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 Sports safeguards for students to be developed   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Sports-safeguards-for-students-to-be-developed KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange will be spearheading an inter-ministerial taskforce being established to develop safeguards that protect youngsters participating in sporting activities.<br /> <br /> The committee will look at, among other things, introducing crucial protocols, guidelines and regulations; training and capacity building; enforcement procedures; and resource mobilisation.<br /> <br /> This was disclosed by Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid during last Friday&rsquo;s sitting of the Senate.<br /> <br /> The decision comes in the wake of the sudden and untimely passing of St George&rsquo;s College Manning Cup captain, Dominic James, who collapsed during a football match at the stadium east field in Kingston on September 20. <br /> <br /> Reid said the immediate focus was &ldquo;what we can do through intergovernmental collaboration, particularly involving the ministries of education, health and sport, to keep our children safe on the fields of play&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> He said since the tragedy occurred, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has engaged stakeholders in dialogue on proposed measures to prevent or decrease the likelihood of a recurrence.<br /> <br /> Reid further said Grange, would outline details of these and other interventions in a presentation to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 28.<br /> <br /> He indicated that a policy framework, entitled &lsquo;Safety Guidelines for Contact Sports&rsquo;, was developed in 2008 and revised in 2015. <br /> <br /> Its provisions recommend, among other things, that all participants receive medical clearance to participate in sports; and that communication channels to parents/guardians, health providers and emergency caregivers, especially in emergency situations, be provided.<br /> <br /> It also states that immediate first aid must be available from trained providers whenever games are in progress and that first-aid equipment be available on site.<br /> <br /> Responding to questions from Opposition senator, Mark Golding, regarding a formal enquiry into the incident involving Dominic, the minister said: &ldquo;We are certainly interested in having an enquiry into whether those guidelines were followed&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;All schools are required to report critical incidents to the ministry. So it follows naturally that we will have to have some audit of whether the policies and procedures were being followed,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, members of the Senate expressed condolences to the family and friends of the late St George&rsquo;s College student. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13308890/Ruel-Reid-2016_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 4:48 PM 5 De-risking must be addressed urgently &mdash; PM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/De-risking-must-be-addressed-urgently---PM NEW YORK, United States (JIS) &mdash; Prime Minister Andrew Holness says there is an urgent need to address the emerging issue of the withdrawal of correspondent banking services to certain financial institutions in the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Delivering Jamaica&rsquo;s policy statement at the 71st session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York on September 23, the prime minister said that de-risking threatens the economies of Caribbean states. <br /> <br /> Correspondent banking relationships are essential to the global payment system, facilitating cross-border transactions, particularly for international trade, remittances and foreign direct investments (FDI). <br /> <br /> De-risking refers to financial institutions exiting relationships with, and closing the accounts of clients considered &ldquo;high risk&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This trend hinders our participation in the global financial system and in international trade. This, in turn, creates serious obstacles in our efforts towards promoting investment,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> The prime minister said Jamaica respects and has been complying with financial regulatory standards and working within a rules-based, multilateral trade and financial system.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that trade represents approximately 70 per cent of the Jamaican economy and, as such, de-risking measures threaten Jamaica&rsquo;s integration and economic viability. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Therefore, we encourage our international partners to take the approach of establishing principles that ensure inclusive development strategies based on a country&rsquo;s ability to engage in a vibrant, dynamic international trading system,&rdquo; the prime minister said.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Holness said the hallmark of any civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We must treat the issue of prevention of violence against our most vulnerable, particularly our women and children as a priority,&rdquo; he emphasised.<br /> <br /> The prime minister said that society must move to empower women to realise their full potential. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica has a long track record of championing the rights of women and will continue to advocate for full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We also cannot leave our children behind.  In order for our children to realise their full potential, they must be provided with the opportunity to live in an environment that is free from fear and violence,&rdquo; he stressed.<br /> <br /> The prime minister called for the &ldquo;early lifting&rdquo; of the economic embargo against Cuba, pointing out that it is &ldquo;out of step with recent actions to re-establish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13310336/holness-2_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 4:33 PM 5 Saudi king cuts ministers' salaries by 20% http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Saudi-king-cuts-ministers--salaries-by-20- RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) &mdash; Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Monday cut Cabinet ministers' salaries by 20 per cent and reduced other State officials' benefits in a continuing austerity drive to cope with lower oil revenues.<br /> <br /> The 160 members of the Shura Council, who include 30 women, will see a 15 per cent drop in their annual allowances for housing, furniture and cars, a royal decree said.<br /> <br /> Council members are appointed by the king to advise Cabinet.<br /> <br /> The decrees, which announced the measures, did not say how much money would be saved.<br /> <br /> Since 2014 global oil prices have collapsed by more than half, leaving Saudi Arabia with a record deficit last year.<br /> <br /> The fall in the kingdom's main revenue source led to unprecedented subsidy cuts and curbs on government spending.<br /> <br /> In April this year the king's son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, announced the wide-ranging Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy.<br /> <br /> The effort also seeks a streamlined, more accountable administration.<br /> <br /> Monday's decrees ordered the government to "stop providing cars for senior State officials". Telephone expenditure will also be curbed.<br /> <br /> But frontline soldiers on the southern border with Yemen will be exempt from a ruling not to grant the military an annual bonus. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13314482/Saudi_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 3:55 PM 5 JFF clarifies Carl Brown compensation offer issue http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/JFF-clarifies-Carl-Brown-compensation-offer-issue KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is clarifying statements regarding its efforts to engage the services of former coach of Jamaica&rsquo;s senior men&rsquo;s football team, Carl Brown, on a temporary basis.<br /> <br /> This comes after Brown made statements about the compensation package of US$100 per day that he was reportedly offered for the duration of the agreement, which he says he found insulting and disrespectful. <br /> <br /> Media reports are that Brown said he was very disappointed with the JFF&rsquo;s approach and that he did not know that he would have seen the day when the JFF would sink to that point.<br /> <br /> In a news release Monday, the JFF admitted that its president, Captain Horace Burrell, contacted Brown to get an indication of his availability.<br /> <br /> However, the JFF said Brown indicated the need to speak with his present employers and return a call to Burrell.