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 Bolt again http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Bolt-again_82462 MONACO (AP) &mdash; Sprint king Usain Bolt won an unprecedented sixth IAAF male Athlete of the Year award yesterday, with Ethiopian Almaz Ayana picking up the female award after her record-setting 10,000m gold in Rio.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I live for the moments I walk into the stadium,&rdquo; said Bolt, who will retire next year. &ldquo;I love competing, I dream of being in the stadium competing against the best.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Bolt, who previously winner in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013, was rewarded for another blistering season that saw him claim three gold medals (100m, 200m and 4x100m relay) at the Rio Olympics for the third consecutive Games.<br /> <br /> The 30-year-old dominated the 100m in 9.81sec and came back four days later with a 19.78sec victory in the 200m to secure a third-straight Olympic title over both distances &mdash; a first.<br /> <br /> The following day he anchored Jamaica to victory in the 4x100m in 37.27sec &mdash; the fourth fastest of all time. His 9.81sec gold medal-winning performance in Rio was the second fastest in the world, his 19.78sec in the 200m the third fastest.<br /> <br /> Bolt ended his season unbeaten in six individual finals, having made history as the first athlete to win three consecutive Olympic triples.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s definitely a big deal,&rdquo; Bolt said of the award.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When you get to be athlete of the year it means that all the hard work has paid off. So if I can win it for a sixth year, it means as much as the first one.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He had been up against Briton Mo Farah, who claimed a historic Olympic double-double in the 5,000m and 10,000m, and South African Wayde van Niekerk, whose Olympic gold medal-winning run in the 400m also eclipsed the world record set by Michael Johnson.<br /> <br /> In the female category, Almaz claimed the title after smashing the 10,000m world record in Rio.<br /> <br /> Picking up brilliantly where she left off in 2015, as the world 5,000m champion, 25-year-old Almaz proceeded to rewrite the all-time lists in the 5,000m.<br /> <br /> After a 14:16.31 performance in Rabat, she threatened the world record with a 14:12.59 run in Rome, the second-fastest performance of all time.<br /> <br /> That momentum continued in late June at the Ethiopian Olympic trials for 10,000m where she triumphed in 30:07.00, the fastest-ever debut over the distance.<br /> <br /> In Rio, she went faster still, opening the Olympic athletics programme with a stunning 10,000m, world record of 29:17.45 that knocked more than 14 seconds from a record set 23 years earlier.<br /> <br /> At 5,000m, Almaz took Olympic bronze and won the Diamond Race.<br /> <br /> She beat off competition from Jamaican Elaine Thompson, who won gold in the 100 and 200m in Rio before helping Jamaica to a silver medal in the 4x100m relay, and also Polish Olympic hammer throw champion and world record holder Anita Wlodarczyk.<br /> <br /> &mdash; See related story on http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13477305/244974_71457_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13477306/244974_SLD.jpg 01 2 T&T in major oil deal with Venezuela http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/T-T-in-major-oil-deal-with-Venezuela_82398 PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) &mdash; Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley travels to Venezuela on Monday to sign an agreement for the commercial exploitation of the Dragon gas field in Venezuela.<br /> <br /> Rowley said the delegation will be travelling by way of a chartered ATR aircraft, which departs on Monday morning and is scheduled to return by afternoon.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When we get back from Venezuela, we will go into a bit more depth as to what the details are, what the numbers are with respect to what we have signed on to, and we meet Shell. Shell will join us in Venezuela, so between all these various parties, Monday is a very significant day for us,&rdquo; he told reporters at the end of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Thursday.<br /> <br /> Rowley said for the last year, the Energy Ministry, National Gas Company, Venezuelan Oil Company and Government of Venezuela have worked consistently towards arriving at a situation where commercial users of natural gas can find supplies from Venezuelan fields which are close to local users.<br /> <br /> These discussions have progressed smoothly and there were exchanges both in Port of Spain and Caracas, and along with energy giant Shell, which is partnering with Trinidad and Tobago in this project.<br /> <br /> Shell is an owner of pipelines in Trinidad and Tobago which can be considered for utilisation in the receipt of gas from Venezuela.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip; So between these various parties and sitting down and discussing what is possible as a major commercial exercise, we are now at the stage where we are in a position to sign the government-to-government agreement and the commercial structure, which will open the door for commercial exploitation of the Dragon gas field in Venezuela, which is to the north of us here, just beyond the Bocas,&rdquo; said Rowley.<br /> <br /> He said the gas field would become the first major field that will supply gas from Venezuelan fields to Trinidad pipelines, towards Point Lisas to supply local facilities there.<br /> <br /> Rowley, who said the details of the arrangements would be made public after the signing, said this was done in the context of looking after the future of Trinidad and Tobago in the medium and the long term. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13278151/227539__w300.jpg Local News Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:00 AM 5 Shock defeat for Gambia&rsquo;s Jammeh in historic presidential poll http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Shock-defeat-for-Gambia-s-Jammeh-in-historic-presidential-poll_82417 BANJUL, Gambia (AFP) &mdash; Opposition candidate Adama Barrow pulled off a stunning victory in The Gambia, comfortably winning a presidential election and putting an end to the 22-year rule of Yahya Jammeh, official results showed yesterday.<br /> <br /> Jammeh had conceded defeat, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said as Gambians began to take to the streets to celebrate the biggest upset in the west African nation since Jammeh seized power in a 1994 coup.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really unique that someone who has been ruling this country for so long has accepted defeat,&rdquo; Alieu Momar Njie told reporters.<br /> <br /> Barrow won 54.54 per cent (263,515 votes) while Jammeh took 36.66 per cent (212,099) and third party candidate Mama Kandeh 102,969 votes (17.80 per cent) in the Thursday poll, the IEC said.<br /> <br /> Turnout was around 65 per cent.<br /> <br /> Jammeh, who once said he would govern for a billion years if God willed it, was attempting to win a fifth term with his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).