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 Taxi driver testifies area was &lsquo;foggy&rsquo; at time of shooting http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Taxi-driver-testifies-area-was--foggy--at-time-of-shooting_77918 The driver of the taxi in which Khajeel Mais was shot in July 2011 yesterday testified that &ldquo;within a minute&rdquo; of his car hitting the rear of a &ldquo;big back vehicle&rdquo; the taxi was fired upon.<br /> <br /> Wayne Wright, the main witness who brought much drama to yesterday&rsquo;s proceedings and directed hostility at lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor, told the Home Circuit Court that he picked up a man, whom he later identified as Khajeel Mais, at a gas station on Manning&rsquo;s Hill Road in St Andrew, and was taking him to his destination on Chevy Chase when he hit the back of a vehicle, which, he claimed, came out of nowhere.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I hit a vehicle; I don&rsquo;t know if it was parked or driving. It was a black vehicle with a light at the top,&rdquo; Wright said. &ldquo;When I hit it I saw the vehicle and I was like, Oh s...! and I try reverse.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Wright said he reversed and stopped under a street light about 20 feet from the vehicle and was about to park when the car was fired upon.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was about to put it in the P,&rdquo; he said, triggering laughter from the court.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The what?&rdquo; Taylor asked.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Park,&rdquo; Wright answered.<br /> <br /> The witness testified that on hearing the gunshot he ducked beneath his steering wheel and drove straight to Avon Place on his way to the Constant Spring Police Station.<br /> <br /> However, he said the vehicle that he had hit was parked in front of him, and while driving past another shot was fired at his car.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think I hear one more fired, I think that was when it ketch the back door glass,&rdquo; Wright explained.<br /> <br /> He then told the court that he drove straight to the police station with &ldquo;the guy who got shot&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> But Wright testified that he did not see any other vehicle or anyone on the road when the shots were fired and was also not aware from which direction the shots were fired.<br /> <br /> When questioned further about the car that his vehicle had hit he said, &ldquo;I am sure it was black, I tell them it must be a SUV or a X5 or a big back vehicle or something.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> However, he insisted that on hearing the second gunshot he drove straight to the police station with his head under his steering wheel and only looked up after &ldquo;His Majesty say &lsquo;look up now&rsquo; as I was going into a wall&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> According to the main witness, at the time of the incident, it was raining, the place was &ldquo;foggy&rdquo; and &ldquo;looked like a light smoke coming through the whole area&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> However, he said the collision occurred shortly after Mais had told him to drive faster.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was going on Highland Drive, easy, going with the guy, and he said, &lsquo;Yow, drive up fast, nuh Rastaman&rsquo;,&rdquo; Wright said, adding that he responded by driving faster.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As I was doing that, the rain was falling; I don&rsquo;t know where the vehicle came from, I jus end up behind it,&rdquo; Wright said.<br /> <br /> He later clarified his statement and told the prosecutor that he did not end up behind the vehicle but had hit the back of the vehicle.<br /> <br /> When Taylor told him that he had in fact said he ended up behind the vehicle Wright asked, &ldquo;Where yu get dat from?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I did tell yu dat? Yu a try manipulate...,&rdquo; he said before Justice Lloyd Hibbert intervened and told him to answer the question and not to get carried way.<br /> <br /> The judge was kept very busy mediating between Taylor and Wright as Wright claimed he did not understand several of the questions put to him.<br /> <br /> Wright, who rolled his eyes, folded his arms and shook his feet throughout most of the proceedings, at one point told Taylor: &ldquo;You are not asking the questions properly, Sir (the judge) is doing it better.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Wright, during his drama-filled testimony, also said that on the day when he picked up Mais he was seeing the 17-year-old for the first time and that he did not see him take anything into the car.<br /> <br /> Earlier in the trial, Police Superintendent Clive Walker testified that Patrick Powell, the businessman who is charged with shooting Mais, had refused to hand over his licensed firearm for testing when was taken into custody.<br /> <br /> Walker said that to date Powell has not handed over his firearm, a Glock 9mm, for testing.<br /> <br /> Superintendent Walker said he first asked Powell while he was in custody on July 11 and had served him a notice but he refused. He said he again asked Powell on July 20, and even offered to assist him as he was still in custody, but he refused.<br /> <br /> However, under cross-examination from Attorney Deborah Martin he admitted that Powell told him on the second occasion that he had to first consult with his lawyer and he had interpreted that as a refusal.<br /> <br /> Powell is being tried for murder and shooting with intent.<br /> <br /> It is alleged that Mais was travelling in a taxi which collided with a BMW X6 motor vehicle that was being driven by Powell. It is alleged that the driver of the BMW got out and fired at the taxi, hitting the boy.<br /> <br /> Wright will continue his testimony today.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/6605707/KC-BOY-4_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371719/Khajeel-ld.jpg March Pen massacre accused to face court next Tuesday http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/March-Pen-massacre-accused-to-face-court-next-Tuesday_77907 MARVIN &lsquo;Fat Man&rsquo; Campbell Sr was formally charged yesterday with five counts of murder after he was questioned in relation to the brutal slaying of five people on March Pen Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine, on October 9.<br /> <br /> Campbell, who police say is a member of the notorious Klansman gang, was named as the prime suspect for the killings. He is accused of leading a group of gunmen to his family&rsquo;s house in March Pen, where the five were killed and the house torched.<br /> <br /> Campbell, who was previously charged with incest and rape, is to appear in court next Tuesday.<br /> <br /> The March Pen victims were identified as Salesha Evans, 24, and her nine-year-old son Revaughn Evans; Venisha Bartley, 22, and her two-year-old daughter Koyandra Wynter; and 14-year-old Marvin Campbell Jr.<br /> <br /> It was reported that a group of heavily armed men, estimated about 15, including some dressed like police and wearing masks, went to a section of the community called Africa Settlement about 1:40 am, kicked in the doors to four houses and opened fire, hitting seven occupants, before setting the houses on fire. A man and a teenage girl were also injured in the attack.<br /> <br /> A few days after the massacre Campbell was named as a person of interest by the police high command. A week later he turned himself over to the police, accompanied by popular Spanish Town minister of religion Bishop Rowan Edwards.<br /> <br /> He was then handed over to senior investigators from the Major Investigations Division, but wasn&rsquo;t questioned until this week when he was assigned a lawyer.<br /> <br /> Police allege that Campbell had threatened the victims of the March Pen massacre to prevent them from pressing charges of incest against him. The victims, including his 14-year-old son, were said to be related to the sexual assault victim.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13351604/234127_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371720/234127_sld.jpg 01 2 Man who refuses to pay fare shot dead after alleged attack on bus crew http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Man-who-refuses-to-pay-fare-shot-dead-after-alleged-attack-on-bus-crew_77880 SCORES of angry residents yesterday morning staged a protest on Spanish Town Road, in the vicinity of Delacree Park in Kingston, over the shooting death of 26-year-old Albert Roberts, allegedly by a licensed firearm holder.<br /> <br /> According to the police, a female passenger volunteered to pay for Roberts and another man who had refused to pay when the conductor of a Coaster bus demanded their fares. The driver, who had stopped the bus on Spanish Town, continued his journey after the fares were paid. <br /> <br /> It was alleged that Roberts and the other man, after exiting the bus at the St Joseph Road/Spanish Town Road intersection, attacked the conductor and driver with a knife and ice pick. Shots were then fired from inside the bus and Roberts was hit. Police, who were quick on the scene, took him to hospital where he was pronounced dead. <br /> <br /> Roberts &mdash; a construction worker &mdash; boarded the Coaster bus about 12:05 pm on Mandela Highway, near Six Miles.<br /> <br /> Residents, however, gave a different account of the events that led to the shooting. One irate woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed with the events leading up to the bus stop where the two men exited, but alleged that it was the bus conductor who attacked Roberts when he stepped off the bus.