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Police announces strategic shift in command

KINGSTON, Jamaica - As Jamaica’s new police commissioner, Dr. Carl Williams takes command of the Service; there has been a strategic shift in the administration of the force with the redeployment of fourteen Senior Officers to better police the island and ensure accountability to Jamaicans. The transfers which took effect on the 1st of October 2014, reflects an important shift in the persons who command various key areas of the Service, in line with the new policy direction of Commissioner Williams. “We have to ensure that officers from the ground level to my office are held accountable for everything they do. Managers at the different levels in the Force will manage in accordance with these policies and protocols and hold their juniors accountable, so that in turn, we can be accountable to the people of Jamaica,” the Commissioner said. At his swearing in Dr. Williams pointed out that in order to respond to  the new challenges, the police “must be prepared to make changes in our way of thinking and our modus operandi that will result in the transformation of our organisational culture.”  The following are the changes in the police command: 1. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Novelette Grant who was appointed to that rank on Thursday, October 2, will now head the Administration Portfolio. 2. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Glenmore Hinds from the Operations Portfolio to Crime Portfolio. 3. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake from Administration Portfolio to Operations Portfolio. 4. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Warren Clarke from Area 1 Headquarters to Border and Vital Infrastructure Security (BVIS). 5. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Kevin Blake from the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) to Area 3 Headquarters. 6. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Derrick Knight from Area 3 Headquarters to Area 5 Headquarters. 7. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Wray Palmer from Operations Branch to the Inspectorate of Constabulary (IOC). 8. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Assan Thompson from BVIS to Operations Branch. 9. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Carlton Wilson from IOC to NIB. 10. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Ferguson from IOC to Area 1 Headquarters. 11. Senior Superintendent of Police, Egbert Parkins from St. James Division to Area 2 Headquarters. 12. Senior Superintendent of Police, Anthony Castelle from the St. Catherine North Division to Area 5 Headquarters. 13. Superintendent of Police, Derrick Champagnie from Area 1 Headquarters to St. James Division. 14. Superintendent of Police, Merrick Watson from the St. Thomas Division to the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ). In the meantime, Commissioner Williams, says he will be working with his Deputies to streamline operations in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), to ensure accountability to Jamaicans. Dr. Williams argued that a lot of the problems in the Force is as a result of “breakdown in accountability structures at some level,” adding that while they have done a good job in many areas, it is mainly the negative areas are amplified and that determines Jamaicans’ perception of the Force. “The expectations from Jamaicans are very high, and I intend to work with my command team to ensure that we do all that we need to do to lift the cloud of doubt and change the perception of Jamaicans,” the Commissioner assured.

Portia leads clean up drive in her constituency

KINGSTON, Jamaica Oct. 5, 2014 - As the government continues its effort to control the spread of the Chikungunya virus,  (CHIK-V) across Jamaica Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller yesterday led by example with the clean-up in her South West St. Andrew constituency.

Balancing her dream - Leneen Faith

The summer of 2010 was a turning point for Leneen Faith’s dream. It was then that her children’s book series on Peacebe – a little boy who had existed in her imagination for several years, came to life.
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PM Receives Update on Ebola and CHIKV

KINGSTON, Jamaica October 3, 2014- Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller this week convened a special meeting at Jamaica House to review the threat of the Ebola virus and assess the government’s response to the outbreak of the Chikungunya virus. The Ministry of Health has heightened surveillance at all ports of entry and health facilities. This includes assigning additional staff to screen and assess passengers who have travelled to countries affected by the Ebola virus. The Ministry is to distribute health warning messages at all ports of entry. In addition, a special treatment centre has been established and all hospitals have identified isolation rooms. A first round of training for senior health workers has been conducted and they will continue the training of other health care workers. The meeting was also updated on the CHIK V outbreak. As part of the national response, additional funds have been earmarked to accelerate the clean-up efforts across the island. The Ministry of Health has reported that there is an adequate supply of paracetamol at all public health facilities to meet the needs of those affected by CHIKV. It was noted that the country is experiencing cases of Dengue and Influenza which is normal at this time of the year and also bear similar symptoms to the CHIKV such as high fever, joint or muscle pain and fatigue. Pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertensionwho are at risk for more severe symptoms are encouraged to take extra care in protecting themselves from mosquito bites. Special care must be taken to protect newborns and children. The government wishes to make it clear that Chikungunya is a mosquito borne virus and everyone is encouraged to assist in the effort by keeping their surroundings free of mosquito breeding sites.

