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 Outrage not enough! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Outrage-not-enough-_87261 Jamaicans were urged to take a stand against violence in the society Saturday as mourners gathered at Fellowship Tabernacle in St Andrew for the funeral service of Stephan McLaren. <br /> <br /> The 17-year-old Calabar High School student was stabbed to death on New Year&rsquo;s Day on Hagley Park Road in St Andrew, after leaving a party. It was reported that while walking with a group of friends, McLaren stopped along the way indicating that he wanted to urinate. One of his friends said soon after he rushed to them saying he was stabbed. <br /> <br /> On Saturday, Reverend Merrick &ldquo;Al&rdquo; Miller used his sermon to call the nation to action. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is not merely enough to be outraged. It is not merely enough to be saddened at what is happening. It is not merely enough even to weep over what is happening. Outrage calls for action! You gotta do something about it if you&rsquo;re outraged,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Will the death of this young man bring home to reality that we need to take a stand? How many more young men must die? How many more children must die? How many of our women must be killed and abused before we, as a society, say enough is enough?&rdquo; Miller asked.<br /> <br /> He encouraged the congregation to be spurred to action. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is really sad today that Stephan is another untimely, unnecessary and senseless death, and it is becoming more common in our nation,&rdquo; Miller said.<br /> <br /> Making reference to the death of young Nicholas Francis &mdash; the Jamaica College student who was stabbed to death for a cellphone while on his way home last year &mdash; the clergyman criticised the state of the nation and called for a reshaping. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to come to a point when we say this must not continue in Jamaica,&rdquo; he said, while hitting the casket with the body of the slain teen. &ldquo;There must come a time when, as a nation, we say enough is enough.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> McLaren, a cricketer, was remembered for his passion and determination to excel. <br /> <br /> Warren Robinson, a friend who played cricket with McLaren at Melbourne Cricket Club, revealed that McLaren had hopes of pursing his passion professionally. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Wi mek so many plans together,&rdquo; an emotional Robinson said in his tribute. &ldquo;Him did a work fi play fi Jamaica under 19 team and me fi di senior. It really nuh sink in yet seh him gone,&rdquo; he stated in tears. <br /> <br /> He recounted, before breaking down, the night they spent together before McLaren&rsquo;s murder. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Him a di best friend mi could ever ask fah,&rdquo; he said after a heavy sigh. &ldquo;Wi did deh a Waterfront an wi hear shot a fire so we decide fi lef. Stephan say wi fi go Limelight an wi move go up deh, cause wi did waan enjoy wiself fi di new year,&rdquo; he said between sobs. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;But wi lef an mi turn mi back fi jus a minute an dis happen to di man. If mi did know mi wouldn&rsquo;t mek wi lef Limelight,&rdquo; Robinson recounted. <br /> <br /> McLaren started attending Calabar last September after successfully sitting his Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams at Pembroke Hall High School. Naturally, he joined the cricket team at Calabar, where he improved his skill. <br /> <br /> Principal Albert Corcho spoke of the teen&rsquo;s discipline and willingness to learn.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He was an organised young man who knew exactly what he wanted. He knew that at the end of fifth form he would have performed well because he knew he wanted to come to sixth form at Calabar. Very rarely you find them so young, so organised and know exactly what they want,&rdquo; Corcho said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Stephan the cricketer was unbelievable. When he came and started training, from day one we saw the leadership qualities. We had no doubt this young man brought a high level of professionalism to our team,&rdquo; the principal added. <br /> <br /> But not only was he a well rounded cricketer, one of his schoolmates revealed that McLaren was good with his hands and would sometimes repair their damaged cricket bats for free. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Stephan was always serious when it came on to school- work and cricket. Stephan trained three times for the week, always telling us that he was going home to study,&rdquo; he said, expressing regret that he wasn&rsquo;t able to play many matches with his friend.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This cricket season will be dedicated to Stephan and even if we do not win the competition, my team and I will ensure that we do our best in honour of our teammate,&rdquo; he declared. <br /> <br /> McLaren&rsquo;s sister, Kayon Burton, noted her brother&rsquo;s confidence. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to miss him,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I admired his humility. He is very humble. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;His dedication to sports is one you can&rsquo;t help but admire,&rdquo; added Burton.<br /> <br /> She urged mourners to remember &ldquo;good moments&rdquo; with Stephan and rejoice in them. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590766/253825_80726_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM MoBay&rsquo;s 10 most wanted listed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/MoBay-s-10-most-wanted-listed_87314 MONTEGO BAY, St James &mdash; Reputed leader of the Ratty Gang, Ryan Peterkin, who also goes by the moniker &lsquo;Ratty&rsquo;, is one of the most prominent figures featuring on the list of the 10 most wanted people recently released by the St James Police Division.<br /> <br /> According to head of the St James Police Division Senior Superintendent Marlon Nesbeth, Peterkin and his Ratty Gang are responsible for &ldquo;several spates of shootings and murders in the Cambridge police area&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> SSP Nesbeth recounted that on December 30 last year, during a confrontation with the police, two members of the notorious gang were shot and killed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We were confronted by members of that gang who fired at the police and based on our training, we were able to manoeuvre tactically, to the extent that two of these members were shot and killed.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He noted that the police prefer to bring wanted people before the justice system. As such, he is imploring others wanted by the St James police to surrender themselves.<br /> <br /> In addition to Peterkin, SSP Nesbeth also pointed to Shaneil Luthan, who is convicted for murder, but who escaped custody two years ago; as well as Arnold Gayle, also called &lsquo;Guy&rsquo;, who is also wanted for murder.<br /> <br /> Others rounding off the St James police 10 most wanted list are: Jevaughn Campbell, also called &lsquo;Cooking Oil&rsquo; of Mt Salem; Marcus Robinson, alias &lsquo;Rasta&rsquo;; Adrian Robinson; Kevin Hemmings, also called &lsquo;Skelly&rsquo;, Alex Madourie, otherwise called &lsquo;Popcorn&rsquo; or &lsquo;Pop&rsquo;; Delano Wilmot, commonly called &lsquo;Lano&rsquo; of Mother Lane, Cambridge; and Stephano Johnson otherwise called &lsquo;Sarge&rsquo;. <br /> <br /> Up to yesterday morning, 12 murders were recorded in St James since the start of the year, seven more than the five reported over the corresponding period last year.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590864/253897_80816_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Accused lottery scammer extradited to US http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Accused-lottery-scammer-extradited-to-US_87293 THE police yesterday revealed that 27-year-old Lavrick Willocks, a St James businessman who was arrested on lottery scamming charges, was extradited to the United States last Thursday.<br /> <br /> Willocks, otherwise called &ldquo;Lav&rdquo;, and who lived at Tortuga Drive, Greenwood, St James, was wanted in the US for the offences of attempt and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Willocks is alleged to be one of the masterminds who ran a syndicate that defrauded several US citizens of over US$5 million in the illicit lottery scam. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest and extradition,&rdquo; the constabulary&rsquo;s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) said in a news release.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;On Saturday, November 5, 2016, members of the Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) arrested Willocks at a hotel in Kingston and brought him before the Corporate Area Parish Court, where he waived his right to an extradition hearing and was ordered extradited,&rdquo; the CCU said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Willocks was picked up at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre by JFAT. He was then transported to the Norman Manley International Airport, where he was handed to US marshals,&rdquo; the CCU said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590894/253936_80809_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Jamaicans urged to embrace patriotism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaicans-urged-to-embrace-patriotism_87339 STILL basking in last year&rsquo;s historic achievement in August Town which recorded zero murders, Revered Dr Ezekiel Curtis yesterday called on Jamaicans to embrace patriotism, as crime and violence will not end until citizens start showing genuine love and concern for their communities.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I say to Jamaica, land we love, and those communities in particular that are ravished by crime and violence, the people will have to come together and show their patriotism, show their love for their community, characterised by care and concern,&rdquo; said Curtis, the chairman of the Greater August Town Ministers&rsquo; Fraternal.