Caribbean News Roundup March 17, 2016

Caribbean News Roundup March 17, 2016

Trinidad and Tobago
T&T’s ANSA McAL buys country’s highest award on Ebay

The Trinidad-based conglomerate, ANSA McAL Group, has bought the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT) after President Anthony Carmona expressed his disgust at the attempt to sell the country’s highest award on the social website, Ebay.
THE ANSA McAL Group paid US$25,000 for the ORTT that was awarded posthumously in 2011 to the late labour leader Adrian Cola Rienzi.
A statement issued by the group said, “It’s official — ANSA McAL brings home pride and secures bid for ORTT medal.”
The statement quoted the head of the ANSA McAl Group, Norman Sabga, as saying, “despite the incidence of higher bids on the eBay site, ANSA McAL secured the agreement of the store, Crawford Coin Stamp Militaria in Vancouver, British Colombia, to pull down the auction and recognise our initial bid.”
Sabga said that the Group came to an agreement with the owner of the store that, given the historic significance of the medal, and in consideration of ANSA McAL’s noble intention to reclaim the award on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago, all other bids would be closed.”
He said he would seek Carmona’s support to donate the ORTT to the National Museum.
President Carmona issued a statement saying “I am very much distraught at the prospect of someone peddling the symbol of our national honour and pride.
The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is not a rag doll that is disposable,” Carmona said, adding that “this ultimate symbol of our Nation’s pride and honour is sacrosanct.
Rienzi was one of three people given the award in 2012. The other two being the late former prime minister George Chambers and Olympic gold medallist (javelin) Keshorn Walcott.

The Caribbean
Caribbean Countries urged to beef up Cyber-Security

Leaders of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS) have called on Latin American and Caribbean countries to step up efforts on cyber security.
They made the call after releasing a new study on Monday, which shows the region is highly vulnerable to potentially devastating cyber-attacks.
The 2016 Cyber security report titled “Are we ready in Latin America and the Caribbean?” was undertaken by the two institutions in collaboration with Oxford University.
It showed that four out of every five countries in the region do not have a cyber security strategy or plans for protecting critical infrastructure.
The report also shows that two out of three countries do not have a command and control centre for cyber security.
Additionally, the report says that a large majority of prosecutors lack the capacity to punish cybercrimes and face other problems as well.
According to the OAS, the report analyses the state of preparedness of 32 countries based on 49 indicators.
It is the first significant examination of the level of preparedness in Latin America and the Caribbean against the growing threat of cybercrime, the OAS said.
It said while Uruguay, Brazil, México, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago have achieved an “intermediate level of preparedness,” they “remain far from advanced countries,” like the United States, Israel, Estonia and the Republic of Korea.
“This report is a call to action to protect our citizen and our critical infrastructure for the 21st Century,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.

Former Antigua PM
supports CCJ over Privy Council
Former prime minister Sir Lester Bird says replacing the London-based Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) completes Antiguan and Barbudan independence and autonomy that was begun in the 1930s.
Sir Lester who served as the island’s second prime minister serving from 1994-2004, said that the ruling Antigua Labour Party (ALP) had long advocated the need for the country to move away from the Privy Council.
He said when the island sought to attain political independence from Britain it wanted full independence that would have also included an independent judicial system.
“We rejected the idea that judicial decisions which affect our lives should be made in a city thousands of miles away, and by persons appointed largely by the Prime Minister of a country that was our former colonial power,” Sir Lester said.
Antigua and Barbuda last Thursday launched a three-month public education programme on whether to continue with the Privy Council or replace with the Trinidad-based regional court. At the end of the exercise, citizens will be asked to vote in a referendum on the matter.
During the last week, prominent Barbadian jurist, Sir David Simmons has accused some Caribbean countries of playing “political football” with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which was established in 2001, to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court.
Speaking at a workshop for media workers, Sir David, the former Chairman of the Regional Judicial and Legal Service Commission (RJLSC), said for example, both Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica were strong advocates of the court, only to change their positions on the altar of political expedience.
Only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica are full members of the CCJ, while some Caribbean countries are signatories to the court’s original jurisdiction.


Guyana Bar Association  will represent  inmates

The Guyana Bar Association (GBA) has successfully applied to be granted “interested party” status at the Commission of Inquiry, probing the circumstances that led to the deaths of 17 prison inmates during a three-day riot, earlier this month.
GBA President, Christopher Ram, argued that the events at the prison in which several other prisoners were injured, is of national importance, hence the need for the GBA to be granted the “interested party” status.
The application from the GBA came after a riot at an overcrowded maximum security prison in Guyana left 16 inmates dead earlier this month.
Inmates set fires at the Georgetown Prison and battled prison guards and police with sticks from broken-up beds, police said.
Besides the dead, six other people were seriously injured and were being treated for burns, the state-run Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation said.
The riot started after police and guards searched the facility, confiscating cellphones and other banned items.