or 3% respectively, noting that the average burglary per day was 2. There were 71 reported possession of controlled drugs committed in the islands compared to 63 for 2012, representing an increase of 8 over 2012. There were 27 possessions of controlled drugs with Intent to supply charges reported in 2013, compared with

21 in 2012, and 25 in 2011, which shows an increase of 6 or 29% and 2 or 8% respectively. Seventy nine robberies were committed over the period under review 77 occurring on Providenciales, one on Grand Turk and one on South Caicos. The weapon of choice in those robberies was the gun – 39. Eighteen were committed with knives and eight with cutlasses. Rocks, bottles and a piece of rope were also use to commit those robberies. Approximately $42,753.00 USD in cash and $19,935.97 USD in property and nine vehicles were stolen during the commission of these robberies. Approximately $1,405.00 in cash and $680.00 in property and nine vehicles were recovered. The police said that in corresponding period of 2012, 45 robberies took place, 42 of which occurred on Providenciales and three on Grand Turk. Nineteen firearms, five knives, one bottle and a piece of wood were brandished during the commission of those robberies. That year approximately $110,629.00 USD in cash, $13,372.00 USD in property and one motor vehicle was stolen during the commission of those robberies. The

report showed that $600.00 in property and motor vehicle were recovered. In 2011, 115 robberies were committed - 107 on Providenciales and eight on Grand Turk. Eighty-two of those were committed with firearms, nine with cutlasses, eight with knives, and one with an ice pick. Approximately $249,422.34 USD was stolen during those robberies. During the period 111 crimes were committed against tourists, compared with 23 in 2012. Sixty-nine crimes against Tourist took place in 2011. Tourists themselves account for TCI’s crime spike in 2013, with six offenses, up by five, as one crime was committed in 2012 and one in 2011. Commissioner of Police Colin Farquar (fourth from left) divulges the crime statistics for 2014. Seated at the table with him are (from left) Assistant Superintendent Clifford Henry of the A Division; Acting Superintendent Kendall Grant, who is responsible for the B Division; Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Wayne Jones; Darron Williams, Chief Firearms Officer; and Acting Superintendent Ira Baptiste of the Criminal Investigations Division. File…Crime Stats


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LOCAL NEWS

Former Attorney General Huw Shepheard rejects government’s offer BY VIVIAN TYSON

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ormer attorney general for the Turks and Caicos Islands Huw Shepheard has rejected a settlement offer from government as payment for charges brought against the Rufus Ewing administration claiming inter alia a maligning of his character. The revelation was made by newly-appointed attorney generally Hon. Rhondalee Brathwaite-Knowles during an interview with The SUN earlier this week. In an interview with The SUN earlier this week shortly after she was appointed Attorney General for the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Rhondalee Brathwaite-Knowles said that Shepheard confirmed that Shepheard had made the claim. She said though that the offer made to Shepheard was rejected by him. She said government was hoping to make the settlement before the end of the current financial year. “The former attorney general had made a claim and the government has considered the claim against advice and had made an offer settlement to him with the hope of reaching a settlement before the end of this financial year. The offer to the former attorney general has been rejected unfortunately, so we are still in negotiations. But I anticipate that we should have some resolution to the matter before the end of the year. “But we had hoped that we would have been able, and we have worked to ensure that we would be able to come

Huw Shepheard to some resolution before the end of this financial year, that is now in doubt considering that we are towards the end of February. But we are still working to reach a settlement on that matter to avoid implication,” she said. Shepheard left the territory after the Dr. Rufus Ewing government said it would not work with him since he was not effectively representing government on legal matters. Shepheard was reappointed to a second term by controversial former governor Ric Todd, who said that reappointing seemingly contentious former attorney general was the right thing to do since he understood the politics of small jurisdictions and the structure of overseas territories. Todd reappointed Shepheard against vehement protest by the Rufus Ewing government, which claimed its relationship with Shepheard had be-

come fractious. The administration said that as actions of its protest, it would not seek advice from Shepheard and would not be involved in meetings that he could make contribution that would be deemed government recommendations. After departing the jurisdiction, Shepheard, who resigned on November 1, 2013, also gave notice of his intention to file legal charges against the Turks and Caicos Islands Government for reputational and other damages. On October 11, 2013, Premier Hon Dr. Rufus Ewing, through the law firm Misick & Stanbrook, filed court documents to challenge the lawful authority of the former attorney general to make certain decisions without consulting Cabinet. According to the originating summons which was obtained by the Turks and Caicos SUN, the grounds of

the application are that a dispute has arisen between the Attorney General and the elected members of the Cabinet as to whether the Attorney General has the authority under the Constitution to commence and defend civil proceedings by or against the Government as the Attorney General sees fit, without seeking the prior approval of Cabinet, and that it is in the public interest that this dispute which involves an important issue of the proper interpretation of the Constitution be resolved by the Supreme Court. The opposition was also not pleased with the way the former attorney general was going about his disagreement with his former client. Opposition Leader Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson said at the time that the legal battle the former attorney general had waged against the very government that he represented could be embarrassing for the TCI. “I believe we are going to be pulled into another embarrassing moment, and I trust that we can resolve that as quickly as possible on any matters or issues that he (attorney general) would have raised as to why he resigned. The opposition would be watching it carefully,” Cartwright-Robinson said at the time. Cartwright-Robinson said that the episode could also prove bank-breaking for the Turks and Caicos as it was not known how much would be expended to undertake the legal showdown between the elected government and its former top legal advisor.

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Page 8

MARCH 1ST - MARCH 8TH, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Further expansion of Providenciales Airport in the works BY VIVIAN TYSON

T

he current $10 million expansion exercise now being undertaken at the Providenciales International Airport is just tip of the iceberg of the wider plan that government has for that terminal, according to Premier Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing, who reemphasized government commitment to make the airport on par with its international counterparts. The airport is now undergoing phase two of the airport expansion. The first phase was the lengthening of the runway and addition of tarmac space, while the second phase is the expansion of the terminal building and construction of car parks. Once the airport’s development is completed passengers, according to the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA), will be able to enjoy expanded check in counter areas, self check-in facilities, additional bathroom facilities, larger retail space for shops and restaurants, and improved medical amenities. Phase two, the TCIAA said, will be done in three segments - the construction of a new traffic circulation system and extensions to the existing west car park and departure lounge. The second stage is the extension to the international check-in area, security check point as well as the arrivals hall, while the third stage is an expansion of the domestic departures and arrivals area, completion of the car park and aesthetics, including water features. The 72-week phase two expansion of the Providenciales International Airport is on target for its slated December 2014 deadline, as it has achieved several of its objectives, including the car parks completion, domestic check-in bathroom fa-

Premier Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing speaking at the post Cabinet news briefing on Thursday. He is flanked by Minister of Border Control and Labour Hon. Don-Hue Gardiner (left) and Minister for Government Support Service Hon. George Lightbourne. cility and the partial opening of the expanded check-in area. However, the premier said that while the current extension that his government endorses, it has a more expansive plan for the facility. “The airport has a master development plan and this is one phase of the development. We have approved to go ahead and it is looking wonderful. And as you know, government would love to, as part of its extension plan – the master plan – another terminal,” he said. The premier reminded that the plan to construct another terminal at the Providenciales Airport is old news, since he had already advanced that pitch during the KPMG investment conference in Florida recently. “This is nothing new; I made a big presentation of that at the KPMG Conference in Miami as part of those things that we are looking for, for infrastructure

development; it is nothing new,” he said. The premier reiterated that the plan to further expand the Providenciales Airport was not as a result of his government not being happy with the current development, but noted that the expansion intention is in according with the master plan. “So it is not that we are dissatisfied with the current development at the airport. No, it is part of the phased development of the airport that we have to plan. Some of these things take a long time to plan. Yes, we would like to have an international terminal, but this is the airport as it stands right now that we are developing, and we will maximize on that as much as possible and try to serve the travelling public as much as possible,” the premier said.

BLUE HAVEN RESORT AND MARINA TO UNVEIL ITS NEW GOURMET ‘MARKET’

B

lue Haven Resort and Marina in Leeward will add to its extensive food and beverage experience at the resort with the Market, a gourmet convenience store and deli café, opening March 5th. Guests of Blue Haven, as well as residents of Providenciales and tourists alike, will be able to enjoy the waterfront eatery with a focus on organic ingredients and homemade menu items ranging from fresh pizzas, pastas, breads and pastries to a variety of sandwiches and salads. The Market, open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, will also serve gourmet Allegro coffees. All items may be enjoyed to-go or on the on-site terrace providing spacious shaded seating overlooking the Leeward canals. The Market, open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., will also sell a variety of grocery items, fresh produce, fine cheeses, as well

as beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. To celebrate the opening, a ‘Taste of the Market’ weekend will be held at the Market Saturday and Sunday, March 8th and 9th, where complimentary teasers of the product offerings presented by vendor representatives may be enjoyed during the regular opening hours. The Market completes the ‘Dining Destination Blue Haven’ along with its choice of two further food and beverage venues, Fire & Ice Restaurant – a sophisticated yet relaxed dining spot serving a la carte 6 evenings a week and featuring Cuban Nights with a signature pig roast on every Wednesday and Gourmet Brunch every Sunday – and SALT Bar – a casual indoor and outdoor bar overlooking the Blue Haven Marina and known for the weekly ‘Blue your mind’ DJ events every Friday night.


TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Page 9

MARCH 1ST - MARCH 8TH, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

Rhondalee always aspired to AG position BY VIVIAN TYSON

T

urks and Caicos Islands’ first female Attorney General Rhondalee Brathwaite Knowles said that she has been working to attain that position since her entry into the legal field some time ago. Speaking with The SUN at a oneon-one interview at the Governor’s Office in Providenciales, Brathwaite Knowles said that she was elated when she heard the news that she has gotten the nod over candidates from across the globe. “I am very pleased to receive this appointment as the Attorney General for the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is a position that I aspired to from the very first days of my legal career and is something that I worked very, very hard to achieve,” she said, adding that her rise to the office would allow her to pay greater contribution to the TCI. Brathwaite-Knowles who described herself as a wife, mother and in love with the Turks and Caicos Islands, echoed the governor’s sentiments that she won the position solely on merit and not because she was a Turks and Caicos Islander. “It is historic because this is the first time that a woman has been appointed to this position in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I think it is only the second time that a woman has been appointed to this position as attorney general in the British Oversea Territories,” she said. Brathwaite-Knowles, who has served out of the Attorney General Chambers under several adminis-

trations, said that her ascendancy to the top of the legal field in the Turks and Caicos Islands has to do with her ability to communicate effectively and to stand her ground on critical and contentious legal matters. She said that in a number of cases, the advice that an attorney general has to give is not the most popular advice and not always for people to accept. And so her ability to communicate such decision in a manner to foster confidence and comfort is a useful skill. “I also bring the ability to communicate effectively with others in a way that is forceful, but at the same time gives a level of comfort and confidence. And so, I managed to use that skill through the course of my entire career, and as a result of that, I have been able to work with the PDM administration, the PNP administration, the Interim Administration, to work well with my colleagues – officials across government,” she said. Responding to the sometimes contentious issue of refereeing a matter between especially the locally-elected government and the UK interest, the attorney general said that she is aware of the challenge. “It is a live challenge; it is something that I have been dealing with for quite a long time. I think there is a wide misunderstanding of the concept of government in an overseas territory. And in our constitutional framework the Queen is the Head of State, with us being an overseas territory means that we are still politically administered under the United Kingdom. So how the Constitution

Newly-appointed Attorney General, Hon. Rhondalee Brathwaite-Knowles and Governor Peter Beckingham frames that, is it sets the Queen as the Head of State and it says a representative of the Queen to the Islands is the governor. “The governor, at the same time, in the Constitution, is a member of the local government. And the local government is formed by the cabinet, which the governor presides over. The decisions that are taken (by the local government) are advice to the governor, which he can take in accordance with the Constitution, UCCONSULTANCY SERVICES

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and which the Constitution requires him to take. “If he does not wish to take that advice on any particular matter, he sets out a procedure by which he can refer it the United Kingdom,” she said. Brathwaite-Knowles said that the new Constitution sets out a list of government principles, and if the governor feels that recommendations from cabinet is not in accordance with those principles he or she can refuse them. In the meantime, BrathwaiteKnowles said that the attorney general’s office is not one that takes sides, but weighs each case objectively. “The advice given by the AG is not sort of the AG sitting in one camp or another camp. The AG is an alternating camp. The Attorney General is a person or post that stands aside in an independent function that provides advice. Now, sometimes the advice is in favour of one group or another group or sometimes the advice just goes right down the middle. They are not tailored to suit one interest over another,” she said. His Excellency Governor Peter Beckingham, who also attended the interview, said that Brathwaite Knowles emerged as the top candidate among the competitiors. “She has been given the position after an open competition with candidates from Europe, the Caribbean and North America and Rhondalee won it entirely on merit; she was the outstanding candidate, and I think this a day when the people of the TCI can be proud and very happy,” Governor Beckingham said.

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Page 10

MARCH 1ST - MARCH 8TH, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

TURKS & CAICOS SUN

SUMMARY OF TURKS AND CAICOS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT H

is Excellency the Governor, Peter Beckingham, chaired the meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday, 26 February 2014, at the House of Assembly Building on Grand Turk. All Ministers were present. At this meeting Cabinet: • Approved the draft 2014/15 TCIG budget and directed that the annual budget be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval in accordance with section 109 of the Constitution; • Considered a proposal to permanently retain daylight saving time when the clocks go forward in the spring and agreed that the matter be the subject of public consultation later in the year; • Approved a Turks and Caicos Islands stamp in honour of James Alexander George Smith McCartney the First Chief Minister and National Hero of the Turks and Caicos Islands; • Advised the Governor to grant approval for the mutation of Parcels 60706/104 PT and 60706/16 to create two lots and to grant a 25 year lease over 0.27 acres to the National Trust for the purpose of the management of the Cheshire Hall plantation, at a rent of $10 per annum. In addition, to grant 25 year leases to the National Trust over Wades Green Plantation (Parcels 50301/61, 50301/62, 50301/63 and 50304/4), North Caicos at a rent of $10 per annum. The granting of leases are condi-

tional on the National Trust submitting to TCIG for approval: an infrastructure development plan, a business plan and a site management plan for the development of the visitor experience at the Cheshire Hall Plantation; • Advised the Governor to approve in principle the grant of a 25-year lease over Crown Land Parcel 60809/103 to Mills Institute for the expansion of the learning institution currently located on an adjacent parcel - 60808/104 subject to the terms and conditions of the Crown Land Ordinance 2012 and the filing of a planning application by Mills Institute; • Advised the Governor to endorse the proposed development of a National Television Network by ACL from Providenciales through North, Middle and South Caicos to Grand Turk and Salt Cay. In addition, to approve a license over a portion of Parcel 20207/31, consisting of 0.18 of an acre for the construction and operation of Telecommunications Equipment Building and Transmission Tower in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Land Ordinance; • Advised the Governor to approve the drafting of regulations to the Electronic Transactions Ordinance. The primary purpose of the proposed legislation is to create regulations to give effect to the provisions of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance,

particularly in relation to  regulations to prescribe the criteria for the issuance of an accredited certificate; • Received a presentation from the National Assessment Team setting out preliminary findings from the Turks and Caicos Islands Country Poverty Assessment (CPA). The study, carried out during 2012 with the support of the Caribbean Development Bank, is the second such study carried out in TCI with the first having been completed in 2000. The findings will be communicated to the public in a series of public meetings; • Approved a Provisional Warrant 2014 in the amount of $63,648,694 in respect of the recurrent expenditure of the Islands for part of the fiscal year 2014 and agreed that this proceed to the House of Assembly for endorsement in accordance with Section 25 of the Public Financial Management Ordinance 2012.  • Approved the wording of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill for Financial Year 2012/13 that will be submitted to the House of Assembly; • Advised the Governor to amend the Hotel and Restaurant (Taxation) Ordinance CAP 10.09 (2009) to establish a registration threshold of   $150,000 based on annual turnover. The amendment will be implemented from 1st April 2014;

• Agreed that a policy should be developed and immediately implemented that requires all uninsured freight vessels entering TCI territorial waters to pay a cash bond via the responsible agent in accordance with Ports Authority Regulation 15. The measure is being introduced to protect the economic and environmental interests of TCI; • Advised the Governor to revise the Fisheries Protection Ordinance to change and improve regulation of the traditional turtle fishery in TCI waters;  • Advised the Governor to amend the Fisheries Protection Regulations to allow for the export of queen conch (strombus gigas) shells, jewellery, pearls and crafts during the closed season (July 15 - October 15); • Advised the Governor to amend the Electricity Ordinance to effect measures to ensure only licensed electricians can perform electrical works in the Turks and Caicos Islands; • Received a report from the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture on the recent incident at the Clement Howell High School and Teacher SickOut. The Minister confirmed that the Ministry has received confirmation from the Principal of CHHS that the Teachers will return to the campus on Thursday. Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

Financial Services Commission welcomes new Board Director T

he Financial Services Commission (FSC) has appointed Mr Kevin Mann as its newest Board Director.  Mr. Mann was appointed on Friday February 14th 2013 by Governor Peter Beckingham. Following the appointment, FSC Managing Director Kevin Higgins noted that the new Director had been instrumental in establishing independent regulatory authorities and financial intelligence units in all Overseas Territories and had been working closely with TCI agencies, Government and Officials in the past. “With 28 years in the supervision and regulation of the financial service industry in the UK and the Overseas Territories, Mr Mann brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise which compliment the various skills set the Commission Board of Directors hold as a whole, ” he continued. Until recently the new Board Director was responsible for oversight of regulatory standards for all offshore financial services activities in the six Caribbean Overseas Territories namely Bermuda, Cayman, BVI, TCI, Anguilla and Montserrat. He provided, over a period of 10 years, expert regulatory policy advice, analysis and hands-on technical assistance to UK Government,

UK Overseas Territories Governors, Overseas Territories Governments and their agencies on the risks, impact and implications of international regulatory initiatives. Mr Mann is as Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and played a critical role assisting territories in improving preparations for successful OECD, CFATF and IMF evaluations. The entire Board took the opportunity to welcome him during the first sitting of the year. The current membership of the Board stands as follows: Mr.Errol Allen (Chairman), Mr. Oswald Simons (Deputy Chairman), Mr. Neville Grant and Ms. Athenee Harvey (Permanent Secretary of Finance) Mr Kevin Higgins (FSC Managing Director) and Mr Kevin Mann. The Principal functions of the Board are: (a) To establish the policies of the Commission and monitor and oversee its implementation; (b) To monitor and oversee the management of the Commission by the Managing Director to ensure that the resources are utilised economically and efficiently, that internal controls are in place etc. (c) To approve the budget and the financial statements and (d) To appoint the senior officers, except the Managing Director.


TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Page 11

MARCH 1ST - MARCH 8TH, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

Margaritaville in Grand Turk looking to raise $2million on Jamaica Stock Exchange T

he popular Margaritaville in Grand Turk, which is part of the Caribbean franchise controlled by Jamaican Ian Dear, is looking to raise US$2 million via listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) next month, according to a report in theJamaica Observer. The proceeds would finance working capital needs and finance the roll-out of another bar and grill on the premises, Dear told the Jamaica Observer. The offer opens next Monday at US$0.10 a share. The company with total equity valued at some US$4.2 million holds US$4.8 million in assets and has relatively low debt at US$590,000. Its major liability relates to annual lease payment of some US$342,000. Importantly, the listing will only offer shares in the Grand Turks-based cruise pier operation and not those in Jamaica or the Cayman Islands. The Turks brand best showcases Margaritaville’s preferred business model of securing exclusive contracts to become the sole food and drink venue at an airport or seaport. “We virtually have a captive market where we are in the port of Grand Turks,” said Ian Dear CEO in a Jamaica Observer interview at the venue last Friday. “This is the model that we are focused on as the future of our group: The captive audience both in cruise ports and airports and high volume locations. Certainly Grand Turks takes centre stage to that.” That venue is part of eight franchise operations spread in three territories including Jamaica, Turks and Cayman. The offer will result in the public acquiring some 30 per cent of the to-

Margaritaville in Grand Turk tal shares and Margaritaville Caribbean at 68 per cent, if fully subscribed. The company hopes to raise a minimum of US$1.35 million or it will refund the offer to shareholders. Profit at the company has oscillated over the last five years. The latest audited financials show net profit was down one-third to US$597,000 for its May 2013 year end compared with year earlier levels. It was based on flat revenues at US$4.5 million and rising cost of sales. However, its latest cash flow position increased to US$87,000 compared with US$60,000 a year earlier based on reduction in bank loan payments. Dear projects that revenues will rise in the fiscal year ending May 2014 based on rising cruise arrivals set to grow from 700,000 to one million.

“For this financial year end we are on target to achieve just over US$6 million ending May 2014,” he told the Observer. “Of course with a million cruise passengers anticipated for calendar year 2014 the horizon is bright; we anticipate that those revenues would increase year-onyear.” Grand Turk is a relatively new cruising destination demonstrating five per cent annual average growth over the last three years. The prospectus quoting figures from Carnival Corporation indicates that the pier recorded 750,000 passengers in calendar 2013. “Currently, estimates for calendar 2014 based on pre-bookings notified by Carnival Corporation are for one million passengers,” stated the prospectus for Margaritaville’s IPO. “The directors are of the view that overall, Caribbean passen-

ger numbers are increasing, particularly in respect of summer bookings because more cruise lines are electing to remain in the Caribbean during the summer months instead of sailing elsewhere.” The Turks location opened its doors in 2006 joining 11 other Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville locations in the US, Caribbean and Mexico. The Turks location is managed by Anthony Hewie and employs a balance of Turks and Jamaican staff. The company’s premises comprise approximately 16,000 square feet, inclusive of a thatched roof restaurant that can seat 500 customers. It is part of the Margaritaville Caribbean Group of companies, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Margaritaville Caribbean. The group operates the Margaritaville chain of restaurants in various Caribbean destinations, inclusive of the flagship restaurant launched on the “Hip Strip” in the centre of Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1995. The concept for the group’s restaurants was developed in part by chief executive officer and founding shareholder, Ian Dear. In 2001, the group joined forces with US entertainer Jimmy Buffett and became the Caribbean franchise holder for the Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant concept. That venue is part of eight franchise operations spread in three territories including Jamaica, Turks and Cayman. Dear pays a franchise fee to musician Jimmy Buffet, the conceptualiser of Margaritaville, which operates a series of stores globally.


Page 12

LOCAL NEWS Premier Confident UK will accept budget document

P

remier Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing is bubbling with confidence that the 2014/2015 budget document that has been sent to the United Kingdom for its seal of approval will be accepted by his British counterparts and returned to the Turks and Caicos Islands for passage in Parliament. The Premier made the remarks while responding to questions from The SUN on a variety of issues, at his office at the Hilly Ewing Building in Providenciales on Monday (February 24). “I am happy to report that the budget that we have been working on for a few months now in collaboration with several other ministries and departments has reached a stage where the budget is sufficient to be sent to the UK for consideration by the UK ministers. We are confident that the budget will receive the approval by the United Kingdom and sent back to us here in Turks and Caicos where we will bring it to the House for consideration by the Appropriations Committee and for further debate during the budget session,” said. The premier indicated that the budget has been meticulously crafted and is aimed at raising revenues which he hopes will be enough to tackle the myriad of economic, social and educational problems that the country is experiencing. “I must state that we are operating in critical economic times not only here in Turks and Caicos but regionally and globally. But we, as government, have committed ourselves to raising the revenue that is required for us to carry out the responsibilities of the government,” he said.

The premier also indicated that the 2014/2015 budgetary spending will be well-run so priority areas will be supported most. He said also that areas that a great deal funds was spend on in the past will be scaled back or rechanneled into areas that need it most, such as health and education. “We have also committed ourselves to streamlining our expenditure to put the funds to areas that are most priority to our government and to also cut back on areas where there are high expenditures. Most of these areas we have listed before, such as the hospitals and the civil recovery; areas that we are looking to cutting back, so that we can provide for our people here in health, education and social services.” he said. During its news conference last week, the opposition Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) Head Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson expressed sadness that government had not yet presented the budget document in the House of Assembly so that document could be dissected in Appropriations Committee. “We had hoped that the Government would have brought it during the last sitting of the House. Under section 115 of the Constitution, the Budget should have been laid on the Table of the House six weeks before the end of the Financial Year which is March 31, 2014 and as such the deadline was February 17th, 2014. To date, we have no word on the Budget, the FSPS neither a motion to allow for the budget to be brought after the financial year end,” Cartwright-Robinson said.

MARCH 1ST - MARCH 8TH, 2014

TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Budget includes provision for new middle school BY VIVIAN TYSON

T

he 2014/2015 estimates of expenditure document that has been dispatched to the United Kingdom to get that government’s stamp of approval , bears provision for the setting up of a middle school to reduce the overcrowding at the Clement Howell High School, according to Minister for Education, Youth, Sport and Library Services Hon. Akierra Missick. The Minister made the revelation while speaking to The SUN on Monday (February 24) after teachers at that institution gave notice of a planned two-day sick-out on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest rising violence at the institution. “The problem is twofold at Clement Howell; yes, the physical plant is overcrowded with 900-plus children for a facility that can comfortably hold 500. The budget which should have gone to London today (Monday, February 24) for approval by the FCO does have provisions for the creation of a middle school here on Providenciales, which will reduce the overcrowding at the school by over 400 children,” the education minister said. Minister Missick could not give specifics on where the middle school would be sited, but from her conversation it is clear that the building will not be constructed from scratch, but rather be housed in an already existing structure. She said that negotiations have been taking place with two landlords to arrive at a settlement. “There will be a facility for senior school, which will remain in Blue Hills and a junior school which we are still in negotiations with a new landlord, to lease the building for the junior school, which will be the first and second forms,” she said. When the issue to break the Clement Howell High School’s upper level from the lower level first came up, The SUN understands that negotiations were taking place with the owners of the Whole Gospel Christian Academy, but the minister declined to say which landlords government is in dialogue with. Minister Missick would also not be drawn into how much has been allocated for the creation of the junior school. She said that as soon as negotiations are final and the budget

Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Hon. Akierra Missick is passed, the necessary tendering for repairs and other necessary preparatory work would begin. In the meantime, the minister is calling for parents to play greater roles in the lives of their children so that they do not cause headaches for persons who provide tuition to them, law enforcement and society in general. “Parents must be parents. Guardians must be guardians. You know that your children are disruptive and they are bringing that disruptive behavior into our institutions. These behaviours will not continue to be tolerated,” she said, noting that government is working with the Gender Desk-created New Beginning School, to provide second chance in education for unsettling children. She said also that funds have been allocated in the budget to tackle at risk children in schools locally. “We are looking to remove children that are continuously disruptive, not only here in Providenciales, because it (disruptive behaviours in schools) happens at Raymond Gardiner in North Caicos, Marjorie Basden in South Caicos, as well as H.J. Robinson in Grand Turk. “And we will be looking to having those students placed at the New Beginning School within an anti-disruptive programme, so that they can have the necessary training, the necessary rethinking on alleviation of the need to be disruptive on school properties,” she said. Minister Missick explained that the New Beginning School is a curriculum-based institution, but also tackles issues that lead to children being disruptive. She said that in the event the students are totally rehabilitated they could return to the formal school system.


TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Page 13

MARCH 1ST - MARCH 8TH, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

Clement Howell teachers stage sick-out over escalating violence BY VIVIAN TYSON

S

tudents at the troubled Clement Howell High School ion Providenciales were forced to stay home for two days after teachers, protesting escalating violence, staged a sick-out. The straw that broke the camel’s back for the teachers was the invasion of the school compound by a group of about six men, at least one of whom was slinging a gun and the others wielding knives and machetes, on Wednesday (February 19). The men, the teachers said, were searching for some male students, who they accused of being rival gang members. The teachers said that they and a lot of the students have been traumatized by the breach in security and are now in fear for their safety. On Monday (February 24) Minister of Education and Deputy Premier Hon. Akierra Missick, along with Ministry officials, including Permanent Secretary Cheryl Ann Jones and Education Director, Edgar Howell, spent the better part of Monday morning with school administrators and CSS – the firm that provides security for the school – hammering out a suitable resolution to the problem and also trying to get the teachers to call of their protest action. While it is not obvious as to decisions reached on the buttressing of security at the school, what was clear is that the meeting did not get the teachers to change the minds to stage a sick-out. Under Turks and Caicos law, civil servants are not permitted go on strike, since there is no union to represent them. Instead they can go on two day sick-out as they are not required to produce ad medical certificate for that peri-

od and so cannot officially or legitimately be penalized. Minister Missick, who spoke to The SUN after the meeting said that the teachers were able to have their concerns expressed and what measures they believed, were needed to address the situation at the learning institution. “They were able to air concerns regarding health and safety and the continued disruptive behavior by students that are inside the school and or other persons who scale the fence or trespass on the property and began to create disturbances within the learning sphere. At the end of the meeting, because there was no clear list of concerns on issues that they wanted the ministry to address, a meeting then took place with the principal and his staff directly,” she said. Minister Missick added: “On the conclusion of that meeting, were then able to have a meeting here with the premier, the commissioner of police and the deputy acting commissioner of police, along with other persons who attended the meeting at the Clement Howell High School. It was during that meeting that we finally received confirmed statement from the principal that, on being notified by his staff that during the next 48 hours –next two days – that the teachers will not be returning to the school and will not be providing tuition in the classroom,” she pointed out. Minister Missick she said that parents were notified of the development and asked to make the necessary preparation for their children. She said that the two-day disruption would be used to correct some infrastructural security anomalies at the institution, including broken fences and overgrown vegetation, which in some instances, prevented visibility between the compound and the exterior.

She said that greater police support would be provided at the campus, in a bid to stem unruliness there. “The acting deputy commissioner of police has confirmed that they will increase police presence in that area. Whether that is extra security on the compound or just patrol cars, we asked the police not to notify us of that, as we do not want to give those persons who use the opportunity to attack the school an insight on the police’s operation,” the deputy premier said. In the meantime, Minister Missick stated that while she is sympathetic to the teachers concern for safety, deciding to go on sick-out was not the way to go. “Yes, you may be unhappy; yes, things may not be perfect at whatever department you work at, but having industrial action like a sickout or a sit in or a strike is not the way to move forward to have your concerns heard. The government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are the elected members of the government; we are not responsible for civil service actions, we are not responsible for decisions that are taken, we are not responsible for employment. And we continue to work with the deputy governor’s office, which responsible for the public service, also known as the civil service,” she said. In the meantime, the deputy premier has encouraged civil servants to rekindle the now defunct Civil Service Association (CSA), so that members would be able to air their grouses in a structure manner, while not making those that they serve suffer. “We encourage civil servants to restart the CSA, so that matters like this can be handled properly, with the right guidelines, with the proper notice provided to the government so that contingency plans can be put in place,” she said.

The he Alexandra Al ndra Resort Res & Spa is inviting in iti applications ap for the following positions:

CHIEF ENGINEER Responsibilities:

• Overseeing the functions of all Engineering and maintenance staff to ensure that all required maintenance and up-keep of property is carried out; • Accountability for all Engineering inventories i.e. equipment and supplies inventories; • Be responsible for hiring of Engineering staff; • Also to ensure that all staff are trained and coached on all aspects of their job • Promoting an atmosphere of teamwork and professionalism within the department; • You must be able to maintain as well as offer new avenues on all electrical and mechanical systems Requirements; • At least 5 years experience with at least 3 or more those years in a four star resort property • Must have a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. • A proven track record in managing an efficient diversified workforce is a MUST • The ability to focus on preventative maintenance of the resort’s engineering, grounds, pools, public areas, guestrooms • Must be highly organized and have excellent communication skills written and oral • Must be knowledgeable of all Engineering/maintenance functions • Must have the ability to manage department’s budget • Knowledge of visual one IS A MUST

NIGHT AUDITOR RESPONSIBILITIES

• Ensuring that all charges and credits are posted accurately to guest accounts; that the telephone call accounting system reporting has been completed and system is functional • Balancing all credit card charges to cashiers reports and hard and soft copies are balanced with credit card folios • Organizing the night audit work in an orderly manner for distribution to the accounts department • Closing out of accounts and resetting the system for the next days operation • Conducts analytical review of all daily Front Office and Room transactions reports and to rectify and discrepancies. • Acting as Manager on Duty and maintain an open line of communication between guests, team members and management. • Performing Front Office duties, processing express checkouts and assisting guests as needed during the shift JOB REQUIREMENTS • Must have 6 or more years previous experience as a Night Auditor in a resort or condominium environment • Proficient in Microsoft office and Visual one is a MUST • Clear communications skills (written and oral) • Must be able to work nights, weekends and holidays

• Resolves invalid or unauthorized deductions by following pending deductions procedures. • Resolves collections by examining customer payment history, credit line; coordinating contact with collections department. • Summarizes receivables by maintaining invoice accounts; coordinating monthly transfer to accounts receivable account; verifying totals; preparing report. • Protects organization's value by keeping information confidential. • Accomplishes accounting and organization mission by completing related results as needed

JOB REQUIREMENTS

• Must have knowledge of office administration and bookkeeping procedures • Strong knowledge of accounts payable, accounts receivable in maintaining general ledgers • Must possess the ability to maintain a high level of accuracy in preparing and entering financial and payroll information • Must have confidentiality concerning financial and employee files • Must have a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting or related field and 5+ years of accounting experience. • Must have strong background in hospitality accounting • Must have a strong knowledge of Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Outlook: experience with Visual One accounting or similar accounting software and supervisory experience.

RESERVATIONS AGENT

To be responsible for accurately processing room reservations ensuring optimal occupancy; preparing and distributing hotel statistics on a daily and monthly basis and provide relief for front office staff as needed. The position requires a minimum of two years experience in Front Office/reservations with excellent oral and written communications skills as well as a pleasant and professional attitude; must be computer literate, knowledge of Visual One would be considered a plus. Previous experience in this area is a must..

ROOM ATTENDANTS

To ensure the cleanliness and orderliness of the assigned guestroom, work areas and equipment. Must be able to push and pull carts weighing up to 150lbs and be able to climb flights of stairs several times daily. Previous experience in this area is a must..

