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The basketball court where Ricardo Williams used to play won't be the same.

"Here without him, it just feels like something's missing," Keyshon Martin said of Ricardo, the 14-year-old Toronto boy who was killed in Jamaica early Sunday morning.

Keyshon, also 14, met Ricardo on the court at Alexander Stirling Public School, near where he lived in West Hill, a neighbourhood of Scarborough in Toronto's east end. On Monday afternoon Keyshon and four other boys shot hoops in Ricardo's honour. They described him as competitive but goofy player. "Like a Jennifer Lawrence, but guy version," said another boy, 11-year-old Kersi Buaksa.

He made everybody laugh, but stood up for friends when they needed him. Justin Humphrey, 14, experienced both those qualities on the court, where he played with Ricardo and another friend, 14-year-old Shaunae Brown.

"There was one time, me, him and Shaunae were playing basketball and these other two 20-year-olds came and ... they started being rude, so Ricardo stood up for all of us and told the guy to move on," Justin told The Globe and Mail over Facebook messages.

"He was always there for me. Even though we weren't that close ... he would stick up for me and defend me," Shaunae said on the phone.

Shaunae learned about Ricardo's death while her mother was watching the news Sunday night.

The boy was at a wake in Kingston, Jamaica, when shots rang out at 1:51 a.m. Sunday. He was found by police "suffering from gunshot wounds," Inspector Ishmale Williams (no relation) of the Jamaican Constabulary Force said over the phone Monday. "He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead."

Insp. Williams couldn't say how many people were at the scene when officers arrived or if Ricardo's parents were also in Jamaica at the time. He said police have identified a person of interest, Omar James, who is also known as "Judge" and is from the area where the incident happened. He was asked to present himself to police Monday to provide information, the officer explained. He couldn't say what relation Mr. James had to Ricardo, but the two are connected on Facebook.

Friends paid their online tributes to Ricardo in statuses, doting RIPs and fond memories. Nikolas Asuad called losing his best friend "the hardest thing ever" in a status posted to his timeline. He recalled listening to music, playing basketball together and hanging out at each other's houses - even getting arrested together for stealing pizza once.

But he "wasn't a bad kid," Kae Smith, 16, a friend from school told The Globe on Facebook. "Yeah, he got into trouble but it wasn't anything serious."

Ricardo moved to Canada with his father, Dane, in Grade 7 and attended Military Trail Public School. He was an only child and would visit Jamaica often to see his mother, family friends said in Scarborough on Monday.

"I'm still in shock. I don't understand why. What would convince anybody to want to kill this little 14-year-old kid? What could he have said? What could he have done?" Shannon Dorsey, a friend of Ricardo's father, said on her stoop.

"Everybody that he came across, they loved him after the first moment of meeting him."

Ms. Dorsey said she hadn't heard back from the father, who was in Jamaica as well. She read a status he posted 23 days ago about his son: "Just me and my son. I love him. He has my back for life and God is guiding me." She is organizing a vigil in his honour Saturday evening.

Ricardo switched schools over the winter from West Hill Collegiate Institute to Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute, where Kae says he immediately made many friends. Junaid Chandler, 15, is one of them. He met Ricardo - "one of the funniest bruthas I've ever met" - in drama class and would see him every day at school.

"This guy was loud and fun, and seriously enthusiastic. And, at times, he would play extremely loud music out of the computer," Junaid said. Despite being a "handful" to teachers, even they laughed at some of Ricardo's jokes, he added.

Sean Green, 15, met him in Grade 7 and kept playing basketball with him after moving to Oshawa, when he'd come visit his grandmother in Scarborough. Monday evening, he played on another court nearby in West Hill.

"When I'd come back here, I'd always see him at the courts over there. Now he's not here no more. ... I can't believe he's gone."

A spokeswoman with the Department of Foreign Affairs said Canadian consular officials in Kingston are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information. "[They] are providing consular assistance to the family as required," Diana Khaddaj said.

A Portland family is now living in fear after three armed thugs reportedly entered their residence at Fruitful Vale in the parish Friday night and robbed them of a firearm and other personal items.

The robbery reportedly took place about 9 p.m. after a businessman left his family at home.

According to the police, the thugs invaded the house, which was occupied by the businessman's mother and daughter and allegedly tied them up. The police say that the thugs demanded from the two females the whereabouts of a safe. Their demands were met, and the men removed a safe containing a licensed firearm belonging to the businessman.

The men also stole several rounds of ammunition, which was found under a bed. They then proceeded to ransack the house - stealing also five cases of white overproof rum, computer tablets, and several pairs of shoes.

There was no report of cash stolen from the premises. The Portland police are investigating the matter.

ricardo-williams-canadian-teen.jpgOmar James otherwise called 'Judge' is to be charged with the murder of his cousin, 14-year-old, Ricardo Williams, who was in Olympic Gardens, Jamaica on vacation from Canada.

According to reports, a senior investigator said James has confessed that a homemade gun he was hiding in the house was used to shoot Ricardo who was his cousin.

Investigators are searching for the weapon.

James turned himself into the Hunts Bay Police on Monday after being listed as a Person of Interest.

Ricardo who was visiting from Scarborough, Ontario, died after being shot in the head.

The 29-year-old policeman who was hospitalised after he was badly beaten by residents at Morgans district near Spaldings in Clarendon was discharged from the Percy Junor Hospital in Spaldings yesterday.

The constable from St Catherine North Division was discharged into police custody, after spending a night in hospital under police guard. He was taken to the Alligator Pond police lockup in Manchester.

Information is that the rogue cop and his cronies attempted to force open a window at a house owned by a small farmer who was awakened by strange sounds. It is reported that when the farmer went to investigate, the men were seen, and he made an alarm.

They ran and were chased by residents. The constable was held, but his cronies escaped. He was beaten and chopped all over his body. He was rescued by the police.

A white 1995 Nissan Sunny motor car, which is believed to be the vehicle used by the men, was seized by the police. A registration plate which was assigned to the car was found in the trunk. The registration plate which was seen on the car is said to be one registered to a 1997 Mitsubishi Libero owned by a man from Spanish Town, St Catherine.

One Glock magazine with five rounds of 9mm cartridges, one cellular phone and a carry all vest were also found.

Detectives from the Manchester CIB are to question the rogue cop for a file to be prepared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

2 gunned down in Mandeville bus park

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Pandemonium erupted Tuesday evening in Mandeville, Manchester after gunmen opened fire on three persons at a transport centre, killing two and leaving the other battling for life. The incident took place about 7:15.

Two men reportedly fired on persons said to be members of a rival gang. Commuters had to scamper for cover as the gunmen sprayed bullets. The police recovered 18 spent shells.

Head of the Manchester Police, Superintendent Melvin Brown, said it was difficult for members of his team to nab the gunmen due to the large crowd.

Popular medical doctor from Sav dies in car crash

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dr-clarke-s-car.jpgPopular Westmoreland medical doctor, Barrigton Clarke, 57, died early Tuesday morning in a motor vehicle accident on the Montpelier main road in St James.

Police reported that about 4:00 am Clarke was driving his blue Toyota Axio motor car towards Savanna-la-mar when he lost control of the vehicle, which veered across the road, rode an embankment and overturned into a citrus field.

The doctor, who was trapped in the mangled vehicle, had to be cut from the wreckage by the Fire Brigade. He was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead by his colleagues.

Scores of mourners who gathered at the doctor's office yesterday expressed disbelief at his death.

"I can't believe say Dr Clarke dead. Good people always dead," a man was overheard saying. "A so life go," added a teary-eyed woman.

Clarke's death comes on the heels of the death in August of Montego Bay attorney-at-law, George Thomas, 68, a former president of the Cornwall Bar Association. Thomas died as a result of injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash along Montego Bay's Elegant Corridor on Thursday, August 20.

The deadly crash, which involved Thomas's Mercedes Benz and a Nissan Tiida motor car, reportedly occurred at the traffic lights at the Providence Heights/ Whitehouse intersection.

dexta-daps-photo-2.jpgWell-known booking agent, Karl Larmond, along with Howard Kennedy, a member of dancehall artiste Macka Diamond's entourage, were fined when they appeared in a St Kitts court on Monday to answer a charge of stealing a laptop computer.

Allegations are that Larmond stole a laptop computer and placed it in the room of Howard Kennedy. Surveillance footage captured the act and both men were arrested by police authorities.

"The case is before the court and I don't want to comment before it is resolved, but I can confirm that the incident happened and that lawyers are dealing with it," Macka Diamond said in a statement issued through her publicity team.

Both men were fined US$2,200 each, or 18 months imprisonment if the money is not paid by midday on Tuesday.

Larmond reportedly booked the show for Macka Diamond, Vanessa Bling, Pamputtae and Spice. According to a source close to the artistes, the deejays are all feeling embarrassed over the incident, especially against the background that the promoter of the show had given them "red carpet" treatment that included the chartering of a private jet for the entertainers.

macka-diamond-photos-2.jpg "We are all embarassed, not just Macka Diamond, because it is a fellow Jamaican and the booking agent for all the artistes," said the source.

This is the second such incident involving members of an artiste's entourage in St Kitts. Only weeks before, Bounty Killer's brother was arrested by authorities after stealing a phone in the airport. He was heavily fined and then released.

Gun violence in Spanish Town leaves 5 dead

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crime-scene-7.jpgFive persons are now dead after gun violence flared up in sections of St Catherine on Sunday.

The violence is said to be linked to a feud between members of the notorious Clansman gang which is based in the parish.

Police report that, at about 8:30 am, the Lakes Pen Community was rocked by gunfire which resulted in the murder of two men and a woman.

In the same incident, a four-year-old boy was also found with a bullet wound to his foot.

About 30 minutes later, a man was shot dead at a Plaza in the old capital of Spanish Town.

Then about an hour later, a man was fatally shot on Old Market Street.

A police constable is among a group of men who were this morning mobbed by residents of a Clarendon community after the men attempted to rob a woman.

It is alleged that the policeman was one of three men who were attempting to break into a house in Morgan's District near Spaldings, Clarendon about 3 o'clock.

Two of the men escaped, but the constable was held and beaten by residents before being handed over to the police.

The cop who received several blows has since been admitted in hospital in serious condition.

The police are yet to release a statement on the matter.

September 30 deadline for voters' list registration

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vote.jpgThe Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) is reminding Jamaicans that they have one month to register for their names to appear on the Voters' List to be published in November.

September 30 is the deadline for registration.

Deputy director of elections, Earl Simpson, issued the advisory as he reiterated that the entity would be ready if a general election is called in December this year. He noted that the voter's list to be published on November 30, would be the same one used if an election is called in December.

The voters' list is printed every six months, May 31 and November 30 of each year.

Earlier this month, chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), Dorothy Pine-McLarty, said the EOJ has started its electoral preparations.

However, she said the body would need three months and more than $1 billion more.

Members of the governing People's National Party, including president Portia Simpson Miller and campaign manager, Peter Phillips have given clear indications that an early election could be called this year.

Coaster bus crashes into Moby Dick Restaurant

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bus-crrashes-into-moby-dick-restauarant.jpgA privately-operated coaster bus crashed into the Moby Dick Restaurant in downtown Kingston Monday morning.

The police say the bus was travelling in the right lane along Port Royal Street when the driver of a Honda CR-V travelling in the middle lane attempted to turn right on to Orange Street.

The bus driver then crashed into the right side of the CR-V before he lost control of the coaster which then ploughed into the restaurant.

The police say two passengers who were travelling in the Coaster bus were still getting medical treatment up to late Monday afternoon.

The Hunts Bay police have listed one man as a person of interest, in relation to the shooting death of a Canadian national, this morning (August 30).

The man being sought is Omar James, otherwise called 'Judge' of White Lane in Olympic Gardens, Kingston 11.

Detectives believe that he can assist them in their investigations, into the shooting death of 14-year-old Ricardo Williams of Ontario, Canada.

James is being asked to report to the Hunts Bay police station by midday August 31.

Information received is that about 1:51 a.m., residents at a wake reportedly heard explosions and discovered that the Canadian teenager was shot.

Williams was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police inspector stabbed in the neck

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A police Inspector is now battling for life in hospital with a stab wound to the neck.

His identity is being withheld, but law enforcement sources say he is attached to the Kingston West Division.

According to one source, the knife was lodged in the policeman's neck and he was taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies for a cat scan

Law enforcement sources say the Inspector went to resolve a family dispute when he was stabbed by a 17-year-old male.

It's not known if the teen has been taken into custody.

In recent weeks the Kingston West Division has lost two members, Constables Crystal Thomas and Lynden Barrett, who were shot and killed by gunmen in separate incidents.

george-thomas-car-crash-montego-bay.jpgAn 18-year-old man who was one of the persons involved in the car accident which claimed the life of prominent attorney George Thompson, has succumbed to his injuries.

The 18-year-old male had been in a coma since the accident two weeks ago.

Police report that Thompson and his son were travelling towards Montego Bay, St James when the car Thompson's son was driving collided with a Nissan motor vehicle.

The elder Thompson died on the spot while his son was injured and admitted to hospital. The 18-year-old man was a passenger in the Nissan motorcar.

He died on Wednesday.

Two off-duty policemen from the Kingston Eastern Division seized a Taurus 9mm pistol along with a magazine loaded with seventeen rounds of ammunition on Sunday.

Two men were arrested in connection with the seizure at the intersection of Dunoon Road and Windward Road, Kingston 2.

Reports from the Elletson Road Police are that about 3:10am, the lawmen who were travelling in a private motor vehicle, on route from work, observed two men who were coming from a dance in the area.

The men aroused the suspicion of the police, when one of them pulled a firearm from his waistband and discharged a round. It is alleged that the man then handed the weapon to another man, who put it in his waistband.

The lawmen exited the vehicle in a tactful manner and both men were accosted, searched and the firearm and ammunition seized.

The identities of both men have been withheld pending further investigations.

Police list reveals 'Most Wanted' in Area One

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The Area One Police have listed the fifteen most wanted men in western Jamaica, advising them to turn themselves in to the nearest police station immediately.

The men, who are wanted in connection with murders and shootings, are namely:

1. Philbert Anderson

2. Nigel White

3. Carlington Godfrey , otherwise called 'Tommy'

4. David Stewart, otherwise called 'Coolie'

5. Desmond Bennie, otherwise called 'Dennie'

6. Eric Clarke, otherwise called 'Legacy'

7. George Miller otherwise called 'Lobster'

8. Joshua Anderson, otherwise called 'German'

9. Renaldo Richards, otherwise called 'Ren' or 'Mad Rass'

10. Romaine Esson, otherwise called 'Shenko'

11. Steve Vassell, otherwise called 'Buss Mi Strength'

12. Xavian Brisco, otherwise called 'Brisco'

13. Yasser James, otherwise called 'Fry Eye'

14. Rowandre Reid, otherwise called 'Blacks' and 'Rowan'

15. Kevon Smith, otherwise called 'Tito'

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is being asked to call the Criminal Investigation Branch at 922-5076, Crime Stop at 311 or 811, the police's emergency 119 number or the nearest police station.

Meanwhile, the public is being advised that anyone found harbouring these individuals will be prosecuted, as it is a criminal offence.

women-4x400-winners-jamaica-worlds.jpgJamaica's women delivered another historic performance to cop the country's seventh gold when they beat the rest of the world in the 2015 IAAF World Championships 4X400m final.

In the men's equivalent, Javon Francis ran a brilliant race to bring back the Jamaican into contention, even leading at one time, but could not hold and was eventually overtaken by the Americans who ended first.

Trinidad and Tobago was second and Great Britain third with similar time as Jamaica in the men's 4X400.

The women, however, took the early lead through Shericka Jackson on the second leg and maintained it until the third leg when America's Allyson Felix chopped down Jamaica's 20 metre lead to hand over the baton first to Francena McCrory on anchor.

When Jamaica's Novelene Williams Mills took the baton she saved the energy for the late surge to take Jamaica home in a world leading time of 3.19.13.

The Americans were placed second and Great Britain, third.

The Jamaican quartet comprised Christine Day, Shericka Jackson,Stephenie McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills.

This is only the second time that Jamaica has won the event, the first being in Edmonton in 2001.

The golden run by the 4X400m women has pushed Jamaica's medal tally to 12 - seven gold, two silver and three bronze.

ricardo-williams-canadian-teen.jpgRicardo Williams, a teenager visiting Jamaica for the summer holidays was shot dead by unknown assailants along White Lane in the community of Olympic Gardens, St Andrew early Sunday morning.

Williams, 14, also known as 'Shangu' is reportedly from Scarborough, Ontatrio, Cananda.

According to a report from the Hunts' Bay Police, residents discovered Williams' body with gunshot wounds about 1:51 am and rushed him to hospital.

He was pronounced dead.

The police were unable to provide any further details, but indicated that their probe into the teen's death has been launched.

hansle-parchment-silver.jpgHansle Parchment delivered Jamaica's eighth medal at the IAAF World Championship when he won silver in the 110m hurdles.

Recovering fast from his usual sluggish start, Parchment finished like a train on the tracks to run a season best 13.03 behind Russian Sergey Shubenkov who won the event in a national record of 12.98 seconds.

The Racer's track club athlete has now added a World Championship medal to his Olympic bronze medal .

"I'm happy for this medal but not so much about the performance. I think I can still do a lot better at the start," he is quoted as saying.

In a final that was a sprint from start to finish, National Champion McLeod hit some of the barriers in his lane and finished sixth in a time of 13.18.

Parchment is the first Jamaican to win a silver medal in the 110m hurdles.

silver-for-thompson.jpgJamaica's Elaine Thompson was passed on the final as she finished second to Dafne Schippers of Netherlands in the final of the women's 200 metres at the World Championships in Beijing, China on Friday.

Thompson, coming off the turn behind, battled gallantly to lead with about 70 metres to go, but Schippers' strength had her doing likewise to out dip the Jamaican to take it in a Championship record of 21.63.

Thomspon did 21.66 with veteran compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown taking the bronze in 21.97.

danielle-williams-gold-hurdles.jpgDanielle Williams produced a surprise gold medal in the IAAF World Championships 100m to deliver Jamaica's ninth medal.

