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lambert-brown.jpgOpposition Senator Lambert Brown has said household helper Doreen Miller, who has found herself at the centre of the scandal involving the former Minister of Education, Ruel Reid, has declared that she did not receive any of the nearly $4 million found in an account bearing her name.

That, and other matters involving Reid and activities at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) over which the Ministry of Education has oversight responsibility, are now part of several investigations.

Brown's comment about Miller, and his insistence on going down a certain path during the debate on Friday on the Act to Amend the Petroleum Act, led to Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson eventually ruling that Brown could take no further part in the debate.

That led to a walkout by Opposition Senators.

The Petroleum Act was amended to allow for the transfer of J$208 billion from the PetroCaribe Fund to the Consolidated Fund. It was previously passed in the House of Representatives.

Brown started out by stating that: "The public is aware of strange payments through the CMU to a so-called household helper of the then Minister Ruel Reid.

The opposition Senator said he had used the word 'so-called' deliberately.

"I want to know if that almost $4 million allegedly instructed to be paid to Miss Doreen Miller, the so-called household helper of (former) minister Ruel Reid came out of any of that PetroCaribe money that went to the CMU," said Brown.

Stating that it was important to know whether Miller had received any of the money, Brown answered his own question.

"I don't need an answer from the government. Miss Miller has spoken to me and she said not a single cent of the money came to her," said Brown who attempted to continue but was cut off by Tavares-Finson.

"Senator Brown, with the greatest of respect, if that be the case maybe you need to give a statement to the PAAC (Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of the parliament) or to the police."

"Anybody want the statement come and ask me for it," Brown responded.

Tavares-Finson appealed to Brown to stick to the script by ensuring his presentation was relevant to the specific legislation that was being debated.

However, Brown would persist. He proceeded to ask whether Miller was asked to open a bank account for which the bank card and the bank information were controlled by a family member of Reid's.

At this time Pearnel Charles Jr., who was acting as Leader of Government Business in the Senate, rose on what was the first of a handful of points of order from him.

Charles Jr told Brown that his presentation was not relevant to the debate but the Opposition Senator insisted that clauses 4 and 6b of the bill spoke to the liability of the PetroCaribe Fund.

"And I read those and I'm therefore asking about the liability. Who has the liability for those money which went through the CMU to this fund....because I'm aware that the account of Miss Miller that she opened, was controlled by family members of the then minister so I want to know who is going to pay it back," said Brown.

He said the Opposition was not opposed to the transfer of the $208 billion from the PetroCaribe Fund to the Consolidated Fund, rather he said it was concerned about how well the money will be spent

Brown noted that the Member of Parliament for North Clarendon, Horace Dalley, during the House debate on the bill had asked the Energy Minister Fayval Williams whether any funds ($400 million) were sent to the CMU from the PetroCaribe Fund. Brown noted that the minister did not provide an answer. On Friday, Brown questioned whether the money sent to the CMU is a liability that has to be paid back.

"Given what I have heard coming out of the parliamentary committee about the CMU, (I want to know) whether any of this PetroCaribe money is part of a kickback we are operating through the CMU, a kickback scheme to a particular former minister of government," said Brown.

At this point, Tavares-Finson reminded Brown that he had already made a ruling about relevance and told him to move on.

"If you wish to deal with this issue there are other ways to deal with it," the Senate President said.

But, Brown would not relent, declaring that "it is important that we don't blame Doreen Miller for the CMU money".

When a senator enquired about his reason for mentioning Miller, Brown said: "I have permission so to do, I have permission so to do. She wants her name cleared."

Government Senator Charles Sinclair told Brown the Senate was "not the place to clear the lady's name."

"It is inappropriate for the senator (Brown) to be detailing matters that are under investigation; not only details, but he's giving particulars, arising from his own investigation which in my view, could compromise the investigation that is being carried out and it should not be permitted," said Government Senator, Ransford Braham.

At this stage, Tavares-Finson warned Brown. He said: "Senator Brown, I have made the ruling so continue down that road at your own peril." Brown fired back stating that he had no fear when he was on the quest for the truth. Tavares-Finson responded pointing out that Brown had been calling the names of people who have not been convicted before any court.

"You're calling names in a matter that the whole country knows is under investigation," he added.

At this point, Opposition Senator KD Knight told Tavares-Finson that Brown should be allowed to continue in the public interest but the president would not budge on what should be addressed in the debate to which Brown responded: "My freedom of speech is not going to be muzzled." At one stage Brown said it was his purpose to clear Miller's name.

"In relation to that aspect of your presentation if you return there I'm going to bring your presentation to a close," Tavares-Finson responded.

Still defiant, Brown said: "Mr President I don't need to engage you on this because more will come out later on."

The issue of relevance was again raised when Brown asked whether any of the $208 billion being transferred from the PetroCaribe Fund to the Consolidated Fund would be spent to upgrade the consular service. He asked the question in the context of the alleged mistreatment of five Jamaican fishermen by the United States coast guard against which the men have since taken legal action. During the numerous interventions and points of order from the government side, Opposition Senator Wentworth Skeffrey could be heard asking "how unno so nervous, how unno so nervous?"

The back and forth saw Brown asking whether the President had lost control of the Senate after he was interrupted for the umpteenth time.

"Continue and you will find out," Tavares-Finson quipped.

Fifteen minutes later, Brown proposed the setting up of a broad-based entity similar to EPOC (Economic Programme Oversight Committee) to oversee how the $208 billion is spent. He then made mention of several scandals that have dogged the Jamaica Labour Party government since the party retook the reins of government in 2016. Brown then warned that "this money could go down the drain because I have seen two ministers separated for at least mismanagement and based on what some people are saying inside the parliamentary chamber at least one could very well..."

The Opposition senator did not finish the statement as he could be heard responding to a colleague telling him to be careful by asking "careful of what?" At the same time, Senator Braham rose on a point order stating that he did not want Brown to finish the statement. Braham pointed out that Brown was at least insinuating the names of persons in wrongdoing. "It's not the function of this chamber to convict anybody's a dangerous trend," Braham said.

At this point, the Senate president pointed to section 43 (1) of the standing orders and ruled that Brown discontinue his presentation resulting in the opposition senators walking out of the chamber.

While government members applauded the ruling, Brown was not done. On his way out the chamber, he could be heard shouting "the commissioner of police has said a minister is under criminal investigation."

Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson has said that Reid is under a criminal probe.

Following the walkout, the sitting continued and the bill was eventually passed without amendment.

andrew-holness-photo-5.jpgCARICOM sources say Prime Minister Andrew Holness stormed out a meeting at the 40th Annual Heads of Government summit in Castries, St. Lucia on Thursday.

Holness apparently disagreed with his regional colleagues on the position adopted on the contribution to be made by the so-called developed countries of CARICOM.

The Prime Minister supposedly indicated that Jamaica has financial issues to deal with and noted that a decision had been made some years ago that the country would not be part of the second tranche payment to the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF).

The CDF is mandated to provide financial or technical assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors in CARICOM.

Informed sources say Jamaica is questioning the accuracy of report of previous meetings on the matter.

Jamaica's position is reportedly to opt out of making a contribution to the CDF at this time.

However, some Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts-Nevis contend that Jamaica cannot opt out and that it is an obligation of each member by way of treaty.

Commuters duck for cover

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Commuters were sent scampering for cover when a man employed by the St Ann Municipal Corporation was shot and injured at the Ocho Rios Transportation Centre on Wednesday afternoon.

The transport centre is barely 150 metres from the Ocho Rios Police Station.

The injured man has been hospitalised in a stable condition.

Preliminary reports are that sometime after 1:00 p.m., the municipal worker was collecting fees in the park when he was pounced upon and shot in the neck by an armed man.

The hoodlum managed to take a small sum of money from his victim before fleeing the scene.

The injured man was then assisted to the hospital.

The Ocho Rios police are now investigating the daring incident and searching for the attacker.

The world's second largest stock market NASDAQ, has named Guyana as the fastest growing economy in the world. In a report, NASDAQ said that with a projected growth rate of 16.3 per cent during the four-year period 2018-2021, Guyana is the fastest growing economy in the world.

NASDAQ says that with a GDP size of US$3.63 billion (2018 Rank: 160), a growth rate of 4.1 per cent in 2018 and 4.6 per cent in 2019, Guyana's economy is expected to grow by 33.5 per cent and 22.9% in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

The report added that Guyana is a middle-income country that has an abundance of resources.

The report also pointed to the ExxonMobil discoveries in Guyana and the income that will come to the country when oil production begins next year.

Exxon is expected to start producing up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day from the Liza Phase 1 development next year and the country is projected to be among the world's largest per-capita oil producers by 2025.

e-Commerce platform officially launched

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WiPay, an e-commerce platform which allows users to make, accept and process digital payments, was officially launched in Jamaica last Thursday at the AC Hotel in Kingston.

Jamaica thus became the latest Caribbean country to embrace the Trinidadian technology solutions company that aims to simplify e-commerce for micro-small, medium and large businesses.

"While consumers in the US, Europe and many other parts of the world are enjoying the convenience of e-commerce, e-payments and an overall e-world, many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are being left behind and are still operating primarily with hard cash and other paper-based services," said chief executive officer (CEO) Aldwyn Wayne.

He acknowledged that with the Government of Jamaica's increased focus on building a modern economy through digital payments, the country is making good headway to developing the right ecosystem for economic growth through e-commerce.

Wayne then indicated that WiPay was elated to be a part of this technological advancement in Jamaica and that will move the current e-commerce system into the first world.

WiPay's online payment system caters to businesses who want to sell their products and services online, WiPay enabling them to accept both credit and debit cards, bank accounts and cash online from "anyone, anywhere, anytime".

To utilise WiPay, the company has to download the WiPay plug-in and add it on their website. Alternatively, if a company does not have an official website, then it can use the Zwillo Invoice application and send an invoice to a customer who can then pay with a credit card, bank account or with a cash voucher.

The political, business and academic communities were well represented as hundreds packed the Portmore New Testament Church of God at Bayside, Portmore, St Catherine on Saturday for the thanksgiving service for the life of Leon Thomas Jr, the son of Portmore Mayor, Leon Thomas Snr.

Thomas Jr, who died on June 4 after a brief illness, was hailed as a "model citizen" by Opposition Leader and President of the People's National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips, who paid tribute on behalf of the party.

The young Thomas was a member of the PNPYO, the party's main youth organisation. He was also a past student of Calabar High School, the Portmore Community College and Excelsior Community College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in marketing.

UNIA blasts gov't over Garvey memorablia

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President General of the United Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), Michael Duncan, has blasted the Government over the protracted delay in restoring the birthplace of National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey in St Ann's Bay describing it as shameful.

In a release, Duncan said eight years after ground was broken to restore the premises, located at 32 Marcus Garvey Way in the parish capital, nothing has been done, noting that it is shameful to see the legacy of the UNIA founder and Jamaica's first National Hero Marcus Garvey being dragged around in this manner.

On October 12, 2011, Bruce Golding, then prime minister, broke ground for the establishment of what was dubbed the Marcus Garvey Park. The public was informed that based on the recommendations of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), the memorial park would include a memorial wall, storyboards and park furniture, as well as the restoration of the existing house.

Olivia Grange, who was then minister of youth, sports and culture, promised at the time that Marcus Garvey Park would be unveiled and officially opened a year later, in October 2012.

Duncan said that despite changes in the Government on more than one occasion since the groundbreaking, no priority has been given to the project, hence non-completion.

Describing the project as one of the most significant to be undertaken in Jamaica, Duncan said it would "open the eyes of Jamaicans and the rest of the world to the life of this great man and create a channel for more people of the world to be attracted to Jamaica.

"Go ahead and implement this project as soon as possible," he urged.

Several of Garvey's relatives still occupy the premises while they wait on the Government to find appropriate alternate residence for them, as promised. The Gleaner understands that part of the reason for the delay in relocating the occupants stems from the inability of the residents and the Government to agree on a suitable location and the number of houses to be allocated.

One relative said that the Government is proposing to hand over two houses, which would prove inadequate as there are three families currently residing on the premises

The alleged victim at the centre of sexual harassment case at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has been given the go-ahead to address a parliamentary committee.

She's to appear before an in-camera sitting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament (PAAC) next week.

Permission was granted following a vote on her appearance by PAAC members.

This morning, the alleged victim, with support from human rights lobby group Jamaicans for Justice, staged a brief protest at Gordon House to highlight the issue of sexual harassment.

She came prepared to address the committee but some PAAC members shut down that request.

PAAC Chairman, Dr Wykeham McNeill, expressed disappointment arguing that she should be heard.

He was supported by committee members Mikael Phillips, Fitz Jackson, and Phillip Paulwell.

All eight government PAAC members voted against allowing her to publicly address the committee arguing that her remarks would elicit trauma and it was not fair to the accused.

Their colleague Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert congratulated the alleged victim for coming forward, adding that persons who sexually harass others must be called out.

The matter was put to a vote with six of eight government members backing an in-camera appearance.

McNeill expressed pleasure that she will be heard.

NDM sad at passing of co-founder

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The National Democratic Movement (NDM) is expressing deep sadness at the passing of founding general secretary and co-conceptualiser, Brascoe Lee.

Lee died yesterday morning after a brief illness.

NDM President, Peter Townsend, in a statement today said Lee strongly believed that the political system was too self-serving and operated almost exclusively in the interest of the Jamaica Labour Party and People's National Party and their ruling class instead of the people of Jamaica.

"Hence, he became one of the chief architects of the formation of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) which was launched in October 1995 with an agenda to reform the Jamaican constitution and change the ugly aspects of the political culture, for the development of a better country, worthy of our great people.

"He was a fearless warrior, a patriot, and innovator. May his soul rest in peace," said Townsend.

An inmate is now dead following an incident at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre in Kingston.

A correctional officer is also hospitalised. The Department of Correctional Services confirmed the tragedy.

But, it said it would not provide further information as a probe is currently under way to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident.

digicel.jpgContrary to multiple media reports and statements made by the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda over the last two weekends, Digicel would like to make it clear that that it has not received any approaches of any kind at any time from the Prime Minister or anyone in the Government of Antigua & Barbuda with regard to a buyout of Digicel's operations in the twin island state.

For the avoidance of doubt, any assertions to the contrary are complete fiction and represent part of an ongoing campaign by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda to distract and disseminate false information.

As such, Digicel would also like to take this opportunity to bring the focus back to the real issue at hand - namely the unfair, anti-competitive and illegal actions by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda in seeking to confiscate Digicel's legally allocated spectrum for the benefit of the state-owned operator, APUA.

With the matter before the Courts, Digicel will fight vigorously to defend its customers and its business in the interest of fair and healthy competition in Antigua & Barbuda.

Antigua wants to buy Digicel

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digicel-photo-1.jpgThe Antigua and Barbuda government says it remains committed to buying out the operations of the Irish-owned telecommunication company, Digicel, as the authorities announce new initiatives in its ongoing battle to have the company and competitor Flow, formerly the British telecommunication giant Cable and Wireless, share the spectrum space with a state-entity.

Last month, Digicel, defended its decision to secure a High Court order preventing the government from sharing any of the 850 MHz spectrum it has been allocated with the state-owned Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA).

But speaking on his privately-owned radio station over the last weekend, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said he believes that Digicel "is showing an inclination to have possibly a 49-51 percentage situation.

"That's the sticking point because we want the majority," he said, adding that if the Digicel officials are prepared to "look at the possibility APUA...acquiring Digicel Antigua then we may have a deal".

Earlier, Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan told radio listeners that the government is moving to amend the Telecommunications Bill so as to provide further protection for APUA.

Barbican victim was wanted by police

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police-cars.jpgThe man who was fatally shot by an off duty policeman in Barbican, St Andrew on Friday was wanted for questioning in relation to several murders, rape and other serious crimes which were committed in and around the Corporate Area, the police are reporting.

He has since been identified as Peter Campbell o/c Peanut, a resident of a Barbican address.

Reports from the Corporate Communication Unit (CCU), are that at about 10:30 p.m., Campbell went to a section of Barbican Road where he held up a number of persons and was about to rob them when residents in the area raised an alarm.

Reports are that an off duty policeman, who was in the area, heard the distress call and responded.

Allegations are that Campbell opened fire at the policeman. A shootout ensued, the police said, and Campbell was fatally shot. A 9mm pistol was recovered from the scene, the police said.

Since the incident detectives from the St Andrew North and the St Andrew Central Division have since come out to state that Campbell was wanted for questioning in relation to a number of serious crimes, including murders, in their divisions.

Detectives also from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences (CISOCA) are also reporting that Campbell was wanted for questioning in a rape case.

Officers from the CCU while giving an update on the investigation did not address reports from sources that the policeman was injured during the shootout.

PNP scrap plans for July delegates' confab

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pnp-headquarters.jpgThe People's National Party (PNP) has scrapped plans to stage a special delegates' conference in July to facilitate the Peter Bunting challenge for leadership of the organisation. Supporters of PNP President Dr Peter Phillips had pushed for a special delegates' conference for next month after Bunting announced plans to challenge for the leadership, but in a release last night, the party's executive said the election will take place ahead of its annual conference in September.

The release said the executive committee has recommended to the National Executive Council -- the second highest decision-making body of the party -- that the election of president and vice-presidents takes place on Saturday, September 7.

The private session of the annual conference is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, while the public session will follow on September 22. The nomination period for the election will open on Monday, July 22 and close at midday on Friday, July 26.

Tension high in Central Village

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crime-scene-gun.jpgTension remains high in Central Village, St. Catherine following a flare up of violence over the weekend which resulted in three persons being shot to death.

Senior Superintendent Clive Blair, head of the St. Catherine South Police Division, confirmed that the attacks are linked to a gang feud.

A resident of Central Village said that community members and children are fearful.

She has called for the intervention of political representatives and the security forces to prevent the situation from worsening.

Councillor for the Twickenham Park Division, Donovan Garth, told RJR News that access to services at the health centre and post office in the area is being affected due to community members being so fearful.

He has also called for an urgent fix to the issue.

shocked.jpgThe Manchester police have launched an investigation into an incident captured on video of a male student slapping a female student in the face multiple times at a prominent high school in the parish last week Wednesday (June 19).

The video which has since gone viral on social media shows the male student using both hands to slap the female student five times in the face in front of other students under a tree. The female student was repeatedly slapped despite an attempt to get away from the schoolboy, who at one point grabbed her hand.

The schoolboy while physically abusing the female student could be heard saying, "You no see me. Don't diss me. That me a tell you. Don't diss me."

The video ended showing the schoolgirl holding her face.

Head of the Manchester police Superintendent Wayne Cameron say that the police are investigating the incident.

"We have already gotten statements in this particular incident. We have been making significant strides. We intend to find that youngster and arrest him," Cameron said.

He added that the police will also be investigating the approach taken by the school to treat with the incident. "We are going to look exactly at what transpired in that school and what measures were taken by the persons responsible at that school to protect that young female at that particular time," he said.

cisoca-logo.jpgDetectives from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) and the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) are probing the alleged rape of a minor in the Lucea police lock-up in Hanover.

The incident reportedly took place on Monday evening while the 15 year old was in custody.

It is alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a constable on duty at the holding area.

Superintendent Charmaine Shand, head of CISOCA, told RJR News that the girl was taken to the police station after she was remanded by a judge who ruled that she was in need of care and protection.

She said the teenager was awaiting transportation to a Place of Safety when she was sexually assaulted.

Investigators are preparing a file for submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Another policeman, a sergeant attached to Denham Town Police Station, is also being questioned by investigators for the alleged sexual assault of a minor.

Superintendent Chand said the case involves a 16 year old girl.

The DPP will also receive a file on that case.

Illness forces Briana Williams out

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After placing third in the senior 100 metre finals on Friday night in a new National Junior Record and World Youth Best 10.94 seconds (0.6m/s) Briana Williams will not take any further part in the JAAA Supreme Ventures National Championships, according to her coach Ato Boldon.yar

In a social media post last night, Boldon said the 17-year-old Florida based runner had competed on Friday "with a pretty high fever" and they would be requesting a medical exemption for the remainder of the championships.

Williams finished behind new champion Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, both of who were credited with the same time, 10.73 seconds, fastest in the world so far.

"She's coming down with something, so we will seek a medical exemption for her in the 200m from JAAA this morning. She's out of the remainder of the Jamaican Championships," the post also said.

Williams was scheduled to compete in the women's 200m which started on Saturday morning with the first round but will instead watch from the stands.

The medical exemption means that is she able to prove her fitness and runs faster times prior to the selection of the various teams she would be considered by the JAAA selection committee.

Williams will make herself available for a number of meets this summer before the World Championships in Doha in late September.

la-lewis-photo-2.jpgDancehall and graffiti artiste, LA Lewis, was granted bail until June 25 when he appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on a warrant on Wednesday.

Lewis was answering to a charge of robbery with aggravation in a case that dated back to 1995. In court, he claimed that he did not know there was a warrant out for his arrest, and begged the court to grant him bail to allow him to travel to Canada to meet an engagement.

He is accused of having held a knife to a man's side on Matthew's Lane in downtown Kingston, and stealing the man's wallet which contained $200. The complainant later pointed out Lewis to the police.

In relation to Lewis' plea for bail, presiding Magistrate, Nicole Montague, stuck to the letter of the law and forced the artiste's mind to suddenly shift back from Canada to a Jamaican jail cell.

She informed him that he was not only facing a charge of robbery, but also one of having absconding bail, and as such, he needed to convince the court why he would not repeat the act of absconding bail.

Lewis' countenance fell dramatically after the judge spoke to him, and it was clear that the threat of being locked behind bars was weighing heavily on his mind.

"Your Honour, I thought this case was over. I swear to God!" said Lewis penitently.

"Are you guilty or not guilty?" the judge asked in response.

Lewis breathed hard and took a moment before replying that he was "Not guilty".

He, however, changed his plea to guilty of absconding bail after receiving legal advice.

28-year-old son of Portmore mayor dies

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Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas has been mourning the untimely death of his only 28 year-old son, Leon George Augustus Thomas, who died on June 4.

"He got sick, and complained of a pain in his side," Thomas explained. "They did a body scan, then a biopsy and found a tumour in his kidney. We started treatment, chemotherapy, but his blood count got low, and he left us."

There will be a setup on June 27th in Phoenix Park and the funeral service will be held on June 29th at the New Testament Church in Bayside beginning at 10 am. Interment will be at Meadowrest.

Leon George Augustus Thomas represented the national rugby team, Reggae Warriors, between 2015 and 2018. He was a member of the first Jamaica national rugby to play an international game against Canada which the Reggae Warriors won.

He attended Calabar High school, Portmore Community College and the Excelsior Community College.

The younger Thomas formed and coached a rugby team at the Excelsior Community College in the 2012-13 year.

At the time of his death, he was a Christian-minded businessman, and a sales manager at Courts (Jamaica) Limited.

"He will be missed, he was a great young man, he didn't smoke and drink, he was a Christian," Mayor Thomas said.

Heads of state for Seaga's funeral

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marlon-standing-next-to-edward-seaga.jpgSeveral heads of state and government officials from the Caribbean will be in attendance at the State funeral for the late former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga, tomorrow Sunday, June 23.

The State funeral for Seaga will begin at noon, at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, 1 George Headley Drive off North Street in Kingston. Interment will follow in National Heroes Park.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, said those confirmed, to date, are Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands, W McKeeva Bush, who will be accompanied by Graham Rankin; High Commissioner of Belize to Jamaica, Oliver De Cid; President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr William Warren Smith, accompanied by Dorla Humes; Premier of the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin, accompanied by Arlin Tatum; and Junior Minister, District Administration, Tourism and Transport, Cayman Islands, David Wight, along with a delegation of six.

Also in attendance will be Minister of Planning and Development, Trinidad and Tobago, Camille Robinson-Reis; Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment, Trade and National Health Insurance, Turks and Caicos, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson; Deputy Prime Minister, Belize, Patrick Faber; Minister of Housing, Belize, Michael Finnegan; Minister of State for Legal Affairs, The Bahamas, Elsworth Johnson; High Commissioner to CARICOM and all CARICOM Member States, Reuben Rahming and Guyana's Permanent Representative to the UN, Rudolph Michael Ten-Pow.

Seaga served as Member of Parliament for West Kingston for 43 years, and Prime Minister from 1980 to 1989. He died on his birthday May 28 in Florida

The nation is now observing a period of mourning from June 19 to 22.

Record cocaine seizure destined for Haiti

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cocaine-seized-photo-1.jpgThe United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says it has collaborated with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in seizing a record amount of cocaine in a container ship with merchandise destined for Haiti.

CBP said that the contents of the shipping containers included wine, coated paperboard, vegetable extracts and dried nuts from Chile, carbon black from Colombia and scrap metal batteries from the United Arab Emirates.

CBP said the examination of the MSC Gayane, a 1,030-foot Liberian-flagged container ship, at the Philadelphia seaport netted the historic load of cocaine, the largest cocaine seizure in the 230-year history of US Customs and CBP, with an estimated weight of over 17.5 tons and a street value of about US$1.1 billion.

It said it seized the cocaine, as well as US$56,330 found on the vessel "believed to be proceeds from illegal activity" and that six people had been arrested.

"This is momentous work by the CBP team at the Port of Philadelphia," said Casey Durst, CBP's Director of Field Operations in Baltimore, Maryland.

"Their vigilance and inspectional scrutiny resulted in the interception of the largest seizure of cocaine in the 230 history of US Customs and Border Protection.

"Because of our officers' efforts, over 1 billion dollars of dangerous narcotics was taken off the streets. I have no doubt that our officers saved lives and significantly impacted transnational criminal organisations with this interception," he added.

Portmore serial rapist caught

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police-cars.jpgA man believed to be the so-called Portmore serial rapist is currently in police custody.

According to a Twitter post by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the man was arrested yesterday evening in Congreve Park, Portmore, St Catherine.

Police reports are that the serial rapist broke into the homes of multiple single women around Portmore, with his victims ranging from 19 to 60 years old.

The incidents of rape are said to have occurred in the Bridgeport, Cumberland, Braeton, Portmore Pines and Silverstone areas.

The police are now asking anyone who may have information to assist with the investigations to contact the Portmore Police Station.

Duncan-Price elected

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Imani Duncan-Price has been elected as the next People's National Party (PNP) representative for the Kingston Central constituency.

Duncan-Price secured 242 of the 461 votes from delegates today.

The other candidates on the ballot were Raymond Pryce, Paul Buchanan, Joan Porteous, and Donald Jackson.

Man charged for stealing fish from Gloria's

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arrested -photo-1.jpgA man was arrested and charged with stealing fish valued at over $17,000 fr from the popular Port Royal eatery, Gloria's. Reports are that Daniel McFarlane was caught trying to sell the 'stolen items' at the Harbour View roundabout.

When he was hauled before the court on Friday to answer the charges, McFarlane told the judge that he found the fish in the garbage.

"Guilty with explanation, Your Honour," said McFarlane when asked what was his plea.

"I never take any fish out of the place, Your Honour. I found them in the garbage, that is my explanation," said the man who is the dishwasher at the restaurant.

But Presiding Magistrate Lorian Montague seemed perplexed.

"Then is good, good fish them have in the garbage sir?" the judge asked.

McFarlane opted not to answer that question and instead asked for time to pay the fine that would be imposed on him for the crime of simple larceny.

"I would ask for two weeks," he said.

"That is reasonable. I will give you two weeks. That is $20,000 and this is only part of the sentence," the magistrate told the accused.

McFarlane had his bail extended and was ordered to return to court on July 12.

police-cars.jpgThe St Mary police are to question four men for their alleged roles in the theft of two cell phones and the seizure of an illegal firearm in Oracabessa, St Mary on Thursday night

The men have not been identified while further investigations are ongoing.

Reports are that about 10:00 p.m., police officers carrying out a vehicular spot check were notified of a robbery that was in progress.

The law enforcers later observed a Nissan Tiida motorcar which matched the description of the vehicle that was reportedly used earlier in the robbery, being driven along the Oracabessa main road.

The vehicle, with four men on board, was stopped and subsequently searched.

A Taurus .38 revolver and two rounds of ammunition were recovered, along with two cellular phones that are believed to have been taken during the robbery.

The men were subsequently taken into custody.

The motorcar was also seized by investigators.

High alert for missing boy

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missing-boy-11-years-old-tyreek-king.jpgA High Alert has been activated for 11-year-old Tyreek King of Bishop Avenue, Kingston 11 who has been reported missing since Thursday, June 13.

He is of brown complexion, medium build and is about 152 centimetres (5 feet) tall.

According to police reports, Tyreek was last seen at school about 3:30 pm wearing his uniform -- a purple shirt and a khaki pants.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Tyreek King is being asked to contact the Olympic Gardens police at 876-923-5468, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

May Pen police list 12 persons of interest

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police-station.jpgThe police in May Pen, Clarendon have listed 12 people as persons of interest in connection with a range of criminal activities affecting the parish and surrounding areas. The named individuals are being urged to report to the police immediately or by midday on tomorrow.

They are:

1. Thirty-two-year-old Jenard Maxam, otherwise called 'Wheatly', who the police said frequents Sandy Bay, Old Rosewell, Palmers Cross/Red Road, Longville Park areas in Clarendon and Old Harbour, St Catherine.

2. Sheldon Glashan of Old Harbour in St Catherine. The police said he frequents that area.

3. Thirty-three-year-old Jessie Sewell, otherwise called 'Jessy', of Sandy Bay, Clarendon, who reportedly frequents Sandy Bay, Old Rosewell, Palmers Cross/Red Road, Longville Park areas in Clarendon and Old Harbour in St Catherine.

4. Thirty-eight-year-old Joseph Prince, otherwise called 'Joey', of Old Rosewell/Palmers Cross, Clarendon. He is said to frequent Longville Park in Clarendon and Old Harbour, St Catherine.

5. Nicholas Johnson, otherwise called 'Bougseye' of Freetown, Clarendon. According to the police, he frequents Bucks Town, Sandy Bay, Rasta Corner areas in Clarendon and Old Harbour, St Catherine.

6. A man only known as 'Kiki', of an Old Harbour, St Catherine and is said to frequent Beckford Crescent and Hungry Town in the parish.

7. Thirty-four--year-old Andrew Smith, otherwise called 'Racka', of Freetown, Clarendon and Rosehall district in Manchester. He reportedly frequents Salt River, Beckford Crescent and Hungry Town in Clarendon.

8. Nashawn Guest, otherwise called 'Bridge', of Sandy Bay, Clarendon, who the police said frequents Beckford Crescent, Hungry Town in Clarendon; Old Harbour and Dela Vega City, Spanish Town in St Catherine and Warrick Mount in St Ann.

9. Jameal Mendez, otherwise called 'Sweety Man', of Sandy Bay, Clarendon, who is said to frequents Freetown, Bucks Town and Rosehall in the parish.

10. A man only known as 'Rags', of Sandy Bay, Clarendon. The police said he frequents Freetown, Bucks Town and Rosehall in the parish.

11. A man only known as 'Cardo', of Sandy Bay, Clarendon, who reportedly frequents Rasta Corner, Freetown, and Bucks Town in the parish.

12. A man only known as 'Fabulous', of Sandy Bay, Clarendon, who is said to frequents the areas of Freetown and Rose Hall in the parish.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of these individuals is being asked to contact the May Pen Criminal Investigation Branch at (876) 986-2208, Crime Stop at 311, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

crime-scene-gun.jpgThe security forces are keeping a close watch on Rivoli and other communities in Spanish Town, St. Catherine following a double murder Friday afternoon.

About 12:45 a taxi driver and a passenger where in a vehicle when men opened gunfire.

The two men were hit.

They died at the scene.

A police officer challenged the gunmen, however, they escaped.

Investigators say the attack is linked to the ongoing feud involving members of the Clansman gang

They say the passenger who was killed - a man known only by the alias "Gwualla" - is a member of the gang.

He was recently released on bail for the murder of a policeman.

The taxi operator is said to be his relative.

The police say the men were returning from court in Kingston when they were attacked.

The police are also probing reports that men removed a gun and a loaded magazine from the scene of the shooting.

imf-christine-lagarde.jpgThe International Monetary Fund (IMF), is urging greater central bank supervision of lending institutions as the government moves to support private credit expansion.

Following it's staff visit this week, the IMF mission team said the reduction in the Cash Reserve Requirement this year and the successive policy rate cuts to 0.75 per cent should support private credit expansion.

However, it said enhanced central bank supervision and risk management practices at lending institutions will be critical to ensure careful assessment of risks to maintain financial stability.

Credit extended to private-sector businesses and households grew by 15.2 per cent over the 12 months to March this year, higher than the 13.4 per cent observed at December 2018 and the 13.8 per cent at March 2018.

The Central Bank has been making policy-rate cuts to increase the pace of expansion in private-sector credit.

The police are reporting that they have issued 250,000 traffic tickets for breaches of the Road Traffic Act since the start of this year.

Assistant Commissioner Calvin Allen, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB), said this represents a 12 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2018.

ACP Allen said the police have arrested and prosecuted 45 people who had a combined 20,000 outstanding tickets. 

The individuals, who are all from the Corporate Area, have appeared in court.

ACP Allen says more than 4,000 vehicles were also seized for being operated without a road licence or operating contrary to the terms of the licence.

Windscreen wiper, gunman shot in Dunrobin

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Investigators are reporting that Thursday morning's shootout along Dunrobin Avenue in St. Andrew in which three persons were shot, stemmed from the gang feud in Payne Land in the St. Andrew South Police Division.

The shooting involved gunmen and a licensed firearm holder. One of the gunmen, a windscreen wiper and a pump attendant were shot in the incident.

Superintendent Derrick Champagnie, Crime Chief for the Area Five headquarters, told RJR News that the injured gunman is under police guard in hospital, while the windscreen wiper, who was the intended target of the gunmen, is undergoing surgery.

The pump attendant, who was grazed by a bullet, was treated and released. It is reported that shortly after 5 o'clock Thursday morning, the windscreen wiper was on Dunrobin Avenue when he was attacked by gunmen travelling on a motorcycle. He was shot several times.

A licensed firearm holder challenged the gunmen and this led to a shootout.

One of the gunmen was shot and a semi-automatic pistol taken from him.

Following the shooting, it was discovered that the pump attendant at a nearby service station was also injured.

Superintendent Champagnie told RJR News the gunmen and the windscreen wiper are from Payne Land. A 12 year old boy was shot dead last weekend when gunmen opened fire on a group of persons in the community. Three other persons were injured in that attack.

President of Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Professor Fritz Pinnock, was treated to a surprise birthday party at a St Andrew hotel last August by a "group of persons" at the Education Ministry. However, the cost of the soirée has not been disclosed.

"I am not armed with that information today so I would have to do some further research and provide you with that information," Dr Grace McLean, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, told members of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament.

The disclosure came after McLean was questioned by opposition member of the committee Mikael Phillips about an email she circulated to staff at the ministry.

"Dear All, on behalf of Dr Grace McLean and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, you (sic) being invited to a SURPRISE BIRTHDAY party for Professor Fritz Pinnock," read the email, dated August 14, 2018. Pinnock's birthday is August 16. The email indicated that the party would be held at the Courtleigh Hotel.

"This surprise birthday party that was held on Thursday, August 16, 2018, for Professor Pinnock is one such that the ministry hosted?" Phillips questioned.

"I'm not going to say it was the ministry that hosted it. We actually were asked, a group of us at the ministry, to organise a party for Professor Pinnock," McLean responded.

"It was actually key persons within the ministry, as well as Caribbean Maritime University, that was invited to that celebration," she added.

It marked the latest in a string of birthday parties organised by state entities for public officials.

In January last year, Petrojam, the state-owned oil refinery, hosted a US$11,260 "surprise" birthday party at a St James hotel for then energy minister Dr Andrew Wheatley, complete with a US$1,000 "four-tiered topsy turvy chocolate cake."

Wheatley has since repaid the cost of the party.

Two months before that, in November 2017 Petrojam also hosted a surprise birthday party for then chairman Perceval Badaho-Singh. Sacked education minister Ruel Reid was feted at two parties, one on board the yacht, Caribbean Queen, docked in the Kingston Harbour and the other at a Jewel resort in St Ann.

CMU has admitted that it made payments towards the yacht party, but insisted it had nothing to do with the hotel soirée.

In true Jamaican fashion, local brands JP St. Mary's, Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes and Jablum, came together to extend a heartfelt thank you to the James Bond franchise for choosing to include Jamaica in the production of Bond 25.

Representatives of the brands, Tara Goulbourne, commercial manager JP Tropical Foods; Jermaine Robinson, regional commercial manager of Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes Ltd; and former Senator Norman Grant, CEO of Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited made a courtesy call to the President of JAMPRO Diane Edwards and Film Commissioner at JAMPRO Renee Robinson on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, to present 28 gift baskets filled with products from the three entities. The international cast and crew were presented with the packages before the last day of filming, Friday, June 7, 2019.

With over 500 Jamaicans being employed through the production and the expected economic boost from the film, Robinson expressed delight at the Bond 25 experience and support of Corporate Jamaica.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be representing the Jamaican industries, the Jamaican film industry and in particular the work we are doing with James Bond film, the 25th anniversary. And, of course, it's such a pleasure to see our local brands demonstrating an interest in partnerships and building relationships with these international productions, said Renee Robinson, Film Commissioner at JAMPRO. "I'm sure the producers are going to be in for quite a treat as they will be leaving the island with gifts and tokens from some our premiere Jamaican brands, JP St. Mary's, Tortuga and Jablum. So, this the beginning of deeper relationships and looking forward to greater commercial partnerships between our local brands and the international production space."

According to JP St. Mary's Goulbourne, private and public partnerships fuel and shape the Jamaican brand story while providing opportunities for the country and the company.

"We are Jamaican owned, company but certainly view the global economy as fair game. Having a huge franchise choose Jamaica speaks volumes about the value of Brand Jamaica. We welcome the production and the opportunity to introduce more of what makes Jamaica special to the valued team, so that they in turn will recommend our brands to friends and colleagues in other markets," stated Goulbourne.

Tortuga's Jermaine Robinson lauded the strategic groundwork done by JAMPRO and further expressed appreciation for the Bond-Jamaica partnership.

"We are elated to have partnered with JAMPRO in welcoming the cast and crew of the James Bond 25 movie to the shores of Jamaica. The James Bond franchise is known for the quality entertainment it provides and the partnership with Tortuga is a match made in heaven, as we pride ourselves with producing a rum cake par excellence using the finest ingredients. We trust that the cast and crew will relive the memories made in Jamaica with every bite of our delicious cakes," said Robinson.

Similar sentiments were shared by former Senator Grant.

"We are delighted to offer our excellent Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee to the cast of James Bond. Our product reflects the commitment of our over 7,000 farmers and 102,000 farm families in the Jamaican coffee industry and further reflect a part of the Jamaican experience that is a bundle of love in a cup and an awesome coffee experience beyond compare. We sincerely hope that the rich experience in filming this movie in Jamaica will be further enriched beyond our borders with the splendid Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Experience from Jablum," concluded Grant.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer will release the 25th James Bond feature film domestically through their United Artists Releasing banner on April 8, 2020; through Universal Pictures International and Metro Goldwyn Mayer in the UK and internationally from April 3, 2020.

