THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JAMAICAN PILOTS REFUSED PERMITS IN TRINIDAD, SAY UNION—03/23/13
According to the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), three pilots working for Caribbean Airlines (CAL), which is based in Trinidad, were refused work permits and made to leave the country. The union has asked for the help of Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and has questioned the commitment of nations in the region to the free movement initiative of CARICOM.
GOLDING RETURN EYED BY JLP—03/24/13
Supporters of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) are suggesting that former Prime Minister Bruce Golding reconsider his plans not to return to politics. JLP supporters say Golding is looking increasingly attractive as a candidate to “retake the leadership” of the party instead of Andrew Holness. Recent remarks by Golding appeal to many JLP members, who say that the former leader’s comments sound better than anything else coming from the party since its defeat in the last elections.
GOVERNMENT CALLING FOR “CALM” IN FACE OF BUDGET CUTS—03/25/13
Jamaica’s government is trying to instill calm in the population in the midst of an economic crisis by assuring that the country will soon recover. The concern stems from the required budget cuts imposed by an agreement with the international Monetary Fund (IMF). Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance and Planning, said no one should “fear” the budget, while acknowledging that Jamaica will face difficult times. The IMF is providing a loan of $750 million, subject to measures designed to reduce the country’s high debt.
DOING BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE EASIER, SAYS PRIME MINISTER—03/26/13
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has called on members of her Cabinet to make it easier for Jamaicans to do business with the government and not focus all their energy on foreign businesses. Members of the executive branch support her position, and at least one tax expert has questioned the plans of the government to grant tax waivers to overseas businesses without imposing conditions of any kind.
FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE MAN BARRICADED IN CLOCK TOWER—03/27/13
Firefighters in Jamaica rescued a man from inside the Half-Way-Tree clock tower where he had barricaded himself. No one could say what had provoked attacks on the mentally challenged man, who had taken shelter in the tower to protect himself from further violence. Witnesses reported that the man had run into the tower and barred the door after being doused with water by a group of men. The man hit the bell in the tower repeatedly beginning at about two in the morning. Firefighters were called to the scene and took him safely from the tower. He was then taken to Bellevue Hospital by police.
GOVERNMENT PLANS TO SUE TEACHERS FOR BROKEN BOND ARRANGEMENT—03/27/13
Jamaica’s Attorney General’s department will bring legal action against over 200 teachers who have broken a bond arrangement and owe the government over $400 million in total. The teachers do not currently have the support of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) because the organization’s president, Clayton Hall, wants to government to pursue the delinquents and/or their guarantors, who were also government employees, to obtain the outstanding monies.
JACKSON RESIGNS FROM DISASTER PREPAREDNESS OFFICE—03/28/13
Ronald Jackson has resigned as the director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency. He will take a new position as executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. His new job begins on April 3, 2013. Jackson has served as director general since August 2006.
MAJOR POLICE OPERATIONS CONDUCTED IN MONTEGO BAY—03/29/13
Two prominent residents of Montego Bay were arrested, and police seized a number of luxury vehicles, computers and documents during a 12-hour operation. The operation was headed by the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA). Nine people were arrested and will be charged with a variety of offenses. Police declined to state the nature of the charges.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN WOMAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON IN THE U.S.—03/23/13
Jean Brown, 43, described as a “gangster” and “drug kingpin,” received a life sentence in a United States Court on charges of murder, kidnapping, and racketeering. Brown was one of the leaders of the Brown Organization, a criminal gang responsible for distributing narcotics in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, California, and Jamaica. Authorities have been investigating Brown since 2009 and seized some 100 pounds of marijuana, over $850,000 in cash and bank accounts, and six firearms from co-conspirators.
JAMAICAN TEACHERS IN TURKS AND CAICOS COULD LOSE JOBS—03/24/13
Over 200 Jamaican teachers working in Turks and Caicos could lose their jobs. The government of that nation is considering a proposal to eliminate the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) curriculum. If the public approves the court’s action, Jamaican teachers, who represent about 70 percent of the teachers in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) will have to leave.
MOURNERS PAY RESPECTS TO TEEN KILLED BY POLICE IN NEW YORK—03/25/13
Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to Kimani “Kiki” Gray, 16, who was shot and killed by New York City police March 9, 2013. Kimani, who is of Jamaican and Guyanese parentage, was killed when he allegedly pulled a gun on two plainclothes police officers who approached him. Eyewitnesses have disputed this characterization of the crime, however, and residents in the Brooklyn neighborhood where the incident occurred held week-long protests against what they say are aggressive tactics by police, who may stop and search young black men at random and without good reasons.
JAMAICAN FARM WORKERS IN WASHINGTON CONTRIBUTE TO RETIREMENT HOME—03/26/13
About 400 seasonal Jamaican farm workers at Gebbers Farms in Brewster, Washington, have made a contribution to the Golden Age Home in Kingston totaling J$250,000. Jamaica’s Minister of Labor and Social Security Derrick Keiller took part in a ceremony presenting the check to the retirement home. He praised the workers benevolence and their willingness to improve the lives of people back home.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
ELEVEN NATIONS IN CARIBBEAN DISCUSS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAWS—03/23/13
GILCHRIST JOINS CARIBBEAN PREMIER LEAGUE—03/24/13
AIDE TO HAITI PRIME MINISTER KILLED IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING—03/25/13
CARIBBEAN SPENDS US$321 MILLION YEARLY TO FIGHT DENGUE FEVER—03/26/13
PNDER TOUTS EPA AS BASIS FOR INTER-CARIBBEAN TRADE—03/27/13
GRENADA TO REINSTATE PROGRAM TO SELL CITIZENSHIP TO FOREIGN INVESTORS—03/28/13
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
IMF LOAN UNLIKELY TO BE APPROVED BEFORE END OF MARCH 2013—03/25/13
Jamaicans are concerned about whether the International Monetary Fund will make time in its schedule to approve a $750 million loan for the country before the end of March 2013. According to former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, replacing Jamaica with the Philippines in a scheduled meeting on the IMF executive board calendar for March 29 raised a “matter of concern” about whether Jamaica will receive an answer in March, since the date is Good Friday, which is a holiday in Jamaica, and the last two days of the month fall on a weekend.
JPS THE BIDDING FOR NEW POWER PLANT CONSTRUCTION—03/27/13
The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) announced it is one of a number of bidders that offered proposals to the Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR) for the construction of new power plants on March 15, 2013. Kelly Tomblin, president and CEO of JPS, said the chief goal in the proposals is to sustain lower electricity costs and ensure fuel diversification that will reduce Jamaica’s dependence on oil. The JPS proposals are for building 360MW of new electricity generation capacity, or a portion of that capacity, via combined cycle technology and combining fuel sources.
PHILLIPS SAYS IMF DELAYS HURT JAMAICA—03/28/13
Dr. Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance, believes that the delay in securing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan is having a negative impact on Jamaica. Phillips noted that Jamaica would not meet a deadline for security an agreement by the end of March and said that issues being addressed are related to funding support for Jamaica’s program. The IMF agreement is critical in stopping the depreciation of Jamaica’s dollar, said Governor Brian Wynter of Central Bank.
ENERGY PROBLEM IN JAMAICA NEEDS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION—03/29/13
J. Paul Morgan, previous head of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), believes it is time for Jamaica’s government to step in and present a clear energy policy. Stakeholders are split between the use of coal or liquefied natural gas (LNG). A general agreement between the government and OUR states that fuel oil is not an option for generating power on the island. While interests have argued about coal versus LNG for years, Jamaica has done nothing in regard to fuel diversification since the 1970s when it experienced its first energy crisis, Morgan said.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JAMAICAN WINS TOP U.S. ENERGY INDUSTRY AWARD—03/23/13
INTER-MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON BIOSPHERE RESERVES HELD IN ST.KITTS—03/26/13
LIME MAKES SEVEN-YEAR DEAL WITH ERICSSON—03/27/13
JAMAICA COULD SEE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM LOCAL FORESTS—03/28/13
GREEK-JAMAICAN SINGER POPULAR IN U.S.—03/23/13
Lianne La Havas, a Greek-Jamaican singer, is taking the United States market by storm during her first tour of the U.S. Her album “Is Your Love Big Enough” was named Album of the Year on iTunes for 2012. The singer’s Jamaican mother introduced her to artists like Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige, while her Greek father, an instrumentalist, taught her to play many instruments, including piano and guitar.
LOCAL FILMMAKER TAKES HUMOROUS VIEW OF JAMAICAN TRAGEDY—03/24/13
Michael “Ras Tingle” Tingling, local Jamaican filmmaker, has taken a humorous view of one of Jamaican history’s great tragedies in his film “Parish Bull.” The short film was featured at the Kingston Book Festival in New Kingston. The comedic film is based on the Kendal train crash in Manchester on September 1, 1957, which left almost 200 people dead and more than 700 injured.
TIVOLI, CORAL GARDENS HOLD MARCH—03/28/13
One year after independence and two years before Jamaica celebrated its 50th anniversary, Jamaica experienced some high profile conflicts. In 1963, the Coral Gardens Incident marked the origin point of repression against Rastafari. In 2010, the so-called Tivoli Incursion, in which over 70 citizens were killed according to a widely disputed official count, took place. A march and motorcade in 2013 have linked the two incidents, connecting them in a protest of the treatment of Jamaican citizens by the state, by moving from downtown Kingston to Half-Way Tree. Poet and broadcaster Mutabaruka focused on the links between the two incidents, despite the fact that they are separated by 47 years.
PERFORMERS IN SANKOFA PLAY TOTALLY INVOLVED IN ROLES—03/29/13
Shanique Brown, lead actress in the Sankofa production of “Red and Brown Water,” by American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, became so emotionally involved in her role that she had to be help off the stage at the Pantry Playhouse. The director, Fabian Thomas, said the same thing happened on the previous night and that he was pleased that all of his cast members became so immersed in their roles. The play only ran for two weekends, causing many to miss the experience, but the players will offer the second part of the McCraney trilogy, providing another chance to enjoy the theater’s efforts.
JAMAICAN RUGBY TEAMS OVERCOME HARDSHIP TO MAKE SEVENS PROGRESS—03/24/13
Jamaican rugby players must often play in dangerous neighborhoods where local gangs rule and bullets fly, where their fields are less than optimal, and where they have no opportunity for extensive training. The poor playing and training facilities represents just two of the obstacles facing Jamaica’s rugby organization, but the sport has continued to grow. Now the team has obtained a spot in the sixth leg of the International Rugby sevens to make its debut in the 38th annual tournament in Hong Kong. Rugby sevens uses seven players on a side instead of the traditional 15. It has grown from an amateur sport to a fully professional competition. Over 20 countries now compete in the tournament and organizers hope to have a place in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
BOLT, FRASER-PRYCE, BLAKE LOSE AT UWI—03/27/13
Both Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, champion Jamaican runners, had to settle for runners-up in the 400-meter competition at the UWI Invitational meet at the Usain Bolt/UWI Track. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took fifth place in the women’s 400 meters at the meet.
BOLT, BLAKE TO RUN AT JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL; CAMPBELL-BROWN, FELIX TOO—03/28/13
While both Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake will run at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet, the renewed rivalry between American Allyson Felix and Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown in the 100-meters is expected to garner the most attention. Campbell-Brown has two Olympic titles and one World Championship, while Felix has three Worlds and one Olympic. The events for Bolt and Blake have yet to be confirmed.
TRACK STARS BOOKED FOR JAMAICA INVITATIONAL—03/29/13
Jamaica’s major sprint and running champions will compete at the 10th annual Jamaica International Invitational scheduled for May 4, 2013 at National Stadium. Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and American Allyson Felix will participate. The staging of the meet has not been easy, however, due to financial problems in Jamaica and most local firms having entered into a second National Debt Exchange (NDX) program with the island’s government. Many potential sponsors expressed concerns about the NDX initially.
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