Category Archives: Top Stories

Zika Virus Country Classification no longer includes Antigua & Barbuda

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) has deactivated its Zika Virus Classification Scheme.

This means that Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of other CARICOM countries no longer have to worry about the backlash from being named as one of the many countries where the Zika virus is active.

Health Minister Molwyn Joseph received the news from PAHO while attending the Third Global Conference on Health and Climate Change in Grenada.

The old Classification Scheme placed Antigua and Barbuda in Category 1 or an area with new introduction or re-introduction with ongoing transmission.

This was used by national Public Health Agencies across the world, to advise travelers that there is a risk of Zika in the country.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said this classification had been negatively impacting the country’s tourism industry since there have been reported hotel cancellations based on the advisory.

Minister Joseph, along with other Ministers of Health of the region are said to have “welcomed the news since they have been advocating for the de-activation of the classification since 2017”.

Last month the issue was raised to the highest political level when CARICOM heads of government, during the United Nations General Assembly, brought it to the attention of the WHO’s Director General.

The old classification scheme, which is no longer active, will be replaced by periodic WHO sanitation (epidemiologic) updates to guide public health programmes and traveler health.

Antigua and Barbuda had its last confirmed case of the Zika Virus Disease in November 2016 and there have been no cases detected since then.

Antigua and Barbuda among 21 countries black listed in an OECD report

Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Programme has landed itself among 21 so called golden passport countries, which have been identified as a threat to international efforts to combat tax evasion.

In its October 16th report, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gave an analysis of over 100 residence and citizenship by investment schemes, offered by jurisdictions committed to the OECD/G20 Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

In that very same report it highlighted 21 countries that displayed vulnerabilities in the residency or citizenship programmes.

The OECD says these countries have been specially categorised because they give “access to a low personal income tax rate on offshore financial assets”, and “do not require an individual to spend a significant amount of time in the location offering the scheme”.

The OECD also says persons with a second citizenship can misuse it to hide assets offshore, by escaping reporting.

In particular, Identity Cards and other documentation obtained through CBI/RBI schemes, they say, can potentially be misused to misrepresent an individual’s jurisdiction(s) of tax residence and to endanger the proper operation of the CRS due diligence procedures.

This new listing may well make it even more difficult for Antigua and Barbuda since it was one of several countries in the Caribbean to make it unto this special grouping.

The other country schemes include; Barbados’ Special Entry and Residence Permit, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programmes, the Economic Residency Programme of Montserrat and The Bahamas Economic Permanent Residency

They have all been referred to as potentially high-risk schemes.

The OECD plans to alert financial institutions on the outcome of its analysis of these schemes.

A number of EU countries also made it unto that list.

Police Still Searching for Double-homicide shooter

A man hunt is still on the way for Calvin “Burga” James. Burga is accused of killing two people and seriously wounding one other.

Last Friday James killed Shanchezca Charles of Barbuda and his niece Tahisha Thomas. He took aim at a third person, his nephew Laurence James. James suffered a gunshot wound to the mouth but is in stable condition at the MSJMC.

The police have since issued a wanted bulletin for the man. Bulletins have been posted in various languages such as English, Spanish, and Chinese in an attempt to close down on the search for the wanted man.

So far tips about James’ whereabouts have not led to an arrest.

But Police Public Relations Officer Inspector Lester Bagot reminds the police cannot capture the fugitive alone and so they will continue to appeal for the public’s assistance.

audio- 1st Bagot on man hunt

Since the killings in Green Bay on Friday, Burga has reportedly swapped his escape van for another and has had a change of clothing.

Over the weekend residents reported several sightings of the man. One of those areas was at the Antigua Recreation Grounds. It was also reported that Burga was seen back in Green Bay inquiring of his sister, whom he had initially come to visit at the house where the shooting took place.

Inspector Bagot has asked residents who have CCTV systems to review those and to report any larceny or break-ins in their area as they could be linked to the fugitive.

Audio – 2nd Bagot on man hunt

Police still believe that Burga is heavily armed, and is therefore considered to be extremely dangerous.

Members of the public are warned not to make any attempts to approach him if or when seen, but instead contact the Rapid Response Unit at 764-2348 or 464-3938 or to call 911.

Two dead, one in critical condition following shooting incident

 

Three people have been shot following a gruesome altercation at Donovan in Green Bay this morning (Friday).

Two females and one male were shot by a lone gun man said to be related to two of the people whom he shot.

One female (the girlfriend of the man) succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the crime, while her boyfriend and the other female were transported to the Mount St John’s Medical Centre.

Acting Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney spoke with ZDK while at the scene of the crime.

Tahisha Thomas (deceased)

 

Shanchezca Charles (deceased)

 

Laurence James (critical)

Since that interview with the police commissioner, the other female who was shot has died.

The mother of the man being treated at the hospital and the female who was killed was also transported to the hospital, after she fainted upon hearing the news.

The Police Commissioner tells ZDK this incident may have stemmed from a long running family dispute.

He has asked the shooter to turn himself in to the police.

The shooter is on the run and was last seen driving a white Nissan Frontier pickup with license plate TEEN.

Witnesses name Calvin “Burga” James as the shooter. James has in the past, been accused of wounding his sister and attempting to kill his niece during a family dispute.

It is that same niece that he is rumoured to have killed along with the one other person.

The Grays Farm man was not too long ago granted bail for the wounding and attempted murder charges in 2014.