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When him a come out of the bus, the conductor kick him and somebody fling stone on the bus. One licensed firearm holder come out and shoot him in a him head back and go a station go report say him did a try rob the bus,&rdquo; the woman claimed.<br /> <br /> Some claimed that the man who fired the shots was an ex-policeman.<br /> <br /> Another person who was part of the angry group alleged that it was the driver who did the shooting.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The driver kill him, see the blood there. Work him coming from and a lunch time him come on. [He is] a good, good youth in the community. A licensed firearm man kill him for nothing at all because him no have no bus fare. Him shoot him inna him side as him come off the bus, and shoot him two times again in him head. Oh, my God, man, that is wickedness. A wickedness that man how you fi kill a man just so cause a $100; we want justice. Him dead cause him never have $100 for him bus fare,&rdquo; said the woman.<br /> <br /> Esurie Sinclair, aunt of the slain man, said: &ldquo;Yesterday (Wednesday) morning when he was going away he asked me for bus fare and I gave him $500, and he went to work.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> However, she said that because of rain one day and lack of material he had not worked for two days at the construction site, so had not been paid. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371567/235621_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371572/235621_sld.jpg 02 2 Ministry saddened by death of teachers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Ministry-saddened-by-death-of-teachers_77881 THE Ministry of Education, Youth and Information says it is saddened by the sudden deaths of two teachers in separate incidents on Tuesday.<br /> <br /> The deceased teachers are 39-year-old Christopher Gayle of Kingston College and Nadine Trail of Norman Manley High School.<br /> <br /> A team led by the Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid visited North Street-based Kingston College yesterday and expressed sympathy to the staff, students and the family of the deceased teacher. <br /> <br /> A visit to Norman Manley High School, also in Kingston, is being arranged for next week.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The ministry extends condolence to the family of Mr Gayle and Ms Trail, students and administration of both high schools. A team of guidance counsellors was dispatched by the education ministry to provide grief counselling, support and encouragement to the students and school, administration during this period of bereavement,&rdquo; a ministry release said.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13308890/Ruel-Reid-2016_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM 3 Fire brigade pushing to strengthen investigative capacity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Fire-brigade-pushing-to-strengthen-investigative-capacity_77834 THE Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will strengthen the capacity of the JFB to forensically investigate fires.<br /> <br /> The disclosure was made by assistant commissioner at the JFB, Sean Martin, at a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday. He said the terms of reference for the agreement are being finalised.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I see it as important to be able to definitively say what the cause of a fire is because if you do not know what is causing the fire, you cannot prevent them,&rdquo; Assistant Commissioner Martin pointed out.<br /> <br /> He said that the JFB and the forensic laboratory of the JCF work together informally to investigate fires. However, the MOU will formalise the partnership and allow for more officers to be trained in this area.<br /> <br /> The JFB assistant commissioner called on insurance companies to partner with the entity to boost its investigative efforts.<br /> <br /> He said there have been suspicions that people are deliberately setting fire to their properties to collect on insurance.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They [can] come on board with the financial resources necessary to strengthen the investigative arm of the JFB,&rdquo; he pointed out.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They would then reduce the amount of money they are paying out if the allegations are true, and they will have that level of confidence in the JFB that we have the skill set to investigate these fires and make a determination where we can actually go to court and put people behind bars,&rdquo; Assistant Commissioner Martin added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371605/235552_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 2:00 AM 4 National&rsquo;s Jamaican-Made Christmas is back! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/National-s-Jamaican-Made-Christmas-is-back-_77890 National Baking Company will next month have the second staging of its successful two-day expo for small and medium manufacturing businesses across the country.<br /> <br /> The company announced yesterday that the event, titled &lsquo;A Jamaican-Made Christmas&rsquo;, is scheduled for November 27 and 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.<br /> <br /> Conceptualised by National Chairman and CEO Gary &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Hendrickson as part of his desire to see growth in the local manufacturing industry, &lsquo;A Jamaican-Made Christmas&rsquo; is aimed at giving small and medium manufacturing businesses a platform to reach a larger audience than their resources may otherwise allow.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are many talented Jamaican manufacturers who have great products and could really benefit when given the platform to showcase themselves,&rdquo; said Hendrickson. &ldquo;This event is about the exhibitors. It is about giving them the opportunity to get exposure and giving them the opportunity to make sales. And if we create an event where the public can do their Christmas shopping right here, instead of going abroad, then we have done our job.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Last year&rsquo;s staging was very well received by the public as the 52 vendors who exhibited sold out all their products on the first day of the event. The exhibitors, who specialised in home, food, and lifestyle products, said they were completely satisfied with the support from the public.<br /> <br /> As was done last year, selected participants will be required to pay a deposit, which will be fully refunded once they show up for both days of the event and abide by the event&rsquo;s rules. If the participant fails to occupy the space or operate within the rules, their deposit will be donated to charity.<br /> <br /> While entry to the event was free last year, National has raised the bar this year, asking patrons to purchase two $500 vouchers for entry. &ldquo;These vouchers are redeemable at any of the exhibitors&rsquo; booths,&rdquo; the company said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This decision was a simple one. We are interested in serious shoppers only, who are willing to support our local industry,&rdquo; said Hendrickson. He also noted that the average spend per patron last year far exceeded $1,000.<br /> <br /> This year&rsquo;s event will include new manufacturers as well as an increased number of exhibitors. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371588/235689_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM 4 Usain Bolt Foundation sends relief supplies to Haiti http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Usain-Bolt-Foundation-sends-relief-supplies-to-Haiti_77879 The Usain Bolt Foundation (UBF) has partnered with Food For the Poor (FFP) Jamaica to provide relief for communities affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. <br /> <br /> According to a news release from the foundation, instead of donating cash, it has supported a local Jamaican business by buying non-perishables and water from Lasco Distributors.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The non-perishables included corned beef, tinned mackerel, chicken sausage, water crackers, baked beans and a food drink,&rdquo; the foundation said, adding that Food For the Poor will be responsible for the distribution. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We were saddened to hear of the devastation in Haiti caused by Hurricane Matthew,&rdquo; the release quoted UBF patron Usain Bolt. &ldquo;I was particularly moved when I saw the pictures of the children who were affected and who had become homeless. We had to do our part to relieve some of the suffering of our Caribbean children.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Two weeks ago, Category Four Hurricane Matthew slammed into the south-western tip of Haiti, killing hundreds of people and destroying tens of thousands of flimsy homes, many of them now nothing more than tangles of broken wood and twisted sheet metal. <br /> <br /> An estimated 1.4 million people are said to be in need of help and the United Nations envoy for Haiti has said the country is facing &ldquo;a humanitarian tragedy and an acute emergency situation&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Andrew Mahfood, FFP Jamaica chairman, said he was honoured that the charity was chosen as the vehicle for distribution. &ldquo;Food For the Poor has been instrumental in bringing aid to Haiti and we are humbled that the Usain Bolt Foundation has chosen to collaborate with us in assisting the Haitian people,&rdquo; the release quoted Mahfood.<br /> <br /> The Usain Bolt Foundation explained that it is dedicated to making children happy, and enhancing the character of children through educational and cultural development as they live their dreams. <br /> <br /> As such, the foundation promotes:<br /> <br /> &bull; healthy and safe environment;<br /> <br /> &bull; effective use of a recreational facility;<br /> <br /> &bull; children&rsquo;s opportunity to dare to dream;<br /> <br /> &bull; stewardship;<br /> <br /> &bull; knowledge and philanthropy start with accurate information; and<br /> <br /> &bull; Responsible use of the financial resources.