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Although Coach Brown has indicated he made three attempts to call the president, there is no record of those calls coming through,&rdquo; JFF said. <br /> <br /> In the interim, the federation said that they thought it appropriate to formalise its approach to Brown and did so in an email sent by their general secretary, which Brown declined because he thought it insulting, the JFF said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;On hearing this, the president called Coach Brown. In a conversation lasting 45 minutes, the president apologized for the misunderstanding emerging from the email. He explained that in the absence of the discussion on first his availability and his overall package, the email listed one area of certainty, the per-diem allowance. The president made every effort to have Coach Brown change his decision,&rdquo; JFF continued.<br /> <br /> The federation said that it was always the intention of the president that, on hearing of Coach Brown's availability, the terms of his engagement would have been discussed and finalised with him.<br /> <br /> It said that all head coaches of the national senior team are offered: accommodation during match engagement, ground transportation, a salary, and a per diem allowance.<br /> <br /> According to the JFF, that course of action may vary depending on specific contracts and that all of those areas would have been the subject of discussion with Coach Brown.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12584719/Horace-Burrell_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 3:29 PM 5 Violent crime up in US: FBI http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Violent-crime-up-in-US--FBI WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; Violent crime in the United States rose last year, the FBI said Monday, reporting data that Donald Trump could use against Hillary Clinton in the presidential debate.<br /> <br /> The FBI said that in 2015 there were 1,197,704 violent crimes, an increase of 3.9 per cent compared to the previous year.<br /> <br /> Murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased 10.8 percent, and firearms were involved in two-thirds of those cases, the agency said.<br /> <br /> The figures were released hours before the hotly awaited first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump. Crime was expected to be one of the key topics addressed by the candidates for the White House.<br /> <br /> It is one of the pet issues of Trump, who depicts himself as a tough law-and-order candidate.<br /> <br /> Although violent crime increased last year, overall the tendency over the past 20 years has been a decline. Crime levels these days in America are far below the peak years in the 1990s.<br /> <br /> The FBI said it collects data on the violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.<br /> <br /> The release of the report comes as murder rates have risen in several US cities in 2015 and 2016, mainly Chicago, where authorities have reported more than 500 homicides since January. That is more than all of last year.<br /> <br /> Experts say different factors come into play depending on the city, mainly drug trafficking, gang wars and the availability of guns. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13314145/arrow-up_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:15 PM 5 Clinton, Trump neck and neck heading into first debate http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Clinton--Trump-neck-and-neck-heading-into-first-debate WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &ndash; Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were neck and neck Monday as they girded for their first presidential debate, an intensely anticipated clash of opposites that could set the tone for the last six weeks of the White House race.<br /> <br /> An estimated 90 million people were expected to watch the Democratic and Republican candidates go toe-to-toe for 90 minutes starting at 9:00 pm (0100 GMT Tuesday) on the stage at Hofstra University in New York.<br /> <br /> Surrogates have been out in force trying to manage expectations, and preempt public perceptions of their respective candidates, two of the least admired contenders for the White House in contemporary US political history.<br /> <br /> Clinton, 68, enters the fray as a polished former secretary of state and ex-senator, who after almost 40 years of public service is steeped in the issues.<br /> <br /> Trump, a 70-year-old billionaire and former reality TV star, is good on his feet, and unpredictable -- more comfortable in the limelight than on issues.<br /> <br /> The battle of wits, egos and big personalities comes with the November 8 elections just six weeks away and the race in a virtual dead heat.<br /> <br /> Moderated by NBC anchor Lester Holt, it will revolve around three themes: "America's direction, achieving prosperity, and securing America."<br /> <br /> The candidates are under immense pressure, with any slip of the tongue holding the potential for disaster.<br /> <br /> In a close race, the debaters' real prize may be the estimated nine percent of voters who have yet to make up their minds.<br /> <br /> A Washington Post-ABC News poll on Sunday found Clinton tied with Trump at 41 percent among registered voters.<br /> <br /> On Monday, a national poll by Quinnipiac University also found them in a virtual dead heat, with Clinton at 43 percent to Trump's 42 among likely voters.<br /> <br /> The poll found that, by a margin of 41 to 32 percent, likely voters expect Clinton to win the debate. And 84 percent said they intend to watch.<br /> <br /> Expectations may be higher for Clinton because she is a veteran of 34 primary debates, having run for president in 2008 when she lost to now-President Barack Obama in a long, hard-fought Democratic primary.<br /> <br /> "When the spotlights are at the brightest and the pressure is the most intense, that's when she brings her A-plus game," her running mate Tim Kaine has said.<br /> <br /> Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, dismisses Clinton's reputation as a debater, however.<br /> <br /> "She's smart, but this isn't her sweet spot," she said Monday on MSNBC, adding that Trump has prepared and is ready for her.<br /> <br /> "He's a natural debater. I have been in politics for 28 years&hellip; and I think Donald Trump has gifts and skills that sometimes escape typical politicians."<br /> <br /> The candidate's son, Eric Trump, said his father "will be presidential, passionate, and resilient."<br /> <br /> - Unfair to be 'traffic cop' -<br /> <br /> The Clinton campaign expressed concern Sunday over what it called a double standard, saying the bar has been raised higher for her.<br /> <br /> "It's unfair to ask that Hillary Clinton both play traffic cop with Trump, make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people," Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook told broadcaster ABC.<br /> <br /> Her team is concerned that moderator Holt will toss simpler "softball" questions in Trump's direction while pressing Clinton with a much more challenging quizzing.<br /> <br /> "All that we're asking is that if Donald Trump lies, that it's pointed out," Mook said.<br /> <br /> But Trump has already stated that he does not believe Holt's role as moderator is to police each candidate.<br /> <br /> Mind games were also on display as Trump threatened to invite Gennifer Flowers, a former lover of Bill Clinton, to watch the high-stakes battle from a front-row seat.<br /> <br /> Conway on Sunday said it was meant to show the New York billionaire had ways "to get inside the head of Hillary Clinton" but she told CNN there were no plans to actually invite Flowers.<br /> <br /> - Negative opinions -<br /> <br /> Both Clinton and Trump go into the debate with high negative ratings, which they hope to alter with their performance.<br /> <br /> The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that both Clinton and Trump were viewed unfavorably by 57 percent of registered voters.<br /> <br /> Only 38 percent had a positive impression of Trump, to Clinton's 39 per cent.<br /> <br /> While voters find both candidates lacking in honesty overall, Clinton's ratings were worse, with just 33 percent of voters finding her honest and trustworthy and 66 percent saying she is not.<br /> <br /> Trump, on the other hand, suffers from the fact that 53 per cent of voters do not believe he is qualified to be president, lacking the temperament and knowledge.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13314125/US-vote_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:06 PM 5 Lasco, Medimpex expect better offer in hypertension drug case http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Lasco--Medimpex-expect-better-offer-in-hypertension-drug-case KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; A major news release from global biopharmaceutical products giant Pfizer today, coincides with the resumption of court proceedings in Kingston to resolve its dispute with local distributors Lasco and Medimpex.