Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Selection policy change for Reggae Boyz, says Burrell http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Selection-policy-change-for-Reggae-Boyz--says-Burrell KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) &mdash; Football Federation president, Captain Horace Burrell has pointed to a change of policy in selection for the national team, with more emphasis set to be placed on home-based players in the future.<br /> <br /> The veteran administrator said with a new attitude emerging from many of the young players who played domestically, overseas-based professionals were no longer guaranteed of automatic places in the Reggae Boyz squad.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What we are seeing from the young players is a major difference right now in terms of attitude, in terms of really getting out there doing it, and I think this is one area that we must concentrate on and so the days of players coming from overseas and walking into the national team, those days are behind us,&rdquo; the Gleaner newspaper quoted Burrell as saying.<br /> <br /> He added: &ldquo;In fact, when you look at the players on the field of play, you realise that there is something different, and speaking with my colleagues in CONCACAF, they, too, have noticed that there is a difference, and so we intend to continue along this line, and I am sure that everything will fall into place in the right order.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Foreign-based pros have become a feature of Reggae Boyz sides over nearly the last two decades, as Jamaica has become one of the most powerful nations in Caribbean football.<br /> <br /> Seven members of their historic World Cup squad in 2002 were based in England and successive World Cup campaigns have seen increasing numbers of players who ply their trade outside of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> In fact, at the last CONCACAF Gold Cup two years ago when the Reggae Boyz were good enough to reach the final, only two of the 23-player squad were based at home.<br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s failure to reach the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup may have influenced the new approach but Burrell reiterated it was time to change course.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to be man enough to say it has not worked and, therefore, after meeting with all the stakeholders, the Jamaica Football Federation decided to embark on a new initiative by including the youngsters and the local-based players who are hungry and who really want to make an impression, and we&rsquo;re getting the results,&rdquo; Burrell said.<br /> <br /> Jamaica are currently preparing for two major tournaments &ndash; the Caribbean Cup finals from June 22-25 and the CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 7-26.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13666094/Captain-burrell-Arrives_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:55 PM Forex: J$128.14 to one US dollar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Forex--J-128-14-to-one-US-dollar2017-02-23T14-47-43 KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The US dollar on Thursday, February 23, ended trading at J$128.14, up by 13 cents, according to the Bank of Jamaica&rsquo;s daily foreign exchange trading summary.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar ended trading at J$97.41, down from J$97.56, while the British pound sterling ended trading at J$159.58, up from J$159.11.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13666028/forex_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:46 PM Moravian ministers' sex case adjourned http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Moravian-ministers--sex-case-adjourned MANDEVILLE, Manchester &mdash; The carnal abuse and indecent assault case of former head of the Moravian Church in Jamaica Dr Paul Gardner and his deputy Jermaine Gibson was adjourned in the Manchester Circuit Court today.<br /> <br /> The men will return on Thursday, March 2.<br /> <br /> When the names of the men were called this morning for them to enter the courtroom they were not yet present.<br /> <br /> The matter was on hold when they arrived because of a trial in progress in the Circuit Court.<br /> <br /> That seems to have played a part in the adjournment.<br /> <br /> Defence attorneys Peter Champagnie and Pierre Rogers for Gardner and Gibson respectively, should know by the upcoming court date if the case will be removed from the Manchester Circuit Court.<br /> <br /> The men have been accused of sexually molesting a minor in the parish years ago.<br /> <br /> Both Gardner and Gibson are now on bail.<br /> <br /> Alicia Sutherland http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665795/gardner-gibson_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 4:41 PM Three C'bean beaches make TripAdvisor's top 10 Travellers' Choice http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Three-C-bean-beaches-make-TripAdvisor-s-top-10-Travellers--Choice KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Travel website TripAdvisor has released its 2017 Travellers' Choice award for the best beaches in the world.  <br /> <br /> According to the site's press release, the list is determined based on "the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period." <br /> <br /> Although Jamaica&rsquo;s world famous Negril Beach is absent from the list, the Caribbean is represented three times with a second and third-place ranking.<br /> <br /> Here are the top 10:<br /> <br /> 1. Baia do Sancho, Brazil <br /> <br /> 2. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos <br /> <br /> 3. Eagle Beach, Aruba <br /> <br /> 4. Playa Paraiso, Cuba <br /> <br /> 5. Siesta Beach, Florida <br /> <br /> 6. La Concha Beach, Spain <br /> <br /> 7. Playa Norte, Mexico <br /> <br /> 8. Radhanager Beach, India <br /> <br /> 9. Elafonissi Beach <br /> <br /> 10. Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665792/beaches-turks-caicos_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 4:35 PM Training unaffected by vacant head coach position, assures JNA president http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Training-unaffected-by-vacant-head-coach-position--assures-JNA-president KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) &mdash; Netball Association president, Paula Daley-Morris, says she expects the vacant head coach position to be filled soon but has given the assurance that the national team programme will press ahead unaffected regardless.