Jamaica records 1.8% growth in second quarter

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Jamaican economy grew by 1.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, when compared to the similar quarter of 2013. This growth represents a 1.4 per cent improvement over the first quarter of 2014. This is the word from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) which explained that the growth resulted from a 6.3 per cent improvement in output for the goods producing industries and a 0.5 per cent increase in the services industry. Notable improvements were recorded in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry and this was largely attributed to the sustained hurricane recovery and drought mitigation measures implemented by the Government. The institute also noted that higher output levels were recorded in construction, mainly because of the increased expenditure on road work activities across the island, including the north-south leg of highway 2000. Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller officially opened the Linstead to Moneague leg of the highway on August 5, which was developed by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), with financing from the China Development Bank and CHEC Americas. Growth was also recorded in the Manufacturing sector, which benefited from a 111.9 per cent increase in the production of sugar and a 26.1 per cent growth in petroleum refining. “Unlike the second quarter of 2013, when there was no production for the month of May, in 2014 production occurred for all the months of the review quarter,” STATIN highlighted. In the meantime STATIN says the Mining & Quarrying industry declined by 0.4 per cent. This decline was due to a fall in alumina production, because of no work at one of the alumina refinery plants. It explains that although there was a 13.3 per cent increase in the production of crude bauxite, this was not enough to offset the 4.3 per cent fall in alumina production.

New police commissioner vows to protect citizens rights

KINGSTON, Jamaica September 16, 2014- Jamaica’s new Commissioner of Police Dr. Carl Williams has given his assurance that under his leadership, the Jamaica Constabulary Force will do everything within its power to respond to public concerns about the conduct of the police and to hold officers to the highest standards of integrity.

CCJ to protect providers of goods and services

Traders of goods and services will have protection from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), under the CARICOM Regional Integration Electronic Public Procurement System, being developed across the region. The Programme Manager of  CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME),
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Jewel Scott appointed honorary consul for Atlanta

Atlanta based Attorney-at-law Georgia Mrs. Jewel Scott has been appointed Jamaica's Honorary Consul in Atlanta, effective August 26, 2014. She replaces Vin Martin who served creditably for over 16 years and died on July 23.
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Gov’t moves to facilitate Medical Marijuana & Hemp Industries

KINGSTON, Jamaica, October 1, 2014 - Government has moved to lay the foundations for the establishment of regulatory regimes to govern the cultivation and use of ganja for medical and scientific purposes, as well as non-medical industrial hemp. This is being effected through draft legislation to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act, where the cultivation and other activities involved in the production and supply of the plants will be legal under a controlled regime. Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, told press briefing that while the amended law will observe Jamaica’s anti-narcotics obligations, the industries will operate under licence. “It must be emphasized that these proposals must be consistent with the existing requirements of the anti-narcotics treaties to which Jamaica is a party,” Senator Golding said, adding that it is “significant that the regulated utilization of ganja and industrial hemp for the specific purposes is indicated by the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.” He noted that the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs permits signatories to take such “legislative and administrative measures as may be necessary…subject to the provisions of this Convention, to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of trade in, use and possession of drugs.” The Minister, while pointing to hemp industries in the European Union (EU),  said the UN Convention “expressly allows the cultivation, processing of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, subject to the control measures which State parties are obliged to put in place.” A Licensing Authority is to be established to govern the licensing processes for participation in the medicinal ganja industry, while the industrial hemp industry will be similarly subject to a licensing system. The amended Dangerous Drugs Act will enable the making of regulations for the licensing authority. Minister Golding said it will deal with “permits and authorizations for the controlled cultivation, production, processing, possession, transportation, delivery, offering for sale, exporting and importing of ganja for medical and scientific purposes, including research, clinical trials and the manufacture of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals.”

