Police dispute adjourned until December 5
Lawyers representing 15 law enforcement officers and the Police Service Commission (PSC) went to the High Court today for a pre-trial hearing in the complaint brought against the PSC. ... | 24-Oct-2014 17:31

Local sports officials undergoing training
Local sports officials undergoing training
Local sports officials undergoing training Local sports administrators are being trained to manage Olympic…

... | 24-Oct-2014 17:31

Soccerex provided important eye-opener
Soccerex provided important eye-opener
Soccerex provided important eye-opener The recently concluded two-day Soccerex Americas Forum provided the opportunity…

... | 24-Oct-2014 17:31

WORLD-Boko Haram ‘abducts more girls’
WORLD-Boko Haram 'abducts more girls'
WORLD-Boko Haram 'abducts more girls' ABUJA - Dozens of women and girls from two…

... | 24-Oct-2014 17:31

Bajans get ready for World Challenge
Takahashi Bruna of Brazil making a return during one of her Cadet Challenge training sessions at the Wildey Gymnasium yesterday. (Picture by Lennox ... | 24-Oct-2014 17:21

Cave Hill Campus will press on despite tongue-lashing
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UWI Cave Hill Campus, alongside Director of Courtesy Garage Patrick McDonald during a ceremony to presentation of a 2008 Compressed ... | 24-Oct-2014 17:03

Rotary presents vocational Service Awards
(from left to right) Rotary Club of Barbados West presented Vocational Service Awards to Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand, Edward Ince (who collected on behalf of his father, Cecil Ince); and Fran Wickham. ... | 24-Oct-2014 17:03

UWI funding a long-standing challenge
Professor Andrew Downes Pro Vice Chancellor, Office of Planning & Development (right) shares a word with Floor member of the UWI Alumni Association Cyril Burke before the start of the eighth ... | 24-Oct-2014 17:03

Barbados to get a Wyndham
On the heels of this week's announcement by Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy that Barbados will soon have a Hyatt, Barbados TODAY has been reliably informed that another major international ... | 24-Oct-2014 08:25

BCCI suggests ways to avoid raising taxes
BCCI suggests ways to avoid raising taxes
BCCI suggests ways to avoid raising taxes The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry…

... | 24-Oct-2014 08:25

Teens ready for challenge
It was an excellent practice opportunity ahead of the October 27 to November 1 ITTF World Cadet Challenge which will be played at the sports complex. ... | 24-Oct-2014 08:25

JAMAICA-More terror in Bog Walk
KINGSTON - Gunmen have continued to wreak havoc in Bog Walk, St Catherine, killing three men, among them a 70-year-old, at Pine Apple Lane, yesterday. ... | 24-Oct-2014 08:25

Looking beyond an Ebola ban
It should therefore have come as no surprise when Barbadians - fearful that the deadly Ebola virus could reach our shores and devastate this 166 square mile island unable to cope with an outbreak - ... | 24-Oct-2014 08:25

NYC doctor tests positive for Ebola

NEW YORK (AP) - A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus, according to preliminary test results, city officials said Thursday. He's the fourth confirmed case in the US and the first in the nation's biggest city.

A further test by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be necessary to confirm the initial test results.

A law enforcement official and a city official received notification of the preliminary test results and told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Thursday night but weren't authorized to discuss the case publicly before a city news conference.

Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old emergency room doctor, returned from Guinea more than a week ago and reported Thursday coming down with a 103-degree fever and diarrhoea. He was rushed to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola centre, and was being treated in a specially built isolation ward.

The CDC has dispatched an Ebola response team to New York, and the city's disease detectives have been tracing the doctor's contacts to identify anyone who may be at risk.

City officials say Spencer acknowledged riding the subway and taking a cab to a Brooklyn bowling alley in the past week before he started showing symptoms.

His Harlem apartment was cordoned off, and his fiancée, who was not showing symptoms, was being watched in a quarantine ward at Bellevue. The Department of Health was on site across the street from the apartment building Thursday night, giving out information to area residents.

Health officials say the chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola, which is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, are slim. Someone can't be infected just by being near someone who's sick with Ebola. Someone isn't contagious unless he is sick. Symptoms are similar to malaria and cholera.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed about 4 800 people. In the United States, the first person diagnosed with the disease was a Liberian man, who fell ill days after arriving in Dallas and later died, becoming the only fatality. Two nurses who treated him were infected and are hospitalized.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said proper protocols were followed every step of the way in Spencer's case and it didn't appear he had been showing symptoms for very long.

"The patient is in good shape and has gone into a great deal of detail with our personnel as to his actions the last few days so we have a lot to work with," de Blasio said earlier in the day. "We have a patient who has been very communicative and precise and who has only been back a very short time and has been quite clear about individuals he had close contact with."

According to a rough timeline provided by city officials, Spencer's symptoms developed Wednesday, prompting him to isolate himself in his apartment.

When he felt worse Thursday, he and his fiancée made a joint call to authorities to detail his symptoms and his travels. EMTs in full Ebola gear arrived and took him to Bellevue in an ambulance surrounded by police squad cars.

Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization, said per the guidelines it provides its staff members on their return from Ebola assignments, "the individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately." As of Oct. 14, the organization said 16 staff members have been infected and nine have died.

Spencer works at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He had not seen any patients or been to the hospital since his return, the hospital said in a statement, calling him a "dedicated humanitarian" who "went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population."

Four American aid workers, including three doctors, were infected with Ebola while working in Africa and were transferred to the US for treatment in recent months. All recovered.

Health care workers are vulnerable because of close contact with patients when they are their sickest and most contagious. In West Africa this year, more than 440 health workers have contracted Ebola and about half have died.

Spencer is from Michigan and attended Wayne State University School of Medicine and Columbia's University Mailman School of Public Health.

According to his Facebook page, he left for West Africa via Brussels in mid-September. A photo shows him in full protective gear. He returned to Brussels October 16.

"Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders," he wrote. "Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history." | 24-Oct-2014 03:40

Easier access to Central Bank financing

THE CENTRAL BANK of Barbados has amended its financing schemes to make them more easily accessible to local businesses.

Effective October 1, the Bank instituted several changes to its suite of schemes that will allow, among other things, for a larger number of businesses to utilise the facilities.

