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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending June 9th, 2006

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Yesterday a family of six children, along with their mother, disarmed and killed a gunman breaking into their home in Alston, Clarendon. The Constabulary Communication Network reported that at around 2:00 am yesterday, the man went into the house occupied by the woman and her children. Delroy Edwards, 47, entered the house using force to open a window. He pulled a weapon and pointed it at one of the residents, but it failed to fire. Family members took the opportunity to disarm him and fatally wounded him in the process. Upon arriving at the location, police seized the gun, ammunition, a dagger, two crowbars and rope. According to some reports, Edwards was recently released from prison.

Commissioner of Police Lucius Thomas spoke to the Jamaica Police Federation conference yesterday and says the JCF has been hampered by a lack of resources. According to Thomas, more resources are needed in order for police to do their jobs efficiently, prompting him to make a public appeal for assistance. While grateful for certain recent upgrades in equipment, Thomas says they still need more vehicles, bullet-proof vests, helmets and guns. He also called for the enactment of several laws that would help police acquire resources and remuneration to motivate the force.

Pregnancies among teen-aged girls are increasing, prompting women’s advocates to plead for stronger laws to rein in abusers. The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation is an average of 55 pregnant young girls each year aged 12-13, while the overall rate of pregnancies in girls under 15 is decreasing. The rise of pregnancies among even younger girls has prompted caregivers to speak out, stating that the main perpetrators are males ages 20-23 and sometimes older. Very few of the fathers are the same age as the mothers. According to research, the girls are coerced into relationships with older men due to social and economic circumstance.

Corporal Lincoln Parker of the Special Anti-Crime Task Force was shot down and murdered by gunmen at a dance in De La Vega City in Spanish Town yesterday. He is the seventh member of the JCF killed this year, and the second within a week. On Saturday Detective Sergeant Desmond Carter was shot and killed in Ensom City. The Constabulary Communication Network reported that a constable who was also at the dance was shot as well. Parker was shot several ties in the head by two gunmen in the early hours of the morning as he stood near a utility pole along Sixth Way. More than 20 spent shells were found at the scene. Politicians expressed outrage as it was reported that Parker was likely targeted specifically, having lived his whole life in the community where he was killed.

June is now Caribbean-American Heritage Month throughout the United States. On June 6th, 2006 US President, George W. Bush, signed the Proclamation that recognizes the great contributions that Caribbean Americans have made to the fabric of America. Bush said: “Our nation has thrived as a country of immigrants, and we are more vibrant and hopeful because of the talent, faith, and values of Caribbean-Americans”. He added: “Caribbean-Americans have enriched American society and added to our strength. They have been leaders in government, sports, entertainment, the arts, and many other fields…We are united by our common values and shared history,” he said. “And I join all Americans in celebrating the rich Caribbean heritage and the many ways in which Caribbean Americans have helped shape this nation”.

Jamaica’s Teachers’ Association is not happy with their recent offer JTA President Ruel Reid said the Ministry of Finance and Planning has responded to the association’s requests, and has proposed a salary increase ranging from 14 per cent to 22 per cent in the first year and five to eight per cent in the second year. Teachers were among 88,000 public sector workers under a wage freeze following the signing of a two-year Memorandum of Understanding between the government and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions. The MoU ended this past March. A second memorandum was signed last week, but the JTA did not sign, arguing that it was waiting on an acceptable salary offer from the government. Other benefits are still being discussed.

Spanish owners of the Bahia Principe Hotel that is under construction at Runaway Bay, say that the Cricket World Cup will be severely affected if the order quashing an environmental permit is not set aside. A hearing continues into the issues put forward in Supreme Court on behalf of the owners, where the permit was quashed. According to their attorney, the owners have already spent US $62 million on the building, and it is expected to create 2,500 jobs. The environmentalist group opposing construction argues that the owners were aware of the issues that resulted in the claim, and should have no recourse.

Six weeks after being appointed Jamaica’s first female prime minister, support for Portia Simpson Miller has declined, according to a recent poll. In March, the PM held an approval rating of 78 per cent, which has dropped in this most recent poll to 64 per cent. As discontent grows within the party, favorable ratings drop accordingly. Her administration’s handling of the recent cement crisis also is thought to have affected her popularity. Simpson Miller fully supported Industry and Commerce Minister Phillip Paulwell, while calls for his resignation increased during the crisis. Simpson Miller’s unfavorable rating increased from 11 per cent to 15 per cent in this poll, and Opposition Leader Bruce Golding’s favorability rating declined as well, from 35 per cent to 31 per cent. Jamaicans have not wavered in their views about the two political parties, whose ratings were 47 per cent favorable for the PNP and 28 per cent for the JLP.

Television Jamaica Limited announced that on Saturday morning it will launch a second channel. TVJ Sports Channel Network will take to the airways at midnight. With plans for rapid growth, TVJ Sports Network is targeting dominance as the channel of choice for local and regional sporting events on cable television. Saturday’s launch is the beginning of a testing phase, and the organization confirms it is in negotiations with more than a dozen cable operators. Six parishes will have initial access to the channel, including Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Manchester, St. James and St. Ann. The channel will kick off with delayed World Cup football coverage, cricket coverage and the inaugural Stanford 20/20 regional cricket tournament.

Asafa Powell, Jamaican sprint superstar, clocked two under-10-second runs as he won handily at the Golden League Bislett Games yesterday. Powell captured the final in 9.98 seconds in an event that featured several world-leading performances. Teammate Brigitte Foster-Hylton won the women’s 100-metre hurdles at the same event. Powell earned a 9.96 time to win the first of three qualifying heats, but was not able to better that time in the race. Second place was fairly close behind, at 10.02 seconds, causing Powell to call his effort “not anything spectacular.” He asserts he made some mistakes in the second half of the race, allowing American Shawn Crawford to creep up on him in the adjacent lane.

Marion Jones of the U.S. came in just ahead of Veronica Campbell in the women’s 100m sprint, securing a time of 11.06 seconds in a grand prix meet in New York on Saturday. At the same event, Ethiopian Meseret Defar set a world record in the women’s 5,000 meter race. Jamaican Danny McFarlane had the fastest time in the 400 hurdles, clocking a 49.27 win. Jones showed she is still to be reckoned with by besting a world-class field in her third race back after a nearly year-long absence due to injuries. Campbell clocked 11.11 in the 100m race.

National players Venecia Reid and Iesha Mowatt came back home after a short stay with Michigan Phoenix in the U.S. Women Premier Soccer League, citing numerous issues with the team. Reid, captain of the Reggae Girlz, says the salary and the lodging were not suitable. She later stated she was instructed by her coach not to discuss the issue with the press. The Michigan head coach expressed surprise, saying he knew nothing of the problems the Girlz were experiencing. Reid led Jamaica to a fourth place finish at the Under-20 World Cup qualifiers earlier this year. She then captained Jamaica’s senior team in three Gold Cup qualifiers, winning all three games.

Jamalco captured the second Berger Paint Super League final over Tivoli Gardens, in a 54-40 victory. The team won the best-of-three series 2-0 at the National Indoor Centre. Goal shooter Remaldo Aiken scored 50 points in 55 attempts, leading Jamalco to the $120,000 prize. The defending champions won their first game 51-48 and had little trouble in game two, giving up their lead only once in the game. Tivoli Gardens A achieved second place and gained $80,000 for their effort, with goal shooter Cleopatra Grant the top scorer with 38 points out of 48 attempts. Winning coach Winston Nevers expressed happiness as well as surprise, thinking his team would have a closer match against their regular competition.


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

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Written by Staff Writer