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Jamaica Government Looking to Establish Direct Flights from Mexico

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Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague disembarks a Jam Airlink Express plane, during the launch of the entity’s domestic flight service, recently, at the Ian Fleming International Airport. (Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica,
Thursday July 11, 2019
– Government is looking to establish direct flights between
Jamaica and Mexico as part of efforts to expand service across the northern
Caribbean and its environs.

Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague, said that the move
will go a far way in reducing travel time between the countries by eliminating
the need for persons to transit through Miami as now obtains.

He was speaking at the recent launch of domestic flight service by
local aviation company, Jam Airlink Express, at Ian Fleming International
Airport in St Mary.

Montague said a key location already identified in Mexico is
Cancún, which is the country’s most easterly city and the closest to Jamaica.

Cancún is also the home city for the headquarters of Mexico’s Moon
Palace hotel chain, which operates a property in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

The Minister said that the travel time between Cancún and Montego
Bay, via Miami, is approximately two hours, noting that “if there is a direct
flight… to Montego Bay, it’s one hour and 10 minutes.”

Montague further argued that the availability of direct service
would eliminate the need to secure a United States visa, as persons would not
have to go through Miami or any other American city to get from Mexico to
Jamaica.

Additionally, he said persons from other countries vacationing in
Mexico would not have to transit through the US to get to Jamaica, if they
decide to make a quick trip to the island.

The Minister said that the arrangement is being pursued in tandem
with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) and Airports Authority of
Jamaica (AAJ), among other key stakeholders, and once in place, “you will find
that more persons will be able to come to Jamaica”.

Meanwhile, Montague advised that other destinations are being
explored to provide expanded regional service from Jamaica, including Cuba, the
Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

Domestic flights resumed at the Ian Fleming airport on Monday,
with commencement of daily service by Jam Airlink Express.

Flights are also scheduled out of the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, where Jam Airlink is based, Negril, and the Tinson Pen aerodrome in Kingston, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.

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Cannabis Industry Opens in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuesday
July 16, 2019
– The first set of licences to start
production of medicinal cannabis in St Vincent and the Grenadines have been issued.

“The journey over the past 20 months to
put the legislative and administrative frameworks in place was certainly one of
the most difficult, yet gratifying, tasks I have had the opportunity to lead in
my career. It was not without major challenges,” said Minister of Agriculture
and Industry Saboto Caesar as he made the announcement.

He said the step-by-step policy
guidance from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and the significant support
received from his Cabinet and parliamentary colleagues at different stages of
the preparatory work had contributed to the successful opening of the industry.

The Rastafarian community was also
identified by the Minister as a “central pillar of strength” in guiding the
interaction over the period of consultation.

Throughout the process, religious
leaders, civil society and international legal and business experts
participated in a very open and transparent consultation process to identify
and outline the potential strengths and weaknesses of the different models.
This included a reliance on knowledge in certification and commodity trading
from companies such as Bunny Imports and Exports of Trinidad and Tobago.

“The work has just started,” Caesar
said. “It is our mission in St Vincent and the Grenadines to create a globally
certified industry aimed at supplying medicinal cannabis products, targeting
ailments based on evidence from clinical studies. The mantra is and will
continue to be a successful medicinal cannabis industry begins and ends with
science.”

Stakeholders in the industry were
encouraged to set extremely high standards in research and development,
marketing, labour relations, environmental protection and general corporate
responsibility.

“Surviving with no trade preferences,
grappling with the resultant implications of climate change on cannabis
cultivation, competing with global producers, effectively regulating the
industry to satisfy national and international laws, continuing to ensure food
safety and food security, while at the same time balancing many unique
variables will become our day to day reality,” Minister Caesar said.

But he said the Unity Labour Party
administration does not shy away from challenges.

“The successful completion of the Argyle International Airport; the education and housing revolutions; managing the transition from a monocrop to a diversified food production platform; the expansion of our tourism and health infrastructure; obtaining a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council; and geothermal exploration are all evidence that once, as a people, we maintain our focus – we will achieve our goals,” he said.

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Former UK Police Officer Jailed for Raping Visitor During His 2015 Vacation in Antigua

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Lee Martin-Cramp in uniform before being dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Force after spiking a woman’s drink and raping her in Antigua.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Tuesday July 16, 2019 – A former British police officer has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping a young woman when the two met on vacation in Antigua just over four years ago.

Lee Martin-Cramp, who was a member of the UK Metropolitan Police Force, will be incarcerated at the former US Naval Base on the island, in keeping with the agreement between local and UK authorities.

According to the evidence in the trial, Martin-Cramp raped the 22-year-old woman, a foreign student nurse, during his vacation in May 2015.

The two had met on dating app Tinder and went to a bar before going to her apartment where they chatted and drank wine before deciding to watch a movie. According to the evidence, the then 22-year-old police officer spiked the woman’s drink when she left the room to change her clothes.

Lee Martin-Cramp

The woman
had told the court she noticed the wine had a strange taste when she returned,
but Martin-Cramp told her he had added some vodka to it, so she took a few more
sips. She said she subsequently started feeling dizzy and stopped drinking, but
Martin-Cramp forced himself on her and she woke up later bruised and in pain.

The woman said she maintained WhatsApp contact with her rapist after the incident so she could eventually get him to admit to the crime. And he did, telling her to pretend it never happened, and she reported it to police.

In one of the messages, after the woman told him he had taken her virginity, Martin-Cramp replied: “I can’t give it back haha”.

Martin-Cramp was extradited from the UK to Antigua and Barbuda last September to face the courts for the crime, and after a seven-day trial two months ago, he was convicted.

Following his conviction, he was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police which he joined the year before the rape. He had been posted to the Wanted Offenders Unit in Wimbledon, South East London before his arrest.

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EU Signs Financing Agreement with Dominica Government in Support of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

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ROSEAU, Dominica, Tuesday July 16, 2019 – The European Union has committed to support Dominica’s renewable energy sector.

The two recently signed
an agreement that will make EC$7.91 million (US$2.93 million) available to the Eastern
Caribbean nation to assist in increasing the resilience of strategic
infrastructure, strengthening the competitiveness and the resilience of the
energy sector, and implementing the island’s international commitments under
the Paris Agreement.

Among other activities,
the support aims to render the country’s international airport energy-independent
and disaster-resilient, through the installation of a solar power plant within
the Douglas Charles airport premises.

The programme is expected
to run until 2022, and comes in addition to the ongoing programmes that the
European Union and the Government of Dominica are implementing in the housing
and post-disaster recovery sectors.

Acknowledging the need by most Caribbean States for a swift and smooth transition towards renewable and efficient energy systems, the European Union said it remains committed its partnerships, supporting also similar programmes at regional or national level.

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