Small and medium-sized enterprises from across the manufacturing, construction, engineering, tourism, renewable energy and several other productive sectors, can benefit further from these enhancements.

Acting deputy director of foreign exchange and export credits, Ian Collymore, explained that businesses seeking finance from schemes administered by the Bank through Authorized Financial Institutions (AFIs) can for the first time submit their application along with the business plan to the Bank's foreign exchange and export credits department.

Other significant changes include the reduction in guarantee premium rates which have all been reduced to 0.75 per cent. Another important change is the increase in maturity period for loans to businesses providing accommodation in the tourism sector. Also, AFIs have been granted the authority to approve loan guarantees up to BDS$250 000. These are just some of the major adjustments made to the financing schemes.

"The enhancements will make it easier for a larger number of businesses to obtain credit facilities, while simultaneously creating an operational structure to encourage greater use by financial institutions," Collymore stated.

He further stated that “it was very important to note that the amendments to the schemes were made after comprehensive consultations with stakeholders. Our schemes now satisfy both the needs of businesses and financial institutions in Barbados.”

The schemes were established from as early as 1978 with the most recent being added in 2010, all in an effort to make finance more easily accessible to local businesses mainly through the provision of guarantees and loans via AFIs. The existing facilities are: Export Credit Insurance, Export Finance Guarantee, Industrial Credit Fund, Credit Guarantee Scheme for Businesses, Tourism Loan Guarantee Facility and the Trade Receivables Liquidity Facility. (PR) | 24-Oct-2014 02:37

Childhood chronic disease a concern

THERE MAY BE pre-conceived notions that mostly adults are living with chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs). However, in 2012 children and adolescents were identified as a priority for advocates across the globe. Through NCD Child, a global organisation and strong partner of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), children living with, at risk of developing or affected by non-communicable diseases now have a champion.

Here at home, the HCC, a regional organisation, is formulating Youth4NCDs, an open forum and network for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 years. The Youth4NCDs programme will identify young champions from across the Caribbean and bring them together to discuss issues which affect them and their peers. These champions can become ambassadors for wellness and effective strategies for the prevention and control of CNCDs and also advocate for changes to legislation.

Tracey Knight-Lloyd, assistant vice president - marketing for Sagicor Life Inc., indicated that the company supports the initiative fully.

 "The HCC's decision to form the Youth4NCDs network is insightful. It gives young people a voice and can reduce feelings of isolation in children and adolescents who are living with the effects of CNCDs. We applaud the HCC on this innovative programme. Sagicor Life Inc. champions initiatives such as this which promote positive developments for youth and the health of those in our communities. Earlier this academic term, Sagicor continued its drive to increase awareness of CNCDs among children through our support for the EduDrama Programme in Primary Schools."

Maisha Hutton, manager of the Healthy Caribbean Coalitio,n explained the need for the network. "Through Youth4NCDs we hope to provide a safe space for young people to share their experiences and their vision for the future. Approximately one in four people in the Caribbean is between the ages of 10 and 24. Building a healthier future is highly dependent upon effective engagement and intervention with young people during this critical window of opportunity."

She continued, "The HCC will provide a platform for young champions to contribute meaningfully to the CNCD discourse; shaping Caribbean perspectives and priorities around health and influencing the development of policies and programmes that have a direct impact on young people."

The Youth4NCDs project is funded at the international level by the NCD Alliance and regionally the HCC has received financial support from Sagicor Life Inc. to assist with building organisational capacity. (PR) | 24-Oct-2014 02:26

Set aside UN immunity, lawyer urges

NEW YORK (AP) - An attorney for Haitians seeking compensation from the United Nations for victims of a deadly cholera outbreak asked a judge Thursday to set aside the UN's immunity and let a lawsuit proceed, but a US lawyer said doing so would open up the United Nations to many more lawsuits.

"You have a steep hill to climb," US District Judge J. Paul Oetken told attorney Beatrice Lindstrom as she argued that the United Nations sacrificed its immunity by failing to live up to its obligations to compensate the families of more than 8 000 people who died and over 700 000 sickened in the impoverished Caribbean nation after human waste was dumped into Haiti's principal river in October 2010.

The judge said the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan had been reluctant to let lawsuits proceed when the United Nations' immunity is asserted.

Assistant US Attorney Ellen Blain argued that the United Nations has immunity unless it decides to waive it. She said she appeared in court because the United States has obligations as the UN's host nation.

She said letting the case proceed would subject the United Nations to many more lawsuits.

The UN, Blain said, "needs to have immunity to complete its mission around the world."

A lawsuit filed last year by lawyers and human rights groups sought unspecified damages, saying the United Nations had failed to give victims any avenue of compensation after harming the Haiti population through reckless sanitation and waste disposal practices.

A similar lawsuit was filed in Brooklyn federal court this year.

Citing diplomatic immunity, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has rejected claims for compensation for cholera victims, but in December 2012, he announced a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti.

Oetken said he will rule later on whether the lawsuit should be dismissed or whether the United Nations can be considered a defendant that must respond to the claims. The United Nations has repeatedly declined to comment on litigation but has said it was working with the government of Haiti to eradicate cholera. | 24-Oct-2014 01:30

Serena bounces back in WTA Finals

SINGAPORE (AP) - Serena Williams awoke on Thursday dreading playing tennis. By the end of the day, her doubts were defeated and she was still in the running for a third straight WTA Finals crown.

Following the worst beating of her professional career on Wednesday, when she won only two games against Simona Halep, it took hours of cajoling and encouragement from coach Patrick Mouratoglou to get Williams in the right frame of mind for her last round-robin contest against Eugenie Bouchard.

Whatever he said worked, as she routed Bouchard 6-1, 6-1.

"I was feeling mighty low," Williams said. "I was able to feed off his belief. I know that sounds weird, even though I've won so many titles, I still at some point feel like, `Oh gosh, maybe I might not be able to do this or maybe I might not be able to do that?'

"I started to believe that maybe I could come play another match. I wasn't quite sure that I could.

"I definitely don't think that I would have been able to survive today if it wasn't for Patrick."

