Compiled By NAN Staff Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Jan. 19, 2017: Here are the stories making news across the Caribbean, Latin America and its US Diaspora for today, Jan. 19, 2017:
Trinidad And Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago’s murder rate continues to spiral upwards with one writer noting that it seems the devil is vacationing on the twin island republic.
The rates so far for this year have been put unofficially at 22, as of Jan. 16h. They include the shocking murder of a 16 year old schoolgirl, who was found — still in her uniform — in a town in north-east Trinidad. Rachael Ramkissoon was the 16th murder victim so far this year. Her killer is still on the lam even as she was laid to rest on Wednesday.
A 53-year-old man who was wanted for a 1990 Miami murder has been extradited from Jamaica to Miami to face first-degree murder, sexual battery and kidnapping in Miami-Dade circuit court.
Dale Ewers, 53, a former South Beach resident, was put on a plane to Miami on Wednesday, escorted by federal marshals. He had been arrested in Jamaica in October but paperwork for his extradition to Florida took until this month. Ewers is accused of murdering 34-year-old Mercedes Perez and raping her friend raping her at gunpoint before ransacking the apartment. Miami police say the case was solved thanks to a DNA hit and the suspected killer has been captured in Jamaica, after having been deported nine years ago after a burglary conviction.
Haiti’s president-elect Jovenel Moise is pledging to provide national ID cards to Haitian migrants in the neighboring Dominican Republic so they can apply for a legal residency program. Moise told reporters Wednesday at the Dominican national palace that his administration will expedite delivery of the documents so nationals there can take advantage of the Dominican government’s special residency program in 2014. An estimated 460,000 Haitian migrants live in the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
A magistrate in St. Vincent & the Grenadines has ordered the deportation of two Trinidad and Tobago nationals who entered the island illegally between December 14, 2016 and January 14, this year. Magistrate Bertie Pompey also imposed an EC$800 (US$296) fine on Ishmael Mohammed and Keno McPhee. The two were also charged with entering the state by boat during the same period and disembarking without the consent of an immigration officer, contrary to the country’s immigration laws.
Puerto Ricans are celebrating President Barack Obama’s decision to commute the prison sentence of sentence of Puerto Rico born civil rights activist, Oscar Lopez Rivera, a member of a Puerto Rican militant group. Lopez had been sentenced sentence for his role in an organization that in the 1970s and early ’80s plotted bombings, prison escapes and armed robberies in an effort to secure independence for Puerto Rico, a territory of the U.S. With Obama’s commutation, Lopez, 74, will leave prison by May 17. “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in a tweet from London said he was “sobbing with gratitude” after learning that Obama had commuted Lopez’s sentence. Miranda said he would reprise his role as Alexander Hamilton at a Chicago performance for Lopez.
Turks & Caicos
Authorities in the Turks & Caicos are looking for a Jamaican teacher who is accused of physically and verbally abusing children at an institution on the island. The Turks and Caicos Sun reported that the teacher, Suzette Codling, was working with a private pre-school in Providenciales for one year, but her work permit was not renewed following serious complaints that she allegedly verbally and physically abused young children at the institution. Codling was said to be paid all monies due to her and given a return ticket back to Jamaica but she allegedly did not leave the territory on the originally scheduled departure date after changing her ticket to an open one.
A 22-year-old Massachusetts man has been charged with multiple crimes, including kidnapping, rape of a child with force and human trafficking of a minor, after he was accused of smuggling a young girl into the U.S. from El Salvador “to have sex with her.” Luis Santos is accused of paying $5,000 to have the 14-year-old girl from El Salvador “illegally smuggled” across the border in December 2016 after first speaking with her over Facebook, police said. Authorities said Santos forced the young girl to sleep in the same bed as him and forcefully touched her more than once. He is also accused of preventing the victim from attending school by locking her in a bedroom and refusing to let her use the phone. Santos denies any allegations of sexual assault against the victim, according to his attorney, Jose Rosario.
A man accused of sex trafficking in Texas was located in the Dominican Republic after officials said he fled the country. Officials said that Isaac Lynn Williams, 28, used the website Backpage.com for sex trafficking a teenage girl in Texas. Officials said an investigation into the website in August 2014 resulted in the rescue of a 17-year-old victim who was being trafficked by Williams and Deborah Cooper, a second suspect in the case. Cooper pleaded guilty to promotion of prostitution of a minor and agreed to testify against Williams as a condition of a plea deal. Officials said Williams has waived extradition and is waiting to be transferred to Bexar County.
A 15-year-old student opened fire at a private school in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey on Wednesday, hitting a teacher and two other students in the head before killing himself. Nuevo León state governor Jaime Rodríguez said the shooter died at a hospital and that the other three victims with head wounds were “fighting between life and death.” A video, apparently from the school’s surveillance camera and later posted on social media, showed the teenager quickly and calmly firing what appeared to be seven shots at seated students and a female teacher, some at point-blank range, before shooting himself and collapsing.
A second case of bird flu has been found at a turkey farm in central Chile, agriculture officials said on Wednesday. Respiratory problems had been seen in birds at a turkey farm in the central Valparaiso region, the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) said in a statement. The strain was confirmed as H7, with low pathogenicity. No birds had died, it said but around 35,000 turkeys would be culled and measures taken to stop the disease from spreading.
Venezuela’s president is backing out of a pledge to free opponent Leopoldo Lopez now that President Barack Obama has commuted the sentence of a Puerto Rican independence activist whose release the embattled socialist has long promoted. In 2015, Maduro said he would release Lopez the day that Obama freed Oscar Lopez Rivera. When asked Wednesday at a press conference about that pledge, Maduro said he’d been joking. Lopez is serving a 14-year sentence for allegedly inciting violence against the government during a wave of anti-government unrest.