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 &lsquo;Don&rsquo;t panic&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-Don-t-panic-_75568 BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com MINISTER of National Security Robert Montague has moved to assure the country that the violence affecting western Jamaica, especially the parish of St James, has been cauterised.<br /> <br /> In a statement to the House of Representatives yesterday on the spate of violence in the region, Montague urged residents to be calm and praised the security forces for their efforts to reduce tension in the area.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Panic and knee-jerk responses cannot and will not solve our problems, neither will panic confront crime,&rdquo; the minister said.<br /> <br /> He argued that crime management strategies and programmes he had raised in his sectoral debate presentation earlier this year are coming together.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It will not be an instant fix, but this House must be updated as to where we are, and how we have been responding,&rdquo; he told his colleagues in the House.<br /> <br /> The minister noted that, during the past two weeks, criminal gangs in Montego Bay and neighbouring rural communities have shot and killed 23 people and injured 13 others, triggering alarm and concern in the western region and throughout the country.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Government condemns these barbaric murders in the strongest possible terms and expresses its regret and condolence to the families, loved ones and communities in western Jamaica, who are in mourning and distress at this time,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I recognise that many of you are feeling helpless, hopeless and powerless; but you need not be. Join the fight against crime in your community, co-operate with the police, be partners with this Government, because you know this Government cares, and you know that this minister understands,&rdquo; he stressed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I can report that, through the efforts of our security forces, we have cauterised the situation in St James. To date, the police have arrested the two main perpetrators of the violence, recovered three guns and 66 rounds of ammunition, and seized a car involved in some of the shootings. We have also detained 98 persons, 37 of whom have been arrested and charged,&rdquo; he reported to the House.<br /> <br /> However, he cautioned that there were still trouble spots in the area, with criminals &ldquo;who are determined to create mayhem, and we anticipate one or two incidents as we continue this operation&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> He said that the House must be made aware, as has been stated by the commissioner of police, that there seems to be &ldquo;a nefarious undercurrent&rdquo; to some of the activities in St James. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Ministry of National Security is carefully watching this, and the police have been asked to increase intelligence assets on the ground,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The minister also listed a number of measures which have been applied to bringing the situation under control, including the establishment of a joint police-military operating centre in Montego Bay; increasing the number of police and military personnel in the region, as well as in other hot spots across the country; and increased intelligence assets, which have been deployed in areas of operation.<br /> <br /> He added that the commissioner of police has instructed that the serving of all warrants and summonses in police stations must be delivered within two weeks; curfews have been imposed; cordon and searches implemented; mobile patrols and vehicle checkpoints increased; and the process of the splitting of St James into two police divisions already started.<br /> <br /> He said that in the medium term, 200 pre-owned vehicles are being procured for allocation across police divisions; two Coast Guard bases will be established in Savanna-la-Mar, and at the Montego Bay cruise ship pier; and that 40 dogs are being secured from Cuba for drug detection in the fight against narco-trafficking. <br /> <br /> In terms of social intervention to ease the economic pressures on the affected communities and reduce tensions, discussions are being held with Ministry of Housing to upgrade the informal communities, and the Ministry of National Security will be significantly increasing programmes like the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force&rsquo;s Community Safety and Security Branch, among others.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Above all, we must focus our resources on diverting the young people away from the gangs and criminal activity and offer them viable solutions and alternatives; and in this regard we are all our social intervention programmes, including the CSJP and the Peace Management Initiative,&rdquo; the minister added.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13079290/210466_r400_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaica has eyes on Tropical Storm Matthew http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaica-has-eyes-on-Tropical-Storm-Matthew_75508 JAMAICA&rsquo;S National Meteorological Service last night issued a severe weather alert as it closely monitored Tropical Storm Matthew, which formed yesterday morning near the Eastern Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Matthew, which passed through the Windwards Islands yesterday afternoon, knocking out power supply and causing flooding, is forecast to move over the southern and central Caribbean Sea by Friday when it could become a hurricane. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Thereafter, it could move closer to Jamaica and pose a direct threat to the island,&rdquo; the national met centre said.<br /> <br /> The storm was moving towards the west near 33 km/h, with maximum sustained winds near 95 km/h, with higher gusts, and was expected to strengthen.<br /> <br /> Fishers 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) said it has alerted all agencies and parish disaster committees, while emergency managers, responders and volunteers have been placed on standby.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The public is asked to continue monitoring the radio for further information pertaining to Tropical Storm Matthew. As we are in the peak of the hurricane season, the ODPEM is advising the public to take precautions in the event the island is impacted by the hurricane.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans were asked to:<br /> <br /> &bull; Check that the galvanised or zinc sheeting on the roof of houses is properly fastened; check hurricane shutters, hooks, latches and repair where necessary.<br /> <br /> &bull; Keep in stock extra plastic bags and sheets of plastic to prevent important documents, paintings, equipment and furniture from getting wet.<br /> <br /> &bull; Trim trees that touch power lines or hang over the house and other buildings. <br /> <br /> &bull; Make sure that emergency cooking facilities such as coal stoves are in good working condition. <br /> <br /> &bull; Store extra food, especially things that can be eaten without cooking or which need very little preparation.<br /> <br /> &bull; Have emergency supplies, including water boots, raincoats, flashlights, batteries, portable radio, kerosene lamps, matches, and the necessary medical supplies.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13320893/filenameins_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:00 AM Cecil Cooper sent off with musical tributes http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cecil-Cooper-sent-off-with-musical-tributes_75575 THE chapel at The University of the West Indies, Mona, was filled yesterday with members of the artistic community as they gathered to pay their final respects to artist, teacher and musician Cecil Harvey Cooper.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who read the first lesson, and culture minister Olivia &lsquo;Babsy&rsquo; Grange headed the list of dignitaries at the thanksgiving service.<br /> <br /> The two-and-a-half-hour-long service opened with a string of musical tributes to the late tenor. Carole Reid with I Want Jesus to Walk With Me; Commander John McFarlane delivered John Denver&rsquo;s You Fill Up My Senses; Keisha Patterson offered You&rsquo;ll Never Walk Alone; and the University Singers performed the anthem Give Me Wings. However, the most touching moment was a performance of My Way by Dem by Three Jamaican Tenors. This group started 12 years ago and featured David Reid, Steve Higgins and Cooper. Higgins said he had promised Cooper to keep the trio going and had roped in Rory Baugh and Commander John McFarlane. For this performance it was Baugh, Higgins and Cooper&rsquo;s vocals cleverly mixed into the track. That would not be the last time time the congregation would hear the voice of the late tenor, as recordings would further punctuate the service of thanksgiving.<br /> <br /> Representing the family, Pastor Charles Brevitt remembered Cooper for his sensitivity, compassion, wisdom, and scholarly pursuits and summed up the man by quoting American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson<br /> <br /> &ldquo; &lsquo;...To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.&rsquo; I do believe Cecil has been a success.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Former student and visual artist Ebony Patterson remembered her late tutor for his ability to push his students to limits they did no know they were capable of attaining.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He was a mountain of a man whose presence filled a room&rsquo;s corners. He was a generous teacher who gave his students so much and always demanded more. This was because he saw you going beyond the potential you had set for yourself. I hear him everyday when I am sharing with my own students,&rdquo; she recalled.