<br /> <br /> The Sunshine Girls, the Caribbean&rsquo;s top-rated side, has been without a head coach since Minneth Reynolds resigned last December.<br /> <br /> Daley-Morris said the JNA had received three applications for the post and would begin interviews next week. And though no specific date had been targeted for the appointment for the new head coach, the administrator said the coaching structure in place would ensure the team&rsquo;s preparations were not hindered.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have a date in mind but the committee will decide that as well, and so I have to hear from them based on the process that they are using because we can&rsquo;t announce it until a candidate is selected,&rdquo; Daley-Morris told the Gleaner newspaper here.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But we also have other coaches in place, so we are not going to rush the process.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> She added: &ldquo;The team will begin their training in early March, so if we do not have a head coach, it is not going to stop the team from training, because we have an assistant coach, who is still there, and a technical director, and we have other personnel that work around the team.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Reynolds assumed her post in early 2014 following a stint by former national player Oberon Pitterson, and oversaw Jamaica&rsquo;s fourth place finish at the World Cup in Sydney the following year.<br /> <br /> Her last series in charge coincided with Jamaica&rsquo;s 2-1 victory over England in a three-Test away series last December.<br /> <br /> Daley-Morris revealed that among the applicants was a foreign coach but said this was expected because of the team&rsquo;s international profile.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are an internationally rated team, so we accept applications from anywhere, and so we expected people from anywhere to apply,&rdquo; she pointed out. &ldquo;We have employed overseas persons to coach the team before.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Daley-Morris said the JNA committee would begin pouring over applications this week before starting interviews.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The committee will meet this week to review the applications, and at the end of the review, the applicants will be asked to submit their additional documents, and then we will set up interviews for them,&rdquo; said Daley-Morris.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665744/DR-DALEY-MORRIS_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 4:19 PM Preventative detention is a cop's function under common law, use it &mdash; Chuck http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Preventative-detention-is-a-cop-s-function-under-common-law--use-it---Chuck KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is encouraging members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to utilise preventative detention as a means to reduce the likelihood of a crime being committed. <br /> <br /> Chuck&rsquo;s encouragement follows the announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte on February 8, for the use of preventative detention as part of the Government&rsquo;s crime strategy.<br /> <br /> The practice essentially requires an individual, or set of individuals, to be held in jail or an institution because he or she is regarded as a danger to the community. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;That is what we have been saying, for the police to be engaged in more proactive policing. Try and get the intelligence to anticipate the likelihood of the crime being committed and&hellip; intervene before the people engage in violence. That is essentially what preventative detention is about,&rdquo; Chuck said. <br /> <br /> He was addressing a recent meeting of the Kiwanis Club of North. St Andrew, at the Police Officers&rsquo; Club, on Hope Road. <br /> <br /> The minister noted that since the announcement was made for the use of the practice, there has been debate surrounding its lawfulness and whether it is constitutional. <br /> <br /> However, Chuck explained that the practice is a function of a police constable under Common Law. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Anyone who knows the Common Law would know that preventative detention is a common-law activity. In fact, it has been and has always been a part of a constable&rsquo;s power. He must have that power to maintain the peace,&rdquo; the minister emphasised. <br /> <br /> Chuck pointed to two cases of preventative detention being used around the world as well as a recent case involving the decision taken by the United Kingdom&rsquo;s Supreme Court to make it a part of the police&rsquo;s arsenal. <br /> <br /> He indicated that preventative detention does not necessarily require jailing the offender, but to institute a curfew for an individual to remain within the confines of his or her home. <br /> <br /> Chuck also mentioned the discussions he has heard from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, surrounding preventative detention. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;She emphasised that if the police were engaged in preventative detention more often, many of the cases she has had to prosecute wouldn&rsquo;t have come, because so often people go to the police that they have been assaulted or threatened and... nothing is done,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> The minister acknowledged that preventative detention can be used to stem crimes associated with gang violence and domestic violence. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665683/chuck_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:41 PM Hanna lambasted on social media for suggesting ban on Vybz Kartel's music http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Hanna-lambasted-on-social-media-for-suggesting-ban-on-Vybz-Kartel-s-music KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Opposition People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) spokesperson on Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna is being lambasted by social media users for comments she made calling for incarcerated Dancehall artiste, Vybz Kartel&rsquo;s music to be banned from public airwaves.<br /> <br /> Fans of the incarcerated artiste took to the MP&rsquo;s social media accounts to air their grouses, after she expressed her views in an interview yesterday on Nationwide 90 FM. <br /> <br /> The social media users, who disagreed with her suggestions, stated that Hanna is concerned about the fact that the artiste has been able to produce music from behind bars.