<br /> <br /> Food For the Poor, regarded as one of the largest international relief and development organisations in Jamaica, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor, primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. The interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 per cent of all donations going directly to programmes that help the poor. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371590/235669_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM 4 #X6MurderTrial: Prosecutor gets nod to treat taxi driver as hostile witness http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-X6MurderTrial--Prosecutor-gets-nod-to-treat-taxi-driver-as-hostile-witness KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The prosecutors in the X6 murder trial have made an application to treat their main witness, taxi driver Wayne Wright, as a hostile witness.<br /> <br /> Their application was granted by Justice Lloyd Hibbert.<br /> <br /> Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Taylor made the application in the Home Circuit Court on Friday on grounds that Wright has shown himself to be &ldquo;adverse&rdquo; and &ldquo;inconsistent&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The witness today admitted to giving a statement to the police on July 5, 2011, but said some aspects of it were not true.<br /> <br /> When pressed, he denied telling the police about people he had known for several years, including the deceased &ndash; Khajeel Mais &ndash; wo he denied knowing from he was a young boy.<br /> <br /> He also denied telling the police that on July 1, he had seen a man he called &ldquo;Nigga&rdquo; with a gun and that he had known &ldquo;Nigga&rdquo; for eight years and that &ldquo;Nigga drives a dark X6 motor vehicle.<br /> <br /> Additionally, Wright denied giving the police a second statement on July 8, insisting that he  had only given a statement on July 5 and that, at the time, the police did not ask him if everything he had said in the statement was true.<br /> <br /> Wright, who testified yesterday that on hearing the gunshot he ducked beneath his steering wheel and drove straight to Avon Place on his way to the Constant Spring Police Station, denied seeing anybody on the night of the incident insisting instead that  he held his head down while shots were being fired.<br /> <br /> Businessman Patrick Powell is charged with shooting Mais, he is being tried for murder and shooting with intent.<br /> <br /> It is alleged that Mais was travelling in a taxi which collided with a BMW X6 motor vehicle that was being driven by Powell. It is alleged that the driver of the BMW got out and fired at the taxi, hitting the boy.<br /> <br /> Tanesha Mundle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9978726/Khajeel-Mais_w304_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 11:33 AM 5 #X6MurderTrial: Taxi driver says Khajeel hit by first bullet fired http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-X6MurderTrial--Taxi-driver-says-Khajeel-shot-by-first-bullet-fired KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The driver of the taxi in which Khajeel Mais was shot in July 2011 today testified that Mais was struck by the first bullet fired at the car.<br /> <br /> "The first shot fire from nowhere, he get hit and him chuck over on me on my back,&rdquo; Wayne Wright told the Home Circuit Court on Friday.<br /> <br /> The witness, who is continuing his testimony from yesterday, also insisted that he did not see the motor vehicle that the shooter was in.<br /> <br /> "Gunshot was during my head was under my seat and when I look up I see Avon Drive,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The witness testified yesterday that on hearing the gunshot he ducked beneath his steering wheel and drove straight to Avon Place on his way to the Constant Spring Police Station<br /> <br /> Businessman Patrick Powell is charged with shooting Mais, he is being tried for murder and shooting with intent.<br /> <br /> It is alleged that Mais was travelling in a taxi which collided with a BMW X6 motor vehicle that was being driven by Powell. It is alleged that the driver of the BMW got out and fired at the taxi, hitting the boy.<br /> <br /> Tanesha Mundle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9978726/Khajeel-Mais_w304_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 11:08 AM 5 US Internet disrupted as firm gets hit by cyberattack   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/US-Internet-disrupted-as-firm-gets-hit-by-cyberattack LONDON, United Kingdom (AP) &mdash; There have been reports of Internet disruption across the East Coast of the United States after a key firm was hit by a cyberattack.<br /> <br /> New Hampshire-based Dyn said its server infrastructure was hit by a distributed denial-of-service attack, which works by overwhelming targeted machines with malicious electronic traffic.<br /> <br /> The company said in a series of statements that the attack took place early Friday and created disruption, but that "services have been restored to normal".<br /> <br /> The level of disruption caused was hard to gauge, but Dyn provides Internet traffic optimisation to some of the biggest names on the web, including Twitter, Netflix and Visa.<br /> <br /> Several sites, such as coder hangout Github, said they were experiencing problems, although it was not immediately clear whether the issues were linked to the cyberattack. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373364/attack--1-_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 10:48 AM 5 T&T faces crippling fuel shortage as union threatens strike action http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/T-T-faces-crippling-fuel-shortage-as-union-threatens-strike-action PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) &mdash; The powerful Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) has warned that Trinidad and Tobago could face a crippling fuel shortage if the State-owned oil company PETROTRIN refuses to deal with a number of management failures.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have been trying to tell PETROTRIN&rsquo;s management to take proactive action to ensure that the contractor resolves these issues, but they took a hands-off approach and that meant, for the union, seeking justice for the workers and that is to withhold their labour,&rdquo; OWTU President General Ancel Roget said, warning that industrial action that began on Thursday at several PETROTRIN facilities, could spread in the coming days.<br /> <br /> He said the workers are &ldquo;well within the law to withhold their labour at this point in the negotiations to ensure that a settlement is reached and they have 90 days to do that.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In fact, we wish to warn that that would spread throughout the company&rsquo;s operations because you cannot have a management doing what they want, doing like the last management, in some sort of cosy arrangement with the contractor. We intend to serve strike notice on PETROTRIN also and shut the company down until we get proper management in place,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Hundreds of workers from several producing fields have been off their jobs since Thursday, along with employees of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery where petroleum products, like kerosene, gasoline, diesel, and aviation jet fuel are produced.<br /> <br /> The PETROTRIN bond, where fuel is distributed, remained operational on Thursday but Roget said that the company&rsquo;s fuel storage supplies may last only two days and warned that customers would feel the pinch of a fuel shortage by the weekend.<br /> <br /> In a statement, PETROTRIN warned that the action could seriously affect its future viability.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;PETROTRIN&rsquo;s continued efforts to maintain production and meet its financial and operational obligations to its employees and its shareholder are being hindered by the strike action taken by the Oilfields Workers&rsquo; Trade Union (OWTU) against Inland Offshore Contractors Limited (IOCL), one of the main contractors providing marine transport to PETROTRIN&rsquo;s Trinmar Operations,&rdquo; the company said.<br /> <br /> It said that the strike action was based on a breakdown of negotiations between IOCL and the OWTU, which included conciliatory sessions at the Ministry of Labour. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This strike is causing serious disruptions to our operations even beyond our TRINMAR operations and can have major effects on our workers&rsquo; ability to access our marine installations in order to meet our production and maintenance objectives .<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Reliable and efficient transport is critical to ensuring our effectiveness in servicing our offshore installations,&rdquo; PETROTRIN said, adding that &ldquo;unplanned disruptions, whether from employees or service providers, are therefore totally unacceptable&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The company said that the situation was being monitored with contingency measures implemented to limit the negative impact of these disruptions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;At this critical juncture, as PETROTRIN&rsquo;s  operations are subjected to intense scrutiny from stakeholders including our insurers, bondholders, credit rating agencies and the shareholder, among others, any approach other than to maximise operations presents a serious threat to our future as a sustainable entity,&rdquo; the company noted .