Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A former Goldman Sachs investment banker has been acquitted following a trial in which he was accused of raping a 20-year-old Irish tourist in the Hamptons two years ago.Suffolk County Judge Barbara Kahn found Jason Lee not guilty Wednesday of first-degree rape, sexual misconduct and assault.East Hampton Town Police had arrested the 38-year-old man after the woman accused him of sexually assaulting her at a rented home in August 2013.Lee’s attorney reportedly argued that the sex was consensual and prosecutors argued that there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt, despite the judge’s verdict.
Amerindian Act amendmentsThe revision of the Amerindian Act is a vital part of addressing Indigenous peoples’ rights and development, and it is crucial for the amendment to be carried out with caution.Vice Chairman of the National Toshaos’ Council, Lenox ShumanThis warning was sounded by the Vice Chairman of the National Toshaos’ Council, Lenox Shuman, as the week long debates of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) conference comes to a close.He further asserted that the relevant parties have only scratched the surface in the discussions for the amendment of the Amerindian Act.“We have gotten our toe in the room. I would say we need to be reminded that the revision would affect 212 communities and over 70,000 people so it must be done in a very careful manner,” he said, adding that the people should not expect that the revision would be completed within a year.“We cannot look at the revision of the Act being done in a single year… what we have done is simply scratch the surface,” Shuman continued.The NTC Vice Chairman said debaters need to take a very “careful and cautious approach because what we don’t want is another Act of 2006 because it would lead to our continued destruction,” he said.Shuman, however, acknowledged that the conference was a success and noted that the Council is pleased that they were given a great opportunity to control the agenda and chair without any political interference, which he pronounced was a very good start.Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, was adamant that the purpose of the Amerindian Act catered for the needs of the Amerindian people of Guyana and said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic will never, at the national level, support any changes that will erode the rights afforded to the Amerindian people.He had urged the Toshaos to enquire diligently about the benefits to be accrued by any proposed changes and if, however, the answer is in the negative then it is the duty of the Amerindian people to fight against the changes.Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock admitted that there are some hiccups as it relates to the submission of proposals for the revision of the Amerindian Act.According to the Minister, in 2015 they had discussed the need for the strengthening of the Amerindian Act and when he addressed the Executive Council on the first meeting, he had vowed to take to Cabinet a menu of the amendments of the Act for approval and present them to the National Assembly for passage into law.Allicock related that he had requested the Council to submit within two weeks, written proposals for amendment but none were submitted.He expressed his willingness to work with them to strengthen the Amerindian Act, but pointed to the fact that he is still awaiting their submissions.The revision of the Act was high on the agenda for this year’s NTC conference. The Minister stated that they are also pursuing an extension into the Amerindian land titling project.According to Minister Allicock, the Government believes that the Indigenous people’s land issues are critical to nation building. And they are certain that with an extension to the project, they will be able to address this matter in a very significant way.He added that contrary to what some will have them believe, the Government continues to offer significant support to the sustainable development of indigenous villages and communities across Guyana. (Jeanna Pearson)
Omar ShariffOmar Shariff, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Presidency, who was in 2017 charged for non-compliance of a production order issued by the High Court, was on Tuesday placed on $1 million surety by Magistrate Fabayo Azore, which enabled him to retrieve his travel documents in order that he could complete his law studies at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago.Shariff’s attorney, Sanjeev Datadin, in a bail application, told the court of his client’s willingness to lodge his passport and other travel documents after completion of studies overseas.Shariff was, however, ordered to lodge his passport at the court when he returns to Guyana. The case has been adjourned to September 17, 2018.RecapShariff, who allegedly had amassed some $20 billion in business funds between 2005 and 2015, was arrested in July 2016 in connection with allegations relating to one of the largest money laundering and tax evasion schemes in the history of Guyana.Shariff was sent on annual leave on July 1, 2016 by Minister of State Joseph Harmon following investigations launched by SOCU, and his services were terminated with effect from December 31, 2016.The court had, in 2016, issued an order which required Shariff to provide certain documents to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), but he had violated that order.He was released on self-bail after pleading not guilty to the charge. A condition attached to his being placed on bail required him to report to SOCU every other Monday.