LABOURERS

To assist in maintaining the buildings of the resort. Must be able to lift 50lbs, bend, stand for long periods of time and must be able to push and pull carts weighing up to 250lbs. Be able to lift 50lbs., bend and stand for long periods of time. Must be able to speak English and understand instructions. Must be in excellent health.

GARDENERS Accounts Receivable Clerk RESPONSIBILITIES

• Posts customer payments by recording cash, checks, and credit card transactions. • Posts revenues by verifying and entering transactions form lock box and local deposits. • Updates receivables by totaling unpaid invoices. • Maintains records by microfilming invoices, debits, and credits. • Verifies validity of account discrepancies by obtaining and investigating information from sales • Resolves valid or authorized deductions by entering adjusting entries.

To assist in, maintaining the grounds of the resort. Duties to include: removal of trash, weeding, mowing, planting, pruning, watering and application of chemicals. Must be of good character. Be able to lift 50lbs., bend and stand for long periods of time. Must be able to speak English and understand instructions. Please Submit Applications to: hr@alexandraresort.com A copy should also be submitted to the TCI Labour Department. Submissions to be no later than March 7th, 2014 Belongers need only apply.


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TURKS & CAICOS SUN

UCCONSULTANCY SERVICES

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS ON BEHALF OF CLIENTS

SEEKS

Plumber $8.00 p/h Barber $6.00 p/h Cashier $5.00 p/h Security Officer $6.00 p/h Sales Person $5.00 p/h Cabinet Maker $8.00 p/h Sales Clerk $5.00 p/h Supervisor $8.00 p/h Nail Tech $5.00 p/h Musician $6.00 p/h Hair Stylist $6.00 p/h Masseur $6.00 Driver $5.00 p/h Barmaid $6.00 p/h Supervisor/lead $8.00 p/h

Contact

245-0909

ANDRE GIBSON SEEKS

1

Domestic Worker Salary $5.00 per hour 5 days per week Contact 649-241-6955 or email alpha_ag82@hotmail.com

SUPERCUTS BARBERSHOP

NEEDS

%DUEHUV /DERXUHUV 'RPHVWLF :RUNHUV &DVKLHU Salary $5.00 per hour

&DOO$OH[

Positions Available

Shay Cafe & Lounge

Restaurant Maitre D’

• Minimum of 5 years experience in similar position. • Must be computer & P.O.S system literate. • Wine knowledge & bar skills essential. • Experience in F.O.H training a bonus. • Job requires a six days work week including weekends & public holidays. • Pay based on experience & education.

Seeks

1 Kitchen Helper

Dishwasher

Salary $5.00 per hour

Must be willing to work weekends & public holidays. Job includes washing pots as well as general cleaning duties. Pay is $6 per hour.

Contact 331-0221

Please send applications to:

Belonger need only apply

PO Box 782, Providenciales or email to magnoliaprovo@live.com Belongers only need apply

GRATTEN WILLIAMS

BEAUTY & ELEGANT BRADING SALON

SEEKS

1 Labourer Salary

$5.00

SEEKS 1 Hairstylist Salary $5.00 per hour Contact 241-4404

BUGALOO’S CONCH CLAW

SEEKS 1 Labourer Salary

$5.00

per hour

per hour 6 days per week

Contact

Contact 344-8224

344-8224

ROYAL FOOTWEAR PLUS

ALPHA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY EMPLOYMENT VACANY We currently have a position available as A Caretaker in our nursery Interested persons please email a copy of your resume to

aca2006@live.com

SEEKS

1 Cashier To work six days per week 9-5 Salary

$5.50

per hour

Contact 242-0388


TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Page 15

MARCH 1ST - MARCH 8TH, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

Premier Ewing meets with Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie P

remier Ewing, during his time in Nassau, Bahamas this week, as he attended a two-day Conference for Small Island Developing States, also took the time to meet with key stakeholders in the Government of The Bahamas on critical issues facing the Turks and Caicos Islands. As a follow-up to recommendations made following the fact-finding mission that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Hon. Fred Mitchell led, under the direction of the Caricom Heads of Government, to the Turks and Caicos Islands in June 2013, on the state of governance, the judiciary system and the economic and social systems imposed during the interim administration under direct rule and subsequent to the return to internal self-government, Premier Ewing met with the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Perry Christie to discuss the progress made in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the past year.

The critical areas of focus were the depth of control still maintained by the UK Government over the financial management of the Government’s operations, SIPT and its’ funding and the challenges faced to fund educational, health and other social programs desperately needed for the sustainable development of the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands. During this unilateral meeting of heads, the very serious matter of illegal immigration was also discuss, in an effort to gain The Bahamas’ support for forging a partnership among the two countries, to tackle the very critical issue of illegal immigration through the improved protection of our borders. Like the Turks and Caicos Islands, The Bahamas has long since suffered from the tides of illegal migrants penetrating their borders to escape the hardships of Haiti. Together, the Governments will aim to thwart the ar-

Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing, Premier Of The Turks And Caicos Islands, Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister Of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas

rival of suspect vessels in our waters thereby eliminating, or at the very least, greatly reducing the high costs of repatriation. Premier Ewing was also invited to meet with the Management and Staff of Pan America Health Organization (PAHO). This meeting saw the reaffirmation of the relationship that PAHO and the Turks and Caicos Islands has and PAHO’s recommitment to providing its continued support. The support of PAHO over the years has been instrumental in the facilitation of vaccines and other programs for the prevention of communicable diseases. Key experts, also attending the Small Island Developing States Conference also took the opportunity to conduct break-out meetings with Premier Ewing, on the areas of sustainable development of small and medium enterprise sector (SME), renewable alternative energy and national trust activities.

TURKS AND CAICOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION STAFF HEAD OUT ON CAPACITY-BUILDING ATTACHMENT

T

wo members of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Human Rights Commission (HRC), Ms Kabatha Smith and Ms Donessia Gardiner, left on Friday, 28 February, for a capacity building attachment with their opposite numbers in Northern Ireland. The one-week programme is fully-funded by the Governor’s Office. Working alongside their counterparts in Belfast, Ms Smith and Ms Gardiner will further develop their technical abilities to better discharge their roles of ensuring human rights are fully considered and respected at every level of government. The TCI HRC, set up under the Human Rights Commission Ordinance of 2008, is one of six Constitutional bodies in the Turks and Caicos Islands and is in place to ensure that government and other public bodies protect the human rights of everyone in the country. It also provides human rights training and advise to those that require it. The Northern Ireland HRC was set up in 1999 and, as

the oldest and most well-established national human rights institution in the UK, deals with close to 1,000 human rights issue enquiries annually.    “We are grateful to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for agreeing to provide this valuable programme to our staff,” commented Chair of the TCI HRC, Doreen Quelch-Missick. “The job of the HRC is a vital one, and this attachment will further develop the capacity of our staff to enable them to better carry out their roles to protect the human rights of all those resident in the TCI. We welcome the generous financial support the Governor’s Office has provided us to make this attachment possible, and we are proud to have forged a relationship with the oldest and most well-established Human Rights Commission in the United Kingdom.” The Governor’s Office has provided over $75,000 of funding for capacity-building activities for TCIG staff in the 2013/2014 financial year. To date this has included:

Funding an attachment for the Cabinet Secretary to the Isle of Man Government; Funding an attachment for the Deputy Director of the Integrity Commission to the Electoral Commission in the United Kingdom (to complete July 2014;) Funding the Deputy Premier to attend the World Education Forum in the United Kingdom; Funding training on lionfish control to DEMA officers; Funding DEMA officers to attend a Port State Control course in the United Kingdom; Funding DDME attendance at a Disaster Management course in the United Kingdom; Funding activities, travel and award ceremonies for young TC Islanders taking part in the regional Duke of Edinburgh awards; Providing funding for those working in Immigration to attend regional conferences and receive workplace training.

PREMIER EWING ATTENDS CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES IN THE BAHAMAS

P

remier Ewing, as the Minister of Tourism, attended a Small Island Developing States Conference, in Nassau Bahamas, this week, as he and his Government continue to explore and develop plans for the diversification of the Tourism Product in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The two-day conference, held under the theme: TOURISM AS A KEY FACTOR FOR DEVELOPMENT IN ISLAND STATES at the Melia Resort on Cable Beach in Nassau Bahamas was hosted jointly by the Ministry for Tourism of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Tourism Organization on February 19-20, 2014. The Official Opening Ceremony was complete with all the pomp and pageantry that The Bahamas is greatly known for and attended by many stakeholders in the Tourism Industry, including other Ministers of Tourism from neighbouring Caribbean Countries. The Rt. Hon. Perry Christies, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, brought the Key Note Address during the opening celebrations and cautioned attendees on the need to preserve the elements of our tourism product for future generations to enjoy. Panellists were invited to participate in hot button discussions on a whole range of relevant issues for island des-

seminate a report on the Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism in Small Island Developing States as a follow-up to the RIO+20 Conference, while the Inter-American Bank hopes to consolidate a joint agenda highlighting tourism development priorities in Small Island Developing States and the next steps for the strengthening of positive impacts of tourism on the local economies and communities within the Caribbean.

L-R: Earlston Mcphee, Director Sustainable Tourism, Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, Minister Of Tourism Of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, World Tourism Organization (Wto), Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister Of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas, Sir Arthur Alexander Foulkes, Governor General To The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas, Lady Joan Eleanor Foulkes, Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing, Premier And Minister Of Tourism Of The Turks And Caicos Islands, Mrs. Dawn Perry-Ewing, First Lady Of The Turks And Caicos Islands, Dr. The Hon. Kedrick D. Pickering, Deputy Premier Of The British Virgin Islands, Sharon Flax-Mars, Director Of Tourism Of The British Virgin Islands, Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization (Cto). tinations like The Turks and Caicos Islands, from the competitiveness and sustainability perspectives, to regional integration, air connectivity, travel facilitation and risk management, to identifying specific challenges and vulnerabilities and examples of relevant actions. The Conference focused mainly on the Caribbean scenario but attendees were also given the opportunity to share with

the International Community, at the ministerial and expert levels, further knowledge and lessons learnt for tourism in Small Islands Developing States, worldwide. The World Tourism Organization (Specialized agency of the United Nations) which was represented by the Secretary General, Mr. Taleb Rifai, among other initiatives, will comprise and dis-


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LOCAL NEWS

UK yet to officially respond to CARICOM report on TCI BY VIVIAN TYSON

T

here is no indication that the United Kingdom Government has responded to Caricom following its report on governance in the Turks and Caicos Islands, according to Premier Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing. In an interview with The SUN earlier this week after his visit to the Bahamas where he attended a Small Islands Development States Tourism Conference, the premier said that if there was a response from the UK it has not been official. “In regards to the Caricom Report that came out of the Caricom Mission to Turks and Caicos, as far as I know there has not been any official response from the United Kingdom to Caricom. We will get their feedback on that in that regard, but that is a communication between Caricom and the UK government. From our side, we will give an update what our position is in regards to state of affairs in Turks and Caicos,” the premier said. Caricom dispatched a team of fact-finders earlier 2013 after the premier told a Heads of Government Meeting in Haiti that the UK had stripped the locally-elected government of most of its constitutional responsibilities, leaving the government with almost no powers. The team later penned a report, confirming most of what the premier had said and made a list of recommendations. Premier Ewing noted that some of those issues raised by Caricom were being addressed in the local parliament and courts. “But most of those are in relation to constitutional issues, of which we are just now (dealing with) One of the matters we have in court and the other issue is in regards to setting up of the Constitutional Commission of the House that will look at some of our constitutional issues as we try to advance it. Other issues in regards to the justice system as it relates to SIPT, the Civil Recovery – those

were also covered in the Caricom Report. We will require updates on those issues as well,” the premier said. In the meantime, the premier said that the Small Island Development States Tourism Conference was fruitful and there was much take-away from it. “It was hosted in the Bahamas in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation. I can say it was a very successful meeting that we culminated in the Nassau Declaration on Sustainable Tourism. “ It was significant for me simply because this is where we want to take Turks and Caicos to ensure that as we grow our tourism product, and as we grow our tourism-based economy, that the small and medium size businesses and the average person can feel the effect of tourism development in our country. “And so, we are looking at focusing more on heritage and culture-based tourism as we tried to diversify our tourism product,” he said. He added: “During that meeting also I had the opportunity to meet with the prime minister of the Bahamas the Hon. Perry Christie, where, in advance of the Caricom Heads of Government Meeting, we discussed many issues related to Turks and Caicos, as the Bahamas has taken on the role of responsibility for Turks and Caicos under Caricom. We basically advised the prime minister where we are, the various challenges that we are having and to see how we go about addressing these challenges. These challenges range from a number of challenges. Some of these challenges the Bahamas themselves are facing – from economic challenges to immigration challenges. The only one that is different for us is in terms of our constitutional challenges. So we continue to work together with the Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie to assist in Turks and Caicos where necessary to overcome those challenges as we progressed as neighbors in this region.”

NAVA JEWELERS LTD, dba JEWELRY, world renowned jewelers and retail sellers of signature brand jewelry and jewelry related products, with a chain of affiliated jewelry stores and outlets throughout North America, the Caribbean and Worldwide, is now accepting applications/resumes from suitably qualifies persons as:

JEWELRY SALES SPECIALISTS, SUPERVISORS AND MERCHANDISERS, JEWELERS, PRECIOUS STONES BRAND QUALITY CONTROL CLERKS, SALES CLERKS, and/or ASSOCIATES At the Company’s prestigious retail Jewelry sales and Jewelry related merchandise sales Store located at the Carnival Corporation’s Grand Turk Cruise Center, South Beach, Grand Turk. Requirements: • A sound educational background and a minimum of five (5) years jewelry sales and general merchandising experience, in the case of Supervisors, Precious Stones and Brand Quality Control Clerks and two (2) years in the case of Sales Clerks and Associates, together with a proven and unblemished track record of employment in a highly trusted related field of employment and/or business. • A positive and disciplined attitude and aptitude toward work in a customer service oriented business. • Excellent communication, inter-personal and customer service skills. • A trustworthy, dependable and honest disposition. • Must be willing to work flexible hours including weekends and holidays and irregular cruise ship schedule. • Clean criminal record. • Unblemished employment history. • All candidates must be proficient in the English written and spoken word.

Suitable candidates that do not meet the above requirements who, in the sole discretion of the Company’s management team, demonstrate a clear willingness to embrace the Company’s in-house training initiatives and established standard operating policies and procedures, may be eligible for recruitment in exceptional circumstances. Preference will be given to documented Turks and Caicos Islanders. Interested persons may submit their applications and resumes, via e-mail to: resume@effyjewelery.com, via fax to: 2127308887, or hand deliver the same to any senior member of the company’s staff at its store, commonly known as Jewelry located at Suite No. 2, Building 1, Grand Turk Cruise Center, South Beach, Grand Turk.

TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Man held in connection with shooting on Airport Road T

he Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have so far held one suspect in connection with the early Monday morning (February 24) shooting of three men at the Sammy Been Plaza on Providenciales. Police Media Liaison Officer Special Constable Audley Astwood said the man has not yet been charge, and so his name could not be released to the media. Astwood was uncertain as to when the man would be charged, saying that the police have been conducting further investigations into the matter. And while Astwood said the police were not at liberty to release the names of the injured, The SUN can confirm that they are Clayton Morris, Averson Capron and Benson Williams. Astwood said that early investigations have not indicated that any of the injured men had fired any weapons during the incident. It is understood that a group of men were standing in the Sammy Been Plaza parking lot when gunmen pounced and them on fired a barrage of shots before fleeing the scene. It is unclear whether the gunmen escaped in a waiting vehicle or on foot. At the end of the shooting it was discovered that three men were injured, one critical. Astwood said that two of the three men have been released from hospital. Assistant Superintendent of Police Ira Baptiste confirmed at news conference on Wednesday that one man has been in custody and could be charged soon, also confirming the release of two of the victims and said that the third is in stable condition.


