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adventist-logo.jpgThe mother of a fifth form student at a Seventh Day Adventist High school in Kingston is greatly concerned over the fact that her son was cheated out of prizes at the school's graduation on Sunday.

According to a YardFlex source, the youngster, who held a prominent position within the school body and has been receiving Principal's Awards continuously during his time there, was expected to receive several top prizes at graduation. However, the only prize he got was for 'most improved' in one of the sciences.

"But how him must get most improved and he always comes first in that particular subject?" the Yardflex source asked. "How him must top himself?"

According to the source, whose child also attended the school years ago, the Christian institution is "anything but". One teacher, who is now the principal of the prep school, was notorious for beating the children mercilessly when he was the Grade 6 teacher. The former prep school principal has since fled the institution to join the police force.

"They show favourtism to kids of Adventist pastors and Adventists in general. So much so, that it was a daughter of a pastor who received all the science awards. And to think that she transferred from Wolmer's Girls to that school in fifth form but was still allowed to scrape up all the science accolades. And she wasn't even at the graduation to collect the awards. What a damn shame!" she declared.

She noted that all the other top prizes were awarded to a girl who received a 2.7 GPA two years ago and has not made the honour roll since.

"That girl was selected as the valedictorian; out of nowhere she was called up to receive all the top awards, including a scholarship to the Adventist institution, NCU. As expected, that girl's family is deep in Adventism, so it's not surprising that she was chosen," the source added.

"I know that my son was cheated. I have all the proof and I intend to get justice. It's too late for my son, but I hope that nobody else's child will be a victim of this system," the mother is reported as saying.

The school is run by the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventists in Jamaica and has a reputation for frequent visitations by demons who come in and possess students from time to time.





Cops bust car-stealing ring

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The police made a bust on a car stealing ring in St James on Wednesday.

The bust was made in the district of Roehampton.

Five vehicles, including one which was reported stolen on Tuesday night, were seized.

Police report that motor vehicle parts valued at thousands of dollars were found in bushes nearby.

No one was arrested.





US admits that it was wrong

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us-logo.jpgThe US State Department has admitted that it was incorrect with the claim that the Jamaican government monitored private online activities without appropriate legal authority.

A statement on Thursday from the US Embassy in Kingston said an inaccuracy was published in the Internet Freedom subsection of the 2014 Jamaica Country Report on Human Rights Practices.

The U.S State Department said it has corrected the report.

It said as part of the process to develop reports, the U.S government accommodates robust exchange between civil society, the media, and government leaders.

It said it welcomes feedback on the report with the objective of maintaining the most authoritative, comprehensive and factual review of the global state of human rights.

When there are inaccuracies, the Department of State said it documents the errors online and issues corrections to ensure the integrity of the reports.





$1 million reward for quadruple murderer

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Head of the St Elizabeth Police Division Superintendent Lanford Salmon says that a J$1-million reward is still being offered to anyone who assists in the arrest of Anward Hinds, otherwise called 'Kirkie'.

Hinds is said to be linked to at least seven murders in the parish from October 2014 to present, the latest being a quadruple murder in May. News of the brutal murder of four farmers - Archibald Brown, 60; his brother George Brown, 57; Maurice Sanderson, 40; and Ezra Wright, 73, in the remote community of Claremont in North West St Elizabeth, rocked the nation on May 27.

Police reports say that about eight o'clock that night, during a power outage, three of the four victims - Archibald Brown, Sanderson and Wright - were playing dominoes by candlelight at a small shop operated by Wright's granddaughter, when three armed men entered.

They are said to have pushed the young woman away and opened fire on the three men, shooting them multiple times. They died on the spot. The men reportedly encountered George Brown some distance away, shot him and slit his throat. The tragedy is suspected to have been triggered by a dispute between Wright and criminal elements, believed to be remnants of the Stone Crusher gang, operating in the mountainous terrain on the St Elizabeth/St James border.

Salmon disclosed that a joint police/military operation has been ongoing in sections of the parish, including Claremont, since last Thursday.

"We won't relent until he is captured," he said.

Salmon said that 'Kirkie', who is from Claremont and frequents St James and places in St Elizabeth such as Pisgah, Breadnut Walk and Ginger Hill, is believed to be the leader of the gang creating the unease among residents. He said that he is about 26-years-old, five feet four inches tall, may be sporting cornrows, has "duck" legs, has a wart on his left cheek, and is a bit darker than the photograph of him.

Salmon said that the two other men who were involved in the Claremont incident are still at large and even they and others of his "cronies" are "eligible" to be rewarded with the J$1 million if they assist in having the gang leader arrested.

People with information can contact 119, Crime Stop at 311, Kingfish at 811, the Black River Criminal Investigation Branch at 965-2026, or the nearest police station.





Two Jamaicans and a Vincentian were nabbed by law enforcement officials in Antigua and Barbuda with over 230 pounds of ganja and more than 49 kilos of cocaine.

The men were reportedly held early Tuesday morning, June 30, when personnel from the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy conducted an operation in a rural community.

According to Caribbean360, an online source for Caribbean news, the ganja, which was found in crocus bags, has an estimated street value of over EC$2.3 million (US$851,851) while the wholesale value of the sealed packages of cocaine is over EC$1.7 million (US$629,629).

According to reports, the Jamaicans have been in Antigua for a while and the Vincentian recently travelled to the island. They are now facing drug charges.





Ban on the smoking of ganja while driving

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ganja-smoking.jpgMinister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Dr Morais Guy, said a provision is to be added to the Road Traffic Act to prohibit smoking of ganja while driving.

He said if a person smokes ganja while driving or in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, he or she would be fined J$10,000.

"We feel that we have the obligation and the responsibility to ensure that people who are driving should not be smoking at the same time," Dr Guy said in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 30).

He was closing the debate on the report of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on the Road Traffic Act, which was adopted. The Act seeks to, among other things, implement more stringent regulations to govern the use of the nation's roadways.

In his contribution to the debate, Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, noted that impaired driving due to alcohol, and other drugs, such as ganja, must be addressed under the Bill.

"Research shows that cannabis impairs cognitive and psychomotor skills and a zero tolerance level should be adopted that prohibits the presence of any amount of drugs in the blood while driving," he said.

He noted that many countries, such as the United States of America (USA), have adopted such measures. Dr Ferguson said the passage of an improved road safety Bill is a significant step towards the protection of road users.





man-hangs-himself.jpgThe grand-daughter of a 95-year-old man from Clarendon who hanged himself says her grand-father was in agony and complained of constant pain as a result of a goiter on his neck.

"He always said he wanted to die to get relief from the pain, but none of us believed that he would do it," explained Anita Hamil. "He may be 95 but my grandfather was a strong strong man do not look are act 95 he had the best memory he was strong so I do believe he's capable of hanging himself."

Reports are that about 8:00 pm, 95-year-old Leslie Davis of Prospect Drive, Osbourne Store was found hanging by an extension cord from a tree at the back of his yard. The police were summoned and the body removed to the morgue for postmortem.

Responding to comments online that the police should investigate thoroughly to make sure that there was no foul play, Hamil said, "They are investigating it and that's my grandfather and he has a loving family that would not do such thing to him. He was sick; he was in a lot of pain days up on days he kept saying he wants to die no one knew he would do such thing; he didn't wanna suffer anymore so he ended his suffering hanging his self wasn't the right way to go about it but when he realized he might live much longer he just took his own life."





local-government-minister.jpgThe Government will be heading to the House of Representatives tomorrow with a Bill to postpone the Local Government Election.

According to the agenda for the sitting of the House e-mailed to the media this afternoon, the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation General Election (Postponement) Act and the Parish Councils General Election (Postponement) Act, will be taken through concluding stages.

Local Government Minister Noel Arscott dismissed a claim by his Opposition counterpart, Desmond McKenzie, of delay tactics in announcing the date for the polls.

The Parliamentary Opposition has been demanding that the date for the Local Government election be announced.

Cabinet has issued drafting instructions to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to change the legislation allowing for parish councils to serve for four years from the current three year term.





Infant School Quiz Competition

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christiana-leased-wins-infant-school-quiz-champs.jpgChristiana Leased Primary and Infant School students, in late May, walked away as champions in an Infant School Quiz Competition organised by the Manchester Parish Library.

They took the title from Mandeville Infant School who were the winners in the inaugural event last year.

Regional director for the library services in Manchester and St Elizabeth, Lorraine McLean, said that the competition is endorsed by the Ministry of Education Region 5 Early Childhood Unit.

She said that the event was conceptualised to expose the children to quiz competitions at an early age, and enable them to reap the benefits gained from participation.

"[The] setting [will] prepare their young minds for active mental exercise, which [will] improve their memories, stimulate alertness, encourage teamwork and self expression. The competition [will] also engender a love for reading, as it provided a means of revision and also heightened cultural awareness from an early age," McLean said in a news release.

Other participants in the competition this year were Bethabara Infant, Mandeville Infant and Porus Infant.

The major sponsors of the event were Sagicor Life Jamaica, Burger King, Golf View Hotel, and Three Angels Pharmacy.





obama-and-brazil-president.jpgWhen Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff learned in 2013 that the National Security Agency was listening in on her phone calls and reading her emails, she was none too pleased.

She canceled a long-planned state visit to the United States and used an address at the United Nations General Assembly to blast the United States for what she called a "totally unacceptable" violation of her country's sovereignty and accused the United States of breaking international law.

But tonight, over two years later, Rousseff will be wined and dined by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a private "working dinner" at the White House. It's part of a two-day fence-mending trip and an opportunity for the two presidents to move beyond what the White House acknowledges as a "turbulent patch" between the Western hemisphere's two largest economies.

Earlier in the day, the president gave Rousseff a tour of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, pointing out various inscriptions of King's writings and speeches as they walked along the giant stone monument.
The two leaders will participate Tuesday in a series of formal meetings and also hold a joint news conference.

Obama has found himself in this predicament often in the past two years as he has tried to restore relationships with key allies angry over the NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. The president has repaired his relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel with meetings, phone calls and even a beer after she expressed outrage about the NSA spying on her cellphone conversations.

Just last week, Obama called French President Francois Hollande to patch their relationship following reports the United States spied on him and his two predecessors. In the phone call, the president reiterated a commitment that the United States is "not targeting and will not target the communications of the French president."

This will be the second meeting for Obama and Rousseff since the NSA spying revelations in 2013. They previously met on the sidelines of the Summit of Americas in Panama in April.

But even as the two leaders attempt to move beyond the spying that damaged their relationship, the White House won't say whether Obama will formally apologize to Rousseff.

"We have not made it a practice to issue apologies related to our surveillance activities," White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said during a conference call with reporters to preview Rousseff's visit last week. "What the president has done is make changes based on our very thorough review of programs."

Rousseff's visit to the White House "signals the fact that we are moving forward in terms of our positive relationship" and will allow the two leaders to move forward on a number of "stalled" areas, Rhodes said.





The US State Department on Friday released its 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

In its report for Jamaica, the US said, while the Government has not limited the use of Internet access, there are reasons to believe that private online conversations by citizens have been monitored by the Government.

"The Government did not restrict or disrupt access to the Internet or censor online content," a section of the report said under its Internet Freedom category.

"There were credible reports, however, that the Government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority," it read.

This, the report said, was according to the International Telecommunication Union, which stated that 38 per cent of citizens used the Internet in 2013.

State minister in the Ministry of Technology Julian Robinson has challenged US authorities to provide proof of the allegations laid against the Portia Simpson Miller-led Government.





bounty-killers-brother-mark-price-st-kitts-photo-1.jpgMark Price, the brother of dancehall artiste Bounty Killer, plead guilty to larceny of a cellular Phone in St Kitts on Monday.

Price reportedly paid a fine of EC$3,000 for the theft of the phone and EC$3,000 to the complainant.

He was arrested just before Bounty Killer and his entourage were about to board a flight from the Eastern Caribbean island.

The instrument belonged to a customer service representative who was assisting Price with his customs and immigration documents.

The woman realized that the phone was missing and attempted to call it but the calls went to voice mail.

Price was nabbed when surveillance camera footage revealed that he snatched the phone.





fire-at-wortley-home-for-girls.jpgNineteen female wards of the state are to be relocated from the Wortley Home on Constant Spring Road in St. Andrew after the facility was extensively damaged by fire on Monday afternoon.

Eight wards, who were at the home when the fire broke out were evacuated. There were no reports of injuries. The other girls were at school.

Divisional Head of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Superintendent Shaun Martin, says six units extinguished the blaze.

Meanwhile, Youth Minister Lisa Hanna said while none of the girls were physically injured, they were visibly shaken up by the incident. As a result, the CDA has deployed a team of Clinical Psychologists and Social Workers to provide emotional support to the wards.

The CDA and the Board of Management at the Wortley Home have secured temporary accommodation for the 19 girls who occupied the facility at an undisclosed location in the Corporate Area for the remainder of this week.

"Further, we have made contact with the SOS Children's Village in Stony Hill and they have indicated that they are able to accommodate the girls on a long term basis until a decision is made to permanently relocate the girls or to renovate the dorms at Wortley." Hanna said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Child Development Agency, Rosealee Gage-Grey said the CDA is moving swiftly to return a sense of normality to the girls. She added that she is grateful that there were no casualties or fatalities in this morning's incident.

The cause of the fire is still unknown and investigations into the early morning blaze are still ongoing.





Jamaica to host gay pride celebration in August

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Jamaican gays and lesbians will be staging its first Pride celebration in August, the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) has announced.

PRiDEJA 2015 will be held under the theme. "The Pride of a People: Breaking the Rules of Oppression".

JFLAG is using crowd funding site GoFundMe to raise funds for the project, noting on the website that "Every dollar raised will support our mission to bring our diverse community together for a moment of celebration."

The exact date of the celebration has not been disclosed as yet but JFLAG said "This independence festival will be attended by over 1,000 persons."

"Planned events include an opening ceremony, a symposium, a cultural show, a flash mob, sporting activities, a trade show for LGBT businesses, and a party," the lobby group said.

The event already has one high-profile supporter in the form of Jamaican recording artiste Diana King. King, who revealed she was a lesbian three years ago, took to social media on Sunday to share JFLAG's plea to the "World" to support Jamaica's first Pride celebrations.

Pride celebrations are held across the world to celebrate the LGBT community.

August is the same month as Jamaica's Independence celebrations.





bounty-killers-brother-mark-price-st-kitts.jpgBounty Killer's brother, Mark Price, in handcuffs at the RLB International Airport in St Kitts on Saturday morning.

Mark Price, the brother of dancehall deejay Rodney "Bounty Killer" Price, was arrested in St Kitts and Nevis on Saturday after allegedly being caught on camera stealing a cell phone.

According to a report in the West Indies News Network, Mark Price was part of a 10-man entourage with his famous brother at the RLB International Airport on Saturday morning, about to board a flight from St Kitts, when the incident occurred. Allegations are that the phone of an airport customer service representative went missing while she was assisting Price with his immigration form.

Call to the phone went straight to voicemail. A surveillance camera check reportedly showed Price picking up the phone from the counter as he left. Police confronted and arrested the suspect in the departure lounge.

After the phone was retrieved, it was reportedly discovered that the battery, SD and SIM card were taken out.

Mark Price is reportedly now in custody in St Kitts. His brother, Bounty Killer, who was in St Kitts for a performance, departed on a flight and headed back to Jamaica.

YardFlex was unable to get through to BOunty Killer or his representative for a comment.





Several Jamaicans deported from The Bahamas

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fred-mitchell-immigration-minister-bahamas.jpgSeveral Jamaicans were among more than 420 people deported from the Bahamas during the first 23 days of this month. Haitians comprised the majority of the deportees.

Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell has confirmed that the authorities were continuing the reparation exercise on a weekly basis and there are presently 180 people at the Detention Centre.

According to Mr. Mitchell, during the period June 1 to 23, 369 Haitians, 13 Jamaicans, eight Brazilians and 14 Cubans were repatriated.

Persons from India, Peru, Mongolia and Bangladesh were also awaiting deportation.

The Perry Christie Government has come under criticism from local and international human rights groups over its deportation policy.

Mr. Mitchell told reporters that the Department of Immigration is continuing operations to identify illegal immigrants.





us-supreme-court-upholds-same-sex-marriage-nationwide.jpgThe United States Supreme Court on Friday ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States. In a landmark 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, asserted that marriage is a constitutional right for all.

"No union is more profound than marriage,'' he wrote, backed by the court's four more liberal justices.

Writing one of the dissenting opinions, Chief John Roberts said the constitution "had nothing to do with it".

Before the ruling on Thursday, gay couples could marry in 37 states in addition to Washington DC.

Now the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

Loud cheers erupted outside the court after the ruling was announced, said the BBC's Paul Blake at the Supreme Court.

The case considered by the court concerned Jim Obergefell, an Ohio resident who was not recognised as the legal widower of his late husband, John Arthur.

"It's my hope that gay marriage will soon be a thing of the past, and from this day forward it will simply be 'marriage,'" an emotional Mr Obergefell said outside the court on Friday.

The first state to allow same-sex marriage was Massachusetts, which granted the right in 2004.

In recent years, a wave of legal rulings and a dramatic shift in public opinion have expanded gay marriage in the US. In 2012, the high court struck down a federal anti same-sex marriage law.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the decision and called Obergefell to personally congratulate him and the other plaintiffs in the case.





A Police Constable Lincoln Lennon, believed to be linked to a criminal network targeting persons travelling from the Norman Manley International Airport, has been charged. Lennon was charged on Tuesday by investigators probing robberies along the Palisados main road.

Investigators say the Constable and his alleged cronies were involved in an attempted robbery last week Tuesday which resulted in a gun battle along the thoroughfare. It is reported that on June 16, at about 9:30 pm, several persons were travelling in car from Port Royal when they were intercepted by a vehicle with three men aboard.

The men attempted to rob them and this led to a shoot-out with a licensed firearm holder. The robbers sped off and the car was later found abandoned. Investigators recovered spent shells at the crime scene and this led them to Constable Lennon. He has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm, attempted robbery and shooting with intent.

The Constable, who is attached to the narcotics division, is also charged under the anti-gang legislation. Investigators are trying to determine whether the Constable is linked to a series of robberies along the airport road and is likely to face additional charges.





HIC focuses on 'healthy lifestyle'

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heart-institute-of-the-caribbean.jpgThe Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) Foundation is aimed at ensuring that all Jamaicans are able to access its services regardless of their ability to pay. Furthermore, the organisation is increasingly focused on public health awareness, motivating Jamaicans to adopt a health healthy lifestyle.

The Foundation's main initiatives include:

1. Our Community Clinic

Special prices are offered on our procedures on designated days - on Saturdays in Kingston - appointments are necessary.

2. The Free Emergency Angiogram Initiative

In honour of our 10th anniversary, we announced that we would be providing emergency angiograms, a diagnostic procedure valued at JMD 821,912.50, free of cost (conditions apply). The conditions are outlined below. The patient would only have to cover the cost of the angiokit which is JMD 47,500. This initiative is aimed at opening access to emergency cardiovascular care.

  • All patients hospitalized for a cardiac problem who are told that they need an emergency angiogram during their hospital stay
  • All patients who go to an accident and emergency and are told that they need an emergency angiogram
  • If a patient is having a heart attack or chest pain after hours (8pm -8am) and come to our 24 hour emergency chest pain centre - a physician evaluation will be provided free of cost, and if it is determined that an emergency angiogram is necessary, it will also be provided free of cost.




JUTC to reduce adult fares for the summer

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jutc-buses.jpgThe Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) says it will be slashing fares for adult passengers by $20 this summer.

In a release this afternoon, the JUTC said from Sunday, July 5 to Saturday, August 29, adults will pay $100 instead of $120 on its regular services.

It says premium and express services will not be included in the special summer fare arrangement.

According to the JUTC, all adult commuters including students between the ages of 12 and 20 in uniform, who customarily do not get concession fares during the summer months, on holidays, and weekends, will qualify for the discounted summer fare.

"This limited summer special is to induce these commuters to take our buses and experience the JUTC service," said JUTC managing director, Colin Campbell.

The JUTC says between 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 it increased its passenger load by almost six million moving from 52. 3 million in 2013/2014 to 58.2 million for 2014/2015.





Journalist David Ebanks is dead

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david-ebanks.jpgDavid Ebanks, respected Jamaican journalist of many years, has died. RJR News understand that he passed away at his St. Andrew home on Monday evening, after ailing for sometime.

David Ebanks worked at Radio Jamaica for several decades, starting in the 1950s. He worked in various capacities but distinguished himself in the News Department as RJR's Parliamentary reporter for many years. He was also a regular host on the long-running current affairs programme, Exposure.

He rose through the ranks to briefly become head of the News department, before leaving RJR in the early 1990s. Thereafter, he worked very briefly at Power 106 FM, then joined Irie FM as a reporter for more than a decade. In response to the news, the Board and management of Radio Jamaica Limited have expressed regret at the passing of David Ebanks.

The Board and management, in a statement, noted that David worked as a journalist covering both news and sports on local and overseas assignments for many years, and also served as a broadcaster on the station.





JIS website and 5 others hacked by ISIS!

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jis-website-hacked-by-isis.jpgjis-logo.jpgThe Jamaica Information Service (JIS) says five websites hosted by the organisation were also defaced after Monday night's breach of its own system. The websites are the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, GC Foster College, Social Development Commission (SDC), Houses of Parliament and Jamaica National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The GC Foster College website has been successfully restored and the others are expected to be restored shortly, JIS says.

Probable Islamic State militants hacked into the website last evening, forcing a shutdown of the site. Up to 10:00 pm Monday, people who visited the site came upon a message which read:

"Hacked by Team System Dz: I am Muslim & I love jihad. I love Islamic state (heart)"

The message also stated: "Message to all the peoples of the world and especially to governments, Islamic State List to restore the rights of Muslims who have been killed by your governments savage and unjust, Islamic state will restore dignity for Muslims. Will purge the land of the Muslims from the hypocrites infidels. It intervenes you will equip you to dwell in cemeteries. Op USA & Israel. Hackers Islamic State/.2015" Facebook".

By 10:00 pm, the landing page for the website was blank, except for a message stating "hacked by holako".

JIS reports that technical problems were experienced on the website between 9:02 pm and 9:38 pm. It was taken offline for maintenance shortly thereafter.The government agency says its web team conducted restoration and recovery procedures within four hours.

Preliminary findings reveal that the attempts of the "hactivists" at breaching the system did not result in access to sensitive information but was constrained to "surface defacement." The Agency is confirming that no data was corrupted. Cyber security teams from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Technology Ministry are assisting the web team with the investigations.





Number portability a reality at last

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In a press release Sunday, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell announced that effective 12:01 am, Monday, all systems are in place to facilitate number portability by individuals and businesses.

In this regard, both fixed-line and mobile telephone customers in Jamaica will be able to switch networks and retain their original numbers if they so desire.The first port would become possible at 9:00 am on June 22, 2015.

The release said that the minister received the update en route to the island from official business in the Russian Federation and declared that "it is with a sense of relief and satisfaction that I have received official notification that the tedious process of facilitating number portability has been successfully completed and the Jamaican consumers can now change from one telecommunications service provider to another and retain his/her original number".

He continued: "However, the greatest test is the successful implementation of each request and ultimately the satisfaction of the consumer. Like all new systems of this magnitude, there may be minor glitches, but our expectation is that if and when there is such an occurrence that this will be addressed expeditiously and at a minimal inconvenience to the consumer."

The notification was conveyed to the telecommunications minister by chairman of the Number Portability Working Group, Herman Athias, who was charged with the responsibility of monitoring and assessing the progress of the porting process on a daily basis and provides the Minister and the regulatory authorities with regular updates.





Darren Powell's assets frozen

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daren-powell.jpgThe Supreme Court has ordered that the assets of prominent businessman,former West Indies fast bowler and PNP Caretaker for North West St. Elizabeth, Darren Powell, be frozen.

His assets was ordered frozen last week Wednesday by Justice Lloyd Hibbert.

He made the order after Powell was sued for failing to make full payment after he purchased a Supermarket in Malvern, St. Elizabeth.

Documents show that the company, Quintex Limited and its director James Chin have sued Powell for damages in excess of $35-million.The lawsuit was filed in April this year.The Court order freezing Powell's assets was obtained in June.

Allegations are that in March 2012, Powell entered into a sale agreement to purchase a Supermarket from Mr. Chin's company.The agreed purchase price was $38-million.

The Supermarket was re-branded using one of Powell's middle names, Lyle. But documents supplied to the Court show that the former West Indies Cricketer has only paid over $15-million.

Mr. Chin and Quintex are alleging that Powell has attempted to avoid calls placed to him and is dodging efforts to have him pay his debt.

In his defence, Powell accepted that he entered into a sale agreement to purchase the supermarket. But he says Quintex and its Directors misrepresented to him that they owned fixtures, equipment and leasehold improvements for the property.

In November last year, PNP delegates in North West St Elizabeth selected Powell as their preferred candidate to challenge the JLP's JC Hutchinson in the next general election.





President and CEO of Canada-based company Timeless Herbal Care Courtney Betty feels that yearly tourist arrivals could surpass the three-million mark if Jamaica is promoted as a health and wellness destination, featuring marijuana.

"We... think that, by advertising Jamaica as a destination for health and wellness, which include marijuana, [we] will be able to increase the number of visitors coming to [the island]," said Betty, who is also an attorney-at-law.

"When we are talking about medical marijuana, we are talking about the food you eat, we are talking about the other aspects of it. Our company does not support smoking... it's not part of our business model. It's all of the other elements. It's clothing. There are so many pieces that this industry is going to be transformed," said Betty during an interview with the Jamaica Observer last Monday immediately after making a presentation at the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Betty expressed certainty that the tourism industry can benefit hugely from medical marijuana as the island is already famous for the herb.

"Jamaica is already internationally known for marijuana, even though we [Timeless Herbal Care] are now looking at the medical side, we see many products that can be integrated into our spas and into our tourism experience. So we are working with the hotels and also with the tour guides to implement a programme to add this as another element of marketing Jamaica's tourism," disclosed the Jamaican-born Betty who once held a senior position at the Fair Trade Commission.





Jamaica seeks EU visa waiver

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aj-nicholson.jpgForeign Affairs Minister, Senator AJ Nicholson today told the Senate, that Jamaica will be seeking a visa waiver from the European Union for Jamaicans to travel to the region.

He was responding to questions from Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte.

In May, the EU signed short-stay visa waiver agreements with 5 Caribbean countries, including, St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

The agreement will allow the nations to travel to EU visa-free, for a period 90 days in any 180-day period.

Citizens of the EU will also be able to travel to any of the nations without visa requirements.





Shame and scandal in the PNP family?

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comrades-raymond-pryce.jpgWhat a bangarang tek place at Braes River over the weekend with the comrades!!! Seems like a certain comrade wants to overthrow young turk, Raymond Pryce, but he has party backers who will have none of it.

Councillor Errol Hummingbird (Ipswich Division of St Elizabeth North Western) was one person at the meeting at Braes River who made it clear that his backing was for Pryce.

"It is about time Comrades... We need to reason. What is it about the young man that you don't like? Yuh say him is a liar. All a we a damn liar...," he roared.

Hummingbird said some followed the crowd and crucified Christ, noting that, similarly, Pryce is being "pushed out", and some residents who are doing so are without a valid reason for their action.

"It's time for a showdown now. Raymond dem coming after yuh and dem coming after mi too, but let them come. I am not afraid. If this is the end of my career then so be it. I will go down in a flame of glory, not with my head between my knees," he passionately declared.

Hummingbird is set to be replaced by Mugabe Waite as the councillor candidate in his division. Waite is brother of Basil Waite, an ex-senator and former candidate for the St Elizabeth North Eastern.

Minister of Youth and Culture and Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern Lisa Hanna, who was guest speaker at the conference, said that Pryce is one of the young Comrades that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in her "wisdom" chose to represent the party.

She urged supporters to exercise discipline in their dealings, particularly as children were in the room and media personnel. Hanna cautioned Comrades to refrain from using the public forum to address the particular issues.





Police 'death squad' probe intensifies

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court.jpgThe Independent Commission of Investigations, INDECOM's high profile probe into a death squad which is alleged to have operated within the Police Force has expanded beyond Clarendon.

In 2012, INDECOM had indicated that its investigation was limited to the Clarendon Police Division.' Eleven Policemen attached to the Clarendon division are currently before the court in connection with INDECOM's probe.

Source says INDECOM's investigation into the organized killing of unarmed criminal suspects by a team of Police personnel is not limited to Clarendon. It's understood that Police personnel in parishes, including St. Mary and St. Andrew are now under scrutiny.

Yesterday, Police Constable, Sherwood Simpson, who was accused of being part of a team of Policemen who forced an unarmed man into bushes, shot him and left him for dead was convicted in the Gun Court.

In 2013 when he was charged by INDECOM, Constable Simpson was based in St. Mary. Evidence heard in Simpson's case is similar to allegations in several of the cases INDECOM currently has before the Court in which Policemen in Clarendon are accused.

The Court was told that the complainant, Rayon Mahoney, who was on a gun charge for which he was later acquitted, reported to the Police Station in Castleton. Constable Simpson was said to be among a team of Police personnel who intercepted Mahoney shortly after he left the Police Station and carried him into bushes.

Mahoney was shot by one of Simpson's colleagues while Simpson stood nearby and watched to ensure there was no civilian witness to the criminal act.

But Mahoney survived to give evidence in Court and testified that it was Constable Simpson who gave his police colleague clearance to shoot him by saying - 'yow finish him off'.

While prosecutors summed up evidence against him in Court yesterday, Constable Simpson wept. He's to be sentenced next week.





Doctor on sexual assault charge

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A 53 year old medical doctor based in St. Ann is in police custody charged with the sexual assault and attempted rape of an employee.Hewas scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

The doctor was arrested on Wednesday by a team from the Kingston branch of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA).He was later charged in connection with the incident which allegedly took place in January this year.

The doctor has been charged with grievous sexual assault and attempted rape. It's alleged that the incident took place during the woman's first day on the job at the doctor's private practice.





Investigators assigned to the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch (CTOC) have widened their probe into Friday morning's major gun and ammunition seizure in Hellshire, St. Catherine.

Five men were arrested in what is believed to be a gun smuggling operation on the island's south coast.

Sources say investigators theorize that the seizure of nine handguns and 700 rounds of ammunition is linked to the guns for drugs trade.

The men were travelling in a vehicle from St. Elizabeth when it was intercepted on Municipal Boulevard by a team from CTOC.





Public to be educated on responsible ganja use

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ganja-use.jpgThe Jamaican government says it will be undertaking a public education programme to discourage irresponsible ganja use and protect the vulnerable.

Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding said that the National Health Fund (NHF) and the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) have finalised the details of the programme, which is expected to get underway soon. Golding was addressing a town hall meeting Tuesday at the St Luke's Anglican Church in Cross Roads, St Andrew.

He said that the campaign will discourage ganja use by children, pregnant women, and people who have certain mental disorders. "They shouldn't be using it (ganja)," he emphasised.

Under the Dangerous Drugs Act the capacity of the NCDA has been strengthened to take action with respect to vulnerable groups.

The minister said that the council will also be undertaking training of the police to deal with people who may appear to be dependent on ganja. He reminded the public that smoking of ganja in public spaces, or within five metres of such areas is prohibited, in a manner similar to cigarettes.

"You must show due respect for others, and not smoke in a public space where others may be," he said.

Public spaces include the workplace, and any place for use of, or is accessible to the public such as sidewalks, bus stops, restaurants, offices, educational institutions, pharmacies, hospitals, areas used by children, supermarkets, and parks.

The town hall meeting was held to explain and address concerns by the public on the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, commonly referred to as the Ganja Law.

The legislation makes possession of two ounces or less of ganja a non-criminal but ticketable offence.





1 escapee caught; 8 others still on the run

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One of nine detainees who escaped from the Savanna-la-mar Police lock up in Westmoreland early on Thursday night has been recaptured.

Oshane Blair was held on premises near the police station.

The other men, including murder suspects, remain on the run. They are Junior James, Richard Kerr, Romain Esson, Odane Brown, Carlington Godfrey, Alton Maxwell, Steve Vassell and Kicoy James. A statement from the police says Esson, who is 21 years, was charged with murder and shooting with intent.

Maxwell, who is from Naggo Head, St. Catherine was facing charges of murder, illegal possession of a firearm and escaping police custody

The other murder suspect, is thirty-three-year-old Steve Vassell otherwise called 'Strength', of Shortwood Road, Kingston 8.

It's reported that the men escaped by digging a hole in the ventilation area in the roof.





Charleston shooter arrested

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charleston-shooter-arrested.jpgDylann Storm Roof, the man who allegedly entered a South Carolina church last night and massacred nine people at their weekly bible study meeting, has been escorted in prison stripes onto a plane to be extradited from North Carolina.

The 21-year-old was arrested shortly before noon on Thursday in Shelby, NC, 250 miles north of the targeted church in Charleston, SC.

At 6.20pm local time he was seen in a jumpsuit, chains, handcuffs and a bullet-proof vest being chaperoned by dozens of armed police officers on to an airplane at Shelby-Cleveland County Regional Airport bound for South Carolina.

Survivors of the massacre claim Roof sat in the room for over an hour before standing up and saying: 'You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go.'

He was detained after a member of the public spotted his car and called 911. Police say he surrendered without contest and was taken into custody when an officer approached his black Hyundai.

'In America, we don't let bad people like this get away,' said Charleston Mayor, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. at a press conference announcing the arrest.





Men plead guilty to lottery scam involvement

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court.jpgTwo men pleaded guilty to their involvement in the lottery scam when they appeared in the St. Elizabeth Circuit Court.

They are auto mechanic Triston Tomlinson, 20 and Domar Robinson,21, both of Bigwoods in Darliston, Westmoreland.

The men are charged with knowingly possessing identity information.

The court has ordered a social enquiry report and sentencing is set for June 26.

On January 2 last year members of the St. Elizabeth Proactive Investigation Unit were on patrol along High Street in Black River when they observed two men acting suspiciously.

Both men were accosted and found to possess identity information of persons living in the US.





court.jpgA policeman from St Ann, Sergeant Orden Nelson, who was accused of beating a prisoner in custody breaking his arm in the process three years ago, was arrested and charged by INDECOM on Thursday morning.

Nelson was taken before the St Ann's Bay Criminal Court where he was offered bail in the sum of J$150-thousand .He's charged with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

INDECOM reported that in 2012, Sergeant Nelson arrested the complainant, Luke Murray, for using indecent language.This led to a tussle between the two after Mr Murray allegedly resisted arrest.

Nelson called for reinforcement and Murray was taken to the St Ann police station.It's alleged that the policeman used a baton to beat Murray, breaking his arm.

INDECOM investigated the matter and ruled that there was no justification for the beating.

In court defence attorney Oswest Senior Smith said his client strongly denied the allegations and insisted that the report given to INDECOM by Mr Murray was false.

Nelson is to return to court on July 17.





A father and son duo who robbed a shop in Guy's Hill, St Catherine, didn't fare too well at all. The get-away vehicle crashed not far from the scene of the crime and residents pounced upon the duo, beating the father to death, even as the son escaped.

However, his luck was short-lived because his mother subsequently marched him to the police station. The man was handed over to the police about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday by his mother. Investigators said that further investigation will be conducted with a view to charge the accused man. He is expected to be charged with robbery.

Reports are that on Monday, about 6:30 a.m., the accused and his father, Egetan Taylor, reportedly robbed a shop in the rural farming community.They escaped in a Fiat Uno motor car which overturned at Tavern Hill, Guy's Hill.

An angry mob descended on the men and Taylor was beaten and chopped to death in the process.

The suspect, who is now in custody, managed to escape and was been sought by the police.





Yah So NOT so nice for Potential Kidd

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potential-kidd-everything-govern.jpgDeejay Potential Kidd made his name with the gimmicks tune 'A Yah So Nice', but the truth is that yahso really not so nice for the kid. He is listed as 'WANTED' by the police

Cops say they are seeking the deejay for questioning in relation to the ongoing violence in the Trench Town area of western Kingston.

The western Kingston police, who have seen an upsurge of violence in the division in recent weeks, have since listed the dancehall artiste as a person of interest.

The artiste, born Dwayne Taylor, is of a Trench Town address, and was listed among 34 other persons following last week's shooting of four people in Coronation Market, which the police say is linked to a break-in at a wholesale owned by a popular Tivoli Gardens family.

On Monday, a man was killed and a woman injured behind the Kingston Public Hospital, and the police theorise these recent incidents of crime and violence are linked to an ongoing fight between gangs.

According to head of the western Kingston police division, Senior Superintendent Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford, Potential Kidd "is influencing the violence in Trench Town."

He further stated an illegal firearm that was purchased in the community had been confiscated by thugs and is believed to be the root of the problem.

Ford said police intelligence operatives are checking the information received and the entertainer will be questioned in relation to this information.

The police requested those listed as persons of interest to turn themselves in to the police as of 8 a.m. yesterday.

A few have reportedly complied, however, up to late yesterday afternoon, Potential Kidd had not turned himself in to the police.

Potential Kidd is known for songs like A Yah So Nice and Everything Govern.





Bike thieves rob $700,000 from businessman

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Bike robbers who have been staging robberies in the Corporate Area over the last week, struck again on Monday, stealing more than J$700,000 from a businessman along Lyndhurst Road in the afternoon.

It's reported that shortly after midday, the businessman parked his Toyota Rav 4 in front of the JUTC depot to have lunch at a nearby restaurant when two men on bike rode up. They smashed the back window of the vehicle and removed a bag with the cash.

It is reported that the men had trailed the businessman from a nearby cambio.

Over the last week, men on bikes have been attacking persons after they conducted transactions at financial institutions in the Half-Way-Tree area.

A policewoman and a female auto parts dealer were robbed of a combined $400,000 in separate attacks on Friday by men on motor bikes.





Ganja Business Clinics

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The Cannabis Development and Promotions Secretariat comprised and coordinated by The Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Institute

The Ganja Growers and Producers Association (formerly the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association) & The National Alliance for the Legalization of Ganja will host a business clinic at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Wednesday.

Introduction to Cannabiz

Objectives

(1) to explain the Dangerous Drug (2015) Amendment Act and the role and function of the Cannabis Licensing Authority.

(2) to expose our members in particular to the wide range and variety of cannabis plants / strains and products that the regulated cannabis industry entails, how to get started, which support agencies exists and to link them with potential cooperatives, partners, local and international investors.





Upon hearing the news of a police raid on bleaching products, bleachers have refused to bow.

"More bleaching cream deh bout."

"Is a good ting seh me stock up."

"Bleaching nah stop no matter what them try," are some of the comments from hardcore male and female bleachers who swear by the bleaching products and spend thousands of dollars annually to achieve their 'browning' complexion.

On the weekend, cops from the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC).reportedly seized more than 2,000 bottles of bleaching cream in various locations within the Corporate Area. No one was arrested in connection with the seizures.

Assistant commissioner of police, (ACP) Devon Watkis, revealed that after a series of investigations, a raid had been launched to seize the highly coveted creams.

The raid was carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

It is well known that prolonged skin whitening, popularly referred to as bleaching, can lead to lethal health risks.

Some of these dangerous skin fairness cocktails contain steroids, hydroquinone and tretinoin among others and are likely to cause skin cancers, permanent pigmentation, and liver damage.





Although he gave the gunmen who had invaded his home in the dead of night the cash they demanded, 47 year-old Rohan Bent, was still shot and killed.

Bent was at his Clarendon home with other people about 2:00 am Monday when four gunmen gained entry to his home by placing a ladder against an open upstairs window and barged in.

They held Bent at gunpoint and demanded cash and the whereabouts of a safe.

He yielded to their demands and gave them the cash he had in his possession, however he never gave up any information about a safe.

Angered, the gunmen shot him repeatedly before ransacking the house. When their search for a safe came up empty handed, the gunmen relieved the other occupants of the house of their cellular phones before leaving them cowering in fear.

Some persons in the area said they saw a white car leaving the community with a ladder on top.





Please stop exporting cocaine in fried fish!

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cocaine-in-fried-fish.jpgThe story of a 38-year-old woman arriving on a flight from Jamaica to Miami last weekend packed with cocaine-laced fried fish is disturbing on many levels.

Fried fish is one of the delicacies that Jamaican living abroad look forward to. Fish fried in Jamaica has a special taste and flavour that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Many Jamaican who are stuck in foreign lands look forward to a piece of fried fish and breadfruit in the worse way.

So it's not fair for drugs smugglers to abuse this in such a way. UScustoms are now going to target every fried fish for drugh from now on. As soon as they detect fried fish, they are just going to dump it.

Come on smugglers, have a heart when trying to be creative. Don't spoil up we fried fish thing like that man.

According to the police report, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the Miami International Airport seized over 2 pounds of cocaine concealed inside fried fish Saturday in the luggage of the passenger, whose name has not been released.

During an X-ray examination of the passenger's luggage, CBP OFO officers at the airport noticed anomalies in some of the cooked fish. Upon further examination the officers observed that the bellies of some of the fish were sewn together and certain fish felt thicker than the rest. CBP OFO officers discovered approximately 2.3 pounds of cocaine and subsequently seized the illicit substance.





man-nephew-counterfeit-notes.jpgThe popular saying 'guh mek some money' has taken on a literal meaning even as the Manchester police have confirmed that two men were charged for possession of and manufacturing counterfeit notes.

The men have been identified as Paul Graham, 60, and his 30-year-old nephew, Tyrone Graham.

According to police reports, members of the Proactive Investigation team, acting on information, went to their home in Union district, Hatfield, Manchester, about 8:00 pm, and found the men making the fake money.

The total sum seized, including some partially made notes, was J$72,000.

The counterfeit notes were seized on Monday.

Additionally, a printer, sheets of parchment paper, ink cartridges, a stencil knife, and a ruler that were used in the process, were seized by the police.

The police say that the younger Graham was released from jail late last year after serving six months for a similar offence.

The two men are suspected to be part of a larger network that is manufacturing counterfeit notes in the parish.





ganja-licence.jpgThe Ministry of Justice has scheduled a town hall meeting aimed at raising awareness of the amendments made to the Dangerous Drugs Act, often referred to as 'the Ganja Law' at the St Luke's Anglican Church Hall in Cross Roads, Kingston, Wednesday evening.

The ministry said that the meeting will seek to address misconceptions held by the public about the law relating to the possession of ganja and will provide an opportunity for questions on the controversial subject.

Topics to be discussed include the possession of ganja, use of ganja as a sacrament and cultivation for personal and medicinal/therapeutic use.

Presenters include Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding; director, Criminal and Civil Justice Administration Division, Kathlene Arnold; and Legal Officer at the Justice Ministry Jamila Simms.

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act was brought into operation on April 15 this year making possession of two or less ounces of ganja a ticketable offence.

Additionally, the Bill prohibits the smoking of ganja in public places, and makes provisions for the granting of licences, and permits to enable the establishment of a regulated industry for ganja for medical, scientific, and therapeutic uses.

It also provides for the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority.





Ponzi schemes on the rise again

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A re-emergence of unregulated investment schemes which have been trying to solicit business from local investors has caught the attention of the police with initial checks being carried out into their operations.

The matter is being handled by the Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch, C-TOC. Two weeks ago the Financial Services Commission, FSC, issued an advisory cautioning investors about solicitations by International Financial Services Limited which it said is not licensed to sell securities in Jamaica.

The spotlight is also on another entity, World Ventures Holdings. Head of C-TOC, Assistant Commissioner Devon Watkis, last night said the police have taken preemptive steps.

The FSC says members of the public should verify the registration of any entity or individual offering an investment opportunity by checking the Commission's website.





The Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit is advising members of the public to be cautious when purchasing meat in Riversdale, St. Catherine, following the slaughter of two pregnant cows on a farm in the community.

According to the unit, pregnant animals must not be slaughtered unless inspected by a registered veterinary surgeon, who certifies that the meat is fit for consumption. Head of the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Francis, says there are also instances where the carcasses are transported in unsanitry conditions and this poses health risks.

Francis has urged members of the public with information on the slaighter of the cows in Riversdale to contact investigators as soon as possible.





GSAT results Wednesday

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gsat-results-2015.jpgThe Ministry of Education says the results for this year's sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test, GSAT, will be released to all Regional Offices on Wednesday.

In a release this morning, the Education Ministry said principals are asked to liaise with their respective Regional Offices to collect their packages commencing at 2pm.

It says this is to facilitate easy access and to quickly indicate to parents and students all placements following the sitting of the examination.

38,470 students were registered to sit this year's GSAT examination which took place on March 26 and 27.





diaspora-conference.jpgMembers of the Diaspora and Jamaicans at home will gather at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St James, from June 13 to 18, to participate in the sixth staging of the Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.

Activities will include a business and cultural exposition, a range of meetings to address investment opportunities and social activities, culminating with a Diaspora Day of Service.

The forum is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in collaboration with the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Members, key community persons and Diaspora community groups, under the theme: 'Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity'.

This year, the conference promises to be bigger and better, with the organisers anticipating a robust turnout of Diaspora members.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, tells JIS News that the last staging saw a record number of diaspora members in attendance. He is hoping the number will increase in 2015.

"Our intent is to have 1,000 local participants and hopefully, we will have an equal amount from the Diaspora in attendance at the conference," he says.

Since its inception in 2004, the event has grown, and in 2013 more than 1,500 participants attended the conference.

He notes that efforts are being made to increase the turnout through the deliberate targeting of the Diaspora outside of the traditional areas of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada.

Since the conference was officially launched in February 2015 by Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, Mr. Brown says several others have been held to promote it overseas, noting that the first international launch was held at the St. Georges Episcopal Church, in New York.

"Consequent upon the New York launch, we launched in Canada from the 12th of April to the 19th of April. There were launches in Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and all launch events have gone fairly well," he adds.

So far, over 1000 persons have registered for the conference.





bigga-ford.jpgHead of the Kingston Western Police Division, Senior Superintendent Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford, believes a recent break-in at a wholesale on Spanish Town Road is behind Thursday's shooting in West Kingston

SSP Ford says four persons were shot in the Coronation Market and one in Tivoli Gardens near to Darling Street. He warned that police would be pulling out all the stops to capture those responsible.

"I just want to use the opportunity to let Jamaica know what is happening in the area," said Ford.

"In the last five weeks the division was peaceful and quiet. These latest attacks are in retaliation to a recent incident where the wholesale of a well-known businessman was robbed," the senior cop added.

Police said more than $1 million worth of items were stolen from the business.

"Since this incident there have been a series of attacks, which have so far claimed the life of one person," Ford told the Observer.

He said that in response to the developments police have not only increased their presence in the area but have also identified some of the individuals who they believe are key players in the ongoing feud.

He says all five are at hospital.





Copyright Act debate continues

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copyright.jpgCopyright stakeholders will be watching today's Parliamentary debate closely on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to increase protection for Jamaica's copyright holders.

One of the main issues being discussed is the extension of copyright protection from the life of the author plus 50 years, to the life of the author plus 95 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was made.

The Bill also notes that the current Copyright Act does not explicitly protect intellectual property rights over digital networks.

"Without clear protection in the digital environment, e-commerce activities in Jamaica by musicians, performers, publishers and authors would be at risk, and the right holders would not be able to derive the potential revenue from this stream of commerce provided by the Internet," the Bill's memorandum of objects and reasons points out.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton thinks that the copyright industry has potential for economic growth and the creation of wealth across all sections of the society.





14-year-old killed by gunmen

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Gunmen reportedly shot four males, killing a 14-year-old and another, in the Malcolm Heights community of Lucea, Hanover early this morning.

Reports are that the four were asleep in a house in the area when gunmen broke in and shot them.

The injured men have reportedly been admitted to hospital in serious conditions.

The police's Corporate Communications Unit has confirmed the incident but said the scene is still being processed.





A woman has been taken into custody as the police investigate a narcotics trafficking ring which reportedly involves one of their colleagues.

A 43-year-old constable, who has been a member of the Force for 20 years, was held on Sunday during a raid involving MOCA.

The constable, who is assigned to the Kingston Central Division, is facing drug charges. A statement from MOCA said the woman was arrested after the cop was taken into custody.

According to reports, the constable was stopped by a MOCA team while travelling on the Palisadoes main road. He was en route to the Norman Manley International Airport. His vehicle was searched and ganja along with US$7- thousand and more than J$100-thousand reportedly seized. Investigations led MOCA detectives to a house in St. Catherine.

During a search of the premises in Bridgeport, ganja and cash were seized and the woman taken into custody.





18-year-old charged with bestiality

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court-bestiality.jpgMany persons lost their composure in the Spanish Town RM Court on June 9, when it was announced that an 18-year-old man from Milk River, Clarendon, had been charged with bestiality.

Reports are the teenager was doing construction work in Old Harbour, when he was allegedly caught having sex with a goat "wheel barrow" style.

When the allegation was read out in open court, the usually stern-faced RM Lyle Armstrong had a smile on her face. It took a few minutes before order could be returned to the proceedings.

The accused was granted bail in the sum of $80,000 with 1 to 3 sureties.

He is to report to the Old Harbour Police on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 6 a.m and 6 p.m.





Cocaine Ras begs judge for mercy

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court-bestiality.jpgA Rastafarian man who was caught trying to export a quantity of cocaine was slapped with fines and imprisonment when he appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's (RM) Court Monday.

Charged with possession, dealing, taking steps to export and conspiracy to export is Bentley Lewis.

He pleaded guilty to all charges.

The court was told that when Lewis was cautioned, he said, "Yes, mi know a coke Is a man give me fi go foreign."

Senior RM Judith Pusey asked the accused: "Why shouldn't you go to jail for this?"

He said: "Mi a beg yuh likkle leniency, beg yuh likkle mercy. When I was doing what I did I did not think of the consequences."

The court heard that the drug weighed one pound, six ounces.

Lewis was fined $150,000, or six months for possession; $250,000, or six months

for dealing; $350,000, or eight months for attempting to export, plus 12 months for conspiracy. If the fines are not paid, the sentences are to run concurrently, but consecutive to the 12- month sentence.

A fingerprint order was also made against Lewis.





8-year-old commits suicide; found hanging

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shocked.jpgA family is in mourning following a child's suspected suicide at his home in Gordon Town, St Andrew on Tuesday.

The deceased is Chad Robinson of Dublin Castle in the community. He reportedly went missing around 9pm. He was later found hanging by his shoelaces from a ladder in the yard.

The Gordon Town police was summoned and the body was removed.





mothers-enterprise-operator.jpgThe operator of Mother's Enterprise, Richard Foreman, was arrested and charged on Thursday by the Fraud Squad.

Foreman has been charged with creating public mischief after allegedly filing a false report to the police.

It's reported that last year, the 56 year old businessman gave CARMAX Limited a vehicle to sell.

Following the collapse of the car dealership, Foreman went to the Half-Way-Tree Police Station last month and reported the vehicle stolen.

An investigation was conducted and it was discovered he had filed a false report.

Foreman, who is represented by attorney, Peter Champagnie, has been released on J$200-thousand station bail.

He's booked to appear before the Corporate Area Criminal Court on July 15.





Shooting in downtown Kingston leaves 4 injured

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A section of downtown Kingston is tense following a shooting in the busy market district, which left four persons injured.

Reports are that armed men travelling in a car went to Lizard Town, near Coronation Market, where they shot and seriously injured a man, known only as "Bigga". Three other persons were shot in the attack, but their conditions are not known.

Senior Superintendent Cornwall "Bigga" Ford, head of the Kingston Western Police, has appealed for calm in the area.

"With support of the police high command I have put all the resources necessary in that location, he said"

According to Superintendent Ford, the shooting stemmed from a recent break-in at a store. This reportedly led to the shooting death of a man from West Kingston.





shanique-myrie.jpgShanique Myrie who made headlines by taking the Barbados Government to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) after she was denied entry is entering representational politics.

Peoples' National Party (PNP) insiders confirmed that Myrie has been given the nod to represent the PNP in the next Local Government elections.

On Sunday at the PNP's Olympic Gardens Divisional Conference,delegates endorsed her application to represent the party.The incumbent is the Jamaica Labour Party's Christopher Townsend.

A recommendation regarding Miss Myrie was presented at Wednesday night's monthly Constituency Executive meeting.

A source said it is now left to the Party's Region Three executive to ratify Myrie's application.

In a landmark ruling the six-member CCJ panel ruled that Myrie was wrongfully denied entry by Barbados border officials in March 2011.

She was awarded damages after she filed a lawsuit claiming she was subjected to a dehumanising cavity search by a female immigration officer.





14-y-o-student-executed-leon-grant.jpgThe double murder on Tuesday of 14-year-old Leon Grant and 20-year-old unemployed Travis 'Shane' McKenzie, both of Malcolm Drive, Lucea, has brought to 14 the number of homicides recorded by the Hanover police since the start of the year.

The brutal slaying of the Rhodes Hall High School student and his brother during a pre-dawn attack at their home in Lucea on Tuesday has left the community in shock and the school in mourning. At Rhodes Hall High School, traumatised staff members and students were fighting to come to grips with the tragedy.Principal Loreen Aljoe said the slain teen possessed leadership qualities.

"He was assisting because I guess he had that kind of leadership quality about him. He is a leader. The others looked up to him. So for us it's a loss. We never got the opportunity to see Leon graduate," Aljoe lamented.

She said Leon was well-liked by his peers and the teaching and ancillary staff.

"When we came this [Tuesday] morning we had teachers crying, students crying, everybody, because

Leon was a popular student here. So everybody knows Leon," said Aljoe.

She explained that Leon was one of the school's success stories, having drastically changed for the better since grade seven following the intervention of teachers.

The incident occurred about 2:00 am Tuesday, when masked men kicked open the front door to the home and started shooting.

Leon was hauled outside the house and shot execution style, even as his mother hurled a hammer at his killers, a police source explained.

This led the detectives to surmise that McKenzie may have been the target of the attack because the shooters did not attempt to harm his mother when she went to her son's assistance.

Investigators later removed spent shells, fired from AK-47 and M-16 rifles, .9mm and .45 pistols, from the scene.

Meanwhile, the Hanover police have taken one man into custody in connection with the murders. Investigators have linked the murders to the multi-million-dollar lottery scam targeting United States citizens, most of them elderly.

Their 24-year-old sister and stepfather have being treated for gunshot wounds sustained during the shooting.

An incident on Labour Day in which a car belonging to a family member was shot up foreshadowed Tuesday's attack.





direct-flights.jpgA new direct flight from Ireland to Jamaica will be added for summer 2016, according to the tourism Ministry.

The flight, added through Falcon Holidays and Thomson Holidays, both part of the Tourist Union International (TUI) Group, is as a result of continuous upward trends in stopover visitor arrivals from Europe. The European Conglomerate TUI Group, has been helping to drive significant growth out of the European market, the ministry says.

Making the announcement Saturday at the 54th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill said TUI will roll out its new charter programme from Dublin, Ireland using a Thomson Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Beginning June 2016, the service will run six flights weekly with holiday packages running for two weeks, thereby adding an additional 12, 222 room nights for the destination.

"We have TUI's assurance that should this short programme be successful they will consider expanding into the following summer," Minister McNeill noted.

He had more good news of increased airlift out of Europe later this year. Commencing November 29, Ving, a subsidiary of Thomas Cook Nordic, will operate new service from Gothenburg, Sweden via Oslo Norway, to Montego Bay.

Also, commencing mid-December the fortnightly service, which TUI Sweden operated from Stockholm to Montego Bay last winter, will be doubled to weekly flights for the 2015/16 winter season, the release stated.

The ministry explained that the renewed thrust in Europe is bolstered by the fact that arrivals from January to April 2015 out of that market went up by 9.1 per cent over the corresponding period last year, with a total of 95,177 stopover visitors gracing Jamaica's shores.





Zika virus spreads from Brazil to Dom Rep

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zika-virus.jpgAs the Jamaican authorities put preventive measures in place for the zika virus, the Dominican Republic is reporting that it has recorded its first case of the mosquito-borne illness.

A 12-year-old girl from Puerto Plata has become the first person to contract the virus in that country. According to a newspaper report, the patient is hospitalised in a private clinic in the northern city. No further information on her condition has been revealed.

A month ago the Brazilian media reported on a number of zika virus infections in Bahia state and other places. The virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The main clinical symptoms in patients are fever, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and a rash.

Jamaica's Ministry of Health has been urging persons to eliminate mosquito breeding sites to prevent the Zika virus from reaching Jamaica.





A Detective Constable suspected of being involved in a major drug network,was arrested Sunday morning during a sting operation along the Palisadoes Main Road in Kingston.He is a 20-year veteran of the Police Force,

It's understood that investigators from Major Organised Crime and Anti-corruption agency MOCA intercepted the constable's vehicle and seized more than 19 parcels containing ganja.A large quantity of US currency was also allegedly seized in the vehicle.

Investigators theorised that the policeman was travelling to the Norman Manley International Airport to drop off the shipment of ganja.It's understood that MOCA moved in on the policeman after placing him under surveillance.

His St Andrew home was also raided as part of a drug trafficking and money laundering investigation.





Head of the St James Police Division, Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor, says the shooting of a parent at a school in the parish on is linked to lottery scamming. Sheldon Dennis, 28, was killed because of a dispute over the proceeds from the illegal scamming activity.

Cops have since arrested a man in connection with Friday morning's murder of Dennis, a parent at the St Mary's Preparatory and Kindergarten School. Reports are that Dennis had arrived at the institution to drop off his two children when he was chased by gunmen and shot repeatedly.

Students and school staff have been severely traumatised by the incident which caused classes to be suspended for the day.





prime-minister-portia-simpson-miller-photo-3.jpgThe high death toll on the roads has been a cause of concern for Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who urged Jamaicans to take greater personal responsibility for road safety, even as the Government implements strategic measures to make the use of the nation's roads safer for all.

Since January 1 this year, 150 people have died in road crashes, a figure which represents an increase of nine more deaths when compared to the corresponding period last year.

Addressing the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association's (JGRA) National Road Safety Month launch, at Coore's Fesco service station in Angels, St. Catherine, Simpson Miller said that as part of efforts to reduce road crashes Government will be updating the Road Traffic Act and continue to carry out various public awareness campaigns.

She said the Government is also looking at implementing more electronic surveillance systems in order to curb speeding and the running of red lights.

She also said that it will take the combined efforts of all Jamaicans to reverse the developing trend of increased deaths due to road crashes.

"The most direct and effective action to improve road safety is personal responsibility by road users," she said.





lisa-hanna-photo-3.jpgMinister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna was on Sunday night hospitalised after a car crash on the Spanish Town leg of Highway 2000.

According to reports, Hanna was travelling in a Toyota Corolla motorcar which crashed after trying to swerve out the way of the scene of another accident. Her driver was also injured.

Hanna is said to be suffering from chest pains after the air bag opened on impact. She was taken to hospital by security minister Peter Bunting who was also coming from an event where Hanna was in attendance.

The Youth and Culture Minister took to social media to thank well wishers. She also shared a photo of the mangled remains of the vehicle involved in the accident.

"Thank you for the concern. There was an existing accident on the highway and the cars had no lights, we swerved out of the way. God is great! I was on the passenger side in the front. P and I were able to walk out of the car and taken to the hospital," she said.

Hanna was said to have undergone x-Ray examination and CT scans.

She is expected to be released from hospital on Monday.





Reports reaching YardFLex are that a member of the Jamaica COnstabulary Force recently attacked his girlfriend and removeD one of her body parts because he became suspicious that she was cheating on him.

According to various accounts of the incident, the policeman from Portland was having an affair with the woman, but things apparently went sour because he became suspicious of her activities, which he linked to infidelity.

The cop reportedly reached breaking point recently and proceeded to cut out the woman's vagina and douse her with a substance similar to acid.

Please note that the picture below is very graphic.

policeman-cuts-out-cheating-girlfriend-vagina.jpg





Lottery scammer arrested in Kingston

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Police attached to the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch (C-TOC) arrested a man on suspicion of being a lottery scammer in Kingston on Thursday.

According to the police, the man, whose identity is being withheld pending further investigation, was detained on suspicion of breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act during an operation on Windward Road in Kingston.

Reports are that about 11:15am, a premise was searched and several sheets of paper containing identity information of other persons were found (lead sheet).

He is expected to be charged with possession of identity information and using premises to possess identity information after being interviewed in the presence of his attorney. The C-TOC is also working with its international partners to ascertain victims overseas in an effort to have additional charges laid against him.





Cop shot on JUTC bus in Papine

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jutc-bus.jpgWhile the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force were staging a major sick-out on Thursday, one of their own was the victim of gun violence.

Reports are that a constable was shot and injured by gunmen in Papine, St Andrew on Thursday.

At about 9am, the policeman was travelling on a Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus when the criminals tried to stage a robbery.

The lawman reportedly challenged the robbers and was shot. The CCU further reported that one of the alleged robbers was also shot and injured. Both men were rushed to the University Hospital of the West Indies where they were admitted.

The incident happened amid protest action being taken by rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).





Students, staff and parents were sent scampering for cover at the St Mary's Preparatory and Kindergarten School in Montpelier, St James on Friday morning, after gunmen attacked a male parent and slew him brutally in their presence on the school compound.

The dead man has been identified as 28 year old Sheldon Dennis.

The murder occurred at about 7:30 am. Police report that Dennis was dropping off his two children when he was pounced upon by two gunmen. He was shot while sitting in his car.

Dennis reportedly ran from his vehicle and was chased by the gunmen who shot him multiple times in front of his children and other students, as well as parents.





water-tank.jpgThieves have made off with the water tank at a primary school in St. James and YardFlex is making a special appeal for the culprits to return it.

Classes at the Anchovy Primary School in St James were not held on Thursday due to a robbery at the school.

Thieves stole a 600 gallon water tank that supplies the school, between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, forcing the staff to call off school due to the lack of water.

The robbery has cast a pall of gloom over the school community as it will take some time for the water tank to be replaced and it was unsure whether classes would resume on Friday.

The tank supplies drinking water as well as water for sanitation purposes.

In the meantime, is there any Good Samaritan out there who can assist Anchovy Primary with a replacement water tank?





Businessman murdered on Padmore Drive

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A businessman was shot dead by gunmen along Padmore Drive in Kingston on Thursday.

He has been identified as 51-year-old Mark Champagnie of Maverly in St Andrew.

Police report that Champagnie received a phone call and was summoned to Padmore Drive. Upon his arrival, two gunmen pounced and shot him several times. He died on the spot.

Cops from the Major Investigation Team are theorising that Champagnie was the victim of a contract killing.





armzhouse-records-logo.jpgAlleged high ranking member of the One Order Gang based in Spanish Town, Everton 'Rado' Minott has been taken into custody in the United States by police and is being held without bail.

Rado was reportedly wanted on several charges in Jamaica.

Rado, who also has strong connections to the music industry, is the CEO of the Armz House Records label, and the producer of dancehall deejay Mavado's popular anti-gun song, Gal Over Gun. He was shot and injured on May 14, 2010, and was a patient a the Spanish Town hospital.

Reports are that Rado was arrested in Miami, Florida in mid-May on cocaine trafficking, money laundering and gun related charges. Armzhouse Records is known for hit projects like the First Capital riddim, Head of State riddim and Fire Supreme riddim.

This is the second music producer held by US authorities in the past six months with well-known dancehall-reggae producer Anju Blaxx facing lottery scamming charges in a North Dakota prison.





Jamaican planning to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the Summer Olympic Games next year will have an easier time getting there as the South American country has abolished the previous visa requirement for citizens of the island.

Brazil's most recent ambassador to Jamaica, Antonio da Costa e Silva, whose tour of duty ended on May 31, and Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Arnold J Nicholson signed the Visa Abolishment Agreement at the Jamaica Pegasus last Wednesday.

The abolition builds on a special visa cooperation between the two countries which was signed in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup last year and extended the validity of visas from short periods to five years.

Jamaica's Ambassador to Brazil Alison Stone Roofe explained that the visa abolition does not mean that inspection at the port of entry will be discontinued. In fact, she said "scrutiny is even stricter where there is a waiver".

Stone Roofe added that the visa waiver does not apply to those who intend to become employed, engage in research, traineeships, studies and social work, undertake technical assistance, or pursue missionary, religious or artistic activities (such as musicians and singers).

Prospective visitors should note, the ambassador added, that they need a yellow fever vaccination certificate and that their passports must be valid for more than six months at the time of entry.





Police promotions announced

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police-federation-logo.jpgMore than 50 rank and file members and several senior officers have been granted promotions. This paves the way for them to take home improved salaries. Approximately 50 Sergeants have been elevated to the rank of Inspector.

Officer in charge of the VIP Division, Superintendent Barrington 'Rocky' Simpson, is among nine Superintendents elevated to the rank of Senior Superintendent. The others are Dean Taylor, formerly of the Major Investigation Task Force, Millicent Sproul Thomas, Dermorth Lawrence, Anthony Morris and Calbert Edwards and McArthur Sutherland.

Acting Head of the St. Thomas Police Division Deputy Superintendent Charmine Shand, and Merval Smith of CIB headquarters, have also been promoted to the rank of Superintendent.





kubba-pringle.jpgClive 'Kubba' Pringle, operator of the MXIII Lawn in Negril's West End and a member of the Negril Resort Board has died.

Reports reaching YardFlex are that the popular businessman and philanthropist suffered a massive stroke last week and was subsequently placed on life support. Confirmed reports are that Kubba was taken off life support this week and passed away.

He was 57 years old.

Pringle, known in his native Negril as 'Kubba', was a stalwart in entertainment circles, where his influence extends beyond the shores of Jamaica. Vice-president of the Negril Entertainment Association, Kubba was famous for, among other things, starting the Bob Marley Birthday Bash in that tourist town in 1991, two years after returning permanently to Jamaica from the US.

YardFlex will have more updates later.





fugitive-rapist-leblanc.jpgA Hancock man, who fled the country to avoid being prosecuted on a dozen charges alleging he raped a child is under arrest in New York after being deported from Canada, investigators said.

The alleged two-year flight of Scott Elrond Leblanc, 59, formerly of 156 Forest Road, to avoid prosecution came to an end Thursday when he was arraigned as a fugitive from justice at the Niagara County Court in Lockport, N.Y.

He waived extradition and is being held in the Niagara County Jail pending his return to New Hampshire. Hillsborough County Deputy Lt. Brian Newcomb said he is expected to be back in the state within 30 days.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, a warrant was issued for Leblanc's arrest on Aug. 21, 2013 by Hillsborough County Superior Court, Northern District, in Manchester after he failed to appear in court on 12 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

The charges stem from indictments alleging that between 1995 and 2000, Leblanc sexually assaulted a child under the age of 13 in Hancock.

Leblanc allegedly fled the state in August 2013 after learning of the impending indictments against him. Investigators believe he actually left the country.

On Tuesday, they received information from the U.S. Marshal Foreign Field Office in Jamaica that Leblanc had arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica from Toronto, Canada.

Jamaican law enforcement officials refused Leblanc entry into the country because, Newcomb said, of the pending arrest warrants and returned him to Toronto where Canadian law enforcement officials refused him entry, again because of the serious charges.

Canadian authorities deported Leblanc who was placed into the custody of U.S. Marshals based in Buffalo, N.Y.





Cable service provider Flow will start to remove some of its channels on Monday, June 1, following an order from the Broadcast Commission of Jamaica (BCJ).

Flow advised its customers of the move in an email on Saturday.

The BCJ last month insisted that 19 unauthorised channels be removed from Jamaican cable television providers' platforms by May 31.

Flow advised customers that beginning June 1, 2015, the following channels will no longer be carried by the cable company: Encore East; Encore Suspense; Encore Family; FLIX; Showtime East; Showtime Showcase; Showtime 2; Showtime Extreme; Showtime West; STARZ West; The Movie Channel West; The Movie Channel Xtra; The Movie Channel East.

What's more, during the period of the next 6-8 weeks, Flow said it will continue the removal of some additional channels from its lineup; these include: STARZ East, STARZ Edge, STARZ in Black, STARZ Kids and Family, STARZ Cinema, ENCORE Action, ENCORE Black, ENCORE Classic and ENCORE Western.

The company, however, has introduced a suite of new Fox Movies services which it said "boasts a strong lineup of nine premium movie channels".





mark-golding-ganja-law.jpgMinister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, says the successful implementation of the new law regarding possession of small quantities of ganja will require the discretion and judgement of the police. Mr. Golding said discretion and judgement on the part of the police is not an unusual requirement for the performance of their duties.

"As is usual, when laws which affect the police's mode of operation are introduced, the police are sensitized within the context of the relevant policy of the Ministry of National Security," he explained.

The Minister added that operational guidelines are also issued to ensure implementation in a manner that meets both the objective of law enforcement and the policy objectives of the new law. Responding to questions tabled by Opposition Senator, Robert Montague, in the Senate, regarding the amended Dangerous Drugs Act (Ganja Law), on May 29, Senator Golding said that the police are not presently equipped with weighing apparatus in the field and are therefore not able to determine scientifically the precise weight of ganja in the field.

"However, two ounces of ganja are substantially more than a large spliff," the Minister noted.

He said that in situations where it may not be clear whether or not the amount of ganja exceeds two ounces, but it is reasonable to infer that the ganja is for the person's own personal use, the policy of the Ministry of National Security is that, rather than expending the police's time and other resources in proceeding with a criminal charge for possession that will ultimately be unsuccessful if the amount is less than two ounces, the police should proceed on the basis that the amount does not exceed two ounces and may issue a ticket.

Also, he said a person who has been wrongly ticketed for a substance that is not ganja may decline to pay the ticket.

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 became effective on April 15, and makes provision for development of a medical marijuana industry.





Hurricane preparedness tips

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hurricane-season.jpgThe Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricane can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Additionally, hurricanes can create storm surges along the coast and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events.

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

• Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

• Know your surroundings.

• Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.

• Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.

• Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

• Make plans to secure your property:

• Cover all of your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8" exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Another year-round option would be installation of laminated glass with impact-resistant glazing. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.

• Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.

• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.

• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.





weather-map-2015-may.jpgThe National Meteorological Service says a Tropical Wave currently east of Jamaica is expected to move west across the island Sunday afternoon. In addition a persistent trough will maintain unstable weather conditions across Jamaica until Wednesday.

The forecast over the next three days is for widespread showers and scattered showers especially during the afternoons. It was expected that all parishes would experience either showers or thunderstorms on Sunday.

A small craft warning remains in effect for offshore areas of southern waters due to strong winds and choppy seas in the vicinity of showers and thunderstorms.

June 1, marks the start of the hurricane season, the forecast is for six to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes and up to two major hurricanes.





mexican-demonic-game.jpgThe Ministry of Education has issued a ban against students playing the game Charlie Charlie Challenge, following reports from several schools across the island of very disruptive behaviour by students who engaged in the game.

The Charlie Charlie Challenge, a Ouija board style game to try and summon a Mexican demon, has been a trending topic on social media.

In a release on Friday, Chief Education Officer Grace McLean instructed schools to monitor students to ensure they are not allowed to play the game.

The ministry has further advised school personnel to immediately contact the regional offices if they need help and further support to address the situation.

The ministry stressed that it issued the ban following reports of very disruptive behaviour by students who participate in the game. Students reportedly display demon-possessed or paranormal behaviour while playing the game.

Parents and guardians are also being called to monitor their children carefully outside of school, as based on the reviews of the Charlie Charlie Challenge, it can have serious psychological effects on children.

The bulletin further argued that parents and guardians should note that the playing of this game can also result in "serious physical harm to our children."





Daily intake of passports doubled at PICA

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jamaican-passport-bordo.jpgThe Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency, (PICA), is reporting that since last week it has processed more than ten thousand passport applications. The figure is expected to increase ahead of next Monday's increase in passport fees.

Chairman of PICA's Advisory Board, Dr. Leachim Semaj, says the daily intake at the agency's offices has doubled and preparations are being made to accommodate more customers for the remainder of this week.

Applications are being processed at the National Indoor Sports Centre following last week's rush on PICA's head office. In the meantime, despite the surge in passport applications, Dr Semaj has suggested that the expenses associated with moving operations from the head office, may cut into whatever will be earned from the exercise.





admiral-bailey-photo-1.jpgEntertainer Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey on Wednesday pleaded guilty to fraud charges filed against him after he attempted to renew a passport in another man's name in February.

Bailey was fined $160,000 in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

He was arrested and charged on February 23 with two counts of uttering forged documents, two counts of obtaining a passport by false pretence, two counts of possession of forged documents, and a count each of attempting to obtain a passport by false pretence and conspiracy to defraud.

Bailey was reportedly held after he attempted to renew a passport in the name Michael George Sullivan at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency on Constant Spring Road, St Andrew.

Defense attorney Tom Tavares-Finson reportedly told the court that Bailey had been using the passport, for which the entertainer is charged, for at least three decades.





Four elderly men were shot dead while playing dominoes at a shop in Claremont, in St Elizabeth, on Wednesday night, police say.

Police identified the dead as Archibald Brown, 60, a farmer of Claremont, Ezra Wright, 73, farmer and shopkeeper of Claremont, 50-year-old Maurice Sanderson, also farmer. The fourth man was not positively identified early Thursday. Police say he too was elderly.

Reports are that the men were playing dominoes during a power cut about 8:30 pm at a small "board shop" operated by Wright when gunmen opened fire.

Police sources say the perpetrators are believed to be remnants of the Stone Crusher gang, operating in rugged terrain on the fringes of the Cockpit Country on the border of St Elizabeth and St James.





mexican-demonic-game.jpgYardFlex.com: Hundreds of school children across the length and breadth of Jamaica have been playing a dangerous demonic game that originates in Mexico with dire consequences.

Somewhat similar to the occult-based Ouija board game that took off in the seventies and eighties, this Charlie Charlie Challenge summons the spirit world and uses lead pencils to get answers. Schools have already started rounding up the perpetrators within their walls and have been considering the appropriate punishment. The principal of one prominent all-girls school on Constant Spring Road went around to every classroom on Wednesday and marched out all the girls who confessed to - or were pointed out by their peers - as having taken part in the demonic game. They were ordered to write about the incident before being sent back to classes.

In one of these incidents, it was reported that a Grade 8 Seventh Day Adventist student was the one who led the game with the pencil, and the demon caused the paper to lift up off the desk in the class-room, causing all the girls to scatter, screaming and running in fear. Teachers reportedly rushed out of the staff-room, leaving their lunches, to go and investigate the situation.

Other students at various other schools have been living in fear ever since having traumatic experiences with the demon, Charlie, with parents even reporting that their children cannot sleep at night and being terrified of the dark.

YardFlex spoke with a prominent pastor about the matter of demons and he noted that this thing about demon possession in schools has been going on for a very long time. He says that he has been called regularly to pray for students, some of them as young as ten years old, who are demon possessed.

"I did not know about this latest one from Mexico, however," he told YardFlex. "As parents we need to ensure that our children are covered. We need to pray with them, pray for them and see to it that they develop their own personal relationship with God. Young people are always on the lookout for a new type of excitement, and they don't see the church as the institution to provide this. That is why they get trapped into so many negative things - the spirit world, occult, drugs, perverted types of sexual intercourse and profane music are just some of them," the reverend declared.

YardFlex noted that a few students who are student leaders have posted on Twitter about the need to stay away from this serious game.

"What kind of foolishness this everybody a do? When exam time come oonu can't find pencil to do exams, but all of a sudden everybody a find pencil to play Charlie game," a very popular Kingston College sixth former reprimanded his followers on Twitter.

Meanwhile, some scientists have been saying that the game isn't demonic, it simply about gravity.





richard-medley.jpgSome residents of Denham Town, West Kingston, yesterday staged a protest in front the police station in the community against last Friday's fatal shooting of a music promoter.

The mid-morning demonstration was disrupted by the police, but the placard-bearing residents marched to North Street where they blocked the road with debris that they set ablaze.

The police were able to bring that situation under control and maintained a presence in the area.

Yesterday's protest is the second since Richard 'King' Medley's killing around 2:00 am at his girlfriend's home on Elgin Street in the West Kingston community.

His lover, who was present at the time of the killing, and residents are claiming that Medley was killed in cold blood.

The woman said that Medley came to her house around 2:00 am, and that police came knocking her door a short while later and were allowed inside after saying they were searching for gunmen.

The woman said that the police came inside the room where she and Medley were in bed, and after a brief conversation told Medley to get his phones and come with them. She said Medley was shot several times while reaching for his cellular phone.

She claimed further that after Medley -- a father of three children -- was killed, a gun was planted on him by the police.

The Independent Commission of Investigation is probing the incident.





mark-wignall.jpgAfter writing for the paper for 15 years,veteran columnist Mark Wignall has been fired by the Jamaica Observer.

Journalist Cliff Huges on his radio show on Power 106, Cliff Huges Online, earlier today said that Wignall had informed him that he was indeed dismissed by the newspaper. Wignall enjoyed a large readership of his columns.

Wignall's dismissal appears to surround a column written by him earlier this month in the Sunday Observer entitled 'Should Karl Samuda retire to the political tar pits?'

In the said article, Wignall maintains that alleged intimidation of JLP voters took place thus stopping them from voting in a general election in which Karl Samuda was a PNP candidate for St Andrew North Central.

The Jamaica Observer subsequently published a grovelling apology and made it clear that it was distancing itself from the Wignall story.all! Mark Wignall! He writes nothing but trash!"





4-million for Labour Day activities

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labour-day-roundup-lloyd-b-smith-at-railway-lane-basic-school.jpgThe Government has allocated some $4 million for the National Labour Day activity and the main parish projects across the island.

The funds will be used to improve and upgrade recreational sites, parks and play areas for children in keeping with the theme: 'Labour of Love: Nurturing our Children'.

Acting Principal Director for Culture and Creative Industries in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Dr. Janice Lindsay, told JIS News that the Parish Councils will receive $2 million to assist with the parish projects.

The remainder of the money will go towards rehabilitation of the Rudolph Elder Park in Morant Bay, St. Thomas, which is the designated National Labour Day Project this year.

"Even though we have allocated some $4 million for Labour Day, the money is just a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed to complete them," she noted, and called on the generosity of sponsors and volunteers to ensure the success of the various undertakings.

Dr. Lindsay informed that several public and private sector entities have pledged their support to the national project, with the South African High Commission donating concrete benches and tables for the Rudolph Elder Park.

Other sponsors include: National Housing Trust (NHT), First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union, Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), Purity Bakery Jamaica, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Island Dairies Limited Jamaica, Caribbean Broilers Jamaica Limited, Barco Caribbean Limited, Berger Paints and EdgeChem Jamaica Limited.





More Caribbean countries on ZikV alert

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zika-virus.jpgTwo other Caribbean countries have joined Jamaica in placing their citizens on alert for the mosquito borne Zika virus.

Public health authorities in the Cayman Islands have issued an alert for the virus which has been circulating in the Pacific and North-Eastern Brazil.

Also known as Zika-V, it is similar to dengue and chikungunya and is transmitted mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, as is the case with those other diseases.

Dr Kiran Kumar, Cayman's Medical Officer of Health, said on the weekend that, while there has been no case in the Caribbean, the alert is being issued as a precautionary measure.

"The public is urged not to be alarmed in hearing the name of another mosquito borne disease. Instead, it is encouraged to take precautionary measures against transmission...whether in the Cayman Islands or on travels," he said.

Trinidad & Tobago's Ministry of Health on Thursday issued an advisory, asking that citizens prepare for mosquito-borne diseases that come with the approaching rainy season, including the Zika virus.

Last week Jamaica's Health Ministry said it was taking the threat of the virus seriously and urged members of the public to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.





Pastor charged with rape of teenager

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The police have reported that 53-year-old Elvis Thompson, a pastor of Cave District in Westmoreland has been charged with having sexual intercourse with a minor (a person under 16 years).

The pastor, who was also charged with sexual assault, was charged on Friday, May 22.

It was reported that in 2014, the alleged victim, who sent to his house to collect payment for goods. She was then reportedly assaulted and raped.

The matter was reported to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), and a file was prepared and sent to the Defender of Public Prosecution-Paula Llewellyn-who ruled that he should be charged.





Prisoner hospitalised with TB

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tb-tuberculosis-basics.jpgA prisoner who was being housed at the Kingston Central police lockup has been diagnosed with Tuberculosis. The inmate, who reportedly fell ill two weeks ago, has been hospitalised.

Superintendent Michael Scott, Head of the Kingston Central Police, on Sunday night, confirmed that the prisoner was being treated for the infectious disease. He said the Ministry of Health had been called in.

So far there are no indication other prisoners were exposed to the disease, according to Superintendent Scott, however, a source said police personnel assigned to the Kingston Central lock-up are concerned they could be exposed to tuberculosis following the recent case.

It's understood that the police are not trained to deal with the contagious disease, and do not have the requisite resources to respond to suspected cases.

Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is a bacterial infection that can spread through the lymph nodes and bloodstream to any organ in your body. It is most often found in the lungs. Most people who are exposed to TB never develop symptoms because the bacteria can live in an inactive form in the body. But if the immune system weakens, such as in people with HIV or elderly adults, TB bacteria can become active. In their active state, TB bacteria cause death of tissue in the organs they infect. Active TB disease can be fatal if left untreated.

Because the bacteria that cause tuberculosis are transmitted through the air, the disease can be contagious. Infection is most likely to occur if you are exposed to someone with TB on a day-to-day basis, such as by living or working in close quarters with someone who has the active disease. Even then, because the bacteria generally stay latent (inactive) after they invade the body, only a small number of people infected with TB will ever have the active disease.





toya-son-joe.jpgFuneral home, Brite Lite, promised a celebrity funeral for late entertainer Latoya 'Toya' Jackson and they delivered. A white hearse with a glittering glass casket, a lavish keepsake funeral booklet, water bottles with Toya's picture on them and a full-set marching band were some of the special effects at the service for the singer, who was the common-law wife of Downsound Records CEO, Joe Bogdanovich.

Leading the mourners were Bogdanovich and the one child of their union, six-year-old Josef, along with Toya's mother, Crystal Gayle, who was deeply affected by the death of her only daughter. Joe was a somber figure who looked as if the reality of the situation was just beginning to sink in, while little Joe was they typical six-year-old who is still too young to fully comprehend the impact of this ceremony.

Although Toya was a dancehall artiste, the fraternity did not represent at the Hagley Park Seventh Day Adventist Church on Sunday morning and the church had many empty benches. That aside, however, those who turned out remembered Toya as a wonderful, caring human being. Gospel singer, Carlene Davis, paid tribute through the song Been Through Enough, while Pulse CEO, Kingsley Cooper read the eulogy.

Songwriter Black Pearl gave a very long tribute, which was at times amusing and ended by saying that he knew that Toya's soul was all right because she had gotten baptized before she died. Downsound artiste, Harry Toddler, noted that "Toya's death reunited the Downsound Records camp".

'Joe Loves You' and 'Boss Lady Toya' were some of the words on the numerous wreaths placed by her casket. Among the mourners were Ninja Man, Fantan Mojah, British Link Up's Owen 'Roy Fowl' Clarke, and Supreme Promotion's Isaiah Laing.

Jackson died in the United States in May from diabetic complications. The 30-year-old had been ailing for nearly two years.

Interment followed at Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine.





The National Indoor Sports Centre, will be used next week in the processing of applications for passports.

The decision was taken, after thousands of persons converged on the Constant Spring Offices of the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency, PICA, to apply for a passport, ahead of the increased fees which take effect on June 1.

The June 1 date was announced yesterday, after complaints that the initial date of May 26, was too soon.

Chairman of the advisory board to PICA, Dr Leachim Semaj, says come next Tuesday, the Sport Centre will be used in the processing of applications.

Dr Semaj says, all offices of PICA, saw an increase over their daily quotas, with Kingston seeing a 50% increase, over the 1 thousand per day quota.

In the meantime, Dr Semaj states, that any further extension to the implementation date for the increase, will have to come from the cabinet.





dominic-mcdowell.jpgThe next general meeting of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association

(JaRIA) is scheduled for Wednesday the 27th of May 2015, 6:00 pm, in the

Vera Moody Hall (Music School Auditorium) at Edna Manley College for the

Visual and Performing Arts.

The Guest Speaker will be Dominic McDowell who will address the topic

"Ganja Legislation and Production: Economic Implications for Jamaica's

Entertainment Industry".

Mr. McDowell is the Plannning & Business Development Specialist for

Medicanja Limited which was incorporated and launched in the latter part of 2013 by Dr. Henry Lowe. The objective of Medicanja is to undertake cutting edge research, development and commercialization of value added products and services related to medical ganja and hemp for the local, regional and international markets. McDowell oversees and implements planning and business development policies, objectives, and initiatives with respect to Medicanja Ltd. He is also responsible for product standardization, and maximizing, brand promotion, and funding and grant proposals.

The date of the meeting was changed from its normal schedule as student examinations are underway at the college.





ganja-smoking.jpg1. Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, located in central Europe, is still getting a grasp on its newly minted medical marijuana law, which was passed in early 2013. Many people are still having a hard time actually finding medicine to help cope with their medical needs, but it seems that the situation is improving. There is also widespread decriminalization, in which Czech citizens are allowed to grow up to five plants, or be in possession of certain amounts of cannabis without fear of being criminally prosecuted.

2. Ecuador

The South American nation of Ecuador, which shares a continent with the only country on Earth to have fully legalized cannabis in Uruguay, may be on its way to legalizing marijuana itself. The country has a long and rich history, filled with issues resulting from the international drug trade, and subsequent War on Drugs. Currently, possession of small amounts of cannabis is permitted, if it is for personal use and there is no intent to distribute. However, the Ecuadorian government could be poised to earn big bucks by legalizing in terms of tax dollars and potential trade revenue.

3. Jamaica

Though many people may have thought marijuana was already legal in the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica, that's simply not the case. However, it does look like the country's leadership is leaning toward going that route. Just recently, the country took a big step in relaxing its laws on possession, and also decriminalized it for a variety of reasons, including religious ceremonies and medicinal use. Jamaica may be swayed in coming years by increasing pressure from its in-house Rastafarian movement, as well as tourists from places like the U.S. where legalization is quickly sweeping the country.

4. Mexico

One way to help cut down on the illegal drug trade, and the power of the drug cartels as a result, would be for the nation of Mexico to give its prohibition laws a second look. There has been plenty of talk over the past several years about the Mexican government looking at legalization marijuana and other substances, but political pressure from the U.S. government has helped keep those laws on the books - for now. The power of criminal organizations, including the infamous cartels that operate along the border, has been shown to be weakening as a result of American decriminalization, and Mexican leaders may be swayed to vote for legalization if it means a lessening of violence and corruption.

5. Canada

From America's southern border to its northern one, Canadians have been able to enjoy relatively more lax marijuana laws compared to the U.S. Places like British Columbia are famous worldwide for supposedly growing some of the finest marijuana in the world, and it is one of the major sources of the plant into the United States. There are a majority of Canadian citizens who want to see the plant legalized, and much of what policymakers decide to do will likely come as a result of how the U.S. handles legalization going forward.

6. Spain

Certain places in Spain have also been called 'The New Amsterdam' due to their high concentration of private cannabis clubs. Operating in a somewhat gray area within Spanish law, these clubs take advantage of new laws that have decriminalized possession, although the manufacture and sale of cannabis is still illegal. It appears that Spain is one of the countries that will ride the momentum of the legalization movement, and make more policy moves based on what happens as a result of its decriminalization efforts.

7. Uruguay

Uruguay, of course, has made a name for itself by becoming the first and only country on Earth to fully legalize marijuana. The laws themselves are still being ironed out, but Uruguay has taken an enormous leap by being the first country to put a legal marijuana market into place on a country-wide scale. The market itself will be tightly regulated on all fronts by the government, but prices are estimated to be incredibly cheap compared to what people are paying in Colorado and Washington.

8. The Netherlands

The Netherlands - and more specifically, Amsterdam - has been a prime destination for marijuana tourists for a long time now. The city's infamous 'coffee shops' have attracted visitors from all over the world, seeking to partake in the world famous Dutch marijuana trade. Of course, there have been some bumps in the road, especially recently, in which the law has actually been changed to make it harder to track down cannabis. It's unclear how things will actually turn out going forward, but for a country with a reputation and history of friendly attitudes toward marijuana, it's not hard to imagine that the Dutch government would pass less restrictive legislation if their neighbors and other world powers do.

9. Argentina

South America looks primed for sweeping changes in drug policy, and Argentina is no exception. There have been large rallies and protests urging lawmakers to reclassify marijuana as a legal substance, and as Uruguay and other South American nations have moved forward, it's likely Argentinian leaders will take on the prospect as well. Argentina's president has gone so far as to endorse a plan to legalize medical cannabis use, citing reasons that many in South America are familiar with.

10. India

The nation of India may come as a complete surprise to be seen among the many western European and South American nations on this list, but Indians are surprisingly open to the possibility of legalization. The Times of India has even gone on record supporting the idea. It's already widely used in many religious ceremonies among the Hindu population, and its use is not enforced as stringently as many might suspect. Not only that, but wild cannabis grow in abundance in many parts of India, making it even harder to regulate.





suzette-brown-killed-by-florida-man.jpgA 44-year-old man is accused of beating and stabbing his ex-girlfriend in Miramar after she told him she was going to meet with another man, police said.

The murder suspect, Pierre Limousin, and his former girlfriend, Suzette Brown, were in a relationship for about 12 years before breaking up over each other's infidelity, according to a police report.

Brown, who hails from Eltham in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, is remembered as a very dedicated mother of two, who just started nursing school. She is a past student of Ferncourt High and Brown's Town Community College.Limousin, of Miramar, is now charged with her murder.

Miramar police discovered Brown's body after being alerted to a man dragging a screaming woman into a house in the 8500 block of Sheraton Drive before noon Wednesday.

As a responding officer arrived, he spotted a man with a bag getting into a gray Honda Accord who then drove off. Police lost track of the driver, but found Brown, 41, dead inside the home.

One of the bedrooms appeared to be ransacked and a knife was found nearby on Miramar Parkway, according to the report.

Investigators alerted other agencies about Limousin and his car after learning he was Brown's former boyfriend and was known to drive a gray Honda Accord. As Limousin tried to report his car as stolen in Hollywood, Miramar detectives were alerted and responded to the scene to interview Limousin.

According to the police report, Limousin told detectives that he drove by Brown's home and had a conversation with her that became heated. When she told him "she was going to meet with her new man as soon as he left," Limousin lost control and attacked Brown.

Limousin did not offer police further details, but did say he used a kitchen knife and thought she was still alive when he left because she was wheezing, according to the report.

He also told investigators that he ransacked a bedroom and left the home with the knife in bag, which he later tossed from the car.





jamaican-passport-bordo.jpgA strong police detachment was on hand Wednesday at the Passport Office located on Constant Spring Road in St Andrew, where scores of people gathered at the gate..

The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) on Sunday said that as of Tuesday, May 26, the cost of a regular adult passport will move from $4,500 to $6,500, while the passport for a minor will move from $2,700 to $4,000.

In addition, replacing lost passports for adults will cost $11,500 (up from $9,500) and $7,000 (up from $5,700) for minors. Faced with an anticipated rush by persons applying for passports ahead of the fee hike, the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, PICA, went ahead and implemented a quota system.

PICA was on Tuesday forced to halt the receipt of applications early as the number of customers grew beyond capacity. At midday, 762 persons had applied for passports which was 80%t of the 945 individuals served at its locations last Tuesday.As a result, PICA has introduced quotas at its outstations for the rest of the week to ensure the safety of applicants.

PICA said they will process 150 applications at its Mandeville office, 250 in Montego Bay, 100 each in St Ann's Bay and May Pen, 90 in Portmore and 1,000 at its headquarters on Constant Spring Road. The number of work stations at its offices has been increased from 27 to 39.

However, people at the PICA office on Wednesday morning made it clear that they were trying to get their documents before the new fees came into effect.The rush of customers to the institution caused a massive traffic pile-up along the Constant Spring and other adjoining roads as the long lines extended from the gate of the institution to the surrounding sidewalks.

Several customers were left fuming because of the long wait and it was subsequently announced that the Passport Office had closed for the day as it had reached its quota of 1,000 applications by 8:30am.





kellier-parliament.jpgMinistry of Agriculture, Derrick Kellier is attracting irate comments after declaring that there is no drought and is being compared to his health minister counterpart, Fenton Ferguson, who had declared in the height of the intolerable Chik-V ravage last there that there was no epidemic.

Kellier informed the House of Representatives that "a meteorological drought" has not been declared in Jamaica. In a statement to the House Wednesday afternoon, he said that it was also noticeable that the country has started to "see a little rain".

"We all pray for more rains, but while we pray, we are ensuring... that crops on the ground can be safeguarded," he said.

Kellier added that despite the dry conditions, the domestic food crop sector grew by 2.7 per cent last quarter.

Despite his assurances, persons have taken to social media to contradict Kellier's statements and poke fun at him."Lets not stop the list there," one reader stated, "There are also:

1. No bad roads
2. No sliding dollar
3. No poor heath service
4. No crime
5. No poor education system
6. No abuse of our children
7. No visitor harassment
8. No economic hardship
Is lie everybody a tell.

Another commented: Sometime yuh fi know wen fi chat an wen fi shut up! Dat a di mark of wisdom.Right now een a fi mi neck a di woods nuh rain nuh fall fi at least 5 months nung. Yuh a cum tell people bout nuh metereological drought nuh declare! Yu tek people fe eediat? A same way Fenton neva declare nuh Chik V outbreak till every odder Jamaican sick wid it..some all dead(dem soul rest in peace). So yuh intend fi wait an siddung pan yu bahine den wen tourist seh de place dry....unnu seh dought drought an a run up an dung like headless chicken? Since when Jamaican people need nubaddy fi tell dem when a drought from when a nuh drought. Yu a try outdo Fenton an him lackeys een a di chat bull department?? Yuh tiad a de portfolio?

"I don't know about that, as the NWC has issued several water restrictions in my area. I have very low water pressure, and the NWC turns off water supply from 10:00 pm in the nights to 4:30 am in the mornings. This is done, to advert the increasing water demand on a drought hit water supply. This is what I was told by a NWC customer care representative. So I have no clue what the Minister is saying, as the time is Hot as hell."

"Mi convince kellier drop and hit him head" (PIC KELLIER)





zik-v-update.jpgThe Health Ministry says, persons travelling to Jamaica from countries experiencing an outbreak in the mosquito bourne Zika virus, will be screened at the ports of entry.

The virus, which is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, is similar to dengue, with symptoms of fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis or pink eye, headache, weakness, rash, and swelling of the lower limbs.

Brazil is currently experiencing an outbreak of the Zika virus. It has not been detected in the Caribbean.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marion Bullock-Ducasse says there is no vaccine, nor specific treatment for persons with the Zika virus. She says the Health Ministry is employing measures to prevent the virus reaching Jamaica's shores.

Dr. Bullock-Ducasse is also urging Jamaicans to destroy mosquito breeding sites around the home and office. She says persons who contract the Zika virus, are treated based on the symptoms, as there is no vaccine.Symptoms usually appear following the incubation period of three to 12 days, and last four to seven days.





jamaican-passport.jpgOpposition spokesman on National Security Derrick Smith says the announced increases in fees for processing passport applications are "exorbitant and unconscionable", given the economic hardships Jamaicans are having to endure at this time.

"It cannot be that people are getting modest increases in their income, if any at all, but at the same time, are being called upon to pay considerably more for basic services," Smith said. "While the Passport Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA) may well have to increase its fees from time to time, right now, it is unconscionable to saddle the already overburdened population with increases that go up to a high of 44 per cent.

derrick-smith-passport-fees.jpg

"Most Jamaicans are struggling just to get by," he continued. "We are at our taxable limit and have virtually no capacity to absorb any increase in fees and taxes, let alone this massive 44 per cent increase."

The Opposition spokesman said the Government needs to "wheel and come again".

"It has to explain to the nation, the basis on which fees for processing passport applications are being increased by such exorbitant rates, while inflation is in low single digits and workers, particularly those in the public sector, are having to endure the strictures of wage restraint," Smith said. "The average Jamaican worker has had no meaningful or substantial increase in their income due to the economic hardships confronting the country.

"And in the case of public sector workers, the mere 5 per cent increase being offered by the Government, illustrates just how unconscionable this proposed 44 per cent increased is," he said.





michael-lorne.jpgThe local Rastafarian community was last Thursday left upset that prominent attorney-at-law Miguel Lorne refused to heed the group's advice and instead stood in defence of accused child molester Roy 'Ras Carver' Bent in the May Pen Resident Magistrate's court.

According to the group's spokesman, Lorne was advised prior to his defence of the accused that it wasn't in the best interest of the Rastafarian community, or the victim's family to give representation to the alleged child molester.

"Lorne was asked not to defend Ras Carver in this matter because he (Lorne) knows the victims quite well, and both girls look up to him as an elder of the Rastafarian faith, therefore, his representation of the accused is tantamount to a betrayal of the family's trust," Ras Ivi, the group's spokesman, lamented.

He said the attorney was also taken to task by the 13-year-old victim for his representation of her assailant after the attorney made an unsuccessful bail application on behalf of the accused.

"He was told by ( ), that as an elder of the Rasta community, she has lost her respect for him and the next time they meet, she will spit at his feet in disgust," Ras Ivi added.

In defence of his client, Lorne said it was a bit unfair to judge him.

"Some people have cast judgment upon him already and say that he is guilty, which is absolutely absurd. Each person is entitled to their representation; each person is entitled to their day in court and sufficient on to the day. From that point, to prejudge Ras Carver that way is not fair to him, and, secondly, he is entitled to representation," Lorne said.

Lorne pointed out that it is the police who had asked that Ras Carver get legal help. He stated that at this point, his main focus is to apply for bail on behalf of his client.

Lorne, a Rastafarian, is representing 61-year-old Rastafarian accused child molester Roy Ras Carver Bent, who was arrested last Tuesday for the alleged sexual molesting a nine-year-old and her 13-year-old sister.





A strong detachment of police is still in place at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, St. Ann following an operation to clear the property of all employees.

Action was taken to prevent further protest, after it was revealed that the contract for ICON Construction Group was terminated yesterday. Workers were reportedly escorted from the property yesterday afternoon and when they arrived this morning were denied access.Attempts to get a response from property managers and the police were unsuccessful.

There have been protests at the site over the past two months.

A fire in March destroyed millions of dollars worth of furniture at the hotel.





The Jamaica Medical Doctors Association is warning that although there is a lull in local cases of chikungunya, a second strain of the mosquito-borne virus poses a threat to the island.

"It can come to Jamaica, as (did) the first strain that we got, and wreak havoc, so we should always be vigilant and we have to continue our vector control programmes and we have to take personal responsibility to get rid of mosquito breeding sites," Dr. Dawes told RJR News.

He stressed that this second strain of the virus "can cause just as much damage" as the one that infected a significant portion of the Jamaican population in 2014.





mosquito-borne-zika-virus.jpgJamaicans are being urged to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus to the island, in the wake of an outbreak in Brazil.

The Zika virus, carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is similar to dengue, with symptoms such as fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash as well as swelling of the lower limbs. After the bite of an infected mosquito, symptoms usually appear following the incubation period of three to 12 days. The symptoms last for four to seven days

Following a warning by the Pan American Health Organization regarding the potential for the virus to spread to other countries, Dr. Kevin Harvey, Permanent Secretary in Jamaica's Ministry of Health, is urging householders to rid their surroundings of mosquito breeding sites.

"The Ministry of is taking this threat very seriously," he told RJR News.

There is no specific vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus.

Brazil's Ministry of Health has confirmed that 16 patients have been infected by the Zika virus. The number could rise as another 1,200 cases, mostly in Brazil's northeast, are being investigated.

The suspicion is that the virus arrived in Brazil with tourists.

Brazil's Health Minister, Arthur Chioro, says the country is also facing a dengue fever epidemic. There have also been 6,200 cases of chikungunya.





child-development-agency-names-hotspots.jpgTHE parish of Westmoreland in western Jamaica has the highest number of child abuse cases in the island, with 500 active cases up to yesterday.

The Child Development Agency's (CDA's) Rosalee Gage-Grey made the disclosure yesterday at the end of a march to lobby for greater protection of the nation's children from abuse.

"Reports that we get we see what we call 'hot spots' such as Westmoreland. The whole belt from just near Savana-La- Mar, Negril, going back to Green Island, Hanover is a hot spot. We see right now in Westmoreland alone 500 active cases of reports that are being investigated.

Other hot spots to which Gage Grey pointed were St Ann; May Pen and hilly areas of Clarendon; Kingston and St Andrew; and St Thomas.

In the case of the latter, Gage-Grey said the incidence was under reported, as the number of reports do not match the cases on the ground.

"The cases that are reported to us are growing daily. We get about 200 cases per week. This is stretching us, but we are not broken because we are committed to the task of finding every one of those children and more importantly, we are committed to finding all those men and women who continue to abuse our children," she said.

The march, which began and ended at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston was organised by Dr Michael Abrahams, founder of Protect Our Children. He told the Jamaica Observer that yesterday's event was part of a movement to create public awareness about the gravity of issues involving children, and to raise money for the effort.

" When I was going to do the march people asked a very pertinent question, 'What use is a march any way?' It has a lot of usage; there was a march on Friday and a good friend of mine was speaking into the PA system he kept on saying 'report child abuse'. An about a hour later there was a man out there saying that he knows a 13-year-old who is being abused. What do I do about it? I didn't know until this week that the number is 188- protect," he related.

Scores of Jamaicans from several organisations participated in the march, bearing placards and demanding an end to the abuse of the nation's children.

Cases of child abuse, particulalrly murder and sexual abuse, appear to be been on the increase recently. So much so that it dominated Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's address for Child Month which was broadcast last night.

"(Children) embody the present and represent the future. For me, children are the precious jewels of the nation; a valuable resource that must be cherished and protected. Children must be loved, cared for and nurtured," Simpson Miller said.

"Yet, it is with a deep sense of concern and sadness that I take note of the recent cases of abuse and crimes against our children. These horrendous acts against our children, including murder, are unacceptable.The brutal killing of our children is a vile and dreadful occurrence that is alien to our culture."

The prime minister said she was also concerned about instances of parental neglect as children who are neglected are exposed to violence, sexual abuse and murder.

"The abuse of our children must never be condoned by anyone, under any circumstances," she said. "Too many of our children are being subjected to heartrending violence and physical, sexual and emotional abuse, many times carried out by family members and other persons they trust. This must be dealt with immediately and firmly."

Simpson Miller said government was taking "tough action" to that end.

"Cabinet has approved a submission from the minister of justice to, among other things, prescribe harsher penalties for persons who murder, rape or commit other serious violent offences against children. They will meet the full force of the law," she warned.

Simpson Miller said too, that work is underway for legislation to be passed to create a new offence of parental neglect.





Chinese medical mission at KPH May 18 - 28

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kph-hospital.jpgA Chinese medical mission is expected to be in Jamaica from May 18 - 28.

Called the Bright Journey Chinese Medical Mission, the team will provide free cataract surgical operations and clinical activities.

According to an advisory from the Ministry of Health, the Chinese team will also be donating medical equipment and supplies to the Ophthalmology Department of the Kingston Public Hospital valued at over US$390,000 tomorrow.

Acting through the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese ophthalmology medical team, which comprises of six medical doctors and nurses, will also carry out academic exchanges with Jamaican health care personnel.

While in Jamaica, the medical team will be based at the Kingston Public Hospital and expects to perform 200 surgeries.

Selection of patients for surgery is being done by members of the Ministry of Health and the Chinese teams using screening criteria for patients previously reviewed in the health system islandwide.

Horace Dalley, minister with responsibility for the public sector in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, is expected to bring remarks on behalf of the Minister of Health tomorrow.





american-found-floating.jpgHarold Fox, a 37-year-old American man, is suspected to have drowned at the Bamboo Beach in St Mary, on Sunday.

Police reports are that Fox's body was seen afloat about 1:00 pm. The police were alerted and on their arrival his body was removed from the water.

Investigations are ongoing.





A 41-year-old Chinese man was shot dead by unknown assailants Sunday in Spring Gardens, St James.

The police's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) reports that Yu Gyowei, otherwise called Simon, of Main Street, Hanover, was at a beach with another man about 12:00 pm when they were attacked by an armed man.

The gunman allegedly proceeded to rob the two before shooting them. Gyowei was pronounced dead at hospital while the other man was admitted. His condition at this time is not known.

Subsequent reports are that the alleged gunman was injured during the incident and was later accosted when he turned up for treatment at hospital.





SOUTH BEND, Indiana (AP) - A northern Indiana judge rejected an argument by a man who asked that his marijuana possession charge be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor because he follows the Rastafarian faith.

Jerome Scott that he was being charitable to others by cultivating marijuana to ease ailments from chronic back pain to cancer, the South Bend Tribune reports. St Joseph Superior Court Judge Jane Woodward Miller said he still broke the law.

"I understand there are many people who agree with you that marijuana should be legal, but you're in the wrong state for that," she said. "What you knowingly and deliberately did in Indiana is break the law by not only cultivating it, but also distributing it."

Followers of the Rastafari faith, developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, believe cannabis is a holy herb, and smoking marijuana is considered a sacrament that brings peace, wisdom and a spiritual connection to nature. Scott and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Melanie Schmidt, see the state's marijuana laws as unjust.

Scott said was not a drug dealer, but that he distributed the cannabis strictly for medical and religious purposes.

"Cultivating my own cannabis is my way of not contributing to the black market and drug dealing tactics," he said.

In March, Scott pleaded guilty to a felony count of possession of marijuana. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a felony charge of maintaining a common nuisance. Schmidt pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana charge.

Woodward Miller ordered Scott to serve 18 months on probation and sentenced Schmidt to 12 months on probation.

Scott, who has a license in Michigan to grow marijuana for other approved patients as a "caregiver," said his felony conviction will ruin his chances of having his license renewed. If he loses the license, Scott said, he will also lose the right to practice the cultivation of cannabis, which he views as a calling and key aspect of his faith.

"All of his hard work, all of his studying, his whole life, they're telling him he can't do that," Schmidt said.





number-portability-media-brief.jpgCorporate Communications Manager at FLOW, Naomi Francis (second right), pledges her company's support for the rollout of Number Portability, which becomes effective on May 31. Occasion was a Media and stakeholder Number Portability Workshop, held on May 13 at the Courtleigh Hotel, in New Kingston. Others (from left) are: Director of Customer Solutions at Digicel, Patrick King; Head of Marketing and Communications at Island Net, Timothy Bingham, and Head of Corporate Communications at LIME, Elon Parkinson. (PHOTO: JIS)

Jamaica's telecoms providers have pledged their full support for Government's roll-out of number portability on May 31. They expressed this support at a special media and stakeholder number portability workshop, held last Wednesday at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, according to government news agency JIS.

Number portability means that consumers who use wireless and fixed line telephones will be able to transfer their telephone numbers from one provider to another as of May 31.

Director of Customer Solutions at Digicel, Patrick King, said the company is ready for the May 31 roll-out and that members of staff have been trained to deal with any challenge that may arise.

According to Corporate Communications Manager at FLOW, Naomi Francis, as a fixed line service provider, Flow would continue to provide improved service to its customers when number portability is rolled out.

LIME is currently carrying out testing to meet the May 31 roll-out, says the company's head of Corporate Communications, Elon Parkinson.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell, who delivered the keynote address at the workshop, said he is pleased with the collaboration of the stakeholders leading up to the May 31 timeline. He informed that a licence has been granted to Porting Access PV, to ensure that the new system works.





The directive issued by the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) to cable television operators to cease transmission of approximately 20 channels by the end of the month is set to be overruled and reversed by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

According to a report in the Sunday Gleaner, the OPM will be rewriting the script after major stakeholders in the local cable industry appealed to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and minister without portfolio Sandrea Falconer, who has day-to-day responsibility for information, operating out of the OPM.

Some major players in the local cable industry have charged that the BCJ jumped the gun in its directive that the cable channels should be pulled, and it appears legal advice given to Falconer supports this view.

"The legal advice I have received suggests that the actions were taken outside of the legislative provisions. I have shared this with the Broadcasting Commission," Falconer said in response to the concerns raised by the Jamaica Association of Community Cable Operators in a slew of letters to her.

Sunday Gleaner sources further say that the OPM is concerned that it was not properly briefed by the BCJ on the matter before it went public with its directive.

Falconer refused to comment extensively on this matter as she told our news team that discussions on the issue were continuing.

"The OPM has been in discussions with the Broadcasting Commission on the directive issued to cable operators on April 24. The discussions have not yet concluded, and when they have, I will comment further," said Falconer.

Well-placed sources reportedly told The Sunday Gleaner that the BCJ's plan to convene a press conference and issue the directive had not been communicated to Falconer.

Chairman of the BCJ, Professor Hopeton Dunn, said that dialogue was had with all the stakeholders.According to Dunn, the commission is now gathering feedback from stakeholders on issues regarding the implementation of its directive.

"We have made no decision to rescind the directive, but we are aware of concerns regarding the implementation based on all the issues involved, and the commission will discuss this going forward," said Dunn.

He refused to be drawn on the possible reaction of the BCJ if the OPM reverses its decision even as he reiterated that the commission was an independent regulator.

"I am not going to speculate on what is not before me, but the law allows the commission to regulate, and it does what it is authorised to do under the law," declared Dunn.

Any decision by the OPM to reverse the BCJ's decision will undoubtedly anger powerful interests in America, where the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has kept Jamaica on its watch list for 2015.





KPH worker among 2 shot downtown

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kph-hospital.jpgTwo people including an employee of the Kingston Public Hospital were shot outside the institution's entrance on Saturday.

One person sustained a bullet wound to the foot and the other in the hand.

The injured hospital employee is said to be a records officer. It's understood that the attack is linked to a

Another man, Rudolph Foster,42, was shot at the intersection of Orange and Charles Streets in downtown Kingston.

He later died in hospital.





Breakthrough in murder of 12-y-o girl

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The St Catherine North police have made a breakthrough in the murder of 12-year-old Jamelia Richards, almost a month after she was killed. The man has been identified as Kevin Anderson otherwise called 'Dave', a 28-year-old labourer of the Naseberry Grove area of Kitson Town, St Catherine.

According to Senior Super-intendent of police Marlon Nesbeth, Anderson needs to turn himself in to the police.

"He forms a crucial part of the police investigation. He is very important to solving the incident where a 12-year-old girl was found murdered in Williams Field district two weeks ago," SSP Nesbeth said.

The senior crime fighter said that the victim was not raped. He told The Star that the case is at a crucial stage and needs closure.

Meanwhile, Tstudents of the Harewood Primary School where Richards attended are still traumatised.

In April, residents of Williams Field, St Catherine found the decomposing body of Richards near a river in the community.





Ganja farming licence handed to UTech

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utech-building.jpgThe University of Technology (UTech) on Thursday received a licence officially authorizing the cultivation of ganja for scientific research.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell presented the licence to the institution at a special ceremony to mark a day of celebrations at UTech's Papine campus dubbed, "Medical Marijuana Integration Day."

Paulwell, prior to presenting the licence, told the capacity audience of academics, private and public sector partners and interest groups, students and members of the Rastafarian and Maroon communities, that "Jamaica intends to regain its pride of place by becoming a Centre of Excellence for research and development in ganja."

The Minister pointed out that there is now convincing data and evidence which support beneficial effects of ganja in relation to glaucoma, epilepsy, eating disorders, pain and several other conditions affecting the nervous system. He noted that it is in this context that he has started to issue licences to enable Jamaica to move forward with research and development, even whilst the process for the amendment of the Dangerous (Amendment Act) to be passed into law takes place.

Acknowledging that Jamaica has had a history of "failing to properly exploit opportunities" in various industries, the Minister stressed the need for research to enable Jamaica to maximise the full economic value of a legal and regulated marijuana industry. He assured the gathering that everyone from the small farmer to the producer will have a role to play in taking advantage of the global market space.





Corrupt St Thomas cop to be sentenced

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A policeman was today convicted for breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act when he appeared in the Yallahs Resident Magistrate's Court.

Sergeant Glenford Campbell, who was assigned to the Cedar Valley Police Station in St Thomas, was convicted on one count of soliciting and two counts of accepting.

Reports are that on October 29, 2011, Campbell was on patrol duty in the Cedar Valley community when he cited a motorist for breaches of the Road Traffic Act.

He then corruptly solicited and accepted an undetermined sum of money in order not to prosecute the motorist.

A report was made to Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency and Campbell was arrested and charged on November 4, 2011 with four counts of breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.

He's to be sentenced on June 17.





court.jpgThe two suspects who were arrested and charged in connection with last month's quadruple murder in the Monymusk Housing Scheme in Clarendon are to face the court next week.

In custody are, 27-year-old Jermaine Turner and his sister, 21-year-old Sabrina Corrier both of Canaan Heights, May Pen, Clarendon.

Turner was charged with four counts of murder, robbery with aggravation and possession of illegal firearm and ammunition, while Corrier was charged with receiving stolen property.

They are to appear before the May Pen Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Last month, 14-year-old Ricardo Briscoe, 14-year-old Raymond Givans, 15-year-old Alex Turner, and 35-year-old Marquis Hamilton, all of Clarendon addresses, were murdered execution-style.

According to reports from the Corporate Communications Unit then, the three boys were walking along the roadway about 9:00 pm when two armed men, who forced them onto Hamilton's premises, pounced them upon. The men then allegedly demanded money and phones from them, however, their demands were not met.

The four were subsequently shot.





Jamaica to receive additional area code

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jamaica-area-code.jpgWithin the next seven months Jamaica will have a new area code to add to the current 876 code.

The announcement was made yesterday by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

The agency is finalising the number to be used for the code with the North American numbering plan administrators.

Reports are that service providers are assigned numbers in batches of 10 thousand and are now running out of these issued numbers.

This has triggered the need to create the new area code to give the service providers additional numbers.





With Clarendon still reeling from the brutal execution style murder of three teenagers last month, the parish was given another shocker when three teenage boys were caught red-handed having a threesome.

The three, two from a prominent high school in May Pen and the other a recent graduate, were literally caught with their pants down on the grounds of the Denbigh showground in May Pen, THE WEEKEND STAR understands. It is understood that the three displayed their sexual dexterity before a mob held and gave them a proper beating.

However, amid the melee, all three boys escaped, minus their clothes, after running away and jumping the wall of a nearby school.A source at the May Pen police confirmed hearing about the incident, but said no official report has been made.

"Me say, suppose you see the three nasty boy dem how dem look good. Suppose you see the size dem weh them have?

"Dem should a still a get the beating," a female exclaimed with disgust in reaction to the incident. Them say dem man deh fast, but a me fi tell you, dem yah boy faster than Bolt."

According to information reaching The Weekend Star, the man who made the discovery was walking through the Jamaica Agricultural Society-owned property, when he heard suspicious sounds coming from an isolated area of the expansive showground. Inquisitively, he went to investigate and got the shock of his life.

An alarm was raised and a mob quickly converged on the showground and went in pursuit of the three teenage boys.

After accosting the boys, the mob began pelting them with all forms of improvised weapons, before the boys managed to escape.





Funeral service for Toya May 24

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toya-photo-1.jpgThe funeral for dancehall artiste Toya, the wife of CEO of Down Sound Records Josef Bogdanovich is set to take place on Sunday, May 24.

Toya, who was ailing for some time, died from diabetic complications while in the United States, on Thursday May 7.

"I believe that the funeral is going to be huge, today I am talking to family members to make the final arrangements with the funeral home. There will be a procession in Washington Gardens where Toya lived, and the ni-night will be held there," Bogdanovich said.

According to reports, Bogdanovich said Toya's condition was kept private in an effort for their family to remain positive.

He added that efforts to get a kidney donor was successful, and she was to have the transplant operation in June.





buju-banton-photo-8.jpgWayne Golding, a Florida-based Jamaican attorney, believes Buju Banton's deal with the US Government could result in him being released before the scheduled 2019. This conclusion is based on his analysis of the factors involved in Buju's case.

News emerged yesterday that the legal team for Buju Banton (Mark Myrie) agreed to stop filing appeals in the matter, in exchange for the US government stopping its pursuit of a pending gun charge, which could have added five more years to his sentence. Buju was convicted in February 2011.

Mr Golding, speaking on RJR's Beyond the Headlines, said that because of the new agreement, the door has been opened for the possibility of a reduced sentence. He also outlined the other factors to consider, including credit for time spent.

Meanwhile, Mr Golding has praised Buju's decision to come to an agreement with the US government. He argues that, based on analysis of the costs and time involved, everyone should benefit. He explained that while Buju could have won the appeal the government could have also refiled the charged so in the end it was an excellent move.





Lawyer Don Foote arrested

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don-foote.jpgAttorney-at-law Don Foote was this morning arrested and charged with fraud.

He was offered station bail in the sum of J$1 million.

Court date has been set for May 26.





Detectives attached to the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch (C-TOC) have charged two men after they were allegedly found in possession of batteries belonging to telecommunications operators.

The batteries were stolen from cell sites in St. Ann, Westmoreland, St. James and Trelawny, and were valued at $9 million. It's reported that on April 29 C-TOC conducted an operation in Farm Town, St. Ann, which resulted in the recovery of 38 radio base station batteries. This led to the arrest of 37 year old scrap metal dealer Cassius Campbell, of Farm.

Last Saturday, another operation was carried out in Darliston, Westmoreland and 43 batteries were reportedly recovered. Hensley Johnson, a 52 year old businessman, was arrested.

Mr. Campbell and Mr. Johnson were charged with receiving stolen property.





Several activities planned for Child Month

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Several activities have been planned to celebrate Jamaica's children during Child Month in May.

The month was officially launched on April 15, at GraceKennedy's downtown Kingston offices, under the theme: 'Children Safety and Security -Our Priority'.

The occasion was also used as a soft launch for Dr. Jimmy Cliff's latest single titled 'Children,' which will be used as the theme song for Child Month.

The National Child Month Committee (NCMC) kicked off the scheduled activities with a Church Service on Sunday, May 3, at Webster's Memorial Church, 53 Half-Way-Tree Road in Kingston,

National Children's Day will be observed this Friday, May 15. On this day parents, teachers, guardians and caregivers, are encouraged to celebrate their children by doing something special for them.

On Friday, June 26, the Youth Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards ceremony will be held to recognise students, who attend non-traditional high schools and have overcome great odds to achieve outstanding results at the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) level. For the first time, a National Day of Prayer and Fasting will be observed on Wednesday, May 27 at the Faith Chapel Apostolic Ministries, 1 Renfield Avenue, Kingston 20.

"This is a time when we unite to request God's intervention in our affairs as individuals, as families and as a nation," said Chair of the NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings.

The month's activities will culminate with Action Day on Friday, May 29, where children are encouraged to give back to their communities.

"The day creates an opportunity for schools, clubs, church groups and the individual child to do something for their community, thus promoting good values and community spirit," Dr. Mullings said.

Organised by the NCMC, Child Month activities are sponsored by GraceKennedy, which has been associated with the Committee for over 30 years.

Other supporters include National Continental Corporation and the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

Child Month was first celebrated in May, 1953, under the patronage of Lady Foote, wife of the then Governor.

Some of the major objectives of the NCMC are: to heighten public awareness of the many issues and challenges negatively affecting the development of children and of steps that can be taken to address some of the issues and effectively meet the challenges; and to mobilise resources and facilitate action to support children-focused programmes.





A 61-year-old dreadlocked man was yesterday arrested and charged after allegations surfaced that he sexually molested two minors who are sisters in Clarendon.

According to a police source, the suspect has been slapped with two counts of sexual molestation of a nine-year-old girl and her 13-year-old sister. The suspect is booked to appear in the May Pen Resident Magistrate's Court today.

It is alleged that the suspect over time won the trust of the girls' family and began frequenting their home. It is reported that he sexually molested the girls after gaining the family's trust.

"Obviously, he got access to the girls because, overtime, he became a trusted person by the family. But he seems to have betrayed the family's trust with the alleged sexual molestation of the two sisters," an officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Statistics from the Office of the Children's Registry show in 2007 there were 121 reported cases of child sexual abuse, which by 2014 stood at some 3,386 new cases. Of the figures released, 59 per cent are girls, while the remaining 41 per cent are boys, the report shows.





PICA offers 3-day service at Mo Bay convention

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pica-pasport.jpgThe Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) will be offering a three-day passport service at the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference from June 13 to 18, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.

"Because it is a short week ... if someone comes on Monday they can get back their passport on Wednesday; though our standard service is for seven days," director of customer service at PICA, Lesline Chisholm, told JIS News in an interview.

PICA will also have an immigration officer on location to facilitate processing of immigration documents, offer information and citizenship services to patrons.

"We are having a full-house service and we are looking forward to having members of our diaspora there, and we are really excited about it," she said.

The services will be offered as part of the Government at Your Service 'One Stop Shop' feature of the conference. This feature is a collaboration of public-sector agencies offering attendees fast-tracked government services.

The forum is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in collaboration with the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Members, key community persons and diaspora community groups, under the theme 'Jamaica and the diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity'.

This year, the conference promises to be bigger and better, with the organisers anticipating a robust turnout of diaspora members.





A man who attempted to extort a complainant for the return of a dog was remanded yesterday in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court. He is to face sentencing on Friday.

Charged with extortion is Luke Green. He pleaded guilty to the offence. The accused was held on a warrant after failing to return to court last year.

The court heard that Green requested a Samsung Galaxy S4 in order for the safe return of a dog. Green will be sentenced on May 15.

A fingerprint order was also made against the accused.





barack-obama-bob-marley-centre.jpgActivities related to United States president Barack Obama's visit to Jamaica in April cost Jamaica at least $270 million, preliminary estimates have revealed.

Minister with responsibility for information, Sandrea Falconer, made the announcement on Wednesday at the post-Cabinet press briefing.

She said nearly $208 million was spent on road rehabilitation, and more than $66.5 million on events associated with the visit.

Government conducted feverish road repairs and beautification activities in preparation for Obama's visit, which locked down Kingston and St Andrew for almost one day.





Jamaican top gangsta held in the US

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dudus.jpgA man described as one of Jamaica's top tier gangsters, was held in the US recently, police have confirmed.

Michael Headley, otherwise called 'Dudus', of Salt Pond Road, Spanish Town, St Catherine, was reportedly held with two other persons, Mead Myrie and Kevon Maitland. All three are wanted for various crimes including murder, police said.

The police said Headley was captured through the collaborative efforts of the The National Strategic Anti-Gang Unit (NSAGU) and its international law enforcement partners.

Headley, police said, is a known member of the Klansman Gang - which operates in Spanish Town, St Catherine and its environs. He was fingered in the 2013 gun murder of Ballington Morris.

The three are to be deported to Jamaica, after which local detectives will pursue several matters against them, particularly under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act.

Since the passing of the legislation a little over a year ago, more than 130 persons have been charged.





vybz-kartel-prison.jpgAccording to Music News, they have been reliably informed that Kartel is currently in the process of retaining a legal team to apply for an appeal.

A source close to the entertainer tells Music News that Vybz Kartel is anxious and concerned about the information which surfaced during the trial involving juror misconduct.

Accused juror Livingston Cain is currently on trial for allegedly trying to bribe the forewoman and other members of the jury. During his ongoing trial, it was understood that two members of the jury worked for the Jamaica Defense Force while another two are believed to be neighbors.

One attorney who is already on the deejay's legal team reveals to Music News that the transcript of Vybz Kartel's trial is practically ready, hinting that they will make an appeal before the year ends.

Conspiracy by the state against the dancehall deejay is part of the defense's argument going forward.

But with the case so heavily publicized, what is the likelihood of Vybz Kartel getting a fair trial in Jamaica?

Kartel is currently serving a life sentence at hard labour after being convicted for murder last year April.





High level resignation at NCB

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national-commercial-bank.jpgA senior manager at National Commercial Bank (NCB) has resigned with immediate effect. Senior Assistant General Manager, Group Facilities & Services, Major Ffrench Campbell, tendered his resignation on Friday.

Major Campbell resigned after an investigation by the bank revealed a connection to an individual of a company involved in the construction of NCB's financial centre on Constant Spring Road. That project, which was launched in October 2013, has missed its completion deadline and has faced cost overruns.

It's understood that Campbell failed to declare what has been described as "connected party status". There are also reports that the bank is investigating allegations that several other contracts were awarded to the Kingston based construction company.

When contacted Senior General Manager Group Human Resources, Rickert Allen, confirmed the resignation. Allen however declined to divulge the reason behind Major Campbell's departure.





Freak storm raises the roof in St. Elizabeth

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A freak storm left a trail of destruction across several communities in sections of St Elizabeth, including Carisbrooks, Providence and adjoining areas.

Residents have been trying to clear fallen trees and other debris. A house in Carisbrooks lost its roof while several other buildings lost sheets of zinc. In Providence several buildings suffered roof damage while ashop lost its roof.

Agriculture produce including bananas, yams and other fruit trees in both communities were also damaged.

Residents in the affected communities are calling for the authorities to carry out a speedy assessment of the damage caused by the freak-storm.





janiel-morgan-missing.jpgEighteen-year-old Janiel Morgan, the cousin of Jamaican 400-metre runner Ricardo Chambers who was reported missing, was found in St Mary on Sunday and has been safely returned home.

Chambers made the announcement via social media on Sunday evening.

"Thanks to everyone who share and help spread the Amber alert out for my little cousin The st Mary Police find her in St Mary she now safe and on her way home," Chambers said in a post on Instagram.

Morgan went missing in Kingston on Friday, after she left her home for school.

Chambers received a lot of support in spreading the message from several fellow athletes such as Warren Weir and Michael Frater.

Weir expressed his happiness at the news on Instagram.

"Give thanks @chamberschamp cousin is home safe Blessed be the most High," Weir said.

ricardo-chambers-instagram.jpg





peter-bunting-photo-1.jpgNational Security Minister, Peter Bunting, says amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, resulting in decriminalization of specified quantities of ganja, are "most fundamental and far-reaching."

He underscored this point while addressing a community meeting in Orange Hill, Western Westmoreland recently, to discuss the provisions of the new ganja legislation.

Bunting noted that for "decades", the possession of small quantities of ganja has caused "friction" between the police and residents.

"Communities saw young men who they did not regard as criminals being arrested, fined, and, sometimes, sentenced for possession of ganja. It gave them criminal records ... eventually limiting their life chances," he noted.

The Minister said, against this background, the current administration took the decision to de-criminalize possession of small quantities of ganja, while initiating a licensing regime for medical and medicinal research.

"Since about September last year, when those new guidelines (were initiated), we have had over 1,000 fewer persons arrested and charged for ganja every single month since (then). Since the beginning of this year, to date, relative to last year, we have had about 5,000 fewer persons charged, which makes an enormous difference ... as I believe that the police must use their (resources and energy) going after the real problems in crime, such as...violence... which should remain their primary priority," he argued.





carmax.jpgInvestigators say the fraud at CARMAX Jamaica has increased to more than J$230 million with customers still filing complaints with the police.

The cops have collected more than 140 statements from persons who reported that they gave CARMAX vehicles to sell, but have not received the proceeds.

CARMAX CEO, Darren Blake, has been charged with more than 80 counts of fraud.Investigators say they still want to question former CARMAX Director Ian Lyn, in the case. Head of the Fraud Squad, Superintendent Anthony McLaughlin, has again appealed to Lyn to report to the Division. Lyn is in the US and the local police have declared they will be applying to the authorities for his extradition.

ian-lyn.jpg





east-ruralst-andrew-fire.jpgA grim picture has emerged of wide scale destruction to the agricultural sector in communities in east rural St. Andrew following nine days of bush fires. The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) estimates losses to farmers at close to half a billion dollars. It will be writing to the Agriculture Ministry seeking emergency assistance to farmers.

JAS President,Senator Norman Grant, says large acres of coffee, banana, pineapple and vegetables went up in flames.

"It stretches across many many communities, Mavis Bank, Content, Lime Tree, Tower Hill, ... there was another fire down in Craighill and Robertsfield, just to name some of the communities."

He says the destruction follows last year's setback to the agricultural sector due to bush fires and the protracted dry spell. Grant added that it will be sometime for the coffee industry in east rural St. Andrew recovers from the massive fires.

"When the coffee trees have been devastated now, you're going to be loosing at least two to two and a half crops of production .....a coffee tree takes three years to come into production."

An urgent appeal is being made by residents for the trucking of water to communities affected by the fire. The residents say while electricity has been restored the taps remain dry.

According to Patrick Haughton a coffee farmer in Flamstead, the situation is dire as fire destroyed several containers used by residents to store domestic water.





riverton-fire-photo-1.jpgSpontaneous combustion has been cited as the cause of Saturday afternoon's small fire, which broke out at the Riverton City Dump.

According to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) it was extinguished in two hours and did not affect operations at the disposal site.

"It's really the heat .... It's similar to what's happening in Mavis Bank. It was small fire ..." said NSWMA chairman, Dennis Chung.

The agency says emergency measures have been implemented to deal with fires at the dump and these were partially tested during Saturday's fire.

Meanwhile, the Board of the NSWMA has established a sub-committee to assess the operational risks facing the dump.It will also review critical areas of operations.

"It is going to make recommendations - as to what are some of the things to be put in place in case of outbreaks of fires, garbage not being collected, things like that. It is also going to do an assessment as to what the resources are and if any efficiencies can be brought to the operations

He said the comprehensive review should be completed in three weeks and the public will be updated.





Cops seeking 4 person in major bank racket

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The Fraud Squad has named four persons of interest in connection with a major racket targeting some of the island's commercial banks. They are Damion Burton and Rohan Reid, both of Kingston 17 addresses; Andre Wallace of Four Path, Clarendon and Floyd Walters of a Kingston 13 address. They are being asked to report to the police by 9AM on Monday

A bank employee, said to be at the centre of the fraud, was charged on Friday.

Marlon Taylor, 32, a business development officer was charged with several counts of fraud totalling J$10-million. Investigators say the figure is expected to increase.

It's alleged that Taylor conspired with other persons to submit fictitious applications to several banks, seeking loans on behalf of persons purporting to be members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The financial institutions became suspicious and contacted the police.

It was discovered that the applicants were imposters.





Deaf Dance Festival May 13 at Little Theatre

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The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), an agency of the Ministry of Youth & Culture continues to fulfill its mandate of unearthing, developing and showcasing the creative talent and expression of our people through the National Festival of the Performing Arts that is currently on at the Little Theatre.The National Final in the Performing Arts continues this Wednesday May 13 with the exciting Deaf Dance Competition, featuring various styles including Creative Folk, Modern Contemporary, Praise, Popular, Jazz and Dance Drama with dancers range from Juniors to Adults. The Deaf Dance Festival commences at 4 p.m.with tickets being sold at a cost of Adults $400, Children $200 and Students with ID $200.His Excellency David Fitton, the British High Commissioner will serve as patron of the Festival and will bring greetings before the performers wow the audience.Director of Marketing & Public Relations at the JCDC, Stephen Davidson, notes that "It is amazing each year to see how these performers move to the various rhythms. I am confident that those in attendance will be wowed and fully entertained at the Deaf Dance Festival." He also praised the teachers and coaches for the hard work that they put in each year in preparing the performers for this level of competition. The National Deaf Dance Competition was developed and implemented in 2006 for the hearing impaired. This annually staged programme seeks to sensitize the hearing impaired to dance forms, subsequently building ease and confidence in expressing themselves. The Competition encourages through movement, the development of a sense of rhythm, creative expression,communication of feelings, and building self-confidence. Residential workshops organized by the Commission for teachers of various hearing impaired institutions provide the necessary support mechanism for preparing their students for the Competition.

This event is sponsored by CHASE Fund, Digital Video Concept and Jamaica Association for the Deaf.





Konshens teams with LIME for school tour

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konshens-photo-5.jpgDancehall star Konshens has teamed up with Lime Jamaica to fulfill one of his many charity initiatives, 'Music to Fund a Cause'. Konshens is set to perform at five high schools throughout Jamaica in order to raise funds towards each school's specific initiative. Always ready to perform for a good cause, education is one thing Konshens holds dear to his heart.

"Education is something I take seriously but most importantly, I strongly believe every child must have access to the proper tools and health to attain a good education" says Konshens.

The first concert kicked off on May 6 at Konshens alma mater, Excelsior High school. The charitable initiative for Excelsior is to raise funds for the students Health & Hygiene Program at Excelsior. The program aims to upgrade the facilities at their high school and teach the students healthy lifestyle habits. Each high school will have their own initiative, which Konshens will assist in raising funds through his performances.

Konshens is pleased to know he can continue to give back to the youths, many of who support his music today. The students will be entertained by Konshens backed by his band, Road Life, members of his SubKonshus label (Delus, Darrio, Javada) and surprise guests. Returning from New York recently, where he kicked off his 'College Pop Up' campaign, Konshens spoke to the various college students, signed autographs and visited the various departments of each school. Currently in Barbados, Konshens is set to perform with rappers Young Thug and Birdman this weekend.





Toya suffered cardiac arrest in NY hospital

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toya-photo-2.jpgSources close to the family of recording artiste Latoya Alicia Jackson, more popularly known as Toya, the wife of Downsound Records CEO Joe Bogdanovich, has confirmed that she died of cardiac arrest.

Toya, who had been ill for over a year, had travelled to New York in mid April. According to the source, news of her death was unexpected, as she was doing fine on Wednesday.

Known for songs such as Boss Lady, True Blessings and Hot Like Fire, Toya made her debut on the music scene in 2008.

A past student of Edith Dalton James High, Toya later went on to pursue a culinary course at the HEART Trust/NTA. She is survived by one son.





Lady Saw raps, sings and deejays on new track

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lady-saw-photos-3.jpgPushing the envelope yet again, Lady Saw has through show her versatility on her brand-new track, 'Tonight'.

Her hard-core dancehall lyrics and style is what she has come to be known for, but she has successfully crossed over into rap on this track, riding the rhythm like the professional artiste she is.

With everyone in the dancehall fraternity jostling for a standout position, Lady Saw's smooth and seemingly effortless approach demonstrates why she stands tall above the rest and dominates the Jamaican scene.

The queen has teamed up with Mr Magik from Black Magik Entertainment for Tonight, an adoption of Betty Wright's Tonight is the Night. On the track, she not only sings and deejays but also raps - a combination which is unique to this landscape. There seems to be no limit to the talents Lady Saw possesses.

In the single, the sultry artiste expresses her feelings about that special man in her life and how he will make her feel "Tonight is the night that you make me your woman, you said you would be gentle with me and I hope you will."

Mr Magik said he and the queen of the dancehall were striving for perfection on the track, which was released last Thursday.

"I found working with Lady Saw very challenging. however, that is because we both strive for perfection in our different ways. Tonight is the perfect result of two perfectionists striving for perfection," said producer Mr Magik.

The song has been tearing up the airwaves since it premiered on radio stations locally, Newstalk 93FM, Zip 103FM andalso on international airwaves, Flexx FM in South Florida, Waggie T and Y-103FM in Uganda .

A video is to be recorded and released in short order for the track which, it is hoped, will follow in Saw's Heels On success.





bobbi-kristina-brown-photo-4.jpgBobby Brown and Pat Houston have been appointed co-guardians of Bobbi Kristina Brown, a statement from their attorneys confirmed to Us Weekly on Thursday, May 7. The decision comes after the late Whitney Houston's ex-husband and sister-in-law spent the day in court.

"We are delighted to inform the public that the court has appointed Bobby Brown and Pat Houston as co-guardians of Bobbi Kristina Brown ('Krissi'). Both Mr. Brown and Ms. Houston are jointly responsible for decisions related to Krissi's care and medical needs," reads a statement issued by David Long-Daniels, Counsel for Pat Houston and Cissy Houston, and Christopher Brown, Counsel for Bobby Brown.

According to the statement, the court has also appointed attorney Bedelia Hargrove as the conservator for Krissi. "Ms. Hargrove is responsible for Krissi's assets, including her likeness, rights and legal claims," the statement explains. According to Hargrove's law firm's site, she "specializes in fiduciary litigation, probate and estate administration, estate planning, personal injury and wrongful death cases, as well as general civil litigation."

"Both parties are delighted with the court's decision and are working harmoniously to ensure Krissi receives the best possible medical care. We are appreciative of the manner in which Judge Jeryl Debra Rosh handled this matter," the statement concluded.

Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized on Jan. 31 after being found facedown and unresponsive in a bathtub. After months in which she was hospitalized in an induced coma and on life support, Whitney Houston's only daughter was moved to a rehab center this past March, but according to Cissy Houston, she remains unresponsive.





nick-cannon-and-kreesha-reach-falls.jpgAmerican television personality Nick Cannon and his music protégé Kreesha Turner were at Reich Falls in the beautiful parish of Portland on Thursday. They were shooting a scene from Cannon's new Jamaica-based film project, King of The Dancehall.

Cannon on Instagram shared a photo of himself with Turner at the venue, with the caption: "Jamaica that's a wrap!!! Finished at the beautiful @ReachFalls #ReachFalls Dope scene with the talented @kreeshaturner #SexyGal she killed it in #Kingofthedancehall."

Cannon has frequented the island doing castings as well as undergoing dance training for the upcoming movie. Several artistes which span dancehall, rap and R and B, will be making cameo appearances.





My Money Ha Ha singjay killed

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merital-family.jpgThe St James police say there are no motives yet surrounding the death of former Portmore Empire affiliate, Derrick 'Corey' Edwards, a leading member of the Merital Family, based in Montego Bay.

Reports are that at about 12:30am Friday in Iron Shore in the parish, unknown assailants pounced on Edwards, who, reports suggest, was walking to his car, and opened fire. He was shot at least three times in the head and died on the spot.

Edwards, 32, is from Providence in Flankers. The Coral Gardens police are investigating.

The former Portmore Empire member and his Merital Family team rose to prominence with their chart-topping single, My Money, Haha featuring Vybz Kartel.

Several former affiliates of the Vyz Kartel- led Portmore Empire have publicly condemned the killing, namely Jah Vinchi, Lisa Hyper and Gaza Slim.





Teacher commits suicide

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teacher-commits-suicide-diane-vassell.jpgA female teacher is believed to have committed suicide at her home in Malvern St. Elizabeth this morning (May 9).

Dead is 38-year-old Diane Vassell.

Vassell was a Mathematics and Social Studies teacher at the St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS).

Reports are that about 7:15 a.m., Mrs. Vassell's husband discovered her body hanging by a piece of rope, in the bathroom. Mrs. Vassell was reportedly undergoing treatment for depression following major surgery.

An alarm was raised and the police summoned.





Schoolgirls jump from moving robot taxi

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Three schoolgirls from a Corporate Area High School reportedly jumped from a moving motor car, while the driver was attempting elude the police in Downtown Kingston on Thursday.This as the driver was allegedly operating the vehicle as an illegal taxi or robot.

However, the driver was apprehend and the school girls, though not seriously injured, received medical attention.The driver, Fredrick Cameron, 48-year-old taxi operator of Kingston 16 was arrested and charged with several breaches of the road traffic act. The motor vehicle was also seized

Reports are that on Thursday afternoon the three school girls were passengers in a Honda fit motorcar being operated by Cameron as an illegal taxi in Downtown Kingston.

On the approach of the police, Cameron reportedly sped away, using roads unfamiliar to the teenagers as an escape route. In a bid to escape, all three teenagers reportedly jumped from the moving motorcar. They were taken to the hospital by the police, where they were treated and released.

Meanwhile, the police are once again appealing to members of the public to utilize the service of legitimate public passenger vehicles only. Additionally, commuters are being reminded that route taxis are illegal in the Kingston Metropolitan Area, as the routes are reserved for JUTC buses.





Rastafari exhibition opens in Mo Bay

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rastafari-singers.jpgResidents in western Jamaica have been given the opportunity to be better informed about the history and nature of the Rastafari movement, through a historical exhibition mounted at National Museum West, located in the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.

In keeping with its efforts to foster the development of various aspects of the country's tourism product, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) played a pivotal role in enabling the Rastafari exhibition to be mounted at the Cultural Centre, where it will be displayed for a year.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition recently, Executive Director of the TEF, Clyde Harrison, described the mounting of the exhibition and the presence of members of the Rastafari community as "a journey with some distance still left to go," but which stand out as a testament to the spirit of the Jamaican people.

Mr. Harrison cited the strength of the Rastafari culture, "their insistence on being themselves and being accepted for who they are and what they are about."





A man accused of robbing a police officer who was in the process of receiving a facial at a beauty shop off Nugent Street in Spanish Town appeared in the Spanish Town RM Court earlier this week.

The accused, Fabian Edwards, appeared before Resident Magistrate Horace Mitchell on one count of shooting with intent and robbery with aggravation. He pleaded guilty.

His case was transferred to the Gun Court on May 8, 2015.





janiel-morgan-missing.jpgThe cousin of Jamaican 400-metre runner Ricardo Chambers has gone missing.

Eighteen-year-old Janiel Morgan has been missing since Friday. Chambers took to social media website Instagram this morning to plead for the public's help in finding his cousin.

"Help me find my little cousin Janelle Morgan she missing since Friday. she left for school and went missing last seen @ Weymouth Dr Kingston 20 if any see her or know of her please contact (876)430-1537 (876)807-4108 or nearest police station ....$100,000 reward," Chambers said.

Chambers has received a lot of support in spreading the message on social media, including from several fellow athletes such as Warren Weir and Michael Frater.

Weir, in sharing Chambers' post, encouraged persons to "Repost, Share (and) Tag", noting that "it could help save a life."





Abducted six-year-old girl found

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ria Martin, 6, who was allegedly abducted on Tuesday.

A man who was reportedly involved in the abduction is in custody.The police issued an urgent public appeal for assistance in locating Phaedra, after she was snatched from her father.

It was reported that Phaedra was walking with her father, when she was taken away at knife point by two men. They took the child in a car with three persons aboard including a woman.

Head of CTOC, Assistant Commissioner of Police Devon Watkiss, says he will be questioned next week.





Bisexual Jamaican man denied asylum in Britain

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A bisexual Jamaican trying to persuade immigration officials in the United Kingdom how gay he was, by presenting even photographs to prove his lifestyle, was flatly denied asylum status and is to be deported.

Reports are that 34-year-old Orashia Edwards, who says he faces danger in his native Jamaica because of his sexuality, will be deported soon, despite having received death threats. According to www.theguardian.com, Edwards had told British authorities he could be killed if he is returned to Jamaica because he is bisexual. Edwards, who is currently being held at Morton Hall immigration removal centre, Lincolnshire, was refused refugee status in December 2013 when an asylum tribunal refused to accept he was bisexual.

He has since been embroiled in a long-running appeals process to have the decision overturned.

Reports are that his supporters insist he has had relationships with men as well as women, including his current same-sex partner, with whom he has been in a relationship with for around two years. Edwards, who spoke to the media from detention, said an asylum tribunal had rejected his claim that he had been in a relationship with a man in Antigua, where he lived for a time before coming to the UK.

He believes his matter was dealt with unjustly because he couldn't remember details of the relationship. Edwards also said he believed the Home Office had unfairly weighted against his claim the fact that he had been married to a woman and has a young daughter.

However, a letter from his then partner, confirming they were an item, had been refused. Edwards acknowledged he was fearful for his life.

He was quoted as saying, "In Jamaica, there is a huge amount of homophobia. If you go into the dancehalls and the clubs, they play music saying 'If you are a ... man, you get a bullet in the head. If you are a ... man, you are condemned. If I go back I will be tortured, I will be killed for sure. Because my case has been covered in Jamaican media, there will be no way for me to hide. I've already received death threats on social media, people say I'm making the country look bad."

His mother, who is a resident of the UK, also said her son will be left without any form of support in Jamaica.





Police appeal for calm in Spanish Town

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The police are appealing to residents of Spanish Town to remain calm in light of the upsurge in violent crimes which has resulted in 58 murders since the start of this year.

A statement from the police says just over 40 per cent of the murders is related to an internal feud over the leadership of the Spanish Town-based Klansman Gang. The police say operational activities in the division have been heightened with a view to increasing public order and safety. They are also appealing to residents not to harbour criminals and give the police information about illegal activities and strangers in their communities.

In the meantime, the St. Catherine North Police have listed five men who are being sought in connection with murders and shootings in the Division. They are: Duran Dennis; Kalonji Tyrell; Alrick Burke; Andre Knight and Kirk Forrester.

The men are being asked to turn themselves in to the Spanish Town Police or the nearest Police Station with their lawyers by 5 o'clocktomorrow afternoon. Anyone knowing their whereabouts should contact Crime Stop at 311, 811 or the 119 emergency number.





nuh-guh-deh-suh-premiere-no-maddz.jpgWith current public discussion and growing awareness about the sexual abuse of girls in Jamaica, the "Nuh Guh Deh" campaign to end sex with the girl child has developed a song and video as one of the ways to advance its efforts.

Eve for Life, a non-governmental organization and NoMaddz Band, with support of the United Nations in Jamaica, have teamed up to produce a song and video to prevent sexual violence against girls.

The song, "Nuh Guh Deh" reflects the theme of the public advocacy campaign that urges Jamaicans to speak up and condemn sexual violence against young girls. It was launched on Saturday May 2 at Emancipation Park, in-front of a large audience consisting of government officials and parliamentarians, International Development Partners, Civil Society representatives and other Jamaicans.

Speaking at the launch, Rushell, a survivor of child sexual abuse, bravely related how she was raped by her stepfather at nine years old. She explained that in addition to the pain and trauma she experienced as a result of this violation, she was further humiliated by family and community members who sought to blame her instead of the perpetrator.

"People made me, a little primary school child, feel like I had brought shame and disgrace on the family. My own mother avoided talking about what happened and said "she bring disgrace to the family." "People in the community started to label me a bad influence. They called me names. Everyone thought the worst of me. It was like I was the criminal and not my stepfather. I was discriminated against. After all the hurt my stepfather inflicted on me, I was further hurt, hated and traumatized by family members and the community."

Rushell appealed to the audience to take strong steps to ensure that no other child experiences what she had. She pleaded with Jamaicans to protect children, report the sexual abuse of minors and send the clear 'Nuh Guh Deh' message to rapists, abusers and perpetrators of such a horrific crime.

Patricia Watson, Executive Director, Eve for Life, stressed the important role and responsibility of communities and individuals in ending sexual violence against girls and protecting children. She noted that neighbours and community members should be the first to report these crimes to the police and State agencies instead of waiting until after the fact to voice suspicions.

"Jamaican brothers and sisters for the sake of our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, little sisters, our little primary school and high school girls, to save them from abuse, to save them from early pregnancy, to save them from HIV, to save their very lives and to save their future, PLEASE I am begging you to join us to tell ALL ABUSERS and ALL THOSE WHO ENABLE ABUSE - NUH GUH DEH!, she declared.

Dr. Arun Kashyap UN Resident Coordinator in Jamaica congratulated Eve for Life for its drive and determination to help young girls and for its strategic partnerships with the UN and other partners including NoMaddz, to get the message to end sexual abuse of the girl child, all across the island. He said the UN is taking an integrated approach to address sexual violence against children.

Sheldon Shepherd of NoMaddz says he hopes the song and video will catch on with Jamaican audiences and that they will be motivated to be the change that is so badly needed to bring an end to the pain and suffering of thousands of young girls who are sexually abused.





A female Metropolitan police officer was stabbed by an ex-metropolitan policeman in an establishment known as 'Fada Bar' off Young Street in Spanish Town on Monday night.

The two are reportedly involved in a relationship which produced a child. However, the relationship appeared to turn abusive because of the jealous nature of the ex policeman. The police confirmed that the female cop was attacked by him on a previous occasion with a chair and this attack eventually led to his dismissal from his job as a municipal police officer.

"Metro-cops" are employed by municipalities to carry out law and order activities which supplement the duties of members of the regular police force.

The young man, who plies the trade of a barber in Portmore, allegedly attacked his babymother while she was in the bar. She was stabbed in the back with a long knife.

The extent of her wounds are reportedly very serious. Not long after the attack, she was transferred from the Spanish Town Hospital to the Kingston Public Hospital where she remains in stable but serious condition. In the meantime, the spouse has been taken into custody by the Spanish Town Police.





Jamaican scammer convicted in the US

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A 25-year-old Jamaican man was convicted on Thursday for his role in a lottery scam that U.S. authorities say cost victims around the country millions of dollars.

Jurors in U.S. District Court in Bismarck had deliberated since Tuesday afternoon before reaching a verdict in the case of Sanjay Williams,25, of Montego Bay. He was found guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering and faces up to 40 years in prison.

Investigators described Williams primarily as a "lead broker" who bought and sold "sucker lists" of potential victims. He was the only one of 32 defendants to opt for trial; about a dozen defendants are awaiting extradition from Jamaica. Williams was arrested in North Carolina, where prosecutors say he had associates in the scam.

Defense attorney Charlie Stock said he hadn't decide on whether there would be an appeal. "I need to speak with Mr. Williams to see where he wants to go," he said.

Prosecutors said the case came to light four years ago when Edna Schmeets, 86, of Harvey, North Dakota, received a call from a man who told her she had won $19 million and a new car, and needed only to pay taxes and fees. The process dragged on until the widow's savings were wiped out, a sum of about $300,000.





Six-year-old girl abducted

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Investigators are on the hunt for several persons, including a woman, who allegedly abducted a 6 year old girl who is at the centre of a custody battle.

The police issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, appealing to the public to assist in locating the child, who has been identified as Phaedra Martin of Berwick Road, Kingston 13.

It's reported that Phaedra was walking with her father on Ransford Avenue about 1:30 p.m on Tuesday afternoon when they were approached by two men, one armed with a knife. They reportedly took the child into a car, which was parked along the road, with three persons aboard, including a woman. They then fled the scene.

A statement from the police says Phaedra is of brown complexion and slim build. She was dressed in blue school uniform, blue socks, black shoes and was carrying a pink bag.

The police are urging anyone with information on the whereabouts of Phaedra Martin and her abductors to contact the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch, Crime Stop at 311, the 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.





us-naval-hospital-ship.jpgJamaicans are to benefit from medical services offered by the United States Navy hospital ship, 'Comfort', starting today (Wednesday).

The hospital ship is docked at the Kingston Container Terminal.

The medical personnel on board will carry out procedures as well as outreach activities at the National Arena and the Maxfield Park Health Centre, from May 6-13.The ship's visit to Jamaica forms part of its six-month humanitarian mission across the Caribbean region. It is expected that hundreds of Jamaicans will receive medical during the ship's stay.

United States Marine Corporal, Philip Henry, one of three Jamaican-born personnel working on the ship, said that the visit is part of efforts to sustain the partnership between the United States and neighbouring countries.

"Its primary purpose is to continue the partnership between the United States and neighbouring countries in Southern and Central America and the Caribbean. The medical personnel will carry out different medical procedures. They will also exchange whatever expertise they have with local medical personnel," he said.

Medical services to be provided include optometry, dentistry, general medical, women's health and paediatrics. Corporal Henry pointed out that the ship will be off-loading several items which will be donated to selected institutions.

"We have school supplies, medical supplies and construction supplies, and these will be going out to the local communities in Kingston and some locations in St. Catherine," he said.

Additionally, they will provide engineering services to schools in Kingston & St. Andrew and participate in several community relations activities as well as carry out veterinary procedures with local veterinarians.

The ship is expected to depart on May 14.





warren-weir.jpgJamaican sprinter Warren Weir criticized U.S. sprinter Ryan Bailey for disrespecting track and field and Usain Bolt after mocking Bolt's "To Di World" pose with a throat-slash gesture (video here) at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday night.

"Especially when you are a little nobody, you really are to show more respect to those who are leading the way and those who have accomplished way more than you have," Weir said, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

"He disrespected track and field. He also said that Bolt is 'somewhat of an icon,' he is an icon and he was not showing enough respect, not just to Bolt, but to the sport. As an athlete, I feel like he was disrespecting me and as a member of this Jamaican team, I also felt upset and disrespected about it. This is just the beginning."

Weir, the 2012 Olympic 200m bronze medalist, and Bailey also went back and forth on social media.

Bailey and the U.S. beat Bolt and Jamaica in the 4x100m relay on Saturday, a race that Weir was not a part of. Bailey received the baton for his anchor leg with a lead on Bolt. Bolt ran a faster leg but could not make up the entire deficit. It was the first time the U.S. defeated Bolt in a global championship race since 2007.

The next night, Weir anchored Jamaica to a 4x200m relay victory without Bolt, who reportedly sat out as a precaution due to a minor hamstring injury. Bailey was not part of the 4x200m relay. The Jamaican team celebrated on the medal stand by doing Bolt's "To Di World" pose.

The U.S. and Jamaican 4x100m teams, likely with Bolt, perhaps with Bailey and unlikely with Weir, could go head to head again at the World Championships in Beijing in August.





Children's Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, says she is gathering information on reports that a policeman on a sex offence charge is leading a youth group at a Seventh-day (SDA) church in St Andrew.

A rift has reportedly been developed among members of the church over the role of Sergeant Dalton Leslie who is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. He was granted bail last week.

However, some members are questioning why he's being allowed to lead an all-male youth group involving underage boys at the church.

They say Leslie remains the guardian of an underage boy who attends the church.

The Children's Advocate says the situation is untenable even though Leslie has not been convicted of any crime. She says as a precautionary measure he should not be allowed unsupervised access to underage children.

Meanwhile, the East Jamaica Conference, which oversees the church, says it is also gathering information. Head of communications for the organisation, Phillip Castel, says he cannot comment until he has all the details.

Peter Champagnie, the policeman's attorney said that he was not aware of the roles being played by his client at the church.

He says he is making checks.





The lip-locked photo of two female students of an all-girls institution in St Andrew has gone viral. It has surfaced on a social networking site, Facebook, and has received widespread condemnation from the site's users.

The photo, which contains different frames of the schoolgirls dressed in uniform, shows them sitting in each other's lap suggestively and intimately holding on to each other as if in a relationship.

The photo appears to have been shot at the school and the largest frame has the girls passionately sharing a kiss with eyes closed.

When the school was contacted, an administrator reportedly said that she was not aware of the picture because she had not seen it.

However, the principal's secretary later explained tha, "The principal is not available for comment. We are dealing with the situation internally."





health-minister-fenton-ferguson.jpgThe United Union of Jamaica (UUJ) has raised concern that complaints of a shortage of supplies in the public health sector have not been addressed.

President of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association Dr Alfred Dawes recently revealed that his members do not have the proper supplies.These include soap cut in half instead of the antibacterial solutions needed to prevent the transfer of bacteria to patients and garbage bags instead of surgical aprons in operating theatres. UUJ President James Francis says when shortages are reported, they are met with complaints of a lack of funding.

"I am calling on the Minister of Health to rise up and do something. I'm not calling for his removal yet...I am asking the Prime minister, Minister of Finance, to call an emergency meeting with Dr. Fenton Ferguson to get the matter sorted out,' he said.

On Friday. The JMA said the public health system is on the brink of collapse with hospitals lacking equipment vital for surgeries and doctors have working in sub-standard conditions that pose serious risk to patients and themselves.





Two cops dead in murder-suicide

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murder-suicide-cops.jpgTwo police constables from St Ann were on Sunday confirmed dead. They are Kemo Walsh and Andewale Smith.

Reports are that today would've been Smith's birthday and that the men were out celebrating at a bar in Ocho Rios, St Ann. It is alleged that there was an altercation between the two and Constable Walsh was shot.

While Walsh was being transported by police officers to hospital, Smith allegedly shot himself. Constable Smith was also in the motor vehicle being used to transport Walsh to hospital.

Investigations are ongoing.





negril.jpgEnvironment Minister Robert Pickersgill says buildings being constructed in Negril, Westmoreland can now be up to four storeys high as an adjustment has been made to the Negril Development Order to allow for the maximum height. The Order is among four provisional orders announced by Pickersgill last year. The other three were for Portland, Trelawny and Manchester.

He said other Development Orders are on stream to be published this financial year.

The Government is said to be on target to have the entire island regulated by Development Orders under the Town and Country Planning Act by the end of the 2016/2017 financial year. Meanwhile, improvements are to be made to the development approval process. Following complaints by stakeholders, discussions were held with representatives from the public and private sectors to review the procedure.

The Environment and Local Government Ministries made recommendations which were approved by Cabinet last December.

Pickersgill says a draft implementation plan, which includes time-lines, has been completed, and is being finalised for Cabinet approval.





Jamaica cited for copyright piracy

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copyright.jpgJamaica is among several countries which have been cited by the US authorities for copyright piracy.

The U.S Trade Representative has released the 2015 Special 301 Report which has Jamaica on a watch list of 24 countries which have been deficient in protecting intellectual property.

This comes a week after the Broadcasting Commission announced that 19 channels are to be removed from local cable operators, because they did not acquire the rights to broadcast them.

According to the U.S Trade Representative the countries on the list have not provided an adequate level of intellectual property rights protection or enforcement.

The countries have also not provided market access to persons relying on intellectual property protection.

Other countries on the watch list are Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Greece, Mexico and Kuwait.





More complaints from China Harbour workers

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granville-valentine.jpgWage complaints continue to plague the operations of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) in Jamaica, with workers on the North/South leg of Highway 2000 citing discrepancies in overtime payments as a recurring problem.

At various times, starting in late 2014, construction of the highway has been interrupted, with workers walking off the job in protest against their rate of pay and the terms and conditions of their work.

One man who operates one of the heavy-duty earth movers on the site, told RJR news that workers were frustrated at the failure of the company to honour a promise to increase workers' pay, and what he claimed was the Government's failure to intervene on behalf of the workers.

In response to the latest complaint, Granville Valentine, General Secretary of the National Workers Union, says he will be investigating the matter, particularly in respect of overtime payments.





Triple murder in Central Village

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central-village-triple-murder.jpgThree persons were shot dead early Saturday morning in a community known as Compound, in Central Village, St. Catherine.

The bodies of two men and a woman were found inside a house.

According to the police, two of the victims were shot, execution style, while the other was killed while attempting to escape.

Residents reported hearing explosions about 1:30 a.m. and called the police.

The police arrived sometime before 7 o'clock.





Carmax CEO denied bail again

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Chief Executive Officer of CARMAX Jamaica, Darren Blake, who is charged with several counts of fraud was again denied bail when he appeared before the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Friday.

Prosecutors reported that the Fraud Squad was still receiving complaints against CARMAX, two weeks after Blake was taken into custody.

The cops are searching for another former Director, Ian Lyn, for questioning.The Crown also reported that the alleged fraud has increased to J$217 million.

Scores of complainants packed into the courtroom today in the hope of hearing whether Mr Blake will be able to refund them their money. His attorney Raymond Clough argued that Blake cannot assist the complainants while in custody.

Magistrate Simone Wolfe-Reece said she was concerned Blake could flee the country if released on bond and ordered him remanded until May 26.

CARMAX Jamaica came under investigation last month after customers complained that the company sold vehicles on their behalf but has not paid over the money.





'Donkey' stabbed to death in Spanish Town

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A man known as "Donkey" was stabbed repeatedly and killed in his home in the area known as "Brooklyn" in the Thompson Pen area of Spanish Town sometime between last night to this morning.

According to the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), the man was stabbed repeatedly by unknown assailants and his body transported from his house and dumped in a nearby gully. Residents found the body this morning and summoned the police.

The CCU said that details are sketchy as to the motive for the killing, and the police are yet to ascertain the man's real name.

The area has been plagued by inter-gang violence caused by a power struggle in the feared Clansman gang. Two men were killed earlier this week in the area in a separate incident.





Wanted man killed by his cronies

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The spate of shootings and killings continues unabated in sections of Spanish Town.

Among the latest victims is Orane Malcolm, aka "Sci fi", a 29-year-old man of a Kingston address. Sci Fi was killed by unknown assailants on Wednesday night. It was announced earlier this week that Sci Fi was wanted by cops in the St Catherine North division.

The Corporate Communications Unit has confirmed that sometime after 9 pm in the Thompson Pen area, gun shots were heard and the police summoned. Upon reaching the scene, the deceased was found lying on his chest with what appeared to be gunshot wounds. His body was taken to the morgue pending a post mortem examination.

On Thursday morning, there was another body found in the gully in the area known as 'Brooklyn', which is also located off Thompson Pen Road. It is not yet ascertained if that gunshot victim was shot in the same incident, and then later fell to his demise in the gully. Up to 9:30 am this morning, the body was still in the gully.





keri-dorman.jpgSeveral persons in Montego Bay have expressed sadness at the death of Cornwall College teacher Keri Doman.

Doman reportedly passed away in her sleep earlier this week.

"Her husband found her unresponsive in bed, early yesterday morning. Keri and her husband, had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary and she was pregnant with twins," the Cornwall College Old Boys' Association wrote on Facebook.

"This is a very sad time for our Cornwall family, particularly her students, colleagues, certainly her husband and her family. Our prayers, heartfelt condolences go out to them all. R I P Keri. Sleep well dear precious one. Trod on...", the post continued.

Other persons have paid tribute to Doman on Facebook.





A police sergeant from the St Andrew south division, who is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, was offered bail in the sum of $250,000 in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday.

He is charged with buggery.

The sergeant was charged yesterday following a ruling handed by the director of public prosecutions.

In court, defence attorney Peter Champagnie told Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey that his client strongly denied the allegations.

The magistrate told the policeman that he is not to communicate with the witnesses.

He is to return to court on July 22 for a preliminary hearing into the matter.





A woman was reportedly stabbed to death on Sunday after blabbering about her boyfriend's oral sex practices.The deceased woman has been identified as Khadian Webb of a Wint Road, Kingston 11 address.

According to a police source, Webb reportedly told the friends of a man, believed to be her lover, that he had performed oral sex on her.

"She mentioned to his friends in a crowd that he did oral sex on her," revealed the source.

This led to an argument between Webb and the man, resulting in her being stabbed. Webb later died at hospital.

According to the police's Corporate Communication's Unit, the 26-year-old woman was killed in her community around 6:15 p.m. She died as a result of the knife wounds she sustained during a dispute between the man and herself.

The police are said to be continuing their investigations into the incident.





2 men killed in downtown Kingston

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shocked.jpgTwo persons are dead and another two, including a male student, injured after a shooting spree in downtown Kingston on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the dead persons is reportedly a gunman who attacked a man and shot him several times before being challenged by cops who shot him dead during a shootout.

The incident took place in the parade area of downtown Kingston where students and workers gather to get public transportation to their homes.

The area has been tense for weeks amid an internal feud among members of the 'Spanglers' gang, following the shooting of an 11-month-old baby weeks ago.

The child was shot from its mother's hands after two gunmen chased a man into a yard and opened fire wildly. Police have been posted at Love Lane and Chancery Street to prevent any further reprisals but the killings continue unabated.

It has not yet been ascertained if Tuesday's incident was connected with the ongoing gang warfare.





BISMARCK, North Dakota (AP) - An elderly widow who authorities say was among dozens of victims of a Jamaican lottery scam told jurors in federal court she lost about $300,000 and borrowed against her insurance policy with the hopes of collecting $19 million to help her family.

Edna Schmeets, 86, testified Monday in the trial of Sanjay Williams, one of 32 defendants charged in a global case that authorities say involves at least 72 victims, most of them elderly. Several people have pleaded guilty and 14 defendants are awaiting extradition from Jamaica. Williams, who has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering, is the first person to go to trial.

Williams, who is from Jamaica but was arrested when he flew into North Carolina, came into court wearing orange prison clothes and carrying two garbage bags that appeared to contain documents and books. After trial recessed for the day, he asked US District Judge Daniel Hovland if he could have a laptop at his desk Tuesday to review DVDs. Hovland agreed.

Schmeets calmly recounted a series of phone calls from scammers who wanted "another check and another check and another check" from her in order to cover taxes and fees for the purported prize. She said she eventually became suspicious of the lottery, but by that time had emptied her savings account.

"I was feeling pretty bad because they said, 'Absolutely don't tell anybody about this,' until I got the $19 million," she said.

One of the banks contacted Schmeets' children about big checks she was writing to Shannon O'Connor in Florida, and eventually the case reached the FBI after the family filed a complaint. FBI Agent Frank Gasper testified Monday he travelled to Florida to interview and arrest O'Connor, and that opened the door to the wide-ranging case.

Prosecutor Nick Chase said in his opening statement that Williams sold lists of potential victims to scammers, known as "lead lists" or "sucker lists." Some of them were on Williams' website gamblersleads.com, Chase said.

Schmeets, whose husband died in 2010, said she was first contacted in the fall of 2011 by someone who identified himself as Newton Bennett. Authorities say she was the first victim in the scam.

"Edna Schmeets was very excited. She thought it was a great opportunity to help her children and grandchildren," Chase said. "But there was no prize."

Defense attorney Charlie Stock told jurors that a lot of people accused in the scam used fake names and IDs and said they are not credible witnesses in the case.

"How do you believe any of them?" he asked.

O'Connor has pleaded guilty.

One of the defendants charged in the case is a prominent Jamaican disc jockey. Deon-ville O'Hara, also known as ZJ Wah Wa, has pleaded guilty.





Clansman boss Tesha Miller's brother killed

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tesha-miller-photo-1.jpgThe brother of incarcerated Clansman gang boss Tesha Miller is among four murder victims in the old capital of Spanish Town between Sunday night and Monday morning.

Police have ramped up their efforts to keep a lid on the escalating violence between former cronies of the notorious gang that has been imploding for more than a year. The communities of Quarry Hill, Dela Vega City and Lakes Pen have been saturated with cops.

The dead man has been identified as Tashoy Miller.

Police report that they were called to a scene after loud explosions were heard. When they arrived, Miller's crumpled body was found lying in its own blood in front of a business establishment. The incident happened minutes after 8:00 am on Monday.

Members of the Clansman gang have long been at odds over leadership of the once organised criminal outfit and a number of lives have been lost. At least three of Tesha Miller's siblings have been killed in the conflict.

On Sunday evening, 30-year-old Lucien Simpson, otherwise called Kevin, of Dempshire Pen in Spanish Town, was slaughtered. Another man was also injured. Simpson and the injured man were reportedly among a group of persons when two gunmen pounced and opened fire. Both were taken to hospital where Simpson was pronounced dead and the other man admitted.

The other murdered persons were killed in spate incidents in Portmore.

A man, who is yet to be identified was shot and killed in Gregory Park. The body was clad in a black sweater, white short pants, and a pair of blue and white Nike slippers. The police say he is about five-feet-six-inches long.

Nineteen-year-old Ackeen Glanville of Confidence Avenue in Mandeville, Manchester, was shot dead by unknown assailants at Port Henderson Road.





No evidence that Jamaican teen was ISIS recruit

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isis-photo-2.jpgThe police have confirmed that their investigations have uncovered evidence that the 15 year old St. Mary boy held two weeks ago was being recruited by the terrorist group ISIS.

However, in a statement on Sunday, the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch (C-TOC) said the teenager's actions had aroused suspicion.

It said the matter was triggered by peculiarities concerning the boy's travel arrangements.Including the fact that he was a first time traveler, was traveling as an unaccompanied minor on a trip that would require international connections and using a route that has become the focus of security concerns in the region.

The route booked for the minor, would involve him traveling from Jamaica with connections in Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and The Netherlands ending in Istanbul, Turkey.

The police say this route has been under international scrutiny as it is a known route for persons traveling to join ISIS.

In addition to the particular concerns about the route being traveled, investigators said there were other issues that elicited the focus of intelligence efforts.

These include: the claim that the student would be staying at a particular hotel in Istanbul although there was no hotel in the name provided, there was no evidence his grandmother would be traveling to Turkey despite the boy's claim and the inability of family members to assist the police in clearing up several of the anomalies that emerged during the investigation.

As the probe continues, the police are giving the assurance that extreme care will be taken to avoid any infringement of individuals' freedom of religion. On Sunday, it was reported that lawyers for the 15 year old boy are to sue the State.They will be filing a lawsuit seeking damages for false arrest and defamation of character.





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A post mortem examination conducted on the body of 12-year-old Jamelia Johnson has concluded that she was not pregnant. The police are also awaiting the results of tests conducted on the child to ascertain if she was sexually assaulted.

Jamelia's body was found in bushes at Riversdale in St Catherine last week, two days after she was reported missing. Irate residents of the community torched the house of one of her relatives and blamed them for her untimely demise. The police were forced to escort her relatives from the area for their own protection.

A man who was taken into custody in connection with her murder has been released while police in the parish interrogated her mother on Friday.





pj-patterson.jpgNew York - Western Union and GraceKennedy will hold their annual town hall series from May 4th to May 8th, 2015 in Brooklyn, New York; Toronto Canada and Miramar, Florida under the theme, "The Caribbean Diaspora - Borderless Possibilities." The keynote speaker for this year's series is the P.J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica and President of Heis Consults Ltd.

"These forums are very important to us as they provide an excellent opportunity to engage the Caribbean diaspora - not just to network with our customers and get their feedback but also importantly, to encourage their participation in the discussion about issues that are critical to their home countries. Their contribution is very valuable as we explore ways to continue the development and promotion of the Caribbean while improving the quality of lives for those who live within the region," said Michelle Allen, Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Money Services.

This year's discussion topics include "Corporate social responsibility - changing lives, cultivating generations through educational investment." Western Union and GraceKennedy will also share information on their commitment to education and support of the diaspora.

Each session will include a question and answer segment following the keynote speaker's presentation. Please visit www.networkcaribbean.ca for more details and to register.





Police and ministers of religion met with members of the Drumilly community in St. Ann Saturday morning within hours of a double murder in the deep rural district.

Dead are 24 year old Demar Smith, also called Chunky, a bus conductor of Drumilly, and his girlfriend 15-year-old Amoya Brown, of Good Hope, Clarendon. The two were chopped to death just before day break at Smith's house.

Members of the community immediately went in search of a man, who like Smith, was a tenant at the house.

Up to news time, there was no information on his whereabouts, but police have asked the man who they have not named, to make contact with the police.

In the meantime, Smith's sister, Sidonie Smith, was distraught and said her brother was killed for nothing at all. She said there seemed to be a dispute over electricity, which she said had been cut off to a section of the house, her brother occupied. Even as community members searched for the alleged killer, the St. Ann police community safety and security branch, led by Sgt. Lorna West-Small took a team to the scene for grief counselling.

Among them were Inspector in charge of Claremont Velrose Wilson, Methodist Minister Racquel Clemmings and Elder in the Seventh Day Adventist Church Bancroft Lopez. The community members, including siblings of Smith, were addressed by the police who asked for their cooperation.

The numbers of senior police officers for St. Ann were given out for easy reach by community members. The church leaders also prayed with the community members.





Kenny Benjamin's Serenity Farms up for sale

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The Kenny Benjamin-led Guardsman Group has put its recreational property in St Catherine up for sale.

Serenity Farms, located in Bushy Park, St. Catherine was once marketed as a tourist destination for families looking to get away from the city to experience nature and a relaxing retreat.

The property consists of flat farmland with development potential with access to water, electricity and includes several buildings, ponds and a house.





ian-lyn.jpgWanted for questioning by the Fraud Squad, Ian Lyn, the former director of Carmax Jamaica Limited, has broken his silence, declaring that he is not a thief, even as the cops say allegations of impropriety against the company he formerly ran has climbed to $160 million.

"First of all, let's make it clear that I am not a director of Carmax, since last October. I haven't been the head of operations for six months. Second, I am not a thief, because that is diametrically opposed to who I am. And third, the allegations are far from the truth," Lyn told The Sunday Gleaner by telephone from an undisclosed location overseas.

According to Lyn, he was never the majority shareholder in the company which traded in used cars. He added that he did not flee Jamaica to avoid possible fraud charges, similar to those levelled against Daren Blake, a director in Carmax.

"I am out of the country on business. I am many things, but I am not a thief. It is against who I am and everything that I strive to do for all the years of my business life," reiterated Lyn, a former president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers' Association.

However, Lyn refused to say when he would be returning to Jamaica to face the music, following a plea from the Fraud Squad for him to turn himself in for questioning. Instead, the car dealer referred our news team to his lawyer, Shantez Stewart. The attorney later said he is taking instructions from his client and could not say when Lyn will make himself available to the cops.

"My client advised me to go to the Fraud Squad and present certain information, which I did. Having done that, we will now allow all the processes of the judicial system to proceed," said Stewart.

Head of the Fraud Squad, Superintendent Anthony McLaughlin, has already indicated that the police are considering their options, following Lyn's failure to turn himself in.

Last week, auto broker Roderick Byles obtained a Supreme Court order which placed Carmax into receivership. The assets of Blake and Lyn, who holds an American passport, were also placed into receivership.





Lambert Brown lashes out at critics

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lambert-brown.jpgOne of the persons re-appointed to the National Housing Trust, NHT, Board has come out swinging amid calls that he and three previous members should not remain Directors of the entity.

Trade unionist Lambert Brown says the arguments presented for him and the three Directors to be removed from the Housing Trust Board are baseless. Mr. Brown last night declared that he will remain a Director. He said a request was made and he agreed to stay on. He noted that the audit did not speak to corruption or the incompetence of the members.

Brown, Percival Latouche, Robert Buddan and Office of the Prime Minister representative Sonia Hyman have been retained on the new Board, which will be led by former Cabinet Secretary Dr. Carlton Davis.

And at least one civil society advocate is taking issue with the reappointment of the four NHT Directors. Carol Narcisse says the Prime Minister missed an opportunity to address the negative perception of the entity's Board.

She described the re-appointments as astounding. She said in the wake of the public outcry and auditor general's report she does not understand how the Prime Minister re-appointed those members.





Dr Carlton Davis new NHT chairman

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carlton-davis.jpgDr. Carlton Davis, a former Cabinet Secretary, is the new Chairman of the National Housing Trust (NHT), replacing Easton Douglas.

Daisy Coke, an actuary, is Deputy Chairman.

This is the second occasion that Dr. Davis will be serving as NHT Chairman, having done so in the early 1990s.

Some other members of the NHT's new Board are Robert Buddan, Sergeant Raymond Wilson, Senator Lambert Brown and Lisa Harrison.

Information Minister, Senator Sandrea Falconer made the announcement on Wednesday at a Jamaica House media briefing.





19 cable channels ordered removed

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broadcasting-commission-cordel-green.jpgSubscribers to cable television in Jamaica will see their viewing options reduced by the end of May as the Broadcasting Commission has ordered the removal of 19 channels, due to copyright breaches.

The channels to be removed, in the first instance, are Encore Black, Showtime East, Encore Family, Showtime West, Encore Love, Showtime TOO, Encore Suspense, Showtime 2, Encore WAM, Showtime Showcase, Encore Classic, Starz Comedy, Encore Drama, Starz West, Encore Mystery, Starz Kids & Family, Encore Movie Plex, Starz Multiplex, and The Movie Channel Xtra

Cordel Green, Executive Director of the Commission said the action being taken was in an effort to regularize access to these channels and ensure that "Jamaica's reputation is not sullied." It was, he said, "the natural outcome of a process, which began with a comprehensive coypright audit." Furthermore, he said, there were some rights holders "who are becoming far more aggressive in protecting their content."

Additionally, he said, "there is more content also being acquired by local television stations; there are channel owners who have invested in programmes that they themselves don't create, which are programmes from other channels that they go and purchase to make up their offerings, and we have to see about whether their content is being devalued if they are in the same market legally, competing with other channels that are in the market illegally.

Asked what might be the implications for Jamaica, should this action not be sustained, Mr. Green cited trade issues that would arise. Intellectual property rights are part of bilateral trade agreements and treaties, he said, warning that "any disregard for rights holders abroad might be reciprocated," noting that Jamaica also creates content, which must be protected.

Nine of the channels are from Encore, five from the Showtime group, four from Starz and the channel known as The Movie Channel Extra. CAPTION:Cordel Green, Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission





12-year-old-murdered.jpgResidents of Barnes Avenue, off Maxfield Avenue in St. Andrew on Friday morning protested the beating of a 22 year old woman by a gunman earlier in the morning. The incident occurred shortly after midnight.

The young woman has been admitted to hospital.

According to the police, she was standing with friends at the intersection of Maxfield Avenue and Whitfield Avenue when a man approached them.

The man reportedly pulled a gun and dragged the young woman to an abandoned building along nearby Barnes Avenue where he attempted to sexually assault her. She resisted and was hit repeatedly in the head with the gun. The man also smashed her head against the pavement.

The police were called and she was taken to hospital.

12-y-o girl murdered; residents blame parents, burn house to the ground

The identity of the 12-year-old girl who was found dead in bushes in the Riversdale community here this morning has been released. She is Jameila Johnson, a student of the Harewood Primary School in the parish, who reportedly went missing on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Education has corroborated earlier police reports, stating that Jamelia asked her grandmother for tissue paper and proceeded to the outdoor pit latrine. A three-day search was launched, ending in the discovery of the decomposed remains of the child.

Yesterday, a group of angry residents, after learning about the little girl's death, went to her family's home and set the house on fire. The child's mother and grandmother were also attacked by the mob and had to be escorted from the community by the police.The group claimed that it was neglect by the family that led to the child's death.

The ministry has since condemned the killing citing that it is "distressed at the senseless killing of the nation's children".

"We grieve with the relatives and friends of Jameila Johnson," it said in a media release Friday.

Education Minister Rev Ronald Thwaites has expressed sadness over the killing of Jameila. He says that guidance counsellors from the ministry's regional office will provide grief and trauma sessions to the affected students and staff.

Since the start of the year, two other young girls have suffered similar fates. Santoya Campbell, a 14-year-old Westmoreland girl went missing on January 26 and her body was found two days later stuffed in garbage bags under a bridge.

According to the grief-stricken relatives, Santoya, who was a grade eight student of Frome Technical High, did not reach school after leaving her home early the morning she went missing. Similarly, another 14-year-old girl, identified as Kayalicia Simpson of a St Thomas community was hacked to death and her mutilated body dumped metres from her house on March 3.

Police reports are that about 5:00 am that day the grade eight student went outside her house as she prepared for school. About half-an-hour later her body was found lying face down in bushes close to the one-room wooden structure in which she lived. Post-mortem reports on the 14-year-old girls later revealed that they were both pregnant at the time of their deaths.





Carmax director denied bail

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carmax.jpgCarmax Jamaica Ltd Director Darren Blake was on Thursday denied bail in the in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court as the court felt that he would interfere with the ongoing fraud investigation.

At the same time, the court was informed that 88 people have filed complaints and the amount defrauded is now at J$162 million.

?Blake was remanded into custody until May 1.

Blake was arrested and charged on Friday, March 13, for several counts of fraudulent conversion, following reports from a number of people who allegedly entrusted Blake to sell their motor vehicles.





Sign bearing PJ Patterson's name stolen

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pj-patterson-prime-minister.jpgThe sign bearing the name of P.J Patterson, a former prime minister of Jamaica, on a section of Highway 2000 has been stolen.

The official renaming of that section of the Highway took place last Friday, but Stephen Shaw, Communication and Customer Service Manager at the National Works Agency (NWA) confirmed that the sign has been stolen.

He said a new sign will be erected shortly.





Shocking revelation at West Kingston Enquiry

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west-kingston-enquiry.jpgThere was a shocking revelation at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry about what was purported to be a copy of the Jamaica Gazette Supplement dated May 13, 2010.

The document, which contained a proclamation about a State of Emergency, was previously tendered into evidence. However, Supervisor in the Gazette Department at the Jamaica Printing Services, Dempsha Thompson, said the document was fake.

He made the revelation during his examination in chief by Counsel for the Commission Simone Mayhew. He pointed out to the Commission a number of errors including inconsistent page numbering and format.

Having taken the Commission through the series of faults with the document, he was asked by Chairman

Thompson testified that the gazette produced by his office was done on May 24, 2010, which was a public holiday. He said the document for publication was delivered to the Jamaica Printing Services by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force 15 minutes after he arrived for work.

The three member panel looking into the May 2010 security forces operations during the hunt for Christopher "Dudus" Coke will be touring sections of West Kingston on Friday. The tour , scheduled to begin at 9:30am will last for approximately three hours.

A report from the Office of the Public Defender said 74 civilians and a member of the Jamaica Defence Force were killed in West Kingston during the operations.

Ellington testifies

Former Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, denied that the High Command had prior knowledge that the Government would have authorised the execution of a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Coke.

Ellington was being cross examined by attorney representing the Office of the Public Defender, Lord Anthony Gifford.

The former Commissioner testified that when the announcement was made that the authorities would be proceeding with the warrant he was not surprised.





Huge ganja find in Portland

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ganja-seized.jpgThe Portland police on Thursday seized a large quantity of ganja at Burlington in Snow Hill during an operation in the parish to clamp down on praedial larceny.

Deputy Superintendent in charge of operations at the Portland Police, Patrick Bennett, said no one was arrested, however, they will be pursuing the owner of the property.

"This is just a small step in the right direction as it relates to the reduction of praedial larceny," he said.

Bennett added that police have not received tickets to issue to persons who are in possession of more than two ounces of ganja following an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act.





Lawyer Jade Hollis arrested

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Cops from the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch (C-TOC) arrested and charged 47-year-old Jade Hollis, an attorney-at-law of Caribbean Close, Kingston 10 with four counts of fraudulent conversion on Tuesday.

Hollis was collared at the Norman Manley International Airport upon her return to the island at about 12:30 pm, following a ruling from the Director of Public Prosecutions Office (DPP). Hollis was retained as a carriage of sales of a real estate company and allegedly fraudulently collected over $12 million.

She is to appear before the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, May 13. Her bail was set at $3 million with surety.





Children's home for teen terror suspect

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isis-photo-2.jpgThe lawyer representing the 16-year-old St Mary boy, suspected of trying to join terror group ISIS in the Middle East, is to appear in the Supreme Court on Wednesday to get him released from custody.

The Family Court on Tuesday ordered that the Child Development Agency house the youth in a children's home instead of a juvenile centre? in Kingston.

At the same time the judge transferred the matter to St Mary, saying she had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

This, according to a source, ?despite the police saying they had no further interest in the teen.

The teen's legal team wants him to be released in the care of his father.





norman-manley-airport.jpgThe Government has announced that five potential bidders will be invited to participate in the Request for Proposal stage for the privatisation of the Norman Manley International Airport.

They have been identified and shortlisted by the Enterprise Team, which has been established to supervise the privatisation process.

Making his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr the Hon. Omar Davies, said the five firms are from Europe, Asia and South America.

"We take particular pleasure in the fact that two shortlisted consortiums include Jamaican partners. I have also been informed that a third is actively seeking collaboration with Jamaican firms involved in the aviation industry," the Minister noted.

Dr. Davies informed the House that bidding documents will be issued at the beginning of June, and it is anticipated that the transaction will be completed by early next year.





dudus-disguise.jpgFormer Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, said the reason why no reports were made of criminal activity in the former garrison community was because Christopher 'Dudus' Coke's criminal gang ruled with an iron fist and enforced a code of silence.

He made the disclosure during the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry on Tuesday.

"The police were prevented from investigating murders and other crimes because the gang enforced a code of silence.

"It was nearly impossible to carry out normal policing duties there," Ellington said during cross-examination from attorney representing the residents of Tivoli Gardens, Alexander Williams.





Cops make appeal to Carmax fraud victims

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carmax.jpgThe police are again appealing to members of the public who may have been defrauded by the Director and CEO of CARMAX Jamaica Limited to contact the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch (C-TOC).

The appeal is renewed contrary to reports carried in a section of the media on Monday that investigators might have to consider whether to stop taking complaints.

Director and CEO of CARMAX Jamaica Limited Daren Blake, was arrested and charged on Friday, March 13 for the offence Fraudulent Conversion, following reports of several persons who allegedly entrusted him to sell their motor vehicles. However, efforts for the persons to collect their money from Blake proved unsuccessful.

He appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrates Court on March 27, however the matter was postponed until Friday, May 1.

The C-TOC has intensified its probe and is appealing to possible victims to come forward and make their reports to C-TOC at 967-1389.





Cops kill St Thomas wanted man

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Ricky Ricketts, who was being sought by the St Thomas police, was killed yesterday in an alleged shoot-out with members of the security forces.

It is understood that Ricketts was among ten men wanted for questioning regarding several crimes under investigation in St Thomas.

According to reports, Ricketts engaged the police in a gun battle when they attempted to apprehend him in York in the parish.

A revolver was reportedly taken from the deceased.





portia-lisa-monymusk-visit.jpgDetectives from the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) are to conduct a high level review on Monday of the evidence collected in last week's quadruple killing in Clarendon.

Head of the CIB, Assistant Commissioner Ealan Powell, said the review will determine whether the police have evidence to link any of the two persons in custody.The two men were picked up last week following the killing of three teenagers and a 35-year-old accountant in the Monymusk Housing Scheme.

Powell said investigators have collected several statements in the case.

Concerning the policeman who was questioned in the incident, Powell said he has been cleared. The policeman's gun was also examined by investigators. Powell said the cop was not considered a suspect, but was questioned based on information received by the police.

Leader of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness and National Security Minister Peter Bunting visited the scene of the quadruple killing on Sunday. Holness said the police must solve the case to send a signal to criminals.

The National Security Minister urged residents to assist the police in their probe.

"Any murder is bad enough, but when you have these multiple murders, the records show that if these persons are not apprehended, the records show that they will continue to act with impunity.... we have to pay special attention to this and find the perpetrators and bring them to justice," Bunting said.

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shelly-restaurant-photo-1.jpgJamaica's Pocket Rocket, Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser Price, yesterday opened her very own restaurant on the campus of the University of Technology, UTech.

Already patrons are raving about the food, t he priced and the decor and the fact that Shelly is hand-on in the restaurant.

YardFlex popped by on the opening day and here is our review: "The prices are great! Food is recommmendable! Best menu on the Utech campus! Smoked salad wrap with callaloo! Tuna melt, crispy fish, chicken salads! The cherry mint lemonade Sell Off!!I had mine made by Shelly herself!! Thumbs up."

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UWI poised to make big bucks from ganja

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ganja-image-1.jpgPredictions are being made that with the University of the West Indies, Mona, now licensed to grow marijuana for research purposes, the industry should be earning nearly US$1billion in the next few years.

Executive Director of the Mona School of Business and Management, Dr. Densil Williams, argues that Jamaica can potentially reap huge rewards based on the new ganja licensing regime. Plans for the UWI include spending more than $16 million for the growing of ganja plants and the construction of greenhouses. Dr Williams gave his assessment of where Jamaica should be in another few years. He said in another 5 years we could secure 10% of the global market share amounting to over a billion US dollars.

In the meantime, Principal of the UWI Mona Campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, has outlined some of the conditions that the university intends to treat based on its cannabis research. He says once it begins taking extracts from the plant, it will target a range of diseases including hypertension, epilepsy and pain.

Professor McDonald predicts that as the clinical research progresses industry standards and practices will also evolve.

And Professor McDonald has outlined that small scale ganja farmers stand to benefit from supplying the University for its research. He gave a timeline within which the arrangements with these farmers are expected to begin. He explained that the University will be able to contract farmers under its license as well as government will be issuing licences. He estimates that after using the greenhouse approach farmers will be contracted in over a month's time.





To many, April 20 is just another workday. But to marijuana enthusiasts around the globe, 4/20 is a holy day, one to be considered above all others as a time to celebrate -- and consume -- cannabis.

The counterculture holiday doesn't appear on any official calendar, but it's pretty popular all the same. The origins of 4/20, aka National Weed Day, can be traced to Northern California where, in the 1970s, pot smokers began using the code "420" - the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress - as a reference to toking up.

Planning to observe 4/20? Here are 20 funny quotes to share on every pot smoker's favorite holiday.

1. "That is not a drug. It's a leaf." -- Arnold Schwarzenegger

2. "They've outlawed the No. 1 vegetable on the planet." -- Timothy Leary

3. "The drug is really quite a remarkably safe one for humans, although it is really quite a dangerous one for mice and they should not use it." -- J.W.D. Henderson

4. "I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is a flower. God put it here." -- Willie Nelson

5. "Forty million Americans smoked marijuana; the only ones who didn't like it were Judge Ginsberg, Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton." -- Jay Leno

6. "When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently. That was the point." -- Barack Obama

7. "I know you're supposed to tell kids not to do drugs, but, kids, do it! Do weed! Don't do the other stuff, but weed is good." -- Kevin Smith

8. "To make marijuana against the law is like saying God made a big mistake." -- Bill Hicks

9. "You bet I did, and I enjoyed it." -- Michael Bloomberg

10. "I think pot should be legal. I don't smoke it, but I like the smell of it." -- Andy Warhol

11. "?Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see." -- Thomas Jefferson

12. "If you substitute marijuana for tobacco and alcohol, you'll add eight to 24 years to your life." -- Jack Herer

13. "It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics ... dope and all that crap. It's a thousand times better than whiskey -- it's an assistant -- a friend." -- Louis Armstrong

14. "I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast." -- Ronald Reagan

15. "Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere." -- George Washington

16. "If you grew up in the '60s or '70s and didn't do drugs, I don't trust you." -- Danny Danko

17. "There are only two kinds of dealers. Those who need forklifts, and those who don't." -- Tom Forcade

18. "The other day they asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing a long time ago. All through the sixties, I tested everything." -- Bill Lee

19. "Of course I know how to roll a joint." -- Martha Stewart

20. "I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits -- and millions of Americans agree with me." -- Hunter S. Thompson

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A demonstrator participates in a rally sponsored by the Marijuana Party of British Columbia by smoking a giant hash-and-marijuana hash joint in downtown Vancouver April 20, 2005. Commonly known as 4/20, April 20 is a popular day among cannabis users.





Yardflex 4/20 Weed Day Feature

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4/20 Rallies: Marijuana Advocates In US, Canada Use National Weed Day To Send A Message About Legalization

Marijuana users are doing more on April 20 than just getting high. Some pot enthusiasts in the U.S. and Canada are using the unofficial pot smokers' holiday to declare an end to federal bans on cannabis. Advocates turned out in Denver over the weekend for the annual 4/20 festival to shop marijuana-themed products, listen to live music, and, of course, toke up. A political rally in Vancouver, British Columbia, centered around pot is scheduled for Monday.

About 125,000 people attended the 4/20 event in Denver this past weekend, according to the Denver Post. "It's a well-rounded atmosphere," Miguel Lopez, the event's founder, told the Post. "There are people here from all financial backgrounds...We push all the 4/20 rallies to head there to extend the national, grassroots narrative that's been going on for 45 years."

Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Four of those states - Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington - and D.C. have legalized weed for recreational purposes. Advocates of marijuana legalization in the U.S. say that while pot will likely remain illegal at the federal level for at least another decade, they expect states to continue to move toward legalizing weed for either medical or recreational use.

Further north, in Canada, organizers of the annual 4/20 rally at Vancouver's Art Gallery said this year's upcoming event will be particularly important because of the federal election coming up in the fall of 2016. The rally's theme is "Grow the Vote," and coordinators say they're going to encourage people to register to vote, according to News 1130. While medical marijuana is now legal in Canada, recreational pot is still banned at the federal level.

"Policy costs of enforcing prohibition against marijuana are astronomical," Craig Jones of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada told CKNW AM radio. "All they do is clog the courts, and saddle otherwise law-abiding people with criminal records. The police figured this out a long time ago and because Vancouver is Vancouver, they figured it out a lot earlier in Vancouver than they did in the rest of Canada."





Baby's body found in barrel

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barrel.jpgThe Santa Cruz Police in St Elizabeth are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a little girl in Grosmond District near Braes River.

She has been identified as Jaydeen Myers who was 1 year and 11-months-old.

Reports are that the little girl went missing between 1 pm and 7 pm yesterday Saturday April 18.

Police say relatives went in search of her and she was found unconscious in a barrel inside the house, which stores clothing and food.

She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Investigations continue.





Cops featured on CISOCA's high profile list

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The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse (CISOCA) says allegations of wrongdoing by police personnel continue to feature on what it calls its high profile list.

Head of CISOCA, Superintendent Enid Ross-Stewart, says the accused have been cooperating with investigators.

"The list is about 25, among them police, teachers ....people before the court. We are not looking at those that we are actively investigating," said Ross-Stewart who was speaking at the latest RJR Group News Forum.

The reports will be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions

The CISOCA says it will not be deterred by the status of persons in probing allegations against them.





Cops seize Uzi sub machine gun in Spanish Town

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uzi.jpgPolice seized an Uzi sub-machine gun during an operation in the March Pen Road area in St Catherine on Saturday.

Spanish Town police report that about 4:00 pm, a team of police went to premises and during a search the weapon was found.

A dozen 9mm cartridges, and a ballistic vest we're also found.

No one was arrested in connection with the find. The police say they are investigating.





JPS rolls out pre-paid service today

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jps-building.jpgThe Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) will launch its "Pay As You Go" metering service today. It will allow JPS customers to control daily usage of electricity with the pre-paid service.Two thousand customers in Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine will initially benefit.

Tishan Lee, head of Marketing at the JPS, explained that under the current phase, certain residential and business customers can sign up.

According to Miss Lee, there is no risk of customers running out of electricity, as they might run out of pre-paid telephone credit.

"You are alerted when you are running low, so before you run out of credit, you can just call you and we'll forward you an additional five kilowatt hours until you get the opportunity to top it up," she explained.





Tufton unhappy with 'Dudus' reference

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christopher-tufton-photo-1.jpgJLP senator, Dr Christopher Tufton, has taken issue with Foreign Minister A.J. Nicholson for his veiled reference to the Dudusgate saga, which strained relationship between Kingston and Washington in 2010.

Tufton, who was a member of the Bruce Golding-led Government, which handled the extradition request of Dudus, said he sees no reason for Nicholson to talk now about the restoration of Jamaica's good name.

Nicholson, in updating the Senate on the visit of US President Barack Obama to the country recently as well as the Summit of the Americas in Panama, said the visit of the president is an indication that Jamaica's name has now been restored.

But while he pointed to the testy period of strained relationship, Nicholson did not name the Dudus saga.

"If there is one thing that the events of the past week or so have unequivocally demonstrated, it is that in just three short years, we have once again taken our hard-won place as a respected voice on the international stage," Nicholson said.

"In just three short years, we have resumed our rightful place as a leader in international relations and foreign policy. In just three short years, we have restored that most vital of commodities - trust," he added.

Tufton, however, said it is unfortunate that Nicholson has chosen to resurrect the matter.

"There have been high and low points, challenges if you will, at various points in our independent history. The truth is generally speaking, I am not sure, while we accept that the visit is a positive one, I am not sure if that point needed to be emphasised, about relationship been restored," Tufton said.

Nicholson said in the Senate that "when the administration led by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller took office in January 2012, we realised that there was much work to be done to re-establish Jamaica's reputation in the international arena as a leader in the sphere of international relations and foreign policy."





Thief shot while robbing policeman

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The Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) is reporting that a man was shot in the Nugent Street area in Spanish Town.

According to the CCU, at about 6 pm, the man attempted to rob a police officer at a barber shop on Nugent Street, but the robbery was thwarted by the officer who challenged the robber and shot him.

A firearm was recovered. The robber was then transported to the Spanish Town hospital where is now receiving treatment.

Earlier in the day, a cordon and search operation in the Spanish Town area, led to the seizure of a Tarrus 9 mm pistol and 12 live rounds at March Pen Road.

No one was arrested in connection with the illegal weapon.





Small ganja farmers to be protected

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ganja-image-1.jpgJustice Minister Mark Golding says the government will not agree to any arrangement that would see multilateral companies take over the ganja industry and exclude local farmers.

He says the authorities are conscious of the need to ensure that those who have been involved in the industry for many years in the shadows or unlawfully , should be afforded the opportunity to be part of a lawful industry if they want to be part of it.

The minister was responding to questions posed by listeners this morning on IRIE FM's The Africa Forum with host Ka'bu Maat Kheru.

Entertainer Mackie Conscious asked, "if any plans will be put in place to prevent multilateral companies from taking over the ganja industry from the small man who suffered fighting for its legalization?"

Senator Golding indicates that how the small ganja farmer is protected is an area that needs to be worked through.

However he says, one way to do this would be to ensure that foreign investors have local partnerships.





Police hunt for mother of dead baby found at dump

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The police say they have received more information in the case where the body of an infant was discovered by residents at the Riverton Dump on Friday.

"We have received new information suggesting that the truck from which the body of the baby was dumped had hours earlier collected garbage in the Wickie Wackie area located in East Kingston," one of the detectives in the case said.

The police said based on the latest information they have now turned their attention to the Wickie Wackie area.





Cops find illegal gun shop in Salt Pond

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ak47-ammunition.jpgThe Police are reporting that the location in the Salt Pond area where an AK 47 rifle was seized on Wednesday was a base being used by criminals to sell illegal guns and ammunition.

Salt Pond, is an area located on the outskirts of Spanish Town, St Catherine.

The Police reported that about 5:45 am, they went to the area and during the operation, a man was shot dead.

The dead man has been identified as Nesta Halstead.





Teen charged for murder of 11-month old boy

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11-month-old-baby-killed.jpgCharges have been laid against the teenager who was held in connection with the shooting death of 11-month-old Omar Lindo on Charles Street in Kingston on Monday, April 6.

The teenager is booked to appear in the Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, April 22.

He was nabbed by the Kingston Central police in Courage district, Gordon Town, St Andrew, on Saturday, April 11.





16 year-old mother and baby missing

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Sixteen-year-old Natasha Chambers and her seven-month-old daughter, Briana Henry, both of Grove Road, Kingston 10, have been missing since Friday.

Natasha is of fair complexion, slim build and is about 160 centimetres (5 feet 3 inches) tall. Briana is of fair complexion and is about 51 centimetres (1 foot 8 inches) tall.

Reports from the Half-Way-Tree police are that Natasha and Briana were last seen in their community. At the time they went missing Natasha was dressed in a green blouse, blue jeans skirt and a pair of green and yellow sneakers. Briana was dressed in a blue dress and a pair of black and white slippers. They have not been seen since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Natasha and Briana are being asked to contact the Half-Way-Tree police at 926-8184-5, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.





3 shot in Portmore drive-by

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Three persons were shot one fatally in the Braeton area of Portmore, St Catherine early Saturday morning.

The deceased has been identified as 34-year-old Businessman Jamey Ridley of a Kingston 8 address.

The incident reportedly at a fish fry about 1:30 am, where patrons were gathered when a Toyota Corolla motor vehicle pulled up. It is said that the occupants of the vehicle opened gunfire hitting Ridley and two other persons. An off duty officer who was at the scene reportedly challenged the men, however they managed to escape.

The injured were taken to hospital where Ridley was pronounced dead and the others admitted.

No motive has been established for the shooting.





Kingston College marches for 90th anniversary

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kingston-college-march.jpgApril 16, 1925 marks the founding of Kingston College (KC), and 90 years to that date students at the all-boys institution lined the length of North Street for a historic march to the site where the school was first established.

The sea of khaki interspersed with streams of purple could be seen from any vantage point along North Street on Wednesday.

The sporadic outbursts of celebratory cheers were complemented by energetic fanfare provided by the marching band.

The march culminated outside the walls of The Gleaner, where a plaque highlighting the location as the site of the building which housed the first 49 students of the school is erected. This was where the students gathered for prayer and reflection.

Vice-principal Everton Burrell was in a jubilant mood as he marshalled students at the historic event.

"Today is the exact day, 90 years ago, Kingston College was founded right at the same spot where The Gleaner Company is right now. As a symbolic event, we decided to march to the spot," he said.





Laughter erupted in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court after a man told the court that he was not urinating on the street but was hiding his money inside his brief.

Constantine Savage was arrested and charged with littering after he was reportedly caught urinating on a street in downtown Kingston. But on Monday when he appeared in Court, Savage pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying, "I was not urinating; I was putting my money in my brief, that is what happened".

"Keeping it safe and warm," Magistrate Judith Pusey uttered amidst laughter from the court.

Savage's bail was then extended for him to return to court for trial on June 2.





Bahamian R&B singer, Johnny Kemp, dies in Jamaica

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johnny-kemp.jpgBahamian R&B singer Johnny Kemp, who is best known for the hit song "Just Got Paid," has died in Jamaica. He was 55.

Jamaica police said Friday that Kemp was found floating at a beach in Montego Bay on Thursday morning. It had not yet been determined how he died.

Police said Kemp arrived in Jamaica on a cruise ship but added that they did not have further details.

Reach Media Inc. said Kemp had been scheduled to be on a Caribbean cruise this week, but the U.S.-based parent company of the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" said it did not have further details.

Kemp was nominated in 1989 for a Grammy Award for "Just Got Paid" in a category that included Bobby Brown and Luther Vandross. The song was a No. 1 hit on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart.

Kemp appeared on a 2007 Keith Sweat DVD called "Sweat Hotel Live" and had been performing at musical events across the U.S. in recent years.





Women sexually assault teenage girl with bottle

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Two St Catherine women were recently charged with gross sexual assault after being accused of inserting a bottle inside a teenager's private area two years ago.

The two women will stand trial in the St Catherine Circuit Court in September this year.

The matter was decided in the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate's Court recently after Resident Magistrate Llyle Armstrong ruled that a prima facie case has been made out against the women.They are scheduled to appear in the Michel Mass Session of the St Catherine Circuit Court in September 2015.

It is alleged that in 2013, the two accused lured the 17-year-old complainant to a house in Linstead, St Catherine. They then held her down and used a bottle to sexually assault her. The complainant had to seek medical attention.

A subsequent report was made to the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse. Both women were later charged with gross sexual assault.





Number portability next month

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The Government is assuring that number portability will be available to Jamaicans next month. Number portability entails and facilitates the retention of numbers assigned to telephone service users, regardless of their provider.

Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell said that he has issued a Number Portability Administrator licence to Porting Access B.V., a company out of the Netherlands, which is working to ensure that this deadline will be met.Paulwell was making his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

To last for a period of 10 years, the licence took effect on March 16, 2015. The company is mandated to establish, operate, manage, coordinate and maintain a number portability central reference database and an automated central order handling system and related activities for the provision of number portability.

Paulwell pointed out that this number portability arrangement will allow Jamaicans to move from one service provider to another while retaining their mobile and fixed telephone numbers. He said it will also enable greater competition amongst players within the telecoms industry.

Studies indicate that the introduction of number portability facilitates greater competition in the telecoms market, which can result in lower prices and more innovative products and services.

Number portability can also eliminate some of the costs, delays and inconvenience that businesses and individuals encounter when changing from one telecoms provider to another. The rules on number portability have been gazetted since September last year.





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The People's National Party (PNP) has condemned the slaying of three teenagers and an adult male in Hayes in Clarendon on Wednesday.

"We mourn with the families and school communities of the three student boys. One each from Central, Vere Technical and Garvey Maceo High schools," a release from the ruling party said.

The men were shot in the back of the head after being ordered to lay face down.

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Party President and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller wholeheartedly condemned the murders.

"We condemn this dastardly act. Our youth are our country's best and most promising resource. We must protect them. These recurring images of our mothers crying for the lives of their children who are brutally murdered break the spirit and stride of our entire nation all of us have a role to play to bring these acts of terror to an end. In this regard I add my own call for the community members to assist the investigators by telling all that they know so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice" she said.

According to the release reports emerging from the community as to how the four (the three teens and the adult male) were murdered is all the more shocking and painful.

"Our prayers are with the families that have been left to mourn all four. We go further by joining May Pen Mayor Scean Barnwell by asking the entire community to find the resolve to cooperate fully and openly with the police as they investigate this incident," the release said.





The man charged in connection with last month's quadruple killing in Richmond Hill, St James, was denied bail when he appeared before the Montego Bay Criminal Court on Thursday.

Kelvin Hodge,29, otherwise known as "Tafari" was charged last week with four counts of murder as well as illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was remanded until April 29.

Hodge is charged with the execution style killing of Lois Watson,28 and her eight year old daughter, Shaya Prince, at their home on March 19. Junior Scott,26 and Kemali Walker,22 were also killed in the attack.

Investigators say Hodge, who was the boyfriend of Watson, carried out the attack after she ended their relationship.

Meanwhile, two other suspects held in the case have been released.





Resident shoots robber dead in Mona

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gun-crime.jpgQuick action by a licensed firearm holder resulted in the death of one of three robbers in Mona, St Andrew on Thursday evening.

Three robbers reportedly attempted to hold up a resident of the middle class community but were challenged by the licensed holder.Shots were fired and when the smoke cleared the man lay dead. His identity has not yet been ascertained. Meanwhile, his two cronies managed to escape.

Armed robbers have been plaguing Mona for weeks and a number of persons have been held up and robbed at gunpoint. Despite the efforts of the police, the robbers have managed to elude them.

While not joyous over the loss of life, one resident said that the dead man had it coming.

"A life is a life, but robbers are making the lives of the residents of Mona hell and maybe a message has to be sent," she said.





Teenage terror suspect remains in custody

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The 16-year-old Jamaican who was sent home from Suriname on Saturday on suspicion that he was heading to Turkey to join the terrorist group ISIS is to remain in State custody until Tuesday.

The Family Court today ?said an assessment is to be made of his home situation before a final order is made on Tuesday on whether to send him home.

His attorney had applied to the court to have him released from custody.

The teen's family has since denied claims that he was a part of a terrorist group, saying he was headed to England to be with his mother.





Carmax CEO arrested for fraud

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The Fraud Squad of the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch (C-TOC) arrested and charged Daren Blake, Director and CEO of CARMAX Jamaica Limited for the offence of Fraudulent Conversion on Friday following several complaints.

He was initially booked to appear in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on March 27 where the matter was postponed until May 1, 2015.

Reports are that between December 2014 and March 2015, several persons allegedly entrusted Blake to sell their motor vehicles, valued about $54,500,000.

The vehicles were sold however, efforts for the persons to collect their money from Blake proved futile.

Members of the Fraud Squad are asking for Mr. Ian Lyn and affiliates of CARMAX Jamaica Limited to report to the Fraud Squad offices on Duke Street by 9:00 a.m. on April 17.





UWI, UTech get ganja licence

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THE University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) will be the first two educational institutions to be issued with licences to grow marijuana for research purposes under the new provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act, which took effect yesterday.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell made the announcement yesterday in his presentation in the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House .

He said that, as the country moves to build an industry for medicinal ganja, it is crucial for research institutions such as these to have the required authority to cultivate the plant. "If Jamaica wants to establish itself as a centre of excellence for research in ganja, this should be the home of research and development in ganja," he said.

Paulwell pointed out that, as it stands now, institutions are allowed to use marijuana for research, but under the auspices of the police. The science and technology minister stressed that the licences come with strict conditions. "It's not a free-for-all... or to promote smoking of ganja, it is to recognise that this product has tremendous value," he said.

He also sought to allay apprehension about who would benefit from a local medical ganja industry, stating that the market was large enough to accommodate small and large farmers and urged cooperation and sharing of information to allow sharing of the expected benefits.

The licence will be for a specified period and subject to monitoring of the research activities to ensure that they are in keeping with what was approved.





2 suspects held in quadruple murder

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The Clarendon police say two suspects have been held in connection with last evenings quadruple murder of four males in the Monymusk Housing Scheme in Clarendon.

The suspects were held this morning in the parish. Their identities are, however, being withheld pending further investigations.

Fourteen-year-old Ricardo Briscoe, 14-year-old Raymond Givans, 15-year-old Alex Turner and 35-year-old Marquis Hamilton, all of Clarendon addresses, were murdered execution-style.

According to reports from the Corporate Communications Unit, the three boys were walking along the roadway about 9:00 pm when they were pounced upon by two armed men who forced them onto Hamilton's premises. The men then allegedly demanded money and phones from them, however, their demands were not met.

The four were subsequently shot.

The Police High Command has since ramped up its security presence in major towns, business districts and communities in the parish.





Man hangs himself in Falmouth market

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shocked.jpg Twenty year-old Jevaun Ricketts of Deeside in Trelawny, hung himself in the Falmouth Market around 2:30 Thursday afternoon.

A cord was used to do the act in one of the unoccupied stalls.

According to reports, Ricketts suffered from a mental condition and was exhibiting this in his community before journeying the approximately 12 kilometres from his home to do the act in the Trelawny capital.

Scores of onlookers gathered to get a glimpse of the tragic situation.





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A new date has been set for the murder trial of entertainer Desmond Ballentyne more popularly known as Ninja Man.

The case was postponed when he appeared in the Home Circuit Court on Monday. The trial was rescheduled because the witnesses were unavailable.

The controversial deejay also expressed happiness after the judge gave him permission to take bookings for overseas performances during the first six months before his return to court.

Ninja Man, along with three other persons are being charged with the 2009 murder of Richard Johnson in the Mall Road Area of Kingston. The trial was previously postponed in November because a case was being heard.





Assault case against Chuck Fenda dismissed

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Reggae artiste Chuck Fenda and his babymother were sent to mediation when they both appeared in the Spanish Town Resident Magistrates' court before senior RM Lyle Armstrong on Tuesday.

The accused, Chuck Fenda, whose real name is Leshorn Whitehead was charged with assaulting his babymother.

Allegations outlined were that on March 23, 2015, at about 9:30 pm, the entertainer went to pick up his daughter in Portmore where an argument developed with his babymother. It was said that he boxed and kicked her all over her body causing swellings on her face, a cut to her neck and bruises to the knees.

The two, who were seen talking amicably before the case was called up, were sent to the mediation department and a successful agreement was made.

The case was then dismissed against Chuck Fenda.





JPS cuts electricity rates

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The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has announced that its customers will now be paying US 25 cents per per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for electricity.

The company said this rate was the lowest for electricity in Jamaica since 2010.

"The dramatic reduction in overall energy cost is due to lower fuel charges, as well as the improved efficiency of JPS' generating units. Since last year, JPS customers have been benefiting from lower Fuel and IPP Charges on their bills, as a result of the reduction in the price of oil on the world market. The Fuel & IPP Charge on bills this month is J$14.670 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), compared to J$18.449 last month" JPS said in a release.

This means a seven percent reduction in the April bill for the average residential customer, compared to his/her March bill. The Fuel and IPP Charge on bills is coming down from a high of $J28.828 / kWh in March last year when oil prices were at their highest for 2014, the release continued.

JPS said that in addition to the lower cost of the oil used for electricity generation, the company is also passing on to customers the gains from the improved efficiency of its generating plants.





Caribbean Broilers cuts prices

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For the second time this year, Caribbean Broilers (CB) Group has cut the price of their products in Jamaica.

Effective April 20, the company will lower its prices, right across the board, for all their business lines, which includes their flagship brand in the CB Foods division - CB Chicken, their fresh pork line - Copperwood Pork, their convenient ready to eat line - Caribbean Passion, their Grade A egg brand - Chippenham Eggs, their Omega enriched Smart Egg line and lastly their Bad Dawg Sausages program.

The good news also extends to farmers, who will also see a price reduction on purchases of all Nutramix animal feeds.

As with a similar decrease seen just a few months ago, in January 2015, further reduction in some key input costs, such as grains, has given the company the ability to reduce their selling prices and pass on savings to the trade.

Dr. Keith Amiel, Corporate Affairs Manager explained that, "If you've been following the commodity markets, you'd realize that grains have been trending downwards which have allowed us to purchase our raw materials at better prices and this has in turn allowed us to pass savings on to the consumers".

He further shared that "When the markets are going North we are forced to pass on the price increase to the market and so naturally, when things go the other way, its only right that we pass on the savings as well.





25 year-old woman commits suicide

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A 25-year-old woman is believed to have committed suicide at her St Andrew home Tuesday afternoon.

Reports are that the woman, identified as Jodi-Ann Williams, sent several messages to friends telling them that she loves them and she was sorry.

The circumstances leading up to her death is not known at this time.

She was later found hanging from the roof of her house. Police were summoned to the scene about 2:30 pm.





Commercial sex trade remains illegal

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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kevin Harvey, says the commercial sex industry cannot be regularized, as it is still illegal under the law.

Responding to a question at the latest RJR Group News Forum, Harvey said the industry should be monitored and this would protect those involved as well as members of the public.

"We need to get to a stage where the industry is regulated and we provide the necessary supervision and oversight that we don't have underage children, we do not have abuse of the persons involved, we limit the issue related to human trafficking and all of those things related to and impact sex work," he said.

The idea of regularising the commercial sex trade was proposed several years ago but received opposition from the religious community.





Controversy surrounds JLP NE St Catherine seat

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There are more rumblings in the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) this time over reports that Sharon Hay Webster has been campaigning in the constituency of North East St. Catherine which is held by Gregory Mair.

Hay Webster is an aide to JLP Leader Andrew Holness.

The contents of a letter from Mair to the Party's Chairman Robert Montague demanding an urgent investigation into Hay Webster's campaign in his constituency and attempts to undermine his political organisation, have been leaked.

Mair also wants answers on whether she has applied for the seat, was interviewed by the selection committee, provided with the list of Party workers in the constituency and given the green light to campaign. In his letter to the JLP Chairman, Mair said he wants Hay Webster out of his constituency.





Third person charged in killing of Mario Deane

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A third person has been charged with the fatal beating of Mario Deane,31 at the Barnett Street Police lock-up in St James last August.

Damion Cargill, who has a hearing disability, was charged on Friday with murder and conspiracy to murder following a ruling from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). He appeared in court shortly after.

Cargill will make his next court appearance on April 29.His attorney Franklin Haliburton says his client may not be aware of the charges against him.Haliburton says a 10 page document submitted to the court by a language specialist who interviewed Cargill stated that he is not able to understand sign language.

The other accused, Marvin Orr and Adrian Morgan were charged in October last year. It is alleged that the inmates attacked and beat Deane who died three days later in hospital.





Ganja law effective Wednesday

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The recently amended Dangerous Drugs Act commonly referred to as The Ganja Law will take effect this Wednesday.

According to the Justice Ministry the law is expected to among other things reduce the number of cases before Resident Magistrate's Courts and acknowledge the constitutional rights of the Rastafari community which uses ganja as a sacrament.

It will also facilitate the creation of a regulated legitimate medicinal and industrial marijuana industry.

Justice Minister Mark Golding said in a release that Jamaica is approaching the reforms in a responsible manner, and in keeping with international obligations.

There will be a public education campaign to discourage ganja use by adolescents, persons with mental disorders, pregnant women and other vulnerable groups.





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The family of the 16 year old Jamaican boy who was refused passage through Suriname on the weekend is claiming that he is being wrongly accused.

Immigration officials in Suriname said they suspected he was traveling to join the militant group ISIS.

The Surinamese police said the teenager arrived on a flight from Jamaica, intending to transit to the Netherlands, from where he would travel to Turkey.However, his family is refuting the claim of an ISIS connection.

At his home in Bailey's Vale, Port Maria in St. Mary, his grandfather Alveren Hunter said his grandson was travelling to the Netherlands to visit his grandmother who he had not seen for years.

"That rumour is very bad, he was going to the Netherlands to his grandmother for vacation ....."

Hunter believes the authorities got it wrong as he says his grandson is not the religious type. But he acknowledged that the Koran was found in the teen's room during a search by the police on Saturday.

"He is not a Muslim..... the only church he goes to is to play football ...."

His aunt, Avril Hunter says the situation has left the family upset and concerned as it will cast a shadow over her nephew's future.

The teenager who returned to the island on Friday is in police custody.





16-y-o from Jamaica stopped from joining ISIS

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isis-photo-1.jpgOnline publication devsur.com is reporting that a 16-year-old boy from Jamaica was refused passage through Suriname yesterday (April 11) as immigration officers suspected he was travelling to join terrorist organisation Islamic State group in Turkey.

The police reportedly issued a press release stating that the teen arrived at the Johan Adolf Pengel Airport on a flight from Jamaica, intending to transit to the Netherlands, from where he would travel to his end destination Turkey.

"He was denied entry to Suriname because we received information from a regional intelligence service that he wanted to join the Islamic State group," the police reportedly said.

The online publication stated that after the boy was interrogated and additional information received from Jamaica, the decision was made to send him back to Jamaica on the next available flight.

The teenager's name was not given.





shocked.jpgTragedy struck a family in Nairne Castle, Claredon on Saturday when a three-year-old boy shot and killed his mother at his grandmother's home.

According to initial reports, at around 3 pm, the child took his father's gun and shot his mother, Rhea Ricketts, otherwise called 'Lucky', between her eyes. She was pronounced dead at the Spaulding Hospital.

The father, who is a policeman, had gone with his wife to collect their children, who had been on holidays. The father fell asleep and the child removed the firearm and shot his mother.

The family, who is from Spanish Town in St Catherine is still trying to come to terms with her tragic death. A relative described her as a fun loving person, who was easy to get along with. Her brother Junior Ricketts said the other family members are devastated.

"It's a very devastating moment, this is like a nightmare. I couldn't possibly imagine that this would have happened to us," he said.

Ricketts recalled the moments leading up to when he got the news. He said he was on his way to the house when he saw a family member running towards the house. He asked and was told his sister had been shot and killed by her son.

"When I rushed down here I saw my mom crying and I came up to the van and asked what was wrong and that was when I saw my sister lying in the van back. I looked at her and asked what was wrong then I realised blood was coming from her face and there was a hole between her eyes," he said.

Ricketts said he rushed his sister to the hospital and the doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.





Two men accused of using their bus as a "mobile hotel" for another man to have sex with a schoolgirl appeared in the Spanish Town Resident Magistrates' court on Friday.

The accused men, Omar Berry, a 24 year old conductor and Roshane Johnson, a 29 year old bus driver, both residents in Linstead, were granted bail. Bail was set at $250,000 each with 1 or 2 sureties, and both are to report to the Linstead Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm.

They are both charged for aiding and abetting, while another accused is before the Children's Court for having sex with a person under the age of 16 years old.

Allegations are that Johnson and Berry were on their bus while the other accused was on the back seat having sex with the minor. It was further outlined that Johnson was driving around in circles telling them to hurry up cause he needed to pick up passengers.

Their case was transferred to the Linstead RM Court and will be mentioned on April 22, 2015.





Congrats Mayor Browne Burke on your Doctorate

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Yardflex.com takes pleasure in congratulating Kingston Mayor, Angela Brown-Burke on receiving her PhD.

The mayor presented her doctoria thesis last week and already social media is buzzing with her achievement.

Congratulations Dr. Burke!





Teen held in murder of 11-month-old infant

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The Kingston Central Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the murder of 11-month-old Omar Lindo of Charles Street, Kingston.

The suspect, a male teen, was held in an operation in Courage district, Gordon Town, St. Andrew, which was carried out on Saturday.

Arrangements are now being made for him to be interviewed in the presence of his attorney.

Omar was shot dead in his yard on Monday, April 6. A six-year-old child was also shot and injured in the incident.





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KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - Jamaica's leader asked President Barack Obama on Thursday to exonerate black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, who was convicted in the U.S. of mail fraud in the 1920s and remains a prominent historic figure on the island.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said she told Obama it is the "deep desire of the government and people of Jamaica" to have Garvey exonerated of the conviction that got him deported back to his Jamaican homeland in 1927.

"I asked the president to consider the matter and to offer any support within his authority during his tenure in the White House, and beyond," Simpson Miller said after Obama departed the island to attend the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Garvey was the first person named a Jamaican national hero following the island's independence in 1962, and the government put his likeness on coins. He died in 1940.

U.S. officials did not immediately provide comment about Simpson Miller's request regarding Garvey, who once inspired millions of followers with messages of black pride and self-reliance. Obama made no mention of Garvey during his public comments in Jamaica, which focused on a wide range of regional issues including energy security, trade and climate change.

Born nearly 50 years after the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica in 1914 and then built it into a mass movement in New York from 1919 to 1927. From his Harlem base, Garvey urged blacks to be proud of their African ancestry at a time segregation was deeply implanted in the U.S. and European colonialism still stretched around the world.

Garvey's Pan-African philosophy urged blacks to return to the continent of their ancestors.

His supporters in Jamaica and abroad contend the U.S. charges were trumped up to silence Garvey.





Red Stripe beer delivered to the President

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United States President Barack Obama will get his desire for a cold mug of Jamaican Red Stripe beer on Air Force One.

In fact, 48 bottles of the Jamaican beverage have been delivered to Air Force One for the American president.

A taste of the Jamaican beer was one of two wishes the president made around 10 minutes before Air Force One landed at the Norman Manley International Airport on Wednesday night.

The other wish to visit the Bob Marley Museum was materialised in a surprise stop at the Hope Road-based landmark, just over an hour after Obama touched Jamaican soil.

Yesterday, Red Stripe sought to make the other wish come true, delivering two crates of beer at the Norman Manley International Airport which were received on the president's behalf by his Secret Service agents.





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The bus conductor who was implicated in the death of 14-year-old Kayalicia Simpson has been formally charged with murder by the St Thomas police on Wednesday.

He is 29-year-old Damion Ewin of Newland Housing Scheme in Yallahs. Ewin has also been charged with committing sexual offences in the same matter. On Tuesday, March 3, relatives found the girl's body and summoned the police. She was found with multiple chop wounds to the head and neck.

The post-mortem examination revealed that Kaylacia was pregnant. She was a student of the Donald Quarrie High School in Kingston.

Ewin will appear before the Yallahs Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, April, 15.





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Police said a boy found wandering at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Wednesday is a ward of the state.

Eleven-year-old Jevon Thompson, who gave his particulars as eight-year-old Kevin Washington of Miami, United States of America, is a ward at Reddie's Place of Safety in Kingston 2.

Reports are that about 12:55 p.m., Jevon was found wandering at the airport. He subsequently reported that his parents were waiting for their departure to Miami, when he went to use the bathroom and upon his return, they were not there.

Checks by the police revealed that Jevon went missing on multiple occasions and was placed at the facility in September, 2014. He was taken by the police to the home yesterday.





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Reggae artiste Chronixx yesterday cleared the air, explaining that he did not disrespect US President Barack Obama in a social media post he made earlier in the day.

This, after finding himself at the receiving end of harsh criticisms from fans.

Chronixx posted a picture of Marcus Garvey and captioned the photo: "This man ... Still have criminal record on the United States and we glorifying some waste man! This man was hunted and imprisoned by our Jamaican government ... who some years later, paved a peaceful and safe path for the US president to address is a ... "race of good for nothing's". That's why black faces don't mean anything to rasta anymore".

His post was met with harsh criticisms as many believed his 'waste man' comment was aimed at Obama. Many called him out for his hypocrisy, stating that he has performed in the United States several times.

"Waste man? But yuh deh pon TV inna waste man country a perform your songs ... . Such hypocrisy," one commentator said.

Another stated: "You are a fraud. How dare you address the man as such. You sing conscious lyrics, but you do not practice what you preach ... Give back your American visa since you are so high and mighty."

Another said: "The blatant disrespect of my President! (Your comment) was uncalled for. You earn wages in America."

Others however, agreed with Chronixx's statement, calling for the expunging of Garvey's criminal records. Chronixx later commented that those who wished to unfollow him, were free to do so.

"...Will go on more American stations this year and chant liberation again and again and again. When I speak, I don't really think about career and things like that. Nuh frighten fi career either, never born with career."

Fans of the artiste were still ruffled by his post. This prompted him to further elaborate on what he meant.

He wrote: "I love every human on this planet, and as hard as it is, I show nothing but perfect love even to the waste man dem at home and abroad. Love has nothing to do with truth! And I did not call the president a waste man."





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KINGSTON, Jamaica - An eight-year-old US child by the name of Kevin Washington from Miami, was found wandering at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Wednesday, April 8. He is of dark complexion, slim build, about four feet tall and was dressed in a grey shirt, brown shorts and a pair of blue and green crocs slippers.

Authorities are reporting that about 12:55 pm, Kevin was at the airport with his parents, waiting for their departure to Miami, when he went to use the bathroom. When he returned, his parents were gone. He gave his father's name as Junior Washington and his mother's name as Christina.

The police are asking people with information that can assist Kevin Washington in reuniting him with his family to contact the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Division (C-TOC) at 967-5948, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.





The attorney for a man killed in a boat accident in The Bahamas says the matter is likely to go to the Coroner's Court for a ruling on whether anyone should be held accountable for the death.

Sandals Resorts chairman, Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, was among the people on the Tropical Cruises-owned fishing boat which crashed on April 3. The exact circumstances of the crash could not be ascertained.

According to Tropical Cruises, Stewart was the only member of his family on the boat.

"All concerned are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased at this time," said a Tropical Cruises spokesman in a statement issued to the media.

Meanwhile, Wayne Munroe, the lawyer for the family of Timothy Ferguson, the man who was killed in the accident, said he has not had any communication with the police or Stewart. Munroe also said issues related to civil liability may arise.





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Aubrey Stewart, youth advocate and a former Head Boy of Cornwall College, shared an embrace with President Obama after introducing the world leader at a Town Hall meeting at the University of the West Indies on Thursday.

During his introduction of President Obama, he seized the opportunity to encourage young individuals to overcome their respective circumstances.

"My dream is for young people to convert every negative feeling into a feeling of hope. My country is rich with culture and talent ... and I ask you to be inspired by this nation."

Stewart also encouraged collaboration among the CARICOM nations.

When President Obama arrived on to the podium he affectionately said: "Greetings massive ...big up. It is great to be here in Jamaica."

Obama is the first US President to visit Jamaica in over 30 years.





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The University of West Indies (UWI) Assembly Hall is filled to capacity as young Jamaicans eagerly await audience with US President Barack Obama.

Obama is scheduled to hold a youth town hall forum at 2:30 pm. The audience is filled with primarily university students and young professionals, including many celebrities.

Among the well known personalities at the event are Youth Minister Lisa Hanna; world's fastest man Usain Bolt; Olympic Gold medallist Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce; singer Tessanne Chin; beauty queen Kaci Fennell; Members of Parliament Raymond Pryce and Dayton Campbell; Opposition spokesperson on education Kamina Johnson Smith and Opposition caretaker Delano Seiveright.

Hanna revealed that Obama will announce a partnership to help Jamaican youth. "As a young woman in the government, it means a lot because Obama is very passionate about youths," Hanna said before the function.

"He has worked on a lot of youth projects," she added.

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Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and US President Barack Obama this morning held bilateral discussions on Jamaica's economic programme with the International Monetary Fund, IMF.

Mr. Obama expressed support for Jamaica's efforts in dealing with its public debt, investments in youth and efforts at strengthening governance.

He said issues of energy and climate change were also discussed and will take centre stage when he meets with Caricom leaders this afternoon.

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President Obama also spoke about Security and the strains drugs trade is placing on Jamaica.

President Obama said the relationship between Jamaica and the US is more than a friendship between states. He said due to the long history, the two countries were more like family bond.

Mr Obama said he intends to return with his wife Michelle and the family sometime in the future.

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President Obama visited the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica on Wednesday night. The president took a brief tour of the museum which was once home of Jamaica's reggae icon in the capital. Earlier he met with U.S. embassy personnel and their families at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel where he is staying.

The stop was not previously listed on Obama's schedule and reporters were barred from covering the tour, according to a pool report.

Obama reminisced as he looked at a wall of framed records inside the museum and said "I still have all the albums," according to a New York Times photographer who was allowed on the tour.

Marley's hit song "One Love" played over speakers as the president exited the museum.

Obama spoke about his admiration for Marley in an interview with MTV in 2012.

"I remember in college listening, and not agreeing with his whole philosophy necessarily, but raising my awareness how people outside of our country were thinking about the struggle for jobs and dignity and freedom," he said.

Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Jamaica since 1982. The president will meet with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller Thursday morning before meeting with Caricom leaders at the regional headquarters of the University of the West Indies.

He will travel Thursday evening to Panama to attend the Summit of the Americas.





President Barack Obama arrives in Jamaica

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president-obama-greetings-massive.jpg US President Barack Obama arrived in Jamaica shortly after 7:30 pm on Thursday aboard Air Force One that landed at the Norman Manley International Airport.

This marks the second visit to the island by a sitting president of the United States, the first being Ronald Reagan in April 1982.

The president was met by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Chairman of Caricom Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas and leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness.

The welcoming party will included other Ministers, Members of the Senate, Judiciary, defence and the diplomatic corps.

Shortly after his arrival, Obama was whisked away by helicopter.





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Less than a day before the start of the visit by President Barack Obama, Wednesday night into Thursday, there are few details about the President's itinerary.

Sources cite security concerns for the lack of details even as arrangements are made to ensure security and a sense of order around public places on the route of the President's party and at places he's expected to visit.

Officials have been clearing stalls and informal structures in areas around the route from the airport and also at Heroes Park which President Obama is to visit.

Vendors who operated food and fruit stalls at the Harbour View round about and also those who sell fish and food at the Rae Town Beach found the stalls destroyed at the weekend.

Several wooden stalls were also smashed between Sunday and yesterday at Manchester Square to the south of heroes park. That location is well known for the selling of crabs.

Up to now it is not clear if Mr Obama himself will use the roads from the airport and along Michael Manley Highway into New Kingston. It is being speculated he will be taken by helicopter into new Kingston to his hotel. However, members of his entourage will use that stretch of roadway.

Parts of the road ways and intersections in New Kingston have already had new surfaces.

The main events are expected to be the welcome at Norman Manley International Airport, a meeting with the cabinet followed by a joint appearance of President Obama and Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller who are likely to sign an agreement.

That will be followed by the Heroes Park visit and a town hall meeting with youth leaders from across the Caribbean at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus on Thursday evening.





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The police are have identified 17-year-old Voshorney Green AKA Vos - or as reported in another medium, Fashornie Green, also known as 'Fuzz' - as the suspect behind Monday's gruesome murder of an 11-month-old child in Kingston Central.

"Based on the information we have, this teenager is known to frequent Luke Lane and surrounding areas and we want to use this opportunity to call on the accused to turn himself in to the police," Deputy Superintendent Percival Anderson, head of the Kingston Central Police Division, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

According to the police, at around 11:20 am on Monday, a man was standing along Chancery Lane when he was attacked by another man armed with a gun.

Reports are that the man, in a bid to escape, ran into a yard. The gunman, who was in hot pursuit, fired several shots at the man.

Eleven-month-old Omar Lindo, who was being bathed by his mother in the yard, was fatally shot during the attack.

Yesterday Member of Parliament for the West Kingston Desmond McKenzie condemned the act and called on the police to leave no stone unturned in their search for the suspect.





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LOCAL authorities were, up to late yesterday, unable to say whether businesses along Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston will have to keep their doors closed for at least a day as a result of today's visit of the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama.

Located along the strip, one of the major corridors to be blocked off from vehicular access from 5:00 pm today to 5:00 pm tomorrow, are financial institutions, places of entertainment, restaurants, government agencies, and at least three shopping centres.

Emancipation Park, a major public space for Jamaicans from across the island, will also be closed at midday today. Other major and access roads to be closed off include sections of Camp Road, Arnold Road, Half-Way-Tree Road, Hope Road, Slipe Road, Caledonia Avenue, Caledonia Crescent, Arthur Wint Drive, Central Avenue, North Avenue, Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts, Old Hope Road, Eureka Crescent, Ripon Road, Oxford Road, Belmont Road, Haining Road, Trinidad Terrace, and Slipe Road

At a press conference at Jamaica House yesterday, head of the Police Border and Security Branch, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) James Golding said the businesses would be contacted in order to make arrangements, but information minister Senator Sandrea Falconer insisted that due to security concerns, the public could not be given details of the plans for access.

"We would not be allowed to give detailed information with too much of an advance. What we will be doing is contacting the business owners on Knutsford Boulevard, in addition to all the mass media announcements that we will make, and they can make that determination as to how they will treat it," she said.





15 year-old boy accuses policeman of buggery

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A 15-year-old boy is accusing a cop of buggery after the policeman allegedly accosted him, took him to a location and molested him.

It is reported that the boy made a report after confiding with a relative.

The news team understands that the cop has reportedly not shown for work since the matter was reported to his superiors.

It is not clear whether or not the police officer implicated has been officially removed from front-line duty.

The rank of the officer at the centre of the controversy has not been ascertained.

Some police officers within the parish said they were unaware, while a few said they were not at liberty to speak on the matter and directed our questions to the commander in charge and the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU).

However, several calls to the commander's mobile phone proved futile and the CCU said they were not aware of any incident of that nature.





Obama trip no longer a state visit

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Jamaica House says the trip to Jamaica by US President Barack Obama is no longer being designated a State Visit as had been previously agreed and communicated.

In a release issued last night, Jamaica House said the change takes into account the time constraints of the short duration of the visit and the established nature of a State Visit in the Jamaican context.

"Throughout the planning of the visit there has been, and continues to be, continuous dialogue between counterparts in the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the United States," a Jamaica House Spokesperson said in the release.

Jamaica House also said the Governments of Jamaica and the United States are committed to ensuring a successful and productive visit.

President Obama will arrive in Jamaica on April 8.

On April 9 the US President will have bilateral talks with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. He will also hold a summit with the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community and lay a wreath to honour veterans of World War I and World War II.

President Obama will also host the President's Town Hall forum with Caribbean and Regional Young Leaders.

He departs Jamaica on April 9.





Cops being sensitised to ganja amendments

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Police officers are being sensitised on the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, the Police High Command recently reported.

Though the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) awaits a commencement day notice by Minister of Justice Mark Golding before the law can take effect - it is warning the public that until that happens, strict adherence to the law should be maintained.

The Bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act, to decriminalize ganja for medicinal, religious, scientific and therapeutic purposes, was passed in the Senate on February 6 with five amendments. It has been signed by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and is to be gazetted.

It seeks to make the possession of small quantities of ganja, amounting to two ounces or less a non-arrestable offense, but ticketable infraction.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds reckoned that while there is an amendment to the law, regulations must be passed to bring it into effect.

"The amendment speaks to smoking and possession, so the police will respond to the law as they are obligated to," he said.

Hinds further emphasised that the cultivation of marijuana still remains illegal without a licence.

The government had previously indicated that it intends to set up a licensing authority to regularise the cannabis industry.





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United States and Jamaican officials have ramped up security operations three days ahead of the arrival of US President Barack Obama.

At least four US Army helicopters arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport on Sunday. Obama will arrive in Jamaica on April 8 via US Air Force One.

Despite feverish road repairs and beautification activities by the government in preparation for the President's visit, Loop News understands that Obama will be airlifted to an undisclosed location in Kingston after arrival at NMIA.

At least three hotels have been booked out ahead of Obama's two-day visit.





An events promoter was hauled before the Spanish Town court and fined a whopping $50,000 or face six months in jail for operating an event without the required permit.

He appeared before a RM A. Nembhard and pleaded guilty with explanation. However, his attempts to defend himself triggered titters of amusement from court personnel.

RM Nembhard, who appeared to be getting increasingly irritable as the man rambled on, cut him off abruptly and summarily fined him $50,000 for operating an event without the required permit.

He told the judge that he didn't have the money to pay the fine, but his pleas were ignored.

The man's co-accused also pleaded guilty, and was fined $15,000 for operating a sound system without permission. However, he pleaded with the judge that he had only $5,000.

She accepted his pleas and he was allowed to pay a part of the fine and leave.





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The policeman who was shot and killed by his colleague during a botched robbery attempt has been identified. He is Constable Kemar Beckford of the Negril Police Station.

News reports are that Beckford was on sick leave when he and a crony attempted to rob a bar in which a senior cop was a patron. A shoot out ensued and Beckford was cut down. Both robbers wore masks. It is suspected that the second robber escaped.

Two persons were also injured in the melee while the senior cop received grazes from two projectiles. A Glock semi-automatic pistol with several rounds of ammunition was taken from Beckford's body. Glock pistols are issued to some cops.

The incident happened in Hopewell, Hanover early Saturday morning.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) is probing the incident.





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Food vendors who operate in Heroes' Circle in Kingston are upset after their stalls were today demolished by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

A visit to Heroes Park is on the tight itinerary of US President Barak Obama's visit to Jamaica. His delegation, part of which is already in the island, visited Heroes Circle today.

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This morning, personnel from the KSAC visited the area and removed stalls on the sidewalk along the popular roadway.

A vendor, Marsha, says she and other vendors were not given proper notice about the removal. Another vendor described the KSAC's action as "cruel and uncaring".She stressed that many of those who have been selling along Heroes Circle have been doing so for generations and that food vending is the main source of income for several families in the area.

The woman further emphasised that she relies on her vending to send her children to school and to pay for the medication for a sick child.

Less robberies in New Kingston; more in Mona, Liguanea

The St Andrew Central Police say there has been a significant reduction in robberies in New Kingston and its environs, following the removal of a group of homeless men and drug addicts from the Shoemaker Gully.

The police and the Kingston & St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) moved the men in December. Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, head of the St Andrew Central Police, reports that a round-the-clock monitoring of the gully by the police has resulted in a major reduction in robberies.

He also disclosed that the police have launched a search for a group of bikers, linked to robberies in the division, especially in the Mona and Liguanea communities.Over the past several weeks, the bikers have stolen money, cellular phones and jewellery from their victims.

"They would look out for persons who go to the bank, and they would seize the opportunity... ladies, if they have their handbag, they would grab it... and they have... persons at different locations, and so they would just mount the bikes and disappear," he explained.

He said two of the bikes were seized last week. He added, however, that there is also a car being used in some of these robberies. SSP Bailey is urging members of the public to be on the look-out for the men and to call the police if they are spotted.





11-Month-old baby shot dead

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An armed gunman shot and killed an 11-month-old infant this afternoon in Central Kingston. Another child who was shot is reportedly battling for life in hospital.

The dead infant has been identified as Omar Lindo.

The incident reportedly happened around 12:50 p.m. on Chancery Lane.

According to the grandmother of the child, Lindo was killed while his mother bathed him in the yard.

The police have not established a motive for the shooting.





Road rage murder in quiet community

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St Andrew Central police were called to a homicide scene along Ziadie Avenue in Ziadie Gardens, St Andrew late Thursday night.

Upon arrival, cops discovered the body of a male lying in a pool of blood on the road, beside a white Honda Accord motor car. The body had gun shot wounds and a fractured leg, police report.

The dead man has been identified as Derron Rolando Whittaker, 35, of Havendale in St Andrew.

Cops suspect that the deceased was the driver of the Honda motor car, believed to have been involved in a traffic accident with another vehicle, leading to a dispute. Gunshots were reportedly fired and the other vehicle subsequently drove away. It is also believed that Whittaker was ran over by the said vehicle.

Several spent shells were found at the scene.





The police have released the identities of the two men whose bodies were found on Friday on a dirt track in Nain, St. Elizabeth. They are Nicholas Foster of Precious Plains in Manchester and Donald Jacobs of Lititz in St. Elizabeth.

It's reported that Jacobs who was facing charges of robbery, rape and abduction, was out on bail.

Investigators say three live rounds were found in the pocket of one of the deceased. Items believed to have been stolen in an earlier robbery at New Building in Nain were also found.

The St. Elizabeth Police theorize that Jacobs and Foster were killed by their accomplices after they failed to account for a missing illegal gun.





Riverton fire cost the gov't $235-Million

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Director General at the Office of Disaster of Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Major Clive Davis says the government has spent in excess of $235 million to extinguish the recent 12-day fire at the Riverton Landfill

Major Davis made the announcement at a Jamaica House press briefing in St Andrew on Wednesday, adding that heavy equipment and trucks will also be withdrawn from the site by Saturday.

He also said that ODPEM is now in the process of closing off extinguishing operations at the dump, and by Saturday "we anticipate that the site will be completely covered and what you will see is an increasingly stockpiling of cover material for any future activities there."

For his part, Minister of Local Government Noel Arscott assured that there would not be a repeat of the incident, based on measures being put in place by the government and the fire suppression equipment that have been procured.





Jamaican scammer jailed in Florida

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A 26 year old man in Broward, Florida who admitted he was part of a Jamaican lottery scam that targeted seniors in the U.S. was sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison when he appeared in court on Friday.

Mikhail Williams, admitted he handled more than US$87-thousand in wire and cash transfers from 21 elderly victims who were tricked into believing they had won a lottery or sweepstake.He pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha Mitrani said Williams squandered a second chance he was given in 2010 when investigators from the U.S.Postal Inspection Service warned him that money he received was part of a lottery or sweepstakes scam. Williams, who is Jamaican, was warned he could face prosecution if he continued to participate.

In court he claimed he had no direct contact with the victims, did not realize how old they were and only took a percentage of the money before sending the rest to Jamaica.

Williams will be deported after his prison term.





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US authorities have arrested a Philadelphia woman with a connection to Jamaica and charged her with attempting to provide support to militant group Islamic State (IS).

The US Justice Department said the woman, who was arrested on Thursday, was planning to travel overseas to join the organisation.

Keonna Thomas, 30, also known as Fatayat al-Khalifah and YoungLioness, was charged with trying to provide material support and resources, including herself as a fighter, to a foreign terrorist organisation.

It's alleged that having applied for a passport in February, she e-mailed a radical cleric in Jamaica, saying she had deactivated her Twitter account until leaving for Syria to avoid attention.

Under Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance, she allegedly e-mailed an IS extremist based in the group's stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria. According to the Justice Department, if convicted, Thomas faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Thomas is the second Syria-linked terror case involving US women announced by prosecutors in days. Two women were arrested in New York on Thursday and charged with planning to build a bomb and attack the United States, allegedly inspired by Al Qaeda and IS.

Jamaica's Ministry of National Security last month dismissed a claim by a US army General that Jamaicans have joined ISIS in Syria.





A policeman has reportedly shot a colleague dead during a botched robbery at a bar in Hopewell, Hanover. The incident occurred early Saturday morning.

News reports are that the dead cop, whose identity has not yet been released, attempted to rob a bar in the rural district when he was challenged by a cop who was on spot.

The senior cop reportedly shot his armed colleague dead before realising that he was in fact a member of the constabulary who was stationed in the neighbouring parish of Westmoreland at the Negril Police Station.

A patron and a bartender are nursing injuries while the heroic cop was slightly injured during the shoot-out.





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The body of a woman believed to be the wife of a popular deejay Merciless was discovered on Friday at her home in Longville Park, Clarendon. It is suspected that she may have committed suicide by ingesting pills.

She has been identified as Keisha Gibbs-Bartley. According to the Corporate Communications Unit, Bartley was found at her Longville Park, Clarendon home about 11 a.m. last Friday by a neighbour who allegedly observed her in distress.

Other reports are that a few minutes after 11 am on Good Friday, a neighbour saw the woman's body on the floor of her home with what appeared to be pills nearby.

The neighbour alerted the police and fire personnel from the Old Harbour Fire Station. The police were called to the scene and the body removed. No foul play is suspected at this time.

When contacted, Merciless, who appeared distraught, said that he did not want to comment on the matter.





Several real estate assets have been seized by the State and a man arrested following a major police operation in Ironshore, St James on Thursday afternoon.

Following an operation by the Financial Investigation Division, and the Major Organization Crime and Anti Corruption Agency (MOCA) three houses, one valued at J$65 million were seized.

Spokesman for MOCA West, Corporal Kevin Watson, says the owners have been charged with money laundering.

Law enforcement personnel in the US have also made arrests in connection with today's operation.





Attorney-at-law Leroy Equiano who is accused of defrauding the Legal Aid Clinic of millions of dollars has been charged.

Mr Equiano, who was taken into custody on Monday, was charged yesterday evening by investigators from the Major Organised Crime and Anti Corruption Agency.The attorney, who is a Director at the Legal Aid Clinic, has been charged with several counts of fraud involving more than $8 million.

Mr Equiano was offered station bail in the sum of $500,000 and is booked to appear in court next week Friday.

MOCA reported that his arrest followed months of investigation into the alleged misappropriation of millions of dollars at the Clinic.

The police are also probing an incident in which thieves broke into the offices of the Legal Aid Clinic two weeks ago and remove computers as well as documents.

He is the fourth attorney arrested in recent weeks.

Miguel Lorne, Harold Brady and Patrick Bailey were detained last month and charged with fraud.





Three Cuban footballers who are accused of raping an American tourist in western Jamaica were not pointed out in an identification parade that was conducted on Wednesday.

However the three, while not being charged, remain in custody.

The police said they are awaiting the results of a DNA test to commence the next level of their probe.

The three Cubans were arrested after the woman complained to the police. The incident reportedly took place at a resort in Montego Bay this week.

The Cubans were in Jamaica for a football friendly, which ended in a 3-0 win for the Reggae Boyz.





Another child killed

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An 11-year-old boy was shot and killed in Clarendon on Wednesday.

Homicide investigators have yet to ascertain a motive for the heinous act. The dead child has been identified as Steven Williams, of Fourth Street, New Bowen, Clarendon.

Police report that, at about 8:15 pm, residents heard explosions and summoned them. When the cops arrived, Steven was seen with gunshot wounds along Fourth Street.

He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.





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US President Barack Obama is to arrive in Jamaica on April 8.

The Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had announced that Obama would arrive on April 9.

However Consular Officer for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Kingston, Joshua Polacheck, says the April 8 arrival date is not a change in schedule as it was planned long ago that the US President would arrive ahead of a full working day on April 9.

"Think about the travel time from Washington, if he is going to work on the morning of the 9th he would have to leave Washington like 4 in the morning", Polacheck explained.

A check on the White House's website show a release issued on March 18 which states that President Obama will visit Jamaica and Panama from April 8-11.

Meanwhile, Polacheck says officials are finalising President Obama's schedule for his visit to Jamaica. He says among other things the US President will be holding bilateral talks with Prime Minister Portia Simpson as well as meeting with leaders from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Yesterday, the Ministry of National Security issued a statement saying the National Reserve of the Jamaica Defence Force has been called out to strengthen security Obama's visit. National Security Minister, Peter Bunting said the calling out of the Reserves is among several security measures being pursued. Bunting also said the public should expect traffic diversions and road closures for the visit.

Additionally, there will be air space restrictions to be communicated by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.





Top cops probing Trelawny gun find

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Top-level investigators from the Criminal Investigation Bureau have taken over the investigation into the large gun find in Trelawny on Sunday.

Police sources say the find is a link in the chain of what they say is a bigger plot, a belief that has seemingly triggered the high-level investigation.

Meanwhile, the two men who were held in connection with the seizure, are still in police custody.

Eleven guns were recovered when a pick-up with two men was intercepted by the police in Scarlett Hall, Trelawny on Sunday.

The weapons include a grenade launcher, an M-16, an AK-47, a Sniper Rifle, one Intratek Submachine, and an Uzi Submachine gun.





It has been revealed that the Kingston Legal Aid Clinic is under the scrutiny of the Ministry of Justice in the wake of concerns about its operations.

The revelation follows yesterday's arrest of an attorney who was linked to the Legal Aid Clinic.Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding last night told RJR News he ordered an audit of the agency.The findings were submitted to the Ministry

The Major Organised Crime and Anti Corruption Agency confirmed a report carried by RJR News that the attorney was taken into custody during an operation in the Corporate Area. A raid was also conducted at the Legal Aid Clinic on Tower Street in downtown Kingston. Several items were seized and investigations continue into a case of forgery and misappropriation of several million dollars in clients' funds. The detainee will be interviewed today.

In the meantime, the Justice Minister has signalled that changes are coming to the operations of the Legal Aid Clinic. He says he will have to look at the overall management arrangements.





Warning issued over Portmore fish kill

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A warning has been issued by the police about a fish kill in Portmore, St. Catherine.

The police are advising members of the public that a large quantity of the fish populary called Sprat, believed to have been poisoned and seen floating in the Bridgeview/ Edgewater canal must not be retrieved and consumed.

The police and members of the National Environment and Planning Agency, are trying determine the cause of the fish kill. Members of the public should be on the lookout for persons selling the fish and make a report to the police.





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The man who admitted to hatching a hoax that he was contracted to assassinate Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and Jamaica Labour Party General Secretary Horace Chang, was slapped with a 30-month sentence on Tuesday.

He is Maxie Robinson, who police say has a long fraud rap sheet and was recently released from prison. Robinson was informed of his sentence when he appeared in the Corporate Area

Resident Magistrate's Court. He was charged with Creating Public Mischief.

In the aftermath of Holness' announcement of a reshuffled Shadow Cabinet in January, Robinson made a report that he was one of three men who had been contracted to carry out the hit.

He later admitted that the report was false.





Justice Sarah James-Thompson sentenced a sex offender to a total of 82 years in prison for molesting a teenager two years ago. The sentence was handed down in the St Catherine Circuit Court last Friday.

The 45-year-old St Ann accused pleaded guilty to all charges during the preliminary inquiry. He was given sentences of 45 years for rape, 15 years for abduction, 12 years for robbery with aggravation, and 10 years for grievous sexual assault.

Justice James-Thompson ruled that the accused is not eligible for parole until he has served 35 years of his sentence.

The court heard that in May 2013, the complainant, who was then 13 years old, was on her way to school in St Catherine when the accused held her and dragged her into bushes.

He placed a machete at her throat, while he raped her. He also robbed her of the $550 lunch money she had. After the ordeal, the complainant made a report to the Linstead police in St Catherine. An investigation was launched and he was subsequently picked up by the police.

He was positively identified by the complainant during an identification parade.

The investigating officer in the matter was Detective Constable Tracey-Ann Cooper-Prince of the Linstead Criminal Investigation Branch.





12 year-old stabbed to death by classmate

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shocked.jpgA 12-year-old Grade six student is dead and his classmate in police custody after a dispute over a chair got violent at Barrett Town All-Age School in St James Monday morning.

The dead boy has been identified as Shyheim Lewis of Barrett Town.

According to hismother, Jacinth Johnson, she was at home when she got the news that her son had been wounded and rushed off to the school.

She said she was told that there was a dispute between her son and a classmate over a chair and Shyheim was stabbed. .Johnson said it was reported to her that her son was stabbed while standing on the corridor. According to the mother he was stabbed in the side and received a cut to the face. The child died at hospital.

Both boys are said to have sat the Grade Six Achievement Test last Thursday and Friday. Shyheim's mother said her son wanted to attend Maldon High and he had dreams of becoming a soldier.

Meanwhile, Ms Johnson has raised several questions about the circumstances leading up to her son's death.





patrick-bailey.jpg Prominent attorney Patrick Bailey who was taken into custody on Monday has been charged with fraud.

He was detained by the Fraud Squad.

Reports are that Bailey was arrested in connection with a J$100 million real estate deal.

Bailey has been released from custody following his arrest yesterday by Fraud Squad detectives.

Head of the Fraud Squad, Superintendent Anthony McLaughlin, says Mr. Bailey was the subject of a lengthy investigation in relation land deal in 1996. He said he found it necessary to lay charges against him.

He will appear in court next week Wednesday.

He is the third attorney arrested in recent weeks.

Miguel Lorne and Harold Brady were detained last month and charged with fraud.





Pregnant teenager killed in motor vehicle crash

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A teenaged girl said to be in an advanced stage of pregnancy died Monday morning in a motor vehicle crash along the Chalky Hill main road in St. Ann.

She has been identified as Sasha Beckford,17, of Croft's Hill in Clarendon.Four other persons including a child were taken to hospital.

It's reported that shortly after 6 o'clock the teenager was a passenger in a Toyota Corolla motorcar along with her mother, a man and his son. The vehicle reportedly skidded and plunged about 100 metres over a precipice.

It was the third fatal crash in St. Ann since the start of the weekend and the fourth fatality.





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State Minister for Works Richard Azan says road repairs being carried out in sections of the Corporate Area are not being done for the visit of US President Barrack Obama.

"It is a programme that we have taken in which we focus on a number of main roads in the Corporate Area; we are going to do rural Jamaica very shortly..." Azan said.

He further said: "The only thing about it is that some are being repaired in the period of time that President Obama will be visiting. But the repairs are not for the President's visit."

The National Works Agency (NWA) announced that several roads will be repaired over the next two weeks.

Obama is slated to arrive on the island on April 9.





US visitor missing

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Forty-eight year-old Terrence Kemble of Lauda Hill Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been missing since Friday, March 27.

He is of dark complexion, stout-build and is about 172 centimetres (5 feet 8 inches) tall.

Kemble was last seen about 8:30 p.m., on Chisholm Avenue, Kingston 13. He was dressed in a pair of black jeans pants, a plaid short-sleeved shirt and a pair of black and white sandals. He has not been heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Terrence Kemble is being asked to contact the Duhaney Park police at 933-4280, police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.





Guns, rocket launcher seized on highway

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The Trelawny police said two men have been taken into custody over yesterday's seizure of 11 guns and a rocket launcher during a spot check.

The men were reportedly stopped while travelling in a pickup along the Scarlett Hall area of the North Coast leg of Highway 2000. The guns and rocket launcher were found in a barrel. An investigator said the weapons were concealed in what he described as a well-taped and packaged parcel.

The cops are warning motorists against alerting persons of police presence on the roads. Deputy Superintendent Odeen Dennis reported that the men almost eluded the police because other motorists warned them of their presence.

Fortunately, Dennis said the police saw what was happening and thwarted the bid to escape.

The senior policeman is warning motorists to desist from doing this because, according to him, many lives could be lost based on the number and types of guns seized. Some of the weapons seized include a rocket launcher, an M-16, an AK-47, a Sniper rifle, one Intratek sub-machine and a Uzi sub-machine, among others.

The police said 16 guns have been recovered in the parish since the start of the year.





Video clip lands schoolboys in police custody

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Two male students from a prominent high school in St Thomas have been taken into custody, after a video surfaced that showed them assaulting another schoolboy. The incident happened last week and was recorded and posted on several social media sites, including Facebook.

The video, which shows the students striking another male student with a belt, while other students watched, caused outrage among many social media viewers, who denounced the boys as bullies and troublemakers.

Deputy Superintendent Charmaine Shand of the St Thomas police confirmed that the incident was under investigation. She said officers have also received a statement from the boy who was assaulted. The St Thomas police also said that they have expanded their support to the school, offering aid in conflict resolution and violence reduction.

Shand is also appealing for the individual who recorded the incident to make a statement to the police to assist with the investigation.





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Dancehall artiste Miguel Collins, more popularly known as Sizzla Kolanji, has been charged for using expletives onstage during a performance at the Falmouth Police Station Sunday morning.

Sizzla had been invited in good faith to perform at the station for an entertainment event organised by the police Community Safety & Security Branch, a community outreach arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

However, on entering the stage, his opening sentence was reportedly laced with expletives as he berated the police.

The police, who had invited the artiste, did not turn a blind eye to his performance and he was taken from the stage and charged.

Some persons in attendance at the event said they were angered by his removal from the stage, arguing that the police knew his style and should not have invited the artiste if they did not want to hear what he had to say.

The majority of attendees, however, were of the view that Sizzla's performance was an attack on, and disrespectful to, law and order, particularly since he was performing at the station said to be one of the largest in the Caribbean.





A vendor had to make a hasty retreat from a St Catherine school after he had a dispute with the principal who pulled a machete and threatened to cut him down to size. The incident is the subject of much laughter in the community where the school is located.

"Is blaze di vendor have to blaze him way from the school, after him and di principal have a fuss. Him seh di big man get real bringle, so him a go station," a resident, who is a taxi operator, reported.

Reports are that last Friday, the male vendor was at the school where he sells, when there was a disagreement. It was reported that the vendor and the principal had a heated verbal exchange.

This was said to have developed into a dispute, leading the principal to brandish a machete. Further reports are that the principal told the vendor he would "cut him down to size". The fearful vendor fled the scene, and ran to the police thereafter.

The Bog Walk police have acknowledged the incident and said that both parties were spoken to.





andrew-holness-photo-2.jpgThe Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has issued a release saying Andrew Holness has been affirmed as the party leader.

Opposition Members of Parliament were meeting to determine Holness' fate following an Appeals Court ruling last week dismissing his application the Senate seat court battle involving Arthur Williams and Christopher Tufton.

The JLP says 20 of the 21 Opposition MPs attended the meeting.

North West St Elizabeth MP J C Hutchinson was the only one absent.

However, the JLP says this was unavoidable and Hutchinson communicated his position in writing.





mavado-photo-11.jpgDancehall artiste Mavado says he was a victim of racial profiling at an Asian restaurant in New York recently. According to the Love In Your Heart singer, he was treated like a bum and even verbally abused at the restaurant because of the colour of his skin.

The artiste, who expressed his grouse with the restaurant via his Instagram page, claims he visited the establishment to have lunch with his family and friends. However, he was unreasonably forced to sit at the back even though it was pretty much empty.

Mavado also claims the manager of the restaurant prohibited him from using his phone in any manner, after which they rushed him to eat his food, as if they did not want to accommodate him and his guests for an extended period.

The artiste says his manager was later contacted by the restaurant and they profusely apologised for their actions, highlighting that they were ignorant to his popularity.

"Just went to ... restaurant and this manager - or whoever he wants to be -- was very disrespectful after I just spend a couple hundreds inside for me, my friends, and family. How could you have someone running a business and being prejudice, and trying to tell customers not to come back just because he didn't know who I am, but now he knows." Mavado posted on Instagram.

Mavado's story has since caught the attention of popular US urban media houses like TMZ and VLAD TV.

The artiste is currently promoting a single called Ain't Going Back Broke featuring Ace Hood and Future. The soon-to-be-released remix features Vybz Kartel.





A video of a man and a large woman having sex in broad daylight has crept up on various platforms.

As of Tuesday, the video has racked up close to half-a-million views on Facebook and is being shared through messaging application, WhatsApp.

The video, which was recorded somewhere along Ripon Road, shows the large woman, believed to be a prostitute, bent over a motor vehicle as a slim man has his way with her. The road, as well as surrounding areas is viewed as a hotspot for such activities. The man, who was wearing a condom as he did his business in the video, was being boosted by his friends recording his escapade.

However, the man is being derided by the prostitute and a few others for having 'finished' too quickly. At the end of the video, the woman disposes of the condom, pushes the man away, then walks off.

Visits to the area on Wednesday afternoon showed broken magnum glass bottles and a few used condoms which tell the tale of the activities which transpire on that road, which is a location for several businesses, as well as a popular strip club.

A manager for one of the businesses close to where the video was recorded expressed anger at the situation.

"It is upsetting and frustrating. You would think it's Coronation Market. We have been complaining in silence to the police," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent in charge of the New Kingston Police Post, Christopher Murdock, said the police use high visibility patrol to deter such activities.





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Reports that Buju Banton has been freed and deported to Jamaica have sent the internet into a world-wind.

However, it has been revealed that Buju is still behind bars at the McRae Correctional Institution in the state of Georgia and is listed for release on January 3, 2019.

Buju Banton was arrested at his Florida home by US Marshalls in connection with drug trafficking in 2009. He was found guilty after two trials in a Tampa Court.

The Gargamel who is of the belief that he was entrapped by a US government informant; maintains his innocence.





shocked.jpg A 15 year old student is now in police custody in connection with the shooting of a 14 year old female student on Wednesday.

The police report that the injured teenager was on her way home when the incident occurred.

The other student - a male, is expected to be charged.

Head of the St. Catherine South Police Division Senior Superintendent Noel Christie says other charges are expected to be laid against individuals who filed a false report to the police regarding the incident.

The injured student has been listed in serious but stable condition.





barack-obama-photo-2.jpg National Security Minister, Peter Bunting, says the county's security forces are prepared for the upcoming visit to Jamaica of US President, Barack Obama.

President Obama is to arrive in Kingston on April 9 for what Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has said will be a State Visit.

Obama is scheduled to meet with Caricom Heads of Government while in Kingston.

When US President Ronald Reagan came to Jamaica on an Official Visit in April 1982, there were extensive security arrangements, including US law enforcement agents doing checks on some residential homes.

In a radio interview on Thursday, National Security Minister Peter Bunting said the public would soon be updated on precautions that will be put in place when President Obama arrives in Kingston.

The Security Minister said he recognized that President Obama's arrival will mean all eyes on Jamaica.





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gay-protest-new-york.jpg "Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere," Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable Portia Simpson Miller told gay rights protestors in New York who crashed her keynote address at the launch of the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.

As Simpson Miller defended Jamaica's record of protecting the rights of gays, the protestors demanded she do more for them. However, the prime minister did not take kindly to the disruption and chided the protestors for not telling the truth.

"Nobody never hears the Government of Jamaica beating up gays; not one. Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere," the prime minister said to loud cheers and applause from the audience.

Simpson Miller noted her position and that her People's National Party Government is different from that of the previous administration of Bruce Golding, who famously said he would not allow gays to serve in his Cabinet.

Simpson Miller stressed that she would not be bullied by those who tell lies about Jamaica's treatment of gays. And she further lamented that Jamaica would not bow to attempts to hurt the country's image with misinformation. The prime minister said Jamaica respects the human rights of all its citizens, including gays. She added that those who disagreed are not being truthful.

"Jamaica will continue to rise and shine globally. Jamaica will rise and shine all over the world and no one man can stop that," Simpson Miller declared.

In the past, gay-rights advocates have picketed events attended by the prime minister in New York.





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Puma, the global sports brand, will include Barbadian singer Rihanna in its Forever Faster campaign which embodies the spirit of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. It signals Puma's further alliance with celebrity icons birthed in the region.

"In 2015, world-class athletes like Usain Bolt and Sergio Agüero will be joined by a new face: style icon Rihanna," stated Puma in its recently released annual reports 2014.

Rihanna, at 27, will assume the role of global brand ambassador and creative director for Puma Women's Fitness and Training.

"Rihanna's unique feeling for style and innovation will be vital in product development here," stated Puma, which made 84 million euros in consolidated net earnings for its 2014 annual year-on-year revenues of 2.97 billion euros. This represented a tripling of net earnings year-on-year.

The "Forever Faster" campaign -- the largest brand campaign in Puma's history -- was launched in August and met with a "very positive response" from consumers and retailers, the company stated. The campaign aims to show that 'Puma is back in sports'.

"No other female superstar embodies our brand as well as she does. Rihanna is the global brand ambassador for the Puma category Women's Training and at the same time is assuming the role of creative director for this area. In this role, Rihanna will incorporate her special flair for style and innovation in our products," stated Puma in its report on Rihanna, who was born in Barbados but currently lives in the US.

The annual report added: "Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, thus embodies the mission statement 'Forever Faster'".





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A 13-year-old student of Munro College in St. Elizabeth has been hospitalised following a stabbing incident early Monday.

According to reports, the student and a 17-year-old school mate were involved in a dispute. The argument reportedly got heated and, during the altercation, the 17-year-old stabbed the 13-year-old.

A police source disclosed that the 17-year-old has not yet been questioned in connection with the stabbing.

Efforts to reach Munro's Principal were unsuccessful.





Teacher robbed during class at Angels Primary

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Students and employees of the Angels Primary School in St. Catherine have been left shaken following an incident yesterday in which a female teacher was held up and robbed while conducting a class. They are receiving counselling.

Vice Principal of Angels Primary, Gloria Crooks, said the police were informed of the incident. She explained that he held up the guidance councellor while she was conducting a class of about 30 students. He robbed her of two rings.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has condemned the incident. He said it's unfortunate that criminals continue to target schools.





petrotrin-logo.jpg Trinidad and Tobago prices the finished petroleum products it sells to Caricom countries nearly 10 per cent higher than the sale price outside the region, claims William Mahfood.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) president said that the twin-island republic charges "a premium to Jamaica at almost 10 per cent in order for us to pay just below what it would cost the extra-regional price including duty".

Mahfood was referring to the common external tariff (CET) applied to goods imported from countries which are not members of Caricom to member countries. The CET is 10 per cent, while Petrotrin (the state-run oil refinery in Trinidad) prices its finished products at 9.9 per cent above Platts or Gulf Coast reference prices, according to Mahfood.

"Only recently I found out that within Caricom, we can only import petroleum finished products from Petrotrin," Mahfood said at the PSOJ breakfast forum held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday.

"We need to insist that they immediately price their products to Jamaica at the same price they would sell to Aruba or Curacao and other non-Caricom members."

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell said that Government would likely be supportive of lobby efforts aimed at further reducing energy costs.





Transport Minister Omar Davies on sick leave

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omar-davies.jpg Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies has been forced to take leave from the job due to ill health.

Davies went on leave on Monday. One of his physicians, Dr Morais Guy, the minister without portfolio in the ministry, said Davies' condition led to him blocking out. He, however, refused to give details on his health.

But well-placed government sources say Davies has had to undergo surgery to effect repairs to the pacemaker in his heart. The senior government minister has in recent times had a hip operation. He has been Member of Parliament for South St Andrew since 1994.

Sources say Davies is unlikely to seek reelection in 2016 when the next general elections are due.





GSAT to start half hour later than usual

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The GSAT examinations set for Thursday and Friday of this week, are to start half hour later than usual, on each day.

The Ministry of Education says, the Grade Six Achievement Test, scheduled for March 26 and 27, is to commence at 9:30 a.m. on each day, at all examination centres. The decision to shift the usual start time of the examination from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m, is to facilitate schools that are directly affected by the smoke from the Riverton City disposal site.

The ministry says, it has been reliably informed, that the smoke nuisance appears early in the morning, and abates by 9 a.m. It says, all presiding examiners, are to begin at the approved time, in order to protect the integrity of the examination.

The GSAT examinations were rescheduled from last week to this week, due to the impact of smoke from the disposal site, on several schools in the Corporate Area, and St. Catherine.





prime-minister-portia-simpson-miller-photo-1.jpg The government is to amend the law to provide stiffer penalties in cases where a woman is murdered and the perpetrator is aware that she was pregnant.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller told the House of Representatives on Tuesday that the amendment is being proposed in light of the recent killings of two pregnant teens.

"This is to be treated as an aggravating feature in determining the sentencing posed by the court so that the murderer receives significantly harsher punishment in the form of a longer sentence."

The announcement was made just weeks after the murder of Kayalicia Simpson, 14,who was hacked to death in St Thomas. An autopsy revealed that the child was five months pregnant.One man is now in custody in connection with Kayalicia's murder.

Meanwhile, crime statistics show that 17 children have been murdered in Jamaica since January. Ten boys and seven girls were killed up to last week This compared to ten during the corresponding period last year when nine boys and one girl were killed.





Fire At Riveron dump finally extinguished

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After raging for nearly two weeks the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is reporting that the fire at the Riverton City disposal site is almost extinguished.

A statement from the agency on Tuesday afternoon said the Jamaica Fire Brigade is continuing mopping-up activities. Searches are being carried out to identify hot spots, and apply water as well as soil. However, ODPEM Director-General Major Clive Davis says the public should remain on alert.

"There are no open flames on the site at this time, however there is still the possibility of the rekindling of small pockets.... Despite these positive results we continue to advise that there is still the possibility of smoke nuisance especially in communities in and around the disposal site....." he said.





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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kevin Harvey, has confirmed that his ministry is taking the Local Government Ministry to court concerning matters relating to the massive fire at the Riverton City Dump.

The fire resulted in the Corporate Area being blanketed by smoke for several days.

Sources have confirmed that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health issued instructions for summonses to be served on senior officials of the Local Government Ministry. It is understood that arrangements are being made for a court hearing by next month.

On Monday, it was reported that Local Government Minister Noel Arscott expressed displeasure at the move by the Health Ministry to take his Ministry to court.

However Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson indicated that he had a duty to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public.





Gully Bop a hit in England; does new collab

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Arguably the most talked about artiste in dancehall, Gully Bop has taken over new territory. The entertainer continues his invasion of the United Kingdom with his fourth sold-out show, held in Birmingham over the weekend. He is relishing in a publicity blitz, surfacing from radio and TV interviews connected with his first promotional tour. To top it off, he has recorded a contagious track with one of England's leading dancehall artiste, Stylo G.

"Right now me feel good, how me come a England and them just embrace me. Big big BBC radio a play Gully Bop non-stop and invite me in them studio. Me a get support at every show, every one of them pack! People swarm me like bees fe take picture everywhere me go. Is a thousand things and more a go on right now, so me have to give God thanks," Gully Bop explained.

"Who She Want" is the title of the hit-bound release recorded with Stylo G. The song is entertaining, upbeat and pokes fun at both artistes. The producers are Star Traxx and Adde. Immediately upon release the brand-new song has seized high rotation on British radio.

Gully Bop will wrap the U.K. leg of this tour on Sunday, March 29th. His closing performance will be at the Electric Brixton. Bop will then proceed to his debut performances in Grenada, Guyana, The Cayman Islands, Barbados and other Caribbean countries.





Masked gunmen murder St Ann woman at her home

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A woman was shot and killed after gunmen barged into her home at Steer Town in St Ann on Sunday evening.

She has been identified by police as 25-year-old customer service agent, Marshalette Briscoe.

Police report that, at about 8:30 PM, Briscoe was at home when two masked gunmen kicked in the front door and opened fire, hitting her all over her body.

She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.





Retirement Dump on fire

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The Jamaica Fire Brigade is reporting that the Retirement Dump in St James is on fire.

Superintendent in charge of the St James Fire Department, Dolfin Doman, said that a team has been dispatched to the disposal site to extinguish the blaze.

However, he says the magnitude of the fire is not yet known.

He said firefighters battled a blaze at the Dump late Sunday. There was also a fire at the Retirement Dump last week.





Brother kills brother over bicycle

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The Trelawny police have taken a man into custody, for allegedly hacking to death his older brother in Duanvale, in the parish, Sunday afternoon.

Dead is 44-year-old labourer Lincoln Barrett, also called yellow of Duanvale.

Reports are that the two had a heated argument over a bicycle, which escalated into a fight, and a machete was brought into play.

The elder brother died after receiving chop wounds to his neck and face.

The younger brother, who was taken into custody, is said to have a wound to his knee.





gully-bop-with-new_girlfriend-england-tour.jpg Gully Bop not Despite what seems like infidelity on his part since going on tour in England recently, dancehall artiste Gully Bop has denied cheating and promises that he will never disrespect his fianceé and manager Shauna Chin. Since starting his three-week stint in England last week, a video surfaced on YouTube where Gully Bop seemed mesmerised by a female he saw at the venue. In the two-minute interview, he expressed pleasure with his time in the country.

"Is a big dream dis man. Mi haffi a pinch myself all now fi see if it real, but it real cause mi couldn't a dream so long. And me see supm a England weh mi love special too enuh. Just like how I am a sensation here, I see a sensation in here and I like her very bad," he said.

The interviewer then asked, "so a just one want a wuk off a yuh since you come England?" and Gully Bop responded saying, "Many, but a just one me see weh mi like."

After that video came to the fore on Monday, a picture surfaced later in the day with the deejay pictured with a woman who had some of her breast exposed. However, when contacted, he said did not mean to disrespect his fianceé in any way.

"No disrespect, mi nuh must love mi wife. A me and Chin a come from ya so to deh so and she neva switch off so mi caan switch off. Even if Chin was here you would still see all of dem picture deh put up," he said.

In his defence, Gully Bop stressed that he did not know the woman he took the picture with, nor was he referring to an actual woman when he spoke of the 'sensation' that he liked.

"When mi seh 'mi see supm weh mi like', is not a woman. Is just a car weh mi like, it did deh pon display and it nah sell," he said.

As for the woman he took the picture with, he said he is now somewhat cautious about taking pictures with fans.

"Mi get fraid fi tek picture wid people because dem a post it a write up tings under it. But if mi stop tek picture with mi fans dem, it will melt my career," he said.

Although he has since apologised to Shauna Chin about the picture and video, she said she still feels somewhat upset about what she saw. However, Chin said Gully Bop stressed that he was not playing the field.





Smirnoff Color Festival Sunday at Hope Gardens

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The upcoming Smirnoff Color Festival on Sunday, March 29 at Hope Gardens has become one of the most anticipated high-energy events of the soca season and this year is expected to attract a massive crowd of revellers. The last staging in September had set the pace when vodka giant Smirnoff partnered with the promoters of the event to deliver a colourful, experiential and exhilarating package. The venue was transformed into a sea of multiple colours with powder throws after each signal by the DJ.

"The feedback from our September staging was extremely positive. Unprompted patron feedback included things like 'I can't wait for the next Color Festival!', 'The next Color Festival can't miss me', 'This was the best party ever', and 'The Color Festival is the happiest festival in the world!'" explained Cooper.

On Sunday, the promoters are promising an even greater event and will be going all out to ensure that the expectations of the patrons are met and, more so, exceeded.

"The Color Festival will continue to deliver a world-class party experience, the greatly anticipated hourly colour throws, a 150ft wide LED wall and backdrop with light show, a mix of the best international and local DJs and amazing drink experiences at our bar," said Cooper.

The DJs set to be on the line-up for the festival includes international EDM DJ Kyle Desouza, Titan VCD from Trinidad, and our very own local DJ Sanjay and Kurt Riley.





andrew-holness-photo-2.jpg Olympic Way, the home of Swagg Tuesdays, All Star Check Thursday, and Month-end Fridays, is to be transformed into an entertainment hip strip in the Corporate Area. Andrew Holness in whose West Central St Andrew constituency Olympic Way falls, said in Parliament that the aim is to create entertainment products that can be delivered in the community without being an inconvenience to others.

"This year, as my special project, with a combination of funds from the Constituency Development Fund and the Tourism Enhancement Fund, I will be seeking to brand Olympic Way as a commercial and entertainment hip strip," Holness said.

He noted that the emergence of Olympic Way as a main entertainment venue has led to patrons leaving many communities to visit the area for partying.

"This phenomenon is not new or unique to Olympic Gardens. However, there now appears to be a more coordinated and organised effort among young entrepreneurs."

Holness said he is sensitive to the complaints of residents about night noise and the obstruction of traffic, but said, "I am confident, however, that as the promoters become more organised, they will be able to better self-regulate within the law, and create entertainment products that can be delivered without inconvenience."

Holness told Parliament that the hip-strip project will see the development of entertainment products such as live cultural and sporting events. The MP also said repairs would be done to pedestrian infrastructure such as drain covers, bridge rails and sidewalks, to make them more suitable for users, particularly the disabled community.





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The nine-member board of Summerfest Productions, the organisers of the world's greatest reggae show, Reggae Sumfest, returned Robert Russell as its chairman. Russell assumes the mantle with the able assistance of deputy chairman Barry Jenoure. Russell is one of the founding members of the festival and has, prior to the one-year chairmanship of Godfrey Dyer, held the position for 16 consecutive years.

During Russell's tenure, the festival grew tremendously and featured some of the biggest and best acts from all across the world, including Usher, 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Nicky Minaj, Lionel Richie, and many more. Now the event boasts more than 30,000 patrons.

Commenting on the move, Russell said that promoting the event and attracting more patrons over the years has continued to be his commitment. "We have been extremely fortunate with the success of the event. I will continue to strive to grow and develop the event so that patrons will get more value out of the entertainment package," Russell said.

"We are revamping the entire event and infusing many exciting and first-world elements that will give it a major facelift this year. Patrons will no doubt appreciate this spectacle," he added.

He affirmed the commitment of his team, pointing out that Reggae Sumfest has been the high point of the summer since its inception in 1993.





Warrior King re-charting his journey

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For some of Warrior King's fans, especially in Jamaica, their relationship with the artiste could very well be summed up as "out of sight, out of mind", and no-one is more aware of this than Warrior King himself.

However, the Virtuous Woman singer is committed to taking definitive steps to change all of that and reconnect in a huge way, starting with his most recent single, Ain't Giving Up. He ruefully admits to keeping a low profile in Jamaica for the last two and a half years, but hastens to add that he has not been idle. Instead, he has been travelling extensively overseas, building his brand on a global level and maintaining his expected high standards. Quite satisfied with that rhythm and flow, Warrior King is eyeing Jamaica and the Caribbean as his happy hunting ground for 2015.

"Jamaica is where it all started. It was the launch pad for the international circuit. From day one of my career, I have always thought global, but at the same time, I can never forget where I am coming from. I have been doing a bit of touring and studio work and have been here in Jamaica a lot as well, but the truth is that if promoters in Jamaica don't see your face or hear your voice via some kind of PR machinery, for example, then you don't get called for a show. Like it or not, that's just the way it is," explained the entertainer, who is managed by France-based Mark Miller, a former stage manager for reggae king Bob Marley and author of the book, A White Knight in Babylon, On the Road with Bob Marley.

Admitting that he has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from Miller in the last three years, a level-headed Warrior King had high praises for Miller's professionalism, transparency and the respect from his peers on the world stage. This partnership has seen Warrior King evolve and claim his space musically and otherwise, establishing his own Rootz Warrior Productions and securing fan bases in Europe, Asia, Australia, and even the place considered the Holy Land, Jerusalem.





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Joel Lovelace, the 14-year-old boy who was allegedly killed by the bullet of a cop in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew wanted to be a sprinter for Kingston College. Current quarter miler for KC, Akeem Bloomfield says Joel's dream of representing the North-Street based institution will not die.

He plans to dedicate his performance at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships to the life of the dead teen.

"His dream of being a sprinter for KC has not died but instead been transformed and will live on. My performance at Boys and Girls champs 2015 will be dedicated to my fallen friend," Bloomfield wrote on Facebook.

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Bloomfield is grief-stricken by Joel's death.

"When I heard the news I just went and sat down and held my head because I just couldn't believe it. Another promising youth that could have been something great gone down the drain just like that," the 15-year-old athlete said.

In a tribute on social media, Bloomfield said Joel was dedicated to track and field.

Bloomfield recalled the first day Lovelace went to Kingston College to train.

"He always wore football boots." I asked him why he was at K C and he said "I do the 100m and the 200m and I want to be a sprinter for K.C," Bloomfield said.

The 15-year-old Bloomfield added: "He would always come and say 'what's on the programme today Bloomfield?' I respected him because he was humble and you could see the passion that he had for track and field."
Joel's dad, Dwight Lovelace said the youngster excelled in football and track as well as in academics.

"Me baby, me baby. Them kill me baby. The track star, the quiz team star, the defender. Me baby," the grief-stricken man wailed as he sobbed uncontrollably.

Joel had been shot in the face as he sat doing his homework after leaving school and attending band practice at church. He died while undergoing surgery for the gunshot wound he received.





Montego Bay businessman shot and killed

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Tarick Bucknor, a businessman from St. James was shot dead on Saturday in the car park of the popular Pier One entertainment complex.

A second man was also shot in the attack and has been hospitalised.

It's reported that early Saturday morning , Bucknor left a function and was walking towards his vehicle in the car park when he was attacked and shot repeatedly.

Bucknor, a well known figure in Montego Bay, died on the spot.

Nearly 50 persons have been murdered in St James since the start of the year.





kelly-tomblin-jps.jpg Jamaica Public Service (JPS) president and CEO, Kelly Tomblin, was recently robbed of her cellular phone outside of her company office in New Kingston and within less than three hours her phone was resold.

The purchaser was later held by the police and charged with receiving stolen property.

On Friday, when the matter was called up in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court, the accused Alecia Smith, a bartender, pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The incident, which occurred on March 8, about 12:30 p.m., resulted in the CEO being robbed of a $90,000 Samsung Galaxy S5, allegedly by two men - a rider and a pillion - one of who grabbed the device and escaped on a motorcycle.

The court heard that the device, which contained $200,000 worth of call credit before it was stolen, was later found in the possession of the bartender in east Kingston. The police are said to be searching for the rider and the pillion that allegedly sold the phone to Smith for $25,000.

A bail application by Smith's lawyer was denied even after the attorney told the court that her client was co- operating with the investigation. The police are said to be hot on the heels of the accused men. Smith is to return to court on March 26. She was further remanded and a fingerprint order made.





Ganja education programme coming

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A much needed communication programme intended to clear up misconceptions regarding the reform of the country's ganja laws is on the horizon.

According to Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding, the programme will be in two parts - one section seeking to explain the updated law "in plain and easily understood language, through a question and answer model," and the other will answer public health questions. That second aspect, he said, will "inform the public about ganja and discourage the use of ganja by vulnerable groups."

This aspect of the communication programme is being developed by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), he explained. That draft document, being developed by the NCDA, will be presented to the relevant Cabinet sub-committee "by next week Friday," he disclosed.

On March 6, Garfield Coburn, a resident of Lawrence Tavern, St. Andrew, was fatally shot by the police, after he reportedly resisted attempts by them to arrest him for possession of a ganja spliff.

That incident sparked protests in the community, and calls by various interest groups for an immediate public education programme on the new ganja regime.

Under the legislation, possession of ganja of two ounces or less will no longer be an arrestable criminal offence, but a ticketable infraction which will carry a fixed penalty.





Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew is dead

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Lee Kuan Yew, the legendary former prime minister of Singapore, has died at the age of 91. He had been in hospital for several weeks with pneumonia.

Prime Minister for 31 years, Lee Kuan Yew is credited with transforming Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub. But his record was not an unblemished one. He was criticised for his iron grip on power, and the fact that under his leadership freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts.

In a televised address, his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid tribute to him.

"He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none, and made us proud to be Singaporeans. We won't see another man like him."

Mr. Lee oversaw Singapore's independence from Britain and separation from Malaysia.





Leadership crisis at schools - NEI report

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The independent body charged with the responsibility for the inspection of schools and regional operations has continued to unearth more problems in the governance structure at a number of educational institutions.

The National Education Inspectorate (NEI) in its latest round of monitoring says it is still not pleased with the quality of leadership at some schools. Chief Inspector of the NEI, Maureen Dwyer says more than forty per cent of schools inspected to date have been rated as unsatisfactory in leadership and management.

She notes that despite the circumstances; school boards, principals and senior teachers have the critical responsibility to plan for students' learning. In its latest round, the NEI completed the inspection of 50 primary and secondary schools in December 2014.

Inspectors are currently visiting the remaining 85 institutions in order to complete the assessment of all 954 public schools by June of this year

Meanwhile, in an early reaction, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has described the findings of the National Education Institute report as cause for great concern. He says the Education Ministry is pressing ahead with its programme to improve the leadership of schools.

According to the Education Minister, if school leaders are not performing they must be held accountable and they will not be allowed to stay.





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The Jamaican police have announced that rigid and extensive security arrangements are being finalised for the planned visit of US President Barack Obama to the island next month.

The US Secret Service, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force are the main agencies responsible for coordinating security arrangements for the visit.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced in Parliament last Tuesday that President Obama is due in the island on April 9, ahead of his participation in the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Assistant Commissioner Devon Watkiss, head of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (C-TOC) says while his office cannot reveal the details, a security assessment has been made and the work is ongoing. He says the police had knowledge of the visit long before it was made public.

The visit of President Obama comes almost 33 years to the date after the visit of President Ronald Reagan on April 7 and 8, 1982.





Jamie Foxx denies Katie Holmes dating rumors

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It was claimed on Wednesday they have been secretly dating for a year-and-a-half. There was even photo evidence as the two were pictured with their legs intertwined as they held hands while at ease in a studio in February.

But on Friday Jamie Foxx threw some cold water on reports of a romance with Katie Holmes, 36, as he talked to TMZ after leaving a bank in Westlake Village, which is just outside Los Angeles.

'Oh come on you guys have been trying to make that stick for three years, we're just friends,' the Ray actor, 47, said. 'As a matter of fact Anthony Zuiker, creator of CSI, he offered us an animation project and we're working on that.'

The Soloist actor also said, 'They have been trying to do that for three years - just stories I guess. You just have to respect - that's just part of our lives.'

Foxx then took a selfie with a male fan, shook his hand and whistled as he climbed into a black Rolls Royce.

The Any Given Sunday star showed off fit arms in a short-sleeved white V-neck shirt. Worn-in jeans and white high top sneakers added a casual look. The Annie star looked like a gentleman as he said hello to a female fan when he was standing next to a cash machine.

Holmes has yet to comment on the report.

The beauty was spotted leaving a friend's house in LA on Wednesday looking chic in a button-down denim shirt with pockets on the front. Skinny dark jeans highlighted her toned legs.

The mother to Suri, aged eight, was on-trend with dark aviator shades and Mary Jane inspired flats.

UsWeekly reported that the actors have been 'secretly spending time' together. She divorced Cruise in 2012 after six years of marriage and he worked with Tom on Collateral in 2004.

The publication added that Foxx and Holmes have been dating since the summer of 2013 when he 'wooed her at a benefit in the Hamptons.'

'Jamie is someone she can trust and have fun with,' a source said. 'She's getting everything from Jamie that she didn't get with Tom.'





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A warder has been arrested and charged for breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act after packets of marijuana was found in his vehicle on Thursday.

He has been identified as 30-year-old Mickloth Hutchinson, of Gore Tuca, Portmore, St Catherine.

The Denham Town Police report that, about 4:15 pm, senior officers at the New Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston conducted a search of Hutchinson's motorcar, during which four parcels containing ganja were found.

The Police were summoned, Hutchinson was taking into custody and he was subsequently charged with possession of ganja, dealing in ganja, and introducing contraband into a penal institution.

He is scheduled to appear before the Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court on Thursday, April 9.





Busy Signal to help out St Ann's Bay hospital

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busy-signal-photo-10.jpg Come April, dancehall deejay Busy Signal will be embarking on his latest project -- the Busy 20/20 Helping Hands Foundation Limited.

According to the dancehall artiste, the venture is for a much-needed cause.

"My priority is the St Ann's Bay Hospital. It is in need of vital X-ray/CAT scan equipment for detecting cancer. It costs roughly $12 million," Busy Signal said.

The foundation -- which was registered last year -- will be officially launched at the Jewel Dunn's River Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios on April 2.

Busy Signal, whose given name is Reanno Gordon, explained his reason for taking on this project.

"This is the hospital I was born in. The majority of people from St Ann are farmers and they don't have the money fi go private hospital. So mi haffi help inna my way and give back. Dem need the help," he said.

The artiste said he is aware that he alone cannot do it, and therefore welcomes assistance from corporate Jamaica.





lisa-hanna-photo-2.jpg The twin evils of incest and molestation of young boys have escalated, Youth and Culture Minister, Lisa Hanna has confirmed.

Speaking during a radio interview on Friday, Minister Hanna said incest is becoming prevalent and that it's been an under reported problem.

Minister Hanna says there's also an alarming trend of boys being molested by men and women. She says prosecuting offenders of sexual offences is proving to be a challenge because witnesses will not come forward.

For last year, the Office of the Children's Registry said it received 4-thousand reports of child abuse.

Meanwhile, the Youth Minister says her ministry will be hiring temporary investigators to look into the huge backlog of a cases of child abuse which have not been investigated. She says the Office of the Children's Registry receives as many as 2-hundred-and-twenty cases of child abuse each week.

She's described the number as alarming.





jennifer-edwards.jpg A group of women protested in front of the National Solid Waste Management Authority's office on Half Way Tree Road Friday morning against the non renewal of Ms Edwards' contract.

They are calling for her reinstatement claiming that the non renewal was based on an unfair assessment of her performance and gender discrimination.

People's National Party Councillor, Audrey Smith-Facey, says the reasons given by the NSWMA board's for Miss Edwards' removal are contradictory.

Councillor for the Payneland Division, Audrey Smith-Facey of the People's National Party who spoke for the demonstrators said that the chairman had indicated publicly that Ms Edwards had been doing a good job with the limited resources available to her and that she should not be blamed for the crisis.

Some held placards questioning the whether or not the decision was made because she was a woman.The demonstrators also called for the sacking of the board.

The NSWMA announced earlier this week that it would not renew Edwards' contract when it expires on March 26.





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Sprint star, Asafa Powell, on Thursday enjoyed dinner with a lady friend at popular Greek restaurant, OPA!.

Powell had Kotsi, which is low-baked Lamb Shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic. His lady friend also had lamb, however, she had the Paidakia, which is lamb chops served with roasted potatoes and a salad.

The duo enjoyed a quiet candle-lit meal complete with red wine.

Opa! owner Alexx Antaeus, who commented on the photo that was posted on social media, remarked that it was a pleasure serving Powell. He descibed the sprint star as a "pleasant fellow".





wayne-lonesome.jpg Music producer Wayne 'Lonesome' Brown has donated $10,000 towards the medical bills of 81-year-old Rosalvo Patterson, who has been living in a crumbling chicken coop in Jericho, St Catherine, for the past five years.

Patterson's plight was highlighted in a local paper on Thursday.

"When I read the story, I was moved and just wanted to use this occasion to donate the first of several planned donations," Brown tsaid.

"I am using this opportunity to call on other entertainers, Jamaicans, to come together to help in whatever way they can because, as a team, we can do more," he continued.

The $10,000 was remitted to a neighbour, who had been assisting the elderly man with food.

"This donation will go towards his medical bill as he is set to visit the doctor to do a blood test on Monday," said the woman, who asked to remain unidentified.