Williams improved her record to 2-1, and will have to wait until Friday's match between Halep and Ana Ivanovic to know if she is through to the semi-finals. Williams will make the final four unless Ivanovic beats Halep in straight sets. Halep is guaranteed of a semi-final berth.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the other group remains uncertain, with none of the four players qualified for the semis, and none eliminated from contention.

Petra Kvitova beat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-2, further eroding the Russian player's hopes of claiming the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Sharapova, who needs to win the title and rely on Williams not reaching the final if she is to bump the American from the top spot, fell to a 0-2 record while Kvitova is 1-1.

In order for Sharapova to progress to the semis, she will need to win her last match against Agnieszka Radwanska and rely on Caroline Wozniacki beating Kvitova, and have both matches decided in straight sets.

Williams was philosophical about whether she will make the semis.

"If I wanted to win and be a part of the event, I should have won my match yesterday or should have done better," Williams said. "If I don't qualify, I'll be sad, but it wasn't my year. I'm not going to fall out and die."

She revealed she received a written apology from Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev for offensive comments in which he called her and sister Venus the "Williams brothers," and said they were "scary" to look at.

"He has reached out to apologize to both myself and my sister," Williams said, adding, "It was written. No, I did not speak to him."

Tarpischev was fined $25,000 and suspended from the WTA tour for a year for the comments on a Russian TV show.

Bouchard had no doubt she met the best player in the world on court.

"I got my butt kicked, but I had fun," the Wimbledon runner-up said. "It actually motivates me to get better."

Sharapova, who lost the Wimbledon final to Kvitova in 2011, had beaten the Czech left-hander in their past five meetings and started brightly by winning the opening two games. But Kvitova took over from there, winning 11 of the next 12.

Like Williams, Kvitova was feeling at a low ebb after her opening loss to Radwanska, and took an unusual approach to freshen up.

"When I lost against Aga ... I was so tired and sick of tennis for a moment," Kvitova said. "So I didn't practice today at all, and I just really relaxed and cleaned my mind a little bit."

Earlier, Wozniacki moved closer to a place in the semis by beating Radwanska 7-5, 6-3 for her second win in the group stage.

The first set contained some lengthy rallies that were punctuated by superb shot-making.

Radwanska ended up the loser but played a couple of extraordinary volley winners - one picked up at her shoelaces and lifted diagonally over the net, and another leaping effort played with her back to the net.

"I'm like, `OK, you know what, that's just too good,'" Wozniacki said. "You can either get frustrated or laugh - it's better to laugh." | 24-Oct-2014 01:15

Suspected Ebola case in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) - A doctor who recently returned to New York City from West Africa is being tested for the Ebola virus.

The doctor had a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms and was taken Thursday to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says all protocols were followed and it doesn't appear the doctor had been showing symptoms for very long or had widespread contact with others. He says test results could come late Thursday.

Health care officials say the chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are slim. Ebola is spread by touching an infected person's bodily fluids. Someone can't be infected just by being near someone who's sick with Ebola.

People with Ebola aren't contagious unless they're sick.

Ebola has killed thousands of people in Africa. Only three people have been diagnosed in the US. | 24-Oct-2014 01:00

NATION newscast October 23

In tonight's news:
Private sector questions credibility of Government’s economic programme.
Grammy-Award winning trumpeter coming to Barbados for new music festival.
Ottis Gibson says he was fired. | 24-Oct-2014 00:44

Motown going home

DETROIT (AP) - Berry Gordy Jr. took his Motown the Musical production to Broadway and a few other places first. Yet they were mere proving grounds for its date with Detroit.

The Motown Records founder says his latest creation has sharpened its storytelling to match the songs, many originally recorded at Hitsville, USA. That's the former studio right down the street from the Fisher Theatre, the musical's home for the next few weeks.

"Bringing Motown to Motown is like the greatest gift in the world to me and I'm grateful for the fact that I'm even able to bring (the musical) to the place where I grew up," Gordy told The Associated Press from inside the former studio building that now houses the Motown Museum. "This place was where I was that crazy little kid running around with all these crazy dreams. Now I bring it back in all its full glory."

The 84-year-old was back in the real Motown this week for opening night. It's where the label started in 1959, and scores of stars and hits were created, before it decamped for California in 1972. It was hard not to be moved by the energy in the theatre Wednesday night, but that came as much from the talent offstage as on: Smokey Robinson sat a row in front of Gordy, Stevie Wonder two ahead of Martha Reeves. They and other Motown vets came onstage at the end to offer some heartfelt thanks and for Wonder to trade verses on I Wish with his actor-counterpart, Elijah Ahmad Lewis.

Likewise, Gordy is energized by the play's success and excited to bring it to Detroit stronger, tighter and more focused than when it opened on Broadway early last year. More than 60 songs provide the groove and key guideposts for a story chronicling how his empire rose, fell and rose again. Highlights include War, What's Going On? My Girl and Dancing in the Street.

He's flooded by memories in the museum, which once housed his apartment, office and studio. Some are prodded by pictures and artefacts featuring the Supremes, Wonder, Robinson, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye. And moments that played out inside the building find their way into the play.

Gordy recalls mourning in his office on the day President John F. Kennedy died. In storms Gaye, unaware of the news and angry that his song wasn't getting proper promotion while the latest from the lighter-skinned Smokey Robinson was. Things escalate: Gordy calls Gaye "boy," the artist implies the Motown chief is a liar. They nearly come to blows, but Gordy manages to impart that this tragic day should be a reminder to focus on more important things.

The story Gordy calls "completely true" becomes a powerful moment in the production. So he sought more passion and even a touch of violence from Clifton Oliver, the actor playing him.

Gordy said he shared a Motown principle with the cast - "You'll always be successful if you tell the truth and make it entertaining." Still, the truth can be dicey when dealing with old memories and fallen icons like Gaye, who can't offer any counterpoint. But in creativity there's conflict, and he wanted all sides to come through onstage.

"I think about the fights and the arguments we had," he said of the man once married to Gordy's late sister, Anna Gordy Gaye. "Yet I've always said, `Marvin Gaye was the truest singer - the truest artist - I've ever known.'"

Gordy's jaunt down memory lane takes literal turns as he walks through the museum. He passes the area now serving as a replica of his apartment down a narrow set of stairs he joked was once his getaway from bill collectors to the former Studio A. Behind him is the studio's original Steinway grand piano, recently refurbished with money from former Beatle and Motown fan Paul McCartney. On the wall are classic photos of Motown stars in the same cramped studio.