Seaga's body lies in state in Tivoli

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marlon-standing-next-to-edward-seaga.jpgHundreds of people gathered at the Tivoli Gardens Community Centre in West Kingston on Monday where the body of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga was lying in state.

Students and teachers from Denham Town and Tivoli High schools were among those who turned out to pay their respects.

The casket, which was placed in an open area at the Tivoli Gardens Community Centre, was draped in the Jamaican flag and guarded by members of the security forces.

Mr. Seaga's body will again lie in state at the Denham Town Community Centre Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock.

Peter Phillips confident of victory

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peter-phillips-photo-3.jpgPeople's National Party President Dr. Peter Phillips has said he is confident he will victorious as Mr. Bunting prepares to challenge him for the leadership position.He told RJR News he is ready for the challenge, which "is in keeping with our democratic traditions in the party" and is "confident that we have the support of the party at all levels."

"It is clear that we will continue with our traditions and continue the process under my leadership to prepare the party to be a successful government of Jamaica following the next elections," he added.

He met with key party functionaries at the Versailles Hotel in May Pen, Clarendon on Sunday to canvas support ahead of the presidential race.Dr. Phillips has urged the PNP Secretariat to urgently settle the leadership challenge in a timely manner.

In a statement Sunday, Dr. Phillips said this is important so that the PNP can refocus its efforts on critical national issues.

Since Mr. Bunting announced his challenge for leadership of the PNP, several members of the party have made public their support for Dr. Phillips. Lisa Hanna, Member of Parliament for St. Ann South Eastern, on Sunday endorsed Dr. Phillips, noting that "most people knew that Bunting was planning for this for some time now, so it didn't come really as a shock to those of us who are seasoned politicians."

Damion Crawford, PNP caretaker for Portland Eastern, is another of Dr. Phillips's supporters.

Phillip Paulwell, Member of Parliament for Kingston East and Port Royal, who will be also be supporting Dr. Peter Phillips, has described Peter Bunting's challenge for the PNP presidency as unfortunate. He argued that the leadership challenge will be a distraction for the PNP while the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) will seize the opportunity to call an early election. The PNP, he contended, would be better off working to organise its machinery to ensure the party wins the next election.

Retired cop Altemorth "Parro" Campbell will be taking legal action against the state following last week's incident in which he was pepper sprayed by a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.The retired Deputy Superintendent of Police has hired law firm Knight, Junor and Samuels to pursue the matter.

Attorney Bert Samuels said he met with Mr. Campbell on Monday. He plans to file a claim before the end of the month against the Attorney General since "the police is acting as the servant of the Crown."

Mr. Samuels said he will be seeking to recover the cost of Mr. Campbell's medical care as well as general damages. He said Mr. Campbell's son is also receiving medical treatment following the incident. The boy is also reportedly very distraught and has had to undergo counselling.

The attorney intends to report the incident to the Child Protection and Family Services Agency.

Mr. Campbell was pepper sprayed after he disobeyed a constable's directive to exit his vehicle to be arrested during a traffic stop on Molynes Road in St. Andrew last Wednesday.

The Inspectorate of Constabulary is investigating the incident.

Attorney-at-law Able Don Foote wants the U.S. embassy to provide more information to Jamaicans on the recently approved requirement for nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers.

The US State Department in announcing the changes said it updated its immigrant and non-immigrant visa forms to request the additional information.

Mr. Foote said the policy is not a new concept as the US does research applicants before granting a visa, including a social media background check. He said the rationale for the policy is for security reasons.

"They want to look to see the jurisdictions you travel to; if you go frequently to jurisdictions where terrorism is prominent and that is the main reason why they want it," he said.

"I don't know per se, if you go on your Twitter, for example, and say something that you don't agree with that they would use that adversely against you," he added.

However, he said with Jamaicans still apprehensive about what the US will be looking for in their social media posts, more details are needed about the policy, such as the criteria for refusal or denial. He was speaking Monday morning on TVJ's Smile Jamaica programme. The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide account names they may have had over the previous five years.

They also give applicants the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.

Two teenage girls who were reported missing from their homes in St Mary have been found.

Police said the teenagers were found working at a bar in St Elizabeth and have been taken to a place of safety.

Police said this decision was made when the teenagers were brought before the St Elizabeth Children's Court last week.

The girls, aged 14 and 16, cannot be identified because they are juveniles.

Reports are that on Thursday, May 27, the teenagers travelled to St Elizabeth on the invitation of a female relative.

The girls then began working at a bar in the Goshen area of the parish.

Acting on intelligence received, the Santa Cruz police picked up the teenagers at the bar and took them into custody.

The girls, according to police sources, told the court that they had been having difficulties at home with their respective parents.

The presiding judge subsequently ordered the teens to be placed in the care of the state.

They are to return to court on June 13, for the case to again be heard.

13 year old girl missing

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missing-13-year-old-girl-tishana-baker.jpgAn Ananda Alert has been activated for 13-year-old Tishana Baker of Love Lane, Montego Bay, St James, who has been missing since Friday, June 7.

She is of dark complexion, medium built and about 165 centimetres (five feet five inches) tall.

Reports are that Tishana was last seen at her home at about 12:40 p.m. wearing a red and white plaid dress.

She has not been heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Tishana Baker is being asked to contact the Barnett Street police at (876) 952-2333, the police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.

Woman's murder heats up Park, 100 Lane 'war'

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crime-scene-gun.jpgWar between rival gangs from the adjoining communities of 100 Lane and Park Lane off Red Hills Road in St Andrew appears to be on the verge of erupting again. Over recent weeks, tensions have been at a high level in the area, and there have been reports of daily skirmishes between the rival gangs, whose members are said to have largely attended the same schools, and essentially grew up together.

The latest casualty in the gang feud is 44-year-old bar operator, Ann-Marie Brown, also called 'Dawn'.

The police reported that about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Brown was at home when armed thugs invaded the premises and kicked in her door. The gunmen shot the woman several times in her upper body, resulting in her dying on the spot.

On Wednesday the police raided a premises at 100 Lane and arrested six persons after the seizure of six 9mm rounds of ammunition and the barrel of an AK-47 assault rifle. Four of the persons who were arrested were questioned and released, but the cops slapped charges on the other two -Michael Brown and Tyreke Nelson. Brown was charged with illegal possession of ammunition, while Nelson was charged with being armed with an offensive weapon.

Brown is scheduled to appear in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on June 13, while Nelson is scheduled to appear there on June 12.

peter-bunting-photo-1.jpgPeople's National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament Peter Murcott Bunting will challenge Dr Peter David Phillips for the top post in the Opposition political movement.

"Since our party's East Portland by-election loss, there has been increasing speculation about both the desirability and the likelihood of a leadership of the PNP," Bunting said in the statement.

"Uncertainty can be debilitating for a political movement, and an undeclared campaign is already starting to develop in social media and amongst party members. For good order and transparency, it is best that this speculation be put to rest as soon as possible. Therefore, I confirm that I am offering myself for president of the People's National Party at the annual conference in September. This is a carefully considered decision which I believe to be in the best interest of the party and the country," Bunting related in the statement which can be viewed in its entirety on pages 4 and 5 of this publication.

Bunting, who is said to be overseas, could not be contacted directly for clarification on certain points raised in the statement when the Sunday Observer tried.

And already, it appears that Bunting is putting his apparatus in place to seek the post of president, in a move which is being both welcomed and criticised by supporters of Jamaica's longest-serving political party.

He will not be among those summoned to meet with Dr Phillips in Clarendon today, after the party president called a meeting of MPs, caretakers, and councillors for 10 o'clock -- a move party officials believe was made by Dr Phillips to test his strength in the event of a possible challenge to his leadership at the 81-year-old party's annual conference scheduled for September.

crime-scene-gun.jpgThe police have released details about the incident that sent scores of persons scampering for cover in Half Way Tree last evening, saying it was a "running gun-battle" between two men.

When the dust cleared, according to police reports, one person was killed and four others injured.

The name of the deceased has not been released.

A firearm was also seized in the incident, the police said.

The police Corporate Communication Unit (CCU) said, in a statement today, that a man suspected of being involved in the gunfight is in custody while the other remains at large.

According to CCU, the shooting started around 5p.m. at a plaza on Constant Spring Road and continued onto Courtney Walsh Drive.

Police sources reported that the attack appeared to have emanated from a contract killing.

Amid frantic scampering for cover by members of the public, police personnel in the area reportedly intervened and one of the alleged attackers was shot and wounded and held by the police. He is now hospitalised under police guard. A firearm was reportedly taken from him.

A video circulating on social media captured some of the action.

The injured persons are being treated at hospital.

The police are asking persons with information on the whereabouts of the other gunman to contact the Half Way Tree Police at 876-926-8185 or 876-926-2551, police emergency number 119, Crime Stop at 311 or the nearest police station.


A police corporal Tuesday morning allegedly shot and killed his wife at their house in Tower Isle, St Mary.

The deceased has been identified as 45-year-old Janet Hardy-Lawrence.

It is alleged that the policeman and his wife were engaged in an argument when gunshots were heard.

The Prospect Police were alerted and on their arrival, it is alleged that the corporal was seen at the entrance of the house.

He was taken into custody.

Since the tragic incident, a voice note said to be from the cop who allegedly killed his wife has gone viral on social media.

"Mi wife a torment mi life, mi gah station last night and report [it] and from morning me a call back Corporal Johnson fi come talk to di woman. Di woman lick off mi door fi money and a torment mi life and this morning me affi kill har.

"Mi sorry, but ah so it guh. Mi nah stay fi face di judgement, so mi love di ol ah unuh. So it guh, one love," the male voice said in the message.

buju-banton-photo-12.jpgDaniel Rose, who was charged with the December 2011 shooting of his neighbour in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew, was today freed in the Gun Court in downtown Kingston.

The 28-year-old, who is the nephew of reggae icon, Buju Banton, was charged with shooting with intent and illegal possession of a firearm.

Allegations were that the complainant was at his house before dawn when the door to the premises was kicked in and men armed with guns opened fire.

The complainant escaped injury.

Rose was subsequently taken into custody and later charged.

The accused denied the allegations.

Under cross-examination by attorney-at-law Peter Champagnie the complainant admitted that he did not identify the voice of the accused in his written statement to the police.

He also admitted that the exterior light on his house was turned off at the time of the shooting.

Champagnie submitted that based on the evidence, the court could not be certain that it was the accused who committed the act.

The court agreed and found him not guilty.

Academic and political commentator Martin Henry died suddenly last night, sending shock waves throughout the media and education fraternities.

Henry collapsed on the premises of Television Jamaica after appearing on a special tribute programme to former Prime Minister Edward Seaga who died yesterday in Miami.

He had told his media colleagues that he was not feeling well and collapsed on his way from the studio to the front of the building.

He was rushed to Medical Associates Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Last night, Stephen Vasciannie, president of the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica where Henry held senior positions, expressed shock at Martin's passing.

"It is distressing that Mr Henry should have died while in the prime of his life. He has made a major contribution to the university through his management of entrepreneurship projects, his work in promoting research and intellectual development, his contribution to the Journal of Arts Science and Technology, his organisation of the Research and Technology Innovation Day and, most recently, his stalwart efforts with the University of Technology Press," Vasciannie said.

He said that Henry will also be remembered for his contributions to national life and that the country should be proud of his work as chairman of National Integrity Action. "In this role, and in his public commentary, especially as a newspaper columnist in the Sunday Gleaner and in media interviews, Mr Henry was a model of clarity, precision and, most of all, integrity and honesty," Vasciannie stated.

"Today has been a sad, awful day, which has knocked the wind from our sails."

us-supreme-court-upholds-same-sex-marriage-nationwide.jpgThe Government of Bermuda has been granted permission to take its legal bid to outlaw same-sex marriage in this British Oversees Territory, to the UK based Privy Council.

According to officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs this is the latest twist in a two-year roller-coaster saga that at one stage saw Bermuda become the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage and then take away the right, but a series of court decisions means that gay couples can currently get married here.

"The government has received leave to appeal. The Government's position concerning the appeal has not changed," said a spokeswoman from the ministry in an interview with the Royal Gazette newspaper on Wednesday

The Gazette quoted the LGBTQ charity OutBermuda, one of the respondents in the appeal, saying it expected the government to lose and for the final bill for Bermuda's taxpayers to be about US$3 million. But the Home Affairs spokeswoman said the ministry "cannot and will not speculate" on the cost of taking the case to the Privy Council, Bermuda's highest court of appeal.Bermuda's Supreme Court ruled in May 2017 that gay couples could marry here, but six months later the government passed the Domestic Partnership Act, outlawing same-sex weddings. A challenge was brought against the act by Bermudian Rod Ferguson, with OutBermuda joining the legal action.

Former Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled on their case in June last year, finding that the parts of the legislation that restricted marriage to opposite-sex couples were against the Bermuda constitution. He agreed to a request from the government for his decision to be "stayed" pending an appeal, meaning gay couples could no longer wed. The Court of Appeal upheld Justice Kawaley's ruling in November and allowed same-sex marriages to take place again.

"To be perfectly clear, today in Bermuda, same-sex couples are fully permitted to secure marriage licences and have their marriages recognised.

"This right was declared by the Bermuda Supreme Court in 2017 and upheld by two subsequent court decisions. The ongoing legal battle and final hearing in the Privy Council, however, is necessary to make this basic human right permanent and lasting for all Bermuda citizens," said OutBermuda.

"The government of Bermuda this week received their consent from the Court of Appeal in Bermuda to submit their formal notice of appeal to the Privy Council; that action will set into motion the rest of the steps and processes and the timing of the hearing in London," said the charity in its statement.

marlon-standing-next-to-edward-seaga.jpgPrime MInister Andrew Holness informed the House of Representatives on Tuesday that State protocol was already engaged, and arrangements are in place for Seaga's body to be flown back to Kingston, from Miami where he died, at the earliest possible time.

"We expect that he will be accompanied by his wife and other family members, and he will be received by the Government, with the appropriate honour guard in place," he said.

He also noted that Seaga's body will lie in state to be viewed over a period of time prior to his state funeral, and there will be a special sitting of Parliament to allow members to pay tribute to him and his achievements prior to the funeral.

Also expressing regret in the House of Representatives yesterday were the Leader of Government Business Karl Samuda; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange; and MP Ronald Thwaites, who spoke on behalf of the Opposition.

Thwaites said that he grew to admire Seaga's "graciousness, thoughtfulness, and his willingness to go beyond the normal hurly burly of partisan politics" after his retirement from active politics.

"And he displayed to me the true undeniably national spirit which had caused him to dedicate his life to Jamaica," Thwaites added.

"Today is to commend his soul to the one who made him, saved him, and sustained him for us to gather to give thanks for his life," he addd.

Grange recalled her close association with Seaga in Kingston Western where she grew up, and described him as the "kindest, most caring, most brilliant" man that she had ever known.

"I loved him dearly ...Jamaica and the world have lost a great leader. Mr Seaga loved Jamaica. He loved the Jamaican people. He understood the value of our culture and our way of life," she added.

fake-news.pngA viral voice note has been circulating with the news that the barber who recorded the brazen armed robbery of a Chinese wholesale in Clarendon on Sunday morning has been killed. However, sources have confirmed to Yardflex that this is not so.

"A man was killed, yes, but it wasn't him," the source stated.

A viral video of the shooting, has been making the rounds. In it, a man is heard giving a running commentary of the events. Although his face is not seen, persons have identified tje man as a barber in the town.

Sex predator lecturer at Edna Manley exposed

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After a Sunday Gleaner expose, on a lecturer at the Enda Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts a lecturer at the college is reporting that for well over a decade, one of his colleagues has been engaged in sexually predatory behaviour against students and has had hundreds of victims.

Yesterday, The Sunday Gleaner quoted several female students who said they had been targeted by the professor but their complaints were being covered up.

The school administration also reported that an investigation has been launched into the allegations.

"Many of my students have come to me about the same lecturer," said a professor who requested anonymity. "He has affected hundreds and hundreds of students in the visual arts school, and he has a history and a reputation for holding back grades and putting down students in front of the class," said the source.

Another male lecturer gave a similar account.

The professor said that two years ago, his students wrote letters to the management of the institution, but those letters have disappeared.

He said some went further by speaking with board members but gave up, acknowledging that the school's leaders seemed to have accepted the educator's behaviour.

19 guns stolen from security firm

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shocked.jpgReports are that a major police investigation is underway into the theft of 19 firearms and numerous rounds of assorted ammunition from a security company in Montego Bay, St James, one of the parishes now under a state of public emergency.

It is understood that the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) is also part of the probe.

Police investigators are probing whether the break-in was facilitated by anyone linked to the company.

"As far as I know, the matter is being treated as a case of larceny, but the police are not ruling out the probability that this could have been an inside job," said one senior investigator.

Sometime between Labour Day and Friday, May 24, thieves made their way into the establishment and removed the firearms.

They also stole three motorcycles and two desktop computers, along with the recording device attached to the closed-circuit television system.

The 67-year-old director of the security company reportedly told police that he securely locked the office, located on the compound of the Ironshore Estate in Ironshore, Montego Bay, before he left the establishment on Labour Day. He reportedly returned a day later to discover that several padlocks on the grilles and doors had been broken. Further investigations revealed that the metal safe containing the company firearms had been forced open and the guns gone missing.

Police sources say the security company has been experiencing a downturn in business.They are also probing a claim that some of the firearm users' permits for security guards were not certified by the FLA.


- Fifteen .38 revolvers

- Four shot-guns

- 12-gauge ammunition

- .38 ammunition

shocked.jpgMay Pen needs a ZOSO. As a matter of fact, it seems as if the entire Jamaica needs a ZOSO.

Reports are that two policemen were shot and injured during a confrontation with armed robbers along Main Street in May Pen, Clarendon, Sunday morning and there are pictures and video footage of the incident, The sergeant and constable, who are attached to the May Pen Police Station, are now receiving treatment at hospital. The constable reportedly received gunshot injuries to the face and shoulder, while the sergeant was shot in the abdomen and buttocks.

Reports are that about 9:20 a.m. the lawmen challenged men armed with high-powered weapons travelling in two cars in the vicinity of Guinep Tree in the Clarendon capital. The gunmen opened fire at the policemen who were hit. The service vehicle was also damaged.

One of the get away vehicles, a white Toyota Probox, later crashed along Howard Avenue.

It's not clear if any of the gunmen was captured.

Unconfirmed reports are that a woman of Chinese descent was also abducted by the gunmen who were said to be on a robbery spree in the parish capital.

Meanwhile, pictures show the heavily armed gunmen appearing to take the Chinese business owners away, while the video captures the sounds of the gunfire as the robbers wreaked havoc on the town.

"May Pen was like a ghost town yesterday," one resident told Yardflex. "My taxi man said that he got a call telling him to stay at home and don't bother touch road after the shooting.

Ackee Walk and Common at war; 5 dead

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crime-scene-gun.jpgA gang war between the communities of Common and Ackee Walk in St Andrew has so far claimed the lives of five persons, the police have confirmed.The last incident occurred last week when two men were gunned down at the busy hub of Chancery Street as commuters boarded buses and taxis.

The two gangs were once living in peace for years in the communities which are within relatively close proximity to each other. The community of Common is bordered by Red Hills Road, Donmair Drive, Christopher Boulevard and a tributary of the Sandy Gully to its west.

Ackee Walk is located close to a bridge along Molynes Road in the vicinity of Queensbury and Valentines Castle Drive. Things took a turn for the worst when both gangs fell out of favour with each over the proceeds of an illegal extortion racket which has plagued the section of Chancery Street where the latest double murder took place.

A police source told Loop News that thugs target operators of minibuses which ply the Rock Hall to Chancery Street route, and route taxis operators who ply the Half-Way Tree to Chancery Street route. The extortionists are said to be very brutal to any operator who does not comply with their demands, and at least one operator has been gunned down there in recent years.

"It has been a constant problem for the St Andrew North Police. The police know that the racket is alive and well, but are powerless to stop it completely, as the operators who are the victims, are afraid to report it. If there is no complainant, there can be no charges laid," the cop said.

A few years ago, two men were arrested, charged and convicted for extortion activities in the area, but the illicit practice continues unabated.

The killings started when two men were shot and killed at Ackee Walk. Then the bloodletting continued after gunmen struck in the community of Ackee Walk and shot three men dead over a three-day period.

On Wednesday morning the police were out in their numbers, and patrolled both communities in a bid to fend off any further acts of reprisal.

That section of Chancery Street that has been most affected, has degenerated into an eyesore, and is a hazard for both motorists and pedestrians, due to the heavy traffic and the presence of loiterers in the area.

But the police have given the assurance that they will pull out all the stops to beat back the criminals and make the streets safe for law-abiding citizens to conduct their business without fear.

Canada seeking more Jamaican workers

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Canada is seeking to engage more Jamaicans to work in non-traditional areas, which will add to the current seasonal agricultural workers arrangement [farm work programme] that the island shares with the North American country.

The world power is keen on welcoming workers in fields such as research, education and home care, according to Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen.

Hussen, however, made it clear, that despite the need for labour in those areas, Canada isn't looking to perpetuate Jamaica's brain drain, but rather, seeks to arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement for both countries.

"At least from Canada's perspective the need is there, but at the same time, we are a government that is sensitive to the issues around brain drain, so we don't want Canada's gain to be Jamaica's loss. We want it to be a win-win," Hussen said.

Therefore, both countries would have to look at fields that have a surplus of skilled workers in Jamaica, and sectors in Canada that require additional workers with certain requisite skills and expertise.

Hussen was speaking at a forum on immigration and refugees issues at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in Mona on Monday. The discussion was organised by the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica and The UWI.

"It is a delicate balance and it would need for us to engage a little bit more with the Jamaican government to determine which sectors or which skill sets are available for that circle of migration," Hussen said.

He further revealed that persons could work under the programme without a permit.

He said: "It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game, for example, if there is a research expert in Jamaica, who is researching on robotics, for example, we have the global skill strategy, which will enable that researcher to come to Canada and work by themselves or collaborate in our research ecosystem for up 120 days without a work permit."

"That researcher may not have an ecosystem in Jamaica that is as developed as the one in Canada and so they coming to Canada and building up their skills set to the next level and then coming back to Jamaica, is a benefit for Jamaica and Canada," Hussen said.

Hussen said Canada's ageing population has resulted in the country encouraging workers from other countries to emigrate there.

Jamaica already has an advantage because of the Seasonal Agriculture Workers' Programme (SAWP) also called farm work programme in Canada.

According to the Canadian minister, the partnership between both countries is working well, with a number of Jamaicans remitting money back home, and contributing to the island's economy.

Rain and more rain forecasted

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Sections of the island will experience a welcomed relief from dry conditions this weekend into Monday.

The Meteorological Service Division is reporting that a persistent Trough across Jamaica and the central Caribbean is to being showers, which may be heavy at times, over the period.

Projections are for periods of showers and thunderstorms to affect sections of most parishes especially during the afternoons.

Fishers and other marine operators are urged to exercise caution as sea conditions will deteriorate in the vicinity of showers and thunderstorms.


This Morning... Generally cloudy, with isolated showers across sections of northern and southeastern parishes.

This Afternoon... Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms mainly across sections of central and western parishes and hilly inland areas elsewhere.

Tonight... Mostly cloudy.

3-DAY FORECAST (starting Saturday):

Saturday: Isolated morning showers eastern parishes. Scattered afternoon showers and isolated thunderstorms across sections of most parishes.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy morning. Scattered afternoon showers and isolated thunderstorms mainly across central and western parishes.

Monday: Partly cloudy morning. Widely scattered afternoon showers and isolated thunderstorms across sections of most parishes.

crime-scene-knife.jpgA Trelawny woman and her five-year-old grandson were chopped to death by a relative in Martha Brae Saturday night.

The attacker is said to be the mentally-challenged son of the woman and uncle to the child. He, too, was killed after being shot by the police when he reportedly attacked members of a police party who had gone to the location to investigate the incident.

The deceased woman has been identified as 56-year-old Jennifer Gordon, otherwise called " Coolie", a domestic helper. The five-year-old boy is identified as Levon Walker, both of Hugh Shearer Drive in Martha Brae, Trelawny.

The accused attacker is identified as 28-year-old Leon "Duval" White, of the same address.

Reports are that about 11:00 last night, residents living along Hugh Shearer Drive heard Gordon crying for help and summoned the police.

Upon the arrival of the lawmen, they attempted to enter the house when they were reportedly attacked by White, who was armed with a machete. In a bid to avoid being chopped to death by the mentally challenged man, the police were forced to shoot him.

A search led to the discovery of Gordon and her grandson who were found in separate sections of the house with multiple chop wounds.

"It is also unfortunate that when the police went to the location to subdue Mr White, he attacked them with a machete and was fatally shot," said Senior Superintendent Kirk Ricketts, the commanding officer for the Trelawny police.

"I have since gone in the area and spoke to the community members and I also spoke to the Health Department, and I was informed that White was a patient, who was treated as recently as May of this year," he added.

According to one neighbour "Duval, is very ok when he receives his medical treatment but very violent, when he is not treated. And to my knowledge he was not treated upon the most recent visit by the medical team," the neighbour added.

Ricketts said the police were providing counselling to the immediate family of the deceased, as well as community members.

Operation Restore Paradise for Mo Bay

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The St James Municipal Corporation, in collaboration with the police, will be undertaking activities aimed at restoring and maintaining law and order in the parish starting on Monday.

The initiative dubbed 'Operation Restore Paradise' will span one week, and will involve other agencies including the Ministry of Health, National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Island Traffic Authority, Transport Authority and the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard.

Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis, made the announcement at a press conference held the Municipal Corporation's Office on Friday (May 17).

"We have decided to take a zero tolerance approach as it relates to law and order in the city of Montego Bay, because we think that we have a paradise and what we are seeing taking place in our paradise is not acceptable," Davis said.

"The approach will be one of sensitizing our people, one of enforcement when it becomes necessary and one of prosecution when it becomes necessary," he added.

The Mayor informed that traffic enforcement will be a major part of the operation, and persons with outstanding traffic tickets, as well as operators of Public Passenger Vehicles who operate in contravention of the Road Traffic Act will be targeted.

"For business operators who operate in the city, [we will check] their certification, as it relates to public health, and as it relates to contracts with the NSWMA to remove their garbage," Davis stated.

Meanwhile, Commanding Officer for the St James Police Division, Superintendent Vernon Ellis said the police will be ensuring that the law is adhered to.

"The security and safety of a parish is the business of everyone. The challenges we face out here, the security forces cannot arrest our way out of the challenges. Some of the solution lies with many other agencies. We have decided that this time around...that we will be using a multi-agency approach," he stated.

Superintendent Ellis also informed that the police will aim to sensitise the public on the different laws in the country.

"So we are going to de-culture persons by telling them what is right, by showing them the stuff that they are not supposed to do. Educating them on the laws, rules and regulations. We are going to sell to them the mission of restoring paradise. We are going to get the citizens to be a part of the solution to the problem that we are having out here in St James," Superintendent Ellis noted.

krystal-tomlinson.jpgPresident of the People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO), Krystal Tomlinson - who is also the mother of a child for entertainer, Beenie Man - has offered an apology of sorts for having likened Prime Minister Andrew Holness to Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler in a series of Twitter posts on Wednesday.

In her opening tweet, Tomlinson said: "Holness' track record suggests that he is a prime minister who has scant regard for the court, the constitution and the separation of powers doctrine. Reminds me of Adolph Hitler and his approach to designing a 'New' Germany. Just be a big man and admit you were wrong, Mr Holness."

The tweet suggested that Tomlinson was referring, in particular, to the Constitutional Court's striking down in April of the controversial National Identification and Registration (NIDS) law, after deeming it to be in breach of the constitutional rights of Jamaicans.

Twitter user - 'IslandNeophyte' - responded by warning Tomlinson that she should "delete that tweet before you are called to make a public apology to the prime minister and your country."

Another user pointed to the fact that Tomlinson had spelled Hitler's first name incorrectly ('Adolph' instead of 'Adolf') as a reasonable basis to conclude that she really did not know of the man's history and what she was actually delving into in making the comparison.

While she did not directly apologise to Holness, Tomlinson expressed regret for having made the comparison. "On Wednesday, May 15, I made a tweet which drew a comparison between the constitutional violations of the Andrew Holness-led team of public servants and those of Adolf Hitler. ......I recognised that this comparison has caused great discomfiture to persons across the spectrum - from those with political interests to those who are casual observers of the governance process in this country."

"In my experience as a student of political science and communications, I accept that comparative analyses lose their effect when the audience is too disturbed by the reference to consider the possible merits of an argument.

"I would like to put on record my unequivocal apology for any offence that may have been taken to the tweet, and for conjuring up any painful images of the result of the Hitler regime, which concluded with devastating genocide, second only to what my family endured during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was not my intent."

The PNPYO president has, however, pledged to continue to express her perceptions of Holness' patterns of leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Government without any further reference to the Nazi leader.

Jamaica-born Queen's Counsel, Vincent Nelson, is due to appear in court on June 4, after he failed to appear on Thursday in the case against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former United National Congress (UNC) legislator, Gerald Ramdeen.

Nelson was earlier this month granted TT$100,000 (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) bail on corruption conspiracy charges in connection with a series of financial transactions involving legal fees during the 2010-15 period of the UNC-led People's Partnership government.

Nelson was due to appear before Justice Malcom Holdip in the High Court here Thursday, but when the matter was called, the Court was informed that the London-based attorney was not present.

The Court was told that because of the late announcement regarding the date for the hearing, Nelson was unable to return to Trinidad in time for the proceedings.

Nelson is alleged to have conspired with Ramlogan and Ramdeen to receive, conceal and transfer criminal property given to Ramlogan by Nelson as the lawyer in various matters for the State.

It is also alleged that he conspired with Ramlogan and Ramdeen for the former to misbehave in public office with Ramlogan accepting rewards from Nelson and conspired to corruptly give Ramlogan rewards as Attorney General.

On May 2, the 61-year-old Nelson accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty before Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle and agreed to be the state's main witness in its case against Ramlogan and Ramdeen under the Criminal Procedure Act.

The matter was transferred to the High Court in 14 days, in keeping with provisions of the Act.

At the magistrate's court, Nelson's attorney Tom Allen QC, had earlier argued that bail for his client was part of the agreement with the prosecution that he be granted his own bail and no restrictions placed on him to leave the country.

Allen submitted that Nelson, since October 2017, had been fully cooperating with the prosecution at an "unprecedented level" and has given several witness statements knowing full well he has incriminated himself, despite risks to himself.

Allen said Nelson was the key prosecution witness and was "safer out of this jurisdiction.

Ramlogan and Ramdeen have been released on a total of TT$2.7 million and will re-appear in court on June 28.

They have been charged with conspiracy to contravene Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act; conspiracy to contravene Section 45 of the Proceeds of Crime Act and conspiracy to misbehave in public office between October 1, 2010 to September 9, 2015.

marlon-standing-next-to-edward-seaga.jpgFormer Prime Minister Edward Seaga is reportedly in good spirits as he battles the physical effects of a serious illness and receives treatment at a hospital in Miami, Florida.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who flew to the United States to visit the former prime minister on Wednesday, reported that Seaga, who headed the Government of Jamaica from 1980 to 1989, is under close medical supervision by a team of doctors, including Jamaican specialists and nurses, and is surrounded by his family.

"Mr Seaga, who will be 89 at the end of May (May 28), is in positive spirits. I assured our former prime minister that Jamaica is in a good place and that our economic recovery is being carefully managed to ensure social equity and prosperity for the working-class masses of the Jamaican people.

"I also passed on to him the many expressions of concern, love, prayers and good wishes for him from the Jamaican people and from his former constituency of West Kingston," said Holness.

He added that, among many other national and personal matters about which they spoke, Seaga enquired about football, which became a passion for him in later life.

"Minister Olivia Grange, who was also with me, updated him and it generated a light moment where we all smiled and laughed.

"At the end of the visit, we all held hands and prayed with Mr Seaga for his improvement. He thanked us for lifting his spirit by visiting him and expressed his deep gratitude and love for the Jamaican people, whom he served all his life," said Holness.

Seaga holds the record as Jamaica's longest serving member of parliament, having represented Kingston Western for almost 43 years, from 1962 until he retired in 2005.

He served as leader of the Opposition from 1974 to 1980, and again from 1989 until January 2005.

arrested.jpgA teenage boy is currently in police custody following an armed robbery in Burnside Valley in Red Hills, St AndrewThursday.

According to police reports, lawmen were patrolling the area about 9:40 pm, when they were notified that a business place was being robbed.

The responding officers said on their arrival, the suspects ran, leaving behind a .40 Smith and Wesson pistol and eight .40 cartridges.

The weapon was found after an extensive search of the area. The teen, whose identity cannot be disclosed because he is a minor, was subsequently arrested.

The police did not disclose what items were stolen from the business place.

Investigations continue.

Two women, one of British descent, were held by the Narcotics police following a cocaine seizure at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James on Wednesday.

According to the police, both women arrived at the airport about 12:30 pm to board a flight to Birmingham, England.

However, during routine baggage checks, packages containing more than 2.8 kilograms of cocaine were found hidden in a compartment of their luggage. The drug is estimated to be worth $5 million on the street.

The police are withholding the names of the two women pending further investigations.held.jpg

ruel-reid-photo-1.jpgThe probe into allegations of fraudulent activities at the Ministry of Education and connected agencies has resulted in former Minister of Education Rule Reid now being the subject of a criminal investigation.

Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson this morning confirmed that Reid is being investigated but provided no details on the scope of the probe.

"I can confirm that there is an investigation (but) at this point I cannot give you an update on that," Anderson told journalists in response to a question at a media briefing at the Old Hope Road headquarters of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

"Because it is on-going and it is a financial investigation and one that is a complex investigation that involves a number of agencies. The FID (Financial Investigation Division of the Ministry of Finance), C-TOC (Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Division and the CFU (Constabulary Financial Unit) [are] involved in this investigation so it is only proper that we continue this investigation without saying too much," added Anderson.

Just over one month ago Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that he had fired Ruel Reid, then Minister of Education, Youth & Information.

In a statement to the media Holness said he had met with Reid regarding certain allegations in the public domain.

JFF to sign MOU with AS Roma

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President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Michael Ricketts, said the organisation is scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Italian giants AS Roma in the coming weeks.

Ricketts told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday that his federation met with the AS Roma officials, who are currently in the island on Tuesday, and that discussions were fruitful noting that the parties are now hoping to sign an agreement soon.

The JFF boss added that this is a major boost for local football and that the AS Roma representatives are very interested in Jamaican football.

"These gentlemen seem very interested in the product that we have here, and they (appreciate) the athleticism of our youngsters and think that partnering with us could really improve the quality of our players," said Ricketts.

"This is the route to go in identifying our youngsters from the primary and prep schools and then sometime in the summer, they will go to clubs of their choice whether it is Sweden or Italy. And then, of course, bring them back and keep them close to us in an academy setting and in an environment where they can continue their growth and development," he said.

"The meeting was very fruitful and I am highly optimistic that it will have some positive results on our football," Ricketts stated.

AS Roma currently have two Jamaican women on their roster, defender Allyson Swaby and midfielder Trudi Carter, who are both expected to feature for Jamaica at next month's FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) says it will be extending the usual period for the sale of tickets for the upcoming international friendly between Jamaica and Panama

The JFF said it has also increased the number of ticket outlets across the island for the game.

It said tickets will go on sale from tomorrow Saturday, May 11 until match day, Sunday, May 19 at select ticket outlets.

The Federation is also encouraging fans to purchase tickets early.

Meanwhile, the majority of members of the 24- member Reggae Girlz squad will arrive on Sunday, May 12 and will have their first training session on Monday, May 13 at 6:00 pm at the National Stadium.

charged.jpgA Jamaican man has been arrested and charged in relation to the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in a luxury Miami condominium on Tuesday.

According to CBS Miami, the man, 46-year-old Franklyn Williams was arrested on Wednesday and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

According to reports, the bodies were discovered after Miami police received a call from Homeland Security who told them during an investigation that involved Williams, he spontaneously confessed, according to his arrest report.

It was further reported that the bodies were found with multiple stab wounds after police forced open the door of the unit which is located at the Paraiso Bay high, rise at 650 Northeast 32nd Street.

Williams reportedly told investigators that he lives in the unit and that one of the women, 35-year-old Sophia Simpson, had been his girlfriend for the last ten years, according to the police, and the other woman, 27-year-old Gabrella Griffith, lived with them.

Williams is being held without bond after an appearance in court.

He also faces charges in a separate case involving grand theft, using fake ID, money laundering and racketeering. Those issues surfaced in court and Williams said he did have a private attorney.

Concern as no licensed butchers in Hanover

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Animals are being slaughtered and meat being sold at various locations across the parish, there are no licensed butchers operating in Hanover.

David Gardner, the Hanover Municipal Corporation's (HMC) chief executive officer, revealed Thursday that although all butcher's licences in the western parish expired in March, no applications for butcher's licences are being processed for the month of May.

"How is it that we have no application for butcher's licence and you are inspecting so much meat?" a seemingly perplexed Mayor Sheridan Samuels asked Patricia Hall Patterson, the chief public health inspector in the parish.

"It means we have no licensed butchers, so there should be no slaughtering of animals," added Samuels.

In responding to the mayor's concern, Hall Patterson told the HMC monthly meeting that there were approximately 17 registered butchers in the parish and they were the butchers doing the inspection of meats. She also pointed out that there were some applications for butcher's licences at the Public Health Department that were being processed and should be sent the HMC in short order.

shocked.jpgAt least five people have been killed in Jamaica since March last year after being deported from the UK by the Home Office, the Guardian newspaper out of the UK is reporting in a damning expose done about Jamaica.

According to The Guardian, the killings took place after the men were sent back to Jamaica - which they report has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world - despite strict rules prohibiting deportations to countries in which an individual's life may be in danger.

The government does not routinely monitor what happens to people who have been deported. But through interviews and archive research, the Guardian has verified the deaths of the five men and been told by other returnees that they fear for their lives.

The revelations will increase pressure on the Home Office to justify its resumption in February of deportation charter flights to Jamaica, after they were suspended following the Windrush scandal.

Some of the men had convictions for violent and drug-related offences. But Naga Kandiah, a public law solicitor at MTC & Co - which deals with many Jamaican deportation cases - said the government's human rights obligations were not dependent on past behaviour.

"The Home Office's own guidance recognises the high level of crime there due to organised gangs," he said. "Nobody is saying that these men had not committed crimes, but it is a clear breach of human rights legislation to send them back to a country where their life could be in serious danger."

Lawyers routinely use the European convention on human rights to argue deportation would pose a threat to life.

The majority of murders the Guardian has identified involving people deported from the UK to Jamaica have occurred in the past three or four months. The victims definitively established are:

Owen Clarke, 62, who was shot and killed by armed men on 23 February. Clarke, known as Father Fowl and Roy Fowl, was a music promoter and had been convicted of dealing drugs. According to Jamaican media, he was a leader of the British Link-Up Crew, a dancehall events business in the UK and Jamaica, which was allegedly a front for drug smuggling.

