TURKS & CAICOS: Premier says he deserves $288,000 salary at 1st day of corruption hearings
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos (AP) _ The premier of Turks and Caicos said he deserved an annual salary of nearly $300,000 on Tuesday, the first day of a commission of inquiry into alleged corruption involving him and members of his government.
Premier Michael Misick, who purportedly has amassed a multimillion-dollar fortune, said the $143,000 salary when he became the islands' leader in 2003 was unnacceptable and his salary was increased to $288,000. Salaries were raised across the board for public officials.
"When I came to power the salary politicians and civil servants were being paid was very inadequate and since then we have increased their salaries so that they can live better," Misick told Robin Auld, the head of the fact-finding panel.
In July, the former Turks and Caicos Islands' governor, Richard Tauwhare, created a commission to investigate corruption in the islands, especially allegations that Misick and other officials illegally enriched themselves by selling government-owned land to developers.
The commission, which has no formal power to enforce its recommendations, is scheduled to hold hearings on the allegations until Jan. 26.
Misick has dismissed the allegations, saying they were invented by his political opponents.
GUANTANAMO: Appeals court hears arguments over decision to throw out detainee's confession
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Lawyers for a young Guantanamo detainee called Tuesday for a military appeals court to uphold the dismissal of his confession to attacking U.S. forces. The lawyers argue that the confession was obtained by American interrogators soon after he was tortured by Afghan authorities.
While Mohammed Jawad wasn't tortured by U.S. interrogators, "the effects are going to linger," said Air Force Maj. David J.R. Frakt, the detainee's lawyer, argued to a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Military Commission Review.
Pentagon lawyers argued to the panel, which met at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, that the American interrogation was legal and should not be tainted by what Afghan authorities did to Jawad before he was given over to U.S. custody.
"This was a separate and distinct interrogation," said Navy Cmdr. Arthur L. Gaston III.
Jawad is accused of throwing a grenade that injured two American soldiers and their interpreter in Kabul in 2002, when he was 16 or 17. Jawad is being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, one of the youngest detainees there.
A military judge, Army Col. Stephen Henley, ruled that Jawad's confession to Afghan police commanders and high-ranking government officials on Dec. 17, 2002, was achieved only after they threatened to kill him and his family _ a strategy that Henley said was intended to inflict severe pain and constituted torture.
Henley disqualified Jawad's second confession while in U.S. custody on Dec. 17 and 18, in part because the U.S. interrogator used techniques to maintain "the shock and fearful state" associated with his arrest by Afghan police, including blindfolding him and placing a hood over his head.
ST KITTS: PM says first hanging in decade was done solemnly, criticizes news coverage
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (AP) _ Prime Minister Denzil Douglas says last month's hanging of a convicted murder was done solemnly and after "quite a bit of soul searching."
Douglas's comments on his radio show Tuesday come more than three weeks after St. Kitts and Nevis staged its first hanging in a decade.
The country's leader is criticizing coverage of the execution in a British tabloid, which he says painted a "strange and macabre portrait" of the hanging.
Douglas says "executions are serious, sober acts and should be treated as such. That is exactly how this was treated here."
Charles Elroy Laplace was condemned in 2006 for killing his wife. His was the first execution in the region outside Cuba since the Bahamas hanged a killer in 2000.
CARIBBEAN: Mobile phone company Digicel seeks 10 percent 'voluntary' job cuts
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Caribbean mobile phone company Digicel is reducing its work force after years of blistering growth.
The company founded by Irish entrepreneur Denis O'Brien has announced a "voluntary" separation program aimed at reducing staff in 23 markets.
Workers who leave will be eligible for health care coverage, bonuses and accelerated payments for stock options under the plan, depending on years of service.
Digicel said Tuesday it expects about 10 percent of 4,500 eligible employees will take the offer.
The company operates in 31 markets, mostly in the Caribbean and Central America.
The separation program doesn't cover newly launched operations in the British Virgin Islands, Honduras, Panama and the South Pacific.
GUYANA: Gov't official says Libya is preparing to open embassy in capital
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) _ An official in Guyana's government says Libya is preparing to open an embassy in the South American nation.
Liz Harper is the director general of Guyana's foreign ministry. She said Tuesday a Libyan delegation is expected to travel to Guyana later this month to launch an embassy in the capital, Georgetown.
Guyana's official news agency, GINA, says President Bharrat Jagdeo is an official visit to the North African country and has held several trade meetings with officials in Moammar Gadhafi's government.
The Georgetown embassy would serve as Libya's regional contact with the Caribbean Community, the 15-member trade bloc headquarted in Guyana.
JAMAICA: Island's governor-general resigns after 3 years for health reasons
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Jamaica's governor general is resigning after three years in office because of unspecified health reasons.
Kenneth Hall was appointed to the position in February 2006. It is a largely symbolic office that represents the interests of the Queen of England. Jamaica became independent from Britain in 1962.
The government says Hall helped build consensus on many issues and also created a program that awarded excellence in teens.
Hall was previously a principal at the University of West Indies' Mona campus and a lecturer.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding said Tuesday that Hall, 68, told him in July he would step down. He said Patrick Allen, president of a Seventh Day Adventist union, will be sworn in Feb. 26.
CRICKET: NZealand beats WIndies by 7 wickets in rain-shortened 5th ODI to win series 2-1
NAPIER, New Zealand (AP) _ New Zealand has defeated the West Indies by five wickets on a Duckworth-Lewis calculation in the rain-shortened fifth and final limited overs cricket international to win the five-match series 2-1.
New Zealand was 211-5 in the 35th over in reply to the West Indies' 293-nine, when steady drizzle began to fall at McLean Park, following the trend of a series in which two matches have been abandoned and another reduced by rain.
Under Duckworth-Lewis computations, New Zealand needed to be 203-5 at that point to take the match and series.
Chris Gayle led the West Indies' effort, scoring 135 from 129 balls to equal Brian Lara's record of 19 centuries in limited overs centuries.
Ross Taylor made an unbeaten 48, Martin Guptill 43 and Brendon McCullum 41 for New Zealand.