<br /> <br /> Attorneys for Pfizer and the local pharmaceuticals distributors return to court this morning, in a bid to finally resolve and over decade-long dispute between the global firm and the local companies over the local distribution of generic hypertension drugs.<br /> <br /> The local firms are hoping that recent decisions taken by Pfizer in terms of its corporate behaviour, and reflected in today's release will enable negotiators to move closer to a settlement, when they meet again on the final aspect of the dispute. <br /> <br /> The final hurdle is the issue of how much they should be compensated for the loss of seven years' sales, due a court injunction, which banned them from selling their hypertension generics, based on a claim by Pfizer that it owned the patent for the original drug.<br /> <br /> The Judicial Committee of the UK Privy Council last year upheld the 2012 opinion of the Jamaican courts that the patent Pfizer was claiming had already expired, paving the way for both local distributors to sell their products. <br /> <br /> However, the Privy Council sent the parties back to the local Supreme Court to decide how much  Lasco and Medimpex should be paid for losses due to a local court injunction, brought by Pfizer, which blocked them from selling their products between 2005 and 2012.<br /> <br /> The assessment of damages was originally set for January 18 to 22, but was postponed to July 18 to give the parties sufficient time to comply with the court orders. However, it was postponed again on July 18, because of the unavailability of the presiding judge.<br /> <br /> Lasco has asked for US$311 million in compensation, but Pfizer has offered maximum US$518,000. Medimpex, which is seeking US$11.5 million, was offered a maximum of US$68,000.<br /> <br /> Although Pfizer's release this morning had no direct link with the local case, the company announced some far-reaching decisions related to its corporate responsibilities, as well as its profits, and indicated that it was facilitating access to healthcare "for under-served communities around the world".<br /> <br /> "Together, we work to identify and allocate the most appropriate resources to help the underserved communities around the world," Pfizer said.<br /> <br /> Balford Henry  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13314104/hypertension_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 11:54 AM 5 ONLINE READERS COMMENT: The failure of the JLP at crime fighting http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/ONLINE-READERS-COMMENT--The-failure-of-the-JLP-at-crime-fighting Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In previous Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administrations there was an attitude of arrogance that they were always able to curb criminal activity in the nation. Unfortunately, the JLP cannot have that last laugh this time.<br /> <br /> Crime today, especially in Western Jamaica, has catapulted to the highest level ever, and if we continue to experience this over the next few months we are destined to become a Mexican-style anarchy where murder and mayhem is the norm.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Andrew Holness appears to have no answer, as are the minister of national security and the Police High Command.<br /> <br /> What is disturbing is that there is failure to acknowledge that the monster of crime is not only as a result of lotto scamming and gang rivalry, but police corruption and white collar criminals.<br /> <br /> Much of what is damaging our society are the hypocrisy and the connection of those who have an agenda to rise on the backs of decent, law-abiding Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> For example, many of the policemen in this country indirectly or directly have a hand in criminal activity. We live in a society of silence so those who know rarely speak.<br /> <br /> The JLP government will have to take drastic action to dismantle the shackles of crime, which, if continued unabated will in no time destroy our society and citizens. Now is Holness&rsquo; time to prove himself. Even if our GDP slides downward overnight, the enemy of crime has to be defeated now, and I mean now. <br /> <br /> The country has no time for dilly-dallying with crime and criminals. The political leaders have to crack the whip now and get action. We are not looking for fancy speeches and irrelevant plans. Our nationals need to see drastic action otherwise we will slide into anarchy.<br /> <br /> The Jamaican people deserve to live without looking over their shoulders; they deserve better than to wake up each morning seeing the traditional media saturated with stories of death, mayhem and bloodletting. The people had exercised their democratic right and elected a conservative government; the type associated with curbing crime and keeping its politically associated gangs in check.<br /> <br /> This time it has been a miserable failure. Prime Minister Holness please act now for God&rsquo;s sake, otherwise Montego Bay and the wider St James will become worse than the 19th century American wild west.<br /> <br /> Maurice Christie http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13314051/comments_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 11:23 AM 5 Gov&rsquo;t not considering State of Emergency to curb crime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gov-t-not-considering-state-of-emergency-to-curb-crime ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday said the Government is not at this time considering the implementation of a limited State of Emergency as part of its efforts to curb crime in western Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Speaking during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister&rsquo;s Montego Bay offices on Sunday, Holness said he remains confident that the security forces have the capacity to effectively address the issue.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Government is not afraid to call a State of Emergency but at this point, a State of Emergency, in my mind, is not a tool that needs to be deployed. I think the police force has the capacity, our army has the capacity&hellip;I think with the other strategies and plans we have in place, we will be improving the capacity of the police and the army to respond,&rdquo; he pointed out.<br /> <br /> Holness said he does not want a sense of siege to take over Jamaicans through the implementation of a State of Emergency, but will be keeping that option open.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If the Government deems it necessary, we will, but we are not at that point so I don&rsquo;t want criminals to feel that we have any hesitation if it is required. Jamaica is a functioning state, we do have elevated levels of crime&hellip;It is associated with the phase of development that we find ourselves in. The truth is that much of our crimes is driven by economic motives,&rdquo; the prime minister noted.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that once the country&rsquo;s economy starts growing at an acceptable rate, crime should fall.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;One has to be careful, however, that in tackling crime you don&rsquo;t shut down the entire economy&hellip;you need to be pulling people out of crime and into jobs and so the Government is putting into place those strategies,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness is appealing to citizens, to bring information about criminals and their activities to the police.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;Information is probably the greatest weapon against the criminal. The criminal exists and thrives in areas where he is protected because the citizens don&rsquo;t share the information,&rdquo; he argued. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Someone knows the gunman that did the killing&hellip;probably washed his bloody clothes&hellip;probably hid him somewhere, transported him somewhere and someone is probably there giving him succour and protection. That gunman is not your friend. In the same way that he killed someone, he could kill you and I think communities&hellip;need to look into themselves,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The prime minister pointed to the need for citizens and the police to build a bond of trust in an effort to stamp out crime and violence.<br /> <br /> He said he has also had discussions with Commissioner of Police, Dr Carl Williams, to undertake measures to ensure the integrity of the police force in Montego Bay. <br /> <br /> The press conference was preceded by a meeting between the Prime Minister and the leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and other key security stakeholders to discuss crime-fighting strategies. <br /> <br /> The meeting was also attended by National Security Minister Robert Montague; Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Dr Horace Chang; and Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13314014/Montague-Holness_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 10:54 AM 5 New study finds taxes on labour income lower in Latin America and Caribbean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/New-study-finds-taxes-on-labour-income-lower-in-Latin-America-and-Caribbean WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) &mdash; A new study has found that taxes on the labour income of the average worker in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries totalled 21.7 per cent of total labour costs in 2013.