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Labour Arbitration Tribunal Office Closure

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The public is notified that the Labour Arbitration Tribunal will be closed to the public from Monday, 12 December 2022 and will reopen on Tuesday, 3 January 2023. 

Persons needing assistance can contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour at 468-2147. 

Any inconvenience caused is regretted.



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Court declines to toss case linked to fatal boat wreck

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Emotions flared last week in Magistrates’ Court when a defence lawyer requested the dismissal of the case against a man allegedly involved in the boat crash that killed Frandy Martin Jr. in October 2021.

Attorney Gareth Timms, who represents defendant Graham Stanton, asked on Jan. 25 for the case to be dismissed after arguing that the proceedings were “inefficient” and that his client didn’t receive all the evidence from the prosecution.

The case stems from an Oct. 16, 2021 wreck between Mr. Stanton’s 40-foot monohull and a 35-foot Contender powerboat sometime after 6:15 p.m. near Prospect Reef, according to a police press release issued at the time.

The wreck also sent five other people to the hospital, police said.
Mr. Stanton was the second person charged in connection to the incident. On April 19, police charged Virgin Islands businessman Andy Morrell with manslaughter, three counts of causing serious injury to a person while on board a vessel, and failing to render assistance after a collision. Mr. Morrell’s matter is to be heard by the High Court.

Mr. Stanton — who is charged only with failing to render assistance following a collision — appeared in Magistrates’ Court for the first time in November, when Crown Counsel Lyn Daley read aloud the allegations against him.

The defence

Last week, however, Mr. Timms argued that the prosecution had since failed to provide certain interview transcripts and at least two witness statements. He also complained that video footage was provided on DVDs rather than flash drives.

Mr. Timms added that the case has been ongoing for more than 15 months, and he blamed the prosecution for the delays.

He also cited a recent email correspondence between himself and Senior Crown Counsel Kael London. In the exchange, he said, Mr. London denied that witness statements or transcripts were missing and claimed that full disclosure had already been provided earlier in January.

After hearing Mr. Timms last week, Mr. London stood by his email’s claims, telling the court that prosecutors had provided full disclosure earlier in January. He also defended the decision to send DVDs rather than flash drives, which he said typically are only used for large amounts of data.

The prosecutor added that the prosecution is obligated to provide only evidence of the charges against Mr. Graham, showing that there was a collision and that he failed to render assistance afterwards.

Mr. London also said that dismissing the case would be “wholly unreasonable,” in part because the incident resulted in a death.
“This is not a matter worth considering be dismissed,” he said.

Mr. London added that he himself was waiting for more documents and he wasn’t sure exactly when he would be able to obtain them and provide them to the defence. He also agreed to try to provide transcripts and signed statements from two witnesses from the Contender by mid-February.

The presiding magistrate declined to dismiss the case, noting that it was a “fairly new matter” that should not be dismissed so soon.

The magistrate also gave the Crown the opportunity to make further disclosure and said she would give Mr. London one month to “get his house in order.”

Full disclosure is set for March 2.



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Hospital launches new lab

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The BVI Health Services Authority’s watchword for the year is “change,” and a new and expanded laboratory launched last week embodies that goal, according to acting BVIHSA CEO Dr. June Samuel.

“We are moving quickly along at BVIHSA with multiple changes,” Dr. Samuel said during a Jan. 25 opening ceremony for the new facility, adding, “What you will see today will tell you how much we’ve changed and how we’ve come a long way.”

Lab manager Devye Nicholson spoke next, listing some of the services the new laboratory will offer, including testing for Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus.

“I’m so excited to speak about the HTLV, one of the most important tests when we are donating blood,” she said. “This is a test that we had wanted in house for the longest while.”

This service and others, she said, were made possible by equipment purchased through a recent donation of $45,000 from the Rotary Club of Tortola.

“We’re also excited to let you know that the blood bank that we wanted for the longest while is now in place,” she said, drawing applause from attendees. “Our 24-hour service is in place, but now we’re going seven days a week.”

Ms. Nicholson also said the new facility will improve and expand the intake of blood donations and increase blood storage capacity.

“In the past,” she added, “the majority of the specimens used to go overseas, but now everything will be done in house.”
Accreditation

More applause followed her announcement that the lab is pursuing accreditation. This year, she said, officials expect to receive an ISO 15189 2012 certification — an international standard for quality management system requirements for medical laboratories.

“The lab will be accredited, and we will keep our accreditation,” Ms. Nicholson said. “And the lab testing will be certified.”

The facility also plans to extend its services to other jurisdictions in the region, which is expected to earn revenue, she said.
BVIHSA Chairman Moleto Smith also spoke at the ceremony.

“There’s something special about this lab and the certification that it will receive this year,” he said. “It will be the first and only overseas territory lab that will be certified. That’s a big deal.”

Health and Social Development Minister Marlon Penn took the podium next, expressing his excitement about the expansion.

The ceremony ended with a tour of the lab.

The post Hospital launches new lab first appeared on The BVI Beacon.

The post Hospital launches new lab appeared first on The BVI Beacon.



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Marine Habitat Sensitivity Assessment Workshop

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Ms. Amy Ridgeway and Dr Eleonora Manca of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) are featured with participants at day one of a two-day Marine habitat sensitivity and assessment workshop on Wednesday, February 1. The session will build capacity within the Public Service as it relates to identifying key pressures for the Virgin Islands and develop sensitivity assessments and reviews throughout the Territory. Representatives from  the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports, National Parks Trust, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hamilton Lavity Stout Community College (HLSCC), and the non-governmental organisation Beyond the Reef are attending the two-day session.



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