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I say to Jamaica and those communities that are bleeding, we have got to put aside insularity and come together as a force to reckon with to transform our communities for the glory of God and the betterment of our fellowmen.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Curtis, during his charge at a thanksgiving service at the Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God to celebrate zero murders in August Town, pointed out that patriotism was one of the leading factors that resulted in the community experiencing a murder-free year last year for the first time in over 20 years.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The majority of the people love their community. They exemplified this by their care for the community and the concern for the community. All of this was authenticated in the latter part of December 2015, when a Jamaica Urban Transit Company driver was shot. We saw the majority of the August Town community people voicing their disgust and resolved that they wanted no more violence in the community,&rdquo; said the pastor.<br /> <br /> Other factors outlined by Curtis that helped the community to achieve the milestone were prayer, partnership between the stakeholders, professionalism, especially from law enforcers in the community, purpose and perseverance.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We saw the cause and the cause created a purpose of conviction in the various stakeholders that we have to do something to transform the community,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He also pointed out that the stakeholders in the community, which included the police, church, peace groups, the universities and businesses, exemplified John F Kennedy&rsquo;s advice, &ldquo;Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Over the years the various groups, they have not turned and &lsquo;beg beg&rsquo;, but addressed themselves to activities that they could do for the transformation of this country,&rdquo; Curtis said.<br /> <br /> However, he said despite the success last year, August Town has not reached the &lsquo;Promised Land&rsquo; and urged stakeholders to &ldquo;stay on top of things&rdquo; to preserve the peace.<br /> <br /> Additionally, he challenged young men in August Town and other crime-riddled communities in the country to turn in their guns. <br /> <br /> For her part, Member of Parliament for St Andrew Eastern Fayval Williams called on Jamaicans to join August Town in a new commitment to rebuild lives and communities.<br /> <br /> She noted that the murder-free year has opened new possibilities for the community, which had been overshadowed by violence and is a testament to what can be achieved when police and citizens cooperate.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This will stand in the history books as a momentous achievement to which we will return, time and time again, as living evidence that the people of August Town were able to triumph over crime,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Pointing to the recent murder of a man in the community, Williams urged the community members not to be discouraged but to remain firm and steadfast.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Tanesha Mundle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590865/253887_80807_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM US$100-m investment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/US-100-m-investment_87310 SANDALS Resorts International says it will this year begin reconstruction of the old Dragon Bay hotel in Portland, transforming it into a 157-suite six-star boutique family resort at a cost of US$100 million.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;That will be our 12th hotel investment in Jamaica,&rdquo; Sandals Deputy Chairman and CEO Adam Stewart told guests attending last Friday&rsquo;s groundbreaking of a US$50-million hotel and BMW/MINI complex in St Andrew, spearheaded by Sandals, ATL, Marriott International and BMW.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not going to be a Beaches or Sandals. It&rsquo;s going to be a brand new brand,&rdquo; said Stewart, whose father Gordon is the founder and chairman of Sandals and Beaches Resorts and the ATL Group, which includes this newspaper.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This has been a lifelong dream for my dad in particular,&rdquo; said the younger Stewart whose father yesterday praised him for &ldquo;doing a great, great job in leading the [ATL Group&rsquo;s] motor car division&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Dragon Bay has been a long time in coming. The reason we&rsquo;re doing it is a commitment made by the prime minister and Minister [Daryl] Vaz to make the Ian Fleming International Airport truly accessible to commercial jet aircraft. That was the commitment that we needed, to make Portland accessible, and true to our word, now that that project is happening, Dragon Bay will happen,&rdquo; the younger Stewart said.<br /> <br /> The Sandals group formally acquired Dragon Bay Beach Resort on March 22, 2002 from the former owners Albert Abela Corporation and SSI Cayman Limited. <br /> <br /> However, poor roads and the inadequacy of the Ken Jones Aerodrome have resulted in Sandals placing a hold on developing the property. The elder Stewart had long argued that the poor infrastructure in the parish was incompatible with the quality product that is planned for Dragon Bay.<br /> <br /> Over the years, the Government got the main road leading from Ocho Rios to Portland fixed. Then in 2009 the Boscobel Aerodrome in St Mary was renovated and renamed the Ian Fleming International Airport.<br /> <br /> However, the runway needed expanding to allow smaller commercial jets to use the airport, a move that industry analysts argue would drive more tourist traffic to Portland, St Mary and Ocho Rios.<br /> <br /> Last September, the Government announced that the runway would be expanded, a decision that has found favour with the elder Stewart, who had long argued that bigger regional jet aircraft of between 55 and 100 seats, such as flown by American Airlines, Air Canada, USAIR, JetBlue, and Delta, need a minimum of 5,700 to 6,000 feet of runway, compared to the existing 4,780 feet at Ian Fleming.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, he told the Jamaica Observer that &ldquo;with the new airport planned at Boscobel to take jets, our plans are now in high speed&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He said the Dragon Bay resort will provide up to 800 jobs in the construction phase and just over 500 permanent positions when it is up and running.<br /> <br /> Stewart and his team project that the resort&rsquo;s guests and staff will consume more than 2,000 meals daily, therefore local farmers will benefit as they will be included in the hotel&rsquo;s linkages purchasing programme.<br /> <br /> The resort, he pointed out, will also provide income-generating opportunities for transport operators, tour companies, and attraction owners.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In that part of the world, which is just glorious, we would hope to sell a huge number of tours, between rafting on the Rio Grande, Nonsuch Caves, the multiple shopping tours and all the other land and water attractions,&rdquo; the elder Stewart said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A lot of Jamaicans are familiar with the old Dragon Bay. It&rsquo;s a precious site, unrivalled anywhere in the world,&rdquo; Stewart said. &ldquo;We really think it will bring a huge amount of benefit to the region and we are looking to add a few luxury villas to the property.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He said the new hotel &ldquo;is going to be unique in every way&rdquo; and pointed out that &ldquo;Sandals has led the all-inclusive industry with innovation after innovation that have been a treasure chest for competitive brands&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He pointed to a long list of innovations, among them swim-up bars, swim-up rooms, speciality restaurants and wrap-around swim-up pool bars.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Going as far back as the early 80s we were the first in this hemisphere to put hairdryers in the hotel bedrooms,&rdquo; Stewart said. &ldquo;Innovations are going to be part and parcel of Dragon Bay. It will be the introduction of a brand new concept.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Added Stewart: &ldquo;Dragon Bay will be the pride of Portland and the anchor for all future resorts to come to Portland. This is Sandals Resorts&rsquo; most beautiful real estate and it will be our best work ever.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590897/253921_80814_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Police want to rename Peace Day in honour of murdered teen http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Police-want-to-rename-Peace-Day-in-honour-of-murdered-teen_87264 The police Saturday condemned the murder of Stephan McLaren &mdash; the 17-year-old Calabar High School student who was stabbed to death on New Year&rsquo;s Day &mdash; and announced their intention to commemorate his life.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We want to rename our Peace Day Stephan McLaren National Safe Schools Day, and we want your support to ensure that his life continues,&rdquo; Sergeant Tanecia Johnson, who coordinates the National Safe Schools&rsquo; initiative, told mourners at Fellowship Tabernacle in St Andrew during the thanksgiving service for McLaren&lsquo;s life. <br /> <br /> Johnson noted that, with the permission of the slain teen&rsquo;s parents and relevant authorities, all schools will recognise the annual event by its rebranded name to commemorate McLaren&rsquo;s life, on March 7. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;And this is to say to that criminal or those criminals, you have lost, you have killed him but his memory lives on,&rdquo; the policewoman added.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are not here under a fa&Atilde;&sect;ade, we&rsquo;re not here as a show, we are here because every Monday morning at Calabar High School, since last year, we have ensured that there is a permanent patrol and static police officers, right at the Calabar High School gate, and not only Calabar High, but other schools across Jamaica,&rdquo; Johnson noted. <br /> <br /> She reported that McLaren was a well-mannered young man. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Members of my team and other police officers are here because every Monday morning, Stephan would never pass the police officers without saying &lsquo;Good morning&rsquo; to each officer. He would never, ever, ever pass and not say &lsquo;Good morning&rsquo;, and for that I want to say to sir McLaren, his father, Miss Evelyn (his mother), you did well in grooming your son. And I also want to say to you, he did nothing wrong.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Her colleague, Corporal Kimaryo Pinnock, who was recognised as the 2014 Lasco top cop, reassured the family that the police are working to bring the perpetrators to justice.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We stand in commitment, in ensuring that the person or persons that committed this heinous crime will be put to justice,&rdquo; he asserted.<br /> <br /> He then condemned the state of the society, noting that Jamaica has lost its moral compass and sense of empathy. <br /> <br /> Making reference to what Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie dubbed the emergence of a &lsquo;me generation&rsquo; &mdash; a generation that cares little about the feelings and emotions of others &mdash; the Lasco top cop appealed for a change. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am saying to Jamaica today, no silence when it comes to violence and crime, especially violence against our children. We don&rsquo;t want another prospect of hope to be cut down in this bitter fashion,&rdquo; Pinnock stressed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Let us take a collective responsibility today as a people; let us protect our nation&rsquo;s children and let us protect the future of Jamaica,&rdquo; he added. <br /> <br /> He later appealed for the killer or killers to turn themselves in to the police. <br /> <br /> &mdash; Jediael Carter http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590863/253816_80721_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Wanted: official status http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Wanted--official-status_87292 RAFTERS operating along White River, which borders St Mary and St Ann, are calling on the Government for assistance as they seek to legitimise their businesses.<br /> <br /> The group of approximately seven men told the Jamaica Observer North & East that business is most times difficult without a licence, which the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) insists that they need in order to operate.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It could be better for us. If we had the licence for it, we could get more customers. To get the licence, dem (JTB) seh we have to get a piece of land. Not capture land either, we have to lease it or buy it and it affi show &lsquo;pon paper. Dem seh we affi get bathroom too and stuff like that,&rdquo; one rafter and spokesman for the group, Noel Dillion, said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But the insurance is the wickedest part. By di time we pay fi dat, we nuh have nothing left fi we self. If dem can help we get it we will pay dem, but yuh done know seh dem naah do that,&rdquo; he added, noting that they have been asking for help for months now. The insurance, he said, would be an annual cost.<br /> <br /> He said that the main concern for the JTB, which having a licence would guarantee, is the safety of customers. Without this licence small-scale rafters lose customers to larger and much more established businesses in the area.<br /> <br /> However, Dillon, who has been rafting for five years, said even without the licence customers can be assured that they are in good hands.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;First thing is we make good rafts; we get life jackets and we can swim. And what we do is not dangerous; it&rsquo;s smooth sailing on the river. And the area we use is not so deep either; it&rsquo;s maybe about five feet,&rdquo; he stressed, adding that his tour usually lasts for an hour. The river&rsquo;s deepest point is approximately 20ft.<br /> <br /> The rafts, he said, are made from predominantly bamboo and are bound together with sticks and wire.<br /> <br /> Safety concerns aside, he theorised that even with the licence business would &ldquo;still be up and down&rdquo; because a good day would depend on whether a cruise ship docks or not.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;People come and like it and tell dem friend a foreign, and dem come and ask fi we. We naah treat dem bad; we treat dem good and we nuh harass dem. People put we name online and market we, you understand? We (rafters) try work as a team but, you know, ,things will happen along the way but we still try we best fi do the thing properly.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So we want the help fi get straight wid a licence suh we can do the thing legally,&rdquo; he said, noting that their businesses have a positive impact on other businesses in the area.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It help out people in the community too, enuh. Sometimes the guests come and dem will buy a beer and suh and food, and we still make a likkle weh we can spend wid dem, so it helps.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590705/253866_80727_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM PM assures investors http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/PM-assures-investors_87279 PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has a very direct message for investors. The Government, he says, is creating the right environment for them to accurately measure and manage risk.<br /> <br /> In fact, Holness is assuring entrepreneurs that the political environment will not affect their investments and, further, that good fiscal behaviour is now a hallmark of the Jamaican Government, regardless of which political party forms the Administration.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The role of Government is to create the environment in which entrepreneurs, investors, and business people can accurately measure and manage risks,&rdquo; Holness told guests last Friday at a ceremony where ground was broken for a US$50-million investment on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew.<br /> <br /> That project will see the construction of a full-scale BMW/MINI international showroom and service centre, as well as a 220-room Marriott AC brand hotel.<br /> <br /> The project, which will provide 600 jobs in the construction phase and approximately 300 permanent positions, is being undertaken through a partnership with Sandals Resorts International; ATL Automotive, the official importer of BMW and MINI in the Caribbean; and Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world with just over 6,000 properties.<br /> <br /> It is the type of investment that the Government, which Holness describes as &ldquo;business-friendly&rdquo;, welcomes with open arms and broad smiles.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If you look at what the Government has done so far, we&rsquo;ve made sure that the political risk is certain. In fact, we&rsquo;ve reduced political risk for investment, and we do that by pursuing partnerships. Whatever we do, it is a partnership with the Opposition, civil society, the various business groups, and business interests. So, an investor does not have to worry that if he comes into the market at this point and there is a change in government, or there is a change in the political environment, his investment is now at risk,&rdquo; the prime minister said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re building a long-term political trajectory so that when investors come they understand that policies will transcend governments, that they will be long-lasting, and that you will be able to recoup your investments within the horizons that we&rsquo;ve planned,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve also sought to manage risk as it relates to the fiscal behaviour of the Government. So that you don&rsquo;t have to worry that when you enter the market at this point [that] the call on... your business might suddenly change, [that] you might be facing new taxes or new regulations. That is a perfect example of how partnership in policy has transcended governments,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> Earlier, ATL/Sandals Deputy Chairman and CEO Adam Stewart, and minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz had, in their presentations, acknowledged the role played by the previous Government in laying the foundation for fiscal discipline.<br /> <br /> Holness agreed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Good fiscal management, as was acknowledged by Adam and Minister Vaz, is something we are strong on, and I know that the Opposition is also strong on,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So investors can rest assured that whether it&rsquo;s my Government, or who knows, whichever other Government, good fiscal management is a principle of governance in Jamaica so that you can accurately manage and calculate your risks for investment.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The prime minister also acknowledged that the issue of safety and security is one of the risks facing investors, and assured that this Government is implementing measures to deal with the problem.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This Government is determined to get a handle on crime,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve learnt the lessons of the past and therefore we will do it with respect for human rights. We will do it through education, collaboration and by being just, firm and strategic with how we go about dealing with the criminals.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve started. I want to give all investors &mdash; local and international &mdash; the assurance that we are reducing the risk of investments due to safety and security,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If we&rsquo;re going to bring people here to enjoy the lifestyle, people must feel safe and secure, not just in private places, but also in public places.