The 22-year-old Williams, ran a personal best 12.57 to beat a fast field. Her older sister, Shermaine, finished seventh with a time of 12.95.

German Cindy Roleder was second in a time of 12.58 seconds.

Williams lowered her personal best for the second time in two hours after posting a time of 12.58 in the semi-final.

In her second World Championship, Williams now joins Brigitte Foster Hylton as the only other Jamaican to win the event.

Six women and a man were nabbed by the police and a large quantity of ganja was seized during an operation in St. Elizabeth on Thursday morning.

About 9 o'clock, the police went to a property in Knoxwood, where the suspects were reportedly seen harvesting ganja. Other persons reportedly fled on the arrival of the police.

The police seized about 2,500 lbs of ganja during the operation.

jutc-buses-photo-1.jpgThe Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is to extend by a month the special summer fare for adult passengers.

Passengers will continue paying $100 until September 26. The following day, the JUTC will return to the 120 dollar fare.

JUTC Managing Director, Colin Campbell, says since the introduction of the special fare on July 5 the State-run bus company has recorded an increase in adult passengers.

The $100 'Bills Summer Special' promoted by the bus company should have ended this weekend.

crime-scene-7.jpgThe Manchester police confirmed that a customer was shot and injured during a robbery at a supermarket in the town of Mandeville today.

Reports are that at about 3:30 pm a gunman entered the supermarket at Levy Plaza on Caledonia Road and proceeded to rob the store.

A customer who reportedly walked in during the robbery was ordered to lie down.

He was then shot in his right arm and right side.

Police say that the gunman left the store with phone cards and a sum of money and escaped on a waiting motorbike.

The customer is reportedly in hospital but his condition is not considered as life-threatening.

Baby shot and injured during gang warfare

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crime-scene-7.jpgA 16-month-old child has been hospitalised after being shot and injured during a gun battle between gunmen at Columbus Street in Trench town on Wednesday morning.

Head of the Kingston West Police Division, Superintendent Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford said rival gangs have been shooting at each other for weeks and despite the best efforts of the police they seem thirsty for blood.

He said the police have identified two suspects in Wednesday morning's incident.

"We have received the names of two men and we are going after them to arrest them and proffer charges against them. We have gone in there and spoken to them. One set says men from outside the community have come in and are robbing people on Spanish Town Road. We rae carrying out proactive policing in the community," Ford said.

crime-scene-7.jpgA teenager is among two men whose bodies were dumped in Duhaney Park, St Andrew on Tuesday night.

Police report that residents summoned them after they saw men dumping a blue tarpaulin in Duhaney Park.

When the cops arrived on the scene, the bodies of the two males were found wrapped in the tarpaulin. Both bodies had multiple gunshot wounds.

One of the bodies was that of a teenager - of dark complexion and about five feet long. The other body was clad in a black merino and jeans pants.

Cop found dead at barracks in Vineyard Town

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police-station.jpgA policeman was reportedly found dead at the Vineyard Town Police Station Barracks in Kingston this morning.

He has been identified as Constable Garnett Taylor who was stationed at the Hunts Bay Police Station.

Taylor, who usually stayed on the barracks, was found by colleagues who noticed he was not moving. Efforts were made to wake him but they were futile. Taylor's colleagues rushed him to hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:55 am.

The cause of death is still unknown. Police are investigating.

uwi-students-killed in-car-crash.jpguwi-students-killed-car-crash-vehicle.jpgTwo students of the University of the West Indies, Mona died in a motor vehicle collision on the Drax Hall main road in St Ann last night.

They have been identified as Oshane Reid, vice president of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Guild of Students and Shanice Simmonds, both 22 years old.

Reports are that Simmonds was driving a Suzuki Swift motorcar along the roadway when the vehicle collided with an oncoming Toyota Coaster bus. Simmonds was reportedly thrown from the vehicle and suffered head injuries.

They were taken to hospital where both were pronounced dead.

Bronze for Shericka Jackson

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shericka-jackson-bronze.jpgShericka Jackson has claimed Jamaica's fourth medal at the ongoing 15th IAAF World Championships.

The 21-year-old claimed bronze in a new personal best of 49.99 seconds.

The event was won by America's Allyson Felix in world leading 49.26 for a record ninth World Championship gold.Shaunae Miller of The Bahamas took the silverin a personal best 49.67.

Jamaica had a record four women in the final with Christine Day placing fourth in a new PB of 50.14.

Stephenie McPherson was fifth in 50.42 with 2007 bronze medallist, Novlene Williams-Mills running a season best 50.47 for sixth place.


Usain St Leo Bolt is the sprint double champion at a senior global championship for the fifth time.

Bolt added the World Championships 200m gold to his 100m title at the 2015 games in superb form to silence Justin Gatlin.

Bolt landed home in a season best 19.55 seconds.Gatlin, as he did in the 100m final, had to settle for silver.South Africa's Anaso Jobodwana took the bronze.

The 29-year-old Bolt was winning his fourth straight 200m World Championship title. Having won a silver medal at the 2007 World Championships, he is now within one medal of Merlene Ottey as the Jamaican athlete with the most medals of all time in the 200m at the World Championships.

Thugs posing as goat sellers slaughter butchers

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Thugs posing as goat sellers accompanied two butchers into bushes in the vicinity of Dyke Road in Portmore, St Catherine on Sunday, where they robbed and killed them, the police have confirmed.

The men have been identified as 39-year-old Martin Coleman and 26-year old Kadian Richards both of King Weston district in Lawrence Tavern.

Residents reported hearing explosions about 10:05 am and summoned the police.

On the arrival of the lawmen, Coleman and Richards were seen with multiple gunshot wounds, CCU said.They were pronounced dead at hospital.

The butchers were in the area to purchase goats at the time of the incident.

A 13-year-old male relative of the victims who accompanied them was unharmed.

The police are investigating.

775 persons killed since the start of 2015

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According to the latest statistics from the police, 775 persons were reported killed up to Monday.

This represents a 20-per cent increase when compared with the 643 murders reported over the corresponding period last year.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force recorded 1,005 murders last year and did not record the 700th murder until mid-September. Last year's figures represented a 16 per cent decline when compared with the 1,197 recorded in 2013.

The figures are also showing that 12 of the 19 police divisions across the island have reported increases in murders.

Notably, murders in St. James have jumped by 60 per cent while Clarendon has seen a 42 per cent increase in murders.Both parishes have seen a wave of killings in recent weeks.

According to the data, 139 persons were reported killed in St James, compared with 87 over the corresponding period last year.

Eighty-one persons were reported killed in Clarendon, compared to 57 for the similar period last year.

Building inspector caught in sting operation

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A twenty-eight-year-old building inspector employed to the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) was arrested on Monday in a sting operation by detectives from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, (MOCA).

It's alleged that in May this year, the inspector visited a location in Kingston where a building was being constructed.

He reportedly informed the proprietor that the building permit had expired and then solicited J$500-thousand in order to expedite the renewal of the permit.

A report was made to MOCA which led to his arrest.

Meanwhile, the KSAC says there is no wide scale corruption in the processing of building permits.

"We continue to provide a professional service to the public and we do not charge anything over and above that which is regulated by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation . This is absolutely a one off incident and we will be working with the police to investigate ...." said Town Clerk, Robert Hill.

usain-bolt-wins-gold-beijing-2015.jpgEight Jamaicans - four men and four women - qualified for the 200 and 400 metres events at the World Campionships now being held in Beijing, China.

World record holder Usain Bolt remained on course to retain the sprint double title, after winning his heat in the men's 200 meters stopping the clock at 20.28 seconds, just ahead of Roberto Skyers of Cuba.

In other semi-finals, Olympic 200 metres bronze medalist Warren Weir finished second in heat 6 in a season best 20.24 seconds, Julian Forte also advanced after finishing second in heat five in 20.16 seconds, behind Britain's Zharnel Hughes 20.13 seconds, while Nickel Ashmeade was third in heat 4, in a time of 20.40 seconds, behind winner Justin Gatlin 20.19 seconds.

Meanwhile four Jamaican ladies made progress to the final of the women's 400 meters on Thursday morning, after qualifying in their respective semi-finals this morning. National champion Christine Day made progress from semi-final one, after clocking 50.82 seconds behind winner Shaunae miller of the Bahamas 50.12. Stephanie Ann McPherson qualified for the final as well as he finished second in semi-final two in a season best 50.32 seconds.

While Shericka Jackson and Novelene Williams-Mills finished second and third respectively in semi-final three behind Alyson Felix of the United States. Jackson posted a personal best 50.03 seconds for the runner up spot, while mills made progress after crossing the line in a season best 50.47 seconds.

Jamaica lies in third place in the medal standings, with 2 gold and bronze, below leaders Kenya with 9 medals and Great Britain in second place with 3. The United States lies in sixth place with six medals 1 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze.

Police bank robber linked to 4 other robberies

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bank-robber-cop-oshane.jpgThe Police High Command is reporting that the policeman who attempted to rob a bank in St Elizabeth last week has been linked to four more robberies in Central Jamaica.

The cop, Constable Oshane Anderson, is still in hospital after he was shot when he tried to rob a customer that was entering a bank in Santa Cruz. He was challenged by a security guard.

Anderson was wearing sister locks (fake locks) during the robbery attempt - checks afterwards unveiled that he was in fact a cop.

The police said his description has led them to link him to four other robberies in Clarendon and St Elizabeth. Anderson is already facing charges of illegal possession of a firearm and robbery with aggravation.

16-year-old found dead on housetop

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The body of a teenager was this morning found on top of a house in Mackville Terrace, close to the Queensbourough community in St Andrew.

Police report that approximately 7:30 am friends of 18-year-old Rasheed Campbell became concerned after he failed to turn up at his regular hangout spot.

A search was carried out and the body of the youth, who family members say was suffering from a mental condition, was found.

Police investigating the matter say they are at this time exploring several angles including that the matter is a case of sudden death.

Ralph Thomas is Jamaica's new Ambassador to USA

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ambassador-ralph-thomas.jpgRalph Thomas has been appointed Jamaica's new Ambassador to the United States. He is expected to assume duties early next month.

Ambassador Thomas, who is currently Jamaica's Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, replaces Ambassador Stephen Vascianne.

Foreign Affairs Minister Senator A. J. Nicholson, in announcing the appointment, said Ambassador Thomas served in China during an important time for Jamaica/China relations, especially in the area of economic development.

Senator Nicholson said he expects Ambassador Thomas to bring this level of critical thinking and creative energy to the relationship with the US, one of Jamaica's major international partners.

Digicel seeking to raise more funds

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digicel-photo-1.jpgA report in Ireland's Independent newspaper paper says Digicel is likely to raise US$1.5 billion in its upcoming initial public offering. An investor road show is expected to start shortly.

The Independent said a Digicel spokesman declined to comment on the fundraising reports.

Digicel is in the process of evolving from a pure mobile telecoms company into a communications and entertainment provider.

In June, the company filed a prospectus with the US Securities Exchange Commission, announcing an intention to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange. It intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures and acquisitions, as well as repay debt.

According to the documents, Digicel's debt was around US$6.5 billion at the end of March.

stolen-car-theft.jpgA resident in Chancery Hall whose car was stolen over a month ago tells YardFlex that a policeman is behind the theft of his vehicle.

Reports are that the resident, whose two cars have always been parked outside his gate, woke up one morning in July to find only one car. A neighbour reported that she had heard strange noises and seen questionable movements in the wee hours of the morning, but admitted that she had not thought to call the police.

The man's house is located in a valley, below road level, and with his driveway still under construction, he has no option but to park his cars (his and his wife's) on the sidewalk, as close to his entrance as possible. He said that as soon as he realised his cr had been stole, he made a report to the Constant Spring Police Station. However, shortly after the incident, an acquaintance who did not know that his vehicle had been stolen, asked him what was his car doing in Portmore.

He told the man that his car had been stolen and the man reportedly took him to the location, where he identified the vehicle as his and called the cops. The car did not have on any licence plates.

Investigations revealed that a policeman was behind the theft and could possibly be involved in a car-stealing ring. The car is at the police station.

Rogue cop charged for bribing coaster bus owner

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Forty-one-year-old Constable Dudley Lewin of the St Catherine North Division was yesterday charged by MOCA for Breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.

It is alleged that on August 15, Lewin seized a coaster bus and solicited $30,000 in exchange for the release of the motor vehicle.A report was made to MOCA, resulting in the execution of an operation.

On Monday, Lewin collected $16,000 from the complainant and was arrested by detectives from MOCA during the operation. During the process to apprehend him, a struggle ensued. A firearm was discharged, resulting in the accused receiving injuries to his right arm. He later received medical attention and was released into police custody.

Lewin was offered bail in the sum of $400,000 with one or two sureties, reporting conditions and to surrender all travel documents. He will appear in the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate's Court on October 13.

shelly-ann-fraser-pryce-photo-1.jpgShelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took a mere 10.76 seconds to write her name in the history books again, as she left her closest competitor a braid's length behind to win an unprecedented third IAAF World Championships 100m title.

The five-feet tall sprinter, who competed with braided black and green hair topped off with a garland of yellow flowers, brought her impressive individual senior championship medal collection to seven - three 100m World Championships gold, two Olympics 100m gold, 200m World Championships gold and an Olympic 200m silver.

The silver medal was won by Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands in 10.81 with America's Tori Bowie taking the bronze in 10.86. Jamaica's Veronica Campbell Brown (10.91) placed fourth and Natasha Morrison (11.02) seventh.

Campbell-Brown, despite not medalling said she was "grateful and thankful" for the result. "I'm blessed, I don't like to dwell on the past and I've already moved on. My mind is on the 200m," VCB said.

Fraser-Pryce's victory brought Jamaica's medal tally to three after three days of competition. Usain Bolt won gold in the men's equivalent on the second day in 9.79 and O'Dayne Richards bronze in the men's shot put.

The police in Clarendon are probing the murder of two men on Friday night when gunmen opened fire on patrons at an event in the town of May Pen.fourth double murder in recent weeks.

The police report that 22-year-old Leroy Hutchinson, of Woodside district, and 21-year-old Leroy White, of a Cardage Avenue address, died from gunshot wounds sustained during the shooting.

According to the police, the two were among a group of persons attending a fish fry at premises along Howard Avenue when a motorcar approached.

It is reported that a number of men alighted from the car and opened fire, hitting several persons before escaping in the vehicle.

The police have thwarted a robbery and led to the seizure of several firearms-including a high powered rifle-and the arrest of three gangsters.

The investigations, which were led by the Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), revealed that a gang operating out of Arnette Gardens was planning to rob an armoured vehicle in the Kingston 5 area.

The plan was however dashed on Thursday, August 20, when C-TOC conducted an operation in the area.

In a release on Friday, the police reported that one 9mm Glock 17 pistol with a magazine containing thirteen 9mm rounds and one Colt .45 pistol with a magazine containing three .45 rounds of ammunition were seized in the operation and two men arrested.

Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime, Glenmore Hinds, noted that the operation ended without any major incident and without the use of deadly force.

"This is an indication of the high level professionalism and respect for human rights that members of the Constabulary displayed. The Police High Command continues to appeal to criminals not to challenge the police when confronted but to surrender peacefully," he said.

connstable-kills-girlfriend-shoots-himself.jpgThe police constable who is alleged to have shot and killed his girlfriend at her St Andrew home early this morning before shooting himself has now died.

He has only been identified as Constable Stephens, a detective attached to the Hunt's Bay Police Station in St Andrew.

His girlfriend was Kayden Hunter of Duhaney Park, St Andrew.

According to police sources, the constable went to his girlfriend's home in Duhaney Park this morning, called her to the gate and shot her to death.

It's reported that he then travelled to his home in St Mary where he shot himself.

The cop was rushed to hospital where he later died.

Stephens' young daughter was living with Hunter in Duhaney Park.


bolt-wins-gold-beijing-2015-photo-2.jpgUsain Bolt beat Justin Gatlin to win the 100-meter world title in 9.79 seconds at the Bird's Nest, where he shot to fame at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with his victories in world-record times in the 100 and 200.

The only time Bolt has failed to win gold in a sprint at a major championship since the 2008 Games was when he was disqualified for a false start at the 2011 worlds.

Doubts over his ability to beat Gatlin intensified after he tumbled and then recovered to win his semifinal heat in 9.96 seconds.

Gatlin, who won the 100 at the 2004 Olympics before serving a four-year suspension for doping, had been unbeaten in 2015 and had the season-leading time of 9.74 but placed second in 9.80.

The 33-year-old American took bronze behind Bolt at the 2012 Olympics and silver at the 2013 world championships in Moscow.

NHT to sell Outameni. Any buyers?

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nht-to-sell-outameni.jpgGood luck to the National Housing Trust on their decision to sell the controversial Outameni property which many are labelling a white elephant.

Ten months after controversy erupted over its acquisition by the NHT, the Board agreed to the sale at a meeting last week. In April, Dr. Carlton Davis, Chairman of the Housing Trust, indicated that the entity was considering leasing or divesting Outameni.

In his latest comment on the issue, Dr. Davis said that the property could be advertised for sale as early as this weekend. He said bids will be accepted from local and overseas investors.

The NHT was rocked late last year by controversy over the purchase of the Orange Grove lands. Various groups described the decision to purchase the property as a significant departure from the core business of the National Housing Trust.

Assistant Commissioner Ealan Powell, head of the Criminal Investigation Branch, believes former members of criminal networks in Tivoli Gardens are terrorising sections of the Kingston West Police Division.

The police are investigating reports that gunmen from Tivoli Gardens invaded Tulip Lane on Wednesday and were responsible for the fatal shooting of a 14 year old girl.Powell noted that members of the gang, which was led by former drug kingpin, Christopher "Dudus" Coke, are behind the crime wave.

"They are remnants of the Tivoli gang that are still in Tivoli, and are bent on creating mayhem. They are people there who are willing to take on their neighbours, security forces and anybody who shows different views from them. The killing of the little girl is just a continuation of criminality in that area," Powell said.

It's reported that a section of Denham Town has been tense since the fatal shooting of the teenager.

In neighbouring Trench Town, two persons were also shot and injured on Wednesday afternoon in what police sources say was a gang feud in the area.

A historic hotel's rooftop air-conditioning unit is the source of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that has killed 12 people and sickened more than 100 in the Bronx, city Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said yesterday.

