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The Year in Review July – September 2005

The Year in Review July – September 2005

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• JULY

• Less than two months after a 77-year-old woman was raped and killed in Kingstown, another elderly woman suffered a similar fate.

On June 26, the nude body of 75-year-old Mamit Mathias was discovered face down in a river at Dr. Smith, Park Hill. It is believed that she was also raped.

• Our July 1 edition reported that Jaya Debnath of the New Grounds Primary School had taken the top spot in the Common Entrance Exams. Jaya aged 10, is the daughter of surgeon Dr. Subbendu Debnath and Georgetown Secondary School teacher Shanta Debnath.{{more}}

• Digicel Nelson Block romped to their ninth Band of the Year title in their 22nd year of establishment. The band also captured the Junior Band of the Year title with their production called “You ask for it.”

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced on July 1 that “A Coalition of the Willing” was emerging as the main plank in efforts to provide international air access here. Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves was however cautious about making full disclosure of plans.

•The shock was evident as Casynella Ollivierre, Miss St. Vincent and the Grenadines heard her name announced as the Miss Carival 2005. The 19-year-old, who got the judge’s nod from among nine other contestants from the wider Caribbean region, also took the Best Swimwear and Best Interview categories and tied with Tricia Swartz, Miss St. Lucia, for the Best Evening Gown.

•Our July 8 edition reported that Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves was among CARICOM leaders who held talks in the Venezuelan capital in early July on the Petrocaribe Agreement. The renewed Petrocaribe offer by Venezuela extends for 25 years with interest rates at one percent, including a two-year grace period. The Venezuelan leader has also made it clear that if prices ever go up to $100 per barrel, the rate of interest will drop further.

•Bequia was host of an international conference called. “the Mauritius Strategy Implementation: Small Islands Voice Planning Meeting” sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. The five-day workshop, ran from Monday 11 to Saturday 16 July.

•Some 45 Vincentians who suffered with various eye diseases such as cataracts left for Cuba on July 21 hoping to return with improved vision. Only two weeks previously, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had announced to local media that Cuba’s President Dr. Fidel Castro had offered assistance with the setting up of a screening and diagnostic center for eye diseases here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

•On July 27, the pioneer group of Vincentians to benefit from what the government had dubbed the ‘Vision Now’ programme returned from Cuba. The Vincentian patients, were full of praise for the programme. “Cuba ah the best. I can see now; I can see and write clearly now. Thank God for Castro,” Violet Prince of Rose Hall, told the nation.

•The Unity Labour Party staged the launching of its General Elections campaign at Langley Park on July 24 in the North Windward constituency with a crowd turnout, which Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, leader of the ULP and Prime Minister of St.Vincent and the Grenadines said he estimated at 8,000.

•Our July 29 edition reported that the person to contest the South Windward seat for the Unity Labour Party in the up coming General Elections will be Senator Glen Beache. Beache got the nod over party Chairman Robbie Fitzpatrick on July 23.

•New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings was launched as that political party’s candidate for the West Kingstown constituency on Saturday, July 23.

• AUGUST

•Barring unforeseen circumstances, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will have an international airport by 2011, latest. Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement on the much-debated issue on August 8 at the Methodist Church Hall during a national presentation carried live on radio and television. The project is estimated at a total cost of approximately EC$480.6 million

•Reuben Morgan, a Canadian-based Vincentian, who recently held a Vincentian diplomatic passport, walked a free man in August from a London Court after he was acquitted of cocaine charges brought against him in December 2004 by the British authorities.

•21-year-old Lakita Duke’s nude body was discovered in a bushy area at Diamond approximately 11 o’clock on August 13 by her boyfriend Alfred “Philmore” Allen, while he was returning a gas bottle to a neighbour. It is believed that she was raped. Duke’s murder was the second in two months and a half in the Diamond community. On Sunday, May 29, Caldric Glasgow was stabbed to death. Eleador Patterson and his girlfriend Dion Bacchus were charged with that murder.

•On Monday, August 15, when St.Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of China on Taiwan celebrated their 24th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the Asian nation gave this country a gift of US$2 million for the construction of a bridge over the Rabacca Dry River.

•On August 14 a Honda car crashed into a high tension pole and left 21-year-old Rafagha “Raffie” Huggins/Sardine of Golden Vale and Argyle dead and his 19-year-old girlfriend Sabrina Richards of Campden Park injured.

•On August 22, a new coast guard vessel, named the H.K. Tannis, in honour of one of this country’s former Foreign Affairs ministers, Hudson Tannis, was commissioned at a ceremony at the Calliaqua Coast Guard Base. The vessel was bought for EC$2.3 million by the Government of St.Vincent and the Grenadines. At the same ceremony, two mobile police stations and a fire tender were commissioned.

•A new $1.7 million police station in capable of housing 19 Police Officers: Six from the Fire Division, four each at Immigration and Special Services Unit, and five regular members of the constabulary was officially opened on August 22 Canouan.

