Is Vybz a murderer?
Kartel's trial in Kingston starts back on January 6. He is accused, with associates, of killing 27-year-old dancer Clive "Lizard" Williams, in a quarrel over two missing guns in August 2011. Last July, he was tried for the murder of Barrington "Bossy" Burton. That prosecution collapsed when a key witness could not be found. This rounds, stand by for a January verdict.
Was Dino packing coke?
Dino Bouterse, son of Suriname's president Desi Bouterse, spent Thanksgiving in a New York prison, awaiting trial on big-time drugs and terrorism charges. Will his 13 children see Daddy home before next Christmas? Probably not. Will Granddaddy Desi be even slightly embarrassed, either way? I doubt it.
Will the gold price plummet?
Just before Christmas, gold slipped below US$1,200 an ounce, its lowest since mid-2010. A year earlier, it was at US$1,675. Bad news for Guyana and Suriname, whose economies have grown steadily since 2006 on the back of a gold boom.
So far, all seems fine. Guyana's small and mid-scale gold miners have announced record output. A Canadian company Guyana Goldfields plans a US$250 million Aurora mine, for start-up in early 2015, with finance from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation and production costs around US$527. Gold has been comfortably above this level for six years.
Suriname looks less sunny. The government has dropped plans for a US$500 million bond to fund a stake in two big mining projects. And back in Guyana, the proposed US$400 million Totoparu mine now looks iffy. It would have just a 16 per cent return on capital with gold at US$1,200.Both mainland economies were in deep trouble in the 1980s and 1990s. The current gold price is a setback, but no disaster. Free fall would be another story.