<br /> <br /> PETROTRIN also said that the protest is also the first wave of action meant to highlight the company&rsquo;s lack of concern for security following the death of Curtis Pierre who jumped into a PETROTRIN tank and died on October 8.<br /> <br /> Roget said that the company was attempting to cover up the suicide.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;This is a massive cover-up. If they do the investigation in a proper way, you will find the company is liable for the breach in security arrangements,&rdquo; Roget said, noting that the company had downsized security by 50 per cent in some areas, making workers vulnerable to saboteurs, robbers and other criminals. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373363/Petrotrin-workers-300x201.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 10:34 AM 5 National Library of Jamaica to be upgraded http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/National-Library-of-Jamaica-to-be-upgraded KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Plans to upgrade the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) to facilitate the growing catalogues and collections created by local artistes and historians are to be undertaken by the Government. <br /> <br /> The disclosure was made by Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister Olivia Grange at a ceremony to launch the Miss Lou Archives at the library in downtown Kingston, on October 20.<br /> <br /> Grange indicated that although investments have been made to ease space constraints by digitising and storing content from the library online, more upgrades are necessary. <br /> <br /> To that end, the minister informed that short-term plans will include the offsite storage of newspapers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Guyana, which the library had acquired during its time as the West India Reference Library. <br /> <br /> Grange also noted that investigations are being undertaken into the construction of another floor at the present site. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;These moves will allow us to comfortably house the personal archives of other distinguished literary giants of Jamaica,&rdquo; she said. <br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the minister informed that in the long term, a modern and larger facility will be required to effectively carry out the library&rsquo;s mandate of preserving documents published in Jamaica by Jamaicans and about Jamaica. <br /> <br /> Grange also used the opportunity to urge local creators of content, in whatever field, to deposit their material at the NLJ.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just about writing, it&rsquo;s about films [and] recordings. It is important that the national library is given support,&rdquo; she said. <br /> <br /> The minister lauded the work done by the staff of the Library for cataloguing the letters, scripts and other work of Miss Lou, some of which have never been revealed to the public, for research and study. <br /> <br /> In an emotional tribute by her son, Fabian Coverley, Miss Lou was described as a &ldquo;proud&rdquo; Jamaican, who did not hesitate to share her knowledge with anyone she met. <br /> <br /> She was also described by her son as &ldquo;God-fearing&rdquo;, &ldquo;generous&rdquo;, and &ldquo;selfless&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> He noted that his mother taught the nation to value themselves and to be confident in who they are. <br /> <br /> Coverley informed that the archives will help to keep his mother&rsquo;s memory alive for generations. <br /> <br /> More than 88 per cent complete in cataloguing, the NLJ is to add the collections of her husband, Eric Coverley. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373109/DDP-8_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 10:12 AM 5 South Africa's move on International Criminal Court raises concerns of African exodus http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/South-Africa-s-move-on-International-Criminal-Court-raises-concerns-of-African-exodus JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) &mdash; South Africa on Friday reversed its early support for the International Criminal Court and said it will submit a parliamentary bill to withdraw from it, raising concerns of a possible African exodus that would undermine a human rights tribunal accused by some African leaders of unfairly targeting their continent.<br /> <br /> The announcement followed a similar decision by Burundi this week and was criticised by human rights groups that see the ICC as the best means of pursuing perpetrators of the world's worst atrocities. The treaty creating the court entered into force in 2002 after years of efforts by South Africa's post-apartheid government and others.<br /> <br /> The debate over a mass African withdrawal from the ICC is expected to be a "hot issue" at an African Union summit in January 2017 in Ethiopia, said Oryem Okello, deputy foreign minister of Uganda, a critic of the court.<br /> <br /> "We think the matter is best decided as a bloc," Okello said.<br /> <br /> South Africa's announcement is "devastating" for the ICC, said Mark Kersten, a Britain-based researcher.<br /> <br /> "It is unclear if other states will follow South Africa's lead, but it is clear that states are more likely to follow South Africa's lead than Burundi, with whom many African states have tensions," Kersten wrote in an email to The Associated Press. Kenya, Namibia and Uganda are among the countries that have indicated interest in leaving the court, he said.<br /> <br /> The possible departure of more countries "really questions whether or not the court is going to survive because it simply will not have the number of countries that it needs in order to be seen as legitimate and international", said Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.<br /> <br /> Many African countries were supportive of the court partly because of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but grew uneasy due to the court's scrutiny of national leaders suspected of war crimes and other violations. Under the Rome Statute that created the court, signatory countries have a legal obligation to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.<br /> <br /> The treaty is "in conflict and inconsistent with" South Africa's diplomatic immunity law, Michael Masutha, the minister of justice, told reporters Friday.<br /> <br /> "A difficult choice had to be made," Masutha said. The treaty hinders South Africa's goal of promoting peace talks, which can include hosting adversaries on its soil, he said. South Africa has hosted talks on Zimbabwe, Congo and Madagascar in the past.<br /> <br /> Parliament is likely to pass the bill. The ruling African National Congress party holds a majority of seats, and its parliament office welcomed the decision to leave the court, saying "the ICC has allowed non-member states to dictate and interfere with its work to suit their own imperialist agendas".<br /> <br /> South Africa's announcement follows a dispute last year over a visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Al-Bashir was allowed to leave South Africa even though a local court ordered authorities to stop him because of the international order for his arrest.<br /> <br /> Friday's announcement came ahead of a November 22 Constitutional Court hearing in which the government was scheduled to appeal legal rulings against it in the al-Bashir case. Masutha said the state will drop its appeal.<br /> <br /> South Africa submitted its intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court in a letter delivered at the United Nations this week. Observers say a withdrawal takes effect a year after the UN secretary-general is formally notified. Countries still would have to cooperate with any ICC proceedings that begin before the withdrawal takes effect.<br /> <br /> South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said it would go to court to declare the government's decision unconstitutional. Richard Goldstone, a South African who was an international criminal prosecutor, said the move was demeaning to his countrymen.<br /> <br /> "From a moral standpoint, it detracts from the inspiring legacy of the administration of President Nelson Mandela that so strongly supported the ICC and all of the mechanisms of international justice," Goldstone said in a statement.<br /> <br /> On Tuesday, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi signed legislation to make his country the first to withdraw from the ICC, which had said it would investigate political violence that followed Nkurunziza's decision last year to pursue a third term, which some have called unconstitutional.<br /> <br /> The ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, had 124 member states before Burundi's move. The United States, China, Russia, and Israel are among non-members.<br /> <br /> The push among some African countries to withdraw from the court began after it indicted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on charges of crimes against humanity for 2007 post-election violence in which more than 1,000 died. The ICC prosecutor said threats to witnesses, bribery and lack of cooperation by Kenya's government led to the case's collapse.<br /> <br /> Only Africans have been charged in the six cases that are ongoing or about to begin, though preliminary ICC investigations have been opened elsewhere in the world. The African Union has said it will not compel member states to arrest a leader on behalf of the ICC.<br /> <br /> Masutha, the South African justice minister, said Africa is strengthening its own human rights institutions, and that South Africa would work with other countries against impunity.<br /> <br /> Subjecting another country's leader to prosecution in South Africa or handing the leader over to the ICC would interfere in another nation's sovereignty, he said.