Guyanese nationals may soon be free to practice obeah and witchcraft. This, as the Government seeks to rid the nation's law books of Colonial-era laws. Among the crimes to be examined are: vagrancy, attempts to commit suicide, roguery and vagabondage,obeah and witchcraft. In a statement, Basil Williams, Minister of Legal Affairs, said that on Monday,October 8, he and his team met with consultant, Peter Pursglove S.C, who is contracted under the Support for the Criminal Justice System Programme (SCJS) to review the existing legislation and propose recommendations of amendments for Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Cap. 8.02. He said that it is envisaged that these proposed amendments will include the decriminalisation of some current offences and the recommendation of alternatives to imprisonment in respect of certain summary offences, particularly those of a minor and non-violent nature. He said many of these offences carry a sentence of imprisonment if found guilty. "Offences concerning roguery and vagabondage, vagrancy, obeah and witchcraft, incorrigible roguery, attempt to commit suicide and criminal defamation are now decriminalised, in whole or in part, in many jurisdictions thus reducing rates of imprisonment. In such cases, decriminalising the behaviour and dealing with it outside the criminal law has not resulted in any negative impact on public safety. Other offences may no longer warrant the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment and may now be dealt with by way of fine or other non-custodial sanctions," said Williams. The Attorney General highlighted that a prison sentence is usually an inappropriate sanction, especially for non-violent, minor offences and various alternatives have been implemented in other jurisdictions, such as bail, seizure of travel documents, periodic reporting to police or other authorities, electronic monitoring or curfews, and conditional and suspended sentences. He said these activities are intended the impact the criminal justice system by increasing the use of alternative sentencing.

Photo courtesy the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre.

Another earthquake was recorded just east of Dominica's capital, Roseau, on Monday night. According to preliminary data recorded by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, the earthquake was recorded around 10:10 pm local time, 72 kilometres east of Dominica. Details are as follows: UWI, SRC - Automatic Earthquake Location DATE AND TIME: 2018-10-15 10:10 pm (Local Time) 2018-10-16 02:10 (UTC) MAGNITUDE: 3.8 LOCATION: Latitude: 15.32N Longitude: 60.74W Depth: 31 km NEARBY CITIES: 72 km E of Roseau, Dominica 88 km NE of Fort-de-France, Martinique 136 km SE of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe If you felt this earthquake, please tell us (http://uwiseismic.com/EarthquakeFeedback.aspx) DISCLAIMER: this event has NOT been reviewed by an analyst. It was automatically located by a seismological computational system, therefore, it is a PRELIMINARY result and this may vary when new additional data are processed. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store: http://bit.ly/GetiLoop


Island Taste is one of afew local businesses that will operate inside the Owen Roberts International Airport’s new food court, which is part of a larger airport renovation project scheduled to be completed later this year. The CIAA made the revelation on Wednesday, following an article by another news outlet, about the winning bidders who will operate in the new retail, duty-free and food & beverage locations. The locations will primarily be featured in the expanded departures hall within the new food court and shopping gallery, as part of the Airport’s redevelopment and expansion project. The food court will include dining options by Wendy’s, Subway, Island Taste and The Brew Hut. Retail and duty-free shopping will be provided by Kirk Freeport, Last Chance Island Souvenirs, Bodden Freeport, Tortuga Rum Co., Jacques Scott, Island Jewellers and Churchill Cigars. Works to fit-out the new locations began earlier this month with the opening of the new concessions, becoming available in phases, over the next few months. “Travelers to and from Owen Roberts International Airport can look forward to a myriad of enhancements and amenities over the next several months as we move closer to completing this multi-phased project to better serve our guests and to offer them a world-class airport experience,” said CIAA CEO Albert Anderson. Substantial completion of the Airport project is slated for December 2018 and will also include the addition of a children’s play area, mothers’ nursing station, digital flight information displays, common-use self-service kiosks, 39 check-in counters and nine departure gates. The expansion will almost triple the Airport’s size from 77,000 to 208,000 square feet, accommodating 2.5 million passengers per year.