"I can't believe that it's this small," Gordy says, echoing the words of tourists from across the globe when they enter some of pop culture's most hallowed ground. He pauses and takes it all in. "So much stuff coming full circle. It's amazing." | 24-Oct-2014 00:30

Man on bail for drug charges

A ST MICHAEL man was granted $50 000 bail when he pleaded guilty to four drug-related charges in the District “B” Magistrates’ Court today.

He is Anthony Shawn Simmons of Hindsbury Road, St Michael who was arrested yesterday after he went to the airport to clear a barbecue grill on a wooden pallet from Canada.

Police say he was intercepted on a nearby roadway by members of the Drug Squad and taken to the Oistins Police Station.  A search of the pallet reportedly revealed 12 packages of compressed cannabis weighing a total of 13 pounds.

Simmons will return to Court on January 20, 2015 pending a pre-sentencing report. (PR/NB) | 23-Oct-2014 23:45

Classical music festival in the works
It's the brainchild of public relations officer of the Belle Voci Cantanti Norton Brewster who tells Bajan Vibes the festival could become a reality next October. ... | 23-Oct-2014 23:30

Soccer-Keanes book unnecessary says ex-United captain Robson
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Roy Keane's autobiography, with its criticism of major figures at Manchester United, was unnecessary and the prevalence of such books unwelcome, ... | 23-Oct-2014 23:21

Tennis players to take on the world
EIGHT OF BARBADOS' brightest table tennis prospects will take on the world when the ITTF World Cadet Challenge serves off on Sunday.
The Under-15 Challenge, which has attracted 64 ... | 23-Oct-2014 23:21

Tennis players to take on the world

EIGHT OF BARBADOS' brightest table tennis prospects will take on the world when the ITTF World Cadet Challenge serves off on Sunday.

The Under-15 Challenge, which has attracted 64 competitors from throughout the world, will see Tyrese Knight leading the charge among the boys and Kenady King performing the same role for the Bajan lasses.  The full Barbados contingent is: Knight, Marcus Smith, Ramón Jackman, Jalani Miller, King, Janae Lewis, Jazel Griffith and Erica Banfield.

The Barbados players have been training the past six weeks under the tutelage of a number of international coaches and training seminars have been conducted during the week leading up to the Challenge.

Some of the biggest challenges are expected to come from Minha Hwang of Korea, Yuto Kizukuri and Mima Ito of Japan, the Caribbean's best in Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico and Kanak Jha of the United States who will fly to Barbados on Sunday after playing at the World Cup for seniors. (KB) | 23-Oct-2014 23:10

CARPHA to host infectious diseases workshop

PORT OF SPAIN - The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will host workshops geared at strengthening the Caribbean’s ability to prepare and respond to outbreak situations such as the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

From November 17 to 21, CARPHA, in collaboration with the Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis (CHA) unit of PAHO/WHO, will provide two training workshops on Infectious Substances Shipping Training and Bio-safety Practices for the Clinical Laboratory, at its Port of Spain, Trinidad headquarters.

Laboratory professionals from across the Caribbean who complete the World Health Organization Shipping Infectious Substances course will be certified to prepare shipments of laboratory samples.  Successful participants will be certified for a period of two years to handle and package Category ‘A’ Infectious Substances, such as samples from suspected cases of Ebola virus disease.

CARPHA will also train personnel in bio-safety measures, practiced in the laboratory, which include infection control, proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and waste management measures. 

It is expected that laboratory technicians actively involved in the packaging of laboratory samples, for the purpose of international transport, will in turn provide similar training to other colleagues at institutional and country level.

Both the Shipping and Bio-safety courses are in accordance with WHO Guidance on regulations for the transport of Infectious Substances 2013-2014 and WHO Biorisk Management Programme respectively. (PR) | 23-Oct-2014 22:15

Shooter’s mother says sorry

OTTAWA (AP) - The mother of the man accused of killing a soldier at Ottawa's war memorial then storming Parliament before being shot dead says she is crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son.

In a brief and tear-filled telephone interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Susan Bibeau said she did not know what to say to those hurt in the attack.

"Can you ever explain something like this?" she said. "We are sorry."

Investigators offered little information about the gunman in Ottawa, identified as 32-year-old petty criminal Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Canadian police conceded Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was the lone gunman, the second attack in three days in what the prime minister described as terrorism.

Bibeau she was devastated for the victims of the attack.

"If I'm crying it's for the people," she said, struggling to hold back tears. "Not for my son."

Bideau and her husband had earlier sent the AP a lengthy email expressing horror and sadness at what happened.

"I am mad at my son," the email said, explaining that he seemed lost "and did not fit in."

"I his mother spoke with him last week over lunch, I had not seen him for over five years before that," the email said. "So I have very little insight to offer."

The heart of the capital city of Ottawa had been in lockdown after Wednesday's attack, with fears that other gunmen might be on the loose. Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday that police are satisfied there was one attacker. Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that "there is no longer a threat to public safety."

The two attacks stunned Canadians and raised concerns their country was being targeted for reprisals for joining the US-led air campaign against the extremist Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Government officials credited 58-year-old Parliament sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers with shooting the attacker just outside the MPs' caucus rooms. Vickers serves a largely ceremonial role at the House of Commons, carrying a mace and wearing rich green robes, white gloves and a tall imperial hat.

Members of Parliament gave Vickers a rousing standing ovation for saving their lives as Parliament resumed Thursday morning.

As Vickers walked into the House of Commons his lips quivered in emotion and he acknowledged the lengthy ovation.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper urged members of Parliament to seek medical help if they are suffering stress from Wednesday's attack in an uncharacteristic personal speech.

"Here we are in our seats, in our chamber in the very heart of our democracy, at work" Harper said. "We will not be intimated."

Harper noted that both of the terror attacks in Canada this week came from citizens born in Canada.

Earlier Harper visited the National War Memorial where the soldier was killed to lay a wreath. A man was detained by police near where Harper put down the wreath. Police said the man tried to breach the crime scene and thought there would be minor charges if he's charged.

