Yabsta News

Fantastic, stellar, brilliant

Beautiful strains of pulsating music reverberated off the walls of the Hilton Hotel ballroom as the sixth edition of the Barbados Jazz Excursion and Golf Weekend kicked off this past Thursday night. Music lovers who converged there for the four-day festival got a taste of some of the best talent that the island has to offer. With Gaynelle Marshall at the helm as hostess for the evening, patrons were treated to stellar musicianship centre stage. Nicholas Brancker was in fantastic form as he teamed up with a brilliant band of musicians to tantalize the audience. Included in the top-class line-up was Romaro Greaves who mesmerised the appreciative audience with his skill on the sax. The full ensemble’s scintillating display included a medley of old school hits which resonated with the mature attendees. One of the many memorable offerings the musical maestro and his team provided was a sample of calypso which was cleverly infused with a flavour of jazz. Organiser of the festival, Elan Trotman, got into a musical sparring match with Brancker as they competed note for note. It was musical matrimony as the accomplished saxophonist perfectly blended with the ensemble doing his own “Funkcalypso”. The pair has worked on numerous projects throughout the years and they opted to share one of these pieces in the showcase. “Tradewinds”, the track selected from Elan’s “Tropicality” album, has a special place in Trotman’s heart. He expressed, “It has been my anthem, I have been travelling to many states and countries over the past three or four years and this song is my anthem because it always takes me back to a special place; once you hear me play it, you will understand why.” Trinidadian guitarist Theron Shaw joined them for this song, adding his unique flavour. Another youthful musician to grace the stage was 15-year-old Daniel Harvey. Trotman revealed that he had discovered the saxophonist playing one of his own compositions on social media and was so impressed with what he saw that he sought him out and was compelled to include him. The crowd was also captivated by the talented musician and immediately sprung to their feet giving him a standing ovation. After experiencing a sampling of Barbadian talent there was a change of pace with the appearance of American comedian Chris Spencer. The well-travelled stand-up comedian has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. He was hilarious as he touched on a wide range of topics including former president of the United States Barack Obama and current leader president Trump. He even poked fun at persons who wore natural deodorant. His material was relatable and even the harshest critic would have been forced to laugh. His time on stage seemed to race by which is a testament to his skill as a storyteller. During the intermission, DJ Spin kept the tunes pumping as patrons revelled in every track he selected. The mix of music and comedy provided a satisfying opening to the festival. (STT)  The post Fantastic, stellar, brilliant appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:58pm

Food, music, comedy and golf

White was the colour of choice for the opening night of Barbados Jazz Excursion 2019. Attendees enjoyed a welcome reception in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel before the four days of concerts featuring a series of highly acclaimed artistes from across the globe officially began. The festival’s activities included golfing on some of the premier courses across the island and enjoying many of the attractions which the island has to offer. Patrons’ packed itineraries included a different themed after-party every night. The music festival is hosted to raise funds for the Headstart Music Program, the brainchild of renowned, Barbadian-born saxophonist Elan Trotman. He expressed, “The charity component is very important to me,” while recounting, “In 1998, I received a full scholarship from the Ministry of Education here in Barbados to go abroad and study for four years at the Berklee College of Music with full tuition paid, thanks to the Barbados government. One of the ways that I try to give back is through the Headstart Music Program which provides instruments and music lessons free of charge to children at the primary school or elementary school level.” He proudly acknowledged that these fundraising efforts have collected over $50, 000 in the past three years. Trotman emphasised, “It’s all about giving kids an opportunity to play an instrument, experience music and express themselves.” Beyond raising funds, the goal of the festival is to increase tourist arrivals on the island. To this end, the musician partnered with title sponsor Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI). Trotman noted, “This event is all about bringing old and new visitors to the island on a yearly basis and that is the motive and mission behind this festival, in addition to bringing our local music lovers and jazz fans to participate in this event.” Before the artistes hit the stage, patrons got to see first-hand the benefits which are derived from their donations, with a performance from graduate saxophonist Ethan McCollin. He entertained with the inspirational “You Raise Me Up”. Robert Chase, acting CEO of BTMI stated, “We encourage you to take an excursion across our small island. You will find that we are a small place, but we have a big heart.” Chase assured, “If you give us a chance, we will make you feel extremely welcome. He went on to confirm, “Elan has done a tremendous job coming up with a phenomenal line-up this year. He always looks forward and comes up with some innovative acts to bring, a combination of jazz, comedy and golf.” Chase lauded Trotman’s efforts to develop the talent in Barbados. “Through the Headstart Program, he has done a tremendous job of nurturing the young talent.” Patrons were able to make donations to the music program through their participation in the silent auction which presented an opportunity to purchase memorabilia and raffle tickets. The grand prize of two VIP tickets to next year’s event provided further incentive for visitors to return to these shores. (STT) The post Food, music, comedy and golf appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:51pm

