by Juliette Heath This handsome boy is (im)patiently waiting for his forever home. Oakleyhas been passed over so many times despite being an absolute cuddle bug, and is now desperate to find ...

In this file photo, Vybz Kartel flashes his trademark 'Gaza' hand symbol before entering court.

On Friday,the appeal by dancehall powerhouse Vybz Kartel and his threemurder co-convictswas dismissed. The decision is a big disappointment forKartel fans whohad high hopes of seeing the self-proclaimed‘World Boss’ walk free. The Court of Appeal had agreed to take another look into the details of a trial that found Kartel,Shawn 'Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones and André St John guilty of murder in March 2014. The three-member panel of the court, headed by president, Dennis Morrison, Frank Williams and Patrick Brooks, announced their decision to dismiss the appeal shortly before 10am Friday. They did not immediately offer reasons for their decision. Kartel and his co-accused have been languishing behind bars for nearly nine years. They may still havea glimmer of hope as Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson, has indicated that he will be taking the matter all the way to the United Kingdom Privy Council. Loop News has gone back in time to remind our readers just how this talented but controversial dancehall deejay found himself in this predicament. Origin and Early Career - Born January 7, 1976 Adidja Palmer is the product of working class parents who made the community of Waterford in Portmore, St Catherine their home. - He attended Calabar High School in St Andrew before dropping out to pursue his dream of becoming an entertainer. Starting out with the moniker Addie Banton, a young Vybz Kartel released his first single 'Love Fat Woman'at the age of 17. - Kartel steadily rose through the ranks and caught the attention of dancehall heavyweight Bounty Killer, who incorporated him into his Alliance crew. While there, Vybz Kartel’s talent for penning hits came to the fore as he was the main writer for Bounty Killer and other members of the Alliance. Gaza vs Gully - His rivalry with Alliance team member, Mavado and a falling out with Bounty Killer saw the deejay beating an exit from the Allianceto work on building his own Gaza Empire. Things took a turn for the worst after the rivalry spilled over into the streets and a bitter feud, dubbed the Gully/Gaza war, erupted between gangs from the communities of Big Yard and Cassava Piece on Mannings Hill Road in Kingston -resulting in several shootings and injuries. The violence even spread to schools and prompted the intervention of Prime Minister Bruce Golding and high ranking members of the constabulary who warned both men to quit the fighting or face the consequences. - After his departure from the ranks of the Alliance, Vybz Kartel rose to become dancehall’s leading light (the self-proclaimed 'Teacha')and at the same time built his commercial empire which included his own record label, line of shoes, cake soap and alcohol. Arrest and Murder Trial - In September 2011, the deejaywas arrested after cops from the now retired deputy Superintendent Cornwall ‘Bigga’ Ford-led Flying Squad corralled a hotel in New Kingston and took the entertainer - who was in a room with a female companion - into custody. He was slapped with the 2011 murders of Gregory Park strongman, Barrington ‘Bossie’ Bryan and his former crony Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. However, the charges in the Bryan murder were dropped after the prosecution failed to make a case against the deejay. His troubles, though, had just begun after he was remanded in custody as the prosecution built a case against him for his part in Lizard’s demise. - He had already spent more than a yearin jail when, in November 2013, the murder case against Kartel and his four co-accused began. It would go down in history as the longest murder trial ever to take place in Jamaica. - Damning evidence was given by star prosecution witness, Leonard Chow, whose sister bore a child for Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell. Chow claimed he was taken to Kartel’s Kirk Avenue home in Havendale by Campbell and was present when Lizard was being mauled to death. Chow said he was next in line but escaped with his life after he managed to scale a high metal gate and scamper towards Mannings Hill Road, where he hailed a taxi. But not before assisting Kartel to the hospital after the deejay was bitten by his own pit bull. Chow gave evidence that the beatings and subsequent death were ordered by Kartel, who was angered that two firearms he had handed over to himself and Lizard for safekeeping had gone missing. The court was told that the code name for guns were ‘shoes’. - Evidence was also given by police, handwriting experts, executives from telecommunications companies, and police investigators. Several voice note recordings, video footage and text messages were also handed into evidence by the prosecution. - The defense argued that their clients were not being given a fair trial due to the fact that Chow gave two different times when he arrived at the Kirk Avenue