TURKS & CAICOS SUN

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LOCAL NEWS

PARADISE SMILES FOR MISS UNIVERSE TURKS AND CAICOS PAGEANT CONTESTANTS O

n Saturday, February 22nd 2014, the beauties of the Miss Universe Turks and Caicos Pageant visited Paradise Smiles Dental Clinic accompanied by Snwazna Adams, Miss Universe Turks and Caicos 2013 where they all received complimentary dental health care assessment and prophylaxis (teeth cleaning). Dr. Jameika Harvey said, “It is a privilege to be a part of something as spectacular as the Miss Universe Turks and Caicos Pageant. Blessed with the opportunity as the official Dentist for the pageant, I along with the staff at Paradise Smiles was extremely delighted. As a dental health care provider it is always rewarding when you can put a smile on your patients face; It is even more rewarding when you get opportunities to put a smile on faces of individuals vying for a chance to represent your own country on an international stage.” “A smile is absolutely one of the strongest statements any beauty contestant can make and to have been charged with the responsibility of enhancing the confidence of these contestants is truly an honor. In working with the ladies I realized that they all displayed a special uniqueness which makes for a very competitive pageant come April 25th and 26th.” Paradise Smiles is the official dental services provider to the Miss Universe Turks and Caicos Pageant located Downtown, Providenciales in Butterfield Square, Town Center Mall. The practice provides quality dental care with emphasis on patients such as the underserved and minorities and focuses on holistic, comprehensive medical and aesthetic approaches to diagnosing, treating, and preventing dental diseases. “Having great dental health is of general importance and this exercise is one that is essential to our empowerment program as we desire our contestants and titleholders to be fit all around and shine beautifully from within, with a high level of self-confidence and self-esteem. We value the continued support, comfort and quality services of Paradise Smiles and invite other businesses to make their products and services available to the

(L-R) Shante Williams, Shanice Williams, Tashy Forbes, Miss Universe Turks and Caicos 2013 Snwazna Adams, Dr. Jameika Harvey, Todeline Defralien, Codee Coalbrooke and Gabreann Capron.

pageant’s empowerment program” said President Kazz Forbes. The Miss Universe Turks and Caicos 2014 Pageant will see two electrifying nights of competitions on April 25th and 26th at Brayton Hall, Providenciales. Leading up to the competitions contestants are enrolled in an empowerment program with mandatory workshops including pageant coaching, hair and makeup training, etiquette and nutrition sessions, dental visits for consultation and treatment, rehearsals, fitness sessions at Rock It Hot Fitness and more. There will be a number of fundraising, promotional and community events to showcase the contestants. One of the major events is Turks and Caicos Islands Fashion Week 2014 March 26th – 29th 2014. The pageant events are produced by the Miss Turks and Caicos Universe Beauty Organization

under the direction of Kazz Forbes in partnership with the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board. To date the pageant’s partners are Digicel TCI, Beaches TCI Resort Villages and Spa, Cargo Express Services, interCaribbean Airways, Saint George Fashion House, Villa Del Mar, Paradise Smiles, Everything TCI, Power 92.5 FM, 102.5 Kiss FM, Nirvana Magazine, Tremm Jocale, BowTie VIP Transfers, Zanzi Bar and Restaurant, Rock It Hot Fitness, Magnetic Media, Philosophy Boutique, TCI Sun Newspaper, Forbes Concierge, West Bay Club Resort, Ports Of Call Resort, Courtyard Chiropractic, Gilley’s Enterprises, TCI Cinemas, Couture Lips Cosmetics, Crackpot Kitchen, Spotlight Communications, Turks and Caicos Friends of the Arts Foundation, Parrot Cay Resort, Jai’s, Floral Couture Lounge, COXCO Construction, Times of the Island Magazine and Regent Palms Resort.

TCI Airports Authority joins in celebrating 100 years of commercial flight T

he International Air Transport Association (IATA) is celebrating 100 years of commercial aviation. This year, 2014 marks a century of commercial flights in the airline industry. All stakeholders were invited to join the celebration and encourage conversation on the future of aviation in their region and industry. The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority has taken this opportunity to join in on these festivities by featuring their Terminal Expansion Project and its progress with you the adoring public. More importantly the TCIAA has decided to make available one portion of the terminal expansion by making the new Check In area open to the public for use. This $10 million expansion project has earned much attention not only here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, but in the wider world, as it will be one of the first Caribbean counties that will have a fully functioning multiuse check in kiosks complete with bag tag printing system. Over 60% of the construction works have been completed to date. The expansion is well

in its second phase of construction which highlights the construction of new domestic bathrooms, demolition of the old domestic bathrooms, the extension of the international check in area, extension of the Security Check Point, the Departure Lounge and the Arrivals Hall. It must be noted that phases of construction overlap as care has to be taken to minimise disruption of passenger flows. The new check-in area has been made available in a raw state, as construction works will have to continue after its opening. The raw concrete floors will have to be levelled with the old structure before tiling can take place. This will be an ongoing venture in the evening to minimise construction in high traffic areas. Persons will be able to drop off passengers in front of the terminal and go directly into check in. The roadway has been widened to accommodate passenger traffic, whilst the construction fence will remain in the Domestic and Arrivals area to continue construction works. The passenger tunnel that connects Arrivals to the Check In area will be demolished in approximately one

week to facilitate the build out of offices in the Arrivals area. All persons will be redirected to the tent area through a new tunnel at the Arrivals exit. The TCIAA endeavours to maintain the safety and security of passenger whilst constructing a world class facility that will be available for full operation by winter 2014. The terminal expansion project at Providenciales International Airport is a part of a much bigger picture that is worthy of celebration. This 100 year celebration highlights the aviation industries achievements that began in 1914 that started with a single flight that connected two cities and has grown to having over 40,000 cities connected worldwide. The airline industry can boost on carrying over 3 billion passengers and over 50 million tonnes of cargo in average in a given year. This booming industry supports over 56.6 million jobs and promotes the circulation of over $2.2 trillion in economic activity. With those impressive facts there is no wonder why the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority is taking time out to join the celebration of commercial aviation.


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LOCAL NEWS

TURKS & CAICOS SUN

Fortis Sponsors Science Fair to Showcase the Bright Minds of TCI’s Youth F

ortisTCI Limited is gearing up for another annual science fair, making this the fourth year running that the utility company has supported the academic affair. FortisTCI is proud to again be the primary sponsor. The Company strongly believes in encouraging growth and development in the education of TCI’s youth, especially in the fields of science and engineering. This year’s science fair will feature a multitude of fantastic projects from some of the Islands’ sharpest young minds as they display their interpretation and application of the theme, “Innovative Exploration through the Scientific Method”. Director of the Department of Education Edgar Howell said, “We want to continue to promote education and encourage our youth to embrace their academic abilities. Together the Department of Education and FortisTCI work to make the science fair a place where students can let their talent shine.” The FortisTCI Science Fair is just one of a number of events hosted during Education Week and FortisTCI, in partnership with the Department of Education, plans to keep the tradition of showcasing talented youth front and center for years to come. President and CEO of FortisTCI Eddinton Powell showed his support and encouragement stating, “Our youth already have it in them to achieve greatness, but it’s our responsibility as a community to help them realize their

potential and strive toward accomplishing their goals.” Last year top awards were as follows: Project Competition, Raymond Gardiner High; Quiz Competition, Maranatha High; Creative Art Poster Competition, Clement Howell High; Graphic Art Poster Competition, British West Indies Collegiate. The science fair is free and open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. The fair will open at the Gustavus Lightbourne Sports Complex on Providenciales Wednesday, March 6th at 9:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony and conclude on Thursday, March 7th.

Fortis TCI welcomes official visit by Governor Peter Beckingham F

ortisTCI recently welcomed Turks and Caicos Islands Governor, Peter Beckingham, to the Company’s headquarters in Providenciales. The visit served as His Excellency’s first official tour and introduction to the energy provider since arriving in the Islands last year. Governor Beckingham was greeted and accompanied by FortisTCI President and CEO, Eddinton Powell and together they toured numerous sites at the Leeward Highway compound. Site visits included the 1.1 million gallon ground water retention pond, one of the two 8.7 MW Wartsila engines installed in 2011, the operators control room, the new mechanical workshop commissioned in 2013, the fuel tank farm and the bulk storage area. Governor Beckingham said “I was impressed with the professionalism and commitment of all of the FortisTCI employees that I met. Reliable electricity is crucial to this country’s continued economic development.” Governor Beckingham and the Superintendent of Plant Control in Operators Room

Governor Beckingham and Members of FortisTCI Executive Team

Following the plant facilities tour, the Governor also met with members of the FortisTCI Executive Team where he was offered more information about the Company’s day to day operations, future plans and upcoming projects. CEO Eddinton Powell said, “This important visit by Governor Beckingham allowed us to showcase the complexities that come with operating a small utility in the Caribbean while also highlighting our many accomplishments since 2006. We believe the Governor now has a clearer understanding of the business environment in which we operate.” FortisTCI has held similar meetings and tours for various Government representatives, business officials, and focus groups and will continue its outreach and education programs.


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JOB DESCRIPTION Position:

Senior Financial Controller

Reporting To: Group Director of Finance with a dotted line to General Manager Function:

Responsible for overall management of all finance, accounting, purchasing and MIS functions, including but not limited to safeguarding all assets, strategic planning/budgeting, and compliance with internal controls and procedures. Also, a financial advisor to the management team of the hotel and a co-ordinator with the various department heads with respect to the relationship of accounting policies and practices to operational procedures.

Skills Required: • Communication Skills • Leadership Skills • Advanced mathematical and accounting concepts • Computer literacy • Analysing and interpreting general business periodicals, professional journals and governmental regulations

Skill Level: Excellent Very Good

E V

Good G Infrequent I

E E V V V

Function: 1. Performance management of the accounting associates: staff hiring, task distribution, productivity, goal-setting and performance evaluations. 2. Supervises the storage and destruction of records in accordance with Corporate and Governmental retention schedules. 3. Supervises the timely preparation and distribution of Financial Statements and Operating Reports in conjunction with Corporate and Owner guidelines including cash flow statements. 4. Reviews and approves all balance sheet reconciliations. 5. Reviews and monitors quality, accuracy and timeliness of work originating from accounting. 6. Controls and ensures approval of all contracts and legal agreements. 7. Reviews and monitors incident reports, insurance claims for proper processing. 8. Reviews invoices and approves and signs disbursement cheques. 9. Maintains a calendar of all legal & fiscal reporting schedules to ensure timely and accurate reporting and maintain current documentation on all Provincial/State & Federal fiscal legislation. 10. Co-ordinates the external audit function. 11. Prepares proposals, analyses and various reports as required by management, corporate and owners. 12. Co-ordinates and manages the Business Planning and Forecasting process in conjunction with the General Manager and Department Heads. 13. Prepares and maintains annual operating budget. 14. Controls and monitors payroll and expenditures for department. 15. Controls and reduces accounts receivable. 16. Works closely with all Leadership team members in achieving hotel’s goals and objectives. 17. Supports the hotel philosophy concerning hiring, associate relations, disciplinary action, training, counseling, evaluating etc. 18. Interacts in courteous and professional manner with all guests, staff and community members. 19. Responds to and resolves guest and staff difficulties in courteous, professional and prompt manner. 20. Apply principles of logical thinking to a wide range of unstandardised intellectual and practical problems in order to perform and direct many varied and complex tasks. 21. Interacts with people beyond giving and receiving instructions, particularly interaction with supervisor, subordinates, co-workers and guests in completing assignments, resolving staff and guest complaints. 22. Performs a variety of duties, often changing from one task to another of a different nature without loss of efficiency or composure. 23. Responsible for maintaining safety and cleanliness of work area.

Responsibilities: 1. Provides overall vision, planning and service delivery to the Accounting associates. 2. Participates and contributes to sales and revenue strategy sessions. 3. Provides strategic planning and guidance on the achievement of hotel goals and objectives. 4. Implements controls that comply with Grace Bay Resorts Accounting Policies and Practices. 5. Evaluates hotel operations (sales, staffing, expenditures, controls, procedures, etc.) to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the overall hotel operation. 6. Provides orientation and training to managers, department heads on accounting and financial issues. 7. Protects the hotel’s assets and minimise the risk and exposure of the operation. 8. Spearhead the Profit and Loss meetings to ensure compliance with Business Plans and identify corrective measures and action plan. 9. Communicates effectively with the Owners to ensure confidence in the management team of the hotel.

Contact: Human Resource Department Tel: 946 8550


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Vanderlene “ Titter” Gardiner,

Of Kerrmount Bottle Creek North Caicos Died on Friday February 21st. Funeral Service: Saturday March 8th at 10am Bottle Creek North Caicos At the Raymond Gardiner High School sports ground. Interment: Family burial ground Windsor Bottle Creek.

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MILEY CYRUS

“ADORE YOU” Oh, hey, oh Baby, baby, are you listening? Wondering where you’ve been all my life I just started living Oh, baby, are you listening? When you say you love me Know I love you more And when you say you need me Know I need you more Boy, I adore you, I adore you Baby, can you hear me? When I’m crying out for you I’m scared oh, so scared But when you’re near me I feel like I’m standing with an army Of men armed with weapons, hey, oh When you say you love me Know I love you more

And when you say you need me Know I need you more Boy, I adore you, I adore you I love lying next to you I could do this for eternity You and me—we’re meant to be In holy matrimony God knew exactly what he was doing When he led me to you When you say you love me Know I love you more (I love you more) And when you say you need me Know I need you more Boy, I adore you, I adore you When you say you love me Know I love you more And when you say you need me Know I need you more Boy, I adore you, I adore you

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FUN&GAMES


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News

CARIBBEAN

Jamaica Government to decriminalise marijuana by yearend K INGSTON, Jamaica – The Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce (CCMRT) says it has been given an assurance that Jamaica will this year decriminalise marijuana as the island seeks to establish a medicinal marijuana industry. CCMRT leader, Dealana Seiveright in a statement, said that the assurance had come from Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell. The statement quoted Paulwell as telling members of the taskforce that “ganja will be decriminalised in Jamaica this year and emphasised that Jamaica cannot be allowed to be left behind on the issue”.

“He also reiterated the multiple economic, social and cultural benefits that Jamaica stands to gain if the laws are adjusted sooner rather than later,” the statement said. Last year, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries agreed to discuss the issue of decriminalizing marijuana for health reasons at their inter-sessional summit in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in March. St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had written to his regional leaders calling for a “reasoned debate” led by CARICOM’s political and civic leadership in the context of the legalisation of marijuana for medical

and health purposes in 20 states in the United States. But regional leaders, who met in Trinidad last September  have not gone heels over Gonsalves proposals saying that a decision had been taken to have the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat conduct further research on the medical and legal implications of decriminalising marijuana. The CCMRT, which includes representatives of the Ganja Law Reform Coalition, the National Alliance for the Legalisation of Ganja and several members of civil society, is chaired by University of the West Indies, Mona Principal Professor Archibald McDonald.

Grenada unable to meet arrears owed to public servants S

T GEORGE’S, Grenada – The Grenada Government says it will not be able to pay as schedule the EC$12 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) in retroactive payment to public servants. A government statement said that while the process of preparation for payment is almost completed, the Keith Mitchell administration “is mobilising external funding which has not yet arrived”. The third instalment of the retroactive payment to public officers, teachers and prison officers was due to be made on Friday and the statement said that all unions and welfare associations have been informed of the situation. “The total cost of this instalment of retroactive payment is

$12 million. This third instalment will bring the total retroactive payment to $30 million with Government having paid $18 million in 2013,” the statement said, adding that an update will be made on March 17 as to when payment would be made. “The Government of Grenada expresses its appreciation to the unions and their members for their cooperation and understanding on this matter,” the statement added. Earlier this month, the Grenada government said it was urging trade unions to accept a three-year wage freeze as it seeks to enter into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with an ailing economy.

The IMF had earlier said despite two consecutive financial arrangements with Grenada, totalling more than US$28 million, the island missed the key programme objectives of securing a sustainable fiscal position and a higher growth path. The IMF said that Grenada during the period 2006-11 had received US$15.2 million in assistance under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement and a successor US$13.3-million Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement that was approved in April 2010. Late last year, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell told nationals that while the international community was willing to restructure the island’s debt, the country would have to make sacrifices.

THE BAHAMAS AWAITING CARICOM POSITION ON LEGALIZING MARIJUANA

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assau, The Bahamas – The Bahamas says it will await a decision of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders before deciding on whether or not to decriminalise marijuana for medicinal purposes. Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell responding to media reports that Jamaica has given an assurance that ir will decrminalise marijuana this year,  said Nassau had been present at a CARICOM meeting in Trinidad last year when the issue was raised. “We agreed that the issue should be studied then and signed off on the matter in Guyana last month as an agenda item at the next CARICOM heads meeting in St Vincent in March. The delegation will be headed by the Prime Minister,” he said. “We have heard the views on a market approach to fighting anti drug efforts advanced by many countries. We note the developments in the United States and have canvassed the potential policy changes with United States officials. “We can say nothing more on the issue until such time as the CARICOM consensus has been reached and the studies returned and the Bahamas Cabinet has a chance to review the issue,” he added.

Last year, CARICOM countries agreed to discuss the issue of decriminalising marijuana for health reasons at their inter-sessional summit in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from March 10-12. St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had written to his regional leaders calling for a “reasoned debate” led by CARICOM’s political and civic leadership in the context of the legalisation of marijuana for medical and health purposes in 20 states in the United States. But regional leaders, who met in Trinidad last September, have not gone heels over Gonsalves proposals saying that a decision had been taken to have the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat conduct further research on the medical and legal implications of decriminalising marijuana. Earlier this week, the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce (CCMRT) says it has been given an assurance that Jamaica will this year decriminalise marijuana as the island seeks to establish a medicinal marijuana industry. CCMRT leader, Dealana Seiveright in a statement, said that the assurance had come from Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell.

Mitchell, whose New National Party (NNP) came to office in February last year, said Grenada was unable to pay its creditors and was seeking the assistance of the international community to restructure its debt. Since then there have been several activities aimed at finding a solution to restructuring the debt that is estimated at more than EC$2 billion. The government has appointed the London-based White Oak Advisory, which describes itself as an independent financial advisory firm providing specialist, high-level and impartial advice to governments and other clients on matters relating to sovereign finances and sovereign debt, to advise it.

