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 Tesha Miller caught in The Bahamas http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Tesha-Miller-caught-in-The-Bahamas_93965 Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell yesterday said that the scheduled deportation from The Bahamas of alleged Klansman gangster Tesha Miller was delayed.<br /> <br /> Powell didn&rsquo;t give a new date for the deportation, neither did he say what caused the postponement.<br /> <br /> News surfaced yesterday that Miller, for whom the Jamaican police have been searching since last year, was being deported yesterday from Nassau, the capital of the archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean between Cuba and Florida.<br /> <br /> It was not clear when he was captured in The Bahamas, but his pending expulsion from that country comes almost a year after he was deported from the United States where he spent two years in prison on a charge of illegal entry.<br /> <br /> Shortly after his deportation he was listed as a &ldquo;person of interest&rdquo; by Jamaica&rsquo;s Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch and was asked to report to the police following a spike in murders in the St Catherine North Division, where the Klansman Gang is engaged in criminal activities.<br /> <br /> The police theorised that Miller could assist in their investigation of several of the murders in Spanish Town and sections of Portmore during the first quarter of 2016.<br /> <br /> However, he did not turn himself in as requested and there were no more calls for him to make himself available to the police.<br /> <br /> The police are unable to say when and how Miller left Jamaica. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741947/267230_93065_repro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741951/267230_93065_ld.jpg Educate, instead of banning bag juice http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Educate--instead-of-banning-bag-juice_93973 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> After watching the newscast on Monday, March 27, 2017 l started thinking about the policy put forward by Senator Ruel Reid, minister of education, about discontinuing the supply of bag juice to schools come September. And after much deliberation I now have more questions than answers to this dilemma.<br /> <br /> It was reported that this decision was taken based on the high sugar content of these juices and how they contribute to more and more people developing lifestyle diseases such diabetes and obesity. While I understand the need for us, as a people, to promote to the young the practice of a healthier diet to obtain a healthier lifestyle, I see this position as counterproductive.<br /> <br /> A ban on bag juice in schools does not prevent children from having access to it as it would still be sold by vendors, shops, supermarkets, etc. Parents would still be able to purchase them as part of their children&rsquo;s snacks at home. To totally eradicate this product from our children&rsquo;s diet one would have to ban it totally from the country, but would this move be a prudent one as many other products contain similar ingredients, and in many cases a higher sugar content?<br /> <br /> The fundamental question, from where I stand, is what is the alternative to the bag juice? Certainly not sodas or other juices that contain artificial flavouring and similar sugar content levels.<br /> <br /> The nutrition programme the Government provides for schools is intended to assist those who cannot always afford to purchase their meals at school, and I applaud them for wanting to travel a healthier route, but what about the bun that is a part of this offered diet? Speaking as a diabetic, the bun is just as dangerous as the juice.<br /> <br /> There are other factors to consider, as well: A ban on bag juice will definitely affect the man on the corner who makes his living by selling it. And it will affect those employed to a factory that manufactures this product.<br /> <br /> In the final analysis, it is our own responsibility to ensure that we eat right. Instead of restricting certain foods, let us look at educating our parents and children about the importance of eating healthily and ultimately allowing them to freely make eating choices because they see it as important, instead of arrogantly forcing the change through law and policy that may have other serious consequences.<br /> <br /> Gary Rowe<br /> <br /> magnett0072004@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13740811/Reidy-22_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 2 Beware US$100 notes, police urge businesses http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Beware-US-100-notes--police-urge-businesses_93979 The police are urging business operators in Kingston to be on the lookout for counterfeit US$100 notes being circulated by criminals.<br /> <br /> According to the police, counterfeit notes were tendered as payment at a business place in downtown Kingston earlier this month. Since then, other attempts have been made to pass off the fake money at other businesses in the Corporate Area.<br /> <br /> Yesterday one businessman, who opted to remain anonymous, told the Jamaica Observer that the criminals tendered the counterfeit notes at his store. He also said that 10 similar notes were tendered within the past two weeks at five locations.<br /> <br /> One man suspected of trying to use the fake money was held by security personnel and handed over to the police.<br /> <br /> The businessman, while noting that the last counterfeit note was tendered at his store on Friday, said the &ldquo;print job was very good&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Police with whom the Observer spoke agreed, saying that the notes passed the ultraviolet light test and were also rejected at a bank.<br /> <br /> They urged business operators to be alert and take the necessary precautions when dealing with cash. They also suggested that financial institutions host workshops to sensitise the public about the features to look for when accepting paper money. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741952/267172_93066_repro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 2 Bill proposes new tier of JDF for 18-23-year-olds http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Bill-proposes-new-tier-of-JDF-for-18-23-year-olds_93991 Debate on a Bill establishing a third tier of service in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) for youths aged 18-23 was opened in the House of Representatives yesterday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.<br /> <br /> Holness told the House that the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC), which he first hinted at in the recent budget debate, will create an avenue for young people to become fully involved in empowering themselves through national service.<br /> <br /> Approximately 700 youth are expected to be drafted into this level of the JDF this year through the new window of recruitment which, according to the prime minister, is being established on the principle that &ldquo;every unattached youth must have the opportunity to learn, earn, give back, and save (or LEGS)&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He noted that currently the JDF has two primary categories of service &mdash; the regular force, which consists of career soldiers who serve on a full-time basis; and the reserves, who serve when they are needed. He said that the JNSC would be a third category, providing a viable option for young people.<br /> <br /> The JDF, Holness said, would now have an increase of over 700 people in its annual intake, bringing the total intake to 1,000. However, he said that the JNSC would be a short-term, finite programme, wherein the principal focus will be on training and development along with defined aspects of work and military service.<br /> <br /> JNSC soldiers will be paid and, accordingly, be separate in identity and fully provided for in law.<br /> <br /> In his budget debate presentation, the prime minister noted that recruits will register and train for one year, and from that trained pool the best performers will be selected for the JDF, while the others would qualify for joining the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) or for private security jobs, based on the training they have received.<br /> <br /> He said that they would be subjected to the Defence Act, as full soldiers, under an amendment to be made to section 2012 of the Act.<br /> <br /> He also confirmed that regulations to the Act are being drafted to accommodate the development and will be tabled in the House within a month.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So, effectively what we are doing is to use the capacity of the JDF to bring in our young men, especially, and give them the kind of disciplined regimented training that they need,&rdquo; he told the House, yesterday.<br /> <br /> Opposition spokesman on national security, Peter Bunting, said his side welcomed the initiative. However, he said that he had concerns about the funding, and the ages involved.<br /> <br /> Holness gave an assurance that the recruitment would not be politically manipulated, as it would be done through normal channels.<br /> <br /> He is expected close the debate when the House resumes next Tuesday. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13707434/263631_90297_repro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 3 Obese nation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Obese-nation_93943 More Jamaicans are obese today than 15 years ago.<br /> <br /> In fact, according to University of Technology, Jamaica Professor of Public Health and Nutrition Fitzroy Henry, obesity rates among adults have increased by one per cent, each year, since 2002.<br /> <br /> The burgeoning issue took centre stage at yesterday&rsquo;s launch of the Ministry of Health&rsquo;s National Food Industry Task Force (NFITF), which is tasked with formulating strategies to improve Jamaicans&rsquo; diet and lessen the economic burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The ministry currently spends more than $170 million per year to treat NCDs.<br /> <br /> According to Professor Henry, who chairs the NFITF, locally, obesity rates among adults moved from 45 per cent in 2002 to 54 per cent in 2008, and 60 per cent in 2016.