Murder toll climbs to 114

(Trinidad Guardian) – Two men were murdered within a 24-hour period, bringing the total murders for the year, up to late on Wednesday to 114.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Floods hit Suriname Reports from Suriname say heavy rains are flooding some areas and forcing businesses and schools to close.

Brazil’s Lula to push Obama on Latin America policy

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will tomorrow urge US President Barack Obama to open talks with leftist governments in Venezuela and Cuba and make aid and development the focus of his Latin America policy.

A lot of back slapping at Liat

(BBC) – Liat’s owners are congratulating themselves for keeping the airline in Caribbean hands and out of Sir Allen Stanford’s.

Stanford Latam clients don’t want names known

DALLAS (Reuters) – Latin American investors in the unraveling financial empire of Texas billionaire Allen Stanford do not want their names published for fear they could be targeted by criminals, a lawyer said.

Accounts were ‘rolled over’

(Trinidad Express) – Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira says that the Clico Investment Bank (CIB) accounts which she closed on December 31 last year, before they matured later this year, had actually matured previously and were “rolled over”.

Bank calls in Clico debt

(Trinidad Exoress) NASSAU – FirstCaribbean International Bank has called in a nearly $500,000 debt owed by Clico Bahamas, further eroding policyholders’ chances of fully recovering their money tied up in the troubled insurance firm, The Nassau Guardian can confirm.

Obeah in court

(Trinidad Express)- The names of a magistrate and police prosecutor were written on paper and stuffed into a powder-filled bottle and left outside the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Brazil economy shrinks in 4th qtr as crisis hits

SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – Brazil’s economy had its  worst showing in more than a decade in the last quarter of  2008, shrinking a larger-than-expected 3.6 percent as the  global financial crisis took a heavy toll on Latin America’s  biggest country.

Bahamians at risk from Clico liquidation

(Nassau Guardian) NASSAU, The Bahamas – Bahamian professionals, religious leaders, businesses, churches and two government entities – Bahamasair and the Broad-casting Corporation Of The Bahamas – collectively have US$23 million in annuities tied up in CLICO Bahamas and it remains unclear how much, if any, of that money will be recovered as the company is in liquidation.

U.N. war on drugs fails to curb abuse, EC says

VIENNA, March 10 (Reuters) – A United Nations drive to cut  supply and demand for illegal drugs has shown no progress  globally in the decade since it was started, a European  Commis-sion report said yesterday.

UN’s Ban, Bill Clinton urge Haiti to seek recovery

PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited  Haiti yesterday and urged the Caribbean state to use  international backing to haul itself out of grinding poverty.

Manning sees no conflict of interest in Karen and CLICO

(Trinidad Express) Half of the Cabinet has some type of an investment “portfolio”, “an annuity or something” with Colonial Life Insurance Co (CLICO), a subsidiary of the CL Financial Group, which received a multi-billion-dollar bailout from the State, says Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

Gunmen invade Jamaica dance, killing four

(Jamaica Gleaner) Divi-sional commander for the St James police, Superintendent Maurice Robinson, is appealing for calm following a quadruple murder in the parish on Sunday.

FBI says looking for Stanford victims in probe

HOUSTON, (Reuters) – The Houston office of the FBI is  seeking to identify victims in its criminal fraud investigation of  Stanford Financial Group and its affiliated companies, the agency  said yesterday.

Trinidad Finance Minister owns CL Financial stock

(Trinidad Guardian) Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira has presided over the billion-dollar bail-out of the CL Financial group, even as she herself has owned shares in the conglomerate, Guardian investigations have revealed.

CIB books in a mess – Central Bank Governor

(Trinidad Express) Non-performing loans on the books of the state-impounded CL Financial-owned Clico Investment Bank (CIB) could account for over 20 per cent, significantly more than the industry standard of two-to-three per cent, sources close to the bank have disclosed.

Piano kills 5-year-old

(Jamaica Gleaner) – Tragedy struck at a basic school in the Tucker-Irwin area of St James on Thursday afternoon when a little girl died after an abandoned piano in a schoolyard fell on her.

Son held for raping mother in her bed

Trinidad Express) – A 33-year-old man who raped and sodomised his 73-year-old mother was caught by police officers around 3 am on Thursday.

