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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending March 24th, 2006

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THIS WEEK’S NEWS SUMMARY
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CRICKET WORLD CUP TO BENEFIT ST. MARY PARISH—3/18/06
St. Mary parish is making plans to benefit from the anticipated tourism boom that will result from Jamaica’s ICC Cricket World Cup events next year. The parish mayor plans to present a package to visitors passing through so that they will return and also spread positive word about the parish. Parish organizers have identified a variety of points of interest and are also attempting to set up autograph sessions with the players. A regatta is planned as well. The mayor believes the World Cup will benefit St. Mary citizens socially and economically. His plans also include packaged tours of historic sites and the sale of craft items as well as a festival.

PNP AHEAD AND COULD SEE FIFTH TERM CHANCE—3/19/06
The People’s National Party has gotten a boost from anticipation of Portia Simpson Miller’s term as Prime Minister. A survey conducted earlier this month indicates that 52% of registered voters would support the PNP in a general election compared to the 26% that would vote for the Jamaica Labor Party. Simpson Miller’s popularity means significant increases in support for the PNP across the board, among both sexes and among all ages, which could possibly translate to good news for the party when the next general election is held.

AMBASSADOR KING SLAIN—3/20/06
Ambassador Peter King, a long-time public servant was found murdered today at his home in St. Andrew. King, who represented Jamaica in crucial trade negotiations and who was chairman of the Trade Board, was found in his bedroom with his throat slashed and with multiple stab wounds to the chest. Police said they were working on an early lead as two young men who were houseguests at the time were being questioned by detectives. One officer reported there were no signs of forced entry into the home. King’s body was discovered by police after one of his staff tried to gain entry to the house but was not able to enter. He later called police. No motive has been determined in the case.

BOY SAVES TODDLER FROM BURNING HOUSE—3/21/06
An 11-year-old boy is considered a hero by many today, after he single-handedly saved a three-year-old child from a burning house in the rural community of Mount Moriah in St. Ann. Sometime after 8:00 am last Friday, Jermaine Urghart saw smoke coming from the direction of the house where the child lived. He remembered that a young tot lived in the house and then ran straight through the front door through the burning flames and found the child. A quiet and reserved student, who sometimes sleeps in class, has proven he has a brave heart, according to his teacher. With no regard for his own safety, he sprang into action to save the life of another. The child’s guardian was away from the house at the time and returned to find everything destroyed. The cause of the blaze is unknown at this time.

NEW TECHNOLOGY IMPROVING BANANA FARMING—3/22/06
International trade agreement changes and increased competition from low-cost Latin American producers have led local banana farmers to reposition themselves using new technology to improve their production. While recent trends have shown a decline in Jamaica’s banana industry, farmers insist that the industry will become one of the more vibrant concerns in the agricultural industry in the future. According to some, more farmers are using technology and more modern farming techniques to improve efficiency and their yield per acre. Currently a yield of 15 to 20 tons of bananas per acre is the norm. Dr. Marshall Hall, director of Jamaica Producers Group, advises that the technology used on banana farms is on par with those used by competitors in other countries, despite reports in the media stating otherwise.

CEMENT SHORTAGE TAKING ITS TOLL—3/23/06
Up to 30,000 construction workers have been laid off temporarily as a result of a chronic cement shortage that has halted work on projects island wide, according to the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica. According to its immediate past president Don Mullings, if the shortage continues all projects except road works will be closed. Even the local funeral industry fears affects of the shortage that could possibly result in people not being able to bury their loved ones. Earlier in the month, reports surfaced that 500 tons of faulty cement were in the market in late February. The disclosure and subsequent recall have led to a shortage that is creating havoc island wide and stalled numerous major projects. It is not known when the shortage might relent, but more layoffs are expected in the construction industry.

SCHOOL FLAG FIGHT RESULTS IN STABBINGS—3/23/06
Two school boys who attend Kingston College and Calabar High were involved in a dispute that left both with stab wounds. According to police the injuries are not serious; both boys will be charged with crimes. According to sources, the boys were fighting over school flags. In another, separate incident, students at Eltham Park Primary School protested over the stabbing of a teacher who was attacked on school grounds. The teacher allegedly scolded a student she suspected of stealing money. The student reported the incident to her mother, who then stabbed the teacher and attacked her with a stone. The Jamaica Teachers’ Association continues to insist on immediate security measures despite a shortage of funds reported by the Education Ministry. Security improvements being demanded include erecting perimeter fences, hiring of trained security guards and increased police patrols for some schools.

CRUISE SHIP CALAMITY IN JAMAICAN WATERS—3/24/06
Fire spread through three floors of the Star Princess cruise ship as it traveled into Jamaican waters yesterday. One man died of a heart attack as a result, and three others were hospitalized with injuries. Hundreds of passengers were put in local hotels after the fire was extinguished and the ship docked at the Montego Freeport Cruise Ship Terminal. Reports from Princess Cruises state that the ship was en route from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay when fire broke out in the passenger accommodations at around 3 am. By the time the ship docked, the fire had been put out. Approximately 150 cabins were damaged as a result. Investigators have flown in from the United States to investigate the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage.

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SPORTS
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NO-SHOWS WEIGHING DOWN THE TEAM—3/18/06
At least two no-shows have affected Jamaica’s track and field team at the XVIII Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. Garth Gayle, the team’s manager said on Friday night that James Beckford would not be present for the men’s long jump. Beckford was a silver medalist in the event at the 1996 Olympics and 2003 World Championships. No reason was given as to why he would miss the games. Korine Hinds, steeplechase runner, also will not be in attendance due to passport problems that prevent her from traveling. Hinds finished fourth in the 3000m last year at the World Championships and was a contender for a medal at these games.

FINAL DAY OFCARIFTA TRIALS ENDS WITH A BANG—3/19/06
Sonita Sutherland was a bright star on the final day of the 2006 Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association’s Carifta Games trials at the National Stadium East complex. Sutherland ran an impressive 51.23, bettering her personal record and causing some to say it was one of the best runs seen in Jamaica. In the boys’ Under-20 event, the three top athletes—Allodin Fotherfill, Jair Francis and Tarik Edwards all ran in under 47 seconds. Akino Ming and Latoya McDermott won the Under-17 boys’ and girls’ races respectively. In the 200m Under-20 boys, Yohan Blake won with a time of 21.57, coming back nicely after a disappointing 100m run. Overall, it was a notable day for the young athletes.

JAMAICA’S FIRST MEDAL IN COMMONWEALTH GAMES—3/20/06
Javelin thrower Olivia McKoy won Jamaica’s first medal at the XVIII Commonwealth Games being held in Melbourne, Australia. She placed third in the final round at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after falling from third to fifth and fouling on her fifth throw. Her final throw brought her back to bronze medal status, and securing Jamaica’s first medal at the games. Her medal-winning throw was 58.27 meters. A little-known South African competitor, Sunette Violjoen, won the gold medal with a season best throw of 60.72m on her second throw. Silver went to Laverne Eve of the Bahamas with a 60.54m throw.

DAY TWO OF COMMONWEALTH GAMES GOOD FOR POWELL—3/21/06
Asafa Powell, the world record holder in the men’s 100m, was at his best in Melbourne, Australia yesterday, winning his event handily. An eventful semifinal led up to the victory, with Michael Frater disqualified for two false starts and England’s Mark Lewis-Francis disqualified for the same reason. Also at the games, Sheri-Ann Brooks shone by winning the women’s sprint gold medal with a personal best of 11.19 seconds. The victories take Jamaica’s medal count to two gold, one silver and one bronze thus far, a fact both runners take great pride in knowing. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson praised the athletes’ successes and how positively their efforts reflect on Jamaica.

 

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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