TWENTY ARRESTED FOR BANK FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN PUERTO RICO

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AN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says 20 individuals, including ringleaders, straw buyers, sellers, real estate agents and an accountant have been arrested in 10 different municipalities here for bank fraud and money laundering. ICE said the charges stemmed from a scheme to obtain money from mortgage lending institutions and resulted from an investigation conducted by its  Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and US Housing and Urban Development (HUD). “These arrests are a reflection of the success that comes when federal, state and local law enforcement agencies work together to target criminal organizations and individuals in Puerto Rico,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “At HSI, we follow the money trail to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most complicated financial schemes and seize criminal assets,” he added.”We will continue to aggressively investigate fraudulent financial schemes that put in jeopardy the integrity of our financial system

and are often a gateway to further criminal activity.” As part of the fraudulent scheme, ICE said the defendants purchased properties through straw buyers by obtaining mortgage loans from US federally-insured financial institutions “in amounts substantially exceeding the sales price of the properties.” The defendants would receive the excess amount of the loans. Then, they would default on payment of the monthly mortgage premiums, ICE said. “In order to ensure loan approval, the participants of the conspiracy created and submitted false supporting documentation such as financial statements, bank statements, employment verification letters and tax returns, among other items, with the loan application,” the statement said. According to the indictment, the defendants “aided and abetted each other and knowingly made false statements to various financial institutions to obtain mortgage loans.” The financial institutions are Banco Santander de Puerto Rico, Doral Bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, and RG Premier Bank of Puerto Rico. The defendants face up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to US$1 million.


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CARIBBEAN NEWS

Cayman Islands Government rejects minimum wage motion A

legislative proposal asking the ruling Progressives government to accept a $5 per hour minimum wage was defeated Wednesday, with all government members and backbenchers opposing it. However, Employment Minister Tara Rivers said during the debate on the private members’ motion that the government would bring forward a proposal for a minimum wage at an unspecified rate for consideration under the current provisions of the Cayman Islands Labour Law. Those provisions include the formation of a Minimum Wage Advisory Committee to recommend a base wage rate. Ms. Rivers said the government felt that passing a minimum wage without conducting proper research into the matter would be reckless. “As minister of employment, I am not interested in putting forward a regime without knowing how this will be implemented,” Ms. Rivers said during the debate on North Side MLA Ezzard Miller’s motion for the base wage rate. “[It is] incumbent on this government to try to determine what the potential effects of introducing a minimum wage would have on the [private] sector.” Mr. Miller, who has put forward the same motion backing a $5 per hour minimum wage for Cayman before, said he was unsure whether that $5 figure was “correct,” but he said it was a place to start and “get it done.” “Can we ever study this long enough or hard enough to absolutely calculate the correct amount?” Mr. Miller asked. “I don’t think we can.”

A minimum wage, Mr. Miller said, would be a step in the direction of preventing employers from “taking advantage of people from other countries with lower income levels.” “[Employers] pay them these ridiculously low wages, which all of us know nobody can live reasonably well in this country receiving $2 and $3 per hour, and often having to work nine, 10, 12-hour days,” Mr. Miller said. Ms. Rivers questioned, with the current cost of living in Cayman, what the implementation of a $5 per hour minimum wage would achieve. She also wondered what such a proposal might cost in the short to medium term.  “What are the risks posed to a minimum wage as it relates to jobs being lost?” she asked, inferring that some companies would lay off lower wage workers if a minimum wage were introduced. “If you are making $3 an hour and the cost of milk is $5, if by introducing a minimum wage of $5 an hour and all of sudden the cost of milk increases at the till to $7, are you any better off?” she said. Mr. Miller, who was the only Member of the Legislative Assembly to debate his motion, aside from Ms. Rivers, said he’d heard similar talk before from previous education minister and current Premier Alden McLaughlin, who supported the implementation of a minimum wage during the People’s Progressive Movement’s term between 2005 and 2009. “I am still committed to making a number of changes to the present Labour Law, which is now

20-odd years old. The introduction of a minimum wage is among them,” Mr. McLaughlin was quoted by the Caymanian Compass as saying in May 2008.  The National Assessment of Living Conditions report, completed around the same time, recommended the establishment of a minimum wage, but it did not state what that rate should be.  Although he did not speak on it in the assembly Wednesday, Mr. McLaughlin had stated his government’s intent regarding minimum wage proposals last week during the Cayman Economic Outlook forum. “We will [implement a minimum wage] only on the basis of a proper assessment and advice,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We will proceed with care.” All 12 voting members of the Progressives-led government, including backbencher independents Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly, voted against Mr. Miller’s private members motion. Speaker of the House Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who is also a member of the government, does not get to vote on matters before the Legislative Assembly. Voting for the measure were Mr. Miller and East End MLA Arden McLean. Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, whose previous United Democratic Party government passed a similar motion proposed by Mr. Miller and didn’t implement it, voted for the $5 minimum wage. His colleagues Bernie Bush and Capt. Eugene Ebanks also supported it.

Antigua request CARICOM Observers for general election S T. JOHN’S, Antigua   – Antigua and Barbuda has asked the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to send a mission to observe the general election likely to be held next month. The Baldwin Spencer administration, which is seeking a third consecutive term in office, has requested that the regional grouping mount a CARICOM Electoral Observer Mission (CEOM) “when the date is announced and which is at least 21 days before the actual day of polls”. Prime Minister Spencer has not yet named the date for the poll, but earlier this month told

supporters of the United Progressive Party (UPP) to keep March 15 as an important date, hinting that the polls could come around that time. He later told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) the reference to March 15 was intended to get people sensitised to the fact that an election was imminent “and in the planning process I just wanted to set the stage for the people of Antigua and Barbuda to place certain dates in mind. “The 15th  of March is the date something will certainly happen in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said, adding that the announcement

with respect to the actual election day “is still in my back pocket”. Spencer said he was confident that the electorate would return his United Progressive Party (UPP) back into office, saying “we believe we have kept faith with the people of Antigua and Barbuda and we have done the greatest good for the greatest number since we took office in 2004”. But Gaston  Browne, who is leading the main opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) into the general election, told CMC that the UPP government had over the past few years “actually dismantled the economy” and that the is-

land had lost approximately 25 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP). “Today you have unemployment in excess of 25 per cent and the poverty level in excess of 35 per cent. So in essence they have destroyed the country and I think Antiguans and Barbudans are desirous of change and I believe they have every confidence that the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party will make a difference in their lives”. Browne said voters could look forward to a transformation of leadership as the new government seeks to revive an ailing economy.

US agencies launch traveler partnership with the Caribbean S

T. THOMAS   – A number of United States agencies have collaborated with Caribbean countries in launching a partnership aimed at raising public awareness about the risks associated with passengers potentially introducing pests and diseases into the US and the Caribbean by carrying agricultural and food items in their luggage . The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said on Wednesday that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have joined the Caribbean in the initiative. In announcing the implementation of the international “Travelers Don’t Pack a Pest” program, the CBP said the US Virgin Islands have joined Puerto Rico and Jamaica as locations in the Caribbean to partner in the initiative. “The Travelers Don’t Pack a Pest program was conceived to extend the protection of Florida’s food supply and environment to our Caribbean neighbors and beyond,” said Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Ser-

vices Division of Plant Industry Division Director, Richard Gaskalla. “We are bringing information to all our constituents and partners because we want them to work closely with us,” said Leyinska Wiscovitch, from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). CBP said thousands of pounds of agricultural produce are confiscated at ports of entry from passengers on a daily basis, adding that some travelers are not aware these items are prohibited, while some knowingly attempt to bring in prohibited items. “Agriculture inspections are a crucial part of the inspection process for items entering into the country,” said Marcelino Borges, director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “A single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.” Borges said these undeclared items pose a “serious threat to our food and natural resources as exotic invasive pests can enter through this pathway and become established, causing

millions of dollars to manage or eradicate.” In addition, he said “these unwanted invaders can result in loss of export markets due to quarantines and can negatively impact natural areas.” CBP said if travelers know ahead of time what they can and cannot take in their baggage, they will avoid possible fines, as well as avoid having the items confiscated. “The focus of this creative agricultural protection outreach program in Florida and Puerto Rico is very appropriate as both are linked as high risk areas vulnerable to new pest introductions through trade and tourism,” it said in a statement. CBP said the “Travelers Don’t Pack a Pest” program includes airing a 60-second video and the placement of signs at strategic areas in major airports and cruise ship ports, along with distribution of other public education materials to the traveling public. CBP said these programme elements deliver a simple message, “When you travel, declare agriculture items, Don’t Pack a Pest.”


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Former Barbados chief justice appointed to three-member Commission of Inquiry K

INGSTON, Jamaica – Former Barbados chief justice Sir David Simmons has been appointed to a three-member Commission of Inquiry to probe the circumstances that led to the 2010 West Kingston incursion that left more than 70 people dead. Governor General Sir Patrick Allen also named retired judge of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica, Hazel Harris; and the former judge of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Velma Harris to the Commission. The 2010 Kingston incursion followed the mission by members of the Jamaica Defence Force and the police to arrest Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who was wanted in the United States on drug and gun trafficking charges. The incursion, which began on May 23, ended with the deaths of 73 people and injury to 35 others. Four soldiers were also killed and more than 500 people arrested as the security forces battled gunmen loyal to Coke, who was eventually captured one month later. Coke has since been extradited to the United States and sentenced to 23 years in jail. The Office of the Prime Minister said that great care had been taken to identify the Commissioners who have the required experience, skill and reputation to ensure a fair and impartial enquiry that will enjoy the confidence of the public.

Sir David Simmons, former Chief Justice of Barbados It said that the Opposition was afforded an opportunity to provide its views on the Terms of Reference and on the choice of Commissioners. No date has been set for the sitting of the commission but the government said it was proceeding with plans to facilitate the Commission Meantime, MP Desmond McKenzie took his objection to Velma Hylton’s appointment on the Commission of Enquiry into the security forces’ May 2010 operation in West Kingston to Amnesty International and the United Nations. McKenzie, the member of parliament for the constituency, also sought support from the Jamaica Council of Churches, National Integrity Action, Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ), the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights, and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.

McKenzie said his objection was based on comments Hylton made at the 2001 enquiry into a similar confrontation between civilians and the security forces in West Kingston, which resulted in the deaths of 25 civilians. In making his request, McKenzie said that he was appealing to “all well-thinking Jamaicans to join the people of West Kingston in their quest to protect their human rights and to ensure that the commission in no way is tainted in considering its outcome. “It is not a political issue, and this matter should not be used as a political football. The people of West Kingston deserve to be treated like [all] other Jamaican citizens,” McKenzie said. He added that the appeal was not to impugn Hylton’s character or her competence as an attorney-at-law, “but in the interest of ensuring that justice is done, that it is seen to be done, and that the rights of the residents of West Kingston, who are indeed constitutionally protected citizens of Jamaica, are respected”. JFJ, in a news release on the issue, also said that the concerns now being raised about the appropriateness of Hylton’s appointment “must be addressed, as they can affect the confidence placed in the Commission of Enquiry”. McKenzie’s appeal came a day after Amnesty International issued a re-

lease saying that the mandate of the Commission of Enquiry falls short of what is needed to obtain “truth, justice and reparation for the victims”. “Victims have waited nearly four years for this commission but, regrettably, the terms of reference that establish its mandate are seriously flawed and could prejudice the effectiveness of the enquiry,” Amnesty’s researcher on the Caribbean, Chiara Ligouri, said in the release. “Given the history of impunity in Jamaica for human rights violations by the security forces, and the history of commissions of enquiry which have failed to deliver justice for the victims, it is essential that the scope of the Commission of Enquiry be strengthened. Otherwise, this will be a missed opportunity,” Ligouri added. Jamaicans For Justice, the local human rights body, also said that it was disappointed with the terms of reference for a number of reasons, including “they do not spell out the allegations of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and violations of right to life; they include no reference to specific enquiry into allegations of missing persons, and conditions of detention; they do not require enquiry into the planning and oversight of the operations; they do not require enquiry into foreign assistance; and future compensation and criminal liability are not addressed”.

UN human rights expert speaks on Court of Appeal ruling regarding Duvalier P

ORT AU PRINCE, Haiti  - An independent United Nations human rights expert has applauded the decision by a Haitian court to order further investigations into alleged abuses committed by former president Jean-Claude Duvalier during his 15year rule. Earlier this month,    the Court of Appeals reversed a January 2012 decision that stated the former leader could not be charged with crimes against humanity during his reign because the time for the prosecution of those offences had elapsed. Haitian and international human rights groups have extensively documented serious human rights violations, including torture, rape and extrajudicial killings, said to have occurred while Duvalier, known as “Baby Doc”,  was in power from 1971 to 1986.

“The decision of the Court of Appeals is a significant rectification in the path in which impunity for past human rights violations was so far engaged in Haiti,” said Gustavo Gallón, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the country. “It unequivocally reverts the incomprehensible ruling taken previously by the lower chamber judge, who threw out the human rights charges against Duvalier and only charged him for the alleged financial crimes,” he said in a statement.. The three judges from the Court of Appeals found that there was significant evidence of Duvalier’s criminal responsibility in his capacity as head of State. “I now encourage the Haitian Government to provide the appointed investigating judge an inde-

pendent and secure environment to perform his long-awaited and difficult task,” said Gallón, who also praised the victims and their lawyers for their courage to pursue justice against all odds, and invited the Government to take the necessary measures to protect them. Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. Gallón, who has served in his post since June 2013, will present his report on Haiti to the Council at its session next month.

ST VINCENT REBUILDING HOUSES DAMAGED IN CHRISTMAS FLOODS

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INGSTOWN, St Vincent -- The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has begun an EC$22-million project to repair or rebuild houses damaged by extreme weather last Christmas. The project will address houses with Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 damage, with Level 1 representing houses with minimal damage, while Level 4 means that a house has to be rebuilt elsewhere. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said the project will also see the reconstruction of retaining and division walls. The Government is also trying to accommodate some people whose situations were not addressed fully, or at all, after Hurricane Tomas in 2010 or the floods of April 2011, Gonsalves said at a press conference.

According to the Prime Minister, the distribution of material to owners of homes with Levels 1 and 2 damage had begun. Houses with Level 3 damage have to be rebuilt at their current location or be relocated, while those at Level 4 were destroyed and have to be rebuilt elsewhere. The process has also started in relation to Level 3 damage, and heavy-duty equipment was in the northwest community of Fitz Hughes clearing land for housing. But Gonsalves said that he wants to see a similar process implemented simultaneously wherever houses are to be rebuilt. He said that for every house that is to be built, a contract should be awarded and work will commence. “We can’t do something by having one contractor doing the hous-

es in just one area and building them over a longer period of time. I want the work to be done as quickly as possible through different sets of contracts,” Gonsalves said. He said while it would be better for contractors from a particular community to build the houses in that area, this will depend on the level of technical support and work force of the contractor. The Government is “strengthening the capacity” at the State-owned Housing and Land Development Corporation and Gonsalves, who is also minister of finance, said he had asked that the acting deputy accountant general, be assigned to the agency. “It is a hybrid mechanism addressing this housing programme, between the Ministry of Housing, central government, and the Housing and Land Development Corporation.

“It is not directly under the Housing and Land Development Corporation but you are using the institution to effect certain things,” Gonsalves said. The Prime Minister further said he has identified resources for persons affected by the storm to receive furniture, crockery and cutlery. “And that is the next venture which we are hoping to embark upon very soon through that same committee,” he said. Gonsalves told Parliament, in January, that actual material damage to 662 houses during the passage of the trough system on Christmas Eve is estimated at EC$24.6 million. Assuming that a relocation of 300 of those houses is to be done, the cost of damage to the housing sector would be an estimated EC$45 million, he said in his Budget Address.


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Ousted Ukrainian president blasts opposition in vow to keep power

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usted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych surfaced in Russia Friday, thundering defiantly against the “pro-fascist hooligans” who drove him from office. Yanukovych warned of the dangers of “irresponsible Western policy” as he vowed to continue the fight for Ukraine’s future Friday at a press conference in Rostov-on-don, Russia—his first public appearance since last Saturday. “I intend to keep fighting for the future of Ukraine against those who are using fear and terror to seize the country,” he told reporters. “I intend to keep fighting for the future of Ukraine against those who are using fear and terror to seize the country” - Viktor Yanukovych The fugitive leader said he was forced to leave Ukraine due to threats, Reuters reported. He blamed the country’s crisis on “irresponsible Western policy,”and said he trusted the “decency of Western mediators” when he signed a peace deal last week brokered by members of the European Union. But recent actions by the opposition run counter to the agreement, he said. Yanukovych said he does not plan to ask Russia for military support in dealing with the crisis in Ukraine, where he said power was stolen by ``a bunch of radicals.” “Fascist hooligans” have taken power in Ukraine, Yanukovych told reporters, according to the BBC. He described the violence that followed the deal “lawlessness, terror, anarchy, and chaos.”   He denied ordering police to shoot at protesters before he was forced out of power, and added that responsibility for the bloodshed in Kiev lay with the demonstrators.

