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Johnson Smith hails late Ambassador Durrant

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Johnson Smith hails late Ambassador Durrant

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

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Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith has paid tribute to Ambassador Patricia Durrant who died last week, noting the excellent contribution she made to Jamaica and the international community.

“We are saddened by the passing of Ambassador Durrant and we honour the outstanding contribution made by her, not only to the Jamaican Foreign Service, but also to the international community,” Johnson Smith said in a statement, and expressed deep condolence to the late diplomat’s family and friends.

The foreign ministry noted that ambassador Durrant joined the Jamaican Foreign Service in 1971. She was assigned to Jamaica’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York at the level of deputy permanent representative from 1983 to 1987.

She was subsequently posted as Jamaica’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany from 1987 to 1992.

At end of that tour of duty, Ambassador Durrant returned to the ministry’s headquarters in 1992 and was appointed to the post of director general, foreign service operations.

“She served in this capacity until 1995 when she returned to the Mission in New York as Jamaica’s permanent representative to the United Nations,” the ministry noted, adding that she served concurrently as permanent representative to the United Nations Security Council from 2000 to 2001 when Jamaica was a sitting member of that body.

“In April 2002, the United Nations secretary general appointed Ambassador Durrant as the UN ombudsman in the rank of assistant secretary general. She was the first to hold this position from 2002 until 2007,” the ministry said.

Ambassador Durrant retired from the service in 2007, but continued to maintain strong relations with current and former members of the service.

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Three break-ins in three weeks

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Three break-ins in three weeks

Little London Primary staff reeling from robberies

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 24, 2020

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LITTLE LONDON, Westmoreland — The staff of Little London Primary School in Westmoreland have been left devastated following a break-in at the school — the third such incident in three weeks.

During the most recent break-in, which took place between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, numerous tablets and computers were removed from the administrative block of the school. Personal items were also reportedly stolen.

A water pump that assisted with providing the precious commodity to the school’s infant department and a stove, which replaced one that had been stolen in one of the earlier break-ins, were also stolen.

The criminals reportedly entered the building by cutting their way through the grille of a door to the office.

“It has left us at a disadvantage where teacher-learning is concerned, because those tablets are tablets that we usually use in the classrooms. Students would have the opportunity to use them to do researches. We also use them for games and so forth,” Principal Merissa Stephens told the Jamaica Observer.

“So we do not have those right now. Even the Wi-Fi extender, that was just ripped from its position. So the Wi-Fi is down, and you know when we really have technological devices and so forth using in this period, this generation, it really enhances teaching and learning. The fact that they are not here now, it kind of set us back, and it is going to take a lot more spending to get these things back in place and all of that,” the principal added.

In the first two break-ins, a Wi-Fi router was stolen and teaching aids destroyed.

The school is located in close proximity to the Green Island Police Station.

Stephens told the Observer that the police have agreed to patrol the area.

However, she noted: “They (criminals) are very smart. They watch for the police. So, they (criminals) know when they (police) are here and when they are not here.”

Stephens also urged residents in the area to be observant.

“I would just want them to have their eyes open, to be vigilant and not to buy from [them]… Go to an [established] organisation to purchase whatever you need, rather than just buying it from a back door deal,” encouraged Stephens.

The principal also appealed to residents to assist by keeping an eye on the school and raising an alarm if they notice anything suspicious.

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Ministry seeking $1.4 billion to fix farm roads in 2020/21

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries will be lobbying for a $1.4-billion allocation in the next budget to rehabilitate more farm roads islandwide in the 2020/2021 financial year.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries J C Hutchinson made the disclosure during the official opening of the rehabilitated Dragoon to Flagstaff and Prosper to Tangle River roadways in South St James on Wednesday.

He said that, so far, approximately $772 million has been spent on rehabilitating farm roads in 2019/2020, under the Government’s National Farm Road Rehabilitation Programme.

Hutchinson said the ministry now intends to have this figure doubled, in order to improve more farm roads and develop the economic viability of agricultural activities within rural Jamaica.

“We want to see if we can get $1.4 billion for farm roads alone in the next budget, because we feel that roads are a priority to the development of agriculture,” the minister said.

He also indicated that in South St James, the ministry aims to rehabilitate an additional five farm roads under the programme.

