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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending November 25th, 2005

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Three schools closed their doors on Friday due to violence, while another implemented security measures. A recent upsurge in violence has caused communities to close the institutions in order to allow tensions to calm. The Seaforth School in St. Thomas saw a man shot and killed near the school on Friday, while classes at the Trench Town High School were suspended due to an incident on Thursday, when a gunman fired a bullet through the principal’s office. At the Wolmer’s Girls School, students were approached by men in the Cross Roads area on Thursday, inquiring about a student from the school who was shot in Admiral Town that morning. Communities are experiencing tremendous fear, bringing the Jamaica Teachers’ Association to call for increased security at schools throughout the island.

Nine months after Bruce Golding began as leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, the Opposition has been unable to seize the confidence of the majority of Jamaicans while its leader has remained a mediocre political figure in the public mindset. According to a poll conducted by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, 45 percent of those interviewed rated the JLP as being average, while more people considered the performance of the Opposition to be negative than positive. The survey indicated that 33 percent of all interviewed rated the performance to be poor or very poor, while just over 20 percent felt it to be positive. The survey was conducted among 1,000 citizens 18 or older across all parishes.

A Home Circuit Court jury has freed Wycliffe “Steelie” Johnson from charges of causing death by dangerous driving. The 42-year-old music producer, who is a director of Steelie and Cleevie Productions in New Kingston, was charged in the death of 12-year-old Meri Grove High School student Shakarra Harris. The charge arose from a motor vehicle accident along the Constant Spring Road near the high school on January 23 last year. Harris was on her way to school at the time of the accident from her home on Big Road, Glengoffe, St. Catherine. A witness testified that when the car hit her, she went up in the air, and was dragged for about 15 feet after landing. Johnson denied the allegations and said the girl came from nowhere and collided with his car, which was traveling in the middle lane at about 25 miles per hour. He sought assistance to get the girl to the hospital, and immediately went to the police station to report the incident.

Police are now on the lookout for numerous girls who have fled from one of the island’s government-managed places of safety more than a month ago. Constant Spring police picked up two of the girls, who were found walking along Mary Brown’s Corner late Sunday night, and then notified additional authorities. An officer from the station confirmed that the girls ran away from the Granville Place of Safety in Trelawny and were on their way to the Wortley Home on Constant Spring Road. Parents are concerned that their children were able to abscond from the home. According to one of the two girls who were picked up, more than 20 girls have left the place of safety at the same time, but authorities denied the possibility that such a large number could have escaped.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister P.J. Patterson is among a number of Caribbean leaders having a working lunch with British Prime Minister Tony Blair today, to discuss numerous issues ranging from security to HIV/AIDS. The meeting is being held in advance of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference that begins in Malta later this week. Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago PM Patrick Manning will make presentations on security and stability and lead discussions on the United Kingdom Caribbean Forum Framework Agenda, including a review of priority issues related to security and HIV/AIDS. Other issues on the agenda include Europe’s role in the world, economic reform, climate change and the responsibility to protect, a proposal being brought to the meeting by Canada. Following the meeting the leaders will travel to Malta for the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting, where issues will include implementation of a small states agenda and the digital divide.

Shell, the worldwide petroleum company, announced yesterday the sale of its 56 service stations in Jamaica to Cool Petroleum Holdings Limited, which is jointly owned by the Joe Issa-led Cool Corp. Limited and Trinidad-based Neal & Massy Industrial Gas Holdings Limited. Under the agreement, Cool Petroleum Holdings will buy Shell’s retail, commercial fuel, lubricants, liquefied petroleum gas and chemicals businesses, and the main distribution station at Rockfort in Kingston. Project manager Lauren Watemans explained that the Dutch company is not totally withdrawing from Jamaica, but is changing its business model and will continue to supply products to the Jamaican market. It is Cool Corp.’s intention to expand the business. A Shell worker’s meeting was planned for today to discuss the issue, which was learned of through the media by the 122 administrative employees here. Shell Jamaica Chairman said he does not anticipate any substantial changes to the staff numbers.

Jamaica’s murder rate reached a record high this week, prompting Finance and Planning Minister Dr. Omar Davies to call on the Planning Institute of Jamaica to provide scientific clues to address the crisis. The call was made during the opening of a PIOJ conference and is a result of the 1,476 murders recorded to date this year. The figure is five higher than the previous record set at the end of last year. According to police records, the majority of the murders occurred in the St. Andrew South police division, which contains 31 volatile inner-city communities. At least 243 persons have been murdered in the division this year. The killings continued yesterday morning as two men were murdered by gunmen at their home on Glen Road. Officials are pondering and analyzing causal factors behind the crimes and attempting to determine how to stop the problem.

Three students were caught on their way to school in possession of ammunition. All three are now in custody after tips from the public that the three were carrying ammunition as they made their way along St. James Street in Montego Bay yesterday. Their bus was intercepted by authorities and searched, resulting in the recovery of three 12-gauge cartridges and three .22 cartridges, which were stitched into one boy’s school tie. Evidently the ammunition belongs to a relative of one of the students. The youths are aged 13, 14 and 17 and attend Muschett Comprehensive High School in Trelawny and Cedric Titus High, also in Trelawny.


Norman Manley High is the first team to qualify for the 2005 ISSA/Pepsi/JN Manning Cup semi-finals after a 2-1 victory over Charlie Smith at the Constant Spring Complex yesterday. Captain Andre Fagon proved to be the difference for Manley as he scored in the 12th minute, just one minute after Charlie Smith scored a goal at the other end. Fagon then put the game away for his team with his third goal in two games, when he skipped a challenge from his defender, going on to roll the ball to the right of a defender. Manley coach wasn’t thrilled with the level of play but said a victory is a victory and that was reason to celebrate. Conversely, Tivoli Gardens reached the end of the road as they lost 3-0 to Bridgeport, already eliminated.

St. Catherine is among the teams that will roll into the semi-finals that start on Tuesday. The Spanish Town team took down Eltham with a 3-2 win thanks to a strike from Duvan Dilworth. The team now moves on to play Calabar on Tuesday in one semi-final match while St. Andrew Technical High School will play Norman Manley in the other match. Calabar advanced by bruising Mona 4-0. It is the first time St. Catherine’s team has passed the first round, elating the team’s coach and players.

Arnett Gardens, first-round champions, played their third straight game without a win yesterday when they went up against Seba United and were held 1-1 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in the Wray and Nephew National Premier League. Kwame Richardson put Arnett in the lead in the 11th minute but Seba’s Norman Foster tied the match in the 22nd minute from the penalty spot. After finishing the first round with six wins in 11 games, Arnett lost to Waterhouse last Sunday and to Cavalier in the Jackie Bell on Wednesday. Arnett now stands in fourth position with 21 points and Seba is second from last with 10 points. Arnett failed in all attempts to score again, leaving the match in a tie.

Asafa Powell, the world’s fastest man, has signed a 12-month deal with Cable & Wireless Jamaica. Under this agreement, Cable & Wireless will be the exclusive telecommunications sponsor of Powell, the world 100m record holder with his 9.77 second time in Athens earlier this year. The contract was signed by Powell and his MVP Track Club through its president Bruce James at C&WJ’s corporate offices. Per the agreement, Powell will appear at company events and in advertisements endorsing the company’s products and services with high speed internet his main focus. Powell is happy that a Jamaican company is showing its appreciation for what he is doing for his country.

The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.

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Written by Staff Writer