Dewayne Robinson, 37, known as Little Wicked, was murdered on 4 March 2018.

Alphonso Harriott, 56, known as Oney British and reportedly part of the same crew as Clarke, was murdered on 29 March.

Paul Mitchell, 50, was fatally stabbed on 31 December in the grocery store at which he worked.

Hugh Bennett, 48, a shopkeeper, was stabbed to death on 31 December.

According to the Home Office's guidance about Jamaica published in March last year, the Jamaica constabulary force is "underpaid, poorly trained, understaffed and lacking in resources". Organised criminal elements are prevalent and extremely active, the guidance states, and police only make arrests in 45% of cases, with a homicide conviction rate of 7%. Eighty per cent of murders involve firearms.

Gracie Bradley, the policy and campaigns manager at the human rights organisation Liberty, said by putting deportees in danger, the government was adding an additional punishment to that imposed by courts.

"It is incredibly disturbing that the government continues to pursue deportations at the expense of its human rights obligations, which stipulate that people must not be deported to situations where they face threats to their life, torture or ill-treatment," she said.

"These worrying incidents further highlight why the practice of deportation post-conviction is a discriminatory form of double punishment that should be scrapped."

Some of the men on the February charter flight said they knew some of the murder victims. One deportee said he was ambushed in a shop days after arriving in Jamaica by a group of armed men he knew from when he previously lived there.

"I believe I was targeted," he said. "I had had an altercation with one of those men when I was in Jamaica in 2012. A group of armed men ran into a shop I was in and they had high-powered rifles. A lot of shots were fired and another man died. I escaped into some bushes behind the shop and was lucky to survive.

"I think that people who were on that February charter flight have been targeted. Everyone knew that charter flight was coming and people keep a lookout. I think that people deported from the UK are particular targets once they reach Jamaica."

A spokeswoman for the End Deportations campaign group said: "It's sickening but sadly not surprising that people who the Home Office have deported have been killed. These deportations must be stopped immediately before more lives are lost."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We only return those with no legal right to remain in the UK, including foreign national offenders. Individuals are only returned to their country of origin when the Home Office and courts deem it is safe to do so.

"The Home Office works with a number of non-governmental organisations that provide support on arrival for returnees which includes general orientation, access to temporary accommodation, travel, vocational training, job referral and signposting services. We are committed to ensuring safe and dignified returns and reintegration is a key part of that.

"Should the Home Office receive any specific allegations that a returnee has experienced ill-treatment on return to their country of origin, these would be investigated in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office."

Former PM Edward Seaga in hospital in Miami

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marlon-standing-next-to-edward-seaga.jpgCarla Seaga, the wife of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, is quoted as saying her ailing husband is stable and is receiving excellent medical care.

The former prime minister who had been seeking medical care for the past few weeks has been admitted to a Miami hospital.

"He is receiving excellent medical care and is sustained too by the love of his family and friends," said Mrs Seaga in a statement issued through Jamaica House.

Seaga, 88, is battling two chronic illnesses and complications associated with them.

She also said the former Prime Minister is scheduled to receive further treatment at the Miami hospital and expressed thanks to people who have offering love, prayers and support.

Edward Seaga is Jamaica's fifth prime minister and the country's longest serving member of parliament.

He was Prime Minister from 1980 to 1989 and is currently Chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica, where he was re-appointed to a three-year term with effect from November 7, 2017.

Seaga turns 89 on May 28, 2019.

ak-47-assault-rifle-ammo.jpgSecurity forces in St James, where a state of emergency was imposed on Tuesday, are reporting that a cache of more than 1,800 rounds of ammunition was seized last week.

Reports are that personnel from the Contraband Enforcement Team of Jamaica Customs discovered irregularities during their checks of a shipment at a warehouse in the parish and summoned the police who responded and conducted a search.

The search reportedly yielded 1,859 assorted rounds and two 50-capacity Glock magazines.

The police are now reminding members of the public that under the Get the Guns campaign, they can receive rewards of up to JMD $100, 000 for information that leads to the seizure of firearms and ammunition. Citizens are urged to call 311 to give information.

The cash reward for information on the Jamaican-born suspect in the killing of a Vermont woman last year has been increased.

The US Marshals Service announced Monday that it is now offering up to US$10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Leroy Headley, 37, who they said has ties to Jamaica, where he is originally from, and across the US and Canada. The service had previously offered US$5,000.

Headley is wanted on a second-degree murder charge in the May 3 shooting death of his partner and mother of his children, Anako "Annette" Lumumba, 33, in South Burlington.

"Headley's criminal conduct and disregard for the law has made his apprehension a top priority for the US Marshals," Bradley Rose, US marshal for Vermont, said in the written statement. "Although Headley has avoided apprehension for almost a year, this investigation remains active and intensive."

Headley's car was found on May 18 in Albany, New York.

There was some information during the investigation indicating that he was in Philadelphia at one point, deputy US Marshal Michael Barron said Tuesday. The service says it is believed he is living under an assumed name and may have shaved his head or changed appearance.

"This is an individual that certainly could be anywhere in the US," Barron said. "It's certainly possible that he's set up roots in an area that no one knows who he is and he's just doing his thing."

crime-scene-gun.jpgThe St Thomas police are probing the shooting death of a man and the injuring of his seven-year-old daughter in Lloyd's district, Yallahs in the parish on Sunday, May 5.

The dead man has been identified as Jermaine Kelly, a 35-year-old taxi operator of Lloyd's district.

Reports from the Yallahs police are that about 3:40 a.m., Kelly was alerted by a fire at his doorway.

While extinguishing the blaze, he was reportedly greeted with gunfire by armed men.

The police were summoned and upon their arrival, Kelly and his daughter were seen with gunshot wounds.

They were taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead and the child was admitted for treatment in a serious condition.

The police are asking anyone with information that can assist in their investigations to contact the Yallahs Police Station at 876-982-5075, the police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.

Cops taking illegal bikes off the streets

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jamaican-woman-police-officer.jpgThe St Andrew police seized a total of 16 motorcycles in just over a week, as part of efforts to clamp down on motorists in breach of the Road Traffic Act.

Officers assigned to the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) and the St Andrew North Police Division seized the motorcycles during operations conducted in the said division between Wednesday, April 24 and Wednesday, May 01.

The police said the operations were as a result of public safety issues arising from the disregard of the Road Traffic Act by some motorists, including motorcyclists.

The vehicles were seized for various offences, including not being licensed and having no registration plates affixed.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is advising all operators of motor vehicles to ensure their vehicles are registered, updated and operating within the parameters of their prescribed licenses.

Drivers are reminded that if the various operating criteria are not met, it will result in the seizure of the vehicle and the prosecution of the offender.

fake-news.pngOlympian, Elaine Thompson had to take to social media to tell the world that she is alive and well.

This is what she posted to IG last night:

Dear all: The "Breaking News" report is FAKE news. Please do not share, retweet or pass along that story. I am alive and well and have never even been to Canada.

Have a wonderful Sunday

elaine-thompson-gold-100-final-rio.jpgElaine is a Double Olympic Gold Medalist. World Championship Silver Medalist. World Indoor Bronze Medalist. Nike Athlete. NCB & Flow Brand Ambassador.

police-station.jpgThe policeman who was involved in the shooting incident last Sunday which left three persons dead in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has surrendered to the police.

The policeman, Corporal Kirk Fraser, turned himself in about 4:00 pm yesterday according to his Attorney-at-Law Valrie Neita Robertson.

The Corporal was fingered in the incident, which started with a shooting at a dance in Chedwin ParK in the parish and lead to high speed chase, a crash and more shooting.

Three people including Sheldon Junior Biggs Daley of Chedwin Park, Kevron Burrell, and Corporal Rohan Williams were killed.

crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgHard on the heels of reports of the death of the elderly woman who was last week doused with gasoline and set ablaze alive in St James, another elderly woman may have suffered a somewhat similarly violent fate locally.

The Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), the police's information arm, said the Adelphi police in St James are appealing to residents of Lima district in Adelphi to assist them in their investigation into the death of 74-year-old Evelyn Blair, a member of the community who was set ablaze on Thursday, April 25.

Reports are that about 6:00 a.m., Blair was walking along the roadway in her community when a man came up to her and allegedly pour gasoline on her and set her on fire.

The man then ran off.

She was taken to hospital, where she died while being treated on Saturday, April 27.

Persons who may have information to assist in the investigation are being asked to contact the Adelphi police at 876-912-1026, the police 119 emergency number, Crime Stop at 311, or the nearest police station.

Amid that disturbing development, the body of an elderly woman was found with wounds in St Mary on Friday night.

The St Mary police are probing the death of the elderly female on a farm in Richard's Pen in the parish.

The deceased has been identified as 62-year-old Beverly Garricks, a farmer of Richard's Pen.

Preliminary reports are that about 7:00 p.m., a relative went to check on the whereabouts of Garricks and stumbled upon her body.

The police were summoned and on their arrival, the body was seen with wounds to the eye and abdomen.

The body was taken to the morgue, where a post-mortem examination is to be conducted at a later date.

police.jpgThe Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has confirmed that three police officers were involved in a shooting incident Sunday morning at the intersection of Jobs Lane and Brunswick Avenue in Spanish Town, St Catherine which left a civilian dead.

According to INDECOM, an off duty police officer intervened in the shooting incident and was in pursuit of the occupants of an escape vehicle when a crash occurred.

A man, who turned out to be a policeman, travelling in the escape vehicle succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash, INDECOM said.

Another occupant identified as a police officer, was taken into custody, while the third cop is on the run and is being sought by the authorities, INDECOM said.

INDECOM said it has since launched an investigation into the shooting death of the civilian who has been identified as Sheldon Daley of Chedwin Park, St Catherine.

According to INDECOM, two of the officers involved in the killing of the civilian had been previously charged with murder by INDECOM and were released on bail.

fatal-crash.jpgOn May 3, Junique Chung would have celebrated her 19th birthday.he was counting down the days.

She recently joined the gym hoping to reach personal targets in anticipation of her big day, however, on Sunday, however, those plans faded. Chung was flung from the Nissan Tiida in which she was a passenger when it was reportedly rear-ended on the New Green main road, just outside the town of Mandeville. She sustained several injuries and was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police report that about 2:30 yesterday morning, the driver of a Mitsubishi Lancer motor car travelling towards Mandeville slammed into the back of the Nissan Tiida while attempting an overtake. On impact, the driver of the Nissan Tiida reportedly lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a utility pole.

Onlookers on the accident scene yesterday morning were alarmed as they saw the vehicle in two pieces.

Up to lateSunday, the driver of the Tiida and another passenger remained in hospital.

The driver, who relatives say is the father of Chung's one-year-old daughter and an up-and-coming artiste, was reportedly in critical condition.

Chung's brother Mark Muthra says the family is in mourning.

A member of a pageant committee at Christiana High School, where Chung's partner, who goes by the name Fresh King, was a guest performer Saturday night, said that they too were in shock.

It is believed that the occupants of the Tiida were coming from the pageant when the accident occurred.

The driver of the Mitsubishi Lancer motor car, who was the only person in the vehicle, was treated in hospital.

Denham Town under curfew

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curfew-in-areas-of-west-kingston.jpgA curfew has been imposed in sections of the Denham Town Police Division.

The curfew began at 6:00 pm on yesterday and will remain in effect until 6:00 pm on Friday. The boundaries of the curfew are as follows:

NORTH: Along Race Course Lane (Blount Street) from the intersection of Little King Street travelling to the fence line forming the western periphery of the Golden Heights Housing Development, also annexing the northern and eastern sections of the said development, travelling south along paved gully and continuing to the intersection of William Street and Upper Rose Lane.

EAST: Along Rose Lane from the intersection of William Street continuing south along Roe Lane to the intersection of Beeston Street and Rose Lane.

SOUTH: Along Beeston Street from Rose Lane continuing west along Beeston Street to the intersection of Spanish Town Road and southwest along Spanish Town Road to Little King Street (excluding the Denham Town High School and Denham Town Police Station).

WEST: Along Little King Street from Spanish Town Road to the intersection of Race Course Lane (Blount Street).

The police reminded that during the hours of the curfew, all persons within the boundaries of the curfew are required to remain within their premises unless otherwise authorised in writing by the ground commander

11 more cannabis licences approved

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ganja-licence.jpgThe Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has approved an additional 11 applications for licences in the medical cannabis industry.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said that "the applicants are preparing to receive their licences".

He was making his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Shaw noted that the CLA has received 627 applications from over 200 applicants as at March 31, with 33 licences issued to date.

He said that 178 applications are at the conditional approval stage, which means that the companies involved would have successfully passed the CLA's due diligence process and are now undergoing preparatory work to move to the licensing stage.

Shaw told the House that the CLA has taken steps to respond more efficiently to the growing demands within the industry. These include an increase in the staff complement and inclusion of an agricultural specialist.

"The Authority is also contemplating amendments to the existing regulations, in keeping with the development of the local and global medical cannabis industry and will, in the near future, complete drafting instructions for regulations concerning import, export and transhipment, as we move to capitalise on the opening up of greater opportunities in the international space," he said.

New Bond film to be shot on location in Jamaica

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After months of speculation it has been confirmed that the 25th installment of the James Bond spy series will be shot in Portland and Kingston.

It was made official at Golden Eye, the Jamaican home of the creator of the series, British author Ian Flemming.

According to reports, shooting will commence on Sunday.

The film, which stars Daniel Craig as Agent 007, is being directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.

The new Bond flick is yet to be titled.

Veteran music industry trailblazer Sylvia Rhone was earlier this week named chairman and CEO of Epic Records. Epic is a division of Sony Music Entertainment and it is perhaps best known as the label that turned R&B sensation Michael Jackson into a pop legend. Rhone will lead the creative direction and management of Epic, and she will preside over the development of a contemporary wave of talent including Camila Cabello, Travis Scott, Future, 21 Savage, French Montana and DJ Khaled.

Rhone is a seasoned and experienced industry executive, and she has always had an eye on reggae and dancehall, an interest that began in the late 1980s and early 1990s when she ran the Urban Music Division at Atlantic Records in New York.

She was one of the pioneers who signed a number of artistes at that time, including Stitchie, Snow and Garnett Silk, and Terror Fabulous with the breakout smash classic Action with Nadine Sutherland. Rhone was also the first African-American and the first woman to head a US major label when she became chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group's Elektra Entertainment.

"Sylvia is a trailblazing and iconic executive who has played a critical leadership role in driving Epic's recent artiste development success," CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Bob Stringer said. "Her wealth of experience and passionate support of artistic vision will help us further grow the reach of Epic's roster around the world," Stringer added.

Prior to Sony Music, Rhone helped guide an award-winning roster at Universal Music Group for eight years, where she was president of Universal Motown Records and executive vice-president at Universal Records from 2004.

"I am excited to continue my amazing journey at Epic Records, and everything we do is a testament to our incredible artistes as we enrich the legacy of this great label," Rhone said.

Three shot in St Catherine

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crime-scene-gun.jpgA gang feud was likely behind a brazen daylight gun attack in which three persons were shot, one fatally, in the St John's Road area of Spanish Town, St Catherine on Thursday.

The deceased man has been identified as 20-year-old Shamar Smith of St John's Road.

Police reports are that at about 3:00 p.m., Smith and two other men were at a house in the St John's Road area, when men armed with guns entered the building.

The intruders opened gunfire on all three occupants before fleeing the scene.

The police were alerted and upon their arrival, Smith succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

The two injured men were assisted to the hospital, where they remain admitted.

Further investigation is ongoing into one of the latest gun attacks to hit the old capital of Spanish Town.

ganja-image-5.jpgThree Costa Ricans were arrested and charged during an operation at Ridge Pen district in Pedro Plain, St Elizabeth on Friday.

Charged are: 31-year-old Fernando Guido, fisherman of Queblo Nuevo; 31-year-old Emanuel Fernandes, taxi driver of Limon Sieneguita; and 33-year-old Henry Baez, contractor of Limon Valle, all in Costa Rica.

They have been charged with Possession of and Dealing in Ganja.

Reports are that about 2:00 a.m., lawmen conducted an operation in the area when a premises was searched.

Two parcels containing approximately six pounds of vegetable matter resembling ganja were seized.

The illicit drug has an estimated street value of $30,000.

A court date has not yet been ascertained.

Seven bags of ganja seized in Porus, Manchester

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ganja-seized.jpgThe police say several bags of ganja were seized Saturday in Porus, Manchester after the driver of a vehicle fled.

Reports are that about 8:00 p.m., a team from the Williams Field Police was on operation when the driver of a vehicle was signalled to stop. The driver did not comply and the vehicle was subsequently found abandoned in the area.

Checks were made and seven knitted bags found containing the illicit drug.

The police say the estimated weight and value of the drug have not yet been ascertained.

No one was held in connection with the seizure.

Teacher missing since Good Friday

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missing-teacher-samuel-martin.jpgForty-one-year-old teacher Samuel Martin, of Waterloo Close, Kingston 10 has been missing since Friday.

He is of dark complexion, medium build and is about 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Reports from the Matildas Corner police are that Martin was last seen about 6:30 p.m., in Mandeville, Manchester dressed in a navy blue shirt and black shorts.

He has not been heard from since and efforts to contact him have proven futile.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Martin is being asked to contact the Matildas Corner Police Station at 876-978-6003, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

missing-woman-nordia-belnavis.jpgA reward of $125,000 is being offered for any information that can lead to the whereabouts of missing St Andrew woman, Nordia Belnavis.

The cash reward was announced by Crime Stop on Thursday, noting that persons with information on Belnavis' whereabouts show call them at 311.

Belnavis, 43, of a Bronte Way, Kingston 20 address, has been missing since Saturday, March 30.

Duhaney Park police report that Belnavis was last seen at her home about 7:30am and has not been heard from since. Her mode of dress at the time she went missing is unknown.

Noise Abatement Act on front burner

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Consultations with key stakeholders from the Ministries of Entertainment, Local Government, and National Security are to begin regarding amendment to the Noise Abatement Act and the hosting of entertainment activities.

Opening the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, said in the current legislation there is always conflict between promoters and members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Under the Act, entertainment sessions must end at midnight on weekdays and at 2:00 am on weekends

"I cannot ask the police to use discretion, the law says so. I have, therefore, requested the minister of entertainment to consult with the minister of local government and we will come with an appropriate amendment to the law and establish a protocol for the conduct of entertainment activities," he said.

He said standards and schedules can be established so that decibel levels can be reduced at specific times.

"If you have a house party, you know at certain times the decibel levels [can be reduced], if you are on a playfield and you are 200 yards from homes, you can have another level at 2:00 am, and if you are far away on the Dyke Road, Richmond or Catherine Hall, you can go all night and raise the decibel level, but we must lay it out in the schedule governing the law, so that they can do it legally," he said.

He said entertainment is one of Jamaica's biggest industries, which offers opportunities to many from the various socio-economic groups.

The Noise Abatement Act was last amended in 1997.

violence-prevention-alliance-vpa-jamaica.jpgThe Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) is condemning the killing of eight-year-old Shantae Skyers, who was found dead after she went missing last week and the mob killing of man in relation to the incident.

Skyers' body was found Tuesday in bushes in Sterling Castle Heights in Red Hills, St Andrew.

The Alliance also expressed concern that such a heinous act was committed against this young and innocent child, adding that it was a reflection of the lack of value for life.

The VPA further pointed out that the society was failing to protect its young and vulnerable as too many of the nation's children were being impacted by violence.

The organisation also commended the Ministry of Education for dispatching a trauma team to provide counseling for students and teachers at Red Hills Primary School where Skyers attended.

However, the Alliance stressed that the family of Skyers will also need grief counseling and therapy to get through this difficult period.

The VPA noted that the levels of crime and violence against the nation's children were unacceptable.

The Alliance also denounced actions by a mob that beat and burnt a man in relation to the incident.

The VPA said, "Taking justice in your own hands is unacceptable. Allow the police to do their work and the law to take its course. We cannot descend to jungle justice."

$2-million bail for former lawyer

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bail.jpgA former attorney who reportedly collected US$16,366.62 for a property that was not hers to sell was Tuesday offered $2 million bail when she appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

The Wakefield, Trelawny, resident, Arlene Beckford, who is charged with obtaining money by false pretence and conspiracy to defraud, was offered bail after her attorney, Michael Williams, told Parish Judge Maxine Ellis that his client was sick and should have been taken to the doctor by the police but hadn't been.

Williams told the court that the doctor had visited his client on Monday night and had left a referral with the police for her to be taken to see the doctor.

"I am actually surprised that she is here today," he told the judge while adding that she had been in the hospital prior to her arrest last Wednesday.

Consequently, the judge offered her bail on condition that she report to the Wakefield Police Station every Monday, and also ordered that she be taken immediately to see the doctor.

However, before she was granted bail, the court heard that between March 2016 and April 2016, the accused, who is the director in a company, reportedly defrauded the complainant of US$16,366.62 by pretending that she was capable of selling a plot of land at Blue Castle in Mona, Kingston, to the complainant knowing that she was not authorised so to act.

The court further heard that she reportedly conspired with another person who the police are trying to locate.

Police station shot up; cop injured

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police-station.jpgBrazen gunmen on Wednesday evening shot up the Spalding Police Station in North West Clarendon, which falls within the Manchester Police Division.

Details of the incident are not available, but the attack has been confirmed by the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Reports are that the station come under attack from a group of gunmen and a policeman was shot and injured in the process, and has since been hospitalised.

"We can confirm that the Spaldings Police Station came under fire from gunmen this evening. One policeman was shot. The details are sketchy at this time," a representative of the CCU told Loop News.

Spalding, which sits on the border between Clarendon and Manchester, was also the scene of high drama in February of this year when a police officer on duty in the town was attacked by a bus operator, during which the officer responded by shooting and injuring the busman.

The incident, which was dramatically captured on video, which went viral on social media, triggered protest, during which a police service vehicle was damaged and the cop in question had to seek refuge in a business establishment.

The situation was only brought under control by members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) who came on the scene and intervened to assist the police to restore public order in the town.

At least four persons were later arrested for their suspected roles in the protest actions, and the bus operator was also slapped with a number of charges after being hospitalised for his injuries.

May 10 court date for Mavado's son

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mavado-and-son.jpgMavado's teenage son, will return to the Supreme Court on May 10th to seek bail on murder charges.

Peter Champagnie is the attorney,now representing the youngster, who has been locked up since last year

The teenager is currently being held in a juvenile detention centre in Kingston without bail.

Detectives are reportedly still interested in speaking with Mavado about the case, but the singer is currently in the United States where he is a legal permanent resident.

Last year, Mavado's son was charged jointly with 23-year-old Andre Hines for the June 5, 2018 murder of Lorenzo Thomas, otherwise called 'Israel' or 'Trulups', in Cassava Piece, St Andrew. Both were charged with conspiracy to murder, arson, shooting with intent and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

The teenager had also been accused of giving his co-accused, Hinds, an order to behead Thomas.

Reports were that a witness statement given to the police had alleged that Mavado's son gave the instruction.

"Memba di boss want him head," the juvenile allegedly said to Hinds.

The statement further alleged that Hinds attempted to carry out the order but only managed to partially sever Thomas's head.

The teenager denied the allegations when he appeared in the Corporate Area Criminal Court last year.

Cop killed in car crash

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crime-scene-demo.jpgA policeman was among two people who perished in a motor vehicle crash along the Dam Head main road in Spanish Town, St Catherine on Tuesday morning.

He has been identified as Constable Rammone Smith of the St Catherine North police division. The other victim, a woman, has been identified as Vanessa Natalie Johnson.

Police report that about 3:45 am, Smith was driving a Nissan AD wagon motor vehicle, with Johnson as a passenger, when it collided with the rear of a truck.

Smith and Johnson were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead.

April 16 proclaimed Education and Sharing Day

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Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen proclaimed today as Education and Sharing Day as a day of increased focus on education in a time of increasing concern over moral standards. This is a first for Jamaica.

April 16 is used to mark the global recognition of the work of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

For the past 40 years, presidents, houses of congress, and local governments have recognised the date corresponding to the Rebbe's birthday on the Jewish calendar as Education and Sharing Day, honouring an individual who brought education to the forefront of public discourse.

The Rebbe emphasised the importance of paying more attention to the building of character and emphasising moral and ethical values, accentuating the values of personal rights and responsibilities and principled, just behaviour.

"Education must be more than factual enlightenment--it must enrich the character as well as the mind," said President Ronald Reagan in his 1982 proclamation for the day, echoing the Rebbe's sentiments.

In commemoration of the anniversary, the Governor-General said proclaimed April 16, 2019, as "Education Day" in Jamaica, and called for government officials, educators, volunteers, and citizens, to reach out to young people and work to create a better, brighter and more hopeful future for all.

missing-shante-skyers.jpgPolice have discovered a body which is believed to be that of eight-year-old Shante Skyers, who has been missing for nearly a week.

The Corporate Communication Unit, the information arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, has confirmed that a body has been found in bushes near the girl's home in Sterling Castle, Red Hills, St Andrew.

"A police team is now on location, and are waiting for the Scene of Crime investigators to come and process the area. We cannot confirm that is the body of the eight-year-old as we have to get forensic details to ascertain the identity, but it is believed that it may be the body of Shante Skyers," deputy superintendent of police Dahlia Garrick of the CCU told Loop News reporter Claude Mills.

Since last week, police as well as members of a family in St Andrew had been desperately trying to locate the eight-year-old girl who has been reported missing since Thursday in the Sterling Castle section of St Andrew.

The missing child identified as Shante Skyers is of dark complexion, slim build and about 116 centimetres (3 feet 8 inches) tall.

Reports from the Red Hills police are that about 7:00 am, Shante left home for school and has not been seen or heard from since. When last seen, she was dressed in her school uniform - a navy blue tunic, white blouse, and black shoes.

JLP's Ann-Marie Vaz wins Portland by election

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The Electoral Office of Jamaica says preliminary counting of ballots for the by-election in the Portland Eastern constituency is complete. The results are as follows:

Candidate Political Party # of votes

Damion Crawford PNP 9,611

Ann Marie Vaz JLP 9,917

The voter turnout was 53.7 per cent. The voter turnout for the Portland Eastern constituency in the 2016 General Election was 43.93 per cent.

The final counting of votes will begin tomorrow, Friday, April 5 at the Port Antonio High School starting at 10 a.m.

The British government is to compensate and formally apologise to persons of the Windrush Generation who were wrongly classified as illegal immigrants.

The Windrush Generation comprises British Caribbean citizens who migrated to the United Kingdom, UK from the Commonwealth following the second World War, and whose rights were guaranteed in the Immigration Act of 1971.

Earlier today the UK Guardian reported that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced that the government will pay up to 200 million pounds in compensation to those whose lives were negatively affected by the classification.

Following the announcement, British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad says while no amount of money can erase the pain, he hopes it will help in some way.

Noting that the claim period will span over 2 years, he says persons who are eligible may submit a claim via email to

Danville Walker has decided to move on from the Jamaica Observer and pursue other interests.

The vacancy created by Walker's departure will be filled by renowned Caribbean broadcaster, journalist, and media manager Julian Rogers.

He takes up the post as managing director tomorrow fresh from Guardian Media Limited where, as managing editor, he oversaw a major redevelopment of its 102-year-old Trinidad Guardian, CNC3-TV and TBC Radio Network.

He is perhaps best known as the host and producer of the weekly Talk Caribbean show, among other programmes, with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union.

His expertise has been in developing market leaders in several countries across the region where he has served as manager, from Antigua and Barbuda to Barbados to Trinidad and Tobago.

As a media trainer, Rogers has guided the growth of multiple talents in broadcasting and journalism across the Caribbean. He was appointed a Member of the British Empire by The Queen, on the recommendation of the Government of Barbados, for his 50-year contribution to the field of broadcasting.

He was also honoured by The University of the West Indies' television service, UwiTV, for a lifetime of service in the cause of regional integration through media, information and communication.

Walker, who was managing director of the Jamaica Observer and Appliance Traders Ltd, met with staff Monday and told them of his decision.

He said he was "closing an exciting and rewarding chapter" in his life with the Gordon "Butch" Stewart-led group and "will treasure the memories and lessons learned".

Walker said he was proud to have been at the helm of the Observer when it celebrated its 25th anniversary last year March and encouraged the newspaper to continue its fine tradition of highlighting issues of national importance as well as preserving Jamaica's democracy.

Walker served as director of elections and head of the Electoral Office of Jamaica from 1997 to 2008, the same year that he was named a member of the Order of Jamaica.

In 2004, the Government appointed him chief executive officer of the Office of National Reconstruction to oversee the reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.

In May 2008 he resigned as director of elections and was appointed commissioner of Customs the following month.

In March 2012 he was named managing director of the Observer.

Controversial entertainer Mr Vegas wants the man who impregnated internet sensation Mackerel, when she was 13 to be brought to justice.

The 18-year-old gained fame earlier this year after her videos about 'tekking people man' went viral, however Mr Vegas is looking on the issues at hand.

Speaking with social media on Friday, the "Heads High" deejay highlighted Mackerel's recent interview with the Entertainment Report where she revealed that she is a mother of a 5-year-old boy.

"Now do the maths, that means she got pregnant when she was 12 or 13, that means somebody molested her at that age," Vegas said. "So if this is an adult that molested this little girl, where is this person?."

"If this person is not in jail, this person is still out there and is still a predator because once a predator always a predator, so this person might be out there getting other little girls pregnant.

Mr Vegas then called out the authorities and Mackerel's parents to come together to speak about the issue and try to seek justice.

James Bond taking a Jamaica trip

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The world's favourite spy, James Bond is heading back to Jamaica.

Jamaica has become synonymous with 007 as the island featured heavily in the first ever Bond film back in 1962, Dr No.

Who could forget that famous scene with actress Ursula Andress emerging from the water (now Laughing Waters) in her iconic bikini?

Jamaica was also the chief setting for the debut outing of Roger Moore in the 1973 film, Live and Let Die.

And now according to The Daily Mail in the UK, the island will feature in the newest Bond movie, Bond 25, due to be released in UK cinemas on April 8, 2020.

Jamaica is a fitting location for the 25th edition in the film series, given that it's actually Bond's birthplace. All 13 James Bond novels were written in Oracabessa, St Mary, and author Ian Fleming called Jamaica his home.

We even have a James Bond beach!

Other parts of the film are being shot in Norway and the UK, and reportedly Italy and Greece will feature too.

But the bad news is that Bond 25 will be the final film with Daniel Craig in the role of 007, his fifth in total.

Capleton walks free; rape charge dismissed

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capleton-photo-1.jpgThe entertainment fraternity is even now celebrating with veteran dancehall artiste Capleton, whose rape charge was dismissed Wednesday afternoon during a committal proceeding in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court. After nearly one year of going to court and losing perhaps millions of dollars in concert earnings, not to mention the stain on his reputation, the artiste is now a free man.

His management team is in a jubilant mod as they acknowledge that the artiste has been vindicated. Capleton has always maintained his innocence and there have been charges that they police did not investigate the case properly before arresting the Rastafarian reggae artiste.

He has had several court appearance between last year May and now, and had been to court a total of three times since this year.

Each time Capleton has appeared in court, the female who has accused him of rape has never been present.

It was in May 2018 that detectives assigned to the Centre for Investigation Sexual Offence and Child Abuse (CISOCA) arrested and charged the popular 51 year old entertainer for rape.

Reports from the police are that on Saturday, April 28 at about 11:20 am, Bailey reportedly hired a female hairdresser to groom his hair at a hotel in the New Kingston area. While at the hotel, it is reported that he forcibly had sexual intercourse with the female.

The matter was reported to the police and an investigation launched. Bailey was subsequently charged after a question and answer interview was conducted in the presence of his attorney.

Since the incident, the attorney representing the international reggae artiste has refuted the claims and accused the female of trying to extort his client.

When Capleton last appeared in court, he had his bail extended and a new mention date was scheduled after the court had been told that the case file was incomplete

Education ministry audit ongoing

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ruel-reid-photo-1.jpgReports are that a performance audit of the Education, Youth and Information Ministry by the Auditor General's Department (AGD) is to be completed by next month.

The scope of the audit, which can be found on the AGD's website, said it will provide an indication as to whether the selected public entities procurement and contracts management activities were conducted to attain value for money (which encompasses the achievement of economy, efficiency and effectiveness).

The audit will also seek to assess compliance with applicable procurement guidelines at the ministry.

The AGD said that in scoping the study, it has considered carefully how the audit will contribute to its wider strategic aims to promote improvements in the use of public funds through better governance and resource management.

The results of the audit will come on the heels of the resignation of Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid this morning.

JTA shocked by Ruel Reid's resignation

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ruel-reid.jpgThe Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has expressed shock at this morning's sudden resignation of Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid.

In a statement a short while ago the JTA said it is surprised by the "sudden resignation" and as a critical stakeholder it will continue to monitor the development within the ministry as "education is too important a sector to be shrouded in alleged corruption".

It added that it will remain vigilant and responsible in the best interest of the sector.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement this morning after having met with Reid regarding what he described as "certain allegations in the public domain".

Holness said that in keeping with the principles of good governance he requested that Reid submit a resignation letter, which was subsequently received.

Reid has also resigned from the Senate.

Ruel Reid was asked to resign

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ruel-reid-photo-2.jpgPrime Minister Andrew Holness says he asked Ruel Reid to resign to clear the way amid an investigation into allegations of corruption at the Ministry of Education Youth and Information.

In a statement, Holness said that in keeping with the principles of good governance, he requested and received Reid's resignation as Minister.

He also resigned from the Senate.

The development comes a day after The Gleaner reported that the Auditor General's Department is currently undertaking a performance audit of the ministry.

On Monday, the parliamentary Opposition revealed that it has reports of misuse of public funds and corruption at the education ministry and suggested that it was equivalent to the scandal uncovered at Petrojam, the state-owned oil refinery.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, speaking during a post-Budget press conference, said the allegations are related directly to Caribbean Maritime University and the use of funds sent to the ministry by the HEART Trust for the Career Advancement Programme as well as the Technical, Vocational, Educational and Training (T-VET) Rationalisation Project.

Full Statement

This morning I met with Minister Ruel Reid regarding certain allegations in the public domain.

In keeping with the principles of good governance, I requested and received Minister Reid's resignation.

Minister Reid has also resigned from the Senate.

The Minister's resignation will ensure that any investigation into matters of concern will not be in any way impeded by his presence or oversight of the Ministry.

The Ministry of Education Youth and Information will now fall under the temporary supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister which will start its own review of the ministry and its agencies.

Still using scandal bags? You could be fined

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plastic-bags.jpgSome persons are ignoring the plastic bag ban implemented by the government three months ago, which seeks to eliminate the use of single use plastic bags. This is supposedly an environmentally friendly move, but, the truth is that most persons were just not prepared for it.

As the ban takes effect, some retainers are crying for loss of sale, as persons who come to purchase food items either buy less or not at all.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is warning that the time for allowances has expired and is not taking any excuses, they are out to prosecute those offenders.

Chief executive officer of NEPA Peter Knight emphasises that people and entities which continue to use the banned bags are in breach of the Trade Act and the Natural Resources and Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act.

The ban prohibits the importation, manufacture and distribution of all single-use plastic carrier bags of 24 inches by 24 inches and below. This includes bags commonly called scandal bags, mainly used in the retail and wholesale sectors.

The ban also extends to plastic drinking straws and expanded polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as Styrofoam™.

Knight says NEPA will have to determine the source of the plastic bags which are still in use by some vendors and retailers. "The vendors I don't think are importers of plastic bags, so is there an illegal operation going on where bags are getting to vendors, and that we will have to investigate," he stated.

US marine found dead in Jamaica

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crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgThe police are reporting that the body of a 63-year-old United States Marine veteran was found in an apartment in Unity Hall, St James last week.

The body of Eric Washington was found about 4:15 pm after reports of a foul smell emanating from the apartment.

Officers from the Anchovy Police Station were subsequently summoned and on their arrival the body was removed to the morgue and is now awaiting a post mortem examination.

buju-banton-on-instagram-and-thank-you-one-more-time.jpgAfter his sold-out concert at the Naional Stadium on Satuday, Buju Banton on Sunday evening posted a series of pictures to his IG account and thanked his fans for the over-the-top support.

There are no official numbers in as yet, but critics say that there were more than 35 thousand persons inside the venue to watch what was surely history in the making.

The fans also thanked him in their comments:

I love you Buju, I am so proud of you, you have returned honey with vengeance, I pray for you to be restored, very yrs that was stolen.

The show sounds great sorry I won't be able to go. But have a great tour🇹🇹

Man mi hop skip and jump just fi watch #Longwalktofreedom, but no lie mi woulda dweet again 10 times over. All now mi can't stop sing because a Gargamel riveting show set. If it did badda more than that it woulden nice. What a show man!!!! Massi fadda all next year mi a review it. When you #LiveandloveJah anything is possible.

Mighty #Longwalktofreedom indeed mi bredda. #Bujufan4life

Buju Banton on Instagram: "... AND THANK YOU ONE MORE TIME!"

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Buju Banton (@bujuofficial) on

Police awaiting medical report from Markus

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police-station.jpgThe police say that although Markus Myrie, the son of Mark "Buju Banton" Myrie, has filed a report against his father alleging that he was assaulted, they cannot moved on the case until they receive an official medical report.

Persons have been saying that the police are ignoring the report because of who Buju is and what he represents.

"The police man dem nah go lock up Buju. Buju too big fi that. All dem want a couple VIP ticket to di concert," was the sentiment expressed by many persons who are ignorant of the law

This is standard procedure and has nothing to do with the accused, the police say in their defence.

Even though the report has been filed, there are procedural things that have to be done. His son, who said he was assaulted, was sent to seek medical attention. That part has to be satisfied. He has not returned yet," Leighton Gray, superintendent in charge of the St Andrew North Police is quoted as saying.

buju-banton-photo-10.jpgThe Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica COnstabulary Force, is reporting that Markus Myrie, the producer son of Buju Banton filed a police report on the March 14, alleging that he was assaulted by his father. The police report say that Markuswas called to a meeting by his father, which was also attended by two other persons. There is lots of speculation now concerning who, exactly, those persons were and what was the nature of the meeting. Names have been called, but so far, the identities of the persons have not been revealed.

The police report further states that Buju Banton allegedly grabbed his son by the throat, before punching him in the mouth. He then pushed him against a wall, where he continued squeezing his throat.

Markus had promised to report his father following the confrontation, which led to him taking out his frustrations on Instagram last week Thursday night. In the now-deleted posts, Markus called his father a coke-head, a b@$$yman and said that Buju should be sent back to prison.

Buju has not responded, just like how Tony Rebel did not respond when his daughtrer Davianah used social media to lash out at him in the most savage way.

Canadian man, 68, vanishes in Jamaica

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A 68-Canadian man has been reported missing in Jamaica. Irie Jam News understands that the missing person - David Aarons stepped into the balmy Jamaican night and vanished.

According to reports Aarons who hails from Whitby in Canada was staying at a hotel in Kingston.

He was last around 9:15 p.m. on Monday in front of the hotel.

Cops say that efforts to find the missing man have been futile.

crime-scene-gun.jpgThe police have released the names of victims of three separate killings in Montego Bay, St James, which followed closely on the heels of a deadly robbery in the parish on Sunday. A man identified as 45-year-old Allen Walters, also known as "Beers", was shot dead in the tough Norwood community about 8:15 am.

Then about 45 minutes later, passersby reportedly stumbled upon the body of 24-year-old Kerry-Ann Campbell along the shore line of Fisherman's Beach. Her head was reportedly bashed in.

And, 38-year-old man Suneil Foskins of Bethel Town, Westmoreland was shot dead about 10:30 am in the community of Farm Hill, Montego Bay. The three killings followed the dramatic, suspected multimillion-dollar heist by heavily armed men on Jarrett Street that started to unfold about 8:00 am.

Reports are that the gunmen intercepted a marked security company vehicle that was being used to escort a minibus. Security guard Canute Earle, 61, of Norwood, and 41-year-old driver Floyd Wilson of Rosemount Gardens were killed in that attack.

Royal Caribbean looks to Jamaican workers

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Jamaicans work ethics has cruise ship Royal Caribbean making the request for more of them to be in their workforce.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson said senior executives of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), the second largest cruise company in the world, advised that they are in need of more Jamaican workers. Robinson was part of a delegation, led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, which hosted a high-level team from RCCL in Kingston last week.

Robinson revealed that the discussion with the top brass from the cruise line including the CEO who informed that the company really wants Jamaicans to start filling out many of those positions."

Robinson said it is no secret that the cruise lines have been very impressed with the kind of work ethic that Jamaicans have.

The 2023 Netball World Cup will held in South Africa as that country won the rights to host it.

It is a historic one for South Africa as it will be the first time the Netball World Cup will be held on the African continent.

International Convention Centre in Cape Town will be the venue for the matches.

Molly Rhone president of International Netball Federation said two exceptional bids were received from Netball New Zealand and Netball South Africa.

Rhone stated that it was an exciting time for netball and so says Irie Jam Sports.

donald-trump-photo-5.jpgThe United States will impose sanctions on foreign institutions helping to finance embattled far-left Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, the White House said Wednesday.

The measure, announced by President Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton, is the latest tightening of screws in Washington's campaign to force Maduro from power.

"The United States is putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network," Bolton said in a statement.

Trump is leading international pressure to have Maduro replaced by opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Washington recognizes as the official interim president.

The government is already trying to cripple Maduro's access to finances via sanctions on state oil company PDVSA and handing control to Guaido of Venezuelan bank accounts in the United States.

More than 50 other countries have recognized Guaido as interim president, but Maduro has powerful backing from Russia and China. He describes the US-led campaign against him as an imperialist plot to seize control of the oil-rich nation.

Years of hard left rule have transformed once thriving Venezuela

Portland by-election date changed to April 4

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The date for the highly anticipated by-election in East Portland has been pushed back to Thursday, April 4, while Nomination Day will now be Friday, March 15.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness had previously announced Monday, March 25 as the date for the polls and Friday, March 8, for Nomination Day.

The new date was announced by the Office of the Prime Minister via a press release on Monday evening.

When making the earlier announcement, the Prime Minister and, or his office, apparently did not take into account Ash Wednesday, a public holiday, which is being observed this Wednesday, March 6.

According to section 21 (1A) of the Representation of the People Act, a public holiday is an "excluded day". Under the legislation, Nomination Day must be held five clear days after the announcement, meaning this requirement would not have been met since Holness only announced the date for the by-election last Friday.

The by-election became necessary following the February 2 murder of Member of Parliament, Dr Lynvale Bloomfield of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP). The PNP has held the seat since 1989 and will be represented in the upcoming election by the controversial senator, Damion Crawford.

The governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) will be represented by Ann-Marie Vaz, wife of Daryl Vaz, the sitting MP for the neighbouring West Portland constituency.

Political pundits expect a battle royal as the JLP seeks to widen its slender three-seat majority in the House of Representatives while the PNP will be fighting to ensure it does not lose another by-election in less than two years. The South East St Mary seat went to the JLP's Dr Norman Dunn in October, 2017 in that by-election which followed the death of the sitting MP, Dr Winston Green.

Cops seek fake doctor

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police-cars.jpgThe police are reporting that Alicia England, a woman accused of posing as a medical doctor and fleecing individuals of hundreds of thousands of dollars, is now in custody.

England has been charged by Area One Fraud Squad detectives, as well as by personnel in the Corporate Area, for several offences including forgery, uttering forged documents, obtaining money by false pretence and breaches of the Medical Act, the police said.

She is scheduled to appear in the St James Parish Court on Friday, March 22, while a date is being finalised for her to appear in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

Investigators are now making a public appeal for other people who may have been a victim of the woman's scam to contact the police.

Individuals in western Jamaica may contact the Area One Fraud Squad at 876-952-0552, while other people may contact the Kingston office at 876-922-2374 or 876-948-5953.

jcdc-logo.jpgThe Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) is currently on an island-wide search for empowered young women who are intelligent, culturally-aware and poised and are seeking a platform to make their contributions to nation building. An agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the JCDC is seeking entrants for the 2019 Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition which closes on Friday, March 22.

"A signature programme of the JCDC, the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition focuses on leadership, appreciation of the role of women, culture, creative talent and community involvement has produced some outstanding queens who have continued to make a significant contribution to building 'Brand Jamaica' beyond their reign," said JCDC Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Andrew Clunis.

"This competition provides holistic development for all the young women who enter. These aspiring cultural ambassadors will receive training in speech and diction, poise, talent and business and social etiquette and will leave the competition ready to lead their peers in contributing to national development," Clunis continued.

With millions in cash and prizes to be won, young women, between 18-25 years old must first compete at the parish level, before the Grand National Coronation, which forms part of the Jamaica Independence Festival.

Clunis also noted that a major component of the competition is the social outreach aspect where the contestants are encouraged to give back to their respective communities by organizing social projects, which are always well received.

Since its inception in 1963, the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition has provided opportunities for outstanding young women to leave their mark on not only Jamaica's culture but all spheres of our nation's development. Some of the past queens include Dr. Marsha Barnett, Jennifer 'Jenny-Jenny' Small, Jacinth Hall-Tracey, Dahlia Harris, Krystal Tomlinson and Kaysia Johnson.

Entry forms and other details for the 2019 Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition can be accessed on the JCDC website at the JCDC Head Office at 3-5 Phoenix Avenue in Kingston or at any JCDC Parish Office island-wide.

Belgian man on cocaine charge

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charged.jpgA Belgian man has been arrested and charged after he was reportedly held cocaine at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James.

He has been identified as 55-year-old Jan Gerebern Kempen, a farmer of Belgium.

The police said Kempen checked in to board a departing flight to Brussels, Belgium about 4:30 pm on Sunday and during security screening, the cocaine was found concealed on his person.

The illicit drug has an estimated street value of $34,000.

Kempen was charged with possession of cocaine, dealing in cocaine and attempting to export cocaine.

He is scheduled to appear in the St James Parish Court on Friday.

Businessman arrested for lawyer's murder

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arrested -photo-1.jpgThe Constant Spring police have arrested and charged a St Andrew businessman with the murder of 49-year-old Gareth Forbes, an attorney-at-law, of Stilwell Road, Kingston 8, St Andrew.

The accused man has been identified as 30-year-old Kemar Marsden of Grosvenor Terrace, Kingston 8.

He has been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Reports are that on January 17, Forbes was found at his house with his hands and feet bound, lying in a pool of blood with gunshot wounds.

Subsequent investigations unearthed evidence that implicated Marsden; he was arrested and later charged on Saturday, March 2 following an interview in the presence of his attorney.

His court date will be announced later.

Investigations continue.

Sixty-eight-year-old David Aarons of Stratton Crescent, Whitby, Ontario, Canada who was staying at a hotel in Kingston, has been reported missing since Monday, March 04.

He is of a brown complexion, slim build and is about 167 centimetres (5 feet 6 inches) tall.

Reports from the New Kingston police are that Aarons was last seen at a hotel in Kingston about 9:15 pm. He was wearing a beige-coloured shirt, blue jeans pants and a pair of brown shoes.

The police said all efforts to contact him have proven futile.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of David Aarons is being asked to contact the New Kingston police at 876-926-3508, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

crime-scene-gun.jpgResidents of a St James community are mourning the loss of a young boy and a man who were murdered along the Windsor main road in the parish yesterday afternoon.

According to the police, Kuwayne Hemmings, 27, was transporting six-year-old Jordain Hodges on a motorcycle about 2:30 pm, when gunmen attacked them.

The two were shot several times and subsequently died.

The police said its St James Community Safety and Security Team is now working alongside personnel from the Victim Support Unit in Adelphi, St James to offer grief counselling to residents following the murders.

Investigators are assuring that they are following strong investigative leads and are appealing to residents who may have information to contact the St James Criminal Investigations Branch at 876-953-6191 or Crime Stop at 311.

20 guns seized at Port Bustamante

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guns.jpgPolice and members of security personnel at Port Bustamnate recovered 20 illegal weapons from a container sent from the United States of America.

The 20 firearms include 4 high powered rifles, one sub-machine gun, 9 pistols and 6 revolvers

791 rounds of assorted ammunition have also been recovered.

Investigators are continuing their search of the container.

Jamaican long distance record holder Kemoy Campbell has left hospital more than two weeks after collapsing during the men's 3,000 meters at the Millrose games in New York.

According to agent Ray Flynn, a procedure to implant an internal defibrillator (ICD) had gone "well".

The 28 year old Campbell, was acting as a pace-setter when he collapsed and fell just beyond the 1,000 metres mark on February 9.

He received treatment at the side of the track before being carried out of the stadium on a stretcher.

Campbell was released from hospital Tuesday.

crime-scene-gun.jpgDetectives in St Elizabeth have charged 53-year-old Henry Topping, an analyst of a Florida address, with the murder of his wife 49-year-old Moy-Lyn Williams-Topping at her home in Seaview district, St Elizabeth.

Reports are that about 6:45 am last Friday, Williams-Topping was leaving her home in her motor vehicle when she was shot by her husband.

She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead. The husband was arrested and formally charged with murder yesterday.

He is to appear in the St Elizabeth Parish Court on Monday.

Williams wants ZOSO in August Town

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Member of Parliament for St Andrew Eastern Fayval Williams is renewing her call for the implementation of a Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in August Town, following a recent flare-up of violence in the community.

Williams, who was speaking to journalists on Tuesday following the Texaco Centenary Anniversary press launch at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, said that residents have, in the past, repeatedly requested that a ZOSO be declared, and more recently after the killing of a man and the wounding of two other people on Sunday. That incident was followed by the firebombing of a house and shop on Tuesday.

Williams said both incidents are examples of the level of violence taking place in the community that recorded zero murders in 2016. August Town recorded 12 murders in 2017, nine of which were due to domestic violence. The murder figure for 2018 was not readily available, a representative from the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Corporate Communications Unit said.

"I am renewing that call... There is a lot of retribution; there are a lot of guns in August Town. I have to... congratulate the security forces, they are very responsive. But, as you are aware, where people hide guns are [sometimes] hard to find. Even though they have been arresting and taking out the bad guys, bringing them to trials, a lot of times the guns are not found.

"So, we just have a new crop of people who feel they ought to pick up where others leave off, in terms of the retribution, in terms of bringing mayhem to communities that are otherwise peaceful and where there are many law-abiding citizens," Williams said.

She first made the call a year ago following the shooting death of a correctional officer in the community. The MP had said then that she would be writing to Prime Minister Andrew Holness to request a ZOSO for the area.

The police imposed a curfew in sections of August Town in its St Andrew Central Division.

The curfew began on Tuesday at 6:00 pm

The boundaries of the curfew are as follows:

North: Along an imaginary line about 925 metres from the large upstairs house on the hillside in Goldsmith Villa to the intersection of August Town Road and University Road;

East: Along an imaginary line about 768 metres from the intersection of August Town Road and University Road to May Lane;

South: Along an imaginary line about 720 metres from May Lane to Top Road;

West: Along an imaginary line about 1,000 metres from Top Road to the large upstairs house on the hillside in Goldsmith Villa.

During the hours of the curfew, people within the boundaries are required to remain within their premises unless otherwise authorised, in writing, by the member of the security forces who is in charge of enforcing the curfew.

Five people have been killed in August Town since the start of the year.

fada-fowl-on-instagram-you-are-all-invited-to-britishlinkup-25th-anniversary.jpgPopular music promoter 'Roy Fowl' or 'Father Fowl' was in the midst of planning a party for his British Link Up anniversary when he was shot and killed near Half Way Tree, in St Andrew Saturday night. Jis many friends have since taken to social media to express their shock and offer their condolences.

Reports are that this was a hit and that it was not the first time that an attempt had been made on his life.

'Roy Fowl', real name Owen Clarke, 62, was the leader of an international drug ring for several years.

In June 2004 he was found guilty in the United Kingdom of producing, supplying and possessing crack cocaine and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The sentence was reduced by two years after his appeal.

'Father Fowl' was also the man behind the popular party series 'British Link Up'.

The Half Way Tree Police reports that shortly before midnight Clarke was a patron at a party when armed men travelling on motorcycles opened fire hitting him several times.

He was pronounced dead at hospital.

fada fowl on Instagram: "You are all invited to #Britishlinkup 25th Anniversary. You will be entertained by Stone Love, Exclusive, Boom Boom, Andrew Fresh from..."

The Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) has ruled that Roselee Scott Heron, former manager for Human Resource Development & Administration at the state-owned oil refinery, Petrojam, was unjustifiably dismissed on December 23, 2016.

As a result, the IDT ruled further that she be paid compensation equivalent to one year's salary. The ruling was handed down on Monday.

The evidence presented to the Tribunal was that Mrs. Scott Heron was called into a meeting with Petrojam's General Manager Floyd Grindley, at which she was informed that her employment would be terminated with immediate effect.

That post was subsequently filled by Yolande Ramharrack.

Mrs Scott Heron told the tribunal that no reason was given for her dismissal.

The attorneys representing Petrojam told the IDT panel that the termination of her employment was as a result of Mr. Grindley's dissatisfaction with her performance and Mrs Scott Heron's inability to manage her portfolio.

Mr. Grindley himself had been on the job only one month at the time of the termination.

The attorneys for the company admitted that the procedures in relation to due process and the processing of Mrs Scott Heron's termination were not adhered to.

Mrs Scott Heron's attorneys maintained that their client was unjustifiably dismissed as, prior to her termination, neither Mr. Grindley nor any member of staff at Petrojam expressed dissatisfaction with her work.

The Ministry of Labour referred the matter to the IDT after conciliatory efforts both at the local and Ministry levels failed to arrive at a settlement.

The IDT noted that Mrs Scott Heron was not advised of any failure on her part that justified her dismissal, and that the reason stated in her letter of termination was that it was "pursuant to the termination clause in [her] contract."

The Tribunal said, following its deliberations, it concluded that "to terminate an employee's service in this manner was not only in breach of the Labour Relations Code and the Rules of Natural Justice, but was also unfair, unreasonable, and unjustifiable."

Teen girl held with gun in Spanish Town

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shocked.jpgA teenage girl was taken into custody by officers assigned to the St Catherine North Police Division in relation to a firearm seizure on Wellington Street, Spanish Town, St Catherine last night.

Reports are that about 11:50 pm, lawmen were in the area when the teenager aroused their suspicions.

She was accosted, searched and a Browning 9mm was found in a bag she was carrying. She was subsequently taken into custody; however, her identity is being withheld pending investigations.

hands-behind-bars.jpgA 38-year-old Jamaican from the central parish of Manchester, who fled from customs officers at Bermuda's international airport before they found heroin worth three-quarters of a million US dollars in his luggage, was jailed for 18 years by a Supreme Court judge on Wednesday.

Omar Davy claimed that he was forced to bring two packages to the island from Canada after threats were made against himself and his family. But on Monday the 11-person jury unanimously found Davy guilty of drug importation, possession of heroin with intent to supply and the obstruction of a customs officer, taking just half an hour to reach its verdict.

Delivering the sentence on Wednesday, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves noted the jury delivered the verdict in "record time". He added that a strong message must be sent to dissuade others who seek to profit from bringing drugs into the island.

Prosecutors alleged that Davy smuggled 220.88 grams of heroin -- worth up to US$765,700 to the island on July 10 last year.

The court heard that Davy, who said he worked from home as an architectural draughtsman, arrived at L F Wade International Airport on a flight from Toronto and was selected for a secondary search. As his bags were being searched, a drug-sniffing dog indicated that he had an illegal substance on him.

The search of his bags found nothing, but when the customs officer went to see her superior, Davy was seen on close-circuit television taking an object from the back of his trousers and stashing it in the searched bag.

Questioned by the customs officer, Davy said he had to deal with a traffic ticket in Bermuda and that he planned to stay with his girlfriend while on the island.

Davy later ran out of the airport and led customs officers on a foot chase. He was able to flag down a truck, but a security guard on a motorcycle stopped the truck and Davy was arrested.

Davy told the court that the day before his flight he was abducted by a group of men at gunpoint over money he owed to a Jamaican don.

He told the court the men beat him until he could barely stand and choked him unconscious.

Davy said he agreed to bring a package to Bermuda with him after the men threatened to kill him and his family members in Jamaica.He said he had no idea what was in the package, and ran out of the airport because he panicked. But prosecutor Alan Richards said Davy's story was a "movie script" made up in the hope of escaping a conviction.

He said a police officer present during a strip search of Davy hours after his arrest saw no bruises, cuts or swelling.

August Town under curfew

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curfew-in-areas-of-west-kingston.jpgThe police have imposed a curfew in sections of August Town, Kingston 7 in the St Andrew Central Division.

The curfew begun last evening at 6:00 pm and will remain in effect until this Thursday, at 6:00 pm. The boundaries of the curfew are as follows:

North: Along an imaginary line about 925 metres from the large upstairs house on the hillside in Goldsmith Villa to the intersection of August Town Road and University Road;

East: Along an imaginary line about 768 metres from the intersection of August Town Road and University Road to May Lane;

South: Along an imaginary line about 720 metres from May Lane to Top Road;

West: Along an imaginary line about 1000 metres from Top Road to the large upstairs house on the hillside in Goldsmith Villa.

During the hours of the curfew, all persons within the boundaries are required to remain within their premises unless otherwise authorised in writing by the member of the security forces who is in charge of enforcing the curfew.

Two held for beheading of 59-y-o woman

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crime-scene-knife.jpgTwo men are in police custody in connection with the beheading of a woman in Clark's Town, Trelawny on Thursday.

They were detained on Friday and are to be questioned this weekend.

The police report that the mutilated body of 59 year old Valerie Thompson, of Hampshire Lane in Clark's Town was found about 12 hours after she left home for her farm.

The police say it also appears she was sexually assaulted.

According to reports, relatives last saw Miss Thompson about 8:30 Thursday morning and when she did not return in the afternoon, members of her family became worried.

Several calls to her cell phone went unanswered.

A report was made at the Clark's Town police station and a search launched , her body was found in bushes with multiple chop wounds.

US company - Payless ShoeSource has announced plans to close all of its 2,100 remaining stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, joining a list of several other stores have closed down in the last year.

On Friday, the chain said it will hold liquidation sales starting Sunday and wind down its e-commerce operations.

However, the company said in an email that the liquidation doesn't affect its franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual.

Concerning the stores in the US, they will remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May.

Payless filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization.

At the time, it had over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. It remerged from restructuring four months later with about 3,500 stores and eliminated more than $435 million in debt.

ganja-use.jpgUS presidential hopeful Kamala Harris is facing criticisms from her father for attributing her support for the legalisation of marijuana to her Jamaican heritage.

"Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?" Harris had responded when asked if she smoked marijuana during an interview on the Breakfast Club in New York last week.

The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful acknowledged, too, that she has smoked marijuana and inhaled, a subtle jab at former US President Bill Clinton, who said he smoked the drug but did not inhale.

She suggested that her Jamaican father's side of the family would be disappointed in her if she did not support the legalisation of marijuana.

But, according to the news website Jamaica Global Online, Donald Harris has "categorically" dissociated himself and his family from "this travesty" and slammed his daughter for stereotyping her heritage for political gain.

"My dear departed grandmothers, as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family's name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not, with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics," the website quoted the elder Harris as saying in a statement.

"Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty," he said.

Man killed in August Town identified

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crime-scene-gun.jpgThe man who was killed this morning in August Town, eastern St Andrew has been identified.

He is Andrew Marriott, of a Goldsmith Villa address.

Marriott was killed after gunmen reportedly shot three persons in the community this morning.

A university student is said to be among the injured.

Following the shooting, the police descended on the community and cordoned off a section of a road in an area known as Angola or Goldsmith Villa.

The eastern St Andrew community has been experiencing outbreaks of violence since the start of the year. Three people were killed in the community on New Year's Day.

crime-scene-gun.jpgDetectives are searching for clues in Wednesday morning's murder of businessman and fitness instructor Christopher Brown.

Mr. Brown was shot at a gym on Braemer Avenue in St Andrew.

Shortly after 6 o'clock, Mr Brown was about to enter the gym when he was attacked by two armed men.

He was the manager of several fighters in the Contender Series on TVJ.

It would seem that the government had intended to keep secret the fact that it had worked out a settlement with Yolande Ramharrack, the former Human Resource Manager at the state owned oil refinery Petrojam.

It had already been revealed that a confidentiality clause in the separation agreement required that the parties not disclose the terms of the agreement.

With the documents now tabled in the House of Representatives, however, it has emerged that the parties were barred from even disclosing the very existence of the agreement.

The confidentiality clause also stated that the parties to the agreement should not disclose the negotiations leading to the agreement or the subject of the agreement, except if required by the Supreme Court.

The decision to enter into a non-disclosure agreement with Miss Ramharrack and the details of the financial payments to her on separation from her job have been shrouded in controversy.

The issue will again be the subject of Wednesday's sitting of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.

Person of interest held in Bloomfield's murder

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held.jpgThe police have have accosted a person of interest in relation to the murder of Opposition People's National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield.

The constabulary's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) said the individual is to be questioned and is not being treated as a suspect as the investigation is still in the early stages.

Bloomfield, whose death sent shockwaves across the country, was stabbed to death at his Passley Gardens home in Portland on February 2.

He is to be laid to rest on February 23, following a thanksgiving service at the Church of the Open Bible in Port Antonio.

Six confirmed dengue deaths

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dengue.jpgThe Ministry of Health says there have been six confirmed deaths from dengue fever as at February 8.

Five of those deaths occurred in Kingston & St Andrew and one in Portland. All the victims are children under the age of 14 years old.

This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister Dr Christopher Tufton in an update to Parliament this afternoon.

Tufton said his ministry has since February 8, classified 1,166 suspected, presumed, or confirmed dengue cases with dates of onset in 2019, while there were 1,023 suspected and confirmed cases in 2018.

"The weekly number of cases appears to be plateauing, while we need to wait for another two to three weeks to be sure, this is an encouraging sign," he told the House.

The minister said that the largest number of suspected/presumed/confirmed dengue cases for 2019 to date was notified from St Catherine, with 313 people.

This is followed by Kingston and St Andrew, with 177; St Ann 121; St Mary 75; St Thomas six; St James 54 and Clarendon 49.

A man who attacked his child's mother and cut her in the face with a pair of scissors after she ignored him when he asked her whether or not she loved him, narrowly missed being remanded for psychiatric evaluation in the St Andrew Parish Court last week.

Acting Parish Judge Chester Crooks after hearing the allegations told Domencia Campbell that he was going to revoke his bail and have him examined by a psychiatrist, but later extended his bail and warned him to stay away from the complainant.

But prior to extending his bail, the judge said that he found it unbelievable that the accused was now before the court for injuring his companion who had supported him unwaveringly when he was before the court recently and who had influenced his decision to give the accused a chance.

"You baby mother came to court and sat here religiously with you and it was because of her why I gave you a chance and that is how you repay her," Judge Crooks said.

On Wednesday when the case was mentioned, the court heard that on the day of the incident, the complainant was outside her house washing when Campbell said to her, "Yuh nuh love me," and she did not answer.

It was further reported that Campbell then told the complainant: "Mi wi stab yuh up seven times enuh," and she smiled.

Campbell, who was armed with the scissors then approached the complainant and stabbed her in the face and on her hand.

The man's lawyer told the court that the complainant had bitten his client on the chest prior to the stabbing.

pnp-headquarters.jpgThe PNP has hit out against the brutal gun murder of former councillor, Marjorie 'Madge' Morris, This comes hard on the heels of the violent stabbing death of East Portland Member of Parliament (MP), Lynvale Bloomfield, at his home in the parish.

The former PNP Councillor in St Thomas, was found murdered at her home on Albion Boulevard in Albion in the Yallahs area of the parish on Sunday morning.

Morris, 67, represented the White Horses Division of Western St Thomas on the St Thomas Municipal Corporation.

According to the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), residents heard explosions in the area and called the police.

"When the police arrived, her body was discovered on her kitchen floor in a pool of blood. That was at about 6:30 this (Sunday) morning," said a representative of the CCU.

arrested -photo-1.jpgThe woman arrested in connection with the abduction of the day-old baby from Victoria Jubilee Hospital last month will be placed on an identification parade on today.

Inspector Phillip Dodd, crime chief for the Kingston Western Police, said the woman was questioned over the weekend by detectives. She reportedly told the cops that the baby was given to her by someone in Spanish Town.

Charges are expected to be laid in the case later this week.

The woman was arrested last week when she visited the Registrar General'sI Department (RGD) in St Catherine to register the birth of the stolen baby. Officials of the RGD became suspicious when the woman gave conflicting information about the child and when she gave birth.

DNA tests were later conducted and these confirmed that the baby boy was the one stolen from Victoria Jubilee.

The child was handed over to his parents on Friday.

Parents of stolen baby hire lawyer Peter a

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Peter Champagne, the lawyer representing the family of a baby who was stolen from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston last month is to begin discussions with the management of the facility in relation to redress for the events which led to the abduction.

The police confirmed that the baby who was found in the care of a woman at the Registrar General's Department, RGD, in St Catherine is the missing child and the baby has been returned to the parents.

Champagnie has a mandate to officially contact the hospital "because they have a duty of care in relation to providing a safe place in terms of their patients and clearly, some went awry there."

He will also be paying close attention to the criminal proceedings against the woman who had the baby.

"My instructions are to watch proceedings in the criminal court in relation to the person that has been arrested in connection with the child who was abducted and to ensure that there is a smooth process and that justice is served," he said. The baby was taken from the hospital by a woman on the morning of January 9.

The management of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital has revealed that all the security personnel who were assigned to the facility during last month's abduction of a newborn have been removed.

CEO of the hospital, Colleen Wright, says new security protocols were implemented and are working smoothly.

The hospital and its security system came under the spotlight after the baby was kidnapped from a ward without a trace.

Immediately after the incident, the hospital's CEO announced that changes would be made to security arrangements.

Media exec Ossie Mills has passed away

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Jamaican media executive, Ossie Mills passed away suddenly at his home in Oklahoma, USA on Tuesday evening.

He was 58.

Mills apparently suffered a heart attack and passed away while being transported to hospital. He is survived by his wife and three children.

At the time of his death, he was reportedly president and CEO of tvChaz, a faith-based streaming entity.

The son of Salvation Army Officers, Mills was the last of six siblings. He attended the Wolmer's Boys' School in Kingston and was an accomplished Manning Cup goalkeeper between 1976 and 1978. He played an integral role in that school's 1976 Walker Cup victory.

Upon leaving sixth form at Wolmer's, Mills migrated to the United States and worked in media, management, marketing communications, content creation and distribution both for profit and nonprofit organizations in the Christian community. He was appointed to leadership roles in television, production, marketing, interactive communications and commerce development.

Mills served as an executive vice president at ORU from 2011-2018, where he took on the duties of executive director of Empowered 21, CEO of GEB America TV Network and vice president of marketing and communications.

Mills previously served as executive vice president of Inspiration Networks & Ministries.

Mills was also president/CEO of Belmont Mills Entertainment, which provided family content for networks like ESPN, A&E, Discovery, Fox Family Channel, Hallmark, TBN, FamNet, INSP and ION.

He was also a board member of Convoy of Hope and Next Generation Institute and served on the Forest Hill Council of Elders and the board of advisers for Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

He was a member of the National Religious Broadcasters, Direct Marketing Association and Empowered 21 Global Council.

Mills was reportedly awarded 3 Emmy Regional awards, 10 Telly Awards, 2 Cable Aces, 15 Angel Awards, 3 International Communicator Awards, a CBA Impact and Dove Award for his work in media.

Cops probe baby-stealing ring

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police-hat.jpgPolice investigations into the theft of a baby have widened to determine if there is a baby stealing ring in operation.Assistant Commissioner of Police, Devon Watkis says police want to find out if other babies are involved.

This, after the baby stolen from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital last month was found on Tuesday. The woman in whose custody the stolen baby was found remains in police custody.

Police say she is to face an identification parade as soon as arrangements are finalized.

The return of the baby follows nearly a month of intense investigations that spanned multiple agencies and parishes.

Police announced Thursday, January 7, that DNA tests conducted on the baby found in the custody of the woman in St. Catherine on Tuesday as well as the parents, confirmed with certainty that the baby is the one that was stolen in January.

The tests were done at the government forensic lab.

The baby remains in state care whilst the relevant procedures are completed.

The case came to light on January 9 about 5 AM when the mother who was a patient at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital returned from the bathroom to discover her baby who was born the evening before missing

An alarm was raised and it was borne out that the baby had been stolen.

The Kingston Western Police commenced their investigation and called on the public to remain alert.

A tip came on Tuesday, February 5 when officials at the Registrar's General Department notified police of a suspicious woman trying to register a baby. She was arrested and the baby placed in protective custody.

Canadian diplomats to sue Ottawa

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Canadian diplomats who suffered from mysterious health complaints while they were posted to Cuba in 2017 are suing Ottawa for taking too long to evacuate them and provide them treatment, reports said Wednesday.

Fourteen people, including current and former diplomats and their families, are seeking Can$28 million (US$21 million) in damages from the federal government.

All of them have been back in Canada for a year but still suffer from what has become known as "Havana syndrome," a mystery illness with symptoms including strong migraines as well as visual and auditory disorders.

According to CBC, which interviewed five of those affected, the first symptoms appeared in the spring of 2017 -- but they say that Ottawa waited more than a year before helping everyone.

Questioned on the subject on Wednesday while she was in Washington, foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said the safety of diplomats remained a top priority.

"I am not going to comment on the specifics, but I do want to reiterate that I have met with some of these diplomats and, as I said to them, their health and safety needs to be our priority and they have my true sympathy and concern," she said.

On January 30, Canada announced it had reduced its staffing at the embassy to about half as a result of the unexplained symptoms.

Stolen baby found - DNA test proves positive

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A DNA test has confirmed that the baby boy who was taken from a woman at the Registrar General Department (RGD) in Twickenham Park, St Catherine two days ago, is the same child who was snatched from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital last month.

The result of the test was revealed by police sources a short while ago.

The baby's parents -- Sinclair Hutton and his common-law wife Suzzett Whyte -- were asked to have the DNA test done after the police arrested the woman who attempted to register the child Tuesday afternoon.

The woman and the baby were taken into custody after she was unable to provide officials at the RGD with the relevant information required for registration.

Hutton and Whyte both told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that despite not seeing the child, they were optimistic that he was their son.

The baby was taken from the hospital on January 8.

5 confirmed cases of swine flu in Trinidad

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swine-flu.jpg(CMC) -- Trinidad and Tobago health authorities have confirmed a fifth death as a result of the HINI virus and urged people, particularly those considered to be within the "key at risk groups" to get vaccinated.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said that the woman, who was pregnant, died from the virus, also known as swine flu and hinted that the authorities were awaiting the results of blood tests from other fatalities.

Deyalsingh did not provide details regarding the pregnant woman but expressed concern that there had been a drop in people seeking the vaccine over the past few weeks after a media house ran a segment on the effects of the vac¬cine on pregnant women.

The Ministry of Health said that it has since received 20,300 doses of the influenza vaccine through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for distribution across the country.

The ministry said it was urging those persons at risk, namely children aged six months to five years, pregnant women, adults over 65 and persons with chronic medical conditions, to ensure they are vaccinated.

"The ministry will continue to closely monitor the supply and distribution of influenza vaccines to ensure that there is adequate supply to meet demands," the statement said.

The signs and symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of infections caused by other flu strains and can include fever, but not always chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, watery, red eyes, body aches and headach

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament suspended its meeting to hold an in-camera session with Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Sancia Bennett Templer in regards to the compensation package, which it has been speculated that the Government paid to former Human Resource Manager for Petrojam, Yolande Ramharrack.

Bennett Templer came under fire during the sitting from State Minister in the OPM Everald Warmington, after she told the committee that she could not disclose whether Ramharrack had received a compensation package

The permanent secretary said she had been advised by the Attorney General's chambers that there could be legal ramifications to disclosing the information openly

But Warmington accused Bennett Templer of being disrespectful to the committee, charging that she had been incorrectly advised. He insisted that there should be no in camera meeting, as the Government has nothing to hide in the Petrojam matter.

Committee chairman Mark Golding argued that the committee had a right to the information and that no confidentiality clause could trump the authority of the committee and the right to answers for the benefit of the public.

Warmington and Opposition Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips both shunned the in camera meeting and remained in the chamber as other members, led by the chairman, eventually agreed to meet with the permanent secretary privately.

A Jamaican man is now over $100 million richer after being presented with the latest Super Lotto jackpot cheque at Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew on Tuesday morning.He was the 17th winner of the Super Lotto from Jamaica.

Disguised in a grim reaper mask, with a light-brown overhaul and black leather gloves, the man, referred to as "A. Campbell" finally collected his cheque valued at $158.4 million.

Campbell took 54 days to present his winning ticket, but not before Supreme Ventures Limited, the owners of the Super Lotto put out advertisements in the media, urging the winner to claim the prize before the 90-day deadline elapsed.

According to Campbell, he fell ill after learning he won the Super Lotto.

He said, "I looked at my ticket and ran into my bathroom and said, 'I won! I won!' From the day I found out that I won, I've been sick."

"My head hurt me for three days because I was thinking so much. [Wondering] if what I've been longing for really come true. I had a belly ache for two weeks, sometimes I feel so much pain I forgot that I had won," he chuckled.

Campbell described his life as a struggle but said this will change with the winnings, with his first goal being to acquire a home

He said, "I want to get a house, I want to get a nice house. I haven't foundit yet, but I'll be looking for one soon."

Campbell, who purchased the ticket on Omara Road in Kingston, said he found winning numbers, of 10, 14, 16, 25, 27 and the super ball 5, from a dream and purchased the ticket for $200.

Mechanic commits suicide on hospital compound

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shocked.jpgThe police are probing a suspected suicide involving a mechanic on the compound of the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital on Friday.

The mechanic's death has brought the number of reported suicides across the island to approximately seven since the start of the year.

The deceased has been identified as 53-year-old Lenworth Smith of Retreat district in Claremont, St Ann.

According to police reports, passers-by stumbled on his body at about 2:30 p.m. and alerted them.

Upon the arrival of police personnel, Smith's body was seen lying on the ground under a tree with marks around his neck on the hospital compound.

A belt was also seen hanging from one of the branches of the tree.

The scene was processed and the body removed to the morgue.

Jamaican entertainment attorney, Lloyd Stanbury, has complained of unfair treatment at the hands of officials at the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and Tobago.

He posted on social media site Facebook that he was unfairly singled out on his way out of the twin-island republic after attending a World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) conference there recently.

Stanbury had given two presentations at the WIPO sub-regional meeting on copyright for Caribbean heads of Offices held in Port of Spain on January 28-29, hosted by the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Stanbury said he attempt to leave the country was marred by the crass and condescending attitude of an airline's representatives at the airport.

"What I experienced at the Piarco International Airport as I tried to board my flight back to Miami was nothing short of profiling, harassment and discrimination at the hands of Trinidadian representatives of American Airlines," Stanbury posted.

He claimed that having checked through security and outbound immigration he attempted to board a flight at the designated departure gate.

'As I am accustomed to doing, I tendered my boarding pass to the airline representative when my group number was called in an effort to enter the plane and take my seat. The airline representative stepped out and told me I needed to step out of the line and pointed out another representative so that I could be checked," he stated.

According to Stanbury, the representative questioned him as to the purpose of his trip, his occupation and what his job entailed. After answering the first two questions, Stanbury said he refused to answer anything further, and presented his resident alien card as proof of his legitimacy to enter the US.

However, the representative refused to look at the card and told Stanbury he was going to miss his flight if he refused to answer anymore questions. Stanbury claimed he was then taken into a side room where he was frisked and his carry-on luggage searched.

"While being searched I took out my mobile phone and made a call to the Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, as this was the entity responsible for hosting the meeting participants. I expressed my anger and disappointment that I was being detained, harassed by airline representatives and prevented from boarding my flight," he stated.

He said it was at this point when the officials overheard his telephone conversation that they relented and allowed him to depart the country.

"This was a most humiliating and embarrassing experience. I have since made a formal report to American Airlines to which I have so far received no response," he stated.

He said his hosts have promised to investigate the incident.

Shock as PNP MP Lynvale Bloomfield murdered

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crime-scene-tape.jpgThere was a trail of dried blood from the bathroom to the bedroom of murdered Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, his gardener has reported.

The gardener, who did not want to be identified, turned up at Bloomfield's Passley Gardens, Portland home about 8 o'clock this morning to cut the yard as usual.

He said on arrival, he noticed that the grille and front door were opened but he never found it suspicious.

According to the gardener, some time later, the helper arrived and after a brief greeting headed inside the two-storey house.

He said before long, he heard her screaming and he immediately dashed inside to find a bloodied Bloomfield lying naked in the bedroom.

The gardener also said the shower in the bathroom was running.

Senior police investigators from Kingston's Major Investigation Division have been in Passley Gardens since Saturday morning searching for clues into the murder. It is understood that the police have not identified any sign of forced entry. They have also reportedly discovered a black vest in a bushy pathway leading to Bloomfield's house.

In the meantime, as news of Bloomfield's murder spread, a massive crowd of People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party supporters converged near his home hoping to get a glimpse of the body.

However, the entire area was cordoned off by the police.

"It came as a shock to me," said Dexter Rowland, councillor for the Port Antonio division and Bloomfield loyalist. "When I first heard about the incident I was numb."

He described Bloomfield as one of the kindest, happiest most loving and caring human beings he knew.

"I spoke to him on Friday round at 3 p.m. I tried calling him Friday night, but his phone rang without any answer. I also tried to contact him again by phone this morning, but the phone rang unanswered, which was quite unusual," Rowland said.

crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgThe body of missing attorney William Hines has been found in a hole in the community of Orange Hill, located on the border between Trelawny and St James, law enforcement sources have confirmed.

According to reports, police investigators are still at the scene trying to remove the body from the hole.

Sources say investigators have not yet determined how he died.