<br /> <br /> The professor said the figures should not be dismissed as merely statistics because they represent real people and real implications for public health, which includes a population that is at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.<br /> <br /> The health ministry is therefore on a mission &mdash; of which the launch of the food industry task force is the first step &mdash; to implement programmes to curtail the effects of obesity and chronic diseases now plaguing society.<br /> <br /> While data from the ministry indicate that two out of every three deaths locally are as a result of NCDs, Henry said being overweight is the main underlying cause of death in Jamaica due to fat consumption and daily intake of large quantities of sugar.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The main causes of death in Jamaica include heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, stroke, which are all related to obesity. When we look at the Caribbean figures, obesity is increasing exponentially. It is females more than males, but the males are catching up fast,&rdquo; the professor said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The daily target for sugar per day in children is about 25 grams or five teaspoons. For adults, it&rsquo;s about 50 grams, which is about 10 teaspoons,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> Henry said the global figures show Jamaica, Kuwait and Barbados topping the list of children between 13 and 15 years old who consume more than one bottle of soda daily.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Seventy-five per cent of boys between the ages of 13 and 15 drink more than one soda per day, on average, according to the Global School-based Student Health Survey in 2010. The girls in Jamaica are ranked third, only beaten by Kuwait and Barbados. We have serious problems. Twenty-seven per cent of boys and 33 per cent of girls are overweight, and when we look at it in the global picture, girls over 15 years have the highest rate of obesity,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> But, though the 18-member task force is expected to look at product reformulation &mdash; where manufacturers pledge to reduce the amount of salt, sugar, as well as saturated and trans fat in products &mdash; and food labelling to help Jamaicans choose healthy diets, among other things, it comes more than 10 years after it was conceived in 2002 by Dr Deanna Ashley, the first director of health promotion and protection in the health ministry.<br /> <br /> Could this delay be a factor in the current NCD crisis?<br /> <br /> Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told the Jamaica Observer that he is not casting blame, because NCDs are a result of personal lifestyle choices. Having recognised the impact it is having on society, the minister said the Government is now doing something about it.<br /> <br /> At least three other Caribbean countries have gone ahead of Jamaica to tackle these very issues. Earlier this year, Trinidad banned the sale of soft drinks in schools and Dominica and Barbados implemented a tax on sugar products last year.<br /> <br /> While criticisms of public health lean towards infrastructure, Dr Tufton also said that it is now time to become more vocal on the preventative side of public health.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Unhealthy diet was the leading risk factor of the adult disease burden in Jamaica in 2010. Healthy lifestyle practices, including healthy dietary behaviours, could prevent as much as 80 per cent of the global burden of NCDs. The 2014 Global Status Report on NCDs states that 56 per cent of adults were estimated as being overweight and obese, with 25 per cent being classified as obese, 23 per cent had high blood pressure, and 10 per cent had high fasting blood glucose levels.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To compound the issue, 28 per cent of adults were considered to be engaging in insufficient physical activity. What we eat, how much we eat, and how it is prepared are all issues of concern which must be addressed,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Dr Tufton said the solution is not to close businesses but improve nutritional value of foods, encourage better consumption habits and an active lifestyle through a multi-sectoral approach, which includes the agriculture trade, food industry, civil society, education, and health. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741954/183135_13176_repro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741955/183135_13176_sld.jpg 01 4 Jamaican mother of teen killed by white cop robbed of &lsquo;moral victory&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaican-mother-of-teen-killed-by-white-cop-robbed-of----moral-victory----------_93925 NEW YORK, USA (CMC) &mdash; A Caribbean American legislator says that the Jamaican-born mother of a teenager killed by a white police officer five years ago and was allowed to resign from the New York Police Department (NYPD) has been &ldquo;robbed of an important emotional and moral victory&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Officer Richard Haste, who resigned from the NYPD on Sunday, killed unarmed, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in his Bronx home, in 2012, in front of his grandmother and six-year-old brother.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The fact the Richard Haste was allowed to leave on his own terms, resigning before termination, robbed Constance Malcolm (Graham&rsquo;s mother)of an important emotional and moral victory,&rdquo; New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It also robbed supporters and advocates, who through each denial of justice, told her and her family to just hold on, &lsquo;we will prevail&rsquo;,&rdquo; added Williams, deputy leader of the City Council.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;On a day that we all should be using to celebrate this step forward in accountability that has been lacking, somehow we still fell short. Not to mention the fact that Richard Haste should have been removed from the force years ago, denying him promotions received on Constance Malcolm&rsquo;s taxes.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Critically importantly now is to understand if there are any legal differences in the ramifications of Richard Haste resigning as opposed to being fired,&rdquo; said Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So far my understanding is he will not be eligible for a pension, and will not receive the commonly called &lsquo;Good Guy Letter&rsquo; for future employment.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To be clear, Richard Haste should be in jail. Absent that, the only option left to the city was a departmental trial and removal from the force.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Williams urged the deBlasio administration in New York City to now take immediate steps &ldquo;to confirm any distinctions that may exist, and make clear the full impact on the officer who murdered Ramarley Graham, unarmed, in his house, and in front of his grandmother and little brother.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Only then can we try and salvage the accountability so many thought would come from today&rsquo;s news,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Haste said that Malcolm has &ldquo;got every right to be mad&rdquo; and that he wanted to talk with her &mdash; an offer she quickly rejected.<br /> <br /> A day after he resigned from the NYPD instead of being fired, Haste, 35, told the Daily News that he wished he&rsquo;d been able to talk with the family since the February 2, 2012 shooting.<br /> <br /> But he said the NYPD&rsquo;s communications department, known as DCPI, had prevented him from speaking.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been wanting to talk to the family since day one. I&rsquo;ve been restricted by DCPI. You want to speak, but you can&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Haste said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;She&rsquo;s got every right to be mad,&rdquo; he added, referring to Malcolm. &ldquo;I felt like they deserved to hear what happened.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> But Malcolm, according to the Daily News, was not interested, saying that Haste had his opportunity to speak at a NYPD departmental trial regarding the shooting.<br /> <br /> Haste was found guilty Friday, at the departmental trial, of having &ldquo;exercised poor tactical judgement leading up to the discharge of his firearm&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Richard Haste sat through a trial and lied up there. Now you want to meet with me? That was your opportunity, on that stand. So, no, I won&rsquo;t meet with him,&rdquo; Malcolm said, adding, &ldquo;nothing he could say to me is going to take away that pain.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Haste said his supervisors at the 47th Precinct stationhouse in the Bronx had recognised he was an &ldquo;effective cop&rdquo; and assigned him to the plainclothes narcotics unit.<br /> <br /> TheDaily News said police had suspected Graham of participating in a drug deal and carrying a gun when Haste followed him into his Wakefield, Bronx home.<br /> <br /> Haste, who fatally shot Graham in the bathroom, said he knew the risks involved in the job.<br /> <br /> Malcolm was outraged Haste was allowed to resign, lamenting that two other cops involved in the tragedy remain on the force. Malcolm also wants nine other officers who responded to the scene to be fired, noting that none of them have been charged.<br /> <br /> A Bronx grand jury had indicted Haste, but the judge threw out the indictment because of a legal technicality. A second grand jury decided not to indict him. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741862/267166_92944_repro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Chuck says National ID System will be game changer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Chuck-says-National-ID-System-will-be-game-changer_93885 Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck says the National Identification System will be a huge game changer in the fight against crime.