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PNP shocked by former councillor’s murder

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PNP shocked by former councillor’s murder

Monday, February 11, 2019

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The People’s National Party (PNP) yesterday expressed shock and sadness at the killing of former Councillor Marjorie “Madge” Morris in St Thomas.

Morris, who represented the White Horses Division in the St Thomas Municipal Corporation, was shot dead at her home on Albion Boulevard in Yallahs yesterday morning.

Police said that they were called by residents who reported hearing explosions coming from Morris’ home about 6:30 am. When the cops arrived, they found the 67-year-old woman lying on her kitchen floor with multiple gunshot wounds.

She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Yesterday, the PNP said the news of Morris’ killing was “particularly shocking” as the party was still mourning the murder of Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, the Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern, just over a week ago.

Bloomfield, was found with multiple stab wounds at his house in Passley Gardens, Portland.

“The news of Madge’s murder has compounded the dampened spirit and sorrow among the entire membership of the organisation who are preoccupied with the burial arrangement of Dr Bloomfield,” the PNP release quoted General Secretary Julian Robinson.

He said that although Morris was not presently serving in the St Thomas Municipal Corporation, she maintained her activism by serving the people of her community and parish through voluntary efforts.

“The killing of the former councillor and PNP activist continues a catalogue of wanton acts of criminality across the country that leave too many individuals and families in mourning and rob the community and the nation of its best talents,” Robinson said.

He said the security of every Jamaican, regardless of status, must be assured by the Government. “It is particularly troubling that while we are experiencing vicious attacks on our elected or former elected officials, and heightened level of threats, the Government has proposed to withdraw or minimise the security details of former ministers of government,” Robinson said.

The PNP, he said, extends condolence to Morris’ children, extended family, friends and membership of the political organisation in St Thomas.

“The PNP continues to maintain that no Jamaican should have to face this viciousness in their own country. We therefore urge the security forces to do what is necessary to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said and made an appeal for anyone with information that can assist the police with the investigation, to do so in order that the person or persons responsible for Morris’ murder can be apprehended and brought to swift justice.

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J’can recounts abuse by priest, pregnancy and abortion

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PARIS, France (AFP) — Denise Buchanan was 17 when she was raped by a seminarian who continued to abuse her when he became a priest in her native Jamaica.

The Catholic Church, she says, has offered her nothing but their “prayers”.

“I got pregnant and he arranged a clandestine abortion,” Buchanan, still shaking and close to tears 40 years after the ordeal, told AFP.

Today aged 57, the academic is a leading member of a new international organisation, Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA), which is bringing together victims in Rome this week to pressure Pope Francis to take a tougher line on child abuse by clerics.

She has struggled in vain for years for the Church to officially recognise her as a victim — even writing to the pope himself — while the priest who abused her has escaped justice.

Buchanan’s struggle underscores the sense of isolation felt by many victims who see the institution as still in denial, particularly in poorer countries where the Church remains politically and socially influential.

She was living in Kingston when her sister introduced her and her family to the future priest, then known as Brother Paul, a theology student and a member of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.

“Brother Paul would talk at length with my father, and my mother would invite him to stay for dinner,” she said.

“He told me he was very attracted to me. I felt awkward. He said that they (the Church) made rules that he didn’t agree with, and he did what he needed to do to do the work of the Church,” Buchanan said.

She claimed that Brother Paul forced himself on her, saying: “He pressed his lips on my lips, inserted his tongue… His hands were touching my legs and breasts. I pulled away and told him to take me home.”

Buchanan said she felt so ashamed that she decided not to tell her parents, fearing their reaction.

Over the following weeks, the clergyman called several times at her parents’ home to take her to Sunday mass or to the rectory.

One day he invited Denise into the rectory and “showed (her) to his bedroom” where he sexually assaulted her, she said.

A few days after, he raped her after making her drink some wine, she said. “I felt something died inside me that day,” she whispered.

Several weeks afterwards, she discovered she was pregnant after fainting in a shop, leading Brother Paul to organise an illegal abortion for her.

“All I could think of was the disgrace I was to my family,” she said.

Later he was ordained as a priest, but still came by her university residence at least once a week for sex.

“He told me he loved me and I was his girl,” she said, adding that she accepted seeing him because she felt worthless and alone.

“I obeyed like a robot. I didn’t care much about anything at this point,” she said.

At 21, she got pregnant again, and had another backroom abortion, Buchanan said, adding with a broken voice that she has been unable to have children since.

She managed to move to Canada at age 25 for her studies, and then to Los Angeles, where she now teaches at a university and works as a psychiatric neurologist.

She married in Canada, but divorced two years later.

“I did not resolve the anger and fear I had of the relationship with Father Paul,” she said.

“I have carried this guilt and shame all my life and I have had many decades of therapy for depression,” she added.

Seeking to overcome her mental anguish, she wrote a book about her experience, Sins of the Fathers, in 2013 and sent a copy to the pope “every month for a year and a half”.

In June 2016, she finally received a letter from the Los Angeles archdiocese saying the pope regularly prayed for “victims of abuse” and that he would pray for her.

But to see the priest defrocked she would have to “gather proof” of the abuse, she was told.

“I was furious when I got the letter as it seemed all I was being offered from the pope were prayers with no help to resolve the issue,” she said.

In November 2017, she returned with a lawyer to Jamaica for a meeting with the local archbishop and Father Paul.

“At the meeting the priest confessed to having sex with me (not rape), he confessed that he got me pregnant but he did not admit to arranging the abortion,” she said.

Buchanan fears the priest abused other victims over the years. “They moved him around from parish to parish because, from what I heard, he is a troublemaker”.

Following the meeting with her, the priest went missing from his parish and “no one seems to know where he is”, she added.

“I work at ECA so that what happened to me does not happen to any other child,” Buchanan whispered.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive

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Fire Brigade received over 1,300 prank calls last year

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Fire Brigade received over 1,300 prank calls last year

Monday Exchange

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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In much the same way that the police are being affected by prank calls to 119, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) says that false alarms are having a negative effect on its operations.

Fire Brigade Commissioner Stewart Beckford told reporters and editors at this week’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange that the service received 1,303 prank calls in 2018. At the same time, the brigade received 9,309 genuine calls for the year.

Prank calls increased by approximately 22 per cent in 2018, the commissioner said, moving from 1,071 in the previous year.

According to Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations Warren Malcolm, prank calls oftentimes affect the brigade’s response to genuine calls.

“A number of times when we receive these false calls they impact the Jamaica Fire Brigade’s response in a negative way, because the time we would have spent responding to a false alarm, we [miss] genuine calls that are sometimes put on hold in order to facilitate these. Because we have to respond to all calls, not knowing whether or not it’s false,” Malcolm said.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Beckford said ideally the fire brigade would need a central dispatch centre

“What we ideally want to see is a unit set up within the Jamaica Fire Brigade itself that is manned by firefighters on a 24-hour basis, where we will receive calls, record calls, and dispatch accordingly. What we have now is an almost two-tiered system. Majority of the calls will go into 110, then they are sent to the nearest fire station. That is what the dispatcher may think. In some instances, it’s not really the nearest fire station, so that is a problem,” Beckford told editors and reporters.

“We want it manned by staff because they have the knowledge and experience so that when a fire is occurring at location X they know the nearest fire station and are readily able to dispatch that fire unit. It will cut out the delayed time and period in which it takes for the persons who are calling to get to 110. It takes time for 110 to take that information and pass it to us, and then we have to interrogate 110 who sometimes don’t have the information because they don’t know certain information that they need to pull out from the individual that will assist us getting to the scene as quickly as possible. If the call comes to us sometimes we can use that to determine whether a call is genuine or false,” he added.

The fire officials also said that some calls that they categorise as pranks are placed with good intent. This means that an individual may call to report a fire he or she observed, but when firefighters arrive at the scene the fire is nothing considered major. The brigade received 399 such calls last year.

Beckford said that in order to establish this central dispatch centre, significant funding is required.

“I’m not able to give a figure off hand, but I know we had developed a programme some years ago which we wanted to implement, [but] it was not supported and so we had to put it on hold. The Government is now currently in discussions with the Japanese Government and there is a programme that is now actively being pursued and I’m being advised that we should see a roll-out of that programme sometime in May of this year. That should really enhance our communication capabilities, but in terms of the dispatch, it’s just a matter of funding,” said Beckford.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive

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Engineering students explore emerging LNG opportunities

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Engineering students explore emerging LNG opportunities

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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DOZENS of engineering students gathered at The University of the West Indies Mona (UWI) during its Research Days to learn more about opportunities in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry locally and overseas.

New Fortress Energy (NFE) Senior Vice-President Kevin Frantz was on hand to break down the ‘Seven Wonders of LNG’ for the students, a recent release from the company has said.

According to the VP, the ‘Seven Wonders of LNG’ include reduced energy costs, increased efficiency, improved power quality, environmental stewardship, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, decentralised power, and making LNG the primary source to one’s current back-up installation.

“The projects we’ve completed to date in bringing LNG to Jamaica have put the country leaps and bounds ahead in the Caribbean,” Frantz said during his two-hour presentation. “As engineering students, there are huge opportunities for you to get involved and help shape this growing sector and Jamaica’s economic future.”

At the end of the presentation, the students, who represented The UWI and the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), fielded several questions to Frantz and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Dr Paul Aiken, to help them better understand the LNG industry.

According to the release, the topics covered included the types of engineers needed to work in onshore and offshore operations, the process of cooling LNG, the role of New Fortress Energy’s floating storage regasification unit in supplying natural gas across Jamaica and the region, as well as how the design of LNG vessels contribute to the safe transportation of LNG.

Responding to questions about job opportunities, Frantz urged the students to get involved in the country’s transition to natural gas.

“I encourage you to be proactive, get involved by doing research and pulling together statistics, global trends and other information about LNG. The sector is still very new in Jamaica and in many parts of the world for that matter, which means there’s a lot to learn and discover, so don’t box yourselves in,” he is quoted as saying in the release.

Meanwhile, citing an example of LNG at work, Dr Aiken highlighted that the campus is now saving more than $56 million per month in the first phase of its co-generation partnership with New Fortress Energy, the release said.

In the partnership, the energy company said it is providing UWI with affordable and environmentally friendly LNG as well as leading the expansion of the university’s cogeneration plant. The undertaking is expected to reduce costs for the campus by over $356 million annually at the end of phase two of the project, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent, the release continued.

New Fortress Energy said it has also committed to providing scholarships to top-performing science, technology, engineering and mathematics students at The UWI and other tertiary institutions in need of financial support.

According to the release, the company has, over the past two years, awarded scholarships to more than 50 tertiary-level students, including Sasha Lewis, from the UWI, and Zoran Watkis, from the University of Technology, Jamaica — both of whom are now employed with NFE as project engineers.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive

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