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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the Week ending January 17, 2004

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The debt problems of Opposition Leader, Edward Seaga, have become a focal point on the JLP. This has led him to meet with the party’s Standing Committee to discuss the issue. Reports out in the previous weeks say that the Town and Country Resorts, which is owned by the Opposition Leader, has a debt of $443 million.

This week, Minister of Health, John Junor, announced he would not contest his Central Manchester seat in the next general election, which many say, is a signal he is leaving government politics. He is in the fourth term as a Member of Parliament with the People’s National Party (PNP).

Visa Scam Busted – 01/10/04
Police this week continue to probe the multimillion-dollar visa racket busted in Barbican, St. Andrew in which two people were arrested and charged. One of the two people arrested had in their possession a large some of money and Jamaican passports for 106 individuals.

Seaga Receives Vote of Confidence – 01/11/04
Edward Seaga was reported to have gotten a vote of confidence from the Standing Committee after his meeting with them to discuss his debt.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Visit Jamaica – 01/12/04
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid a six-hour official visit to Kingston today. As a result of the meeting, security officials from Jamaica and New York are planning to work closely to break up the crime links between Jamaica and NY.

PJ announced the trimming of Gov’t Spending – 01/12/04
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson announced on Sunday that the Government will speed up the cutting of Government projects and the trimming of public sector agencies to control the growth of government spending. He said the tax package passed last April was not sufficient to bring the countries budget under control.

Underground Economy cost the Gov’t billions – 01/12/04
In an interview with the news media last week Mike Surridge, Commissioner of the Revenue Protection Department (RPD) of the Ministry of Finance said the government may be losing up to $2 billion a year in revenue from General Consumption Tax (GCT) and customs duties because of commercial smuggling. In a separate interview this week an official from the Office of the Registrar of Companies said the government was losing at least $54.4 million annually because thousands of limited liability companies do not file their annual statutory returns.

Residents Protest Transfer of Police Officer – 01/13/04
West Kingston citizens came out to the Denham Town Police Station to process the transfer of against of Superintendent Harry Daley. Many fear the crime in the area will increase with his transfer.

Tourists Robbed in Negril – 01/13/04
Gunmen invaded a hotel property in Negril, tied up the security guard and robbed 15 tourists. The Police are holding four suspects. Two of the fours suspects have been identified as Western St. Andrew residents.

Seaga to Continue as Party Leader – 01/14/04
JLP Members of Parliament called an emergency meeting yesterday to decide the fate of party leader Edward Seaga who has been battling the reports of his financial debt. The members voted in support of him to continue as Opposition Leader by a vote of 17 to 21

Drive-by shooting killed 3 Year old
Yesterday, three-year-old Devonte Lawla was shot in the head in a rival gang battle drive by shooting at White Wing Walk in Olympic Gardens, St. Andrew.

Free Clinic opened by Food For the Poor – 1/15/2004
Food for the Poor in a partnership with the St. Joseph’s Hospital opened a free clinic on the hospital’s campus. The clinic will provide quality health care for Jamaica’s Poor.

‘Beenie Man’ in Crash – 01/16/04
Moses ‘Beenie Man’ Davis, suffered two fractured ribs, and facial injuries when his Hummer overturned along the Mandela Highway in St. Catherine yesterday morning. The entertainer is said to be in stable condition after surgery to repair a collapsed lung

Bilateral trade with CHINA surpasses US$200 million
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu, in reception in Kingston marking the Chinese New Year, said trade between Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China has surpassed US$200 million.

Casino Debate Reopened – 01/17/04
At a Staff Awards ceremony at Sandals Montego Bay Hotel, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, Winston Dear, urged the Jamaican government to rethink it’s position on casino gambling. He went on to say “ They (Government) should introduce it into our tourism product and let us use the proceeds from the Montego Bay casino for development in the city.”

New System to Control Jamaica Border – 01/17/03
Jamaica is expected to launch a new computerized system, designed to track foreign visitors as they enter and leave the island by March of this year. 2004. It is one of the moves made by the government to exercise tighter border control of the Jamaican borders.

Champs Qualifier Begins – 01/15/03
The Annual Wata-sponsored Jamaica College (JC) development track and field meet, which serves as qualifying meet for March’s VMBS/ISSA Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, began this week on the school’s grounds, at Old Hope Road.

2003 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year – 01/15/03
Long jumper, James Beckford and 100m hurdler, Brigitte Foster are the Carreras Sports Foundation’s 2003 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.

Calabar beats Ardenne – 01/15/04
Ardenne was crushed 81-59 in the quarterfinals of the ISSA/KFC schoolboy basketball competition on Thursday.

Canadians host basketball Clinic – 01/17/04
Today the basketball Club of Canada will teach students, of the Whitfield Town Primary School, the fundamentals of the game during one of the club’s three clinics they are holding in Jamaica this week.

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