Tuesday, 17 January 2017 09:27:31 (AST)

National·Features

In Photos: SVG in 2016

In Photos: SVG in 2016

Crime and politics dominated the headlines in St. Vincent and the Grenadines during 2016, the year in which a new record was set for the number of homicides in the country.

2016 was also the year in which Member of Parliament (MP) for East Kingstown, Arnhim Eustace, surprised many by announcing that he would step down as Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP), positions he had held for some 16 years.

There was further political upset when the NDP parliamentarians chose Northern Grenadines MP, Godwin Friday as their leader and he went on to become party president in developments that some political observers say was a rebuff of heir-apparent, MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, who many had seen as Eustace’s successor.

Many Vincentians would also remember 2016 as the year in which workers at two companies whose main principals are foreign investors — Buccament Bay Resort and St. Vincent Shipyard Ltd. — resorted to strikes and work stoppages to force their employers to pay them.

But 2016 was a big year for justice in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with Otto Sam winning against the government in the case in which he was transferred from his career profession – teaching, to disaster management, an area in which he has no training.

Here are some of the main developments in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2016, some of which you might never forget and some that you might have already forgotten that actually happened last year.

FIRE AT PUBLIC WORKS

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said arson was suspected in the Jan. 7, 2016 fire that destroyed state-owned building materials at the Public Works compound in Arnos Vale. He sought to link the blaze to protest by the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) over the Dec. 9, 2015 election results, but said he was not blaming the party for the fire. (IWN photo)

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EMPTY OPPOSITION BENCHES

Opposition lawmakers boycotted the Jan. 29, 2016 debate in Parliament on the EC$912 million Estimates of Income and Expenditure for 2016. The boycott was part of their protest against the results of the Dec. 9, 2015 general elections, which they maintain that the Unity Labour Party stole. They would continue to boycott Parliament for the first half of 2016. Then Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace, said the Estimates would neither create jobs nor grow the economy. (IWN photo)

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NDP HOLDS ELECTION ‘VICTORY RALLY’

On Jan. 30, 2016, the NDP brought its supporters together in Layou for a “Victory Rally” after the results of the Dec. 9, 2015 general elections, which the official results say the party lost by a single seat. At the rally, then party leader, Arnhim Eustace said that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his son, Camillo Gonsalves, should seek God’s forgiveness. (IWN photo)

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‘PROTEST PICNIC’ IN CANOUAN

Residents of Canouan use boats to access one of the island’s beaches where they held a “protest picnic” on Feb. 07, 2016 to demand access by land to beaches on the island. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines all beaches are public. (IWN photo)

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NDP PRESENTS ‘PEOPLE’S BUDGET’

The NDP, having boycotted the Budget Debate in Parliament, on Jan. 29, 2016 presented its “People’s” Budget at Frenches House in Kingstown. (IWN photo)

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POLICE AND PROTESTERS CLASH

Police officers walk toward opposition protesters who had blocked the road in Kingstown on March 11, 2016. A clash later ensued between the police and protesters. (IWN photo)

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GARIFUNAS SAIL WAR CANOE

Persons stand near a replica of a Garifuna war canoe after members of the indigenous community paddled it from Ottley Hall to Rose Place on March 21, 2016. (IWN photo)

NDP COURT VICTORY

Then NDP leader, Arnhim Eustace, is greeted by party supporters in Kingstown after High Court Judge, Justice Brian Cottle, in an April 4, 2016 judgment, declined an application to strike out the opposition’s election petitions. Cottle will, two months later, throw out the petition. (IWN photo)

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AYANA FINDLAY DIED

Pauline Garabedian-DeFreitas, managing director of haemodialysis facility Health Solutions Inc., speaks at the April 9, 2016 funeral of Ayana Findlay, who died age 24, nine years after her kidneys began to fail. Findlay had become an advocate for persons with kidney failure. She died March 18, 2016, almost a week after undergoing brain surgery. (IWN photo)

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‘SPIRITUAL WARFARE’ BURNS

Cuthbert Victory shows the burns he sustained on April 9, 2016, when Pastor Nigel Morgan, his wife, Althea, and their daughter, Crystal, poured a hot liquid on him. Mr. Morgan told iWitness News that he was engaged in “spiritual warfare”. The trio were on April 22, 2016 charged with unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Victory, a resident of Caruth Village, Mesopotamia. The matter is still before the court. (IWN photo)