Missing-children broadcast probe

(Trinidad Express) – The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has begun investigations to determine whether the erroneous reports of the “discovery of children in a container on the port within Trinidad and Tobago was public mischief on the part of the broadcasting stations involved”.

Venezuela takes over tree farm of Irish company

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has taken over a eucalyptus tree farm run by Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa, his latest move on foreign companies as he tightens his grip on the farm and food sectors.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Bahamas eyes beauty boost Officials in the Bahamas are hoping this year’s Miss Universe pageant will add some beauty to an ugly year for tourism.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Receiver seeks Stanford ease The court-appointed receiver in charge of the operations and assets of the Stanford Financial Group has asked a federal judge to release some client brokerage accounts that contain $250,000 or less.

Venezuela sees no further Cargill takeovers

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela said yesterday it has no plans to take over any additional holdings of US food giant Cargill after socialist President Hugo Chavez ordered the seizure of the rice plant, renewing his nationalization drive.

‘T&T economy vulnerable’

(Trinidad Express) – The collapse of a large financial conglomerate and continued exposure to plunging oil and gas prices make Trinidad and Tobago’s economy vulnerable, a new report from the International Monetary Report has shown.

Prime ministers make $20,000 deposits in Bank of Antigua

(Antigua Sun) – Prime Ministers Baldwin Spencer and Dr Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines, have attempted to further reassure the public of the soundness of Bank of Antigua Ltd (BOA) by opening, and reactivating personal chequing accounts there.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Council set for Haiti The UN Security Council is heading to Haiti next week to assess the country’s progress.

IMF warns crisis has shifted to poor countries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday warned that the global crisis had shifted to the world’s poorest nations and 22 countries may need as much as $25 billion in additional funding in 2009 to cope with the downturn.

Children in container hoax shuts down port

(Trinidad Guardian) – There was a complete shutdown of the Port-of-Spain Port on Tuesday as rumours spread throughout the country that a container with missing children had been discovered.

Clinton urges Brazil to return son of US man

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Brazilian government yesterday to push for the return of an 8-year-old boy to his US father, who says his son was abducted illegally more than four years ago.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Governor consults over corruption report The governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands says he needs to consult with British ministers before releasing any findings by a commission which investigated allegations of widespread corruption.

DPP orders 14 cop arrests in file backlog clearing

(Jamaica Gleaner) – Pushing to clear the backlog of files received from the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI), Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has instructed detectives to arrest 14 of their colleagues for criminal offences, ranging from murder to assault.

IFC takes 20% stake in First Global

(Jamaica Gleaner) First Global Bank has signed a US$20 million agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, to expand its capital base and to provide funding for on-lending to Jamaican businesses.

British American sued for US$38M

(Trinidad Guardian) The US company which sold 6,000 acres of land in Florida to British American has sued the insurance company, a subsidiary of the beleaguered CL Financial group, to recover US$38.2 million in a move which could end with the lender owning British American Trinidad.

Duprey sank billion$ into Florida properties

(Trinidad Guardian) – CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey went on a shopping spree in south Florida in the last five years, buying or developing up to a dozen properties and spending an estimated US$1.5 billion—some of which would have come from local pensioners who were lured by promises of high returns from his insurance companies.

Transfer of funds glitch-free in CIB takeover

(Trinidad Express) – Despite some initial panic about the state of their investments, both big and small depositors of the failed CLICO Investment Bank had their claims processed by state owned bank, First Citizens, at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, on Thursday.

Fidel Castro walks in Havana — Venezuela’s Chavez

CARACAS (Reuters) – Cuba’s ailing former leader Fidel Castro, not seen in public for almost three years, appeared on the streets of Havana and people cried when they recognized him, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said yesterday.

One killed, two shot and injured at boat party

(Jamaica Gleaner) – It was billed as a late-night party at Kingston Harbour, but the boat never left the dock, as a barrage of bullets brought the session to its premature end.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Call for regional banking regulation The Governor of the Barbados Central Bank has urged that a regional regulatory system for the financial sector be put in place.

Fay-Ann wins Road March by wide margin

(Trinidad Express) – It was the season for multiple wins as the National Carnival Commission (NCC) announced the winners of Carnival 2009 at the new VIP lounge at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, yesterday.