ONE-MINUTE READS … News from around the region

February 17, 2020
A pregnant woman cries after discovering her twin children died in a fire at the orphanage of the Church of Bible Understanding outside the children’s home in Kenscoff, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Friday.
Staff workers of the orphanage of the Church of Bible Understanding cry outside the children’s home, the morning after a deadly fire broke out at the facility.
Rose-Marie Louis, a staff worker at the orphanage of the Church of Bible Understanding, holds her head amid the charred children’s home, including the unrecognisable body of a child marked by a yellow piece of paper, (bottom right), in Kenscoff on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Friday.


Fire kills 15 children in orphanage

The orphanage where 15 children died on Thursday night in a fire was in a deplorable state before the blaze, according to Raymonde Antoine Jean, justice of the peace of Kenscoff.

Officials said the fire broke out in the orphanage of the Church ‘Compréhension de la Bible’ (Understanding the Bible) in Fermathe 55 on the outskirts of the capital. They said that at the time of the incident, only three adults were present on the scene.

Jean, who visited the scene of the tragedy, said 66 children lived in unacceptable conditions at the orphanage.

“The conditions in which the children lived were really neglected … the children lived like animals, in unsanitary premises, crammed into small rooms. They slept in bunk beds, some of them in a deplorable state,” he said, noting also that there were no fire extinguishers in the building.

According to the authorities, two children burned at the orphanage while 13 others were asphyxiated by the smoke and later died at the Fermathe hospital.






Trade unionists wants Nationals get job offers first

The general secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, Toni Moore, says Barbadians should be given priority when jobs become available on the local labour market.

“And I say this very conscious that this can evolve into a debate on whether or not the statement is a xenophobic statement or not. And, without fear of that, because I recognise exactly where it is going if you have a community that just opens up its borders and allows people to be in and out without giving consideration to the realities that confront us, if we take Barbados today,” said Moore.

She was speaking in the Barbados Senate on Friday on the matter on free movement for skilled workers in CARICOM. Moore told legislators that it was significant that the labour market established standards that would allow Barbadians the right of first refusal when employment opportunities arise.




Jack Warner wins court case

The Court of Appeal has agreed with former government minister Jack Warner, who challenged a 2018 High Court ruling ordering him to repay an estimated TT$1.5 million to a financier of the main opposition, United National Congress (UNC).

Warner, who was then the chairman of the opposition party, had denied the funds were a loan given by financier Krishna Lalla and his company Real Time Systems Ltd, claiming that they were to be used to assist the party in the 2007 general election.

The lawsuit sought to retrieve the ‘loan’ given to Warner before the general election campaign of 2007.

The Court of Appeal said that the High Court judge made material errors in his assessment of the evidence in coming to the conclusion that the money was advanced to Warner as a loan.


British Virgin Islands


Cops sues commissioner for promotion

A civil lawsuit has been filed against Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews by a member of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force who is, among other things, upset that he was not promoted to the rank of sergeant.

The claim was filed on January 29 by a local law firm on behalf of their client, officer Nicholas Tranquill, who is seeking damages, costs and any further relief.

According to court documents, Tranquill believes it was “unreasonable and irrational” for the police commissioner not to promote him although he has being successful in the police promotion exams since 2017.

The documents also indicated that the officer in question was appointed to act as a police sergeant on 11 occasions between 2011 and 2019, adding that the officer had a “legitimate expectation to be promoted to the rank of sergeant.”

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