T&T’s tourism industry is lagging behind the rest of the Caribbean says Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe who is calling for more focus to be placed on its development.
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69 Santo Domingo women appear in court
A pregnant Santo Domingo national fell ill in the San Fernando Magistrates Court and was taken to hospital on Friday. She was among 69 Santo Domingo women on prostitution charges and was waiting for her matter to be heard. When the matter was called Sixth Court Magistrate Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds said she had been taken to hospital by ambulance. The magistrate issued warrants for three of the women who were absent without an explanation.
Another woman sent a letter to the court, written in Spanish, explaining that she was scheduled for surgery at a health facility in Santo Domingo. The women complained about how long the case was taking to get off the ground. “I am ready to go back home. It’s been a whole year,” said interpreter Luz Maria Tapais-de-Copilah, translating what one of the women had said in Spanish. Another woman said five women have already been set free.
Telling them to be patient, the magistrate explained that another woman charged with them is currently on trial in the Fourth Court. Depending on the outcome of that case, she said, the prosecution will decide how to proceed with the other 69. She said, “You all pleaded not guilty, so that means everyone has to face a trial. There are 69 charges. To do 69 trials it takes several years. You just have to be patient.”
The accused were among 75 women charged with soliciting passersby for the purpose of prostitution. They were arrested at Classic Seamen Hotel in Vistabella on March 3, 2013. All pleaded not guilty and were granted own bail. The matter was adjourned to April 30.