Earlier, Harper called the shooting the country's second terrorist attack in three days. A man Harper described as an "ISIL-inspired terrorist" on Monday ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring another before being shot to death by police. Like the suspect from Wednesday's shooting in Ottawa, he was a recent convert to Islam.

Witnesses said the soldier posted at the National War Memorial, identified as Corporal Nathan Cirillo, was gunned down at point-blank range by a man carrying a rifle and dressed all in black, his face half-covered with a scarf. The gunman appeared to raise his arms in triumph, then entered Parliament, a few hundred yards away, where dozens of shots soon rang out, according to witnesses.

People fled the complex by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, while others took cover inside as police with rifles and body armour took up positions outside and cordoned off the normally bustling streets around Parliament.

At least three people were treated for minor injuries.

In Washington, President Barack Obama condemned the shootings as "outrageous" and said: "We have to remain vigilant." The US Embassy in Ottawa was locked down as a precaution, and security was tightened at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington.

Harper vowed that the attacks will "lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts" to keep the country safe and work with Canada's allies to fight terrorists.

Court records that appear to be the gunman's show that he had a long rap sheet, with a string of convictions for assault, robbery, drug and weapons offenses, and other crimes.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. had video of the gunman going to his car alone with his weapon after the shooting at the memorial. The car was later spotted parked in front of Parliament Hill, just down the block.

Parliament remained under close surveillance by police and was closed to the public. Security was beefed up at government buildings across Canada. The federal government confirmed Tuesday it had raised its threat level due to an increase in "general chatter from radical Islamist organizations." | 23-Oct-2014 19:01

Warner Park best CPL ground

The St Kitts and Nevis cricket ground Warner Park, has been voted the best pitch and outfield during the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and has been awarded a US$10 000 prize. 

The award was judged by a team comprising CPL Pitch and Field Consultant Kent Crafton; International Director of Cricket Tom Moody; Chief Operating Officer Pete Russell and Cricket Operations Director Michael Hall.

The panel was impressed with the overall improvement of the pitches across the Caribbean, but had to pay special homage to Warner Park’s grounds and caretakers.

“When the CPL schedule was finalised we knew that Warner Park was always going to be a challenge with it hosting nine tournament matches in 12 days. The schedule included three double headers, as well as a celebrity match,” Crafton said.

“We all agreed that the pitch square and outfield were turned out in excellent condition and stood up well to the demands which were made on it. Just under 2 700 runs were scored in the nine games at an average of just under 300 runs per game and Stedroy Douglas and his team are being rewarded for their efforts.”

CPL Cricket Operations Director Michael Hall said: “The season stats for the Limacol CPL 2014 confirm that the pitches were better prepared this year – and a great deal of credit must go to Kent who provided excellent guidance to the each of the curators and their staff at all the match venues.

“The average runs per game was 143, up from 131. The average team strike rate was 127, up from 116, and significantly, there were four centuries and 34 fifties, up from zero and 14 last year, respectively.”

St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Sports Glenn Phillip thanked Thorn Phillip from the Royal St Kitts Golf Club and Corey Chapman for their support in making the outfield what it was for the CPL, we well as those who worked behind the scenes.

Head groundsman Stedroy Douglas added: We put in the hard work and are reaping the rewards. The guys really deserve this award and I am very happy for them and also very proud that St Kitts and Nevis is being recognised.” (PR/SAT)

 | 23-Oct-2014 17:40

Pop to boost sector
Unfortunate! The chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Alex McDonald has described…

... | 23-Oct-2014 17:31

UWI receives energy saving vehicle
As the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus gets ready to publicly roll out a science and technology initiative next month, a local private company has donated a natural gas-powered ... | 23-Oct-2014 17:31

NUPW responds to workers’ Ebola concerns
"It was a very open democratic meeting where the workers raised their concerns and at the end of the meeting they were reasonably satisfied with the information given," Smith said. ... | 23-Oct-2014 17:31

Slow road to recovery
The fiscal adjustment measures have reduced the deficit by 0.9 per cent of GDP so far this fiscal year. The measures already in place are forecast to yield an additional one per cent and a recovery ... | 23-Oct-2014 17:31

Gulati backs Klinsmann after MLS dispute
BRIDGETOWN Barbados (Reuters) - Sunil Gulati, the president of the United States Soccer Federation, has given his backing to head coach Juergen Klinsmann after the row over American players returning ... | 23-Oct-2014 17:21

BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Scotiabank in for the long-haul

Despite tough financial times, Scotiabank has sent a strong signal to the Caribbean: It isn’t running away from Barbados, Jamaica and their neighbours.

Was it a commitment or simply words of reassurance for these at a time of considerable economic stress?

“We have become the pre-eminent bank in the Caribbean. We’ve seen a lot of people leave or shrink their operations. That’s not what we are doing,” was the way Brian Porter, Scotiabank’s chief executive officer (CEO), put it the other day to the Toronto Globe & Mail newspaper in Washington.

His choice of words may have been a mix of both: a message of comfort and a hard-headed commitment to a part of the world where the bank has deep roots stretching back more than a century.  The trouble is the region’s economies are either stagnating or, in the case of Barbados, in somewhat of a recession.

When the burden of high debt and the impact of rising joblessness are added to the current financial equation, it would become clear why the English-speaking Caribbean states have risen so high on the list of underperforming Western Hemisphere countries.

It also explains something else: why investors and analysts in Canada have been urging Scotiabank, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), to take a hard look at their Caribbean operations which have been dragging down overall profits.

A report card prepared and published by the Toronto Star, Canada largest circulating daily paper, on the operations of three major banks in the Caribbean tell much of the story:

CIBC’s profits for the second quarter of 2014 amounted to CAN$306 million (BDS$542.6 million), or 73 cents a share. A year earlier, the profit was CAN$862 million (BDS$1.5 billion) or CAN$2.09 (BDS$3.70) per share. Just as important, CIBC, the parent of FirstCaribbean Bank with headquarters in Barbados, stated in May that it would take a CAN$420 million (BDS$744.7 million) non-cash good impairment charge related to its Caribbean operations. Incremental loan losses for its Caribbean unit were put at CAN$123 million (BDS$248.1 million).