Kissinger had plans to invade Cuba

MIAMI — Nearly 40 years ago, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger mapped out secret contingency plans to launch airstrikes against Havana and “smash Cuba,” newly disclosed government documents show. Mr. Kissinger was so irked by Cuba’s military incursion into Angola that in 1976 he convened a top-secret group of senior officials to work out possible retaliatory measures in case Cuba deployed forces to other African nations, according to documents declassified by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library at the request of the National Security Archive, a research group. The officials outlined plans to strike ports and military installations in Cuba and to send Marine battalions to the United States Navy base at Guantánamo Bay to “clobber” the Cubans, as Mr. Kissinger put it, according to the records. Mr. Kissinger, the documents show, worried that the United States would look weak if it did not stand up to a country of just eight million people. “I think sooner or later we are going to have to crack the Cubans,” Mr. Kissinger told President Ford at a meeting in the Oval Office in 1976, according to a transcript. The documents are being posted online and published in “Back Channel to Cuba,” a new book written by the longtime Cuba experts William M. LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University, and Peter Kornbluh, the director of the archive’s Cuba Documentation Project. The previously undisclosed blueprint to strike Cuba highlights the tumultuous nature of American-Cuban relations, which soured badly after the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. Mr. Kissinger, who was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, had previously planned an underground effort to improve relations with Havana. But in late 1975, Mr. Castro sent troops to Angola to help the newly independent nation fend off attacks from South Africa and right-wing guerrillas. That move infuriated Mr. Kissinger, who was incensed that Mr. Castro had passed up a chance to normalize relations with the United States in favor of pursuing his own foreign policy agenda, Mr. Kornbluh said. “Nobody has known that at the very end of a really remarkable effort to normalize relations, Kissinger, the global chessboard player, was insulted that a small country would ruin his plans for Africa and was essentially prepared to bring the imperial force of the United States on Fidel Castro’s head,” Mr. Kornbluh said. “You can see in the conversation with Gerald Ford that he is extremely apoplectic,” Mr. Kornbluh said, adding that Mr. Kissinger used “language about doing harm to Cuba that is pretty quintessentially aggressive.” The plans suggest that Mr. Kissinger was prepared after the 1976 presidential election to recommend an attack on Cuba, but the idea went nowhere because Jimmy Carter won the election, Mr. LeoGrande said. “These were not plans to put up on a shelf,” Mr. LeoGrande said. “Kissinger is so angry at Castro sending troops to Angola at a moment when he was holding out his hand for normalization that he really wants to, as he said, ‘clobber the pipsqueak.' ” Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story Continue reading the main story The plan suggested that it would take scores of aircraft to mine Cuban ports. It also warned that the United States could seriously risk losing its Navy base in Cuba, which was vulnerable to counterattack, and estimated that it would cost $120 million to reopen the Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico and reposition destroyer squadrons. The plan also drafted proposals for a military blockade of Cuba’s shores. The proposal warned that such moves would most likely lead to a conflict with the Soviet Union, which was a top Cuba ally at the time. “If we decide to use military power, it must succeed,” Mr. Kissinger said in one meeting, in which advisers warned against leaks. “There should be no halfway measures — we would get no award for using military power in moderation. If we decide on a blockade, it must be ruthless and rapid and efficient.” Mr. Kissinger, now 91, declined a request to comment. The memos show that Donald H. Rumsfeld, who was secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Ford, and again under President George W. Bush, was also present at the meeting when Mr. Kissinger ordered up the contingency plan. Mr. Rumsfeld, 82, also declined a request to comment. Some Cuba historians said the revelations were startling, particularly because they took place just as the United States was coming out of the Vietnam War. “The military piece dumbfounds me a little bit,” said Frank O. Mora, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense who now directs the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University. “For Kissinger to be talking the way they were talking, you would think Cuba had invaded the whole continent.” A version of this article appears in print on October 1, 2014, on page A12 of the New York edition with the headline: Kissinger Drew Up Plans to Attack Cuba, Records Show. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

