THIS WEEKS NEWS SUMMARY
FATAL STABBINGS RESULT IN CELL PHONE CRACKDOWN – 3/26/05
The fatal stabbings of two school girls refusing to relinquish cell phones to thieves has prompted Jamaica’s Constabulary Force (JCF) Investigative Division to target cell phone related crimes. Assistant Commissioner George Williams states that cell phone theft is on the rise, stolen phones selling for as little as $1000. Service providers are responding by making the stolen phones more readily blocked from usage.
FISCAL IRREGULARITIES PROMPT INVESTIGATION OF WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY – 3/27/05
After an emergency meeting with the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) over concerns of fiscal mismanagement and corruption, Portia Simpson Miller, Minister of Local Government and Sports, called for a full review of operation and funding requirements. With debt totaling $200 million, Auditor General Adrian Strachan has questioned $17 million in NSWA expenditures for service and repair of equipment and its failure to provide financial statements for a second consecutive year. The investigation is to include the purchase of five sports utility vehicles without proper authorization and the replacement of workers with costly contractors.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER UNDER FIRE FOR AGENCY MISMANAGEMENT – 3/28/05
Facing growing criticism over fiscal irregularities at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), senior officials of the People’s National Party (PNP) have brought into question the leadership of Portia Simpson Miller, Minister of Local Government and Sports, a leading candidate for the PNP presidency. Mrs. Simpson Miller has reportedly been rebuked by Prime Minister P.J. Paterson for seeking his assistance in resolving the troubles that surround the NSWA, an agency that falls under her ministry.
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES JOIN FORCES TO FIGHT BUSH FIRES AND DROUGHT – 3/28/05
Joining forces to battle worsening drought conditions and a recent spate of bush fires, Dean Peart, Minister of Land and Environment, announced that the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the Ministry of Water Housing will contribute to ongoing efforts. The cabinet recently approved $12 million for education and assistance in response to conditions that have led to millions of dollars in damages to property and crops.
FRUSTRATED DRUG NETWORKS SHIFT TARGETS SAYS NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER – 3/29/05 Frustrated by the success of Operation Kingfish, an anti-crime initiative targeting local and international drug traffickers, a marked increase in robberies and extortion should be expected by drug traffickers increasingly under pressure, says Dr. Peter Phillips, National Security Minister.
AMENDMENT LEAVES SENTENCING IN FIVE CAPITAL MURDER CASES PENDING – 3/30/05 Sentencing in five capital murder cases held over from the previous session will be further delayed as judges in the Home Circuit Court await a decision on an amendment to the Offenses Against the Person Act. The amendment will provide sentencing guidelines for pleas of mitigation in death penalty cases. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled the mandatory death penalty unconstitutional in a 2004 ruling.
SCHOOL REFORM DELAYED – 3/31/05
Recommendations of a 14-member task force on educational reform are in the planning phase, says Andree Nembhard, head of the team tasked with carrying out those reforms. The far reaching proposals of the task force appointed by the Prime Minister in January, 2004 were to have been implemented in March of this year. Task force recommendations include performance pay, licensing of teachers, and remedial literacy programs.
ATTEMPTED PRISON BREAK LEAVES FOUR DEAD – 4/1/05
A prison ward and three inmates died in a riot Thursday morning at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in downtown Kingston. Police report that guards returned fire on an unidentified gunman around 10:15 a.m., injuring eight others. Officials believe the gunman, firing shots into the air amid shouts of “freedom”, was part of a plot for a prison-wide break. Commissioner of Corrections, Richard Reese, announced that a Board of Inquiry will investigate and that security changes are already in effect.
WARA BLAST LARA IN WICB DISPUTE – 3/26/05
FIFA Vice President Jack Warner blasted West Indies cricket player Brian Lara for not accepting the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) invitation to play in the first Test against South Africa. Warner reproached the West Indies national cricket team captain for not returning to play, saying he could best help players ruled ineligible because of endorsement contracts in conflict with team sponsor Digicel by resuming play. Lara was ruled ineligible along with teammates Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul, but the WICB has since reinstated Lara’s eligibility, saying that Lara’s Cable & Wireless sponsorship dated back prior to competitor Digicel’s team sponsorship.
WATERHOUSE ADVANCES TO FINALS – 3/28/05
Waterhouse advances to face Portmore United in the Wray and Nephew National Premier League end-of-second-round finals. Waterhouse secured their spot after a 0-0 draw at Constant Spring. Waterhouse bested Tivoli Gardens, after Waterhouse team officials nervously waited out Tivoli’s 0-0 draw at Reno, qualifying Waterhouse for a second end-of-round final.
JAMAICA TAKES 59 MEDALS AT CARIFTA GAMES – 3/29/05
Jamaica led in medals at the XXXIV Carifta Games held at the Dwight Yorke Stadium Monday. Capturing 29 gold, 19 silver and 11 bronze, Jamaica far outpaced second place winner Trinidad and Tobago, the host nation claiming 39 medals. Theon O’Connor was awarded the Austin Sealy Award for most outstanding athlete after a record run in the 800m final of 2:53:72, besting a four-year record of 1:55:20.
WAVELL HINDS WOWS – 4/1/05
In West Indies’ first Test of the Digicel Series, Wavell Hinds and Shivnarine Chanderpaul ended the day at 347 for three against South Africa. The twosome earned 241 runs, surpassing the previous fourth-wicket record of 174 for the West Indies against South Africa, a record set in their last meeting 15 months ago. Hinds and Chanderpaul performed as the controversy created by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) ruling players Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan ineligible due to conflicting contracts continued.