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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending November 18th, 2005

A new stadium under construction in Rock, Trelawny is expected to lend a big assist to Jamaica’s efforts to bolster its sports tourism. The new Greenfield stadium has been designated to host the opening ceremony as wells as four warm-up matches in the 2007 International Cricket World Cup. The new facility is to be constructed on 40 acres of land outside Falmouth, and ground was broken yesterday. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said the north coast should take the lead in the initiative to develop sports tourism since it has several positive factors in its favor. He went on to expound the benefits of bringing tourism and sports industries together to leverage Jamaica’s tourism and sports brands. Cricket is only one of many sports intended for the new stadium, extending its life well beyond the World Cup.

Suresh Barwa and Marco Las Puna, who were shot and killed on October 27, were laid to rest today with a farewell fit for a king. The two missionaries of the poor were celebrated with a thanksgiving service and a procession along downtown Kingston streets. The bodies of the brothers were in simple wooden coffins draped with plain white cloth. Politicians, entertainers and security force members were in attendance as well as community members. The service was upbeat and celebratory, and sent the message the work of the mission would continue. The two men took care of abandoned and mentally-challenged children, people with AIDS, and the elderly.

Three members of one family were shot and killed near Highway 2000 in Clarendon yesterday morning. Residents of the town found the three men in some bushes at approximately 5 a.m. Police say the men’s deaths are linked to an illegal gun trade between Haiti and Jamaica. Roy Thompson, 50, his son Randy Thompson, 19, and nephew Kevin Howard, 21, were all shot and killed. Not much more is known about their deaths at this time, but officials say that one of the deceased was involved in gun trade between the two countries and that all three men had been under investigation by the police for some time. Police are urging anyone with information about the gun trade or the men’s deaths to come forward and assist in the investigation.

Jamaica received the coveted Caribbean Cruise destination award, as well as the Leading Tourist and Convention Bureau and the region’s Top Airline award at the World Travel Awards in London yesterday. The Port Authority of Jamaica, the Jamaica Tourist Board and Air Jamaica were the proud recipients. More than 160,000 travel agencies and professionals in more than 140 countries vote to recognize excellence in travel destinations, airlines, hotels and companies worldwide each year. This year, more than 3,500 nominees were slated and more than two million individuals voted using an online ballot system. This is the first time in the 12 years of the event that the Port Authority has taken victory from other cruise destinations in the region, while the tourist board and Air Jamaica have won on several occasions. PAJ has spent more than $100 million improving the island’s cruise ship facilities over the past five years. Minister of Industry and Tourism Aloun Assamba noted that all three entities are government run institutions that work well with the private sector.

Kingston Mayor Desmond McKenzie is threatening legal action against the police after he was tear-gassed yesterday. An investigation is underway by the Half-Way Tree police, as well as a separate investigation into police conduct by the Bureau of Special Investigation. McKenzie apparently was targeted by a police officer who fired a tear gas canister that exploded at McKenzie’s feet. The mayor then collapsed. He was treated at a nearby hospital and released. Jamaica Labour Party Councilor Conrad Combs also claims to have been hit in the side by a canister. The disruption took place after McKenzie and approximately 50 other JLP mayors, councilors and members of Parliament left Devon House to walk to Jamaica House. The police maintain they acted within the law to get the group to desist and disperse from their walk to Jamaica House.

Numerous relief and works agencies were working to rescue approximately 100 people trapped in the Bog Walk gorge last night. The National Works Agency and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management were busy trying to clear landslides that blocked two sections of the Junction main road in the vicinity of Grande Hole in addition to the work being done to release those trapped in the gorge. Motorists in the gorge were forced to climb a hilly embankment to escape rising waters. Vehicles that were crossing Flat Bridge were proceeding towards Linstead when rising waters held them back. They then attempted to return to Spanish Town but were unable to retreat, trapping them instead. Efforts were being made to helicopter the stranded people out of the area.