Earlier in the year, Royal Bank announced it was selling its Jamaica banking operations to Sagicor Jamaica Group. But the bank, which has maintained a presence across the Caribbean for more than a century, made it clear it wasn’t cutting and running from the region. Yes, it asserted, it remained committed to the region but it was paying increasing attention to areas where it had a larger market share.

Scotiabank reported a CAN$168 million (BDS$297.9 million) increase in provisions for bad loans in its international banking operations. It put much of the blame on activities in Peru.

According to Scotiabank’s CEO, the bank’s performance was being skewed by the Caribbean’s failure to rebound from the international financial crisis.

If the International Monetary Fund’s forecast turns out to be right on the money, then the big three Canadian banks shouldn’t expect a return to robust growth in the next few years.

“It seems the economic recovery in the region has been slow to materialise and the results are coming in worse than expectations,” said Tom Lewandowski, analyst at Edward Jones, a brokerage firm.

Indeed, Porter acknowledged that a major contributor to the stagnation in Scotiabank’s operations outside of Canada was weak economic performances in Jamaica, Belize and Puerto Rico.

Why, then, is the bank standing firm in an area where economic fortunes aren’t bright? Kevin Carmichael, a financial journalist, knows why.

“About a quarter of Scotiabank’s profits came from personal and commercial banking at its non-Canadian operations in the most recent quarter, while about a third of the institution’s profit comes from lending to Canadian households and business,” Carmichael wrote recently. “But there is more at stake than the bottom line. Scotiabank proudly bills itself as Canada’s ‘most international bank’ by virtue of its presence in more than 55 countries. Therefore, the institution’s reputation is tied closely to its success away from home.”

Scotiabank has been in the Caribbean since 1889 when it opened its first branch in Kingston to support the trade in rum, sugar and fish.

“Our Kingston branch was the first Canadian bank office to open outside of the UK or the US,” it stated on its website. “In fact, we opened our first branch in Kingston before our branch in Toronto, Canada, where our executive offices are now located.

“A century later, Scotiabank is the leading bank in the Caribbean and Central America, with operations in 25 countries, including affiliates,” it added.

But there may be another reason for Porter’s words of comfort and his bank’s supportive stance on the Caribbean. As he explained it, its losses in the region matched gains in Asia and Latin America.

That supports the time-worn contention of our super elderly Bajan nationals that there is always “more in the mortar than the pestle”. | 23-Oct-2014 16:00

Gibson: I was fired

KINGSTON - Ottis Gibson says he was fired as West Indies’ head coach despite a statement from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) suggesting the two had mutually agreed to end their association.

His declaration came late Wednesday, two months after ending ties with the WICB on the eve of a series against Bangladesh involving two-test matches and three One Day Internationals (ODI).

Gibson has been quoted in the regional media as saying he was shocked when WICB president Dave Cameron fired him during a telephone conversation.

He says Cameron told him that players had lost confidence in him.

Gibson’s contract was renewed last year after taking up the post in January 2010.

His finest moment with the Windies came when he led them to victory in the ICC World Twenty20 tournament two years ago. (CMC/NB) | 23-Oct-2014 15:20

THE HOYOS FILE: Qualifications for local airplay

Every so often the call to require more local music to be played on local airwaves is heard. The radio stations are not doing enough to promote local artistes, it is said, so they must be forced by law and policed by regulation to make them do so.

Some countries have had such laws on their books for years, like Canada. In fact, you constantly hear the Canadian example cited as if it were the Holy Grail, or the textbook on how to force radio stations to play more local music.

Of course, no one advocating following where Canada went four decades ago tells us how the policy and regulations, known collectively as Canadian Content (or CanCon) – would be adapted to the Barbados context.

Presumably there would be no such need: we would just grab the law and its regulations off the Internet and change all instances of the word “Canada” to the word “Barbados.”

Well, I hate to break it to you, but let me be as gentle as possible: The whole Canadian Content thing? Still highly controversial and polarising even now, 40 years on.

And the regulatory body policing it - the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) – seems to be even less popular than the rules themselves, which are so arbitrary and have turned out to be so unintentionally ridiculous that some people argue they are actually holding back the further progress of the Canadian music industry.

If you want just a little taste of this long-standing debate, go to Wikipedia and type in “Canadian Content.”

It is very easy to read, since at least 40 per cent of it was written in Canada.

Truth is, you can read all about it very quickly, but I advise you to slow down to savour the delightful parts, like when they had to change their own rules because implementing them meant that the Bryan Adams album with the hit Everything I Do (I Do It For You) did not qualify as Canadian Content. (Adams was born in Canada and he co-wrote all the songs. So why not?)

However, if you are deemed to have been resident in Canada for six months before you put out your album you could have been born in Outer Mongolia (which I hear is a nice place) and you would still have qualified at least on one count for Canadian Content.

You see, to get the Canadian Content seal (and it is exactly that) you have to get two out of the four requirements under the system known as MAPL:

M is for Music – as in music written entirely by a Canadian,

A is for the Artist – as in the artist who mostly performs the music is Canadian,

P is for Performance – as in performed or recorded wholly in a  Canadian studio, and

L is for Lyrics – as in lyrics written entirely by a Canadian.

Ah, the devil is always in the details. See that little word “entirely”? They used it twice. That’s what embarrassed them about Adams.

You see, he co-wrote all the music and lyrics for that album (Waking Up The Neighbours) with a very accomplished Zambian-born British record producer, Robert John “Mutt” Lange.

Now, here is where the laughs come in: If Adams and Lange had said one was the writer of the music entirely and the other the same for the lyrics, it would have been okay under Canadian Content. But they both co-wrote everything, so it couldn’t.

As a result, they added another rule to allow for collaborations.

Even if you take the side that, while not perfect, the Canadian Content rules had the effect of saving emerging Canadian artists of the 1970s and onward from being completely swamped by music from their southern neighbours, as many people do, others will say that it also hindered them.

Why? Because, they say, the same rules allowed stations to play a lot of old Canadian artistes to achieve the quota rather than constantly giving new artists the chance to shine.

The argument is also put for several specific cases where artistes did indeed get national attention in Canada, which was great, but did not break out into the wider world until some deejay in the United States or other country gave them a break without any help from their Canadian regulatory friends.

No matter how much you want to promote some worthy local sector – and music surely falls into that category – it is bad policy to try to give it monopoly power over even a portion of the market.

