THIS WEEK’S NEWS SUMMARY
OUTSTANDING JAMAICANS TO RECEIVE NATIONAL AWARDS—8/6/05
National Honours and Awards will be presented to 97 people including four Jamaicans, to be presented on National Heroes Day in October. The Order of Jamaica award will be bestowed upon Michael Fennell, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association; the Right Reverend Alfred Reid, Anglican Bishop of Jamaica; Garth Taylor, ophthalmologist; and Basil Watson, painter. The award is the country’s fourth highest. Others will receive the Order of Distinction, including surgeon Trevor McCartney and Josef Forstmayr, former head of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association. Still others will receive a badge of Meritorious Service or the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service.
SHODDY BOOKKEEPING MARKS RECORDS-8/7/05
According to investigations undertaken in recent days, there is overwhelming evidence of missing and incomplete records at the Ministry of Local Government. Minister of Local Government Portia Simpson Miller last week ordered some parish councils’ books audited, but so far every indication is that the audits will be almost impossible to perform. Several parishes are numerous years behind in their records, which some politicians have called “alarming.” A lack of accountability seems to be the culprit for the poor shape the records are in today. Parish council heads blame a lack of resources, mainly staffing.
TRIPLE JUMP GOLD AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS—8/8/05
Jamaica takes home silver and gold on the second night of the competition at the IAAF World Championships being held in Helsinki, Finland. Triple jumper Trecia Smith won the women’s triple jump final with a 15.11 meter effort, while Sprinter Michael Frater won his first individual medal in a major championship showing. He thanked his coach and supporters, with a big smile on his face. The race was a thriller, with only four one-hundredths of a second separating the four places following first place.
ENERGY CHARGE INCREASE ON THE WAY—8/9/05
Expect a 7.5 percent increase in the energy charge on September’s monthly electricity bills, a result of a tariff adjustment caused by inflation. According to J. Paul Morgan, director general of the Office of Utilities Regulation, the increase should have taken place in June but was delayed until now due to damage done by Hurricane Ivan last September. The increase will be higher in order to compensate for the delay. Recent disruptions in public electricity supply are being blamed on a shortfall in JPS’ generating capacity due to equipment malfunctions.
PARISH COUNCILS RESOLVE TO GET UP-TO-DATE—8/10/05
A variety of woes has come to light in response to an inquiry and investigation into the financial records of Jamaica’s parish councils. The councils pledged recently to get all statements up to date by March of next year, but also have laid out a list of problems that have hampered their efforts and continue to do so. Issues raised include staffing shortages, delays in receipt of documents from central government, and not having accounting software, as well as a lack of training among staff. Despite these troubles, the councils are expected to submit statements at the end of each financial year. Some parishes currently have no financial statements on file past 2002.
CABLE & WIRELESS JAMAICA LAUNCHES NEW INTERNET DEVICE—8/10/05
Executives at Cable & Wireless Jamaica know they must reposition the company in order to capitalize on the changing telecommunications industry. Hence the MAX, a personal internet communications device that comes with a keyboard, mouse, monitor and software that was introduced yesterday. The device is part of CWJ’s strategy to lower the barrier of entry and get more Jamaicans online. Another aspect of the strategy—cut the cost of broadband Internet access. The company is offering four price packages for the MAX, starting with the lowest of US $39.99 monthly. The goal was to make a personal computer available for about the same cost as a cellular phone. The first line target is to get 50,000 households online by March 2006.
POLICEMEN TO BE CHARGED IN SHOOTING DEATHS—8/11/05
Two years ago a controversial shooting occurred at Flankers, St. James involving two senior citizens. David Bacchas, a 63-year-old taxi driver, and Cecil Brown, a 65-year-old newspaper vendor, were shot and killed when police say they got in the crossfire between police forces and gunmen. Another senior citizen was shot and injured in the same incident. Now five policemen will be charged with numerous offenses by the Bureau of Special Investigations. At the time of the shootings, residents of Flankers denied the shoot-out occurred, and claimed the men were murdered. Two days of demonstrations resulted from the shootings.
SANDALS TRAINING PROGRAM ADOPTED BY JHTA—8/12/05
A program developed by Sandals Montego Bay resort has been embraced by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and is being urged upon the private sector as a way to employ inner-city youths. The program, which is supported by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Jamaica Employers Federation, targets young workers in Flankers, St. James, where it recruits 25 people each year, mostly young males. The program is hailed as a way to prevent crime and therefore assist businesses and improve Jamaica’s image, changing it to one of a lawful society friendly to tourists. JHTA president Horace Peterkin, also the general manager at Sandals, says if Jamaica’s image was more positive, hotel rates could double. Commenting that the program is tried and true, he stated it should become a national standard, allowing businesses to act as training centers for the disadvantaged youths.
OPENING DAY IN HELSINKI HOLDS HIGH HOPES—8/6/05
Track and field enthusiasts are watching closely the 10th IAAF World Championships being held in Helsinki, Finland over the next eight days. The event is a bi-annual event holding high hopes for Jamaica’s stars given their superb performance in the Olympics last year. Eleven Jamaicans will be on the track for the first day of events, including shot putter Dorian Scott and triple jumper Trecia Smith, one of the favorites for a medal. The big event of the weekend is the men’s 100 meter, with the finals being held on Sunday. American Justin Gatlin is favored to win the gold given Jamaica’s injured world record holder, Asafa Powell.
EIGHT MEDALS FOR JA AT THE CCCAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS—8/8/05
Alia Anderson will be remembered by spectators and competitors alike after her showing at the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation Swimming Championships in Santo Domingo this weekend. Anderson broke the national 15-17 age group record in the 100m butterfly, netting her a bronze medal with a time of 1:05.14. Her other three medals are all gold, which included breaking the 50m breaststroke national record and the CCCAN record twice. Anderson is seen by many as Jamaica’s best chance of regaining world prominence in swimming.
JA NATIONAL RECORD SET IN HELSINKI—8/9/05
Placing fourth in the women’s 3000m steeplechase final at the IAAF World Athletic Championships, Korene Hinds set a national record with a 9:33.30 finish. Former national record holder Mardrea Hyman fell during the event and took eighth place. A championship record was set in the race with the gold going to Ugandan Docus Irizikuro. Hinds was happy with her performance, saying she had come into the event telling herself that whatever finish she accomplished she would be satisfied. To break the national record was her personal best, a satisfying feat for the former St. Jago High athlete.
ORVILLE PERKINS HEADS TO U.S. FOR SCHOLARSHIP—8/11/05
The Tivoli All Stars bade farewell to one of their own on Tuesday as Orville Perkins departed, headed for Poteau, Oklahoma to play basketball on scholarship for Carl Albert State College. The young man was slated to begin at the college last year, but could not obtain a student visa from the U.S. His second attempt was successful, and he promised to do his best as he departed for school. Perkins was well known as a lead player for the Tivoli Garden All Stars as they won four consecutive national titles. He is noted for aggressive play and superior passing skills.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.