THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
WAGE TALKS GOING NOWHERE—12/10/05
Officials of the Ministry of Labour and the Civil Aviation Authority failed to reach a wage agreement with air traffic controllers during a meeting at the ministry’s office yesterday afternoon. The involved parties are to meet again on Monday afternoon to continue discussions on two key aspects of the wage package for the island’s controllers. According to the public relations manager at the Ministry, yesterday’s meeting did yield some results, while the president of the air traffic controllers association said he could not guarantee that the air traffic controllers would remain on the job after December 15 if the outstanding issues were not resolved. It is feared that operations at both international airports would be disrupted during the weekend. The association is pressing the government for a 60 percent wage increase over two years, which would bring the salaries in line with that of flight safety inspectors. But the government is resisting, claiming it cannot grant an increase given the existing Memorandum of Understanding.
REFORMISTS VYING TO FILL SENSITIVE POSTS—12/11/05
The Jamaica Labour Party central executive meeting takes place today, and is expected to be a lively gathering where members of the party’s reformist wing are vying to fill sensitive posts. The reformists will attempt to make up lost ground following last year’s central executive conference when some members of that group were voted out of the JLP’s officer corps. Heading the list of reformer who are seeking office today are Daryl Vaz and attorney Tom Tavares-Finson. Vaz is hoping to replace Kent Gammon as deputy treasurer while Tavares-Finson is vying to become one of the JLP’s four deputy general secretaries. Vaz says he is running based on his history of raising funds and creating relationships with corporations helpful to the party. JLP treasurer Christopher Bovell is expected to be reelected unopposed. Dennis Meadows is also running for one of the deputy general secretary posts, while incumbent Clive Mullings is not seeking reelection.
NEGRIL HOTELIER KILLED—12/12/05
Prominent Negril hotelier Luigi Travaini was killed and discovered by a security guard employed by the Mariposa Hotel who was conducing routine checks on the property. He found Travaini’s body at the entrance to the hotel. The killing has the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association up in arms and demanding the crime be solved quickly, and a way to reduce crime overall be found right away. Travaini also owned an internationally known restaurant, Ristorante da Gino, meaning his death will be picked up by the international press, another concern for the JHTA. According to police, Travaini’s body was found with what seemed to be stab wounds to the jaw, abdomen and both hands. No motive has been established for the killing as of press time.
DEADLY CRASH TAKES SIX, INJURES TWO MORE—12/12/05
Two survivors of a deadly motor vehicle accident that happened along the Gutters main road in St. Elizabeth were struggling for their lives late last night, while six others lost the battle. The accident occurred at approximately 11:40 pm on Saturday night and claimed the lives of Clifton Bowen, Carlos Smellie, Recton Gayle, Kenny Beadle, Kiplin Bent and Arthur Ricketts, all of Darliston, Westmoreland. According to police, the driver of the truck, Clifton Bowen, lost control of the vehicle, which was loaded with lumber. The truck then slammed into an embankment and five of the men died on the spot. Ricketts died later at Mandeville Regional Hospital. It took emergency workers more than two hours to remove the bodies of the men from underneath lumber and twisted metal. Initial reports say the truck was overloaded beyond its capacity, which possibly contributed to the accident.
KRAAL COPS FREED—12/13/05
Three of the six policemen charged with murder of four civilians at Kraal, Clarendon on May 7, 2003, were freed yesterday after Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe ruled there was no case in law against them. Freed were Constables Devon Bernard, Leford Gordon and Roderick Collier. They had been charge jointly with Senior Superintendent Reneto Adams, former head of the disbanded Crime Management Unit, and corporals Patrick Coke and Shane Lyons, who are still before the court. When the jury returned to court yesterday, the Chief Justice directed them to return a formal verdict of not guilty in respect to the three policemen. He told the jury that the Crown had failed to satisfy him that there was a case to be considered. The trial continued yesterday for Adams and Coke. The Crown is alleging that the policemen were not acting in lawful self-defense when they shot the civilians, Angella Richards, Lowena Thompson, Kirk Gordon and Matthew James.
CONFLICT OVER HAITIAN REPATRIATION—12/14/05
A storm is brewing between the government and the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights over the repatriation of 86 Haitians by the authorities yesterday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Security said the ministry had made the determination that the Haitians are illegal immigrants and therefore were denied landing under the Immigration Act. A press statement from the ministry charged that a significant number of the recent wave of illegal immigrants from Haiti are not legal and that they were repatriated, having been deemed economic migrants and not refugees. The estimated cost to the government is in excess of $10 million per month to host Haitians who land illegally. The IJCHR is unhappy with the treatment it says the Haitians have been shown.
FEUD HEATS UP—12/15/05
A growing dispute between St. Andrew communities Long Mountain and Pines of Karachi turned ugly yesterday afternoon when Pines of Karachi residents attempted to block access to their roads. The Constabulary Communication Network reported that police were called in to stop Pines of Karachi residents who had attempted to erect a fence to block access to their community yesterday. One of the residents was taken into custody but was later released. The residents claim that people from the Long Mountain community have been creating unnecessary traffic on their roads and dumping garbage in open lots. They also complain that sewage is being directed through Karachi Pines and overflowing in their homes. Karachi Pines was developed under Government’s Operation PRIDE housing project and spearheaded by the National Housing Development Corporation in the 1990s, while Long Mountain was developed earlier by Selected Homes.
COUNCIL CONTRACT TRANSPARENCY WANTED—12/16/05
Seemingly some fast damage control is underway as Opposition Leader Bruce Golding yesterday instructed that the award of contracts by the Jamaica Labour Party-dominated parish councils, be placed on the agenda of the party’s mayoral meeting next month. Golding specifically mentioned the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, which has been the subject of some strong newspaper editorials this week, after JLP councilors on Tuesday voted against a motion to bring transparency and accountability to the council’s activities. The vote led Golding to clarify his party’s position on transparency and accountability, saying those should apply to all government agencies and that JLP-controlled parish councils must practice what the party preached.
GODFREY STEWART AND CALABAR ON QUEST FOR BIG WIN—12/10/05
DaCosta Cup champions Godfrey Stewart and their Manning Cup counterparts, Calabar, begin their quest to become double champions of the 2005 season today when they meet in the first round of the Olivier Shield symbol of all-island football supremacy. The game should result in a hard-fought victory through a close battle, given both team’s past histories this year. Both coaches are full of confidence, saying their teams are well-prepared and ready for a challenge. Neither team expressed any intimidation, and Calabar has no plans to play for a draw, a cautious approach used many times before when a team is playing away from home against such a strong opponent. Both teams have solid strength in all departments, with Godfrey Stewart given a slight advantage because of their home field position on a plot they have not lost on all season.
CALABAR TAKES CHARGE—12/11/05
Manning Cup champions Calabar will take a one-goal advantage into the second leg of the 2005 Olivier Shield play-off on Wednesday following their 2-1 win over daCosta Cup champions Godfrey Stewart in yesterday’s first leg at Jarrett Park. Calabar capitalized on moves from Ramone Palmer and substitute Lennox Creary for their goals, while skipper Dwayne Williams scored Godfrey Stewart’s only point. All three goals were scored in the second half. Both teams are confident going into the second leg, Calabar that they can continue to play well and win, and Godfrey Stewart that they can improve their play to win the next game.
SEBA UNITED SATUNS RIVOLI—12/12/05
A brace by Ricardo Geddes and one goal from Wilfred Smith carried Seba United to a 3-1 victory over Rivoli United in their Wray and Nephew National League second round match at the Spanish Town Prison Oval yesterday. The match, which was poorly attended, saw Rivoli taking the lead through a Derrick Planter goal in the eighth minute. Seba responded well but were prevented from scoring by the defense through the remainder of the first half. The second half saw big changes though, and in the 59th minute Smith received a pass from Norman Foster and flicked it past the goalkeeper for a tie game. In the 88th minute Smith took the ball past Rivoli again, as the team took the lead 2-1. Finally, they added another goal in the 92nd minute as Geddes wheeled his way through the Rivoli players and got off a right-footed shot that gave the keeper no chance of defense.
STEWART SCORES UNLIKELY STRIKE—12/13/05
Donald “Fowlie” Stewart has not scored many goals in his career but once in awhile he pulls off a strike that leaves fans in an uproar of approval. Stewart, the heart of Harbour View’s midfield, scored a scorcher from 35 years that got past Arnett Gardens goalkeeper Julian McLeish in their match at Compound on Sunday. Stewart picked up the ball outside of the 18-yard box and fired a missile with his left foot that went right to the roof of the net. The strike in the 77th minute took the wind out of Arnett Gardens, sending the winning team into a 2-0 lead, on their way to a 3-0 win. They now maintain a stranglehold on the Wray and Nephew National Premier League with 42 points, 11 more than Waterhouse and 16 above Tivoli Gardens and Portmore United, both with 26 points each. Arnett Gardens has gained only one point from their last three games, to be in sixth position with 22 points.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.