Just look at how well that policy has succeeded in building the local manufacturing sector. Was the cost really worth it?

Even if there may have been some justification back in the day, there is little or none now, and such protectionism only makes the fat cows fatter while the poor ones still starve.

Why? Because those that succeeded were probably going to do so anyway, and once they got that leg up (to mix metaphors) they were able to use the protectionism to their own advantage, ironically making it harder for new local entrants to gain traction to get going as well.

Today, there are so many social media tools for self-promotion of music that you can get heard much more easily, so the playing field that led to such content rules no longer exists.

Despite all the good that Canadian Content was intended to do, the major criticism of it remains that it just allowed new artists to survive in the “small” Canadian market, still awaiting discovery by someone abroad in order to become really big. There are other ways we can and should be promoting our artistes and helping them to succeed abroad, and we can look at them in a future article.

But forcing radio stations to check passports in order to give local artists airplay over foreigners is not on my list. | 23-Oct-2014 15:00

Police seeking deceased man’s relatives

POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING the sudden death of 71-year-old Lisle McDonald Walters of Inch Marlow, Christ Church and they are appealing for family members to come forward.

The elderly man died on October 20, 2014, and no foul play is suspected. 

Anyone who is related to Walters, or knows the whereabouts of his relatives, is asked to call the Oistins Police Station at 418-2612 or police emergency number 211. (PR/NB) | 23-Oct-2014 14:58

From red tape to red carpet – a regional account

Several private sector stakeholders have stated on multiple occasions that investment and business activities will not be not be maximised unless there is effective facilitation by the public sector.

Such a position has often been echoed by players within the international business arena.

Against that backdrop it was quite enlightening to hear of the efforts being spearheaded in business facilitation in Trinidad and Tobago by Senator Vasant Bharath, Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications.

Senator Bharath’s account was made in an address entitled Successful Strategies for Turbulent Economic Times – The Trinidad and Tobago Experience, which was delivered at a business luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In this article I explore some key points and lessons learnt for effective business facilitation.

Review national performance in relation to global standards and metrics – In order to know what level of improvement is necessary, you need to know how you are performing in relation to others in the marketplace.

Even if you are leading the competition, it is important to know the gap between you and your closest rival.

Bharath asserted that countries seeking to compete in the international business arena should benchmark themselves against standards such as the World Bank Group’s Doing Business survey, which rates the conduciveness of a jurisdiction’s regulatory environment to the starting and operation of a local firm.

Ensure strategic will – In the pursuit of rigorous and sustained performance there must be an inspiring articulation of purpose, ongoing scrutiny of results and unwavering commitment to improvement from the highest level within the institution.

Change interventions are unlikely to benefit from the necessary traction where leaders appear to lack resolve.

Bring key stakeholders together – A business leader said that “sometimes you don’t want consensus but just alignment” to reveal that bringing stakeholders together may not necessarily achieve absolute agreement but it should at least solidify the purpose and approach that is deemed necessary by the strategic leader after such consultation.

Highlight the contribution of each stakeholder to the effectiveness of the overall system – Commitment is more likely where people gain a sense of value from an understanding of the contribution that they can potentially make to effectiveness.

Sometimes the biggest hindrance to empowerment is a lack of awareness of one’s value to the big picture.

Ensure analysis and improvement of the systems – It has been said “what gets measured gets done”.

In order to improve systems it is necessary to clearly understand their current and future suitability vis à vis current and future requirements.

Leverage technology – Technology should be strategically selected and used to facilitate the operational and knowledge-creation processes, which are used to pursue current and future organisational objectives.

Technology in itself is not a panacea or ‘silver bullet’ that automatically makes the institution world class, rather it requires a fundamental assessment of customer requirements, competitor activities and internal competencies.

Create legal and other frameworks to facilitate business activity – In a global environment characterised by rapid and often far-reaching change, investors can be attracted to and find solace in knowing that they can invest in a jurisdiction where there is inter alia clarity of regulatory processes, institutional responsiveness, legal certainty and various means of effectively addressing disputes.

The challenge lies in balancing the need for what Bharath defines as a shift “from red tape to red carpet” with the traditionally tempered legal, regulatory and other frameworks that have facilitated the stability for which Barbados is known.

Pursue larger markets via strategic partnerships and trade agreements – Bharath believes that a country should not reinvent the wheel but should work with other jurisdictions and/or entities that have superior experience and contacts, which can be mutually beneficial.

Leverage research – It is necessary to identify the characteristics and needs of potential markets.

If you are inadequately aware of the current and potential context in which you operate, it is more difficult to plan and execute the appropriate initiatives.

Do the best that you can with the talents and uniqueness that you possess – Dale Carnegie advised that a person should unearth his/her abilities and uniqueness; should avoid pretending to be someone else; and should seek to be the best self that he/she can be.

By extension, a jurisdiction should seek to unearth and capitalise upon its unique strengths so that it can provide a quality, valued and distinctive experience to entities with which it currently or prospectively conducts business. | 23-Oct-2014 14:00

Sri Lanka names squad for India tour

COLOMBO (AP) — Sri Lanka, minus leading strike bowlers Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath, on Wednesday named a mixture of experienced players and likely contenders in its 15-man squad for a one-day international series against India starting next week.

The five-match series is not part of the official tour program, but was arranged after West Indies pulled out of its tour to India due to a pay dispute.

The squad announced for the first three matches has a strong batting line-up despite the omission of promising Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal, but is weakened by the absence of Malinga, who is recovering from injury, and Herath.

Uncapped seam bowler Lahiru Gamage is included along with off spinner Suraj Randiv who played his last one-day international three years ago, and leg spinner Seekkuge Prasanna who has not had a regular chance.

Gamage has played in 33 first-class limited-over matches and taken 37 wickets.

Allrounder Chaturanga de Silva who has played in five one-day internationals for Sri Lanka will be a third choice spinner.

The squad: Angelo Mathews (captain), Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Ashan Priyanjan, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Lahiru Gamage, Chaturanga De Silva, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suraj Randiv. | 23-Oct-2014 13:39

Teens lured to IS

DENVER (AP) - Three teenage girls being investigated for trying to join Islamic State forces in Syria were victims of an "online predator" who encouraged them, a school official said Wednesday, as US officials tried to determine how they made it to Europe without anyone knowing and whether terrorists' appeal is deepening among vulnerable youth.