•On August 23, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced plans for the construction of a Haemo-Dialysis Unit at a proposed Diagnostic Centre that would be constructed at Georgetown. The multi-million dollar facility will be mainly sponsored by the Government of Cuba. The operational cost, which will be footed by Cuba, will cost the Latin American country US$20, 000 per patient.

•The Botanic Gardens, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, celebrated its 240th anniversary in 2005. In keeping with this important milestone, a birthday party for the gardens was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture on Sunday August 21 at the Botanic Gardens.

•On Monday, August 22, the staff of Western Union turned up for work to find a gaping opening at the back of the building and the three and a half foot tall vault missing. In recent times, vaults have been stolen from a home at Cane Garden, ‘The Vincentian’ newspaper and O.T’s Furniture Store. The Western Union heist brought to four, the number of vaults stolen in the previous 12 months here.

• SEPTEMBER

•Sixteen days after his wife Anita Pereira of Arnos Vale consumed the deadly weedicide gramoxone, her husband Leroy Pereira who originates from Park Hill did the same. Three days after drinking the poison, Anita, a 50-year-old mother of three died. And with no reason left to live, Leroy, on August 26, devastated by the loss of his lover, drank the poison. Pereira died on September 13, 19 days after he drank the poison.

•Our September 2 edition reported that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had on August 28 promised to be more cautious with his life. According to the Prime Minister, a lawyer had informed him that “someone” was trying to recruit a client of the lawyer’s to join with a Trinidad and Tobago national to kill him. Police officers are continuing to get to the root of the matter, but the plot, which surfaced on August 27 forced the Prime Minister to take a second look at his routine.

•Calicia Charles, a 16-year-old student of the Girls’ High School is the person with the best performance overall in the 2005 CXC Certificate in Secondary Education (CSEC) exams. Calicia, the daughter of Chiefton and Yvonne Charles of Enhams had as results, nine grade ones and two grade twos.

•Successful students of the Community College who passed two or more A’level subjects and General Paper in the 2005 examination were rewarded a total of EC$69, 500 by the Government on August 29 for their achievement. The 139 students who qualified for the prize received EC$500 each.

•This Nation is now without the wisdom, wit and brilliance of one of its greatest and humblest sons. Veterinarian, Archaeologist and Historian Dr. Ian Earle Ayrton Kirby passed away Tuesday night peacefully at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on September 6.

•The life of the Constitutional Review Commission has been extended to December 31 2005. A resolution passed at the House of Assembly on September 7 gave the extension. The Committee headed by former Attorney General Parnel Campbell had been mandated to come up with new laws of governance for this country.

•This country has formally signed on to the PetroCaribe agreement which provides fuel for this country and other members of the regional community at concessionary terms. Prime Minsiter Dr. Ralph Gonsalves signed the deal along with several other CARICOM members on September 6 in Kingston, Jamaica.

•Nigel Stevenson, scored his first victory in the political arena on September 10 when he was chosen by the members of the New Democratic Party (NDP) South Leeward Constituency Branch to contest the next general elections against the incumbent, Dr. Douglas Slater of the governing Unity Labour Party. His victory came three days after former Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Kingsley Layne, won the right to represent the West St.George Constituency after he defeated talk show host Frank DaSilva. Layne will vie for the seat against Mike Browne of the Unity Labour Party.

Thousands of children in school uniforms of varying colours flooded the Grammar School Playing field on September 9 as the government held a rally in celebration of the attainment of Universal Access to Secondary Education.

•Charlene Douglas was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award -St.Vincent and the Grenadines, highest academic award. She is the second graduate of the Community College to receive the coveted Prime Minister’s Award. Douglas, 19, of Queen’s Drive, along with Beneka Browne of Peniston, Deon Pompey of Richmond Hill, Ronnia Durham of Old Montrose, Leytisha Jack of Layou and Ranella Billy of Byera, were the six announced in our September 23 issue as St.Vincent and the Grenadines’, 2005 National Scholars.

•Two Daniels will step into the proverbial Lion’s Den on Election Day, giving constituents of North Windward a choice between two of their own: Montgomery Daniel (ULP) and Elvis Daniel (NDP).

•Our September 23 edition reported that the Voters’ List was ready. So said Rodney Adams, Supervisor of Elections who had previously announced that the list would have been ready by the end of August. However, Adams told SEARCHLIGHT that the process had been challenged by minor hitches so that the deadline was not met.

President Chen Shui-bian, of the Republic of China on Taiwan completed his historic maiden visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines by addressing Parliament on September 29. The President, who arrived the day before, received a red carpet treatment and was greeted with much pomp and ceremony.

•September 30, marked a turning point in the local constabulary, as Keith Miller, who will turn 47 on Independence Day October 27, took over the helm of the local Police Force. He replaces Commissioner William Harry, who was himself appointed in 2001.

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