<br /> <br /> "One cannot think of a more plausible scenario of forced regime change by one country on another," Masutha said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373156/sa_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 9:48 AM 5 Cuba freezes new licences for private restaurants in Havana http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cuba-freezes-new-licences-for-private-restaurants-in-Havana HAVANA (AP) &mdash; Cuba is freezing new licences for private restaurants in Havana as it struggles with the runaway success of one of the most important openings in the State-run economy.<br /> <br /> The country was once famed for its dire State restaurants and cafeterias, but it's developed a vibrant dining scene since private restaurants were legalised two decades ago. A sector that began with enterprising Cubans setting up a handful of tables in their backyards has expanded into an industry of hundreds of restaurants with offerings ranging from freshly caught sushi to sophisticated interpretations of classic Cuban dishes.<br /> <br /> However, the private restaurateurs lack a wholesale market or legal way to import supplies and equipment. So they've been emptying the shelves of retail shops and buying other goods on the black market. That has led to rising food prices and shortages of goods for other Cubans.<br /> <br /> Acting Vice President Isabel Hamze told State media on Wednesday that Havana's provincial government is temporarily freezing the approval of new licences and is inspecting restaurants to detect violations ranging from prostitution, drug use and excessive noise to illegal importation and purchase of stolen goods.<br /> <br /> She said one business had been closed because it was operating a bar and nightclub in violation of a licence exclusively meant for restaurants.<br /> <br /> Hamze's statements appeared intended to reassure restaurant owners and Havana residents that the measures were not a crackdown on private restaurants but rather an attempt to impose common-sense regulations on issues ranging from closing times and parking spaces.<br /> <br /> "We recognise the importance that these businesses have for the city, and the government wants them to be successful, but within legal limits," she said.<br /> <br /> The city is also starting to impose more limits on private bed-and-breakfasts, another flourishing sector of the new private economy. Draft regulations being circulated among bed-and-breakfast owners and real-estate agents would limit the number of bathrooms and kitchens built in private homes, and the division of high-ceilinged old homes into de facto apartment buildings with the use of concrete intermediate floors.<br /> <br /> A boom in tourism set off by the declaration of detente with the United States two years has fuelled furious growth in both private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373164/Cuba-Private-Restaura_Thom_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 9:35 AM 5 C'bean insurance facility pays out US$29.2m after Hurricane Matthew http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Caribbean-insurance-facility-pays-out-US-29-2m-following-Hurricane-Matthew CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC ) &mdash; The Cayman Islands-based Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) says it has made payments totalling more than US$29.2 million to several Caribbean countries following the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew when it carved its way through the region earlier this month.<br /> <br /> The CCRIF said that payments were made to Haiti, the most affected country where at least 400 people were killed, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and St Lucia.<br /> <br /> CCRIF Chief Executive Officer Isaac Anthony on Thursday presented a cheque for US$3.7 million to St Lucia&rsquo;s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who said &ldquo;this cheque will be going directly to strengthening and rebuilding our agriculture sector and to paying for some of the costs that we have&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Anthony congratulated St Lucia on its commitment to securing catastrophe insurance through CCRIF and stressed that it is essential for all countries to have some form of disaster risk coverage.<br /> <br /> The CCRIF said that 31 individuals here received pay-outs totalling US$102,000 on their Livelihood Protection Policies (LPPs) due to Hurricane Matthew.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This micro-insurance product was developed under the Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean Project implemented by the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) in collaboration with CCRIF, MicroEnsure and Munich Re.  The LPP provides insurance coverage to low-income persons such as small farmers, day labourers, tourism workers, fisher folk etc for extreme weather events such as rainfall and wind,&rdquo; the CCRIF added.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The LPP also is available in Jamaica and Grenada and MCII, CCRIF and other partners plan to expand access to other countries in the region starting early next year,&rdquo; the CCRIF said, noting that since its inception in 2007, it has made a total of 21 pay-outs to 10 member governments totalling almost US$68 million.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;CCRIF members consistently indicate that these rapid pay-outs are an invaluable benefit of membership. Almost immediately after an event, CCRIF is able to inform countries if their policies were triggered and if so, the approximate pay-outs amount. These infusions of cash within two weeks after an event are critical for immediate repair and recovery activities,&rdquo; CCRIF added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373143/st-lucia.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 9:19 AM 5 Trump says he'll accept a clear election result, won't lose http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Trump-says-he-ll-accept-a-clear-election-result--won-t-lose WASHINGTON, United States (AP) &mdash; Donald Trump has stepped back only slightly from his refusal to say during his debate with Hillary Clinton whether he would concede if he loses on Election Day, failing to stem the criticism that flowed from Republicans and Democrats over an attitude some contended struck at the heart of American democracy.<br /> <br /> "I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election," Trump said Thursday while campaigning in Ohio. After letting that vow hang in the air for a few seconds, he added, "if I win".<br /> <br /> Putting aside his mocking tone, Trump said he would accept "a clear election result" but reserved his right to "contest or file a legal challenge" if he lost on November 8. He brushed off the likelihood of that happening with a confident prediction that "we're not going to lose".<br /> <br /> Among those criticising Trump was John McCain, the Arizona Republican who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race.<br /> <br /> "I didn't like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede, and I did so without reluctance," McCain said in a statement. "A concession isn't just an exercise in graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader's first responsibility."<br /> <br /> While Trump maintained he would win, numerous Republican leaders conceded that he was heading for defeat barring a significant shift in the campaign's closing days. The GOP's top concern was turning to salvaging its majority in the senate, followed closely by worries over the Republicans' once comfortable grip on the House.<br /> <br /> The annual Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a Catholic fund-raiser in New York, was by tradition a moment when the Republican and Democratic nominees could turn any campaign vitriol into barbed humour and ultimately a show of national unity. The Thursday night event offered many hearty laughs &mdash; and a few awkward ones.<br /> <br /> "We have proven we can actually be civil with each other," Trump said about the opponent he has asserted belongs in jail for alleged criminal acts. "In fact, just before taking the dais Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said, 'Pardon me'."<br /> <br /> Following Trump at the dinner, Clinton cracked: "I didn't think he'd be OK with a peaceful transition of power."<br /> <br /> But Trump drew some boos and jeers in the Waldorf-Astoria ballroom when he referred to Clinton being "so corrupt" and said without apparent humour that she was appearing at the event "pretending not to hate Catholics" &mdash; a line delivered during a benefit for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.<br /> <br /> Clinton's jokes were cutting but delivered in the more accepted fashion of a roast. While several women have accused Trump of being sexually aggressive, Clinton steered clear of that controversy but referenced his public comments about the appearance of women with whom he has feuded: "Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a four &mdash; maybe a five if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair."<br /> <br /> During an Ohio rally earlier Thursday, Trump tried to turn the attention to Clinton by accusing her of "cheating" and suggesting she should "resign from the race". He cited a hacked email disclosed publicly by WikiLeaks that showed her campaign was tipped off about a question she'd be asked in a CNN town hall meeting during the Democratic primary.<br /> <br /> "Can you imagine if I got the questions? They would call for the re-establishment of the electric chair, do you agree?" Trump said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373141/hillary--trump_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 9:00 AM 5 Women&rsquo;s centre opens adolescent resource facility http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Women-s-centre-opens-adolescent-resource-facility KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; The Women&rsquo;s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) has strengthened its sexual and reproductive health support services provided to teen mothers through the opening of an Adolescent Resource Centre (ARC).