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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending October 27th, 2006

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One government senator keeps making a case for state funding of political parties, arguing that a failure to adopt the measure could create an opening for transitional criminals to seek favors from the government. While Trevor Munroe makes his case, Opposition Senator Dorothy Lightbourne wants Parliament to ensure that the soon-to-be-established Electoral Commission has the power to tackle incidents such as the Trafigura Beheer controversy that has plagued the current administration in recent weeks. A debate on the Electoral Commission (Interim) Act was under discussion in the senate; the act passed with two amendments. Munroe proposed that as a prerequisite for state funding, political parties should be registered and meet financial disclosure requirements. Further, he stated the funding should not necessarily be in the form of cash but could include the underwriting of certain expenses for the parties, including national broadcasts or of publication of party manifestos.

Tomorrow will find a high-level group of lobbyists meeting with the United States Homeland Security Department in Washington, D.C. to press the Caribbean’s case for an extension of the time for the United States citizens to present passports on re-entering the country. Effective January, 2007 the U.S. government will require all air travelers in the western hemisphere arriving in the U.S. from the Caribbean to present valid passports on landing. While the government has extended the time period by two years for cruise ship passengers, the deadline for airline passengers is just two months away. Local and regional hoteliers are anxious about the requirement, fearing a fallout in land-based American tourists. U.S. citizens have been traveling to the Caribbean without passports for decades.

St. James police are considering introducing the Safe Schools program at Maldon High School following an altercation that left a male student dead and another hospitalized with stab wounds last Thursday. While the superintendent verifies the program is being considered, he stresses that it must be supported by a posture of discipline by the school administration. Fifth-form student Cleon Levine was fatally stabbed outside the school gates, allegedly attacked by the relative of another student, who was stabbed and injured earlier on the school compound. The Safe Schools program is a Ministry of National Security project, introduced in 2004 to reduce the incidents of violence in primary and high schools. Reports are that since September of this year, there have been five stabbings at Maldon High School.

The Cayman Islands’ controversial immigration laws could expel thousands of work-permit-holding Jamaicans who have been employed there for almost eight years. The Cayman Islands’ chief immigration officer was unable to give precise figures but admitted there might be casualties as some will not be granted permanent residence or be adjudged by the Immigration Boards as key or exempt employees. Employees have to register for permanent residence and achieve the designation. If they do not register or do not receive the required status, they will be asked to leave the Islands. Those who fail to apply for permanent residence by December 31, 2006 will be required to leave.

The Ministry of Education and Youth will make good on its promise to continue paying for students to sit four subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination level, despite the National Commercial Bank’s decision to stop paying for two business subjects. The government has been paying for students to sit CSEC mathematics, English language, information technology and a science subject since 2002. In 2003, NCB announced that it would pay for students to sit Principles of Accounts and Principles of Business, complementing the government’s four subjects. The NCB’s assistant general manager said less than 70 percent of students attended examinations, which were paid for, causing the bank to re-examine assisting students in this area. The ministry says it cannot afford to pay for the two business subjects because it had submitted its business for the payment of four subjects earlier this year. Payment for fees is due next month, totaling $1200 for each subject.

Police seized cocaine with a street value of $12 million in a major narcotics operation which targeted illegal drug dealers in Montego Bay. They also seized 135 pounds of compressed marijuana while arresting at least seven people, including an attorney from Toronto, Canada. According to police, 25 pounds of cocaine were discovered in the customs hall of the Norman Manley International Airport, with another 2.2 pounds located at the Donald Sangster International Airport. The smaller seizure was the result of an investigation that led police to believe a passenger had swallowed crack cocaine. He was delivered to a nearby hospital where he later passed 89 pellets of the drug from his system.

Canadian police seized more than 626 kilograms of hashish, hash oil and marijuana that were stashed under a shipment of Jamaican produce including pumpkins, yams and sweet potatoes. The drugs had an estimated street value of C $19 million and were wrapped in plastic and hidden under a false floor in a container shipped to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Police waited until they could make arrests before announcing the seizure. The president of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association expressed his concern that drug traffickers are again targeting export goods. He said the JIE together with the U.S. Embassy would assist exporters in preventing such incidents. Jamaica is a major supplier to Canada of hash oil, popular in the Atlantic and Central areas of the country.

A team that investigated the death of a baby at Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston has identified serious procedural breaches at the institution. According to the Health Ministry, certain measures were not observed in attending to the pregnant mother, who had previously lost a child. Hospital officials also failed to place her under special observation, which was customary for her medical history. The probe was ordered after reports surfaced that the woman lost her baby because plans for a Caesarian section to deliver her child were delayed three times. The operation was postponed because of a malfunctioning sterilizer. The investigation found that no effort was made to have the operation performed at another facility. Legal proceedings arising from the baby’s death have begun.

A large turnout of Jamaicans was on hand to pay tribute to Jamaica’s late cultural icon, the Honorable Louise Bennett-Coverley at a cultural tribute at the African American Research Library and Cultural Centre in Fort Lauderdale. The country’s seven National Heroes also were honored at the event, which was hosted by the Broward County Commission Libraries Division. Miss Lou was praised for her immeasurable and distinguished contribution to the development of Jamaica’s culture and heritage internationally. Miss Lou made Jamaican folklore famous as she gave expression to the feelings and thoughts of the Jamaican people the world over. Several Florida-based Jamaican artists kept the audience well-entertained as they celebrated the work and life of Miss Lou through recitals of her music, verse and drama.