<br /> <br /> On the streets of Bakau, a district on the outskirts of the capital Banjul, Gambians began an impromptu street party, drumming, dancing and honking car horns.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This man (Jammeh) beat and oppressed us,&rdquo; a young man who gave his name as Jawara told<br /> <br /> AFP. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t have our freedom but definitely Barrow will give it to us,&rdquo; he added, choking back tears.<br /> <br /> Gambian state television told<br /> <br /> AFP that Jammeh would make a statement later in the day to congratulate opposition leader Barrow, 51.<br /> <br /> A previously unknown estate agent and former economic migrant to Britain, Barrow was chosen as the opposition flag bearer by a group of political parties who had joined forces for the first time, whipping up unprecedented popular support.<br /> <br /> Barrow told<br /> <br /> AFP before the vote was announced that he was &ldquo;certain&rdquo; he had won.<br /> <br /> If Jammeh&rsquo;s concession is confirmed, Barrow will likely serve a three-year term at the head of a transition reform government in the tiny ex-British colony that occupies a narrow sliver of land surrounded by French-speaking Senegal and pristine Atlantic ocean beaches beloved by tourists.<br /> <br /> Jammeh campaign manager Yankuba Colley said he was not aware of the electoral commission chairman&rsquo;s statement but said he believed the president would step down if the Gambian people wanted it.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When the Gambians make their verdict, he is someone who is faithful,&rdquo; he told<br /> <br /> AFP.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is a difficult result but the man I know will accept whatever comes.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Barrow&rsquo;s camp confirmed the IEC statement.<br /> <br /> Thursday&rsquo;s election was marked by an internet blackout that sparked condemnation from rights groups and the United States.<br /> <br /> But early results yesterday were positive for Barrow as he took the capital Banjul &mdash; a traditional Jammeh stronghold.<br /> <br /> He won nearly 50 per cent of the vote in Banjul&rsquo;s three constituencies, according to the IEC, compared to 43 per cent for Jammeh. <br /> <br /> Security forces had deployed heavily in Banjul earlier yesterday amid nervousness over whether Jammeh would accept a ballot box defeat.<br /> <br /> Before dawn broke, military and police, some covering their faces, set up checkpoints every few hundred metres on the outskirts of the capital, while citizens were inside sleeping or watching the results come in.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Power belongs to the people. You cannot stop us and you cannot stop them,&rdquo; Barrow said at his final rally this week.<br /> <br /> Jammeh meanwhile had predicted the biggest landslide of his political career. <br /> <br /> The United States said turnout appeared to be high and that the vote took place in &ldquo;generally peaceful conditions&rdquo;, while the IEC hailed &ldquo;a very successful election&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> At his final campaign rally, Jammeh had warned that protests over the election result would not be tolerated, saying The Gambia &ldquo;does not allow&rdquo; demonstrations.<br /> <br /> No professional international observers were on the ground for the vote, diplomats confirmed, but a small team of African Union experts monitored events along with Banjul-based US and European delegations already present in the country.<br /> <br /> A Senegalese security source confirmed to<br /> <br /> AFP in Dakar that The Gambia had closed the borders on Thursday, a common occurrence during elections in west Africa.<br /> <br /> Jammeh seized power in a 1994 coup and had until now survived multiple attempts to remove him from the presidency.<br /> <br /> Some 60 per cent of the population live in poverty in The Gambia, and a third survive on US$1.25 (1.20 euro) or less a day, according to the UN. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476531/244875_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:00 AM 6 Meade&rsquo;s journey to head JDF started at Wolmer&rsquo;s http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Meade-s-journey-to-head-JDF-started-at-Wolmer-s_82321 A journey that began at Wolmer&rsquo;s Boys&rsquo; School in the 1970s wound its way through King&rsquo;s House yesterday with the swearing-in of Brigadier Rocky Meade as the new Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).<br /> <br /> Meade, who now holds the rank major general, relayed snippets of his life to dozens of guests and the media attending the swearing-in ceremony, at which Governor General Sir Patrick Allen gave the welcome and Prime Minister Andrew Holness gave the main address.<br /> <br /> He told the guests that a question from his mother then, as to whether there were any uniformed groups at Wolmer&rsquo;s which he could join, started him on the journey.<br /> <br /> He learnt that there was a Jamaica Combined Cadet Force Unit at the school, enlisted, and was immediately infused with love for the military lifestyle.<br /> <br /> He said that this led to him becoming an aeroplane pilot while still at Wolmer&rsquo;s in the late 1970s, and eventually to his pole position as head of the JDF.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The journey of a thousand miles began with that one step&hellip; and I saw the JDF as the next logical step to pursue my love for the military,&rdquo; Meade said as he paid tribute to his mother for guiding him into the direction leading to his new role in serving his country.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I commit to bear in mind the charges you have made for me,&rdquo; he told the governor general. He also thanked the prime minister for showing confidence in him, by selecting him for the post.<br /> <br /> Meade also paid tribute to his former commander, Brigadier General Antony Anderson, and another former chief of staff, Brigadier General Rudolph Green, who died on Wednesday night.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Holness said that he was confident that Meade has the experience, knowledge and training to continue building on the &ldquo;solid foundation he has inherited, and the development trajectory set by his predecessors&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I have confidence that the legacy of the JDF and its value and relevance to Jamaica will continue, as new demands and new circumstances arise,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> The prime minister also applauded the JDF&rsquo;s multi-sectoral partnerships with other State agencies, including the Jamaica Constabulary Force, as key to ensuring the well-being of the country&rsquo;s citizens.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Government has an unremitting resolve to address crime and build a bond of trust between our citizens and our security forces, through unquestionable conduct and mutual respect,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Holness added that recent improvements in business and consumer confidence in Jamaica, which the country is experiencing and which is encouraging both local and foreign investments, must be bolstered by improving and safeguarding the security of citizens. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473583/244575_71100_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473585/mead-ld.jpg Telecoms row http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Telecoms-row_82328 PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has indicated that the Jamaican Government intends to hold dialogue with the United States Embassy following public statements by an embassy representative on the controversial domestic mobile spectrum licence (DMSL) issued to Symbiote Investments in September.<br /> <br /> The matter has caused tensions between the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) and the company in recent months, as the Government went ahead with the issuance of the licence despite Contractor General Dirk Harrison&rsquo;s advice to reconsider the issue of the licence based on the findings of his investigations.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Government of Jamaica will continue to engage the United States Government through its Embassy in Kingston, via normal diplomatic channels, with a view to addressing any concern they may have about the grant of the licence,&rdquo; yesterday&rsquo;s release from Jamaica House stated.<br /> <br /> The statement was an obvious diplomatic response to the US Embassy&rsquo;s unusual tweet regarding comments made by Harrison to senior journalist Cliff Hughes on his Nationwide radio programme Cliff Hughes Online on Tuesday afternoon, November 29. Harrison had said that he found it &ldquo;curious&rdquo; that Holness, in his statement to Parliament in September when he announced that the Government was going to issue the licence, had not mentioned that Cabinet and the OCG had agreed that one principal of the company, businessman George Neil, would not be linked to the contract. <br /> <br /> Later that afternoon, Public Affairs Counsellor at the embassy Joshua Polacheck issued the tweet, stating that the US Embassy shared Harrison&rsquo;s concern.<br /> <br /> On Wednesday, when Nationwide @ Five followed up on the story, Polacheck said: &ldquo;It is concerning to us as well; a telecoms company can have significant impact on a country&rsquo;s ability to carry out law enforcement operations, and has national security implications. These are serious concerns and we are wondering where is the further debate on this issue.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> According to the OCG in a July report to Parliament following a probe of Symbiote&rsquo;s operations, a police investigation in 2014 had come up with &ldquo;adverse traces&rdquo; against Neil who had also been the subject of a 2009 probe by the OCG into the circumstances surrounding the issuance of telecommunications licences to a firm trading as Gotel.<br /> <br /> Harrison recommended that Symbiote, which trades as Caricel, should not be given the DMSL because of the adverse findings. Cabinet decided to issue the licence nevertheless.<br /> <br /> Holness said yesterday that he was concerned about Harrison&rsquo;s recent comments and that he has instructed Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley to issue a statement, setting out the timeline and sequence of events surrounding the granting of the licence.<br /> <br /> When he announced the approval of the licence in September, Holness told legislators that the Government had carefully considered the issues raised by the OCG&rsquo;s report but insisted that the Administration had done exceptional due diligence before making its decision. <br /> <br /> But Caricel threatened to sue the OCG and argued that the report had not raised any new material that should cause the Government to revoke its telecommunications licence. The company said the contractor general had &ldquo;merely given his own interpretation of facts that were disclosed by the applicant, and known to the regulators and the minister when the decisions were taken&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The company said that during the OCG investigation, which was launched on May 24 this year, it was never contacted for a response to the allegations in the report.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are surprised by the publication of adverse findings before the company was given an opportunity to be heard by the proper authorities,&rdquo; the company said in a statement.<br /> <br /> Caricel accused the OCG of seeking to stymie its ability to compete with foreign-based telecommunications companies, FLOW and Digicel. &ldquo;No other applicant has been subjected to this kind of prolonged and sustained scrutiny that this local company has endured. That, in itself, is a matter for investigation,&rdquo; Caricel said.<br /> <br /> Symbiote Investments Limited is the country&rsquo;s first fully Jamaican-owned telecoms firm. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13474087/lele_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473584/lele-SLD.jpg 01 2 Police seize 590 guns in 11 months http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Police-seize-590-guns-in-11-months_82307 FIVE more illegal firearms were seized by the police on Wednesday, bringing the number seized so far this year to 590.<br /> <br /> The police said they have also removed more than 7,000 rounds of ammunition from the streets this year.<br /> <br /> Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifford Chambers, speaking at a press briefing yesterday at the offices of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch (C-TOC) in downtown Kingston, said two men have been arrested for Wednesday&rsquo;s gun seizure and that a high-level police team was leading the investigations.<br /> <br /> The five pistols were found in a car about 7: 30 pm at the Vineyard Toll Plaza in St Catherine.<br /> <br /> The police said officers from C-TOC and other branches of the constabulary intercepted the vehicle and found the weapons following a search.<br /> <br /> The third man who was in the car reportedly engaged the police in a shoot-out before escaping, Chambers said yesterday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This current seizure represents a scaling up of the JCF&rsquo;s efforts to reduce the inflow of illegal firearms into Jamaica, consistent with the JCF strategic priority of ensuring the prevention and reduction of various crimes and impacting the transnational organised network that has to do with crimes,&rdquo; said Chambers.<br /> <br /> The senior officer said the seizure represents the growing success of the the Jamaica Constabulary Force&rsquo;s (JCF) Get The Gun Campaign, which was launched in 2015 along with a strategic decision that was taken to fuel resources into finding individuals and groups involved in the illegal trade of firearms and ammunition.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In this regard, the JCF has arrested a number of significant players and over 10 persons are now before the court on multiple charges under the Firearm Acts and the Anti-Gang legislation,&rdquo; Chambers added.<br /> <br /> Chambers also attributed the JCF&rsquo;s success in recovering firearms with their &ldquo;robust working relationship&rdquo; with the Haitian police and greater collaboration and coordination within the JCF and with State agencies such as the Jamaica Defence Force and Jamaica Customs.