After extensive sampling and testing of Legionnaires'-causing bacteria, laboratories have matched the strain found in the hotel's rooftop unit - also called a cooling tower with the strain found in 25 patients, some of whom died, Bassett said.

"The outbreak is over," Bassett said, noting the maximum incubation period has passed since the last new report of someone coming down with symptoms.

Dr Jay K. Varma, a deputy health commissioner for disease control, said health officials investigating the outbreak learned nine days into their probe, on July 29, that a guest who had stayed at the hotel had become ill.

In all, there have been 128 cases and almost all patients hospitalised with the disease have been discharged, officials said.

The outbreak has become the city's most significant public health crisis since last fall's Ebola scare. For more than a month, cases of Legionnaires' - a form of pneumonia especially dangerous for the elderly and for people with underlying health issues - have been reported throughout a section of the South Bronx, the city's poorest neighbourhood.

Man linked to murder of Police Constable charged

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One of the men linked to the violence in West Kingston has been charged.

Gratiano Green otherwise called "Beh Beh", was charged on Thursday with the murder of Constable Lynden Barrett.

Green, a resident of Regent Street, and Tulip Lane in Denham Town, Kingston 14, is booked to appear before the Corporate Area Gun Court next week. The cops say he was a major player in the violence in West Kingston.

Another suspect, Horatio Livine, alias 'Ratio", is still being processed.

Powell said Livine will be questioned next week.

Both men were captured during police operations on Tuesday and Thursday in Silent Hill, Manchester and Red Hills, St. Andrew.

Barrett, who was attached to the Kingston Western Police Division was shot dead near Wellington Street, Denham Town on July 21. The Constable was visiting the area when he was ambushed and shot.

george-thomas-car-crash-montego-bay.jpgAn 18-year-old man is still in a coma following the deadly crash which claimed the life of President of the St James Bar Association George Thomas in Montego Bay on Thursday.

Thomas was being driven by his son when their vehicle collided with a Nissan motorcar.

The injured man was a passenger in the Nissan motorcar. He was badly injured and fell into a coma. Thomas' son, who was driving his father at the time of the accident, is also reportedly in hospital.

Thomas' passing has caused sadness in legal circles and has drawn tributes from Justice Minister Mark Golding and other prominent legal luminaries. The Traffic Police In St James are probing the evidence to ascertain the cause of the crash.

100 policemen charged for corruption in 2014

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police-cars.jpgThe Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions' annual report has stated that some 100 cops were charged for corruption in 2014.

The figure is worrying to the police High Command who has been wringing its hands over the amount of corrupt acts cops have been accused of in recent times.

This week, an off-duty cop was arrested after he attempted to rob a Chinese businessman of $5 million at a financial institution in Black River, St Elizabeth.

Another cop was shot and injured during a sting operation where he was caught shaking down a motorist in St Catherine.

The report stated that some 35 cops were charged in 2013 and four have already been charged this year for breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act.

14-y-o girl gunned down in Denham Town

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gun-shooting.jpgA section of Denham Town in Kingston is tense, following the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old girl yesterday afternoon. The teenager was killed on Tulip Lane, shortly after four o'clock. She was pronounced dead at Kingston Public Hospital.

A senior investigator last night told RJR News that the teenager was killed during a shootout between rival gangs. He said detectives have collected information on the incident.

Over in neighbouring Trench Town, two persons were shot and injured yesterday afternoon, in what police sources say was a gang feud in the community.

attorney-andjustice-minister-mark-golding.jpgMembers of the legal fraternity have been left in shock following the death of the president of the Cornwall Bar Association, George Thomas.

Thomas died Thursday afternoon following a car crash in Montego Bay, St James.

According to Justice Minister, Mark Golding,he was profoundly saddened at the tragic passing of Thomas, who was president of Cornwall Bar Association.

"Mr Thomas has made a significant contribution to the legal professional and community in Western Jamaica, which was acknowledged in 2010 when he was conferred with the Order of Distinction," Golding said in a statement Thursday.?

He said it was his expertise and record of service at the private bar which led to his election in March as president of the Cornwall Bar Association.

Golding also expressed condolences on behalf of the Government to Thomas' family, colleagues and friends.

Meanwhile, the president of the Jamaican Bar Association, Donovan Walker says the legal profession has lost a valuable member who was at the height of his career.

Attorney, Bert Samuels, hailed Thomas for his efforts to uplift legal practise in western Jamaica saying he was friendly and polite.

george-thomas.jpgProminent Montego Bay lawyer George Thomas succumbed to his injuries following a fatal car crash Thursday afternoon.

The vehicle was reportedly hit by a car at the traffic light along the Elegant Corridor in the vicinity of Ironshore, St James.

Thomas later died from injuries he received in a traffic collision, while the driver, his son, Maurice received minor injuries.


Danny upgraded to hurricane status

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hurricane-danny.jpgTropical Storm Danny is now Hurricane Danny, with maximum winds now at 75 miles per hour.

With the rapid strengthening of the weather system, it has become a hurricane one day ahead of the projection that this would have happened on Friday.

Meanwhile the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has announced that it is in contact with national disaster offices across the region and that they are currently monitoring the system.

Danny is expected to reach the eastern Caribbean on Monday.

The people of the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are being advised to monitor the progress of Danny.

Three Jamaicans held in US on drug charges

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Three Jamaicans are said to be among a group of alleged criminals arrested by the Vermont police in the United States for trafficking heroin, cocaine and other illicit substances with intent to sell.

According to authorities, a vehicle transporting two Vermont residents and two from Connecticut was pulled over on Monday for an expired inspection sticker. The occupants included Kwesi Wilson, 30, Tanya Parker, 26, Kenil Forrester, 24, and Melinda Forbes, 24.

Vermont State Troopers say they searched the vehicle after they smelled the odour of burnt marijuana.The search revealed approximately 480 bags of heroin, 50 grams of crack, 15 grams of cocaine, and 10 milligrams of marijuana. The police also seized US$833 and J$1,500.

The occupants were arrested and charged with felony trafficking of heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute.

It is suspected that the drugs were being transported from Hartford, Connecticut to Vermont.

missing-teens-photos.jpgThe police seek the general public's assistance in finding four teens who have high level Ananda alerts activated this week.

Missing are:

1) Jevaun McPherson, 17, of Foster Lane in Kingston, who has been missing since Saturday, August 15.

Jevuan is of dark complexion, medium build and is about 157 centimetres (5 feet) tall. Reports from the Kingston Central Police are that about 11:30am, Jevaun was last seen at home dressed in a green merino, black shorts, and pair of blue slippers. All efforts to contact him on his cellular phone have proven futile.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Jevaun McPherson has been urged to contact the Kingston Central Police at 922-9273, the police's emergency 119 number, or Crime Stop on 311.

2) Moesha Osbourne, 16, of Shortwood district in Cambridge, St James has been missing since Saturday, August 8.

Moesha, otherwise called 'muck muck,' is of dark complexion, stout build and is about 160 centimetres (5 feet 3 inches) tall. Reports from the Cambridge Police are that about 9:30pm, Moesha was last seen at home dressed in a black blouse, black denim shorts and a pair of black slippers. It is understood that when last seen, she had her cell-phone in her possession, however all efforts to contact her have proven futile.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Moesha Osbourne is being asked to contact the Cambridge Police at 912-2266, the police's emergency 119 number, or Crime Stop on 311

3.) Shaniqua Rose, 15, of Mountain View Avenue in Kingston, has been missing since Sunday, July 26.

The teen is of dark complexion, slim build and is about 163 centimetres (5 feet 4 inches) tall. Reports from the Mountain View Police are that Shaniqua was last seen at home about 12:30pm, and has not been seen or heard from since.

Her family has been unable to detail what her mode of dress at the time she went missing.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of young Shaniqua is being asked to contact the Mountain View Police at 930-3207, the police's emergency 119 number, or Crime Stop on 311

4.) Aleyah Parker, 16, of Mile Gully District in Manchester, was last seen on Sunday, August 16.

Young Parker is of brown complexion, medium build and is about 173 centimetres (5 feet 8 inches) tall. According to reports from the Mandeville Police, Aleyah left home about 2:10pm for an undisclosed location wearing a floral dress and a pair of black slippers.

All efforts to contact her have since proven futile. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Aleyah is being asked to contact the Mandeville Police at 961-5538, the police's emergency 119 number, or Crime Stop on 311.

norris-deedo-nembhard.jpgConvicted Jamaican drug lord Norris 'Deedo' Nembhard is back home.

After serving a nine year sentence in a Florida penal facility, Nembhard returned to the island on Tuesday.

In July 2008, Nembhard along with Robroy 'Spy' Williams, his bother Glenford Williams, Vivian Dalley and former police corporal Herbert 'Scarry' Henry were airlifted by helicopter from the New Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston and handed over to the Americans at the Norman Manley International Airport, after being ordered extradited by a local court.

Nembhard pled guilty upon reaching the United States and was initially sentenced to 13 years but that sentence was reduced to nine years.

He fought extradition for four years and was locked up inside the New Horizon Remand Centre for the duration of his local court battle.

The case drew national attention.

bank-robber-cop-oshane.jpgAlthough his colleagues, the police, have not officially released his name, the bank robber who tried to steal J$%-Million from a customer on Tuesday has been identified as Oshane Anderson. He is attached to the police sation in Clarendon.

According to reports, Police Constable Oshane Anderson, who was moonlighting as robber, was legitimately earning at two different locations. Anderson is said to be the owner of a very large house in Mandeville.

However, friends of the bank robber cop, say that Anderson vowed "not to end up like the officer in Clarendon and a different medz me a pree" . That officer being the young one who committed suicide about 3 weeks ago. It's also alleged that Anderson complained about not having any money to buy gas about two days prior. Yet somehow found the money to fill his tank and drive to Black River, St. Elizabeth to rob a bank, dressed as a Rastaman.

According to reports, the victim quickly realized what was about to take place and switched the bag of money, from his left to right arm, then proceeded reach for his service revolver. Once Anderson noticed that Mr D was reaching for his gun, a tussle ensued & Mr D was whipped in his elbow by Anderson's gun. The bag of money & Mr D then both fell to the ground. It's alleged that it was at this point security was alerted about the robbery in progress and came to Mr D's rescue. Anderson was then shot once in the leg, preventing him from fleeing the scene.

Men held wth over 100 M-16 rounds in car

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police-cars.jpgPolice in St Elizabeth seized more than 100 M16 rounds of ammunition and took two men into custody in Santa Cruz, Tuesday afternoon.

Reports say police were conducting a spot check on Institution Drive (referred to locally Back Street), when they stopped a white Toyota Corolla with two men in the vehicle.

A search of the car uncovered the ammunition in the trunk.

The police are investigating.

TS Ana
TS Bill
TS Claudette

The hurricane season in Jamaica, officially runs from June 1 to November 30. The Caribbean and the Atlantic region generally experience few or no storms during the first two months (June and July) of the season. However, the latter portion of the season is regarded as the most active part of the season. The most active months are September and October.

This is also Jamaica's primary rainy season, with month average rainfall generally exceeding 200mm. During the hurricane season, we provided accurate and early forecasting of storms and their impact on the region.

tropical-depression.jpgTropical Depression Four has formed in the eastern Atlantic, and is forecast to strengthen into Tropical Storm Danny over the next 24 hours, approximately.

The National Hurricane Center says Danny could become a hurricane by late Thursday or Friday.

This is the first active tropical depression or named storm in the Atlantic since for more than a month.

According to the Weather Channel, it will take at least a week for the weather system to reach the Leeward Islands, but "over the next couple of days, it's actually moving into a pretty favourable area for development," and could become "at least a tropical storm, if not a low end hurricane, before we get to this weekend."

Rogue cop caught in sting

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An alleged corrupt cop who engaged undercover detectives in a struggle while being apprehended has been shot and injured in Willowdene, St Catherine.

It's reported that about 6 p.m yesterday, the sting operation was set up to catch the policeman collecting money from a man whose car he had seized.

According to reports, after the policeman was caught accepting the money, detectives from the Major Organised Crime Investigation Agency approached him and identified themselves.The policeman then attempted to escape. He was pursued and a tussle reportedly ensued during which he was shot.

The policeman managed to escape but later turned up at hospital with a gunshot wound where he was treated and released into the custody of the police.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) is now probing the shooting.

police-cars.jpgAs more details have emerged about Monday afternoon's foiled robbery outside National Commercial Bank in Black River St. Elizabeth, by a policeman, voices are crying shame and disgrace on the constable.

Senior detectives assigned to the St. Elizabeth Police Division have widened their probe, as it has now been confirmed that the suspect involved in the robbery is one of their own - a police constable assigned to a Corporate Area police division.

According to official police reports, about 1:50 yesterday afternoon the constable attempted to rob a Chinese businessman of a bag containing five million dollars in cash. The businessman was about to enter the bank make a lodgement when he was pounced on by a man armed with a gun.

A security guard at the bank intervened shortly after and shot the man in the right knee. Police were quick on the scene and accosted the man who was wearing false locks. YardFlex was on the scene and captured video footage of the cop as he was bundled into a police pick-up.

At the time of the attempted robbery the lawman was on sick leave.

Investigators are trying to determine the origin of the two weapons seized in the aftermath of the foiled robbery. A pistol fell from the would-be robber, and during a search of his person, a revolver, believed to be a police service pistol, was found in his waist band.

According to DSP Wade, investigations are ongoing to determine if there were other accomplices, and whether the constable was linked to similar crimes.

crime-scene-7.jpgThe Clarendon Police are keeping a close watch on sections of the parish, following an upsurge of violence on the weekend. Four persons were killed in the parish in a series of shootings which began on Saturday night.

In the most recent incident one person was killed and another was hospitalised, following a shooting Sunday evening in May Pen. Details on the shooting were not readily available.

In Frankfield one man was shot dead, after ten Saturday night. Investigators responded to reports of gunfire in section of the community, known as Railway, where they saw the body of a man.

A short time later, while processing that scene, gunmen struck again, leaving one man dead in Osbourne Store. The victim was among a group of men playing dominoes when armed men opened fire on them.

Another man was shot and injured in Content while having a drink with his friends on Sunday night. He's in critical condition.

In yet another incident, a businessman is battling for life, after he was shot in the head on Sunday, while opening his store in Effortville.

On Sunday morning the police were called to the Halse Hall main road where the body of a man was found with stab wounds.

Jamaican team feted by Japan

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japan-send-off-for-team-jamaica.jpgThe Jamaican team for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China, was today feted by the Japanese during a send-off ceremony at the Tottori Civic Hall in Tottori, Japan.

The team, which has been in Japan for a 10-day pre-World Championship training camp, received tokens and were entertained by their hosts.

Special-needs children presented team members with token paper medals, which they made, and they were entertained by World number one karate expert, Rika Usami.

Tottori High school band also played Jamaica's National Anthem during the send-off.

The training camp is slated to end on August 18, ahead of the August 22 start to the World Championships.

Jamaican pilot jailed in Quatar heads home

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pilot-in-jail-quatar-paul-stephens.jpgPaul Stephens, the Jamaican pilot who has been serving a five-year prison sentence in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar, is on his way home.

Judie O'Sullivan, a Jamaican who has been assisting Stephens, saidhe left Qatar yesterday and would be travelling to Jamaica through London, England.O'Sullivan said the west Kingston resident sent her a message as he made his way to the airport, saying he was happy to be leaving Qatar.

"When he was ready to go to the airport, his emergency travel documents were not there as yet. What Qatar Airways did was that they just revalidated the ticket," she explained.

"He said he is going to fight his cause because he is innocent," she said.

According to the official judgment, in the Primary Court of Qatar, Stephens was convicted for having sexual intercourse with a female knowing that she was under the age of 16 and sentenced to five years' imprisonment to be followed by deportation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said Stephens was arrested in Qatar in November 2008 and charged for a serious offence.

"He confessed to the charge and was found guilty by the Primary Court (court of first instance) in November 2012 and sentenced to five years' imprisonment, to be followed by deportation," the foreign ministry said.

"Following his conviction on 28th November 2012, he was taken into custody in January 2013 to begin his custodial sentence. He filed an appeal ... . His conviction was upheld by the appeal court in April 2013. A further appeal to the Court of Cassation (final court) was denied in December 2013," the ministry said.

Stephens recently received a pardon after spending more than three years in prison. O'Sullivan claimed to have visited Qatar and collected court records indicating discrepancies in the case.

"It is a false accusation because they could not convict him, and what they were saying were all lies against him. The judges kept changing and they decided to put something on him," O'Sullivan asserted.

Antiguan businessman missing in Jamaica

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Forty seven-year-old businessman Raphael Hendricks, who is a citizen of St Kitts, has been missing since Friday, July 24, 2015.

He is of dark complexion, stout build, about 170 centimetres (5 feet 7 inches) tall, and sports a low-cut hairstyle.

Reports are that Hendricks has been in the island since May 2015 and gave Four Paths, Clarendon, as his temporary residence. Efforts by relatives to contact him have proven futile.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Raphael Hendricks is being asked to contact the May Pen police at 902-9850, police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.

Over 1000 pounds of ganja seized at wharf

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ganja-seized.jpgOver 1000 pounds of ganja valued at $2.7 million have been seized by the police.

The contraband was seized at the Kingston Wharves, Newport West, on Saturday morning.

The police say about 9 a.m., security personnel called the Narcotics police to assist in the search for a container that they were unable to find. The container was subsequently found with six parcels containing nearly 74 pounds of ganja.

Investigators say the container, which arrived in the island on August 7 from the United States, was destined for The Netherlands.

The discovery led the police to another container, which had 10 large duffle bags. A search of the bags revealed 262 parcels containing approximately 1,000 and 22 pounds of ganja. The container had arrived in Jamaica on July 26 from China and was scheduled to depart for Suriname.

The police did not say whether any arrests were made in connection with the drug finds.

peter-phillips-photo-1.jpgFinance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips definitely hinted that a general election could be called sometime this year, as he reminded the faithfuls to "put a little oil in your lamp".

Speaking at St. Mary High School on Sunday at the Central St. Mary constituency conference in Highgate, he reminided Party supporters that the constitution requires an election of a new government every five years .

"Coming in September will mark the fourth Conference since the last general election, and I would say to anyone with a lamp, put a little oil in your lamp," he stressed.

He used that anticipated milestone to stir the enthusiasm of Party members and supporters: " Get ready! Are you ready, for Comrade Portia SImpson Miller to call the trumpet once again?" he asked.

JPS to reduce electricity bills this month

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jps-bill.jpgWhat with back-to-school and the sky high cost of books, not to mention the price of food at the market, the JPS announcement that there will be a decrease in light bills for August is definitely our pick for YardFlex's 'Good News' Feature.

Read story below:

Jamaica Public Service (JPS) announced on Monday that customers will benefit from a seven per cent drop in their bills this month. This is due to the company passing on savings from reduced fuel prices to customers.

The Fuel and IPP charge for August is J$14.47, doiwn from the J$16.76 per kilowatt hour applied to July bills.

Winsome Callum, JPS Corporate Communication Manager, explained that the fuel charge on electricity bills changes each month, depending on the cost of oil purchased to produce electricity.

"We are actually seeing savings that result in a seven per cent reduction on the average residential customer's elecricity bill. This is very good news for us because we do know that the cost of electricity is at the top of our customers' minds," she said.

4 funeral homes burnt in downtown

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funeral-home-burns.jpgFour funeral homes were burnt down in downtown Kingston just before dawn on Thursday.

The cause of the fire has not yet been officially ascertained by the fire brigade but early indications are that arson may have been a factor.

The four homes are House of Love, Davis Funeral Home, Norman's Funeral Home and Twilight Funeral Home.

All four are located close to the intersection of North and King Streets.

Firefighters said they received a distress call about 2:51 am and sped to the scene. However, despite their efforts, the fire badly destroyed the buildings. The extent of the loss has not yet been tallied.

JUTC bus crashes in gully

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jutc-bus-grants-pen-gully.jpgThe big question is how on earth did the bus end up in the gully.

lice and curious onlookers were open-mouthed after a Jamaica Urban Transit Company bus ended up in a gully at Grants Pen in St Andrew on Thursday morning.

The bus, which was on its way to pick up JUTC staff members, ended up in a section of the gully close to the intersection of Barbican Road and Grants Pen Road, at sometime after 2am.

"IT is very mysterious how the bus could have ended up in the gully. It is very strange. I cannot work out how the bus got there," one cop who was on the scene told Loop News.

The driver of the bus sustained head and shoulder injuries, and was taken to hospital with the help of members of the Grants Pen community.

One resident suggested that JUTC drivers aren't getting enough rest. Earlier this week, a JUTC bus mowed down and killed a vendor in downtown Kingston.

Brave cop shoots attacker in downtown ambush

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The brave action of a cop in downtown, Kingston resulted in him fending off two attackers who attempted to ambush him as he made his way to work.

The cop was walking along Barry Street at around 7:00 pm to start his duties at the Darling Street Police Station when the two men attacked him. A shootout ensued and the cop shot one of his attackers.

Police then flooded the area and one of the attackers was found with a gunshot wound on Matthews Lane. He was taken in to custody.

The police are now searching for the other attacker.

The police in Clarendon, have launched a manhunt for a group of men who abducted and killed a St Catherine businessman, Glendon Rose, 49, in the parish late Thursday.

It's reported that Rose travelled to Clarendon to evaluate a piece of property in Hopefield district. However, shortly after nine o'clock, he was attacked by four armed men. The men forced him into his Black Toyota Fortuna motor vehicle and drove off. Shortly after 11pm. the police received a call that a body was seen lying along the Sandy Bay main road.

Eyewitnesses reportedly told the cops that they saw Rose jump from the vehicle.

However, the gunmen also alighted and shot him several times.

The police are asking anyone who has seen the Black Toyota Fortuna vehicle with the licence plate 9372 GH to contact them.

US reopens embassy in Cuba

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us-reopens-embassy-in-cuba.jpgThe United States on Friday reopened its embassy in Cuba more than 54 years after it was closed, in a symbolic step underlining the warming of relations between both countries.

John Kerry, the first US Secretary of State to visit Cuba in 70 years, presided over the ceremony in Havana. The US flag was presented by the same US marines who brought it down in 1961.

Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington last month. But issues remain, with Cuban leader Fidel Castro blasting the US for not lifting its trade embargo.

In an open letter on Thursday, in state newspaper Granma to mark his 89th birthday, Mr Castro said the US owed Cuba millions of dollars because of its 53-year-long embargo.

Kerry, speaking during the ceremony, described the hoisting of the flag as a "historic moment." He stressed, however, that the US would not stop pressing for political change in Cuba. "The people of Cuba would be best served by a genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders," he told a crowd of hundreds gathered outside the embassy building.

He conceded nevertheless that US policies have not always led to democracy. "Cuba's future is for Cubans to shape," he stressed.

Three retired marines who lowered the American flag for the last time on 4 January 1961 handed it over to marines to raise it once again in Havana as the American national anthem played.

Cuban leader Raul Castro and US President Barack Obama agreed to restore ties in December last year. While trade and travel restrictions have been relaxed, the Republican-led US Congress has not lifted the trade embargo the US imposed on Cuba in 1960.Cuba has long maintained that the embargo - which it calls a blockade - is hugely damaging to its economy.

In his open letter, Fidel Castro said Cuba was committed to "good will and peace in our hemisphere" but added: "We will never stop fighting for the peace and welfare of all human beings, regardless of the colour of their skin and which country they come from."

Fidel Castro led his country from the Cuban Revolution, in 1959, until 2006, when he stood down because of undisclosed health problems. He passed on power to his younger brother, Raul, who embarked on a number of economic reforms.

West Kingston cops dig out two AK 47s from yard

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west-kingston-police-recover.jpgThe West Kingston Police on Friday, seized two high powered rifles that were found buried on premises along Regent Street in Denham Town.

Head of the West Kingston Police Division, Superintendent Cornwall "Bigga" Ford reported that the cops used a backhoe to dig up the weapons - two AK47s.

ak-47-stock.jpgSeveral rounds of ammunition were also found in the operation.

He said over the past two weeks the police have been using the backhoe to search for weapons believed to be buried in the Denham Town area and surrounding communities.

Big shooting in Cross Roads market; 1 killed

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Vendors and shoppers had to scamper for cover as guns blazed in the Cross Roads Market on Wednesday evening.

One man was killed in the incident. He has been identified as 21-year-old Akeem Rose.

Police report that two men on a motorcycle rode up to the market and shot two vendors. Rose died on the spot while the other man was shot in the leg.

The Cross Roads Market is mere metres away from the Cross Roads police station.

boil-advisory.jpgIn light of the continuing drought, Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sonia Copeland, has issued a public health advisory.

Dr. Copeland is urging everyone to treat water before use, especially water collected from untreated sources, such as rivers, streams and other waterways. She warns that, due to the drought, several persons are now collecting and storing water for domestic use from various sources.

She is therefore advising members of the public to ensure all the necessary precautions are followed before consuming the water from untreated sources, as it may not be safe for consumption. Treatment includes adding bleach, and boiling.

The Ministry warns that water should also be treated before making drinks, washing fruits and vegetables, making ice, preparing food and washing dishes and utensils.

Man was killed and three others, including two female foreign nationals, were injured during a shooting incident in Bitwell, Hanover early Thursday morning.

The dead man has been identified as 22-year-old Vinton Campbell, who resides in Bitwell.

The other three injured persons were admitted to hospital in critical condition and doctors are now battling to save their lives.

Police report that the four were travelling in a Mini Cooper motorcar when it blocked the path of a white car on a narrow section of road.

A male passenger alighted from the white vehicle and opened fire shooting all four, killing Campbell on the spot.

Cops hold man in Portmore fuel seizure

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A man has been taken into custody following Tuesday's seizure of several containers of fuel by the Marine Police in Edgewater, Portmore in St. Catherine.

Reports indicate that about 5:50 pm, a team from the Marine police was on patrol when they saw a group of men loading drums onto a fishing vessel at the Causeway Fishing Village.

During a search of the vessel, five 50 gallon drums of gasoline; seventeen 15 gallon drums of gasoline and five buckets of two stroke oil - a special type of motor oil were found.

The police say a compartment on the 33 foot fibre glass fishing boat was also reconfigured to carry approximately 2,000 litres of gasoline.

emil-george.jpgEmil George, the Queen's Counsel, who became most popular as the chairman of the Manatt-Dudus Commission of Enquiry has died.

George, also a former Senator, died this morning at the Medical Associates Hospital in St. Andrew.

It's understood he had been battling cancer for some time.

Christopher Bovell, a partner at DunnCox where George had been a senior partner and consultant, said the company regrets his passing.

Bovell says George had been a great asset to the firm and to the legal fraternity.

NWC customers to receive water every third day

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water-restrictions-photo-1.jpgSome customers in the Corporate Area will begin to experience further water restrictions starting Wednesday.

As announced on Monday, customers supplied by the Mona and Hope filter systems will now receive water every third day.The National Water Commission (NWC) says the restrictions will continue until there is an improvement in the supply.

The decision to implement further restrictions is due to corporate area water levels heading to critically lower levels.

The affected areas are - Mona, Mona Heights, Mountain View, Old Hope Road, New Kingston, Liguanea, August Town, Hope Flats, Papine, Gordon Town, Hope Road, Hope Pastures and its environs.

Investigators in Westmoreland have launched a probe around the fatal shooting of Josephine Wolfe, a third-form student of the Manning's school, who was found yesterday morning at home with a gunshot wound to the head.

The 15-year-old was shot and killed at her home in West End Negril, Westmoreland, between Sunday night and yesterday morning.The child's mother last saw her alive sometime close to 11 pm Sunday before she went to bed. However, at about 8 am yesterday family members went to the young girls' room and saw her lying in a pool of blood.

On close observation, a gunshot wound was spotted in her head. Reports are that window blades were missing from a window to her room and that nobody else was harmed.

Josephine lived with her mother and stepfather, who according to reports had to be hospitalised following the gruesome discovery at their home.

The Manning's School community is also saddened and expressed regret at the murder of the grade-nine student. The Negril police say their investigation is ongoing and are asking anyone with information on the murder to contact them.

warmington.jpgWill the JLP please rein in parliamentarian Everald Warmington. "Mr Crude" flashed his middle finger to members of the media and party supporters as he arrived at the party's Belmont Road headquarters on Tuesday.

His disrespectful action comes just days after he publicly apologised after he was rude to a Gleaner intern and other media members. Warmington objected to his picture being taken and used his note book to shove the camera of the young journalist. He also verbally abused another reporter.

But Warmington extended the olive branch and apologised for his crass actions.

"I was in a very groggy state and I apologise to her and you all," he said on Monday.

Warmington has had constant run ins with the media and is known for his outspoken style.

The Jamaica Labour Party had expressed regret for Warmington's behaviour.

Andrew Holness big on unity

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andrew-holness-photo-3.jpg"U-N-I-T-Y ...that a unity."

In the hot seat once again and possibly fearing for his political future, Oposition Leader Andrew Holness on Sunday urged unity in his embattled Jamaica Labour Party.

Holness, whose leadership is being challenged, was speaking at a party meeting in St Elizabeth.

"Now is the time to hold hands," Holness said.

Andrew Holness has been under fire from Labourites for his laid back leadership style.

He successfully fended a challenge from Audley Shaw and effectively silenced his critics.

However he has been under constant pressure in recent times to prove his worth.

gully-bop-and-shauna-chin-photo-2.jpgGully Bop's fiancee, Shauna Chin, aka Miss Chin, is giving thanks for life after being involved in a motor vehicle accident along the Duncans Main Road in Trelawny on Saturday.

In a Youtube post, the manager of internet sensation turned -full-fledged artiste, Gully Bop, said the car got out of control lipped a few times and ended up in a ditch. She says she suffered broken bones and other injuries.

YardFlex spotted her chilling out at a private resort in Montego Bay wearing a neck brace. Get well soon.

US fugitive caught in Clarendon

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An American fugitive was arrested during a police operation in Rhoden Hall district, Clarendon on Wednesday.

He is 59-year-old Arnold Gabbidon, a farmer in the district.

Gabbidon is wanted in the United States for a host of charges including assault with intent to murder; burglary with an assault on a lawful occupant; mayhem; assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon; and threat to commit the crime of murder.

Reports are that in 1994, Gabbidon attempted to kill his common-law wife by using a knife to cut her throat and stabbing her several times. He then allegedly left her in the house to die, she however survived the ordeal.

A warrant was then issued for his arrest on January 14, 1994, by the Superior Court for Middlesex County, within the Jurisdiction of the USA. Gabbidon however, fled to Jamaica where he has been hiding until his capture.

Wanted man held at club in Mo Bay

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A wanted man is now in custody following a special operation at a nightclub on Gloucester Avenue in Montego Bay, St. James on Friday.

Reports from the Montego Bay Police are that the accused was wanted in connection with the murder of Jermaine Jackson who was shot and killed along Gloucester Avenue, in the parish on Sunday, June 28.

It is alleged that Jackson was with friends on the road and left to purchase food at a nearby shop, when his car was intercepted by another motorcar. Unknown assailant/s allegedly alighted from that vehicle and opened fire at Jackson's motorcar. He was found with multiple gun shot wounds and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The identity of the man in custody is being withheld pending further investigations.

Police find loaded AK 47 in yard

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ak-47-stock.jpgAn AK-47 Assault Rifle loaded with a magazine containing ten 7.62 rounds of ammunition was seized by the St. Andrew South Police on Largie Road, Kingston 11 on Friday.

Reports from the Hunts Bay Police are that, at about 10:30 pm, lawmen conducted a snap raid at a premises in the area where the weapon and ammunition were found to the rear of a building covered under bushes. The gun was subsequently seized.

No arrest was made in connection with the incident. Investigations continue.

RJR and Gleaner merge in historic media move

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gleaner-rjr-merge.jpgJamaica's two largest news entities - 180-year-old Gleaner Company and the 65-year-old Radio Jamaica - on Wednesday announced that they would combine their media operations to create the most powerful multimedia outlet in the Caribbean.

"Survival of Jamaican media in what is a very challenging local climate is the dominant reason" for the decision to combine operations, the companies said. "The local media landscape is dominated by numerous small entities operating from weakened and inefficient financial bases, which threaten the long-term sustainability of the industry."

The transaction will be a stock-for-stock deal, in which Radio Jamaica Limited will issue and exchange 1.2 billion shares on a one-for-one basis to shareholders of The Gleaner Company Limited for 100 per cent of a newly formed subsidiary, Gleaner Company (Media) Limited (GCML), which will hold the assets of the media entities of The Gleaner Company.

The transaction will require the approval of shareholders. Hence, both companies will be required to hold extraordinary general meetings. The process could take up to six months to be finalised.

After the transaction, The Gleaner Company, with its non-media activities, will undergo a name change to avoid future confusion with the media brand to be operated by the merged group.

Radio Jamaica Limited will be the parent company.

The two multimedia companies said "the aim of the merged company is to use the combined strengths of each company's respective credible and award-winning journalism and other content to better inform, educate and entertain the Jamaican public on things relative to Jamaicans everywhere.

The merged company will be led by Lester Spaulding as chairman, with Oliver Clarke as deputy chairman. Gary Allen will be the chief executive officer (CEO) and Christopher Barnes, the chief operating officer (COO). The entity will initially have a 14-member board, seven from Radio Jamaica and seven from The Gleaner Company.

"This is the most exciting development for media in over 50 years," said Allen, who is currently managing director of Radio Jamaica Ltd.

peter-bunting-married.jpgReports are that Minister of National Security Peter Bunting married his long-time girlfriend, Anushca-Mai Walton, in a private ceremony last weekend.

According to sources the couple is expecting their first child.

Bunting was formerly married to Janine Ewart and has two children,Brent and Emma Bunting.

Walton, a former media personality, is now an educator.

YardFlex congratulates the happy couple.

human-trafficking.jpgJamaica's Ministry of Justice has vowed to have a review done of the country's placement on America's Tier 2 Watch list for Human Trafficking.

Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, outlined the Ministry's plan on Tuesday morning, following a Reuters news report that several US lawmakers are threatening to call for a Senate hearing on the 2015 Report.

The Jamaican Government raised questions recently about the methodology used to arrive at the country's ranking. It insisted that Jamaica was not being judged fairly, and argued that different standards were being used to judge different countries.

A U.S. State Department representative has denied that claim.

But, according to Ms Palmer, a reading of the Report will show that it is strategic to American interests.

This observation is in keeping with the Reuters report, in the news agency raised doubts about the merits of the upgrades for Malaysia and Cuba from Tier 3 to Tier 2, despite questions about improvements in their human trafficking records.

US lawmakers are themselves questioning whether some of the ratings are given with a political motive.

3 firemen injured on the job remain in hospital

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firemen.jpgThree firemen remain in hospital after sustaining injuries in the line of duty on Monday.

According to reports, the men responded to a fire at a residence on Olympic Way in Kingston, and were moving a gas cylinder after extinguishing the blaze. The cylinder exploded, injuring the firefighters.

"They have all received first and second decgree burns to different areas of their bodies, but the three areas of concern are the areas below the wrist, the legs and their faces. All three of them have received burns to their faces, their arms and their legs. We are satisfied with the treatment they are receiving at hospital and we are praying for a speedy recovery," said Director of Public Relations for the Fire Brigade, Emelio Ebanks.

Goat thieves set police car ablaze

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police-car-on-fire.jpgA police operation on Tuesday afternoon in St. Elizabeth to recover stolen goats has resulted in the loss of a police service vehicle and another car privately owned by a police officer.

It's reported that the police were conducting an operation in Brighton, on the outskirts of Santa Cruz, after receiving reports that several goats in the community were stolen overnight.

Residents and the police went in search of the animals and came upon four men who were seen slaughtering them. The men ran; however, one was subsequently captured.

The police found ten carcasses, ten live goats and a large area of land under ganja cultivation.

However, when the law officers returned to their vehicles, they discovered that they were ablaze.

The police service unit had been assigned to the Lacovia police station while the other car belonged to the head of the St. Elizabeth Praedial Larceny Unit.