<br /> <br /> Cooper&rsquo;s friend for nearly four decades Robert Gregory reflected on his personality, noting that he was an opinionated straight-talker. &ldquo;He says what he means and means what he says, charismatic, wore his heart on his sleeve but was no bleeding heart, did not suffer fools gladly.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Cooper, who died on September 15 after a brief illness, is survived by his widow Rose, daughters Alissa, Alexis and Jamila, stepson Adrian as well as five siblings. He was 70 years old. His death came one week after he invested into the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander, for his contribution to the arts.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Richard Johnson http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13320142/231435_58537_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM PHOTO: Crosswalk http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Crosswalk_75553 Traffic stops as a visually-impaired man, using his cane as a guide, makes his way across Waltham Park Road, St Andrew, on Tuesday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13320655/231131_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:00 AM PHOTO: Our condolence http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Our-condolence_75578 Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left) and his wife Juliet (left) greet Cecil Cooper&rsquo;s widow Rose Bennett Cooper and stepson Adrian Bennett inside the University Chapel at the thanksgiving service for the artist, teacher and musician. (Photo: Karl McLarty) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13320609/231433_58536_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Police to hunt for more guns in crime-hit St James http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Police-to-hunt-for-more-guns-in-crime-hit-St-James_75562 BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com MONTEGO BAY, St James &mdash; The police high command yesterday announced plans to place more emphasis on the one-year-old Get-the-Guns Campaign in a direct response a spiralling rate of murders, particularly here in St James.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Although we are satisfied with the number of guns we have seized, we are still very concerned with the population being armed with illegal weapons. Currently, 80 per cent of our murders are being committed with the use of illegal firearms and, interestingly enough, the parish is showing more than 90 per cent of the murders were committed by persons using illegal firearms,&rdquo; said Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenroy Hinds, head of the crime portfolio, announced. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;So, a significant plank of our strategy is really to reduce the illegal flow of guns into the country.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> DCP Hinds noted that since the programme to retrieve the illegal guns was initiated by Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams in September of last year, it has resulted in the seizure of 655 illegal firearms, of which 95 per cent were &ldquo;properly manufactured&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Also confiscated were more than 9,000 rounds of ammunition, while arrested and charged were 652 people for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. <br /> <br /> Assistant Commissioner of Police Warren Clarke, commander of Area 1, which includes the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland, stated that, of the 316 murders since this year in his area, some 237 were committed with the use of firearms. <br /> <br /> He said that of the 200 murders in St James this year, 184, or 92 per cent, involved the use of guns.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Since the start of the year, in Area 1, we have seized 148 firearms and 1,349 rounds of ammunition. Eighty-eight of those firearms and 810 rounds of ammunition were found in St James alone,&rdquo; said Clarke.<br /> <br /> He noted, too, that several wanted men, including three fingered in the recent spate of murders in St James, have been arrested this year.<br /> <br /> The two senior policemen were speaking during a press conference hosted by Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams at the Freeport Police Station in Montego Bay.<br /> <br /> DCP Hinds also revealed the strengthening of partnership &ldquo;with our United States law enforcement agents, the neighbouring Haitian, Dom Rep, Honduras, Costa Rica, and The Bahamas&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Dr Williams, who toured sections of the parish which have been torn by gun violence a week ago, resulting in the murders of more than a dozen people, said he was pleased with plans put in place to respond to the upsurge of murders in the parish.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am satisfied that the plans they have are good and they are going to yield some benefits for the people of Montego Bay and the wider St James,&rdquo; Dr Williams stated. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12046698/gun_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Finance, tourism ministries take over ownership of MoBay Convention Centre http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Finance--tourism-ministries-take-over-ownership-of-MoBay-Convention-Centre_75532 CABINET has approved the transfer of ownership of the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, to the ministries of finance and the public service and tourism. <br /> <br /> The management, operation and marketing of the facility will be handled by the Ministry of Tourism. <br /> <br /> Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, who made the disclosure at a recent JIS Think Tank, said the convention centre will be part of an integrated development programme for the area, which is intended to attract investments and propel further growth in the tourism sector.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am in negotiation with some investors for a convention hotel and, hopefully, a major shopping complex that will all be within that area&hellip; and will be able to attract the kind of mix that we need to give the centre the spur that it requires,&rdquo; he disclosed<br /> <br /> Minister Bartlett said the facility can accommodate major meetings, short courses and various fora.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that convention centres around the world normally do not make a profit,but they bring in large numbers of people for meetings, conferences, shows and displays, who stay in hotels.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They go to the shops, they rent cars, they go to restaurants and they allow the dollar to permeate through the economy,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The Montego Bay Convention Centre opened its doors in 2011 as avenue for conventions, trade shows, banquets and theatre-style conferences. It was built as a response to the growing need for first-class meeting and convention facilities on the island.<br /> <br /> The centre was constructed by the Government of Jamaica in conjunction with the Chinese Development Bank and was previously owned by the Urban Development Corporation.<br /> <br /> It has hosted several major events such as the Jamaica Investment Forum, Jamaica Bridal Expo, Jamaica Product Exchange, and Jamaica Diaspora Conference. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12959464/203276_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Woman sentenced for impersonating FBI agent in J&rsquo;can lottery scam http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Woman-sentenced-for-impersonating-FBI-agent-in-J-can-lottery-scam_75556 WASHINGTON, DC, USA &mdash; The Department of Justice announced yesterday that Vania Lee Allen has been sentenced to 40 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for her role in a Jamaica-based lottery fraud scheme. Allen was also ordered to pay $117,000 in restitution.<br /> <br /> Allen, 30, pleaded guilty on June 22 in the Southern District of Georgia to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and false impersonation of an employee of the United States. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Lottery fraud scams based in Jamaica targeting Americans typically need help from at least one co-conspirator in the United States,&rdquo; said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C Mizer, head of the Justice Department&rsquo;s Civil Division. &ldquo;Impersonating an FBI agent to convince an innocent victim that this so-called international lottery is real is deceitful, pure and simple. The Justice Department will actively pursue and charge those who participate in such criminal activity,&rdquo; said Mizer.<br /> <br /> As part of her guilty plea, Allen acknowledged that she and a co-conspirator in Jamaica sought to unlawfully enrich themselves through a fraudulent lottery scheme targeting an elderly resident of Evans, Georgia. <br /> <br /> An indictment charging Allen was filed on March 3. According to the indictment, Allen&rsquo;s co-conspirator falsely informed the victim that he had won money in a lottery and instructed the victim to make payments to various people in order to collect the purported lottery winnings. As part of her plea agreement, Allen acknowledged that in order to induce the victim to continue to make payments as directed by her co-conspirator, Allen travelled from Jamaica to the United States to meet with the victim personally. Allen also acknowledged that when she met the victim, she falsely portrayed herself as an FBI agent, provided the victim with a cellphone, and directed him to speak with the person on the line, who was her co-conspirator in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The prison sentence given by the court demonstrates the significant consequences of engaging in fraud designed to steal from Americans,&rdquo; said US Attorney Edward J Tarver of the Southern District of Georgia. &ldquo;International lottery scams will not be allowed to continually target the most vulnerable segments of our communities without fear of severe consequences. This US Attorney&rsquo;s Office and the Department of Justice&rsquo;s Consumer Protection Branch will prosecute fraudsters whether they operate from inside or outside of the United States.