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Private sector groups calls for political consensus on national ID system

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THREE powerful private sector groups, while respecting last Friday’s court ruling on the proposed National Identification System (NIDS), say the underlying broad policy objectives that were sought to be achieved are still of great significance and urgent in modernising the Jamaican society and ensuring that each citizen is accounted for in our advancement towards the achievement of Vision 2030.

The groups — Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, and the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association – added their voices to the NIDS debate in a joint press release yesterday.

The Constitutional Court, in a 309-page written judgement, ruled last Friday that panel declared that the Bill is “unconstitutional, null and void insofar as it is intended to make compulsory the taking of biometric and other data so as to provide a national identification number and card for every citizen and resident of Jamaica. The involuntary nature of the policy infringes guaranteed constitutional rights. Furthermore, the statute seeks to prevent access to services both public and private, or to make possible the denial of such services, to citizens who fail to obtain the said national identification.”

The private sector groups said while the court has properly invalidated the NIDS legislation, there is political consensus on the necessity for implementing a national identification law.

“We strongly urge both political parties to immediately commence consultations, with a view to settling the contentious differences in the legislation and avoiding the provisions which offend our Constitution, so as to return a Bill to the House and enable a smooth and early passage.

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JLP expresses remorse at Douglas Vaz’s death

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JLP expresses remorse at Douglas Vaz’s death

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 11, 2019

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FORMER Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Minister of Industry and Commerce (1980-1989) Douglas Vaz died peacefully in his sleep at his Kingston home yesterday morning.

Vaz, who was 83 years old, is the father of Government Minister Daryl Vaz, who is a minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and Member of Parliament for Portland Western.

Yesterday, prime minister and leader of the JLP Andrew Holness, in a statement, expressed condolence to his immediate and extended family.

“Douglas served with distinction. He worked for the betterment of Jamaica and transcended political borders with an unwavering commitment and contribution to nation-building. My thoughts are with the Vaz family at this time,” said Holness.

JLP general secretary and Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang recalled Vaz as a distinguished member of the party who served both the public and private sectors with distinction through some very challenging times.

“He was a good man, and we all will miss him,” Dr Chang added.

The elder Vaz entered politics in the turbulent 1970s, as the ideological competition between the left-leaning Government of the People’s National Party (PNP) led by Michael Manley, and the centrist JLP led by Edward Seaga descended into a virtual street fight.

A prominent businessman and head of H West Vaz and L F Vaz Limited, Bindings and Accessories Limited, and Jamaica Brassiere Enterprise Limited, he was president of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association between 1973 and 1976, during which he was regarded as the voice of the private sector.

However, not satisfied with just being the voice of the sector, the elder Vaz left the association and teamed with Seaga and the JLP as the Opposition actively pursued curtailing the spread of socialist activities led by Manley.

He won the St Andrew North Central constituency for the JLP in the 1976 General Election, which was held in the midst of a national state of emergency in which the PNP was returned to power, and again in 1980 when the JLP finally overtook the PNP and won a massive 51 of the 60 seats then in the House of Representatives. In the 1983 General Election he was returned unopposed, after the PNP boycotted that election.

Vaz was assigned to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in 1980 by Seaga and served in that ministry up to 1989 when the PNP returned to power. In the meantime, he had contributed to a major turnaround in the economy, which boosted employment, especially in the local garment industry, and led to the rehabilitation of the sugar and banana industries, as well as helped to save a collapsing bauxite/alumina industry.

In 1989 he switched to the St Andrew North Eastern constituency after changes to the borders of the northern St Andrew constituencies. Vaz won that seat in 1989 when the PNP was returned to power, but lost in 1993 to a young upstart, Karlene Kirlew Robertson, who won the seat for the first time for the PNP. However, since 1997, the seat has been held by the JLP’s justice minister, Delroy Chuck.

Vaz’s loss, however, could have been attributed to turmoil within the JLP in 1990s over the continued leadership of the party by Seaga, as he was numbered among the so-called “Gang of Five”, which also included Pearnel Charles, Edmund Bartlett, Karl Samuda, and the late Errol Anderson.

Charles, Bartlett and Samuda eventually returned to the JLP after they were invited to “light a candle, sing a sankey and find your way back home”. They also returned to the JLP’s Cabinet in 2007. However, Vaz did not accept the offer, and joined the newly formed National Democratic Movement, which was led by another disenchanted Labourite, Bruce Golding.

Golding returned as leader of the JLP in 2005, replacing Seaga, and was eventually named prime minister in 2007. He resigned in 2011 and was replaced by Holness.

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No room for mismanagement, Charles Jr warns NWC, NWA

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No room for mismanagement, Charles Jr warns NWC, NWA

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 11, 2019

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MINISTER without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, yesterday put several government agencies on notice that the Andrew Holness-led Administration will not tolerate the “mismanagement” of projects.

“I know that there will be some who will be a little bit upset, but I have a number of agencies that the prime minister has asked me to get in shape. National Water Commission, Rural Water [Supply Limited], National Works Agency (NWA), these agencies get yourself together. There will be no room for mismanagement. There will be no room for these inordinate delays,” said Charles Jr, who has responsibility for water.