premises, police had tampered with evidence and left cellular phones which were seized from Kartel and used them to make phone calls. - Williams’ sister also appeared in court and tearfully testified that her brother and the accused men were friends and that his loved ones were not given the privilege of giving him a decent funeral as his body has never been found. - Kartel’s sister, who was a vice principal of a secondary school at the time, also gave character reference on behalf of her brother. - Vybz Kartel himself, in an unsworn statement from the dock, pleaded his innocence and asked Justice Lennox Campbell, members of the panel of jurors and the general public to separate the image of Vybz Kartel from Adidja Palmer. - The accused men were found guiltyand were remanded for sentencing. However before justice could be handed down, news broke that a member of the 12-member jury panel had attempted to bribe a fellow juror in a bid to sway the verdict in the accused men’s favour. That juror was arrested and charged for attempting to pervert the course of justice. Sentenced to Life - On April 3, 2014, Kartel was sentenced to life in prison and told that he would not be eligible for parole until 35 years had elapsed. His co-accused were also sentenced to life but were told that they would be eligible for parole after 25 years. - The guilty verdict was welcomed by the prosecution but was met with anger and dismay by the dancehall faithful who were adamant that Kartel was being targeted unfairly and called for him to be released. - In the aftermath of the sentencing, police went to Kartel’s stomping ground of Waterford in Portmore, St Catherine and painted over murals of the entertainer. - Two journalists also received death threats for their role in the coverage of the historic trial. - Vybz kartel has been incarcerated for almostnine years, but imprisonment has not dented his growing popularity in the dancehall world and he continues to be hailed as the ruler of the deejayidiom. Appeal - In April 2018, an all-star legal team filed supplementary grounds and skeleton arguments in the Court of Appeal in downtown Kingston to have the 2014 murder convictionsoverturned. - In July 2018,theAppeal’s Court ruledthatKartel and his threemurder co-convictshave the right to enter fresh evidence and agreed to take another look into the details of thetrial. The arguments were presented that same month. - After hearing the arguments,President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dennis Morrison does not indicate a specific timeline on when the panel of three justices – Morrison, Frank Williams and Patrick Brooks – will reach a decision but stated that the case will be given “some priority attention”. - Nearly two years later, on April 3, 2020, the judges announce that the appeal has been dismissed.Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson,indicatesthat he will be taking the matter all the way to the United Kingdom Privy Council.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne has written to the IMF and the World Bank asking them to consider implementing measures to help small-island states cope with the impact of COVID-19. In a letter dated March 30, he outlined the devastating impact of the coronavirus and asked IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President, David Malpass to consider implementing measures to offer support to small and vulnerable economies. [related node_id='f9fb1832-fa7b-4b98-9c5c-ecdf15af1ce6'] PM Browne suggested the suspension of per capita income as a criteria for concessional financing, debt relief including suspension of debt payments, write-offs of aged debt particularly by the Paris Club and budgetary support through a mix of grants and low-cost loans on a country by country basis. He believes the COVID-19 pandemic could surpass the global consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. Drawing reference to tourism-dependant countries, he said: “The stoppage of airlines and cruise ships have devastated our tourism industry. Hotels and other tourism facilities have been forced to close because of a loss of business as well as domestic measures to try to contain COVID-19 and arrest its spread.” In his letter, PM Browne said this has caused a significant and unsustainable drop in government revenue while simultaneously increasing government expenditure as they attempt to improve infrastructure at the national health facilities. He said in his letter that it will be at least a year before the tourism industry returns to some semblance of normalcy. “Many of our economies will shrink by then, recording negative growth and lacking the capacity to provide the fiscal stimulus required for recovery,” he said. With the dreaded hurricane season just two months away, PM Browne said the effects of a hurricane would be beyond catastrophic. Today, he will further advance the region’s case during a meeting of the World Bank where the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed. He will be joined by Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Bank, Timothy Antoine and Director General of the OECS, Dr Didacus Jules.