The Denver-area girls - two sisters ages 17 and 15, and their 16-year-old friend - were detained at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, and sent home over the weekend. They were interviewed by the FBI and returned to their parents in suburban Aurora. Those in the tight-knit east African community where they live said the sisters are of Somali descent and their friend is of Sudanese descent.

The episode posed vexing questions for US officials, including about the use of social media by terror groups to recruit people inside the United States and what can be done about it.

"Social media has played a very significant role in the recruitment of young people," said FBI spokesman Kyle Loven in Minneapolis, home to the largest Somali community in the US Authorities there have been concerned about terror recruiting of the young for years.

"What it indicates is we have to be really careful about people in impressionable years and what they're doing on the Internet," said Jim Davis, former special agent in charge of the FBI in Denver.

At least one of the girls was communicating with someone online who encouraged the three to travel to Syria, said Tustin Amole, a spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District where the girls attend high school.

Fellow high school students told school officials on Monday that the girls had been discussing travel plans over Twitter, Amole said.

"There's no indication they had been radicalized in a way that they wanted to fight for ISIS," Amole said, adding that the students had no prior problems aside from unexcused absences on Friday. She did not elaborate.

A US official said evidence gathered so far made it clear that the girls were headed to Syria, though the official said investigators were still trying to determine what sort of contacts they had in that country. Another US official said that investigators were reviewing evidence, including the girls' computers. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name.

Still unknown is how the girls managed to get to Frankfurt. The US government doesn't have any restrictions on children flying alone, domestically or internationally. Airline policies vary.

Most US airlines allow children 12 and older to fly alone but often with restrictions on international flights, according to the US Transportation Department.

The girls' parents reported them missing Friday after they skipped classes. They had taken passports and $2 000 in cash.

At some point, the US informed German authorities at the airport about the girls arriving alone on their way to Turkey, German Interior Ministry spokeswoman Pamela Mueller-Niese told reporters Wednesday. She said the three were detained by German police, with approval from a judge, and returned voluntarily to the US on Sunday.

In Denver, the FBI interviewed the girls before sending them home. Once there, the girls told a deputy they stayed in the Frankfurt airport for an entire day. They said they had gone to Germany for "family," but wouldn't elaborate.

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking during a visit to Berlin on Wednesday, said the case was "an example of good cooperation between us and the increased vigilance of law enforcement on this issue of the movement of people from one country to another."

Amole said the school district was being "extra vigilant" in light of the FBI's concerns that the girls' friends or classmates might have similar intentions.

Mohamed Nur, head of the Somali Community Center of Colorado, said residents want to know more about what really happened so they can find ways to "do a better job and show kids a good path."

Terror recruiting has been a problem for years in Minneapolis. Since 2007, roughly 22 young Somali-Americans have travelled to Somalia to take up arms with al-Shabab, an al-Qaida linked group. Those were all men.

Within the last year, a handful of people from the community left Minnesota to join militant groups in Syria, and this time, there are fears that women might have been targeted. Loven said the FBI is working with the Somali community to establish trust and help identify young people at risk for radicalization.

In Colorado, Shannon Conley, a 19-year-old nurse's aide, pleaded guilty in September to planning to help the Islamic State after trying to board a flight in Denver to get to Turkey. Conley planned to marry a man she met online who said he was fighting with the militants.

Mia Bloom, a professor of security studies at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, said the girls' story so far suggests how Islamic extremists have mastered social media to prey on younger and younger women with "Disney-like versions of what it is like to live in the caliphate."

A spokesman for the US attorney's office in Denver would not say whether prosecutors plan to charge the girls with a crime. State prosecutors said they have no imminent plans to charge the girls. Amole said they will not face discipline.

"Our biggest concern is for the safety and well-being of these girls," Amole said. | 23-Oct-2014 12:38

Jamaican pilot in Qatar prison

KINGSTON - Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Edmund Bartlett says that the Government must intervene on behalf of a Jamaican airline pilot, Paul Stephens, who has been imprisoned in Qatar for the past three years on what appears to be trumped-up charges.

In a release today, Bartlett said that he was calling on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator A. J. Nicholson to give a full account of the steps being taken to secure the best interest of Stephens.

Nicholson acknowledged in the Senate on Friday that Stephens is the only Jamaican known to the Government as being held in jail in a Muslim country. However, the minister furnished no further details on his detention.

Nicholson was responding to questions from Senator Robert Montague on the number of Jamaicans being held in prisons abroad.

According to Bartlett, Stephens was charged for raping a co-worker's daughter, but was eventually sentenced for "mistrust of a minor", after the case for rape could not be established in the courts.

"The parents and friends of the airline pilot Paul Stephens have written several letters to Foreign Affairs Ministers Nicholson and (Arnaldo Brown) as well as Information Minister, Sandrea Falconer, seeking government assistance to plead for pardon by the Qatar government and/or deport him back to Jamaica, to little avail," Bartlett stated.

"In the interim," the Opposition spokesman said, "Mr Stephens is suffering in the Salva Correctional institution in Qatar from stab wounds to his left arm and his right foot, bruised and swollen as a result of homosexual assaults on him, which he had to fend off."

"Certainly, the most important function of a consulate is to rally the cause of our citizens abroad, and vigorously defend their right to fair and just treatment in foreign soil. The Government has not, in recent times, shown this duty to care for our nationals abroad," Bartlett added.

He said that he has been advised that the family and friends of Stephens have had reputable lawyers draft a letter of pardon, dictated by eminent authorities in Qatar, which needed the concurrence of the Government of Jamaica, but to date no action has been taken by the Government.

Bartlett said that he is calling on the Government to engage "appropriate diplomatic dialogue" with the government of Qatar, to facilitate the pardoning of Stephens.

The State of Qatar is a sovereign Arab country located in Western Asia. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in September 1971, and became an independent sovereign state. The Al Thani dynasty has been ruling Qatar since the family house was established in 1825. There is no independent legislature, and political parties are forbidden. Parliamentary elections, originally promised for 2005, have been postponed indefinitely. (Jamaica Observer) | 23-Oct-2014 11:45

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