Opportunity for performing artistes

Barbados is now a participating country of the Olympics-styled World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA). National licensed director Jamaala Fagan said today during the launch of the WCOPA event at SIFA House, Collymore Rock, St Michael, that aspiring and talented performing artistes would be provided with the opportunity to participate at the 24th Annual WCOPA 2020 event between July 24 and August 2 in Anaheim, California. “2020 will be the second year Barbados will be competing at this prestigious international Olympics-styled event. We congratulate our delegation for 2019 – Jianna Fagon, our pioneer for Barbados in dance, and Kareen and Trinity Clarke, our pioneer singers and WCOPA medallists. “Our dedicated and aspiring performing artists now have an opportunity to train, learn, compete and network with other talented international performers and entertainers from over 60 countries,” Fagon stated. She said dancers, models, singers, actors, instrumentalists and variety acts were invited to ask about the wide variety of styles open to each category listed. She explained persons could audition by emailing 60-second videos and details to facebar246@gmail.com or Whatsapp (246) 8440197 by November 8. “Accomplished performers and aspiring entertainers of ages five to 30, and over, can represent Barbados and win gold, silver and bronze medals, gain scholarships, meet and speak with internationally recognized industry representatives, participate in workshops, develop friendships, gain mentors and seek future opportunities in the international entertainment industry,” she said. (PR) The post Opportunity for performing artistes appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:47pm

World Food Day Message from Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir.

October 16, 2019 Today, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security joins with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in celebrating World Food Day. The theme “Our actions are our future, healthy diets for a zero hunger world”, reminds us of the importance of healthy eating and the necessity of having sustainable programmes and policies in place that would effectively work to eradicate hunger. Hunger is defined not only as the absence or scarcity of food, but also the lack of a consistent, balanced diet. Statistics indicate that 842 million people suffer from hunger worldwide, mostly in developing countries. Research has shown that hunger is inextricably linked to poverty and malnutrition. How, therefore, can we end world hunger and malnutrition? Firstly, by increasing local production of fruits and vegetables at affordable prices to achieve dietary diversity. Secondly, there must be the worldwide practice of sustainable agriculture. In support of the FAO’s second Sustainable Development Goal, which speaks of achieving Zero Hunger by the year 2030, the Government of Barbados, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, has taken the initiative to implement the Farmers’ Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED programme). This programme aims to ensure long-term national food and nutrition security through improved access to safe and nutritious foods; and to increase employment, especially among the youth and women. The first cohort of over 100 persons participated in the 12-week training component of the FEED programme and benefited from practical and theoretical training in various agricultural activities and practices. The programme has now entered the land allocation phase, where farmers who successfully complete the training will be eligible to lease land ranging from one quarter of an acre to five acres. Significantly, while pursuing the mentioned objectives, the agriculture sector will contribute to the Gross Domestic Product by increasing net foreign exchange earnings and reducing foreign exchange outflows. In July 2017, history was created when the FAO convened a meeting of the First Parliamentary Front against Hunger (PFH) with Members of Parliament of the Caribbean Community in the context of the global fight against hunger and malnutrition. In accordance with the recommendations from that meeting, the Government of Barbados and the Opposition have agreed to the establishment of a Parliamentary Front against Hunger and Malnutrition. The Parliamentary Front Committee will seek to assess the policy regarding the School Feeding Programme and also engage fast food restaurants on healthier alternatives. However, while adopting policies of sustainable agriculture, countries have encountered a ‘giant’ that is very disruptive. I refer to climate change, which is characterized by extreme temperatures and weather events that are likely to thwart sustainable agricultural development. The intense droughts associated with climate change will further reduce the availability of potable water in our already water-scarce country. The Ministry continues to urge farmers to practise water-harvesting techniques, such as the collection of rainwater from the roofs of houses and animal pens, to be used for irrigation purposes. Emphasis must also be placed on the utilization of environmentally controlled systems that can consistently produce high quality crops despite adverse weather or climatic conditions, thus ensuring our nation’s food security. In this regard, the Ministry is seeking to promote container farming which provides for year-round production of food, especially green leafy vegetables, herbs and other shallow rooted crops. The application of this modern technology will no doubt attract more youth to agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has established a Climate Change Unit to assess the impact of climate change and examine the level of adaptation of animal species and crop varieties in order to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change. Certainly, the Government of Barbados will continue to play its part in achieving healthy diets for a Zero Hunger World. The post World Food Day Message from Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir. appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:35pm

Ruth’s cancer fight

Ruth Quintyne, 41, will not allow cancer to rob her of the rest of her life. Almost one year ago she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a health condition that has left her in physical pain and mental anguish but in spite of all the anxieties associated with a cancer diagnosis she has maintained a steely determination to fight through the agony. In addition to suffering through chemotherapy treatment, Ruth, who cannot work because of physical constraints, is also struggling to meet some of her basic needs. But as she sat down with a Barbados TODAY team to chat about how her life has changed in the twinkling of an eye, Ruth made it clear that giving up is simply not an option since she has much to live for, including a teenaged daughter who is currently pursuing studies. “I am fighting with everything that I have. I am fighting to be healed. I am willing to work again. I am fighting just to get better and live a normal life again. I just want things to get back to normal,” she said. Ruth’s diagnosis came as a complete shock to her and her relatives and close friends. In 2017, Ruth began experiencing stiffness in her right leg and hip and realised that she could no longer put weight on that side of her body. “It all started when I was bitten by a mosquito and I thought it was Zika because it was paining my body. I was taking the medication. But then there was a pain in my knee and my leg began to swell. Then I felt a pain in my hip for months. “I was just going to a doctor and going to therapy. I did not know what was the illness at that time. Then one day in July 2018 my foot just snapped and they said it was something name bursitis which is inflammation of the joint. After that my foot just kept swelling and I was waiting for this bursitis to get out of my body, but it never left,” Ruth recalled. Her pain and agony worsened as her face started to swell. Ruth said this is when an alarm went off in her head that something serious was going on with her body. She went back to her doctor who informed her that she should go to the dentist to get a scan. She recalled that the dentist told her she was unable to give a diagnosis. “The dentist sent me to her doctor and he asked me why my foot was short and told me it look as though it is broken. I told him my foot can’t be broken because I have been going to doctors all the time. “He sent me for an x-ray and took some bloods from me. I took back the x-ray to him and in a couple hours he told me to go directly to the hospital. After being in casualty (Accident and Emergency Department) for three days, I was admitted and got the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, which I knew nothing about,” she said. Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in the white blood or plasma cells. These cells help the body to fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow where they crowd out healthy blood cells and rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications. Ruth, who walks with the assistance of crutches, described the moment the doctor told her she has cancer as mentally draining. She said the news left her blank and scared and not knowing where to turn or what to do. “It was so much to deal with and to accept. It was painful mentally and physically. I was throwing up nonstop. Doctors were asking me to go over my story over and over as they tried to gather as much information as possible. It was just a lot for me to accept.” A number of treatments are available for people suffering with multiple myeloma which will help to control the disease. According to Ruth, unfortunately in her case, her condition was caught at the point where her bones had become very brittle and treatment was required. “I am undergoing both chemo and radiation at this moment. Chemotherapy started off king of rough, but I didn’t throw up as much. Right now I have to do further tests to see how far the chemo has killed the cancer cells. After that I would know what other treatments I need,” she said. What was life like before the diagnosis? “I was working at Royal Westmoreland as a private cook. And I would do other private work in between. I have a daughter and she is studying. Because I am not working, I need the assistance from whoever is willing to help. I need help with things like food because I am trying to help my daughter. “I had to change up my diet to make myself more comfortable because of the chemotherapy. Doctors say that I have to get a hip replacement and to have it done here is going to be very costly. It is going to cost thousands of dollars,” she said. Ruth has no insurance. Recently, a group of students from her former school St James Secondary (now Frederick Smith Secondary) joined hands to raise funds to assist her. Trents 95 Alumni handed over a cheque for $10 000 to a grateful Ruth. The funds were the proceeds from a fish fry held at the Bay Street Esplanade. “I have a very good support system with my family and friends. The only people I want around me are people who are ready to fight with me. Yes, in the beginning you would feel sad, but then you have to turn your attention to fight. It is not every morning I get up and I want to get it because I am not doing what I am accustomed to doing. I can’t sit down and cry and complain, because that wouldn’t help me at this stage,” the Spooner’s Hill, St Michael resident said.  (AH) The post Ruth’s cancer fight appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:34pm

No backlash

President of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Conde Riley says he is not expecting a backlash after the BCA declined Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) offer to host Zone A of the Regional Super50 Tournament. “I don’t think there should be any backlash. The final of theSuper50 is on the first of December and normally the Independence Parade is held on the 30th of November at Kensington Oval.  We were supposed to host Zone B, which would have been the Zone with coverage from ESPN, but we had to get clearance from Government that they will move the Parade,” Riley said. He said that when the BCA finally got the word from the Government that the parade would be moved from the Oval, they went back to CWI and told them that Government would move the Parade. “They informed us that the decision had been made to move the Zone to Trinidad and offered us Zone A. The BCA’s Board held an  emergency meeting and based on the amount of money owed to us by Cricket West Indies, we concluded that  hosting Zone A would have no economic value for us because if you are owned over a million dollars and you host Zone A where there will be no economic impact to the country,  we will be spending two million dollars to host that zone and the country will be getting nothing,” Riley told Barbados TODAY. He explained that during the English visit to the Caribbean earlier this year the bulk of the money made on the Barbados leg of the tour went to CWI. He added that even though the money the BCA received from the governing body of regional cricket for hosting the first Test and two One Day Internationals reduced their debut to the BCA, a substantial amount of money was still outstanding. “The Board made its decision and we advised Cricket West Indies that we were not prepared to add another two million dollars to the sum already owned to us. We had hosted the Australian versus the West Indies Women in a Twenty20 series a few weeks earlier and there was a cost to hosting those matches. The money we received from CWI amounted to half of the cost we spent for hosting the series. Therefore we would have been compromising our ability to have our various programmes that  are vital to the development of Barbados cricket by adding debt on top of debt. So the Board took the decision and declined the offer to host Zone A. I do not expect any backlash over our action because we are still owed money. We will continue to play our part in all aspects of West Indies as a shareholder of CWI but we had to make a financial decision in relation to the Super50 Cup,” he explained The president said that while there was a payment schedule between his organisation and CWI, the clearing of debt depended on the finances of CWI. “It all depends on the finances of CWI. We have a payment schedule, but they can only pay us when they get money from media rights and International Cricket Council dividends. If the West Indies continue to keep losing, the value of the rights will go down. When a team is winning the media people will pay big money for the television rights. If a team is losing regularly, the media rights are not as valuable. The West Indies have to do two things. First of all, we have to start winning consistently. We also have to set up academies in the various islands to equip our budding cricketers with the fundamentals of the game. The rebuilding of our cricket cannot start at the top. It has to start at the nursery level in the primary schools throughout the region. The territorial boards must get their Centers of Excellence going to give the boys proper coaching after they leave school, and the club structure must be strengthened,” Riley said. Riley who is a director of CWI has come under fire recently for publicly disagreeing with several positions taken by CWI. According to him, this has not affected his relationship with his fellow directors. “I have a very good relationship with my fellow directors, we at the BCA share with them a lot of what we are doing here. I believe the constraint of money is the only reason they have not implemented some of the programmes we have shared with them,” Riley said. The post No backlash appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:32pm

