GEORGETOWN, Guyana — American oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. has asked Guyana’s government for a production license to let it start pumping oil from the seabed by late 2019, though company officials have said operations are likely to start in 2020.

Guyana Geology and Mines Commissioner Newell Dennison on Wednesday confirmed the application, saying it would be the first time the small South American country has issued an oil and gas license.

Exxon Mobil said last year that exploratory wells off Guyana discovered a “world-class” reservoir that could hold up to 1.4 billion barrels of oil.

The discoveries add to a maritime rights dispute with Venezuela, which also claims the area where they are located. The UN has given both nations until year’s end to solve the dispute.

NASSAU, Bahamas  –  A totnado touched down at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) early Tuesday morning causing significant damage to a Bahamasair plane and minor damage to several cars at a nearby car rental agency.

According to Basil Dean, deputy director at the Department of Meteorology, the tornado formed from an isolated cumulonimbus cloud in the vicinity of LPIA around 5am on Tuesday.

Mr Dean said prefrontal showers and thunderstorms moved across the Northwest Bahamas during the early morning hours of Tuesday resulting in light rains and strong gusty winds at LPIA.

When asked why the MET Office did not send a severe weather warning prior to the storm, Mr Dean said the tornado formed “rather quickly” and was not detectable before hand.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Police have arrested and charged a 34-year-old man in connection with the rape of a 46-year-old British visitor.

David Omar Best of Orange Hill, St James appeared before Magistrate Wanda Blair in the Holetown Magistrates’

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – A Jamaican national was today ordered to pay $8000 forthwith or spend 12 months in prison.

Octavia Nickoda Lucimia Taylor, 25, landed at the Grantley Adams International Airport on Saturday, March 11 and one kg of cannabis was found in a haversack she was carrying.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – A 55-year-old pastor, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail last week after he was found guilty of having sex with a minor two years ago, has announced plans to appeal the conviction.

Attorney Lyndel Wellesley said his client, Reverend Paul Hanniford of the Pentecostal City Mission Church, has since filed a notice of the appeal.

Wellesley has confirmed that Hanniford, who was found guilty by a seven-member jury on January 24 and sentenced by Justice Lorna Shelly Williams last Friday, will be challenging his sentence on the basis that it is excessive.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) said the complainant, who is now 15 years old, testified in court that on March 12, 2015, she and her five-year-old brother went to the church for choir practice and after the rehearsal they asked the pastor for a ride.

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