German law enforcement authorities added another chapter to Volkswagen's diesel scandal Tuesday by fining the company's luxury division Audi 800 million euros ($925 million) for selling cars rigged to cheat on emissions tests. Prosecutors in Munich said Tuesday that the fine was imposed because Audi management neglected its oversight duties in selling cars with engines made by it and group partner Volkswagen that did not conform to legal limits on harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides. The case covered some 4.9 million Audi cars sold in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere between 2004 and 20018. In September 2015, parent company Volkswagen admitted rigging some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with software that enabled them to pass U.S. emissions tests even though emissions in real driving were much higher. Nitrogen oxides can make existing lung disease worse, contribute to the development of asthma and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The European Environmental Agency estimated that nitrogen oxides were responsible for around 75,000 premature deaths in the European Union in 2014. The prosecutors' statement said the resolution of the case did not affect a related investigation of individuals. Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler remains in jail while prosecutors investigate individual involvement in the diesel scandal. Volkswagen has paid more than $30 billion in fines, settlements and recall costs since the scandal broke. Former CEO Martin Winterkorn and other executives face criminal charges in the United States, though they cannot legally be extradited. Two Volkswagen executives were sent to prison in the U.S. Prosecutors said the failure of proper corporate oversight by Audi AG enabled deliberate wrongdoing by individuals. It said 5 million euros of the fine was imposed for the oversight failure and 795 million represented Audi's forfeiture of economic gains from the violation, including profits from selling the cars, competitive advantages, and savings on the costs of producing vehicles that actually would have conformed to legal requirements. Audi said it would not contest the fine. It said the amount would mean that the division would "significantly undercut" its financial targets for the current year. "Audi accepts the fine and, by doing so, admits its responsibility," the company said in a statement. A similar 1 billion-euro fine was imposed on Volkswagen by prosecutors in Braunschweig in June. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store: http://bit.ly/GetiLoop


The Department of Environment over the weekend called on residents to be mindful of how they discarded fishing equipment. The call came as a sea turtle had become entangled in discarded fishing line on Saturday in North Sound. A member of the public who spotted the turtle noted that it was a juvenile Hawksbill and that it was having difficulty breaking free from the discarded material. However, the resident couldn’t manage to assist the turtle. Two DoE officers responded and freed the juvenile turtle, releasing it back into the sea in the Rum Point channel. While this incident had a positive outcome, DoE conservation officers noted that they are still seeing far too many sea creatures becoming entangled in bundles of discarded fishing line. “The conservation officers who responded Saturday pulled in a lot of fishing line from the water,” said Mark Orr, DoE chief conservation officer. “This is another reminder to the public to please recycle fishing line, rather than just tossing it away,” he added. DoE Research Officer Janice Blumenthal said entanglement in discarded fishing line is one of the most serious threats to juvenile turtles in Cayman. “Fishing line is nearly invisible underwater and causes drowning and severe injuries, such as flipper amputations. Even if unwanted fishing line is sent to the landfill, it can continue to entangle birds and other animals. Fishing line takes more than 600 years to degrade,” said Blumenthal. The DoE maintains close to forty recycling bins for discarded fishing line around the three islands for the past several years and advises fishermen and other members of the public to use those bins, rather than simply casting their old or used lines on the beach or into the sea. Most public boat-launching ramps have a fishing line recycling bin and many fishing stores and dive shops have the bins as well. The DoE also used the opportunity to thank the member of the public who called for assistance in rescuing the juvenile turtle from a life-threatening situation and further encouraged anyone seeing a turtle in danger around the islands to contact the DoE immediately.

While Grand Cayman was spared the brunt of Hurricane Michael’s passage this week, several hundred baby turtles were put at risk due to high seas from the storm washing over their nests on the island’s beaches. On Monday and Tuesday, a Department of Environment (DoE) team led by visiting scientist Evelyn Denton and assisted by local turtle volunteers, checked dozens of known turtle nests which were believed to be in the process of hatching . In total, the teams located 485 live hatchlings Monday that were kept safe until they were ready for release. On Tuesday, a further 61 live hatchlings were recovered in follow-up efforts. “Some we kept in buckets, a few were even kept in a volunteer’s bathroom sink,” Denton said. “We released about 150 on Monday night and will release the rest over the next few days,” she added. Minister Dwayne Seymour, of the Ministry of Environment and Ministerial Councillor for Environment Capt. Eugene Ebanks noted their appreciation for the DoE. “This is vital work the DoE is doing for the promulgation of the green sea turtle species on and around the Cayman Islands,” while Councillor Ebanks noted his thanks: “We commend this work by the department and its volunteers,” Minister Seymour said. Turtle eggs buried down in the sand can withstand some waves washing over their nests. However, if the nest is entirely eroded and the eggs wash out to sea, or if the turtles are deprived of oxygen for a long time due to heavy, wet sand collapsing on their egg, most won’t survive. Once they hatch, baby turtles are more vulnerable to high waves. If the waves keep washing over their nests while they are digging themselves out of the sand – a process that sometimes takes several days – it becomes very difficult for the baby turtles to escape. Turtle nesting season is typically busiest between May and November. However, nesting turtles can begin as early as April and hatchlings can appear on local beaches as late as January. The DoE advises residents and tourists not to disturb turtle nests nor to attempt to “help” the baby turtles emerge from their nests.