House passes Criminal Records Act

KINGSTON, Jamaica October 1, 2014 - The House of Representatives, yesterday passed the Criminal Records Act where convictions for possession of two ounces or less of  ganja, smoking ganja and having smoking paraphernalia will not attract a criminal record as well as the removal of criminal records for other minor offenses.   The Bill was tabled in the wake of concerns about the length of  time persons have to wait to qualify for their records to be expunged, and their inability to attract gainful employment during that period.       The Bill also makes provision for the expungement of convictions under Section 10 of the Sexual Offenses Act, once the term of  imprisonment does not exceed five years.  In the meantime, Justice Minister Mark Golding revealed that Cabinet has given approval for amendments to the Act to allow for the use and possession of  ganja for medical and research purposes. The definition of  hemp will be inserted in the Act and there will also be licensing regime. “There will be changes so that we can have a  properly regulated medical ganja industry and a lawful properly regulated industrial hemp industry here," Golding said. And a licensing authority is to be established to govern the medicinal ganja industry.     Golding says discussions will take place with the Minister of Finance in relation to a portion of  the revenues generated from the issuing of  licenses going into a dedicated fund.       Resources will be used for public education programmes discouraging ganja use by adolescents and other vulnerable persons.      It will also be used to support the National Council on Drug Abuse, NCDA's programmes.    

Major upgrading work set for Lucea

As the new mayor of Lucea in Hanover continues his drive to improve the environment of the north coast town, a major beautification project involving four government agencies and the Hanover Parish Council is shortly to get underway. Following a walking tour of today, Minister McNeill said on passing through the town recently he was disappointed. Lucea is the only parish capital between the resort towns of Montego Bay and Negril. According to the Tourism Minister, “When you consider that possible in excess of 200,000 visitors pass through here as well as the people who live in the town, it really is unacceptable.” He consequently communicated his thoughts with Member of Parliament Ian Hayles and Mayor Wynter McIntosh “and we determined that we were going to come and take a look at it because it cannot remain in the way it is.” Agencies represented on the extensive tour included the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the National Works Agency (NWA), National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA), the Hanover Parish Council and Lucea Development Initiative. While recognizing that there are some reasons for the town‘s shabby appearance, a major one being the $1.2 billion pipe laying work by the NWC, Minister McNeill said “how it was going to be fixed up is not enough so we are going to come in with the TEF to give some assistance so the road can be done   properly.” Issues with drains and sidewalks will also be addressed and something done to improve landscaping and the beauty of the town. That will include erecting signage at strategic locations, upgrading Look Out Park and creating a rest stop where people can sit and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Lucea Harbour. The main thoroughfare, Seaview Drive, will be rehabilitated with a pedestrian walk linking into a Bailey bridge to be erected at adjacent to the existing Johnson Town Bridge. Its two-fold purpose is to enable the large water mains to be laid and provide a safe path for pedestrians. The old stone bridge is to be repaired. Minister McNeill insisted that serious attention be given to the cleanliness and beauty of the town, noting that its aesthetic assets were being squandered. “The technical teams are going to do some work and at the end of it, we are going to see if we can get this up to a standard that we would be proud of,” he said. The Tourism Minister and his team also visited the historic Fort Charlotte which has been falling into a state of ruin. “If we do not fix it up now every day it loses something to the elements. We are going to be working with the parish council to do some work to protect it and get it back into the condition that it should be,” he said. To ensure it does not degrade any further, he said that work should start now. “They have a proposal on the table and we are going to see how we can do a phased restoration of it. In effect what we are doing is the same way we have done transformative programmes in Ocho Rios, Falmouth, Negril we are looking to see what can be done for Lucea,” he stated. The plan outlined by Minister McNeill has been endorsed by MP Hayles and Mayor McIntosh. MP Hayles estimated that “this town is going to need over a billion dollars.” He stated, “Just take  a look at the town, it’s going to take a lot of money but I am happy to see that the Minister is here and he has made commitments and we have work to do and we are going to follow through on the commitments and ensure that we can have something good going forward.” For his part, Mayor McIntosh also expressed appreciation for the intervention by Minister McNeill and said he would be rallying the business community and the people of Lucea to play their part in cleaning up the town. “A lot of the buildings are in a dilapidated state and we must improve the status of Lucea,” he declared. He said Minister McNeil had asked for estimates to put in a proper drainage system and for a maintenance team to be assigned to avoid a recurrence of the ugly scenes that have built up with blocked drains and stagnant water throughout the town.