<br /> <br /> The German Embassy provided $1.8 million for the refurbishing and equipping of existing space at the WCJF Kingston campus to house the facility.<br /> <br /> Speaking at the official opening ceremony on Wednesday, executive director of the WCJF, Dr Zoe Simpson, said ARC will enable teens to have access to services in a confidential and hospitable environment.<br /> <br /> These include individual and group counselling on contraceptive methods, screening and referrals for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), mental health services to screen and treat for post-partum depression, counselling for victims of gender-based violence, and access to gynaecologists and midwives.<br /> <br /> The WCJF director noted that the centre will also offer support to adolescent males, providing individual and group counselling on sexual and reproductive health as well as psychotherapy to prepare them for fatherhood. <br /> <br /> The Ministry of Health, Jamaica Family Planning Association (FAMPLAN), National Family Planning Board, and non-government entity Eve for Life, are among partners in the operation of the centre.<br /> <br /> The WCFJ is a government agency mandated to provide adolescent mothers with continuing education and to have them reintegrated into the formal school system after the birth of their babies. Some 46,000 young women have been assisted since its inception in 1978. <br /> <br /> The WCJF first operated an adolescent clinic called Knowledge and Education for Youth (KEY) in 1994, providing individual and group counselling, limited medical services, contraceptive counselling, contraceptive methods for adolescents, and training in peer counselling. <br /> <br /> In 1998, the activities of KEY were reduced and the name of the centre changed to the Kingston Centre Counselling Clinic (KCCC). In 2014, the facility was closed down and its activities placed under the general programmes of the WCJF. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13372877/Zoe-Simpson_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 8:44 AM 5 Hope dims for missing victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Hope-dims-for-missing-victims-of-Hurricane-Matthew-in-Haiti PORT-A-PIMENT, Haiti (AP) &mdash; Nobody has seen or heard from Edma Desravine, a 71-year-old grandfather known for his sly sense of humour and bad luck at cock fights, in the roughly two and a half weeks since Hurricane Matthew sent floodwaters and debris crashing into his riverside shantytown.<br /> <br /> Family and neighbours near the hard-luck town of Port-a-Piment have dug by hand through wreckage and scoured the riverbanks, but to no avail.<br /> <br /> "It pains me that I can't say goodbye properly," said Bernadette Desravine, holding her father's ID card and mud-smeared baseball cap. "But I believe I will see him again in heaven."<br /> <br /> Hopes have dimmed for Haitians combing the countryside for missing relatives in the Caribbean nation's hardest-hit zone, the remote and long-ignored south western tip. The central government says the official toll stands at 546 dead and 128 missing, but many believe the figures could be higher and some rugged areas still have not been fully assessed.<br /> <br /> While relief can often be slow and chaotic in disasters all around the world, the Western Hemisphere's poorest and least developed country is perennially beset by natural catastrophes and particularly ill-equipped to handle them. In crucial first days, assistance is often too little and too late, stalled by impassable roads, collapsed bridges and a lack of resources and infrastructure. Communications were wiped out by Matthew in large parts of the southwest, with no emergency backup.<br /> <br /> With Haiti's interim government taking the lead in directing relief efforts, there were no boats reaching cut-off coastal towns for days, dive crews or teams with trained search dogs looking for the missing and the dead. The UN stabilisation mission, the US Government's disaster assistance response team and numerous NGOs all told The Associated Press they never received any specific request from Haiti to help locate the missing amid the ongoing effort to ferry emergency food, water and medical supplies.<br /> <br /> Government personnel and an army of international aid workers are delivering more relief supplies to people, but local authorities in southwest Haiti say it is falling short of meeting desperate needs.<br /> <br /> Interior ministry spokesman Guillaume Albert Moleon insisted the government has the situation under control. He praised teams of civil protection officials and volunteers who are reaching marooned rural communities and said authorities are methodically keeping track of the dead and helping the living.<br /> <br /> "There's so much to accomplish," Moleon said.<br /> <br /> Exasperated local officials said that with no heavy equipment to move debris or other resources, they were virtually powerless to help frantic relatives searching for loved ones or care for the injured.<br /> <br /> Germa Mazile Celestin, a senior civil protection official in the fishing town of Coteaux, said municipal authorities helped bury 22 storm victims and made an effort to help find the area's two missing people: a 72-year-old man and an 89-year-old woman. But she conceded it wasn't much.<br /> <br /> "The little that we did was indeed very little because we just don't have the resources," she said at her home, one of the few in town that still has a roof.<br /> <br /> Mayor Jean Gabriel Fortune of Les Cayes, the largest city in the southwest, asserted there are no accurate numbers for the missing and dead and he suspects some towns may be reporting higher figures to attract foreign aid.<br /> <br /> "I do think there are Haitians who are boosting numbers with the objective of attracting this relief they have heard about but are not benefiting from," Fortune said. "And I also know that when central government officials claim they have things under control, they don't know what they're talking about."<br /> <br /> Days after Haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010, the government issued wildly conflicting death tolls, adding to confusion about how many people actually died and to suspicions that nobody really knew. Weeks later the official count was raised from over 200,000 to some 316,000 dead just ahead of a UN donor conference, without clear explanation of how it got there.<br /> <br /> Authorities say it remains far from clear whether all 128 people said to be missing from Hurricane Matthew were in fact in areas ravaged by the Category Four storm. One man in Les Cayes reported his wife and two children as missing, but according to Fortune, neighbours said the woman and her kids had taken a bus to the capital, using the storm as an opportunity to leave an unhappy home.<br /> <br /> Edma Desravine, the missing grandfather, is one of 10 people who vanished from the foothills across a rushing river from Port-a-Piment when Matthew roared through.<br /> <br /> His family and other villagers have been walking by a woman's corpse for two weeks, averting their eyes and covering their noses and mouths with shirttails to try to filter out the stench. Officials said they have no idea whether the body has been included in the town's official death toll, or simply has yet to be tended to.<br /> <br /> "I hope her family will come down from the mountains and put her in a coffin," Bernadette Desravine said outside the family's damaged shack, built in harm's way near a riverbed. "I wish our family had that luck."<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13373102/haiti-missing_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 8:23 AM 5 Cops find ganja, fuel hidden in Hellshire mangroves http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cops-find-ganja--fuel-hidden-in-Hellshire-mangroves KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Police officers assigned to the Marine Division and the National Intelligence Bureau yesterday seized large quantities of ganja and fuel at Great Salt Pond, Hellshire in St Catherine.<br /> <br /> Reports from the police are that between 11:50 am and 5:50 pm, during a special operation in the area, 34 bags of ganja weighing approximately 805 pounds and 31 15-gallon drums of fuel amounting to approximately 1,730 litres were found hidden in mangroves.<br /> <br /> The ganja has an estimated street value of J$3.2 million.<br /> <br /> The police say no one was arrested in connection with the find. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11716414/WEED_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 8:00 AM 5 MSMEs urged to explore opportunities in emerging industries http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/MSMEs-urged-to-explore-opportunities-in-emerging-industries KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) are being encouraged to explore business opportunities in new and emerging industries.<br /> <br /> Assistant Business Advisory Services Manager at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Keera Walters, said that globalisation has changed the needs of the marketplace and entrepreneurs should see this shift as a chance to develop new business concepts and products to meet demand.<br /> <br /> She cited the creative and sport industries as non-traditional areas with a lot of room for exploitation.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The agro-processing sector is another industry that has a huge value chain that entrepreneurs still have not fully capitalised on,&rdquo; Walters pointed out while addressing a JIS Think Tank on October 19.<br /> <br /> These non-traditional areas, she said, will boost the MSME sector and create more opportunities for entrepreneurship, which will lead to an increase in employment across the country.<br /> <br /> Walters urged entrepreneurs to do the research that will help them to understand these new and emerging industries.<br /> <br /> She said the agency is committed to providing the support that will guide MSMEs into new growth areas.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We encourage persons who are thinking about starting a business to visit the JBDC and get the information to guide the start-up process. We will work with you to ensure that your business idea moves from concept to market and guide you to where the opportunities are,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Manager for Loan Origination at the Development Bank of Jamaica Limited (DBJ), Tracy-Ann McIntosh, noted that her organisation offers loan support for businesses across various industries. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We encourage entrepreneurs to look at various areas of opportunity. We try to support the traditional industries such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and general service when we are giving loans for starts-up or improvements of businesses,&rdquo; she explained. <br /> <br /> She said the DBJ is also supporting the new, innovative and creative industries such as animation, renewable and alternative energy and science and technology.<br /> <br /> McIntosh said it is important for small business operators to seize every networking opportunity to improve their products and services.<br /> <br /> As such, she is encouraging MSMEs to attend the three-day Inter-American microenterprise Forum (FOROMIC), to interact with entrepreneurs from across the world.  The event will be held from October 24 to 26 in Montego Bay, St James.<br /> <br /> FOROMIC 2016 seeks to promote innovations in the microfinance and medium and small enterprise sectors.<br /> <br /> The annual event is hosted by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) group. <br /> <br /> Representatives from 41 countries will be in attendance including experts in micro, small and medium enterprises; financial institutions; entrepreneurship associations; government and non-governmental organisations; and academia. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13372607/Think-Tank-2_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 7:43 AM 5 Gov't project to help farmers tackle impact of climate change http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gov-t-project-to-help-farmers-tackle-impact-of-climate-change KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; The Government has established a collaborative project from a US$17-million adaptation fund to enable farmers and other groups working in tourism to lessen the impacts of climate change.<br /> <br /> Through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the five-year programme, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will provide for capacity-building of key sectors to adapt to a changing climate.<br /> <br /> Under component one, climate change adaptation will be mainstreamed at the national, sectoral and community levels; and component two will see the creation of financial mechanisms to support climate resilience in micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs).<br /> <br /> Component three will focus on knowledge management, and supports the documentation of methodologies and techniques piloted under the project as well as the dissemination of lessons learned and good practices.<br /> <br /> Speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between RADA and the ministry on October 20 at the ministry&rsquo;s New Kingston offices, Permanent Secretary Audrey Sewell said RADA&rsquo;s involvement will be in the form of providing expertise and on-the-ground supervision of relevant project.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;These include the planting of live vegetation barriers, construction of check dams, establishment of communal rainwater harvesting systems, construction of greenhouses, and implementation of an agro-forestry programme and community reforestation project,&rdquo; the permanent secretary outlined.<br /> <br /> For her part, Acting Principal Director of Technical Services at RADA Marina Young said the MoU represents a &ldquo;significant&rdquo; moment and the authority is grateful to the funding agency and the ministry for piloting the project into the &ldquo;very important area of agriculture&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> She said the agency&rsquo;s technical skills will go into the various aspects of the project to ensure that &ldquo;all the project objectives are met, and our major beneficiaries, the farming communities, are able to mitigate the impacts of climate change&rdquo;. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13372457/MoU1_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 7:18 AM 5 Collection MoDa Turns Five! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Collection-MoDa-Turns-Five_77691 Incessant rains did little to dampen the enthusiasm Tuesday evening as The Collection MoDa team, with presenting partners Jamaica Yellow Pages, launched their fifth staging with cocktails, canap&Atilde;&copy;s, beats by Duzigordon, Arii Lopez and The Wixard and Yellow Pages Cookie Pops courtesy of Suelan Chung at The Worthington, Spanish Court Hotel. <br /> <br /> Kingston Industrial Garage Sales and Marketing Manager Judith Denton steered the evening&rsquo;s proceedings, which included a five-year review of the achievements of The Collection MoDa series by its founder and Kerrymanwomanhome proprietor Kerry-Ann Clarke who commended her team for their efforts in making her dream a reality and in helping to motivate the Caribbean creative industry. &ldquo;When The Collection MoDa was born in 2011, it was through the need of a solid platform for creative talents to hone their skills and showcase their work,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;By year 10,&rdquo; she continued, &ldquo;our ambition is to have visibility in most, if not all Caricom markets.&rdquo; Marketing Manager of the Jamaica Yellow Pages Ayanna Kirton, in her address, shared &ldquo;we aim to invest in our cultural and creative industries because we want artists and artisans to not just be discovered because being discovered and learning about the roots of your creativity is great from a word-of-mouth perspective but we also want to have a comprehensive listing of all of Jamaica&rsquo;s talent&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Jamaica Yellow Pages have signed an initial three-year partnership with The Collection MoDa which Kirton sees as &ldquo; just the beginning of an amazing relationship&rdquo;. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371689/235284__w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 2:00 AM 5 Bermuda cops probing shooting death of teen http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Bermuda-cops-probing-shooting-death-of-teen_77819 HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) &ndash; The police have launched an investigation into the death of a teenager, who was shot at a home in the parish of Devonshire on Tuesday in a fresh outbreak of violence on the island.<br /> <br /> The police have described the death of the teen, who has been identified as 19-year-old Isaiah Furbert, as &ldquo;another senseless murder&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Furbert became the 31st firearm fatality in Bermuda since incidents began to spiral in May 2009, and the fourth since the start of the year. He is also the island&rsquo;s youngest gun murder victim since 18-year-old Jason Lightbourne was killed on July 23, 2006.<br /> <br /> The latest bout of violence started last Thursday, the day Hurricane Nicole battered the territory, when a 24-year-old man was shot in the arm by a lone gunman outside a Hamilton nightclub. The victim was treated in hospital and later released.<br /> <br /> In another incident late Sunday, two men were seriously injured when they were stabbed during a brawl. A 29-year-old man was arrested over the incident, but later released on bail .<br /> <br /> The injured men are now recovering in hospital.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is yet another senseless murder of a young man who was just entering the prime of his life. We are looking to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice and bring some measure of closure to the family,&rdquo; said Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Clarke.<br /> <br /> National Security Minister Jeff Baron expressed his shock at the latest murder and extended his condolence to Furbert&rsquo;s family.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The ministry is aware that there are reports of increased tensions in those areas around Bermuda where there is gang activity,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We will certainly do our part to provide the necessary resources to the police and the various helping agencies to support them as they address this latest spate of gun and gang violence. But government can only do so much. We need those community leaders and social advocates, those moral voices in our churches, schools, sports clubs, businesses, unions and even those across the political spectrum to step in and do what they can to help ease and calm the tensions in their respective communities,&rdquo; Baron said.<br /> <br /> In a statement, the opposition&rsquo;s spokesman on home affairs, Walter Roban, said the Progressive Labour Party is deeply saddened to hear that another young man has lost his life to senseless gun crimes.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Today, another family mourns the loss of a loved one, and it is a sobering reminder that we as a community must collectively take strides to reduce the prevalence of these types of crimes.We recommend strong action be taken to combat youth unemployment, lack of opportunities and the need for not just jobs, but a sense of hope and belonging and that they matter in Bermuda,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371661/235513__w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 2:00 AM 5 Grenada announces new date for controversial referendum http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Grenada-announces-new-date-for-controversial-referendum_77817 ST GEORGE&rsquo;S, Grenada (CMC) &ndash; Grenada&rsquo;s supervisor of elections, Alex Phillip, has announced November 24 as the new date citizens will vote in a referendum on a new constitution.<br /> <br /> Phillips made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Attorney General Cajeton Hood announced that the vote would not take place on October 27 as originally planned. <br /> <br /> In the statement Phillip said he was advised Wednesday by the Governor-General Dr Cecile La Grenade that the seven writs issued on September 23 this year have been revoked.<br /> <br /> The statement explained that on November 24, all registered electors would be entitled to vote &lsquo;Yes&rsquo; or &lsquo;No&rsquo; to the approval of each of the seven Constitutional Amendment Bills as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.<br /> <br /> As a result and in accordance with the Constitutional Referendum Act, the governor general has declared November 1 as the final day for registration of electors for participation in Constitutional Referendum Day.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;All persons who are entitled to be registered as electors in Grenada and who have not yet so been registered are invited to present themselves at the Parliamentary Elections Constituency Office nearest to their residence so that they can be registered as electors and exercise their franchise on Constitutional Referendum Day,&rdquo; the statement added.<br /> <br /> On Tuesday Attorney General Hood,accompanied by Chairman of the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) Dr Francis Alexis, acknowledged that there was need for more public education on the Bills, especially the Rights and Freedom Bill that some people claim will create a loophole that could result in Grenada legalising same-sex unions.<br /> <br /> Hood told reporters that, given the magnitude and historical significance of the Bills being put before the Grenadian public, &ldquo;that we need to make sure as far as possible that the consultative process takes precedence.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Further, I believe we are aware that one particular section of the Rights and Freedom Bill has caused growing concern in some circles and after extensive discussions with various stakeholders&hellip; the government of Grenada has come to the conclusion that there are certain issues which need to be addressed more fully,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Constitution Reform Advisory Committee has listened also to all the contributions of the stakeholders in this matter and against this joint background it has been decided it would better serve the public good if an extension of approximately one month be given for the education process to be completed,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Hood said that CRAC has sensed a genuine increase in national interest, and at the same time people are asking for more time to become more familiar with what is being proposed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;While we appreciate that we cannot have an open-ended process, we understand the magnitude and historic significance of the Bills being presented to Grenadians for their approval,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> The other Bills to be voted on in the referendum include one that changes the name of the State from &lsquo;Grenada&rsquo; to &lsquo;Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and another would institute term limits for the prime minister; ensure that there is always an opposition leader; enable parliament to provide fixed dates for general elections; institute an Elections and Boundaries Commission; introduce the modern styling &lsquo;Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court&rsquo;; and require that allegiance be sworn, no longer to the Queen, but to Grenada.<br /> <br /> There is also a Bill that will allow Grenadians to decide whether or not to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice as the island&rsquo;s final court.<br /> <br /> All seven Bills need to be passed by a two-thirds majority of those voting in the referendum to become law. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9944351/Grenada-flag_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 2:00 AM 5 Financial woes beset UTech http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Financial-woes-beset-UTech-_77855 The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), the country&rsquo;s only tertiary institution that was established by an Act of Parliament, is buckling under the weight of its obligations, handicapped by insufficient funds from Government and not earning enough from student fees, millions of which are outstanding and, in many instances, uncollectable.<br /> <br /> The university&rsquo;s management says a part of its burden is the fact that the Government transferred a number of public schools, which were previously under the Ministry of Health, to UTech minus the funds and infrastructural resources that are needed to run them. These include West Indies School of Public Health, the Dental Auxiliary School, and Kingston School of Nursing. <br /> <br /> According to data presented to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament this week, UTech has been running an operating deficit for six out of the 10 years since it gained university status. Its operational deficit stood at $240 million at the end of the July quarter, but is expected to taper off to $13 million next March. The last time UTech turned a surplus was in 2011.<br /> <br /> The Government&rsquo;s subvention for the university this year is $1.8 billion, almost six-and-a-half times less than the subvention to the University of the West Indies. At the same time, UTech has budgeted to spend $6.5 billion to carry out its mandate during the year. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Government of Jamaica data indicate that UTech, on a per capita basis, is the least supported tertiary institution in Jamaica based on the fact that the recognised establishment/structure of 20 years ago is still being supported by the Government,&rdquo; UTech asserted in one of the reports submitted to the PAAC, which it had previously submitted to the finance ministry in its bid to get more support. <br /> <br /> The university said it has only been able to &ldquo;cope&rdquo; by increasing student fees, which has led to the institution being a relatively high cost option for students; and putting on hold, expenditure critical to the delivery of its programmes. &ldquo;And now there are glaring deficiencies in the support structure needed to honour our mandate,&rdquo; UTech said. <br /> <br /> It was also revealed that six of the university&rsquo;s 16 undergraduate schools are in trouble, unable to generate enough income to cover their combined $2.5 billion in administrative expenses, and $318 million in utilities. &ldquo;Many of our costs are denominated in United States dollars and impact the bottom line when the Jamaican dollar devalues,&rdquo; the report said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We find that it is mainly the technical areas that operationally are in deficit,&rdquo; acting president of UTech Professor Colin Gyles explained to the committee. &ldquo;There are some areas that do not require as much &ndash; those are surplus centres and, to a large extent, from the surpluses from those centres we are able to almost subsidise the technical areas. We repeatedly appeal for additional support. We are at pains to point out that the world over, technology-focused institutions are more heavily funded than generalist institutions, and if UTech is to continue being the kind of technically focused institution that we have been trying to be it really requires greater investment.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Gyles also pointed out that UTech&rsquo;s information technology systems are old. &ldquo;Our students complain about the fact that our computers need changing out, but the capital investment to do that, we really don&rsquo;t have it,&rdquo; he stated, while at the same time explaining that four of the struggling faculties have been targeted for specific intervention this year. <br /> <br /> Added to this, the university is owed $802 million in students&rsquo; fees that have not been collected. This includes a provision of $315 million owed by students who are not currently registered.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The university survives in the short term as we are not being called upon immediately to settle some current liabilities, primarily accrued vacation which is over $0.5 billion,&rdquo; the report said. <br /> <br /> In his remarks to the committee as to how UTech would survive on scarce resources with a growing population, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education Dr Maurice Smith stated that &ldquo;Neither the ministry nor the leadership are of the view that UTech is anywhere near its optimal,&rdquo; and that he has indicated to the university&rsquo;s management that &ldquo;UTech needs to be reimagined&rdquo;. He said steps are being taken to secure support from Cabinet towards stabilising the university&rsquo;s financial affairs.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371637/235720__w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM 5