 

WANTED BULLETIN

Wanted 
Police have issued a wanted bulletin for the immediate arrest of Calvin ‘Burger’ James of Perrybay. He is wanted in connection with two homicides which took place at Donavans on Friday 5
th October, 2018.

Police believed that he is heavily armed, and is therefore considered to be extremely dangerous. Members of the public are warned not to make any attempts to approach him if or when seen, but instead contact the Rapid Response Unit at 764-2348 or 464-3938 or to call 911.

An appeal has also been for him to surrender himself at any police station with his attorney or any family member immediately.

Port manager and employee in dispute

Port Workers walked off the job and marched to the prime minister’s office this morning to protest for the removal of at least three of the authority’s management staff.

The workers say they want the Operations Manager, Curtis Dennie, the Port Manager, Darwin Telemaque and the Human Resource Manager, Jacqueline Swift gone.
The protest action also follows an altercation between one of the employees and Telemacque on Wednesday.
The employee, whose name is Armin Henry, a Mechanic at the Antigua Port Authority, claims that Telemaque tried to physically escort him off the compound following a meeting with other staff members.

The man claims Telemaque had accused him of riling up staff to take industrial action against the authority.
The man said it was during the time he decided to eventually lave that Telemaque got physical.

ZDK understands that the Antigua Trades and Labour Union are currently dealing with the matter and the man has filed a police report against the Port Manager.
ZDK reached out to Telemaque who said he could not speak to the issue since it is now a human resource/union matter and a police report had been filed.

A breakdown of the act, put simply, states the port manager does, under the law, hold the powers, rights, privileges, and protection of that of a member of the Police Force.

Fire Destroys Three Structures in Greenbay

At least two persons are now homeless after a major fire engulfed three separate structures in Green bay on Tuesday.

The fire occurred approximately at 2:45 pm and according to the Fire Police, the fire seemed to have been caused by burning coil.
According to reports, Latisha King, an occupant of the 12 by 15 wooden and galvanized structure reported that she was burning coil on Tuesday morning but had remember to put out the coil before leaving for the city.

It was not long after until 74 year old Ambrose Lewis, a diabetic, while lying in bed realized that his home was filled with smoke. Lewis told firefighters that he immediately investigated and realized his neighbor’s house was in flames.

By the time the Fire Brigade arrived on the scene after receiving the 911 call; both homes along with an abandoned house were completely engulfed in flames. They were all completely destroyed along with their contents.

Luckily, no one was injured as a result of the blaze.

PS of Passport Office Dismisses Online Blank Passports Allegations

Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister which is inclusive of the passport office has responded to online allegations which place at least one Antiguan and Barbudan Minister in possession of blank valid Antiguan and Barbudan passports.

Two days ago, an online article was posted by “WantedSA” entitled “BLANK CARIBBEAN PASSPORTS IN BULK REMAIN A PROBLEM FOR COMPLIANCE”.

The article made a daring allegation that former Minister of Tourism & Investment, Asot Michael, after being detained in London for questioning about allegations that he accepted bribes from a UK national, was found with a number of blank valid Antigua and Barbuda passports.

The news brings unwanted attention to the country’s passport as it complicate the tasks of compliance officers charged with identifying, and rejecting, bogus methods of identification at account opening, not to omit increasing serious terrorist financing threats.

During an interview with state media the Ministry’s PS Jocelyn Greene, completely dismissed the allegations.

Greene said that there is no such thing as a blank yet valid passport. She says a passport is only valid unless it is personalized and is given validation in terms of issuance and expirations dates.

When asked of the possibility of fraudulent information being inserted into a blank passport to be used by the fraudster, the Permanent Secretary says it would still not be valid in Antigua and Barbuda’s jurisdiction.

Greene said while she was concerned after hearing of the article, she did not take it seriously because she knows that the allegations was highly unlikely. She noted that there is strict security process after the book is printed and brought into the country to when it is issued to eligible individuals.

She assured Antigua and Barbuda’s international partner’s that the issuance of the nation’s passport is without corruption.

Meantime, Attorney-at-Law Anthony Astaphan QC also dismissed the allegations and further expressed his disappointment in the opposition the United Progressive Party (UPP) for posting the allegations on social media.

Well-Known Business Woman Charged With Human Trafficking

Police have formally charged Cheryl Thompson of Paradise View, the owner and proprietor of Jam Dung Night Club with four counts of Human Trafficking.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a joint operation was conducted on two separate establishments, Jam Dung Night Club and Wendy’s nightclub in St. Johns.

Thompson, along with four others were arrested and taken into custody and questioned in connection with allegations of Human Trafficking after a total of 19 potential victims were identified.

Police reports notes that several of the potential victims were questioned and released pending further investigations while others who were confirmed as suspected human trafficking victims were placed in protective care.

Thompson is expected to appear before the court sometime Today.

Meantime, the females who are all Jamaican nationals will be receiving care and support from the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Secretariat. The rescue mission conducted by the joint team targeted the establishments based on information of possible unlawful activities relating to human trafficking and other offences.

The alleged offences occurred between November 30th, 2017 and February 9th, 2018.

Meantime Minister responsible for the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Secretariat, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Public Safety & Labour, the Hon. Steadroy Benjamin praised the good work of the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Committee and commended their efforts as well as the work of the joint task force in its attempt to rid the country of the scourge of human trafficking.

Minister Benjamin, who recently reiterated in parliament that human trafficking is an abhorrent act that Antigua and Barbuda will not tolerate within its shores, also assured the public that the human trafficking laws in Antigua and Barbuda will be further strengthened to prevent the problem from escalating.