Ukraine’s fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych speaks at a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russia about 600 miles from Moscow. Although he has spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone, the two have not met but agreed to sit down soon, Yanukovych said. Yanukovych was surprised that Putin had not spoken publicly about the past week’s events in Ukraine. Defending his disappearance from public view in recent days, Yanukovych said he “did not flee anywhere” but left for Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine and intends to return when he is assured international safety. “I will return to Ukraine as soon as the safety of myself and my family can be guaranteed,” Yanukovych said. During the lengthy new conference, Yanukovych called the May presidential election illegal and said he would not participate in it and  suggested the southern region of Crimea should remain part of Ukraine but enjoy autonomy. Yanukovych said he supports Crimea’s residents who are worried about “nationalists” in Kiev but

does not agree with use of force.  “Any military action in this situation is unacceptable,” he said. Armed gunmen took control of the two main airports in Crimea Friday. Russia denied involvement. No violence was reported at the civilian airport in Crimea’s capital of Simferopol or at the military airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, also part of Crimea. At the Simferopol airport, a man claiming to speak for the camouflage-clad forces patrolling the airport described them as Crimean militiamen. Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service said about 30 Russian paratroopers from the 810th brigade of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the Sevastopol area. It said the paratroopers said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists. Yanukovych had declared Thursday in a statement that he remains Ukraine’s legitimate president. The prosecutor-general’s office in Kiev said it would seek Yanukovych’s extradition to Ukraine, where he is wanted on suspicion of mass murder in last week’s violent clashes between protesters and police, in which over 80 people were killed. Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors announced they had launched a criminal investigation against Yanukovych and his son Aleksander over “aggravated money laundering.” They said police and Geneva’s chief prosecutor conducted a search and seized documents Thursday at the premises of a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych. Switzerland’s governing Federal Council announced that it decided to block all assets Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland.

Most Democrats Want Clinton to Run in 2016 M

ore than 8 in 10 Democrats say they want Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, showing a level of interest in her that no other potential candidates – Democrat or Republican – come close to matching among their party’s voters, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll. The potential candidates drawing the most interest after Mrs. Clinton are Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. For each of them, about 40 percent of self-identified members of their party said they hoped the person would run. As for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey — the man who many had once thought to be an early Republican favorite, but who is struggling with the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal — more in his party say they do not want him to seek the presidency (41 percent) than say they do (31 percent). The election, of course, is far off. But the level of enthusiasm among voters for candidates in their own party still matters, as those potential candidates are already deciding whether to run and beginning to plan campaign and fund-raising strategies. While Democrats appear overwhelmingly eager for a Clinton can-

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the presentation of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security at Georgetown University February 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. didacy, the poll suggests that the Republican field, at least at this early stage, is far more muddled, with no potential candidate garnering majority enthusiasm for a presidential run. Thirty-two percent of Republicans say they want Senator Marco Rubio of Florida to run, although Mr. Rubio also seems to have fewer detractors than Mr. Bush or Mr. Paul (more do not know enough about him to say). Only 15 percent of Republicans said they did not want Mr. Rubio to run, compared with 21 percent for Mr. Paul

and 27 percent for Mr. Bush. Twenty-four percent said they hoped Senator Ted Cruz of Texas would run, compared with 15 percent who said they did not want him to. Fifty-nine percent do not know enough about Mr. Cruz to say. The poll did not ask about several other potential Republican candidates, including Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. No major candidates in either party have yet declared their

candidacy, but several have taken steps indicating that they are seriously considering a run. On the Democratic side, a majority were unable to offer opinions on some other Democrats seen as potential candidates. When asked about Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, 56 percent of Democrats said they did not know enough about her to say whether they would like her to run, as did 59 percent when asked about Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. Even more, 82 percent, said they did not know enough about Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland to say whether he should run in 2016. Democrats were divided over Mr. Biden, with 42 percent saying they wanted him to run and 39 percent saying they did not, the poll found. Male and female Democrats expressed similar levels of interest in Mrs. Clinton. A potential Clinton candidacy also drew the strongest support among self-described independents, with 52 percent saying they hoped she would run. The nationwide poll is based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 19-23 on landlines and cellphones with 515 Democrats, 519 Republicans and 550 independents. Each has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus six percentage points.


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715 more planets discovered S

cientists added a record 715 more planets to the list of known worlds beyond the solar system, boosting the overall tally to nearly 1,700, astronomers said on Wednesday. The additions include four planets about 2-1/2 times as big as Earth that are the right distance from their parent stars for liquid surface water, which is believed to be key for life. The discoveries were made with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope before it was sidelined by a pointing system problem last year. The telescope, launched in 2009, spent four productive years staring at 160,000 target stars for signs of planets passing by, relative to the telescope’s line of sight. The tally of planets announced at a NASA press conference on Wednesday boosted Kepler’s confirmed planet count from 246 to 961. Combined with other telescopes’ results, the

headcount of planets beyond the solar system, or exoplanets, now numbers nearly 1,700. “We almost doubled, just today, the number of planets known to humanity,” astronomer Douglas Hudgins, head of exoplanet exploration at NASA Headquarters in Washington, told reporters on a conference call. The population boom is due to a new verification technique that analyzes potential planets in batches rather than one at a time. The method was developed after scientists realized that most planets, like those in the solar system, have sibling worlds orbiting a common parent star. The newly found planets reinforce evidence that small planets, two to three times the size of Earth, are common throughout the galaxy. “Literally, wherever (Kepler) can see them, it finds them,” said astronomer Sara Seager, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “That’s why we have confidence that there will be planets like

Earth in other places.” Like the solar system, which has eight planets plus Pluto and other so-called “dwarf planets,” the newly found exoplanets belong in families. But unlike the solar system’s planets, which span from inner Mercury to outer Neptune some 150 times farther from the sun than Earth, the Kepler clans are bunched in close. Most of the planets fly nearer to their parent stars than Venus orbits the sun, a distance of about 67 million miles (108 million km.) NASA and other space agencies are designing follow-on telescopes to home in on planets in socalled “habitable zones” around their parent stars where temperatures would be suitable for liquid surface water. Two papers on the new Kepler research will appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Phone hacking trial: Brooks ‘agreed payments to officials’

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ebekah Brooks has told the phone-hacking trial she approved payments to public officials - but only when there was an “overwhelming public interest”. She said she had agreed payments on a “handful of occasions” between 1998 and 2009, when she held senior roles at the Sun and the News of the World. Public officials had approached the papers asking for money in exchange for information, she told the Old Bailey. Mrs Brooks denies four charges including conspiracy to hack phones. She told the jury she “sanctioned payments to a public official in the line of their work”. Her barrister, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, asked her: “Were there occasions where there were approaches [by public officials] for money for the exchange of information.” She replied: “Yes”. “My view at the time was that there had to be an overwhelming public interest to justify payment in those very narrow circumstances to a public official being paid for information directly in line with their job,” she said. Questioned about how many times this happened, she replied: “A handful of occasions - half a dozen.”

‘PUBLIC INTEREST’ Mr Laidlaw asked: “So there had to be an overwhelming public interest, and if there was not?”

Rebekah Brooks is one of seven people on trial for offences relating to phone hacking She replied: “If there wasn’t a public interest defence then it was not done because it was considered to be illegal.” Mrs Brooks was also questioned about claims an MoD press officer, Bettina Jordan-Barber, received payments of £100,000 for information she provided to the Sun. Asked if Mrs Brooks knew the source was a public official, she replied: “No”. Mr Laidlaw took her through stories in the newspaper which had followed payments to Ms Jordan-Barber, along with an email sent by a journalist from the Sun to Mrs Brooks in November 2006. The email read: “Morning boss, I wondered if you would please authorise the following payments for my number one military contact?” The court heard that the sum amounted to £4,500 and that Brooks emailed back within a minute with the response: “Of course”. She told jurors she would not have had any reason to doubt the reporter

in question. “I’m not reading this email as we are now, looking for something wrong”, she explained. The former editor said there were “never any complaints” from the MoD about the stories or where the information was coming from. However, she said former prime minister Gordon Brown did complain to the Sun over stories on the treatment of troops.

‘BLIND SPOT’ Earlier Mrs Brooks, giving evidence for a fifth day, told the jury she had made “lots of mistakes” as editor of the Sun. In 2003 the paper published the headline “Bonkers Bruno locked up” after boxer Frank Bruno was admitted for psychiatric treatment. Mrs Brooks told the court this was a “terrible mistake”, and said she had a “complete blind spot” when agreeing the headline. “He had not been well, and we talked to him about it and we did everything we could to make up about it,” she said. The headline had been spotted by her partner Ross Kemp and she phoned the newsroom to have it changed, she said.

‘SHIP SHIP HOORAY’ In another example, she said it was “cruel” to label Labour MP Clare Short “fat and jealous” for campaigning to stop the paper printing images

of topless women on page three. Mrs Brooks said “balance went right out the window” in attacks on social work leader Sharon Shoesmith after the death of Peter Connelly known as “Baby P”. And she told the court the headline “Ship ship hooray” abut the death of Harold Shipman, a doctor who murdered numerous patients, had been “in bad taste”. The jury was also shown dozens of stories Mrs Brooks was proud of. These included the launch of the Help for Heroes campaign, military bravery awards, publicising adoption and improvements to international news in the Sun. Earlier she told the court that, as editor of the Sun, she had regular meetings with senior politicians, police officers, defence chiefs and security services officials. She said most of these guests came to the newspaper’s offices, but she had to travel to meetings with the security services. Politicians often wanted to discuss the “good things they were doing”, she said, while she met armed forces chiefs to discuss conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The trial is about illegal payments to public officials, allegations of attempts to hide potential evidence and phone hacking - the illegal interception of messages. Mrs Brooks is one of seven defendants who deny all the charges against them. The trial continues.

UGANDA TABLOID NEWSPAPER PUBLISHES HOMOSEXUALS LIST AFTER ANTI-GAY LAW SIGNING

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Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country’s “200 top” homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday’s signing of the bill by President  Yoweri  Museveni marked “a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights” and warned that Washington could cut aid to the government of the East African nation. “Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” Kerry said in a statement. The Red Pepper tabloid published the names — and some pictures — in a front-page story under the headline: “EXPOSED!” The list included prominent Ugandan gay activ-

ists such as Pepe Julian Onziema, who has repeatedly warned that Uganda’s new anti-gay law could spark violence against homosexuals. There was a popular Ugandan hip-hop star as well as a Catholic priest. Few Ugandans identify themselves as gay, and the tabloid’s publication of alleged homosexuals recalled a similar list published in 2011 by a now-defunct tabloid that called for the execution of gays. A Ugandan judge later condemned the outing of homosexuals in a country where gays face severe discrimination, saying it amounted to an invasion of privacy. A prominent Ugandan gay activist was killed after that list came out, and activists said at the time that they believed David Kato was targeted because of his work promoting gay rights in Uganda. “The media witch hunt is back,” tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a well-known Ugandan lesbian activist who is among those listed in the Red Pepper story. Uganda’s new-anti-gay law punishes gay sex with up to life in jail. The bill originally proposed the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,”

defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults and acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV. First-time offenders also face life in jail, contrary to an earlier version of the bill that mentioned a 14-year jail term. The new law also creates the offences of “conspiracy to commit homosexuality” as well as “aiding and abetting homosexuality,” both of which are punishable with a seven-year jail term. Those convicted of “promoting homosexuality” face similar punishment. In signing the bill, Museveni said the measure is needed because the West is promoting homosexuality in Africa, rejecting international criticism of the law as interference in Uganda’s internal affairs. Museveni accused “arrogant and careless Western groups” of trying to recruit Ugandan children into homosexuality, but he did not name these purported groups. Homosexuality has long been criminalized in Uganda under a colonial-era law that outlawed sex acts “against the order of nature.”


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Jailed Venezuela protest leader mocks Maduro’s talks I

mprisoned Venezuelan protest leader Leopoldo Lopez scoffed on Friday at President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to open talks with opponents and businessman after a month of demonstrations and violence that have killed at least 17 people. Maduro, 51, seems to have weathered the worst of an explosion of protests against his socialist government that exposed deep discontent with Venezuela’s economic problems and brought the nation’s worst unrest in a decade. Some students are still setting up roadblocks and clashing with police in Caracas and western Tachira state. But numbers have dropped, and many Venezuelans have begun heading for the beach to enjoy a long weekend for Carnival celebrations. To try to defuse the crisis further, Maduro and his top officials have been holding talks with business leaders and some anti-government politicians, though the main opposition figureheads such as Henrique Capriles have boycotted that. Lopez, a hardline opposition leader arrested on charges of fomenting violence, said Maduro’s talk of dialogue was a hypocritical tactic intended to deflate the protests while failing to address the real problems behind them. “’The dialogue’ is a tactical retreat, as a result of the pressure in the streets. It’s not real conviction,” Lopez said in a message from Ramo Verde prison given to his wife who Tweeted it via her husband’s account @leopoldolopez. “Maduro’s dialogue is: ‘come to Miraflores (presidential palace) and while I speak to the nation, I pursue, kill and repress in the streets’.” More people were injured on Thursday night as riot police used teargas against masked and stone-throwing students trying to block a major highway in Caracas. Handfuls of demonstrators

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is escorted by supporters before handing himself over in Caracas February 18, 2014. blocked several roads again on Friday morning. More than 250 people have been injured around Venezuela this month, and another 500 or so arrested, authorities said. The prosecutor general told local media 17 people had died, the latest victim shot clearing up a barricade in Carabobo state. Of those, 55 remain behind bars. They are mostly protesters, but include seven intelligence agents and security officials accused in the shooting of two people in downtown Caracas after a February 12 rally that sparked the worst trouble. The president says that about 50 people have died in total due to the protests, but that includes indirectly linked cases such as people unable to reach hospitals due to blocked roads.

“STAYING ON THE STREET” “The student movement is staying on the streets because of all our friends in jail simply for protest-

ing,” said Andres Miranda, a 27-year-old economy student, speaking after clashes late on Thursday in the affluent El Rosal district of Caracas. The students are calling for a major march on Sunday. Activists on both sides were trying to score points over Carnival by posting photos of either empty or overflowing Caribbean beaches - with few clues as to when the pictures were taken or, often, where. Tourism Minister Andres Izarra and other government supporters packed their Twitter feeds with pictures of holidaymakers at beaches or beauty spots like Angel Falls in an attempt to show that the protests were over. Opposition activists, however, posted photos of other deserted-looking beaches to try to show that Venezuelans were not in a holiday mood given recent events. “Not a soul at this time,” said one photo doing the rounds of a beach in Anzoategui province. With local TV barely covering the unrest on the streets in recent weeks, Venezuelans have been turning to social media for news. But a plethora of falsified images, some showing police fighting with protesters in countries as far away as Bulgaria or Egypt, have also been doing the rounds. The nation is essentially on holiday until next Thursday. Maduro brought forward the long weekend for Carnival, then Wednesday will see national commemorations for the anniversary of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s death. Ten months after his narrow election win to succeed his mentor, Maduro has consolidated his leadership of the ruling Socialist Party but failed to make much headway on Venezuela’s rampant violent crime or nagging economic problems.

Social media affecting teens concepts of friendship, intimacy Y

oung people feel socially supported by having large networks of online friends they may never see Social media is affecting the way kids look at friendship and intimacy, according to researchers. The typical teenager has 300 Facebook friends and 79 Twitter followers, the Pew Internet and American Life project found in its report, Teens, Social Media, and Privacy. And some have many more. The 2013 study also says the norms around privacy are changing, and the majority of teens post photos and personal information about themselves for all their on-line contacts to see. More recent survey data released last week by the Canadian non-profit digital literacy group MediaSmarts shows Canadian youth do take some steps to protect their privacy - for example, by not posting their contact information on social media. But

the paper,  Online Privacy, Online Publicity, also points out that most kids have only a limited understanding of things such as  privacy policies, geo-location services and the implications of sharing their passwords.  The research contributes  to an emerging picture of how teens’ ideas about friendship and intimacy have been influenced by their immersion in the on-line world, says Patricia Greenfield, a UCLA developmental psychologist and the director of the Children’s Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles. In her own research, Greenfield has found that young people feel socially supported by having large networks of on-line friends, and these are  not necessarily friends they ever see face-to-face. “We found in our study that people, college students, are not getting

MAN WAKES UP IN BODY BAG AT FUNERAL HOME

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orkers at a Mississippi funeral home say they found a man alive and kicking when they opened a body bag while they were getting ready to embalm him. Holmes County Coroner Dexter Howard calls it a miracle that 78-year-old Walter Williams is alive. The coroner was called to Williams’ home in Lexington, a community north of Jackson, where family members believed he had died. “I asked the coroner what happened, and the only thing he could say is that it’s a miracle” - Willie March, Holmes County sheriff Howard says Williams had no pulse and was pro-

nounced dead Wednesday at 9 p.m. Early Thursday, workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home were preparing to embalm Williams when he started to kick in the body bag. “I asked the coroner what happened, and the only thing he could say is that it’s a miracle,” Willie March, Holmes County sheriff, told WAPT. com. Family members were called and Williams was taken to a hospital. Howard says he believes Williams’ pacemaker stopped working, then started again. Family members say Williams, a farmer, told them he’s happy to be alive.

a sense of social support from being on the phone. They’re getting social support through bigger networks and having a sense that their audience is large.” The result is a decline in intimate friendships, Greenfield says. Instead, many young people now derive personal support and affirmation from “likes” and feedback to their postings. “The whole idea behind intimacy is self-disclosure. Now they’re doing self-disclosure to an audience of hundreds.” Other research at UCLA shows teens’ increasingly preferred mode of communication with their friends,

texting, makes them feel less connected and bonded than face-to-face communication. Graduate student Lauren Sherman studied various forms of communication between pairs of friends. She found the closer the experience was to in-person conversation, the more emotionally connected the friends felt. For example, video chat rated higher than a phone call, but the phone created a closer connection than texting. “I don’t think digital communication in itself is a bad thing,” said Sherman, “but if we’re losing out on opportunities to connect with people as well as we can, that’s a problem.” Studies have estimated teens typically send more than 3,000 texts a month. Greenfield says that indicates kids are opting for efficiency of connection over intimacy.

