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 Jamaicans in Diaspora to access NHT homes http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaicans-in-Diaspora-to-access-NHT-homes_75750 JAMAICANS living overseas will soon have an opportunity to purchase homes through the National Housing Trust (NHT).<br /> <br /> Chairman of the NHT, Ambassador Dr Nigel Clarke, said members of the Jamaican diaspora have been enquiring as to how they could access a home through the Trust.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The NHT is now working on a programme which will give members of the diaspora an opportunity to own a home in Jamaica,&rdquo; he noted.<br /> <br /> Ambassador Clarke was addressing a town hall meeting in Queens, New York, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness on September 22.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that, under the programme being developed, borrowers living in the diaspora will have to contribute to the Trust.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to make sure that after they borrow, they will pay back and continue to contribute to the Trust,&rdquo;he noted.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What we want to do is make it easier for members of the diaspora to own a piece of Jamaica. By having a piece of the rock, you will be helping Jamaica to grow. There is something in it for you. There is something in it for Jamaica,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Ambassador Clarke, who is also deputy chairman of the Economic Growth Council (EGC), said that one of the recommendations made to the Government is for the development of a global Jamaican identification card.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It will not be a passport. It&rsquo;s a card that identifies and bonds us,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When you present that card in Jamaica, it&rsquo;s a special status; you will not be a visitor to Jamaica. What we want to do is for the Jamaican community around the world to see themselves as one community and be empowered to contribute socially and economically to the development and growth of Jamaica,&rdquo; he noted further.<br /> <br /> Ambassador Clarke said the NGC has also proposed the deepening of engagement with the diaspora in order to ensure that the skills, capital, experience and knowledge of overseas nationals can be fully harnessed for the country&rsquo;s growth and development.<br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, said she was looking forward to working with the diaspora to tap into the wealth of resources and knowledge that exist.<br /> <br /> She informed that a number of road shows will be held throughout the US to engage with Jamaicans living in the country.<br /> <br /> The town hall meeting was organised by the Jamaican Consulate in New York during the prime minister&rsquo;s visit to the United Nations General Assembly.<br /> <br /> The meeting was also attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325308/231908_58943_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325312/231908_SLD.jpg 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325312/231908_ld.jpg Parish disaster committees activated amid storm threat http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Parish-disaster-committees-activated-amid-storm-threat_75751 Parish disaster committees have been activated in preparation for the possible impact of Hurricane Matthew on the island.<br /> <br /> Addressing an emergency meeting of Members of Parliament (MPs) and heads of relevant agencies at the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said meetings have been convened at various levels to ensure that all stakeholders are prepared to co-ordinate services in response to the storm, which yesterday increased to Category Four strength.<br /> <br /> McKenzie said the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the parish councils will be provided with the necessary supplies for distribution if required. <br /> <br /> The minister noted that parish councils have also been advised that funds from the Parochial Revenue Fund can be utilised to assist with social security services.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are insisting that whatever is needed to ensure that we minimise the extent of the effect of the hurricane must be done,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He implored citizens to heed all warnings related to the storm.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is important that I make the point that when the call is made for persons to evacuate, for persons to seek safe ground, that those persons take the necessary precautions,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Director general of the ODPEM, Major Clive Davis, reported that the agency is in a state of readiness following the meeting of the National Response Team on Thursday. <br /> <br /> The team includes the Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Ministry of Health, National Solid Waste Management Authority, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the National Works Agency.<br /> <br /> Major Davis said that contact has been made with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, which stands ready to assist. <br /> <br /> He noted that the parish disaster mechanisms have been triggered and emergency shelters have also been checked and assessed. <br /> <br /> In Portland, the disaster committee meeting received reports from National Works Agency (NWA), National Water Commission, police, fire, health, and Red Cross officials on their state of readiness.<br /> <br /> Portland Western Member of Parliament and minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Daryl Vaz told the committee that two trailers will be located in Buff Bay and Port Antonio with relief items.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that funds allocated to MPs ($1 million) should be utilised and asked that the NWA starts drain cleaning immediately.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Additional reporting Everard Owen http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13326453/231981_59247_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325617/231982_SLD.jpg 02 2 Dangerous Matthew! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Dangerous-Matthew-Ja-placed-on-hurricane-watch-as-cyclone-strengthens_75834 Jamaica&rsquo;s emergency management agency started deploying supplies to shelters yesterday as Hurricane Matthew gained strength while churning across the warm waters of the central Caribbean, resulting in the Meteorological Service labelling the cyclone &ldquo;extremely dangerous&rdquo; and placing the island under a hurricane watch.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This means that the following dangerous effects of a hurricane are expected to affect Jamaica by Monday:<br /> <br /> &bull; Dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves, even though winds expected may be less than hurricane force;<br /> <br /> &bull; Average winds 64 knots (118 km/h) or higher,&rdquo; the Met Service said in its 8:00 pm bulletin.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;At 7:00 pm the well-defined eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 13.5 degrees north, longitude 72.0 degrees west. This is about 665 kilometres (415 miles) south-east of Morant Point, Jamaica, or 130 kilometres (80 miles) north-northwest of Punta Gallinas, Colombia,&rdquo; the Met Service added.<br /> <br /> The agency said that Matthew was moving south of due west near 15 km/h (9 mph) and a westward motion at a slower forward speed was expected last night and today. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast by Saturday night, followed by a turn toward the north-west on Sunday,&rdquo; the agency said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Data from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have again increased to near 240 km/h (150 mph), with higher gusts. Matthew is, therefore, a Category Four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible this weekend, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Sunday, the Met Service explained, adding that hurricane force winds extend outward up to 55 km (35 miles) from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 315 km (195 miles) primarily to the north of the centre.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) had already been deploying the necessary items to shelters islandwide.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;These items include generators, tarpaulin, blankets, water containers, and other such items that are going to be required,&rdquo; McKenzie told journalists at a press conference at ODPEM headquarters in Kingston.<br /> <br /> McKenzie said that effective today, the national operation will be going 24 hours, while the Ministry of Local Government will be operating a centre that will work directly with parish councils to get information. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are some toll-free numbers that will be made available for the public,&rdquo; McKenzie said. <br /> <br /> At the same time, he said that concerns have been raised about the more than 2,000 homeless people islandwide and that measures are in place to get them off the streets and into shelters.<br /> <br /> McKenzie urged citizens to comply with evacuation notices and said that transportation would be in place to take people to shelters. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are putting in place all the necessary arrangements so that we can respond to the needs. We know the critical areas in Jamaica, places like Rocky Point, Port Royal, New Haven, Taylor Lands, we know these critical areas across the country... All shelters, across the country will come into operation by tomorrow (today). All shelters will be provided with the necessary resources,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, when the Jamaica Observer visited a number of supermarkets and hardware stores in the Corporate Area people were stocking up on emergency supplies.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am just doing my monthly shopping. I bought extra batteries, matches, more canned goods than normal and extra juices and water,&rdquo; said attorney Harrington Dermot, who was seen paying for his groceries in Brooklyn Supermarket, Twin Gates Plaza.<br /> <br /> Another shopper, Wilfred Hermitt, said: &ldquo;I am always prepared from the perspective that I usually have the basic things, rain or shine. As a former Boys&rsquo; Brigade we have to prepare, we will not be caught flat-footed.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325616/232062_59249_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325614/231980_SLD.jpg 01 2 Shaw: Public sector pension reform remains a commitment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Shaw--Public-sector-pension-reform-remains-a-commitment_75770 MINISTER of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw says the Government remains committed to implementing the proposed contributory public-sector pension scheme by April 2017.<br /> <br /> Pension reform is a structural benchmark under the four-year International Monetary Fund Extended Fund Facility.<br /> <br /> The Bill to formalise proposals for the reform arrangements was retabled by Minister Shaw in the House of Representatives in August.<br /> <br /> It proposes, among other things, that Government workers contribute five per cent of their salary towards their pension and that benefits be computed using an average of the final five years of the beneficiary&rsquo;s salary, instead of the final pay as now obtains. Additionally, retirees would be given the option of receiving one quarter of their entitlements with reduced or full pension benefits.<br /> <br /> Addressing a Prime Asset Management Limited&rsquo;s pension seminar at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, Minister Shaw said the reform is necessary as the Government &ldquo;can no longer afford a non-contributory scheme&rdquo;. He noted that the annual pension bill is $26 billion, and that the figure is growing.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Shaw said he is looking to consult with private sector representatives on how best the private sector pension regime can be improved.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think it is important... and in the same way that we are reforming different areas, that (private sector regime) needs (to be) reformed,&rdquo; he pointed out.<br /> <br /> Shaw also said that consideration will be given to incentivising the process &ldquo;so that companies will be eager to put their own pension plans in place&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The seminar was jointly staged with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica under the theme &lsquo;Mandatory Pensions: averting the retirement crisis of tomorrow&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> It focused on exploring and discussing workable and sustainable pension solutions for retirees. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325623/231914_58992_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325624/shaw-SLD.jpg 4 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325624/shaw-ld.jpg Man who used wheelchair in Rolex theft pleads guilty http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Man-who-used-wheelchair-in-Rolex-theft-pleads-guilty_75731 CONNECTICUT, USA (AP) &mdash; A Connecticut man pretending to be confined to a wheelchair stole a $37,000 watch from a jewellery store and is heading to prison. <br /> <br /> The Connecticut Post reported that 36-year-old Larry Johnson of Waterbury pleaded guilty Wednesday to robbery, larceny and assault.<br /> <br /> Authorities say Johnson entered a Stamford jewellery store in a wheelchair in May 2015 and asked to see a Rolex watch. Once he had the watch in hand, he got out of the wheelchair, used Mace on the sales clerk and the security guard and knocked the guard to the ground as he ran out of the store.<br /> <br /> Johnson was connected to the theft by a fingerprint left on the wheelchair.<br /> <br /> He faces six years in prison when he is sentenced December 7. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12920187/cuffs_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 4 New EU Delegation head makes courtesy call http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/New-EU-Delegation-head-makes-courtesy-call_75737 Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith (left) in conversation with Malgorzata Wasilewska, newly appointed head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Jamaica, during a courtesy call on the minister on Wednesday at the ministry in Kingston. Wasilewska reiterated the EU&rsquo;s commitment to Jamaica and the Caribbean region, noting several opportunities, especially in the areas of climate change and renewable energy, for continued and intensified collaboration. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13326467/231885_58885_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 5 PHOTO: Ready for Matthew http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Ready-for-Matthew_75799 An employee of Digital View Security Systems secures a window at the businessplace on Beechwood Avenue in Kingston yeterday, in preparation for the passage of Hurricane Matthew. (Photos: Garfield Robinson) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325621/231980_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 2:00 AM 5 31-pound cat major attraction at US hotel http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/31-pound-cat-major-attraction-at-US-hotel_75728 NEW HAMPSHIRE, USA (AP) &mdash; Guests at a hotel in New Hampshire can be forgiven for thinking a raccoon is lounging out front. <br /> <br /> The huge ball of fur on the sidewalk of the Best Western Silver Fox Inn at the Waterville Valley Resort is actually a fat cat. A really fat cat. <br /> <br /> The eight-year-old tabby is named Logan and weighs 31 pounds &mdash; nearly three times the size of a normal cat. Often found wandering through the hotel or stretched out on the sidewalk, Logan has become a huge hit with visitors and is an internet sensation. Guests have posted photos of Logan sitting in a chair, and a Facebookvideo that&rsquo;s been viewed 29 million times, shows it waddling through the parking lot.<br /> <br /> Susan and Tor Brunvand adopted Logan from a Meridith, New Hampshire, shelter six years ago. Logan arrived as a normal sized cat but soon was gobbling up food from the bowls of the couple&rsquo;s two other cats and finding a way to sneak into the stash of food. Logan slowly put on weight.<br /> <br /> Susan Brunvand said she once had a 20-pound cat, but that cat was big because it was part Maine Coon.<br /> <br /> The couple took Logan to a vet and had his blood tested. Nothing was found. He even had stretches &mdash; once after a fight with a feral cat &mdash; where he barely ate for several weeks. Still, nothing reduced the size of the obese feline.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve tried everything,&rdquo; she said, attributing his girth to a slow metabolism.<br /> <br /> Reaction to the cat has been a mix of amazement and concern about its health. After the video was posted, Brunvand said she got a call from someone wanting to bring her up on animal abuse charges for allowing the cat to get so big.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I just wonder why a person would have a pet and let it get that heavy,&rdquo; said Janet Lynn, a hotel guest from Manchester, New Hampshire.<br /> <br /> Brunvand insists there is little more she can do &mdash; or should do &mdash; to help the cat she calls her &ldquo;little chubby boy, my little bear&rdquo; shed the weight.<br /> <br /> She laughed at the suggestion of putting Logan on a treadmill. Rather, she lets Logan act like her two other cats, spending the day outdoors.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He is one of the happiest, easiest cats I&rsquo;ve ever had,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He doesn&rsquo;t think he&rsquo;s fat.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325537/231959_59084_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Jamaica sets year-end deadline to ratify Paris Agreement http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaica-sets-year-end-deadline-to-ratify-Paris-Agreement_75792 JAMAICA is expected to deposit its instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change by year end.<br /> <br /> The Paris Agreement emphasises that climate change is a threat to human society and that there is a growing need for international collaboration, deep reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, establishment of a framework for the involvement of local communities and people with disabilities, and the empowerment of women, among others.<br /> <br /> Speaking with JIS News<br /> <br /> on Thursday, project administrator at the Climate Change Division in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Clifford Mahlung, said the process towards ratification will require Government&rsquo;s approval, which is under way.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are awaiting the assessment from the Attorney General&rsquo;s Department. We are close to hearing from them, and that will allow us to make a submission to Cabinet and then Cabinet will decide that we should go ahead and ratify,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> The Paris Agreement was adopted by 196 countries at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) held in Paris in December 2015.<br /> <br /> Mahlung said that the ratification means that Jamaica will become a party to the Paris Agreement &ldquo;and so we can become involved and participate in all aspects of the work of the agreement&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He said that to date, 61 countries have ratified the agreement, adding that there have been commitments from the European Union and India to sign on before the end of the year.<br /> <br /> The Agreement calls on nations that have ratified to pursue their highest possible ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using Nationally Determined Contributions and monitored through a reporting mechanism.<br /> <br /> The overall goal of the Paris Agreement is for countries to take action to keep global temperature rise this century below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels while at the same time using best efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.<br /> <br /> The Agreement will come into force when the total number of countries that have ratified the convention accounts for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322814/DDP-1_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Crime seriously hampering Jamaica&rsquo;s growth &mdash; PSOJ president http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Crime-seriously-hampering-Jamaica-s-growth---PSOJ-president_75500 PRESIDENT of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Paul B Scott on Tuesday said that crime is significantly hampering Jamaica&rsquo;s economic growth.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Crime is a huge impediment to the growth in our society. Over the last few days we have seen significant issues in Montego Bay, and if we want growth crime needs to be down,&rdquo; said Scott.<br /> <br /> He was addressing the PSOJ President&rsquo;s Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston. <br /> <br /> Referring to the newspaper supplement on the Economic Growth Council&rsquo;s (EGC) &lsquo;5 in 4 call to action&rsquo; as support for his statement, the recently appointed PSOJ president said there is no need for further studies on issues affecting Jamaica&rsquo;s growth.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have studies in every cabinet, in every ministry.&rdquo; The answers, he said, are already available &ldquo;but we just have a problem with implementation. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We must find the resources for fighting crime. If we have the will we can find the resources to deal with this issue.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> While noting that there are many positives to the country&rsquo;s economy such as improved fiscal numbers, improved balance of payment and significant job creation, Scott lamented the high debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio.<br /> <br /> According to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, the debt to GDP ratio stood at 120.2 per cent at the end of March, a significant reduction in, the 145 per cent at the start of the IMF&rsquo;s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in 2013.<br /> <br /> The PSOJ president said, however, that the ratio is still too high and not a favourable position to be in as it would continue to be an impediment to Jamaica&rsquo;s economic future.<br /> <br /> Among his recommendations, he suggested that Jamaica should address the privatisation of Government assets in an aggressive manner to reduce its debt stock.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica has underperformed more than every country globally. The only ones below us are the ones that have had huge, devastating wars and this is over 40 years.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Scott stated that the country&rsquo;s under-performance is unacceptable for the private sector and stakeholders in the society.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Economic growth or lack of economic growth is the root cause of almost every aspect or issues that we have in this country and unless we take it seriously we will not progress&hellip; individually or as a society.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He said economic growth is not abnormal, but &ldquo;what is abnormal is to have 0.8 per cent growth over a 40-year period. We must work towards building a society that is focused on growth.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> The EGC has recommended nine growth initiatives for Jamaica. They are: maintain macroeconomic stability and pursue debt reduction; improve citizen security and public safety; improve access to finance; pursue bureaucratic reform to improve the business environment; stimulate greater asset utilisation; build human capital; harness the power of the diaspora; catalyse the implementation of strategic projects; and implementation of growth initiatives. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12926536/200963__w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 5 One killed, four injured in Bahamas drive-by shooting http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/One-killed--four-injured-in-Bahamas-drive-by-shooting_75739 NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) &ndash; Police were searching for the gunmen who shot and killed one man and injured four others during a drive-by shooting here late on Thursday night. <br /> <br /> A brief police statement said that a group of men were playing dominoes in the driveway of a home in Sunset Park around 11.00 pm when a champagne-coloured vehicle with several armed men inside &ldquo;pulled up and fired several shots &hellip; before speeding off.