His family members reportedly identified items of clothing belonging to the attorney.

His burnt out briefcase was also found beside a farm house near the sink hole where the body was discovered, a source close to the family has reported.

Hines, 65, had been missing since January.

babsy-grange-minister.jpgMinister of Culture, Olivia Grange, says Jamaica endorses the "Year of Return, Ghana 2019″.

The Year of Return, is an initiative of the Ghanaian government which is intended to encourage people of African descent to visit Africa.

Speaking at the Caribbean launch of the Year of Return in Kingston yesterday (January 27), Ms. Grange said she is content that the government of Ghana has opened the door for people in the African diaspora to return. She pointed out that Reggae music will play a prominent role in the celebration.

Ghana's Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Catherine Afeku said it was important to begin the Year of Return Programme for the Caribbean in Jamaica.She however added that Ghana is not paved with gold and persons returning will have to make a way for themselves.

The risk of elite footballers suffering sudden cardiac death is "much higher than previously believed", extensive new research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, revealed last year. The research shows the likelihood of sudden cardiac death in footballers is one in 14,700 annually

A study conducted by St George's, University of London, analysed more than 11,000 players over a 10-year period from the ages of 16-17. Eight died during exercise - six from conditions which went unidentified, and two who were diagnosed with the underlying condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and were advised against competitive sport.

Diseases that affect the heart muscle - cardiomyopathies - are silent killers. The first symptom can be the heart suddenly stopping.

Two years ago, St George's College skipper Dominic James got a seizure and collapsed just two minutes into a Manning Cup game. He got medical assistance on the pitch, but was rushed to the Medical Associates Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Wolmer's Boys' and Oberlin School communities are now in mourning, following the sudden death of former student athlete Calvin Kelly who collapsed suddenly and died while playing a game of football on Sunday.

Kelly, who went to Wolmers for sixth form from Oberlin, represented Wolmer's in football and was a member of the Super Cup-winning Wolmer's team in 2016.

Cardiac arrest is suspected but no autopsy has yet been conducted to ascertain cause of death.

Wolmer's Boys' High school football head coach Alex Thomas had been the assistant coach during the successful Super Cup championship run of 2016. Kelly was a first team member of the team that lifted the cup by clipping Cornwall College 1-0. The team eventually lost to Jamaica College in the Manning Cup finals that year.

"Kelly was the starting left back at the time. He had come to Wolmer's from Oberlin High and he spent lower and upper sixth at Wolmer's. He was jovial, humble, easygoing and got along well with his peers. He wasn't afraid to come and ask for help if he needed it. He didn't get a scholarship to go overseas, and he wasn't in the local Premier League but I had heard he was trying to go overseas to continue his studies," Thomas said.

More males please!

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The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) has been forced to reopen its call for submission from male poets for the national poetry competition organised in conjunction with Poet Laureate of Jamaica 2017-2020 Lorna Goodison.

This year's competition has been broken down into several categories, including the Michael Cooke Prize which is open to Jamaican male poets residing in one of the Western parishes (Hanover, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, St James, and Trelawny). However, the library explained that the uptake for this segment has been found wanting.

Director of Special Programmes at the NLJ, Abigail Henry, noted, "We received a healthy number of submissions to the other three prizes; however, there were considerably fewer entries for the Michael Cooke Prize. The decision was made to reopen the prize in hopes of increasing the number of submissions."

This prize, which carries a cash award of US$1,000, will now be open for entries until February 22. Submissions can be sent in via e-mail or delivered to the National Library in downtown Kingston. Meanwhile entry to the other sections has already been closed.

The Michael Cooke Prize for Poetry is in honour of the late Professor Michael G Cooke -- a Jamaican who, in 1962, became the first black person to hold tenure as a professor of English at Yale University, and was a notable scholar across international literary traditions. This cash prize is funded by the Poet Laureate to recognise talented Jamaicans with an interest in pursuing a career in poetry.

The other categories are the Young Writer's Prize for Poetry, which affords shortlisted applicants the opportunity to have their work appraised by staff and students of the prestigious and highly competitive Master of Fine Arts writing programme at the University of Michigan. The prize is open to Jamaican nationals between the ages of 17-25 who are interested in pursuing a career in the writing poetry.

There is also the Edward Baugh Prize for Poetry. This is open to an emerging poet under the age of 35 residing in the eastern end of the island (Kingston, St Andrew, St Thomas and Portland). This prize is being administered in partnership with the University of Virginia Center for Poetry and Poetics.

A section of Maxfield Avenue in St Andrew was currently blocked as residents protest the police killing of a 16-year-old boy in the area.

The boy, Ronaldo Smith also known as Raheem, was shot dead earlier this afternoon on Raphael Street, which is off Maxfield Avenue.

Details surrounding the killing are sketchy, however, the security forces are currently in the area trying to contain the situation. The Fire Department has also been called in to clear the blockage.

Jamaican living the US for 40 years wins NY lottery

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A Jamaican is today a multi-millionaire after becoming the winner of the second-largest Powerball Jackpot in New York Lottery history - $298 million. He is 56-year-old Brooklyn truck driver David Johnson, who left Jamaica when he was 16-years-old.

Johnson played the lottery on December 26, selecting the winning numbers - 5-25-38-52-67, and Powerball 24. He opted to take a single lump sum payment of $180 million which equals $114 million after taxes according to a statement from the New York Lottery. Johnson received his winnings on Friday at Resorts World Casino in Queens.

Johnson did not have to go too far to purchase the winning numbers as he worked across the street from Arnold's Service Station on Linden Boulevard where he bought the winning ticket for $5. He said he didn't realize he had won the jackpot until he was alerted by a co-worker.

"A friend of mine, a next driver for the company, called me and said 'Hey Dave! Somebody won the Powerball by the gas station,'" Johnson said. "I turned to myself I said, 'Aw that's not me man, that's not my luck.'"

He still didn't check his ticket until his friend called him a second time urging him to do so. He didn't realize he'd actually won until two days later on his way to work.

"I went to the store and gave the ticket to the clerk to check. He scanned it and said 'Congratulations.' "I needed to see it for myself, so I scanned and saw it read BIG WINNER," Johnson said.

He jumped up and down in the store when it finally sank in that he was the big winner. Now he has an attorney who will help him invest the money and take care of his family.

But he's going to have some fun too. Johnson said he will finally buy the red Porsche he's always wanted "so everyone can see me when I drive on the street."

His win marks the third consecutive Powerball jackpot win by a New Yorker in 2018. The New York Lottery is North America's largest and most profitable. It reportedly provides about 13 per cent of total state education aid to local school districts.

Power of Faith Church in Portmore robbed by gunmen

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robbery.jpgBishop Delford Davis and the members of his Power of Faith Ministries International Inc Church in Portmore, St Catherine, are left feeling powerless after gunmen struck early on Sunday morning. The thieves beat up and gagged a security guard at the complex before ransacking the bishop's office and taking various items.

"It was a very sad scene. Bishop Davis wept; he threw himself on the ground. (Other) grown men wept at the altar. It was a terrible scene," an eye-witness stated.

Reports from various sources indicate that the four gunmen entered the church compound and tied up and gagged the security guard on duty.

The men then cut the grill, ripped off the office door and ransacked the entire office before leaving with several valuable items.

"I am glad there was no life lost, but the gunmen took a lot of stuff from the office in the early morning," said a member of the congregation.

"We had a service (on Sunday), but there was no preaching. We had the singing with the choir, but the live service was not broadcast (externally, as normal)," explained the source.

"There is something seriously wrong in the country when gunmen can rob a church that does so much powerful and great works for the people," declared the ardent churchgoer.

buju-banton-photo-11.jpgIndustry talks continue as to who will be the supporting acts on Buju Banton's Long Walk To Freedom Tour.

So far, no artiste has been named for the four-hour long concert scheduled for March 16 at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Meanwhile, a retired history professor from the University of the West Indies, blasted Buju and his team for using the title of Nelson Mandela's autobiography as the name of the concert.

He accused Banton of appropriation and says that Buju, who was convicted for drugs should not compare himself to the South African freedom fighter.

buju-banton-photo-11.jpgBuju Banton's Early Bird Grandstand tickets for his highly anticipated Long Walk To Freedom Tour are officially sold out.

The limited grandstand early bird tickets were priced at $75US.

Last week, VIP Early bird tickets priced at $180US were sold out in seconds after fans from around the world rushed to causing the site to crash.

Remaining early birds tickets available for purchase include Bleachers priced at $36US, and General tickets priced at $100US.

Buju's Long Walk To Freedom Tour will kick off on March 16, at the National Stadium in Kingston marking his first performance in Jamaica since his release from prison.

The concert series will then see the Gargamel travel to Barbados, Trinidad, and the Bahamas.

Student goes missing from Meadowbrook High School

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missing-hannah-kay-nelson.jpgAn Ananda Alert has been activated for 14-year-old student, Hannah-Kay Nelson, of Scott's Hall district in St Mary, who has been reported missing since Tuesday, January 22.

She is of dark complexion and slim built, and is about 157 centimetres (five feet two inches) tall.

Reports from the Constant Spring police are that about 8:00 a.m., Hannah-Kay was last seen at her school in Meadowbrook, St Andrew.

She was dressed in her school uniform - white blouse, green plaid dress and a pair of black shoes.

She has not been heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Hannah-Kay Nelson is being asked to contact the Constant Spring police at 876-924-1421, the police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.

pnp-gen-sec-paul-burke.jpgFormer General Secretary of the opposition People's National Party (PNP), Paul Burke has disclosed that he was offered US$1 million (J$130 million) to successfully broker a deal between Venezuela and a consortium, of which he is a part, for the acquisition of the 49 per cent stake in Petrojam that is held by that country.

The Jamaican government holds the other 51 per cent stake in the Marcus Garvey Drive-based oil refinery.

Burke made the admission in an "amended letter" to Prime Minister Andrew Holness dated January 19 and which has been made public.

"In the interest of disclosure and transparency in this public matter, I have received no up-front payments, incentives or allowances of any sort, but stand to be paid US$1 million if I can successfully broker this deal. In this regard, I have an agreement to pay the attorney acting on my behalf in Venezuela, a success fee of US$400,000. I therefore and unapologetically, have a vested interest in this matter," Burke said in his letter.

The company on whose behalf Burke was reportedly working is listed as Cheriton Trading and Investments, with registered offices at 6 Cheriton Road, Kingston 2.

Burke and his consortium have offered to pay the Venezuelans US$55 million (J$7.1 billion) for their 49 per cent stake, while according to former PNP General Secretary Colin Campbell, another Jamaican company had offered the Venezuelans US$100 million for the shares. Campbell, in a column in a local newspaper, said it was noteworthy that the Jamaican government's offer of US$50 million to the Venezuelans, "strikingly resembles" the US$55 million that was offered by a local company.

Burke's amended letter to Holness, was also sent in the prime minister's capacity as energy minister. But, while stating his intention to clear up any misunderstanding in the letter, Burke appears to have deepened the controversy.

In his letter, he tells Holness that he cannot, at this time, make public the names of the other members of the consortium. He also said the consortium was interested in acquiring Petrojam from as far back as the first quarter of 2018 after members were told that the refinery was up for sale and that it would likely be snapped up by the Chinese.

According to Burke, he was "happily prepared to allow cyber experts from the OPM (Office of the Prime Minister), to have access to specific emails and contents, so as to verify and establish the authenticity for, among other things, dates and when members of the consortium first expressed an interest in acquiring Petrojam.

As to the Chinese entity to which Burke said the Jamaican government was interested in divesting its Petrojam shares, Burke said he will not mention the company's name. But the former general secretary said consortium members were of the view that "Jamaicans could and should own a major stake in this strategic entity."

"Let me also declare, that if the Government of Jamaica is not interested in purchasing these (Venezuelan) shares, this consortium of investors, at an appropriate time, will demonstrate proof and source of funds. The Jamaican public will then be able to judge, who is sincere and who are 'poker bluffing'," said Burke.

"Fortunately, or unfortunately, because this matter was never discussed on any of my phones, police intelligence would not have been able to pick up any information relating to this issue," Burke added.

He said the first offer was made in early November, 2018 and a final and revised offer was actually made on the November 21, sent to an attorney in Venezuela and dispatched to the Venezuelan Embassy on November 26. He also made public the offer letter written by him in his capacity as CEO of Cheriton.

He indicated that the letter was copied to Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, PNP spokesman on energy, Phillip Paulwell and PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson as well as relevant permanent secretaries.

Burke described Cheriton as being part of a consortium of investors with an "idyllic mix of talent and sufficiency of financial resources...".

He said the purpose of the letter was to "express the consortium's extreme interest in acquiring the republic's (Venezuela's) equity ownership in Petrojam."

Lawyer missing since January 5

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police-federation-logo.jpgSixty-five-year-old Williams Hines, otherwise called 'Baldie', an attorney-at-law of Greenside, Falmouth in Trelawny and Mona in St Andrew, has been missing since Sunday, January 6.

Hines is of dark complexion, slim built and is about 170 centimetres (five feet seven inches) tall.

Reports from the Falmouth police are that about 11:00 a.m., Hines was last seen at home in Trelawny.

He has not been heard from since.

His mode of dress at the time he went missing is unknown.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Williams Hines is being asked to contact the Falmouth police at 876-954-3271, the police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.

rihanna-photo-2.jpgPop singer Rihanna is about to make history as the first black female to head up a fashion brand at the world's largest luxury conglomerate, LVMH.

LVHM fashion house group owns Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy.

Rihanna's new brand under Louis Vuitton is expected to take the singer's last name, Fenty, which she uses for her make-up and lingerie businesses.

The line which is expected to launch in coming months will include handbags and accessories.

Fish released in gullies to fight dengue

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dengue.jpgWith the recent increase in cases of dengue-related illnesses and deaths in Jamaica, residents of Old Harbour in St. Catherine are one step closer to a dengue free environment.

This as some 1800 Tilapia fish, provided by the Ministry of Fisheries, were deposited into gullies in the community recently.

Noting that a sensitization meeting was also held in the community last Friday, where 24 bottles of mosquito repellent were distributed, Community and Public Relations Specialist at Jamaica Energy Partners, JEP, Mellisa Newman says the move is one step to successful mosquito eradication.

She adds that the fish will significantly reduce the number of larvae that exist in water settlements, such as gullies.

Noting the possible health effects associated with mosquito-borne diseases Newman says she hopes other organizations will play their part in creating a mosquito free environment.

She says a larvae count will be conducted in the upcoming weeks to assess the effectiveness of this environmentally friendly approach of reducing mosquito reproduction.

Good news as Jamaican appointed to Canadian Senate

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The Government and representatives from several organisations are celebrating the appointment of Jamaican born, Dr. Rosemary Moodie to the Canadian senate. Dr. Moodie who has distinguished herself in healthcare and community service, both in Jamaica, and her adopted homeland, was recently recommended by Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to be an independent member of the upper house of their parliament.

According to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, senator Kamina Johnson Smith, the appointment is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the partnership between Jamaica and Canada, and Dr. Moodie has been exemplary with her involvement in reducing social inequalities and health disparities, locally and internationally.

Senator Johnson Smith was among government officials, sector leaders and diplomats who gathered recently at the official residence of Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, in St. Andrew, to honour the Jamaican for her latest achievement.

In 2017, she was conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by the government of Jamaica.

Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson says the move is a source of very great pride to us, that one more native has excelled to an esteemed international body.

In making the announcement in December, to appoint Dr. Moodie to the senate, Prime Minister Trudeau says she and the other three new independent senators bring with them wealth of knowledge and experience, that will greatly benefit parliament, and all of Canada.

Central High student dies from Dengue

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dengue.jpgCentral High School in May Pen, Clarendon has implemented measures to prevent the spread of dengue fever at the institution after a student died of the virus.

Fourteen year-old Areel Foster died at Kingston Public Hospital on Wednesday.

Uvalyn Daley, Acting Principal of Central High, said several of the vector control measures had been implemented prior to Areel's death.

It was reported that Areel spent the Christmas Holidays in Portmore, St. Catherine.

On returning to her home in Clarendon, she fell ill and was later diagnosed with dengue.

She was admitted to May Pen Hospital then transferred to Kingston Public Hospital.

Areel last year represented Central High in TVJ's All Together Sing competition.

Miss Daley said grief counsellors visited Central High on Thursday to speak to Areel's colleagues.

She said students and staff were in a sombre mood.

Caribbean on Dengue fever alert

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dengue.jpgAs Jamaica records another death caused by dengue fever, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has called for health officials across the region to prepare for the possibility of a severe outbreak of the mosquito borne virus.

In a statement Thursday, CARPHA said the last major regional outbreak of dengue occurred in 2009.

It said, since then, the region has experienced two large outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases - Chikungunya in 2014 and Zika in 2016 -which are unlikely to reoccur soon.

CARPHA said disease modelling predicts that another regional outbreak of dengue may occur in the near future, adding that last year, Latin America showed an increase in the number of cases.

CARPHA has also pointed to the recent outbreak of dengue in Jamaica, saying that it has elevated the level of concern in other Caribbean countries.

The regional health agency is advising countries to implement enhanced measures to reduce mosquito breeding and prevent the spread of disease.

Research carried out by CARPHA and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization shows that drums and tyres are the main mosquito breeding sources in Caribbean countries.

Symptoms of dengue typically begin four to ten days after infection, and include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash.

This illness can evolve to severe dengue, characterized by potentially deadly complications, such as internal hemorrhaging, intense and continuous abdominal pain or tenderness and persistent vomiting.

Jamaica has recorded 79 suspected and presumed confirmed dengue cases since the start of the year.

Speaking at Wednesday night's monthly meeting of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton disclosed that Jamaica recorded 996 cases last year.

He said the Ministry of Health is making progress in controlling the dengue outbreak and it is expected that there will be a lull in cases by March.

TAJ prosecutes wholesaler

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Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) says it has prosecuted the operators of a wholesale in St Ann for failing to keep proper books and records relating to their business activities.

Proprietors of DAFA Wholesale and Retail Limited were fined $250,000 when they appeared before the parish court on December 14 following "intelligence gathering" by the TAJ's Intelligence, Investigation and Enforcement Unit.

The wholesale establishment was charged under Section 17 of the amended Revenue Administration Act (RAA) for failure to produce books, records and documents as requested.

In the meantime, the TAJ is reminding taxpayers that it is an offence not to keep proper books and records relating to their business activities, and failure to produce such books, records and do.

lawyer-gareth-forbes-murdered.jpgA man was shot and killed inside his St Andrew home on Thursday.

He has been identified as 49-year-old Gareth Forbes, a lawyer of Oakridge, Stilwell Road in Kingston 8.

Reports from the Constant Spring Police are that about 10:00 pm, a relative found Forbes unresponsive at his home and summoned them. On arrival of the lawmen, his body was seen lying in a pool of blood; he had been shot several times.

Other reports say his body was found with a bullet wound to the back and the hands and feet were bound.

Investigators say his dog and Toyota Prado motor vehicle were stolen.

The police are urging anyone with information on the murder to contact the Constant Spring CIB, 119 or the nearest police station.

The crime scene was processed and the body was removed to the morgue.

Investigations are ongoing.

Just over one month ago, attorney Nordraka Williams Burnett of the law firm Townsend, Whyte and Porter, died after being stabbed by her husband, who is a member of the Jamaica Defence Force.

Six high-risk inmates housed at Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre on South Camp Road in Kingston have been relocated to the Horizon Adult Remand Centre on Spanish Town Road. This is part of the additional security measures which have been instituted in light of the recent unrest at Fort Augusta. Following the stabbing of an inmate at the prison last week, other inmates took to social media in a live Facebook video raising several concerns including allegations that those in authority were violating their rights. In a statement Wednesday morning, providing details of the security measures, Rudyard Spencer, State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, said, following a health assessment by the institutions' medical team, three inmates were diagnosed as mentally ill and placed in single cells. Mr Spencer said frequent random searches will also be conducted and gate procedures enhanced. In addition, more staff will be deployed shortly to reinforce the inmate to officer ratio, he said. Regarding the use of mobile phones by inmates, Mr Spencer said all electrical outlets will be removed from cell blocks. He also sought to contradict the claims of ill-treatment, asserting that inmates are fed three nutritious meals daily, and their living conditions are sanitary. The enhanced measures were announced following a tour of Fort Augusta on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Carla Gullotta, Executive Director of human-rights advocacy group Stand Up for Jamaica, has urged the Ministry of National Security to take action following its probe into allegations by inmates at Fort Augusta.   The police and INDECOM are investigating the alleged assault of the inmate at the facility.    However, following reports that the inmates recorded their concerns in Facebook Live post, Stand Up For Jamaica has called for inmates to use legal means to voice their grouses.

JDF soldier killed in Mandeville

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crime-scene-gun.jpgA Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier was shot and killed by gunmen in Mandeville over the weekend. He has been identified as Gabe Reid. Information is sketchy at this time, but reports are that the military man, who is part owner of a car mart in the Manchester capital, was at his business establishment when he was approached and chased by a group of men. Several explosions were heard shortly after. The police were called to the area and a search conducted, during which the soldier was found in nearby bushes suffering from gunshot wounds. Reid was taken to the Mandeville Regional Hospital and later transferred to another medical institution, where he succumbed to his injuries.

held.jpgA Jamaican woman and a Bahamian man are in police custody in northern Bahamas in connection with the seizure of ganja and stolen items.They were arrested on Tuesday.

It is reported that the police and immigration officers went to an area on one of the Abaco Islands about 1 p.m.

They discovered a number of stolen items and 10 pots of ganja plants.

The 46 year-old Jamaican woman, who was found at the location, was taken into custody.

During further searches in the area, the police discovered 50 additional ganja plants.

A 44 year-old Bahamian man was taken into custody.

Second person killed in Westmoreland since 2019

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crime-scene-gun.jpgWestmoreland recorded its second murder since the start of the year following the gun slaying of a popular businessman in the parish on Saturday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Kevin Bird, 37, of Good Hope, Negril.

Reports are that about 4:30 p.m., Bird was among a group of men playing a table game outside a supermarket in the town centre of Negril, when two men rode up on a motorcycle; one climbed off and opened fire, hitting Bird multiple times.

The businessman was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No motive has so far been established for the killing.

Bird's murder comes on the heels of the New Year's Day killing of 48-year-old hardware supervisor, Anthony Meyler, of Rocky Hill, Sheffield, Westmoreland, and the shooting and injuring of a 33-year-old labourer of Fairmount, Sheffield in Westmoreland.

Meyer's licensed 9mm Heckler and Koch pistol was stolen during the attack on him.

Last year 142 murders were recorded in Westmoreland, six shy of the 148 that were recorded there in 2017.

Westmoreland led among the parishes nationally in terms of its murder tally last year.

court-case.jpgJoelle Clayton, the woman who abandoned her four-month-old baby in a car as she partied last month, will return to court next March. Clayton appeared before a judge on Tuesday after she was charged with child endangerment.

The infant is reportedly being cared for by Clayton's relatives.

Reports are that a passer-by saw the child inside the vehicle crying, and summoned the police. The police, in trying locate the parents, used a sound system at the party that was being held inside Sabina Park, Kingston, to call for the parents to come forward.

The police also broke the window of the vehicle in order to rescue the baby.

The child was medically examined and the vehicle towed.

Canadian woman killed in accident involving Munga

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munga-honorable.jpgDancehall entertainer Damion Rhoden aka Munga Honorebel, was involved in a fatal accident on Saturday morning, which claimed the life of a Canadian woman, Tashana Cumbermack.

The accident took place on the Mandela Highway, in the vicinity of Ferry in St Catherine.

Reports from Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force are that Munga was driving a Toyota Axio, about 5:50 Saturday morning, which crashed into a Suzuki Vitara. The Vitara, in turn, hit a bus in which Cumbermack was travelling.

Munga and one of his passengers as well as Cumbermack were rushed to hospital where Cumbermack was pronounced dead.

Munga is said to be in stable condition.

Police searching for newborn stolen from Jubilee

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police-cars.jpgDetectives attached to the Jamaica Constabulary Force are searching for a baby who was born on Tuesday but who was stolen from the hospital ward early Wednesday morning.

Head of the Constabulary's Corporate Communication's Unit, CCU, Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Dahlia Garrick, says the baby's mother raised an alarm after returning from the restroom to find that her baby was missing from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, where she did her delivery.

ASP Garrick is appealing to the public to provide any information that can assist the police in its search for the missing baby.

This is the second newborn to be kidnapped in the last 5-days. On Friday, a three week old was kidnapped at the Cornwall Regional Hospital after the baby's mother asked a woman who befriended her to watch the baby.

The mother reportedly went to use the restroom after leaving the hospital's pharmacy. The police found the baby on Sunday in Norwood in St. James.

The alleged kidnapper and her boyfriend were taken into custody.

PM Holness hails Accompong Maroons

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andrew-holness-photo-3.jpgST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) -- Prime Minister Andrew Holness, has hailed the Accompong Town Maroons in St Elizabeth, noting that their togetherness is a shining example of peace for the rest of Jamaica.

According to the prime minister, the Maroons have preserved the culture of their ancestors, using it as a guide to live in peace and harmony with each other, a standard that the rest of the country should strive to emulate.

Holness was speaking at the Accompong Maroons' 281st celebration of the signing of the peace treaty with the British and to commemorate the birthday of their past leader, Cudjoe, yesterday, in the Maroon village.

"Within this town, you may have about two to three thousand people, but I looked at the murder statistics and I don't see one murder in this town or in this area. In fact, the crime rate here is very low and it is not just today or last year or the year before. This has been the case from ever since, and there is a reason for that. You hold on to a heritage [because] you know that your ancestors, your forefathers fought for your freedom," the prime minister said.

The festival marks the victory of the Maroons in their first war against the British in 1738, in which they fought for their freedom, led by Cudjoe. This year's staging was held under the theme 'Advancing to the Future while Standing True to our Culture'.

The prime minister underscored that the unique and distinct Maroon culture has kept them apart from what he said is the "chaos and violence that may exist in other parts of the country".

"Your forefathers fought and earned the respect of their enemies... to the point where your tenacity, your relentless pursuit of your freedom led to the signing of a peace treaty 281 years ago. It means something to each and every one of you who claim the Maroon heritage. So, you are not about to allow that heritage to be disrespected by violence, killing each other. You have used that heritage to live together under a particular system of governance which demonstrates respect for your chief, respect for your elders and respect for the culture," Holness said.

In the meantime, the prime minister gave a commitment to the Maroons that the government will improve the infrastructure of Accompong Town to make it easier for visitors to travel to the historic village to experience the rich culture of the people.

"People travel when it is easier and seamless, so if you fix the road, more people will come, and if we support you with a little museum, so that the artefacts that you have can be properly displayed, more people will come," Holness said.

He further informed that plans are afoot to improve the water supply system in the community. The day's festivities included performances by Maroon cultural and folk groups and the Beeston Spring Mento Band.

Barbados recalls hypertension medication

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Health authorities in Barbados have announced the withdrawal of the Citron branded Valsartan after tests conducted by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). The Ministry of Health and Wellness said that the recall of the Citron branded Valsartan, along with Indapamide, was due to the "failure of both tablets to dissolve.

"This decision was made after testing was carried out by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and is not related to the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) recall," the Ministry of Health and Wellness said.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George said the authorities "will continue to monitor the FDA drug recalls for all categories of drugs and will make all necessary decisions to protect the health of the Barbadian public".

Earlier, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said it wanted to assure the public that none of the drugs identified in the December 31 recall of the hypertensive drug, Valsartan, by the FDA is approved by the Barbados Drug Service for sale in Barbados.

It said that the FDA recall is related to the discovery of an impurity believed to increase cancer risk. The branded products recalled are from a specific company and have been identified as Valsartan, Amlodipine-Valsartan and Valsartan hydrochlorothiazide tablets.

"The ministry has made it clear that all brands approved for dispensing in Barbados are FDA-approved and also meet local standards," the statement said.

Schools on high alert after dengue outbreak

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dengue.jpgThe education ministry has put school administrators on high alert in light of the dengue outbreak which the island is now experiencing, urging them to take necessary measures to protect the school population.

In a bulletin ahead of the reopening of school today the ministry has advised administrators to "free the school environment of mosquito breeding sites such as old tyres and containers in which water can settle, tins are punched with holes before disposing, and large drums, barrels and tanks holding water are securely covered".

The ministry has also advised that public health teams from the Ministry of Health will be visiting schools to ensure that the necessary measures are implemented.

Last week the health ministry told the country that the mosquito-borne virus had surpassed the epidemic threshold for the month of December, with 123 case reports.

At an emergency press conference Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton stressed that: "This exceeded the outbreak threshold of 96 cases for December - the first month for 2018 in which the number of cases exceeded the outbreak threshold. As at today, 830 reported cases have been classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed".

The ministry says it has implemented a number of response measures, including the extension of the enhanced vector control programme up to March 2019 to include the employment of an additional 500 temporary workers to identify and eliminate mosquito-breeding sites.

Opening hours for a number of health facilities have been extended to 8:00 pm, and an extended public education campaign is also being rolled out, with public service announcements regarding mosquito breeding sites, symptoms of dengue and personal protection tips being shared across media platforms, the ministry said.

August Town under curfew

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curfew-in-areas-of-west-kingston.jpgThe police have imposed a two-day curfew in August Town, eastern St Andrew, which has been the scene of multiple killings since start of the new year.

The curfew began Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and will end Monday at 6:00 p.m.

The boundaries of the curfew are as follows:

NORTH: Along an imaginary line about 500 metres from the hill ridge at Goldsmith Villa in the vicinity of a large upstairs building to the intersection with Payton Place and Mona Road.

EAST: Along an imaginary line about 2,000 metres from the intersection with Payton Place and Mona Road to the intersection of Silvera Drive and Bryce Hill Road.

SOUTH: Along an imaginary line about 200 metres from the intersection of Silvera Drive and Bryce Hill Road to Top Road.

WEST: Along an imaginary line about 1,500 metres from Top Road to the large upstairs building along the hill ridge at Goldsmith Villa.

During the hours of the curfew, all persons within the boundaries of the curfew are required to remain within their premises unless otherwise authorised in writing by the ground commander.

The international consultant recruited to lead a security audit of Jamaica's hotels and attractions is set to arrive in the island today. A release from the Ministry of Tourism today said Dr Peter Tarlow will arrive to join the team carrying out an intensive security audit of the tourism sector. The tourism ministry said eight properties have already been audited.

The arrival of Tarlow to lead the security audit comes in the wake of multiple claims of sexual harassment by female visitors to the island.

The audit of all hotels and attractions is being led by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO), as part of what the tourism ministry said are "efforts to ramp up the island's destination assurance programme".

"I look forward to welcoming Dr Tarlow to the island, as his visit comes at a crucial point in the development of our product. We must safeguard the key aspects of destination assurance such as security, safety and seamlessness of our tourism product," Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett was quoted in the release to the media.

"Dr Tarlow and the team will help us take a step in the right direction and provide insight in legislation that may be implemented to make the industry safer, as well as help us develop a new programme on how to better relate and interact with international guests," Bartlett added.

The security audit, which is to be completed by the first half of 2019, will identify gaps and ensure that the destination remains safe, secure and seamless for visitors and locals alike. Tarlow and the audit team are also expected to assist with constructing a new architecture for tourism ethics and visitor safety.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Senior Partner Wilfred Baghaloo, who heads the Tourism Working Group, which was recently established by Bartlett to conduct a comprehensive review of issues in the sector, will also be a part of the audit team.

earthquake.jpgThe Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Friday said an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 rattled three Caribbean islands, as the region recorded three earth tremors within a 24-hour period.

It said that latest quake, which occurred at 6:52 pm (local time) was felt in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and the French island of Guadeloupe.

According to the SRC the quake was located Latitude: 16.88N, Longitude: 61.15W and at a depth of 10 kilometres (km).

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but it was felt 81 km east-south-east of St John's, Antigua and Barbuda, 82 km north east of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe and 177 km north of the Dominican capital, Roseau.

Earlier on Friday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 rattled Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, after one with a magnitude of 3.9 shook St Lucia, Martinique and St Vincent and the Grenadines just after midnight.

Baby stolen from hospital car park

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shocked.jpgThe police are seeking the public's assistance in locating a missing baby girl and a woman suspected of taking her from the parking lot of the Cornwall Regional Hospital on Friday.

The baby is three weeks old, of brown complexion and was wearing a pink outfit with pink and black socks when she was taken.

Meanwhile, the suspect is said to be of brown complexion, medium build and is about 168 centimetres (5 feet 6 inches) tall. The police said she was wearing a wig and a multi-coloured dress at the time of the incident.

Reports are that the mother of the child was at the facility for an appointment when she was allegedly befriended by the suspect.

"About 1:50 pm, they both left the pharmacy at the hospital and ventured into the parking lot. The child's mother reportedly left the baby in the care of the suspect to use the restroom and upon her return, neither her child nor the woman was seen," the police reported this afternoon.

The police were summoned and an investigation commenced.

Anyone with information about the child and the suspect is being asked to contact the Montego Bay police at (876) 979-8452, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

A Jamaican boat captain died after spending 22 days adrift in waters off the coast of Nicaragua, while two other men who were on the vessel were rescued and remain in the Central American country.

Nicaragua media has named the dead captain as Joshua Strekley, 44 and said he has been buried there.

According to the report, the two survivors Clifton C Edwards, 43, and Reid Derreique Anthonio, 45 said they set sail from St Thomas in Jamaica on December 10, 2018 to the fishing bank known as Murrant Cay Saumont Bank.

The two explained that after travelling 30 miles out to sea, they were surprised by a strong storm that damaged the left side of their boat.

The fishermen said they were left without fuel and food until they ran aground on the Halouver coast, 30 miles south of Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua, where they received help from community members.

The residents reportedly took Strekly to the health post in the town, where he died and they decided to bury him.

The surviving fishermen were subsequently sent to immigration authorities for their return to Jamaica.

dengue.jpgKINGSTON, Jamaica -- The Ministry of Health is allocating an additional $250 million to support enhanced measures to contain the spread of the dengue fever virus.

Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, made the disclosure at a press conference held at the ministry's corporate offices in New Kingston today, where he confirmed that the virus surpassed the epidemic threshold for December.

Tufton said the latest figures from the Epidemiological Unit indicate that 123 dengue case reports (suspected, presumed and confirmed) were received for the month.

"This exceeded the outbreak threshold of 96 cases for December, and is the first month for 2018 in which the number of cases exceeded the outbreak threshold," he said.

"This has been a more active season than last year, and we have been observing and monitoring the numbers and increases with each month, but by the clinical standards could only claim an epidemic once the threshold is surpassed," Tufton noted.

He said that there were seven suspected and two confirmed cases of dengue-related deaths for the period January to December 2018.

A total of 830 reported cases have been classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed since January 2018.

Dengue Fever Outbreak In Jamaica

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dengue.jpgHealth Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has declared that the island is now experiencing an outbreak of dengue fever.

Tufton made the disclosure at an emergency press conference at his offices in New Kingston.

He revealed that 123 cases were recorded in December 2018.

The figure includes suspected, presumed and confirmed cases.

He said that the number surpasses the outbreak threshold, which is 96.

Tufton pointed out that December was the first time that dengue cases climbed beyond that mark.

Additionally, the health minister disclosed that in 2018 the country recorded seven suspected cases of dengue-related deaths.

Tufton said two of the cases have since been confirmed.

crime-scene-gun.jpgIt was not a happy sight in Payton Place in August Town, St Andrew, as news spread of the death of Omar Johnson, the country's first murder victim for the year.

It was only eight hours into 2019 when reports surfaced that Johnson was killed by unknown assailants in the community about 8 a.m. yesterday.

And just as persons were coming to terms with Johnson's death, two persons were shot and killed in the August Town Tuesday evening.

The police's Corporate Communications Unit confirmed the incident, but could not say when or where the shootings occurred.

One resident said that they were simply hanging out in the community when Johnson was killed.

"Wi a hold a vibes right yah so, and wi see two man a drag him dung the lane. Dem did a try hide the gun, but wi see it and tek weh wiself. After that mi just hear a shot and then mi hear dem a tear dung the bush and a go weh," the resident said.

Although saddened by Johnson's death, the residents are also convinced that Johnson's death may have been a warning for someone else.

"It's not like him is a yute weh involve in anything or have anyone weh involve in anything. Him is a handyman. If you have a fan to fix and him can do it, it a fix. Anything you want help wid, him a dweet," the resident said.

Johnson is not originally from the community, but he was welcomed by many because of how friendly he was.

Another resident said that they are now fearful because Johnson was killed innocently.

"Dis mek wi start pree di thing different yah now because a nuh yah him come from, and a nuh bad man thing mek him come yah neither. Him a look a betta life, and him have a place of his own yah now and him a do him thing. Him do him job and talk wid everybody. To mi, this is like a warning killing, and it just mean seh no one is safe now," the resident said.

Five Jamaicans are among several Caribbean nationals who have been pardoned by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The others given pardon include: one Trinidadian, one Haitian and six nationals from the Dominican Republic.

Convicted of minor drug and other offences, the pardon has saved them from possible deportation under the Donald Trump administration's tough policy on immigrants. Cuomo said he was granting clemency to 29 immigrants "who have demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation and a commitment to community crime reduction.

"While President Trump shuts down the federal government over his obsession with keeping immigrants out, New York stands strong in our support for immigrant communities," said Cuomo, adding "these actions will help keep immigrant families together and take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York".

The NY governor said the pardons are in recognition of the immigrants' "rehabilitative efforts and to remove the barriers that their criminal records present to their immigration status.

"Some are facing deportation, while others wish to be able to participate in their communities as citizens of the country they call home. In each case, a pardon will make immigration-related relief possible, if not automatic," he said.

Cuomo said Jamaican Olive Ferguson, 75, was convicted of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in 1991 and that "she has been crime-free ever since".

He said Ferguson is "an active member of her church. She has remained crime-free for 27 years. A pardon will minimise her risk of deportation."

Jamaican Rohan Hylton, 47, was convicted of a similar offence in 1992 as well as criminal possession of marijuana in in 2001 and 2003.

Cuomo said Hylton came to the United States over 30 years ago with his family "to escape political persecution.

"As a father and dedicated family man, he now lives and works in Queens. A pardon will allow him to apply for discretionary relief from his deportation order. He has not been convicted of any misdemeanours or felonies for 12 years."

Cuomo said another Jamaican, Kerrone Kay-Marie Parks, 33, was convicted in 2013 on drug related charges.

"She is a domestic violence survivor, a mother of three children on the honour roll, and currently volunteers full-time at a nursing home. She has remained crime-free for five years."

Jamaican Jeremy Grant, 58, was also convicted of drug related charges in 2005 "when an individual in a group he was a member of sold drugs to an undercover cop and the entire group was convicted in Manhattan," the New York governor said.

He said Grant "has been in prolonged removal proceedings since 2006," and "has remained crime-free for 13 years.

"A pardon would remove the barriers to apply for a green card renewal, and prevent him from being deported and losing his access to necessary medical treatment," Cuomo said.

He said Grant's compatriot, Trevor Elliot, 67, was convicted of drugs in the early 1990s and has worked at a non-profit that provides social services for the youth and as an elder care provider.