<br /> <br /> According to the minister, the system will not only be able to assist the police, but will also be useful with banks and other entities in ascertaining the true identity of individuals.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have recently passed legislation in Parliament. The National Identification System will be put in place very soon, where every single Jamaican will have an identity by biometrics, including fingerprint, eye colour and DNA,&rdquo; the minister said.<br /> <br /> Chuck was addressing the 40th anniversary celebration for the Jamaica Constabulary Force Class of 1977, at the Jewel Runaway Bay Resort in St Ann last weekend.<br /> <br /> The minister said whenever the police stop or accost someone, the true identity of that person must be known beyond the shadow of a doubt. He also noted that the police will be provided with the necessary tools or machines so that a person&rsquo;s identification card can be swiped and where all the biometric information will immediately become available.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If that person gives you the wrong name, then the results after swiping the card will tell you if that person is trying to mislead you,&rdquo; Chuck said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Moreover, if at a crime scene you find fingerprints and you don&rsquo;t know who they belong to, a quick check with the National Identification System headquarters will reveal the identity of the person. They will be able to tell you, because the fingerprints will match those that are already in the system,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> The minister said people should not be worried about privacy violation, as the record will be kept secret and be used only for the intended purpose.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is simply to catch persons who are committing crimes and using other identities, and also to remain one step ahead of the criminals. It will arguably be one of the most important and effective crime-fighting tools yet,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13470335/244386_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Absent witnesses stall trial of accused councillor in fatal road crash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Absent-witnesses-stall-trial-of-accused-councillor-in-fatal-road-crash_93871 MONTEGO BAY, St James &mdash; The trial of councillor for the Salt Spring <br /> <br /> division of the St James Municipal Corporation &mdash; the People&rsquo;s National Party&rsquo;s (PNP) Sylvan Reid &mdash; failed to get off the ground when the matter was called up on Monday in the St James Circuit Court.<br /> <br /> The accused is facing multiple charges in connection with the alleged death in a road accident of 14-year-old Jouvhaine Whitmore, son of former Jamaican national football coach Theodore Whitmore.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Observer learnt that the delay was as a result of the failure of three witnesses to show up in court.<br /> <br /> Justice Viviene Harris last week Monday issued subpoenas for the witnesses to appear in court. However, the court was told on Monday that only two of the three witnesses were found and served.<br /> <br /> In addition, the prosecutor, Layton Morris, asked for time to allow him to consult with the director of public prosecutions.<br /> <br /> The judge, meanwhile, gave Monday, April 3 as the deadline for warrants to be executed on the witnesses who disobeyed the order of the court.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The witnesses who have been served from last week are not here. The two of them have been served and they have disobeyed the order of the court. I am not adjourning the matter any further, you have my word on that,&rdquo; Justice Harris told coach Whitmore and another witness present in court on Monday when she gave April 3 as the date for continuation of the case.<br /> <br /> Councillor Reid&rsquo;s bail was subsequently extended.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Reid&rsquo;s lead attorney, Queen&rsquo;s Counsel K D Knight, told the court that the case should not go any further.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The incident was November 9, 2013. One witness gave a statement in May 2015. One person is asking a question. One sees men and [a] woman. One see green shirt and hand. One sees no hand,&rdquo; said Knight, in reference to statements collected.<br /> <br /> To an outburst of laughter, Knight said: &ldquo;Let me tell you, the way the society is polarised, if that person is seen in a green shirt he would never bear the title he bears, which is councillor... For my own part, I don&rsquo;t think it is right, because I have a green shirt, but I don&rsquo;t wear it in public... I believe if I like a green shirt, I wear it. But the society doesn&rsquo;t once you are in the citrus group. So all of these [are] odd things.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The party colour for the PNP, of which Councillor Reid and Knight are members, is orange, hence the lawyer&rsquo;s reference to the citrus group.<br /> <br /> The police reported that at around 5:00 pm on Saturday, November 9, 2013, three men were seen leaving the scene of an accident which claimed the life of young Whitmore, at the intersection of Retirement and Tucker roads in Granville, St James.<br /> <br /> Following the fatal accident, in which young Whitmore was reportedly hit from his bicycle, Councillor Reid allegedly reported his SUV stolen to the police.<br /> <br /> An eyewitness, who had visited the station to report the matter, pointed out Reid as one of the three men who was seen leaving the vehicle at the time of the accident, according to the police.<br /> <br /> Charges were laid against Reid on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, following a ruling by the director of public prosecutions.<br /> <br /> Reid was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, failing to report an accident, failing to stop at an accident scene, and for having no insurance coverage. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741779/171029__w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Government to provide transportation for rural students on PATH http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Government-to-provide-transportation-for-rural-students-on-PATH_93948 Government will, as of this September, be providing school transportation for students who are on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) in five rural parishes.<br /> <br /> The aim is to eliminate the problem of students being absent from schools due to transportation problems.<br /> <br /> Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid, who made the announcement yesterday, said he and Transport Minister Mike Henry are having dialogue on the issue and will be moving to have the bus system rolled out in the next school year, as a pilot project in St Elizabeth, St Thomas, St Mary, Hanover and St James.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We seriously have to look at this measure and&hellip; as I make further representation to Cabinet it is going to be a major initiative going forward,&rdquo; said Senator Reid of the planned transportation system for students on PATH.<br /> <br /> Reid, who was addressing yesterday&rsquo;s Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica President&rsquo;s Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston, said: &ldquo;It makes no sense we are offering free access to education but they can&rsquo;t receive it, because they can&rsquo;t even reach.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> According to the minister, the new initiative is being looked at against the background that 20 per cent of children are absent from school daily because they cannot afford bus fares.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Fifty per cent of all the children in our schools are on the PATH programme, and it&rsquo;s not a difficult mathematical equation because if you have 20 per cent poverty then it simply means that those who are at the poverty line are having an average of two children and they have more than two,&rdquo; said the education minister.<br /> <br /> He added that the Government, in addition to providing lunch for PATH students and book rentals will also be paying for their school identification cards and health insurance come September.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So there is no excuse; but what I now need is to get them to school and take them back home safely,&rdquo; Minister Reid said.<br /> <br /> The minster said the focus is being placed on children in rural areas because those in the Corporate Area readily have access to Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses, which are highly subsidised.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip; So we have these poor people way up in the hills who can barely get anything out to the markets to get an income to send their kids to school and they need help more. These are the same very kids who don&rsquo;t get to schools, so if we are going to really improve our country and make sure education is available, the State will also have to invest to get those kids to school,&rdquo; the minister emphasised. <br /> <br /> He said when the prime minister had called for a removal of the barriers to secondary education many did not understand his non-mandatory parent contribution policy.<br /> <br /> Added the minister: &ldquo;I have seen data in several parishes where over 40 per cent of households are on PATH, there are many schools in the rural areas where over 90 per cent of the students are on PATH. So in a quick review some of the anxiety about policy shift in terms of non-mandatory fees were unfounded.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &mdash; Tanesha Mundle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741730/262204_93009_repro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Instead of renouncing permanent resident status, become a citizen http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Instead-of-renouncing-permanent-resident-status--become-a-citizen_93947 Dear Mr Brown,<br /> <br /> I currently have permanent resident status in Canada. However, I have been living and working in Jamaica for the past 18 months. Do you think I should give up my status? What would be the consequences of doing that?<br /> <br /> &mdash; BN<br /> <br /> Dear BN:<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Although I do not know the basis of your decision to continue living in Jamaica, I can provide a general response.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Renunciation of permanent resident status<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> As you may know, people with permanent resident status in Canada are required to spend two years out of every five in the country. The renunciation programme was introduced as a means for permanent residents who fail to meet the residency obligation and have no desire to remain in Canada to still be able to visit Canada without being barred from entry.<br /> <br /> This means that instead of being barred from entry with a removal order for failing to meet residency requirements, those who give up their status voluntarily face no negative consequences if they choose to re-apply for immigration to Canada in the future.<br /> <br /> There are valid reasons for renouncing one&rsquo;s status, such as:<br /> <br /> &bull; The desire to obtain citizenship or permanent resident status in another country, which requires you to renounce permanent resident status in Canada.<br /> <br /> &bull; The failure to meet the residency requirement.<br /> <br /> &bull; The lack of desire to continue living in Canada permanently.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Reasons<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> In general, the pattern of renouncing permanent resident status may have less to do with Canada, and more to do with the policies of one&rsquo;s homeland, such as recognition of dual citizenships.<br /> <br /> Thousands of permanent residents renounce their permanent resident status. There have been reports that the highest numbers are citizens from China and India. China and India do not allow their citizens to hold two passports.<br /> <br /> The chief reasons deal mainly with not having to prove their permanent residency, as many are entrepreneurs who operate businesses or have high-earning positions in their homelands and spend significant time outside of Canada. However, their children often remain in Canada to complete school and to begin their careers as permanent residents or citizens. Upon retirement, the children with status in Canada may sponsor them to become permanent residents again.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Regret<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Once your permanent resident status is renounced, that is, the application is approved by an immigration officer, you will no longer enjoy the benefits of permanent residence, such as access to social and health services provided to permanent residents by the Government of Canada or your province or territory of residence. However, you would still be able to visit Canada, if you are granted a visitor&rsquo;s visa.<br /> <br /> Based on the feedback I have obtained from some of my clients who voluntarily gave up their permanent resident status or failed to meet the residency requirement, they often regret it &mdash; sometimes decades later.<br /> <br /> As such, my advice would be to obtain your citizenship, if possible. That way you will have options as citizenship, once obtained, does not have residency requirements nor would it expire just because you live in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Please visit<br /> <br /> jamaica2canada.com for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study and Work progamme, Visitor&rsquo;s visas or Appeals, etc.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM-a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to jamaica2canada@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13518103/248660_75123_repro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Honduran stabs cop to death at police station http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Honduran-stabs-cop-to-death-at-police-station-_93916 BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC) &mdash; A Honduran national has been remanded in custody after he appeared in court charged with the murder of a police officer, one of eight people murdered here last weekend.<br /> <br /> Marcial Toledo was arraigned late Monday for the murder of Police Constable Marvin Locke, who was stabbed to death at the Racoon Street Police Station on Sunday.<br /> <br /> Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said that Toledo had visited the police station and following &ldquo;a little talk inside&hellip;they eventually walked outside and upon getting outside, the individual took out a knife and attacked the police&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Locke was stabbed multiple times in the chest and abdomen. Williams said the police officer was transported to the hospital where &ldquo;he succumbed while undergoing treatment&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He said Toledo has been charged with murdering PC Locke.<br /> <br /> Media reports here said the fatal attack was a crime of passion, suggesting that a woman may have been at the centre of the bitter ordeal.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, police were also kept busy last weekend with murders being committed in the Belize, Cayo and Stann Creek districts.<br /> <br /> At least eight people were killed during a 48-hour period, with five occurring in Belize City. Among those killed were Randy Green, who was recently freed of a 2011 murder, and a Guatemalan farmer, Roberto De Leon, who was robbed and beaten to death after delivering oranges at the factory in Pomona. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13357328/cabbie_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM 5 Only 29 per cent vote in Portmore by-election http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Only-29-per-cent-vote-in-Portmore-by-election-_93900 EXCEPT for outdoor agents garbed in party colours, yesterday&rsquo;s by-election in the Greater Portmore North Division would have gone unnoticed even to the very residents living in that section of the municipality.<br /> <br /> The eventual 29 per cent voter turnout reported by the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) was evident long before confirmation came due to the absence of overbearing vuvuzelas, strained vehicles carrying supporters, and the most-times friendly clashes between Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) supporters &mdash; signs that usually indicate an election was under way.<br /> <br /> Save for party bigwigs shoring up support and vital votes for their respective candidates, the sense that a crucial battle was on in earnest to decide who would control the St Catherine Municipal Council was missing. <br /> <br /> Teacher Ann Marie Lewis, who was contesting the division for the JLP for a second time, failed to secure the win, polling 993 votes to accountant Gary Nicholson&rsquo;s 2,105 for the PNP.<br /> <br /> The election, a result of the vacancy left by the sudden death of PNP Councillor Michael &ldquo;Fisher&rdquo; Edwards in January, clearly did not entice many of the 10,677 eligible voters who stayed away from the polls.<br /> <br /> One man was, however, determined to cast his ballot even after being told that he did not belong to the division.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Mi vote here every time and I come to vote today,&rdquo; the elderly man stressed as he addressed EOJ workers at the Marine Park Community Centre where counting took place.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sir, you are not from this division; your councillor still alive,&rdquo; one worker said as he struggled to keep a straight face.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So where I go to vote?&rdquo; the man continued to ask as he walked off.<br /> <br /> Voting at Elim Early Childhood Development Centre, one of 38 polling stations, progressed steadily for much of the morning. Just over 200 people had voted when the Jamaica Observer visited.<br /> <br /> However, this did not filter over into Lakes Pen, where tension was high among political factions as a section of the Quarry Hill main road was blocked, preventing several people from voting.<br /> <br /> The Observer was informed that the residents were protesting the mounting of orange paraphernalia at Lakes Pen Basic School, which was used as a polling station.<br /> <br /> The police were called in to clear the roadblock. <br /> <br /> Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown, who was alerted to the scene, said that the &ldquo;small problem&rdquo; was resolved.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There was a little issue at Lakes Pen because of flags and fabric that had been mounted. So potentially there was some tension, but everything is fine now,&rdquo; Parchment Brown said when questioned.<br /> <br /> Heavyweights from both parties set up shop for most of the day outside of Ascot Comprehensive High School, where electors from the One North and Two North communities were expected to vote.<br /> <br /> PNP Member of Parliament Fitz Jackson expressed concern about both communities, explaining that voting was traditionally low in the two. <br /> <br /> Opposition spokesman on local government Noel Arscott also expressed concern, theorising that voter turnout would not exceed 25 per cent.<br /> <br /> On the contrary, JLP Chairman Robert Montague was not fazed by the turnout he had witnessed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are anticipating a win. It is a traditional PNP seat and that is why we have to come in and do our work. It&rsquo;s an election and anything can happen. The Government is performing and the Opposition is not so united,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739833/267042_92872_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739835/267042_92872_ld.jpg India willing to help develop Jamaican film industry http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/India-willing-to-help-develop-Jamaican-film-industry_93835 Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Shri Sevala Naik yesterday expressed an interest in helping to develop the Jamaican film industry by offering scholarships and internships to interested Jamaicans. <br /> <br /> Though nothing has been officially implemented, the diplomat welcomed the suggestion that through India&rsquo;s booming film industry, known as Bollywood, his country could offer assistance to Jamaica. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Film scholarships are not there, but we can develop a model and we can take it up with my Government. There has been no expression of interest from Jamaicans, but I can explore this opportunity. I will be more than happy to help the Jamaican film industry to go and study,&rdquo; Naik told reporters and editors at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper&rsquo;s Kingston offices. <br /> <br /> He also encouraged interested parties to submit proposals to the Indian High Commission. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;In India most of the cinema acting schools are owned by the private sector, but in the Government sector there are certain drama schools where you all can go and spend three months, six months, or one year,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> In January 2016, Bollywood &mdash; the Hindi-language part of the Indian film industry based in the city of Mumbai &mdash; was valued at US$2.32 billion and was expected to grow by 11 per cent in 2017 to US$2.89 billion, according to the Digitization & Mobility: Next Frontier of Growth for M&E report from accountancy firm Deloitte and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.<br /> <br /> In recent times, Bollywood has gained popularity in Jamaica with the introduction of television shows and movies. <br /> <br /> The high commissioner pointed out that when he took office last August, a delegation of Indian filmmakers visited the island to scope its potential. He said he organised meetings between the Indian filmmakers and Jampro (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) and the Indians visited many locations.<br /> <br /> The filmmakers, he said, left with a positive note. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re supposed to come this month for the second round of discussions,&rdquo; he continued. <br /> <br /> According to Naik, the Indian film industry has mostly filmed in countries that offer incentives to film crews. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Bollywood mostly have gone into Europe and then now into south-eastern countries. They all have different locations based on the facilities offered by the host countries. For instance, the UK offers about 50 per cent discount on the spending,&rdquo; he stated.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739730/266950_92865_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 2 Water is on the way http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Water-is-on-the-way_93688 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I regard as unfortunate the contents of the article &lsquo;MP, we are human&rsquo; by your Staff Reporter Kimone Francis which appeared in the Observer North & East section of your newspaper of Monday, March 20, 2017. While I was not named as the &ldquo;MP&rdquo; in the interview done with the three photographed residents, Mt Pleasant is located in my constituency of Portland Western.<br /> <br /> Perhaps if my comments were sought, or that of the National Water Commission (NWC), for that matter, we would have had the opportunity to elaborate on the efforts being undertaken by myself and the NWC to improve and expand the Mt Pleasant water supply. As well, the article would have been more balanced.<br /> <br /> Both as Government and Opposition MP, prior to February 2016 I had several meetings with officials of the NWC in relation to the rehabilitation of the Mt Pleasant water supply. This resulted in an estimate of $200 million being provided for the upgrade of the water supply for potable water to the entire Mt Pleasant and surrounding communities. This would complement the Fruitful Vale water supply, which was commissioned in 2013 in collaboration with my office through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).<br /> <br /> Owing to the unavailability of the projected funds of $200 million, the decision was taken to implement the project on a phase-by-phase basis, with possible help from other stakeholders such as service organisations. The NWC had two community meetings with residents to apprise them of the situation and the work to be carried out in order to get their co-operation. <br /> <br /> Since then the water supply in the Panton and Bottom Road areas has been upgraded, where old pipes were replaced. The NWC has also laid pipes in West End, Barracks, Settlement Road, and has started minor works in Darley in the constituency. The NWC has spent over $12 million to carry out extensive repairs and major expansion works to repair the system. <br /> <br /> The work includes restoration of the Mt Pleasant pumping station with the installation of a new pump, sterilisation of the storage tank, installation of a chlorination system, and repairs to approximately 20 leaks. As Member of Parliament, I must publicly acknowledge the work that the NWC has done, even with a lack of financial resources.<br /> <br /> I must also hasten to point out that the recent disruption in water was caused by the JPS meter to the NWC pump burning out twice, which has now been rectified, allowing for the NWC to restore the water supply.<br /> <br /> Like some other rural areas in Jamaica, Portland has experienced extremes of weather conditions with periods of severe drought and then periods of devastating flooding. In those times of drought, I have either used funds from my CDF or special allocations received from the Ministry of Water to truck water to affected areas, including schools to avoid interruption of classes.<br /> <br /> Other measures which I have used to alleviate the lack of water in the constituency include tanks in 12 communities across the constituency in conjunction with the NWC and the parish council. <br /> <br /> I must point out that after heavy rainfall there is usually high turbidity which temporarily disrupts service to residents. On those occasions, the NWC advises the public of this inconvenience and I, as MP, ensure water is trucked to the affected areas.<br /> <br /> I wish to state that it is not necessary in my 10th year as Member of Parliament to be reminded that any of my constituents is &ldquo;human&rdquo;. It is unfair and unjust for any article headline to accuse me of neglecting any sector, community, supporter of the other party, or &ldquo;human being&rdquo; of my constituency. <br /> <br /> Oftentimes, as MP, creative ways have to be found to ensure that the needs of constituents are met &ndash; whether by way of government resources, fund-raising, or simply begging. Every constituent has my respect. They are the ones who continue to elect me. They are the ones who I will continue to serve and respect in the interest of all my constituents.<br /> <br /> Once again a commitment made by me has been kept, despite the sideshow. <br /> <br /> Daryl Vaz<br /> <br /> Member of Parliament<br /> <br /> Portland Western<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739846/filename_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 2 Chamber of Commerce Director Emeritus Anthony Gomes dies http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Chamber-of-Commerce-Director-Emeritus-Anthony-Gomes-dies_93843 Director emeritus of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) and former Jamaica Observer columnist Anthony Gomes passed away on March 25 after ailing for some time. He was 85 years old.<br /> <br /> Gomes, who was invested with the Order of Distinction, served the chamber for many years and used his columns in the Observer to discuss trade issues, particularly those relating to the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Although many people in Jamaica associated Gomes with the JCC and trade matters, he held a seventh Dan karate ranking and was patron of the International Karate Daigaku (IKD), an organisation formed in February 2011 and which describes itself as using &ldquo;traditional and modern applied research to offer the highest level of karate to all students&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> A biography of Gomes posted on the IKD website and which notes his passing states that he was born in Georgetown, British Guiana, and attended Queen&rsquo;s College in Georgetown, Guyana, before transferring to Mount St Benedict Monastery School in Trinidad. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;He spent two years under the tutelage of the Benedictine monks, after which he enrolled in Loyola High School Montreal, Canada, run by the Jesuits of the Society of Jesus. He then entered Loyola College and studied for a bachelor of commerce degree,&rdquo; the biography states.<br /> <br /> After leaving Loyola College, Gomes travelled to London and enlisted in an elite British Army infantry regiment, the Queen&rsquo;s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, and went to Malaya to join the First Battalion, which was then involved in a major war being waged by 130,000 Commonwealth troops and the Australian Air Force against Communist insurgents. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;After two years of guerilla warfare in the thickest jungle in the world, Anthony embarked for England on the troop ship<br /> <br /> Lancashire, which eventually sailed from Singapore and docked in Liverpool after 32 days at sea,&rdquo; the website states.<br /> <br /> Gomes then underwent European warfare conversion courses in Kent and, having passed a War Office Selection Board, he entered the Eaton Hall Officer training institute in Cheshire. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;On graduation, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant and rejoined his regiment in Luneburg Germany (a member of the 7th Armoured Division), the famed &ldquo;Desert Rats&rdquo; of North Africa that defeated German Afrika Corps Field Marshal Erwin Rommel,&rdquo; the biography states.<br /> <br /> He was eventually promoted to First Lieutenant and, in the mid-1950s when he was a temporary Captain, he resigned his commission to pursue a career in business.