THIS WEEKS NEWS SUMMARY
TOURIST ARRIVALS TO SET NEW RECORD -12/10/04
Tourism State Minister, Dr Wykeham McNeill, said this week that despite the passage of Hurricane Ivan, stopover visitor arrivals for the year 2004 are projected to surpass last year’s roughly 1.3-million mark by four per cent. This will be a new tourism record for Jamaica.
TAX COLLECTORS PRAISED BY DR OMAR DAVIES -12/10/04
Finance minister Dr Omar Davies praised the Tax Administration Department for consistently increasing tax revenues despite Jamaica’s lackluster economic performance. Speaking at the Customs line officers’ graduation this week he said “Despite this setback, if we look at our performance over the past decade we will see that revenue collections have been growing at an average of 17 per cent per annum,”
BENEFICIARIES RECEIVE HURRICANE CHECKS -12/10/04
This week the Labour and Social Security Ministry reported that to date, some 21,000 beneficiaries have received checks under the government’s recovery programme for persons whose houses were damaged by Hurricane Ivan in September. This group is the first of the 150,000 households assessed and approved for the benefits amounting to some $191.9 million.
AIR J STILL GOOD FOR JAMAICA – 12/09/04
At a luncheon of the Rotary Club of Downtown Kingston Gordon “Butch” Stewart stated that Air Jamaica, like the rest of the airline industry, will lose money over the next two years, but the carrier was too vital to Jamaica’s economy not to receive support. He went on to say “ If Air Jamaica failed at this time it would be of the magnitude that would make Finsac (Financial Sector Adjustment Company) look like petty cash, for the simply reason that it is Air Jamaica that is flying the Jamaican economy from negative to positive”. Finsac (Financial Sector Adjustment Company) is the vehicle that was used by the government to bail out collapsed banks and insurance companies after the financial sector collapse of the mid 1990s that cost more than J$120 billion.
NCB CONTRIBUTES BIG TO EDUCATION – 12/09/04
This week the National Commercial Bank (NCB) handed over a check valued at $15.2 million to the overseas examinations office for the sponsorship of fees for the 2005 Caribbean Examination Council (CXC). The fees will cover the subjects of principles of accounts and principles of business examinations.
JLP DISPUTE SETTLED – 12/09/04
Leadership candidate Pearnel Charles and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) have settled a bitter dispute over a voters’ list that had plunged the Opposition party into one of its worst crises ever. Under the agreement, Charles will withdraw a court case challenging the legitimacy of a voters’ register that should have been used for a postponed November 6 election for a new leader and the party will now compile a new voters’ list after it amends sections of its constitution.
PM SAYS JAMAICA COMMITTED TO INTEGRATION – 12/09/04
Addressing the 28th annual Conference of the Caribbean/Latin America this week, at the Miami Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, the Prime Minister PJ Patterson said has said that Jamaica was firmly committed to the integration process, and had taken the legislative and administrative steps to ensure that the country’s obligations under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) were met in full and on time. Mr. Patterson pointed out that the Caribbean Single Market would be launched in January by three member countries – Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
CONFRONT VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS – 12/09/04
This week Wentworth Gabbidon, President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), has called on leaders, teachers and parents to confront and eliminate violence and indiscipline in schools. He stressed that the future of the nation depended on these persons successfully confronting and eliminating these evils, noting however, that violence and indiscipline in schools were reflections of the wider society.
$3.3 M IN EXTRA SPENDING – 12/08/04
The supplementary estimates for 2004/2005 presented by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies this week show that an additional $3.3 billion is needed to meet the nation’s budgetary requirements. The addition to the budget it is needed to finance reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.
$18 M allocated FOR HOSPITAL REPAIRS – 12/08/04
This week the National Health Fund (NHF) has allocated $118 million to fund repairs to public hospitals across the island that were damaged by Hurricane Ivan in September. The funding was approved following estimates for repairs provided by the Ministry of Health and regional health authorities.
US BEEF BAN LIFTED – 12/08/04
This week Jamaica lifted a ban on US beef imports imposed last year after a single case of mad cow disease was detected in the United States, the agriculture minister said yesterday. After months of negotiations, Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke said Jamaica was satisfied that US officials had contained the disease and implemented stringent measures on cattle and beef products to guard against a future outbreak.
PROTECTION FOR JAMAICA BRAND – 12/08/04
Speaking at a seminar this week Technology and Commerce Minister Philip Paulwell has urged Jamaican exporters to pay closer attention to identifying goods which are illegitimately branded as Jamaican-made, in order to protect the integrity of the Jamaican products. He stated “Our exporters, producers, and marketers, must pay greater attention, not only to building the Jamaican brand, but in protecting our products and stopping the illegal use of geographical indications such as ‘Product of Jamaica’, Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaica Rum, Jamaica Jerk, Jamaican Ackee, Jamaican colours and symbol,” he said.