“There are many challenges that farmers have throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica, and so we are looking to see if we can solve many of these problems, and the first one we are addressing is farm roads,” Hutchinson explained.

“This area (St James South) is looking up, as far as [agricultural] production is concerned,” he added.

Under the National Farm Road Programme, being implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), more than 250 roads have been rehabilitated, to date, at a cost of $1.8 billion. Another 72 roads are expected to be completed by the end of March of this year.

Within the communities where these two latest rehabilitated roadways are located, a total of 2,666 registered farmers are now benefiting from improved access to market. The roadways were rehabilitated at a cost of $8 million each.

Flagstaff resident and farmer, Evrode Senior, told JIS News that the new roadway is a blessing to the community.

“It will help us a lot. It will help the schoolchildren, and us farmers to get our produce out. Our produce used to spoil because no motor vehicle could go there to pick it up and go to market. We had to carry it out on our heads. It was really awful, but now we are thankful,” she said.

Another farmer of Tangle River, Robert Campbell, said the roadway is a welcome development that the residents proudly accept and will maintain.

– JIS

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‘Informer fi dead’ culture hindering police investigations, says DCP

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‘Informer fi dead’ culture hindering police investigations, says DCP

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 24, 2020

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DEPUTY Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey says that the culture of “informer fi dead”, which persists in some Jamaican communities, has significantly restricted the police’s investigative capacity.

DCP Bailey, who was responding to questions from members of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on Wednesday, said that although there is more room for improvement in the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) intelligence system, the inability to charge some suspects is primarily due to a lack of evidence from witnesses.

“There is room for improvement in our intelligence [system], but I think that it is the culture which exists in Jamaica. As you rightly said, in many instances, we know who are the perpetrators, and while we rely on scientific evidence, scientific evidence can only take us [so far] and no more,” Bailey admitted.

“I think that, as a nation, we have to have a conversation for individuals to understand that they have a responsibility as well, to support law enforcement and ensure that the rule of law is maintained. The culture of ‘informer fi dead’ is significantly impacting on our investigative capacity and capability,” he added.

The DCP was responding to a question from Opposition Member of Parliament Dwight Vaz (Central Westmoreland) about the capacity of the JCF’s intelligence system to impact the trials of criminals without relying on witnesses.

“We have a witness protection programme that is available… [but] a lot of people are not willing to accept the offer, and one can understand because you have to change a number of things. But, it is something that we have to encourage because of the level of violence which exists in the society,” Bailey noted.

“So you are correct, in many instances we know, and many of those people are incarcerated. We know that they are involved and we can say what crimes they are involved in, but until the witnesses are willing to come forward… And we talk about the trust factor, which is real, but there are many avenues that are available through which persons can tell the security forces what has happened without any breach of trust,” he pointed out.

Bailey said that, in terms of the police’s intelligence capabilities, not everything can be disclosed, but in terms of threats to lives, the police have saved in excess of 400 people every year, on average, because of their intelligence mechanism that is in place.

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Mad rush for ‘Learner’s’ Applicants swell to 5,000 to avoid road code test

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Mad rush for ‘Learner’s’ Applicants swell to 5,000 to avoid road code test

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Hundreds of Jamaicans wishing to obtain provisional driver’s licences have been rushing to Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) offices in an effort to avoid sitting a road code test which will become mandatory after January 25.

Yesterday, Meris Haughton, chief corporate communications officer at TAJ, said at the start of this month the tax authorities were processing 500 applications daily. However, on Wednesday they received more than 5,000 applications.

Full story in today’s Auto magazine.


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Lawyer to again try to quash case against Reid, Pinnock

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ATTORNEY Hugh Wildman turned up at court yesterday with the intention of having the criminal charges against Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) President Professor Fritz Pinnock, former education minister Ruel Reid and his daughter Sharelle and wife Sharen, and Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence overturned.

However, that did not materialise.

Instead, Wildman will have to wait until April 8, when all the accused return to court.

During the unsuccessful application to have the case quashed, Wildman argued that the Financial Investigations Division (FID), under the FID Act, has no jurisdiction or power to institute criminal charges against anybody in Jamaica.

Noting that Chief Justice Bryan Sykes is in agreement with his argument, Wildman said he was prepared to examine the ruling that was handed down last year.

