Sagicor in strong financial position, says president

(Trinidad Express) Sagicor Financial Corporation is in a strong financial position, the company’s president said last week following concerns raised about the financial institution after it issued more than 11.7 million new shares in a private placement in Barbados.

Nicaraguan election tribunal stands for now-Ortega

MANAGUA, (Reuters) – Nicaraguan President Daniel  Ortega issued a decree on Saturday that could extend the terms  of electoral officials supporting his controversial bid for  re-election in 2011, a move the opposition says oversteps his  powers.

No guarantee for T&T Clico mutual funds holders

(Trinidad Guardian) The Government’s guarantee to Clico’s policyholders and depositors does not apply to investors who had money in the insurance company’s mutual funds, Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams has confirmed.

PM: When I’m stressed, I put on a pot

(Jamaica Observer) – Prime Minister Bruce Golding admitted on Wednesday evening to feeling the pressure of his job, but disclosed an unorthodox way of tackling the stress of the nation’s problems; he heads for the kitchen.

Woman granted $10,000 bail in forgery case

(Antigua Sun) – After having been denied bail last December (2009) in the St John’s Magistrates’ Court, a Guyanese woman charged with forging an Antigua and Barbuda immigration extension stamp has finally been released until her trial.

Children armed and dangerous

(Jamaica Observer) – The majority of the more than 51,000 offensive weapons seized by the police last year, were taken from children and persons who loiter in public spaces, Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Glenmore Hinds disclosed.

Massive housing fraud uncovered, top official fired

(Jamaica Gleaner) – Contractor General Gregg Christie has revealed that his office has uncovered an elaborate criminal conspiracy involving a group of sham contractors, exploiting the National Housing Trust (NHT).

US denies contractor arrested by Cuba is spy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States denied yesterday Cuban allegations that a US contractor detained in Cuba last month for distributing satellite communications equipment is an American spy.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Storm rushed to Barbados The son of Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has been rushed to Barbados for medical attention after being badly hurt in a traffic accident on Wednesday.

US presses for truth commission on Honduras crisis

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – The United States urged Honduras on Tuesday to form a unity government and establish a truth commission to investigate the country’s June coup, suggesting that US aid may hinge on these conditions.

Venezuela responds to disquiet over power crisis

CARACAS (Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez’s government has relaxed unpopular electricity rationing at malls amid an energy crisis that dampened the New Year’s fun of shopaholic and party-loving Venezuelans.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

No casino gambling Grenadian Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has given the thumbs down to casino gambling on the island.

Barbados will not be rounding up illegals

…but will crack down on undocumented (Barbados Nation) Government will not be rounding up any illegal immigrants still in Barbados but will continue to crack down on undocumented CARICOM nationals involved in criminal activity.

Sagicor private placement raises eyebrows

(Trinidad Guardian) The recent decision by Sagicor Financial Corporation (SFC) to raise capital by making a private placement of its shares has puzzled and perplexed three local financial analysts and stock market observers.

Colombia rebels, al Qaeda in ‘unholy’ drug alliance

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian guerrillas have entered into “an unholy alliance” with Islamic extremists who are helping the Marxist rebels smuggle cocaine through Africa on its way to European consumers, a US official told Reuters.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Skerrit: ‘not business as usual’Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has warned his incoming cabinet ministers not to expect their job to be an eight to four one.

4 murders reported on first day of 2010

(Jamaica Observer) The bloodshed that marked 2009 as one of Jamaica’s most violent years continued unabated on Friday with the police reporting that gunmen shot dead four persons as the country ushered in the New Year.

Woman murdered, six houses torched in Salt Spring

(Jamaica Gleaner) – One woman was shot dead, six houses torched and an entire community left traumatised as heavily armed thugs wreaked havoc in volatile Salt Spring, St James, between late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

Two to be deported after serving time

(Antigua Sun) – Two Guyanese men were convicted and ordered removed from the state upon completion of their sentences when they appeared before Chief Magistrate Ivan Walters in the St.

Venezuela still sore at Dutch over US ‘aggression’

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela rejected yesterday Dutch reassurances that the US military was using the Netherlands’ Caribbean islands only for drug surveillance, accusing it of complicity with a planned US “aggression.” The alleged threat of US intervention in the oil-producing South American nation has become a central element of President Hugo Chavez’s discourse and a rallying cry for his supporters.

Chavez mocks Venezuela coup, Castro death forecast

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez scoffed on Wednesday at US magazine Newsweek‘s predictions that he would be toppled by a military coup and his Cuban mentor Fidel Castro would die in 2010.

Saudis quit Caribbean oil storage; China steps in

NEW YORK/HOUSTON/ BEIJING (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has quit a long-held lease for 5 million barrels of Caribbean oil storage near the key US market and state giant PetroChina is poised to move in, industry sources say, a potentially major shift in global oil trade dynamics.

Democratic rep incriminated in Stanford debacle

(Antigua Sun) – Just days after it was announced that the US Justice Department is investigating contributions made to lawmakers by Allen Stanford, a democratic representative has been listed as one who benefited from the former billionaire at the expense of his clients.

Jamaica cops cut down four in St Elizabeth shoot-out

-in attack on drugs-for-guns syndicate (Jamaica Gleaner) Police in St Elizabeth are on the hunt for the sole survivor of a group of five gunmen who engaged lawmen in a shoot-out on Monday.

Crime forces out Laventille Panorama champ

(Trinidad Express) Crime has forced the Witco Desperadoes to flee their Laventille Hill home after more than 60 years and seek refuge in Belmont, officials of the panside said on Monday.

Seventeen die over Christmas weekend

(Jamaica Observer) – Seventeen persons were killed over the Christmas weekend, including six on Christmas Day, police reported.

Murder toll reaches 500

(Trinidad Express) – While the rest of the country celebrated the festive season, two men were murdered on Sunday, bringing the number of people murdered in T&T for 2009 to 500, according to a Sunday Express tally.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Montserrat delays treaty signing Montserrat has said that it will not sign the treaty establishing an economic union of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean states today.

Riot on Christmas rocks Suriname border town

PARAMARIBO (Reuters) – Police and troops on Christmas Day put down a riot and looting rampage in Albina, a Surinamese town bordering French Guiana, in violence which wounded 13 people, a government minister said.

T&T murder toll reaches 500

(Trinidad Express) Killers, you have reached your mark. While the rest of the country celebrated the festive season, two men were murdered on Saturday, bringing the number of people murdered in T&T for 2009 to 500, according to a Sunday Express tally.

UNC MPs rally round Panday

(Trinidad Guardian) United National Congress (UNC) leader Basdeo Panday has been given a major Christmas gift with the political endorsement of most of his Members of Parliament and Senators.

$30M Tobago fire

(Trinidiad Express) A $30 million fire in Tobago has left 95 people jobless.

Ship fire kills nine off Venezuela: report

Five injured, 9 missing in ship fire in Caribbean CARACAS (Reuters) – Nine sailors were killed and five were burned in a Christmas Day blaze aboard a Greek freighter in waters off a Venezuelan Caribbean island, the official Venezuelan news agency ABN reported on Friday.

Sister takes bullet in back

(Trinidad Express) A woman used her body as a shield for her younger brother when gunmen began shooting at him Thursday morning.

Golding’s gift – PM rolls back, adds new tax measures

(Jamaica Gleaner) – Prime Minister Bruce Golding dramatically changed course on Wednesday night as he roundly rescinded the General Consumption Tax (GCT) on a list of items announced by Finance Minister Audley Shaw a week ago.

Former Venezuelan President Caldera dies at age 93

CARACAS (Reuters) – Rafael Caldera, who served twice as Venezuela’s president and released current leader Hugo Chavez from jail after his failed coup attempt in the 1990s, died at age 93 on Thursday, his family and state media said.

Probe into AA crash continues

(Jamaica Observer) – A probe to find out what caused American Airlines Flight 331 to plough through the perimeter fence at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Tuesday night and crash land close to the sea, will continue over the next few days as local and international investigators continue to comb the wreckage for clues.

Passengers hurt as US airliner goes careening out of Kingston airport

(Jamaica Gleaner) – One hundred and forty-five passengers aboard American Airlines flight 331 from Miami narrowly missed death as the aircraft overran the Norman Manley International Airport runway in Kingston, ending inches away from the sea along the Port Royal main road on Tuesday night.

One more for Skerrit

(BBC) Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has been sworn in for another term after leading his Labour Party to an overwhelming election win.

Controversial T&T Property Bill passed

(Trinidad Express) Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira has taken ’offence’ to the description of the Property Tax bill as a revenue-raising measure.

PNP tax protest set -gov’t under pressure

(Jamaica Gleaner) Biting criticism of and widespread disgust with the Government’s latest tax package has forced the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government into reverse gear as it changes course on measures deemed by many to be “oppressive”.