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The JCF will continue to collaborate with its local and international partners in an effort to erode the illegal trade in arms and ammunition, as the JCF seeks to reduce the number of murders and the availability of firearms in the country, as we know approximately 80 per cent of all murders in Jamaica are committed with the use of the gun,&rdquo; Chambers said.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Tanesha Mundle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473449/244604_71091_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473451/244604_SLD.jpg 2 &lsquo;I need your support&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-I-need-your-support-_82097 It has been a long and difficult journey for 28-year-old Camille Johnson, but she is determined to realise her dream of becoming a teacher.<br /> <br /> After suffering setbacks along the way, including financial challenges and illness, Johnson managed to complete four years of studies at The Mico University College, but is unable to collect her bachelor&rsquo;s degree because she has two resits and two outstanding courses along with school fee arrears of just over $300,000.<br /> <br /> So after two years of struggling to find a way out Johnson has now decided to stage a fund-raising gospel concert to help cover the cost. The concert, which is slated for December 6 at the Yallahs Seventh-Day Adventist Church, will feature a number of singers from the church. <br /> <br /> The cost? <br /> <br /> $700 for adults and $250 for children.<br /> <br /> The aspiring teacher is also calling on people to assist in anyway that they can.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t believe in sitting down and doing nothing. Dem say, &lsquo;if you want good, yuh nose affi run&rsquo;, so my friend suggested it (concert) and I ran with the idea,&rdquo; Johnson explained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am asking persons who see the need and who can empathise and put themselves in my position and see what I am going through, and that it&rsquo;s not easy, to contribute and assist me,&rdquo; Johnson told the Jamaica Observer in Yallahs on Tuesday while promoting the concert.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It has always been a dream of mine to influence the lives of young minds in the classroom and to be a positive role model,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> Johnson is aiming to make a positive change in the classroom by moulding young minds for the future and, by extension, contribute to the development of the country.<br /> <br /> Her journey started at Mico in 2009 but she was forced to take a break from her studies for one year after she fell ill.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;People said I wouldn&rsquo;t go back and that Mico made me sick, and all sorts of negative comments, but I prevailed because I had faith in God,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Johnson, who had been funding her education via a student loan, resumed classes in 2011 and although her loan was not approved for her final year she was allowed by the institution to continue.<br /> <br /> However, she said her dream has been placed on hold, as she has to sit two courses and re-sit two others in order to obtain her bachelor&rsquo;s degree in primary education.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But the main thing why I am putting on the concert is because I owe Mico and I can&rsquo;t move on until the the fee is paid,&rdquo; she stressed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The great Aristotle said that the root of education is bitter, but the fruit is sweet, and so I am asking persons to let my dream become reality so that I can taste of this fruit,&rdquo; Johnson said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473400/244197_71069_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 3 He truly fell for a mango http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/He-truly-fell-for-a-mango_82330 This man was injured yesterday after falling from a mango tree in a garage on Churchill Avenue off Hagley Park Road in Kingston.<br /> <br /> Police report that the man, whose name was not released, said he scaled the garage wall to get to the tree, but after climbing the tree to pick mangoes the branch on which he was standing broke, sending him plunging onto stones in the yard.<br /> <br /> Police said people in the yard and neighbours went to investigate after hearing dogs barking and found the man, who was unable to move. They called the police, who summoned an ambulance that took him to hospital.<br /> <br /> Here is a series of photos from the mishap.<br /> <br /> 1. The man lies on the ground after the fall. The tree limb that snapped with him is seen here.<br /> <br /> 2. Ambulance workers about to place the man on a stretcher.<br /> <br /> 3. After being placed on the stretcher the man is being lifted to a gurney.<br /> <br /> 4. Emergency workers place the man on the gurney.<br /> <br /> 5. The team about to place the man inside the ambulance.<br /> <br /> (Photos: Llewellyn Wynter) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473462/244613_71095_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 4 St Elizabeth councillors pick Simpson over Palmer for mayor http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/St-Elizabeth-councillors-pick-Simpson-over-Palmer-for-mayor-------_82315 BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth &mdash; In a surprising development, the Jamaica Labour Party&rsquo;s (JLP) Donald Simpson, who was elected in Monday&rsquo;s local government election as councillor for the Malvern Division, has been selected by the nine-member Jamaica Labour Party caucus of councillors in St Elizabeth as new chairman of the council and mayor of Black River.<br /> <br /> Most observers had expected lawyer Jeremy Palmer (JLP- Pedro Plains Division), who served as council chairman and mayor of Black River in 2007-2012, to be given the job.<br /> <br /> An authoritative source said that at the meeting of the caucus on Wednesday night, chaired by JLP Deputy Leader JC Hutchinson, Simpson got the support of five councillors to Palmer&rsquo;s four.<br /> <br /> JLP councillor for the Junction Division, Cetany Holness, now in his third term, will serve as deputy mayor.<br /> <br /> Simpson, a farmer, served as councillor for the Malvern Division for two terms before being unseated by former West Indies cricketer Daren Powell of the PNP in 2012.<br /> <br /> Powell who lost his bid to unseat Hutchinson in St Elizabeth North Western in the February parliamentary election has apparently lost interest in representational politics.<br /> <br /> His replacement for the PNP in Malvern, businessman Richard Parchment, a former MP for St Elizabeth South Eastern, lost to Simpson by 211 votes on Monday.<br /> <br /> Simpson polled 1,566 votes to Parchment&rsquo;s 1,355.<br /> <br /> The JLP won the St Elizabeth Parish Council by capturing nine divisions to the PNP&rsquo;s six on Monday.