Alexa

Caribbean news briefs

Caribbean news briefs

CARIBBEAN: 5 suspects held at Gitmo in 9/11 attacks seek to justify killings, mock the US
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ The self-professed mastermind and four other men charged in the Sept. 11 attacks declared they are "terrorists to the bone" in a statement that mocked the U.S. failure to prevent the killings and predicted America will fall like "the towers on the blessed 9/11 day."
In a rambling response to the government's case, the men also sought to justify the attacks, citing a violent interpretation of Islam and a series of grievances against the U.S., including support for Israel, the Iraq war and abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and in Guantanamo.
"To us, they are not accusations. To us they are badges of honor, which we carry with pride," the men wrote in the six-page document, which was released Tuesday by a military judge over the objections of the Pentagon-appointed lawyers for two of the men.
"So, you are the first class war criminals," they added, "and the whole world witnesses this."
The five, who are among 245 prisoners held at the U.S. military lockup on Cuba, include Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the professed architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, and Ramzi Binalshibh, allegedly one of his key lieutenants in al-Qaida.
Both men previously said they were proud of their role in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon _ and all five had said they wanted to plead guilty. But this is their most detailed statement to date.
HAITI: Bill Clinton, UN chief warn of dismal economy, plead for international aid
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Haiti's fragile economy could crumble unless there is an increase in donations and foreign investment in manufacturing, recycling and tourism, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former President Bill Clinton warned on Tuesday.
The impoverished country is short by as much as $100 million for its $256 million budget after releasing emergency funds last year during four storms that killed nearly 800 people.
Clinton asked those attending an international donor conference in Washington next month to help cover the shortfall.
Ban told reporters that investments and aid could decrease because of donor fatigue and the global economic crisis, and he warned that Haiti "can slide backward into darkness if we do not properly help."
Potential for unrest looms as supporters of disqualified candidates threaten to prevent voting in an upcoming April 19 Senate election. Frustration with what some perceive as Preval's slow response to poverty and soaring living costs has only intensified since riots forced out the prime minister last spring.
Clinton called on Haiti's government to make it easier for people to open new businesses by reducing rent, streamlining bureaucracy and other means, and he singled out tourism _ once a major Haitian industry _ as a key to future growth.
GUYANA: Government workers reject polygraph questions about sexuality, alcohol consumption
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) _ President Bharrat Jagdeo said Tuesday that he will review polygraph tests being administered to government workers after complaints that they contain personal questions about sexual preferences and alcohol consumption.
Jagdeo's comments came after some customs officials refused to take the test, which is being administered by a Florida-based company to detect possible corruption among low-ranking customs officials and in other government departments.
Jagdeo first ordered the tests last year in response to criticism that the anti-drug unit was inefficient and had not made any major drug arrests in 2008.
Then-chief Orville Nedd blamed a shortage of staff and equipment for the department's lack of success. But he and eight officers were later fired after they failed their polygraphs.
The government refuses to identify the company conducting the tests, what questions the tests contain, or why personal questions such as sexual preference might be considered relevant.
Guyana serves as a drug route for Colombian cocaine destined for the U.S. and Europe.
The U.S. State Department has praised the government's decision to administer the tests, saying they are normal procedure for top agents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
TRINIDAD: West Indies hangs on to draw 5th test, seals series win over England
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) _ West Indies endured nervous moments to cling for a series-clinching draw against England with eight wickets down on the last day of the fifth and final test at the Queen's Park Oval on Tuesday.
The home team, set a target of 240 to win off 66 overs, preferred to defend and just avoided defeat at 114-8.
West Indies won the five-match series 1-0 and regained the Wisden Trophy for the first time since 2000. The series victory was West Indies' first against any opponent since June 2004 when it defeated Bangladesh at home.
Defying England at the end were vice captain Denesh Ramdin with an unbeaten 17 off 87 deliveries in two hours, and Fidel Edwards, who helped save the third test in Antigua with a similar last-gasp effort. He was 1 not out off eight balls.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle admitted there were some tense moments in the dressing room during the closing overs.
Offspinner Graeme Swann took 3-13 while fast bowler James Anderson (3-24) and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar (2-34) were also impressive for England.
In a thrilling finale featuring seven centuries, England declared twice at 546-6 and 237-6, while West Indies finished with 544 and 114-8.