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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending February 24th, 2006

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Inspector Yandell Campbell and Corporal Francis Thomas were set free by the Court of Appeal yesterday. The two police officers were convicted last year in connection with 52 prisoners escaping from Metcalfe Street Remand Centre in Kingston almost five years ago. The prisoners escaped through a vent in the back of a cell in 2001. The two police officer’s attorneys argued structural defects and short staffing are the reasons for the escape, not their clients. Resident Magistrate Kissock Laing originally convicted Campbell and Thomas, citing them with seven counts of negligently permitting the escape and were each fined $25, 000 on each count or three months in prison.

Donovan “Clarkie” Clarke, the second most wanted man in east Kingston, was shot and killed by police officers yesterday in McKintyre Villa. Clarke was wanted in connection with four murders, shootings and robberies in the area. According to Deputy Superintendent Steve McGregor of the Eastern Kinston Police Division, a team comprised of members from the Eastern Kingston Police Department, the Flying Squad, Area Four Police, Mobile Reserve and Caribbean Search Centre began their operation in search of Clarke. Circumstances surrounding Clarke’s death have outraged residents. The residents of the surrounding area claim Clarke was shot at through the ceiling of the bathroom in his home where he was hiding. They believe he should have been taken into custody, not shot at and killed by police.

According to the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) seven people were murdered over the weekend. Four of the seven took place in St. Catherine. Dave Sinclair of Greater Portmore was killed when armed men robbed Sinclair and the passengers of his vehicle then shot their weapons in the air, striking Sinclair. In Capture Lands, the body of Samuel McIndoe was found with gunshot wounds on Saturday morning and in Spanish Town, a man was shot and killed on Friday night while riding his motorcycle. Also over the weekend, Wayne Palmer was found murdered after being shot by two men on bicycles. Police in Arnett Gardens were called to a gully residents reported on fire. Upon arrival they discover an unidentified burnt body. In St. Elizabeth, police are looking for Glen Jones. Police believe Jones can be of assistance to them as they investigate the chopping death of George Salmon. No arrests have been made in connection with the homicides.

In a statement made yesterday, the National Security Force stated the Jamaica Constabulary Force will no longer be issuing firearm licenses and permits, effective immediately. Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas was instructed to immediately recall any unused and not-yet-issued firearm license booklets. This comes after the Firearm Licensing Authority held it’s first meeting last Friday. Permanent Secretary in the National Security Ministry, Gilbert Scott has requested the appropriate authorities obtain all information on licenses currently being processed and submit them to the Firearm Licensing Authority within 10 working days. Major General John Simmonds will lead the board of the Firearm Licensing Authority.

Thirty-year-old Wayne Tingling of St. Ann, has been sentenced to eight years in prison stemming from his 2005 guilty plea for raping a 74-year-old woman. Tingling begged for the court’s mercy, however Justice Wesley sent him to prison. According to reports, a drunken Tingling entered the woman’s home in the middle of the night and demanded sex. The woman managed to escape and ran out of the house. Tingling chased her down the street and forced himself upon her in the middle of the road. A police officer driving through the area saw the two people, stopped and arrested Tingling upon learning the woman was raped.

Seven residents of Kingston were murdered during an eight-hour shooting spree Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. Five of the incidents occurred in east Kingston and the other two happened in central Kinston. Police are investigating all incidents, however they have not made any breakthroughs. Michael Ellis, deputy superintendent of police, believes the four crimes committed in Franklyn Town Wednesday are related. According to Ivy Walker, head of the Kingston Central police division, there has not been a motive established for the murders. Arlene Sambas, Donovan Parkinson, Mark Pagon, Alvin Richards, Keith Robins, Lorene Brooks and Yvette Lewis were all killed.

The Chinese government has donated US$380,000 (J$25 million) worth of military equipment to the Jamaica Defense Force. The donation to the JDF comes are a crucial time to help the army enhance the development and efficiency of its operations. Chinese Ambassador, Zhao Zhenyu said yesterday this is another step in strengthening the diplomatic relations between China and Jamaica. This is the second donation made to the JDF, the first was delivered two years ago. Additionally, three JDF soldiers have also received training in China. The supplies included bullet-proof helmets, uniform material, combat boots, respirators, digital cameras and projectors.

Students in class at Montego Bay High School listened to a terrifying shooting yesterday morning. According to school officials, students were in class when they heard gun shots around 10:00am coming from Perry Street. The man allegedly shot his victim in the back three times then ran through the school property to escape. Teachers say some students are afraid the gunmen may have seem them. Montego Bay High School principal, Faith Clemmings, says this is the first time the school has ever had an experience like this. The police have not identified the victim, but he is at a local hospital in serious condition.

Jamaican Kemel Thompson was the only winner from the Caribbean Saturday night at the Athletics Australia Invitational Track and Field Meet at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Thomson, a World Champion semi-finalist, won the men’s 400-metre hurdles with a time of 49.84. In other events, Ato Modibo of Trinidad and Tobago received a top three spot in the 400m and Aussie star Jana Pittman won the women’s 400 metre hurdles with a time of 54.41 seconds. Next month’s Commonwealth Games will also be held at MCG. This is the first time in 50 years, since the 1956 Olympics, the MCG has held athletic competition.

Wolmer and Calabar High Schools are advancing to the finals of the KFC/ISSA Under 19 and Under 16 basketball competition. In the Under 16 semi finals, Calabar beat Wolmer 60-45 and play the winner of the Adrenne/St. George game today. Textor Davis scored a game-high 19 points. In the Under 19, Wolmer beat Jamaica College 99-78. Kerron Caine led Wolmer with 25 points while Kavan Allen scored 14.

Defending champs, Vere Technical girls took an early lead at the South Central Athletics Championships at the Kirkvine Sports Complex in Manchester. The Vere girls are in the lead with 87 points after 10 finals. For the boys, Glenmuir has the lead of over defending champions Holmwood. Glenmuir leads with 37 points, Holmwood has 29, Claude McKay has 29 and Edwin Allen and Central both have 28 points. There were four records broken at the meet. Sherenne Pinnock ran for 59.7 to break the record in girls’ 400m hurdles, while Jermaine Christie of Holmwood broke the record in the boys 400m hurdles. Bobbie-Gaye Wilkins beat the previous boys record in the Class Three quarter mile, while Vere’s, Trudy-Ann Clarke beat the old time in the girl’s quarter mile.

Jamaica will host Barbados in a three-test table series starting tomorrow. This will mark the beginning of Jamaica’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games next month. According to Keith Garvey, President of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association, the current set of Jamaica national players is the best prepared for a major championship. This team is has been training consistently with the Chinese coaches. This tournament will begin at 6:00pm tomorrow at the Rex Nettleford Hall at the University of the West Indies.

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

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