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Garfield Myers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12512957/176532_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 4 Jamaica&rsquo;s flag to fly at half-mast today in tribute to Fidel Castro http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaica-s-flag-to-fly-at-half-mast-today-in-tribute-to-Fidel-Castro_82303 THE Jamaican flag will fly at half-mast today on all government offices and national buildings as a tribute to the late former President of the Republic of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz, who died last Friday.<br /> <br /> Jamaica House said the country is joining the rest of the Caribbean Community in the symbolic gesture of condolence to mark Castro&rsquo;s passing and mourn with the people of Cuba.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who led a Jamaican delegation on Tuesday to attend the official private mass for the former president in Havana, Cuba, expressed condolence to the people of Cuba and Castro&rsquo;s family.<br /> <br /> Holness said Castro was an outstanding leader who, though coming from a Caribbean island developing state, has had the greatest impact on world history. He added that Castro will be remembered for his passionate speeches in defence of the right to self-determination.<br /> <br /> Cuba is observing a period of national mourning for its late former leader which will end on December 4.<br /> <br /> Jamaica and Cuba have strong bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of education and health. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10924701/jaflag_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 4 Jamaica begins &lsquo;Test and Start&rsquo; HIV initiative in January http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaica-begins--Test-and-Start--HIV-initiative-in-January_82275 THE Ministry of Health&rsquo;s National HIV Programme will next month adopt the 2015 WHO guidelines, which recommend that anyone who is diagnosed HIV positive be offered treatment under the &lsquo;Test and Start&rsquo; programme.<br /> <br /> This new recommendation is based on current scientific evidence from clinical trials and observational studies demonstrating that initiating antiretroviral therapy earlier results in better clinical outcomes for persons living with HIV (PLHIV) versus delayed treatment.<br /> <br /> The announcement was made at the annual HIV review and planning retreat that was hosted by the Ministry of Health&rsquo;s HIV Unit at the Hilton Rose Hall and Resort. <br /> <br /> Jamaica yesterday joined several countries around the globe in marking World AIDS Day<br /> <br /> With the &lsquo;Test & Start&rsquo; initiative it is anticipated that an additional 1,200 new patients will be eligible to initiate treatment. Treatment, as a method of prevention, is another benefit of these new guidelines as more PLHIV are virally suppressed and consequently the risk of transmission is decreased, the ministry said.<br /> <br /> At the same time, it said that testing is a critical tool in the management and treatment of HIV as people with HIV who know they are infected can get HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy, or ART) that can keep them healthy for many years.<br /> <br /> It is estimated that more than 20,000 are currently living with HIV in Jamaica, but approximately 19 per cent are unaware of their status.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10757381/aids_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 4 Castro&rsquo;s ashes resume trip after stop at &lsquo;Che&rsquo; monument http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Castro-s-ashes-resume-trip-after-stop-at--Che--monument_82316 SANTA CLARA, Cuba (AFP) &ndash; A convoy carrying the ashes of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro resumed an islandwide tour yesterday after spending a symbolic night at the mausoleum of his comrade-in-arms Ernesto &ldquo;Che&rdquo; Guevara.<br /> <br /> A jeep pulling a cedar urn holding the ashes entered the monument to Guevara in the city of Santa Clara after midnight, hours after it left Havana on a four-day trip across Cuba.<br /> <br /> Crowds lined up for a second day on the roads to bid farewell to Castro, who died last Friday at age 90. He ruled the Caribbean island from 1959 until illness forced him to hand power to his brother, Raul, in 2006. <br /> <br /> Two days of massive tributes were held at Havana&rsquo;s Revolution Square this week before the communist leader&rsquo;s remains were taken on the road to be laid to rest in the south-eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on Sunday.<br /> <br /> The &ldquo;caravan of freedom&rdquo; is taking the reverse route of the victory tour that Castro took to celebrate his victory over dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.<br /> <br /> The first stop in the journey was at Guevara&rsquo;s memorial in Santa Clara. The Argentine-born doctor won a crucial battle against Batista&rsquo;s forces in this city in 1958.<br /> <br /> Guevara was given high-ranking positions in the Government but he left in 1966 to lead a guerrilla expedition in Bolivia, where he was captured and executed a year later.<br /> <br /> His remains were recovered three decades later and taken to Santa Clara, now home to a huge statue of &ldquo;Che&rdquo; and a museum dedicated to the revolutionary icon. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473395/244595_71080_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 4 Local World AIDS Day march pulls record participants http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Local-World-AIDS-Day-march-pulls-record-participants KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; The Caribbean Regional Director of the Aids Health Foundation, Dr Kevin Harvey is reporting that the march held yesterday from Cross Roads to downtown Kingston in observance of World AIDS Day 2016 (WAD2016) was the largest ever health related march in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The march attracted more than 3,000 people and about 500 peiple benefited from free HIV testing during the health fair,&rdquo; Harvey said.<br /> <br /> The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) supported the march, the health fair and free concert as part of the activities to observe WAD2016. This was done in partnership with the National Family Planning Board and ASHE to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS and improve testing, treatment and care among the population.  <br /> <br /> The event formed part of AHF&rsquo;s commitment to expand its outreach in Jamaica particularly through the establishment of a &ldquo;Wellness Centre&rdquo; to provide free diagnosis and treatment for STIs including HIV. <br /> <br /> AHF is the largest non-governmental service organisation globally providing care and support to persons living with and affected by HIV. The Foundation currently provides compassionate care to over 600,000 persons living with HIV across 37 countries and 15 states within the USA. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476779/Wad-2016_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 9:35 PM 5 Cops receive training in domestic violence intervention http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cops-receive-training-in-domestic-violence-intervention KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; More than 150 members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) yesterday received training in domestic violence intervention and conflict resolution.