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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the weeks ending February 11, 2005

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Air Jamaica this week grounded up to a dozen of its daily flights to North America, several of the airlines aircrafts were not fit to fly awaiting clearance from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) for safety checks following the recent appraisal of Jamaica’s civil aviation management systems by America’s aviation watchdog agency, the FAA. The move officials say is related to America’s concerns about aspects of Jamaica’s civil aviation oversight procedures and maintenance management controls at the Government owned carrier. America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspected Jamaica in December and recently filed its report with the local authorities. It was Jamaica’s first substantial audit by the FAA in over six years.


DR. Karl Blythe created a political upset when he emerged on top in the People’s National Party’s rescheduled vice-presidential vote. His surprise victory put two major presidential candidates, Portia Simpson Miller, and Dr. Peter Phillips, into second and third positions respectively. Incumbent vice-president Dr. Paul Robertson snatched the final vice-presidential spot ahead of Paul Buke. The rescheduled election of officers took place at Mico Teachers’ College in Kingston. Party officials said 1,559 delegates were eligible to vote, with each having a choice of four candidates. Twenty-eight (28) ballots were spoilt. Dr. Blythe amassing 1,443 votes, followed by Mrs. Simpson Miller’s 1,381, Dr. Phillips’ 1,229, Dr. Robertson’s 1,203, with the fifth candidate, Paul Burke, receiving 864.


The Family members of former prime minister, the late Michael Manley were gunbutted, slapped in the face and tied up during a robbery at their house in Drumblair, St. Andrew on Friday night. Douglas Manley, 84, son of the national hero Norman Manley and brother of the late prime minister, confirmed that he was slapped in the face and gunbutted. However, he did not sustain any injuries. Norman, one of Douglas’ son said that one of the intruders hit him across the neck and pointed a gun to his head while he was lying face down on the ground. Approximately $5,000, two cable boxes, .380 semi-automatic pistol and a Palm Pilot and some alcoholic beverages were stolen from the home. Mr. Manley’s car was also stolen, but the police recovered it yesterday.


The Frome Sugar Factory will get a major boost in production levels next week when the much-anticipated second tandem, a collection of mills and turbines used to grind sugar ­will be commissioned into service. “The second tandem will come on stream by latest next weekend. The first tandem has been in operation since the December 11, and the Sugar Comapny of Jamaica is expecting that the second tandem will show similar efficiency as the first tandem. Instead of grinding 3,000 tonnes on one tandem per day we are expecting that both tandems will grind 6,000 tonnes per day says Edward Maragh, chairman of the Frome Cane Farmers Association.


Fire destroyed a six-apartment dwelling house in the Sun Valley Road area of Montego Bay, leaving one family homeless. The fire is believed to have been started by a malfunctioning washing machine. Carpenter Leyson Tugwell, 42, his common-law wife Sheena Scott and their six children, were left with only the clothes on their backs. The house was completed gutted by the time firefighters from the Montego Bay Fire Department arrived on the scene. Ms. Scott, who was at home when the fire started at about 4:00 p.m., said she noticed smoke coming from the bathroom where the washing machine was in operation. When she went to investigate, she discovered that the bathroom was on fire. An alarm was raised and the fire department summoned. While the family was too distraught to give a detailed account of their loss, a relative with an intimate knowledge of the family’s possessions put the damage at approximately J$2.5 million.


The Shooting death of a 23-year-old man in Greenwich Town, Kingston, the killing of two men in Westmoreland and the murder of another in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, dispelled prospects for a violence-free day. February 6 was dubbed ‘violence-free day’ to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the birth of the late reggae star Bob Marley and was anticipated to be a day of peace. Calls were made for the day to be free of killings and shootings.


The Bank of Jamaica has reduced interest rates effective February 7, the first time for 2005 that rates have been lowered. The last adjustment was effective December 28, 2004. The central bank cut rates eleven times last year, analyst expect this to be the first of many cuts. 30-day instruments, interest rates have dropped from 13.80 per cent to 13.50 per cent. While for 365-day instruments, the rates have dropped from 15.50 per cent to 15.0 per cent



Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) Finance Committee have unveiled a five -year program that may lead to the sale of its office. The plan proposes the sale of its office at 20 St. Lucia Avenue, New Kingston in order to meet rising debt. At present, the JFF has an overdraft of over $13 million. The Office, after being bought from Life of Jamaica for $24.7 million in 1998, has been valued by the Jamaica National Real Estate Company at $48 million with a ‘Forced Sale’ value of $40 million. Selling the office of the JFF might not be so easy as the local federation will have to seek approval from the world governing football body ( FIFA) .


National 400M indoor record holder, Sandie Richards, finished second in her pet event at Friday night’s 98th Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York. Richards, the 1993 World Indoor 400m champion, clocked 55.40 seconds. American DeeDee Trotter won in 53.94.


Jamica remain unbeaten in the Carib Beer regional cricket competition with a 143-run victory over Trinidad and Tobago in their fifth-round clash at Alpart Sports Ground. Resuming yesterday at 144 for three, nightwatchman Daren Powell not out on 7, and skipper Tamar Lambert on one, Jamaica had a favorable morning and declared at lunch on 274 for six. Trinidad’s chasing 288 by close of play was not up to the task. They were bold out for 145 runs. Nikita Miller 4 for 27 was the pick of the bowlers.

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Written by Staff Writer