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Memorable Highlights of 2006

Memorable Highlights of 2006

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• The residents of Chile Village, Georgetown made citizen arrests by apprehending the suspects in the La Soufriere rape of two Florida teenagers on May 30.

Leroy Rodney, 25, Nyron Morgan, 24 and teenagers Junior Morgan and Clifton Rodney, 18 and 17 respectively were charged with rape, one count of grievous bodily harm and one count of wounding.

The prompt arrest helped with damage control in the wake of the incident.{{more}}

l The Speaker of the House of Assembly is traditionally a behind the scenes position, and the holder of the office rarely if ever makes the news. Not so with the Hon. Hendrick Alexander who in 2006 featured in several news articles.

He first made the news in January when he threw leader of the Green Party Ivan O’Neal out of the House for speaking from the Strangers Gallery; then in February, the Speaker’s salary increase from $30,072 to $68,808 following the upgrading of the post from a part-time to full time position was the topic of much debate.

In April, the Speaker took issue with comments made by Opposition Senator Daniel Cummings on a radio program on February 24 relating to a ruling the speaker had made. Alexander claimed that a “sinister attempt to discredit and destroy the name of the Speaker” was being made.

On December 6, the Speaker threw Senator Cummings out of the House when Cummings suffixed an apology for remarks made at a public meeting at Petit Bordel with the question “are you happy now?” Only two weeks later, Senator St. Claire Leacock was to feel the wrath of the Speaker when he too was thrown out of the House during the wrap up of the 2007 budget debate.

• In October a 30-year-old labourer, Alonzo Lewis, was unanimously found guilty by a jury of raping a 17-year old girl but when Justice Lyle St Paul handed down his verdict, it was a bond to keep the peace for three years in the amount of $15,000. In default he would spend five years in jail.

The verdict prompted widespread public discussion.

Director of Public Prosecution, Colin Williams, said that the government has no right of appeal to High Court verdicts. Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that news laws are coming that will enable the DPP to appeal High Court judgements.•l The news of the discovery of the body of Press Secretary and Personal Aide to the Prime Minister Glenn Jackson’s nude body in the back seat of this Toyota Rav 4 with a single gun shot wound to the chest on Monday March 6th spread like the proverbial wild fire and sent shock waves through Vincentians at home and abroad.

Reports on this tragic event, the funeral service (said to be the largest in local living memory), the subsequent investigation into the death, the arrest and charging of Francis “Prickle” Williams, and the Preliminary Investigation into the murder occupied a significant portion of the media’s attention for most of the year.

After more than 30 witnesses and heated debate from both sides in the Preliminary Inquiry, Chief Magistrate, Simone Churaman ruled on Tuesday, December 06 that there was enough evidence for Francis “Prickle” Williams to stand trial for the murder of Glenn Jackson in the High Court.

• Stella James won the “Set for Life” prize from the National Lotteries Authority in 2004.

Almost two years ago Stella James thought she was set for the life when she won prizes of a three bedroom house located at Penniston, a brand new Nissan X-Trail Sports Utility Vehicle and EC$50,000 cash.

The New Grounds mother of seven girls thought that her winnings would have given her a new lease on life, rejuvenated hope and renewed aspirations after years of seeing them wane.

But almost one year and eight months after receiving her prize from the National Lotteries Authority she was upset and frustrated for several reasons. She complained to the press in June 2006 that she had not yet received the title deed to her property, the house was not furnished, her water had been disconnected for non-payment and although the plumbing allowed for hot and cold water, she had not been given a solar water heater.

• Kyron Baptiste swept to the entertainment pinnacle being named as the Digicel Rising Star for 2006 after a twist of events. When 19-year-old Patrice Bascombe and 22-year-old Kyron Baptiste were announced in July as being among the 10 finalists in the local leg of the Digicel Rising Star Competition, no one knew the twist that fate was about to take.

After the preliminary aired on August 19, talented Patrice along with Danielle Veira, a sixteen-year-old student, was voted to move to the next round. Tragedy struck on September 5th when the car in which the popular Patrice was a passenger was involved in an accident at Sharpes. On September 7th Patrice was to succumb to her injuries at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital while she was being prepared for surgery. An investigation has been launched into her death.

Amidst tributes to the fallen star, the search was on for a replacement to move to the next round along with Danielle Veira to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Danielle Ollivierre, the person who received the third highest number of votes, was not available. Fourth in line was Kyron Baptiste, a young man born in Sandy Bay but living in Bequia.

When Kyron got the call, he did not look back. Neither did the Vincentian and Caribbean audiences. With each appearance Kyron’s performances got better and better, winning him the respect of a wide cross section of the Vincentian populace who responded by voting in huge numbers. In the weeks leading up to the finals, Kyron created a mob scene whenever he appeared in public in Kingstown.

And he did not disappoint. People all over the Caribbean texted him into the winning position to become the second Digicel Rising Star from this country on Saturday, November 18.

When he touched down on a LIAT aircraft at the ET Joshua Airport on November 21, the previously virtually unknown Kyron was greeted by ministers of government, Digicel representatives, family, the media, and thousands of fans. Kyron described it all as God working in mysterious ways, and thanked the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean for supporting him and called upon them to be proud of who they were.

• Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), with responsibility for crime, Lenroy Brewster was the victim of a bold pick-pocketing on Saturday, July 8, while attending the Soca Monarch Show at Victoria Park with his wife. Brewster’s social outing was rudely interrupted when while on his way back from the washroom he was stopped in his tracks by a thick crowd. He told SEARCHLIGHT that he felt an elbow jamming him and for about 20 seconds he could not move from where he was standing.

He further explained that he didn’t aggressively push his way out as he did not want to give any impression of impatience or over aggression on his part because of who he is. When he, however, decided that his movement had been impeded long enough, he pushed through, at which point the experienced police officer said that he felt a hand leave his pocket. He turned around immediately. Brewster said that he then engaged in what turned out to be a futile search for his robber. The senior officer lost his wallet containing $340.

• The public beheading of 21-year-old Stacy Wilson on Monday December 11th has to be the most shocking event to have taken place over the last few years in this country.

Body parts of 21-year-old Vermont resident, were sliced off and spread all over the Leeward Bus Terminal as her life was cut short by a cutlass wielding man by the name of Shorn Samuel who also goes by the moniker “Muslim Islamaam” and “Abdul Rahim.” Stacy had been on her way home from work.

Anger and frustration vented outside the Kingstown Magistrate’s court early December 14 as placard-bearing Vincentians from all walks of life came to protest the slaying of the young woman.

Samuel was charged for the December 11, 2006 murder of Wilson. He was not allowed to plea to the charge as it was an indictable offence.