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Four eye PNP leadership in Kingston Central

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AT least four people have indicated an intention to enter the race to replace Ronald Thwaites as the People’s National Party (PNP) standard bearer in Kingston Central when delegates vote on Saturday, June 22.

The PNP’s Executive Committee yesterday gave individuals interested in the seat until Friday to formally announce their interest to the party’s general secretary. A draft voters’ list is to be presented to the candidates next Monday.

But before that the aspirants will have to face the party’s Integrity Commission and must be cleared before they are allowed to enter the race.

Thwaites has not formally announced his intention not to contest the next general election. However, the PNP has confirmed that he will not.

Last year the PNP’s former representative for St Andrew West Rural, Paul Buchanan, indicated his desire to replace Thwaites in the constituency.

At that time Buchanan said he had no plan to challenge Thwaites, who has held the seat for the party since 2007 but argued that the constituency was desperately in need of renewal and he was the man for the job.

Months ago reports also emerged that former MP for St Elizabeth North Eastern Raymond Pryce had indicated an interest in the constituency in which his high school — St George’s College — sits and where he has family roots.

“Raymond has started meetings in the constituency, sending out letters to businesses and trying to sell his ideas to Comrades who have so far been very receptive,” one senior PNP member told the Jamaica Observer.

But just as it seemed it would be a two-man race, they were joined at the starting line by Imani Duncan-Price, who sent a letter to Thwaites and members of the PNP’s Central Kingston Constituency Executive last week, indicating that she wants to serve as its next representative.

“Following my discussions with MP Comrade Ronnie Thwaites, I would now like to share with you that if, and when, a vacancy exists for the position of PNP candidate for Central Kingston, I intend to offer myself,” said Duncan-Price.

“My experience at all levels of party work, together with my service in the Senate, along with my training in finance, business development, advocacy for change, as well as community development, will enable me to offer the kind of leadership that will take Central Kingston further along the path of progress and development,” added Duncan-Price.

She said Thwaites has accepted her offer to work with the constituency organisation and to play her part in re-energising the PNP’s base in the constituency, “which will require a special effort to prepare the next generation for their future role in the leadership of the party”.

The race became more crowded this Monday when businessman Patrick Sterling also indicated that he intends to offer himself for the seat.

“After 17 years of working with my people in central Kingston with kindness, humility, compassion, and caring, I’ve been asked by the MP, and friend, Ronald Thwaites to represent the community that I grew [up] in, went to school (Holy Family), cultivated lifelong friends in, cried in, and laughed in,” said Sterling in a lengthy Facebook post.

“I have no political pedigree, or party hierarchical network. But with love, compassion, and hard work, and the support of the hundreds of people I have personally connected with, I will prevail,” added Sterling.

He argued that the Jamaican political ecosystem has undergone a seismic shift in the past four years and neither of the two major political parties can afford to conduct business in the same old way, with the same people.

“Political parties must be of the people, by the people, for the people. Each community should be represented by people within those communities. We should no longer support the old elitist British system of ‘sending’ representatives who know best for our community.

“Central Kingston is quite capable of selecting our own grass-roots leader. We need persons who have worked in our communities for several years [and] who were raised there,” said Sterling.

The long-time Comrade added: “I’ve been helping my people all these years simply out of my understanding for their needs and concerns, and subsequently have committed many, many hours working in the community.”

Sterling said in the next few days he will officially present a letter of intent to Thwaites, the party’s delegates, group members, and workers.

Thwaites, who first won the Kingston Central constituency for the PNP in 1997, took a sabbatical from representational politics after he was linked to a controversial deal and did not contest the 2002 general elections. But the PNP still retained the seat with Victor Cummings.

In 2007 Thwaites returned and retained the seat with a 15 per cent victory margin. This increased to 21 per cent in his 2011 victory but declined to 13 per cent in the last general election in 2016.

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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PNP denies claims of shouting match at executive meeting

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — General Secretary of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Julian Robinson is refuting reports in sections of the media that last night’s meeting of the Executive Committee was characterised by tension and a shouting match between competing camps.

Robinson, in a statement this afternoon, made particular note of Nationwide News Network (NNN) saying the claims are “completely false”.

The general secretary also noted that there also claims that Party President, Dr Peter Phillips was in attendance, which is also false.

“Dr Phillips did not attend last night’s meeting as he had an engagement in his constituency and had asked to be excused.

“Nationwide News erroneously claimed that the meeting ended abruptly without a decision,” Robinson said, stressing that the meeting was adjourned appropriately and that there was no shouting match between anyone during the meeting or after the adjournment.

“We are very aware that there are elements in the media that would like to see an open brawl in the current context, between the contending sides, to enhance their news story but all such claims are false or fake.  The situation described by NNN is totally inaccurate – fake news,” he said.

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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WHO offers global plan to fight superbugs

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Geneva, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global campaign Tuesday to curb the spread of antibiotic resistant germs through safer and more effective use of the life-saving drugs.

The UN health agency said it had developed a classification system listing which antibiotics to use for the most common infections and which for the most serious ones, which drugs should be available at all times, and which should be used as a last resort only.

The aim is to prevent antibiotic resistance, which happens when bugs become immune to existing drugs, rendering minor injuries and common infections potentially deadly.

Such resistance can develop naturally, but overuse and misuse of the drugs dramatically speeds up the process.

“Antimicrobial resistance is an invisible pandemic,” WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines, Mariangela Simao, said in a statement.

“We are already starting to see signs of a post-antibiotic era, with the emergence of infections that are untreatable by all classes of antibiotics,” she said.

Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives by defeating bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis.

But over the decades, bacteria have learned to fight back, building resistance to the same drugs that once reliably vanquished them — turning into so-called “superbugs”.

– ‘Urgent’ health risk –

The WHO campaign pointed to numbers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimating that some 2.4 million people could die over the next 30 years in Europe, North America and Australia due to superbug infections.

According to a recent report by the International Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, more than 50 percent of antibiotics in many countries are used inappropriately.

This includes antibiotics, which work only against bacterial infections, prescribed to treat viruses.

At the same time, many low- and middle-income countries see vast gaps in access to effective and appropriate antibiotics.

Nearly one million children die each year from pneumonia that could have been treated if they had access to antibiotics, WHO pointed out.

The UN health agency’s new classification, which it dubbed AWaRe, splits antibiotics into three categories: Access, Watch and Reserve.

The campaign aims to have drugs in the basic Access category make up at least 60 percent of total antibiotic consumption, while reducing use of drugs in the other categories, to be reserved for cases where other antibiotics have failed.

Using antibiotics in the Access group lowers the risk of resistance because they are so-called “narrow-spectrum” drugs, meaning they target a specific bacteria rather than several, the WHO explained.

They are also less costly, it said.

But the body warned that only 65 countries in the world collect data on their antibiotic use, and fewer than half of those — almost all in Europe — meet the 60-percent goal.

“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Tuesday’s statement.

“All countries must strike a balance between ensuring access to life-saving antibiotics and slowing drug resistance by reserving the use of some antibiotics for the hardest-to-treat infections,” he said.

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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Overcrowding and abuse

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TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) — The 36-year-old Cuban mechanic’s eyes glazed over as he recalled his time at the Siglo XXI holding facility: 50 people sleeping in 9-by-12-foot pens, faeces overflowing the latrines, food and water always scarce.Women slept in hallways or in the dining hall among rats, cockroaches and pigeon droppings, as children wailed, mothers reused diapers and guards treated everyone with contempt.

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