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Postal Inspection Service seeks to stop the victimisation of American citizens, many of whom are older Americans, by those engaged in international lottery schemes,&rdquo; said Inspector in Charge David W Bosch of the US Postal Inspection Service&rsquo;s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Division. &ldquo;Today&rsquo;s sentencing demonstrates there are no safe havens for these international criminals who attempt to hide their criminal misdeeds behind their country&rsquo;s borders.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice&rsquo;s effort to work with federal and local law enforcement to combat fraudulent lottery schemes in Jamaica that prey on US citizens. According to the US Postal Inspection Service, Americans have lost tens of millions of dollars to fraudulent foreign lotteries.<br /> <br /> The case was prosecuted by trial attorney Clint Narver of the Civil Division&rsquo;s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant US Attorney C Troy Clark of the Southern District of Georgia. The case was investigated by the US Postal Inspection Service and the Columbia County Georgia Sherriff&rsquo;s Office.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11709566/FBI_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Another 168 basic schools to be merged http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Another-168-basic-schools-to-be-merged_75548 THE Ministry of Education says it plans to rationalise 168 more basic schools during this fiscal year in order to strengthen the early childhood sector. <br /> <br /> The rationalisation process involves merging clusters of basic schools, as well as subsuming some into infant departments of primary schools. This is done according to factors such as the numbers of students at each institution, and the needs of the geographical areas, among other considerations.<br /> <br /> Speaking at yesterday&rsquo;s sitting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) at Gordon House, Chief Education Officer Dr Grace McLean said there was still an issue with some infant departments not following the ministry&rsquo;s guidelines. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have seen some not very good achievements as it relates to some of our infant departments over the last two to three years. We found that in some instances &mdash; especially the ones that existed before (and) are already under government &mdash; there is a tendency not to want to ensure that they are following all the guidelines as stipulated by the early childhood commission,&rdquo; she explained.<br /> <br /> The chief education officer said these schools have been cautioned that there must be 100 per cent compliance with the early childhood standards. She pointed out that there have been cases of some children who are just over the age of three who are being grouped with those over four years old in the infant departments of some schools, with no co-ordinator to support the early childhood department.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The principals had overall responsibility. So we made some changes (and) we took the decision to engage a co-ordinator to provide support directly at the early childhood level. We are expecting that, within this coming year, we should see some amount of improvement,&rdquo; Dr McLean stated.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, she said the ministry now has data from the national students registration programme on the general performance of students up to grade 10 under. She said that, in another two years, the information should be accessible to other relevant agencies in order to make the appropriate intervention for students who have challenges.<br /> <br /> Committee member Mikael Phillips argued that the government should move to have children admitted into the formal school system from as early as age two. He said there is a gap by the time they enter the system at age three, and that these students are falling behind in their early school years, as a result. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;You start at age three and there is a challenge for parents out there in finding a place for the children at age two,&rdquo; he said, highlighting that private basic schools such as those built by churches and communities often are unable to fulfil the ministry&rsquo;s standards for certification, cover insurance costs, and other requirements. <br /> <br /> Phillips said he has found that the curriculum is often deficient. &ldquo;In many instances, they just become a glorified day-care centre. It bothers me, because when they get to grade one, the teachers pay so much attention to get the majority of the students to catch up. It has been a long-standing problem, where we are paying a lot of attention to our secondary, tertiary and primary and we have left the early childhood institutions behind. By the time they catch up, it&rsquo;s GSAT (Grade six Achievement Test) time. I would love to see us getting back to the stimulation starting at age two,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> According to the Early Childhood Commission, there are currently 2,600 basic schools across the island, with just under 200 certified, and another 1,500 having permits to operate while inspections are periodically carried out leading to certification. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12812467/Grace-McLean_w300.jpg Local Education Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Woman holding dual J&rsquo;can-US citizenship pleads guilty in lottery scam http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Woman-holding-dual-J-can-US-citizenship-pleads-guilty-in-lottery-scam_75502 WASHINGTON, DC, USA &mdash; A dual Jamaican/United States citizen has pleaded guilty for her role in a Jamaican-based fraudulent lottery scheme, the Department of Justice announced yesterday.<br /> <br /> The woman, Felecia Roxanne Lindo, 32, who is currently residing in New York, pleaded guilty in the Western District of North Carolina to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Lindo was charged in connection with a fraudulent lottery scheme based in Jamaica that induced victims in the United States to send her hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover purported fees for lottery winnings that victims had not won and never received. <br /> <br /> Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting those responsible for fraudulent international lottery schemes, which frequently target elderly Americans,&rdquo; said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C Mizer, head of the Justice Department&rsquo;s Civil Division. &ldquo;We will continue to pursue and prosecute this criminal activity, wherever the fraudsters may be.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Today&rsquo;s prosecution represents another step in our efforts to stem the tide of international scams preying on innocent Americans,&rdquo; US Attorney Jill Westmorland Rose for the Western District of North Carolina said yesterday. &ldquo;Fraudsters located outside the United States frequently rely on co-conspirators in the United States to help their scams succeed. Such illegal conduct will be investigated and prosecuted,&rdquo; said Rose.<br /> <br /> This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice&rsquo;s effort working with federal and local law enforcement to combat fraudulent lottery schemes in Jamaica preying on American citizens. According to the US Postal Inspection Service, Americans have lost tens of millions of dollars to fraudulent foreign lotteries.<br /> <br /> Lindo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud with enhanced penalties for telemarketing. As part of her guilty plea, Lindo acknowledged that from in or about 2011 through at least in or about September 2012, she was a member of a conspiracy that targeted victims in the United States. Victims of the scheme received a telephone call stating that they had won money in a sweepstake or lottery. Victims were instructed to send thousands of dollars for fees or other expenses in order to release their purported lottery winnings. Victims sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lindo in the United States, who then forwarded a portion of the money to Jamaica. Lindo acknowledged there was no lottery and no winnings were paid and that she kept some the victims&rsquo; money for her own benefit.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Postal Inspection Service seeks to stop the victimisation of American citizens, many of whom are older Americans, by those engaged in international lottery schemes,&rdquo; said Inspector in Charge David W Bosch of the US Postal Inspection Service&rsquo;s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Division. &ldquo;Regardless whether these criminals reside within our borders or beyond, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners here and abroad to bring these offenders to justice.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mizer and US Attorney Rose commended the investigative efforts of the US Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Raquel Toledo of the Civil Division&rsquo;s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of Assistant US Attorney Kelli H Ferry of the Western District of North Carolina. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319785/231398_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Obasanjo unimpressed with Mugabe&rsquo;s hold on power http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Obasanjo-unimpressed-with-Mugabe-s-hold-on-power_75441 BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor – publications davidsonv@jamaicaobserver.com Reading between the lines you&rsquo;ll conclude that former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is not impressed with Robert Mugabe&rsquo;s continued hold on power in Zimbabwe.<br /> <br /> Ninety-two-year-old Mugabe was elected prime minister in 1980 and served in that post until he won the presidency in December 1987.<br /> <br /> He is regarded as a hero of his country&rsquo;s fight against apartheid, but in recent years he has been accused of ruling with an iron fist, crushing dissent and his political opponents.<br /> <br /> Under his tenure, the Zimbabwean economy has plunged to the point where teachers and medical personnel have, in recent weeks, gone on strike over unpaid wages.<br /> <br /> Mugabe has consistently blamed his country&rsquo;s economic problems on Western states, led by Britain, who, he said, have plotted to get him out of office because of his seizure of white-owned farms.<br /> <br /> However, his detractors have said he has not demonstrated an understanding of how a modern economy works.<br /> <br /> Just this month, he was reported as saying that he intends to contest the 2018 presidential election, triggering more criticism from his opponents.<br /> <br /> Last Friday, the Jamaica Observer put the question of Mugabe&rsquo;s continued stay in office to Obasanjo, who was on a short visit to Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I believe that unless he decides to go, he will not go,&rdquo; said the former army general who served as Nigerian president from 1999 to 2007.<br /> <br /> Asked whether he believes Mugabe should step down, Obasanjo said: &ldquo;Well, I believe that after he has stayed as long as he has, since 1980, I don&rsquo;t believe there is something special that he wants to achieve that he has not so far achieved. I don&rsquo;t believe there is magic that he wants to perform that he hasn&rsquo;t performed.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> When the Observer asked Obasanjo if he thought that Mugabe had betrayed the revolution, he gave a heavy sigh before answering.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Well, he believes that he hasn&rsquo;t. To the extent that the revolution was partly about land redistribution, I would say he has kept faith with the revolution. But to the extent that the revolution was also about democracy, that has not been able to take place. Particularly to the extent of ensuring that there is succession, then I would say he needs to put that in play before he goes, and it&rsquo;s never too late to do that,&rdquo; Obasanjo said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319693/231178_58312_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:00 AM Private sector urged to set up CCTV to help police in crime fight http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Private-sector-urged-to-set-up-CCTV-to-help-police-in-crime-fight_75456 THE private sector is being urged to join the police in their crime -fighting efforts, by setting up closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems at their business places, which could help the police in their fight against crime.<br /> <br /> The call was made by Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams as he gave the keynote address at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) President&rsquo;s Forum at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston on Tuesday.<br /> <br /> Dr Williams said he believes it should be a requirement for all businesses to have CCTV in their vicinity, noting that this practice has worked well in other countries. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I would want to invite you to think about setting up CCTV cameras and ensure they are part of a wider system that will be monitored (so) that you can become eyes for the police,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is how technology can help and this is how the people who are going to be the beneficiaries of a safer community can step in and help,&rdquo; the commissioner added.<br /> <br /> Dr Williams suggested that the PSOJ could coordinate the initiative to ensure it is done by a wide cross section of entrepreneurs.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If every businessman could invest in a camera for his place&hellip; I think it could be a game changer. Think about it,&rdquo; the commissioner said.<br /> <br /> The commissioner, at the same time, has called for greater private-sector investment in social programmes in violent communities.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Crime is a community problem, and a solution requires the involvement of the community,&rdquo; he said, noting that initiatives must involve families, schools and churches.<br /> <br /> Dr Williams said the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is also seeking a partnership with private security organisations which have a similar objective of safety and law and order as the formal law enforcement system.<br /> <br /> He said an alliance with this sector would significantly boost the capacity of the 13,000-strong police force. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10243130/CCTV_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM &lsquo;He now has all the solutions&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-He-now-has-all-the-solutions-_75520 Opposition spokesman on national security, Peter Bunting, is being taken to task by Jamaica Observer online readers, over his criticism of current minister, Robert Montague, on his handling of the crime portfolio. Here&rsquo;s how readers reacted to the story published yesterday in which Bunting chastised the minister.<br /> <br /> dallo<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m afraid people are going to react with derision towards you Peter Bunting... you had your chance, remember?<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> PhilT McNasty<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> You tell him, Peter...di man who walked on water because of his faith in divine intervention. Still patting yuh own back, bro?<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> jeh kan<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @PhilT McNasty: Well, is not only him. The commissioner have himself 100% remember ?<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Jaded876<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @jeh kan: Yea brah, 10/10<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Time fi Prosperity<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @jeh kan: He chose the commissioner.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Vision2000<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @jeh kan: The Commissioner talk too much also. He is always talking about what he is going to do and never gets anything done.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Logic to JA<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Actually he is partially right, he does seem very distant. The minister and commissioner are very distant. When he came in as security minister, he didn&rsquo;t really come with new transformative ideas. This particular issue is a PNP allowance now turned complete nightmare a second time. We all need to demand he/ they work together and fix this once and for all, JLP and PNP.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Time fi Prosperity<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @Logic to JA: PNP had their time and did nothing. what new insight can they bring since they have been kicked out of office? I like what I have heard from the JLP so far. Please don&rsquo;t forget that St James and Hanover had seen this level of crime before the election<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> thirdround<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> I will have serious criticisms for the JLP if one year after office there is no positive movement. What did Bunting and by extension the PNP do for 17 years?? Unbelievable!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> VivstaXtruth<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> All Bunting has to do, is to change the name Montague, and replace it with Bunting and he would realise his own shortcomings! This fellow can either stop and think or continue being a politician... I hope Bunting realise that many are hurting. And that talking about who is engaged in portfolios ain&rsquo;t going to create solutions to our crime problem!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Raymond D. Grant<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> With all due respect...he now has all the solutions? The audacity of some of our politicians. Dem really tek wi fi eediat! It is going to take more than &ldquo;Peace Day&rdquo; marches and &ldquo;stakeholders meetings&rdquo; to deal with this organised crime monster. Marches, while symbolic, will solve nothing. &ldquo;stakeholder meetings&rdquo; will also not get rid of organised crime. Among other strategies, It needs trained, intelligent uncorrupted and committed boots on the ground - lots of them. Instead, we are hearing that the police are afraid of INDECOM!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Jaded876<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @Raymnd D. Grant: We need more cctv too;, the footage from that one in Mobay was so clear; and ensure the laws are there so the videos can be used as evidence. Hopefully we don&rsquo;t hear things like someone has to come forward with it even though the video is out there<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Vision2000<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Not again! What will it take for this failed empty suit to shut up. He was just as incompetent during his time in the position.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> hope2013 <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @Vision2000: Bunting&rsquo;s response to an increase in crime under his watch was that it was &ldquo;jus&rsquo; a bump in di road&rdquo;. He then called for &ldquo;divine intervention&rdquo;. This man was absolutely clueless for four years.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Mine<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Instead of this grandstanding, go give him a visit (invited or not) and offer your help. Not saying you&rsquo;re wrong or right ...just saying now is not the time to be the Opposition, but rather the time to put politics aside and help with the issue plaguing Jamaica.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Jaded876<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Oonu hurry up and call the meeting and craft the plan and stop play this game; people a dead every day.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> donnietalker<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> All this talk and rhetoric from this failed ex-minister will help no one. Bunting needs to stop playing politics.Jamaica needs people power to stop this bloodletting.The way Bunting sounds one would expect to see the current minister patrolling the streets of MoBay. How about calling upon the people to turn the criminals in? They know them. My suggestion is for the Government to offer huge rewards for the capture of gunmen. Give the people some incentives to turn them in. Ask the private sector to help fund it. <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> JAY<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Observer .... Please don&rsquo;t be like other media and publish any and every article ... You are being held to high standards.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Jordon<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> And I&rsquo;m supposed to think that you think the portfolio fits you? Ok then, Mr Stush guy.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Holy Perv<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> True true... Lang time mi ah warn dem dat Bunting has di gift of divine insight. More dan anybody else, Bunting can spot ineffective Government slackers anywhere him see dem..What a wonderful gift him blessed wid! Thanks fi di insight, brethren . ..Unlike you, di one Montague is turning out fi be ah real disappointment. Cho..We ah beg you fi keep an eye pon him and guide him. Yuh know di tings. Get back to us if yuh envision anymore problems... blessed.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Desmond Byfield<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> I believed I missed something in the article based on the comments; now I saw Bunting profess an opinion on the current minister then went further to call for a meeting of minds to craft a solution. I thought that would be a good thing but apparently Jamaicans can only see the politics in the article. Peter Bunting had his chance and so have many ministers before him; nonetheless crime is still out of control in Jamaica. I believe his proposal to have all the stakeholders come together is an appropriate starting point. Remember, people, you are all Jamaican, and blaming the other side is not solving the problems.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Kkenzie<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Believe me when I tell you, dem jus carving out a way to blame all this on the police against the backdrop of &ldquo;police fraid a INDECOM.. Police fraid so criminals are allowed to run free... The real issue is government and their governance. Suddenly everybody has the solution to the problem. Government and Opposition have allowed the baby monster to grow and fester through their greed and glut. Finally, the people of this country need to come together and take back beautiful Jamaica out of the hands of hoodlums. Only then will real change come..<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> daltjohns <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> @Kkenzie: The police are afraid of INDECOM because they are no longer able to get away with wrong doings. The days of zero accountability are over. Either do your job the right way or leave.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m so disgusted at seeing this topic. When INDECOM stops doing their job then we will take them to task also. Do your job and stop whining!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Jamaica a mi blood line<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> And how did you engage the ministry when you were in charge of it? But what is this!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Cory<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> I must agree with Peter Bunting. From the beginning, it was quite clear that Mr Montague did not really want the position and was somewhat coerced into taking it. It is only strong and decisive, or the perception of strong and decisive leadership that can curtail Jamaica&rsquo;s endemic crime problem. Criminals see the type of wishy-washy leadership exhibited by Montague as a sign of weakness. It would do Mr Montague well to study the approaches taken by Mayor Guiliani of New York and President Duterte of the Phillipines in their approach to crime fighting.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Falcon_Holw<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Peter, I know you, so for goodness sake, stop talking!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Teacher<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> The JLP in Opposition declared that they could solve the crime situation. They impressed on the population to vote for them if they wanted to be safe. How can one forget Mr Holness&rsquo; suggestion that if persons voted for JLP they would be able to enjoy safety? One cannot forget the frequent comments by Derrick Smith, calling on the prime minister to address the crime situation. But the reality is far different. The JLP has failed to tame the crime monster and many lives are being lost daily. What we are witnessing are the manifestations that crime is NEVER going to be solved by playing politics with the issue, as the JLP has done over the years.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Dhc<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Why you think him never want the position? Him know him can&rsquo;t manage it.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Time fi Prosperity<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Bunting had four years and he was never engaged, and what is happening now in S. James happened at the end of 2015 when he was in charge. Bobby has only been in the role for seven months and has done more than the PNP in 30 years... guh siddung and shet up! Yuh a get pan mi nerves!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Hayila<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Mr Bunting, while you held this position if you were fully engaged crime would not be where it is at the moment. Come with solutions, if you have any, and stop campaigning.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> niceladyjam<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Bunting, please chill. You are the worst minister of national securityJamaica has ever had.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> The Saint<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> We need a new commissioner and a new minister. None of the two have any umph. They sit in their offices and make statements, criminal not afraid of that. As for Bunting, he should not say much as he did not have the solution when he was in charge anyway.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> noshel<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> It always happens this way. when you are in, either your nose is pressedtoo close to the glass so you couldn&rsquo;t see much, or you were sitting too far from the window, so all you could see was a glimpse of what was happening outside. But now that you are outside, you seem to have all the answer for everything! All I can say, it&rsquo;s time for every one to get together PNP, JLP and no P and let&rsquo;s do this as Jamaicans, not just as police and politicians!.. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319666/223684_58451_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13126620/214819_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Belize reports 46 confirmed cases of Zika virus http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Belize-reports-46-confirmed-cases-of-Zika-virus_75471 BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC) &mdash; At least six pregnant women are among the 46 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, health authorities here have confirmed.<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Health said it is working with the pregnant women and those expecting to get pregnant in order to deal with possible cases of microcephaly, the abnormal smallness of the head due to incomplete brain development that normally affects babies.<br /> <br /> The surveillance officer at the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, Lorna Perez, said there are 593 suspected cases of Zika.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Of these 305 have actually been screened, which means a blood sample or a urine sample has been collected from these persons which represents 52.5 per cent of all suspected cases being screened.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Of these 305 tests that have been done, we&rsquo;ve received 177 results, which represents 58 per cent of all samples taken which means we are still awaiting some results. Of this 177 now, we have 46 positive, which is 26 per cent. So far we have that as our positivity rate,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> The authorities said three of the pregnant women have already given birth and the babies so far have not exhibited any conditions of microcephaly or other malformations.<br /> <br /> Maternal and Child Health Advisor Dr Natalia Largaespada Beer said the surveillance of the effects of exposed infants have now expanded to not only microcephaly, but to other congenital malformations related to zika such as genitourinary, cardiac and digestive systems, hearing and visual abnormalities.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The scope of the syndrome will expand as further information and longer follow-up of affected children becomes available. There is no treatment, there is no vaccine against zika virus. A lot of the preventative measures that are being recommended can be applied to women that are not pregnant and women during pregnancy,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Finance said it has approved insect repellants and insecticide bed nets that are being distributed free of cost through the various health facilities. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13235033/223149_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Government says mining, minerals sector is bouyant http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Government-says-mining--minerals-sector-is-bouyant_75507 PRINCIPAL director in the Ministry of Transport and Mining Dr Oral Rainford says the minerals sector is heading in the right direction with the buoyancy it is now experiencing.<br /> <br /> He said that highway construction, among other development projects, has resulted in a significant increase in the production of limestone, skid-resistant aggregate, and other materials.<br /> <br /> According to Rainford, the amount of material produced for the building of the north-south link of Highway 2000 and associated roads in one year exceeded the three-year demand.<br /> <br /> Addressing a JIS Think Tank held recently at the agency&rsquo;s head office in Kingston, said that focus is being placed on maximising the value-added areas of the mining and minerals industry and to integrate the sector into other areas of the economy.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t want to focus only on exporting bauxite and limestone in their raw forms. We want to add value, and we want to make more of the products that we need from these minerals here,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It is that sort of vision that we have for the sector to use the material that we have because we can do it, we know how to do it, and it is going to generate the benefit that is needed,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Dr Rainford noted that limestone is already being used locally in the making of paint, soap, animal feed, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as well as construction blocks and related products.<br /> <br /> He also pointed to the export of ground calcium carbonate, which is being produced to the grade of flour or baby powder. This is used in products such as antacid and in the manufacture of cigarette paper.<br /> <br /> Limestone is utilised as an anti-caking agent in baking flour, is an ingredient in calcium tablets, and is used to remove sulfur in coal-fired plants.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is a major part of the process to remove impurities from bauxite, which gives alumina a very good quality and a range of other things,&rdquo; Dr Rainford pointed out.<br /> <br /> He told JIS News that industrial limestone is beneficial in controlling odour and vermin at landfills, and in purifying water.<br /> <br /> Hydrated limestone is an option for the rum distillery business and a range of other applications. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13320076/231378_58463_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13320073/231379_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM PHOTO: #FirstDayofSchool http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-FirstDayofSchool_75284 Keeba Golding (centre) and Skye Golding (right) share a high five with Kaysia Johnson Vaughan, marketing manager, programmes at Scotiabank. Golding recently won $122,740 for entering the Scotiabank #FirstDayOfSchool Photo Competition on Facebook. She entered a photograph of her daughter Skye, on her first day at school, and received the most votes.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319953/230924_58314_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Back-rank mate http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Back-rank-mate_75488 It was in laudation to the game of chess last Tuesday evening as members and supporters of the Women&rsquo;s Leadership Initiative (WLI) attended the Jamaican Premiere of Queen of Katwe at the Palace Cineplex, Sovereign Centre, Liguanea. The not-so-typical Walt Disney film, which stars Oscar award-winning actress Lupita Nyong&rsquo;o and Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo, tells the inspirational story of a young girl (played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) from the streets of Kampala, Uganda, whose world is transformed as a result of chess. Indeed, to reinforce the world of possibilities afforded by chess, the WLI extended invitations to 20 members of the Magnificent Chess Foundation as well as chess players from numerous schools across the island. <br /> <br /> Part proceeds from the evening&rsquo;s premiere will benefit the Magnificent Chess Foundation. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319853/231312_58422_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319852/231299_58417_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319848/231304_58418_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319859/231306_58419_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319858/231309_58420_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319851/231310_58421_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319861/231314_58423_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319856/231333_58425_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319857/231334_58426_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319860/231336_58427_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319855/231337_58428_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319862/231338_58429_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319854/231341_58430_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319843/231344_58431_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319864/231331_58424_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM #BoldLipsForSickleCell http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-BoldLipsForSickleCell_74917 &ldquo;The movement &mdash; #BoldLipsForSickleCell&rdquo;, shared Annabelle Nunes, the beautiful voice and face of sickle cell anaemia in Jamaica, &ldquo;was birthed by American Shamonica Wiggins to raise awareness about the hereditary blood disorder and to support those who battle the disease. I have put a spin on it, targeting our Jamaican audience, in order to educate and improve the awareness of the illness, as it does affect many of our people in such a profound way. Hence, why you might have seen the many social media postings sporting &lsquo;bold lips&rsquo; throughout the month of September.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Thursday Social certainly has, and adds support to this worthy cause. September might be drawing to a close, but the struggle continues! Join the movement and follow the hashtag #BoldLipsForSickleCell to help raise awareness. <br /> <br /> 10 facts about Sickle Cell:<br /> <br /> 1. It is NOT contagious. You cannot &ldquo;catch&rdquo; it by way of contact.<br /> <br /> 2. Having the sickle cell trait means that one carries the gene, but does not have the disease.<br /> <br /> 3. Having the sickle cell trait means that one should have one&rsquo;s partner tested so that an informed decision can be made about procreation. If both partners have the trait, a child can be born with the full-blown disease.<br /> <br /> 4. It is a disorder that affects red blood cells. The cells change from being round and flexible to stiff, sticky and sickle-shaped, causing tremendous pain and complications.<br /> <br /> 5. Triggers for sickle cell crises include: extreme weather (both hot and cold), dehydration, lack of rest, fatigue, poor sleeping habits, physical and emotional stress.<br /> <br /> 6. Water is a sickle cell patient&rsquo;s best friend. Hydration is vital to healthy life. <br /> <br /> 7. Sickle cell is not a &ldquo;black people&rsquo;s disorder&rdquo;, as it occurs in various races and ethnicities globally.<br /> <br /> 8. Complications can occur in any part of the body, and include extreme pain, pneumonia, acute chest syndrome, leg ulcers, stroke, and necrosis.<br /> <br /> 9. Sickle cell disease occurs one in every 300 births in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> 10. Sickle cell disease is not a death sentence. Many patients live healthily into their senior years. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319796/230918_58396_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319789/230920_58393_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319791/230919_58394_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319790/230917_58395_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319792/231291_58401_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319788/ZZ43071BE3_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319794/230916_58397_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319795/231301_58404_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319797/230915_58398_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319798/231298_58403_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319799/230913_58400_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319800/230914_58399_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319801/231296_58402_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM More restorative justice centres coming http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/More-restorative-justice-centres-coming_75551 GOVERNMENT will be increasing the number of restorative justice centres in operation across the island.<br /> <br /> Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said the objective is to expand and strengthen the programme of intervention, mediation and resolution in volatile communities in order to &ldquo;ease some of the conflicts that emerge&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> He was speaking at a justice services sensitisation session at the ministry&rsquo;s Constant Spring Road offices in Kingston on Tuesday.<br /> <br /> Chuck said the ministry hopes to commence the expansion programme in October, with the establishment of facilities in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town in West Kingston.<br /> <br /> He indicated that discussions are being held with Member of Parliament for the area and Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie.<br /> <br /> These facilities, when opened, will add to 10 already in operation. There are four in the communities of Trench Town and Tower Hill in Kingston and six in St Catherine, Clarendon, Westmoreland and St James.<br /> <br /> Minister Chuck urged community leaders, including teachers, members of the clergy and civic-minded individuals, to encourage persons with disputes to utilise the centres to settle their differences.<br /> <br /> Permanent secretary in the ministry, Carol Palmer, who also spoke at the session, said the new centres will be provided with staff and facilitators.<br /> <br /> She indicated that community leaders in the areas where the new centres will be sited will benefit from sensitisation and training to enable them to identify and resolve disputes or refer these for settlement.<br /> <br /> Restorative justice is a system of justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.<br /> <br /> The Government is looking to incorporate restorative justice procedures within the formal justice system through the Restorative Justice Bill now before Parliament. Debate on the Bill began in the House of Representatives on July 19.<br /> <br /> Tuesday&rsquo;s sensitisation session was the sixth held to equip participants with the necessary information and skills to better assist residents to access justice services in their communities. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12038540/legal_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Four Sandals managers get Dutch training http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Four-Sandals-managers-get-Dutch-training_75504 FOUR managers from Sandals Resorts International, fresh from a two-week development programme for hotel managers facilitated by the Hotelschool The Hague (HTH), are ready to apply their newly learnt skills to the day-to-day management of their respective properties and lead the charge for the creation of the company&rsquo;s Hotel Manager Development Programme.<br /> <br /> The programme was aimed at identifying potential leaders in the company and grooming members across the region for the role of hotel manager in order to further allow the company to develop and promote talent from within. <br /> <br /> Dawn Smith, Caroline Cousins, Leighton Joseph and Lancelot Lebert, hotel managers at Sandals Montego Bay, Beaches Negril, Sandals Inn and Sandals Royal Caribbean respectively, were selected to participate in the programme which was implemented under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Sandals Corporate University (SCU) and HTH. The training took place between August 28 and September 10 in The Hague and saw the Sandals cohort joining other participants from across the globe. <br /> <br /> The programme included courses in strategic management, strategic leadership, human resource management trends, revenue, food and beverage, sales and marketing and financial management. Outside of the classroom setting, the hotel managers also toured select Dutch resorts which provided valuable insight into European hotel operations.<br /> <br /> Joseph, hotel manager at Sandals Inn, described the experience as fantastic.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was deeply honoured to have been selected to participate in the programme. It was wonderful. In the classroom setting we not only got to hear from lecturers who imparted their knowledge but from our classmates from around the world as well. We got to hear their concerns and solutions and exchange knowledge and ideas.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Joseph also expressed joy at having the opportunity to travel to Europe and experience Dutch culture. &ldquo;It was awesome to get a feel of the culture&rdquo;, he said. &ldquo;Just to see the sights, going to the resorts there, it just put it all into perspective. It reignited the need to get back to basics as it relates to leadership as well as our standards and always striving to give our guests more than they expect. All in all, it was a wonderful experience that I will treasure for life.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Dr Phillip Brown, principal of the SCU, and SRI&rsquo;s director of training and service standards, said this programme was one of many aimed at developing the company&rsquo;s management. &ldquo;We spend a lot of time creating programmes for our line staff, but we are also committed to strengthening our management team as well. We were happy to have four of our hotel managers participate in this programme, and look forward to the knowledge they will share with the rest of the team and the launch of the Hotel Manager Development Programme.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319780/231371_58449_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319779/231372_58450_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Study envisions increased agri exports from LAC to China http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Study-envisions-increased-agri-exports-from-LAC-to-China_75460 WASHINGTON (CMC) &mdash; A new study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has found that agricultural exports from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to China could increase by almost 10 per cent if the Asian country reduces its tariffs by more than 50 per cent.<br /> <br /> The study also found that manufacturing goods could jump by 37 per cent, if Beijing&rsquo;s import tariffs were reduced to the levels of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whose average is 3.6 per cent.<br /> <br /> The study finds that China&rsquo;s median tariff is about twice that of the OECD for agricultural goods and more than three times for manufacturing goods.<br /> <br /> After expanding at an annual average rate of 31.2 per cent between 2000 and 2011, the study finds that the growth of China-LAC trade decelerated sharply and turned negative in 2014, on the back of marked and intertwined slowdowns in the growth of China and LAC.<br /> <br /> Despite this recent loss of dynamism, the study notes that China remains as LAC&rsquo;s second-largest trade partner&mdash;accounting for 13.7 per cent of the region&rsquo;s trade in 2015.<br /> <br /> Additionally, the study found the most likely medium- to long-term scenario for its demand for LAC commodities is one of a robust growth, though not as epic as in the last decade.<br /> <br /> The study, titled &lsquo;Uncovering the Barriers of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Trade,&rsquo; is produced by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through its Integration and Trade Sector.<br /> <br /> Principal Economic Advisor at the IDB&rsquo;s Integration and Trade Sector, Mauricio Mesquita Moreira and author of the report, said regional governments and the private sector will have to invest in trade intelligence to remove barriers and maximise the potential gains from trade with China.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To carry out this agenda effectively, negotiations must be, as much as possible, isolated from the political and ideological considerations that have characterised the relationship in the past,&rdquo; Mesquita Moreira said.<br /> <br /> Another important finding is that the Chinese tariff structure tends to discriminate against the imports of consumer goods, which represents a challenge for LAC exporters looking to sell their products directly to Chinese consumers. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319711/231257_58320_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM BGLC declares war on illegal gaming http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/BGLC-declares-war-on-illegal-gaming_75462 THE Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) has signed a partnership agreement with Crime Stop to tackle illegal gambling.<br /> <br /> The partnership, which will allow members of the public to make anonymous reports through Crime Stop&rsquo;s &lsquo;311&rsquo; toll-free number, will offer persons cash rewards of up to $25,000 if the information provided results in an arrest and charge.<br /> <br /> Speaking at the official signing ceremony in Kingston on Tuesday, Acting Executive Director at the BGLC Carole Martinez-Johnson said this is part of the new approach to tackle illegal gambling.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is a more inclusive approach to fighting illegal gambling, by enlisting the support of the public, now making the eradication of the problem everybody&rsquo;s business,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Martinez-Johnson said the commission expects to see a significant reduction in illegal gambling activities, especially with the added incentive of a reward for anonymous tips. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The partnership forms part of a broader initiative of a systematic review of the Commission&rsquo;s enforcement operations, as we aim to ramp up our intelligence gathering and technical capabilities,&rdquo; she explained.<br /> <br /> Chairman of the BGLC, Clovis Metcalfe, said that as a regulator of the local gaming industry, the BGLC has the duty to protect the public from unfair, unscrupulous and illegal activities.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are taking this approach to ensure that all gambling activities in Jamaica are carried out in a manner which is safe and fair, and that the industry remains free from crime,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The chairman identified illegal Cash Pot, unlicensed gambling premises and unlicensed slot machines as the most prevalent illegal gambling offences in Jamaica. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13306494/MHS_p1_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM US owes blacks reparations over slavery: UN experts http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/US-owes-blacks-reparations-over-slavery--UN-experts_75384 GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) &mdash; The United States should give African Americans reparations for slavery, UN experts said yesterday, warning that the country had not yet confronted its legacy of "racial terrorism."<br /> <br /> Amid a presidential election campaign in which racial rhetoric has played a central role, the UN working group on people of African descent warned that blacks in the US were facing a "human rights crisis."<br /> <br /> This has largely been fuelled by impunity for police officers who have killed a series of black men &ndash; many of them unarmed &ndash; across the country in recent months, the working group's report said. <br /> <br /> Those killings "and the trauma they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynchings," said the report, which was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.<br /> <br /> Addressing the deeper causes of America's racial tensions, the experts voiced concern over the unresolved "legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality." <br /> <br /> "There has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent," the report said. <br /> <br /> Working group chairman Ricardo A Sunga told reporters that the panel believed several models of reparations could work in the US context, including "elements of apology" and a form of "debt relief" to the descendants of enslaved people. <br /> <br /> Asked about the campaign and accusations that Republican nominee Donald Trump has made racially inflammatory remarks, Sunga voiced alarm over "hate speech...xenophobia (and) Afrophobia." <br /> <br /> "We are very troubled that these are on the rise," he added, without naming Trump specifically but calling on officials and "even candidates" to watch their words. <br /> <br /> Trump and his camp have denied all racism charges.<br /> <br /> In the campaign's first debate on Monday, Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton accused Trump of launching his campaign on the "racist lie" that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. <br /> <br /> The UN working group visited the several US states in January before producing their final report. <br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13318156/231100_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM PAHO says Caribbean, rest of Americas now measles-free http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/PAHO-says-Caribbean--rest-of-Americas-now-measles-free_75478 WASHINGTON, USA (CMC) &mdash; The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says the Americas, including the Caribbean, is the first in the world to have eliminated measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This achievement culminates a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella throughout the Americas,&rdquo; said PAHO, adding that the declaration of measles elimination was made by the International Expert Committee for Documenting and Verifying Measles, Rubella, and Congenital Rubella Syndrome Elimination in the Americas.<br /> <br /> PAHO said the announcement came during its 55th Directing Council, which is currently underway and is being attended by ministers of health from throughout the Americas.<br /> <br /> Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas, after the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is a historic day for our region and indeed the world,&rdquo; said PAHO Director Dr Carissa F Etienne, adding &ldquo;it [measles] is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together in solidarity towards a common goal.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is the result of a commitment made more than two decades ago, in 1994, when the countries of the Americas pledged to end measles circulation by the turn of the 21st century,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> Before mass vaccination was initiated in1980, PAHO said measles caused nearly 2.6 million annual deaths worldwide.<br /> <br /> In the Americas, PAHO said 101,800 deaths were attributable to measles between 1971 and 1979.<br /> <br /> A cost-effectiveness study on measles elimination in Latin America and the Caribbean has estimated that with vaccination, 3.2 million measles cases will have been prevented in the region and 16,000 deaths between 2000 and 2020, PAHO said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This historic milestone would never have been possible without the strong political commitment of our Member States in ensuring that all children have access to life-saving vaccines,&rdquo; Etienne said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It would not have been possible without the generosity and commitment of health workers and volunteers who have worked so hard to take the benefits of vaccines to all people, including those invulnerable and hard-to-reach communities,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Indeed, it would not have been possible without the strong leadership and coordination provided by PAHO, Regional Office for the Americas of WHO (World Health Organisation),&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> PAHO said measles transmission had been considered interrupted in the region since 2002, when the last endemic case was reported in the Americas.<br /> <br /> However, as the disease had continued to circulate in other parts the world, some countries in the Americas experienced imported cases, PAHO said.<br /> <br /> It said the International Expert Committee reviewed evidence on measles elimination presented by all the countries of the region between 2015 and August 2016 and decided that it met the established criteria for elimination.<br /> <br /> PAHO said the process included six years of work with countries to document evidence of the elimination.<br /> <br /> Measles is one of the most contagious diseases and affects primarily children, PAHO said.<br /> <br /> It is transmitted by airborne droplets or via direct contact with secretions from the nose, mouth, and throat of infected individuals.<br /> <br /> PAHO said symptoms include high fever, generalised rash all over the body, stuffy nose, and reddened eyes.<br /> <br /> It can cause serious complications including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infections and pneumonia, particularly in children with nutritional problems and in immune compromised patients, PAHO said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11807369/vaccine-2_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Deportation of Haitians concerns US Congresswoman http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Deportation-of-Haitians-concerns-US-Congresswoman_75473 NEW YORK, USA (CMC) &mdash; Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke says she is concerned at the decision of US authorities to resume deporting undocumented Haitian immigrants.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am deeply concerned by the Department of Homeland Security&rsquo;s (DHS) recent decision to resume the deportation of undocumented Haitian immigrants,&rdquo; said Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As we are all too aware, over the past decade, Haiti has unfortunately been severely impacted by natural disasters and political instability, which contributed to its status as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and caused extreme hardship in the lives of her people,&rdquo; she told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).<br /> <br /> Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, said that although Haitian infrastructure has &ldquo;improved somewhat&rdquo; since the deadly 2010 earthquake, the French-speaking Caribbean country has been contending with a cholera outbreak that has afflicted more than 750,000 people and killed more than 9,000 women, men and children.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Given this public health crisis and the current economic and political instability in Haiti, we have a responsibility to our Caribbean sisters and brothers to act with compassion, which includes providing for Haitians already present in the United States,&rdquo; Clarke said.<br /> <br /> She said she was &ldquo;particularly concerned about the timing of this DHS action, which occurs just a few weeks ahead of Haiti&rsquo;s upcoming elections.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I continue to monitor this situation closely and work with my fellow Members of Congress to address this critical humanitarian issue,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> The DHS had suspended deportation of Haitians living illegally in the US in the immediate aftermath of the massive earthquake that struck the country in 2010. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13305960/230083_57236_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM