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PNP trying for clean campaign in Kingston Central

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The five individuals seeking to replace Ronald Thwaites as the People’s National Party (PNP) representative in Kingston Central yesterday signed the party’s Code of Conduct for Internal Elections, in an effort to avoid the guttersniping which has marred some of its contests in the past.

Former members of parliament Raymond Pryce and Paul Buchanan, Imani Duncan-Price, Donald Jackson and Joan Porteous pledged to conduct their campaigns “in such a manner as to enhance the democratic tradition and reputation of the party”.

They further pledged to “if elected, promote the unity of the party, and if unsuccessful, to abide by the outcome and give full support to the leadership of the person duly elected”.

In a brief signing ceremony at the PNP’s Old Hope Road headquarters yesterday, PNP Deputy Chairman Horace Dalley hinted that candidates could be kicked out of the race for breaching the rules of engagement.

“This Code of Conduct is something that the People’s National Party is very serious about, and any breach will attract severe consequences,” warned Dalley, who is among three people who will form an oversight committee for the election.

The other members of the oversight committee are Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Donna Scott-Mottley and former Member of Parliament Ambassador Aloun N’dombet Assamba.

“This committee will monitor the activities, the pronouncements, the social media posts, and all the campaign activities of the five Comrades who are going to be involved in trying to replace Comrade Ronald Thwaites,” said Dalley.

Addressing the signing ceremony, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson noted that roughly 600 delegates are on the preliminary voters’ list to select the party’s candidate to contest the next general election in Kingston Central.

Robinson underscored that Thwaites will remain in the seat for the duration of this term and will work closely with the person given the nod by the delegates.

In outlining some of the rules of engagement, Robinson warned that supporters of the candidates will also be expected to respect their opponents.

According to Robinson, the candidates, their supporters and surrogates are mandated to avoid personal attacks on their opponents, teams and supporters.

“So we are holding the candidates responsible for the actions of those persons who support them. (The candidates shall) conduct their campaigns with integrity and shall refrain from using defamatory or inflammatory language towards his or her opponents,” said Robinson.

He added that the candidates should “refrain from seeking any votes by threats, bribery, or other improper means or inducements”.

Robinson further noted that the candidates are mandated to keep an accurate record of all campaign funds received and to ensure that they do not take money from tainted sources.

The candidates will have seven days after the June 22 selection contest to account for the money spent.

The PNP general secretary also said that the preliminary voters’ list would have been provided to the candidates yesterday, with them having until Friday to register any concerns, before the final list is issued next Monday.

He noted that the time and venue of the contest have not yet been decided, but promised that the delegates will vote somewhere centrally located in the constituency.

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Hundreds of new fires in Brazil as outrage over Amazon grows

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Hundreds of new fires in Brazil as outrage over Amazon grows

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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PORTO VELHO, Brazil (AFP) — Hundreds of new fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil, official data showed Saturday, amid growing international pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro to control the worst blazes in years.

Multiple fires were seen across a vast area of the northwestern state of Rondonia on Friday when AFP journalists flew over the area. 

Several people in the capital Porto Velho told AFP Saturday that what appeared to be light clouds hanging over the city was actually smoke from the blazes.

“I’m very worried because of the environment and health,” Delmara Conceicao Silva told AFP. 

“I have a daughter with respiratory problems and she suffers more because of the fires.”

The fires in the world’s largest rainforest have triggered a global outcry and are a major topic of concern at the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France.

Official figures show 78,383 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. Experts say the clearing of land during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem. 

More than half of the fires are in the Amazon, where more than 20 million people live. Some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). 

The new data came a day after Bolsonaro authorised the deployment of the military to fight the fires and crack down on criminal activity in the region. 

– ‘Help is welcome’ –

US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, both attending the G7 summit, have offered their countries’ assistance in fighting the fires. 

“Any help is welcome in respect to the fires,” Brazil’s Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva told reporters on Saturday. 

The blazes have stirred outrage globally, with thousands of people protesting in Brazil and Europe on Friday. More demonstrations are planned in Brazil on Sunday. 

Earlier this week, Bolsonaro blamed the fires on non-governmental organizations, suggesting they deliberately started them after their funding was cut. 

The growing crisis threatens to torpedo a blockbuster trade deal between the European Union and South American countries, including Brazil, that took 20 years to negotiate.

EU Council president Donald Tusk told reporters at the G7 on Saturday that it was hard to imagine European countries ratifying a trade pact with the Mercosur bloc as long as Brazil fails to curb the fires ravaging the Amazon, which is known as the “lungs of the planet” because of its crucial role in mitigating climate change. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has taken the lead in pressing his Brazilian counterpart over the fires, had earlier accused Bolsonaro of lying to him about Brazil’s stance on climate change.

Environmental specialists say the fires are coming amid increasing deforestation in the Amazon region, which in July took place at a rate four times that of the same month in 2018, according to data from INPE. 

Bolsonaro has previously attacked the institute, describing its data as lies and engineering the sacking of its head.

On Friday, he insisted that the fires should not be used as an excuse to punish Brazil. 

“There are forest fires all over the world, and this cannot be used as a pretext for possible international sanctions,” Bolsonaro said.

Brazil’s powerful agriculture sector — which strongly supports Bolsonaro — has expressed concerns over the president’s rhetoric, fearing boycotts of their products in key markets. 

In an editorial Saturday, the respected Folha de S Paulo newspaper warned that Bolsonaro’s “bravado” had worsened the crisis caused by accelerating deforestation.

“The damage to (Brazil’s) image is done and it could have important trade repercussions,” it said.

“Nationalistic bravado will not win the game this time.” 

 

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3-y-o boy dies after being struck by car

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3-y-o boy dies after being struck by car

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Police say they are investigating the death of a three-year-old boy after he was hit by a car in the community of Greenvale on the outskirts of the parish capital yesterday.

The victim has been identified as Oshay Morris.

Reports are that at about 3:30 pm, the child ran on to the roadway and was hit. The police were summoned and he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. 

The police’s Corporate Communications Unit said the driver of the motor vehicle is in custody.

Kasey Williams 

 


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Newly formed storm likely to grow as it reaches Caribbean

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Newly formed storm likely to grow as it reaches Caribbean

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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MIAMI, Florida (AP) — A newly formed tropical depression is expected to reach the Caribbean as a tropical storm within the next several days.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami says that the storm is moving west and could reach hurricane strength Wednesday.

At 11:00 am EDT, the storm’s centre was located at about 805 miles (1,295 kilometres) east-southeast of Barbados and was moving west at 12 mph (19 kph). Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 35 mph (56 kph).

Dennis Feltgen of the hurricane centre said that it’s too early to tell exactly what path the storm will take. Residents of the central and northern Lesser Antilles should monitor the storm’s progress.

No watches or warnings have been issued.

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