Torrential rains triggered massive mudslides in St. Mary yesterday, taking the lives of three people. Eva Thompson, 85, of Sue River district, was killed when her house was crushed by a rockslide, while Neddy Mills was washed away by heavy flood waters while attempting to help a motorcyclist. A 15-year old student, Markland Small of Harewood is believed to be dead after he was washed away at a ford in the Troja area on Tuesday. His body has not been found. Sunrise showed the full extent of the trauma along the Junction main road and the surrounding area. Massive landslides cut off large stretches of the road, leaving hundreds of people marooned in their vehicles. Several roads remained blocked last night while in some areas houses were washed away. More heavy rainfall is expected, leading to concerns that more deadly mudslides and flash floods could occur.

The Port Authority of Jamaica confirmed a $13 billion deal with Maersk Shipping Line yesterday to provide trans-shipment services at the Kingston Container Terminal over five years. The contract was signed by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson. The Port Authority will have to expand its current capacity and install the needed berthing, equipment and storage facilities by April 2006 to accommodate the shipping line, which has more than 300 container vessels and transports more than one million containers worldwide. Patterson indicated that approval was granted by the Cabinet to proceed with phase five of the port expansion program, which will double the capacity of the port. Equipment has been ordered, design work is underway and expansion of the container yard is in progress. This phase will cost approximately US $200 million. Port Authority president Noel Hylton says the deadline is too soon and won’t be met.


Brad Hodge left the West Indies team down in the dumps and dispirited after a rousing victory for the Virginia Bushrangers on Friday. The Aussie team took full advantage of an undisciplined performance by the visitors, with Hodge compiling 177 runs out of a total of 441 scored by the team overall. Hodge all but assured himself of a long-awaited Test debut with his commanding performance. West Indies also lost to the Australians in Brisbane in the first Test, with a 379-run beating to show for it. Batting kingpin Brian Lara was unable to play as he was nursing an injured finger on his left hand, leaving the West Indies to fend for themselves with a weaker team. Unfortunately, the day belonged to the Bushrangers.

Spain, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Uruguay each took another step toward qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals by winning their playoff matches yesterday. In Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago earned a 1-1 draw with Bahrain. Spain is the biggest winner, having won all their 17 games and getting three goals from Luis Garcia in a 5-1 victory over Slovakia. The Czech Republic scored a 1-0 win over Norway, while the Swiss topped Turkey 2-0 and Uruguay vanquished Australia 1-0 as well. Spain is trying to qualify for the World Cup for the eighth time in a row. The Czechs have never reached the finals, having come close by achieving the quarter finals in 1990. The second legs are scheduled for Wednesday of this week, with the winners claiming the five berths left for next year’s World Cup finals in Germany.

Tivoli Gardens snagged a 2-0 win over Boys’ Town with two goals in four minutes by Christopher Nicholas and Orane Simpson in their Wray and Nephew meeting at the Spring Complex yesterday. Nicholas gave Tivoli the lead by converting a 45th minute penalty to send his team into the halftime break ahead by 1. After the restart, Simpson fired one home from close range, doubling the lead in the 49th minute and defeating the spirit of Boys’ Town. Tivoli has now taken six points from Boys’ Town with their sixth win of the season, and has a collective 19 points. Boys’ Town is left with only 12 points after losing their fourth game of the season, two to Tivoli Gardens.

Olympic gold medalist Tayna Lawrence is the latest athlete to join a local track and field club. Lawrence, who ran the head-off leg at the 2004 Athens Olympics to set the stage for gold and a national record, recently joined the Stephen “Frano” Francis-coached MVP Track Club. Lawrence is the second athlete in a little over a year to return home to train with a local coach. Last year, Aleen Bailey returned home to live and train with Glen Mills. Lawrence, who won the 100m bronze medal in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, is returning home after 15 years, wanting to work with someone she know and is familiar with. Previously Lawrence trained with her husband Lloyd Edwards. Now the athlete wants to separate her married life from her athletics and keep business separate from personal.


The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.

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Written by Staff Writer