<br /> <br /> The training was jointly hosted by the Ministry of National Security and the JCF at the Jamaica Conference Centre.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;The purpose of this training is to have at least one person in each of the 174 police stations across Jamaica so that there is a point person to interrupt domestic violence incidents that may occur in the community,&rdquo; said Minister of National Security Robert Montague.<br /> <br /> In reiterating the importance of the training session, Commissioner of Police, Dr Carl Williams, added that despite efforts of the JCF to stem incidents of domestic violence, it is impossible for the police to always be present before incidents occur. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Nonetheless I am grateful for this training being provided as we remain committed to the cause and continue to work to keep our communities safe,&rdquo; said Williams.<br /> <br /> Participants were selected largely from the Community Safety and Security Branch of the JCF, headed by ACP, Dr Gary Welsh, who was also present at the training session.<br /> <br /> The initiative, first tabled by Montague in his budget presentation in May, is a second step in the recent re-establishment of the Parish and District Consultative Committees.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476605/police-training_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 7:21 PM 5 Weekly Round-up: Castro dies... J&rsquo;can on FBI most wanted list... KC win Walker Cup http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Weekly-Round-up--Castro-dies----J-can-on-FBI-most-wanted-list----KC-win-Walker-Cup KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; The Jamaican flag was on Friday flown at half-mast on all government offices and national buildings as a tribute to the late former President of the Republic of Cuba, Fidel Castro Ruz, who died on November 25th.<br /> <br /> The ashes of the 90-year-old revolutionary icon was taken on a four-day procession from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, retracing the route Castro took to celebrate his victory in the 1959 revolution.<br /> <br /> Cuba is observing a period of national mourning, which will end on December 4.<br /> <br /> In other news, a Jamaican fugitive sought in the slaying of four people at a Los Angeles birthday party in October, was on Thursday added to the FBI's most wanted list..<br /> <br /> In sport, Kingston College on Thursday claimed the ISSA/FLOW Walker Cup trophy with a 2-0 win over Manning Cup champions Jamaica College.<br /> <br /> Watch as OBSERVER ONLINE wraps this week for you.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476602/paul-allen_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 7:00 PM 5 Grange congratulates Bolt on IAAF athlete-of-the-year title http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Grange-congratulates-Bolt-on-IAAF-athlete-of-the-year-title KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, has congratulated Usain Bolt on being named the IAAF World male athlete of the year for the sixth time.<br /> <br />  Bolt was presented with the award inMonte Carlo on Friday.<br /> <br />  The sport minister said Bolt was &ldquo;most deserving of this award&rdquo; following his exploits at the recent Olympic Games in Brazil.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;Usain continues to set records on and off the track. He has now won the IAAF male athlete of the year title for a record six times &ndash; a most deserving award after his record setting performances at the Olympics in Rio. Congratulations Usain! We are proud of and continue to be inspired by you,&rdquo; Grange said.<br /> <br />  At the Rio Games in Brazil in August, Bolt completed a historic &lsquo;triple-triple&rsquo; &ndash; three gold medals, in three events (100m, 200m and 4x100m) at three consecutive Olympic Games.<br /> <br /> Grange also commended Omar McLeod and Elaine Thompson on being nominated for male and female athletes of the year titles. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476510/babsy_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 6:34 PM 5 Forex: J$128.95 to one US dollar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Forex--J-128-95-to-one-US-dollar2016-12-02T14-41-28 KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Jamaican dollar held firm against the US dollar trading at J$128. 95 on Friday, December 2, according to the Bank of Jamaica&rsquo;s daily foreign exchange trading summary.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar ended trading at J$97.24, up from J$94.67, while the British pound sterling ended trading at J$162.12, up from J$161.30.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476302/forex_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 5:37 PM 5 Ministry orders probe into NMIA malfunctioning runway lights http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Ministry-orders-probe-into-NMIA-malfunctioning-runway-lights KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash;Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry has ordered a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the malfunction of lights on the runway of the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston. <br /> <br /> According to a release today, Henry said that while he understands acts of God and unforeseen circumstances, &ldquo;there is just no room for error as Jamaica&rsquo;s enviable aviation record must not be compromised at any given time&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Henry also maintained that against a background of the government&rsquo;s Open Skies Policy, operations at the island&rsquo;s airports must be flawless.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, chairman of the board of the Airports Authority of Jamaica, William &lsquo;Billy&rsquo; Shagoury and chairman of the board of NMIA, Neil Seaton have been asked to provide a report in the &ldquo;shortest possible time&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Henry added that given increased activity in the Jamaican ports and airspace, every precaution must be taken to ensure smooth operations at our airports and the absolute safety of passengers and employees.<br /> <br /> On Wednesday, the lights on the runway at the NMIA malfunctioned forcing flight delays, cancellations and rescheduling. Several passengers were inconvenienced. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475933/NMIA_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 5:11 PM 5 Lisa Hanna threatens Paul Burke with lawsuit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Lisa-Hanna-threatens-Paul-Burke-with-lawsuit KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash;  General  Secretary of the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) Paul Burke says he is &ldquo;not frightened&rdquo; by a letter demanding an apology, received today  from the attorney of Member of Parliament for St Ann South East, Lisa Hanna.<br /> <br /> In the letter, Hanna&rsquo;s attorney threatens legal action against Burke if he does not apologise for &ldquo;libellous comments&rdquo; made in an interview that was published in the Jamaica Gleaner yesterday.<br /> <br /> The letter made reference to alleged &ldquo;gravely libellous&rdquo; comments made by Burke against Hanna during the interview, including remarks made about party interventions in the constituency.