THIS WEEKS NEWS SUMMARY
RICHARD PATTERSON RESIGNS POST—7/30/05
The son of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson resigned his post as an information technology consultant for the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) yesterday. Richard Patterson’s resignation comes just days after reports were delivered to Parliament alleging impropriety at the NSWMA by the Auditor General and the Contractor General. Derrick McKoy, Contractor General, was vocal in his report of mismanagement at the agency; his commission as Contractor General has now expired and his last day was yesterday.
PRIME MINISTER’S TRAVEL BILL EXORBITANT—7/31/05
Records show that over the past four years, Prime Minister P. J. Patterson has taken 42 official trips overseas, amounting to more than $21 million in travel expenditures. Documents show that the PM spent the millions on luxury hotels, entertainment, private aircraft fuel and an entourage of personal assistants. A trip to New York City resulted in total expenditures in excess of US $8000 for a five night stay, and fuel for one trip to Mexico cost the Jamaican government $300,000.
HANOVER REELING FROM 100 PER CENT MURDER INCREASE—8/1/05
Hanover police blame a 100 per cent increase in murders committed in the parish this year on migrant criminals who came into the area during the first quarter of this year. A known criminal from St. James was responsible for six of the 18 murders committed thus far; he was subsequently killed by police earlier this year. The police have identified “hot spots” in terms of statistics, believing migrants come into the area, commit crimes and then leave. Police are asking citizens to come forward with information regarding violent crimes, stating that it is tremendous assistance which often leads to apprehension as well as the recovery of firearms and drugs.
REVISED EU BANANA TARIFF RULED ILLEGAL—8/2/05
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that the proposed European Union tariff on imported Latin American bananas is illegal. The revised tariff would favor African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and the WTO ruling could have a catastrophic impact on Jamaica’s banana industry. The EU has 10 days to reach some agreement with the nine Latin American countries complaining, who say the new rate violates their agreement, and that any change should maintain the countries’ access to the EU. The WTO agrees. Prime Minister P. J. Patterson has begun a process of diplomatic action to address any negative effects stemming from the ruling.
JAMAICA LABOUR PARTY DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY—8/3/05
Jamaica’s Opposition Party wants Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to accept responsibility for the ongoing scandal at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), saying the Prime Minister should be accountable for wasted public funds. Opposition leader Bruce Golding also is calling for the removal of Alston Stewart from involvement in the upcoming construction of Greenfield Stadium, saying that his track record demands he absent himself from further public sector projects. The JLP proposed various reforms at their recent press conference, including restructuring the appropriations committee, enacting Whistleblower legislation, and parliamentary involvement in board member appointments.
NSWMA and MELROSE FARMS SPLIT—8/4/05
Errol Greene, newly appointed director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority, has severed the beleaguered agency’s ties with Melrose Farms after learning the company is not properly certified. A recent report to Parliament criticized the relationship between Melrose Farms owner Denzil McDonald and the NSWMA, asking for an investigation of potential conflicts. After allegations of impropriety at the NSWMA rose to the surface in March, a probe was ordered, leading to the resignation of the full board. The Solicitor General is now determining if current contracts can be legally canceled.
DOUBLE MURDER PUSHES NUMBER OVER 1000—8/4/05
A double murder in St. Andrew brought the year’s reported homicide total to more than 1000, representing 210 more murders than the same time period a year ago. The Balcombe Drive community was the location of the incident, the second reported case of double homicide in that community in the past two weeks. It is alleged that more than 20 people have been killed in an internal feud with deportees fighting for turf control against other forces. The highest incidence of murders falls into the category of reprisals, robberies and mob killings, which are now categorized by police as criminal acts.
$10 MILLION LAWSUIT SEEKS JAMAICA MEN–8/5/05
The Migrant Farmworker Justice Project, based in Florida, is seeking nearly 2,000 Jamaican men who worked in Florida as cane cutters from 1987 to 1993. The men were allegedly underpaid on an ongoing basis by Osceola Farms, the suit contends. A lawyer with the Project says the company altered time sheets and coerced time keepers to go along. Workers acquiesced in order not to lose their jobs, but with mechanization came revelation, and workers began to come forward with the information. Osceola Farms dismisses the claims, noting that three other similar cases were lost because the company did nothing wrong. Men who believe they are part of the suit should contact the Justice Project at 561-582-3921.
JA TAKES GOLD, SILVER IN HURDLES—7/30/05
The 2005 Pan American Junior Championships being held in Windsor, Canada, are off to a good start for Jamaica. Sprint hurdlers Latoya Greaves and Natasha Ruddock got the excitement going with gold and silver wins respectively in the 100m hurdles, both clocking personal best times. Greaves posted 13.38 for the gold, her career best, while Ruddock recorded 13.42, her personal best this year. Considered by some to be Jamaica’s most talented hurdler, Ruddock, 16, has two more Junior Championships still to compete in, putting Jamaica in good position to medal two more times. Greaves’ season best was 13.60 when she arrived at the championships, and posted a 13.54 to push into the finals.
SUNSHINE GIRLS SEE SUNSET AT WYNC—7/31/05
Hopes of winning the World Youth Netball Championship were just that—hopes—for the Sunshine Girls of Jamaica. England took the Jamaican team down by four goals to win 52-48, ending their bid for a slot in the finals. Prior to the loss, the Sunshine Girls had a stellar series while in Florida, logging seven victories prior to the semifinals. The loss lowers the girls team in the rankings, who will stand at No. 3 with a victory over Australia.
ANGELS’ WINGS CLIPPE BY VULTURES—8/2/05
The Olympic Angels were no match for the Vauxhall Vultures in the opening game of the inaugural Jamaican Rugby leagues season opener Saturday night. Sponsored by Globe Insurance, the new league season launched at the Olympic Gardens Cling Cling Oval, where Vauxhall’s Kemar Gray had six conversions to lead his team. While the Angels kept things close, the Vultures ultimately conquered with a bold second half. The Vultures simply wore down the tiring Angels, scoring twice more in the opening moments of the second half. Home team favorites, the Angels did manage a consolation try and a penalty conversion to end the game—not a win, but the next best thing.
“ANYWAY WE CAN” CHARITY MATCH SET—8/4/05
Jamaica and Grenada will receive proceeds from the recently announced West Indies Players Association (WIPA) charity football match to benefit the Hurricane Relief Fund established last year. The fund exists to raise money for Caribbean countries hit hard by hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Emily. August 13 is the date set for the event, to be held at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain-Couva, Trinidad. The match begins at 6:30 p.m. and hosts a roster of players that includes Curtly Ambrose and Clayton Morris.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.