BENEDICT DENIES HE WAS PRESSURED TO RESIGN

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ATICAN CITY — Retired Pope Benedict XVI has denied speculation that he was pressured to leave office, saying his decision was freely made and his alone. Benedict wrote to the Vatican correspondent for La Stampa newspaper, Andrea Tornielli, amid a new round of speculation about his reasons ahead of Friday’s first anniversary of the first resignation by a pope in 600 years. “There isn’t the slightest doubt about the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry,” La Stampa quoted Benedict as writing. “The only condition for the validity is the full freedom of the decision. Speculation about its invalidity is simply absurd.” Benedict, 86, also defended his decision to continue wearing the white cassock of the papacy, saying that there were no other clothes available. Media are again speculating about what drove Benedict from office. Italian journalist Antonio Socci suggested last week in the conservative daily Libero that the resignation may have been invalid, claiming Bene-

dict was pressured by a group of cardinals opposed to him. Benedict, however, had made clear from the start of his papacy that it might not end in his death. In the 2010 book “Light of the World,” Benedict wrote: “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.” Benedict made a surprise cameo at this weekend’s ceremony to formally install 19 new cardinals. It was the first time he and Pope Francis had appeared together at a public liturgical ceremony and immediately raised questions about whether Benedict might occasionally be reintegrated back into the life of the church. British Cardinal Vincent Nichols, one of the new cardinals, said Benedict’s presence didn’t represent a change. “He says his vocation now is to pray for the church and to live that life of prayerful seclusion, and he would appear to be very peaceful doing that,” Nichols told reporters.


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Obama prepared to leave no troops in Afghanistan after 2014

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.S. President Barack Obama has told the Pentagon to prepare for the possibility that the United States will not leave behind any troops in Afghanistan after its troop drawdown at the end of this year, the White House said on Tuesday. Obama said he had given the order to the Pentagon in a phone call on Tuesday to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement that the United States insists it must have before agreeing to leave a contingent of troops behind. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was carrying the modified U.S. position to Brussels for discussion during a meeting with NATO defense ministers that starts on Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama “Specifically, President Obama has asked the Pentagon to ensure that it has adequate plans in place to accomplish an orderly withdrawal by the end of the year should the United States not keep any troops in Afghani-

stan after 2014,” the White House said. The United States has held out the possibility of leaving behind in Afghanistan as many as 8,000 troops after the formal drawdown at year’s end. These troops would conduct counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda targets and train Afghan forces. Karzai’s refusal to sign a security deal has frustrated the White House, which has been forced to abandon an earlier demand that the Afghan president sign the deal in weeks, not months. Staking out a new position, the White House statement said “we will leave open the possibility of concluding a BSA (bilateral security agreement) later this year. However, the longer we go without a BSA, the more

challenging it will be to plan and execute any U.S. mission.” And the longer both countries go without a security deal, “the more likely it will be that any post-2014 U.S. mission will be smaller in scale and ambition,” the White House statement said. Hagel said planning for what is known as “the zero option” is a prudent step given that Karzai has made clear he is unlikely to sign the security deal. “As the United States military continues to move people and equipment out of the Afghan theater, our force posture over the next several months will provide various options for political leaders in the United States and NATO,” Hagel said in a statement.

Bin Laden son-in-law faces trial in U.S. on terror charges N EW YORK - Suleiman Abu Ghaith, one of Osama bin Laden’s sons-in-law and a former spokesman for al Qaeda, heads to trial next week in New York on terror-related charges in a case that could feature testimony from several al Qaeda figures. Prosecutors have accused Abu Ghaith of conspiring to kill Americans immediately after the deadly September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, just blocks away from the federal courthouse where his trial will take place. Specifically, the government contends that Abu Ghaith spent time in Afghanistan with bin Laden shortly after September 11, 2001, and recorded several statements threatening further attacks against Americans. Lawyers for Abu Ghaith have argued in court papers that the government has failed to show that Abu Ghaith was a member of al Qaeda, that he was aware of any plots against the United States or that he was involved in the planning of any attacks. The Kuwaiti is one of the highest-profile defendants to face federal terror charges. In addition

to conspiring to kill Americans, he is also charged with providing material support and resources to terrorists and conspiring to provide such support. As in other terror cases, an anonymous jury will hear the trial, which is scheduled to commence with the selection of jurors on Monday. The trial is the latest event in a debate over whether radical militants should be tried as combatants before military commissions rather than as criminal defendants in civilian courts. Advocates of the latter point to Justice Department statistics that show the government has brought nearly 500 terror-related cases in federal courts since September 11, 2001. In contrast, only eight individuals have been convicted via military commissions; six pleaded guilty, while the two who were convicted after a trial later saw their convictions overturned. The Abu Ghaith trial could include testimony from a number of al Qaeda members, including the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom Abu Ghaith’s

CALIFORNIA COUPLE FINDS $10M BURIED TREASURE IN BACK YARD

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California couple spotted the edge of an old can on a path they had hiked many times before. Poking at the can was the first step in uncovering a buried treasure of rare coins estimated to be worth $10 million. “It was like finding a hot potato,” the couple told coin expert Dr. Don Kagan from Kagin’s, Inc. The couple hired the president of Kagin’s, Inc. and Holabird-Kagin Americana, a western Americana dealer and auctioneer, to represent them. “Since 1981, people have been coming to us with one or two coins they find worth a few thousand dollars, but this is the first time we get someone with a whole cache of buried coins… It is a million to one chance, even harder than winning the lottery,” Kagan told ABCNews. com. The couple is trying to remain anonymous after finding the five cans of coins last spring on their Tiburon property in northern California and conducted an interview with Kagin. “I never would have thought we would have found something like this. However, in a weird way I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for it,” the couple said. “I saw an old can sticking out of the ground on a trail that we had walked almost every day for many, many years. I was looking down in the right spot and saw the side of the can. I bent over to scrape some moss off and noticed that it had both ends on it,” they said.

It was the first of five cans to be unearthed, each packed with gold coins. “Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition,” said Kagan told ABCNews.com. He said Tuesday that the couple plan to sell most of the coins, but before they do, they are “loaning some to the American Numismatic Association for its National Money Show, which opens Thursday in Atlanta.” “Some of the rarest coins could fetch as much as $1 million apiece,” said Kagan. He also said that they wish to sell 90 percent of the collection through Amazon. com and on the company’s website. “We’d like to help other people with some of this money. There are people in our community who are hungry and don’t have enough to eat. We’ll also donate to the arts and other overlooked causes. In a way it has been good to have time between finding the coins and being able to sell them in order to prepare and adjust. It’s given us an opportunity to think about how to give back,” said the couple. Kagan and his colleague David McCarthy, senior numismatist and researcher at Kagin’s, met with the couple last April, two months after the hoard was found. When McCarthy and Kagan told the couple that their bonanza will be in the annals of numismatic stories for quite some time, the couple said, “It would have been quite a pity not to share the magnitude of our find. We want to keep the story of these coins intact for posterity.”

lawyers claim can provide testimony that their client was not a part of any conspiracy to attack Americans. On February 19, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan delayed the trial by a week to allow them to submit written questions to Mohammed, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for several years awaiting his own trial there before a military tribunal. The defense is also seeking to introduce testimony from Salim Hamdan, bin Laden’s former driver, who was the plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that found the military commissions unconstitutional. Hamdan, now in Yemen, was found guilty under a revised system, but his conviction was overturned in 2012 when a federal appeals court found that providing support for terrorism was not a war crime at the time of his alleged conduct. Like Mohammed, Hamdan can testify that Abu Ghaith did not participate in any plots against Americans, defense lawyers have said.

US EXPELS VENEZUELAN DIPLOMATS IN TIT-FORTAT MOVE OVER UNREST

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he United States on Tuesday ordered three Venezuelan diplomats to leave in reprisal for President Nicolas Maduro’s expulsion of three American embassy staff accused of fomenting unrest that has killed at least 13 people. Disputes between the ideologically opposed governments were common during the 1999-2013 rule of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez and have continued under his successor Maduro. When it comes to oil, though, pragmatism trumps politics and the United States remains the OPEC member’s main export market. The U.S. State Department said in a statement that two first secretaries and a second secretary at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington had been declared personae non gratae in response to Caracas’ February 17 move against the three Americans. “They have been allowed 48 hours to leave the United States,” it said. Venezuela and the United States have been without ambassadors since 2008, and

Maduro expelled the three last week on accusations of recruiting students to protest against him. Washington has rejected the claims as baseless. Despite the latest bilateral spat, however, Maduro plans to nominate a new ambassador to Washington on Tuesday to try to kick-start relations and combat what he sees as propaganda against him. “U.S. society needs to know the truth about Venezuela,” Maduro said in the latest of his daily speeches to the nation at a meeting with state governors late on Monday. “They (Americans) think we’re killing each other. They think we can’t go out to the corner. They’re asking for U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. What madness! Should that happen, you and I will be out with a gun defending our territory.” The crisis, in which more than 500 people have been arrested and about 150 injured over two weeks, has brought remonstrations from the U.S. government and attracted wider attention.


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usiness B AND

T O

ECHN LOGY Apples reputation for software security a ‘myth’, says expert

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“scary” software flaw that has put users of  iPhones,  iPads  and Mac computers at risk of being hacked has dealt a blow to the reputation of Apple, the world’s most valuable brand, say security researchers. Tech watchers say this bug — which Apple quietly announced on Friday — illustrates that the company’s reputation for strong security may be overstated. “People in general feel, ‘It’s Apple, so it’s secure’,” says Brian Bourne, co-founder of Toronto’s annual SecTor cybersecurity conference. “Whereas the truth is that Apple operates within the same bounds as every other software provider, so they’re just as likely to have security vulnerabilities as anybody else.” Johannes Ullrich, dean of research for the Internet Storm Center, which monitors online threats, goes even further: he calls Apple’s security reputation “a myth.” Apple’s latest security flaw became public on Friday  when it released  iOS  7.0.6, explaining that the newest version of its mobile operating system had fixed a bug pertaining to safe browsing. In explaining the flaw, Apple said that “an attacker with a privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS.” SSL/TLS is an encryption standard that enables a web browser to talk

to a web server to verify that a site is not a fake set up by hackers to steal personal information on your computer or  hand-held  device. It’s  used by banks, credit card companies and government agencies to keep transactions secure. The  iOS  bug interfered with this process, making it difficult for applications such as Apple’s Safari browser to confirm that web sites were legitimate. Popularity breeds vulnerability In a blog post entitled “Why Apple’s Recent Security Flaw Is So Scary,” Gizmodo  managing editor Brian Barrett said the bug makes  Apple users vulnerable to a so-called “man in the middle attack.” That type of cryptographic attack involves an attacker eavesdropping on communications  between your browser and a given website, including anything  from private conversations to financial information. As a result of this bug, “someone could trick you into connecting to a lookalike website and you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the SSL information coming back from that website,” says Ullrich. SecTor’s Bourne says that Apple’s reputation for security is largely due to the fact that its operating system is more restrictive in what it allows installed software programs to do.

But consumer fascination with mobile products such as the iPhone and the iPad has made Apple a more desirable target for hackers, says Urs Hengartner, an associate professor in the University of Waterloo’s computer science department at the University of Waterloo. “Many of the [hacking] exploits are deployed and developed by criminals who make money, so they go after the popular platforms,” he says. When it comes to Apple products, “we haven’t seen that many security flaws, at least not public ones,” says  Hengartner. But he echoes the feeling of many in the software community, who say that when Apple does identify a problem in its code, it is slow to respond with an update. A turning point? Bourne estimated that this recent, problematic version of Apple’s iOS has been “on the street since October,” when the company introduced a patch to fix problems with the launch of its new operating system. With the latest release of iOS 7.0.6, Apple said it had fixed the bug on mobile devices, but the problem still exists for OS X, which is the operating system for Mac computers. In a statement about that  outstanding problem, Apple said, “We are aware of this issue and already have a software fix that will be released very soon.”

BlackBerry returns to trackpad, physical keyboard for new phone B

lackBerry is going back to its physical QWERTY keyboard roots with a new phone announced Tuesday. Chief executive John Chen said the company is going “classic,” bringing back physical keys with the new Q20 smartphone, a response to lacklustre sales of last year’s Q10.  The Q10 has a physical keyboard but lacks the trackpad or keys for functions such as going back. Chen said the company received many complaints about the missing features. “In my first 90 days on the job, I consistently heard from our ardent BlackBerry customers that the hard buttons and trackpad are an essential part of the BlackBerry QWERTY experience,” said Chen. “I want these customers to know that we heard them.” The company will also release a low-cost smartphone in Indonesia in April. The Z3, will sell for less than $200 without subsidies, and is the first phone made under a new five-year partnership with Foxxconn, the Taiwanese company which assembles electronic products for various clients in vast factories in China.  BlackBerry also announced plans to expand its services for businesses needing secure communications, particularly in regulated industries such as health care and financial services. There are plans, for instance, to go beyond securing just email and messaging. It’s part of the company’s plan to focus on its strengths in business services. BlackBerry strayed

from that as it tried to lure consumers with new devices. BlackBerry was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, showing that phones could handle much more than email and calls. BlackBerry was slow in modernizing its operating system, and once it did, the muchhyped new system flopped. Chen was brought in as chief executive late last year after talks to sell the company collapsed. Although he has been credited with turning around Sybase, a data company that was sold to SAP in 2010, Chen has acknowledged that reviving BlackBerry will be his most “complicated” challenge. Caption: BlackBerry is going back to its QWERTY keyboard roots with a new phone announced Tuesday. The company plans to restore the beloved row of control keys and track pad on its new Q20 device.

Bourne notes that Apple does not have a sterling reputation in the cybersecurity community, which  congregates on websites and online forums to report bugs and share proposed fixes. “I think most people who try to report [software] vulnerabilities to Apple have been frustrated,” says Bourne. “They don’t engage in the security community in the same way” as other companies, particularly Microsoft, which actively confers with the community to identify bugs and fix them quickly. In terms of security, Microsoft has made great strides in the last decade, says Bourne. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Microsoft was issuing so many security patches to its operating systems that they gave it a name: “Patch Tuesdays,” which took place on the second Tuesday of every month. Ulrich says that a key moment for Microsoft was the Blaster worm, a computer virus that infected machines running Windows XP and Windows 2000 in August 2003. The scope of the infection forced Microsoft to focus greater attention on the security of its operating systems, he says. Hengartner thinks with the latest iOS security flaw, Apple may be reaching a similar point. “They’re in the same situation that Microsoft was 10 to 15 years ago,” he says.

HILTON REVENUE JUMPS AS OCCUPANCY, ROOM RATES RISE

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ilton Worldwide Holdings Inc, the world’s largest hotel operator, reported a 13 percent rise in quarterly revenue as increasing business and leisure travel pushed up occupancy and room rates. Net income attributable to stockholders fell to $26 million, or 3 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended December 31 from $61 million, or 7 cents per share, a year earlier. An exterior shot of the Hilton Expenses soared Midtown Manhattan in New York 23 percent to $2.55 billion. The hotel and travel industry in the United States, from where Hilton gets most of its revenue, has benefited from returning confidence in the economy. PricewaterhouseCoopers said in December it expected room rates and occupancy to rise further in 2014. Hilton reported a 4.7 percent rise in total revenue per available room (RevPAR) at hotels open at least one year. RevPAR is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate. Hilton’s revenue rose to $2.64 billion from $2.34 billion. Hilton, founded in 1919 by Conrad Hilton, went public in December and raised more than $2.3 billion in 2013’s second-biggest IPO. The company, whose brands include such high-end names as Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, operates in 90 countries and has more than 4,000 hotels and 670,000 rooms under its umbrella. Hilton’s shares closed at $22.54 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. They have gained 2 percent since their debut on December 13.