<br /> <br /> Vybz Kartel whose real name is Adijah Palmer, is currently serving a life sentence for murder.<br /> <br /> Hanna&rsquo;s comments came amid discussions about how violence in the country is intertwined with certain negative aspects of popular culture.<br /> <br /> Instagram users have been relentless in their efforts to chide the former minister by leaving their comments under photos she has posted in the past.<br /> <br /> One social media user said she (Hanna) is contradicting herself. &ldquo;She mentioned Buju Banton not releasing any new music.. Well he did last week & he's in Florida, US jail... Di song name mek MI si.. So it's obvious she focusing on Vybz Kartel.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Another user said &ldquo;it's best if you shut up and go one side.... Caa u naah do nth (nothing) better that irritate people..... you know how long mi deh yh a pree the amount a foolishness yaa comment and a talk bout freedom of speech.....Just go one side.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Another said &ldquo;...When its election you same people playing the DJ music. Stop blaming the music alone.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Among the plethora of comments on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were also death threats against the MP.<br /> <br /> When contacted for a response, PNP General Secretary, Julian Robinson told OBSERVER ONLINE that he would not be commenting on the matter.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665660/Lisa-Hanna-2_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:30 PM 428 inmates reclassified in thrust to reduce prison population http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/428-inmates-reclassified-in-thrust-to-reduce-prison-population KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Ministry of National Security today revealed that over a one-year period ending January 2017, the Department of Correctional Services has reclassified 428 inmates in an ongoing exercise aimed at reducing the population in the island&rsquo;s maximum-security facilities.  <br /> <br /> The reclassification exercise, according to the ministry, is carried out by a Classification Committee, which sits at each of the island&rsquo;s penal institutions. Previously the superintendent at each facility carried out this exercise.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> The project focuses on inmates at the Tower Street and St Catherine Adult Correctional Centres.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services Ina Hunter-Fairweather said: &ldquo;When an offender is sentenced by the court to serve time, that person is sent directly from the court to the St Catherine, Tower Street or Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centres.  At the institutions, they are interviewed by the Classification Committee, where the lower-risk inmates are re-classified and moved to the appropriate institutions.  They can also be recommended by the Committee to participate in such community projects as bushing and building renovations, or to be a part of the new electronic tagging/monitoring project, where they are tagged with an electronic device and sent back to their communities to serve the remainder of their sentences, while being monitored by the Department of Correctional Services.&rdquo; <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Between January and November last year, 413 of the 428 reclassified inmates were from the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, Tamarind Farm and St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> The largest contingent of 81 inmates from the St Catherine and Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre was reclassified in May, 2016; while the second largest number of 56 inmates from St Catherine and Tower Street Adult Correctional Centres were reclassified in November last year. <br /> <br /> The third largest number of reclassified inmates was 44 from the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in January 2016 and 44 from the St Catherine and Tower Street Adult Correctional Centres in June 2016.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr reiterated the importance of the reclassification exercise to the management of the correctional centres.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> &ldquo;At present, the Tower Street and St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centres are reception centres for convicted offenders. The reclassification exercise is essential to reducing the burden on the those institutions, as well as supporting the rehabilitation agenda by diverting inmates to specific programmes based on the outcome of their risk assessment,&rdquo; Senator Charles said.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> He further stated that the two pronged approach of electronic monitoring and the reclassification exercise will further support the government&rsquo;s efforts to reduce the inmate population and recidivism in Jamaica. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665633/JAIL2_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:10 PM MSET donates $310m to CMI'S development http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/MSET-donates--310m-to-CMI-S-development KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, says that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Universal Access Fund (USF) and the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) will contribute to Jamaica&rsquo;s target of five per cent growth within four years.<br /> <br /> Speaking at the signing of the MOU this morning at his Ministry, Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, Wheatley said that assisting the CMI in its capacity-building process fits squarely into the USF&rsquo;s mandate of supporting the provision of infrastructure at educational institutions in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> He said that the MOU will facilitate Phase II of the CMI&rsquo;s Capacity Building and Expansion Project, which is valued at $310 million.<br /> <br /> The funding will enable the CMI to build and operate at its Port Royal base: the National Maritime Port Operations Simulator Training Centre; a multi-purpose laboratory, which will be utilised as a regional training venture; and also a Geographic Information System (GIS) Centre.<br /> <br /> The MoU indicates that the ports operations simulator training centre will be designed to produce locally trained, technical personnel required at sea and air ports.<br /> <br /> The USF says it is funding the CMI to enable the institution to deliver &ldquo;the best quality training in logistics, freight forwarding, immigration and other border protection for officials in ASYCUDA World and related areas".