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 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/13741955/183135_13176_sld.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM $4.9-b project to cut water losses delayed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-4-9-b-project-to-cut-water-losses-delayed_93977 The country will have to wait a while longer to start reaping the benefits of the $4.9-billion deal that the Government inked with Israeli non-revenue water reduction specialists Miya in July 2015, as work under the project did not get off the ground as planned.<br /> <br /> The Government engaged Miya in a co-management arrangement to achieve significant reduction in water losses by the National Water Commission (NWC) over five years.<br /> <br /> Under the initiative, which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, the global urban water efficiency company is supposed to implement measures that will allow the NWC to improve performance and maximise its revenue from supply.<br /> <br /> At the time of the signing of the agreement, then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had said the economic benefit to the NWC from the reduction of non-revenue water was estimated at just over $29.2 billion in the first five years.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Job Creation and Economic Growth Dr Horace Chang said it will take another 18 months before the projected initial gains could be tabulated due to the delay in the start-up.<br /> <br /> He explained that there were challenges with procurement.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not sure if there was a defect in the RFP (request for proposals) because the bid was initially above what was projected for, and they had to negotiate the bid down. They could have aborted that bid and taken the number two bid &mdash; they didn&rsquo;t do that &mdash; and while the negotiations were proceeding, there was some debate in the policy as to whether or not they should do non-revenue water or some additional production. So the project was delayed for a long time,&rdquo; he outlined, but noted that the original terms of the contract are still in place. <br /> <br /> The minister was speaking with the Jamaica Observer after addressing the Rotary Club of St Andrew meeting at Hotel Four Seasons in Kingston.<br /> <br /> Theft, leaks, faulty meters,inaccuracies and other inefficiencies cause revenue loss for about 60 per cent of the NWC&rsquo;s supply. The Miya deal is supposed to reduce this to 37 per cent two years into the project; 30 per cent in three years; and 20 per cent in the fifth year. A major part of the undertaking by Miya is an audit of the network to determine how best to reduce the losses to the NWC.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They have started actively&hellip; we have seen improvement in the billing. In other words, more water is going to the meters where we had problems. We expect to have much of it completed in 36 months,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Funding for the project includes performance-based fees, which are only to be paid if contract targets are achieved. The NWC currently supplies potable water to 600,000 residents in Kingston and St Andrew.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741950/267208_93064_sld.jpg Local News Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica expands http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Nuh-Dutty-Up-Jamaica-expands_93980 In February 2015, a catchy jingle hit the airwaves. &ldquo;Nuh dutty up Jamaica, please don&rsquo;t dweet&rdquo; it went, urging people not to litter.<br /> <br /> It was part of the social education component of the Clean Coasts Project being implemented by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), and was accompanied by stickers of an oversized garbage bag, messages in both traditional and social media, and Internet personalities. It was designed to target adults and was not intended to be complemented by any clean-up.<br /> <br /> However, in the face of what JET said was &ldquo;an overwhelming response&rdquo; to the campaign over the past two years, and repeated requests from members of the public about how to get involved, it has unveiled a network of 14 service clubs, community-based groups, schools, and one private sector company which will stage clean-ups in their respective communities starting in May.<br /> <br /> At a mid-morning event to announce the expansion of Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica yesterday, JET presented cleanup kits &mdash; comprising garbage bags, gloves, branded T-shirts, reusable water bottles, data collection cards, and a stipend &mdash; to the organisations, which are drawn from across the country. They are:<br /> <br /> &bull; Port Morant Community Development Committee, St Thomas<br /> <br /> &bull; Sandy Bay/Mt Pelier Environment Club, Hanover<br /> <br /> &bull; St Elizabeth Parish Development Committee <br /> <br /> &bull; Bushy Park Phase 2 Citizens&rsquo; Benevolent Society, Clarendon<br /> <br /> &bull; Portsmouth Primary, St Catherine<br /> <br /> &bull; Negril Education Environment Trust, Westmoreland<br /> <br /> &bull; White River Marine Association, St Ann<br /> <br /> &bull; UWI Port Royal Marine Lab, Kingston<br /> <br /> &bull; Drewsland Police Youth Club, Kingston<br /> <br /> &bull; Alligator Head Foundation, Portland<br /> <br /> &bull; Duncan Bay Citizens&rsquo; Association, Trelawny<br /> <br /> &bull; Rotaract Club of May Pen, Clarendon<br /> <br /> &bull; Jamaica Broilers Group (Best Dressed Chicken Division), St Catherine<br /> <br /> &bull; Jamaica School for Social Entrepreneurship, Manchester<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There was an overwhelming response to our invitation for applications to host clean-ups. We received over 30 in less than a week,&rdquo; said JET&rsquo;s Deputy CEO Suzanne Stanley.