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Samsung unveils Galaxy S5 smartphone N

ew features include heart-rate monitor, fingerprint sensor Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy S5 smartphone, which it is framing as a lifestyle product, featuring a built-in heart-rate sensor and improved camera features, but a slightly larger size than previous models. One of the main appeals of Samsung phones has been their size. The screen has steadily increased since the 4 inches (10.2 centimetres) on the original S from 2010, while the iPhone made that jump to 4 inches only in 2012 and has stayed that way since. But the S5 pushes the screen to only 5.1 inches (13 cms), measured diagonally, from 5 inches (12.7 cms) in last year’s model. Instead of size, Samsung touted the new phone’s ability to adapt its screen to changing external conditions and to dim it to avoid disturbing others nearby. The phone has a 16 megapixel camera, sharper than the 13 megapixels in its predecessor. It promises faster auto focus and the ability to blur the foreground or background of an image to emphasize a subject. Samsung Electronics Co. made the latest announcement during the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain. The new phone will go on sale worldwide on April 11. The company confirmed that it  will be available in Canada from  Bell,  Eastlink,

Fido,  Koodo,  MTS,  Rogers,  SaskTel,  Telus,  Videotron, Virgin Mobile and Wind Mobile. The company didn’t announce a price; its predecessor sold for about $600 without phone subsidies or a contract.

FINGERPRINT SENSOR The S5 has a fingerprint sensor to use in place of a passcode to unlock the phone or make payments through PayPal. It’s a feature still rare in phones, though Apple introduced it in last fall’s iPhone 5s. Samsung’s Galaxy S series has emerged as one of the strongest chal-

lengers to Apple’s iPhones and has helped the Korean company surpass Apple as the world’s largest smartphone maker. According to Gartner, Samsung’s smartphones had a worldwide market share of 31 per cent last year, compared with 16 per cent for Apple’s iPhones. A chief complaint about Samsung phones has been the company’s tendency to pack them with a slew of features, some of which don’t work well with each other or at all. Recent phones have sported an Easy Mode, with larger icons and fewer customization choices. It’s as though Samsung acknowledges that its devices have become too complex for many people to use. Samsung showed restraint this time. “Samsung is betting big on wellness, fingerprint reading and camera autofocus, while keeping a very similar look and feel for its hardware and software,” said Nick Dillon, a senior analyst at the research firm Ovum. “The updates are so minor that on first glance most consumers would be hard pressed to notice that it has changed from the previous version.” But he said that is to be expected “given the maturity of the smartphone market and the pressure on the Samsung not to mess with its winning formula.”

Fitness band, computerized watches The heart-rate sensor on the S5 can be used before and after exercise to measure fitness activities. It’s not meant for continuous tracking. Samsung also unveiled a fitness band, Gear Fit, to complement two new computerized watches, the Samsung Gear 2 and the Samsung Gear 2 Neo, announced Sunday. Those will be available April 11 as well, and will be sold in Canada. “These devices are Samsung’s commitment and vision to great experiences that matter the most to us all,” Samsung European executive Jean-Daniel Ayme said. Parents, meanwhile, will enjoy the ability to hand the phone to a kid without worry. Just place it in a kid’s mode, and only approved apps can be accessed. Your kid can’t send your boss an email or post an embarrassing picture on Facebook when all you intended was to have your kid play “Candy Crush Saga.” The phone is also water resistant. “Our consumers do not want eye-popping technology or the most complex technology,” said J.K. Shin, Samsung’s head of information technology and the mobile communications division. “Our consumers want durable design and performance. Our consumers want a simple, yet powerful camera.”

Facebook’s mission is to connect the world F

acebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has outlined plans to bring internet access, and the company’s social network, to the developing world. Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, he said a “set of basic services” should be available to all. Facebook is a member of Internet.org, a project launched last year that aims to put billions more people online. One analyst told the BBC that Facebook’s plans “can be seen from a completely commercial viewpoint”. Mr Zuckerberg said that once Facebook reached a billion users in 2012, the social network began to look at ways to engage more users around the world. In his first ever appearance at Mobile World Congress, Mr Zuckerberg unveiled a set of projects in which Facebook, alongside Internet.org partners, will work on delivering internet access to emerging markets. “Most people in the world don’t have any internet access at all,” he told the audience, adding that

the “dramatic changes” to the industry were necessary for this to change. The Silicon Valley firm has already teamed up with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, among others, in an effort to lower the cost of mobile data worldwide. A pilot project announced on Monday will focus on bringing free online education to students in Rwanda. SocialEDU will provide access to a “collaborative online education experience” through a bespoke app which connects to Facebook. Airtel, a network operator in Africa, will provide free data to students using the app, while Nokia will supply cut-price handsets. The government of Rwanda will also contribute to the project, helping to lower prices and refine the course materials. Internet.org has also commissioned a survey from consultancy firm Deloitte on the value of expanding internet access in the developing world. The report estimates that “closing the connectivity gap” could generate $2.2tn (£1.3tn) in additional GDP, and more than 140 million new jobs.

Speaking to the BBC, Mark Little, principal analyst at technology consultants Ovum, said that investing in emerging markets would “boost advertising revenue” for Facebook. He said that a lack of connectivity, and the dominance of native social networks have held the social media giant back in some parts of the world. Facebook’s aim is to “make it easier for the world to share information”, he added. “The more sharing that goes on, the more ads Facebook can sell.” Mr Zuckerberg also announced a Facebook-led partnership with consumer goods company Unilever to conduct research into the lack of internet access in India. Internet.org says that just 13% of the Indian population currently has access to the web, with very low connectivity rates in rural communities. Educational and cultural factors limiting internet use will be examined, as will the widespread infrastructure and cost issues. Chris Weasler, director of global connectivity at Facebook, said the move was all part of expanding the “global knowledge economy”.

SWISS GOVERNMENT WARNS A MINIMUM WAGE THREATENS ECONOMY

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ntroducing the world’s highest minimum wage would hurt Switzerland’s competitiveness and lead to job cuts, harming precisely those low-income workers it is designed to help, the Swiss government said on Tuesday. Swiss voters will decide in a popular vote on May 18 if they want to introduce a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($24.73)an hour, or 4,000 francs a month, much higher than in other countries. “The government is convinced it would be wrong for the state to impose a nationwide wage,” economy minister Johann Schneider-Ammann told a media conference. A minimum wage of 4,000 francs could lead to job cuts and even threaten the existence of smaller companies, notably in retail, catering, agriculture and housekeeping, Schneider-Ammann. “If jobs are being cut, the weakest suffer most,” he said. A vote in favor of the initiative,

Swiss Economy Minister Johann SchneiderAmmann attends a news conference in Bern February 25, 2014. brought forward by Swiss union SGB and supported by the Socialist Party, would be another setback for the government and business leaders. Swiss voters ignored their warnings and backed curbs on immigration from the European Union this month. In Switzerland, interest groups can enforce votes on new laws if they collect a sufficient number of signatures.

“I warned before the mass-immigration vote that it could have consequences also in the job market ... both (mass immigration and minimum wage) together would be very problematic,” Schneider-Ammann said. About 330,000 workers in Switzerland, mainly female, have full-time jobs that pay under 4,000 francs - too little to live on decently in the expensive country, the SGB says. The cost of living in Swiss cities is among the highest in the world, but high salaries make up for it, UBS said in a recent report. That report showed Zurich residents had the highest purchasing power worldwide in 2012. The SGB argues the minimum wage would not lead to higher unemployment. It would encourage welfare recipients to take up a paid job, the union says, and allow those who now work several jobs to focus on one position. “A minimum wage would also make sure employers can no longer import

cheap labor from abroad, at the expense of those who already live here,” SGB Chief Economist Daniel Lampart said. The proposed minimum wage is more than double Germany’s newly decided 8.50 euros ($11.69), the UK’s 6.31 pounds ($10.55) or the $7.25 U.S. rate that President Barack Obama wants to raise to $10.10. Industry lobby Swissmem said a “massively” higher minimum wage than in neighboring France or Germany would mean some industrial activities would no longer be competitive. “It could literally chase some jobs from the country, particularly in regions close to the borders,” Hans Hess, Swissmem’s chairman, told a separate media briefing. In an opinion poll conducted in November on behalf of SGB, 74 percent of participants backed the minimum wage.


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Bike for the Heart Ride and Fun Run/Walk was a success T

he Bike for the Heart Charity Ride and Fun Run/ Walk event which took place between the Bight and Leeward on Providenciales on Saturday, February 22, was smashing success, according to one of Melanie Smith, one of the organizers of the event. The event was separated in three segments – 5k, 10k and 13.5k. The 5k takes participants from the Bight Park to the gas station in the

Bight and back; the 10k was from the Bight Park to Ocean Club West in Grace Bay and back, while the 13.5K was from the starting point to the Ashcroft School in Leeward and back. The event was to raise funds for the Heart Foundation. Smith said there were 150 registrations. The event is in its second year. The following are photo highlights of the event.

Melanie Smith, one of the organizers for the Bike for the Heart Bike and Fun Run/ Walk, gives instructions to the participants just before the start of the event

Former Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Lillian Boyce, who is a champion for fitness, joins Antonelia Evenou and Taciana Bin-Aime on the trail

Managing Director of Scotiabank Cecil Arnold (left) and Fortis Vice President Devon Cox were participants in the event.

Courtney Robinson (right) discusses the event with a fellow participant

Hon. Akierra Misick (third from left) take time for a photo op with her fellow bikers minutes after completing a 10k fun ride

Judith Garland of the Provo Road Runners Club was elated participant

Attorney Clayton Green enjoys an easy ride along the route

Annual Wine Cellar Fishing Tourney begins March 20 T

he fourth annual Wine Cellar Golf and Fishing Tournament will be held at the Blue Haven Resort & Marina from March 20 to 23, but registration was slated to open on March 1, with Barbeque at the Wine Cellar, located along the Leeward Highway. The organizers said that the first 20 boats to register would be entered into a raffle to win a night’s stay at the recently-opened Blue Haven Resort & Marina. They will also walk away with an extra

case of Coors Light beer. The organizers also said that all registered boats would be allowed free mooring at the Blue Haven Marina on March 21 and 22 – the fishing days. All registered boats will receive discounted bulk fuel rates at Blue Haven Resort & Marina between March 20 to 22. In the meantime, all PCC members were guaranteed five percent off all wine and spirits from The Wine Cellar on Saturday. Also all PCC members was

to receive 10 to 15 percent off Bud/Bud Light/Stella Artois/Leffe Lager/Hoegaarden/O’Doul’s. For more information or to sign up for the fun, persons are asked to visit the website at www.wcgft.net or contact Desmond Williams at 649-333-7801. All proceeds from the fourth Annual Wine Cellar Golf and Fishing Tournament will benefit the Edward Gartland Youth Centre and this year’s Turks and Caicos Islands CARIFTA Track and Field Team.


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MEMBERS OF THE PROVO ROAD RUNNERS POSE FOR THE CAMERA SHORTLY AFTER COMPLETING THEIR RACE SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS TAKING A BREATHER FOLLOWING THEIR WALK

MELANIE SMITH, THE MAIN ORGANIZER OF THE EVENT MAKES A STATEMENT FOLLOWING THE RACE A GROUP OF BIKERS TAKES A REST SHORTLY AFTER COMPLETING THEIR JOURNEY

MELANIE SMITH (RIGHT) MAKES A PRESENTATION TO KAREN MALCOLM, PRESIDENT OF THE HEART FOUNDATION. LOOKING ON AT CENTRE IS SOPHIA THOMAS, TREASURER OF THE HEART FOUNDATION

NO SWEAT FOR ALMARTHA THOMAS OF THE PROVO ROAD RUNNERS

THE FORTIS TEAM

AVID CYCLIST PASTOR WAYDE COLEBY ALSO TOOK PART IN THE EVENT


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Sports

CARIBBEAN

Clive Lloyd wants Windies to show passion for cricket

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ormer West Indies cricket captain Clive Lloyd wants current players to recommit themselves to the improvement of the game in the region. Considered the most successful test captain of all time, Lloyd said that the players must develop a passion for cricket, and not just the money, reports CMC. “We must have our best players playing in cricket -- all aspects of our cricket,” he said in an interview with former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop. “You can’t just think that you want all the money. People are being paid pretty well but you must have some love for West Indies cricket. And at the moment I’m not seeing how it could

move forward. I would like to see more of a skill set.” Lloyd, who played in 110 tests and 87 one day internationals for the West Indies between 1974 and 1985, said that regional players are being overwhelmed by their opponents. “You look at our players and you are not seeing this extra fight that is needed to compete. We don’t seem to be competing against other nations. They seemed to be out manoeuvring us in all departments of the game, which is unfortunate,” he said. “We still have people here who are interested in the game, people still support cricket and we have to because as West Indians we want our cricket to get back up that hill. But at the moment it is not there.

Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd. We have one or two good players, no doubt about that, but we are not kicking on.” Lloyd, who captained the West Indies to an unbeaten run of 27 matches, wants to see the utilisation of more

former regional players to help in developing cricket in their respective territories. He said that the top cricketing nations have used their former players successfully and the West Indies should do the same. “Look at the Australian backroom staff when they played against England a few weeks ago, all former Test cricketers who have done well, who are now putting something back into the game.” He said: “You have (Curtly) Ambrose, (Courtney) Walsh, (Viv) Richards, Greenidge, Haynes -- these are guys who just finished playing cricket and they want to put something into our game, and I think we should be able to utilise their skills.”

Veronica Campbell-Brown cleared to race after failed doping test

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ecorated Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown says she has been cleared to return to the track by the world sports court some 10 months after returning a positive test at an island meet. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has “confirmed my innocence” and she intends to focus on advancing her career, including regaining her world 200-meter title next year, Campbell-Brown said in a Monday statement. The three-time Olympic gold medallist said the last several months have brought much “pain and suffering,” including “insensitive and ill-informed media remarks,” but her religious faith, family, friends and fans helped her cope. “I harbour too much self-respect and a similar respect for the purity of competition to resort to illegal means to success,” said Campbell-Brown, who has been one of the cornerstones of Jamaica’s remarkable sprinting success for a decade. The 31-year-old athlete has won seven Olympic medals in all, including the 2004 and 2008 gold in the 200 metres. She also won gold in the 4x100 relay at the 2004 Athens Games. In London, she won bronze in the 100 and silver as part of the 4x100 relay team.

Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown is able to compete again, some 10 months after she returned a positive test for a banned diuretic at the Jamaica International Invitational in May. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has cleared her return to the track. The news that she returned a positive test for a banned diuretic at the Jamaica International Invitational in May shocked Campbell-Brown. In June, her manager issued a statement saying she was determined to clear her name. She apologized to her fans, sponsors and others for any embarrassment or hurt the “devastating news has caused.” She was suspended while a disciplinary panel reviewed the case and missed the Jamaican nationals and world championships in Moscow.

In October, a Jamaican disciplinary panel recommended a public reprimand without any period of ineligibility. Earlier, a spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations said the case appeared to involve a “lesser” offence of unintentional use of a banned substance. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, some diuretics are classified as a “specified substance,” a designation for drugs that might have been consumed without intent to enhance performance. Campbell-Brown tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide. A copy of the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport was not available and it was not immediately clear when it would be made public. A few weeks after Campbell-Brown’s positive test made headlines, Jamaican sprinting stars Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson also tested positive for a banned stimulant. A Jamaican disciplinary panel has not concluded hearings into their cases. In 2009, Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake and three other islanders received reduced suspensions of three months after testing positive for a banned stimulant. Campbell-Brown intends to compete at the world indoor championships next month in Poland.

JAMAICAN SPRINTER DRUG VERDICT DUE IN APRIL

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ormer 100m world record holder Asafa Powell will not find out until 10 April what ban, if any, he is to serve for a failed drugs test last year. The Jamaican, 31, tested positive for banned stimulant oxilofrine  in June 2013 and faces up In final submissions in Kingston on Wednesday, his legal team appealed for leniency for what is a first offence. Sherone Simpson, who failed a test at the same event, will receive her verdict on 8 April. Both Powell and Simpson, who were provisionally suspended in July, argued for the minimum suspension, on the grounds of minimal fault. However, Jamaica’s Anti-Doping Commission law-

yer argued that they were negligent and had blindly trusted the physical trainer whom both blame for their positive tests. The trainer - Chris Xuereb - denies supplying a supplement known as Epiphany D1, which contains the banned substance. During an earlier hearing in January - adjourned until this month after it overran the court heard that Xuereb was also administering Powell’s anti-inflammatory injections and Vitamin B12, despite not being certified as a doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor or physiotherapist. Along with Simpson - a silver medallist in the 4 x 100m relay at the London 2012 Olympics - Powell was among five Jamaicans to test positive at the Jamaican Nation-

al Championships in June of last year. At the time, he said checks done by his team “told us the supplements were fit for consumption by professional athletes”. Powell set a world record of 9.74 seconds in 2007 and won gold in the men’s 4 x 100m relay at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. When the news emerged about him testing positive, he said he had never “knowingly or wilfully taken any supple-

ments that break any rules” and has reiterated that stance. When the news emerged, he said he had never “knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements that break any rules” and has reiterated that stance. Powell said checks done by his team “told us the supplements were fit for consumption by professional athletes”. “I have retained legal counsel and as such I cannot now discuss all the details of the case,” he added. “I will say, however, that I have requested that my B sample be tested and I await the results. “Should this sample return adverse results, my team and I hope that the hearings will happen as fast as possible so as to allow me to return to

my team, to once again represent my country, and to make my family, friends, and fans proud.” Powell was the last man to hold the individual 100m record before compatriot Usain Bolt broke it in 2008.


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