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;One of the men was pronounced dead on the scene and four others were transported to hospital where they are being treated for injuries sustained,&rdquo; the statement said, without giving any further details on the incident. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13155022/crime-scene-tape-3_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Stop it! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Stop-it-_75759 PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) &ndash; The National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) is calling for an end to the public spat between President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.<br /> <br /> It says the disagreement between the two top state officials cannot and must not be made public knowledge, no matter how compelling the circumstances may be.<br /> <br /> Rowley on Thursday denied having prior knowledge of a meeting involving President Carmona and his National Security Minister Edmund Dillon earlier this month that dealt with security matters in Trinidad and Tobago.<br /> <br /> Rowley, speaking at the end of the weekly Cabinet meeting, told reporters that when he was contacted by Dillon about the September 5 meeting, he had instructed his minister to find out precisely what the talks were about.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;And if that is what is being interpreted as licence to conduct a national security meeting and generate a 30-point national security document, then I beg to differ,&rdquo; Dr Rowley said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But more importantly, that was the only instance in which any reference could be made to approval or non-approval because I know of no prior instance where I would have given any clearance, not once, not twice or three times for a national security meeting involving the Chief of Defence Staff, the Commissioner of Police and the National Security Minister,&rdquo; Rowley told reporters.<br /> <br /> On Wednesday, during a 90-minute statement to the media in which he sought to deal with various issues in the public domain regarding his office, President Carmona said he had on three occasions informed Rowley of the meeting.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;On three occasions beforehand I indicated to the honourable prime minister my intention to hold a meeting with the minister of National Security and he supported it,&rdquo; the president said, without elaborating as to how the information had been transmitted to the prime minister.<br /> <br /> But in a statement NATUC said that, while it respects the president&rsquo;s right to respond to any assertions of impropriety made against him, the Office of the President of this country should be above political prejudice and should be trustworthy.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As Head of State of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the president owes it to the citizens to carry out his responsibilities with the highest integrity, transparency and answerability. We expect his conduct and decorum to be exemplary and dignified at all times.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> NATUC said to resort to spiteful name calling and direct attacks on anyone&rsquo;s character on a public platform, is to &ldquo;descend into the bacchanal pit of society&rdquo; and brings the Office of the President into disrepute.<br /> <br /> It believes the conference called by Carmona has taken Trinidad and Tobago to a new low and made it the laughing stock of the Caribbean and wider international community.<br /> <br /> The umbrella union body is urging the country&rsquo;s leaders to put country and nationalism above narcissistic emotions, saying this type of behaviour has no place in the running of the affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Each and every one who holds office or positions of authority in Trinidad and Tobago must at all times carry the office that they hold with dignity, humility and pride. One&rsquo;s constitutional responsibilities must take precedence over their personal beliefs,&rdquo; it added.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, constitutional expert Kenneth Lalla says it appears that Carmona had exceeded his jurisdiction and that there are grounds for the government to move a motion in the Parliament to remove him from office.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It may appear that some party is exceeding his jurisdiction and the president has no authority over the government of the country. He consults with the prime minister who is Head of Government, in other words the Head of State consults with the Head of Government and the Head of State has no authority to override the powers of the prime minister or to over-reach his powers by going to the Cabinet directly,&rdquo; Lalla told the Trinidad Express newspaper yesterday.<br /> <br /> Lalla said that the controversy between the two top office holders is a case of word against word and the Government can take action against the president, which is provided for in the Constitution.<br /> <br /> Lalla pointed out that Section 35 of the Constitution states that the president may be removed from office under Section 36 where: he wilfully violates any provision of the Constitution; behaves in such a way as to bring his office into hatred, ridicule or contempt; behaves in a way that endangers the security of the State; or because of physical or mental incapacity, he is unable to perform the functions of his office.<br /> <br /> He noted further that section 36 of the Constitution states that the president shall be removed from office where (a) a motion for his removal from office should be investigated by a tribunal is proposed in the House of Representatives.<br /> <br /> Lalla, a former chairman of both the police and public service commissions, told the Trinidad Express newspaper that the motion would state the full particulars of the grounds on which his removal from office is proposed, and is signed by not less than one-third of the total membership of the House of Representatives. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13326465/231538_58553_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 6 Mexico raises interest rates, cites Trump as risk http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Mexico-raises-interest-rates--cites-Trump-as-risk_75800 MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) &mdash; The head of Mexico&rsquo;s central bank says US Republican candidate Donald Trump represents a &ldquo;hurricane&rdquo;-sized threat to Mexico.<br /> <br /> Banco de Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens told the Radio Formula network yesterday that a Trump presidency &ldquo;would be a hurricane and a particularly intense one if he fulfils what he has been saying in his campaign&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Trump has proposed building a wall along the border and re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.<br /> <br /> Mexico&rsquo;s central bank raised its prime lending rate by half a per cent to 4.75 per cent Thursday, citing &ldquo;nervousness surrounding the possible consequences of the US elections, whose implications for Mexico could be particularly significant.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mexico&rsquo;s peso had lost about six per cent in value against the dollar since mid-August. It recovered slightly after the rate hike. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13256250/225886_53115_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 6 Moscow accuses US of sparing Syria jihadist group http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Moscow-accuses-US-of-sparing-Syria-jihadist-group_75801 MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) &mdash; Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday accused the United States of protecting a jihadist group in Syria in its effort to overthrow the beleaguered regime of President Bashar al-Assad.<br /> <br /> In an interview aired yesterday on BBC World News, Lavrov said Washington had vowed to &ldquo;take as a priority an obligation to separate the opposition&rdquo; from the former Al-Qaeda affiliate once known as Al-Nusra Front, but that it had not done so. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have more and more reasons to believe that from the very beginning the plan was to spare Nusra and to keep it just in case for Plan B or stage two, when it would be time to change the regime,&rdquo; Lavrov said. <br /> <br /> Moscow has repeatedly accused the US of failing on its commitment to persuade rebel forces to distance themselves from jihadist groups such as Al-Nusra, which changed its name to Fateh al-Sham Front in July after renouncing its ties to Al-Qaeda.<br /> <br /> A short-lived truce brokered by Moscow and Washington earlier this month could have led the two countries to coordinate strikes against jihadists, but the deal fell apart as both sides blamed each other for its failure. <br /> <br /> Moscow has been accused of indiscriminately bombing Aleppo&rsquo;s opposition-controlled east as it helps an assault currently being conducted by Syrian government troops to capture the country&rsquo;s entire second city.<br /> <br /> The United Nations has warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Aleppo unlike any witnessed so far in Syria&rsquo;s five-year war, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives.<br /> <br /> Russia has said it would continue its Syrian bombing campaign in spite of US warnings that Washington would suspend talks unless Moscow stopped its assault on Aleppo.<br /> <br /> In a phone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday, Lavrov stressed Moscow&rsquo;s &ldquo;readiness to continue to consider additional possibilities&rdquo; to work with the United States on normalising the situation in Aleppo, Russia&rsquo;s foreign ministry said in a statement.<br /> <br /> Lavrov also stressed Russia &ldquo;remains open for dialogue with the United States on all key issues&rdquo; regarding Syria, the statement said. <br /> <br /> The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday that more than 9,300 people &mdash; including some 3,800 civilians &mdash; had been killed in a year of Russian air strikes in Syria in support of Assad. <br /> <br /> Moscow quickly dismissed the claim, insisting its bombing campaign had prevented jihadists from taking over in the war-torn country. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325263/231993_59184_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:00 AM 7 Today&rsquo;s Horoscope - October 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Today-s-Horoscope_74667 HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Saturday, October 1, 2016: This year you demonstrate great strength. Good fortune heads in your direction as well. You could be prone to excess of all types. Your self-discipline will make or break your year. If you are single, you might have too many potential suitors to choose from. At times, you might not be sure which way to turn. Follow your heart, not your mind. If you are attached, the two of you will have many great times together, although your tendency to go overboard could become an issue between you. Try to rein yourself in more. A fellow LIBRA enjoys your sense of humour.<br /> <br /> ARIES (March 21-April 19) Defer to others, and make an effort to deal with their issues. You might hear news from someone at a distance that could affect your plans. Your sensitivity to a partner or loved one will help you understand where he or she is coming from. Tonight: Invite others to join you.<br /> <br /> TAURUS (April 20-May 20) A partner who tends to look at the negative side could be closed down. You might not be sure how to handle this person in situations like these. Try to look at the big picture rather than get caught up in details. A trip might be necessary in the near future. Tonight: Play it low-key.<br /> <br /> GEMINI (May 21-June 20) A new beginning becomes possible when you see the reaction of a loved one to your fatigue with what has been going on. You might feel as if you have given too much of yourself, and this person could feel the same. Let your playful ways melt barriers. Tonight: Be childlike.<br /> <br /> CANCER (June 21-July 22) You tend to be happiest at home hanging out with friends and loved ones. One-on-one relating becomes more important than in the past. Know where you are coming from when dealing with a loved one who seems to be transforming. Tonight: Indulge in a favourite meal.<br /> <br /> LEO (July 23-Aug 22) Keep conversations moving. Spread your upbeat style, and help others let go of their negative moods. A close friend stumbles out of negativity and is able to let go of a problem. The two of you will cast an aura of magic on those around you. Tonight: At your favourite haunt.<br /> <br /> VIRGO (Aug 23-Sept 22) You will want to say &ldquo;no&rdquo; until you are sure of the pros and cons of an expenditure. A loved one will want you to OK the idea so much that he or she might coax you into it by leaving out an important detail. You will have to decide if the cost is worth it. Tonight: Pick up the tab.<br /> <br /> LIBRA (Sept 23-Oct 22) You smile and draw others toward you. You help people enjoy themselves and let go of what is on their minds; you seem to be able to help them feel cared for. Those in your immediate circle can&rsquo;t help but get into the moment when you are around. Tonight: Whatever you want.<br /> <br /> SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21) Your sensitivity heightens when dealing with a volatile or changeable situation. This matter might not affect you directly, but somehow you will be involved. Allow your imagination to flow, and you will be amazed by how quickly ideas come up. Tonight: Head to the movies.<br /> <br /> SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21) You could be off-kilter until you join friends. Your creativity might be crucial in helping you get past a money issue. Somehow, this colours the moment. Be aware of your limits and honour them. In the long run, you will be a lot happier if you do. Tonight: Have some fun.<br /> <br /> CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 19) You might be saddled with an abnormal amount of responsibilities. You have said &ldquo;no&rdquo; and expressed your annoyance, yet somehow your message is not being received. Consider distancing yourself for now. Let a friend plead your case. Tonight: Another late night.<br /> <br /> AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18) You have a lot going on. You might be unsure about how much you need to get done, and it could prevent you from hopping in the car for a drive to a favourite place. It is possible that others have expectations that cannot be met. Tonight: Do for you! Do whatever you want.<br /> <br /> PISCES (Feb 19-March 20) You see life from a different perspective than many others&rsquo;. You appreciate a loved one much more than he or she might be aware. Make special time to celebrate that this person exists in your life. Tonight: You owe no explanations to others if you decide to go your own way.<br /> <br /> (c) 2016 by King Features Syndicate Inc. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12467448/horo_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, October 01, 2016 2:00 AM 7 Met Service says Jamaica in Hurricane Matthew&rsquo;s cross hairs http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/High-alertMet-Service-says-Jamaica-in-Hurricane-Matthew---s-cross-hairs_75725 The Meteorological Service last evening suggested that Hurricane Matthew will not spare the island as it moves into the central Caribbean after dumping heavy showers on eastern Caribbean countries and causing at least one death.<br /> <br /> Met Service Director Evan Thompson made the projection at an emergency meeting with local officials called by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who said government services have been placed on high alert.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, fishers on Jamaica&rsquo;s cays and banks were advised to evacuate immediately and return to the mainland.<br /> <br /> Other small craft operators in the island&rsquo;s coastal waters were also told to return to port, while those in port were advised not to venture out. <br /> <br /> The hurricane, which at 4:00 pm yesterday was located near latitude 14.1 degrees north, longitude 67.0 degrees west, or 240 kilometres north-east of Curacao, was forecast to continue on its westward path today and tomorrow and then turn towards the north, bringing it closer to Jamaica between Sunday and Monday.<br /> <br /> Matthew, which formed Wednesday morning near the Eastern Caribbean and has since been upgraded to a category one hurricane, had maximum sustained winds of nearly 120 km/h, with higher gusts, and was expected to strengthen as it gets closer to Jamaica. <br /> <br /> Last evening, Thompson said that Matthew is expected to stay on its projected path.<br /> <br /> The meteorologist said that as the system continues to move westward there might be some motion toward the south, which would seem to suggest that it is actually going to be moving away, but that will be short-lived as it is expected to make a dramatic turn towards the north. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;And so it is expected after Saturday to turn toward the north-west initially and then continue to move toward the north and take the centre of this hurricane very close to, if not over, Jamaica,&rdquo; Thompson said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;...Model prediction has improved over time, and so there is good reason to believe the reliability of the projections seen at this time,&rdquo; he said, adding that this would cause the system to spread its band of heavy rainfall over the entire island.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;...Currently there are projections that we would see somewhere in the order of two to four inches of rainfall over western parts of the island. In the east, rainfall amounts are expected to increase. It could get as [high] as eight inches over eastern parishes and it could even exceed that in hilly terrain. So we are expecting significant rainfall from the system as it moves past us,&rdquo; he said, adding that Matthew is expected to upgrade to category two as it nears the island. <br /> <br /> Thompson also pointed out that wind projection is likely to change and should not be taken lightly. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The system could further intensify,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> In the meantime, Holness said: &ldquo;The Government is now officially on high alert in preparation for a hurricane. It may not come; it may divert, but our job is to be prepared. So I&rsquo;ve officially placed the apparatus of the Government on alert.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Government will do what it can; it will do its part, but I have to appeal to the individual responsibility of each and every Jamaican to look out for your own safety and security ...Heed the warnings that are given from the Government, particularly warnings to evacuate,&rdquo; he urged.<br /> <br /> At the same time, Holness said the Government will make an advance from the Constituency Development Fund available to parliamentarians. The amount, he added, will be communicated today. <br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322977/231865_58765_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322978/231865_-SLD.jpg 01 2 A grave situation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/A-grave-situationSamuda-concerned-as-fungus-threatens-to-wipe-out-cocoa-industry_75689 GOVERNMENT yesterday said it was moving speedily to tackle the lethal Frosty Pod Rot disease, which was discovered in the island in late August and is threatening to wipe out the country&rsquo;s fragile cocoa industry.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The situation is one that is very grave because it threatens one of our finest crops grown...It really can wipe out an entire industry unless we take the appropriate measures to arrest it very, very quickly,&rdquo; Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda told journalists yesterday at a press conference at his St Lucia Avenue offices in Kingston.<br /> <br /> This is the first time the disease is being confirmed in the Caribbean, having been discovered in Colombia in 1817.<br /> <br /> The disease, which was first suspected to be present in Clarendon, is caused by the fungus Moniliophthora roreri which invades actively growing cocoa pods, damaging them and the seeds they produce within three months. The ministry could not, however, immediately identify the channel through which the disease entered the island.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, Samuda said the disease can reduce yields by as much as 80 per cent even as the international supply continues to lag behind the demand. In 2013-2014, 440 tonnes of cocoa was produced for the local and export market and only 266 tonnes in 2015. The value of the industry at the end of 2014 was estimated at US$1,623,422 and US$832,956 for 2013. The figure for 2015 was not readily available by the ministry.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;...It threatens to set us back by at least another year because my understanding is that, as a result of this disease, action has to be taken over six months and the succeeding crop which is another six months, has to be treated likewise so we will not see cocoa production being cultivated for another year,&rdquo; Samuda said.<br /> <br /> As a result, he insisted that measures are going to be taken at every level across the island that will affect all cocoa farming.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is a serious outbreak. Consequently, as minister charged with the responsibility of the agriculture portfolio and in accordance with the powers conferred upon me pursuant to Section 3 of the Plants (Quarantine Act 1993), I hereby, with immediate effect, issue the Frosty Pod Rot of Cocoa Order 2016,&rdquo; Samuda said.<br /> <br /> Under the order, all cases or suspected cases of the Frosty Pod Rot are to be immediately reported to the ministry&rsquo;s Plant Quarantine Unit and other departments of the ministry; the movement of cocoa plants, pods, seedlings, and cuttings is immediately restricted; the entry by the chief plant quarantine officer or any person authorised by her (in writing) is allowed upon lands and farms suspected of having the disease and to take the necessary actions to destroy same.<br /> <br /> The fungus, he said, is highly contagious and produces large amounts of spores that are spread by wind, water or physical disturbance of the pod. Seed trade, smuggling, and other human activities also cause the disease to spread over long distances. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The industry, the ministry and the Jamaica cocoa sector, with the support of IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture), is taking all action to eradicate the disease throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica. Farmers are critical to the process; farmers need to inspect their fields for symptoms and report to the relevant agencies and authorities,&rdquo; Samuda emphasised.<br /> <br /> In the meantime, he told the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer that Government is prepared to spend, at minimum, $150 million over a three-year period to rid the island of the disease.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In terms of the cost to eradicate it, we would be budgeting for at least $50 million per annum for three years. This is a disease that is not here today and gone tomorrow. It requires continuous effort and continuous expenditure in order to ensure that it is eradicated,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The ministry is asking farmers or anyone who have identified the pest or suspect that the pest is on their farms to contact the ministry at 1-888-call RADA (275-7232); 745-2975; 923-6413; 977-6401; 977-0637 or WhatsApp at 435-5828. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322864/231823_58745_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322865/231823_SLD.jpg 02 2 High-powered weapons seized in St James raid http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/High-powered-weapons-seized-in-St-James-raid_75682 MONTEGO BAY, St James &mdash; Three high-powered rifles were among four illegal guns recovered yesterday during a joint police/military operation in Glendevon, one of the troubled inner-city communities in crime-ravaged St James.<br /> <br /> According to a police source, the operation turned up two AK-47 rifles, one UZI sub-machine gun, and a semi-automatic pistol.<br /> <br /> From early yesterday morning, a contingent of police and soldiers swooped down on Glendevon and neighbouring Norwood.<br /> <br /> The operation happened a day after the police, during a press conference in Montego Bay, announced that they would intensify the &lsquo;Get the Guns&rsquo; campaign, which they say has yielded success since it began last year. <br /> <br /> Acting Commissioner of Police (ACP) Warren Clarke, commander for the Area 1 Police, which includes the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, disclosed on Wednesday that, since this year, of the 316 murders committed in Area 1, 237 involved the use of firearms.<br /> <br /> In the meantime, he noted that of the 200 murders committed in St James, 184 (92 per cent) &ldquo;were occasioned with the use of guns&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Since the start of the year in Area 1 we have seized 148 firearms, 1,349 cartridges of ammunition. Eighty-eight of those firearms [were] in St James alone accompanied by 810 cartridges of ammunition,&rdquo; ACP Clarke disclosed.<br /> <br /> He further noted that several wanted men, including three suspected to be involved in the recent spate of murders in St James, have also been arrested this year.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Horace Hines http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10385017/AK47_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 12:00 AM 3 One dead as Matthew batters Eastern Caribbean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/One-dead-as-Matthew-batters-Eastern-Caribbean_75664 KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) &mdash; A fourth form secondary school student died here Wednesday night after he was crushed by a boulder as he tried to alleviate flooding in his home during the passage of Matthew as a tropical storm.<br /> <br /> A resident of the Central Leeward town said the teenager, whose name was not released yesterday, was crushed when he attempted to clear debris behind his home that was being flooded by heavy rains from the system which developed into a hurricane yesterday as it headed for the western Caribbean.<br /> <br /> The house is located close to a rocky cliff and reports are that the boulder had become lose pinning the student against the wall of the concrete house, killing him instantly.<br /> <br /> In Buccament Bay, a neighbouring village in Central Leeward, several people abandoned their homes and sought refuge in emergency shelters as the river nearby again overran its bank.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said his government will ensure that the relief effort after the passage of the storm goes well.<br /> <br /> Gonsalves spoke by telephone on the state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation from Barbados, where he has been stranded since Tuesday as he tries to make it home from meetings in the United States and Puerto Rico last week.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I want to first of all express sympathy to the family in Layou &mdash; the young man who tragically lost his life. I have received unconfirmed reports of two other situations but I will wait until I get confirmation,&rdquo; Gonsalves said.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, St Lucians yesterday began picking up the pieces from a trail of destruction left behind after 14 hours of battering by the storm.<br /> <br /> Although there have been no reports of lives being lost, there has been significant damage to infrastructure as well as landslides, while several roads have been damaged by floods and blocked by debris and fallen trees which also brought down high-powered lines.<br /> <br /> As a result of the road network being littered in some areas with high tension wires, schools were ordered closed while the commercial sector was given the option of opening after mid-day, but the banking community remains closed until today.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, speaking from Miami where he was awaiting a flight to return home, said as a result of fallen trees and flying debris 70 per cent of St Lucians were without electricity and a higher per cent without piped water.<br /> <br /> In a later update he said that both airports, which were closed on Wednesday, had been reopened.<br /> <br /> Tropical Storm Matthew dumped over 10 inches of rain when it passed directly over St Lucia on Wednesday afternoon accompanied by strong gusts, sometimes exceeding 60 miles per hour.<br /> <br /> Met officials said the system was accompanied by high seas with waves of up to 20 feet.<br /> <br /> A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday said Government was in the process of conducting an initial damage assessment following the passage of the storm.<br /> <br /> And in Dominica, the damaged assessment continued yesterday as schools were ordered to remain closed until Monday. Heavy rains from Matthew triggered landslides in several parts of the country. There were also reports of some areas being without water and electricity. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322809/231749_58664_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM 3 PHOTO: Man shot dead at Constant Spring Arcade http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Man-shot-dead-at-Constant-Spring-Arcade_75560 Police officers cordon off a section ofthe Constant Spring Arcade Wednesday following the fatal shooting of an unidentified man by a woman said to be a licensed firearm holder. Details surrounding the shooting were, however, unclear. Up to yesterday, the police had not yet identified the victim. (Photo: Naphtali Junior) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13323728/231422_58571_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM 4 Jamaica seeks standby arrangement with IMF http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaica-seeks-standby-arrangement-with-IMF_75716 MINISTER of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw yesterday gave a clear indication as to where negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a successor programme to the current Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement are headed.<br /> <br /> Shaw told the annual pensions seminar at the Jamaica Pegasus, New Kingston, that the Government is looking at a &ldquo;precautionary&rdquo; standby agreement with the IMF to replace the EFF, which ends next year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In other words, we will stick to our fiscal consolidation/fiscal prudence (policies), and we will have half-yearly reviews (of our performance) rather than the quarterly reviews,&rdquo; he told the seminar which was hosted by Prime Asset Management Limited, in association with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Shaw said that under this new agreement reserved funds would also be available to Jamaica whenever it is needed.<br /> <br /> The IMF&rsquo;s standby arrangement was created in June 1952 to provide financing to countries requiring help with balance of payments problems. It is often used by member countries and is the dominant lending instrument of the IMF, especially for emerging market countries. <br /> <br /> A standby agreement was approved by the IMF board for Jamaica in February 2010, but subsequently went off track. The new four-year EFF programme, which replaced it in 2013, is geared towards a gradually implementation of measures to reduce the risk of encountering the same economic crisis and create a platform for sustainable economic growth by improving the country&rsquo;s fiscal balances and reducing the debt burden.<br /> <br /> A precautionary standby or an extended arrangement is one in which the member agrees to meet specific conditions for use of IMF resources, although it has indicated to the executive board its intention not to make purchases (drawings).<br /> <br /> Shaw said that the Government and the IMF are midway in the current discussions, and added that the talks are &ldquo;going well&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The team is right here now and we feel so assured that we have our hands on the wheel and we are confident that we are going to move smoothly into the new programme,&rdquo; he told the seminar. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9878338/IMF-logo.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM 4 Don&rsquo;t abuse the elderly! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Don-t-abuse-the-elderly_75696 ACTING Executive Director of the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) Cassandra Morrison is imploring Jamaicans to take care of their elderly relatives and not abuse them.<br /> <br /> The country&rsquo;s seniors, she said, are valuable contributors to national development, and the NCSC sees them as &ldquo;resources to Jamaica and not as burdens&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Morrison, who was speaking in an interview with JIS News, said that Jamaica, like other countries around the world, faces the issue of elderly abuse.<br /> <br /> She said six cases have been reported to the council since April, but estimates that the figure may be higher, as incidents often go unreported.<br /> <br /> Two of the cases were related to sibling control over parents&rsquo; assets. <br /> <br /> According to Morrison, globally, one in every 10 senior citizen experiences some kind of abuse. Those perpetrating the abuse are usually relatives or persons close to the elderly. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We find that senior citizens don&rsquo;t often report this; it&rsquo;s an issue of pride... It is taken as a failure on their part to not be able to provide for themselves [and] there is also the fear of the repercussions,&rdquo; she pointed out.<br /> <br /> Morrison added that these elderly persons would prefer to remain in an abusive situation than to be taken to what is commonly referred to as &ldquo;poorhouse&rdquo;. Elderly abuse, she explained, refers to any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.<br /> <br /> It includes physical &mdash; slapping, hitting, inappropriate medication and physical restraint; sexual &mdash; unwanted sexual touching or being coerced into sexual acts; emotional &mdash; insulting, frightening, threatening, ignoring or isolating a senior; and financial &mdash; fraud, theft, misusing money or property, or putting pressure on seniors to gain access to their funds or property.<br /> <br /> It is estimated that by 2050, close to 25 per cent of the world&rsquo;s population will be senior citizens.<br /> <br /> Morrison noted that the majority of senior citizens are not dependent elderly. &ldquo;They are persons working and contributing to the society in meaningful ways, especially our members of Government,&rdquo; Morrison indicated. <br /> <br /> September 25 to October 1 is being recognised as Senior Citizens&rsquo; Week. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322778/231832_58738_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM 4 Western Caribbean closely monitoring Hurricane Matthew http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Western-Caribbean-closely-monitoring-Hurricane-Matthew_75706 BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) &ndash; The western Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Cuba, and The Bahamas are keeping close watch on the tropical system that has now developed into Hurricane Matthew.<br /> <br /> The system was upgraded to a hurricane yesterday afternoon.<br /> <br /> In Jamaica, the National Meteorological Service said the system could move close to the island and pose a direct threat.<br /> <br /> Fishermen on Jamaica&rsquo;s cays and banks were advised to commence preparations with a view to evacuate, should it become necessary.<br /> <br /> The Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management (ODPEM), meanwhile, has alerted all agencies and parish disaster committees, while emergency managers, responders and volunteers have been placed on standby.<br /> <br /> In the Dominican Republic, the Emergency Operations Centre has also issued an alert for the southern region of the country.<br /> <br /> The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre says Jamaica and &ndash; particularly Haiti &ndash; could start to feel the impact of the Hurricane by late Sunday and eastern Cuba as soon as Monday.<br /> <br /> The National Hurricane Centre, in its update at 2:00 pm yesterday, said the centre of the hurricane was located near latitude 14.2 degrees north and longitude 67.0 degrees west.<br /> <br /> Matthew was moving towards the west near 17 miles per hour and a general westward motion with some decrease in forward speed was expected.<br /> <br /> An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft reported that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts and gradual strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours.<br /> <br /> The hurricane centre said tropical storm conditions were possible in Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba, beginning late last night.<br /> <br /> Rainfall totals of two to four inches with isolated higher amounts are expected over those islands through Saturday.<br /> <br /> It also warned that swells generated by Matthew were expected to affect portions of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, and Colombia during the next few days.<br /> <br /> &mdash; One dead as Matthew batters eastern Caribbean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322977/231865_58765_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM 4 Businessman in Oaklands murder to be sentenced today http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Businessman-in-Oaklands-murder-to-be-sentenced-today_75668 CONVICTED businessman Steven Causewell will today know how many years he will spend in prison for murder when he appears in the Home Circuit Court for sentencing.<br /> <br /> Causewell was on September 8 convicted of the murder of ex-girlfriend Nordia Mitchell, 28, at her Oaklands, St Andrew apartment on July 16, 2008.<br /> <br /> The six-to-one guilty verdict was handed down after a two-hour deliberation by members of the jury.<br /> <br /> Causewell was taken into custody in July 2008 and charged with murder after it was alleged that he had thrown Mitchell from the third floor of her apartment, resulting in her death.<br /> <br /> A post-mortem report revealed that 19 of the 27 injuries Mitchell received were inflicted prior to her demise.<br /> <br /> During the trial, Causewell admitted in an unsworn statement from the prisoners&rsquo; dock in court to being involved in a dispute with Mitchell, but said she was alive when he left her home on the night in question.<br /> <br /> His bail was revoked following the September 8 verdict. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11033122/gavel_w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM 4 Cabinet reviewing parliamentary committee http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cabinet-reviewing-parliamentary-committee_75651 THE Public Order Committee of Cabinet is actively looking at the report of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).<br /> <br /> This was disclosed by Minister of National Security Robert Montague during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This Government and this minister support the mandate of INDECOM, and we will continue to press for amicable and practical collaboration between the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and INDECOM in the interest of citizens of the country,&rdquo; Montague said.<br /> <br /> He also informed that the Cabinet is carefully looking at the recommendations and will make an announcement shortly.<br /> <br /> The report of the Joint Select Committee was tabled in Parliament in November 2015. In it, the committee recommends the establishment of a non-executive board to oversee the commission&rsquo;s work.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the security minister also announced that after weeks of engagement, the JCF and INDECOM have concluded discussions on a memorandum of understanding, which is ready for signing.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This document outlines the protocols governing the engagement of INDECOM and the JCF going forward. We believe that both the JCF and INDECOM should work together in the interest of the country,&rdquo; Montague said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13131325/215226__w300.jpg Local News Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM 4