The police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of a man, the abduction of a woman and the robbery of patrons at a bar in Cousins Cove, Hanover this morning.

The dead man has been identified as 30-year-old Conray Brackett of New Town, Cousins Cove in the parish.

The police say about 12:15 this morning, Brackett and the woman were among a group of patrons at a bar when four armed men entered the premises and proceeded to rob them of cellular phones and cash.

The police say the gunmen then opened fire, hitting Brackett several times before they took the woman into a motor vehicle and fled the scene.

The Police were summoned and Brackett was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The woman was later found in the Esher area of Lucea, Hanover.

Anyone with information that can assist in the investigation is being asked to contact the Lucea Police, Crime Stop, the police 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.

Gully Bop and Heavy D part ways over money!!!

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gully-bop-us-visa.jpgInternet sensation Gully Bop and artiste manager, Heavy have officially dropped each other. Heavy D sent out a press release to explain he decision, while Gully Bop has made a Youtube video explaining why he fired Heavy D.


In a media release, Heavy-D Promotions stated:

"Gully Bop is out of control and is making it impossible to work with. He is not listening to me, Chin or anybody else. He does not want any agent fees or expenses to be deducted from income received," Promoter Heavy D stated.

"Bop doesn't understand the business at all and believes that whatever he makes is for him, his woman and to give away to poor people in the street. How the bills are gonna be paid then? There are expenses for every tour," Heavy D added.

Heavy-D continued to explain that he has to be working overtime to cover seriously damaging statements and actions by the artiste.

"He must cease and desist from making all damaging remarks. We collect only 20% as agreed for bookings and management. Legal action will be taken to ensure that this behavior does not continue," he said adding that he recommends that Gully Bop seeks professional help.

"I wish nothing but the best for Bop. I try my best to help him and resolve all issues, but it seems to make no sense. Sometimes I feel like we have another Whitney Houston case on our hands. Bop needs rehab and this is no joke."

Heavy-D Promotions would like to assure all promoters and the public that all engagements that they booked for Gully Bop should be honored by the artiste as all deposits have already been paid over to his fiancée, Miss Shauna Chin.

"Every show we book we take our agent fees and pay over the balance to Chin so all shows should be still on. She is also in a very sticky position, but I understand that she have to stand beside him cause they live together right now."


$1200 to watch Reggae Boyz World Cup opener

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reggae-boyz.jpgFans of Jamaica's national senior football team who wish to see the Reggae Boyz begin the journey to secure qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia can do so at a cost of $1200 dollars.

That's the word from the Jamaica Football Federation who issued the ticket prices for the three seating categories - Grandstand 1, Grandstand 2 and Bleachers.

The Reggae Boyz, who lost Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, are due to open their World Cup campaign against Nicaragua on September 4 at the National Stadium.

Prices for Grandstand One tickets will be $6500 dollars with Grandstand Two tickets going for $5500 dollars.

Patrons wishing to use the Bleachers will be asked to fork out $1200 while fans who purchase Bleachers tickets under the Early Boyz discount package will pay just $1000.

Bleachers category tickets can be bought up to end of day Wednesday September 2 or as long as stocks at that price last.

Tickets will go on sale on Friday, August 28.

The Reggae Boyz after the game on September 4 will journey to Nicaragua where they will face the home team on September 8.

The winner of that two-way playoff will advance to Group B in the 4th round of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament where they will face Costa Rica, Panama and the winner of the playoff between Haiti and Grenada.

The top two teams from each of the three groups will play in a six-team mini-league from which the top three will advance to the 2018 World Cup finals while the fourth placed team will go into an inter-continental play-off.

JFJ Chairman Dr. Barry Wade is dead

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dr-barry-wade.jpgChairman of Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) Dr Barry Wade, is dead.

Wade who died Saturday, took over the leadership of JFJ in July last year.

He assumed the Chairmanship during the period in which the organisation was grappling with the controversy over its sex education programme in children's home.

Wade was a founding member of JFJ and served on the organisation's board of directors on several occasions including as Deputy Chairman from 2003 to 2006.

17-year-old found with $500,000 cash on bus

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The police in Trelawny say a 17-year-old boy was apprehended on a coaster bus on the Wiltshire main road in the parish Friday, after he was found with more than J$500,000 in cash.

Reports are that about 6:45 pm, lawmen signalled the driver of the coaster bus to stop, he complied and the vehicle was searched. During the process, the teenager - who is from Fletchersland and Allman Town addresses in Kingston - was searched and J$530,000 found in his possession, for which he could not satisfactorily account.

He was subsequently taken into custody on reasonable suspicion of breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act and the cash seized.

Cops quiz guard after theft of 8 guns, ammo

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ak-47-assault-rifle-ammo.jpgA female security guard employed to Knightsman Security is being questioned by the police in connection with a robbery at the company's head office on Lyndhurst Road in St. Andrew early Saturday.

It's alleged that eight firearms and ammunition were stolen.

It's reported that sometime after 1 o'clock, three men gained access to the office and held up the security guard.

The men then took the weapons along with cash and escaped.

11 guns, ammunition seized

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ak-47-assault-rifle-ammo.jpgThe police are reporting the seizure of eleven firearms and more than 200 rounds of ammunition across the island in the past 48 hours.

The firearms and ammunition seized include:

One AK 47 rifle

One M-16 rifle

One Strum Ruger mini-14 rifle

One Taurus semi-auto pistol

One Heckler and Koch 9mm pistol

One Chrome Smith and Wesson revolver

Five 9mm pistols

Fifty-one 5.56 rounds of ammunition

Seventy-six 7.62 rounds of ammunition

Sixty-two .357 rounds of ammunition

Four .45 rounds of ammunition

Five .38 rounds of ammunition

Thirty-three 9mm rounds of ammunition along with

Five magazines

The lawmen are appealing to the public to share information on illegal/suspicious activities in their communities with the police by calling Crime Stop at 311, police 119 emergency number or their nearest police station.

Education minister Ronnie Thwaites in hospital

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ronald-thwaites.jpgEducation Minister Ronald Thwaites was in hospital following a fall at his farm on Saturday.

A media release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said, however, that preliminary assessments indicate that Thwaites did not suffer any serious injury.

Updates on his condition will be provided if the need arises the OPM release said.

"Minister Thwaites thanks everyone for their concern and well wishes," the release added.

Legendary deejay Red Dragon is dead

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red-dragon-yardflex-photo-1.jpgLeroy Anthony May, the veteran deejay more popularly known as Red Dragon has died.

"All who nuh bathe from morning, run go hol a FRESH" were words many Jamaicans, both young and old would cheerfully recite in the late 80s and early 90s.

'Hol a Fresh', released in 1987 was his first major hit.

May deejayed with numerous sound systems in the 1980s such as Stone Love, People's Choice and his own Rambo


Coronation Market Comes Uptown August 1

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More than 50 vendors who usually sell their produce at the Coronation Market in downtown, Kingston, will do so at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, on Hope Road, in Kingston, on Saturday, August 1.

A section of the centre will be transformed into a marketplace, showcasing the rich offerings of Jamaica's farmers. Push carts will also be available to carry bags to shoppers' cars.

The Farmers' Market is one of the first activities of the 'Independence Village', being established to feature daily and nightly events ranging from stage shows and concerts to exhibitions and expositions.

The market, which opens at 6:00 a.m. is one of the new initiatives of this year's Emancipation and Independence celebrations, being held under the theme: 'Proud and Free...Jamaica 53'.

Speaking at a JIS 'Think Tank' on July 24, Executive Director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Delroy Gordon, said that discussions are ongoing with farmers.

"We are working closely with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). We are also working closely with the higglers themselves at the Coronation Market, and Sweet Wood market, so we are expecting well over 50 vendors to be participating," he said.

Mr. Gordon is urging citizens to support the market and to "avoid the traffic to go all the way downtown."

"You will be able to get good farm products, good quality, and at a good price," he added.

The event is being organized by the JCDC, an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

independence-feature-delroy-gordon-executive-director-jcdc.jpgThe Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) is making additional arrangements for persons who cannot get in the National Stadium to view the Independence Grand Gala on Independence Day, August 6.

Large screens will be set up at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre (RWEC), Hope Road, in Kingston for viewing of the Grand Gala, the culmination of Emancipation and Independence Celebrations. The live streaming will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Executive Director of the JCDC, Delroy Gordon, said a decision has been taken to set up the screens to allow the public to share in the festivities.

"We recognise that the National Stadium is not going to be able to hold all the persons who want to go inside, so we have this year made special preparation to accommodate some of those who will not be able to make it, by creating a viewing site in the Independence village," he told JIS News.

The RWEC will be transformed into the Independence Village being established to feature daily and nightly events, ranging from stage shows and concerts to exhibitions and expositions. It will be opened from August 1 to 6.

"We are going to have big screens. There will be adequate seating. We will be having food and drinks," Mr. Gordon said.

The Executive Director said that persons can go to the centre anytime during the day (August 6) and remain for the viewing of the Gala.

Additionally, he said there will be an after-Gala party which will end at approximately mid-night.

"There is no cost, you just come; your best behavior is what is required," he added.

Emancipation and Independence Feature

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'Link Up and Labrish' Added to Celebrations

The Ministry of Youth and Culture is encouraging all Jamaicans to participate in the emancipation and independence celebrations that will be taking place across the island. This year, a major highlight of the 2015 Festival activities, being celebrated under the theme 'Proud and Free...Jamaica 53', is the 'Link Up and Labrish' discussion forum that will be held at the Independence Village, Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, 36 Hope Road, Kingston 10, from August 1-5, 2015, 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.

The discussions will be presented as 'conversations' that will be managed by a moderator who will place in context, the sub-theme and issues or questions that are to be examined. Each session carries five panellists who will each present his or her view in an opening statement, and thereafter, the conversations will unfold with the active participation of audience members. Relevant Audio-visual presentations and performances will be included at strategic points in the conversations. The discussions will focus on issues relating to Jamaica's rich culture and seek to generate meaningful debate around the country's achievements and vision for the future of its diverse culture and heritage.

Some thirty Jamaicans, representing a cross section of cultural sectors and backgrounds, including youth have been recruited to moderate and sit as panellists. They include Ainsley Henriques, Amina Blackwood Meeks, Lesley-Ann Welsh, Chelsea Wallace, Dane Byrd, Dr. Dennis Howard, Miguel 'Steppa' Lewis, Nadeen Spence, Nickesha Lindsay, Laura Lee Jones, Aundre Rowe, Dr. Shelley Morgan, Orville Hall, Jennifer Small, Kerry Ann Henry and Dr. Donna Hope.

According to the Minister of Youth and Culture, Honourable Lisa Hanna, "Everyone should come out and be a part of these conversations. Our Emancipation/Independence observance is the perfect time for us to Link Up and Labrish, our youth and older persons in one space having a frank exchange about how we see ourselves and what is our value as a people. It is about sharing, learning and finding solutions on how to make our cultural heritage assets stronger and more viable on the world stage".

The opening panel scheduled for August 1 is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion. This special forum will be hosted by the Planning Committee, 150th Anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion at Rudolph Elder Park, Morant Bay in St. Thomas. The remaining sessions will be held at the Independence Village, Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre to include "Exploring the 'Culture' in Agriculture: Plant It, Use It, Sell It" on August 2; August 3 the session will be held under the sub-theme, "I Am Who I Am, But Who Am I?", while on Tuesday August 4 the local fashion industry takes center stage with the sub-theme "Behind the Cloth: Seamstress to Runway. The final session of Link Up and Labrish coincides fittingly with the staging of the World Reggae Dance Championship on August 5 with a conversation around the sub-theme "Folk form of Ramping? Dancehall: Movement of a People".

$250 million worth of counterfeit goods seized

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The Jamaica Customs Department is reporting that it confiscated more than $250 million worth of counterfeit goods at the island's ports of entry from January last year to April this year.

The items include more than 20,000 pairs of footwear, valued at $80 million, 1,920 bottles of perfume worth nearly $4 million, and four million sticks of cigarette valued at $120 million, according to Commissioner of Customs Major Richard Reese.

The other confiscated items include handbags, clothing, belts, hats, disposable razors and pharmaceuticals.

Some of the products were intended for the local market while others were destined for other countries.

Major Reese made the disclosure at the opening ceremony for Jamaica Customs' five-day intellectual property rights training seminar for 28 customs officers.

The Major Investigation Taskforce (MIT) has released the names of three suspects wanted for the murder of Constable Lynden Barrett.

They are Gratiano Green, otherwise called 'Beh Beh', of Regent Street and Tulip Lane in Denham Town; Nicholas Drummond also known as 'Ticki Dollar', of Christopher Road and Horatio Livine, alias 'Ratio', of Bread Lane, Denham Town, Kingston.

Barrett, who was attached to the Kingston Western Division was shot and killed in the vicinity of Wellington Street downtown Kingston on July 21.

Residents claim he was killed by the police after being mistaken for a gunman.

However, the High Command dismissed the claim and argued that forensic and ballistics tests revealed that the Constable was killed by hoodlums.

winston-sill.jpgGleaner photographer, Sill died in hospital on Friday after a period of illness.

He was 73.

"Sill's passing is a real loss to The Gleaner's editorial department and by extension the thousands of people who would have waited daily to see his images in print and online," Editor-in-Chief Garfield Grandison is quoted as saying.

Sill, who joined The Gleaner as a Freelance Photographer on August 1, 1991, primarily shot social pictures for The Gleaner and was the man behind the camera for THE STAR's poster girl feature.

"During his 24 years working with The Gleaner, Sill became very well known on the social circuit and earned the respect of many, including his peers," Grandison added.

One of Sill's nieces, Astrid Cooper, recalled how much he lived for the moment when he could capture an arresting image.

Sill was the father of three children: Winsome, Irvin and Garth.

If the contents of a video now doing the rounds on social media are to be believed then an innocent donkey was slaughtered recently for its meat.

The video shows a black man and an Asian pulling a donkey by a long rope, while persons standing by are making comments. The Asian man look tired and is seen taking a break and breathing deeply, even as some women discuss the situation and another Asian man in a chef's uniform stand by..

The donkey is tied to a post and then the grisly scene unfolds as one of them uses a knife to slaughter the animal.

The women sound shocked when they realise that the poor donkey is actually being slaughtered and that the animal will quite likely end up in the pot of a restaurant.

Is donkey meat safe to eat and is it legal in Jamaica?

Actually, there are many reports that donkey meat is safe for human consumption and there are persons who think it's time to add donkey meat to our menu.Those who have eaten donkey meat say it tastes "just like beef".

Donkey stew anyone?

The bullet-riddled bodies of two men, who were reported missing, were found in a parked car in Frome, Westmoreland on Tuesday.

They have been identified as 40-year-old Carlton Crooks of Lucea, Hanover, and 27-year-old phone technician Denton Hall of Esher Housing Scheme, also in Hanover.

Reports from the Savanna-la-Mar police are that missing person reports were filed for the two men at the Lucea Police Station on Saturday, after the men reportedly left their homes on Thursday, July 23, and had not been seen since.

On Tuesday afternoon, residents reported seeing a motor car that appeared to have been abandoned and summoned the police.

The bodies were found inside the car.

vybz-kartel-photo-24.jpgIdents of Swallowfield Avenue in Havendale, St Andrew say the demolition of incarcerated dancehall deejay Vybz Kartel's house on Tuesday has allowed them to breathe easier.

The house was demolished after an order by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) approved a request from prosecutors during the now infamous trial, conviction and 35 year-sentencing of the deejay whose real name is Adidjah Palmer.


"Vagrants had taken up occupancy in the building and they were living in filth. We are so pleased that the house is no more and the terrible blot on our community is gone forever," one resident told Loop News.

Another resident said the vagrants would steal fruits and other items from their properties and made their lives a living hell.

"They would steal on a daily basis and it's like they perfected their craft to a T. It was very hard to catch them in the act. The place was very nasty and garbage was strewn all over. Now we can finally live in peace," the resident said.


The property was the scene of the brutal mauling death of Clive 'Lizard' Williams who was killed because he lost an illegal firearm belonging to Palmer, the prosecution argued successfully.

Their case was bolstered by the testimony of chief witness Leonard Chow, who told the court that he managed to escape death by scaling a high gate and hightailing it out of the area.

Chow said he too was marked for death. He has been in protective custody for years.

After the incident, the house was mysteriously torched and prosecutors claimed this was an attempt by Kartel and his cronies to hide forensic evidence.

Deportee jumps wall at US embassy stark naked

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A deportee last week breached security at the United States Embassy in Liguanea, St Andrew and scaled the walls of the well-fortified building in the nude.

The security breach came to light in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Tuesday when 43-year-old Lenroy Wiggins was brought before the court to answer to charges of trespassing and illegal exposure.

The court was told that Wiggins had made some threatening calls to the embassy on previous occasions and his photograph was posted on the Embassy's notice board for security officials to watch out for him.

He claimed he was unfairly deported from the United States and did not want to stay in Jamaica.

Wiggins plead not guilty to the charges and was remanded in custody until August 5.

missing-brothers-photo.jpgIt's been one week since twin brothers Tyrique and Talrique Arthurs went missing while visiting a relative in St James.

The boys, who reported 'disappeared' around 12:26 am last Wednesday, reside in Exchange, Ocho Rios and were promptly reported missing by their parents a few hours after.The police are still on high alert and that the family is stricken with grief over the whereabouts of the twins.

The police are urging members of the public to assist as much as they can to return the Arthurs twins safely home. Both boys are of slim build and about 107 centimetres (3 feet 6 inches) tall, however Talrique is of dark complexion while Tyrique is of brown complexion.

When last seen Talrique was dressed in a blue shirt and multi-coloured boxers and Tyrique was wearing a green shirt and blue boxers with green stripes.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Tyrique Arthurs and Talrique Arthurs is being asked to contact the Ocho Rios Police at 974-2533, the police's 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

Vendor stabbed to death in daylight attack

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shocked.jpgYet another murder has occurred in the troubled community of West Kingston

This time the victim is an elderly woman. Police confirmed that the woman was stabbed to death on Wednesday morning.

The killing appeared to have robbery as its motive.

West Kingston has been under the gun for months resulting in a number of murders and shootings.

Popular UWI lecturer Charmaine Henry is dead

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charmaine-henry-carimac.jpgUniversity of the West Indies lecturer Charmaine Henry has died following a long illness. Her death on Monday has come as a shock to may of her students for whom she was a "favourite".

Henry taught public relations and communications at the Caribbean Institute for Media and Communication. (CARIMAC).

President of the Press Association of Jamaica, Dionne Jackson-Miller described Henry as a bright spirited individual.

"Charmaine had a beautiful, bright spirit. I visited her several times during one of her hospital stays and even when it was clear that she was very ill, she was still so energetic and full of life! She would talk about the nurses, and say how good everyone was to her, talk about her friends and colleagues and how much she valued their visits and caring. And she could be so funny! You'd laugh for half of the time you were with her. Hard to believe such a bright light has been snuffed out!" Jackson-Miller said.

A former student, Corey Robinson, who writes for the Daily Gleaner, was shaken by news of Henry's death and took to social media to express his sadness.

"Corey, is not how yuh start; is how yuh finish. I write this statement and tears come to eyes as I can still hear you say it. My motivator, my teacher, my friend, a wonderful spirit.

RIP Charmaine A Henry. No more pain," Robinson wrote on his Facebook page.

Cops probe double murder in Westmoreland

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The Whithorn police in Westmoreland are probing a double murder in Waterworks in the parish on Sunday

The deceased have been identified Rameish White, 24 of Waterworks and Jovaine Green, 27 of Old Road.

The police that shortly before 8pm White and Green were sitting under a tree in the community when a motorbike with two men aboard drove up. The men opened fire at both men who were later pronounced dead at hospital.

It's reported that White's mother was shot and killed last year.

Another relative was also shot.

gun-crime.jpgThe Kingston West Police were kept busy over the weekend responding to several shootings which left one man dead and four persons injured.

Police sources say there were at least seven shootings between Friday and Saturday.

Detectives have linked the incidents to feuds involving rival gangs from Tivoli Gardens, Denham Town and Torrington Park.

On Saturday, police were called to investigate an incident where gunmen went to premises on Metcalfe Street and opened fire.One man was shot.

A few hours later gunmen went to Third Street in Trench Town and carried out another shooting, leaving a man injured.

Meanwhile, Horace Cespedes,26 was shot and killed Saturday afternoon in Torrington Park.

Residents heard explosions and later found Cespedes body with bullet wounds.

In Tivoli Gardens in a section of the community known as 'Bumps' a man was shot and injured about 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon.

He was shot when gunmen traded bullets in the May Pen Cemetery.

Detectives say the man was among a group of persons preparing a grave for a gang member recently shot and killed, when they were attacked by rival gang members.

The police also reported a shooting in Golden Heights, Denham Town in which a man was shot and injured.

sangster-international-airport.jpgPolice attached to the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay,on Sunday arrested and charged an American woman with breaches of the Firearms Act.

It's reported that shortly before 11a.m. the woman was about to board a flight for Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

While going through the security check point her handbag was searched and an undeclared 9 millimetre round of ammunition was allegedly found.

She was taken in custody.

Cops say island-wide operation successful

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police-cars.jpgThe police say recent island-wide security forces operations have had the desired result, and more will be implemented.

The police-military operations were part of a major effort to curtail crime, and in particular murders, which are on the increase.

Scores of persons were arrested in the operations, which occurred in the 19 police geographic divisions.

Head of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Assistant Commissioner Ealan Powell, says the police saw a lull in criminal activities, over the period of the operations.

Two police officers killed a week apart over the past two weeks, and a number of killings in western parishes, have seen the number of murders gone pass 6 hundred, since the start of the year.

More water restriction in the pipeline

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water-restrictions.jpgReports are that water restrictions in the Corporate Area are currently under review and this could result in a further cut back in supplies by the National Water Commission, NWC. A decision is expected this week.

Some communities are now receiving water on alternate days.

Acting President of the NWC, Mark Barnett, says while the restrictions have slowed the decline in levels at the Hermitage Dam and Mona Reservoir, the situation is precarious. The Mona Reservoir is now at 24.5% of capacity and the Hermitage Dam 36.9%.

In the meantime, the NWC will be investigating reports that water is being purchased for car wash establishments. This is a breach of the Prohibition Notice.

police-station.jpgFour policemen, including a Superintendent, were questioned in relation to the beating of an inmate inside the Hunts Bay lock up last weekend.

The 29-year-old inmate is accused in connection with the murder of woman constable Crystal Thomas.

Thomas was killed as she stepped into a robbery on a public passenger vehicle on her way home from work. She was shot at point blank range in the head.

The suspect was found with severe head injuries inside a cell. He is hospitalised in critical condition.

US$2000 award for top Kingston College boys

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stephen-vasciannie-accepts-us2000-from-erna-radifera-donor-of-the-frank-subaran-awards.jpgThe top two students at Kingston College in the 2015 CSEC examinations will each benefit from a US$1,000 prize dubbed the Frank Subaran Awards for Academic Excellence.

At that start of this month, Erna Radifera, a Jamaican living in Washington DC, presented a cheque for US$2,000 to Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States of America and former Kingston College head boy Professor Stephen Vasciannie.

This money is to be used to fund two awards at KC in the memory of Dr Frank Subaran, a Kingston College old boy and brother of Radifera.

Subaran left Kingston College in 1959 with academic honours leading to an engineering scholarship. After leaving Kingston College, he read for a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and then a doctorate in telecommunications from the University of Edinburgh in 1970.

In his professional life, he worked at JAMINTEL, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, London, and INTELSAT, Washington DC.

In presenting the money to the Jamaican ambassador, Radifera noted her late brother's commitment to education and his willingness to support his alma mater.

Vasciannie thanked Radifera for her contribution and acknowledged that contributions such as this help to advance education in the country.

Spanish Town nurse is Nurse of the Year

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nurse-of-the-year-2015.jpgTreveen Palmer-Miller, a nurse who works at the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine, is the new Lasco/Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) Nurse of the Year.

Palmer-Miller topped six finalists to cop the prestigious award at a ceremony in Kingston yesterday.

The award comes with a cheque for J$200,000 among a host of other prizes.

The runner up was Tashia Wedderburn-Harris of the South East Regional Health Authority.

Dr Adella Campbell, Programme Director and Lecturer at the Caribbean School of Nursing at the University of Technology, was awarded the third place trophy.

mex-wins-jamaica-2015.jpgJamaica's Reggae Boyz surrendered to Mexico 3-1 in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at Lincoln Financial Field here today, giving the Central American their seventh title.

Mexico captain Andres Gaurdado opened the scoring in the 31st minute, with follow-up goals from Jesus Corona (47th) and Oribe Peralta (61st) to break Jamaican hearts.

Substitute Darren Mattocks, a scorer in the 2-1 semi-final win against the USA in Atlanta last Wednesday, restored Jamaican pride with an individual goal in the 80th minute.

Jamaica made a confident start to the contest, spreading the Mexicans thin by using the flanks to good effect, but the Central Americans got into their slick-passing game and it was finished as a contest.

Mexico will collect US$1 million for lifting the crown, while Jamaica will pocket US$500,000 for being runners-up.

Jamaica had created history becoming the first Caribbean team to contest the Gold Cup final.

coronation-market.jpgMore than 50 vendors who usually sell their produce at the Coronation Market in downtown Kingston, will do so at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, on Hope Road, in Kingston, on Saturday, August 1.

A section of the centre will be transformed into a marketplace, showcasing the rich offerings of Jamaica's farmers. Push carts will also be available to carry bags to shoppers' cars.

The Farmers' Market is one of the first activities of the 'Independence Village', being established to feature daily and nightly events ranging from stage shows and concerts to exhibitions and expositions.

The market, which opens at 6:00 am is one of the new initiatives of this year's Emancipation and Independence celebrations, being held under the theme: 'Proud and Free...Jamaica 53'.

Speaking at a JIS 'Think Tank' on Friday, executive director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Delroy Gordon, said that discussions are ongoing with farmers.

"We are working closely with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). We are also working closely with the higglers themselves at the Coronation Market, and Sweet Wood market, so we are expecting well over 50 vendors to be participating," he said.

Gordon is urging citizens to support the market and to "avoid the traffic to go all the way downtown".

"You will be able to get good farm products, good quality, and at a good price," he added.

The event is being organised by the JCDC, an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

court.jpgThe police in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland have charged Jevaughn Flemmings in connection with the quadruple murder in Whithorn in the parish, which took place on June 12

Flemmings, 19, is charged with four counts of murder and is scheduled to appear before the Savanna-la-Mar Resident Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, July 28.

Meanwhile, detectives say they are continuing to follow every lead as they continue their investigation into the incident.

Information received is that about 4:40pm, Theodore Tenant, 21; Romario Drummond, 20; Demar Doeman,16; and 15-year-old Shawn Clayton all of Old Road District, Westmoreland were shot dead while they were at a shop in Whithorn in the parish.

Denham Town Health Centre to re-open on Monday

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The Denham Town Health Centre in Kingston is to re-open on Monday.

The facility was temporarily closed on Wednesday following concern about the safety of staff and patients, due to violence affecting the community.

Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority, Dr. Andrei Cooke, says the decision to reopen the facility follows meetings with stakeholders including the police.

"We had consultations with the police high command and we had some discussions, and decided to resume normal clinical activities on Monday. The police have also assured us that they will be on patrol in the area ....." he said.

3 more held in aviation fuel theft

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aviation-fuel.jpgThree persons are in custody, in relation to the theft of fuel from Jamaica Aircraft Refueling Services (JARS) in Montego Bay, St. James.

They were arrested on Friday morning, on suspicion of breaching the Petroleum Quality Control Act and the Larceny Act.

This increases to five, the number of persons held.

Two employees were nabbed last month during an operation by security personnel at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

Friday's pre-dawn operations were carried out by members of the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), the Financial Investigation Division, and Mobile Reserve.

The operation targeted three houses and a business place, where it is alleged that the occupants and owner were involved in the theft of the aviation fuel.

More than $2 million in cash was seized, along with documents, as well as electronic devices, including cellular phones and laptop computers.

On May 10 this year a fuel tanker was seen refueling at the JARS plant at Sangster International Airport. This aroused the suspicion of airport officials. A search was conducted and 4,000 litres of stolen fuel was found.

Millions lost in Arcade fire in Mo Bay

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fire.jpgFirefighters have estimated losses in a fire early Friday, at the Shoes Market on the corner of St. James and Strand Streets in Montego Bay at J$75 million do. About 35 shops were destroyed.

Four units responded to the blaze.

Vendor, Rosemary Miller, said she lost all her goods, "We got a phone call that the arcade was on fire and when we came - this is what we saw. I don't know how we will manage" she said.

The fire is believed to have started from a candle.

An operation was conducted in the market on Tuesday in which Jamaica Public Service personnel removed illegal connections.

A top level probe is in progress to determine the circumstances under which a suspect linked to the murder of Constable Crystal Thomas was found unconscious in a Corporate Area Police lockup.

The 29-year-old suspect, who is from Kidd Lane in Kingston 11, is in serious condition in hospital.

Sources say the incident may have occurred sometime on Saturday afternoon but were tightlipped.

According to a well placed police source between 3pm and 4pm on Saturday, the suspect was being housed in a cell at the Hunts Bay lockup when he reportedly requested to use the bathroom.

The detainee was later found lying face down in a cell with head wounds.He was taken to hospital where he underwent emergency treatment and is now reportedly on life support..

Questions are being raised about the length of time which elapsed between the alleged beating of the suspect and the time it took to transport him to hospital.

Allegations have surfaced that police personnel are linked to the beating of the suspect, however this has been denied by senior police personnel assigned to the St. Andrew South Police Division.

Meanwhile, Acting Commanding Officer for the St. Andrew South Police Superintendent Lennox Harper revealed that three state agencies are involved in the probe into the detainee being injured.Several statements have already been collected.'

"The prisoner was found on Saturday in the lockup at Hunts Bay in a state of unconciousness. We are not sure what happened. But what I can tell you is that it is being investigated at the highest level," said Harper.

Condolences pour in for Flossie Hazel Salmon

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The Consulate General of Jamaica joins with other fried and well-wishers in expressing condolences on the passing of Ms. Flossie Hazel Salmon.

Ms. Salmon who was 105 years of age, is the mother of Mr. Patrick Jolly, President of Tower Isles Foods

In a release, the Consulate General stated: "The Consul General wishes to express condolences to the family, other relatives and loved ones of Ms. Salmon and may their wonderful memories of her serve to comfort and strengthen them during this challenging time."

Jamaica has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to bond sales.

In a Friday statement, Jamaica said it has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but under generous credit terms.

Officials say a negotiated settlement with Caracas will dismiss about $3 billion in long-term debt in exchange for $1.5 billion. It was not immediately clear Friday if Jamaica's deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe debt.

The finance ministry said this week's bond issue transaction was "the largest capital markets fundraising ever undertaken by the government of Jamaica."

Jamaica's Petrocaribe settlement is similar to one the Dominican Republic negotiated with Venezuela earlier this year. That Caribbean country dismissed $4 billion in Petrocaribe debt in exchange for $2 billion.

On Thursday, IMF Communications Director Gerry Rice said the organization supports Jamaica's debt buyback.

"It's an important step in reducing the value of the country's public debt and will help to put debt firmly on a downward trajectory," Rice told reporters.

Jamaica is in the third year of a four-year $930 million loan package with the International Monetary Fund and it has passed consecutive tests without shortfalls.

Gun, ammunition seized at Faith's Pen

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ak-47-assault-rifle-ammo.jpgA man and a woman have been arrested as the Moneague Police seized one firearm and several rounds of ammunition on Spencer Road, Faith's Pen in St Ann on Thursday

Reports are that between 4am and 6am, the lawmen carried out an operation in the community where a house was searched.

One Mossberg shotgun along with six rounds of ammunition was seized.

The pair, who was taken into custody in relation to this incident, have their identities withheld pending further investigations.

The police have confirmed that a former national athlete has lodged a report that he was attacked by a female at an event.

Reports are that the former national athlete, who was a patron at 'Chill', an all-inclusive party held at Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine last week, got into an altercation with a female patron.

The report said that the former national athlete was standing at the event talking to a girl when another woman attacked in a drunken rage, hitting the girl and slapping the athlete who was forced to take evasive action and defend himself.

During the altercation, it is said that the female patron was physically assaulted as the athlete pushed her to the ground. The athlete also received minor injuries in the tussle.

The female filed a report at the Central Village Police Station while the former athlete filed his report at the Duhaney Park police station.

Sources say the girl is not romantically or sexually involved with the former athlete so reasons for the attack remain unclear.

"The athlete said he was attacked by the girl who was drunk. She approached her, and he told her he didn't want to talk to her, and walked over to another girl. Then the girl attacked, slapping at him and the other girl, and in defending himself, he pushed her, and she fell," the officer explained in the report.

The girl, however, has filed a separate report at the Central Village police station, where she is alleging that the former athlete was the aggressor and she, the victim.

Deadly love triangle in St Catherine

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A love triangle turned deadly recently when a woman stabbed another woman who was found in a compromising position with her male lover at her home in St Catherine.

The deceased female has been identified as Dianne Brackenridge. Brackenridge, who is said to be in her early 40s, was with a male companion at his home when they were surprised by the return of the man's spouse.

Police confirmed that the main suspect, the man's spouse, reportedly returned home unannounced at around 12 midnight on Wednesday, and flew into a rage.

An argument reportedly developed between both women, during which a knife was used, allegedly by the spouse, to stab Brackenbridge several times.

She reportedly died at hospital.

Usain Bolt is back!

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usain-bolt-strikes-his-trademark-celebratory-pose-with-the-jamaican-flag.jpgOlympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt blasted out a world championship warning with victory in the 100m at the London Diamond League meeting on Friday.

The Jamaican sprint king won in 9.87sec, the same time he set in winning his heat earlier in the evening, on a cool, damp night at the London Olympic Stadium.

Friday was his first appearance in six weeks with his only previous 100m race this year seeing him struggle to a modest 10.12sec in Brazil.

Justin Gatlin of the United States still leads the way with 9.74sec in the 100m this season, setting up an intriguing world championship showdown with Bolt in Beijing next month.

"Overall, it was a good run. I wanted to run faster but my start was very poor and that threw me off. It was all downhill from there," said Bolt whose season has been plagued by a pelvic injury.

"I feel like I am getting there and that's the good thing."

Michael Rodgers was second in the final in 9.90sec with Kemar Bailey-Cole of Jamaica taking second in 9.92sec.

"I need to work hard ahead of Beijing. I have to keep pushing myself," added 28-year-old Bolt who was running on the track where he won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay gold at the 2012 Olympics.

"I feel pretty good. If I work on my start I will be fine. I need to be more consistent."

Bolt announced his return to form in the heats an hour and 20 minutes before the final on Friday.

After Britain's world indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty had been disqualified for a false start, Bolt made a hesitant start when the race got underway at the second time of asking.

But he overhauled Rodgers as he eased across the line in 9.87sec, the American finishing runner-up in 9.92sec.

constable-crystal-thomas-photo-1.jpgThe University College of the Caribbean (UCC) on Sunday conferred Police Constable Crystal Thomas posthumously with her associate degree.

The document was presented to her mother at the graduation ceremony, held at the National Indoor Sports Centre.

There was also a moment of silence by the graduating class for the slain constable, who had attended the institution.

The 24 year old policewoman, who was attached to the Denham Town police station, was shot dead last Tuesday night during a robbery on a bus on Spanish Town Road.

Members of the Central Executive of the Police Federation were in attendance at the graduation ceremony.

Three suspects have been held for her murder.

200 extra policemen sent to Montego Bay

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In a major push to curtail the crime wave in St James, the Police High Command has ordered the deployment of 200 additional police personnel to the parish this week.

The new batch of cops should arrive on Tuesday.

More than 120 people have been murdered in St James since January - the highest figure of all 19 police divisions.

The High Command imposed nightly curfews in several communities, following last week's slaying of six persons over a 24 hour period.

Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor, head of the St James Police, said the curfews, imposed on Friday, have been instrumental in curtail the violence in his Division since then.

He said the police will continue their manhunt for those involved in the violence.

Since the start of the year, 652 people have been murdered in Jamaica, up from 525 during the corresponding period last year.

American woman missing; last seen in HWT

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american-woman-missing.jpgThe police are looking for an American woman who they say has been missing since last Thursday.

She is 41-year-old Lori Sexon, a Caucasian of medium build and is about 163 centimetres (5 feet 4 inches) tall.

Sexon was last seen in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew about 9:30 pm on the day in mention and has not been heard from since. Her mode of dress at the time is unknown.

Anyone knowing her whereabouts is being asked to contact the Matilda's Corner Police at 978-6003, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

304 persons arrested for stealing electricity

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electricity-theft.jpgJamaica Public Service (JPS) is reporting that operations carried out in collaboration with members of the security forces, have resulted in the arrest of 304 people for the illegal abstraction of electricity, since the start of the year, to July 15.

In a release Sunday, JPS said crews have also pulled down 9,512 throw-up lines for the same period. The company has said they have been relentless in pursuing the perpetrators of electricity theft.

On Tuesday, July 14, the teams' latest move saw the St Catherine community of Windsor Heights in Central Village, being rid of 850 throw-up lines. One man was reportedly arrested, but several others fled from their residences to avoid being associated with the illegal connections.

On June 30, nine people were brought before the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate's Court for the illegal abstraction of electricity. The JPS said six of them pleaded guilty and were fined an average of J$150,000 each or six months in prison.

Following that, on July 1, five people were brought before the Linstead Resident Magistrate's Court for the same charge. Four pleaded guilty and were also reportedly fined an average of J$150,000 each.

JPS, in the release, also reminded non-paying users of electricity that regularisation is a straightforward process. The company also said it is anticipating that its Community Renewal programme in seven communities in Kingston, will assist in creating sustained regularisation through public education and practical assistance (such as house wiring), among other measures.

constable-crystal-thomas.jpgThe police are on the hunt for two females who were accomplices in a robbery which ended in the murder of a woman constable last week.

The cops have now launched a hunt for the women who they say are crucial to the probe into the death of Constable Crystal Thomas.

Three men have already been taken into custody and the cop's service weapon has been recovered by the police.

Thomas was shot at point blank range in the head after she was identified by one of the robbers as a police officer.

She had boarded a Toyota Coaster bus on her way to Portmore, St Catherine after she had completed her shift at the Denham Town Police station. Unfortunately the bus she boarded was being robbed by a gang of highway men.

She was shot and her gun stolen.

video-tape.jpgThe males were ruthless. There was about seven of them and they took turns on an allegedly mentally ill teenage girl in Zion, Trelawny last week.

Luckily for the girl they were foolish enough to tape the demented act. The video found its way on social media and went viral on the internet.

Now two males are in custody and police are on the trail of the other five.

The sexually disturbing assault includes the men urinating in the girl's face - despite her desperate plea for mercy - and repeated acts of forced entry into her private parts.

They also branded the girl an "idiot gal" and laughed merrily as they violated her and further scarred her mentally for the rest of her life.

The Office of the Children's Advocate has ordered an immediate probe into the matter and the Centre for the Investigation Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse (CISOCA) has reported that no stone will be left unturned in bringing the callous, uncouth perpetrators of this crime to justice.

bullying.jpgThe Inner-city Teachers Coalition (ICTC) says the move by the Ministry of Education to address the issue of bullyism should not be confined to gay students, as they gay students are more often the perpetrators of bullyism..

According to a press release from ICTC Saturday, "Statements that have been reported in the media that have been attributed to the minister has singled out the fact that students who practice or appear to be practicing alternative lifestyles are being bullied and that measures are now being put in place to reduce these incidents in our schools."

However, based on reports from the membership, the coalition is of the view that bullying of heterosexual students by groups practicing alternative lifestyles is much more widespread.

"These groups are known to prey on weaker students and intimidate them with a view to pressure them to join the alternative lifestyle that is being practiced by the group. Whenever the advances of members of the group is resisted, oftentimes the students are assaulted physically and sometimes even sexually," the release stated.

Chairman of the coalition Mark Malabver said the occurrence of weaker students being preyed on is most prevalent in all-girl's institutions.

The release also contended that many of these "critical" incidents go unreported for various reasons, including the fact that administrators are keen to ensure that the image of the schools in which these incidents take place is not tarnished.

In addition to this, many of the victims of this type of bullyism fail to report these matters for fear of reprisal from the group, as well as the stigma that is attached to attacks of this nature, the release said.

The ICTC is therefore calling on the Education Ministry to either offer clarity on the new policy initiative of bullyism or to redesign this new initiative to ensure that it deals with all aspects of bullyism in schools.

ICTC, according to Malabver, is a group of teachers that are primarily from inner-city schools who have decided to advocate on behalf of schools in the inner-city and rural areas.

The bloodletting continues in the parish of St James where a total of six people, including a woman, were gunned down in four different incidents between last night and early this morning.

Over the period, the police recorded two double murders, one in Norwood and the other in Rose Heights; while one murder was reported in Roehampton and another on Harbour Street, Montego Bay.

This week has been one of the bloodiest in the St James Police Division, which has so far recorded more than 120 murders since the start of the year.

Government owes NHT $45-billion

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nht-arrears.jpgThe Jamaican Governent owes the NHT some $45-billion in arrears.

Acting managing director of the trust, Martin Miller, made the revelation to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament on Wednesday.

He explained that the trust has been in discussions with the Ministry of Finance over the roughly $48 billion owed. "It is something that we are likely to hear some more on, shortly," he said.

Manhunt launched for 3 escaped prisoners

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manhunt-launched.jpgThe police have launched a manhunt for three prisoners who escaped from the Linstead lock-up in St Catherine on Wednesday.

They are Steven Burke, who is charged with robbery with aggravation, Odane Walker, charged with house breaking and larceny, and Clayton Williams who is charged for robbery.

Persons with information that can lead to their capture are being asked to contact the Portmore Police, 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.

Third suspect held in murder of policewoman

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constable-crystal-thomas.jpgA third suspect has been held for the murder of Constable Crystal Thomas who was killed on Tuesday night when gunmen hijacked a bus in which she was a passenger along Spanish Town Road in Kingston.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador Luis Moreno has expressed condolences to the family and colleagues of Thomas.

In a statement on Thursday, the Ambassador said Constable Thomas' bravery and quick action saved many lives and demonstrated her dedication to Jamaica and protecting her fellow citizens.

He said the Constable exemplified the code of the Jamaica Constabulary Force: Serve, Protect and Reassure.

licence-plate.jpgPersons who have applied for motor vehicle licence plates are facing a delay in getting them.

Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) confirmed on Wednesday that it is experiencing a shortage of the plates at revenue service centres and tax offices islandwide.

This is due to a delay in the delivery of supplies, as well as an unusual increase in the demand for plates in recent months.

TAJ said it was working with its suppliers to have the matter speedily resolved.

The Centre for the Investigation for Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) has secured the conviction of a male teacher, Randean Raymond, for Indecent Assault.

CISOCA indicated that Raymond pleaded guilty to the offence of indecent assault when he appeared before the Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, July 8.

He was sentenced to six months in prison at hard labour, with the option of paying a fine of $100,000 and opted to pay his fine.

On Wednesday, May 17, a report was made at CISOCA that a female student was in a classroom with Raymond when he summoned her to sit beside him and laid his palm on her left thigh and rubbed it. He stopped when other students walked in the classroom.

Statements were recorded from the complainant and her mother. A member of the school community also gave a statement to the fact that the suspect admitted that he had committed the offence.

Members of the investigative team have been lauded by Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB) Headquarters, Ealan Powell, for their comprehensive investigation of the matter and their duteous preparation of a strong case file.

He also had high commendations for the victim, her mother and other persons who came forward and gave statements.

"It is not always an easy thing to do. I commend the young woman for her bravery, as also her mother and other caregivers who supported her in her quest for justice," said ACP Powell.

The Kingston Western Police detained approximately 20 individuals during an early morning police military operation in the Division.

Similar operations are being conducted across several crime hot spots in the 19 Police Geographic Divisions.

Head of the Kingston Western Police Division, Senior Superintendent Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford, disclosed that a man investigators describe as a person of interest, as well as a small number of women, are among the detainees

SSP Ford said the operation, which got underway at midnight, will last for two days, and aims to penetrate the backbone of several criminal enterprises islandwide.

Up to newstime the detainees were undergoing processing by Kingston Western Detectives.

peter-bunting-photo-2.jpgNational Security Minister, Peter Bunting on Tuesday outlined the government's three-pronged approach to combat the current murder spike and the challenge of violent crime over the long term.

Mr. Bunting says government intends to strengthen the operational capabilities of the security forces; address the root causes of violence in the society, with various social intervention strategies; and bring important legislation to the House of Representatives to support the investigation and prosecution of criminals.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr. Bunting outlined that last year the country recorded the lowest number of murders in several years, at one thousand and five.

However, he says 12 hundred murders could be recorded by the end of this year. Mr. Bunting outlined that the figures for other categories of serious and violent crimes are all down.These include shootings, down by 8%, rape down by 25%, aggravated assault down by 14% and robberies down by 16%.

The National Security Minister said what the country is experiencing this year is not a general surge in crime, but rather a spike in murders. He revealed that Area One, which comprises St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland has the highest murder rate, with St. James having a murder rate of two and a half times higher than the rest of Jamaica.

Mr. Bunting attributed a third of all the murders in area one to the illegal lottery scam, and says half of the murders committed across the island are gang-related.

father-killed.jpgA father who went to collect his daughter at a medical facility in Albion, Montego Bay St. James this afternoon was shot and killed.

Dead is 27-year-old Kenroy Colquhoun also called Nardo of Felicity Road in the parish.

Reports are that shortly after Colquhoun drove his motorcar onto the premises of the medical centre to pick up his child, he was pounced upon by a group of gunmen who opened fire hitting him all over his body.

He ran from the car and collapsed on the ground.

The police, who were summoned, removed several spent shells from the scene.

No motive has yet been established for the killing.

constable-crystal-thomas.jpgThe motorcyclist involved in Monday's crash, which claimed the life of a policeman attached to the Westmoreland Division, has been charged.

Head of the Westmoreland Police, Superintendent Beau Rigabie, disclosed that the man was charged yesterday with manslaughter. It's not yet known when he will appear in court.

Constable Curtis Lewis, 21, died after being mowed down while on traffic duty in Negril. The policeman and a colleague were on the Bowens road in Sheffield when they signaled the motorcyclist to stop. It's alleged that he disobeyed and continued driving. Constable Lewis was hit down and later died at hospital.

constable-crystal-thomas.jpgThe Area 4 Police are reporting that two of the main suspects in last night's murder of policewoman Constable Crystal Thomas were captured early this morning and are now in police custody.

"This is indeed a sad time for the Constabulary losing such a young member of the organisation under such tragic circumstances. The men and women of the JCF have however responded well and our work late last night and early this morning has led to the capture of two men who we believe were part of the group which murdered the young Constable. At this time we are not naming the suspects as interviews have to be done and also identification parades," Quallo said.

Reports are that Constable Thomas had just left work at the Denham Town Police Station and boarded a bus for home. It is further reported that a robbery was taking place on the bus. The gunmen held up the driver at gunpoint and while the bus was traveling along Spanish Town Road, ?ordered the driver to turn off the main road.

The brave female police officer, realising what was happening challenged the men and was fatally shot.

ACP Quallo said that during the course of today, he will be meeting with the staff of the Denham Town Police Station and that counsellors from the JCF will be on hand to assist.

court-case.jpgA jury has just freed one of Jamaica's most feared gangsters, Uriel James, of the 1999 murder of security guard, Errol McGeachy. The 12-member jury returned the 9-3 not guilty verdict after more than five hours of deliberation.

Trial judge, Bertram Morrison, told James he was free to go. However, James will remain in custody because he has two other murder cases pending before the court.

James, popularly known as Rooksie, had given an unsworn statement denying any involvement in the beating death of McGeachy. He is the reputed gang leader of the Rose Town-based Discipline Gang in Kingston.

The trial started in the Home Circuit Court on June 18 after the court accepted a statement given by the main witness who has died. James is represented by Queen's Counsel, Jacqueline Samuels Brown and attorneys-at-law, Patrick Bailey and Linda Wright.

Attorney-at-law, Kathy Pike led the case for the Crown.

Two men were shot and killed early Sunday by a licensed firearm holder in Huddersfield St. Mary when they reportedly attempted to rob a taxi operator and his passengers.

Their identities have not been released.

Deputy Superintendent of the St. Mary Police, Gary Flash, says about 5am, five persons including a taxi operator were en route to Huddersfield when the incident occurred.

The men ordered the passengers out of the vehicle and proceeded to rob the taxi-operator. A licenced firearm holder, who was nearby, was alerted and responded.It's alleged that one of the robbers pointed a weapon at the licenced firearm holder who opened fire.

Both men were shot.They fled and their bodies were later found.

jamaican-jeron-perkins-shot-dead.jpgPolice in Miami, Florida are probing the shooting death of a Jamaican man on Tuesday afternoon.

The dead man has been identified as 25-year-old Jeron Perkins

Police in Plantation County reported that Perkins' body was found beneath a large tree just feet from a Del Oro apartment complex's parking lot.

The cops said a neighbor informed them that Perkins lived in the complex and had recently moved there from Jamaica where he has two children.

Residents reportedly told police that they heard six to seven loud explosions after a car pulled up. The car then drove away.

Police in the county say they are looking for a four-door white Kia motorcar.

2 held in gruesome murder of 15-y-o girl

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The police have taken two persons in custody following the brutal slaying of a teenaged girl in Westmoreland on Thursday.

The child has been identified as 15-year-old Camella Ledgister, also known as 'Princess'.

Police report that Camella's body was found by her father with its throat slashed and head bashed at about 6:30 AM Friday.

kimani-ffriend-basketball.jpgJamaica's basketball star Kimani Ffriend is expected to stand trial today for a second time in Serbia on a vehicular manslaughter charge.

Ffriend was incarcerated in the European country after the car he was driving struck and killed 30-year-old account executive Nevena Dragutinovic on November 3, 2012.

He was ordered to stand trial after a high court judge accepted weaknesses were in the first trial.

The Jamaican was in custody for two years before being found guilty in September 2014 and sentenced to three years.

The story made headlines across Serbia because of the Jamaican star's status in that country and the fact that Novena was the girlfriend of a popular singer.

gun-shooting.jpgA young couple was murdered in the Middle Road area of Glendevon, in St James, shortly after four Monday morning.

Armed thugs barged into their house and open fire on them, killing them on the spot. The house was then set on fire.

The deceased couple was identified by neighbours as 'Shandel' and 'Bev'.

It is believed that their killing is related to a recent outbreak of violence in that part of the once volatile Glendevon community.

According to reports, residents heard heavy gunfire shortly after four and soon after, the couple's house was seen on fire.

The police and the St James fire brigade were alerted.

Upon their arrival at the scene, the bodies of the couple were seen inside the burnt out building.

Initial investigations revealed that the two suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

man-killed-in-quadruple-murder-drummond.jpgCommissioner of Police, Dr Carl Williams has condemned the brutal killing of four males, including two juveniles in Old Road district, Whithorn, Westmoreland on Sunday.

The police have identified them as: 21-year-old Theodore Tenant, 20-year-old Romario Drummond, 16-year-old Demar Doeman and 15-year-old Shawn Clayton all of Old road district in the parish.


According to the police, about 4:40 pm, the four males were at a shop, when three armed men barged into the premises and opened gunfire at them. The police were summoned and on their arrival the males were seen with gunshot wounds. They were taken to hospital where two were confirmed dead, while the other two males died while undergoing treatment.

"As I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the four victims, I want them to be assured that the killers will find no rest until they are found and brought to justice," said Williams

"We (The JCF) have just concluded a relentless manhunt for the principal murderer of the four men in St Elizabeth in May this year and we will not rest until the killers in this latest incident are caught. Citizens please cooperate with the police, tell us what you know, let us put an end to the senseless killings," he added.

Anyone with information that can assist the police in their investigations is being asked to contact the Jamaica Constabulary Force Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB) headquarters at 922-4487 or 922-4741, police 119 emergency number, Crime Stop at 311, the nearest police station or utilize the Stay Alert App which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store on all Android devices.

Man held in murder of Grade 9 student

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The police have detained a suspect in connection with Thursday's murder of fifteen year old Camila Legister at her home in Hartfield, Westmoreland.

The body of Camila, a Grade 9 student at Williamsfield All Age School, was found with the throat slashed and the head bashed in at her home in the community on Thursday evening.

According to the police, Camila's father came home about 6:45 and found her body.

Head of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Assistant Commissioner Ealan Powell, said the suspect was picked up on Friday.

A postmortem will be conducted Monday.

Pablo's Exotic Club burns

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pablos-fire.jpgPablo's Exotic night club in Kingston was gutted by fire on Saturday afternoon.

The building was completely razed after a blaze broke out at minutes after 2:00 PM.

With water restrictions on in full force, water trucks had to be used until firefighters arrived on the scene with the precious liquid to douse the inferno but by that time the building was completely gutted.

The incident caused a traffic snarl on Eastwood Park Road as motorists had to be diverted unto Burlington Avenue as the fire was being put out.

There was also a build-up of traffic on Constant Spring Road as the firefighters fought the blaze from two sides. At one point owners of adjacent buildings were concerned as the fire threatened to spread to their properties.But the fire was eventually brought under control.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

ricky-chin.jpgWaterhouse Football Club is to appoint a new president within the next two weeks and undergo major restructuring following the resignation of club president Ricky Chin on Thursday. Club Chairman Bruce Bicknell confirmed last week that Chin had tendered his resignation, and it has been accepted.

"Ricky has served the club well, and he worked hard," Bicknell said, emphasising that the parting has been amicable.

"There is no bad blood. He did a lot of good for the club, but now we have to move on. A new president has already been selected, and we will announce that in the next two weeks. We will also be undergoing major restructuring, hoping to start the new season on a good note."

Chin resigned after being in charge of the club for more than six years as president of the 2013 Premier League Champions. He said the pressures that came with running one of the country's most successful football clubs was too much for him alone to bear.

"I have stepped down as president," he confirmed on Thursday night on Nationwide Radio.

"I no longer can deal with it. I think I have given six extremely good years. When I came to Waterhouse, I said after the first year I wanted Waterhouse to move away from being not known, to being one of the top clubs in the Caribbean. I did a little better than that. We became the top club in the Caribbean."

Waterhouse is a three-time Champions Cup winner and three-time Premier League champion. The club campaigned successfully at the Caribbean Football Union Club Championships last year, winning their zone. However, financial challenges forced the club to withdraw from this year's competition. They were subsequently fined by the CFU.

Chin said he alone could not sustain the club along its path to growth, suggesting that he was not getting enough support.

"Its whole heap of work, and the organization can't operate off one person's vision or one person's personality," he said. "It has to be a collective thing. It has to be people all sitting together and weigh the pros and cons of all conversations; and coming from that, we arrive at a decision."

Chin said his shoulders had started to wilt under the pressure of running the club.

"I had not smiled since perhaps the week before the Red Stripe Premier League semi-finals," he said.

crime-scene-7.jpgDetectives are trying to ascertain the circumstances which led to the death of a fifteen year old girl in Hartfield, Westmoreland.

The body of Camila Legister , a Grade 9 student at Williamsfield All Age School, was found with the throat slashed and the head bashed in at her home in the community on Thursday evening.

According to the police, Camila's father came home about 6:45 and found her body.

In another incident, two men were shot one fatally in White Hall on Thursday.

Dead is 27 year old Omar Hillman otherwise called Silver Bigs. It's reported that about 1:00 pm, Hillman, who was a mechanic, was repairing a bike when two men drove up on a motorcycle and opened fire.

Hillman and another man were shot.

The other man ran off and managed to reach the police station to report the shooting.

He was taken to hospital and admitted.

Hillman died on the spot.

Jamaican pilot still in prison in Quatar

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pilot-in-jail-quatar-paul-stephens.jpgJamaican pilot Paul Stephens has not been released from prison in Qatar. The authorities say they have now received official word from the Qatari government that the Jamaican is still behind bars.

It appears that Stephens may soon be freed, however, as according to the foreign affairs ministry, at the end of last month Stephens would have spent a total of three years and nine months of his five-year sentence.

"The ministry understands that there is provision in the Qatari legal system for the remission of three months' sentence for each year to be served," the ministry explained in a release yesterday.

On Tuesday Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs Edmund Bartlett had issued a release claiming that Stephens had been freed from prison. But at that time Nicholson said he had received no such news from Jamaican embassy officials in Kuwait.

On Wednesday, Nicholson questioned what he said was unwarranted interest in the case, stating that he would not comment any further on the matter. Persons close to the case have accused the ministry of not doing enough to press the Qatari Government to pardon Stephens, but some have cautioned against Jamaica appearing to take a particular posture in a case in which a person has been convicted of sexual molestation of a minor.

Taximan killed while passengers in the car

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crime-scene-7.jpgThe Clarendon police have launched a man hunt for two men who allegedly held up and murdered a taxi man last night.

The dead man has been identified as Anthony Morgan otherwise called 'Fatta' of Wood Hall district in the parish.

It is reported that about 7:30 p.m. yesterday, the two men boarded the taxi at Guinep Tree in May Pen with three other passengers, destined for Wood Hall. About five minutes into the journey on reaching an area called Bucknor, the men attacked the driver, slashed his throat and shot him twice.

The men escaped on foot into nearby bushes. The three passengers were unharmed.

It is alleged that he was killed in a dispute over a female.

Investigations continue.

Some employees of the National Workers Union (NWU) are on go slow, even as the major bank accounts of the union reportedly remain frozen pending a quiet dispute still in court..

Reports are that the workers are upset about delays in receiving their salaries. They say they are yet to be paid for last month and only received part of May's salary.

The workers say there has also been a delay in the payment of salary deductions, resulting in a backlog.

According to reliable YardFlex sources, the bank account of the union was frozen some three months ago by the court because payments were not made to a worker who had taken the NWU to court and won.

"They refused to pay the man because they were too busy giving themselves big salary increase and big Christmas bonus. The big wig even collect him vacation pay already and him don't gone on vacation yet. And is not now them not paying over people's decductions. Is long time, even before the freeze. Plent people have tales of woe about them credit union deduction that the NWU take out of the workers' salary and don't pay over. Not to mention the statutory deductions. That is a whole 'nother story," the worker told YardFLex on condition of anonymity.

Calls to the NWU went unanswered.

Ganja education campaign launched

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ganja-image-1.jpgNational Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) says it is taking action to stem the prevalence of drug use among young people by educating them.

This comes on the heels of reports that students were ingesting marijuana in candies and the recent legislative amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act, which created several opportunities for the use of marijuana in Jamaica because of the decriminalisation of small amounts of the weed.

The NCDA, with the support of the Ministry of Health, yesterday launched a public education campaign themed "Ganja: Know the Facts, Know How to Act".

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Tucker told journalists that the campaign is expected to inform the public on the boundaries of the legislation, an individual's rights and liabilities under the Act, behavioural responsibilities in the new legislative environment and the NCDA's role in supporting and protecting vulnerable populations.

He said that through the campaign, the council is hoping to reduce by 30 per cent the number of persons arrested for the possession of more than two ounces of ganja in public places and the caseload of criminal courts for ganja possession. He said the council was also hoping to see a decrease in the number of students ages 13-18 who start smoking ganja while still in school.

The director said that the NCDA was working outside of the public education programme to inform the youth.

"There is also work being done with the Ministry of Education to infuse the messaging into the health and family life education programme; and also there is a lot of work being done on the ground in the community. We're actually in communities doing town hall meetings [and] interacting with the people on the ground; meeting with the youngsters on the corner, just having discussions about what the reality is," he said.

According to the Jamaica Secondary School Survey of 2013, the overall lifetime prevalence of marijuana use in the youth population is 20 per cent, with the average age of marijuana first use being 13 years.

$2-billion owed in arrears to the NHT

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nht-arrears.jpgThe National Housing Trust (NHT) is reporting that borrowers now owe $2 billion in arrears.

The figure was disclosed at a meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAC) on Wednesday.

When asked about the collection of arrears, acting Managing Director of the NHT, Martin Miller, said the entity determines whether the reason for non-payment is deliberate delinquency or the borrower facing financial challenges.

He said that the NHT has started to use debt collectors to help reduce arrears.

It was also revealed that the Housing Trust suffered a $100 million shortfall in inflows from its contributors during the last financial year.

top-cop-carl-williams.jpgPolice Commissioner Carl Williams has expressed regret at a statement made at a media briefing earlier this week where he rated his performance as head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Commissioner Williams has stated that giving himself a performance rating of ten out of ten was not meant to be taken seriously. Speaking last night on TVJ's All Angles he acknowledged the uproar it has caused.

"I am sorry that I said it," he said, adding that "it clearly was not intended to be taken seriously."

The issue has triggered heated responses and tremendous public debate since it arose on Monday. It's argued by many that the Commissioner should not be rating his performance in that manner with the country seeing an increase in murders.

Acknowledging the validity of that criticism, the Commissioner said "I wouldn't rate myself... I would leave it to you to rate me."

The Police Commissioner sought to explain the context of the comments and his reasons for answering in that manner. He said it was a flppant response given to a flippant question and was not meant to be taken seriously.

A Constable who was a part of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's security detail is now being investigated by the High Command for alleged involvement in the guns-for-drugs trade between Haiti and Jamaica.

Constable Kenneth Reid, who is attached to the Protective Service Unit, appeared before the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Reid was charged in May after allegedly being involved in the Spanish Town based Klansman Gang.

The 23 year old cop was assigned to protect the Prime Minister's residence at the time of his arrest. His girlfriend, Kerry-Ann Smith, and another accused gang member, Sheldon Walters otherwise called "Termite," have also been charged. The three have been charged under the anti-gang legislation.

The Constable is also accused of providing information to the gang.

In court on Wednesday , investigators from the Communications and Forensic Cyber Crime Unit reported that they have recovered text messages from the constable's phone showing him receiving money transfers from Haiti. C-TOC investigators theorised that the transfers were part of the guns for drugs trade.

They requested more time to provide additional information to the court.

Defence attorney Peter Champaignie applied for bail, claiming that the authorities have failed to provide evidence linking his client to gang activity. Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey ordered that investigators provide the additional statements by next Wednesday when a bail hearing is to be held.

Intelligence sources confirmed that Reid was arrested in May, while on duty at the Prime Minister's private residence. It's understood that the requisite background checks were conducted on the policeman. However, the report did not identify anything that would have raised suspicions about Reid's antecedents.

alcohol.jpgJamaica is said to have as many bars as churches - one on every corner. When it comes to spending big bucks on advertising and marketing and the sponsorship of events targetting the 18-35 age group, alcohol companies are the big spenders.

So it's no surprise that Jamaicans are imbibing more and starting at a younger age too.

Now, the Ministry of Health has outlined plans to reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol by three per cent over the next three years.

The National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of non-communicable diseases has been approved by Cabinet. This was disclosed by Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, at a National Alcohol Policy Workshop yesterday.

Quoting statistics, Dr. Ferguson said alcohol remains the most widely used substance among adolescents. Ten percent of students interviewed reported getting drunk an average three times and 12% reported consuming five or more alcoholic beverages

The Ministry plans to implement World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for the reduction of the harmful use of alcohol. There will also be a social marketing campaign, designed to discourage harmful use and raise public awareness, especially among the youth, about alcohol-related health risks, including cancer.

Illegal radio station owner charged

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A Kingston businessman accused of operating an illegal radio station in downtown Kingston has been charged.

Christopher Hooper,37, was charged this afternoon by C-TOC with breaches of the Radio and Telegraph Control Act.

Hooper surrendered to the police on Monday, three weeks after they shut down the radio station on Tower Street. He's to appear in court on July 22.

On June 25, members of C-TOC, along with representatives from the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and the Spectrum Management Authority, raided a building where the station, Jam Air 88.7 FM, was transmitting.

The police found the station broadcasting on automation.

It's reported that the Broadcasting Commission and the Spectrum Management Authority called in the police after the operator allegedly refused to obtain a broadcast licence.

us-50-dollar-note.jpgThe police have arrested four people in connection with the use of counterfeit US$50 notes in Highgate, Port Maria, Oracabessa, and Gayle in St Mary.

The notes bear the serial number MB25837080A and are being used mainly in supermarkets, petrol stations, and at places of entertainment in the parish, the police said.

The public has been urged to be cautious of people who attempt to use US$50 notes to carry out transactions and to make proper checks to ensure that the notes are legitimate.

At the same time, the police have appealed to people with information that can lead to the apprehension of other perpetrators in the counterfeit scheme to contact the St Mary police at 994-2452, 994-9873, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

Joan Gordon-Welby switches from JLP to PNP

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joan-gordon-webley.jpgFormer Jamaica Labour Party Member of Parliament for East Rural St Andrew Joan Gordon-Webley has walked the floor. Gordon-Welby has switched allegiances and is now a member of the ruling People's National Party (PNP).

Speculation has been rife for almost a year that Gordon-Webley had been at loggerheads with her former political colleagues and reports emerged on Tuesday that the strong-willed politician had grabbed up her marbles and left the opposition ranks.

On Wednesday, Gordon-Webley confirmed the speculations.

"Yes I have applied for membership and have been accepted," she told Loop News.

Gordon-Webley was not sure if she would put up herself for candidacy in the representational arena.

"I am prepared to serve the party and do not necessarily have to run in a seat. We are in discussions now," she said.

As a matter of course, persons who switch from one party to the next are not assured of being automatically shoved into the representational side of party politics. Gordon-Webley was also the JLP caretaker for the South East St Andrew constituency soon after she returned to the island from abroad.

pilot-in-jail-quatar-paul-stephens.jpgAn unofficial report has emerged that 40-year-old Jamaican pilot, Paul Stephens, who had been locked up in a Qatari prison for close to three years for alleged sexual molestation of a minor, has been released.

Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs Edmund Bartlett issued a release yesterday, saying that Stephens has been freed, but up to late afternoon the foreign affairs ministry did not have any official news on this development.

Foreign Minister Senator AJ Nicholson noted that officials at the Jamaican Embassy in Kuwait had earlier this year indicated that Stephens could soon be released. Nicholson, however, explained that he would not be able to get any official word, until today, due to the time zone difference between Jamaica and Kuwait.

Bartlett, who has in recent months accused the foreign affairs ministry of not being strident enough in its submissions for Stephens's release, said it was his constant dialogue with the Qatari ambassador in the United States, Mohammed Jahan Al-Kuwari, and the diplomat's own efforts that had helped to drive the appeal.

The Opposition spokesman noted that by the time he intervened, the Government had missed two opportunities to ask for pardon for Stephens. Those opportunities would have been presented during the observance of Muslim celebrations such as Ramadan which, under Qatari customs, allow for amnesties.

world-bank.jpgThe World Bank is warning that the current warm weather around the world could push up global food prices in coming months.

The warning came even as the World Bank said bumper crops for certain agricultural produce and cheap oil drove global food prices to a five-year low at the end of May. But it said the El Nino phenomenon, rising oil prices and a stronger U.S. dollar were threatening global food prices.

The world has already seen an 18 per cent decline in the price of wheat over the eight months to the end of May.

The price of rice fell 14 per cent in the same period, while corn price declined by six per cent.

Water restriction tightened again

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In the face of a continuing rapid decline in inflows into the major Corporate Areas Water Supply Systems, the

National Water Commission (NWC) is now forced to increase its water supply restrictions to customers in the

Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) served by the Hermitage/Constant Spring, Mona, Hope and Seaview water supply systems with immediate effect.

The new water supply regime will see most areas receiving water on alternating days in a bid by the water utility to both serve as many customers as possible and stretch the dwindling supplies.

The new Water Management plan means that areas which are supplied on a Tuesday will then be supplied again on the subsequent Thursday and Saturday, and so on while the areas supplied on the Wednesday of that week will be supplied again on the subsequent Friday and Sunday. While some areas in the Corporate Area will continue to receive supplies daily either based on the system that serves them or where they are located on the network, most areas will now receive every other day. Regrettably, despite our best efforts, some areas may still encounter challenges in being supplied. The Commission will seek to serve these areas via trucks.


Rio Cobre and Constant Spring Supply

Day 1 4am to 8pm
Eastwood Park
Moreton Park
Red Hills Rd
Patrick City
Duhaney Park
Meadowbrook Estate
Central Ave
Sullivan Ave
White Hall
Chancery Hall
Mannings Hill road

Mona Filter Plant
Day 1 4am to 8pm
New Kingston
Cross Rds
Slipe Rd
Marescaux Rd
Glenmore Rd
Kingston Public Hospital
Marcus Garvey
Trench Town
West Kingston
South Camp Rd
Oxford Rd
Arthur Wint Dr

Hope Filter Plant
Day 1 4am to 8pm
Hope Pastures
Gordon Town
University Hospital
University of the West Indies
University of Technology
Upper sections of Old Hope Rd

Rio Cobre and Constant Spring Supply
Day 2 4am to 8pm
Washington Gardens
Cooreville Gardens
Red Hills, Forrest Hills, Belvedere, Kirkland
Chisholm Ave
Maxfield Ave
Seaward Dr
Cargill Ave
Balmoral Ave
Ballater Ave
Molynes Rd
Sundown Cres
Olympic Gardens
Washington Gardens
Bay Farm Rd
Seaview Gardens
Hagley Park Rd
Richmond Park
Delacree Park
Cherry Gardens

Mona Filter Plant
Day 2 4am to 8pm
East Kings House Rd
West Kings House Rd
Mountain View Ave
Deanery Rd
Norman Gardens
Rollington Town
Franklyn Town
Windward Rd
Harbour View
Port Royal
Hope Rd

Hope Filter Plant
Day 2 4am to 8pm
Mona Heights
August Town
Old Hope Rd
Beverly Hills
College Common

3 shot dead in Central Village

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gun-crime.jpgFive men were shot, three fatally, last night in Zion Hill, Central Village, St. Catherine. The attack by gunmen took place about 9 o'clock.

It's reported that the men were near a shop when they came under attack. No motive has been established for the attack.

The shooting took place hours after the police announced that financial rewards will now be provided for persons who provide information about illegal guns in their community.

The initiative, dubbed "Get the Gun", was announced by Police Commissioner, Dr. Carl Williams.

Dr. Williams said the campaign is to combat the increased availability and use of illegal guns in Jamaica.

gun-crime.jpgPersons will soon receive financial rewards for informing the police about illegal guns in their community.

The initiative entitled the "Get the Gun" Campaign was announced by Police Commissioner, Dr. Carl Williams on Monday afternoon.

The Commissioner said the campaign is to combat the increased use and availability of illegal guns in Jamaica. It will also help the police tackle the guns for drugs trade.

"This campaign is designed to intercept illegal guns coming into our country, to seize illegal guns from the hands of criminals and to ultimately to reduce the number of guns available for daily use in murders

The Get the Gun Campaign will feature a rewards scheme to encourage members of the public to provide information, systematically reducing the number of guns in murders."

He said the details of the campaign will be released in coming weeks.

Guns for Drugs trade

The Police Commissioner says the police have identified 39 syndicates involved in the guns for drugs trade between Jamaica and Haiti.

He said in the past two weeks, one of the syndicates was dismantled following the arrest of the leader who was found with a shipment of guns.

The Police Commissioner said those linked to the networks are operating in certain parishes.

"They are mostly in southern parts of Jamaica, Clarendon, St. Elizabeth , Manchester and St. Catherine but they are also present in the eastern parts of the country," he added.

The two Jamaicans and the Vincentian who were held earlier this week in Antigua and Barbuda in connection with a major drug seizure have been released.

Following 48 hours in custody, the three were released on Thursday after being questioned in relation to the seizure of more than EC$4 million worth of drugs.

According to the Antigua Observer newspaper, although the men were released, the probe will continue. It's reported that in the early morning hours of June 30, the police found more than 230 pounds of marijuana valued at EC$2.3 million and 49 kilograms of cocaine worth over $1.7 million in a house.

The drugs, which were packed in crocus bags, were confiscated, while two of the three men who were allegedly at the premises were detained.

The third man was picked up elsewhere.

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


(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.


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. 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.


"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.


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.


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 questio