<br /> <br /> The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), said that the new study titled &ldquo;Taxing Wages in Latin America and the Caribbean,&rdquo; found that the figure was one-third lower than in Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, where the average was 35.9 per cent.<br /> <br /> The study found more than 90 per cent of the difference between LAC and OECD is due to personal income tax estimated at 13 per cent of total labour costs.<br /> <br /> The new report, covering 20 LAC countries, was produced jointly by the Inter-American Centre of Tax Administrations (CIAT), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Development Centre and the Centre for Tax and Policy Administration.<br /> <br /> It was launched in Argentina during the VI LAC Fiscal Policy Forum hosted by the Ministry of Treasury and Public Finances.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The relatively low level of the LAC tax wedge &ndash; which measures the difference between an employer&rsquo;s labour costs and an employee&rsquo;s corresponding net take-home pay &ndash;reflects very low average personal income tax (PIT) rates,&rdquo; the study noted.<br /> <br /> According to the key findings of the study, the tax wedge across LAC countries varies widely, from 34.6 per cent in Argentina and 32.2 per cent in Brazil to 11 per cent in Trinidad and Tobago and 10 per cent in Honduras. Colombia and Uruguay also have levels above 30 per cent, while Guatemala&rsquo;s tax wedge is also less than 15 per cent.<br /> <br /> Chile had the highest personal average tax rate in the region followed by Uruguay and Argentina. The lowest rates were in Honduras, Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For the single worker without children, LAC tax systems start to exhibit slight progressivity around the eighth income decile as workers in some countries start to pay PIT. On the other hand, for a one-earner married couple with two children, the average tax system is slightly progressive at lower levels of income,&rdquo; the study found.<br /> <br /> It said it then becomes proportional in the middle-income deciles before matching the single worker without children at the upper deciles of the income distribution.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313972/tax.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 10:03 AM 5 Simpson Miller announces special team to oversee implementation of appraisal committee recommendations http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Simpson-Miller-announces-special-team-to-oversee-implementation-of-appraisal-committee-recommendations KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; President of the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP), Portia Simpson Miller, today announced a special team to oversee the implementation of the recommendations from the appraisal committee that examined reasons for the party&rsquo;s defeat in February&rsquo;s general election. <br /> <br /> Simpson Miller told the National Executive Council (NEC), the highest decision making body of the PNP outside of annual conference, that the committee would be co-chaired by former minister and high commissioner to the UK Aloun Assamba and former ambassador to China and Washington, Ralph Thomas.<br /> <br /> According to a release from the party, the ten member committee will include representatives from the Women's Movement, the PNPYO and the NWU.<br /> <br /> The PNP president was acting upon her commitment given to the delegates and members of the party at the annual conference on September 18 that she would announce the team by the first NEC meeting of the political year.<br /> <br /> Simpson Miller indicated to the NEC that it is extremely important for the party to move with alacrity to implement the recommendations of the appraisal committee and commence the rebuilding of the party.<br /> <br />  She charged the members of the special team to do everything in their power to ensure that the recommendations are implemented on a timely and efficient basis. <br /> <br /> The special team will monitor the implementation of the recommendations whilst the secretariat of the party will be responsible for implementing the recommendations, the release added.<br /> <br /> The special team is to commence its work immediately. The team is required to report to the PNP president and the executive committee of the party on a monthly basis and to all meetings of the NEC.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12990259/205294__w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 9:39 AM 5 UPDATE: Nine injured in Houston shooting, suspect killed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/UPDATE--Six-injured-in-Houston-shooting--suspect-killed WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; A gunman opened fire in Houston on Monday just before daybreak, wounding nine people before police shot him dead, police said. <br /> <br /> The shooter was a Houston-area lawyer, the Texas city's police chief Martha Montalvo told a news conference. She would not identify the man by name.<br /> <br /> Police said they were investigating whether the shooting was motivated by "issues at his firm."<br /> <br /> Of the nine people injured, six were sent to hospitals while three were treated and released near the scene of the incident. One person was in critical condition and another in serious condition, police said. <br /> <br /> Police did not disclose what kind of gun was used.<br /> <br /> Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told local television station KTRK that it appeared the motivation for the shooting may have been the lawyer's relationship with his firm, which "went awry." <br /> <br /> The police chief said there were no indications of any others involved, and that investigators were checking the man's social media accounts to help in determining his motive. <br /> <br /> Police responded to reports of a shooting at 6:29 am local time, and engaged in a shootout with the suspect. "The individual was firing actively at the officers," Montalvo said. <br /> <br /> The shooter was killed, after which police examined his body for explosives. They then examined his car and found numerous weapons, Montalvo said. <br /> <br /> Authorities also planned to check his apartment, and asked residents in a three-block area to remain in their homes while police continued their work. <br /> <br /> Witnesses told local media that the shooter fired onto moving cars from an area near an apartment complex. <br /> <br /> "The shots were coming almost non-stop. Four, five, six at a time," said Jaime Zamora, a cameraman for Houston television station KTRK who witnessed some of the shooting. He estimated that between 30 and 50 shots were fired. <br /> <br /> Local stations broadcast images of cars with bullet holes and broken windows. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313778/CrimeScene2_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 9:14 AM 5 Lottery Scam Taskforce being reintroduced http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Lottery-Scam-Taskforce-being-reintroduced KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; National Security Minister Robert Montague has announced plans for the reintroduction of the Lottery Scam Taskforce by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).<br /> <br /> He said Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams has advised of plans to intensify operations against lottery scammers, while underscoring the need to &ldquo;move quickly&rdquo; in this regard.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The price is too high, with broken families, broken communities, and a country whose brand is being damaged,&rdquo; he said while speaking during a recent ceremony at the National Police College in St Catherine.<br /> <br /> Montague indicated that the Government will be moving to amend more laws, with a focus on intensifying training for police officers to effectively countering the lottery scam.<br /> <br /> Williams, who also attended the ceremony, said the taskforce will become operational in western Jamaica shortly.<br /> <br /> He also underscored the need for collaboration between Jamaican and United States law enforcement agencies to effectively the illicit the activity adversely affects both countries.<br /> <br /> In this regard, Williams said the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) office in Jamaica was timely, adding that he has already met with the agent assigned to oversee its operation.<br /> <br /> The commissioner further said he was optimistic that &ldquo;this partnership will open opportunities for more training and sharing of best practices, which will redound to the safety and security of Jamaicans.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Montague and Williams participated in the handing over of 3,500 less lethal weapon kits which were donated by the United States Government for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313707/Montague_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 8:49 AM 5 Charlotte lifts curfew after protests over fatal shooting http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Charlotte-lifts-curfew-after-protests-over-fatal-shooting WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; Charlotte authorities lifted a curfew late Sunday that had been set following sometimes violent protests over a fatal police shooting of a black man in the southern US city.<br /> <br /> In a joint statement, Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Trevor Fuller, urged the community to continue to "show their unity in a peaceful and legal manner."<br /> <br /> The curfew had been in place since Thursday, and was lifted "immediately," the statement said.<br /> <br /> A fresh round of protests took place Sunday, but they remained largely peaceful.<br /> <br /> Activists demonstrated at and boycotted an American football game between the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the Minnesota Vikings to protest Keith Lamont Scott's shooting death.<br /> <br /> Protesters kneeled while the American national anthem played, in a repeat of protests by high-profile athletes in recent weeks over police brutality toward black men, with police in riot gear standing guard.<br /> <br /> On Saturday, police yielded to pressure from politicians, community leaders and protesters to release footage of the shooting, but the images were inconclusive as to whether Scott actually carried a gun, as authorities have claimed.<br /> <br /> "It does not make sense to us how this incident resulted in the loss of life... and it's not clear in the videos that were released," said Scott's brother-in-law Ray Dotch.<br /> <br /> But police said they had recovered a loaded gun bearing Scott's DNA, and that he was wearing an ankle holster. They released photographs of those items and marijuana.<br /> <br /> They also revealed that the confrontation was triggered after officers who were preparing to serve a warrant on another person noticed Scott was rolling a marijuana cigarette in his vehicle outside his apartment complex and saw him hold a gun up. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13302931/charlotte_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 8:36 AM 5 Several injured in Houston mall shooting, suspect shot http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Several-injured-in-Houston-mall-shooting HOUSTON, Texas (AP) &mdash; Houston police say several people have been shot at a strip mall in the city's southwest and that officers shot the gunman.<br /> <br /> Police said via Twitter Monday that an "active shooter at Weslayan & Bissonnet has been shot by our officers" and that there are no reports of other suspects "at this time."<br /> <br /> Police say several people have been taken to the hospital but that they cannot provide details about how many were shot or the severity of their injuries.<br /> <br /> The Associated Press has left messages seeking comment from the police.<br /> <br /> The shooting comes days after a shooting at a Washington state mall that left five people dead. On September 17, a 20-year-old man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313656/Police-line_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 8:16 AM 5 Two dead, 3 injured in Manchester crash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Two-dead--3-injured-in-Manchester-crash ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica &mdash; A two-vehicle collision on the Gutters main road in St Elizabeth last night has left two people dead and three injured.<br /> <br /> The deceased have been identified as Devoni Gayle, 18, of Blue Mountain, Manchester and Natalie Lewis, 19, of Heartease district, also in Manchester.<br /> <br /> Police reports are that about 8:15 pm on Sunday, five people were travelling towards Mandeville in a Toyota Levin motorcar, when the driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a corner.<br /> <br /> The vehicle reportedly collided into an Isuzu motor truck.<br /> <br /> Police say all the occupants of the Toyota Levin were transported to hospital where Gayle and Lewis succumbed to their injuries.<br /> <br /> Two of the occupants remain critical while the third person is considered stable.<br /> <br /> According to the police, the driver of the Isuzu motor truck only received minor injuries and as such was not taken to hospital for medical attention.<br /> <br /> Investigations continue.<br /> <br /> Alicia Sutherland<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313643/crash_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 8:00 AM 5 Correction http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Correction_75225 Yesterday&rsquo;s report on the funeral of ska legend Prince Buster reported the singer&rsquo;s son, Kareem Ali, as telling the Jamaica Observer that he was simply respecting his father&rsquo;s wishes by interring his remains at May Pen Cemetery. The son who spoke to the Observer was actually Jameel Ali.<br /> <br /> Also, Prince Buster&rsquo;s widow&rsquo;s name is Mola, not Mona as we had published.<br /> <br /> We regret the errors. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13310980/230738_57898_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 2:00 AM 5 PHOTO: Democracy passport launched http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Democracy-passport-launched_75181 Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) Commissioner Justice Karl Harrison (left), presents a copy of the ECJ&rsquo;s Democracy Passport to Donna Parchment Brown, political ombudsman, while ECJ Commissioner Earl Jarrett (second left); Dorothy Pine-McLarty, ECJ chairman; and Orette Fisher, director of elections look on. Occasion was the launch of the document at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel last Wednesday. The passport is an information booklet which outlines the laws governing the country and elections, rights of citizens, their roles in the electoral process and why they should become active participants in the electoral process. (Photo: Micheal Gordon) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313374/230792_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 2:00 AM 6 PHOTO: Secure with Scotia http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Secure-with-Scotia_75182 Recipients of over $1 million in scholarships and bursaries cheer after receiving their cheques from Scotia Insurance. The students were part of the annual Educational Wealth Plan, a promotion tied to ScotiaMINT. Sharing the happy moment with them is David Reid (second right), director sales and service, Scotia Insurance. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313375/230791_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 2:00 AM 6 Tangiers &lsquo;rich and famous&rsquo; hotel risks closure http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Tangiers--rich-and-famous--hotel-risks-closure_75174 RABAT, Morocco (AFP) &mdash; El Minzah hotel in the Moroccan city of Tangiers, for decades a haunt of the rich and famous, risks closure after having forfeited its five-star status on hygiene grounds.<br /> <br /> Blending a Moorish style with the decorum of an English gentlemen&rsquo;s club, El Minzah was built by British aristocrat Lord Bute and opened in 1930.<br /> <br /> Its long list of famous guests include Winston Churchill, Yves Saint Laurent and Rita Hayworth.<br /> <br /> Its bar is reputed to have inspired Rick&rsquo;s Cafe in the classic Hollywood movie<br /> <br /> Casablanca.<br /> <br /> In a sign of the times, the tourism ministry announced this week that the hotel has been stripped of two of its five stars for &ldquo;serious failings&rdquo; in its accommodation, renovation and especially the kitchens, which were found &ldquo;sorely lacking in hygiene&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The hotel has been granted 15 days to comply with hygiene and food safety requirements otherwise it will be closed, the ministry said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313383/minz_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 2:00 AM 6 Rural Routes - Sept 26 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Rural-Routes_75166 1 - Taxi man Michael Bolton tries to get the attention of this Sea view Basic School in Long Bay, Portland. Bolton, on a daily basis, transports at least 20 students to and from school.<br /> <br /> 2 - This road leads to the community of Belvedere in west Portland. Residents are demanding that the relevant authorities conduct the necessary rehabilitation exercise to make travel to the community easier.