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are on the cusp of success. We are on the runway to take off. The obstacle in our way is crime and violence. We are not going to overcome this by the police and security forces alone. It has to be a joint, cooperative partnership effort between the Government, the security forces and the citizens,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Think of the benefits to Kingston if people could come out of their hotels and go to the local bar on Olympic Way, or to Rae Town at 2:00 am and sit on the waterfront to watch the sun rise and then, if they choose, to walk around Kingston, take a taxi without concern, and come back to their hotel. Can you imagine this in Jamaica?&rdquo; he asked.<br /> <br /> He also gave the commitment that the Government is friendly to business, but at the same time said it would not neglect its responsibility to the poor.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The two things are not mutually exclusive,&rdquo; he argued. &ldquo;If we provide the right environment for people to invest in magnificent things like what is going to be built here, that means 300 more Jamaicans will have permanent employment who could now look to buy, potentially, 300 new homes. We see the nexus. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We want businesses to invest, we want them to be profitable, we want them to pay their staff well and we want their staff to have the resources to go out and acquire the things to fulfil their dream of prosperity, whatever that dream may be,&rdquo; the prime minister said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590675/253870_80785_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM PHOTO: Praying for peace http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Praying-for-peace_87343 Church members pray with members of the Love March Movement during a thanksgiving service at the Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God in St Andrew to celebrate zero murders in August Town for 2016. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590899/253883_80812_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Elderly man dies after car goes over Flat Bridge http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Elderly-man-dies-after-car-goes-over-Flat-Bridge_87340 AN elderly man lost his life after the vehicle he was driving overturned into the Rio Cobre along the Bog Walk Gorge in St Catherine yesterday morning.<br /> <br /> It was reported that the deceased, 60-year-old Jeffery Anglin of Biscayne Drive, Willowdene, in the parish, allegedly failed to properly turn onto the road corridor popularly known as &lsquo;Flat Bridge&rsquo;, which caused the Toyota Camry motor car he was driving to plummet into the river.<br /> <br /> A unit from the Spanish Town Fire Department went to the scene of the accident following reported unsuccessful attempts by people there to aid the driver.<br /> <br /> The man was found slumped over the driver&rsquo;s seat and still strapped in by his seat belt.<br /> <br /> The gorge, which was closed earlier yesterday morning to facilitate rescue operations, was reopened to the public later yesterday afternoon and motorists were cautioned to proceed carefully.<br /> <br /> The Flat Bridge, which is classified as a beam bridge, runs across the Rio Cobre and is one of the oldest bridges in Jamaica. The last-known accident that happened on the bridge occured last year July, when six people lost their lives after the vehicle they were travelling in, a Suzuki Vitara, plunged into the river. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9537019/flat-bridge_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Programme for troubled St Ann teens working &mdash; director http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Programme-for-troubled-St-Ann-teens-working---director_87299 A programme launched to positively influence the behaviour of teens who have found themselves in trouble at school has been reaping success, according to its Director Lascelles Wray Hamilton.<br /> <br /> The Behavioural Intervention Disciplinary Support programme, which is primarily geared towards preventing the expulsion of students from schools, was implemented in St Ann last year.<br /> <br /> Since then, Hamilton said that there has been a steady decline in the number of students being suspended and a decrease in students being suspended more than once. <br /> <br /> Instead of staying at home when suspended, students are enrolled in the programme which is designed to help them work through their behavioural issues.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It has been very successful,&rdquo; Hamilton shared.<br /> <br /> A number of schools have been referring students to the Marcus Garvey Information Centre in St Ann, where the programme runs.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is a part of our anti-expulsion campaign in which we are trying to save students from being expelled from the high schools,&rdquo; Hamilton said. He pointed out that students are usually expelled from schools after three suspensions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The intention is that we want them to reduce suspensions. So, instead of sending them home after a suspension, you send them to a behavioural centre where we combine our paramilitary training from the cadet background with the counsellors and teachers,&rdquo; Hamilton, who is the commander for the National Inter-school Brigade, St Ann Division, explained.<br /> <br /> Following completion, the students are given a letter stating that they have gone through the programme and can be admitted back in school.<br /> <br /> The programme currently runs in two parishes, Kingston and St Ann.<br /> <br /> A &ldquo;small&rdquo; monetary contribution is made when students participate, however, with less children being suspended, that revenue has decreased. Hamilton said while it may be to the detriment of the centre, it is an indication that the programme is successful.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We started in April of 2016 in St Ann and by the end of July we had 104 or 105 [students] who passed through the programme,&rdquo; Hamilton said.<br /> <br /> Since September the numbers have dropped to fewer than 80 students. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have much repeats. It boosts behavioural improvement.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He said with the permission of parents, drug tests are also done to determine if children are using any harmful substances.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have a partnership with the National Council on Drug Abuse. We have drug test administered with parental permission and then we have drug counselling for those who are found to be using substance,&rdquo; Hamilton explained, noting that guidance counsellors and youth empowerment officers work with these students.<br /> <br /> The programme also seeks to identify the reasons for students&rsquo; behaviour.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There was one instancewhere we had to get a CDA referral because we found out the child was being abused,&rdquo; the director disclosed.<br /> <br /> He said that parents are also involved in the intervention programme through workshops that are held.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sometimes we would have uncovered some stuff that the parents can help us to fix, so we invite them for a meeting.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hamilton also said while students may attend the centre for short periods, residential intervention is also offered outside the suspension period for them. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590681/253871_80729_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Three schools to battle for top spot in St Ann police debate competition http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Three-schools-to-battle-for-top-spot-in-St-Ann-police-debate-competition_87304 Three schools are expected to battle for the top spot in the Area Two police debate competition this week.<br /> <br /> The three schools&mdash; Brown&rsquo;s Town High, St Mary High and Titchfield High in Portland &mdash;are parish-level champions.<br /> <br /> Students from the winning team will receive part scholarships to pursue a programme of their choice at Moneague College in St Ann.<br /> <br /> Principal of the college, Jacqueline Thames, lauded the police for hosting the competition, citing that it is &ldquo;an excellent initiative which the Moneague College endorses wholeheartedly&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Head of the Area Two police Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey commended the members of his team who conceptualised and organised the event.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I believe that the person who actually conceptualised this debating competition must be commended because what it provides is an opportunity for students to discuss issues, to hear the viewpoints of others, and to understand there are alternative views as well,&rdquo; ACP Bailey said.<br /> <br /> He said that he believes coming out of the debates, students&rsquo; tolerance levels will increase.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If Jamaica is to develop into the country and the type of society that we expect, we have to understand as a nation that no man has any superior right over the other and that our viewpoint is as important as the other person&rsquo;s viewpoint,&rdquo; ACP Bailey continued.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that being able to interact with each other, irrespective of the different views, will help in resolving conflicts and understanding each other better.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I would recommend and suggest that this kind of initiative be replicated right across the schools across Jamaica,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Added to that, he said while there is a national debate competition, not all schools are involved and efforts should be made to engage all schools in these debates. He said some of the &ldquo;not so popular schools&rdquo; should be engaged in debates to help build the confidence level of students and to help in conflict resolution.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that there are a number of benefits to be gained by students who participate in the competition, which includes the strengthening of teamwork, increasing a culture of reading, enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and creating mental and emotional maturity. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590682/253872_80731_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM The famous Blue Hole &mdash; making its mark http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/The-famous-Blue-Hole---making-its-mark_87289 EASILY one of the most- visited, undeveloped attractions of Jamaica, Irie Blue Hole, located south of Ocho Rios, St Ann, is rivalling some of the parish&rsquo;s most noted attractions for the soft spot of both visitors to the island and locals.<br /> <br /> Laying eyes on the secret falls breaking into a pool of rippling turquoise water is one of the most visually appealing experiences. But you can only be sure you&rsquo;re there when the famed line of flags &mdash; specific to Jamaica, the United States, Canada, Lithuania, Colombia, and England &mdash; are spotted.<br /> <br /> The rustic attraction, shadowed by lush green flora, filters in the ideal amount of sunlight for the perfect excursion.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;People coming here about 10 years now, but for the first five years it wasn&rsquo;t set up as a business. &ldquo;People would just come after hearing that there&rsquo;s this beautiful place in St Ann hills,&rdquo; lifeguard at the attraction, Anthony, told the Jamaica Observer North East on a recent visit to the parish.<br /> <br /> The secluded falls, which has remained relatively untouched by modern designs, boasts several small pools and a large main pool and waterfall, famous for awkward dives, jumps and body slams.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have unique caves; people get to walk the falls; we have nine and 15-foot jumps and, up the top, we have a mud spa for back massages and any other massages you would like. It&rsquo;s a very enjoyable place for people to come and relax, I would say,&rdquo; Anthony said of the attraction.<br /> <br /> One of several tour guides, Ackeem reasoned that Irie Blue Hole gained popularity because of the service offered by those employed to show visitors a good time.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Whenever people come the guys who work inside here treat them the best; they ensure that they are well taken care of. If you get a bad recommendation, you&rsquo;re out of business. We get people from all over, and especially thanks to social media,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Deemed an &ldquo;unofficial&rdquo; tourist attraction, the many who visit prove otherwise.<br /> <br /> Visitors from Argentina, Karen and Pablo gushed about the attraction&rsquo;s serenity after multiple dives into its 20-foot-deep pool.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We love it. It&rsquo;s beautiful,&rdquo; Karen shared.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Your country is amazing,&rdquo; she added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590644/253862_80758_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM A sisterly bond between employer, employee http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/A-sisterly-bond-between-employer--employee_87308 AN unlikely childhood friendship as well as a single promise was largely responsible for an inseparable sister-like bond now shared between an employer, Verona Morgan, and her employee, Avril Harris.<br /> <br /> When Morgan was just eight years old, she made what seemed like an odd request from the then 20-year-old Harris &mdash; that whenever she had a baby of her own, she wanted Harris to be the one to help her take care of it.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I remember one day we were going to the river and she would always carry me on her back and I said to her, listen, anytime I have baby, you gonna carry mi baby the same way on yuh back and she used to laugh and say, &lsquo;Little girl, why you don&rsquo;t go and sit down&rsquo;,&rdquo; Morgan recounted with a smile.<br /> <br /> But she maintained that despite Harris&rsquo; dismissal, each time she would visit her grandmother&rsquo;s home in Guy&rsquo;s Hill, St Catherine, during the holidays, she never failed to remind Harris, who was her grandmother&rsquo;s neighbour, that she would have to be by her side after she started her family.<br /> <br /> Harris, who was an only child, recalled that she used to look forward to Morgan as well as her sisters coming to the country during the holidays, and although initially forming a close bond to Morgan&rsquo;s bigger sister, soon came to forming an even closer one with her inquisitive younger sister.<br /> <br /> Morgan explained that Harris was the only one around at the time that was patient with her and would answer all her &lsquo;adult&rsquo; questions, and so she used to look forward to the holidays, often counting down the days until she&rsquo;d see her friend again.<br /> <br /> But as they grew older, the frequent holiday visits ceased but the friends still maintained contact, often meeting at family gatherings or speaking on the phone. <br /> <br /> Morgan, who works as a freight forwarder, now employs Harris as her children&rsquo;s caretaker.<br /> <br /> Harris recounted a phone call she received that would lead to what is now a permanent reunion between the two.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When she call me the day and tell me she having a baby, I said really, and from there on it was history. From there, I&rsquo;ve been with her looking after the baby and he&rsquo;s almost nine and see, I have another baby looking after now. Believe you me she is a very good employer. I am 50 years old and she is 38 and I couldn&rsquo;t want a better boss to work with,&rdquo; Harris told the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer in a recent interview at Morgan&rsquo;s home in Kingston.<br /> <br /> Harris, who assists in caring for Morgan&rsquo;s son and newborn daughter, explained that getting the news of Morgan&rsquo;s pregnancy was like fate as she had just been released from another job.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s like my employer knew what was coming, because I was about to give her notice the December and she (Morgan) was having the baby in February. My employer and I had a simple dispute but she said, &lsquo;You have to go&rsquo;, so I said OK, so I called her (Morgan) and say they fire me ennuh, and she say come, so I just scrape up everything and went,&rdquo; Harris explained.<br /> <br /> Close to a decade later, the two have retained and strengthened their sisterly bond and also share a good professional rapport.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t consider her a helper, I consider her a big sister who assists me. A couple of months ago my son asked her the question, &lsquo;Avril, the way how you love me, did my mom pay you to love me like this&rsquo;, and she said to him, &lsquo;Money cannot buy love&rsquo;,&rdquo; Morgan related.<br /> <br /> Morgan explained that her nine-year-old son is so taken with Harris that the older woman used to have to delay her weekend trips home as he would pine for her until she got back. With her two sons now grown and doing well on their own, Harris has more time to dedicate to her adoring young charge.<br /> <br /> So close is the bond between the two, Morgan noted that if she is travelling and Harris is unable to go on the trip, she doesn&rsquo;t take her son as she knows the &ldquo;journey is going to be rough&rdquo;, and so she rarely travels without her.<br /> <br /> But Harris&rsquo; presence on the trips is more than just carrying out a duty as she expressed that she has thoroughly enjoyed the various destinations visited and is grateful to Morgan for providing her with the opportunity.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The first time I was going to travel, she help me get my passport and we went to The Bahamas and then we took a long trip that I cannot forget to Hong Kong&hellip; we go to Mexico and now we planning to go to Dubai in the summer,&rdquo; Harris outlined.<br /> <br /> Morgan stated that so much is her trust in Harris, that when she was constructing her new home she had no problem leaving her to handle the financial matters or running the house while she was away.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I confide in her more than some of my siblings. At a point, it even brought a rift between my siblings and me because they always think that I am closer to her than them. And even when my mother comes here on holiday, if she wants something here in the house, she would be asking her and I&rsquo;m saying mum listen it&rsquo;s your house too and she&rsquo;ll say,&lsquo;Yes, but is Avril run the house&rsquo;,&rdquo; Morgan said.<br /> <br /> Harris added that the women&rsquo;s ability to respect each other despite the age difference has helped to contribute to the length of their bond.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You know we need to all have manners to each other and I&rsquo;m not too big to say, look here, show respect, and she&rsquo;s not too young to say that either. I am 50 and she is 38 and I&rsquo;m not gonna say to her anything I feel. No, you respect the person, regardless of age and that is what the two of us have &mdash; respect for each other.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590637/253894_80767_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM &lsquo;Parson musn&rsquo;t crisen him pickney at all&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-Parson-musn-t-crisen-him-pickney-at-all-_87238 MANDEVILLE, Manchester &mdash; Contractor General Dirk Harrison has reiterated a warning for councillors to avoid situations that can be construed as conflicts of interest.<br /> <br /> He said councillors should get familiar with the policies and legislation that govern contracts and procurement and seek guidance as necessary.<br /> <br /> Harrison was addressing the first of a two-day sensitisation session for elected local government officials in Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon at the Golf View Hotel last Wednesday.<br /> <br /> The Office of the Contractor General (OCG), which he heads, is the principal Government entity mandated by law to provide oversight for government contracting and public procurement.