Jamaica constabulary backtracks on statements linking gays to organised crimes

(Jamaica Observer) The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has withdrawn a controversial statement made by Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey linking of members of the homosexual community to some forms of organised crime in the country.

Bailey, who heads of the Organised Crime Investigation Division, identified homosexuals as being prominently involved in the ‘lottery scam’ and other highly lucrative criminal enterprise after a review of police data.

However, his comment sparked anger among the local gay and lesbian community which accused the police of bias. Rights group Jamaicans For Justice had also taken issue with the statement.

On Thursday, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington expressed regret “to all Jamaicans and our international partners for any concern, anxiety and any appearance of unfair labelling which may have been construed from the message”.

Ellington said SSP Bailey had shared information with him “supporting his assertion and cited discussions he has had with representatives of JFLAG (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays) about the problem”.

“He fully understands the basis of concern for the safety and well-being of members of the gay community who may be targeted by misguided individuals simply because of the statements under reference,” the commissioner said in a statement.

The commissioner also assured the public that the JCF had no policy of singling out individual social groups for special attention.

“Our focus is on enforcing the laws without fear, favour, prejudice or ill-will. The JCF stands willing to receive and deal dispassionately with feedback from our publics. Our mission remains to serve, protect and re-assure all,” said Ellington.

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Little enforcement of Jamaica Tobacco Control Act douses its relevance

(Jamaica Observer) It has existed on Jamaican law books for three years now, but the one-time much heralded Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations Act 2013, seems to have virtually gone up in smoke.

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Big battle set for key Clico beachfront property in T&T

(Trinidad Guardian) Battle for No Man’s Land. That is what is shaping up on all fronts—from Government to the Clico owners of the property—as the spotlight continues to increase on one of the last pristine pieces of beachfront in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Died at hospital:
Isaiah Hospedales

T&T student killed for gold chain

(Trinidad Express) A 22-year-old man’s decision to wear a large gold chain while liming with friends on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook cost him his life early Saturday morning when he was ambushed, shot and killed for his jewelry.

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Venezuela first lady’s nephews confessed to drug scheme, U.S. says

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady, who face charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, confessed to U.S.

Cristina Fernandez

Former Argentina leader slams corruption probes as political plot

EL CALAFATE, Argentina (Reuters) – Facing corruption probes that threaten to land her behind bars, former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez described her growing legal troubles as part of a “persecution” of progressive Latin American leaders that has boosted the right in the region.

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Venezuela opposition leader Lopez awaits appeal verdict

CARACAS (Reuters) – An appeal hearing into Venezuela’s most prominent jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ended yesterday, with he and supporters saying the nearly 14-year sentence for inciting violence should be immediately overturned.

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