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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending December 2nd, 2005

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The trial of Senior Superintendent Reneto Adams and five other policemen continued last week. The officers are charged in the murders of four civilians at Kraal, Clarendon, on May 7, 2003. Several developments occurred during last week’s proceedings. The defense’s objections led to the barring of testimony from a United Kingdom consultant forensic scientist regarding an experiment conducted on a rifle involved in the case. Dr. Geoffrey Maxwell Roe from the University of Liverpool had conducted the experiment on the rifle on November 15, after it had been tendered as evidence. This led the defense to object to the results of the test as well as the integrity of the test. In other developments, the testimony of a ten-year-old girl present at the shootings was called into question after she testified of two white men attempting to speak to her during the trial and passing her a note. The trial is ongoing.



A little less than two years away, the next general election is constitutionally due, but the race is already heating up. The governing People’s National Party is maintaining only a miniscule one percent lead in the race to lead Jamaica, according to the latest national poll. The findings of the recent poll show that 35 percent of registered voters intend to vote for the PNP while 34 percent would prefer to see the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party heading the country. Considering the margin of error for the poll, the two parties are in a dead heat for the third time since summer of 2004. The survey also concluded that 13 percent of voters have not made up their minds, while another 16 percent would not answer. In July 2004, the JLP led the PNP by a 2.2 percent margin as the nation was facing the impending departure of then Opposition Leader Edward Seaga. With a bitter leadership battle that saw Bruce Golding rise to the top, the PNP surged ahead with a 7.9 percent lead in February. In June the PNP lost some ground and the JLP gained. Suffice to say, the race will continue.



Police commissioner Lucius Thomas said yesterday that the circumstances surrounding the beating of a police corporal may have been overstated in previous communications. The police commissioner told a gathering at a worship service that the injuries received by Corporal Grantley Waite “do not speak to the beating we are now talking about.” He stressed that he was not saying there was no beating, only that reports from an orthopedic doctor treating the corporal are not in tangent with some reports from the media. Allegedly, Corporal Waite was injured when he fell backwards down a flight of stairs after being approached by a constable who was responding to calls for help from two female station cleaners.



The European Union has agreed to change its plan to introduce a single import tariff for bananas. This is the fourth time this year the plan has changed. Criticism is expected fro Caribbean and Latin American banana producers. The new tariff system, which the EU reached with the World Trade Organization to end the banana wars of the 90s, is due to go into effect on January 1st. But Caribbean banana-producing states have already objected to the EU’s new tariff of US $206 a ton agreed to at a meeting in Brussels last week. Trade officials say the meeting by the EU ambassadors will be approved by the EU ministers at their meeting later this week. The EU has proposed three tariff levels over the past year, all unacceptable to the Latin American countries, since they maintain that a higher banana tariff will jeopardize their banana producers, which export 3.4 million tons annually to the EU. The Latin Americans want a tariff of US $87, while Caribbean states want US $322 in order to stop their rivals from sending cheaper produce into the market.



Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has expressed confidence in the continued role of the Commonwealth of Nations as an important vehicle for prosperity. The organization has a diverse membership of 53 countries comprising 1.8 billion people and spans all continents and is intended to advance democracy, good governance, poverty alleviations and development. Patterson made the remarks at the closing session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Valetta, Malta on Sunday. It was a farewell statement to colleague Heads of Government with whom he has worked in the Commonwealth during his political career. He was recognized for his support of the Commonwealth by Secretary General Don McKinnon and conference chairman Dr. Lawrence Gonzi.



A seven-vote win passed a controversial bill aimed at increasing the pension benefits of former Prime Ministers yesterday. Opposition Leader Bruce Golding slammed a proposal to increase a retired Prime Minister’s pension from 66 percent of any current Prime Minister’s salary. The increase would see the pension raised to 100 percent of a current Prime Minister’s salary, as well as provide for benefits to the widows of former Prime Ministers. Golding commented that while obligations to retired people are important, going overboard is not advisable in order to keep the public trust. Golding also said it was an embarrassment to the beneficiaries of the PM’s pension that the legislation had only just been brought to the house, despite the adjusted payments being made since a Cabinet decision in 1992.



The United Kingdom will provide Jamaica with project assistance and debt relief amounting to £24 million over the next three years. The UK’s Department for International Development Country Assistance Plan will give £2.5 million per year in direct aid. The money will primarily be used in the areas of community safety and security, improving access to public services. The DFID said the work would be designed to contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Another £5.5 million per year will be given as debt write-off to Jamaica. Part of the funding will go towards the government’s new Community Security Initiative, which is still in development but is intended to provide greater access to public services in crime “hot spot” areas.



A 40-year-old tour operator was killed and three American tourists injured in a motor vehicle collision along the Unity Hall main road in St. James yesterday. The dead man has been identified as Moses Russell of Orange Bay, Hanover. The injured passengers have been named as a 35-year-old real estate operator Jelena Kalmanovsky, her daughter Ann Abramova, 15, and her three year old son Michael Field, all on Mandeleine, Illinois. The daughter suffered a broken arm while mother and son sustained head injuries. The cause of the collision is unclear. Russell was reportedly driving towards Montego Bay with the visitors when he collided with a truck traveling in the opposite direction. An investigation is underway.







The ISSA/Pepsi/JN Manning Cup season was scheduled to draw to a close today with the final match between Calabar High School and Norman Manley to take place at the National Stadium. The match will take place on the heels of the third-place opener between St. Andrew Technical High School and St. Catherine. Calabar comes to the match as last year’s defeated finalists, and are the favorites to achieve their first title in 28 years. Their first cup came in 1943; they then had a long wait for the next, which they accomplished in 1977. They have been the most consistent team, reaching their second final of the season after losing to Tivoli Gardens in the Walker Cup on penalties. But Norman Manley is no stranger to the Manning Cup final and will give a good run for the money. This would be their fourth title, and their third since 2000.



Calabar took the Manning Cup championship after scoring a thrilling 2-1 win over Norman Manley at the National Stadium yesterday. Ramone Palmer and Conroy Cunningham scored in the 44th and 62nd minutes respectively to give the school its third title. Their last win of the Manning Cup was in 1977. Norman Bailey scored for Norman Manly in the third minute. After that, they were on the defensive, allowing Calabar to take over with several crosses from the right. Norman Manley came close to scoring again on counter attacks, but Calabar’s defense kept them at bay. Manley’s coach felt the boys sat back and that was the reason the game was lost. Midway through the first half Calabar took charge and started to dictate the play.



Boys’ Town gave up a late equalizer in Wray and Nephew National Premier League action against Constant Spring at the Spring Complex yesterday. And not for the first time. Boys’ Town, scored in the 21st minute but found the game tied in the 89th minute by a goal from Collin Brown. Rennicks, who scored the goal for Boys’ Town, was the beneficiary of a gift from Emeil Thomas, who watched the ball go by without making any contact and allowing Rennicks to capitalize. In the second half, Constant Spring came into their own and dealt Boys’ Town the final blow with an almost accidental goal by Porter.



While Harbour View tells the rest of the Wray and Nephew National Premier League to catch up after Sunday’s 1-0 win over Reno, they did show some chinks in their armor. Harbour View earned three points from the encounter after Kevin King’s 41st-minute strike, but could have lost had Reno been more accurate in front of goal. The Stars of the East have only lost twice this season and only let in six goals. The coach is still not completely happy. His thoughts are that you get tough on defense in order to offset the opposition, but says his team is still giving up chances they shouldn’t.


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

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Written by Staff Writer