He was speaking at a Jamaica Labour Party Area Council One meeting at Mona High School in St Andrew yesterday when he made the statement.

Charles Jr pointed to the Ferry transmission pipeline along Nelson Mandela Highway where work is still under way, arguing that it was scheduled for completion in April.

Work is under way to replace the broken 18-inch transmission main, which is buried 35-feet deep. The break has disrupted water supplied to sections of the Corporate Area, since last December.

“When I came in as minister, someone come to my office and said to me, ‘Minister, why yuh nuh fix the Ferry pipeline since December?’ That time me a foreign affairs; me nuh know nothing ’bout that. But I made a commitment to make sure that every single person that is involved in the repair of that pipeline must be put at the start line,” the minister stated.

“Understand, if you are a contractor, if you are one of the workers in the agency, if you are the lead in the agency, it doesn’t matter to me. Once you have a job, get your work done or get somebody who can get the work done,” he added.

The Jamaica Observer can report that work has not yet been completed on Hagley Park Road, Constant Spring Road and in the vicinity of Portia Simpson Miller Square.

NWA, in a news release last Friday, said important finalising works are continuing on the Hagley Park Road improvement project as the sewer main is now being extended onto side roads and the installation of street lights is currently 75 per cent complete.

A mid-November timeline has been set for the “substantial completion” of the US$56-million project.

“Our responsibility as a Government is to make sure the people of this country do not suffer one day more than is needed. And so we are doing everything that is possible to make sure that the work is done at cost, in time, for the people of this country,” said Charles Jr.

Last December, the Government-run Jamaica Information Service reported that major works on all the legacy road infrastructure projects would be completed by March.

Some of the major roadworks include the US$19-million Constant Spring Road Improvement Project, the US$64-million Mandela Highway Realignment and Reconstruction Project, the US$56-million Hagley Park Road Improvement Project, the US$24.9-million Ferris Cross to Mackfield Project, and the US$4.4-million Barbican Road Upgrade Project.

The road infrastructure legacy projects fall under the Government of Jamaica’s Major Infrastructure Development Programme, which is being financed through a concessionary loan from the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

— Additional reporting by JIS

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Today’s Horoscope — November 12, 2019

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Today’s Horoscope — November 12, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Tuesday, November 12, 2019: This year, you can easily see the pros and cons of situations. You will appreciate the logic behind some very different ideas. It may be difficult to make a decision as you see the viability of many perspectives. If single, you might want to date a while before deciding. You certainly draw many people from diverse lifestyles. You often will feel in love. If attached, both of you come from different styles but have the same long-term goals. Agree to disagree. TAURUS is conservative and stabilises situations.

 

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Expenses could be off and out of control. Pressure builds to make a strong statement about a work or community situation. Curb a need to handle as much as you have been. Pick and choose your battles. Tonight: A sudden appearance, only after some shopping.

 

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You could be juggling more than your share. You could realise that a long-term objective is harder to achieve than you originally thought. You have endless energy when it comes to advancing a project. Tonight: Use your charisma.

 

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Listen to what is being shared. You might feel conflicted because you see both sides of an issue. Try to stay centred. A partner could be more stubborn about a money matter than you thought. Tonight: Use your energy.

 

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Zero in on priorities and follow through on them, despite distractions from various people. A partner could be unusually stubborn and unwilling to move from his or her position. Work with this person’s stubbornness to achieve what you want. Tonight: Where the fun is.

 

LEO (July 23-Aug 22): You might feel cornered by a boss or an authority figure. Fatigue could be a factor in accomplishing what you want. It appears that many people around you are animated and working toward a certain goal, but not necessarily your goal. Tonight: Make peace with some confusion.

 

VIRGO (Aug 23-Sept 22): Reach out for someone at a distance who you care about. You hear many different versions of an interaction. You might need to redefine your goals. Your fiery personality draws strong reactions, some good and others not as positive. Tonight: Work with a changing perspective.

 

LIBRA (Sept 23-Oct 22): One-on-one relating draws others’ attention. You might be able to lead someone you care about in a new direction. Though you might feel conflicted at first, you will be able to adapt. Tonight: Accept a loved one’s offer.

 

SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21): Defer to others knowing that they have a similar goal but a tendency to get there by different means. Know what you want. Try to relax as you watch the results. You might need some time to review the information. Tonight: Be spontaneous.

 

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21): Assume a low profile. Note what others share, especially around a work-related or day-to-day issue. You might hear various ideas and wonder what is needed to stabilize a situation. Your high energy helps get a domestic matter moving. Tonight: Take a personal night.

 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 19): Your creativity emerges when dealing with a friend who seems unusually resourceful. You could become quite enthusiastic when having conversations with friends, as well as with someone who serves as a muse for you. Tonight: Do not lose sight of your goals.

 

AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18): Basics count. You might be eyeing a serious situation in a different light. The situation revolves around your home, real estate and security. You could change your perspective after a lengthy conversation with an adviser. Tonight: Happy at home.

 

PISCES (Feb 19-March 20): Communication could be far more direct than you intended. One person might hold a very conservative perspective, which intrigues you. You can also stretch and understand a far-out idea. Tonight: Respond to an unusual invitation.

 

(c) 2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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