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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending November 1st, 2013

04 Nov

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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GOVERNMENT WINS IN BID TO CONFISCATE ASSETS OF DRUG TRAFFICKER—10/26/13
The government of Jamaica has achieved a significant legal victory in its attempt to obtain millions of dollars in assets believed to be the property of a Jamaican man who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering, and gun-running in the United States. Supreme Court Judge Bryan Sykes dismissed the application made on behalf of the trafficker, Andrew Hamilton, and eight others who included his 83-year-old mother and children. According to Sykes, it is important that “bad money,” money obtained through illegal activity, is kept out of the financial system because it can distort the macro and micro economies.

JAMAICA’S HEALTH MINISTER CALLS FOR STRONGER BREAST CANCER FIGHT—10/26/13
Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, is encouraging all Jamaicans to become more involved with the battle against breast cancer. According to Ferguson, the disease impacts entire families and society as a whole, not just the women who physically experience it. Men and families must be more active in fighting the disease, and support systems for the women affected must include activities like early detection to prevent the high costs of treatment.

FIVE-YEAR PLAN IMPLEMENTED TO TARGET NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES—10/27/13
Jamaica’s Ministry of Health is implementing a five-year plan that is designed to address the occurrence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica. According to Portfolio Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson, the program will be aimed at four major conditions that lead to illness and death among island residents. These are cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease. The four major risk factors linked to NCDs will also be targeted: lack of physical activity, unhealthful eating habits, tobacco use, and the harmful use of alcohol.

BRUCE GOLDING WILLING TO TESTIFY, BUT REFUSES TO BE “AMBUSHED”—10/28/13
Jamaica’s former Prime Minister Bruce Golding says that he is willing to testify to the proposed Commission of Enquiry that is investigating the May 2010 operation at Tivoli Gardens, but he will not be “ambushed.” He is cautious about testifying after being cross-examined by the People’s National Party (PNP) attorney K.D. Knight in the 2011 Commission of Enquiry. The Tivoli Gardens incident involved attempts by the police and military to arrest Christopher “Dudus” Coke and the role of a U.S. law firm contracted by the Jamaican government during Golding’s watch. Over 70 people died in the incident.

MONICA BROOKS CLINGS TO HOPE THAT SON WILL BE RELEASED—10/29/13
Monica Brooks, the mother of one of the two men abducted from their home in Kirkland Heights in St. Andrew, continues to have faith that her son will return home to her. Mario Daley, 25, and Curtis Martin, 27, were taken from the home, and police have yet to make a breakthrough in the case. Brooks has made pleas to the abductors and urged them to release the men.

ROBOTHAM CAUTIONS ABOUT CRITICISM OF CARICOM—10/30/13
Paul Robotham, Jamaica’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, is cautioning against charging that the freedom of movement provisions implemented under CARICOM have not worked well for Jamaica. According to Robotham, more Jamaicans travel to CARICOM states than nationals from those states come to Jamaica. He made his remarks in response to concerns expressed by Delroy Chuck, Opposition Committee member, and Mikael Phillips, Government Member,

TOMBLIN TELLS POWER COMPANY CUSTOMERS THEY HAVE THE POWER—10/31/13
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) continues to dominate the power generation and distribution industry on the island, but Kelly Tomblin, president and CEO of the firm, says the firm is making the changes necessary to meet the demands of its customers. It has made a commitment to evolve over time and provide solutions for all Jamaicans. It will no longer be a case where customers have no input into what the company does; it will be a partnership between the consumer and the JPS, Tomblin said.

BUNTING WORRIED ABOUT FIREARM SEIZURES BY INDECOM—11/01/13
Peter Bunting, Jamaica’s National Security Minister, is concerned about how the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) operates. He worries that its manner could have a negative impact on the activities of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Bunting was responding to statements by Sergeant Raymond Wilson of the Police Federation, who said his members were concerned that police at the scenes of incidents are required by INDCOM to provide their weapons for testing. Sometimes, personnel who arrive at a scene after an incident are made to hand over their guns. Bunting noted that there was a potential for problems if INDECOM takes all firearms for testing.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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NEW CONSUL GENERAL WELCOMED BY SUPPORT ORGANIZATION IN FLORIDA—10/26/13
The president of Food For The Poor, Robin Mahfood, had a meeting with Jamaica’s newly appointed Consul General Franz Hall at the charity’s headquarters in Florida. They discussed how the Jamaican Diaspora could continue its efforts to support initiatives of the group. Food For The Poor influences every aspect of life in Jamaica, said Mahfood, and is committed to continuing its aid to the poor in that country. The officials agreed that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty in Jamaica.

JAMAICAN-BORN LEADER JOINS BRITISH HOUSE OF LORDS—10/27/13
Doreen Lawrence, the well-known Jamaican-born civil rights leader, has been appointed to the British House of Lords and received honors from the Jamaican High Commission in London as well. Lawrence took her seat as Labor member of the Upper House early in October 2013. She is known by the title Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon in the Commonwealth Realm of Jamaica.  She is the mother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racist attack in London in 1993. Her fight for justice for her son prompted reforms in the British police service.

WRITERS OF CARIBBEAN DESCENT TO DISCUSS HISTORY, CULTURE OF REGION—10/28/13
A group of writers of Caribbean descent will meet in Tacoma, Washington, to discuss the history, culture, and literature of the West Indies in a year-long series called “The Caribbean Writer: Identity, Immigration, and Art.” The series is presented by the University of Puget Sound’ African American Studies program. The public talks will be free and open to all who want to attend. Among the speakers are Tiphanie Yanique, Janelle Gordon, Gregory Wilson, and Myriam Chancy.

JAMAICAN STUDENTS WOOED BY CANADIANS FOR STUDY OVERSEAS—10/31/13
At the second day of the Jamaican portion of the 2013 Caribbean Regional Education Tour, hundreds of high school and community college students listened to and met with representatives of the top universities and colleges in Canada. They were informed about study opportunities in Canada. The tour made two stops in Jamaica, at Kingston and Montego Bay, and students were met by representatives of 24 Canadian institutions of higher learning during these events.

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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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FIVE COUNTRIES IN THE CARIBBEAN HAVE AMONG THE HIGHEST ELECTRIC RATES—10/26/13
According to Phillip Paulwell, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, nations in the Caribbean represent five of the top ten most costly retail electricity rates in the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC). The information was discovered in a survey by the IADB Multilateral Investment Fund and Bloomberg on the cost of retail electric power to end users in the region.

GRENADA TO REDUCE INCOME TAX THRESHOLD—10/27/13
Grenada, which is operating under a heavy debt load, plans to reduce the income tax threshold and make greater efforts to apprehend tax evaders. Prime Minister Keith Mitchell is expected to announce the new tax regime during an address to the nation in the near future. Residents who currently earn an average salary of about $22,000 must pay income tax totaling 30 percent. The new threshold will be reduced to half that amount, according to predictions by financial analysts.

CUBA LEADS IN FIFA WORLD RANKINGS—10/28/13
Cuba has moved ahead of Jamaica and Haiti to become the top-ranked national football team in the Caribbean. The latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings have placed Cuba at 74th in the world, just above Sierra Leone and tied with the United Arab Emirates. Haiti is now is 80th place, with Jamaica with a ranking of 82nd.

FORMER T&T FOOTBALLER SUPPORTS CARIBBEAN PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE—10/29/13
Shaka Hislop, a former international football player from Trinidad and Tobago has decided to lend his support to a proposal to create a Caribbean Professional League. Jeffrey Webb, president of CONCACAF, told participants at a sports summit in the Cayman Islands that the region should consider the viability of a sustainable professional league.  Hislop, who played professionally in England, says a league could utilize the talent in the region and provide a way for younger players to gain exposure.

PATHOLOGIST IN ST. LUCIA FINDS PRISONER DIED OF ASPHYXIA—10/30/13
St. Lucia’s official pathologist has issued a ruling in the case of a man who died while in police custody. According to police, Chakadan Daniel, 22, was found hanging in his cell in the village of Micoud. He had been arrested on charges of escaping custody, assaulting an officers, and property damage. Relatives of Daniel say he would never have killed himself.  The pathologist noted that Daniel had a head contusion and died of asphyxia, but did not make any other clarifications about the death.

