JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending June 16th, 2006


Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller met for the first time yesterday as the PM announced efforts designed to boost economic development in both countries. An air services agreement has been fast tracked, protecting the routes of both state-owned airlines, Air Jamaica and Lan Chile. Montego Bay’s airport will serve as a hub for Chilean cargo destined for Europe. Other efforts will see the waiver of visas for holders of diplomatic and official passports, as well as efforts for future cooperation on renewable energy. Chile will also help Jamaica with watershed management, forestry research and wood technology, while teachers from both countries will benefit from exchanges of information.

Hope Gardens, more than 130 years old and painfully neglected in recent years, will receive a makeover in time for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Digicel’s foundation is donating $10 million to help the rehabilitation. The funds will be used to rebuild the Hope Gardens fountain. Money will also be used to freshen the gardens that are near the fountain. In addition, the Hope Shell Bandstand will be repaired and restored. A dial-in program will allow citizens to call or text to show support for the project. Funds from the program will go toward further restoration. Kingston waived all fees for building permits as its contribution to the restoration project.

Speaking at the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association Annual General Meeting, the president of the Caribbean Hotel Association offered some harsh criticism of regional governments and their negotiating teams based in Brussels and Geneva. Berthia Parle says the representatives are not qualified to negotiate on behalf of the region, stating their bias toward non-tourism trading activities and commodities as a stumbling block in accomplishing what is needed. The tourism veteran considers the situation frightening considering that tourism is the lifeblood of the region’s economy, and uses the rates being set for the World Cup as the basis of negative press in the United Kingdom, and a potential boycott by press and players.

Opposition leader Bruce Golding shrugged off poll findings, in particular one from yesterday that shows declining support for the People’s National Party. Speaking at a council meeting, Golding iterated that he puts more stock in the results of the by-elections held since he became Opposition Leader last March. In the elections, the JLP had increased its share of the vote. The poll shows the JLP with a 26 percent approval rating, while the PNP has declined to 44 percent, down from 52 percent in March. Golding urged attendees to ignore poll results as a tool of political warfare and said in future the party would issue no comment in response to poll findings. Golding stated that the party’s focus will be on upcoming elections of local and general offices, which he believes the party will win.

The controversial law enforcement officer Senior Superintendent Reneto Adams was officially reinstated to active duty in the Jamaica Constabulary Force yesterday, after a meeting with Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas. Adams will be based at the JCF headquarters in St. Andrew, where he will be assigned to the area of intelligence gathering. He will report direction to the commissioner. Adams and other officers are tight-lipped about the specifics of his new role, but a communications director says his duties would be determined by the commissioner. The former head of the now-disbanded Crime Management Unit was indicted after the 2003 incident where four people were killed by members of the unit in Kraal, Clarendon. Adams and five other officers were acquitted of murder charges last December. The other five have all been previously reinstated.

After multiple delays, the government named five appointees to the National Contracts Commission after Contractor General Greg Christie charged that the delays had hamstrung the work of the commission and would cost taxpayers millions. The appointees are Robert Martin, Jean Fairclough, Milton Hodelin, Karl Martin and Donald Moore, and will join last month’s appointee, Shirley Tyndall. The commission can now proceed with its work until the remaining nominees are named, two from the construction sector and the professional groups. More than 70 contractors and 30 government contracts valued at $4 million are on hold due to the delay in the appointments. The office can now proceed with registering the contracts and scrutinizing the contracts.

The Lawyers Christian Fellowship scored a victory yesterday when the Joint Select Committee of Parliament, which is considering the proposed Charter Bill of Rights, agreed to accept a proposal specifically banning same-sex marriage. LCF president Shirley Richards wants the word “marriage” defined clearly as the voluntary union of one man to one woman for life. The group had asserted that the wording in section 13 of the charter could be interpreted as opening the way for the legalization of homosexuality. The acceptance of the proposal by the committee met with loud approval from those in the gallery. Some members, though, raised concerns that the definition would equate common-law unions with marriage, which was met with an explanation that while the Constitution does not include common-law marriages, it does not prevent legal rights for such unions.

A two-day conference began in Kingston yesterday with more than 800 delegates in attendance, all seeking ways that Jamaicans at home and abroad can strengthen relations so that both groups can benefit. The conference is the second of its kind, and it has been suggested that a fund be created to help finance projects. In addition, Prime Minister Simpson Miller announced the intention to establish a parliamentary select committee to consider a formula for translating proposals from Jamaicans in the Diaspora into national policy. Opposition leader Bruce Golding called for the expansion of the Senate to include representation from Jamaicans living abroad. It is estimated that up to 2.5 million Jamaicans and Jamaica descendants live abroad, sending home about $1.5 billion per year.



Faced with the monumental task of upsetting Sweden, ranked 31 higher, Trinidad and Tobago received another blow as their defender Marvin Andrews was forced out due to a knee injury incurred in a practice session. One of two central defenders, Andrews will sit out the Group B encounter between the second English-speaking Caribbean team to make the World Cup finals. Also in question is Kelvin Jack, the goalkeeper nursing a minor injury. Sweden is known for several top notch players, including Ziatan Ibrahimovic and striker Henrik Larsson, as well as midfielder Freddie Ljungberg. Considered a physical and very strong team, Sweden will present a fierce challenge for the T&T team.

Asafa Powell clocked a 9.77 second run at the British Grand Prix yesterday to equal his 100-meter record, which he shares with Justin Gatlin. The sprinter originally registered that time in Athens, Greece last year, which Gatlin tied in Qatar in May. The two will run against one another at the London Grand Prix in July of this year. Powell stated that while he didn’t know what the new world record would be, he knew it would be a lot faster than the current one. He reported feeling stronger and faster, so is confident he will better his best time. Powell earned a $50,000 bonus for his run in Great Britain. Michael Frater of Jamaica finished second in 10.06 while Dwain Chambers of Britain finished third in 10.07 after a two year ban for substance abuse.

Brazil is poised for its sixth World Cup title, which would be twice as many as any other country that plays in the eponymous event. The team takes on Croatia in the final today, and thousands of fans are in Berlin to see the results. Their opponents are honored to share the field with them, and perhaps somewhat intimidated by the team’s storied history. Brazil’s roster is fully stocked with star players, even those who sit on the bench. The Samba Kings are known for their graceful style of play, and fans from dozens of nations were sporting the yellow jerseys of the defending champions. Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said the team can’t wait to start playing.

Brazil became the first team in World Cup history to win eight successive matches in the finals when they championed over Croatia in a 1-0 win. Brazil captured all three Group F points with a memorable goal by Kaka a minute before halftime. Two vital saves played a part as well, with Pletikosa holding off a long-range shot from Roberto Carlos and then another attempt in the 62nd minute by Ronaldinho. In what has been called a balanced game, Croatia made a good showing and kept the Brazilian defense on its toes throughout the match. Brazil next meets up with Australia on Sunday in Munich.

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