JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending July 7th, 2006

Parents and children will have to wait until at least Monday to receive their test results from the Grade Six Achievement Test due to the inability of the Ministry of Education and Youth to get the results to its regional offices on time. Up to 3 am yesterday, several schools that were contacted had not received their results yet. Scholarships had not been announced, with those amounts and recipients expected to be announced next week. The delays were blamed on the increased number of students sitting for the exam, with officials unable to keep up with the demand. Areas experiencing significant growth include St. Catherine and Clarendon. Additional challenges resulted from the results being placed on CD and not all schools being able to access the data the CDs contained.

An unnamed but notorious west Kingston gangster has been arrested in a large-scale ammunition find in the United States. The gangster, who was run our of Jamaica by convicted killer Donald Phipps, was on the run after being shot and wounded by rival gangsters in New York and had gone to Miami to recover. Law enforcement agents swept into a house in Miami, and found the criminal along with a large quantity of ammunition. Local police are in contact with US authorities and are awaiting a formal report. In another case, police have found a bloody shirt believed to be the one worn by the person responsible for the murder of a popular dancehall promoter and public relations personality, Christine Hewitt.

Joint initiatives by Jamaica and Britain have drastically reduced the number of Jamaican “drug mules” incarcerated in the United Kingdom by 70 percent. The trend has been helped by an aggressive public awareness campaign aimed at discouraging Jamaican women from making drug runs. This year to date, no women have been convicted of drug transporting and drug traders have shifted to other ports in the region. Launched in 2002, Operation Airbridge is being credited with stemming the practice of transporting drugs. The program uses ion scanners to detect illegal drugs and is in use in the island’s two airports.

Within six months, all Americans will be required to have a passport to travel to the Caribbean. The Western Hemisphere Passport Initiative could have a devastating effect on the region, prompting the New York Times newspaper to commit to a $1 million public awareness campaign. The paper’s managing director of the Caribbean and Latin America made the offer during the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference last week in Miami. The Caribbean Hotel Association had lobbied ambassadors and senators to help level the playing field for the region, to no avail. The Times will place specific advertising related to the subject throughout the newspaper on a space-available basis. Canada and Mexico have been granted two-year extensions on the new law.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller ordered a probe into the delayed publication of the results of this year’s GSAT exams, saying that it is important to maintain the integrity of the test. Carlton Samuels, chief information officer of Mona Information Technology Services at the University of the West Indies, will lead the investigation. The Ministry of Education had promised to release the results on Thursday, but after days went by, the information was sent to many schools on Sunday. The test determines which children will move from primary to high schools. Among the causes cited by the ministry’s offices was the fact that up to 2,000 more students than previously took the test this year, resulting in difficulty finding school spaces.

Caricom heads of government have granted tertiary-trained teachers and nurses free labor movement across the Caribbean almost immediately. Higglers, artisans, domestic workers and hospitality workers also are to be included, pending the agreement of an appropriate certification, which is expected to be completed at another meeting to be held by the end of the year. Leaders reached the decision after a day of deliberations on the Caricom Single Market and the single economy component due in 2008. Police commissioners also are expected to meet to discuss how best to share information on criminals to prevent them from entering other Caricom nations.

A senior member of a church run by retired Appeal Court judge Martin Wright evidently stood by and did nothing while schoolboys in a van he was driving gang-raped a teenage girl and recorded the act. Justice Wright professed to know of the incident but said the deacon had not participated in the act. The church is reported to have taken disciplinary action against the deacon but it is not known what form it took. The girl has not been found by the minister yet, who hoped to offer counseling to her. Police have pledged to pursue the case vigorously. While the church congregation was aware of the incident, no one initially reported it to police.

Racquel White, twelve years old, is the top performer in this year’s Grade Six Achievement Test. A former student of the Immaculate Conception Preparatory School, she will be going on to attend Immaculate Conception High School for Girls. Eleven-year-old Hamesh Creighton won the Marcus Garvey scholarship based on his scores and is bound for Campion College. Houston Thompson, also eleven, is the first student from the Montego Bay Christian Academy to win a government scholarship for outstanding performance on the test. She will attend the Montego Bay High School for her outstanding overall average of 96.7 percent. From Mount Alvernia Preparatory School, Kevin Robinson won a scholarship as well as the honor of all-island top boy. He will attend Cornwall College in the fall.


On the last day of the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships being held in Puerto Rico, Jamaica lost their fifth-place position in a close battle. But they added three medals to the 16 they had accumulated on Wednesday of last week. Jamaica was still in striking distance of fifth place, with 225.5 points, behind Netherlands Antilles with 253 points. Puerto Rico seems a sure winner in the competition for the second year in a row, with an impressive 1249.5 points to their name. Trinidad and Tobago are in second place with 742 points, while the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic round out the top four. Dominic Lee won Jamaica’s first medal of the day after he finished third in the boys 18 and over 50 meter breaststroke in a time of 30.91 seconds. Brad Hamilton brought in the second medal with a silver in the boys 15-17 50 meter breaststroke in 30.95 seconds. The third medal came from Kendese Nangle, who took the silver in the girls 200 meter breaststroke in 2:40.97.

A goal by Thierry Henry took France to victory against Brazil in the FIFA World Cup match held yesterday. This takes France to the semi-finals. Les Bleus, as they are known, will now take on Portugal on Wednesday in Munich for a place in the final to be held July 9th. Brazil, five-time champions, were not at the top of their game throughout the match, but the defeat still came as a shock after a run of 11 straight World Cup finals wins. France gained confidence gradually after winning balls in midfield, and then dominated the first period. The team thrilled the crowd with fluid moves and a tight offense that was determined to win.

A Jamaican contingent of 12 junior golfers and three officials depart today for Westin Rio Mar Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Puerto Rico, where they will compete in the Caribbean Golf Association’s annual championships. Jamaica has one five female and two male championships, but they have never won the Championship Trophy introduced six years ago. At the last competition, Jamaica was only able to secure a sixth-place finish in a 10-nation competition. Hopes are higher this year, pinned on individual achievement among the players on the team. Brandon Chin is receiving attention for his Under-18 age group and feels confident he can win his division. Wesley Brown and Vittoria Marley from the Under-15 group are also expected to do well, as is Jonathan Newnham in the 12 and under age group.

If Italy is to advance to the World Cup Final, they will have to do what no other team before them has done, and beat Germany in Dortmund. Unbeaten Germany was not considered a favorite going into the tournament, but the hosts have won four of their five games to enter the semi-final clash with Italy. Germany has won the World Cup three times, as has Italy. Italy believes they will have to win in 90 or 120 minutes, something no opponent has managed to do in 71 years of German international matches in Dortmund. In that time, Germany has won 13 of 14 matches played there, with one draw to blot their record. The crowd is considered to be a significant advantage going into the match.

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