<br /> <br /> The MOU was signed by Wheatley and CMI&rsquo;s Executive Director, Dr Fritz Pinnock. USF chairman, Robert Lawrence, also spoke at the function. USF is an agency of the ministry.<br /> <br /> Balford Henry http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665610/Wheatley_w504_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:39 PM Protocols for police body-worn cameras must be published &mdash; JFJ http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Protocols-for-police-body-worn-cameras-must-be-published---JFJ KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) is calling on the Government to share the protocols governing the use of body-worn cameras by the police with INDECOM, other stakeholders and the public.<br /> <br /> JFJ, in a news release today, said the call comes in light of a disclosure made by INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams indicating that despite INDECOM&rsquo;s requests, the protocols have not been shared with it.<br /> <br /> JFJ said the equipping of police with additional body-worn cameras is welcome news but Williams&rsquo; disclosure was very disappointing as the protocols governing body-worn cameras are essential to their effective use.<br /> <br /> It said that sharing the information would be in line with the paradigm of accountability and transparency the Jamaica constabulary Force (JCF) has committed to in recent times. <br /> <br /> The organisation said it supports INDECOM&rsquo;s call for those units or divisions with records of a high incidence of civilian fatalities from police weapons to be given priority for cameras over traffic and highway patrols. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Also, it is not simply up to the individual police officer to decide when to turn on a camera with only a four-hour battery life. Rather, he should generally be guided by his team leader&rsquo;s decision, for example as the patrol enters difficult terrain or is about to face a challenging situation,&rdquo; the release continued.  <br /> <br /> JFJ said the seriousness of this matter must be recognised, adding that civilian fatalities from police guns declined significantly over the past two years but at 98 in 2016 still exceed the level in most other countries of the world. <br /> <br /> Additionally, it said that, according to police statistics, the number of such fatalities for the first seven weeks of this year reached 26, and, against the pattern of previous decline and viewed as threatening to be a forecast for the coming year, this is shocking. <br /> <br /> The organisation said it will be writing to Acting Police Commissioner Novelette Grant requesting that she outlines how the force is proceeding in this matter and what to expect regarding this important new technology for the JCF. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665562/Cameras_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:29 PM Westmoreland pair tied up, shot dead in cane field http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Westmoreland-pair-tied-up--shot-dead-in-cane-field WESTMORELAND, Jamaica &mdash; The bullet-riddled bodies of a man and woman were yesterday found in a cane field in Mount Eagle, Westmoreland with their hands and feet bound.<br /> <br /> Police say the deceased have been identified as 47-year-old Mark Walker, otherwise called &lsquo;Tallist&rsquo; and Tanisha Buchanan, otherwise called &lsquo;TanTan&rsquo; both of Crowder district, Grange Hill in Westmoreland.<br /> <br /> Reports from the Morgan&rsquo;s Bridge police are that residents discovered the bodies about 4:45 pm and summoned them. <br /> <br /> The lawmen said that on their arrival, Walker and Buchanan were seen with multiple gunshot wounds and their hands and feet bound. The bodies were removed to the morgue pending post mortem. <br /> <br /> Investigations into the matter are ongoing. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665491/crime-scene_w319_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 1:42 PM Florida man arrested in J'can lottery scam scheme http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Florida-man-arrested-in-J-can-lottery-scam-scheme WASHINGTON, United States &mdash; A 49-year-old Florida man was arrested in Miramar, Florida, on mail and wire fraud charges in connection with the fraudulent lottery scheme tied to Jamaica.<br /> <br /> His arrest follows the return of a 12-count indictment against him by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida.<br /> <br /> The Department of Justice announced today that Claude Shaw aka Mac and Claude Mac, a US citizen residing in Florida, was charged with two counts of mail fraud and 10-counts of wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent lottery scheme tied to Jamaica.  <br /> <br /> According to the indictment, the victims in the scam were instructed on how, and to whom, to send their money.  <br /> <br /> It alleged that Shaw discussed plans to receive victims&rsquo; money via text messages then send a portion to accomplices in Jamaica. <br /> <br /> As alleged in the indictment, the victims never received any lottery winnings.  <br /> <br /> Five of the 10 wire fraud counts are based on money Shaw is alleged to have wired from the United States to an individual in Jamaica.  <br /> <br /> If convicted of mail fraud or wire fraud, Shaw faces a statutory maximum term of 20 years in prison on each count. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665500/lottery-scam_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 1:30 PM Skeletal remains found near Riverton landfill http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Skeletal-remains-found-near-Riverton-landfill KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Skeletal remains, believed to be that of a male, were yesterday found in the vicinity of the Riverton City landfill, Kingston 11. <br /> <br /> Reports from the Hunts Bay police are that about 3:30 pm residents discovered the remains and summoned them. <br /> <br /> On their arrival the scene was processed and the remains removed to the morgue.<br /> <br /> Police say investigations continue. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665435/police-line.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 1:14 PM Amend criminal laws to allow compensation for victims &mdash; G2K president http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Amend-criminal-laws-to-allow-compensation-for-victims---G2K-president KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; President of Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, Stephen Edwards is calling on the Government to amend criminal laws to allow compensation for victims.