US OFFSHORE MEDICAL COLLEGE COMING TO JAMAICA – 12/08/04
Government this week officially gave the go ahead to partners of the Sirlan College of Medicine to set up Jamaica’s first offshore medical training facility. The United States-based off-shore college, a JAMPRO-led initiative, will be setting up its campuses on the top floors of the Oceana Hotel in downtown Kingston with classes set to begin in September 2005.
ETHANOL PLANT TO BE REHABILITATED – 12/08/04
This week the Jamaican government entered into an agreement with a Brazilian company, to rehabilitate an idle ethanol-producing plant located at Petrojam’s premises on Marcus Garvey Drive, at a cost of US$7.34 million. The terms of the three-year agreement (with the option to extend to an additional two years) stipulate that the company, Coimex, will provide the raw material required for the processing of ethanol, and the government will offer a waiver on import duties, government fees, and taxes related to the importation of the material. The first shipment of raw material from the manufacturer arrived in the island in late October.
3,000 PINTS OF BLOOD NEEDED BEFORE CHRISTMAS – 12/07/04
The National Blood Transfusion Service says it needs 3,000 pints of blood before Christmas. It says 500 pints of blood is now in stock “As we enter this Christmas season our aim is to collect 3,000 pints of blood before we get to the 21st of December because usually coming into the last few days (of December) very few people are concerned about coming in and donating blood,” said Dr Lundie Richards, the director of the National Blood Transfusion Service.
TWO J’CANS ON MAYOR BOARD – 12/07/04
This week Mayor of Kingston Desmond McKenzie was elected to the board of directors of the World Conference of Mayors. The election took place at the 20th annual convention of World Conference of Mayors, held recently in Tobago. McKenzie joins another Jamaican, Mayor Noel Donaldson of Montego Bay, on the board.
OIL EXPLORATION MOVES TO TEXAS – 12/07/04
This week the government announced that Minister of Commerce Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell is expected to travel to Houston, Texas on December 17, where he will formally launch another licensing round for the exploration of oil and gas in Jamaica’s waters.
The Texas call follows the successful launch of a licensing round in London last month. Minister Paulwell will be accompanied by Dr. Raymond Wright, Group Managing Director at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).
POLICY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITY – 12/07/04
The government announced that the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, which was tabled in Parliament in the year 2000, should be enacted into law by the end of the 2004/05 legislative year. Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Horace Dalley made this announcement during his address at a forum on disability issues, recently held at the Jamaica Conference Centre.
JA TO CHAIR G-77 IN JANUARY – 12/06/04
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said last week. That Jamaica will chair the Group of 77 Nations and China (G-77) as of January next year and will, therefore, preside over the second summit of the G-77 to be held in Doha, Qatar, during the second quarter of 2005. Mr. Patterson made the announcement last Thursday in his address at the annual awards function of the Consular Corps of Jamaica. This will add to the country’s repertoire of international leadership, as Jamaica is the current chair of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.
WIVES AT RISK for AIDS/HIV – 12/06/04
Health Minister John Junor said With females accounting for almost half the reported new cases of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, married women were among the group of persons most at risk of contracting the deadly virus. The minister said he was concerned that despite the prevalence of the infection, there is still an incorrect but widespread perception that HIV/AIDS is confined to homosexuals.
NEW EARLY CHILDHOOD CURRICULUM – 12/06/04
Approximately 100 of the island’s 2,025 Basic schools will be used in a pilot project to introduce a new national Early Childhood Institutions Curriculum, to be established within the next year. Simultaneously, 12 model Basic schools will be built within the same period, and used to emphasize layout and techniques to be adopted in the Early Childhood institutions across the island.
JA TO OPEN EMBASSY IN BEIJING – 12/06/04
In an effort to deepen diplomatic relations with China The Jamaican Government will be opening an Embassy in Beijing in the coming year.
Speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Chinese Cultural Foundation in South Florida recently, Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Ricardo Allicock said that Jamaica considered its relationship with China to be “very important”.
WOLMERS GIRLS RULE ISSA NETBALL – 12/10/04
Wolmer’s Girls completed a double crown, as they became the winners of the ISSA/Urban High School senior and junior netball competition. The senior team defeated Dunoon Technical 32-27 and the junior team defeated Campion College 16-11.
EXCELSIOR AND, GLENMUIR PLAY FOR PEPSI/SPORTS PLUS OLIVIER SHIELD – 12/11/04
In one of the most exciting match-ups of the school boy football season, Excelsior and Glenmuir High battle for the ISSA Pepsi/Sports Plus Olivier Shield in the first of two legs at the National Stadium at 3:00 p.m. Saturday. Having bagged two trophies already, both schools will be out to prove who is the top schoolboy team in the island and the first triple crown champion since Cornwall College in 2001. The Olivier Shield, played for between the daCosta and Manning Cup champions, started 95 years ago when Jamaica College won the first of their 15 titles in 1909.
TIVOLI AND HARBOR VIEW PLAY TO DRAW – 12/09/04
In the first-leg of their CONCACAF Caribbean Cup final Tivoli Gardens and Harbour View played to a draw. Harbour View came from behind to earn to earn the 1-1 draw at the Harbour View Mini Stadium.
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