"We can either decide to focus on funerals or we can either decide to keep as many people alive as possible," said Premier Alden McLaughlinin response to what he has indicated is some implicit criticism from the Chamber of Commerce with regards to the fact that Caymanian businesses have been hurt during this coronavirus crisis period. The Chamber has indicated that they are concerned that 11,000 jobs will be lost as the Covid-19 crisis rages on.The Premier responded that he believes that this sum is understated, and that businesses need to take a long hard look at their operations and make some decisions. He stressed that the government will not be in a position to support thousands of people who are not working for the medium term. The Premier indicated that although business is a priority, the number one priority is the lives of people. He went on to outline some possible initiatives that will be supporting localbusinesses. These include the following: soft loans through the Cayman Islands Development Bank possible pension payment holidays wage subsidies "We are always going to put the welfare of the people of this country before the economy," said the Premier. "Only Christ himself has been known to raise the dead."


by Juliette Heath This handsome boy is (im)patiently waiting for his forever home. Oakleyhas been passed over so many times despite being an absolute cuddle bug, and is now desperate to find his forever family and a home of his very own.This is an urgent request as Oakley will have nowhere to go as of next Wednesday, so a foster would also be greatly appreciated. Oakley has so much love to give and could not be more contented than in the midst of acuddle session.He is such a good boy - he knows lots of commands, sit, stay, heel, etc. and absolutely loves people, kids, dogs and life in general. He is ever so eager to please. Oakley was rescued when he was around three to fourmonths old.He was found tied to a lamp post in the blazing sun with no water or shade. He was fostered by a lovely family to whom he grew extremely attached, but unfortunately, they were unable to adopt him. He then went to another foster home with twoother dogs and twosmall kids. He was incredible with the kids and the dogs buteven though the foster family fell in love with him and wished they could keep him, it just was not practical for them to take another dog in. After a few other foster homes, Oakley thought he mighthave found his forever home. But sadly the couple realized they wouldhave to leave the Island and would not be able to take him with them, so he was returned to One Dog at a Time. Having thrived in a home environment, Oakley really missed receiving the love, attention and home comforts that he was used to and became extremely depressed and stressed from living in kennels. One Dog at a Time decided to send Oakley for some training to help curb this anxiety.He is about to embark on his thirdweek of training at Cayman Canine Training Services with dog whisperer, Kenneth Morgan and has beena star student. Ideally, Oakley would benefit from having a large yard to play in as well as daily walks, and it would be great if his training was continued while he transitions back into a home. Because of his enthusiasm and cuddliness, he would be ideally suited toa family with slightly older children. This poorbaby has so much love to give and no one to give it to! CJ from One Dog could not say enough about him. “He is such a handsome boy, he is totally and utterly awesome and deserves an amazing home. Anyone would be so lucky to get him! If I had to sum him up I would say he’s a total LOVE BUG, pure and simple. He just needs a family to give him love and rules to follow. He truly deserves an amazing home!” If you think you could offer Oakley a place in your home, please contact One Dog at a Time at: Facebook: @onedogatatime13 info@ODAAT.ky Call or Whatsapp +1-345-917-8284

Just under half of the Cayman Islands’ population of 68,000 consists of work permit holders— a whopping 30,000 people from around 144 countries. A significant proportion of these stand to be affected by COVID-19 related lay-offs. The Chamber of Commerce has reportedly predicted that around 11,000 would be affected, but PremierAlden McLaughlin believes that the number of those who lose their jobs will be much higher. Non-Caymanians who do not or will not have a job as a result of the tourism industry shut down and have an opportunity to leave, have been encouraged to do so by the Premier. The Premier has indicated that flights such as Cayman Airways will have to be commissioned to take these individuals out of the country. According to data from the Cayman Islands Government, there are currently 8,400 employed directly within the tourism sector in Cayman. It is unclear how many of these are work permit holders, but they all stand to be severely hit by the COVID-19 driven shut down. It is not unrealistic to conceive that thousands of expats will be forced to leave as a result of the current crisis. The tourism sector has been the driver of much of the recent growth of Cayman, contributing $652 million to Cayman’s GDP in 2017 - a quarter of the economy - and creating jobs in hospitality, real estate and construction, particularly in 2019-2020. This was set to grow further with the construction of three major hotel brands on the horizon. With thepandemic, a major income stream will be significantly affected, which will be exacerbated by the further need for social support for those who are unemployed. At the coronavirus press briefing of April 1, the Premier indicated that with the massive COVID-19 fallout, the government would simply not be in a position to support all those foreigners who are unemployed. No one can predict with any certainty how long the tourism shut down will last. At the press briefing onApril 2, the Premier indicated that the island could be shut down for at least three to four months. Although the government has indicated that no one would be left without a roof over their heads, those who are not Caymanian and no longer employed will not be encouraged to stay. Premier McLaughlin has indicated that those who wish to leave can contact the travel hotline, and flights will be created to accommodate groups of people who are trying to go. The Emergency Travel hotline number is 244 3333 and will be staffed Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.