<br /> <br /> Edwards today noted that the conversations about crime have largely been dominated by the horrendous acts of criminals and possible crime fighting strategies. <br /> <br /> However, he said his mind is preoccupied with the victims of violent crimes and the inevitable challenges they have to endure.<br /> <br /> The G2K president argued that the system currently contributes to victim&rsquo;s trauma. He lamented that victims and their families face a tremendously long and arduous road, which is often riddled with devastating physical injury, emotional trauma, financial distress, loss of property and other damages.<br /> <br /> Making simple amendments to existing criminal laws, which will empower the Judiciary to award nominal, compensatory and punitive damages to the victims, he said, can make navigating this difficult road, a little easier for victims.<br /> <br /> Edwards suggested that the government amend &lsquo;the Child Care and Protection Act&rsquo; and the &lsquo;Offences Against the Person Act&rsquo; to include provisions for the award of compensation to the victims. <br /> <br /> This, he explained, will enable the criminal courts to effectively go after the pockets and the assets of convicted criminals at the very moment of sentencing.<br /> <br /> Edwards stressed that these laws address the majority of violent crimes, with the former focusing on offences involving children, adding that, though they are powerful laws, both are virtually silent on the matter of compensation for the victims. <br /> <br /> He further suggested that when the criminal courts determine how much the perpetrator should pay, consideration should not only be given to imprisonment and fines but also to the cost of restoring the victims as far as possible to their status prior to the offence.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is the perpetrator&rsquo;s actions that brought about the damages, hence they should be held responsible for the resulting costs such as medical bills, counselling, loss of wages and loss of assets,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> Edwards also called for an immediate reduction in court case backlog, stressing that the large volume of cases and the limited resources result in cases moving slower than &ldquo;pond water through the system&rdquo;. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665408/G2K-logo_w400_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 1:00 PM Trinidad reports nearly 800 cases of Zika http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Trinidad-reports-nearly-800-cases-of-Zika PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) &mdash; Health authorities in Trinidad are reporting more than 400 confirmed cases of pregnant women suffering from the mosquito-borne Zika virus.<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Health said that since the virus was first reported here in February last year, there has been 718 cases with 463 confirmed cases noted in pregnancy.<br /> <br /> So far this year, there have been four confirmed births of babies with microcephaly, a rare neurological condition in which an infant&rsquo;s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex.<br /> <br /> The ministry said that of the four cases, two of the mothers tested positive for the Zika virus during the course of their pregnancy.<br /> <br /> The ministry said it is now awaiting the test results to determine the cause of the other two cases of microcephaly in keeping with expected international rates of Zika related complications.<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Health said that it is maintaining close communication with the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services to ensure that assistance, as required, is made available to the babies and families affected by the disease, in accordance with established policy.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;All cases of microcephaly are treated with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity by the Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Authorities. It is expected that the privacy of the affected families will be respected at this time,&rdquo; the ministry added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665348/Zika2-300x225.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:54 PM Entrepreneurs to benefit from JBDC workshops http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Entrepreneurs-to-benefit-from-JBDC-workshops KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Entrepreneurs are set to benefit from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Lean Start-up Strategy Workshop series, which will be held from March 7-8 at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ruthven Road, in Kingston.<br /> <br /> The workshop, which is being held for the second time, will focus on topics such as &lsquo;Testing and Validating Your Business Model&rsquo; and &lsquo;Financing Your Start-up&rsquo;. <br /> <br /> In an interview with JIS News, Manager of Business Advisory Services at the JBDC, Althea West Myers, said the Lean Start-up Strategy is about enabling the participants to create a minimum viable version of their product and taking it to the market in order to gain valuable earnings.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;It also helps business owners to know how to respond to the market; how to drive demand in the marketplace; how to interpret and reinterpret what the market is saying to you; and how to be efficient in your business operations,&rdquo; West Myers explained. <br /> <br /> She said focus will also be placed on participants understanding their cost structure for their businesses and the efficient use of capital within businesses.<br /> <br /> The workshop is targeted at, but not limited to, persons who have been in business for a while but have not been making any measurable or significant progress, and persons who might be grappling with the uncertainty of the start-up period of their businesses.<br /> <br /> West Myers said so far, registration has been going well and is advising entrepreneurs to register as quickly as possible.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Last year was excellent in terms of the feedback, the attendance and the progress that we see people making in implementing what they have learnt,&rdquo; she told JIS News.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, West Myers said it is hoped that at the end of the workshop, participants will realise that failure of a start-up business is a part of the process.