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VERON PRIMUS CHARGED

Vermont resident Veron Primus arrives in court on April 22, 2016, charged with the murder of real estate agent Sharleen Greaves, who was killed between Nov. 13 and 14, 2015 in her Arnos Vale office. Primus came to the attention of law enforcement after a 24-year-old Vermont woman. Mewanah Hadaway accused him of holding her hostage for four months ending April 2016. After he was charged in St. Vincent, prosecutors in New York went on to indict him in the 2006 murder of one of his friends in that North American city.  (IWN photo)

COP STABBED TO DEATH

Then Commissioner of Police, Michael Charles, pays his respects at the May 14, 2016 funeral of 25-year-old police constable, Giovanni Charles of New Montrose, who died after being stabbed at a primary school fair on May 2, 2016.  Eighteen-year-old Maverick Joseph of Belmont was, on May 6, 2016, charged with Charles’ murder. (IWN photo)

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RBTT DEPOSITORS CLOSE ACCOUNTS

Long lines formed outside RBTT after the News newspaper reported on May 13, 2016 that depositors would be charged EC$25 a month to keep their savings at the banks. A number of reporters who were at the bank on May 18, was given a telephone number for Nicole Duke-Westfield, RBC Financial’s senior manager of corporate communications, based in Trinidad. But the person who answered our call to Duke-Westfield said she was unavailable to take the call, and instructed us to leave a voicemail message for her. (IWN photo)

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DAVE AMES FLEES ST. VINCENT

Manager of Harlequin Property, Dave Ames, centre, leaves the High Court in Kingstown on June 22, 2016, where the High Court of England was hearing evidence in a case Harlequin brought against its former accounting firm, Wilkins Kennedy. Ames would flee St. Vincent by speedboat before his own scheduled court appearance at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court one day later, where he was to be read charges of theft and tax evasion. He is yet to return to the country for trial as his lawyers say he is ill and cannot travel. His next court date is Feb. 17, 2017.

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BUCCAMENT RESORT WORKERS STRIKE

Workers from the engineering, housekeeping and maintenance department and the spa at Buccament Bay Resort went on strike over the non-payment of wages. It would be the first of several strikes at the resort, which would close before the end of the year. (IWN photo)

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NEW SOCA KINGS CROWNED

Vincy Mas 2016 saw upsets in both the Power and Ragga Soca competitions. First time Ragga Soca artiste, Chewalee Johnson, won that crown, while Shane “Hypa 4000” Husbands won the Power Soca title. It was the first time in more than a decade that neither Delroy “Fireman” Hooper, nor Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle, who did not compete, had not won the crown. (IWN photo)

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SENATOR IS ‘HITLER’ AT HOME

Government Sen. Deborah “Debbie” Charles shocked quite a few when she proudly declared in Parliament on Aug. 12, 2016 that her family calls her “Hitler” at home. She was speaking during the debate on the Cybercrime Bill. (IWN photo)

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NDP ADOPTS ‘ONE-CHINA POLICY’

Then NDP vice-president, Godwin Friday, looks at his watch during a press conference at which then party leader, Arnhim Eustace, left, announced that the NDP is adopting the one China policy and would establish ties with China if elected to office. St. Clair Leacock, the other NDP vice-president, is at left. (IWN photo)

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DEMOLITION AT RESTAURANTS IN ARNOS VALE

Demolition crews from the Planning Unit demolish parts of Chill Spot and Aqua, two restaurants in Arnos Vale on Sept. 21, 2016. (IWN photo)

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MAJOR LEGAL VICTORY FOR WORKERS

Workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines scored a major victory with the Oct. 20, 2016 High court judgement in the case in which Justice Esco Henry ordered Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan to ensure that the dismissed Otto Sam, a career educator, receives full pay from the time he was suspended in 2012, with all benefits and full pension. The judge ruled that the decision of the Public Service Appeal Board (PSAB) to dismiss Sam was: illogical, unreasonable and unlawful; arrived at in an unfair and procedurally improper manner; and disproportionate to the alleged wrong. Justice Henry further declared that Sam was “unfairly and wrongfully dismissed by the PSAB. (Internet photo)

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TROUGH SYSTEMS CLAIM LIVES

Persons scour the shoreline at Roucher Bay for any sign of 8-year-old Jayquan May, of Campden Park, who was washed out to sea on Nov. 9, 2016, after falling into a river about a half-mile away. He was never recovered. That same day, Phillip Compton, a teenager of Paget Farm, Bequia, died on the Northern Grenadines island after being swept away by floodwaters while helping his father to clear a drain, becoming the third young boy to be killed by inclement weather in St. Vincent in 2016. On Sept. 28, Kenron Antoine died after being crushed by a boulder outside his house in Layou, during the passage of Tropical Storm Matthew. (IWN photo)

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TEEN SUSPECTED IN FOUR MURDERS