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He joined Unilever Limited in London and was assigned as a trading assistant to the United Africa Company in Nigeria. After 11 years in Nigeria, with two coup d&rsquo;&Atilde;&copy;tats, a savage civil war, and four years in the Cameroons on the West African Coast, he returned to Guyana for three years where he became seriously involved with karate, which he had practised in Nigeria,&rdquo; the biography states.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This venture was to become a major influence in his life that ended with a 1987 automobile crash in Trinidad, which nearly cost him his life. As a Third Degree Black Belt, he was forced to retire from training, but remained connected with the association he co-founded... with Frank Woon-A-Tai, an exceptional instructor, who was later to earn international recognition.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> After his retirement from formal business, Gomes devoted his time as a director of the JCC and chairman of the International Trade Committee interacting with the Government of Jamaica on trade issues. His main pastime was swimming, and he spent time each year with his son and grandson who reside in the Algarve region in southern Portugal. <br /> <br /> He actively participated in the management of the IKD in Jamaica and in June 2011 he was appointed patron of the IKD.<br /> <br /> A memorial service in his honour will be held tomorrow at 10:00 am at Stella Maris Church in St Andrew where Gomes was devoted member. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739865/266994_92844_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 3 Digicel Cash Prix winner to expand small business with prize money http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Digicel-Cash-Prix-winner-to-expand-small-business-with-prize-money_93841 Barrington Senior plans to expand his construction business with the $200,000 he won recently as a weekly prize in the Digicel Cash Prix.<br /> <br /> The promotion, which was launched on February 3, sees lucky customers wining $200,000, $100,000 and $50,000 in weekly cash prizes, while other weekly prizes included smartphones, call credit and data plans. <br /> <br /> Senior, who has been operating Barr&rsquo;s Construction Services in Old Harbour, St. Catherine for more than 12 years, says he is happy for the ability to expand his business.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am going to use my money to buy some welding tools,&rdquo; Senior said when asked about his plans. &ldquo;Running a business can be tough, so getting some help like this is a big, big boost&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Second place winner for the same week, Kimberley Lewin, who currently works from home in the marketing and customer service field, said she would either go into farming or beauty care with her $100,000 cash prize.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not sure what I want to do as yet but I know I want to own my own business and with this money this dream will become a reality,&rdquo; shared an enthusiastic Lewin.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m naturally good at doing nails, hair and make-up, so with the money I could go to school and get certified or I want to go into pig farming. It&rsquo;s (pig farming) just something that I&rsquo;ve always been interested in and I know I&rsquo;d be good at it. Plus I know I would get a good return on my investment&rdquo;, she explained.<br /> <br /> The Digicel Cash Prix gave customers who top up with $200 or more, activate a data plan or talk for 10 minutes or more a chance to win a share of $7 million dollars. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We like the power that cash gives to our customers. Every week our winners share plans of fulfilling short and long-term dreams that may not have been possible without these prizes. This fulfilment is truly the best reward we could give them for being a Digicel customer,&rdquo; said Annalise Harewood, head of recharge and distribution at Digicel.<br /> <br /> The Digicel Cash Prix promotion ended on March 16 where one lucky customer won the grand prize of one million cash, while others walked away with call credit for one year, postpaid plan and data service.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739689/266996_92819_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 3 Certainly not revenue generation! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Certainly-not-revenue-generation-_93095 I am tired of the kind of leadership we have in Jamaica and I am sure that the majority of my fellow citizens are too. The main source of funds for the Government over the years has been taxation. It would seem, based on my observation, that it has become the only source of funds, and there also seems to be no rush on the Government&rsquo;s part to change that any time soon.<br /> <br /> Due to the comfort found in scraping taxes from everywhere, the Government has labelled their unconscionable taxation policies and their raiding of State-run agencies such as National Housing Trust as revenue generation. This it is not!<br /> <br /> Revenue generation is defined as the manner by which a company &lsquo;sells&rsquo; its goods or services to &lsquo;produce&rsquo; an income. This selling, might I add, is not the kind of slap-dash divestment that our politicians love to do. No, it is using our assets in a manner that will make money for the country for the long term.<br /> <br /> That said, this business of selling our 20 per cent stake in the Jamaica Public Service Company and the selling off of the Norman Manley International Airport are utter lack of foresight, business savvy and plain common sense. This practice by Government, I submit, is not revenue generation, but rather income extraction &mdash; the people work, they take. Others may call it highway robbery, which is not too far from the truth.<br /> <br /> The taxation policy of the Government reminds me of a peanut butter lover &mdash; what the knife can&rsquo;t remove from that jar, the fingers surely will. The Government is using its fingers now, but I ask the question: What will happen when the jar is finally empty and the fingers licked? The people work, the Government takes, and they meet in Parliament and have a good laugh about it in March each year. Our politicians continue to make a mockery of us because Jamaicans are still relatively peaceful compared to some reactions of people in other parts of the world to bad governance. No one is going down to Duke Street with fireworks in mind, therefore loose tax policies, misappropriation of funds (for that is what taking from the NHT is) and expensive, unplanned campaign promises are fair game. There is no recourse, no demands, no holding politicians accountable, no calling for resignations, no lockouts or sickouts, etc, so our entitled politicians have free rein to do whatever they please.<br /> <br /> Government investments and people ownership are things akin to a Disney reality in Jamaica. Opposition Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna, in one of her most recently published articles, wrote: &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t expect our people to stop scamming others if, as leaders, we blatantly cheat them out of their own money.&rdquo; I concur with her statement, because I strongly believe we&rsquo;re being cheated with this prosperity gimmick.<br /> <br /> The Government and many of the people seem to have lost the understanding that we must work hard to achieve our desired keep. They seem to rather take what others have worked so hard for. A lot has been said and a lot written, but the change we long for still remains elusive. That change is not in Andrew Holness, and I doubt it is in Peter Phillips. What will bring about the change? An uprising? For until then the people will remain the laughing stock of Jamaica&rsquo;s elitist, foresight-lacking politicians.<br /> <br /> drvlllowe@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13728452/264152__w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 3 Government may include Outameni in housing programme http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Government-may-include-Outameni-in-housing-programme_93879 The Government is hoping that it will finally get a buyer for the Orange Grove/Outameni estate in Trelawny. However, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Dr Horace Chang has hinted that the Administration may have to fit the controversial property into its housing programme.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Nothing has happened yet, no takers yet, (and) I&rsquo;m not aware of a plan B yet. I&rsquo;m certain if we don&rsquo;t get sale for it we will have to see how we can fit it into the housing programme,&rdquo; Dr Chang told the Jamaica Observer recently.<br /> <br /> Outameni has been advertised twice so far, with several proposals submitted for bidding up to last October on the property which a former board of the National Housing Trust (NHT) approved for purchase in 2012 under questionable circumstances. <br /> <br /> The NHT&rsquo;s Construction and Development Unit, based on a 2013 site assessment of the property, had indicated that it &ldquo;does not appear to facilitate the NHT&rsquo;s mandate for affordable housing solutions and is more suited for recreational/heritage type facility&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The Government in 2012 had bought the loss-making property from Orange Valley Holdings Limited (OVHL), which is owned by local film-maker Lennie Little White, for $180 million, a decision which drew public outcry when it was brought to the attention of the public in 2013 by the then Opposition Jamaica Labour Party.<br /> <br /> Shortly after, some board members resigned, but others staunchly defended the purchase. <br /> <br /> Auditor General Pamela Monroe-Ellis, in a report to Parliament in April 2015, concluded that the NHT&rsquo;s purchase of the Orange Grove/Outameni property had been a buyout of a bad debt owed to a local merchant bank.