Caribbean News Briefs – January 31, 2006

Cuban coaches in demand

Among the many areas in which Cuba excels is sports. And it is small wonder, therefore, that many countries seek coaches for various sports from Cuba. The latest to do so are Jamaica and Anguilla.

Going to Jamaica are coaches Juan José Nápoles (basketball), Leonardo Camejo Martinez (hockey), Orlando Estrada Machado (swimming), Ronaldo Zamora Castro (boxing) and Felipe Martínez Duenas (volleyball). Some of them have been in Jamaica before and proved themselves to be worthy instructors who are capable of imparting techniques and know-how to others.

The programme is expected to run for two years with the option of contract renewal.

In Anguilla there are two Cuban coaches who are there to assist with the training of youngsters in the area of athletics. They are Olympic champion Maritza Marten and Hector Martinez, a noted and longstanding lecturer for athletes and coaches.

Physical Educator, Rollins Richardson, said the training of the young Anguillian athletes was going very far for the development of athletics in Anguilla. He said the Cuban coaches had done a great deal for athletes in Antigua who have excelled in the Carifta Games and other competitions. He was certain that they would achieve similar championship levels as a result of their coaching of the athletes in Anguilla.

36 murders in 29 days

In just 28 days there have been 35 murders in Trinidad and Tobago. Life in the twin-island state is rough and people live in fear. Known as the kidnapping capital of the Caribbean, T&T, has an unenviable record for crime. Only Jamaica surpasses it in any CARICOM country.

The latest murder took place on Saturday (January 28) when gunmen shot and killed Nakido Jerome, 15. It is alleged that he was linked to a past feud between his elder relative and some other men.

Reports state that around 4 p.m. two men entered the yard where Jerome lived in Gonzales Hill, north Trinidad. One man entered the house from the front – the other from the back. They walked through the house and found Jerome in one of the bedrooms. Several shots were fired at the teenager killing him instantly.  The gunmen then fled the scene.

And four soldiers were among six people arrested in connection with the kidnap and murder of an ex- US soldier. The two sergeants and two corporals, who belong to the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF), were on duty when they were arrested at TTDF Headquarters by homicide officers, handcuffed and taken to Police Headquarters. They have since been charged with the kidnapping and murder of former United States soldier Balram “Balo” Maharaj.

One of the soldiers is a former a member of the elite Special Forces Unit; another is assigned to the army’s headquarters; while the other two belong to other battalions.

The T&T police officers were assisted in their investigations by officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and officers of the Defence Force.

When Maharaj was kidnapped a $2 million ransom was demanded for his release. The US government later offered US$10,000 for information leading to his whereabouts.

In a joint press release issued by the police and Defence Force, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commissioner of Police assured the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago that deviant behaviour among respective ranks will neither be condoned, nor swept under the carpet, and perpetrators, once discovered, will feel the full brunt of the law.

Feeling hot, hot hot

Over the last few years people in the Caribbean have been complaining about the heat. They were saying that the place is getting hotter. Last year was no exception. In fact people in the region were feeling the heat more than ever. Well it’s official that last year was a scorcher.

According to a report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 2005 was the hottest ever recorded on earth.  NASA stated that since it started to record temperature all over the world, higher averages (1998, 2002, 2003, and 2004), were surpassed by that of 2005.

In 1998 “El Nino”, heated up the Pacific Ocean waters increasing temperatures all around the world. But there was no “El Nino” in 2005, and this was cause for concern to many experts.

NASA indicated that the data confirm the strong underlying tendency of the greenhouse effect on the earth: the indiscriminate emission of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. Since the late 70s, world temperature has raised about 0.6 degrees, while the increase was 0.8 for the entire 20th century.

NASA official Drew Shindell said that the 21st century might witness an even greater increase, from three to five degrees. “That might lead the world to suffer the highest temperatures experienced in the last million years,” added the scientist.

Aiming for 10 million TV viewers

Telesur, Latin America’s counter to CNN, is planning this year, to increase five-fold its broadcasting range to reach 10 million people worldwide with an alternative message from that of large TV networks. This was disclosed by its president Andres Izarra.

Speaking at a workshop of the 6th World Social Forum in Caracas, Izarra said that Telesur has the largest Latin America news coverage among all TV stations. It broadcasts from Caracas and is transmitted by Venezuelan cable companies and reaches Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Central America.

Programmes are also transmitted around the clock through internet.
Telesur has offices and correspondents in Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Washington and has its own programmes as well as co-productions.

Minors returned to parents

Fifty-two minors who were taken off the streets in the National District were returned to their parents with strong admonitions about any recurrence. The children had been working as window cleaners on street corners, shining shoes, begging and working, which is prohibited by the minor’s code. According to a report in Diario Libre, another 12 minors were found in similar circumstances previously, in Villa Juana and returned to their parents. This was disclosed by Marizol Tobal, Joint Attorney General and Coordinator of the Department of Children and Adolescents.

El Caribe reports that a similar operation began in Santiago and children rescued from the streets will be placed provisionally in a care centre run by the National Children’s Council. The centre can accommodate 30 minors.

To protect and rob

Instead of protecting people, particularly visitors to Puerto Rico, two policemen who were on duty, robbed a man at gunpoint. It happened in the tourist area of Condado. And what’s worse it that the officers are assigned to the Tourist Police Division.

San Juan Superior Court Judge Karen Pagan issued arrest warrants for Fundador Gonzalez Santos and Luis Ortiz Soto. Bail was set at $750,000 each, which must be posted in full.

Police reports state that Billy Taveras Bruno, 23, of San Juan claimed that he was mugged by two individuals behind the Marriott Hotel. One of the robbers flashed a police badge that hung from a chain around his neck and at gun point, the man stole $40 from his pocket.

Taveras Bruno said he told them to give him back his money, to which the robbers allegedly replied: “Get out. We’re the ones calling the shots here.”

The victim reported the incident to other police officers in an area nearby and following  investigations, Gonzalez Santos and Ortiz Soto were identified as possible suspects.

Both of them failed to show up for a lineup twice, but Taveras Bruno was able to identify them from photographs.