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Paving starts on Hagley Park Road

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PAVING started yesterday on a section of Hagley Park Road in Kingston which is undergoing a major rehabilitation.

The National Works Agency (NWA) said that as a result of the paving traffic travelling northbound along Hagley Park Road towards Half-Way-Tree will be detoured at the Waltham Park Road intersection to facilitate the work up to Keesing Avenue.

According to communication and customer services manager at the NWA Stephen Shaw, the activity, which is scheduled to continue for the next two days, is aimed at completing the paving of a 1.2-kilometre section of the northbound carriageway.

He explained that some intersections will have to be closed temporarily to facilitate the works. These include Delano Avenue, Leamington Avenue, Queensbury Avenue and Keesing Avenue.

Motorists travelling in the direction of Half-Way-Tree will be redirected onto McArthur Avenue from Waltham Park Road and will thereafter use Mandela Terrace, Elm Crescent, Keesing Avenue or Strafford Avenue to get back onto Hagley Park Road in the vicinity of the Domes building. The reverse obtains for motorists travelling from Half-Way-Tree towards Three Miles.

The southbound carriageway, which is not included in the current works, will remain accessible to motorists. Pavement works on the 3.7 kilometre-long Hagley Park Road project will continue for scheduled periods over the next two months, said Shaw.

 

 

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Caricom conducting CSME sensitisation meetings in Jamaica

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A delegation from the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat is here for a series of engagements with the various stakeholders including the private sector and the labour movement on the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour, and services across the 15-member regional grouping, and the week-long sensitisation programme is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

A statement issued by the Guyana-based secretariat said the Caricom representatives will today participate in the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 procurement seminar where Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke will address delegates on the Government’s procurement initiative for medium small and micro enterprises.

It said that Gladys Young, officer in charge of the Caricom Secretariat’s CSME Unit, will make a presentation on the ‘Future of Regional Procurement’.

A workshop on ‘Demystifying the CSME Regimes: Seizing the opportunities — addressing the challenges’ will take place on Wednesday at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI).

The Caricom delegation will also meet with officials from Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Media Association of Jamaica; and Press Association of Jamaica.

– CMC

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Let the public be the judge

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Let the public be the judge

Phillips mum on Integrity Commission’s failure to release Andrew Holness’ statutory declaration

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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OPPOSITION Leader Dr Peter Phillips says he is leaving it to members of the public to form their opinions on the failure of the Integrity Commission to publish a summary of the statutory declaration of Prime Minister Andrew Holness for last year.

Under the law the commission is to publish in the Jamaica Gazette the summary of the statutory declarations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition annually.

Government officials have claimed that the commission sought clarity on an aspect of the declaration provided by Holness and this has already been provided.

But up to late yesterday there was no indication that the commission had published the information.

The commission, on July 12, published information that showed Phillips and his family with total income of $53.8 million, assets of $60.4 million, plus US$61.5 thousand in saving accounts, US$502,000 in securities and US$19.7 thousand in life insurance cash value.

Following a media briefing where he provided further details on a crime summit being planned by the Opposition for July 30, Phillips told the Jamaica Observer that he would not want to get into any extensive discussion on why the Integrity Commission has so far failed to gazette the declaration of the prime minister.

“The expression of concern should be that expressed by the Integrity Commission rather than myself because then it would descend into a matter of political point scoring,” said Phillips.

“The law provides that the Integrity Commission is the watchdog, the protector of the country’s national institutions — our parliament, our civil service, security forces, and the like. It should be the one that discharges that responsibility in a non-partisan fashion which enables it to secure the widest possible support among the general public,” added Phillips.

Earlier Phillips told members of the media that the Opposition was disappointed with the failure of the Holness Administration to convene a meeting with stakeholders to discuss Jamaica’s high murder rate and criminality, as agreed in the Vale Royal Talks some seven months ago.

“Given the fact that Jamaica has had seven states of emergency and a continuing high murder rate, we can wait no longer to convene a meeting of stakeholders as envisaged by the Vale Royal Agreement,” said Phillips.

“We consider it vital to convene the national stakeholders meeting now to agree on a national position so that all stakeholders can embrace the decisions and support their implementation,” added Phillips.

According to Phillips, the crime meeting will be a national effort, non-partisan in tone and content, and one that delivers tangible results.

“We are not about scoring political points,” declared Phillips.

He said the meeting will be convened under the theme, ‘Securing a safer Jamaica’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre and will assemble key stakeholders including the church, the private sector, and academics.

“I should point out that I have extended invitations to the minister of justice (Delroy Chuck), the attorney general (Marlene Malahoo-Forte), the minister of national security (Horace Chang), the Jamaica Labour Party, and we do hope that they will join us in this non-partisan effort to fight crime,” said Phillips.

“The meeting’s objective is to highlight causative factors and identify possible solutions which may include a set of sustainable, actionable, and results-orientated measures which could ultimately bring the dire crime situation under control,” he added.

The Opposition leader said a report of the consultations, with recommendations, will be presented to the Government, “which we hope will be accepted and implemented”.

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South African leader slams ‘flawed’ graft report

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PRETORIA, South Africa (AFP) — South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday slammed as “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed” findings by a watchdog concerning a donation to his 2017 campaign to head the ruling party.

“After careful study I have concluded that the report is fundamentally and irretrievably flawed,” Ramaphosa told reporters, adding that he has “decided to seek an urgent judicial review” of the findings concerning a controversial 500,000 rand (US$36,000) donation.

The country’s ombudswoman, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, said in an explosive report last Friday that Ramaphosa “deliberately misled the National Assembly” when he responded to an opposition question in Parliament last November.

Ramaphosa initially told lawmakers that the payment was to his son Andile for consultancy work for Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations (AGO).

But he later said it was a donation towards his campaign to become African National Congress party leader — a hard-fought battle in which he beat ex-president Jacob Zuma’s chosen candidate.

He apologised saying he had been misinformed when he first answered the question.

Despite the correction, Mkhwebane said Ramaphosa “indeed misled parliament” and that he should not have rushed to answer the question without having all the facts in hand.

Ramaphosa said the allegations against him by the public protector — or ombudswoman — “are serious… and should not be taken lightly”.

But the report “contains numerous factual inaccuracies of a material nature”, he said.

“The findings are wrong in law, are irrational and, in some instances, exceed the scope of the powers of the public protector,” he said.

“Given these deficiencies… it is appropriate that the courts make a final and impartial determination on this matter.”

Ramaphosa, who is just two months into a new term since the May elections, said he wanted “an expedited review process so that we do not keep the country in limbo about these matters”.

He stressed that the decision to turn to the courts should not be seen as judging the competence of the ombudswoman or her motives, “but is motivated instead by a determination that the law should be applied correctly and consistently”.

Critics of the ombudswoman accuse her of dabbling in ANC factional battles.

But Ramaphosa said he would not be distracted.

“I want to continue doing the work that I was elected for, and indeed this matter should never be a distraction,” he said.

Analysts suggest that damning allegations could boost Ramaphosa’s opponents within the ANC, which is riven by infighting.

Ramaphosa replaced the graft-tainted Zuma on promises to fight corruption.

But the party of Nelson Mandela is now bitterly split between Zuma supporters and those backing Ramaphosa, who took the helm after Zuma became entangled in a series of corruption scandals.

The former president faces an inquiry into corruption during his nine-year rule.

On Friday Zuma withdrew from testifying in the inquiry, complaining of bias, but agreed to return at a future date.

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