<br /> <br /> According to the report, OVHL had in November 2012 informed NHT that it could acquire the Orange Grove property, with the great house and the built-attraction, and physical structure for a fraction of the estimated value of $311.16 million, stating in a letter that &ldquo;the property is indebted to a merchant bank and we give NHT full authority to negotiate a buy-out of the bank loan which covers the realty&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> The auditor general said OVHL also outlined that: &ldquo;We note that the proposal was supported by four letters of appeal to preserve the property as an educational, heritage and tourist attraction. The letters were from a former governor general, a former prime minister, and a Member of Parliament. The other letter was from a non-governmental organisation.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The report said the NHT board, at a December 2012 meeting, approved the purchase of the debt in exchange for the assets and agreed that the NHT would settle the outstanding debt due to the merchant bank on behalf of OVHL, which was estimated at $180 million, in exchange for the company&rsquo;s assets.<br /> <br /> Following the transfer of the title to the NHT, the agency incurred costs of $28 million up to October 2014 in utility, insurance, maintenance, salary, and security. The NHT spends just under $1 million per month to maintain the 9.1-acre property.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739866/267031_92843_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739867/267031_92843_sld.jpg 02 4 PNP Easy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/PNP-Easy_93902 The Opposition People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) easily retained the Greater Portmore North Division of the Portmore Municipal Council (PMC) yesterday and, in the process, regained control of the wider St Catherine Municipal Corporation (SCMC).<br /> <br /> First-time contestant, the PNP&rsquo;s Gary Nicholson romped home, scoring 2,105 votes to the Jamaica Labour Party&rsquo;s (JLP) Ann Marie Lewis&rsquo;s 993 votes.<br /> <br /> The result means that the PNP will continue to keep control of the huge 41-division SCMC by the one-seat majority it had held up to the death of PNP Councillor Michael &ldquo;Fisher&rdquo; Edwards in January.<br /> <br /> The PNP controls the PMC by 10 divisions to two, and with the 12 PMC councillors sitting in the SCMC as well, the PNP has an edge of 21 divisions to 20 in the SCMC.<br /> <br /> Director of Elections Orrette Fisher confirmed last night that the by-election had attracted only 29 per cent of the 10,677 residents who were eligible to cast ballots. Fisher also commented that there was no threat to Nicholson assuming the councillorship, despite the fact that the PNP candidate was unable to vote yesterday because he does not reside or is registered in the Greater Portmore North Division.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He is registered to vote in the constituency [ St Catherine Southern], which makes him eligible,&rdquo; Fisher told the Jamaica Observer last night. <br /> <br /> Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie told the Observer last night that the JLP had no complaints about the running of the by-election.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is a strong PNP division, and they put in some hard work in order to retain it. We expected to do better, but we were unable to get the turnout of voters we were hoping for,&rdquo; McKenzie said.<br /> <br /> He added that the JLP was also disappointed that it was unable to reduce the approximately 700-vote loss of 2016. However, he felt that the PNP worked much harder &ldquo;because they had more to lose&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Newly confirmed leader of the PNP Dr Peter Phillips, who joined a large team of party executives and workers at the party&rsquo;s St Catherine Southern constituency office after the balloting, was, as expected, buoyed by the results.<br /> <br /> He congratulated the team of party workers before disappearing into a room full of party executives and supporters.<br /> <br /> Large groups of both PNP and JLP supporters and party workers could be seen on the streets of Greater Portmore in their colours after the announcement. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739838/267043_92873_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739839/267044_92875_Sld.jpg 01 4 Bloody day at JUTC Spanish Town canteen http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Bloody-day-at-JUTC-Spanish-Town-canteen_93892 A man is now in police custody following yesterday&rsquo;s fatal stabbing of another man at the Jamaica Urban Transit Company&rsquo;s (JUTC) canteen at the Twickenham Park depot in Spanish Town, St Catherine.<br /> <br /> The deceased, Raymond McDonald, and the accused were employed as assistant manager and manager, respectively, by the canteen concessionaire at the depot.<br /> <br /> The police reported that approximately 9:55 am, McDonald was stabbed after an argument developed between him and his co-worker. <br /> <br /> A JUTC staff member who attempted to intervene in the dispute was injured. <br /> <br /> The accused was held by security personnel at the depot and handed over to the police. <br /> <br /> Yesterday, marketing and communication manager at the JUTC, Reginald Allen, told the Jamaica Observer that it was a &ldquo;day of reflection&rdquo; for the staff at the depot, especially for those who witnessed the tragic incident and tried to get medical attention for the injured. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13740482/Stabbing_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Irish potato farmers appeal for help http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Irish-potato-farmers-appeal-for-help_90923 &ldquo;I lost over $700,000 in Irish potato when the drought hit us. Right now I owe the bank that money, so, yes, we lose a lot and we are here struggling to bounce back to get back on our feet,&rdquo; director of the Christiana Potato Growers Association and farmer, Glenroy Powell, told the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer following the staging of a climate smart management forum held by Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate cHange II (Ja Reeach) a few weeks ago in Mandeville.<br /> <br /> Powell said he was not the only farmer who experienced losses and made an appeal for financial assistance now that it is the planting season.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is really hard for us now, because the Government say we must increase upon what we plant, but to do so we need the cash to really bounce back,&rdquo; the farmer stated.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are here on a limb, because we really have the heart to plant, but we don&rsquo;t have the collateral to really go forth with it, so we would like some way to see how the Government can help some of us who lose from back then,&rdquo; Powell said.<br /> <br /> Another problem affecting the farmers is access to water, according to Julie Bryson Hing, whose farm is in the community of Pike.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They need to find a way to give us water in Pike because we don&rsquo;t have any water on the main. We have to use tanks, and some people don&rsquo;t have tanks, so as soon as their water is finished, they turn to us, so we have to supply them, and so we don&rsquo;t have as much water now for our farm,&rdquo; Bryson Hing shared.<br /> <br /> She explained that, as a result of the drought, she lost 18 bags of Irish Potato at $5,000 each, in addition to money used to prepare the land, which yielded only 410 pounds of the crop.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So I still lose out,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;How you gonna recover from that, who is going to repay you for it?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> However, Bryson Hing said she intended to plant again this year. &ldquo;But we need water; if we get water up there we can do better.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> She expressed hope for this Irish potato season because of the rain the parish has received this year.<br /> <br /> In contrast, there are some farmers who stated that they received even more rain than expected during 2015.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Well, I couldn&rsquo;t say it was bad. We had a drought because it is a natural occurrence, but 2015 wasn&rsquo;t a bad year for south Manchester where drought is concerned. We get more rain than expected, and this year doesn&rsquo;t look too bad for us, either,&rdquo; said Rose Hill farmer Vivian McKenzie.<br /> <br /> He maintained, however, that the community is struggling with problems related to water as there is no proper irrigation system in place for farmers. This, he pointed out, is a big drawback as the community and, by extension, the parish also produce sweet potatoes, especially for the export market, in large quantities.<br /> <br /> McKenzie also said that, while he found the forum to be constructive and was grateful for the inputs, he had to return to the problems facing him in the field.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When we leave here the farmer is on his own. We have always been on our own&hellip; yuh better manage fi yourself, because RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) can do so much and no more,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is because they don&rsquo;t have the resources, so normally the extension officer will come and find out what&rsquo;s happening, but they can&rsquo;t offer no more assistance than suh, and so the Government really needs to get more involved in farming,&rdquo; he added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739819/261232_92867_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739820/266984_92870_sld.jpg 03 4 High commissioner pushing for Jamaicans to study in India http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/High-commissioner-pushing-for-Jamaicans-to-study-in-India_93842 JAMAICANS are now taking up scholarships to study in India, Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Shri Sevala Naik told yesterday&rsquo;s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.