House passes Flexible Work week bill

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 23, passed the Employment (Flexible Work Arrangements) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, paving the way for the introduction of flexible working time. The flexi-work arrangement is intended to increase employment opportunities, enhance productivity and afford workers the opportunity to better structure their lives through a flexible employee/employer work agreement. Making his contribution to the debate on the Bill, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, expressed his support for the legislation. “A worker can complete a work week in three and a half to four days and that means that it frees up Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for anybody who wants to worship during those periods,” Mr. Brown said. He added that with the compressed work week, workers can observer their religious day of worship without any fear of reprisal. Mr. Brown also highlighted that under the legislation, there will be no set eight or 10-hour work days, but instead these will be capped at a maximum of 12 hours. For his part, Opposition Member of Parliament for North East St. Andrew, Delroy Chuck, also welcomed passage of the legislation, while noting that if properly implemented it could lead to increased employment for Jamaicans. He further argued that the Government should implement the provisions of the Act within the civil service. “The first place they should start is within the various agencies that collect taxes, fees and whatever duties that need to be paid. Put in place this flexi time (and) make provision so that these collectors of taxes can be opened not until four o’clock in the evening, but until six and eight p.m. in the nights,” Mr. Chuck said. Closing the debate, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said the Ministry will be intensifying its public education programme. He emphasized that it is important that employees and employers are cognizant of their rights under the legislation, “and that everyone appreciates that their freedom to negotiate is essential to the overall success of flexi work.” Mr. Kellier further informed that the Jamaica information Service (JIS) has been contracted to undertake further public education on the Ministry’s behalf through the use of the print and electronic media. He  said the Ministry will also ensure that labour officers throughout the island are further sensitized to the new modality under flexi work. “Studies have shown that in those jurisdictions where flexi work arrangements have been implemented, there has been less staff turnover, greater employee satisfaction, a greater sense of satisfaction and a greater commitment to the job,” Mr. Kellier noted. The Bill will be sent to the Senate for its approval.

Jamaica due £2.3 trillion in reparations says NCR report

THE National Commission on Reparations (NCR) says Jamaica would be due at least £2.3 trillion (approximately J$416.3 trillion) from any slavery reparations paid by Britain to the region. This money would be able to pay off Jamaica’s national debt of $2 trillion and set the nation on a new economic path. The figure was based on the NCR’s calculation of Jamaica’s 30.64 per cent of the £7.5 trillion calculated by British academic theologian, Dr Robert Beckford, as being owed by Britain to its former colonies. The information was included in the NCR’s report which was finally completed and tabled in the House of Representatives last Tuesday. Beckford, who was born to Jamaican parents in Northampton, England, and was raised in the Pentecostal Church, has focused on the role Britain played in the slave trade in his latest documentary — The Empire Pays Back — on Channel Four Television, which calculates how much money African- Caribbean nations would be owed if they were compensated for slavery, which he described as “one of the major scars on British history”. But, according to the Professor Verene Shepherdchaired Jamaican commission, even Professor Beckford’s figure is incomplete, as it does not include provisions for the differentiated labour classifications under slavery — field, artisan, domestic, and supervisory. The NCR report also claimed that Beckford failed to take into account the pre-arrival suffering and trauma of capture in Africa, the march to the coast, and storage in dungeons. “It also does not include the trauma and pain of the ‘Middle Passage’ journey, punishment, death through execution and the sexploitation which were daily features of the plantation society, both during and after slavery. And it excludes the cost of repatriation,” Shepherd’s team reported. “There is no doubt that the enslaved suffered... the punishment meted out to the enslaved people was severe, and this level of suffering must be accounted for in any demand for repair and restorative justice,” the report added. Beckford has insisted, however, that his documentary revealed how Britain got rich out of slavery, as well as the individuals and institutions who still benefit. “… We provided the first empirical calculation of how much African-Caribbean [nations] are due. It’s a conservative figure, but it will still bankrupt the (British) nation,” he said. The calculation was divided into the three sections: (1) Unpaid Labour: Beckford’s team estimated that for unpaid labour Britain owes £4 trillion; (2) Benefit to the economy or unjust enrichment: His team said Britain earned £5,000,000 per year from sugar during the peak of the industry, thus over a century alone Britain made £500,000,000. Calculated at today’s rate, that amount equalled to £2.5 trillion; (3) Calculation of human cost/pain and suffering: Using the estimate £12,500 average compensation granted to a British citizen for bondage in prison and/or wrongful imprisonment, multiplied by the average 20 years of labour for an enslaved African, the total cost for an individual African would be £250,000. When this is multiplied by the estimated number of Africans who survived the Middle Passage, plus those who were born into slavery, the total cost for pain and suffering is estimated at £1 trillion. The total monetary reparation owned by Britain, according to Beckford’s calculations, would be an estimated £7.5 trillion. Jamaica’s share, using Beckford’s estimate, would equal to 30.6 per cent of that £7.5 trillion, or £2,298 trillion. “The fundamental question facing the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) as it joins its Caricom neighbours in seeking redress from European countries is: What constitutes a meritorious claim? It is hoped that this report will assist the GOJ in its deliberations and in the debate in Parliament over the issue of reparation, which is an imperative,” the commissioners stated. The NCR report is expected to be one of the main subjects of the debate on the reparations issue when it resumes in the House of Representatives.

PJ Patterson wants JA to move towards the CCJ

Former Jamaican Prime Minister and President of the People’s National Party - PNP, P.J. Patterson told members of the Party on Sunday that they needed to remain true to the PNP’s long-term commitment of securing Republican status for Jamaica. Speaking at the public session of the 76th annual conference of the PNP at the National Arena in Kingston, Mr. Patterson emphasized the Party’s determination to see Jamaica “finally sever once and for all sever the judicial links to an Imperial Court.” Mr. Patterson was making reference to Jamaica acceding to the appellate division of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). As Prime Minister during the 1990s, Mr. Patterson saw to the establishment of a Commission to examine options for reform of the Jamaican Constitution, including the establishment of a Republic. This would, among other things, see the Queen of England being replaced as the Jamaican Head of State. The discussions between the PNP and the Jamaica Labour Party  (JLP) broke down on the question of what form of republic Jamaica should become – one with a ceremonial president or an executive president. The PNP was in favour of an executive presidency, while the JLP wanted a ceremonial president with limited powers, akin to the office of the Governor General under the existing constitutional arrangement. That matter has not yet been fully resolved. In a judgment handed down in 2004 the UK based Privy Council ruled that the manner in which Jamaica had gone about joining the appellate division of the CCJ was unconstitutional, as a consequence of which the country has had to continue relying on the Privy Council as its final court of appeal, while utilising only the original jurisdiction of the Caribbean court. Mr. Patterson also endorsed another matter of great historical resonance – the growing demand by Caribbean people for reparations from Europe for the evils of slavery. “We cannot be silent in the cry for social justice by the payment of Reparation long overdue,” he declared. The PNP, he said, must remain committed “to fulfill the mission on which our Founders embarked 76 years ago, for if we fail, generations to come will not hold us blameless.” Mr. Patterson was PNP President and Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1992 to early 2006.

