THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
FOUR KILLED IN HERMITAGE—12/31/05
Four people were gunned down in Hermitage, St. Andrew late Thursday night, leaving the community in mourning and stunned with disbelief. At a small house on Payton Street, Rushawna Robinson, Nigel Wright and Paul Johnson were all killed by gunfire emanating from outside the house. One man who was inside the house managed to escape unharmed. Minutes before, at a house nearby, a man known only as “Shaggy” was shot and killed while playing dominoes. So far, the killings are not considered to be connected. Shaggy was reportedly a respected accountant and not involved in any wrongdoing and his death is considered to be random. So far, no motive is known for any of the killings that took place here. Residents expressed grief and shock, as did relatives of those killed.
ST. ANDREW—SERIES OF MURDERS MEANS WAR—1/1/06
In the past three months, there has been a series of murders in south St. Andrew, the constituency to which Jones Town belongs. Other communities, such as Arnett Gardens, Craig Town and Benbow Street, Mexico, Angola and Havana Heights have also seen a spate of murders. Police report there have been as many as 48 murders in the constituency since September. Residents believe the murders are results of gunmen who show no mercy and are committing violent acts just for fun. As fighting escalated last week, police detained brothers George and Andrew Phang and music industry executive Patrick Roberts for their ties to the violence. All three have been influential figures for some time, the Phang brothers in Jones Town and Roberts in Craig Town, with the two communities at odds for some time now.
CRUISE INDUSTRY BOOST—1/2/06
The cruise shipping industry will get a major boost this year, with a huge expansion of the island’s two main ports. Michael Belnavis, president of the Ocho Rios Cruise Shipping Council, said the upgrade of the Ocho Rios and Montego Bay ports is expected to ease the shortage, which has resulted in the island turning away cruise vessels because of inadequate space for berthing. The business has grown past the island’s present capacity, so the expansion is quite welcome. The expansion will see the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s mega-vessel The Freedom of the Sea, brining more than 4,000 passengers plus hundreds of crew members, to Montego Bay weekly starting in June.
GOVERNMENT APPOINTS ETHICS OFFICERS—1/2/06
The government will begin training selected public officials as ethics officers this month. The officers’ role will be to alert colleagues to potentially unethical conduct or acts of corruption. As a complementary measure, the Cabinet is expected this month to authorize the drafting of legislation to punish public officials who flout the government’s policy guidelines in the procurement of goods and services. Twelve of 16 ministries appointed ethics officers as of the 28th of December, and 73 state agencies also implemented the measure, bringing to 87 the total number of ethics officers at year’s end. In addition to training the officers, the Cabinet Office plans to develop and distribute a Public Sector Code of Ethics during the first quarter of this year. Ethics officers are expected to “give guidance and advice on the strict and proper observance of the principles and practices of ethical conduct by officers.” The terms of reference allow officers to report on the general status of ethical practice in the organization, or on specific issues or situations.
MAJOR CRIMES DOWN IN ST. CATHERINE—1/3/06
A major reduction in crime in the St. Catherine North Police Division last year provides some welcome news. The overall reduction, qualified at 18 percent by the police, was achieved through improvements in intelligence gathering, increased patrols and greater community policing initiatives. The success against major crimes such as murder was a result of a concerted effort on the part of the police in the division according to one inspector. During 2005, the police recovered 84 illegal guns in the division, an 18 percent increase when compared with the year before, when 74 guns were recovered. The police made 2,185 arrests last year, as compared to 1,897 in 2004. While the police are pleased with the reduction in major crimes, they are concerned about a group of seven men who continue to give the police problems. The men are wanted for questioning in connection with several cases of murder and shooting in the St. Catherine North police area. The police are asking for assistance from residents to help locate the wanted men.
MORE HOUSES UNDER THREAT FROM FLOODING—1/4/06
The Swamp community on Moneague, St. Ann, is facing even worse conditions from flooding. Groundwater is said to be still rising, bringing more water to an area that is almost completely covered already and where water has been rising since early last year. According to councilor for the Moneague Division, more homes are now threatened. Residents were warned to exercise caution, since the water is not safe. For some time, a boat was in the area transporting residents across the community, but the health department has said it should be discontinued since the water is hazardous. Plans are also underway to cut a new road to help increase access to nearby communities. Relocation of the residents whose homes have been destroyed has not been planned as of yet.