The president of the Atlanta Jamaican Association reports that the organization would be seeking to create a center for Jamaican culture, which would provide information and counseling services to its members and the wider Jamaican community. The center would double as the association’s headquarters, and would assist Jamaicans in the pursuit of their educational goals, inform members of job opportunities, provide housing information for Jamaicans coming to Atlanta and to keep abreast of political, social and economic developments in Jamaica.

The Institute of Jamaican Nationals in Birmingham recently honored seven Jamaican nationals in the United Kingdom for their outstanding contributions to various fields. Honorees include Dr. Robert Beckford, a lecturer in African Diaspora religions and cultures; Sandra Crossdale, Managing Director of MBG Limited and founder and chair of the African Caribbean Business Federation; Major Glenville Morris Lindsay, a career army officer; Audrey Flash, Member of the British Empire and community stalwart; Michael Davies, a student and volunteer youth worker; Hermin McIntosh, a founding member of the Black Expressions Theater Group; and Lance Dunkley, chairman of the Black and Ethnic Minority Foundation. The awards were held to commemorate National Heroes Day and recognized outstanding members of the community.

Trevor Oldacre was set to celebrate his birthday with his best friend onboard a train bound for an excursion in Montego Bay, in 1957. But at the last moment, Oldacre found out he couldn’t go, as he had to journey to St. Thomas instead, to take a teaching position at the Duckenfield Elementary School. The train never made it to Kingston, instead derailing and killing 178 people, including his friend. Today, Oldacre is a full-time volunteer with the Atlanta Jamaica Association, revisited the site of his former school as part of a team to deliver shoes to the students. Oldacre migrated to the United States later where he achieved his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. He taught in the New York school system until 1998. Now he volunteers full-time, offering assistance to those most in need.

Harbour View reached a 0-0 draw against Portmore United, who played the first 30 minutes of second half with 10 men and the last fifteen minutes with only nine but still managed to best the team in the sixth round Wray and Nephew National Premier League game at the Spanish Town Prison Oval yesterday. Harbour View had enjoyed five straight wins in as many games, and started the day on 15 points, four ahead of Waterhouse. They were aiming to extend their 100 percent win record, but came close to being beaten by nine-man Portmore in an action-packed second half. The league leaders are now on 16, two ahead of Waterhouse, who snapped Arnett Gardens’ two-match win streak in a 4-2 match at Drewsland.

Jamaica’s athletes came home with 52 medals, including 20 gold, after finishing second at the Caribbean Senior Regional Games in Trinidad and Tobago. The Jamaicans also captured 21 silver and 11 bronze medals for their biggest haul in the three-year-old competition. Trinidad and Tobago piled up an impressive 365 points, with Jamaica second with 185, followed by Barbados with 131, St. Lucia with 47, and St. Vincent with 28 points. The Jamaican team comprised 21 athletes and 33 supporters who went to root them on. The manager of the country’s female team reported that Jamaica could have finished first had they had more athletes and entered all categories. The most outstanding female performance was 75-year-old Elethia Boyd, who captured three gold and two trophies for her achievements.

Calabar was eliminated in semi-final action yesterday by Eltham High in the ISSA/Pepsi/JN Walker Cup action that took place at the National Stadium. The defending Manning Cup champion Calabar team was stunned to find themselves scoreless against Eltham’s three goals at half-time. Two goals were scored beginning just 13 minutes into the action. The second half made it a close match, but in the end the newcomers triumphed, to the surprise of fans and pundits everywhere. To add to Calabar’s frustrations during the game, defender Kirk Duckworth was sent off in the 80th minute with a second yellow card. The Calabar coach was infuriated and would not submit to an interview.

Portmore United continued their upward climb with a resounding 4-1 victory over Boys’ Town in their Wray and Nephew National Premier League game at Collie Smith Drive yesterday. Former champions Portmore jumped two places to fifth in the standings with 10 points, while Boys’ Town remains in sixth position with eight points. Winning coach Paul Young was pleased with his team’s performance as it found its legs, saying the team was disciplined and comprehensive in their play. Portmore had problems scoring early in the season but have hit their stride and kicked in seven goals in the past three games.


“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, KJV).

One of the hardest things for most of us to do is to feel total dependency on
another person. We strive to be independent, thinking that before we ask for help, we
have to do everything in our power first. Of course, there are some who would take it
to the extreme and simply refuse to ask for help. Yet, those who know God do not
have to be ‘do-it-yourselfers’, because we know that by ourselves we can do nothing.

Jesus remind us in John 15:5 that “…without me ye can do nothing”, and therefore
regardless of the situations we find ourselves in, when our hearts are overwhelmed
and nothing around us makes any sense, it is a comfort to know that we can depend on
our Heavenly Father to be there to help and see us through. That is more than we can
say about anybody else.

If you are a ‘do-it-yourselfer’, why not allow God to do what He alone can do? He
is willing to help, if you are willing to trust Him with your cares and your worries.
You will find it makes a world of a difference, and your load will be that much
lighter. Why not do it today?


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

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Written by Staff Writer