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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending October 20th, 2006

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Colonel Trevor MacMillan, newly appointed Opposition Senator, has expressed concerns about the crime rate decrease, saying that unreported crime has become a problem. MacMillan expressed his concerns yesterday while responding to statements made by Senator Noel Monteith, who listed statistics showing recent reductions in crime. He also commended organizations such as the Peace Management Initiative for the role they are playing in decreasing crime. But MacMillan said he had reservations about the statistics, saying that while the reduction is good news, it does not tell the whole story. He also emphasized that while the murder rate has decreased, it is still too high, and too many crimes are going unreported due to a distrust many citizens feel toward police.

The wife and two sons of St. Aubyn Bartlett were injured yesterday in an automobile accident as they traveled to the funeral of Bartlett’s mother. Bartlett is a member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew. Six year old Justin and nine year old Brandon were hospitalized with their mother Grace Ives after a tire blew and Mrs. Bartlett lost control of the car. They were en route to pick up two other family members who were to attend the funeral as well. The family was on Norman Manley Boulevard when the accident occurred. Justin was airlifted to University Hospital with a skull fracture. The injuries are all expected to heal completely. Bartlett’s mother, Olive Lawson, recently died of heart failure. Bartlett was traveling in another vehicle and attended the funeral, where he assured everyone his family would fully recover.

Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero, is now the focus of an interactive museum that offers visitors a journey through his life and works. The museum is located at Liberty Hall on King Street in downtown Kingston, and offers touch screens, photographic montages and a large-screen monitor which plays films of Garvey’s work, pan-Africanism and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The museum was officially opened yesterday by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. Efforts are underway to have Garvey’s name expunged from criminal records in the United States, where he was convicted of mail fraud. The late hero is buried in the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

The World Travel and Tourism Council is predicting massive job layoffs in Caribbean tourism sector as a result of the new law requiring travelers to the area to present a valid passport beginning in 2007. The London-based forum says the US government has effectively laid off more than 188,000 Caribbean tourism workers with the new law in effect. According to a recent study conducted by the group, only 27% of Americans have passports, with most relying on their drivers’ licenses to travel to the Caribbean. The council pledged to back the Caribbean members in Washington, where efforts are underway to repeal the law before it goes into effect. The debate has been exacerbated by the Congress’ decision to allow cruise passengers a longer window before passports are required.

Five people died in a two-car collision along the Osbourne Store main road in Clarendon yesterday. Three others were hospitalized, two in serious condition. James Stanley of Reading, St. James; his 18-year-old granddaughter Dadrian Patterson of East Kirkland Heights, St. Andrew; Lola Dwyer and her son Andel Smith of Spanish Town, St. Catherine were all killed in the accident. An unidentified woman was also among those who died. The injured were Dionette Dwyer-Chin of Spanish Town, Paul McBean and Jermaine McBean of Glen Drive Kingston. Reports say that Stanley was driving east in a rented car. He overtook a line of traffic along the main road and collided with a van driven by Dwyer-Chin. The five people were dead on the scene.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Leslie Green says the deficiencies in the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s forensic capabilities and the lack of resources are contributing to the high rate of unsolved murders. He believes the country is behind in crime scene investigation and urgently needs to be on par with First World standards. He states that he is working with the JCF to petition the Ministry of National Security for a budget increase. He did also relay that he has experienced some successes since his arrival in Jamaica earlier this year when he spoke at a club luncheon yesterday.

Next month brings the United Nations-hosted meeting on global climate change, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. Mocho in Clarendon is one of the areas that will be highlighted during the conference. Panos Caribbean, an information agency that does work on environmental, health and gender issues, has been working in the rural community for about a year, documenting climate change experiences as well as information on disaster preparedness and land degradation. The group will submit a policy briefing and will talk about the awareness levels of the community on climate change. Over the next six months, residents of Mocho will be trained in issues such as climate change and community adaptation, photojournalism and the environment, and energy efficiency.

Officials of the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007 are expressing concern that seven Caribbean countries slated to host the event are yet to pass laws to facilitate its staging. The laws referred to as the Sunset Legislation must be passed by November 1 according to guidelines of the International Cricket Council. CEO of the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies said yesterday that only two of the nine host countries have passed the legislation, Barbados and St. Kitts. He reported that it is critical that the laws be passed, as the consequences would be severe. The absence of the Sunset Legislation has been affecting the ability of the Local Organizing Committee to implement certain preparation activities. There are concerns that the proposed legislation would cause significant dislocation of some businesses that are near Sabina Park, where seven matches will be played. The act also restricts the sale of items within the precincts of match venues, which some businesses say could affect them.


Jamaican pair David Summerbell and Peter Rae shocked their Caribbean neighbors by easily dominating the Seafreight Fast Invitational race meet in Trinidad last Sunday. Despite wet and slippery conditions, the two won three races between them. They were disappointed they did not set a new track record, but were pleased with their overall performance. The successes came as a surprise to the duo, which began experiencing mechanical problems before the races began. A group of Trinidadian mechanics helped correct the problems on Saturday night and they were ready to race on Sunday. One race in particular was a hotly contested showdown between Rae and Trinidad’s Ravi Singh.

More than a dozen Jamaicans are displaying works in a variety of media at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C. as part of “New Possessions: Jamaican Artists in the U.S.,” offering a view of talent spawned on the island, inspired by the nation’s emergence through independence and blended with modern-day experiences to produce a mélange of imagination and creativity. Close to 50 pieces, ranging from paintings in watercolors and oil to quilts and creations using wood, burlap, rope and plaster, emphasize the challenges the artists have embraced. The exhibition is a collaboration of the Organization of American States and the Embassy of Jamaica. A monitor inside the museum shows video clips of thoughts by the artists.

The city of Hartford, Connecticut, and the West Indian Foundation, have recognized two outstanding Jamaicans. Byron Lee has been honored for his 50 years of contribution to Caribbean music, and Dr. Lenworth Jacobs was commemorated for his service as a renowned surgeon. The recognition took place at the West Indian Foundation Scholarship and Awards Gala, held in Hartford. October 14 was declared Byron Lee day in the state of Connecticut. Jacobs was recognized as a pioneer in the medical field, specializing in emergency medicine. Jacobs was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Life Star Emergency program and the development of a national model for health care response to terrorism activities. Scholarships were also awarded to three deserving students.

The world’s fastest man, Asafa Powell, is among the nominees for this year’s 2006 male athlete of the year title. Fans get to vote directly for their favorite nominees this year, and the votes will be added to a poll of the IAAF athletics family members. A short list of three will then be presented to a special jury of the IAF who will then make a final selection and announce the winners at a gala on November 12th. So far, Powell is lagging behind Panama’s Irving Saladino and China’s Liu Xiang, who have 40.9 and 30.78 percent of the online votes respectively so far. Powell has 22.52 of the vote. Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson was nominated for female athlete of the year and is ahead in the poll with 71.9 percent of the votes so far.
The Minister of Finance and Planning has confirmed that the Jamaican government’s role in recruiting the many who will likely serve as football’s new technical director will be a significant one from a monetary standpoint. The Jamaica Football Federation has made an offer to Velibor “Bora” Milutinovic at a salary much lower than originally speculated. According to rumor, the football director had asked for J $266 million per year, but the JFF says the figure is actually less than half that amount. The government is expected to make a significant contribution to the effort, having already expressed an interest in ensuring a first-rate coach is hired to lead Jamaica’s qualification for the 2010 World Cup to be held in South America.

Tivoli Gardens achieved their first win of the season yesterday, trumping Reno 3-2 in their Wray and Nephew National Premier League game at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex. Nicholy Finlayson put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the sixth minute of play after Kirk Wright got around goalkeeper Edsel Scott and was fouled by Victor Thompson. But two goals in two minutes by Christopher Jackson and Fabian Davis in the 16th and 18th minutes respectively, gave Tivoli a 2-1 half-time lead. The home team went further ahead in the 51st minute as the hard running Jackson was fouled in the box and referee Patrick Findlay pointed to the spot for Roland Dean to dispatch. Tivoli has climbed to eighth place on five points, with their first win from five games.

Velibor “Bora” Milutinovic, the new national technical director designate for football in Jamaica, plans to visit NPL games to see the local players in action. He said he would go to as many games as possible so he can see as many players in action in as short a time as possible. The coach was taking notes at a game he attended Sunday between Wadadah and Portmore United. The coach would not name any standout players but said he liked the passion he saw in the players.

Olympic 400 meter silver medalist Lorraine Fenton has bid farewell to track and field. Fenton, who missed the past two major championships—the 2004 Olympic Games and last year’s World Championships—decided to reflect at the end of the season, and came to the decision to finish her running career after celebrating her 33rd birthday. She feels it is time now to look forward and to give her support to the current generation of runners, saying that her national record of 49.30 seconds gives them something to strive toward. Fenton made her first major splash after winning the bronze medal at the 1999 World Championships, achieving her first under-50 seconds performance. She was injured and missed the whole 2004 season, and has not been able to fully recover to her same performance level again.

It’s a Great Day to Be Alive!

I take the view that if God allows us to wake up in the mornings, everything else is a bonus! After all, if we do not wake up ever again, nothing really matters. Therefore, no matter how challenging our days might be, we have a responsibility, like the Psalmist, to declare: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; (I) will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24). The brand new day is like being given a clean sheet of paper on which to write. We determine what will be written based on our response to the things that happen around us. What an exciting opportunity! Yesterday’s mistakes do not have to be rewritten today, or anytime in the future, because God’s mercies are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:2,23).

Today is a GREAT day to be alive; go out and make the most of it! – CEW

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

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