Govt tackling high food bill

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has launched an initiative aimed at slashing Barbados’ gigantic food import bill, transforming the economy and empowering hundreds of young farmers. Agriculture Minister Indar Weir today announced that more than one hundred successful participants of Government’s Farmers’ Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) programme would be leased as many as four acres of land each in the Scotland District to plant trees, raise livestock and raise bees. The announcement formed part of World Food Day celebrations where agriculture officials distributed the first plots of land and starter kits to assist young farmers. According to Weir, the initiative holds the potential to significantly reduce the importation of primary agricultural products and reduce the import bill. He argued that Barbadians should be given greater opportunities to choose local products. [caption id="attachment_312267" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir with Dario Joe, 18, who received 70 trees and a starter kit including boots, chemical gloves, garden gloves and overalls to assist him with work on his three acres at Bawdens.[/caption] “If we are importing potatoes, we want to produce them here, if we are importing soursop, we want to produce them here, if we are importing pumpkins, we know we can produce them here and that is where my target is and you all [participants] need to help manage this narrative now, because you are charged with the responsibility to make sure you do that which you know is right for us to target that food import bill in terms of primary agriculture,” the Minister challenged while at the Soil Conservation Unit in Haggats, St Andrew. “Anything else in terms of preservatives, cornflakes, processed goods, etcetera, that conversation could be had when we get to agro-processing etcetera. But at this time we have to start somewhere and I believe you always need to lay a solid foundation upon which you can build…. I am building this on a solid foundation.” While this year’s FEED programme’s cohort comprised 100 participants, Minister Weir declared the ministry was aiming for over 200 for the next intake with the goal of training over one thousand farmers in the next two and a half years. Farmers focused on forestation have been offered three to four acre plots in the Scotland District along with 70 fruit trees to plant and cultivate and Minister Weir advocated for the planting of traditional trees like soursop, golden apples, gooseberry, ackee and avocado trees, among others. In Bawdens, St Andrew, quarter-acre plots will be distributed to apiculture farmers while land at Greenland in the same parish will be handed over to livestock farmers along with one ram and three ewes. According to officials, lands will also be distributed in the Pine Basin, Bath St John and parts of St Lucy among other places. kareemsmith@barbadostoday.bb The post Govt tackling high food bill appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:25pm

Justice stalled

More than a year after bringing bribery charges against former Democratic Labour Party government minister Donville Inniss, United States authorities are still trying to gather evidence to prove their allegations. The trial that was set to be heard before District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto on October 28, has now been moved to January 6, 2020, for jury selection and commencement. Consideration has also been given for a possible January 13 start, following the jury selection a week earlier. A number of pre-trial motions which were to be filed by prosecutors by June 7 have not been and the adjournment is to facilitate this process. But according to sources, United States officials have been in contact with Barbadian authorities in an effort to have a current senior manager at the Barbados Investment Corporation (BIDC), whose identity was ascertained by Barbados TODAY, travel to the United States to give evidence.  That official has refused to travel. However, as a counter, on September 4 the US government made an application to the court to issue an order permitting it to take a video-deposition from the Barbadian witness. “On or about June 27, Barbadian authorities interviewed the witness pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request from the United States government. During the interview [name of BIDC official], who is a citizen of Barbados, indicated he was unsure whether he would voluntarily travel to the United States to testify at trial . . . On or about July 29, 2019, the government [US] requested that Barbadian authorities contact…and confirm whether he will voluntarily testify at trial. The government has made multiple follow-up inquiries over the past month but, to date, has received no information as to the witness’ willingness to travel to the United States. On or about August 27, 2019, the government was informed that Barbadian authorities are planning to contact the witness during the week of September 2, 2019, with regard to his willingness to testify at trial,” the application to the court noted. The application to the court also noted that the Barbadian witness was “material to the government’s case” and would provide important testimony about the BIDC, how BIDC selected insurance companies and how the selection process worked in connection with the ICBL contract renewals that were central to the case. The document also revealed that the BIDC management official was the only witness the government intended to call from the corporation. The US authorities have not been given any indication whether the local official will volunteer for a video-deposition. In a further development in the case, the lawyer for Inniss Anthony Ricco has sought to have efforts by the US government to introduce what he deemed prejudicial evidence rejected. The US government is suggesting that because of his alleged financial difficulties, Inniss took bribes. But Ricco argued that the evidence of motive was collateral and that the US government’s theory was based upon pure speculation and conjecture that unfairly characterized Inniss as a person in significant debt and therefore took bribes. Barbados’ archaic 1929 Prevention of Corruption Act under which US authorities are basing their allegations against Inniss was also subject of contention in motions filed by the defence and prosecution in the case. The US government sought to have testimony introduced by attorney Thomas Durbin who is reputed to be an expert on the relevant Barbados statute. But it was argued that not only was the legislation a relic of Barbados’ colonial past, but Section 7 of the legislation established a mandatory presumption that shifted the burden of proof to the defendant. It was argued that this not only went against modern US law but was also unconstitutional in Barbados and had been excluded from the updated 2012 Barbados Prevention of Corruption Law that has been passed in both Houses of the Barbados Parliament but to date has not been enacted into law by proclamation. That specific section states: “Where, in any proceedings against a person for an offence under this Act, it is proved than any money, gift or other consideration has been paid or given to any Government Department or a public body by or from a person or agent of a person holding or seeking to obtain a contract from the crown or any Government Department or public body, the money, gift or consideration shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to have paid or given and received corruptly as inducement or reward, unless the contrary is proved.”  The US government relented to the motion brought by Inniss’ attorney to preclude Durbin’s evidence. Speaking on condition of anonymity today, a local legal source indicated that under the 1929 Act, in circumstances where most if not all Barbadian politicians annually accepted money, goods and services to stage Christmas parties or other functions in their constituencies, “they would all be guilty of a crime and subject to being charged” until they proved otherwise. Today Barbados TODAY investigations revealed that an official of the brokerage firm that has sourced insurers for the BIDC for almost a decade was only last year appointed to the same BIDC in a very senior position. Efforts to reach the broker/BIDC official were unsuccessful. Efforts also to reach Inniss and his legal representatives in the United States tonight were unsuccessful. wadegibbons@barbadostoday.bb The post Justice stalled appeared first on Barbados Today.