<br /> <br /> The high commissioner confirmed that previously there were no responses to between 15 and 25 scholarships advertised locally annually, but said things have now changed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There used to be, I believe, 25 slots [but] there were no takers from even government employees. Since the time I came and campaigned aggressively I got all 15 seats (scholarships) done this year,&rdquo; he stated. <br /> <br /> Naik was assigned to Jamaica last August after serving in Munich, Germany, as consul general in the Indian embassy. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip; We have a programme [for] technical and educational training under which every year we offer scholarships for Jamaican Government employees to go to India and study. The study period could be from two weeks to six months to one year and the entire cost is borne by the Government of India,&rdquo; Naik explained. <br /> <br /> He said while scholarships for children of Indian origin are available and advertised, &ldquo;we don&rsquo;t get any response from the Indians&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> The high commission, he said, has requested 25 scholarships for the upcoming year, which he said begins next month, and there is already interest.<br /> <br /> But he thinks that not enough advertising has been done to attract Jamaicans to apply for scholarships in India. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Maybe we&rsquo;re not reaching out to them because we advertise through our website and we e-mail some prominent people [but] we may not be reaching out to the countryside,&rdquo; the high commissioner noted when asked about the lack of uptake in scholarships previously. &ldquo;&hellip;So probably this time now we will make it (advertising) more aggressive.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &mdash; Jediael Carter http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739767/Shri-Sevala-Naik_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Wigton lab offers 3-day course in April http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Wigton-lab-offers-3-day-course-in-April_93811 The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica yesterday announced that registration is now open for a certificate course in solar thermal technologies at the Wigton Renewable Energy Training Lab in Rose Hill, Manchester.<br /> <br /> The training is scheduled for April 5-7, 2017.<br /> <br /> According to a release from the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, the three-day workshop will provide a &ldquo;thorough&rdquo; overview of solar thermal technology, with an emphasis on the measurement and distribution of solar radiation, solar collectors, as well as the design, configuration and installation of solar thermal systems.<br /> <br /> The curriculum, which will include classroom sessions and lab exercises, will be delivered and assessed by lecturers Sameer Simms, Christene Campbell and Trevor Bennett, the release said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;All three instructors were trained by the Renewables Academy, a leading international provider of energy training which is headquartered in Berlin, Germany,&rdquo; the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica said.<br /> <br /> The corporation also pointed out that, although the course is open to the public, it is encouraging solar water heater suppliers and technicians, energy enthusiasts, educators and students in energy-related fields to attend.<br /> <br /> Registration for the certificate course, which is being offered for a fee of $52,500, is open until April 4.<br /> <br /> Wigton Windfarm Limited&rsquo;s General Manager Earl Barrett is quoted in the release as saying: &ldquo;With more businesses and homeowners opting for solar powered energy sources, there is an increasing demand for skilled professionals who are knowledgeable about solar energy technologies.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The solar thermal technology training course we are offering at the Wigton Renewable energy lab will equip persons to position themselves or their businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that are arising in the growing business of solar technology supply and installation,&rdquo; Barrett added.<br /> <br /> The release said the Wigton Renewable Energy Training Laboratory, which was opened in November 2016 and began offering courses in January 2017, is a state-of-the-art facility which provides theoretical and hands-on training in all areas of renewable energy. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739721/266987_92787_repro_w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Mayor concerned about security after stampede at concert http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Mayor-concerned-about-security-after-stampede-at-concert_93810 Following last Saturday&rsquo;s staging of the Magnum New Rules concert at the National Stadium&rsquo;s car park, Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams has said that, going forward, several security concerns will have to be addressed for similar large-scale events.<br /> <br /> During one of the performances on the night, fans uprooted the fence which separated the VIP and General sections, causing a stampede.<br /> <br /> The mayor said in a release that measures must be put in place to minimise harm.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to put reasonable measures in place to mitigate any possible harm to patrons, as well as to maintain order,&rdquo; the mayor said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The energy of such events oftentimes leads to stampedes due to the calibre of performances and popularity of artistes,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> Williams also called on promoters to have dialogue with city officials and the police.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Promoters will need to have discussions with the municipality and the police to ensure that all security concerns are sufficiently addressed,&rdquo; the mayor said.<br /> <br /> At the same time, Williams lauded the organisers for the execution of the concert.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As a creative city of music, we ought to encourage more events such as these, which will boost the city&rsquo;s economic activity, attract tourists, and build the entertainment industry on a whole,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He also made special mention of his appreciation for the effort made by the promoters and performers to keep the lyrics clean, which he said was refreshing and the standard for events within the city. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739709/247749__w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Redlands farmers building tank for community http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Redlands-farmers-building-tank-for-community_92318 Farmers in Redlands, Clarendon, have pooled their resources and skills to build a water tank for the district where regular supply of the precious commodity is a problem.<br /> <br /> The project is being undertaken by the Redlands Production and Marketing Organisation (PMO), a farmers&rsquo; group established four years ago and which now has 32 members.<br /> <br /> Generally, PMOs deal with collective marketing of produce grown by farmers. However, the Redlands PMO has extended its scope to include community development projects.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So, the group looks at the needs of the community and sees what is the most important need in that sense. We had some needs in the community which the group really saw as necessary, and one of them had to do with the availability of water in the community,&rdquo; Redlands PMO President Roy Powell told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.<br /> <br /> He explained that as a result, the group decided to undertake the task of improving the volume of water available to the community, as the current supply was not enough. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;In the community there are a lot of springs, but we also did have a tank before in the 1960s that used to supply both Redlands and the neighbouring community of Red Hills,&rdquo; Powell explained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The population that time was quite alright, but the numbers have long outgrown those days and people can&rsquo;t get the needed water supply anymore, so they get frustrated over the situation. Some people all go to the point where they destroyed the very pipe that was there,&rdquo; Powell said.<br /> <br /> He said that the group decided to try and see how it could resolve the situation and, with advice and help from its Peace Corps volunteer Ian Hash, the group successfully secured a US$9,000 grant from international donors last month, after close to a year of waiting.<br /> <br /> Since then, they have bought most of the supplies needed to complete the construction. The organisation also received permission from a private landowner to construct the tank on a piece of land that is centrally located, and ensured under the agreement that the tank will be available for use by the entire community.<br /> <br /> The group said it hopes that the tank, which will accommodate 11,000 gallons of water, will be completed before the end of this month so that work on the pipeline can begin soon after.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For the piping, we still gonna be in short supply,&rdquo; Powell said. &ldquo;We need more funds as well to help us with some more piping, as I think the distance of the pipe is about 4,500 feet to bridge and another mile to reach the school, so we need a lot of pipes. We have some piping, but it&rsquo;s just a small amount in the ground there.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In the meantime, Powell said the group has already identified what it would like to do in the second phase of the project. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;In the second phase, we can help our adjoining community, Red Hills, as they are in need too. But presently, in phase one, we have to see how much of the community of Redlands it can supply before we even think of moving on to Red Hills,&rdquo; Powell stated.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13739699/263970__w300.jpg Local News Tuesday, March 28, 2017 12:00 AM 4