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Parish Council (Municipal Corporation) as a local authority and to which you have been elected to serve is in fact a public body. As you discharge your official duties, it is paramount that you ensure that the principles of accountability and transparency are observed,&rdquo; Harrison told those present.<br /> <br /> As he outlined issues regarding ethics in public procurement, he said that there are direct and indirect ways that personal relationships can create problems in maintaining the principles that they have sworn to upheld.<br /> <br /> Close and extended family members, suppliers, bidders, consultants, contractors, friends and employees are some of the relationships, he said, that could be a cause for concern.<br /> <br /> Harrison said that relationships should be disclosed in writing and people should recuse themselves from deliberations if a possible conflict of interest is unearthed during a meeting where decisions are being made about a contract.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You have heard branded about the word recusing oneself, it is very important. One must appreciate exactly that this is what the regulations to the Contractor General&rsquo;s Act is saying. But it is saying first you must declare your interest, then you must take yourself away from the particular circumstances [if needed]. If you have failed to do at least those two things then it may be deemed that a conflict of interest has arisen.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Harrison briefly cited as example the case of embattled former Mayor of Lucea, Shernet Haughton, to reinforce his point.<br /> <br /> Haughton was accused of nepotism, favouritism, and conflict of interest in the awarding of contracts to relatives and people affiliated to her in a report that was submitted to Parliament by the OCG.<br /> <br /> The case is still before the court.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The matter is, did she declare the interest in relation to these persons?&rdquo; the contractor general asked.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip;The effective management of conflict of interest or the perception thereof is unquestionably crucial for building a good public image,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Harrison said that the perception of a conflict of interest is as much a cause for concern as an actual conflict of interest and advised that it is best to stay away from those situations.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are a number of circumstances which we have seen in the past and they continue to follow us along. Remember, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. It has been said in Jamaica, &lsquo;parson crisen him pickney fus&rsquo;. We want to change the saying to say parson musn&rsquo;t crisen him pickney at all,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Harrison said that while there are complaints that his entity is &ldquo;a little too hard&rdquo;, it is merely seeking to enforce rules that are in place. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590635/253864_80769_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Food For The Poor assists family, elderly with houses http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Food-For-The-Poor-assists-family--elderly-with-housesObserver-North-and-East-article-spurs-action-------_87286 A Portland family and an elderly man are the latest beneficiaries of houses from philanthropic organisation Food For The Poor (FFP) after their plight was highlighted by the Jamaica Observer North East in 2015.<br /> <br /> The family of four, which includes a wheelchair-bound man, was desperately in need of a house to get out of the crammed space they shared in the back room of a relative&rsquo;s house in Waybridge, Portland, for years.<br /> <br /> Observer North & East reported in 2015 that Jacqueline Thompson, her two daughters and her physically challenged son all shared a single bed in a room which an aunt allowed them to stay in, after they had been living in the garage for some time.<br /> <br /> At the time, Thompson stressed that she needed help to get back on her feet.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am feeling happy about getting my house. I thank God as I can&rsquo;t leave him out,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Thompson also thanked justice of the peace and pastor of the Church of God in Christ at Long Road, Roy Titus, who tried desperately to get assistance for the family. He described their situation as &ldquo;dire,&rdquo; then.<br /> <br /> She also thanked the Ministry of Housing for the land space, Food For The Poor for the house, the Observer for highlighting her need, and the parish council and the National Insurance Scheme for their assistance.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am a happy person now. It was a long and horrible wait; I cried sometimes. The children are very happy, especially my son Okeno,&rdquo; Thompson shared.<br /> <br /> The house, which is located at Darlingford Housing Scheme in Manchioneal in the parish, was handed over last October. Thompson said FFP has also pledged to donate furniture.<br /> <br /> A visually impaired elderly man was also the beneficiary of a house from FFP. <br /> <br /> Urnal Taylor lived in a dirt-floor, one-bedroom house in Boston in the parish for years, before FFP read of his plight in the<br /> <br /> Observer and presented him with the keys for a new house.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This house is beautiful as much as mi can&rsquo;t see it. I am comfortable and mi have space. Thanks to all the people who helped me, and the gentleman here, Pastor Titus. The blessings on his shoulders can&rsquo;t come off. Welcome; welcome,&rdquo; he said with a broad grin on his face. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13591324/253850_80736_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM PHOTOS: CARIBBEAN MARITIME BRILLIANCE http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/CARIBBEAN-MARITIME-BRILLIANCE_87211 Members of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) Spartans team perform one of their winning routines during a press conference last Thursday at the CMI, Palisadoes, shortly after their return from the World University Cheerleading Cup Championships the previous weekend. The team, comprising students of the CMI, won ahead of their United States counterparts, placing first in the Mascot Exhibition, first in the Large Co-ed Division and first in the All Girls Division. The performance cemented their place at sixth overall in the competition. On the way to the achievement, the CMI Spartans won all four major national competitions among the leading tertiary institutions in Jamaica. The achievement makes CMI the first Caribbean university to be represented on this international sports platform. The team returned last Tuesday. (<br /> <br /> Members of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) Spartans Cheerleading<br /> <br /> team strike a pose after their success at the recent World University<br /> <br /> Cheerleading Cup Championships in the United States. Occasion was a<br /> <br /> press conference last Thursday at the Norman Manley International<br /> <br /> Airport. (Photos: Michael Gordon) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13591300/253486_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 2:00 AM Science again! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Science-again-_87349 Sometimes wi haffi tek bad things mek joke. The big official (34, 26) really think that obeah (4) can curtail wi crime problem? But, then again, the mothers and girlfriends (22, 21) of di criminals a do all type ah tings fi &lsquo;protect&rsquo; dem loved ones. A likkle birdie tell mi seh she know of a troublemaker whose babymother bruk a egg (4 again) at dem gate every day, supposedly to keep the police (13) at bay. Well, him nuh get ketch yet, so yuh cyaan tell dem dat it not working.<br /> <br /> Every time mi start feel good about the bridge that spans the long river (31, 24), something bad haffi happen. What an awful way to bow out (3) for that poor old man (9, 13)! Too much duppy (1) deh at the one place now.<br /> <br /> So friends, the now powerful one really a engage people in a debate &lsquo;bout crowd (25) size a day after him talk how the country pop dung and him going to make it great again. Mi really waan know when him and him followers gwine tek note of the opposition, like the massive crowds all over the world, pushing back at him. Even little boys and girls (11, 16) a protest. More time. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13591293/Screen-Shot-2017-01-23-at-2-16-21-AM_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM This Day in History - January 23 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/This-Day-in-History_87332 Today is the 23rd day of 2017. There are 342 days left in the year.<br /> <br /> TODAY&rsquo;S HIGHLIGHT<br /> <br /> 1977: The TV miniseries Roots, based on the Alex Haley novel about an African-American family&rsquo;s heritage, begins airing on ABC television. It becomes one of the most-watched shows in US history.<br /> <br /> OTHER EVENTS<br /> <br /> 1542: King Henry VIII takes the title of King of Ireland.<br /> <br /> 1579: The Union of Utrecht is signed by the provinces of The Netherlands committed to carrying on resistance to Spain. It becomes the foundation of the state of The Netherlands.<br /> <br /> 1631: France, under Treaty of Barwalde, undertakes to subsidise Sweden in Thirty Years&rsquo; War.<br /> <br /> 1789: Georgetown University is established in present-day Washington.<br /> <br /> 1845: US Congress decides all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.<br /> <br /> 1849: Dr Elizabeth Blackwell receives the first doctor of medicine degree awarded to an American woman.<br /> <br /> 1937: Seventeen communist leaders confess in Moscow that they conspired with Leon Trotsky to undermine Soviet regime of Josef Stalin in the &lsquo;Great Purge&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> 1950: The Knesset proclaims Jerusalem as Israel&rsquo;s capital.<br /> <br /> 1964: The 24th amendment to the US Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections, is ratified.<br /> <br /> 1985: Debate in Britain&rsquo;s House of Lords is carried live on television for the first time.<br /> <br /> 1989: Civilian commandos and army troops backed by tanks battle at infantry base on outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina.<br /> <br /> 1991: The Angolan Government accepts a peace plan that ends 15-year-old civil war with UNITA rebels.<br /> <br /> 1992: The Salvadoran legislature issues an amnesty for guerrilla fighters of a 12-year civil war, allowing them to return to society.<br /> <br /> 1996: Yigal Amir confesses in court to killing Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.<br /> <br /> 1998: Pakistani Mir Aimal Kasi is sentenced to death in Fairfax, Virginia, for a politically motivated ambush outside the headquarters of the CIA that left two men dead. He is executed in November 2002.<br /> <br /> 2000: Over a million people march through downtown Madrid to call for peace after a car bomb attack is seen as a resurgence of Basque separatists&rsquo; 32-year-old campaign of violence. Nearly 800 people have been killed during this period.<br /> <br /> 2001: A new Administration in The Philippines moves to freeze the bank accounts of ousted President Joseph Estrada and begins a criminal investigation against him.<br /> <br /> 2007: More than 100,000 mourners choke the streets of Istanbul for the funeral of Hrant Dink, the Armenian journalist who was gunned down in broad daylight on January 19 because of public statements made about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks in the early 20th century.<br /> <br /> 2008: Tens of thousands of Gazans flood into Egypt through a border fence blown up by militants &mdash; puncturing a gaping hole in Israel&rsquo;s air-tight closure of the Gaza Strip and giving a boost to Hamas militants.<br /> <br /> 2009: French President Nicolas Sarkozy orders a frigate deployed immediately to the waters off Gaza in an effort to fight arms smuggling and consolidate a fragile ceasefire.<br /> <br /> 2011: Allies and adversaries of President Hugo Chavez take to the streets of the capital by the thousands, staging rival demonstrations to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of Venezuela&rsquo;s democracy.<br /> <br /> 2014: Syria&rsquo;s Government says stopping terrorism &mdash; not talking peace &mdash; was its priority while the Western-back opposition said the &ldquo;road to negotiations&rdquo; was open, offering a glimmering of hope for a way to half the violence that has killed 130,000 people.<br /> <br /> TODAY&rsquo;S BIRTHDAYS: <br /> <br /> Marie Henri Beyle Stendahl, French author (1783-1842); Edouard Manet, French artist (1832-1883); Jeanne Moreau, French actress (1928- ); Derek Walcott, Caribbean poet and Nobel laureate (1930- ); Rutger Hauer, Dutch-born actor (1944-); Mariska Hargitay, US actress (1964- ) <br /> <br /> &mdash; AP<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12034966/sarkozy_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 2:00 AM JPS Foundation helps Clifton Boys Home http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/JPS-Foundation-helps-Clifton-Boys-Home-_87278 Last Friday the JPS Foundation took all the boys who were housed at Clifton Boys&rsquo; Home, as well as their live-in caregivers, shopping for shoes.<br /> <br /> Each boy was provided with two pairs of shoes, while the caregivers received a pair each. This came as part of the Foundation&rsquo;s response to the fire at the home in Westmoreland on Sunday, January 15 which destroyed all the boys&rsquo; possessions. <br /> <br /> The move will assist the boys in their preparation to return to school as soon as possible. JPS staff members have also begun an islandwide collection drive to gather items for the boys, in order to facilitate a more comfortable transition to the temporary home being arranged by the Child Development Agency. <br /> <br /> This is not the first time that JPS has been involved with the home. In December 2015, the JPS VOLTS (Volunteers on Location to Serve) feted the boys at a Christmas treat.<br /> <br /> JPS Foundation is committed to the growth and prosperity of the nation, through youth development and outreach to promote their well-being. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590749/253799_80720_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 2:00 AM 2 new Chinese programmes for Jamaican TV http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/2-new-Chinese-programmes-for-Jamaican-TV_87178 COME February, the Jamaican media, through the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ), will be introduced to two new Chinese programmes &mdash; Romance of Parents and Run Into Good Luck . <br /> <br /> This is as a result of an agreement signed between China Radio International (CRI) and the PBCJ on Friday to share broadcast content to be aired in both countries.<br /> <br /> Programmes manager at PBCJ, Carol Francis, who brokered the deal in China last year during a seminar for journalists and editors of Jamaica in Beijing from May 3 to 24, explained to the Jamaica Observer that the shows will come under a slot called Chinese Theatre and will run once a week with a repeat for one year. Both shows come to PBCJ free of cost.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has been the driving force behind this. We are indebted to all of you, especially China Radio International for providing two popular TV shows which we know will be a hit,&rdquo; Francis said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I want to express thanks to the staff at the Embassy of the People&rsquo;s Republic of China who worked hard to make this possible. This agreement commits us to working together more for a common goal. It&rsquo;s another step to engaging us, a broadcasting entity, to compete in a sense with the world.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In return for the two programmes, Francis said when PBCJ completes its tourism series and environment programmes, those will be shared with CRI.<br /> <br /> Chairman of the board at the PBCJ Gladstone Wilson expressed his gratitude to CRI and underscored that he was happy to establish this relationship, as he looks forward to the programmes airing as well as the sharing of content in the future and creating stronger ties. <br /> <br /> Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica Niu Qingbao lauded the partnership as a &ldquo;big deal&rdquo; and highlighted that it was the first of its kind.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We usually do a bit of investment and trade, but to enter into an agreement of this category, it&rsquo;s the first. Thanks to both entities for making history,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Niu expressed his confidence that the programmes would be well received by the Jamaican populace.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I have no doubt they&rsquo;ll be popular out here. The signing of this agreement will be brief, but the friendship will be longer,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590731/253728_80719_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM ECLAC wants China, Caribbean to cooperate in key areas to boost development http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/ECLAC-wants-China--Caribbean-to-cooperate-in-key-areas-to-boost-development-_87287 DAVOS, Switzerland (CMC) &mdash; The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia B&aacute;rcena, is calling on regional countries to cooperate with China in key areas to boost development.<br /> <br /> Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) here, B&aacute;rcena urged that this cooperation involve, among other things, infrastructure, energy and &ldquo;especially, agriculture, since the regional potential for agricultural and food production could meet the Asian country&rsquo;s demands.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We must expand and diversify our economic relations,&rdquo; stressed the regional organisation&rsquo;s most senior representative in participating in the session, titled &lsquo;China&rsquo;s Pivot to World Markets&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> She referenced an ECLAC document that coincided with a visit last November by Chinese President Xi Jinping at ECLAC&rsquo;s headquarters in Santiago, Chile.<br /> <br /> There Jinping participated in a media summit with the aim of bringing about greater cultural rapport with Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC said.<br /> <br /> B&aacute;rcena said China has delineated a strategy of links with the region based on trade, investments, financing and cooperation, with six priority areas: infrastructure, transportation, energy and natural resources, industry, science and technology, and agriculture.<br /> <br /> In this last sector, B&aacute;rcena said China, with 1.3 billion inhabitants and just seven per cent of the world&rsquo;s arable land and six per cent of its water resources, &ldquo;represents a market with great potential&rdquo; for the region.<br /> <br /> B&aacute;rcena said the region, through the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), has also taken steps toward building a strategic trade relationship with China.<br /> <br /> The ECLAC executive secretary underscored that the trade of goods between Latin America and the Caribbean and China expanded by 23 times between 2000 and 2013, &ldquo;although two years of declines followed that&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Despite this, B&aacute;rcena noted that the &ldquo;Asian giant&rdquo; displaced the European Union in 2014 as the region&rsquo;s second-biggest trading partner, exceeded only by the United States.<br /> <br /> However, B&aacute;rcena said the export basket is concentrated in five products that together represented 69 per cent of the value of the region&rsquo;s shipments to the Asian country in 2015.<br /> <br /> In the area of investments, she stressed the quantitative leap that the Asian country experienced in 2010 when, in that year alone, estimated Chinese foreign direct investment in Latin America and the Caribbean rose to 14 billion dollars, doubling the cumulative figure from the prior two decades (1990-2009).<br /> <br /> During her participation at the WEF, B&aacute;rcena also participated in panels on policies for inclusive productivity, and on economic growth and social inclusion in Latin American and the Caribbean. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10371258/ECLAC_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 2:00 AM $55-mil boost to Manchester Infirmary http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-55-mil-boost-to-Manchester-Infirmary_87237 MANDEVILLE, Manchester &mdash; Ground work has started at the Manchester Infirmary for the building of a new ward for female residents and working space for staff.<br /> <br /> The $55-million project is being facilitated through the Equalisation Fund in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.<br /> <br /> Following a tour of the facility on Friday, Minister Desmond McKenzie said that within months the new building is expected to be completed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;[The] first phase is to put in the doctors&rsquo; office and to put in the nurses&rsquo; station. Following that they will build the female ward, which will be a much larger ward [that] will have greater capacity. The building that existed was a threat to the safety of the staff and the residents of the facility,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Mayor of Mandeville and Chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation Donovan Mitchell said the previous structure was &ldquo;wattle and daub.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> McKenzie said the project had been assessed to be completed within eight to ten months, but because of the urgency of the need, barring any setbacks, the aim is to have an earlier completion timeline.<br /> <br /> A total of 87 residents now call the Manchester Infirmary home &mdash; 44 males and 43 females.<br /> <br /> Assistant Matron Keshia Williams told the Jamaica Observer that the cramped quarters that the female residents are now accommodated in, as they await the new facility, is a section that was built as an isolation ward and the previous administration and conference area.<br /> <br /> She said that the isolation ward is an area that separates residents who, for example, have contagious illnesses. <br /> <br /> Williams said that though the majority of the residents stay long-term, the approach of the facility is to reintegrate residents with their families if possible.<br /> <br /> McKenzie said that other infirmaries across the island will also see improvements during this financial year.<br /> <br /> During the tour of the Manchester Infirmary, he made a stop at the adjacent Ebenezer Home, which is a &ldquo;drop-in&rdquo; centre for mentally challenged men who live on the street.<br /> <br /> McKenzie has made a commitment for the Government to provide additional support for the facility, which is privately operated. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12296653/Photo1_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 2:00 AM Leading Manchester journalist Angelo Laurence is dead http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Leading-Manchester-journalist-Angelo-Laurence-is-dead_87290 MANDEVILLE, Manchester &mdash; Angelo Laurence, a leading journalist and media owner/operator in central Jamaica, died in the Mandeville Regional Hospital minutes after midday on Friday, following a long, intense battle with colon cancer.<br /> <br /> He was 62.<br /> <br /> Well known for his incisive mind and sharp tongue, Laurence pioneered local cable operations in Manchester and wider central Jamaica in the late 1990s, establishing and leading the company which later became PACE (People, Art, Culture, Education and the Environment Cable Television.<br /> <br /> He also served for years as correspondent for The Gleaner and voluntarily circulated a sometimes biting, e-mailed newsletter,<br /> <br /> Pace News Bits.<br /> <br /> Specially honoured at the Manchester Heroes&rsquo; Day function last October, Laurence was described as &ldquo;a man far ahead of his time (who) envisioned the progress of cable television long before it became popular (and) endured the scoffing of the business community when he decided he would establish such an entity&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Friends and associates remembered Laurence as a teacher, friend and newsman who was never afraid to challenge the established order or to cut new paths. <br /> <br /> They remembered him as fiercely loyal to those he cherished and also to his geographic region &mdash; with a &ldquo;passionate&rdquo; belief that rural news was every bit as important as that originating in the capital, Kingston.<br /> <br /> Journalist, publisher and former president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Wendy Freckleton described Laurence as a &ldquo;tower of strength&rdquo; who was always willing to collaborate with friends and colleagues.<br /> <br /> Freckleton recalled that in the early years of the publication Mandeville Weekly, which is jointly owned by herself and husband Tony, Laurence was a significant contributor.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He (Laurence) was a diligent and committed person when it came to media, and always willing to share what he knew,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Freckleton noted that as a founder of the cable business in central Jamaica, Laurence highlighted rural communities and organisations, allowing many people to appreciate, for the first time, the workings of local institutions such as the parish councils.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For the first time, people were able to sit and actually watch discussions at the Manchester Parish Council and many other local institutions. You can&rsquo;t even begin to measure how important that was,&rdquo; said Freckleton. <br /> <br /> Laurence&rsquo;s business partner and assistant of many years, Alesia White, who, along with family and friends, was at Laurence&rsquo;s bedside when he drew his last breath, remembered him as one &ldquo;who always wanted to get it right&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> She admired and respected him for his willingness to probe difficult issues and to &ldquo;ask the tough questions&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Melville Harris,<br /> <br /> RJR news correspondent in St Elizabeth, hailed Laurence as a &ldquo;great servant&rdquo; of journalism. &ldquo;He was easy-going but also very straightforward and always prepared to speak as he sees it,&rdquo; said Harris.<br /> <br /> TVJ videographer and Manchester correspondent Courtney Morgan regarded Laurence as &ldquo;a true friend&rdquo; who was always willing to help. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We constantly shared equipment,&rdquo; remembered Morgan. &ldquo;What was his was mine and the other way around.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Though perceived by many as being overly &ldquo;serious&rdquo;, Laurence was actually capable of great humour, often finding the lighter side of even the most challenging situations, Morgan said.<br /> <br /> He suggested that Laurence&rsquo;s fiercely independent spirit was sometimes misunderstood by others as arrogance.<br /> <br /> Glendon Baker, who headed the now dormant central Jamaica chapter of the Press Association of Jamaica, said Laurence had been a founding member of the drive to organise local journalists.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He was one of those persons who was very interested in getting that chapter going. Laurence firmly believed that those who worked outside of Kingston were being short-changed and needed to organise themselves,&rdquo; said Baker.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He had a passion for rural parishes and also wanted equal news coverage for the rural parishes.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Born October 16, 1954 in south Manchester, Laurence spent much of his early life in the US, including a stint in that country&rsquo;s armed forces. He fathered three daughters and adopted another, relatives confirmed.<br /> <br /> His passing follows closely on that of Paul Byfield, another media personality from Manchester, late last year, also as a result of cancer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590661/253868_80778_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 2:00 AM &lsquo;I need a home&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-I-need-a-home-_87284 A mother of five is desperately seeking assistance to get a house after receiving several eviction notices from the owners of the place she now occupies in Hector&rsquo;s River, Portland.<br /> <br /> Kay-Ann Henry has had to ask family members to look after four of her children, aged seven to 14, while she is forced to wander in the evenings or loiter at a bus stop in the community with her two-year-old daughter until a neighbour is home for her to stay. <br /> <br /> She said the house which she currently lives is in a deplorable condition and is not safe at nights, plus she has been given several eviction notices to leave that particular premises.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The situation around here is not too bad and the people around unite with one another, but I am not happy because I have nowhere to live properly. I live in this house, but I don&rsquo;t sleep here; I only stay here in the daytime. I stay with my neighbour, but I stay in the bus stop and sit down till my neighbour come back, as he goes out and do some juggling,&rdquo; Henry told the Jamaica Observer North East.<br /> <br /> She explained that the house and land she occupies was leased by an elderly woman who has since died.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip;They say they want their place. They say they need their house. I have been here for about five years. I live here with my little daughter,&rdquo; the woman said as she fought back tears.<br /> <br /> Pastor for the Church of God in Christ at Long Road in the parish, Roy Titus, who has been actively seeking assistance for Henry, is urging anyone who can assist to do so.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I came and saw the condition and learnt that she stays in the bus shed part of the night, and then a [resident] helps her with somewhere to stay for the rest of the night. The condition is deplorable and she needs immediate help,&rdquo; Titus said.<br /> <br /> He added: &ldquo;I am asking Food For The Poor to assist and help with this situation, as it is unbearable and deplorable for a woman to live with her five children. She had to send away four of the children and only have one with her. She really needs help.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13590656/253849_80751_repro_w300.jpg Local News Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM