Category Archives: Local

Local News

Expert Pathologist for Shawn Warner Case

The untimely death of Shawn Warner has caused much speculation and coroners on island have been unable to come to a conclusive decision on what was the cause of death.

The 27-year-old’s mother Sandra Warner and the rest of his family have been calling for the information to be released since he died on November 6th 2018 from suspected electrocution.

Although it is reported that a preliminary autopsy revealed that Shawn died of an enlarged heart and high blood pressure, the official inquest ruled it as being inconclusive.

His body was returned to the family this week, one day after his sister made an emotional plea on social media.

But while his mother is happy that she can now bury her son a lot has been left unanswered. She told ZDK last week that she still wants confirmation on what killed her son.

Well fortunately for the family, the Cabinet has decided that it will meet the cost of inviting an expert pathologist from another Caribbean country to undertake a second autopsy.

Government Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst says the decision was taken after a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday. The Ministry of health has been tasked with finding a suitable doctor to conduct the procedure. Hurst says the expert is likely to come from Trinidad and Tobago.

No Decision on Scotia Acquisition

A meeting between government officials, officials from Scotia Bank and Republic Financial Holdings Friday, January 18th 2019 only left the parties wanting another meeting.

Government Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst told ZDK Newsroom that no decision was made that day and only preliminary discussions concerning the acquisition of Scotia’s assets took place.

He says another meeting is expected to take place, although a date and time has not yet been set.

The government here wants local banks to be the first consortium of financial institutions to be offered the Scotia deal but the directors of the Canadian Bank have already promised it to Trinidad and Tobago’s Republic Financial Holdings.

 

Referendum Results by Constituencies

These are results from the Antigua Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) according to constituency. Perhaps not so surprising Barbuda voted overwhelmingly against the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – 24 per cent FOR and 72 per cent AGAINST.

The electorates in Antigua and Barbuda have voted to stay with the London-based Privy Council as the country’s final court of appeal.

52.4 per cent of the people who voted did so in favour of the London Court during what was considered a historic referendum last night (Tuesday).

47.96 per cent of the electorate voted for the CCJ.

The total votes cast were 17782. The number of valid votes however stood at 17743 (excluding rejected and spoiled ballots).

Supervisor of Elections Lorna Simon says the voter turnout represented only 33.55 per cent of the total registered voters (56,999).

Results came out shortly after 10 p.m. and there were no box by box results, instead the Commission chose to give one final result.

90 per cent of patients treated for NCDs aboard Ark Peace

The Health Minister has put a percentage to the number of patients who had to be treated for non-communicable diseases aboard the Ark Peace.

During the boat’s visit, its captain reported that NCDs were among the most prevalent ailments treated, but up until now a number had not been put forward.

The Health Minister Molwyn Joseph confirmed with a doctor aboard the ship that 90 per cent of the 4,000 patients got treated for what he referred to as the “greatest threat to our lives”.

AUDIO – Molwyn on Ark Peace[1]

Now this highlights the serious steps which the government will have to take to tackle this important issue.

One of those steps Joseph says is moving forward with applying a tax on sugary drinks to discourage the high consumption of sugary drinks.

The health Minister along with his health team is expected to meet with officials from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) today to discuss the policies that are to me put into this legislation.

AUDIO – Molwyn on Ark Peace[2]

Joseph says the tax collected through this pending policy will be redirected to reduce the cost of healthy foods (fruits and vegetables).

The health minister says they will go further to create a recreational park at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium where people can go to exercise.

George Ryan disappointed with road construction

George Ryan one of two persons knighted yesterday (Thursday) is asking the government to find experienced workers to assist with the construction of road networks across the country.

Speaking to ZDK this morning, the construction connoisseur said he is “sore and put out with the progress that is being made on the roads”.

AUDIO – Ryan on roads[1]

Ryan offered some advice on how the contractors can go about with constructing the manholes on Friars Hill road and suggests constructing concrete roads that last a minimum of ten years.

AUDIO – Ryan on roads[2]

Ryan says the government should also consider building feeder roads out of concrete.

Government promises back pay on referendum day

he government is likely to pay public sector workers their long overdue back pay on referendum day.

This week’s Cabinet spokesperson Melford Nicholas says the Minister of Finance Prime Minister Gaston Browne has succeeded in negotiating a $5 million dollar loan to pay one month’s back pay to civil servants only. 

This means that established workers will therefore likely be paid by Tuesday, November 6, 2018. The amount is expected to cover one month’s back pay.

Nicholas however could not speak to whether it was the final settlement for all unions, since it was previously reported that some unions settled for 2 and not three months.

AUDIO – Melford on backpay

The government has also promised to make further announcements, on the amounts and the dates on which other government workers will be paid.

PSC says not enough time to consider Robinson’s request

Well the deadline for the Police Service Commission to answer to a letter by the suspended police commissioner has come and gone.

In a letter dated October 30th Wendel Robinson through his lawyer Sir Richard Cheltenham gave the PSC a deadline of Friday November 2nd – that’s today – at which time the lawyer and his client asked to be told who signed Robinson’s second letter of suspension as it was not signed by the Chairman of the commission or one of its members.