<br /> <br /> 3 - This young lad is unaware of the danger he is in while he sleeps at the back of this Toyota Hiace minibus in Portland. The packed bus was being driven to Buff Bay in the parish. (Photos: Karl McLarty)<br /> <br /> 4 - Canute Brown demonstrates how to husk a coconut<br /> <br /> 5 - Fitness trainer Collin Leigh has his hands full with grade one students from the Tapps Preparatory School in Dover District, St Mary. Leigh is taking the students through some light exercises. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313380/230780_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 2:00 AM 7 Robinson now PNP general secretary-designate http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Robinson-now-PNP-general-secretary-designate_75238 Julian Robinson is to become the general secretary of the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) when Paul Burke leaves the post at the next meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) on November 27.<br /> <br /> Burke, the man blamed for much of the PNP&rsquo;s woes over the past several months, handed in his resignation at yesterday&rsquo;s NEC meeting in May Pen, Clarendon, the first since the party&rsquo;s annual conference held September 17-18. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It came as no surprise; he has said it publicly and in the party, and he kept his word, and the opportunity was taken to appoint Comrade Julian Robinson as the general secretary-designate,&rdquo; Robert Pickersgill, who is now going into his 25th year as party chairman, having been re-elected yesterday, told journalists after the meeting.<br /> <br /> Robinson, who is the Member of Parliament for St Andrew South Eastern, entered representational politics in the local government elections of 2007, running in the Trafalgar Division. He lost that contest but returned to take the constituency in the 2012 General Election, and retained it in the February 2016 poll, which the PNP lost by one seat.<br /> <br /> The outgoing general secretary said whatever happens over the next two months, there is no turning back for him. &ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t want to put it as &lsquo;resigned&rsquo;,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I had made a decision long ago that I would have demitted office. When I made that decision I thought the PNP would have won the election [and] I would have thought that the local government elections would have been held by now. I have delayed that resignation date because I expect the local government elections within the next two months, but whether or not the local government elections are held, the date of the 27th of November is a fixed date for my departure from the position of general secretary.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Burke insisted that he had not been pushed to step down from his position, but declined to summarise his two-year tenure. &ldquo;Nobody pushed me. It was my decision and mine alone,&rdquo; he stressed.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Anthony Hylton was re-elected deputy chairman, along with 11 other members to the officer corps of the party. Pickersgill insisted that the party is &ldquo;always in transition&rdquo;, while noting what he described as the &ldquo;embarrassing&rdquo; amount of support he received in being returned to the position which has earned him the moniker &ldquo;Chairman for life&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> In another two weeks, at the next meeting of the newly constituted executive of the NEC, the treasurer, legal officer, and four co-operative members will be appointed. When asked if Treasurer Norman Horne would be replaced, Pickersgill said: &ldquo;Time will tell. We are in a state of flux here now, but time will tell&hellip; that will culminate when the time for re-election comes. Until then, he remains.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Horne is at the centre of a controversy concerning general election campaign funds which he said in a report to an NEC meeting in July, had not been turned over to the treasury by senior members of the party. <br /> <br /> In the meantime, Robinson said he was not worried about funding for the local government election campaign. &ldquo;If I take last week as an example, we had very good days of conference, we didn&rsquo;t have money to mobilise but people came out in large numbers,&ldquo; he said. &ldquo;So while there may be challenges, I remain confident that we will have the requisite money to run a good campaign&hellip; I&rsquo;m not overly concerned about that.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> He said that in light of the controversy surrounding private sector contributions to the PNP&rsquo;s general election campaign, the party is examining its internal processes to ensure that there is accountability and integrity. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312773/230825__w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312774/230825_ld.jpg Lisa fires back http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Lisa-fires-back_75211 Lisa Hanna yesterday accused senior People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) official AJ Nicholson of making false accusations against her, and said his actions demonstrated why there was urgent need for renewal in the Opposition party.<br /> <br /> Hanna, the member of parliament for St Ann South Eastern, was responding to Nicholson&rsquo;s letter to the Jamaica Observer, which was published yesterday, in which he argued that her bid for a vice-presidential post in the party was rejected by delegates because the PNP cannot reward or elevate failure.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The delegates say that if you want to be elevated within the PNP, solid expression of sound political work over time constitutes the core of the subject matter on which the examination is set. You ought not to seek to persuade me, a delegate, to reward proven failure in that field,&rdquo; Nicholson wrote.<br /> <br /> He said that during the campaign for the February 2016 General Election, Hanna, who was the regional chairperson for St Ann and Trelawny, turned steadfastly away from St Ann South Western, the traditionally strong constituency which was held by the PNP&rsquo;s Keith Walford, and chose to campaign at length in Trelawny Southern, which was held by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The outcome? South West St Ann losing by a mere 200-plus votes, and the PNP&rsquo;s losing margin in South Trelawny the worst since the constituency came into being,&rdquo; Nicholson claimed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So that, weighed in the balance at the constituency, parish and regional levels, the political stewardship of the aspirant is found seriously wanting,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> But yesterday, Hanna said Nicholson was distorting the truth, as St Ann South Western, unlike the majority of PNP seats, received more votes in the 2016 election than it did in 2011. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was always a marginal seat, and the party failed to provide it with enough resources for it to be victorious. It could not survive the national swing against the party, and the percentage margin of PNP votes he [Walford] received in 2016 versus 2011 was only minus 3.2 per cent.<br /> <br /> She also rubbished his accusation that her stewardship as youth minister failed to inspire many young voters to cast their vote for the PNP as the preferred choice.<br /> <br /> Said Hanna: &ldquo;The record is there for all to see. The PNP&rsquo;s campaign wasn&rsquo;t run by the Ministry of Youth or by me and did not use our youth as active participants to project any of the PNP&rsquo;s election messages. This was in stark contrast to the approach taken by the JLP.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Here is the text of Hanna&rsquo;s response.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s an open secret in the PNP that Comrade AJ Nicholson and I don&rsquo;t see eye to eye. This is mainly because of his condescending approach and his bludgeoning, abusive rants to those, especially women, who would dare to express points of view contrary to his.<br /> <br /> The PNP is a party of contending ideas, so disagreements are not a problem for me. I, however, have a problem when truth is distorted. So I&rsquo;m compelled to respond to AJ Nicholson&rsquo;s letter of Sunday, September 25. <br /> <br /> I decided to enter the vice-presidential race knowing full well it would be an uphill battle and that I&rsquo;d be fighting against the establishment which was intent on maintaining the status quo. However, there is a group within the PNP who supports young voices being heard; agree with the appraisal report; believe persons should be held accountable; and support the call for renewal. These are the people for whom I speak.<br /> <br /> As conceived by our founders, the party&rsquo;s group structure was primarily intended to represent the wishes of the masses of people within communities. Today, it appears to operate as a tool to manipulate party office positions.