Jamaica's economy to further improve - Portia

Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has highlighted the tremendous success of the government’s economic programme and the resultant improvement in the island’s economy over the past two years. Addressing Sunday’s  public session of the People's National Party’s (PNP)  76th annual conference, the party president pointed to several major projects that are slated to come on stream, the passage of successive International Monetary Fund (IMF) tests and the latest ratings which showed that the economy has been growing.  She noted that Jamaica has been able to attract some J$54 billion in investments, particularly in the tourism sector, over the last two years.  Prime Minister Simpson Miller pointed out that the country's debt was declining and its perception improving among international credit ratings agencies, such as Standard & Poors, which has upgraded Jamaica's rating from stable to positive.  Addressing jubilant supporters inside the National Arena in Kingston, The PNP President said her administration was positioning the island for more substantial economic growth, having achieved four consecutive quarters of growth after 14 successive quarters of negative performance.  She said unemployment levels have declined from over 16 per cent to 13.6 per cent, and is expected to further improve further as additional investments are made in business processing and outsourcing (BPO) with the establishment of centres in various parish capitals across the country. This initiative is expected to create some 2,500 jobs by the end of the financial year and an additional 10,000 jobs upon completion.  In addition, she pointed to the on-going work to diversify the energy sector to save Jamaicans some US$350 million in energy costs by 2018, and highlighted the development the country's highway infrastructure and attempts to position the country as a global logistics hub through the expansion of the Kingston Harbour, Norman Manley International Airport and development of the Portland Bight area. The Jamaican Prime Minister said expansion of the Kingston Wharves was also in the pipeline and revealed that the administration was receiving several investments in logistics amounting to billions of dollars, to come not only out of China but out of the United States and Europe. “The future is looking bright, we welcome the investments,” said Simpson Miller who thanked the local and international investors. Simpson Miller, while boasting of the outstanding gains to come, cautioned that economic independence would not come overnight and that the country needed the involvement of all Jamaicans, locally and overseas, to succeed. She said the country could not continue to do business as usual and new approaches were necessary to get the desired results.  “So how dem say nothing naa gwaan?” Simpson Miller asked to loud cheers. “… when people say nothing naa gwaan you can proudly say, big things a gwaan and our country is moving on,” she told the thousands of cheering party supporters. She said the administration had passed the people’s test when “we reduced GCT from 17.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent”, reduced the tax burden on low-income earners, expanded the PATH and school-feeding programmes, hand out land titles and improve health benefits, among other things. Simpson Miller said that the PNP will again pass the people’s test when it comes away successful at next year’s holding of Local Government elections and the subsequent general elections.  

Witness in Mario Deane case escapes police lock-up

MONTEGO BAY, September 16, 2014 – The police are continuing their search for a man who is a witness in the high level Mario Deane probe who escaped from the Montego Bay Police Lock-Up in St. James on Saturday.

Carl Williams appointed Police Commissioner

Kingston, Jamaica, September 10, 2014 - Jamaica's search for a police commissioner has ended with the appointment of Carl McKay Williams  as the island's new Commissioner of Police, effective September 15, 2014. He replaces Owen Ellington who retired from the force on July 1, 2014 after serving  the constabulary for thirty four years.

Thousands bid farewell to former Minister Roger Clarke

Savanna-la-mar, Sunday September 14, 2014 - It has been described as possibly the largest funeral to take place in Jamaica; some people say it could be compared with or even rival Michael Manley’s or even Bob Marley’s, but the consensus is, that the Funeral service for the late Minister of Agriculture Roger Harold Clifford Clarke was indeed massive.

Lucea's Mayor Wynter McIntosh hold talks with stakeholders

Sunday September 7, 2014- The new Mayor of Lucea in Hanover, Councillor Wynter McIntosh has pledged to correct as many of the challenges which plague the residents of the town as well as the parish within the time allowed before the next Parish Council elections.

Aristide placed under house arrest

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Thursday September 11, 2014- As Haitian Judge, Lamarre Belizaire, continues to investigate allegations of corruption, money laundering and drug smuggling involving former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and close allies, the former president has been placed under house arrest.

Roger Clarke's body arrives in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica September 10, 2014 - The body of the late Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport on Wednesday afternoon and was met by his wife Sonia, members of the Cabinet and officers of the People's National Party, led by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller as well as other officials including former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson.

Craft Council Set Up To Improve Industry

The Craft Council of Jamaica, comprising local craft traders, producers and other stakeholders, has been established, as the Government continues its work to facilitate sustainable development of the industry.

Debate on flexi hours begins in Parliament

KINGSTON, Jamaica September 10,2014 - Debate on a Bill for the introduction of flexi work arrangements in Jamaica commenced in The House of Representatives yesterday, whereby the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act will be amended to give greater protection to the nation’s workers.

Jamaica Observes Tourism Awareness Week, Sept. 21- Oct. 1

Kingston, Jamaica: September 10, 2014 – As the tourism sector continues to experience steady growth the Ministry of Tourism & Entertainment will seek to raise awareness of the vital contribution that the sector makes to Jamaica’s social and economic development during Tourism Awareness Week (TAW) 2014.
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