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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending January 20th, 2006

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THIS WEEK’S NEWS SUMMARY
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SLB HIRES TRACKERS FOR OVERSEAS DELINQUENTS—1/14/06
The Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) Executive Director, Lenice Barnett, announced yesterday the agency has hired the services of an overseas collection agency to find delinquent borrowers who are now living in the United States. Speaking on Independent Talk on Power 106 radio, Barnett explained although the number of delinquent borrowers has gone down, there is still about $247 million in unpaid loans. Barnett hopes borrowers living in the United States will contact the agency before they are contacted by the collector.

PORTMORE MUNCIPALITY MILLIONS IN DEFICIT—1/15/06
Three years after the formation of Portmore Municipality, administrators say it is difficult for the municipality to fund itself. Each year they have experienced large financial deficits up to $12 million. Mayor George Lee is disappointed by the lack of financial support from the central government, citing funds promised for start-up have not been received. Currently the municipality operates on a budget funded by subventions from the central government, property taxes and the parochial fund. In addition, Portmore receives a percentage of funds used in drain cleaning and general road repair. However, Mayor Lee says more money needs to clean Portmore’s earthen drains. The drains need to be converted to concrete to be better managed at an estimated cost of $50 million.

PHILLIPS PROMISES MORE JOBS—1/16/06
People’s National Party (PNP) presidential hopeful, Dr. Peter Phillips, promises to provide new job opportunities, build a first-class school system and eliminate the current crime rate if elected the next PNP President. Dr. Phillips officially launched his presidential candidacy at the National Arena with thousands of supporters looking on. Dr. Phillips plans to rise to these challenges by forming partnerships with farmers and the Government. Phillips believes there are many resources available to the keep the Jamaican people from living in poverty. Phillips plan includes extending business ownership to the Jamaican people, extending police recruiting programs and developing a rewards program for teachers.

TWO DETAINED IN CONNECTION WITH MURDER—1/17/06
Two people are in custody after the Sunday night murder of Damion Hussey. According to police buses transporting supporters of the People’s National Party traveling through St. Andrews after the PNP Presidential Campaign launch when people began throwing rocks at the buses. The buses stopped and passengers began fighting with people on the roadway. Hussey reportedly walked outside his home after hearing the commotion. Hussey was then followed inside by the crowd where he was stabbed, chopped and beat. Hussey later died in the hospital. In a statement issued yesterday, Dr. Phillips condemned the incident, reiterating he wants to return the values of decency, respect for life, law and order.

NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES—1/18/06
Horace Dailey, Labour and Social Security Minister, announced an increase in the national minimum wage yesterday. As of January 30, the new wage will increase from $2400 to $2800 for a 40-hour work week. The increase comes after discussions stemmed from recommendations by the National Minimum Wage advisory Committee. The increased minimum wage is higher than the expected inflation rate for calendar year 2005. In addition, industrial security guards will receive an increase in their minimum wages and benefits.

BUSINESSES CLOSE AFTER ST. ANN RIOT—1/19/06
Businesses in Brown’s Town closed last night as angry residents gathered in the streets to protest a recent shooting by Brown’s Town police officers. Leo Barnett is in critical condition after being shot by police during his arrest. Residents blocked the main road and disrupted traffic flow. As the crowd began to advance toward the police station, policeman fired gunshots into the air and fired tear gas into the crowd. This is the second resident protest against the police in a week. Last Wednesday another protest was staged after a 28 year-old taxi driver was shot by a police constable.

RIGHT TO EXTRADITION TRIAL WAIVER—1/20/06
56-year-old Ivan Kenneth Huggins, known as Rasta Teddy, has waived his right to an extradition hearing. Huggins, a Montego Bay businessman, and St. Ann businessman Norris “Deedo” Nembhard are wanted in the United States to face drug charges. Huggins, Nembhard and others are allegedly part of a cocaine trafficking ring. Huggins appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate Martin Gayle on Wednesday and agreed to go to the United States to begin his trial. Nembhard and five others were to be extradited last June, however they are seeking to have their extradition overturned.

MAN KILLED IN SAVANNA-LA-MAR—1/20/06
56-year-old Denval Edwards, also known as Danny Hype, was shot and killed Tuesday night at his home on Hudson Street. Edwards was shot three times in the chest by unknown assailants as he entered the back of his home. Neighbors rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. This is the second murder in Westmoreland since the New Year. The body of an unidentified man was found in the Moreland Hill community.
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SPORTS
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O’NEIL BELL CELEBRATES KNOCKOUT—1/14/06
O’Neil Bell from Montego Bay knocked out Jean-Marc Mormeck of France in the 10th round at Madison Square Garden last Saturday night. Bell is the first man since Evander Holyfield to unify the cruiserweight division. Bell is the undisputed WBC/WBA/IBF cruiserweight champion with a career record of 26 wins, one loss and one draw. Often called “Super Nova” by ring announcers, Bell started the fight slow and succeeded in wearing down the former WBA/WBC champion. Some boxing experts say this fight could be known as one of the greatest ever.

TALBERT AND THOMAS WIN CROSS COUNTRY RUN—1/17/06
Wainard Talbert of Lion Heart Track Club and Tamica Thomas of G.C. Foster College are the senior winners of Sunday’s Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association cross country run. Talbert won the 8k event with a time of 28 minutes and 39 seconds. Known for dominating local distance runs for the past three years, Talbert led the race from the start, finishing almost a minute ahead of Phillips Edwards. Thomas won the senior women’s 6k run with a time of 27 minutes and 12 seconds, ahead of her schoolmate Maresia James. The second run will be held on February 12 at Kirkvine in Manchester and the MACAC Cross Country Championships will be on March 12 in Florida.

RIVOLI TO STAY IN NPL—1/18/06
Although Rivoli stands at the bottom of the Wray and Nephew National Premier League, they are doing their best to keep the club in the league. Rivoli has hired Clavert Fitzgerald, formerly of Waterhouse, to coach the team. Fitzgerald wants to focus on team training and emphasize fitness. Fitzgerald believes the lack of training and fitness has led the team to their current league standings. Additionally, Fitzgerald will do his best to make St. Catherine proud of its team—Rivoli is the only Spanish Town team in the league.

WIZARDS BEAT PANTHERS—1/19/06
The Denham Town Wizards began the 2005-2006 pre-season with an impressive win over the Blazing Panthers, 68-33 at Trivoli Gardens. The Wizards were led by Howard Clarke who shot 13 points. Coach Steve Fray calls this win paramount. The Wizards have only one official game by Jamaica Amateur Basketball Association. The Wizards have been using unofficial practice matches to prepare for this game. NBL pre-season continues as defending champions St. George Slayers travel to play the MoBay Storms. The season officially begins on January 28.

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

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Written by Staff Writer