<br /> <br /> In response this afternoon, Burke maintained that the PNP acted responsibly in South East St Ann to address all situations raised by Hanna. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We had more leadership interventions and mediation meetings than all other constituencies combined; and in addition, we sent both leadership and secretariat teams to South East St Ann,&rdquo; Burke insisted, adding that the fact that the party did not always, or mainly, agree with her recommendations does not mean that the matter was ignored. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I regard correspondence sent to me in my capacity of General Secretary by a party member to be private to those copied, although I concede that others have not exercised this protocol. If Hanna gives written permission for me to release all correspondence between the two of us, I am prepared to share all with the media and to have any IT expert verify that these are authentic email dispatches,&rdquo; Burke said.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475907/Hanna-Burke_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 5:01 PM 5 Young Windies open Super50, World Cup preparation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Young-Windies-open-Super50--World-Cup-preparation ST JOHN&rsquo;S, Antigua (CMC) &ndash; West Indies Under-19s will gather in Grenada next week to begin preparation for the Regional Super50 which bowls off next January.<br /> <br /> A 20-member preliminary squad will undergo training from December 9-20, and will also receive physical assessment along with life skill sessions and mental preparation.<br /> <br /> A management team, led by head coach Graeme West and comprising Dwain Gill, Anthony Gray, Khevyn Williams and Zephyrinus Nicholas, will oversee the camp.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This initial camp is to prepare a team for the Regional Super50 as was done the last two years and we will also have a pre-tournament camp for the final team [from] January 17-21,&rdquo; said West Indies Cricket Board project officer, Rawl Lewis.<br /> <br /> The Under-19s will do battle in Group A of the Super50 which runs from January 24 to February 18 in Antigua and Barbados.<br /> <br /> Title-holders Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Windward Islands Volcanoes and visiting English County, Kent Spitfires, have also been installed in Group A.<br /> <br /> Group B, meanwhile, comprises last year losing finalists Barbados Pride, Guyana Jaguars, Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners, Jamaica Scorpions and ICC Americas.<br /> <br /> The tournament will serve as a part of the build-up for the Under-19s as they ready themselves for the defence of their ICC Youth World Cup title captured earlier this year in Bangladesh.<br /> <br /> However, Lewis said the Super50 was only a smart part of the intended preparation for the squad.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A comprehensive programme has been developed for the 2018 World Cup preparation which started with the regional Under-17 and 19 tournaments over the summer,&rdquo; the former West Indies player said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The 23-month programme will include a mini-series with New Zealand (three-match series) in January 2017, just before the World Cup.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> SQUAD &ndash; Keagan Simmonds, Kirstan Kallicharan, Cephas Cooper, Navin Bidaisee, Matthew Patrick, Te-Shawn Alleyne, Johann Jeremiah, Emmanuel Stewart, Johnnel Eugene, Daneal Dupigny, Alick Athanaze, Jerellius Louis, Javier Spence, Kian Pemberton, Joshua Persaud, Bhaskar Yadram, Jeavor Royal.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475900/young-windies_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 4:54 PM 5 Police advises vigilance during Christmas season http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Police-advises-vigilance-during-Christmas-season KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; The police are advising members of the public that as the Christmas season approaches, they should adopt safe practices and be very vigilant conducting business and moving about in public places. <br /> <br /> According to the police, as a result of an increase in business and recreational activities, which usually attracts criminal elements, they are issuing tips to enhance the safety of life and property throughout the holidays.<br /> <br /> Preventing robberies:<br /> <br /> Ensure that valuable personal possessions are properly secured or concealed. If you intend to conduct business involving large amounts of cash, feel free to do so at a police station, the cops advise.<br /> <br /> Avoid wearing excessive jewellery, particularly gold, when walking in areas with high pedestrian traffic.<br /> <br /> Always ensure that your house and car keys are easily accessible to minimise the time it takes to enter homes and vehicles, in the event you are being followed.<br /> <br /> Walk in well-lit areas and avoid walking alone. If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and proceed to a crowded area.<br /> <br /> Do not leave valuable items on the back of seats or areas within the car that make them visible to passers-by.<br /> <br /> Avoid taking large sums of money to/from the bank or directing employees to do so. Employ a reputable security service to handle deposits to financial institutions or seek the assistance of the police. People using Automated Teller Machines are also urged to be vigilant and protect their debit/credit card information.<br /> <br /> Travellers are urged to be alert at the airport and be mindful of people who are not legitimately authorised to load and unload vehicles. If you believe you are being followed, proceed to a busy location and contact the police immediately.<br /> <br /> The police added that they will continue to increase their presence on the roads across the island to minimise attacks by criminal element and to also provide a quick avenue for people to report suspicious activities. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475713/christmas-shopping_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:58 PM 5 EOJ summoned to three magisterial recounts in local gov&rsquo;t elections http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/EOJ-summoned-to-three-magisterial-recounts-in-local-gov-t-elections KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) says that they have completed the final counting of ballots for the mayoral elections in the Municipality of Portmore today, concluding the final counting of votes for the Local Government Elections held on Monday. <br /> <br /> However, the EOJ disclosed that they have been summoned to three magisterial recounts, the latest being for the Ginger Ridge Division in St Catherine West Central, slated for Monday, December 5. The People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) candidate for the Division won by a margin of 16 votes in the final count. There were 24 rejected ballots. <br /> <br />  According to the EOJ, the other two summonses, which were received today, are for the Salt Spring Division in St James Central and the Llandewey Division in St Thomas Western. <br /> <br /> The magisterial recounts for these two divisions are scheduled for Monday, December 5 and Tuesday, December 6 respectively.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475704/Orette-Fisher_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:52 PM 5 Bolt and Ayana crowned 2016 World Athletes of the Year http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Bolt-and-Ayana-crowned-2016-World-Athletes-of-the-Year KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Jamaica&rsquo;s Usain Bolt and Ethiopia&rsquo;s Almaz Ayana have been named the male and female World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016, held at Sporting Monte Carlo on Friday.<br /> <br /> Bolt, who won the award five times between 2008 and 2013, added to his legacy by earning the trophy for a record sixth occasion. The sprinting superstar this year successfully defended his Olympic titles in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, bringing his lifetime tally of Olympic gold medals to nine.<br /> <br /> He clocked season&rsquo;s bests of 9.81 and 19.78 to win the 100m and 200m in Rio and then anchored the Jamaican team to a world-leading 37.27 when winning the 4x100m.<br /> <br /> He also went undefeated throughout the whole season at all distances, including heats.<br /> <br /> Ayana had a record-breaking year. After recording the fastest 10,000m debut in history in June, the Ethiopian went on to win the Olympic title at the distance in a world record of 29:17.45.<br /> <br /> She added to her Olympic medal haul in Rio by taking bronze in the 5000m, her only loss of the year. Having recorded three of the eight fastest times at 5000m, she ended the year as the Diamond Race winner for that discipline.<br /> <br /> She becomes the third Ethiopian woman to win this award, following Genzebe Dibaba in 2015 and Meseret Defar in 2007.<br /> <br /> IAAF President Sebastian Coe presented the trophy to Bolt, while International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco presented the trophy to Ayana. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475635/Bolt-award_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:03 PM 5 Candidates formally challenge Haiti presidential election results http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Candidates-formally-challenge-Haiti-presidential-election-results PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AFP ) &mdash; Three Haitian presidential candidates have formally contested the election's preliminary results, their parties said Friday, after the vote count gave the ruling party's Jovenel Moise victory in last month's first-round voting.<br /> <br /> Jude Celestin, Moise Jean-Charles and Maryse Narcisse are challenging the tally giving more than 55 per cent of the vote to Moise, chosen by former president Michel Martelly to represent his party, Tet Kale (PHTK).<br /> <br /> He claimed all but certain victory in an interview with AFP on Thursday.<br /> <br /> If officially verified, the result would bar a run-off round of voting, handing Moise outright victory.<br /> <br /> Celestin is second so far with 19.52 per cent of the vote, according to the preliminary results. They gave Jean-Charles 11.04 per cent and Narcisse 8.99 per cent in the November 20 balloting.<br /> <br /> All candidates had the right to file disputes by 10:00 am Friday. After the country's electoral courts analyse the vote count and issue their verdict, the official results will be published no sooner than December 29.<br /> <br /> Celestin's opposition LAPEH Party had already written the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) challenging the vote even before preliminary results were announced.<br /> <br /> It accused the council of ignoring the requirement that voters sign their ballots or mark them with fingerprints, Celestin adviser Gerard Germain told AFP.<br /> <br /> "Unfortunately the CEP chose not to consider that aspect," he said. "We thought we were going to have a break with the way we usually organize elections in Haiti. Now we will have to go to court to assert our rights."<br /> <br /> Jean-Charles's left-wing party, Platform Pitit Dessalines, went further, accusing the CEP of corruption on Friday.<br /> <br /> "According to many witnesses, there were vehicles at roadblocks at the hotel where the Provisional Electoral Council was on Monday night, with a lot of dollars for bargaining with the CEP's members," Evelt Fanfan, a lawyer for the party, said. "For proof, three CEP members refused to sign (the results) because they did not agree with the practice."<br /> <br /> CEP president Leopold Berlanger on Monday declined to comment about the decision by the three -- of the council's nine members -- not to sign the tally.<br /> <br /> However, after hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police on Wednesday, the council issued a statement reminding Haitians that the results are only preliminary and urging "parties, political groups and candidates to refrain from declaring themselves elected."<br /> <br /> The vote, which took place without major incident, is seen as an essential step to allow the country to return to the constitutional order after the cancellation of the first round of the presidential election held in October 2015.<br /> <br /> Haiti's vote was originally held in October 2015, but the results -- which also put Moise on top with 33 per cent -- were scrapped after violence broke out and an independent commission found massive fraud.<br /> <br /> Only 21 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the first-round voting last month.<br /> <br /> Haiti has been headed by a temporary president, Jocelerme Privert -- previously Senate president -- since February. His mandate was supposed to end in June. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475536/haiti-flag_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 2:54 PM 5 National Security Council finalising crime fighting plan http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/National-Security-Council-finalising-crime-fighting-plan KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Prime Minister Andrew Holness, says the National Security Council is finalising a comprehensive action plan that will assist in the reduction of crime.<br /> <br /> According to Holness, the government has the resolve to tackle crime and secure the citizens of the country, and the measures to be put in place will be sustainable.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The government has an unremitting resolve to address crime and build a bond of trust between our citizens and our security forces, through professional conduct and mutual respect,&rdquo; Holness emphasised.<br /> <br /> He was addressing the swearing-in ceremony for the new Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade, at King&rsquo;s House, on December 1.<br /> <br /> Holness described the measures as &ldquo;integrated&rdquo;, and pointed out that the areas to be carefully examined are deployment, mobility, investigative capacity, procedures and legislation.<br /> <br /> He said the current increased business and consumer confidence, which encourages both local and foreign investments, &ldquo;must be bolstered by improving and safeguarding the security of our citizens&rdquo;. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457670/Andrew-Holness--1-_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 2:41 PM 5