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The start-up failure rate is said to be high. We hear numbers of 80 and 90 per cent. We want people to understand that failure is a part of the process, but we want people to understand that the learning and the risk that is associated with the level of failure, we want to reduce that,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We want people to fail fast and take the learning from the failure and put it into the business in order to improve and grow. We want people to reduce inefficiencies in the business and we want them to understand the value of speed and the value of learning,&rdquo; the manager added.<br /> <br /> She further noted that the workshop aims to increase competitiveness among small businesses and reduce long-term failure.<br /> <br /> West Myers is encouraging persons who are genuinely entrepreneurial and who have an interest in growing their businesses to sign up.<br /> <br /> The cost to participate in the event is $10,000 and includes course materials and refreshments.<br /> <br /> Interested persons are required to register online at https://www.jbdc.net/ by February 24. Participants also have the option of attending one or both workshops. <br /> <br /> Payments may be made through a National Commercial Bank deposit via account No 351859067, Knutsford Boulevard Branch; or at the JBDC offices at 14 Camp Road, Kingston 4, or Unit 10a, 76 Marcus Garvey Drive.<br /> <br /> The JBDC goal is to help businesses to survive and prosper by providing them with business advice, consultancy and training of the highest professional standard on both generalist and specialist business subjects. <br /> <br /> More than 2,000 businesses have benefited from the JBDC&rsquo;s services over the years. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665346/AJWM_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:41 PM US governor to launch Black Advisory Commission today http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/US-governor-to-launch-Black-Advisory-Commission-today BOSTON, United States (AP) &mdash; US Governor Charlie Baker is planning to launch a Black Advisory Commission charged with advising him on issues related to the economic prosperity and well being of the black community in Massachusetts.<br /> <br /> The Republican governor plans to launch the commission as a celebration of Black History Month by signing an executive order Thursday and swearing in several members of the panel.<br /> <br /> Baker says the commission expands the mission and scope of the African-American Commission, recognising that the black community includes those identifying with many national origins and ethnicities, not limited to African-American, Cape Verdean, Haitian, Jamaican, Somali or Ethiopian.<br /> <br /> The signing ceremony is scheduled to take place at 1:00 pm at the Statehouse.<br /> <br /> Baker will be joined by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Labour Secretary Ronald Walker and members of the Legislature. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665340/Charlie-Baker_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:29 PM Morris wants authorities to expedite payment to blind man who fell off bridge   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Morris-wants-authorities-to-expedite-payment-to-blind-man-who-fell-off-bridge KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Opposition People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) is calling on authorities to expedite payment to a blind citizen who toppled over a bridge in Kingston in 2015.<br /> <br /> A news release from the PNP disclosed that the blind man, identified as Carlo Bruce, suffered severe injuries during the incident and the matter was brought to the attention of the Combined Disabilities Association (CDA) and the Public Defender, who made representation on his behalf to the relevant authorities.<br /> <br /> The Opposition&rsquo;s deputy spokesperson on labour and social security, Senator Floyd Morris said the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation accepted liability for the matter and the sum of $1.1 million was agreed to be paid to Bruce. <br /> <br /> However, Morris said that since that agreement, the payment has not been made and efforts by the Public Defender to collect the payment for Bruce have been futile. <br /> <br /> Morris today urged Mayor of the KSAC, Senator Delroy Williams, to use his office, to &ldquo;expedite the payment for this poor and vulnerable citizen&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He also called on Minister of Local Government, Desmond McKenzie, to ensure that the resources are made available to the KSAC to effect this specific payment to Bruce and to simultaneously conduct repairs to all bridges and manholes within the city that are hazardous to the life of people with disabilities and other citizens. <br /> <br /> Morris also called on the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson, to ensure that the Disabilities Act 2014 is brought into effect this legislative year. <br /> <br /> The Disabilities Act makes provision for the establishment of a Disability Rights Tribunal to adjudicate matters relating to the violation of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. <br /> <br /> This legislation, according to Morris, will ensure that there is a greater responsiveness and sensitivity to the needs of persons with disabilities in Jamaica. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665323/Floyd-Morris-4_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:00 PM JTB awarded for promotion of brand Jamaica at Rio Olympics http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/JTB-awarded-for-promotion-of-brand-Jamaica-at-Rio-Olympics KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has been honoured with two public relations awards for their marketing of brand Jamaica at the 31st Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last year.<br /> <br /> JTB was conferred with the two Adrian Awards &mdash; silver in the Special Events category and bronze in the Consumer Campaign category &mdash; from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). <br /> <br /> Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook said the JTB is honoured to be recognised, adding that the awards are a testament of the hard work and commitment of the JTB team to create campaigns and programmes that resonate &ldquo;in our markets and amplify our brand across the world&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The JTB, in a release today announcing the awards, said they used the opportunity in Rio de Janeiro to engage Brazilian and international consumers over a ten-day period where &lsquo;Jamaica House&rsquo; was utilised to promote Destination Jamaica through a strategic communication campaign encompassing a mix of traditional media relations and social media.<br /> <br /> The JTB said that this gave potential visitors and fans of Jamaica a taste of the island&rsquo;s culture through its music and food, and a chance to celebrate with Jamaicans. <br /> <br /> Additionally, the JTB facilitated media from across US, Canada, UK and Europe and as a result, &lsquo;Jamaica House&rsquo; was visited by over 20,000 patrons, over 100 travel agents and tour operators and amassed over four billion global media impressions including BBC, CNN and NBC out of the USA.<br /> <br /> Now in its 60th year, the Adrian Awards Competition is the largest and most prestigious global travel marketing competition. <br /> <br /> Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a global organisation of sales, marketing, and revenue management professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry, which comprises nearly 7,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665305/Jamaica-House-2016-Rocks-Rio-de-Janiero_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 11:54 AM SpaceX cargo ship arrives at space station http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/SpaceX-cargo-ship-arrives-at-space-station MIAMI, United States (AFP) &mdash; An unmanned cargo ship packed with food and supplies for astronauts arrived safely Thursday at the International Space Station, a day after SpaceX aborted the process due to a GPS problem.<br /> <br /> This time, the Dragon cargo ship made a "perfect approach to the capture point," a NASA commentator said.<br /> <br /> The space station's 57-foot (18-metre) robotic arm, operated from inside the orbiting research lab by astronauts Thomas Pesquet of France and Shane Kimbrough of the United States, reached out and grabbed the Dragon at 5:44 am (1044 GMT).<br /> <br /> "We had a great capture," Kimbrough said. "Thomas did an awesome job."<br /> <br /> The gumdrop-shaped Dragon vessel is packed with more than 5,000 pounds (2,267 kilograms) of food, gear and science experiments for the six astronauts living at the orbiting space station.<br /> <br /> "Congratulations Dragon on a successful journey from Earth and welcome aboard," said Pesquet.<br /> <br /> The cargo ship was officially berthed to the space station at 8:12 am (1312 GMT), and astronauts will begin unpacking it later Thursday, SpaceX said on Twitter.<br /> <br /> The cargo launched into space Sunday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, marking SpaceX's 10th resupply mission under a contract with NASA.<br /> <br /> SpaceX is currently working on another version of the Dragon that aims to ferry people to space as early as 2018.<br /> <br /> Since the US space shuttle program ended in 2011, the world's astronauts have paid Russia to ride to the space station aboard the Soyuz capsules. The price tag is currently $82 million per seat.<br /> <br /> Astronauts will be busy unloading goods again tomorrow, with a second shipment of supplies arriving Friday morning aboard the Russian Progress cargo carrier at 0834 GMT. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665316/SpaceX_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 11:48 AM US religious group sues state to free convict accused of leading J'can drug cartel http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/US-religious-group-sues-state-to-free-convict-accused-of-leading-J-can-drug-cartel FLORIDA, United States &mdash; A religious group in Florida is suing the state on behalf of a man who investigators say is the leader of a multimillion dollar Jamaican drug-smuggling cartel.<br /> <br /> The suspected ringleader, Mark Reed &mdash; a name investigators say he was using then &mdash; was arrested in 2013 when law enforcement agents raided a warehouse and suspected stash houses in Orange County.<br /> <br /> Agents seized cash, weapons and arrested more than 50 people at the time. <br /> <br /> Additional reports from WFTV9 &mdash; an ABC news affiliate in Orlando, Florida &mdash; are that, while awaiting sentencing, Reed was arrested again under the name McKoy Smith after drug dogs hit on his car and deputies found US$300,000.<br /> <br /> He was eventually prosecuted under the name Terence Turbe and is now serving a 12-year sentence after pleading no contest to drug trafficking and money-laundering charges in Orange County, New Jersey last year. <br /> <br /> The religious group, called the Moorish Science Temple of America is suing the state, the governor and court officials on behalf of Turbe, calling him Mckoy Smith el.<br /> <br /> The leader of the group, Grand Sheik l Love el, say the authorities have no jurisdiction over anything with the Moorish Science Temple of America, adding that the temple is a body politic and members are a protected class of people in a religious society not subject to the laws of the country or state of Florida.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665277/Terrence-Turbe_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 11:24 AM Grange hails 'trailblazer' Jennifer Samuda http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Grange-hails--trailblazer--Jennifer-Samuda KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange in expressing sadness at the passing of founder of Jencare Skin Farm, Jennifer Samuda, hailed the businesswoman as a trailblazer and extraordinary individual. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am so sorry to hear of Jennifer&rsquo;s passing. I consider her to be a trailblazer &ndash; an extraordinary woman who built a successful local company that grew into an international business. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jennifer was excellent at what she did and many women looked up to her. She was a role model to many and will be dearly missed,&rdquo; Grange said in a release today.<br /> <br /> Samuda died in Florida early Wednesday morning after a long battle with cancer.<br /> <br /> Grange has expressed condolences to the family as they mourn the loss of their loved one.<br /> <br /> Jencare Skin Farm is one of Jamaica&rsquo;s leading skin care and spa businesses. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665243/Jennifer-Samuda_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:55 AM Opposition concerned about conditions at CRH, calls for passage of OSHA http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Opposition-concerned-about-conditions-at-CRH--calls-for-passage-of-OSHA KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Opposition People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) has expressed concern about the impact the present conditions at the Cornwall Regional Hospital are having on the patients and workers.<br /> <br /> Opposition spokesperson for labour and social security, Dr Fenton Ferguson said while the present crisis is seen in the context of health, the long awaited Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) that continues to lavish in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security must be brought to Parliament now.<br /> <br /> He said he is of the view that until this act is passed in Parliament, the rights of workers to safety and health will always be in danger.  <br /> <br /> This act, Ferguson added, will guarantee progressive policies and standards in the workplace that will protect our people whether it is in the health sector or place of work across the country.<br /> <br /> The Opposition called on Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson and the Cabinet of Jamaica to move with alacrity to bring this piece of legislation to Parliament now as any further delay will continue to present a clear and present danger in the work place. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665041/Ferguson2_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:33 AM Mexico rejects 'unilateral' US migration moves http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Mexico-rejects--unilateral--US-migration-moves MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) &mdash; Mexico vowed not to let the United States impose migration reforms on it as its leaders prepared Thursday to host US officials who are cracking down on illegal immigrants.<br /> <br /> Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray sharpened the tone as he prepared for talks following a diplomatic row over president Donald Trump's hard line on trade and immigration.<br /> <br /> Trump has outraged Mexico by vowing to build a wall along the border to keep out migrants from Latin America, whom he branded rapists and criminals during his presidential campaign.<br /> <br /> His government has issued new orders to begin arresting and deporting illegal immigrants, many of them Mexicans.<br /> <br /> "The Mexican government and people do not have to accept measures that one government wants to impose unilaterally on another," Videgaray said late Wednesday.<br /> <br /> "We are not going to accept that because we do not have to do it and it is not in Mexico's interests."<br /> <br /> He said Mexico would use "all legally possible means" to defend Mexicans living abroad, including potentially appealing to the United Nations.<br /> <br /> President Mexican Enrique Pena Nieto and Videgaray were scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security chief John Kelly on Thursday.<br /> <br /> US officials said the talks will focus on how to curb cross-border migration and drug-trafficking and to affirm their bilateral ties.<br /> <br /> Trump's stance has strained previously good US-Mexican relations, said Maureen Meyer, an expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, a US human rights advocacy organization.<br /> <br /> "Secretary Tillerson has an opportunity to set relations on a more sound footing based on mutual respect," she said in a statement.<br /> <br /> Pena Nieto had cancelled a planned meeting with Trump in Washington last month over the US leader's vow to make Mexico pay for the wall.<br /> <br /> But White House spokesman Sean Spicer insisted Wednesday that Washington has "a very healthy and robust relationship with the Mexican government."<br /> <br /> He said Thursday's talks aim "to improve the quality of lives for both people of Mexico and the United States by combating drug traffickers and finding ways to bolster both our economies through a broader relationship that promotes commerce and legal immigration."<br /> <br /> US immigration authorities have arrested hundreds of people as part of Trump's pledge to crack down on illegal immigrants.<br /> <br /> Kelly on Tuesday issued new orders to step up the detentions.<br /> <br /> Speaking in Guatemala on Wednesday before travelling to Mexico, Kelly said "to any citizen considering moving to the United States in crossing our boundaries irregularly &mdash; migration &mdash; my best advice is to not do it."<br /> <br /> Mexico has hinted it could use border cooperation as a bargaining chip.<br /> <br /> But in a move that may pressure Mexico, Trump has ordered US government agencies to count up how much aid they are giving to that country under different programs.<br /> <br /> The United States has allocated US$2.6 billion worth of aid to Mexico for fighting crime under the 2008 "Merida initiative," US officials say.<br /> <br /> Mexico relies on the United States as a trading partner, sending 80 per cent of its exports to its northern neighbour.<br /> <br /> Vowing to protect US industry, Trump has called for a renegotiation of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.<br /> <br /> Pena Nieto has promised to defend Mexico's interests and called for respect from the United States.<br /> <br /> "Neither confrontation nor submission: the solution is dialogue and negotiation," he said last month.<br /> <br /> Tillerson and Kelly were scheduled to meet with Videgaray and Mexico's finance and interior ministers before a news conference scheduled for shortly after 1700 GMT.<br /> <br /> They were due to meet Pena Nieto at 1900 GMT. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665027/luis-v_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:00 AM Cops issue warning after pesticide-sprayed plantains stolen in St Thomas http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Cops-issue-warning-after-pesticide-sprayed-plantains-stolen-in-St-Thomas ST THOMAS, Jamaica &mdash; The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) through its Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) is urging the public to exercise care when purchasing plantains as some were stolen from a farm in Acadia, St Thomas. <br /> <br /> The CCU said the stolen plantains were sprayed with Lannate, Ridomil and Maconzeb pesticides on Tuesday. <br /> <br /> Some of the side effects of these pesticides are: dizziness, nausea, and headache and in serious cases can lead to the formation of tumors.  <br /> <br /> Anyone who has purchased large portions of agricultural produce, especially plantains, may contact the JCF&rsquo;s Praedial Larceny Unit at 927-1731-50, if they suspect that the goods purchased might have been stolen. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665018/banana_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, February 23, 2017 9:50 AM