The issuance of this latest suspension came mere hours after Justice Godfrey Smith ruled in favour of the suspended Commissioner in a case of wrongful dismissal and ruled that Robinson should be reinstated as Commissioner of Police with immediate effect

Lawyer for the PSC, Dr David Dorset tells ZDK that the Commission has not had enough time to consider the letter which they only received on October 31st – the day before the independence holiday.

In addition he says the PSC has not met since the letter was issued and therefore has not met to consider Cheltenham’s letter and until they meet they will not know how to proceed.

But prior to this latest response Dr Dorset made it clear that the request to be told who signed the suspension letter is a red herring.

He said it does not matter who signed the letter, only that the decision to suspend Robinson was made by the Police Service Commission.

Last Day for PSC to respond to Robinson’s requests

 

Today (Friday)is the last day given to the Police Service Commission to respond to a letter by Sir Richard Cheltenham.

Cheltenham is the lawyer representing suspended Police Commissioner Wendel Robinson in a case of wrongful dismissal against the PSC.

On Tuesday, the lawyer issued a letter to the Commission threatening to take further legal action if the Commissioner is not reinstated to his post with immediate effect.

The letter noted a deadline of Friday November 2nd at which time the lawyer and his client asked to be told who signed Robinson’s letter of suspension as it was not signed by the Chairman of the commission or one of its members.

Lawyer for the PSC, Dr David Dorset has since addressed the signage, referring to the request as a red herring. He says it does not matter who signed the letter, only that the decision to suspend Robinson was made by the PSC.

AUDIO – Dorsett on Commissioner letter[1]

In the letter Cheltenham also noted that his clients will be seeking exemplary and aggravated damages against the Commission because it had not followed through on an October 26th judgment to reinstate Robinson but instead issued him a second letter of suspension.

According to the lawyer, the PSC disrespected and disregarded a judgement of the High Court and called the suspension “an abuse of state power” and an “attempt to erode the rule of law in Antigua and Barbuda.

Dr Dorsett’s explains the PSC’s view on the matter.

AUDIO – Dorsett on Commissioner letter[2]

Dr Dorset says the PSC will be drafting a response letter to the Commissioner in short order

Report on HIV increase misinterpreted

Meanwhile, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph has cleared up the statement made in cabinet which referenced an increase in HIV among young people

The notes indicated that there is at present an increase in HIV among young people as a result of reckless sexual activity and their inability to access condoms.

But the Minister says that was not the basis of his discussion and went on to explain how the reference was used.

AUDIO – Molwyn on HIV[1]

HIV however seems to be on the rise, not in Antigua and Barbuda but in OECS countries in general.

This information the minister says came from an OECS meeting in Grenada.

AUDIO – Molwyn on HIV[2]

Joseph says perhaps what needs to be focused on most importantly is how the governments will have to deal with this issue and its complications.

He says the ministry has so far done an assessment on several communities and schools, with an aim to find out what were the possible factors that would drive an increase in HIV.

AUDIO – Molwyn on HIV[3]

Ten individuals receive national honours

Businessmen Martin Ellis Franklin and George Ryan have been conferred with Knighthoods.

The two, one of whom is well known to the Antigua and Barbuda public were bestowed these honours during the country’s ceremonial parade on Independence Day.

George Ryan, the most of the two, was recognised for his contribution to business and community service and received the Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KCN).

In his citation, the speaker noted that Ryan has assisted in the construction of several government buildings which are still standing today.

He was born in Montserrat and at the age of 16 moved to Antigua where he later would establish himself as a construction tycoon, building a number of churches and schools in Antigua and Barbuda.

AUDIO – Ryan on knighthood

Meanwhile, Franklin was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Nation (KGCN) for his contribution to economic development, heritage restoration, business and community service.

Among his achievements is donating two million dollars to the restoration of the Government House, one million dollars of his own money to the Barbuda efforts and making available annual scholarships for Antiguans and Barbudans.

Franklin who is an economic envoy for the county is also responsible for the total restoration and refurbishment of the Fiennes institute donating a whopping three million dollars.

AUDIO – Franklin on knighthood

The knighthood is Antigua and Barbuda’s second highest award. Only the National Hero award is above it.

Meanwhile, health officials Chief Medical Officer Dr Rhonda Sealey Thomas and Dr Dane Abbott were among the ten nationals who were awarded honours at the ceremonial parade on Thursday.

The CMO and Gynecologist Dr. Abbott were conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit (OM) for contributions in healthcare. That same honour was awarded to now Educator and Principal of the Princess Margaret Secondary School Dr. Colin Greene and Lornette King-Francis of the Girl’s Brigade an educator for more than 40 years.

The other awardees included; Hotelier Robert “Rob” Barrett he is now Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (CN), for his contribution in the field of tourism and community service; while Janet Oliver Bachelor-Francis and Eileen Vanessa Francis, were named Officers of the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage (OH).

Bachelor Francis for her contribution to cultural development and community service and Francis for her contribution to music.