PRIME MINISTER OF GRENADA ANNOUNCES NEW INCOME TAX RATE—10/31/13
As expected, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell announced that there would be a new tax rate and threshold in the struggling nation. The new regime is part of larger plans to revamp the country’s economy. Residents earning US$13,333 will not have to pay income tax, but at a lower rate than before. Grenada is the latest nation to benefit from the CARICOM Development Fund’s Country Assistance Program (CAP) through an agreement for US$5.3 million to be used to provide support for agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing.
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
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JAMAICAN YOUTH ENCOURAGED TO DEVELOP ANIMATION BUSINESSES—10/26/13
Joan Vogelesang, president and chief executive officer of Toon Boom Animation, which is based in Canada, believes that Jamaican youth should be urged to think about starting their own local animation businesses. She believes that such efforts are critical in improving the economy of the island. Vogelesang attended high school in Jamaica and has promised to work with the government and other stakeholders to develop a vibrant animation industry on the island. Toon Boom Animation provides digital content and animation-creation software and has a presence in 122 countries worldwide. It has been instrumental in developing animation sectors in other nations, including India.

RARE EARTHS EXTRACTION PLANT OPENS IN JAMAICA—10/28/13
In a monumental milestone, Jamaica opened its first rare earths extraction operation. The pilot project is a joint partnership between Japan and Jamaica and is exploring the commercial viability of the red mud that results from island bauxite operations. The plant will pull out the rare earths from the bauxite waste. The pilot project is estimated to cost US$500 million, according to Nippon Light Metal Co. Ltd., Jamaica’s partner. Rare earth elements are used to make high-tech equipment including smartphones, DVDs, and rechargeable batteries. China currently controls over 90 percent of the world market in rare earths.

JAMAICA, OTHERS LEAD IMPROVEMENT IN CARIBBEAN BUSINESS CLIMATE—10/29/13
A report issued by the World Bank found that Jamaica, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago are the leaders in making improvements to the business climate in the Caribbean. The financial institution stated that the three CARICOM nations have taken the appropriate steps required to improve their business regulatory environment. These include regulations applying to start-ups, operations, cross-border trading, paying taxes, and resolving insolvencies.

HYLTON SAYS NEW LAW WILL REDUCE “RED TAPE” FOR BUSINESSES—10/31/13
According to Anthony Hylton, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, the new Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Entrepreneurship Policy is designed to reduce the high costs of doing business in Jamaica and reduce the time spent waiting for required documents. The policy was passed in July 2013 and has been welcomed as a way to improve business and reduce bureaucratic obstacles facing entrepreneurs in Jamaica.

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Caribbean Science and Technology News provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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MAJOR OIL STUDY TO BE CONDUCTED BY RUSSIANS IN THE CARIBBEAN—10/26/13
The government of Russia is interested in exploring the Caribbean for oil and natural gas resource, including in the areas off the coasts of countries near southern Florida. A Russian scientific collective, Geology Without Limits, plans a three-year seismic study of about 12,000 square miles of the Caribbean Sea. It is expected to begin by the end of 2013, and when completed, nations in the Caribbean can use it “free of charge” for research into oil and gas, said Russia’s ambassador to Guyana, Nikolay Smimov.

RAINWATER HARVESTING MAKES RESURGENCE IN CARIBBEAN—10/27/13
Rainwater harvesting, an ancient system designed to ensure water security, is making a comeback among Caribbean countries. The method is forming part of the area’s strategic planning in the context of stronger storms and droughts. According to Dr. Natalie Boodram, manager of the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean, rainwater harvesting is viewed as an important tool for ensuring water supplies in the Caribbean. Rainwater can be used to augment current municipal water supplies, and the technology is already in place. Many households, especially in rural areas, currently collect rainwater run-off from their roofs for domestic use.

TRINIDAD WELCOMES INFORMATION SECURITY EXPERTS—10/29/13
Xtreme Team Engineering 2013, a forum for commercial and technical training, is taking place in Port of Spain, Trinidad on October 29 and 30, 2013. The forum makes it possible for participating sales and technical support engineers to learn about the most significant security trends currently in force worldwide and how they impact the Caribbean region. The forum is sponsored by Fortinet, a world leader in high-performance network security.