17th, October 2019, 12:17pm

Courts closing for tributes on Friday

Members of the public are asked to note that the offices of the High and Magistrates’ Courts will remain open on Friday, October 18, while the courts will close at 12:30 p.m., to facilitate members of the legal fraternity paying tribute to their departed colleagues. On that day, the Supreme and Magistrates’ Courts of Barbados and members of the Bar will pay tribute to the late Sir John Connell, Q.C.; the late Woodbine Davis, Q.C.; and the late Marva Clarke, during a special sitting of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Court No. 1 at 2:30 p.m. Persons are asked to conduct their business accordingly. (SUPREME COURT/JRB/BGIS) The post Courts closing for tributes on Friday appeared first on Barbados Today.

16th, October 2019, 11:19pm

Changes coming for children in criminal justice system

There has been a reduction in the number of children confined at the Government Industrial School as Government seeks to bring about change to the way they are dealt with by the criminal justice system in Barbados. Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, revealed that the number of boys and girls confined at the child penal institution had fallen from between 50 and 60, to 31 over the last 17 months. That, he said, was a total of 16 girls and 15 boys. In addition, he also disclosed that he gave early release to eight children who were sentenced to the institution for offences such as refractory behavior, wandering, breach of probation and assault. In such cases, he explained, the children were sentenced to three-year terms, or, in some cases, until their 18th birthday. “This has provided one of the children with the opportunity to return to secondary school, while two or three of them have been provided with employment opportunities,” he noted. And, the Minister has given the undertaking to personally intercede on behalf of the other juveniles released and have them enrolled in Government’s YouthAdvance Corps programme. Hinkson also Acting Attorney General, said these measures all formed part of Government’s thrust to reform the way the children were dealt with by the criminal justice system. He was seeking to clear the air following newspaper reports on the present status of justice for children who found themselves in conflict with the criminal justice system and the need for reform of this area of the law. The Minister said the changes fell under the Child Justice Bill, which was “noted” by Cabinet in May, and expected to be debated by April next year. Changes outlined by the Minister would also include the way matters involving children are dealt with by the magistrates’ court. “Emphasis will be on diversion to enable the Court to remove the case from formal judicial proceedings, and to consequently adopt informational procedures for punishment and rehabilitation of the child,” he disclosed. This process, Hinkson explained, would also see a greater involvement of probation officers in such matters and magistrates having more options outside of confinement of the child to the Government Industrial School. Such options would include a greater and earlier involvement of probation officers in matters involving children, and Magistrates being able to impose community-based, restorative justice or correctional supervision as options. The Minister added that going forward, the Court would also pay special attention to cases where children accused of an offence did so to meet basic needs such as those for food and “warmth”. In such matters, he explained, the magistrate would be “liberally empowered” to halt the initial inquiry into the criminal offence and deal with the issues relating to the child’s care and protection. Hinkson also noted that under the revised Bill, a child awaiting trial after an initial inquiry will now be entitled to state-funded legal representation. “The Cabinet wisely decided that such a revolutionary alteration of the present system requires detailed consideration on how best to implement and operationalize the Bill,” he stated. He added that a sub-committee of the Cabinet was established to make recommendations, with UNICEF providing expert advice free of cost to the Government. (JRB/BGIS) The post Changes coming for children in criminal justice system appeared first on Barbados Today.

16th, October 2019, 11:13pm

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