CHINESE PIPES ARRIVE IN JAMAICA—1/5/06
The government received fifty-two 40-foot containers of PVC water and sewer pipes yesterday from the People’s Republic of China. The pipes are valued at US $2.5 million and are to be used for water supply and sewage services across the island. The shipment is the first of three to arrive on the island in the next six to eight months under the Jamaican Water Systems Rehabilitation and Extension Project. The first shipment was unloaded on the grounds of the Mona Reservoir in Kingston. According to the Ministry of Water and Housing the pipes will improve the delivery of water in rural areas. The materials have been earmarked for specific projects in rural areas such as Kellits in Clarendon; Goshen in St. James; the Albert Town Water Supply System in Trelawny; the Mile Gully Water Supply System in Manchester and Goshen in St. Elizabeth, among others. The total shipment is a result of a concessionary loan agreement which was signed between the Jamaican government and the government of the People’s Republic of China in that past two years. The loan agreement carries an interest rate of 2 percent with a 20-year repayment period.
MAYHEM IN ST. BESS—1/6/06
Chaos erupted in Slipe, St. Elizabeth during a police operation yesterday in which an alleged wanted man was killed, three service vehicles damaged and several people, including a Television Jamaica cameraman, were injured. Reports are that at about 5:30 a.m., a team of 20 policemen from the St. Elizabeth Police Division went to the area in search of Roger Banton, who has been wanted since last June in connection with murder and arson charges. Three houses were cordoned and Banton was confronted in one house, at which point he pointed a firearm at police. He was subsequently shot. Shortly after, an angry mob converged on the scene hurling stones and firing shots, preventing police from removing the injured man. Five lawmen were injured and their units damaged. The police fled and returned with reinforcements, when the cameraman was injured by the mob. The incident is being investigated by the Bureau of Special Investigation.
WATERHOUSE FOOTBALL CLUB GETS SPONSORSHIP DEAL—12/31/05
Waterhouse Football Club will officially announce a three-million dollar, three-year sponsorship from its long-time sponsor Tru-Juice tomorrow. However, a salary cut still looms on the horizon for players, as local clubs continue to struggle to make ends meet in the Wray and Nephew National Premier League. Though greatly appreciated by the team, the Tru Juice sponsorship and continued commitment is not enough to totally ease the club’s financial woes. Waterhouse president Peter Hibbert indicated it takes at least $15 million for a team to participate in the league. Though not officially implemented, it has been rumored that the club’s financial constraints may force them to cut the salary of its players by as much as 30 percent.
HEAVYWEIGHT CLASH SET TO TAKE PLACE—1/1/06
Today’s 20th set of matches in the Wray and Nephew National Premier League offers up the biggest game to date as one of the highlights. The top two teams in the second round of competition will be featured, and could also be a warm-up for the end of the second round final. Waterhouse and Harbor View are slated to clash today, and as if to mark the occasion, Tru Juice announced a three-year $3 million sponsorship of the club at the game and offer freebies for those who buy the product at the game. The game itself is one Waterhouse cannot afford to lose, with the coach declaring the team is going for three points in order to stay close to Harbor View. He indicates the players are in a positive state of mind and are ready for the challenge. Some see the edge belonging to Waterhouse given their home field advantage and their need to avenge a 3-1 beating.
VILLAGE UNITED STARTS NEW YEAR WITH BANG—1/2/06
Village United kicked off the new year in explosive fashion as they blasted their way into the Wray and Nephew National Premier League top three after an exciting 3-2, come from behind victory over Tivoli Gardens at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex yesterday. Having secured a late first half lead, they fell victim to an early second half Tivoli flurry, which saw the home team score two goals in four minutes, putting the visitors in a 2-1 hole. Village coach Dean Weatherley said he wasn’t worried the team fell behind, since he knows they play well in the last 20 minutes of every game. Sure enough, two players made sure there was nothing to be concerned about. Fabian Dawkins used his speed to blow by his defender and fire a direct shot that put his team level. It was his 14th goal of the season. Ten minutes later Omar Allen secured victory for Village Garden with a shot past Tivoli, giving the Gardens their second straight defeat.
BOYS’ TOWN COMES HOME—1/3/06
Boys’ Town’s homecoming celebration at Collie Smith Drive in Trench Town was capped off yesterday with an 88th minute goal against Rivoli United. For ten years the players, staff and residents of neighboring communities have waited for Boys’ Town to make their return to the National Premier League, which they did in September. However, their home games were all played away, as their own park was not ready. Yesterday that all changed, with the Red Brigade taking the home field. Past players and NPL coaches were on hand, as were members of the community, to celebrate the momentous occasion. While winning the game was not the top focus for some, it was a sweet reward on top of the homecoming. Boys’ Town was founded in 1940 and situated in Trench Town, serving as a refuge from poverty.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.