<br /> <br /> The response, she said, is indicative of a growing, but still woefully inadequate awareness of proper solid waste disposal among the general population. As an example, she pointed to JET&rsquo;s first year staging a national beach clean-up as representatives of the Ocean Conservancy in 2008. Then, it had 1,800 volunteers at 34 sites, compared with last year&rsquo;s figures of over 9,000 volunteers at more than 130 sites. There was evidence of the enthusiasm yesterday, too, when, after the kits were distributed, a member of the audience enquired if he could purchase one for use in Facquhars Beach in Milk River, Clarendon. It was Kent Gammon, Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for the Clarendon South Western constituency.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I want to get people in the constituency aware of how important it is to keep that beach clean, and I&rsquo;m prepared to underwrite the cost of that,&rdquo; he told the Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> The Clean Coasts Project was launched in 2014 and includes underwater clean-ups, piloting of a debris containment boom at the mouth of the South Gully in Montego Bay, and a research day and competition targeted at Tourism Action Clubs. International Coastal Clean-up Day has also been brought under the Clean Coasts umbrella. Phase three of the project, being run from February 2017 to January 2018, has got support from long-standing sponsor Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and newcomer Wisynco, to the tune of $60 million.<br /> <br /> Speaking yesterday at Knutsford Court Hotel, Wisynco Chairman William Mahfood said he was pleased to be associated with Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica and stressed the need to have a culture change with regard to garbage waste disposal.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are a lot of areas that exist in our country that need to be husbanded and cared for that are not being cared for or husbanded. I call myself an environmentalist because I love Jamaica, I travel all over the island, and when I see some of the treatment of our blessed areas I go crazy,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> As an example, he pointed to Mountain Spring in upper St Andrew.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I sent my promotions team up there, we put recycle bins at the bottom of the hill, and once a month we have to send people up there because, even with the recycle bins, people are still throwing their plastic bottles along the road and I just don&rsquo;t understand. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We need to create a movement... We need to create a wave that sweeps all of Jamaica up and says start with the way you handle waste. We also have to have proper solid waste collection and we have to have proper disposal. We can start that wave. With the right types of communication and the right types of initiatives, we can really make an impact on changing the culture of discharging garbage in Jamaica. If we can do that in my lifetime we would have accomplished a lot,&rdquo; said Mahfood.<br /> <br /> JET&rsquo;s founder and CEO Diana McCaulay said the expanded project is an example of a unique partnership among the private sector, the public sector and a non-government organisation.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Kimone Thompson http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13742020/267236_93076_sld.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Head east! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Head-east-_93826 Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Shri Sevala Naik reckons that the Government of Jamaica should do more to aggressively woo international investors to the island&rsquo;s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. <br /> <br /> India, which exported roughly US$85 billion in BPO services last year, hopes to triple its earnings to US$350 billion by 2020. Likewise, Jamaica has increased its dependence on the information and communication technology/BPO sector to improve gross domestic product and employment numbers after bringing in an estimated spend of US$323 million in 2016. <br /> <br /> Presently BPO across the island accounts for more than 22,000 jobs. Plans are to double that number by 2020.<br /> <br /> But Naik insists that those numbers will not be realised unless Jamaica campaigns to investors &mdash; including those in India. Already Jamaica has seen foreign direct investment from India with the establishment of Hinduja Global Solutions and Sutherland Global Services. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;You need to go and campaign in India to bring Indian investors. There are big companies that are looking for opportunities to come and invest,&rdquo; Naik told editors and reporters at Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Monday Exchange at the newspaper&rsquo;s Kingston office.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My job is to promote, but at the same time your Government officials should also go and campaign. So, in the process, I have sent Jamaica invites for investment. Once these companies come here they will train the local people and give them job opportunities,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> Nonetheless, Jamaica&rsquo;s trade and investment promotion agency, Jampro, has had some success looking west. Jampro says it has expanded its international network by contracting management-consulting firm Avasant to market Jamaica as a destination for BPO investments internationally. <br /> <br /> The agreement took effect in January 2017.<br /> <br /> Jampro, in a press release, noted that it seeks to expand Jamaica&rsquo;s presence in the international race for BPO investments, which is currently led by India, the Philippines, China, Mexico, and Costa Rica. <br /> <br /> The agency, along with the Planning Institute of Jamaica, engaged US company Avasant to ensure that Jamaica will increase its reach to decision makers in the world of outsourcing. Avasant specialises in digital and IT transformation, sourcing advisory, global strategy, and governance services. <br /> <br /> The company is expected to promote Jamaica&rsquo;s value proposition to potential clients in the BPO sector, and will connect Jampro with these players with focus on the Americas, which is one of Jamaica&rsquo;s major markets for investment opportunities.<br /> <br /> In addition to this new development, Jampro says it hopes to increase Jamaica&rsquo;s presence at global outsourcing and shared services forums, such as the one which took place in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month.<br /> <br /> The aim is to ensure that Jamaica is at the forefront of discussions for shared services and outsourcing investments, and to increase the employment of Jamaicans in a variety of professions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Avasant will help support Jampro with raising the profile of Jamaica to a wider audience, which means that more operators will become aware of Jamaica as a BPO destination and will take a serious look at Jamaica when their outsourcing needs arise. The industry is growing at a rapid pace, and we must ensure that we improve on our current position in the global industry and create more jobs for Jamaicans working in the technology, finance and services sectors,&rdquo; said Vice-President of Investment Promotion Claude Duncan. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741806/ZZ12AA1AAF_sld4.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Petersfield coach has high hopes for Kevin Nedrick http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sports/Petersfield-coach-has-high-hopes-for-Kevin-Nedrick_93985 Kevin Nedrick has been in superb form all season and so it was no surprise for Petersfield&rsquo;s coach Machel Woolery when he established a new national junior record in the javelin open on the first day of the 107th staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys&rsquo; and Girls&rsquo; Championships at the National Stadium yesterday.<br /> <br /> Nedrick, the overwhelming favourite for the gold medal, bettered the previous junior record of 63.69m set in July 2014 by Orlando Thomas in leading the qualifiers for the event.<br /> <br /> However, he was just shy of the Championships record of 64.08m, also set in 2014 by Devon Spencer of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) as a senior athlete.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am not surprised because he has been in good form all season and it was just about going through the first round, that was the whole objective. I just told him to go out there and qualify and then when the final comes we take it from there,&rdquo; Woolery told the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> Nedrick, 19, who doubled in both the discus and shot put throws at the World Under-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in July last year, dominated the javelin qualifiers and looks set to challenge for the triple gold over the five-day ISSA Champs.<br /> <br /> The 2015 Commonwealth Youth double gold medallist currently has a personal best of 65.09m for the javelin, which with a little more thrust in the final sets him up nicely to better the Champs record.<br /> <br /> He also holds a personal best of 20.08m and 59.70m in the shot and discus events, which leaves Woolery beaming about the prospects of the second-year Class One athlete closing the high school chapter of his career on the up.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He was happy after the throw but not overconfident. It was just about executing and getting into the finals and then we take it from there, like I said. This is a championship, so we are working on getting all three gold medals, so let&rsquo;s see what happens based on his current form,&rdquo; Woolery noted.<br /> <br /> Finally, Woolery hinted that the Westmoreland-based school&rsquo;s star thrower will be attempting to make Jamaica&rsquo;s team to the London World Championships in August.<br /> <br /> However, he was quick to point out that it will require continued hard work, both physically and mentally, as the equipment at the senior level will increase significantly in weight.<br /> <br /> At the high school level, Nedrick is currently throwing a discus weighing 1.75kg and the shot put at 6kg, while the javelin is 700g. However, at the senior level the discus is 2kg and the shot put 8kg with the javelin being the same weight.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I have high hopes for him going forward, but for now we just hope to come out of the Championships as healthy as possible and we would love to win those three gold medals.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are also gunning for at least two records out of the three events, and his start today (yesterday) gives a good indication of what is to come,&rdquo; the coach stated.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;After the Championships we are hoping to do well at the Carifta Games, as well as the PanAm Games, and also want to take a shot at the senior trials. So a lot is in store for him, he has the potential to go really far. And like I said I have high hopes about what he can accomplish,&rdquo; Woolery ended. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13742148/267159_93092_repro_spsld.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Tulloch in seventh heaven http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Tulloch-in-seventh-heaven-_93969 David Tulloch&rsquo;s Not My Child was the big winner at Monday&rsquo;s Actor Boy Awards held at the Phoenix Theatre in St Andrew.<br /> <br /> The powerful drama went home with five of the coveted trophies from its six nominations. Tulloch and his team secured wins for Best Drama, Best Tragedy, and Best New Jamaican script &mdash; a writer&rsquo;s award. The production did not leave empty-handed in the acting categories. Veteran actress Rosemary Murray copped her first Actor Boy win &mdash; Best Actress in A Supporting Role; while stage and screen doyenne Leonie Forbes secured yet another win, Best Actress in a Lead Role. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was a great night. I am very happy and grateful. The last time I won anything was back in 2010 for White Witch. So it is very nice... a great feeling. I am particularly pleased that it is for Not My Child. We took a chance on this and dared to do something different, and I am pleased that the judges saw our objective. Plus this was a very competitive year to walk away with a win,&rdquo; Tulloch told the Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> That was not the end of Tulloch&rsquo;s wins for the evening. Best Actor in a Supporting Role, went to young Ackeem Poyser for his role in Tulloch&rsquo;s Bad Breed. The Actor Boy for Best Revue also went to a production he also penned, Jamaica Sweet.<br /> <br /> For first-time nominee Poyser, it was a surreal moment when his name was called as the winner.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I know I wanted it, but I did not expect it. It just shows that the work I have been putting in has been recognised and I am just elated. I am dedicating this win to my mother who is not well. I just hope that this win will open more doors for me so that I can be seen by more persons and go on to make my mark in theatre and film,&rdquo; said Poyser.<br /> <br /> Murray, who is another first-time winner, noted the win will definitely have an impact on her next role.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To actually take it home now means I have to work a little harder for the next production. I&rsquo;ve always pushed hard, but now the bar has gone up a little bit higher, so whatever it is that I choose to take on I have to now push and give more than 100,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Best Actor in a Lead Role went to Alwyn Scott for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in The Mountaintop. <br /> <br /> Best Production award went to Dog, staged by the School of Drama at the Edna Manley College. This production also won Best Choreography.<br /> <br /> Father Ho Lung and Friends&rsquo; Moses, which went into Monday&rsquo;s event with 10 nominations, went home with three trophies &mdash; Best Costume, Best Special Effects, and Best Set Design. Other multiple-award winners were Garvey: The Musical, which won for Best Original Song (Son You Must Fight) and Best Musical. Catherine Mulgrave from the University Players won Best Ensemble and Best Director (Brian Heap). Pan from the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company was the sole nominee for Best Original Score and also walked away with Best Children&rsquo;s Theatre.<br /> <br /> Amazing Grace (Best Lighting) and Frank the Freak (Best Comedy) received a lone statuette.<br /> <br /> This year the Actor Boy Award committee chose to honour veteran actress Grace McGhie Brown for her nearly 50 years in theatre. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741857/267200_93006_repro_entsld.jpg Local Entertainment Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM