Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Loneliness is deadlier than obesity and should be considered a major public health hazard, the biggest ever review into the problem has suggested. Researchers in the US looked at 218 studies into the health effects of social isolation and loneliness involving nearly four million people. They discovered that lonely people had a 50 per cent increased risk of early death, compared to those with good social connections. In contrast, obesity raises the chance of dying before the age of 70 by around 30 per cent. Lead author Dr Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University, Utah, said people should be preparing for retirement socially as well as financially, because for…
“It’s now difficult to see how any interim period could go beyond two years given the threat of legal challenge,” said a senior Whitehall source with knowledge of the UK negotiating position. The strict timeline on a transition period after Brexit points to a toughening UK approach on the transition deal in which the UK will seek the right to negotiate and sign trade deals – although not finally implement them – during any transition period. The UK also believes that national parliaments, including the… A Brexit transition deal cannot last more than two years or it will risk being challenged in the European Court of Justice or shot down in the German parliament, the government has been warned.
A Whitehall source said: “Cases such as this obviously raise questions about the UK licensing regime, particularly when other advanced economies like Canada are able to license certain products.There is a concern that we’re behind the curve on this, which is why it would make sense to consider a review.” Speaking outside hospital, Ms Caldwell, 50 said she was “over the moon” at the release of the medicine. Charlotte had cannabis oil, prescribed in Canada for her son Billy’s epilepsy, confiscated at Heathrow airport on her return to the UKCredit:Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph She added that she expected her son to be delighted by the development.“Billy is still tired at the moment and sleeping. As soon as he is able to take this on board I’m sure he will be absolutely delighted,” she said. “As of tomorrow the team will be stepping up to the plate and this [drug] will become available legal – legal, safe, regulated access to medical cannabis for the children of this country. The mother is questioned by reporters on the steps of the West London hospitalCredit:Tim Anderson In a statement, Mr Javid said he had used an “exceptional power” in a “complex situation” to issue a licence for the medicine to be used. He added that the “immediate priority” was to make sure Billy received effective treatment.Earlier, Ms Caldwell had said she would hold the Home Office responsible if her son died.Ms Caldwell, from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, claims Billy had not had a fit for more than 250 days after taking the cannabis oil for 19 months.Although Ms Caldwell’s GP in Northern Ireland had been prescribing it, he had been told by the authorities that he risked being reprimanded if he persisted. Home Secretary Sajid Javid Credit:Matt Dunham/AP Consequently, Ms Caldwell and her son flew to Canada, where it is cleared for use medicinally, to buy the drug fearing his seizures would return. Charlotte Caldwell gives a statement concerning her sick epileptic son BillyCredit:Tim Anderson “I don’t want any other child or family to go through this.”She said she hoped Mr Javid had learned lessons from her family’s criss, adding that he was an “intelligent man” who would take on board the failings she had experienced.“I know from Billy using this [drug] that that it has kept his seizures at bay,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion.“I’m hoping that his seizures will get better controlled and we can move forward.” Billy ran out of treatment last week after the Home Office warned his doctor in Northern Ireland that he would be disbarred if he prescribed more. The move forced his mother to go to Canada to obtain more of the oil. Billy was admitted to hospital on Friday after a severe fit following the withdrawal of his medicine. The cannabis oil had been confiscated when they arrived at Heathrow Airport on after flying in from Canada where he had earlier been treated. The Government is considering reviewing laws on the use of medicinal cannabis after the Home Secretary intervened to help treat a chronically ill boy suffering life-threatening fits, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.Sajid Javid took the unusual step of licensing a batch of cannabis oil, which is illegal in the UK, to treat Billy Caldwell, 12, who suffers from violent epileptic episodes. Billy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, 50, had a batch of the medicine seized by the Home Office last week. In a decision Ms Caldwell hailed as “historic”, the consignment of the drug which she had brought from Canada but was then confiscated at Heathrow Airport, was returned for doctors to administer to her son.The oil, which contains the active ingredient THC that can cause a ‘high’, was rushed to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London where Billy was being treated yesterday after suffering a marked deterioration in his condition. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Spotted dick has long been a source of amusement for diners – but now seems to be so much so that waiters in the Houses of Parliament dare not say the name of the pudding out loud.The Daily Telegraph has learnt that staff working in Strangers’ Dining Room, the 19th-century restaurant used by MPs to entertain guests, have resorted to using the name “Spotted Richard” in order to spare the clientele their blushes.Four staff waiting on tables in the restaurant confirmed the name change when approached last night. They were less forthcoming when asked for an explanation, stating only that “Richard” was less likely to cause a stir with guests.However, the rebrand appears to have had the opposite of the desired effect, with Strangers’ regulars taking to social media yesterday to brand the change “very silly”. While Ms Jenkyns has laughed off the issue, others have been less forgiving. Nigel Farage, the former leader of Ukip, branded it “PC Baloney”. Echoing his comments, Michael Fabricant, the Conservative MP for Lichfield, said the decision was rather puerile, adding: “Call a dick a dick, I say!” Call a dick a dick I say!Michael Fabricant MP Andrea Jenkyns, the Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, was the first to notice the difference, revealing on Wednesday that her waiter had offered her a slice of “Spotted Richard” off the special desserts menu.Ms Jenkyns told The Telegraph that she had “to bite on my lip to stop myself from laughing”.“I had to ask twice, just to be sure,” she continued. “They have a traditional desserts section, which changes daily, so I asked what the dessert was and that’s when they said it. I still have no idea why.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Crush the desserters: Tory MP Michael Fabricant described the menu change as ‘very silly’Credit:Jeff Gilbert It comes more than a decade after Tesco was mocked when it rebranded the dessert “Richard”, after a survey showed that female shoppers were embarrassed by the name.In 2009, Flintshire council confirmed that it had been renamed on their menu following a string of “immature comments” from customers.First served up by French chef Alexis Bénoit Soyer in 1849, “dick” was an old English term for pudding, says Annie Gray, a food historian. However, early 18th-century dictionaries suggest it comes from the proper name, such as Dick-dunnock, a local name for a hedge-sparrow. A House of Commons spokesman had denied the rumours were true, stating that the dish remained one of “many traditional hot puddings” served up in Parliament’s various eateries. Later, they added: “We are not always able to control how staff may refer to dishes.”
Train chaos left Rolling Stones concert goers with a two-hour walk after a gig in Twickenham Stadium on Tuesday night.Fans were told as they were leaving the venue at around 10.30pm that the station had closed due to issues around the rail network.They were advised to walk two miles to Richmond station where alternative transport would be available.However, many of the crowd were elderly, making this journey on foot physically tough and taking several hours.Judi Le Blanc went to see the show with her husband Richard. She said the pair walked for two hours towards Richmond station, before giving up and getting an taxi all the way to Windsor. A spokesman for Twickenham stadium said they acted as soon as they were made aware of the delays to tell fans about the travel disruption. “There were loads of older people being asked to walk to Richmond”, he said.“The traffic around Twickenham was a total standstill – you couldn’t get a bus or a taxi.“I saw a car driving at people because they were so irate at people walking on the road.“My wife had heels on – she was totally blistered up by the time we got to Richmond.“If you’re on crutches, or you’re older, there was nobody to do anything for you at Twickenham. The Rolling Stones on stage on Tuesday nightCredit:Jim Dyson/Getty Images Europe “My husband is 67 and he had stents put in his heart before Christmas”, said Mrs Le Blanc, who had paid £600 for two tickets to the show.“He could have collapsed with a fatal heart attack any time last night.“These are not young people going to a Rolling Stones concert – thank God there wasn’t a fatality. Most of the audience were in their 50s, 60s and 70s.”David Scott, 39, said he saw paramedics attending to those who struggled with the walk. A spokesman for South Western Railway said: “We would like to apologise to passengers caught up in last night’s disruption.“Due to a number of incidents services into and out of Waterloo were severely disrupted last night.“These incidents resulted in crew and trains being severely displaced leading to knock on delays and disruption with some trains terminating short of their destinations and some cancellations.“We alerted Twickenham stadium to issues we were having and asked them to direct concert goers to other transport modes where their tickets would be accepted. “Entry on to both Twickenham and Richmond stations was controlled at certain times to keep passengers safe away from the platforms until trains were available.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Military bomb disposal specialists were called to the scene in Bideford, Devon Although Mr Busby’s house was evacuated there was thought to be no risk to the wider public. A statement from Devon and Cornwall police said: ‘Whilst at the address, some of our officers complained of feeling unwell and were immediately removed from the scene and a cordon put in place’.The Telegraph understands the officers were overcome by the foul state of the house, which possibly contained poorly husbanded home maintenance products. It is thought likely the arrested man would be released shortly. Police called to the home of a chemical weapons expert in Devon had to be treated after feeling unwell, it has been reported.Devon and Cornwall police said officers who attended an address in Bideford on Wednesday morning were treated by the Hazardous Area Response Team and the property was cordoned off. Specialist officers were called to examine a number of items seized from the house and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was deployed. A retired research scientist named by The Sun as Dr Chris Busby was held by police who had responded to concerns for the safety of a woman. Police sources confirmed a 73-year-old man had been detained under the explosives act. Mr Busby is a regular expert for Russian state sponsored channel RT and has previously claimed Britain may be behind the Salisbury poisoning. The arrest is not thought to be connected to the nerve-agent attack on Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
If the victims refuse to hand over their private data they will be warned that the case may not be pursued. The move is in response to disclosure issues which have seen men held on bail for long periods, in some cases for up to two years, before walking free when messages emerge from their accusers that cleared their name.Police chiefs claim the introduction of written consent forms is a “step forward in the right direction” and will reduce the current confusion in the system.Max Hill, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said digital devices will only be looked at when it forms a “reasonable line of enquiry” and only “relevant” material will go before a court if it meets “hard and fast” rules. He said he hoped ultimately it would lead to more successful prosecutions for sexual offences.Under the current legal framework the police have no legal power to seize phones or digital devices from a complainant. Giving details of the new system, Assistant Commissioner, Nicholas Ephgrave, the NPCC Lead for Criminal Justice, explained that accusers “have the opportunity if they are uncomfortable with that for whatever reason to say ‘I don’t want that to happen’ and record the reasons why. The Centre for Women’s Justice is launching the legal challenge alongside the two alleged victims arguing the consent form discriminates based on sex, breaches the Data Protection Act and the right to privacy.Harriet Wistrich, founder of the CWJ, said that whilst complainants understand the need for relevant material to be examined it is “disproportionate” for their entire lives to be downloaded.”We seem to be going back to the bad old days when victims of rape are being treated as suspects,” she said.Her concerns were backed by Claire Waxman, Victims’ Commissioner for London, and Vera Baird QC, the lead on victims for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, who have complained to the ICO about the policy. One woman taking part in the legal challenge, named only as Olivia, said: “The data on my phone stretches back seven years and the police want to download it and keep it on file for a century.”My phone documents many of the most personal moments in my life and the thought of strangers combing through it, to try to use it against me, makes me feel like I’m being violated once again.”The consent forms allowing officers to access messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts are being rolled out across the country in a bid to make it easier to identify and handle crucial evidence. “But we also make clear on the form that if that is the position they adopt for whatever reason it may not be possible for a prosecution to proceed.”Once written permission is given allowing officers to examine and download anything relevant the data, no matter how private or personal, could then be shared with their attacker’s legal team under disclosure rules.The new forms will not deal with the resourcing issues that senior officers have complained leave police struggling to sift through thousands of messages. Liam Allan had rape charges against him dropped following full disclosure Campaigners have raised concerns about the new consent formsCredit: Westend61/ Getty Images Contributor Ms Baird said there was a “public safety issue” that could see serial rapists walk free if victims do not come forward because they don’t want every element of their private life examined.“This is not consent,” she warned. “This is an authority figure asking you to sign a form as soon as you have finished an interview reliving what is one of the most horrific experiences of your life.”She said the forms were just part of the problem as police and prosecutors look to harvest third party material, such as school records and medical notes.Ms Waxman said she was also “hugely concerned” by the requirement for complainants to “sign away their rights to privacy” in order for the case to proceed.“We already know that victims who decline to grant access are having their cases dropped at alarming rates, while new Home Office figures show the proportion of rape cases being prosecuted nationally has drop to a low of just 1.7 per cent,” she said.Adina Claire, Acting Co-Chief Executive at Women’s Aid, said: “We know from our work with domestic abuse survivors that many victims of rape and sexual abuse feel that they, not the suspect, are the ones being put ‘on trial’. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Rape victims will be forced to hand over their mobile phones to police or risk their attacker walking free under a controversial new policy being introduced by prosecutors.The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have revealed plans which aim to stop sexual offence cases collapsing because crucial evidence emerges at the last moment. But the new policy has already attracted criticism, with privacy and women’s campaign groups saying it treats victims like suspects, subjecting them to a “digital strip search” and deterring them from coming forward. Two rape complainants are already planning a legal challenge to the policy and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is currently carrying out an investigation. “The extent of personal data of victims of rape and sexual offences that is being routinely collected by the police and CPS is highly concerning. This can mean that a victim’s background, and even sexual history, is scrutinised in court.This often deters women from trying to access justice; already one third of domestic abuse-related cases do not proceed due to the victim withdrawing her support from the prosecution.”With the dramatic decline in prosecutions and convictions for rape and serious sexual offences in recent years, the police and CPS must take urgent steps to ensure that victims feel safe and supported, and not as if they are being put on trial themselves.”However, justice campaigners warn that if the accused cannot see all of the evidence pertaining to the case then there is a risk that innocent people will be convicted.Nigel Evans MP said the importance of disclosure was highlighted by a number of cases including that of Liam Allan, a student who had the charges against him dropped after messages from his accuser were revealed during his 2017 trial.“I understand that there may be discomfort into handing this information over,” Mr Evans said. “But that is nothing compared to the pain and torture that those who are wrongfully accused face.”
Hedgehogs are put off by plastic grassCredit:Charlotte Graham / Guzelian The new trend of carpeting lawns with artificial grass has been criticised by wildlife charities, who say it is killing off bugs and vital pollinators.People who do not have time to regularly mow their lawn are switching to sterile plastic, and the Royal Horticultural Society said this behaviour seems to be on the rise.The problem with fake grass is that it does not allow wildlife to survive, as it does not provide habitat or food, and our gardens are important havens for insects, birds and mammals.Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticulturist, said that he has seen rising demand for plastic grass, adding: “Anecdotally there are many reports of increasing demand for fake grass, but to the best of our knowledge they has been no formal survey. “There are greener alternatives; shade plantings for areas where it is too shady for lawns, drought resistant plantings for areas where lawns don‘t thrive due to lack of soil moisture and for front gardens where mowing can be difficult, low maintenance plantings”.There was a row on Radio 4’s Today Programme on Friday morning as Mishal Husain revealed she has carpeted her garden with plastic turf. The presenter said: “If you have plants around your artificial turf, then you still get butterflies.” John Humphrys , who was co-presenting, said fake grass is “ghastly”, adding: : “But the artificial turf kills everything else, it kills everything underneath it”. The Wildlife Trusts said the trend means gardeners are “putting up a no entry sign for wildlife” and it harms all animals, from worms to hedgehogs.Jon Traill, Living Landscapes Manager, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said: “Laying an artificial lawn is like putting up a no entry sign for garden wildlife. Artificial turf is terrible for birds, butterflies and bees, and creates further plastic pollution. It stops the birds from finding worms, as they would on a real lawn, and pushes the worms out of gardens entirely. Hedgehogs lose out too, because worms and beetles make up a lot of their diet.“People look to artificial lawns for convenience, but just don’t realise what negative consequences they have for our wildlife.“With an estimated 24 million gardens in the UK, the amount of green space we can create makes a big difference to the natural world. Collectively our gardens are a vast living landscape, and increasingly important as a refuge for our wildlife.”Flowers are food for butterflies and bees, while lawns with long grass give a refuge for ladybirds during the winter. Birds and small mammals feed on the bugs which thrive in lush vegetation. A Butterfly Conservation spokesperson said: “We cannot prove a link between the decline in butterfly population in the last ten years and gardening habits, but if we want to encourage all wildlife into our gardens it helps to have as much vegetation as possible. What we do know is that urban butterfly numbers have fallen by almost three quarters in the last 20 years and loss of habitat is certainly a factor in this.”A study carried out by the wildlife charity found that over a 20-year period, urban butterfly abundance fell by 69 per cent compared to a 45 per cent decline for butterflies in rural areas. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedJuvenile Justice Bill 2018 read in the National AssemblyMarch 15, 2018In “Crime”Prosecution in audit cases hindered by ‘fearful’ witnesses, says RamjattanMay 23, 2016In “latest news”SARA requires ‘intervention of the High/Supreme Court’ before it could recover assets- WilliamsApril 12, 2017In “latest news” Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan during his speechPublic Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan has outlined that because the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) Bill will be going after state assets and not so much the persons in possession of such, then their presumption of innocence in trail is not under siege.Presumption of innocence is enshrined in Guyana’s Constitution and articulated under Article 144. Article 144 (2a) states that every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.Ramjattan outlined that “since the golden thread running through this Bill is to go after the loot, and is not so much directed towards the person holding the loot in that strict sense so as to inflict punishment or establish guilt for specific offences, the presumption of innocence is not under challenge. To the extent then that a presumption of innocence is part of a fair trial, civil asset recovery that are calculated using presumptions of illicit acquisition is very much compatible with our Constitution and the UN Convention Against Corruption.”According to the Public Security Minister, “civil recovery of asset is an action against property and not the person; it does not carry any penal sanction against the person holding or in possession of the property but instead pursues recovery of property which is the product of unlawful conduct.“Just think of it for a moment! A person in possession of proceeds of crime or in possession of property which belonged to the State can have no constitutional grievance if deprived of their use. So like the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009 with the relevant amendments in 2016, this State Asset Recovery Bill of 2017 will fill another gap in our anti-corruption legislative landscape.”The ‘controversial’ piece of legislation which will soon be debated in Parliament, saw objections from a plethora of bodies and stakeholders.Contentions were raised that the Bill in its common form would, among other things, give the Director virtually unlimited authority.Former Attorney General Anil NandlallFormer Attorney General and Member of Parliament (MP), Anil Nandlall had expressed concerns about this legislation setting the stage for the creation of a parallel justice system.Nandlall noted too that the Bill would create an environment that encouraged the violation of individuals’ constitutional rights and undermine the Rule of Law, since it conferred powers ten times greater than those of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) on a sole individual – the Director of SARA – who currently is Professor Clive Thomas.He observed too that the Bill would create a series of new offences, the SARA Director was vested with unparalleled powers to investigate the newly-created offences and persons could “be rid of their properties without ever being charged with a crime.”The legal luminary had explained that the Bill redefined the term “unlawful”, diluting the seriousness of a “wrong” which could now warrant the seizure of one’s property.Therefore, he said, it becomes easier to commit an “unlawful act”, and in the process, one risks losing one’s property.Ramjattan who was delivering the feature address at the Transparency Institute Guyana Inc (TIGI’s) Annual Fund-Raising Dinner at the Guyana Pegasus Hotel in Kingston Georgetown on Saturday, March 11, said, inter alia, that the controversy surrounding the SARA Bill was borne out off ‘misconceptions and misapprehensions.’In support of his position he posited that the SARA Bill is in accordance “with one of the purposes of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption as stipulated in Article 1(b) …….”to promote, and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of, and fight against corruption, including in asset recovery”.He noted also that it is consistent with Article 54 (1) (c) of that same Convention which allows for States to confiscate property without a criminal conviction where the offender cannot be prosecuted.“Our Constitution article 142 (2) (a) (ii) provides the exception to the right to property when it allows for property acquisition ‘by way of penalty for breach of the law, whether under civil process or after conviction of a criminal offence under the law of Guyana’” said Ramjattan.Moreover, the Security Minister who is also a attorney-at-law by profession posited that Civil asset recovery already exists in the Anit Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009 and under the SARA Bill it will continue as part of “Government’s policy to shape an environment for transparency, honesty and integrity and a deterrence against corruption.”The Private Sector Commission (PSC) had said that while it is in support of government going after state assets, the SARA Bill in its current construct was not only dangerous and disingenuous, but it has been found to be in violation of numerous sections of Guyana’s supreme law – the Constitution.Moreover, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) had raised concerns over the political imbalance of the Parliamentary Appointments Committee, which would be tasked with selecting the Director of SARA.Concerns were also voiced by the Guyana Bar Association (GBA), over the amount of power instilled in the Director and recommended that a Board of Directors be installed to govern the agency.Just recently, the Central Corentyne Chambers of Commerce (CCCC), the latest body to put the controversial SARA Bill under the microscope asserted that while they fully support government in its quest to recover state assets, they feel the Bill should be sent to the Select Committee in Parliament to have the contentious areas reviewed.According to the CCCC “from all the legal advice given to us, we are very concerned that the SARA Bill has many contentious provisions and some may even be unconstitutional. Rushing this Bill through will certainly result in it being challenged in the courts and result in protracted delays in its implementation. Most laymen do not understand some of the dangerous provisions of this Bill where an ordinary person can have their private assets seized by the government and they have to then resort to the courts to regain it, as what is state assets has not been defined in the Bill.”Moreover, the Corentyne Chambers of Commerce highlighted that the “nature of the politics of our country can result in this Bill being a very potent tool at the disposal of politicians where citizens can be harassed and victimized.“It is instructive to note that there is no country in Caricom with such a Bill and the majestic powers that would be given to the head of SARA also has no equivalent anywhere in Caricom. The head of this entity would arguably have more powers than the Commissioner of Police, the DPP, and the Commissioner General of GRA which are all constitutional positions in their own right but would have to play second fiddle to the head of SARA and this is only one of the areas that has to be sorted out by a Select Committee.”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCARICOM congratulates new Cuban PresidentMay 3, 2018In “Regional”Member States need to inform their citizens of the benefits of CARICOM- LaRocqueJuly 4, 2017In “latest news”CARICOM boss says regional integration provides resilienceMay 18, 2017In “latest news” After the accreditation, LaRocque and Douglas further discussed the challenges of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and security, as well as preparations for the Commonwealth Summit and the UK-Caribbean Forum in 2018. Even as the United Kingdom continues to face its fair share of challenging events, it has committed to closer relations with the Caribbean Community (Caricom).Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque welcomes UK High Commissioner to the Eastern Caribbean and Caricom, Janet DouglasNew UK High Commissioner to the Eastern Caribbean and Caricom, Janet Douglas said last Thursday that her country wanted to infuse fresh vigour into its relations with the Region. She was at the time presenting her Letter of Credence to Caricom Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, at the Caricom Secretariat, Greater Georgetown, Guyana.In the wake of recent acts of terrorism in the UK, LaRocque placed on record the Community’s unreserved condemnation of orchestrated attacks perpetrated against innocent civilians.He said: “Caricom joins its voice to that of the international community in condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Such disruptive and vicious acts underscore the need for the international community to deepen cooperation in the battle against terrorism.”LaRocque also extended sincere condolences to the UK for the loss of lives and homes owing to the disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower in West London in the early hours of June 14.According to the new UK envoy, it was indeed “a sombre and challenging time” for Britain, but hope was inspired by the message of Her Majesty the Queen on her official birthday, when she said, “Put to the test, the United Kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity”.That spirit of resolve, she said, is one that was shared with Caricom to promote common values such as respect for human rights, the rule of law, and a determination to protect the fragile environment.LaRocque stated his appreciation for Britain’s strategic support of issues relating to climate change. Noting that the Caribbean had been designated as the most natural disaster-prone region in the world, he said most member states bore a heavy debt burden from rebuilding after major climatic events, which were more frequent and more intense.Against this backdrop, he said Caricom continues to advocate for development partners to revisit their policies on graduating vulnerable countries out of access to concessionary development financing. The use of per capita income as the primary criterion for access, the Secretary General said, was inadequate, adding that vulnerability must be factored in. He further appealed to the UK to include vulnerability of Caricom countries in reconsidering the eligibility criteria for access to the Infrastructure Fund it has allocated to countries of the region.The Secretary General also raised the issues regarding the blacklisting of Caricom countries as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, de-risking and the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships by some international banks.He urged the UK — a key player in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) – to communicate the positions of global financial authorities which have affirmed the financial integrity of Caricom countries.Meanwhile, Douglas said that the UK would continue to collaborate with its Caricom partners to combat threats to their collective security, such as narcotic trafficking and other international organised crime.