"A pardon would allow Mr. Elliot to apply for citizenship. He has maintained a crime-free lifestyle for 10 years."

Trinidadian Anthony Khan, 66, was convicted of a drug offence in 1980 when he accompanied an acquaintance to sell a controlled substance and was arrested as part of a sting operation in the Bronx.

Cuomo said Khan, who migrated to the United States in 1971, is "an active church goer and a husband and father, who has worked with the Taxi and Limousine Commission for 35 years."

He has remained crime-free for 37 years, the governor said.

Haitian Reginald Castel, 45, was convicted of assault in 1999 and Cuomo said Castel, who came to the United States at the age of eight, is married with four children and was deported without notice in September 2017.

"A pardon will allow Mr. Castel to apply for re-entry to the United States and re-unite with his family. He has remained crime free for 19 years."

Alisa Wellek, executive director of New York's Immigrant Defence Project, said that in pardoning immigrant New Yorkers who face deportation, despite years of contributing to the community, Cuomo "has used a powerful tool to restore dignity to people for whom punishment will otherwise never end, simply because they were not born here.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor's office and our Immigrant Clemency Project to provide immigrant New Yorkers with a fighting chance to remain with their families in the face of Trump's hateful agenda," she said.

Cuomo had last year announced a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's policy of forced family separation on the US southern border.

To protect Caribbean and other immigrants from overly aggressive deportation tactics increasingly utilised by the US Immigration and Customs.

arrested.jpgA St Ann based Chinese businessman has been arrested by the police after he reportedly stabbed one of his customers with a knife during an altercation last week.

Investigators reported that about 1pm, the cumer had an argument with another Chinese national in the store operated by the businessman.

The situation was brought under control by security personnel, but tempers flared again between both men.

It is alleged that the businessman used a knife to inflict a wound to the customer resulting in serious intestinal injuries.

He was rushed to the St Ann's Bay regional hospital for treatment where an angry crowd gathered outside the store to express outrage at the incident.

Man murdered in Dallas Castle

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crime-scene-gun.jpgThe St Andrew Central Police are probing the shooting death of a man whose bullet-riddled body was found in a house in Dallas Castle on Thursday.

Investigators say the unidentified male is of brown complexion, slim build, about 6ft tall and has a tattoo on his right arm marked "Mickella".

It's reported that during a power outage in the area, shortly after 7 o'clock Thursday evening, residents saw a man being chased by three men armed with guns.

He ran into a house where he was attacked and shot several times by the men.The cops who were called to the scene found his body under a bed.

Several spent shells and bullet fragments were recovered from the scene.

arrested -photo-1.jpgThe St Andrew Central Police have arrested a 17 year old boy for the Boxing Day murder of a 15 year old in the Springs Plaza off Constant Spring Road in St Andrew.

Maleek Brown,15, of Blackwood Terrace, Stony Hill, St Andrew, died from a stab wound to the chest.

It's reported that Brown was with his friends on the plaza when they got into a dispute with another group of boys. During the dispute, the teenager was stabbed. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The 17 year old was arrested in connection with the killing, following an investigation by the Half-Way-Tree police.

64-year-old attorney on fraud charge

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charged.jpgAnother attorney - Anthony Pearson, was arrested and charged yesterday by detectives from the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC) following allegations that he defrauded one of his clients of more than $3-million.

It's reported that Pearson sold a property on behalf of his client for $6.5 million and reportedly paid half of the money to the client, but failed to hand over the balance.

The 64 year old attorney, who has been charged with fraudulent conversion, is scheduled to appear in court on February 28.

He was released on bail amounting to $400-thousand.

No exemptions as plastic bag ban takes effect

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plastic-bags.jpgThe Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), is expressing concern about the Government's decision not to allow exemptions to the ban on certain plastics, which comes into effect on Tuesday

The ban means that importation, manufacture, distribution and use of single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and imported styrofoam products will no longer be allowed

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, is reported as saying that the government will compensate business operators instead of granting an exemption to allow them to use up their existing stock.

However, the government says compensation will only be allowed to business operators who have not completed stocks purchased before announcement of the ban in September.

Programme Director at the JET Tamoy Singh-Clarke says she understands the rationale for the decision not to allow exemptions.

However, she says there are some instances in which an exemption may be necessary.

Some Municipal Corporations are working on a plan to distribute thousands of reuseable bags in the markets.

Government Senator Matthew Samuda told the Gleaner that 30,000 environmentally friendly bags are to be distributed in the coming days by mayors.

This is part of the government's efforts to equip Jamaicans with alternatives to plastic bags.

police-constable.jpgMembers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in the Kingston Western Police Division have been placed on high alert.

This follows a recent National Intelligence Bureau report that gunmen based in West Kingston are planning attacks against JCF members in the division.

The intelligence report claimed that two criminal gangs have issued death threats against three cops assigned to the West Kingston Police Division.

According to the bulletin, members of the reputed Fatherless and Socks Gangs based in Rema and Trench Town are planning to kill a Sergeant and two Constables. It is said that the lawmen are among JCF personnel who have been involved in constant operations aimed at disrupting the gangs' activities. Members of the Fatherless and Socks Gangs have been linked to major crimes in west Kingston, including extortion, contract killing and robberies.

The intelligence report noted that based on the threats being issued, members of the two gangs need to be urgently sought out, apprehended and strongly warned against carrying out the threats.

Education minister intervenes in 'expletive' case

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ruel-reid-photo-1.jpgEducation Minister Ruel Reid is set to intervene in the case of a 13-year-old boy who has been blocked from classes at the Little London High School since November for allegedly using expletives in the presence of a teacher. The Sunday Gleaner reported the story and since then Minister Reid said he has asked Chief Education Officer Dr Grace McLean to investigate the case at the Westmoreland-based school and submit a report to him as soon as possible.

"School administrators are aware of the disciplinary procedures, and we will be vigilant to ensure conformity," said Reid.

Under the regulations, students who have been suspended from school for a maximum of 10 days without notification of any subsequent action or decision taken by the authorities during that period cannot be further punished for the same offence.

During this initial 10 days, the student must be informed of any further action taken, such as expulsion. Only the board of directors of a school has the power to expel a student.

The child's mother says that her son has been denied entry to classes since mid-November, when he was sent home with a letter that a parent would have to accompany him to a meeting before he would be allowed to return to classes.She alleges that since then, she has been trying, without success, to get the school to give her formal notification on the fate of the child.

With classes set to resume on January 7, Todd yesterday welcomed the planned intervention of the education minister as she wants clarity of the fate of her son.

crime-scene-gun.jpgGuests had to flee in panic last Friday evening as gunshots rang out at a wedding reception at the Glistening Waters Hotel in Falmouth, Trelawny.

When the shooting ended, a disc jockey, 45-year-old Paul Campbell of Florence Hall in the parish, was dead, and one of the proprietors of the establishment, 38-year-old Earl Bernard of a Montego Bay address, was left nursing gunshot wounds.

Reports are that Campbell, who was employed by the wedding couple to provide entertainment for the reception, was asked to reduce the level of the music by Bernard's mother, but he refused, telling her she had already collected her money, so she was to allow him to earn his.

It is alleged that when the elderly woman went back to him with another request for the volume to be lowered, he aggressively pointed his finger into her face and again refused. Bernard then intervened, pushing Campbell away from his mother.

During the commotion, Campbell, who is a licensed firearm holder, reportedly fell over a flower pot. According to the reports, Campbell pulled his firearm and opened fire on Bernard, hitting him in the neck. Bernard fell to the ground and lay motionless as Campbell went over him with the gun

Persons who claim to have witnessed the incident said Bernard, who is also a licensed firearm holder, then stood up and fired several shots, hitting Campbell multiple times. He died on the spot, while Bernard was taken to hospital where he was admitted. Persons close to the couple who exchanged vows earlier in the day say they are traumatised by the incident which marred their special occasion.

Male dancer shot dead in Papine Square

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crime-scene-gun.jpgA 22-year-old man was shot dead in the Papine Square in St Andrew Saturday night.

According to the police, Andre Lee, a dancer of Bedward Gardens, Kingston 7, was in the park about 7:15 pm when he was reportedly approached by three men, one armed with a firearm.

It is said that Lee attempted to flee but was shot several times.

The police were summoned and on their arrival the scene was processed and the body removed to the morgue.

Investigations continue.


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Just weeks after the completion and introduction of the Three Miles bypass road in St Andrew, motorists are being advised to brace for more traffic delays in the area, especially close to Marcus Garvey Drive, from Sunday, December 30.

The National Works Agency (NWA), on its Twitter page, announced that starting Sunday, girders will be transported from the vicinity of the Port of Kingston to the Three Miles intersection where major bridge-building works are under way.

This NWA said the activities will be part of continuing bridge works along a section of the Portmore Toll Road and Marcus Garvey Drive.

The agency said this will affect the movement of traffic between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon, and between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily.

While the Twitter posting did not give a time-frame for the new traffic challenges, it is understood that situation is scheduled to persist for a period of three months.

court-image-1.jpgThe Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), has applied to the Supreme Court for an order for the four high-end vehicles seized at the home of Chief Engineer at National Energy Solutions (NESOL), Lawrence Pommels, to be retained as criminal property.

The DPP made the application after a man claiming to be the owner of the vehicles applied to the St Catherine Parish Court for the return of his vehicles.

The vehicles, which include an Audi and BMW X6, were seized in July during a raid on Mr Pommels' home in Old Harbour, St Catherine.The cops also reportedly seized $35 million at the house.

Pommels, who is charged with money laundering, appeared in court last week Tuesday where the case was mentioned.

Two other defendants, Ricardo Harris and a supervisor at NESOL, Rayon Hamilton, also appeared in court.

The men are to return to court next month.

crime-scene-tape.jpgThe two women who died after being swept overboard a small boat that capsized off the coast of Port Royal during a pleasure trip on Thursday, have been identified.

They are Edith Betsha of Mandeville, Manchester and Jannelle Dacessers of a Kingston address.

Reports are that the two were among 13 people on the boat that encountered problems while heading from Port Royal to Lime Cay, and ended up capsizing.

The Marine Police said they received a distress call and responded along with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard, and were able to remove the members of the group from the water.

The two women who were rushed to hospital in unconscious states, were later pronounced dead.

The other occupants of the boat, who were also in various degrees of distress, responded favourably to medical treatment.

The captain of the boat - Herbert Dorien - has been arrested and charged for operating the vessel without the required licence.

He was granted bail and is scheduled to appear in court on January 23.

digicel-photo-1.jpgGroup chief executive of Digicel, Alex Matuschka von Greiffenclau (47), has died suddenly whilst on holiday with his family in Germany. Businessman Denis O'Brien, the company's owner and chairman, will take up the role of interim CEO pending a formal succession process to replace Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau, who died suddenly last Thursday. O'Brien will travel to Jamaica in January.

Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau, who only took over as chief executive last February, joined Digicel from Dutch-based telco Veon, which was previously known as Vimpelcom. The German businessman, who replaced Colm Delves as Digicel chief executive, had served as chief performance officer for Veon.

Mr O'Brien praised what he described as "the enormous contribution to the transformation of Digicel," by Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau, a married father of three who had just recently celebrated his 47th birthday.

"It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that I share news of the untimely death of our Group CEO, Alex Matuschka von Greiffenclau," said Mr O'Brien who will travel to Jamaica on January 2 to take up his role as interim chief executive.

"No words can adequately express our sadness at Alex's passing or our gratitude for having worked with him. Digicel has lost a committed, hard-working and exceptional Chief Executive. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know him on a personal level have lost a dear friend".

This month Digicel won bondholder acceptance for the second element of its offer to swap debt falling due in 2020 and 2022 for longer dated facilities. It follows months of negotiations. Taken together, the exchanges allow the Jamaica headquartered telecommunications group to push out repayments on a total of $3bn (€2.59bn) of outstanding debt.

Mr O'Brien said that over the coming days, colleagues will share their thoughts for a suitable commemoration of Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Julia and his three children at this very difficult time. May he rest in peace," said Mr O'Brien.

"Given the circumstances, I will be taking up the position of Group CEO on an interim basis. I will be in Jamaica on 2nd January.

Westmoreland cops probe businessman's murder

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crime-scene-gun.jpgThe Westmoreland police are yet to make a breakthrough into Monday night's shooting death of a businessman at his home in the parish, during which his licensed firearm was stolen.

The deceased man has been identified as Andrew Dennis, 44, of Campbellton Gardens, Westmoreland.

Reports are that about 11:00 p.m., after closing his business place, Dennis was in the process of driving into his yard when he was pounced upon and shot up by unknown assailants.

He was robbed of an undetermined sum of cash and his licensed firearm.

The police were summoned and upon their arrival, Dennis was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Whithorn police are investigating.

NCB makes $3-Billion profit on sale of JMMB shares

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jamaican-money.jpgNCB Financial Group sold over $9 billion worth of shares in JMMB to lead volumes in Thursday's trading of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

"JMMB will therefore not continue to be an associated company of NCBJ and NCBFG," said the company in a notice Thursday about the sale of the shares.

NCB will recognise a gain of approximately $3 billion on the sale of the 326.3 million shares at $28.25 each.

NCB did not disclose who acquired the shares. Recently, PanJam Investment Limited acquired a 6.1 per cent stake in JMMB Group valued at $2.7 billion but did not say Thursday whether it acquired additional shares in JMMB.

Also on the day, Sygnus Credit Investments Limited USD Ordinary Shares led gains, increasing by 25 per cent to close at $0.11, followed by Paramount Trading (Jamaica) Limited (PTL), up 18.37 per cent to close at $2.90. The day's largest declining stock was JMMB Group Limited (JMMBGL), down 13.89 per cent to close at $28.26.

The JSE Combined Index declined by 6,038.89 points (1.62 per cent) to close at 367,584.38. The JSE Index declined by 6,729.08 points (1.82 per cent) to close at 361,999.33. The JSE Select Index declined by 202.77 points (2.17 per cent) to close at 9,158.90. The Junior Market Index advanced by 12.87 points (0.41 per cent) to close at 3,189.76. The JSE USD Equities Index advanced by 2.31 points (1.49 per cent) to close at 157.35.

Overall Market activity resulted from trading in 57 stocks of which 20 advanced, 26 declined and 11 traded firm. Market volume amounted to 330,597,954 units valued at over $9,330,755,550.00. JMMB Group Limited was the volume leader with 327,137,347 units (98.95 per cent) followed by Carreras Limited with 561,455 units (0.17 per cent) and Radio Jamaica Limited with 317,416 units (0.10 per cent).

crime-scene-7.jpgThe police are currently probing a suspected murder-suicide in Rollington Town, Kingston.

The deceased have been identified as 41-year-old Anika Walker, a higgler, and her boyfriend Paul Riley, who is said to be in his early 30s.

They are both of a Portland Road address.

It is reported that sometime between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning Riley used a knife to stab Walker in the neck, killing her.

He then reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself.

Relatives and neighbours stumbled upon the bodies this morning inside the couple's house and alerted the police.

Residents suspect that jealousy may have motivated the incident.

crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgThe police Corporate Communication Unit is reporting two fatalities after a vessel with 13 people aboard capsized between Port Royal and Lime Cay,

According to the police, the occupants were rescued by the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard and residents of Port Royal but two women were taken to hospital in unconscious states. They were later confirmed dead.

Eleven other people were rescued and taken to the Kingston Public Hospital for treatment.

The incident happened some time after midday on Thursday.

The vessel remains submerged.

Cold-blooded killing in Cold Spring, Hanover

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crime-scene-gun.jpgTwo men, including one reportedly in a drunken state, were shot and killed by gunmen in Cold Spring, Hanover on Wednesday, Boxing Day.

The victims have been identified as 53-year-old farmer, Kenneth Hemans, and 52-year-old mason, Frank Birch, both of Cold Spring, Sandy Bay in the parish.

Reports from the Sandy Bay police are that about 2:00 a.m., residents heard explosions and alerted them.

On their arrival, the bodies of the men were seen lying on the roadway with multiple bullet wounds.

The scene was processed and the bodies removed to the morgue.

Sources from the area claimed that the men were attacked by gunmen sometime after Birch got into an argument with a group of men. Reports are that he was intoxicated at the time.

It has been claimed that Hemans went to the location to take Birch home, but both men were attacked and shot several times.

The Sandy Bay police are continuing investigations.

crime-scene-gun.jpgA Jamaican teen in the US, who authorities say is without legal status in the country, is facing murder charges stemming from the fatal drive-by shooting of a 12-year-old Connecticut boy killed outside his home.

Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez confirmed Monday to the Connecticut Post that 18-year-old Tajay Chambers has been charged with murder with special circumstances, carrying a pistol without a permit, second-degree larceny and risk of injury to a child.

Perez says three juveniles will also be charged in connection with the December 18 shooting of Clinton Howell, described as a bystander.

Chambers, who is accused of being the trigger man in the shooting, has been in custody since December 19 for an October alleged assault. A judge held him on US$500,000 bond. ICE placed a detainer on Chambers, who authorities say is a Jamaican immigrant without legal status.

He's scheduled to appear Wednesday in court. It's not clear of he has a lawyer.

police-car-on-fire.jpgTwo motor vehicles crashed into houses along Williamsfield Road in Manchester on Christmas Day and exploded. The driver of one of the vehicles, Dwayne Patterson, was burnt to death after being trapped inside his car.

According to the police, about 2:30 p.m on Tuesday Patterson was travelling in a yellow Honda Civic along the road, reportedly at high speed, heading towards Kendal Road. Patterson, who was allegedly racing a Toyota Corolla, lost control of the vehicle, which crashed into a mini mart along the road.

The vehicle then caught on fire with him inside.

"His car was burnt beyond recognition, the mini mart burnt out and a dwelling attached to the mini mart burnt out also...the persons in the house were able to escape," Superintendent Wayne Cameron is reported as telling daily newspaper, The Gleaner.

The police reported that shortly after that incident the driver of the Toyota Corolla lost control of his vehicle, which hit a utility pole and then crashed into a building with eight apartments. The driver along with a passenger managed to crawl out of the vehicle before it exploded.

They were subsequently taken to hospital where they are believed to be in serious but stable condition.

The fire from the car spread to the building.Residents escaped before it was destroyed.

"Damage is estimated at $16 million.... we had two units; one from Christina and one from Mandeville perform the cooling down operations," Cameron said.

The death comes just days after the Road Safety Unit (RSU) in the Ministry of Transport and Mining issued a call for motorists to exercise greater caution when traveling on the roads. Director of the RSU, Kenute Hare, said as the Christmas season approached, persons, particularly motorists and pedestrians, should exercise greater care on the roads.

Hare noted that since the start of the year approximately 360 deaths have been recorded from 318 fatal crashes.

Five days of PEP starting February 26; ends April 17

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The Ministry of Education has announced the five days on which the inaugural Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations will be conducted in 2019.

"Based on suggestions that we got to move the Performance Task from December 4 and 5, we have now shifted the Performance Task, which will be held on March 27 and 28. We will now have the Ability Test on February 26, and finally the Curriculum Based Test will be done on April 16 and 17," said Dr Grace McLean, the Chief Education Officer.

McLean was addressing the media at the ministry's quarterly press conference at its Heroes Circle offices in downtown Kingston recently.

She encouraged teachers, parents, students and other PEP stakeholders to access the PEP website at for all information the ministry has to offer that is related to the new examination.

"We're happy for the response that we have received with the development of our website and PEP app. You can go to the play store and download the (PEP mobile) app, and the website is up and running with all the information that can assist. It has the curriculum, practice questions and lesson plans. There is also a link to various book publishers, where you can also access the information," McLean said.

"I can also assure you that in January, we will be providing additional practice questions to support our students," she added.

PEP is the series of tests which has replaced the GSAT as the national secondary school entrance examination. It is intended to provide a better and more complete profile of students' academic and critical thinking capabilities at the end of their primary-level education.

Guns, ammo seized in St James

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guns-photo-1.jpgThree firearms and over 30 rounds of ammunition were seized during separate police raids in St James yesterday morning.

No arrests were made.

In the first operation in York Bush, two of the firearms and 38 rounds of ammunition were seized.

Six .38 cartridges were also seized.

The second operation occurred in Glendevon where a disassembled pistol was seized.

The National Water Commission (NWC) says large sections of the Corporate Area now have no water or intermittent periods of low water pressure because of a combination of issues that have worsened in rerent days.

It says there is a major break on the Ferry/Mandela transmission pipeline in an area that is effectively inaccessible as it is under approximately 35 feet of dirt and road construction material.

The NWC says every effort is being made to fast-track the completion of a new replacement pipeline already being constructed as part of the road improvement project because all other options are not practical.

According to the Commission, it had considered constructing a temporary by-pass pipeline but this would require 1 mile of pipes, would be costly and could take months before completion.

The NWC says in the interim, water from other systems such as the Rio Cobre/Tulloch Springs, Havendale, Forest Hills, Constant Spring, Mona and Hope systems is being shared and re-directed to make up for the loss of the water from the Ferry System.

"This has deprived the Commission of about five million gallons of water per day," said an NWC spokesperson referring to the break in the Ferry/Mandela pipeline.

It has also disconnected a major source of supply to the following areas:

Cooreville Gardens

Duhaney Park

Washington Gardens

Patrick City

Ziadie Gardens

State Gardens

Molynes Gardens

Moreton Park

Olympic Way

New Haven

Coburn Gardens

Seaview Gardens

Washington Boulevard

Dunrobin Avenue​

Molynes Road

The NWC is also reporting that frequent breaks on the series of major pipelines along Constant Spring Road as a result of ongoing road construction.

It says this often forces the shut-down of the Constant Spring Water Treatment Plant several times each week.

The following areas are being affected:

Constant Spring Gardens


Cherry Gardens


Manor Park


Eastwood Park Gardens

Molynes Road

Waltham Park Road

Olympic Way

Bay Farm Road

Hagley Park Road

Dunrobin Avenue

Calabar Mews

Ziadie Gardens

State Gardens

Mannings Hill Road

Red Hills Road

Constant Spring Road

Half Way Tree

Valentine Gardens



Roehampton ​

In the meantime, the NWC says frequent breaks on the Spanish Town Road major pipelines have been requiring shut-downs to effect repairs.

Areas impacted by this issue include:

Cooreville Gardens

Sections of Spanish Town Road and all roads leading off

Sections of Three Miles area

Downtown Kingston

Marcus Garvey Drive

Newport East and surrounding areas

PNP wants Dunn's River audit to be made public

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pnp-headquarters.jpgThe People's National Party (PNP) is calling on the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to make the report of the audit on impropriety at Dunn's River Falls Attraction public.

The report covers the results of a probe ordered in August by the UDC after there were reports of misappropriation of funds associated with ticketing costs at the attraction.

Opposition Spokesman on Tourism, Dr. Wykeham Mcneil, says the relevant authorities need to provide clarity as to what was found in the audit and why the report was referred to C-TOC.

He says the public deserves to know the full extent of the irregularities which preceded the investigation and whether anyone will be held accountable.

He notes that it is not acceptable for the report to be buried in the files of the UDC and its subsidiaries.

Family members, living in Georgia and Massachusetts in the United States, fear that the worst has happened to Derrick Rodgers. The 60-year-old Lawrence Tavern resident disappeared on October 13.

His niece, Natalie Redman, contacted the Jamaica Observer recently saying that the family is on edge.

"We reported it to the Constant Spring police, but we were told that the family would have to physically go in and make the report. After that, we contacted the father of the church he used to attend and he was able to go in and make the report. The police say that they have since circulated a missing person report at all their precincts across the island so now we are just waiting," Redman told the Observer.

She said that the family realised that something was amiss when her mother, Rogers' sister, sent money for him through a financial institution and the money was not collected.

"He is always in contact with us. He is never out of touch. My mom always sends him money and he always calls to say thanks. When she sent the money on October 13 he never called. We called and he didn't answer. We called [financial institution] and they said that the money was not picked up.

"Right now, to be honest, we're on edge. You have to just be bracing yourself right now for the worst. There's no way something hasn't happened to him. [Getting] No response from him has us worried," Redman said.

Rodgers, who worked in media and was a former employee of Television Jamaica, Best FM, and Kool 97 FM.

Redman said that the family has been circulating photographs of her uncle on social media but has received no feedback.

"We don't have a physical presence in the island to do any rigid follow-ups. No one has seen or heard from him. They are only saying that they know he lives at Top Hill and that's in Lawrence Tavern," the woman said.

On December 10, Crime Stop Jamaica put out an alert for Rodgers, citing that he was last seen alive, according to a report from the Lawrence Tavern police, in his community.

Rodgers is of dark complexion, medium build, and is about 167 centimetres (5 feet 6 inches) tall. His mode of dress at the time he went missing is unknown.

"We are anxious. We are waiting, but we are worried. We are doing all that we can to find out what has happened to my uncle. It is unusual that he wouldn't contact us for so long," said Redman.

Anyone knowing Rodgers' whereabouts is being asked to contact the Constant Spring Police at 876- 924-1421-2 Police 119 emergency number or Crime Stop at 311.

The St Andrew South police say they were called to quash a dispute at a constituency office last week after residents traded blows during the distribution of New Year calendars and care packages. The usual holiday gesture by the political representatives islandwide reportedly took a new low in the Corporate Area after residents became violent, causing a subsequent delay in distributions.

"A years almanac a give weh and me never see this yet. What is an almanac fi people a fight over. People start fight fi put up politician inna dem house, and politics nah benefit dem," a female resident reportedly told evening tabloid the Star.

The fracas involved a man and a woman who are from different areas of the constituency.

"Likkle most the headlines coulda be woman or man killed for almanac. The sufferation is real 'cause politician nah help dem, and dem woulda kill or lose dem life fi put up one a dem inna dem house,"

Another resident surmised that the contents of the packages and the limited numbers might have led to the flaring tempers.

"The people dem must angry and heated cause dem tell di people dem fi come collect things and when you look, a scarce goods. Pound a rice, pound a flour, crackers, tin a mackerel some people a get. A Christmas now, dem must can do better. Every politician come a same ting. Step up di ting and mek di people dem feel good like how dem (politicians) feel good when dem put dem in," the woman said.

police-constable.jpgThe Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has commenced an investigation into a disturbing video that is being circulated on social media depicting child pornography.

Members of the public are being advised to desist from sharing this video as this action constitutes an offence under the Child Pornography (Prevention) Act and the Cyber Crimes Act.

The police cautioned that there is a strong possibility that sharing the video may result in further trauma to the child.

Members of the public are strongly urged to delete the video and any other related images.

crime-scene-gun.jpgThe St Ann's Bay police are investigating the death of a man who was found with a gunshot wound in Mammee Bay, St Ann on Wednesday, December 19.

The deceased has been identified as 34-year-old Kevin Mechado of Mango Walk, St James and Pine Wood Court, Florida, USA.

Reports from the St Ann's Bay police are that about 1:00 a.m., Mechado allegedly drove to a service station suffering from a gunshot wound to his right leg, and subsequently fell out of the vehicle clutching a firearm.

He was assisted to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination is to be conducted to determine the cause of his death.

Investigations continue into the incident.

MISSING: St Andrew businessman

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Fifty-one-year-old Howard Hare, a businessman of Meade Close in Kingston 19, has been reported missing

He is of brown complexion, medium build and is about 5 feet 8 inches tall.

The Constant Spring Police say he has not been seen or heard from since Friday, December 14.

According to the police, he was last seen in Half Way Tree in St Andrew.

His mode of dress at the time he went missing is unknown.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Howard Hare is being asked to contact the Constant Spring Police at 876-924-1421-2, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

bob-marley-large.jpg"Bob Marley And The Beautiful Game" is the title of a new short film which explores the reggae legend's love of football and his lasting influence at Ajax Football Club in Amsterdam.

The new short tells the story of a how Marley's song 'Three Little Birds' still echoes around the Johan Cruyff Arena due to a chance encounter between a Cardiff City FC DJ and the Amsterdam faithful and you can watch it above.

Entertaining and informative, Bob Marley And The Beautiful Game is a collaboration between Island Records and video makers Copa 90 and it explores the reggae icon's enduring love of football in depth.

Presented by London-based musician and lifelong football fan B.O.A.T (Boy Of All Talents), the film also features contributions from Grammy Award-winning musician Sean Paul, reggae musician Levi Roots, AFC Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana and author Weip Idzenga, who sets the tone when he says, "If [Bob Marley] had the chance, he would have been a football player instead of a musician - he loved it that much."

During the short film, Andre Onana reveals that AFC Ajax adopted Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds' as their anthem after a friendly fixture with Welsh club Cardiff City descended into violence and fights broke out between the two teams' supporters. However, after the match DJ, Ali Yassine played Marley's evergreen reggae hit, everything calmed down and the fighting stopped. B.O.A.T interviews Yassine about that memorable day and then travels to Amsterdam to take in a football match where Marley's son Ky-Mani Marley leads the Ajax supporters in a rousing, mass sing-along of 'Three Little Birds'.

"He gave something to the world that was beautiful", Sean Paul says in his personal tribute to Bob Marley. "I salute him forever for that."

hands-behind-bars.jpgThe police say they have in custody a prime suspect in relation to the dramatic shooting death of a security guard at a business outlet in Portmore, St Catherine on December 6.

Last week the police said they were a step closer to apprehending the criminals who carried out the brazen daylight attack in the Sunshine city.

Detectives said they had collected video footage which captured the images of the men while they were carrying out the attack on the KingAlarm security officer.

"Based on footage that was captured, authorities will be using this evidence in their manhunt for the perpetrators," a police source said.

A four-minute video captured on CCTV showed two men entering the facility where the guard was working.

The men were seen waiting until all the customers had left the business outlet, after which they accosted the security guard.

The video showed that one of the eventual attackers had even borrowed a pen from the security guard to sign a document, seemingly in an attempt to hide his true intention.

The footage showed that as the men were about to carry out the attack, two customers were entering the facility. In response, one of the attackers pushed the customers outside the door and attempted to close the door.

The guard saw what was happening and moved towards the door.

One of the attackers, who was later seen holding on to the guard with one hand, with a gun in his (the attacker's) other hand, then pulled the guard outside the establishment and shot him.

The men then ran from the scene.

The shooting sent large numbers of onlookers scampering for safety.

handgun.jpgA Ruger 9mm pistol that police say belonged to Karen Cleary-Brown, who was murdered late November in Boscobel, St Mary, has been recovered by the police in the parish.

Delivering the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) report at the monthly meeting of the St Mary Municipal Corporation in Port Maria on Thursday, acting commander for St Mary, Deputy Superintendent Dalian Clarke, said that Sheldon Hewitt, the man charged with killing Brown, took the police to where the gun was located and told them it belonged to the woman.

This was before Brown's body was discovered in a shallow grave on her property in Boscobel, St Mary.

Clarke confirmed that Hewitt, a 32-year-old mason of Spanish Town, St Catherine, and Boscobel, St Mary, addresses, confessed to killing Brown and was subsequently charged. The post-mortem revealed that the woman was stabbed nine times.

He was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Clarke said that Brown was not a United Kingdom (UK) resident, but a Jamaican, who was married to a British national. It is said that he was in the process of filing for her.

senior-superintendent-of-police-anthony-castelle.jpgSenior Superintendent of Police Anthony Castelle was spared jail time and was instead fined $1 million by the St James Parish Court in relation to his recent conviction on charges arising from the shooting of a pregnant woman on January 22, 2016.

Castelle, who was found guilty of unlawful wounding and misconduct in a public office on November 23, was calm as presiding judge Natalie Hart-Hines ordered him to pay the fine or spend 30 days in prison on the unlawful wounding charge.

He was admonished and discharged for misconduct in a public office.

In outlining the sentence, Hart-Hines said that based on her reading of Castelle's social enquiry report, she did not believe that he should receive a custodial sentence.

Castelle was arrested and charged by the Independent Commission of Investigations on May 18, 2016, following the shooting.

The facts are that on the day in question, a police team chased and opened fire on a motor car after the driver, a taxi operator, disobeyed an order to stop and sped off.

Janice Hines, who was a passenger in the taxi and was pregnant at the time, was shot and injured and was rushed to the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

Castelle was jointly charged with District Constable Rohan McIntosh, who was later discharged following a no-case submission on November 9.

The Jamaica Council of Churches has placed the Petrojam issue back on the front burner by suggesting that those found guilty of gross misconduct be criminally charged.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has ordered a forensic audit of Petrojam after an Auditor General report revealed that millions of dollars have been misspent at the entity.

Reverend Gary Harriott, General Secretary of the Jamaica Council of Churches, says the group is expecting further action following the forensic audit.

"Whether it means that person is going to be brought before the court to answer for the breach, but yes, we expect that as a result of those findings that persons will be held accountable," he said.

Reverend Harriott said the issues highlighted at Petrojam raise the need for more transparency in the management of public funds.

"Those who are entrusted with the public's resources need to bear in mind that this is taxpayers' funds and if we don't manage our resources well and our responsibilities, then it sets us back in terms of our advancement and development as a society," he asserted.

Popcaan, Mortimer make Apple Music 'Editor's Picks'

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shelly-brown-curran-on-instagram-when-you-speak-about-talent-let-me.jpgApple Music's charts are primarily based on streaming and purchasing data, however, alongside the official numbers, they also release their 'Editor's Picks', showcasing the 100 best and biggest tracks of the year, spanning all genres.

This year, Dun Rich by 'unruly boss' Popcaan featuring Nigerian music star Davido, and Careful by up-and-coming reggae singer-songwriter Mortimer feature on the list.

Other tracks listed on Apple's Editor's Picks list are God's Plan by Drake, Sicko Mode by Travis Scott, Stir Fry by Migos and This Is America by Childish Gambino.

Mortmer feels humbled by the selection, and he is ready to knock out some more tracks in the new year.

He said: "A lot happened this year, a lot of ups and downs and round and round. But I'm ready for work again in 2019, ready to put out some good music to uplift people's spirit and mindset. We have 'skin-out', 'buss out head back'. Now we need some vibes inna di place; upful, positive music."

Meanwhile, artiste manager, Shelly-Ann Curan has been giving Mortimer loads of props on social media

Shelly Brown - Curran on Instagram: "When you speak about talent let me tell you this @mortimermusic a it!!! Gonna live to see you be one of the biggest reggae musicians..."

Previous releases by Mortimer include Warning (2015), Ganja Train (2016), and This Feeling (2017).

JACAP puts on the pressure with lawsuits

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At least 22 companies have been sued by the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP) since the start of the year for copyright infringement, and after securing a recent win in its legal battle against Mars Cable Vision Limited, the association has sounded a warning that it will explore all options to protect its members.

JACAP general manager Lydia Rose made an appeal for more compliance with copyright laws during a press conference at the association's 21 Connolley Avenue head office in Kingston this week and noted that media houses and cable providers topped its list of infringers.

JACAP, by 28 agreements, is mandated to collect royalties from anybody who uses the creativity of individuals, authors, composers, and publishers. Based on this agreement, a claim was filed and served on Mars Cable Vision Limited in October 2016.

After a protracted legal battle, the Supreme Court, on November 28, 2018, entered judgement in default against Mars Cable Vision Limited in the matter. The court further ordered specific disclosure of the audited financials of Mars Cable Vision Limited and costs of the application for judgement to be awarded to JACAP to be taxed if not agreed.

JACAP's attorney, Christopher Henry, said that an assessment for damages would need to be done before they know the amount to be awarded.

"The cable companies, for far too long, have been non-compliant, and they are now realising that JACAP has the authority, and is willing to show this said authority, and is willing to go the entire mile to ensure that the rights of our composers, authors, and publishers are protected and they are rewarded for their hard work, their creative works," he said.

crime-scene-tape.jpgMedia reports are that a member of the Jamaica Defence Force is now in police custody after allegedly stabbing his wife to death.

The deceased has been identified as Nordraka Williams-Burnett, an attorney-at-law at the law firm Townsend, Whyte and Porter.

One of the lead attorneys at the firm Christopher Townsend is reported as saying that he was informed that the husband allegedly attacked his wife sometime this morning at their Kirkland Heights home in St Andrew.

Townsend further said that he was informed that loud screams were heard coming from the couple's apartment, causing an alarm.

It is reported that a concerned resident went to enquire and discovered Williams-Burnett bleeding from stab wounds inside the apartment.

The soldier has reportedly said that "the voices in my head made me do it."

On her Facebook profile, Nordraka Williams-Burnett describes herself as "daughter of the only living God. Wife of one man. Mother of two girls. God's handiwork.".

The soldier, whose name has not been released, last year described her in a Facebook post as his "beautiful, talented, motherly, lawyerly wife."

Reports from the Red Hills police are that about 5 a.m., residents heard strange sounds and summoned the police.

On arrival of the lawmen, checks were made at the premises, and the body of Williams-Burnett was found in a room with multiple wounds. Her husband was also seen sitting inside the room. He was subsequently taken into custody.

It is further reported that the couple's two young daughters were also inside the apartment at the time of the alleged incident.

According to Townsend, the children were not harmed and are now with relatives.

hiv.jpgKnowingly infecting someone with HIV could soon become a crime in Jamaica.

It's one of the recommendations from the committee which reviewed Jamaica's sexual offence laws.

The Committee acknowledged that there was a deficiency in the law in relation to the deliberate spreading of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

It noted that such an offence exists in other jurisdictions, such as Canada and the United Kingdom.

It said the Offences Against the Person Act should be amended to make it a criminal offence for someone to willfully or recklessly infect a partner with a sexually transmissible disease which can inflict serious bodily harm.

charged.jpgThe St Mary police have charged a man in relation to the recent stabbing death of a Jamaican-British woman in Boscobel in the parish.

The accused, 32-year-old Sheldon Hewitt, alias Troy, of Boscobel, was slapped with murder charges last Friday.

He is to appear before the St Mary Parish Court on Thursday, December 13.

The body of 44-year-old Karen Cleary-Brown, a beautician of Paradise Edge in Boscobel and a Pentonville Road address in London, England, was found in a shallow grave on Monday, December 3.

The body had been wrapped in a tarpaulin and was placed in a hole, which had been covered with a layer of concrete and dirt.

A post-mortem conducted on the British woman's body on Monday revealed that she had been stabbed several times, before her body was buried on her Boscobel property.

Cleary-Brown, who was born in Jamaica, but had lived in England for 20 years, was building her dream home in Boscobel. She had returned to the island recently.

It had been reported that Cleary-Brown was last seen alive at about 9:00 pm Sunday, November 25. However, according to the police, she was reported missing on November 27, 2018, by the suspect, who was both a mason and the caretaker at her premises.

The police said on December 2, inconsistencies were detected in the missing person report, causing detectives to widen and intensify their probe.

This led investigators to carry out investigations at the woman's house, where her decomposing body was found in a shallow grave about 5:30 pm on Monday, December 3.

Her death triggered an outcry from the president of the Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents, Percival LaTouche, who urged Jamaicans overseas not to return home due to a string of crimes committed against members of the returning resident community.

However, Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, while condemning the recent murders of returning residents, said most of the cases are a result of domestic disputes.

No changes to Jamaica's sexual offences law

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The parliamentary committee which reviewed Jamaica's sexual offence laws has decided against making any recommendations to change the laws relating to forced anal sex and incest for fear of inadvertently overturning legislation outlawing buggery.

The Joint Select Committee, chaired by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, reviewed the Sexual Offences Act, Offences Against The Person Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Child Care and Protection Act.

One of the issues the Committee grappled with was the fact that forced intercourse with a woman could attract penalties as harsh as a life sentence, while forced anal penetration was not treated with the same level of gravity under Jamaican laws.

Recommendations were made that the penalties should be the same as forced penetration of the anus was just as traumatic as forced vaginal penetration. However the committee decided against expanding the definition of rape to reflect this.

The committee also contemplated whether forced anal penetration should be treated as an element of grievous sexual assault, which would be punishable by life imprisonment. In the end the committee decided not to make a recommendation on the issue because it was advised that any attempt to differentiate between forced anal sex and consensual anal sex could be seen as an amendment to the country's laws relating to buggery.

The committee says making the changes could result in the buggery laws losing the protection of the Savings Law Clause, which maintains pre-independence laws - this would mean the buggery laws would be open to challenge in court. The Committee also made no changes in relation to incest involving males for the same reason.

It was recommended that the laws relating to incest should be gender neutral since the crime could be perpetrated by a male or female. The committee said such matters should be decided on by the parliament. It also noted that recommending amendments to the law in relation to buggery in particular would be incompatible with the current policy position of the government to put the matter to a referendum.

JLP trolled after saying Paulwell must resign

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phillip-paulwell-technology-minister.jpgThe Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is calling for the resignation of Opposition Spokesman on Energy Phillip Paulwell in light of his involvement in the auditor general's report of corruption at the state-owned oil refinery Petrojam.

The JLP also says that Paulwell should recuse himself from deliberations of Parliamentary oversight bodies which are likely to shortly review the auditor general's report which extends to the tenure during which he was the "Primus Inter Pares of the Energy Sector".

According to JLP General Secretary, Dr Horace Chang, it's noteworthy, that concerning issues raised in the energy sector under the current JLP administration, there has been accountability via resignations at the ministerial, board and management levels.

"However, in contrast there has been no such accountability in respect of the Opposition People's National Party's Spokesperson on Energy, who served as Minister for three of the five-year-span reviewed in the Auditor General's probe," Chang said.

"It is in this vein the Jamaica Labour Party is calling for Phillip Paulwell to resign as Opposition Spokesman on Energy, or to be fired by Opposition Leader Peter Phillips," he insisted.

While this might sound like a good argument, many persons have pointed out the flaws, noting that Wheatley had resigned under heavy public pressure and have accused Chang of "passing the buck".

"Horace Chang stop passing the buck because your party got caught up in this scandal. It wasn't Paulwell who accepted the cake, the party and gave his friends millions of dollars in contracts. Chang you has no credibility there you shouldn't be the one to speak on this matter because the contractor general just ding you on the 600 mil bushing project."

Another person commented: "The oil has labourites running scared. Paulwell's resignation can't stop the forensic audit."

"Dr Horace Chang, shut your mouth! For weeks the people of Jamaica called on the Prime Minister to relieve Wheatley of his ministerial position, but you and others in your party circled the wagon to protect Andrew's Andrew. It was only after much public pressure that Wheatley eventually reluctantly left the Cabinet. Now listen to what your Prime Minister is also hinting at, that he believes in second chances. This is read by many as a hint that he may soon be ready to readmit Wheatley to the Cabinet. Not one of you in that Party has any moral ground to call on anyone to resign. You were also all there when Golding was finding ways to protect Dudus. Did any of you resign for your role in that dastardly act of protecting the Tivoli strongman and besmirching Jamaica's good name?"

"This is yet another attempt by the Holness Administration to try to hide from the scrutiny that their collective actions in the PetroJam saga have engendered. Samuda and his cronies should know that dem can run, but dem caan hide, as the evil done in the dark will come out into the light. When the corrupt seek to hide, they must be smoked out!"

homo-sexuals.jpgAs the ears of Jamaica are tuned to a murder and suicide that took place on Sunday at the Islington Police Station in St Mary, social media went into overdrive with rumours that this was homosexual revenge attack. Reports are that the 62-year-old victim, Dawnette Maxwell, was caught in a deadly triangle created by her grandson and the gay cop who was 'looking' him.

Now, Miss Maxwell's daughter, Cicilly Bradbury, has spoken to daily newspaper, The Gleaner. She says that her mother was killed by the policeman because her son refused his homosexual advances.

admitted that her son had gotten gifts from him but had repeatedly turned down his advances.

"On the Internet, he put up something saying him and my son was in a relationship. My son say the guy like him, the guy gave him a laptop and the guy gave him a phone. My son say him nuh really in da lifestyle deh, which the guy wah get him that way. My son have him girlfriend."

Bradbury said the rumours and criticisms have made the pain of losing her mother even greater.

"Words can't explain how I feel," she said. "I wasn't looking for this at this moment because we know say she nuh inna no war with nobody. Probably if she did sick and pass away, probably we could understand, but fi know say somebody tek har life over something she not even have a clue about. She not even know the guy, she nuh know what it was about."

The grieving daughter said her mother had brought lunch for a young man in the lock-up, which she had done several times before, as he was the son a friend of hers who is abroad. Maxwell was even supposed to leave the island in a few days.

"Mi a try support mi son mek him know say, regardless of what the whole heap of critics dem a go say, we can't tek a next loss. If we shun him and tun we back pon him, we neva can tell wha might happen," Bradbury said.

The death of 62-year-old Dawnette Maxwell has rocked the closely knit community of Galina in St Mary, where she was loved and respected.

For over a decade, she held a Christmas treat for the kids of the district and also provided cooked meals for the shut-ins in the community.

Reports are that Miss Maxwell went to visit an individual who was in custody at the Islington Police Station, on behalf of a friend. She was transported to the station by a relative.

It is alleged that when she arrived at the station, Maxwell told officers there what her business was. Constable Ormsby reportedly later saw her, and enquired if she was the grandmother of a young man whom Ormsby knew. Maxwell reportedly answered in the affirmative to the question from Ormsby, who was on cell duty at the police station at the time of her visit. The elderly woman reportedly further told the Ormsby that she was to sell items at an event the same day, and consequently, urgently wanted to finish her visit to the station.

Constable Ormsby reportedly told her that after the visit, he wanted to have a conversation with her outside. It is being further alleged that shortly after Maxwell completed the visit, she spoke with Ormsby.

While police reports said the two were engaged in a "conversation", it has been otherwise reported that they had an argument, following which explosions were heard, and both persons were subsequently found suffering from gunshot wounds.

Based on the positioning of his weapon, it is suspected that the district constable killed Maxwell and then shot himself.

Ormsby died while undergoing treatment at hospital, but Maxwell died on the compound of the police station in Islington.

Several residents, passersby and motorists, who all heard the explosions, rushed to the scene in a daze as the usual quiet Sunday afternoon in St Mary was transformed into one of grief, tainted with elements of mystery and wild theories mirroring scenes from a Hollywood movie.

As investigators probe the incident, including interviewing witnesses, it is understood that Maxwell's grandson, whom Ormsby had enquired about, has been among the interviewees.

Cops seek mother who beat student in viral video

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The police are looking for the mother in this now viral video making the rounds on social media. It shows a mother whopping a young girl who has reportedly been harassing the woman's daughter. Both girls attend the same school.

However, while there is a debate about the fact that the mother should not have assaulted the young student by hitting her first and then starting a fight, other are of the opinion that the woman should be croowned 'Mother of the Year'.

The girl is seen exalting herself and telling the woman's daughteer that she will hit her in front of her mother as she wasn't afraid of anybody.

Well, at that point the mother lost it and there endeth the reading of the lesson. All attempts at having a conversation went flying through the window as Mon grabbed the defiant student and started an onslaught.

The student is obviously a good fighter and defended herself well, until she was pushed into a ditch.

Take a look!

Controversial NeSol to be closed

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andrew-holness-photo-5.jpgPrime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the state-run entity National Energy Solutions Limited (NESol) which has been at the centre of controversy regarding its operations is to be closed. He made the announcement at Monday morning's media briefing.

Holness said the operations of other entities which fall under the Energy Ministry are also under review.

The spotlight has been on NESol following allegations that it breached government contracting guidelines when it hired Peak Energy Solutions to work on a multi-million dollar project.

Peak Energy Solutions was paid more than $12 million for work, despite the absence of a contract.

This raised questions, especially after it was revealed that former head of NESol Carolyn Warren, and the owner of Peak Energy Solutions, Lenny Gordon, were former co-workers at media entity Nationwide News Network.

Four days of celebration for Reggae Girlz

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minister-babsy-grange.jpgMinister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, Olivia Grange, has announced a schedule of activities to honour the Reggae Girlz' historic qualification to the FIFA Women's World Cup finals.

The four days of activities will begin on Saturday, December 15 with a motorcade, the minister informed in a release this afternoon.

The Reggae Girlz, the first Caribbean team to qualify for the showpiece event, were on Saturday drawn in Group C alongside number six-ranked Australia, number 10-ranked Brazil, and Italy, ranked at number 16, making a return to the competition for the first time since 1999.

"I want them to feel very special," said Grange, noting that the motorcade will go through the Corporate Area.

"It will go into St Catherine. One of the stops will be GC Foster (College of Physical Education and Sport). Two of the girls are from Arnett Gardens, so we're going to do something there. And we want to take them to western Jamaica."

Grange said it was "important that the girls are given a hero's welcome and shown appreciation for their outstanding achievement" of qualifying for the World Cup Finals to be held in France in 2019. "We want to ensure that as many Jamaicans see them and we're asking all Jamaicans to join us in celebrating with them. We want to make sure that they go to France ready to tek it to dem".

The celebratory activities include a major praise, worship and thanksgiving concert at Emancipation Park on Sunday, December 16 featuring some of the biggest names in local gospel music including Kevin Downswell, Kukudoo, Sista Pat and Wayne Marshall.

kalado-photo-7.jpgDancehall artise Kalado had a brief encounter with the law Sunday over what police officers thought were three high-powered rifles found in his possession.

It was reported that the police apprehended the entertainer, whose given name is Eton Gordon, in Lakes Pen, Spanish Town in St Catherine as he was making his way to Portmore.

He was taken into custody, however, upon closer inspection, it was found that the weapons were fake.

"The guns weren't real, they were water guns," a district constable at the constabulary's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU).

She further disclosed that Kalado was on his way to a video shoot at the time

The artiste was subsequently released.

crime-scene-gun.jpgA 25 year-old district constable and a 62-year-old woman are dead after what investigators believe was a murder-suicide committed at Islington Police Station in St Mary Sunday. Reports are that the District Constable Toyan Ormsby shot Dawnette Maxwell then turned the gun on himself on the compound of the police station. Details were sketchy last night and it was not immediately clear what caused the incident.

However, unconfirmed reports are that Maxwell was the grandmother of Ormsby lover and the two were at odds.

The police force's communications arm, the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), said that the constabulary's Chaplaincy Unit had been activated to offer grief counselling to all parties affected by the incident which occurred about 1:40 pm.

The CCU also said that the Community Safety and Security Branch had also been directed to offer support.

grammy.jpgThe 2019 Grammy nominations have just been released and with the highly anticipated 'Best Reggae Album' nominees, reggae lovers are excited to see who will take home the award. The nominees are:

As The World Turns - Black Uhuru

Reggae Forever - Etana

Rebellion Rises - Ziggy Marley

A Matter Of Time - Protoje

44/876 - Sting & Shaggy

Buju Banton to be released from prison TODAY!!!

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buju-banton-photo-11.jpgReports are that the highly anticipated release of incarcerated Jamaican entertainer Buju Banton from a United States prison has been pushed forward to today. All along, Buju's release date had been given as Saturday, December 8, 2018.

However, the new date was confirmed by a prison officer at the McRae Correctional Institution in Telfair County, Georgia, where Buju is serving his prison term.

Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was slated to be released tomorrow, but the United States Bureau of Prisons update its website overnight and changed his release date from December 8, 2018, to 'unknown'.

However, checks with the prison this morning revealed that the singer's release date has been changed to December 7, 2018.

The prison officer declined to say when Buju will be sent back to Jamaica, stating that it would be a breach of security policy to reveal such information.

Buju, a Grammy award-winning entertainer, was convicted for drug trafficking on February 22, 2011, in Tampa, Florida.

He was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment.

handgun.jpgKaren Cleary-Brown, the 44-year-old British-Jamaican woman who was killed and her body buried in a shallow grave at her St Mary home, from where it was unearthed on Monday, is reported to have had a licensed firearm. Reports are that a man who the police have held as a suspect, is being questioned about the whereabouts of the weapon.

A source indicated that the firearm was reportedly taken from the home and handed over to an unknown person after the murder.

Additionally, other reports are that her unfinished house was raided two nights ago by thieves who stole suitcases and loads of valuables, while her mother and brother were hiding in a room.

Indications are that the murder arose from an argument between Cleary and an individual over money being demanded from her, and the friction ended with a knife being used to stab her several times.

It is theorised that her body was then buried close to the house.

The St Mary police exhumed the body from the grave on Monday afternoon in the Boscobel area of the parish.

The woman was missing since Sunday, November 25, and her lover, Andy Kane, revealed through his Facebook account on Monday night, that her body had been found.

The body was wrapped in a tarpaulin. It had been placed in a hole which was then covered with a layer of concrete and dirt.

A post-mortem examination is to be done to determine the cause of Cleary's death.

Body of missing London photographer found?

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crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgThe St Elizabeth police suspect that the decomposing body of a female found close to Providence Housing Scheme in Santa Cruz this afternoon may be that of 48-year-old Barbara Findlay of nearby Beadles Boulevard and Kensington, England.

Findlay was reported missing last week.

Reports are that after detecting a foul smell, residents discovered the body in bushes close to the entrance of the Housing Scheme about 1:00 pm Wednesday and called the police.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said 48-year-old photographer Barbara Findley has been missing since Thursday, November 29.

She is from Beadles Drive at Santa Cruz in St Elizabeth, as well as Lupino Count in the Lambeth Walk area of Kensington in London.

She is of dark complexion and medium build.

The JCF said: "Reports from the Santa Cruz Police are that, about 9:30pm, Findley was last seen at home in St Elizabeth. Her mode of dress is unknown. All efforts to contact her have proven futile."

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Findley should contact the Santa Cruz Police at 876-966-2289, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

Investigators say they are awaiting forensics to confirm the identity of the deceased as well to determine the cause of death.

Ganja worth millions seized in Westmoreland

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ganja-seized.jpgGanja with a street value of $7.5 millio was recovered by the police during an operation in Little Bay, Little London, Westmoreland on Monday. The police say that about 6:30 a.m. a team was in the area when a two-storey unfinished house was searched and 45 knitted bags containing the illicit drug were found.

No one was arrested.

The Auditor General's Department (AGD) has provided details of the two "surprise" parties, held three months apart, for then energy minister Dr Andrew Wheatley, and Perceval Bahado-Singh, former chairman of Petrojam, which cost taxpayers over $2.5 million.

The AGD said a copy of the invoice submitted by the hotel that hosted the party for the "then portfolio minister" shows that Petrojam was charged US$2,427 for "food and beverage", US$1,000 for a "four-tiered topsy turvy chocolate cake" and US$3,802 for "1-6 bedroom, ocean view."

Additionally, the AGD has revealed that Floyd Grindley, former general manager of Petrojam, disregarded the government's procurement guidelines when he engaged a consultant, in two separate contracts totalling $31 million, "without the approval of the board."

The revelations about the two parties were contained in a comprehensive audit of both Petrojam and its parent company, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) tabled in Parliament yesterday, and come nearly three months after The Gleaner sought details from the state-owned company about the festivities.

According to the AGD, the second soiree, described in email correspondence as a "surprise party", was held for the "then portfolio minister" at a hotel in Montego Bay, St James on January 9 this year. But the audit revealed that four days before the party, Grindley approved the payment, passing the US$11,260 price tag to taxpayers.

The other soiree, described as a 'surprise birthday party" for the board chairman, was held at a hotel, also in Montego Bay, on September 9 last year. The invoice for US$10,507 was approved by Grindley on November 17 last year.

"On November 17, 2017 and January 5, 2018, Petrojam's General Manager approved payments for invoices totalling $2.6 million (US$21,767) in relation to two parties, which were of a personal and private nature, having nothing to do with the operations of Petrojam," the audit report said.

The AGD said a copy of the invoice submitted by the hotel that hosted the party for the "then portfolio minister" shows that Petrojam was charged US$2,427 for "food and beverage", US$1,000 for a "four-tiered topsy turvy chocolate cake" and US$3,802 for "1-6 bedroom, ocean view."

The audit revealed, too, that Petrojam used the direct contracting method to hire a consultant to provide services, under two contracts dated June 22 and November 3 last year, related to its 35th anniversary planning activities.

According to the AGD, the general manager "exceeded his authority and breached the procurement guidelines in approving the two contracts valued at $14 million and $27 million, respectively."

"The general manager exceeded his authority limit in the context where the value of the contract surpassed the $1.5 million threshold and the justification provided for the use of the direct contracting methodology above the threshold was not in keeping with the allowable circumstances outlined in the procurement guidelines," the report noted.

The AGD said up to May this year, the consultant had been paid $11.7 million under the first contract. "However, we could not determine the basis on which the payments were made, given that the consultant's invoice submitted for payment only referenced the work done as 'retainer fee for public relations consultancy services," the report noted.

british-woman-missing-in-jamaica-2018-12-photo-1.jpgA Briitish beautician is missing feared murdered in Jamaica after travelling to the island to build her dream home. Karen Cleary, 44, from north London, disappeared from the Boscobel, St Mary's area of the island on November 25 and has not been heard of since.

Now detectives on the island have arrested a labourer working on her home on suspicion of her murder and plan to search the property and dig the garden in the hunt for her body.

Karen's partner Andy Kane flew to Jamaica on Saturday to look for her when she stopped calling home abruptly. Distraught Mr Kane, 56, a sales manager, told MailOnline that he fears the search will not 'end well'.

british-woman-missing-in-jamaica-2018-12-photo-2.jpgHe told MailOnline: 'I am currently in Jamaica assisting the local police force as they search for my girlfriend who is missing from her home since Sunday November 25.

'Today, Monday December 3, the police are planning to search her property in Boscobel, St Mary.

'Basically with the help of the suspect being held they have identified a spot where they plan to dig in the garden.

'By the end of today I believe we will at least know the outcome of the search.'

In a Facebook post Mr Kane added: 'I have heard from the local police. They are holding a "prime suspect" in the case of Karen Cleary's disappearance.

'They will be searching the property and surrounding area with a canine team.

'As much as I hate to admit it I do not believe this is going to end well. I sincerely hope I am proved wrong.'

british-woman-missing-in-jamaica-2018-12-photo-3.jpgKaren, a hairdresser and beautician, was born in Jamaica but has lived in Islington, north London, for almost 20 years. She had travelled to Jamaica to build a dream home for herself and partner Andy to share. Karen is alleged to have gone to visit Portmore, near the capital Kingston. But Mr Kane said he didn't believe she had gone there 'for one minute'.

He said: 'This disappearance is totally out of character for her.

'She would speak to her mother Valrie Williams and myself on at least a daily basis.

'She is always very cautious where she went and who she messed with as she understands the dangers in Jamaica.

'She would never go eight days without contacting her family and loved ones.'

crime-scene-gun.jpgPopular businessman, 40-year-old, Basil Bryce, businessman of Catherine Mount, Mount Salem, St. James, was shot and kille outside Taboo night club in Montego Bay, St James on Thursday morning, November 29.

Reports by the police are that about 2:30 Thursday morning, Bryce and a group of friends were at the Taboo night club, located at Fairview Complex in Montego Bay, when he went on the outside.

Bryce was in the process of entering his motor car when he was ambushed by two armed men, who brandished handguns and opened fire hitting him multiple times to his upper body.

The police were summoned and Bryce body was taken to the Cornwall Regional hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Investigations continue.

Sammy Unique British murdered in Portland

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crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgThe body of a woman with the throat slashed was was fished from a river at the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland last Sunday.

She has been identified as Amanda Napier also known as "Sammy Unique British".

Her body was partially nude, clad only in a black and red tights.

Reports from the Portland police are that, two police officers who on duty discovered a trail of blood about 2:45 a.m. and followed it to a pedestrian bridge about 50 metres away. The officers followed the trail of blood, but they were unable to uncover anything due to the darkness. Upon their return at daybreak, they realize that the blood was all over the bridge.

After canvassing the mangrove, the marine police discovered the body of the female in the river, with what appeared to be stab wounds to the neck and face.

The Portland police are investigating.

Police constable shot in Westmoreland

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police-constable.jpgA Police Constable was shot and wounded while on duty in Westmoreland early Monday morning.

Reports are that about 2:00 a.m., the constable was among a team of officers, who responded to explosions heard on Maylars Avenue in Savanna-la-mar.

Upon their arrival the officers came under gunfire during which the constable was reportedly shot.

He was taken to hospital where he is admitted in stable condition.

Following the incident the police say an 18-year-old male turned up at the hospital with gunshot wounds.

Based on investigations he was admitted under police guard.

British photographer reported missing

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missing-lady-2018-12.jpgFifty-eight-year-old Barbara Findley, a photographer of Beadles Drive, Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth and Lupino Count, Lambeth Walk, Kensington in London has been missing since Thursday, November 29.

The police say she's of dark complexion and medium build.

They say that Findley was last seen at home in St Elizabeth about 9:30 p.m.

Her mode of dress is unknown.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Barbara Findley is being asked to contact the Santa Cruz Police at 876-966-2289, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

chris-gayle-photo-8.jpgWest Indies cricket star Chris Gayle Monday won a Aus$300,000 (US$221,000) payout from an Australian media group which claimed he exposed his genitals to a massage therapist.The all-rounder was accused by Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, in a series of stories in the newspapers in 2016.

They alleged he exposed his penis and indecently propositioned the woman in a dressing room at the 2015 World Cup in Sydney.

Gayle strenuously denied the allegations, claiming at the time that the journalists behind the story wanted to "destroy him".

is teammate Dwayne Smith, who was in the changing room at the time, also denied the incident took place.

He won his defamation case in October last year, with jurors finding Fairfax was motivated by malice and had failed to establish a defence of truth.

New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum said in awarding the payout that being accused of such conduct was "very damaging to Mr Gayle's reputation", according to a report in Fairfax newspapers.

She added that Gayle's evidence on hurt to his feelings was "surprisingly compelling".

Fairfax said it planned to lodge an immediate appeal.

The publication of the stories followed an uproar after Gayle attempted to flirt with an Australian presenter on live TV, asking her out for a drink and telling her: "Don't blush, baby."

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), has suspended a probe into alleged sexual assault involving two tourists at an all-inclusive resort in Negril, Westmoreland four months ago.

The Department says this pending new evidence.

It's reported that on July 5, a South African living in the United States visited Jamaica with her employers.

The woman's employers noticed marks on her neck and reported the matter to the Negril Police. The woman said she had a drink with a man and subsequently woke up sitting in a shower at the resort.

The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse conducted a probe into the matter and a file was submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a ruling.

The ruling noted that the complainant did not outline in her statement that she was assaulted.

The Office of the DPP ruled that there was no evidence to support allegations that the complainant was drugged.

LIES! Detainees not fed bread and sugar and water

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SSP Morris has dismissed reports that detainees are being fed bread as well as sugar and water as meals. He said the detainees eat the same meals as police personnel.

"The persons detained are normally fed from the same pot that the police are fed from..... ."

He however said that the situation is different for persons who are being remanded in relation to a crime.

"If you go across any of the police facilities, that's almost a breakfast staple, that they get bread and tea , they are given a heavy meal at lunch time and they are given a lighter supper. This is not for the detainees - detainees are treated separately from prisoners," Morris stated

crime-scene-7.jpgThe police are claiming that the main witness to a murder for which a child was taken into custody under the state of emergency in St. James has been killed.

The officer in charge of the State of Emergency in St. James, Senior Superintendent Anthony Morris, made the disclosure as he responded to reports that 105 children have been detained in the parish since the security measure was imposed in January.

SSP Morris says five of those children have been charged with murder.

"One of those children was charged for murder. We have a child as young as 13, charged for murder, 15 - charged for murder, 16, charged for murder. There are four of them for gun-related offences, two for sexually related offences. So we do have those situations with them."

He added that 21 of the children detained have been linked to dangerous criminal gangs.

Teachers, class-mates and friends have nothing but good things to say about 15-year-old Tashai Munda following her death in a house fire on Wednesday.

Tashi Munda had been on the honour roll at St Hugh's HIgh School from grade seven. She exemplified modesty and a willingness to do good work and also flourished in several extra-curricular activities.

"She was an active member of the school's cheer-leading squad, and so her squad mates were given space to do their catharsis, and the fourth-formers who are here came in to show their respects also," the school's principal is quoted as saying.

"I am particularly sad because Tashi was a very quiet person. She was well behaved, a diligent student who made the honour roll. Ever since grade seven, she was the top of her grade of 250 girls, and as you can imagine, great things were expected of her. It's a sad loss for this school."

Yesterday, although most students were busily engaged in exams, it was evident that they were dealing with Tashi's death as best as they could. The principal says that the school will be looking at how they will honour Tashi's memory.

Form teacher Minneth Reynolds, the former Sunshine Girls head coach, described Tashi as an influential student who would be missed for a long time.

"She knew what she wanted. She was a dedicated student who was doing extremely well before all of this happened. She will be missed in more ways than one," said Reynolds.

The police are investigating the incident.

fire.jpgShanna-Kaye Bowen, the mother of 15-year-old St Hugh's High School student Tashi Munda, has succumbed to her injuries which she received when their house was set ablaze on Sunday.

Tashi died from her injuries Wednesday night while Bowen's battle for survival ended Thursday night.

As news spread of the second death, the community of Salisbury Plain, which is about six miles north of Stony Hill in St Andrew, was plunged into further mourning.

"All now we still a bawl from Sunday. First Tasha, now her mother, a bare bawling up in a dem lane," one resident reportedly told The Gleaner in an interview.

"The whole district cut up over it. We want dem hold dem, especially the husband. From Sunday it's on everybody lips. We did a pray dem survive but dem did burn bad," added the resident as she wept uncontrollably.

The police have launched a hunt for two suspects including the husband of the deceased woman.

Three arrested in Hanover

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arrested.jpgThree men were arrested on Tuesday after they were reportedly found tampering with an automated banking machine in Green Island.

It was later discovered that they were being sought by the police in Kingston for several breaches of the Cybercrime Act.

Superintendent Beeput says the men were caught installing devices in the automated banking machine which is located at a supermarket.

Investigations continue.

Area leader among four found dead in Caymanas Bay

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crime-scene-demo.jpgReports are that one of the four men found dead in Caymanas Bay, St. Catherine Wednesday morning is the alleged area leader, Jerry Solomon, also called Jerry Dawg.

Two others have been identified only as Bobby and Seafood.

It is understood that residents heard explosions about 10 o'clock Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, a resident discovered the bodies of three men on the verandah of a nearby house.

The police were called, and they later discovered Solomon's body inside the house.

crime-scene-tape.jpgA huge family yard in Olympic Way has been burnt out and one man killed as gunmen-turned-arsonists created mayhem in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The dead man has been identified as 41-year-old mason, Andrew McLean, otherwise called 'Killer' and 'Peter'.

Some 16 families are now homeless, after the thugs set fire to eight houses at premises in Bell Rock, off Olympic Way, near Three Miles in St Andrew.

Reports are that between 16 and 20 families of three to four-member households occupied the premises.

The Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force has confirmed the incident. Police report that about 2:30 am, residents awoke to the sound of explosions and, shortly after, fire was seen coming from the premises. The gunmen had gone to the densely populated tenement, kicked in the door to McLean's house and opened gunfire, killing him before setting fire to his house.

According to the CCU, the fire quickly spread to the other houses, gutting them. The CCU described the tenement as a "cluster of board houses".

Body of missing American woman found in Hanover

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crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgInvestigators have confirmed that the body which was found yesterday evening in a shallow grave in Logwood, Hanover is that of missing American businesswoman, Nancy Hardy.

Ms Hardy, who was 72 years old, lived in Jamaica for several years and operated the Natural Living Jamaica guesthouse in Negril, Westmoreland

Head of the Hanover Police, Superintendent Sharon Beeput, says that the body was removed Wednesday evening.

Ms Hardy was reported missing last Friday.

It's reported that blood stains were found in her house.

The police are looking for a man they believe killed Ms Hardy.

Superintendent Beeput told RJR News that investigators are awaiting the results of a post mortem.

held.jpgA Jamaican couple in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is in federal custody on conspiracy charges related to the lottery scam.

Ashani Ishmael Levy and his wife, Ekeyma Ebony Harris were arrested last week and are being held pending a hearing in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

A report in the Pittsburgh Gazette newspaper says the investigation started November 17 when an 80-year-old woman in Longmont, Colorado, told the police she was a victim.

The woman claimed she received calls from Jamaica claiming that she won US$17 million in the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes and should send money so she could collect her winnings

She was told several times to send money to the callers.

Cops then arrested Miss Harris and searched her house, discovering Western Union receipts indicating wire transfers to Jamaica.

Mr. Levy was later arrested.

Postal inspectors said Ms. Harris told them that she and Mr. Levy had moved to Hazelwood in Pittsburgh in June and had been sending between 10 per cent to 25 per cent of cash received from scams back to Jamaica.

According to inspectors, Miss Harris said she knew what they were doing was illegal and had told Mr. Levy to stop.

tesha-miller-photo-1-thumb.jpgReputed leader of one faction of the Spanish Town-based Clansman gang, Tesha Miller, will have to remain behind bars until at least March 19, 2019. This followed a failed bail application made on his behalf by defence attorney, Bert Samuels, in the Home Circuit Court on Monday. Chief Justice Bryan Sykes denied bail after noting, among other things, that Miller had left Jamaica on two occasions using fictitious names.

Justice Sykes pointed to the possibility that based on Miller's past conduct, he would likely violate the conditions of the court if he was granted bail.

Miller has been charged with accessory before and after the fact of murder in relation to the 2008 shooting death of the then Chairman of the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), Douglas Chambers. A chartered accountant by profession, Chambers was shot and killed outside the gate of the JUTC head office and depot at Twickenham Park in St Catherine, after being reportedly called outside.

At Monday's bail hearing, the prosecution told the court that there is a witness statement that shows that Miller gave the go-ahead for Chambers to be killed, reportedly over his refusal to pay money to the Clansman gang. Police said Miller reportedly interpreted the refusal to pay as a 'diss', and Chambers' fate was sealed at a meeting in April 2008, which also included another reputed leader of the now fractured Clansman gang, Andre 'Blackman' Bryan, who himself is now incarcerated on several charges related to being involved in a criminal enterprise.

At the meeting, according to the witness, Bryan told Miller that "A tek him (Chambers) tek wi fi fool. Mash wi fi mash him up."

Miller's response, according to the witness was: "do unno thing".

Having interpreted Miller's comments to be an order to kill Chambers, the witness pleaded with Miller not to let it happen, telling him that he would be blamed, and therefore pressured.

The witness reportedly said Miller's response was to hiss his teeth while ignoring his plea for Chambers to be spared.

In further opposing bail, the prosecution pointed out that in the past, Miller absconded bail and used various aliases to leave Jamaica. The court was also told that Miller assisted Andre Bryan to leave Jamaica via boat, shortly after Chambers was killed.

In making his case for bail, Samuels argued that the prosecution's case was weak, as its main witnesses were gangsters. However, this was shot down by the chief justice, who told him that the fact that the witnesses were gangsters did not mean the case was weak.

The prosecution has indicated that it will be making an application to allow two witnesses to testify via video link.

For his part, Bryan was freed of Chamber's murder in September 2016.

Two other men who were reportedly involved in the killing of Chambers, were later shot and killed.

PEP results worse than thought

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The results of the mock examination for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) that was undertaken by some 37,500 students in June, is much worse than was previously stated by the Ministry of Education.

And in response, Member of Parliament (MP) for South Manchester, Michael Stewart, who is also the Deputy Spokesperson on Education for the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), has suggested that some children have been left so traumatised by the experience that there may be a need for some psychological intervention by the state.

It has emerged that in October when Education Minister, Senator Ruel Reid, released the results of the examination at a media conference, he combined the number of students who achieved mastery in each subject area with those who had achieved near mastery in the same subject area. In doing so, the combined figures released in October showed that 22 per cent of students had achieved a satisfactory result for science; 48 per cent for mathematics; and 52 per cent for social studies.

"Science was our great concern," Reid said at the time.

He told the media conference in October that although the Performance Task component of the PEP was pitched at a very high level, he was "happy to report that 83 per cent of the students actually scored satisfactory on this particular assessment."

However, in answering questions on Tuesday in the House of Representatives, Floyd Green, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, admitted that during the October media conference, the figures were combined.

Green's response was to questions that were posed by the MP for Central Kingston, Ronald Thwaites, who is the Opposition Spokesperson on Education.

When the 'mastery' and ''near mastery' figures are separated, an entirely different picture emerges in respect of the results of the mock examination from what Reid presented. Green told the House that 12,003 students achieved mastery in language arts, while 22,757 achieved near mastery in the subject area. Overall, students performed best in that subject area.

In mathematics, Green told the House that only 1,379 students achieved mastery of the subject, while 17,568 nearly met the standard.

As it relates to science, a mere 585 achieved mastery, while 14,126 were near mastery. Some 2,861 students achieved mastery in social studies, while 19,464 almost met the standard.

"This is quite appalling," suggested Stewart in his response to the report. "I believe that the nation must be very shocked to be hearing some of these results," the former Jamaica Teachers' Association president added.

According to Stewart, "Our students have been really traumatised. I believe we are going to have to put some camps in place as it relates to some psychological assessment and treatment for those students."

The educator said parents were also dealing with the stress and the uncertainties surrounding the examinations.

Green had earlier stated that there was no mock exam for the PEP. Rather, he explained that "There was a mock (pilot) performance task exam, which is only one component of the PEP".

He said the areas that were assessed were general readiness of the students in terms of attempt and responses to questions; the general approach of the teachers in preparing the students; as well as the conduct of the performance task and the readiness of the ministry in terms of the marking of the papers and the focus on different items.

$17-MILLION 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign blasted

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Residents of Montego Bay in St. James have joined the growing chorus of persons and entities which have cried out that a $17 million price tag to erect a new welcome sign for the city is a waste of taxpayers' money.

"Is a waste a money that and no sign nuh cost so much me no know how eh money suh big," a resident said and that is the sentiment being echoed over and over again.

Another resident suggested that the sign should be constructed at a lower rate.

"I would not say the sign is not important because of course the sign would be advertising our country, especially to the tourists that will enter our shores. However, I think that there are more important things to be done with so much money. For example, we have a lot of bad roads in Jamaica and so I think that's waste of taxpayers' money and I think the minister need to revisit that decision," he insisted.

The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has provided a breakdown of the $17 million to be spent on creating the new 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign.

In a statement Tuesday, TPDCo said the St. James Municipal Corporation has been contracted to build it. The agency disclosed that the sign will be illuminated. The area will also be landscaped and there will be an irrigation system. TPDCo explained that $8 million will be spent on creating a dual base facing the east and west, $3 million on lettering, $2 million on electrical work, $1 million on irrigation and $3 million for contigencies.

TPDCo said it consulted with engineers from the National Works Agency (NWA) on the design to ensure the safety of road users.

Additionally, road signs are being replaced as well as other safety features including the installation of speed strips and the repainting of road markings.

4 murders in Annotto Bay in 48 hours

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crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgFour murders were committed over 48-hours in the rural town of Annotto Bay in St Mary, leaving residents and business operators fearful.

The latest is a double murder last night, which left two men dead during a drive-by shooting about 9 p.m. at Top Hill in Annotto Bay.

Dead are 21-year-old Akeem Wilson and 22-year-old Rayon Morrison, both unemployed.

According to a police report, Wilson and Morrison were standing at separate locations in Annotto Bay, when a vehicle with heavily armed men opened fire hitting Wilson first. The car reportedly sped off and shortly after Morrison, who was standing near a tyre shop, was sprayed with bullets.

The two were rushed to hospital, but were pronounced dead upon arrival.

Last night's double murder follow on the heels of the shooting death of a 59-year-old businessman and farmer, Monton Hamilton on Thursday night. He was shot and killed by unknown assailants at his home at Dover in the parish.

Hamilton's wife was also shot and robbed.

And on Friday, a man known only as 'Blacks', from Marl Road in Kingston, was shot and killed at Cane Lane in Annotto Bay.

St Mary has recorded 30 murders since the start of this year, with the town of Annotto Bay accounting for 65 per cent of those murders.

The Annotto Bay police are investigating.

Tyre man gunned down in Mo Bay

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crime-scene-gun.jpgA tyre repairman was killed at his workplace in Montego Bay, St James in a vicious attack by a lone gunman who shot him multiple times on Thursday night.

The deceased has been identified as 31-year-old Alando Ellis of Look Out, Hopewell, Hanover.

Reports are that about 7:15 p.m., Ellis was at his workplace in West Gate, Montego Bay, when he was pounced upon and shot up by an unknown gunman.

Ellis received gunshots to the face and other sections of the upper body and was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Montego Bay police are investigating the incident.

No motive has so far been determined for the gun attack.

loom-wheel.jpgReports are that the Loom wheel that once promised Jamaicans thousands of dollars has slowed drastically, and in some cases has stopped spinning completely for a number of investors who have lost thousands of dollars.

A Jamaica Gleaner probe last week noted that several persons who invested in the scheme were frantically trying to get back their investments as it became clear that the dreams of big returns had transformed into nightmares.

"Is December now and all now me can't hear nothing bout me Loom, but due to how me pay me money me need fi know what a gwaan so me a go need it and me done talk," said one investor, in a WhatsApp group operated by one loom vendor.

"A two months now me a defend my money and can't get it back," said another in one of the string of posts, many too graphic for publication.

"I know of Loom stuck for four months now. if you need back the money you have to talk to the admin person and he will put up your spot for sale. if you lucky somebody buy it, that's the only way you get back your money. every day people asking back for their money and admin not answering them," said another investor.

Last month, The Sunday Gleaner reported on the increasing popularity of the scheme and how the operators had promised investors up to 300 per cent earnings on each investment. At that time, communication and international relations manager at the Financial Services Commission (FSC), David Geddes, warned against get-rich schemes, which he pointed out were unsustainable.

Last week, Geddes said persons who believe they were defrauded as a result of putting money into the Loom scheme should report the matter to the police and file a formal complaint with the FSC.

"People need to realise that there are many different paths and roads to prosperity, but Loom is not one of them. 'Blessings' and 'Christmas Gift' and those schemes are also not ways to prosperity. Invest your money in a retirement plan, for example, or try entrepreneurship, but the problem with a lot of persons today is that it has to be immediate, persons want returns immediately," added Geddes.

Since it became clear that the collapse of Loom was inevitable, persons have admitted that despite the warnings they invested in Loom with the hope that they would be among those to collect big before it collapsed.