<br /> <br /> Cde Nicholson made several false accusations, which in the interest of truth must be addressed.<br /> <br /> It is not true that, as Region One chairman, I spent more time campaigning in South Trelawny versus South West St Ann. The fact is that South West St Ann (a JLP stronghold) was won in 2011 by Cde Keith Walford, a candidate I handpicked and installed four weeks before the 2011 General Election. It was the organisation that I put in place that ensured his victory. That seat, unlike the majority of PNP seats, received more votes in the 2016 elections than it did in 2011. It was always a marginal seat, and the party failed to provide it with enough resources for it to be victorious. It could not survive the national swing against the party, and the percentage margin of PNP votes he received in 2016 versus 2011 was only minus 3.2 per cent.<br /> <br /> By comparison, Cde Dr Wykeham McNeill in West Westmoreland had his PNP votes decrease by 2,315 or 6.7 per cent and had the lowest voter turnout in the country. <br /> <br /> Cde Nicholson should understand that the comparison of these two seats is a prerequisite for objective data analysis of the 2016 results rather than manipulating the data to justify one&rsquo;s inappropriate self-interest.<br /> <br /> Cde Nicholson&rsquo;s second fallacy is the suggestion that my performance as the minister of youth failed to bring out the youth vote in the 2016 General Election. The record is there for all to see. The PNP&rsquo;s campaign wasn&rsquo;t run by the Ministry of Youth or by me and did not use our youth as active participants to project any of the PNP&rsquo;s election messages. This was in stark contrast to the approach taken by the JLP. <br /> <br /> Many persons, including the president of the PNP YO, warned the party hierarchy of the dangers of this sort of strategy but the warnings were ignored. Every independent poll rated my performance as minister among the best in the PNP Administration, yet my ministry&rsquo;s achievements were severely under-promoted. Why?<br /> <br /> However, Cde Nicholson&rsquo;s greatest misdirection trick was reserved for South East St Ann. By convenience, he chose to ignore that the councillors he refers to, who do not support me, are the same councillors who fought against former MP Cde Aloun Assamba until they hounded her out of the seat. These are the same councillors who have admitted to the party they did not vote for the PNP on February 25. <br /> <br /> These are elected PNP officials taking out their displeasure at my candidacy against the party. Despite the lack of support by these three councillors and the national swing in favour of the JLP, my margin decreased by only three per cent and I won by the largest number of PNP votes outside of the KSAC strongholds. Objective analysts of empirical data would have highlighted that very few PNP seats performed better. Objective analysts of empirical data would have highlighted that Region Three lost three seats; Region Six lost three seats; Region Five lost two; Region Four lost one seat, Region Two lost one seat and Region One lost one seat. <br /> <br /> In summary, Cde Nicholson&rsquo;s task is to offer objective legal advice to the PNP, but he has instead allowed bias and personal vitriol to overshadow not only that responsibility, but to redirect his adverse opinions of one PNP personality to the general public. His actions emphasise the urgent need for renewal in our movement. <br /> <br /> I ran a clean VP campaign, and one of which we can all be proud. My campaign sought to build others up, rather than tear others down. I want every young person to know that you can have the courage to challenge any established order. I want every young person to know they should never allow the soft bigotry of low expectations to creep into their consciousness and make them apprehensive, or worse, fearful of challenging the status quo. <br /> <br /> Even though I did not win, I am confident that the choices we made were reasoned and sincere and demonstrated that we had the power to transform old approaches to getting things done. <br /> <br /> Politics is not perfect, but it works. Not always, but enough to keep me energised to improve the lives of people, and it is far better than resignation to the blankness of indifference. I stand by what I said to my party president on the night of September 17.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13313291/lisa-aj_w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312769/lisa-aj-SLD.jpg 01 2 Coast Guard post for MoBay http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Coast-Guard-post-for-MoBay_75230 MONTEGO BAY, St James &ndash; Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday said that the Government will establish a Coast Guard post in Montego Bay to stem the flow of illegal firearms coming into the country.<br /> <br /> The measure, he said, formed part of the State&rsquo;s response to the bloodletting that has been gripping St James in recent weeks.<br /> <br /> Last week, the police recorded 12 murders in the parish, which pushed the homicide tally to 192 since the start of the year, an increase of 37 on the 155 reported over the corresponding period last year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is also clear that the problem is driven by access to guns,&rdquo; Holness told journalists at the Office of the Prime Minister in Montego Bay, following a tour of some of the volatile areas in the parish.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In fact, 90 per cent of the crimes are committed by weapons, and that speaks to the major problem of the control of our borders... guns coming in. And in that regard, we have decided to locate a Coast Guard post in Montego Bay as a means to stem the flow of weapons coming in with the guns for drugs trade,&rdquo; Holness announced. <br /> <br /> He did not provide a timeline for the setting up of the post.<br /> <br /> The prime minister was accompanied on the tour by National Security Minister Robert Montague, Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams, Chief of Defence Staff Major General Antony Anderson, St James members of parliament and other key stakeholders.<br /> <br /> Holness also said that police numbers and service vehicles will be increased in St James, and the Government would be pushing legislation to assist in the fight against crime.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There is no question that we have to empower our police and our military with legislation, and that is relevant and applicable to the crime situation that we face,&rdquo; the prime minister noted.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The security forces will have to do far more searches than they do now,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> However, he was quick to point out that he does not expect overnight results after the strategies kick in.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I want Jamaica to appreciate that we don&rsquo;t have a switch that turns off crime. The strategies that we are putting in place will take some time. But we are working with the greatest speed and alacrity to ensure that the results are early,&rdquo; Holness said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312703/230832__w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312704/230832_SLD.jpg 02 2 Remembering Ingrid Brown http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Remembering-Ingrid-Brown_75150 Members of the Jamaica Observer Editorial team pay tribute to Ingrid Brown, associate editor - special assignment, who passed away last Thursday night after ailing for a few months. This is the second part of the responses. The first was published yesterday.<br /> <br /> A life pleasing to the Creator<br /> <br /> Despite her untimely passing, I am comforted by the fact that Ingrid Brown has lived a life pleasing to the Creator and was a true warrior at heart. Ingrid was a great friend, confidante, human activist and an overall strong individual. May her soul rest in peace. She will be dearly missed.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Karena Bennett<br /> <br /> Forever touched; forever grateful<br /> <br /> My most profound memory of Ingrid goes back to 2007. It was the day of the Press Association of Jamaica&rsquo;s National Journalism Awards. I was shortlisted, but decided not to attend because I had only been informed that day while at work, and commuting to and from Portmore during peak hour traffic would have been too taxing. When Ingrid became aware of the situation she offered a solution that endeared me to her forever. She went home, which at the time was not far away from the<br /> <br /> Observer, and came back to the office with about three separate outfits, including jewellery and accessories. She, Alicia Dunkley and I prepped ourselves in the restroom of the Advertising Department. That night, when I walked up to collect the award for Best Human Interest Story, I was wearing a white empire waistline blouse and a black and white shift skirt from Ingrid&rsquo;s wardrobe. I remain forever touched; forever grateful. Thank you, Ingrid.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Kimone S Thompson<br /> <br /> A true motivator<br /> <br /> Although we know that time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all, Ingrid&rsquo;s death is a great shock to me. Not only did I admire her for her professionalism, but also for the fact that she was a true motivator and a really genuine soul. Ingrid always thought about others, whether it meant sending a co-worker who was leaving the company off in grand style or simply offering an encouraging word on a day-to-day basis. Her smile will be missed. JOL and the world at large has lost a treasure.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Andrea Thaffe<br /> <br /> Focused and purposeful<br /> <br /> Ingrid was so pleasant and friendly to all of us in the Editorial Department, yet was focused and purposeful when performing her duties. Her work ethic was a feature I always admired.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Sanjay Myers<br /> <br /> The real deal<br /> <br /> In life we meet many characters: we meet the person people want us to think they are. The Ingrid Brown you met, however, was not her representative; it was the real deal. When you interacted with Ingrid, she opened her soul to you and you could not help but be blessed by who she was. She had no problems teaching, no problems caring; her &ldquo;how are you?&rdquo; was a question requiring an answer, not just a polite remark. She led a purpose-driven, example-setting life from which I have been blessed. I hope to make her proud by allowing the seeds she has planted in me to blossom.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Miguel Thomas<br /> <br /> A good journalist to work with<br /> <br /> She always tried to get the story. Once we went to cover an election at Tivoli and a police officer wanted me to delete my photos and I said &ldquo;no&rdquo; and stood up to his demands. Ingrid then said, &ldquo;Joe, mind dem kill yuh.&rdquo; But truly, she was a good journalist to work with. When we went to cover the North and East parishes and stopped to buy soup, she always offered to pay for it. I will personally miss her.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Joseph Wellington<br /> <br /> She never gave up on her God<br /> <br /> I got to better understand Ingrid and her special brand of faith four years ago during the Summer Olympics, which were held in London&rsquo;s East End. <br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s just say that we both got to understand each other a lot better after those eight weeks.<br /> <br /> Once we got back home, her face would crease in that infectious smile of hers as she passed my desk on a Monday morning to share that she had prayed for me at Sunday worship the day before. I would always thank her graciously and indeed remind her never to forget a sinner like me in her prayers. Her smile and soft voice reminded me that she always would remember me.<br /> <br /> Ingrid confided in me about her big decision to study law, a desire she long had but, I reckon, was reignited when she met her full-qualified niece.<br /> <br /> The financial challenges, I convinced her, would be overcome by her simply taking the first step. This she did and never looked back. Ingrid was very soon walking through Editorial with the air and confidence of a lead counsel. She&rsquo;d flash that lovely smile when I complimented her on her suits and handbags. <br /> <br /> All seemed to be going well until last Easter when she became ill.<br /> <br /> Determined to get back to her studies, Ingrid, although not fully recovered, was able to complete her law degree, earning an upper second-class honours.<br /> <br /> All that was now needed was another two years at the Norman Manley Law School, to be called to the bar!<br /> <br /> This, however, was not in the cards. <br /> <br /> Ingrid suffered a relapse, fell, hit her head and ended up at the University Hospital of the West Indies.<br /> <br /> We spoke for a long time on Sunday, September 18, and again briefly on Monday. Ingrid remained confident that she would regain her strength and join her colleagues at law school. I felt confident, too &ndash; surely Ingrid&rsquo;s God would not let her down!<br /> <br /> As I stood at Ingrid&rsquo;s bedside Wednesday evening, however, I saw that the woman who always saw the best in all of us needed a miracle. <br /> <br /> Her beloved pastor Al Miller came and prayed hard for that miracle. I prayed hard for that miracle, too. Ingrid&rsquo;s God would not allow her life to end now &ndash; not now &ndash; not like this.<br /> <br /> Ingrid rallied all day Thursday until she could no more.<br /> <br /> What little comfort there is to be taken in this is that at no time did Ingrid give up on life, on people, and on her God.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Novia McDonald Whyte<br /> <br /> A stickler for accuracy <br /> <br /> Ingrid and I go way back. To say she will be missed is just too cliche for me. It&rsquo;s so much more than that. Ingrid was the ultimate professional; meticulous, a stickler for accuracy and getting the news, while at the same time being mindful to certain sensitivities, and the lives of those who would be touched by whatever story she was working on, or editing. <br /> <br /> But aside from all of that, Ingrid was a sweet, wonderful, considerate, incredibly ambitious, forward-thinking person. She was charming, and we had a very similar sense of humour that often had us in fits of laughter. Once Ingrid started smiling, or laughing, you had no choice but to do the same. We had many heart-to-heart talks, which I came away from either having something, or having a view I had not considered before. She was one of the best human beings a person could ever hope to call a friend and colleague.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Alphea Saunders<br /> <br /> A good and kind person<br /> <br /> My fondest memories of Ingrid are the time we went in search of stories for the Observer North and East. We had a lot of fun. There were many things that happened that showed her really good side and how good of a person she was. It was just her kindness. I remember we once interviewed a man and when she was finished he said he didn&rsquo;t have any money or anything and he was hungry. Ingrid had $2,000 and she took it out and gave it to him. <br /> <br /> Another time we were driving through Portland and we saw a man on a donkey selling plantains. I remember the bunch had 11 fingers. She asked him &ldquo;How much for the plantain?&rdquo; and he said &ldquo;$200&rdquo;. She said &ldquo;$200 for a finger?&rdquo; He said &ldquo;No, $200 for the bunch&rdquo;. She said &ldquo;No, you can&rsquo;t sell it for $200. You know how much fi dat a town?&rdquo; I remember her saying she can&rsquo;t give him the $200 and she was digging for more money. I think she gave him $300, and she said she still did not feel comfortable because that was still too little for his hard work and it couldn&rsquo;t even buy him a nice dinner. <br /> <br /> It just goes to show the type of character she had. When she won the PAJ award for the sugar cane workers story, she came to me and said, &ldquo;Kenyon, any time me get that little money you have to get something out of it, you know, because a me and you deh on the road. You take the pictures and we win ennuh.&rdquo; She never said she won, she said we won. <br /> <br /> Last year when I got a certificate of merit in the journalism awards, she was the one who encouraged me to enter. <br /> <br /> On election day we worked together. We went to a place called Fruitful Vale. I climbed an apple tree by the roadside and Ingrid stood catching the apples and we joked that, as a lawyer, she would defend me in court when they locked us up.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Kenyon Hemans<br /> <br /> Embodied elegance and class<br /> <br /> She was a sweet soul who embodied elegance and class in the office. In my interactions with her, Ingrid was the consummate professional. I will always remember the disarming smile, which made her warm and approachable and endeared me to her. I will sorely miss her. Rest in peace, Ingrid.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Marshalyn Rose<br /> <br /> Dedicated her life to helping others <br /> <br /> It is distressing to know that I will no longer hear Ingrid&rsquo;s soft, reassuring voice in times of doubt. One could count on her impartiality. She was a true motivator, whose strength I relied on during many difficult moments. She was a strong-willed, yet gentle, genuine soul. She dedicated her life to helping others with their battles. Walk good, my friend. My eight-year-old son, who loves you, has already asked God to take care of you &ldquo;in the after life&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Arlene Martin-Wilkins<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13312590/230804__w300.jpg Local News Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM 2