CANADIAN FIRM SAYS HD CCTV SURVEILLANCE TO BENEFIT NEVIS—10/30/13
A representative of Avigilon, a company based in Canada that provide high-definition closed circuit television surveillance cameras, said that installing the security devices on Nevis would provide the island with considerable benefits. Gary Tryon, sales director of Avigilon for the Caribbean region, believes the system could reduce crime and keep island neighborhoods safer in general. The company was invited to discuss the issue by the Nevis Island Administration.

 

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ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
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TONY BREVETT, JAMAICAN MUSICIAN, DIES—10/26/13
The popular rocksteady musician Tony Brevett has died of cancer in a hospital in Miami, Florida. He introduced the band, The Melodians, which was best known for the song “The Rivers of Babylon.” It was included in the film “The Harder They Come” in 1972. Brevett and fellow band member Trevor McNaughton, were on a tour commemorating The Melodians 50th anniversary when Brevett became ill.

NEW TYPE OF TOURIST TARGETED IN CARIBBEAN: MEDIA PRODUCTIONS—10/30/13
Nine film commissioners from a number of countries in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, are partnering to create an association that will represent the entire region. While the countries admit to competing for the business of film and television production companies, they believe that a unified organization would give them more power and provide better communications among participants. By including more countries in the multi-lingual Caribbean region, new markets and potential funding sources will become available.

QUEEN LATESHA PROMOTES JAMAICAN DANCE AROUND THE WORLD—10/31/13
Queen Latesha, a popular contemporary Jamaican dancer, has encouraged local dancers to become more creative in their marketing efforts. Latesha believes that some dancers think the only way to promote their work is through dancehall sessions. She says there are other ways, however, and has been featured in the United Kingdom and Japan in several venues and in magazines.

DANCEHALL ARTISTES SUPPORT END OF “PARTY BUSES”—11/01/13
Jamaican dancehall artistes have joined with Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education, in calling for the removal of “party buses” from the nation’s roadways. The buses play music with inappropriate content, according to critics. The buses are also tinted and children have been reported as paying as much as $500 to ride in the vehicles, which pay lewd music and on which sexual activities take place. Police seized about 23 of the buses in the Corporate Area  on the first day of an island-wide operation to remove the heavy tints from public passenger vehicles.

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SPORTS
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BAN FOR DOPING APPEALED BY DOMINQUE BLAKE—10/26/13
Dominique Blake, 26, Jamaican sprinter, has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport concerning a six-year ban from track and field competition due to a second doping offense. She has asked the court to reduce her suspension. While no date has been set for a hearing, a verdict is likely to be issued within four months. Blake tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant in June 2012 at the Jamaican Olympic trials. She was banned for nine months after testing positive for ephedrine in 2006.

JAMAICAN ATHLETES WON’T BE BANNED, SAYS WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY—10/30/13
The concerns that Jamaica’s athletes would be barred from participating in international track and field events after the anti-doping scandal were put to rest by a comment from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Although the results of a WADA audit of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) will not be announced for several weeks, there is nothing to suggest that Jamaica will be declared “non-compliant” as threatened previously by David Howman, director general of WADA.

JAMAICA COMMITTED TO MAKING ANTI-DOPING IMPROVEMENTS—10/31/13
According to Natalie Neita-Headley, Jamaica’s minister with responsibility for sports, after a two-day audit of the nation’s anti-doping agency by WADA, described the visit as “constructive” and stated that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has a new commitment to working in partnership with the international group to  improve its drug-testing regime.

SPORTS MINISTER DEFENDS JAMAICA ANTI-DOPING COMMISSION—11/01/13
Natalie Neita-Headley, Jamaica’s Minister with responsibility for Sport, defended the board of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), which has been criticized for inefficacy, especially in claims made by Renee Anne Shirley, the organization’s former executive director. Neita-Headley described the members of the board as “persons of integrity” and expressed her trust in their ability to continue serving in their roles.

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