"Persons know that it's a Ponzi scheme, they know that chances are they won't get back the money, but because they are being lulled into this fantasy world where there is a chance that you may get returns 10 times their money, they say 'OK, let me just try with $20,000 and try my luck'," Geddes said.

the-girl-that-was-murdered-by-the-alleged-girlfriend.jpgThe Runaway Bay police in St Ann on Friday arrested a woman for the stabbing death of another woman in the community of Belle Air Phase 2 in the parish on Thursday.

The suspect's identity has not been released by the police as no charge has yet been laid against her.

The nude body of the deceased woman was found with multiple stab wounds in a section of the community known as 'Crocodile City' early Thursday morning. She is yet to be identified.

The suspect is believed to have stabbed the woman after she went to the home of her spouse at about 6:00 a.m. on Thursday and saw the woman asleep. According to claims going the rounds on social media, the suspect stabbed the victim in the neck and other sections of her upper body.

The victim reportedly woke up during the attack and ran outside in the nude before she succumbed to her injuries.

On Thursday the police appealed for the public's assistance in identifying the deceased woman.

Gunmen kill St Mary shop owner, injure wife

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crime-scene-gun.jpgA man was killed and his wife injured after they were attacked last night by gunmen in Dover, St. Mary.

He has been identified as 54 year-old farmer and shop operator Manton Hamilton, a resident of Dover.

Reports are that at about 9 PM, Mr. Hamilton and his wife closed their shop for the day.

While leaving the property, a car drove up and two masked men alighted the vehicle and demanded his wife's hand bag.

They complied.

The men then shot them.

They were taken to a hospital where Mr. Hamilton was pronounced dead and his wife admitted.

Investigations continue.

shocked.jpgCounselling is to be arranged for the 10-year-old St Theresa Prep School student who witnessed the murder of her mother this morning.

She is currently in the care of a relative.

Forty-six-year-old sales representative Nadine Brown of Edward Road in Retreat, St Thomas was opening the grille to her carport when she was pounced upon by a gunman who opened fire hitting her several times.

Brown was about to leave home to take her daughter to school.

The police say the gunman was dressed in an orange and grey striped shirt.

They also say five 9 milli-metre spent casings have been found.

crime-scene-gun.jpgTwo brothers were killed in an early morning attack yesterday while they were at a home in the Rollington Town community in Kingston.

Dead are 19-year-old Adonere Bowen and 17-year-old Jervauni Bowen, both of Lake Lane, Rollington Town.

Superintendent of Police Victor Hamilton of the Kingston East Division described the incident as "very tragic", but would only say that investigations are ongoing.

The Corporate Communications Unit reported that at about 1 a.m. on Wednesday, the teens and another male were at a house on Elleston Road, when four men armed with guns kicked opened the front door and shot them several times.

The Elleston Road police were summoned and the men were taken to the hospital.

The Bowens were pronounced dead on arrival. The other man is said to be in stable condition.

buju-banton-photo-11.jpgNew York, New York (November 15, 2018). With only days before his release Buju Banton remains positive and in great spirits. He is currently counting down the days, along with millions of others to his release.

Yet, he would like to send a message from his heart to all before he is released.

"In light of the adversity I have encountered, I feel the need to stress that my only desire going forward is peace and love. I only want to be associated with my craft. Having survived, I want to share the good news and strength of my music. I just want to continue making music, which Ive devoted my life to. I look forward to the opportunity to say a personal thanks to my fans and everyone who supported me"

-Love Buju Banton

crime-scene-gun.jpgBusinessman Ren 'Basil' Malcolm, the operator a bike store on Courtney Walsh Drive (Derrymore Road) was shot seven times all over his body, including once in the head. The video footage showing the gunman entering and leaving the building has been obtained by Yardflex.

Minutes after 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Basil, as he is affectionately called, was attacked by a lone gunman inside his establishment, located on the popular street. The gunman, shown to be slim built, walked causally into the shop, strolled innocently past workers and went into Basil's office where he shot him several times after a brief conversation.

According to the eyewitness, a vehicle was waiting for the perpetrator. However, after being challenged by a licensed firearms holder, the driver reportedly sped away leaving his accomplice behind.

"It come in like a movie, middle day and the man dem have shoot-out, mi couldn't believe it," the eyewitness told a popular tabloid. "Mi hear di shot dem start from inside di building, until it come outside. Di man dem run guh up a di top of the road and di man weh tek dem on run dem dung, but dem escape."

In confirming the incident, the police's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) said that two other individuals, including the firearm holder who engaged the gunman, were being treated for gunshot wounds.

CCU further reported that the gunman was able to flee the scene by boarding a taxi.

As word of the incident spread, numerous motorcyclists, some of whom were visibly irate, came to the scene, questioning the motive for killing Malcolm.

"A can't Basil. Dem man deh nuh do nutten, dem man deh nuh trouble people. Dem man deh a good man," one shouted.

Another cyclist, who said he would hang out at Malcolm's business regularly, was at a loss for words.

"From dem shoot Basil, dem can shoot anybody, dem ya man no respect nobody," he said, wondering if . "A probably extort, dat a di only thing mi can think off, cause a suh dem place ya run, if yu nah pay extortion, dem come kill yu."

police-federation-logo.jpgFootage from a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera as they seek to uncover who is responsible for the murder of a parent yesterday morning outside Lannaman's Preparatory School in St Andrew.

The deceased has been identified as Ainsley Folkes. He was killed shortly after dropping off his child at the institution.

The police team, which responded to the killing, told THE STAR that the incident may have been captured on a nearby CCTV camera.

"There are cameras around, there is a camera on the school building so it is likely that some activity may have been captured," a policeman declared as he cordoned the scene.

Shortly after dropping off their children at school, there was a rush by some parents to get their little ones away from the compound following the brazen killing.

Another parent who witnessed the attack ran after the gunman who managed to escape in a waiting Nissan Tiida motor car.

The parent reportedly told the paper that: "The man nuh even dress like a gunman. If you see him, him look like a big man inna him 40s. Him dress normal. If yuh see him, you wouldn't think that was his intent. I mean, yuh can't tell but now we don't know who to look for. It could have been any of us."

The gunman knocked on Folkes' window as he sat in the car and as Folkes brought down the windows, the gunman reached for his waistband, pulled the firearm and shot him multiple times.

"I can't believe it. I stood by my car waiting for him (Folkes) to acknowledge me, a jus suh we move once we drop off the kids dem and see each other. Me see the man pull the gun, fire and run. Mi run after him but him manage fi escape around the road cause the car was waiting for him. Mi can't believe di man jus come and kill off the man suh," the eyewitness told the tabloid.

Folkes reportedly managed to exit his vehicle where he ran on to the school compound and collapsed. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead. School was closed prematurely as counselling was provided and will continue throughout the week.

The St Andrew Central police said that investigations are ongoing.

crime-scene-gun.jpgA man was shot dead Monday morning outside the Lannaman's Preparatory School in Kingston, moments after dropping off his son at the institution.

Reports are that the father took his son onto the school compound and was returning to his vehicle, which was parked across from the school gate, when explosions were heard.

The source said the bleeding man returned to the compound in search of help. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The incident happened shortly after 7:30 am. It is also being reported that the deceased was a licensed firearm holder, however, his weapon cannot be found.

Church members pressured as young pastor arrested

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The members of the church at which a young pastor was picked up for questioning about the sexual abuse of a minor are now coming under a lot of pressure from their community.

Members say they are now under scrutiny from community members since the young pastor's arrest, and according to one stalwart in the church, she is afraid to leave her home because of the backlash that she is receiving.

"Everything happened so fast and the church just stopped immediately," said the member. "Dem a tell him seh him must stop talk to that little girl, enuh, and him never did a listen."

Daily tabloid, The Star, is reporting that the pastor took the child out on numerous occasions and even though he was pressed by members of the church to desist from the action, he still continued.

"There were times when he would often be in conflict with the church. One time he even took the child out for her birthday to Carib, and the church was really upset about it," the member said.

arrested.jpgA church pastor who was leading his congregation in prayer was arrested on Sunday following complaints by a 13-year-old child that he had sexually molested her.

The service was interrupted on Sunday as the congregation was in the middle of a service when the mayhem started.

"We were praying and I saw two officers come to the church door. He (the pastor) was praying at the altar, so the police told one of the ushers to go and call him," the member said.

Head of the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Superintendent Charmaine Shand, confirmed that the pastor was taken into custody for the offence of having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16.

Up to press time, he had not been charged.

Reports from CISOCA are that the suspect was contacted by the minor, who told him that she was locked out of school sometime last week.

Shand said that from reports the pastor picked the child up in Half-Way Tree and took her to a house where he had sex with her.

The man, whose name is being withheld pending further investigations, is being questioned in relation to this incident and another involving another minor.

charged.jpgThe police in St Ann have charged two 15-year-old boys in relation to the recent murder of 14-year-old Ocho Rios High School student, Raven Wilson. Police sources say that Raven was with at least one of the boys on the day of her disappearance, and was later killed. The other 15-year-old boy allegedly played the role of helping to dispose of items belonging to the girl, and assisted in dumping the body.

The identities of the accused teenagers cannot be revealed, as they are juveniles. One of the boys was charged with murder, while the other was charged with accessory after the fact to murder. The charges followed a ruling from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last Thursday that the two boys should be charged.

Additionally, the teenagers were taken to court last Thursday, and were remanded in the custody of the state. They are to return to court later this month.

In confirming the detention of the teens at Thursday's monthly meeting of the St Ann Municipal Corporation, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rudolph Taylor, said the teens were picked up over a week ago.

Raven Wilson's body was found in her community of Top Road in the parish capital, St Ann's Bay, on Sunday, October 21. Her body, with a wound to the head, was discovered in a garbage bag in bushes at about 6:35 a.m. The student had been missing since Friday, October 19. It is understood that she left home for school at about 6:30 a.m., but did not attend the institution that day.

The police reportedly recovered belongings of hers, including her schoolbag and a pair of shoes, which were classified as vital evidence in the probe into her death. The schoolbag was recovered at a premises in Top Road two days after Raven's body, which was clad in her school uniform, was found.

Investigators are also focused on the results of forensic tests on the recovered items, and also a post-mortem report on Raven's body.

JLP councillor happy with MannaPack rise in schools

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jlp.jpgAs the issue of whether the products from Nutrition Products Limited (NPL) has been replaced by the imported MannaPack Rice continues to unfold in the St Catherine Municipal Corporation, Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Ensom City Division, George Moodie, has defended the issuing of the product, saying it is a nutritious supplement and not a replacement for the nutribuns, milk and juice supplied by NPL.

Moodie, who had vowed to address the issue at last Thursday's general meeting of the municipal corporation with evidence of the value of the imported rice, and what he described as a mischievous attempt by Peoples' National Party councillor Roogae Kirlew of the Above Rocks Division to malign the Government, was earlier in the meeting prevented from doing so.

However, in an interview with The Gleaner, Moodie, who is also a school principal, said Kirlew's assertion at last month's general meeting that the Government had scrapped the national nutrition programme of providing bake products and sachets of milk and juice to students islandwide, under a school-feeding programme operated by Nutrition Products Limited, was false and misleading.

"I want to make it clear that Nutrition Products Limited is still providing products to our schools and the Manna Rice is a very nutritious supplement to the programme," said Moodie, while displaying a container with some of the MannaPack Rice he had personally prepared for his presentation.

"This product has tremendous nutritional value and should be encouraged for the benefit of our students. My colleague's attempt to discredit the product and malign the Government is purely political," observed Moodie.

Meanwhile, in a statement from Nutrition Products Limited, the company charged with the responsibility for the production and distribution of nutritious snacks to schools islandwide, it was made clear that the company currently operates a school-feeding programme that provides bake products, milk and juice to over 1,000 schools at a minimal contribution.

The statement further described the company as a statutory body functioning under the portfolio of the Ministry of Education, funded directly by the Government and assisted by local and international donor agencies.

Two charged for attempting to expost cocaine

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charged.jpgIn another incident, also on Friday, a team from the Narcotics Police Division arrested and charged two men at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James for attempting to export cocaine.

They are: 47-year-old Nigel Barham, businessman of Nain district, St Elizabeth and 52-year-old Dennis Daley, farmer of Myersville district, also in the parish.

Police say the drug weighed approximately 4.5 pounds, and has an estimated street value of about $2.2 million.

The men were subsequently charged with Possession of Cocaine, Dealing in Cocaine, Attempting to Export Cocaine and Conspiracy to Export Cocaine.

They are scheduled to appear before the St James Parish Court on Thursday.

Policeman caught with cocaine and $1-Million in cash

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police-hat.jpgFour men, including a policeman, have been arrested for allegedly breaching the Dangerous Drugs Act.

The unidentified police corporal was reportedly caught on Friday by Narcotics police in Porus, Manchester with one kilogramme of cocaine and $1 million in cash.

The policeman was reportedly travelling in a Toyota motor car with another man about 4:20 p.m. when it was intercepted, searched and the drugs along with cash found.

Both men were subsequently taken into custody. Their identities, according to the police, are being withheld pending further investigations.

Body found in container

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crime-scene-tape-gloves.jpgThe Old Harbour police in St Catherine are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a man whose body was found on Friday in an empty container at an industrial complex in the parish where packing is done for exporting.

The deceased, who remains unidentified, is believed to be about 52 years' old, is of dark complexion, medium built, and was clad in black pants and socks.

Reports are that about 1:30 p.m., the container, which was delivered to the facility on Wednesday, November 7, was about to be loaded with produce when the body was discovered inside of it.

The police were summoned and the scene processed.

Guyana, CMC - The Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) re-opened this morning a few hours after a Fly Jamaica airliner made an emergency landing 45 minutes into its flight to Toronto, Canada. Six passengers were injured.

"We can confirm that Fly Jamaica flight OJ256 bound for Toronto has returned to Georgetown with a technical problem and has suffered an accident on landing. At this time, we believe that all 118 passengers and 8 crew members are safe. We are providing local assistance and will release further information as soon as it is available," the carrier said in a statement.

Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson confirmed that six people were injured during the incident and were being treated at the Diamond Regional Hospital.

"They are all stable and are being looked at," Patterson said, adding that all the passengers and crew on board had been accounted for with "no reports of any broken bones or such".

The Boeing 757 aircraft with 118 adults and two infants on board was forced to return to the CJIA minutes after its departure for Canada because of technical difficulties and over ran the airstrip on the emergency landing.

"Where the aircraft veered off is about the exact same place the Caribbean Airlines (plane did)... so fortunately for us on this occasion, the extension (of the runway) was there so they were able to utilise the extension," Patterson said, adding that investigations into the matter had already started.

The plane with its eight crew members of six Guyanese and two Jamaicans, also had on board one American, 82 Canadians, 35 Guyanese, one Pakistani and a Trinidadian.

Patterson said that the flight departed Guyana at 2:10 a.m. (local time) and at 2:21 a.m., the pilot indicated "there was some hydraulic problem and he requested permission to return and he did".

On landing, the emergency services were activated and since then an investigator from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority has taken responsibility for the crash site. Patterson said that the United States' National Transportation Safety Board has been informed.

Fly Jamaica Airways was certified by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) in September 2012, and was cleared to operate in the United States by US authorities in December. On November 16, last year the airline formed by a Guyanese businessman and three Jamaican shareholders, was given permission by the Guyana government to begin direct flights between Guyana and Cuba.

crime-scene-gun.jpgRamiesh Simpson, a prominent Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) activist, was shot and killed last night at his home in Logwood, St Thomas. His wife, who was also shot and injured, was rushed to the hospital.

It is reported that about 9 p.m. the Simpsons had just pulled up at their home when Rameish stepped out the vehicle to open the gate. He was allegedly attacked and shot multiple times, killing him on the spot.

His wife was later shot and injured after she ran from the vehicle.

Reports are that the men set the vehicle on fire before fleeing the scene.

Simpson made local news in 2015 after he and his cousin were arrested and charged with the illegal possession of firearm and ammunition following reports from the police that they removed the items from a van which Rameish, in seeking to elude the police, drove into the sea.

The items were allegedly fished from the sea following what the police described as a high-speed chase, which ended with Rameish driving his vehicle into the sea in the vicinity of Grants Pen, St Thomas.

Both men were offered bail and had restrictions imposed on their movements.

In granting bail, Resident Magistrate Calise Wiltshire had said claims from the prosecution that Rameish was part of a criminal gang in St Thomas was not enough reason to deny bail.

crime-scene-gun.jpgThe Westmoreland police are carrying out a high level probe into the quadruple murder this morning (Nov 8). The police say they believe that the killings could have been carried out by members of the Kings Valley gang who have been terrorizing sections of the parish.

Those killed are brothers: 31 year old mechanic Howard Humes, 33 year old farmer Paulton Humes, and 23-year-old Shavane Humes, as well as the spouse of one of the brothers, 25-year-old Keneisha Wilson.

Reports that about 1:15 this morning, residents living in the Masemure community, alerted the police after hearing gunshots coming from the direction of where the Humes family reside.

Upon the arrival of the police, the four were seen suffering from gunshot wounds.

A 5 year old child was the only occupant who was spared by the gunmen.

Community members, family and close friends of the victims, expressed their shock at the gruesome quadruple murder, which they say is the first of its kind in the community.

Pheona Malcolm - Campbell, mother of the slain woman, was broken up about the incident. She says her daughter was innocent.

And, Kenneth Wilson, who is the father of the slain woman, in an interview with Jamaican radio station, Irie FM News, said that the Humes family had been receiving threats.

Head of the Westmoreland police, Superintendent Gary McKenzie says the police are hoping for a quick breakthrough into the murders.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has expressed deep sadness at the passing of celebrated architect and hotelier, Earl Levy.

"On behalf of all of us in tourism, I would like to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Earl Levy, during this very difficult time," said Minister Bartlett.

Levy is the mastermind behind the luxurious Trident brand in Portland. He opened the Trident Vacation Villas in the mid-1950s; then later designed the lavish Trident Castle, Hotel & Villas, in the 1980s. Over the years, Trident has received a number of service awards and has played host to a large number of celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and Denzel Washington.

He also assisted with the refurbishing of the iconic Devon House attraction in Kingston, as well as designing a number of well-appointed residential properties across the island.

"The contribution that Mr Levy, or the Earl of Portland as he is affectionately called, has made to the tourism industry is significant. He was an outstanding entrepreneur, family man and designer. He will certainly be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him," said the Minister.

Bartlett also noted the influence Levy had in strengthening brand Jamaica through his extraordinary designs.

"Earl Levy is truly irreplaceable but we take comfort in knowing that the industry will benefit from his contributions for many years to come," said Minister Bartlett.

Two confirmed cases of dengue in St Catherine

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dengue.jpgThe St Catherine Health Department says there are two confirmed cases of dengue fever in the parish and a few suspected cases that are presently been assessed by the authorities.

Delivering the Health Department's monthly report at the general meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation Thursday, Chief Public Health Officer for the parish, Grayson Hutchinson, said these are isolated cases and there is no reason to fear that an outbreak is imminent at this time.

"We don't foresee an outbreak. Recent rains have caused an increase in mosquito infestation in a number of areas in the parish, especially in Portmore and its environs.

"The vector control unit of the department is currently carrying out a massive mosquito eradication drive in these areas, targeting the breeding sites, and we are seeing encouraging signs of success," Hutchinson told The Gleaner. He said that for the period under review, 35 drains were inspected of which 23 were found to be breeding sites, and fogging was undertaken in 61 communities.

According to Hutchinson, the major challenge facing the department presently is the malfunctioning ultra low volume (ULV) fogging machine which is mounted on the back of a pickup truck that can cover a wider expanse.

"In the meantime, we have employed a number of temporary workers to carry out adulticidal or fogging work in these areas and this has proven to be very effective, but there is still the need for ULV support to assist with the adulticidal work," the chief public health officer noted.

Hutchinson was quick to point out that there is no cause for alarm about any malaria outbreak, because the health department is proactive in its screening efforts.

The Ministry of Health is assuring the public that measures have been taken to restrict the spread of Malaria beyond the three Nicaraguans who were diagnosed with the virus on a fishing boat that was rescued in Jamaican waters.

In a release on Thursday, the health ministry said: "Vector control activities, including disinsection of the vessel, was conducted and are ongoing as per standard operating procedures."

The health ministry stressed that "of note, no breeding sites with the Anopheles mosquito, which transmits malaria were found in any of the locations the members of the crew accessed".

According to the Jamaican health authority, the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard notified it that a Nicaraguan vessel with 93 persons aboard was intercepted in Jamaican waters on Tuesday.

It said the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department carried out the requisite procedures and it was during that process that two of the men aboard the vessel were diagnosed. They were taken to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) where they were isolated and treated. A third man from the vessel was diagnosed in a subsequent assessment.

Jamaica was returned to the Malaria free list in 2012 after an outbreak in 2006. The last local case of malaria was in 2009. Since then there have been imported cases of Malaria each year.

"Jamaica has been able to maintain its Malaria free status through surveillance, early detection and rapid isolation and treatment of all cases," the health ministry said.

"We encourage the public to play their part in keeping Jamaica Malaria free by reporting to public health officials any unofficial entry of foreigners," it added.

charged.jpgThe Clarendon police are reporting that they have captured one of the parish's most wanted criminals.

He is Shane Hannah, also called "Most High".

Hannah was held in Old Harbour, St Catherine on Monday and has since been charged with murder.

The police say he is charged in connection with the killing of taxi operator Nigel Winter, whose body was found in Swansea, Clarendon on September 21.

A former soldier, Garfield Brown, is already in custody for the same crime.


November 8, 2018

Patricia Chin Honored at American Friends of Jamaica Humming Bird Gala

Recipient of Humanitarian Award at the Prestigious Annual Event

patricia-chin-honored-at-american-friends-of-jamaica-humming-bird-gala.jpgNew York, NY- On Friday, October 26, 2018, Co-founder of VP Records, Patricia Chin was honored with a prestigious International Humanitarian Award at American Friends of Jamaica's (AFJ) 2018 Hummingbird Gala. Held at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, the evening provided opportunity for the Diaspora community, supporters and friends with an interest in Jamaica to provide financial resources to vulnerable Jamaicans in the areas of education, healthcare and economic development. VP Records also served as a proud sponsor of the prestigious annual event.

The evening began with a silent auction while guests mingled and convened before the program began. During the program, Master of Ceremonies, Ruschell Boone of NY1 introduced AFJ's annual vignette showcasing the year's work of transformative programs in Jamaica. Commentary from AFJ president Wendy Hart and Executive Director Caron Chung then led to a live auction where a total of $400K was raised. They then introduced the two Humanitarian awards for the evening, beginning with President of Real Estate Development and Management company, A.J. Dwoskin & Associates Inc., Mr. Albert J. Dwoskin.

While receiving her award, Patricia Chin stated "I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight and supporting Friends of Jamaica and I am honored to receive the Hummingbird Humanitarian Award." When Patricia Chin, also known as Miss Pat, is not busy with helping run her label VP Records, she takes care of her many charities including her passion project with Alpha Boys School in Kingston Jamaica, where she helps to raise funds to keep the more than century old institution thriving and well.

The night concluded with live music from Dancehall Legend Johnny Osbourne, UK Singer and Songwriter Estelle, International Reggae MegaStar Tarrus Riley, TTO Band with LeRoy Graham Jr., Andy Bassford, Dean Fraser, Kyle Graham and more. International Reggae/Dancehall DJ, Max Glazer spun the latest tunes. Special guests in attendance included Reggae superstar Busy Signal, Chris Blackwell and more.

patricia-chin-honored-at-american-friends-of-jamaica-humming-bird-gala-photo-1.jpgpatricia-chin-honored-at-american-friends-of-jamaica-humming-bird-gala-photo-2.jpgpatricia-chin-honored-at-american-friends-of-jamaica-humming-bird-gala-photo-3.jpgPhotos by Ajamu Myrie

To left photo: Patricia Chin with Mr. Albert J. Dwoskin. Both recipients Humanitarian Award

Top right photo: Patricia Chin with Tarrus Riley

Bottom photo: Tarrus Riley and Estelle perform "Love Like Ours" from Estelle's "Lovers Rock" album

AFJ's annual Galas attract diverse individuals who have special bonds of friendship with the people of Jamaica. Former honorees include Joseph Matalon, Chairman ICD, Vincent HoSang, President Caribbean Food Delights, Cecil Sam Wright, President Quality AutoMall, Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia, Gary "Butch" Hendrickson, National Continental Baking Company, Lowell Hawthorne, GoldenKrust, Dennis Lalor, ICWI, Kenny Benjamin, Guardsman Group, Denis O'Brien, Digicel, Ralph and Ricky Lauren, Harry Belafonte and others. To date, the AFJ has presented grants of over US$14M. The AFJ demonstrates the power of collaboration to engage with and to support residents of underserved Jamaican communities. 2018 Hummingbird Gala sponsors include A. J. Dwoskin & Associates, VP Records, jetBlue, ADA Music 25 and Vanessa Noel.

"The Gala was an extraordinary opportunity to experience stellar artists in an intimate setting while showing support for the mission of the AFJ" stated AFJ Executive Director, Caron Chung.

About the AFJ

Founded in 1982, the American Friends of Jamaica is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization built on the principles of service and philanthropy and is established to give assistance in the areas of education, healthcare, and economic development. The AFJ works in a collaborative effort with Jamaican organizations and stakeholders to bring about change in the lives of Jamaicans who need a hand up. The AFJ has partnered in providing shelter to the homeless, education to inner-city youth, healthcare to individuals and equipment to health facilities. The AFJ annual grant cycle begins the first Friday in November each year and grants are disbursed at the end of the first quarter in April the following year. Contributions are tax deductible as provided by law.

For press inquiries, please contact:

Female taxi driver shot dead

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crime-scene-gun.jpgA female taxi operator was shot dead in Race Course, Toll Gate Clarendon by unknown assailants yesterday.

She is identified as 45-year-old Claudia Thompson from Ebony Park in the parish. According to police reports, Thompson was at a tire repair shop around 1:20 pm when she was approached by unknown assailants who opened gunfire hitting her multiple times in the upper body.

Lawmen were summoned and her body subsequently removed to the morgue.

Investigations are ongoing.

A fourth dolphin stranded in St Thomas beach; dies

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National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says it finds the report of another stranded dolphin along the White Sand Beach in Holland Bay, St Thomas, yesterday "very rare and unfortunate".

NEPA, in a release today, said a team from its Veterinary Services Division as well as the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) responded to the report, which revealed that the animal had already died. Arrangements were subsequently made to dispose of its remains.

The agency noted that the incident is the second of its kind in three days, as a similar incident involving three dolphins occurred on Monday in the same vicinity. Upon arrival that day, the response team discovered that two of the animals had already died.

"Several unsuccessful attempts were made to re-float the animal that was still alive. Veterinary professionals on location finally determined that continued attempts to re-float the animal would be futile. The animal was subsequently euthanized," NEPA disclosed.

Monique Curtis, Manager, Ecosystems Management Branch of NEPA said: "A stranding of this nature along the island's coastline is very rare and unfortunate. We acknowledge the collaborative effort and speedy response from relevant agencies and stakeholders within the area particularly Mr Everal Davis, who reported the incident, and the Golden Grove Sugar Factory, which provided assistance."

She indicated that the next steps include further surveillance of the area for other strandings and investigations into the possible cause of the incidents.

NEPA shared that the species identified on the beach has been confirmed to be the pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata), which is a small member of the oceanic dolphin family, who prefer deeper areas of warmer tropical and subtropical waters.

4 family members shot dead in Westmoreland

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crime-scene-gun.jpgFour members of a Westmoreland family were shot dead in their community this morning.

Dead are: 31-year-old mechanic, Howard Humes; 23-year-old Shavane Humes; 33-year-old farmer, Paulton Humes, otherwise called 'Dwight' and 25-year-old Keneisha Wilson all of Masemure Meadows, Westmoreland.

The four were found dead at their home about 1:00 am by police officers who responded to reports of gunfire heard in the community.

The lawmen said the four bodies had multiple gunshot wounds. They were removed to the morgue after the crime scene was processed.

The lawmen are appealing to residents with information that can assist in the investigation to contact the Little London police at 876-955-7449, Crime Stop at 311, 811, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

Winston Chung Fah "Chungie/Coach, an outstanding footballer who has touched the lives of many football fans, especially those who followed Santos, Campion, Vere Tech, and Clarendon College, has died.

Reports are that he lost his battle with cancer today.

A GoFundMe account that was set up recently, noted that Chung Fah has been a mentor and inspiration to so many young men and women. "Unfortunately, over the last few years, Chungie has been in and out of the hospital. He is currently hospitalized in Miami. When he is discharged he will need professional home care, occupational and physical therapy along with various assistive devices. Let us show our love and appreciation by making a contribution to defray some of his expenses."

The target was US$125,000.

French visa application centre opens in New Kingston

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visa.jpgJaicans wishing to visit France for extended periods (more than 90 days), whether to work or attend school, no longer have to travel to Panama to obtain a visa, now that a French visa application centre has been established at the DHL building in New Kingston. The centre, which was established in August but officially opened yesterday, will be managed by VFS Global, an international company that manages visa applications on behalf of more than 100 countries.

Owing to financial constraints and other issues, the visa processing services at the French Embassy in Kingston were terminated in 2015. Persons who wanted visas for short stays in France have had to apply for a Schengen visa at the Spanish Embassy. And even though the centre is now in operation, persons can still apply for visas for short visits to France at the Spanish Embassy in Kingston.

"If an applicant plays good faith, presents good documentation and can justify all the requirements, then he will get the visa," said newly installed French ambassador to Jamaica, Denys Wibaux, at the official launch yesterday at DHL. "If people come fraudulently, they will not get through. We are an open country to tourists from all over the world, and in particular, Jamaicans and business people".

He continued: "Previously, Jamaicans applying for visas to go to France could go through our consular services in the French Embassy in Kingston. A few years ago, we had, for reasons of economy and adjustment of our public finance, to close the visa section in our embassy."

Wibaux said the new facilities will process up to 12 applications daily, but indicated that special arrangements could be made in cases of emergency.

Successful applicants should receive their visas in 12-15 days.

Application Process for French Visa

Visit the France visas official website at

  1. Start visa process by creating an account and filling out an application form online.

  2. Create an account on the VFS Global website to schedule and pay service fees

  3. Return to account on to confirm you have an appointment.

  4. Go in person to the new VFS Visa Application Center for France with your passport, appointment confirmation letter, proof of payment completed and a signed visa form, and all supporting documents. VFS then sends applications to the Consulate General of France in Washington, DC, for processing.

  5. Track status of application.

police-officers.jpgMembers of the Jamaica COnstabulary Force (JCF) who choose to dance with revellers at events are doing so at their own risk, as the force has reiterated its stance on how police personnel should conduct themselves.

This comes as another policeman is again in the spotlight after a video surfaced on the weekend, showing the lawman 'daggering' two females at once. The officer, attired in full khaki and appears to be at the rank of an inspector or above, did not shy away from dancing up a storm, as he was being influenced by the loud cheers and the commanding selector who fuelled the apparent showdown.

In the 34-second amateur video, the policeman is seen talking to a male friend at the event when he is surprised by a female dancer. The policeman readily engages with the first female to the amusement of the selector, who cheered him on while pumping the music.

To the surprise of the officer, a second female dancer joined them. She jumped on the back of the first dancer, while the policeman balances both females. According to the report in Jamiacan tabloid, the Star, it was not clear when or where the event took place, however, social media users assumed it to be somewhere in the Corporate Area at one of the weekly events.

Assistant Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, while not speaking specifically to the video in question, said that officers who act contrary to the rules and regulations of the JCF may face consequences for their actions.

"Members are always expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Anything that contradicts the force's rules and regulations can be seen as a breach of order and discipline," she said.

When asked if such a move (dancing in uniform with revellers) had severe repercussions, Garrick said: "Such a matter is definitely fit for administrative review and action. The administration would investigate to determine the breach and necessary punishment for the breach."

gofundme-logo.pngSophraya Price's life has become a waking nightmare. Loop news reports that two years ago, Price was your typical active university student playing sports like netball, posting selfies online and getting up to regular college girl shenanigans like shopping with her girlfriends. Now she is in a fight to save her life, having been confined to a wheelchair. Her bones are fragile and brittle, she is prone to seizures, and she is in constant agony as her body has turned traitor, betraying her at every corner.

And she needs your help. The family and friends of Sophraya Price are appealing to the public to contribute to the young lady's Gofundme page.

"My life is a nightmare. I'm afraid to go out now because I'm prone to getting a fractured bone easily, and we Jamaicans have the tendency when greeting someone, to hit them," she told Loop News reporter, Claude Mills.

"I had been getting treatment in Cuba. It's been a year now since I last went to Cuba. I was supposed to go back in January, but because of insufficient funds and being back and forth in the hospital, we could not go back for my treatment, which is supposed to be once every three months, and my conditions (ailments) have been progressing really fast and I've developed other illnesses," she said.

The treatment is a five-day course which costs US$5,000.

"However, with all these other conditions, we are not sure what other treatments and procedures will be needed when we go back to Cuba," Price said.

On September 20, 2016, the young and vibrant Northern Caribbean University student went for a netball drill. She was fresh out of community college with an associate degree in social work, and had started university three weeks before. Her eyes were set on her goal to do clinical work. But while going through her routine, her legs suddenly went rubbery and weak, and she collapsed. She was taken to hospital, where within a week she became paralysed and suffered multiple seizures. At first it was thought that she had a spinal injury. But the truth was much worse. She has a veritable laundry list of symptoms and conditions brought on by a rare neurological and autoimmune disorder. She has been diagnosed with six different types of epileptic and non-epileptic seizures - osteoporosis, osteopenia, osteoarthritis, Raynaud's syndrome, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disease and query paraneoplastic syndrome. Confined to a wheelchair and with regular trips to the emergency room, Price needs continuous treatment and medical assessment.

"Battling with these conditions, it's really not easy. I mostly stay in bed because of severe pain. I cannot be in crowded places, I'm afraid that someone might bounce on me and cause more pain. There is so much going on with my body, it's really hard to explain. Each time I go to the doctor, there is a new diagnosis," Price said.

She would give anything to walk again.

"My visits with each of my specialist is more frequent, so you know that it's more money too. I'm told they really can't help me here because they don't have certain resources. I know I can get the help in Cuba, but there is just not enough funds, so it gets me on my downside. I take so many medications and do treatments, and that's very costly. So when we do raise something, it goes straight to medications or visits to the doctor for other treatments," she said.

Through it all, she is trying to remain optimistic.

"Overall, with all these conditions, I really do try to keep myself occupied, I might not be able to go out as much now, but I've now opened an online pet store..., plus I'm on some serious meds that make me sleep a lot that practically takes up most of my days," Price added.

With hope for better days ahead, she is seeking the necessary support and assistance to get back on her feet.

Do help Sophie to walk again, if you can.

Memorial service for Elva Saturday at JC

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elva-ruddock.jpgThe memorial service celebrating the life of Jamaican comedian Elva Ruddock is slated for this Saturday at the Carl Hendrickson Auditorium at Jamaica College.

The service begins at 2 p.m.

The service will be followed by a celebratory party.

There will be a shuttle bus service from Portmore and Half Way Tree for members of the public who may need transportation.

Elva died at Kingston Public Hospital on October 7, after battling Lupus.

dengue.jpgThe Health Ministry has confirmed that three men aboard a Nicaraguan vessel which drifted into Jamaican waters last week have malaria.

The vessel is near Port Royal.

Dr. Jacqueline Bissasor-McKenzie, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said that 93 people were found aboard the vessel.

As is customary, she said, a medical team visited those on board the vessel and carried out tests, which confirmed three people had malaria.

Dr. Bissasor-McKenzie said the persons were taken to Kingston Public Hosital where they were isolated and treated. Two of the men have completed the treatment while one is still undergoing medical care.

A post-test evaluation will be carried out on the individuals.

Usain Bolt's Australian football dream has ended

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bolt-usain-football.jpgSprint king Usain Bolt's attempt to become a professional footballer with Australia's Central Coast Mariners collapsed Friday as his trial period was terminated after contract talks failed.

The eight-time Olympic champion had been trying out with the A-League side since arriving in August, hoping to fulfil a childhood dream to become a soccer player.

The 32-year-old's quest garnered worldwide attention, which intensified when he scored two goals in a pre-season friendly.

But his abilities have been questioned and the club reportedly offered him only a fraction of the Aus$3 million (US$2.1 million) his management were said to be seeking, with outside sponsors needed to make the deal viable.

"The Central Coast Mariners and Usain Bolt's representative Ricky Simms can today advise that the indefinite training period of Usain Bolt with the Mariners has drawn to an end, effective immediately," the club announced.

"As previously stated, the club and Ricky Simms have been in conversations with external partners to find a commercial solution that suits all parties.

"Despite several promising potential partners, both Bolt and the Central Coast Mariners have amicably concluded that they will not be able to settle on a suitable deal in a timely manner."

Tesha Miller charged with murder

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tesha-miller.jpgThe reputed leader of the Spanish Town-based Clansman gang Tesha Miller has been slapped with charges of accessory before and after the fact to murder. The murder allegedly happened in 2008 in St Catherine.

Miller is to appear in the Home Circuit Court on November 9 to answer the charges.

His lawyers Bert Samuels and Able Don Foote say they will be applying for bail.Miller and his girlfriend were picked up in a shopping area in St Andrew on Tuesday by detectives from the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigations Branch.

On Wednesday, Foote brought an application in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court for Miller's immediate release from custody. Parish Judge Vaughn Smith heard the application and ordered that Miller should be charged or released by 9 a.m on Friday, November 2.

Miller was deported from the Bahamas in April 2017. On his return to Jamaica, he was charged with making a false declaration to immigration officers at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. Miller pleaded guilty and was fined.

compressed-ganja.jpgA St Mary man who was held by the Manchester police with 25 pounds of ganja, was slapped with fines amounting to $400,000 when he appeared in the Mandeville Parish Court on Monday.

Reports are that about 10:30 a.m. on October 23, the Manchester police intercepted a white Toyota Axio motorcar with three men on board travelling along the Spur Tree Hill main road in the parish.

During a search of the vehicle, the police found two bags containing loose and compressed ganja, weighing 25 pounds. The Narcotics Police, who took over the investigation, subsequently interviewed and jointly charged all three men for possession of ganja, dealing in ganja and trafficking in ganja.

The three accused, 61-year-old Adrian McDonald and 24-year-old Fabian Waugh, both chefs of Cock Street, Port Maria; and Sadray Burray, 24, a construction worker of Friendship, Islington, appeared in the Mandeville Parish Court last Friday, but the matter was postponed until Monday.

When the case was called up on Monday, McDonald took the rap and pleaded guilty, and was hit with the unusually high fines. He was fined $80,000 for possession of ganja, with an alternative of eight months in prison; $160,000 for dealing in ganja, or eight months in prison; and $160,000 for trafficking ganja, or eight months in prison.

If the fines are not paid, the sentences are to run concurrently.

The charges were dismissed against the other two accused.