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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending February 15th, 2013

15 Feb

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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POLICE IN JAMAICA KILL THREE MEN IN SHOOTOUT—02/09/13
According to Jamaican authorities, Jamaican police officers shot and killed three men in the tourist resort of Montego Bay. A submachine gun and a pistol with ammunition were seized at the scene of the shooting. The case is being investigated by an independent panel. Human rights advocates have long noted the high rate of fatal shooting involving police officers and military. In 2012, 219 people were killed by security forces in Jamaica.

COST OF CONVENTION CENTER OUTPACES ESPECTED EARNINGS—02/10/13
The Montego Bay Convention Center was built at a cost of US51.7 million. It was expected to be a major location for obtaining foreign exchange from meetings and conventions. Instead, it has been characterized as “bleeding” public coffers. The center costs the nation about $1 million every day, but takes in much less. Stakeholders believed the center would generate some US$10 million in the first year and have a 10-percent increase in earnings each following year. However, these earnings have not materialized, and the Urban Development Corporation is left with $30 million per month in maintenance costs.

CONSULTANT CALLS FOR LIABILITY MANAGEMENT—02/11/13
Aubyn Hill, a management consultant, believes that liability management is critical for stabilizing Jamaica’s economy. Such management is needed to obtain significant reduction in the national debt. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Dr. Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance, are slated to speak on their economic program and reform measures. They could call for a management program supported by Hill. Currently, Jamaica has a debt-to-GDP ratio of over 140 percent and a debt of J$1.7 trillion.

GAY JAMAIACAN CHALLENGES ANTI-SODOMY LAWS—02/12/13
Javed Jaghai, a Jamaican gay activist, has filed the nation’s first domestic challenge to the anti-sodomy law. His complaint, filed with the Jamaica Supreme Court, claims Jaghai was thrown out of his home by his landlord because of his sexual orientation. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States State Department have criticized Jamaica repeatedly for not doing enough to stop anti-LGBT violence on the island.

OTTEY, SPRINTER LEGEND, RECEIVES HONORARY DOCTORATE—02/12/13
Six-time sprint Olympian Merlene Ottey, 52. will receive an Honorary Doctor of Technology, Sport degree from the University of Technology (UTech) in a special ceremony. Ottey competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. She will receive the honorary degree in honor of her excellent athletic achievements and her contributions to world recognition of Jamaica as a leader in track and field. Ottey currently lives in Slovenia and competes for that country despite her age.

HIGH HOPES FOR TITANIUM HARVEST FROM ISLAND MUD—02/13/13
Promising signs of sufficient titanium in the bauxite/red mud waste in Jamaica have led to plans for harvesting the mineral if initial testing confirms predictions. According to Parris Lyew-Ayee, executive director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, Jamaica’s mud has iron and titanium content of six percent. Testing conducted by Nippon Metal Company, a Japanese firm, will reveal whether the minerals exist in sufficient quantity to be commercially harvested.

GROUP WANTS TO USE SORGHUM, NOT YELLOW CORN IN FEED—02/14/13
The Caribbean Broilers Group is looking to use sorghum instead of imported yellow corn as the main ingredient of its Nutramix animal feeds. Roger Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, toured the firm’s experimental plot of sorghum at Hill Run, St. Catherine, to see the proposed operations. About 4.8 million acres of sorghum was cultivated in the United States in 2010, and Dr. Keith Amiel, the group’s corporate affairs manager, believes Jamaica can grow between 140 and 150 bushels per acre, compared to the 120-126 bushels obtained by U.S. growers.

GOVERNMENT PLANS TO GET $16.4 BILLION IN REVENUE FROM TAXES—02/15/13
The revenue measures outlines to Jamaica’s House of Representatives by Peter Phillips, Finance Minister, are predicted to raise $16.4 billion in new taxes for the coming fiscal year. The taxes would include a special telephone tax, fees paid at local ports, fees paid by telecommunications providers, and taxes on dividends. There would also be a five-percent surtax on the income of “unregulated” firms, and increase in the Education Tax, and a customs administration fee would be imposed on all imports. Taxes would also be increased on gaming, local stamp duty rate, lotteries, and would include property tax reforms. Legislation will also be introduced concerning Transfer Pricing Rules and Thin Capitalization Rules, but no implementation date for these has been set.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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READING BELIEVES JAMAICANS WILL PLAY AT STOKE—02/09/13
The Reading FC in the United Kingdom hopes that their three Jamaican international players will be available to take part in the match in Stoke City. Adrean Mariappa, defender, and Jobi McAnuff and Garath McCleary, both midfielders, were stars at the historic draw obtained by the Reggae Boyz in Mexico in their first point at Azteca Stadium. Brian McDermott, head of the Royals, is confident they will play at Britannia Stadium in spite of only just returning from Mexico City.

CANADA PRAISES JAMAICAN DRIVERS—02/10/13
In Canada, Jamaican drivers are impressing their employers and leading them to return to the island to find more Jamaicans willing to take driving jobs in the northern nation. Employers held a job fair at the office of the Ministry of Labor in St. Ann’s Bay, where Andy Roberts, a driver trainer who works in British Columbia, was ready to recruit more Jamaicans for his firm. Roberts has trained over 50 Jamaicans as drivers for Canadian positions and praises their desire to knowledge and education.

JAMAICAN NATIONALS ARRESTED WITH 450 POUNDS OF MARIJUANA—02/11/13
Police in New York State arrested two Jamaican nationals found transporting 450 pounds of marijuana. A NY state police drug task force arrested Calvin Bennett, 37, and Roderick Johnson, 29, in Orleans County. The two men had alleged that the contents of the container in which the drug was found held office furniture and cardboard boxes. Officials said there were nine boxes, each with 50 pounds of pot inside. The men were charged with criminal possession of the drug and are being held under $200,000 bail.

UK REPORT SAYS “SIGNIFICANT” NUMBER OF JAMAICANS IN JAIL—02/12/13
A report presented during a Parliament debate in the United Kingdom stated that there are over 800 Jamaicans held in UK jails. In all, over 1,000 West Indies nationals were incarcerated in England and Wales as of the end of 2012. Jamaicans represent the majority of those held. No information was made available as to what these individuals are serving time for. Of the total 83,757 prisoners in the UK jail system, 10,592 were foreign nationals.

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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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SMUGGLING SURGES IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—02/09/13

MUSICIANS IN HAITI SAY THEY ARE BARRED FROM CARNIVAL PERFORMANCE—02/10/13

U.S. TROOPS TRAIN FOR MASS MIGRATION IN CARIBBEAN DRILL—02/11/13

ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGED CARIBBEAN NATIONS SELL CITIZENSHIP—02/12/13

90 PLAYERS TO SIGN WITH CARIBBEAN PREMIER LEAGUE—02/13/13

LABOR UNIONS MARCH ON PARLIAMENT IN THE BAHAMAS—02/14/13

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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
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BANK DELAYS IPO IN UNITED STATES—02/09/13
The National Commercial Bank Jamaica has decided to delay a US$225 million IPO in the U.S. after its investors objected to the valuation and sovereign risks related to the deal. While the deal was scheduled to price on February 8, 2013, there were few buyers among the limited pool of international emerging market or frontier market investors. The IPO is unlikely to be offered again for another year, since Jamaica has yet to complete a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund concerning debt restructuring and improved fiscal management.

THREATS, OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE IN CANADIAN MARKET—02/10/13
Manufacturers of key products in Jamaica could see their profits reduced due to higher duties in the Canadian export market, unless CARICOM reaches a new trade agreement with Canada before the end of 2013. Products threatened by the duties include pepper sauce and rum. Canada is Jamaica’s second largest market for food exports; the United States is the largest. Agreements must be made to avert a challenge of the current Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement from the World Trade Organization.

JAMAICA ANNOUNCES SECOND DEBT SWAP—02/12/13
The second debt swap plan in three years has been announced by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who said that if the debt is not reduced, the nation will have a “dismal” future. The debt currently totals 140 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The debt swap action is designed to satisfy conditions demanded in an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in which 55 percent of government spending is paid toward the debt, and 25 percent goes to wages.

JAMAICA PRODUCERS PARTNER WITH RED STRIPE ON CASSAVA PROJECT—02/13/13
Red Stripe Jamaica and Jamaica Producers Group have formed a partnership to explore the feasibility of using local cassava in beer brewing. The partnership is seeking to leverage the Group’s agricultural expertise. Red Stripe already grows cassava and other crops for raw material for snacks, but the feasibility study will determine if cassava can be grown in sufficient quantities for beer making. Red Stripe wants to replace 30 percent of its imported ingredients with the less expensive and locally grown cassava.

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CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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NEW FOSSIL SPECIES FROM JAMAICA RELATED TO THOSE IN MEXICO—02/09/13

REEFS ERODING IN CARIBBEAN—02/11/13

XYLEM GETS CARIBBEAN DATA CONTRACT FOR CORAL REEFS—02/12/13

SPANISH, FRENCH CARIBBEAN NATIONS TOPS IN INTERNET USE—02/14/13

 

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ENTERTAINMENT
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U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICER ACCEPTED GIFTS FROM JAMAICAN MUSICIAN—02/09/13
In the United States, a U.S. State Department official has pleaded guilty to charges of accepting two expensive watches from a well-known Jamaican musician in exchange for providing that musician with a visa to enter the U.S. David J. Rainsberger, 32, entered a guilty plea in a U.S. federal court for receiving unlawful gratuities while stationed at the American Embassy in Kingston. He was also charged with making false statements to the U.S. government on a national security questionnaire. He faces two years in prison for the gratuity charge and five years on the false statements charge.

JAMAICAN AUTHOR LAUNCHES LITERARY WORK AT EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.—02/10/13
Jamaican author Professor Curdella Forbes introduced her latest literary work, “Ghosts,” at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, D.C. Forbes, who is a professor of Caribbean literature at Howard University, read excerpts from her book to rave reviews from the audience. It is written in a mix of English and Jamaican Creole and tells the story of “murder, psychological mayhem, and love” in terms of Caribbean spirituality. Jamaica’s ambassador Stephen Vasciannie said the embassy was honored to be linked with the launch of Forbes’ latest work as part of the Jamaica 50 Lecture Series.

GRAMMYS HONOR LEGENDARY REGGAE STAR BOB MARLEY—02/11/13
The 55th Grammy Awards honored Bob Marley during the televised awards program with performances by Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting, and Marley’s sons Ziggy and Damian. Mars and Sting showed the influences of the reggae great by performing their own songs heavily inspired by Marley. Then the Marley sons and Rihanna joined Mars and Sting to perform “Could You Be Loved” to an enthusiastic crowd. Bob Marley died in 1981 of malignant melanoma.

SCHOOLS HOST REGGAE CONFERENCE—02/12/13
The Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit plans to host the third International Reggae Conference beginning on February 14, 2013, at the University of the West Indies. Mona. The conference, which has as its theme “Traditional and emerging Themes in Popular Music,” is being hosted in association with the Office of the Principal at the University. The conference is designed to collect and disseminate knowledge about Jamaica’s music and culture. It will also celebrate the 68th anniversary of Bob Marley’s birthday and highlight the spread of reggae music throughout the world.

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SPORTS
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TOTTENHAM FACES JAMAICA NATIONAL TEAM IN MAY 2013—02/09/13
Tottenham will play a friendly match in May 2013 against the Jamaican national team in the Bahamas at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The game will mark a year-long celebration of the 40 years of independence of the Bahamas. It is also slated to be the first significant event in the new 15,000-seat stadium. Bahamas Football Association president Anton Sealy said the group was delighted to welcome Tottenham Hotspur and the Jamaican national team to their new stadium.

JAMAICANS HAPPY AS USA, MEXICO FEEL PAIN—02/10/13
The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica obtained a stunning result in their match with Mexico, holding the team to a 0-0 draw at Estadio Azteca. This match opened the final round of the FIFA World Cup. The USA team was defeated 2-1 by Honduras.

JAMALCO VETERANS STAR IN NETBALL VICTORY—02/12/13
Jamaica’s Jamalco netball club was helped by Elaine Davis, Athea Byfield, and Nicole Pinnock to win its third consecutive Jamaica Netball Association/Jamaica National Building Society Sunshine Open League championship in Kingston. Davis had 24 goals out of 28 attempts, helping Jamalco win over Tivoli Gardens 32-28. Jamalco is coached by Winston Nevers.

WEST INDIES WOMEN GET HISTORIC WIN—02/14/13
The West Indies Women claimed a victory over Australia at the ICC Women’s World cup India 2013 and secured a place in the Grand Final for the first time in its 40-year history. The team won the match by eight runs. This was also the first time that the women Windies ever defeated Australia in an ODI. The team’s captain Merissa Aguilleira said she was “completely overwhelmed” by their achievement.

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