Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 24th 2015 Contents KINGSTON---A Jamaican financier
convicted of running a Ponzi scheme
that bilked $220 million from thou-
sands of investors across the
Caribbean and central Florida has
been released from prison in the
Turks & Caicos Islands, officials said
Amy Filjones, spokeswoman for the
US Attorney s Office in the Middle
District of Florida, said the US gov-
ernment is now "actively seeking to
extradite" David Smith from the
British territory to serve out his 30-
year federal sentence.
In March 2011, Smith agreed to
waive extradition when he pleaded
guilty to 23 counts of fraud and con-
spiracy in federal court in Orlando.
Months earlier, he had been sen-
tenced to 6 ½ years in Turks & Caicos
after pleading guilty to money laun-
dering and conspiracy to defraud.
Florida prosecutors said he could
serve the sentences concurrently, so
Smith has more than two decades still
to serve in the US. (AP)
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Yemeni protesters gather during a demonstration to show their support for Houthi Shiite rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, yesterday. Thousands
of protesters demonstrated yesterday across Yemen, some supporting the Shiite rebels who seized the capital and others demanding the
country's south secede after the nation's president and Cabinet resigned. Arabic on the posters reads, "God is great. Death to America.
Death to Israel. A curse on the Jews. Victory to Islam." AP PHOTO
US wants Jamaican for Ponzi scheme
HAVANA---The highest-ranking US official to
visit Cuba in more than three decades said yes-
terday that two days of talks on re-establishing
full diplomatic relations had left her with no
sense of whether the new US policy of engage-
ment would achieve its goal of generating
reforms that benefit the Cuban people.
The Obama administration says the goal of its
Cuban policy remains the same: creating more
freedoms for ordinary Cubans. Cuban diplomats
said throughout the negotiations in Havana that
the US needs to abandon hopes of using closer
relations to foment change on the island. Assistant
Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson told reporters
Friday that the talks had left her with no clearer
idea of whether Obama s new policy has good
prospects of success.
"It s very hard to say exactly how this will
work," Jacobson said. "We think that we need to
make decisions in our own interest and take deci-
sion that are to going to empower the Cuban peo-
ple but the verdict on whether that succeeds is
still to be made."
The United States and Cuba both reported
progress toward restoring diplomatic ties after a
half-century of estrangement. But it wasn t imme-
diately clear whether the human rights issue,
which has previously blocked closer US-Cuban
relations, would pose a threat to the new diplomatic
"Cuba has never responded to pressure," Josefina
Vidal, the country s top diplomat for US affairs,
told reporters Thursday night.
The comments by Jacobson and Vidal lay bare
the pressures each side faces at home---the US,
from Republican leaders in Congress and powerful
Cuban-American groups, and Cuba, from hard-
liners deeply concerned that rapprochement could
undermine the communist system founded by
Along with human rights, Cuba outlined other
obstacles in the relationship. Vidal demanded that
Cuba be taken off the US list of state sponsors
of terrorism. However, she praised Obama for
easing the US trade embargo and urging the US
Congress to lift it entirely.
"It was a first meeting. This is a process," Vidal
said. In the next weeks, she said, the US and Cuba
will schedule a second round of talks, which may
or may not be the time to finalise an agreement.
The need for at least one future round of talks
could set back US hopes of reopening the
embassies before April s Summit of the Americas,
which Obama and Castro are expected to attend.
Still, after so many years of mutual suspicion,
each side stressed the importance of the collegial
atmosphere in Havana that included long working
lunches and a dinner together. (AP)
US not clear
if Cuba new
Thousands have been marching for
and against Shia Houthi rebels amid
a dangerous power vacuum following the
resignation of Yemen s leaders.
Yemen s parliament is to hold a crisis
meeting to discuss whether it will accept
the offer of US ally President Abdrabbuh
Mansour Hadi to stand down.
The US state department has urged a
"peaceful transition" after President Hadi
quit due to "total deadlock."
Meanwhile, aid agency Oxfam says Yemen
is nearing a humanitarian catastrophe.
It warned in a new report released yes-
terday that the country was on "the brink
of humanitarian disaster with millions of
lives at risk," saying that half of its population
was in need of humanitarian aid.
The Houthis, who seized the presidential
palace earlier this week, have also encircled
the parliament building and the houses of
the defence minister and the intelligence
President Hadi is also under de facto
Thousands of Houthi supporters staged
a rally north of the capital Sanaa yesterday
with placards calling for "Death to America,
Death to Israel." A smaller counter-rally was
held near the University of Sanaa.
Thousands were also reported to have
demonstrated against the Houthis in the
southern city of Aden. The south was a
separate country until 1990 and its inhab-
itants are pressing their case for independ-
The resignation of President Hadi needs
to be approved by lawmakers to take effect.
One of his advisers told AFP that parliament
would meet on Sunday at the earliest
because it is currently in recess.
Representatives of the Houthis were said
to be "brainstorming" their next move.
Washington, which has seen Yemen as
a key ally in its battle against al-Qaeda mil-
itants, urged restraint.
"We continue to support a peaceful tran-
sition. We ve urged all parties and continue
to urge all parties to abide by... the peace
and national partnership agreement," State
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told
Earlier this week, Houthi gunmen fired
on Prime Minister Khaled Bahah s convoy
and then laid siege to the presidential palace,
where he was staying.
Then on Wednesday the home of Pres-
ident Hadi was shelled, shattering a ceasefire
that had been agreed only hours earlier.
The ceasefire deal had met a series of
rebel demands including the expansion of
Houthi representation in parliament and
key state institutions. (BBC)
Power vacuum in Yemen
...thousands rally for and against
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