Police and onlookers at the scene in Dasent Cottage, Old Montrose on Nov. 14, 2016, where the bodies of Avis Israel and her son Ronald were found at their home. Police believe they were among four persons killed on the night of Nov. 13, 2016 by 18-year-old Jurani Baptiste, a Sandy Bay resident said to have a history of mental health issues. He has since been charged with one of the murders. (IWN photo)

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FRUSTRATION WITH CONDITION OF NATION’S ROADS

With the rainy season fully underway, motorists grew increasingly frustrated with the state of the nation’s roads, including along the South Leeward Highway, where this flooded section, on Nov. 14, 2016, forced the diversion of traffic through Campden Park. The project is now almost one year behind schedule. (IWN photo)

ROCK GUTTER P.I. INCOMPLETE

Parties with interest in the preliminary inquiry into the Rock Gutter Deaths, leave the Serious Offences Court after a hearing on Nov. 15, 2016. Among them is accused Ehud Myers, a 65-year-old pastor, who is second from left. Myers and Davanan Nanton, a 36-year-old chauffeur, are charged with causing the death of the seven students who died when a minibus careened down a hill and plunged into the sea at Rock Gutter in North Windward on Jan. 12, 2015.  Colbert Bowens, a 51-year-old principal, was also jointly charged with Myers and Nanton, but the charges against him have been withdrawn. The inquiry has been adjourned to March 2017. (IWN photo)

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EUSTACE STEPS DOWN

MP for East Kingstown, Arnhim Eustace is greeted at NDP headquarters in Kingstown after making his final address to the party as its president on Nov. 11, 2016, after 16 years at the helm. (IWN photo)

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PRINCE HARRY VISITS

Co-founder of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund, Louise Mitchell, left, and chair of the National Parks Authority Board, Gideon Nash, centre, present Prince Harry with a piece of Nzimbu Browne’s banana leaf art during the prince’s stop in Colonarie on Nov. 26, 2016 as part of his royal visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (IWN photo)

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FRIDAY BECOMES NDP LEADER

MP for the Northern Grenadines and then NDP vice-president and Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, became the party’s president at the NDP’s extra-ordinary convention on Nov. 27, 2016, after MP for Central Kingstown and the NDP’s other vice-president, St. Clair Leacock, the other contender, withdrew just before a vote. (IWN photo)

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TROUGH SYSTEM IMPACTS SANDY BAY

A trough system on Nov. 29, 2016 devastates parts of the north of St. Vincent, especially Sandy Bay, where the eight houses were destroyed in one area after a small river overflowed its banks. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said damage and loss as a result of weather events in the last quarter of the year was around EC$100 million. (IWN photo)

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BUCCAMENT RESORT CLOSES

Workers at Buccament Bay Resort on Dec. 3, 2016 continue their days-long protest demanding payment. The protest would end when VINLEC disconnect the resort’s electricity connection on Dec. 14, 2016 for non-payment, forcing the resort to close. (IWN photo)

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iWN CREATES MEDIA HISTORY

iWitness News created media history when, on Dec. 21, it became the first media entity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to conduct a full-length formal interview using the “live” function on the social networking website, Facebook. The interview with newly elected Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party, Godwin Friday, was his first sit-down interview with the media since his assumption of these offices. Kenton X. Chance, executive editor of iWitness News, conducted the interview. (IWN photo)

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OTTLEY HALL MARINA WORKERS STRIKE

Workers at St. Vincent Shipyard Ltd., again resort to protesting to trying to secure, before Christmas, payment of monies owned to them by the Venezuelan investor to whom the state-owned facility has been leased. However, not even an agreement signed on a Criminal Investigations Department letterhead ensured that that happened. (IWN photo)

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RECORD NUMBER OF HOMICIDES

When the body of Dexter Carter was found in Brighton on Dec. 30, 2016, the year had already set a new record for the number of homicides committed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a single year. The previous record was 36, set a few years ago. 2016 has seen 40 homicides. (Internet photo)

ARGYLE AIRPORT TO OPEN FEB. 14:

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Dec. 29, took to radio to confirm what had been rumoured for days on social media: Argyle International Airport would officially begin operating on Feb. 14, 2017. The latest date to be announced is six years later than the EC$729 million international airport was expected to begin operations. (IWN photo)

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IWN Conversations

One thought on “In Photos: SVG in 2016

  1. skeckpalmer says:

    Well Vincentians asked for 4 more years of this and that’s what they are getting. Kenton you should start writing a book “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in SVG”

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iWitness News is the leading source of daily and breaking news and current affairs information from and about St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We were founded in February 2009 by Kenton X. Chance, a career journalist and adhere to the highest standards of journalism.