“I don’t have the time for that,” chief parish Judge Chester Crooks uttered.

Wildman’s application came to a halt.

Crooks told him that it would be unfair to the Crown Counsel, who had indicated prior to his application that she needed more time to comprehensively review the file.

“…Perhaps your argument will find favour, perhaps, whether the matter ought to move forward and so on, but I’ll suggest — I am not saying that your submissions are not relevant today — I suggest we put it for another day to afford the Crown time to do that, review the file, so that they can say definitively what their position is and then you can make the relevant submission,” Crooks suggested.

Crooks also suggested to Wildman that he put his submission in writing, given the fact that time has passed.

Wildman replied: “I accept… it is just that for the purpose of the record I just want to make this point that based on the will of the chief justice, my client and these accused persons are not properly before the court, and it seems to me that in those circumstances, your honour, it is a matter of absolute urgency that this matter be dealt with. Because, right now, the State is facing a situation where they have charged persons without proper basis, and what will eventually have to happen enuh, they may have to [do] a supplementary budget to pay them in civil suit.”

Wildman continued: “The honourable chief justice came right down the line with our application, agreeing with everything on the interpretation of the law — everything. And just at the end, your honour, when he was to make that go through the tape and quash these charges, then he fell down like Bolt in England… Luckily, what we have done, your honour, is to restart the race and so the matter is going before three judges on the 10th of next month to restart the race so that we can get a better finish.”

Wildman said, too, that the chief justice agreed that the FID has no power to do what it did.

“He said, ‘come to Half-Way-Tree and quash it,’ that is why I am making this application… that is what he is saying in his judgement,” Wildman stated.

Last December, the men, in the application brought by Wildman, asserted that they were arrested and charged by the FID, which was established by Section 4 of the Financial Investigations Division Act, arguing that the FID does not have the power to arrest and charge anyone. They said that, by arresting both applicants, the FID acted outside of its statutory powers and, therefore, what it did was a nullity leading them to seek leave for judicial review.

Justice Sykes, in ruling on the matter then, said the court is of the view that the police officers in this case who arrested and charged the applicants were never designated under Section 2 of the FID Act, and that any power of arrest and charge that they used could only be by virtue of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) powers found under The Constabulary Force Act.

“Consequently, it was not FID that arrested and charged the applicants, but JCF officers in their capacity as JCF officers,” the chief justice ruled, adding, “that still leaves open the question of whether the JCF officers utilised any power under the FID Act when they were not authorised to do.

“If yes, that might raise admissibility issues which can be addressed during the criminal trial,” Chief Justice Sykes said in the ruling.

He said: “The court has come to this position on the basis of the absence of evidence that the police officers were authorised officers under [the] FID Act.”

“I make no pronouncement on the credibility of any of the deponents in this case. This means that this decision must not be understood as indicating that the deponents for the respondents were found to be more credible than applicants,” said Sykes.

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Naming baby Bolt

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CELEBRITY baby names have long been a source of intrigue for celebrity watchers. One need look no further than the 100-1 odds bookmakers put on the Sussex’s bundle, Archie Harrison last year.

The celebrity status of the newborn is one thing, but the excitement is fuelled by the fact that celebs are known for choosing unusual monikers — Kulture, Blue Ivy, Onyx, and Psalm being among the lot among US A-listers.

On home soil, people are already brimming with possible options for the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, and his girlfriend Kasi Bennett. The couple released photos of the baby bump on social media yesterday, but withheld the sex. That didn’t stop Jamaicans from weighing in on what Baby Bolt should be named.

 

Marie Marsh, Beauty Therapist

BOY: Niasu

GIRL: Kasain

 

Donovan “Merryman” Whyte, Barber

BOY:Usain Jr

GIRL: Kasiana

 

Orville Wallace, Retiree

BOY: Ensain

GIRL: Kaisanya

 

Sheldon White, Barber

BOY: Ashauni

GIRL: Kayla-Dae

 

Sherona Peterkin, Bartender

BOY: Usain Jr

GIRL: Kasi-Ann

 

Nathaniel “Natty” Anderson, Vendor

BOY: (Undecided)

GIRL: U-anna

 

Natalie Blake, Cook

BOY: Usain Jr

GIRL: “A mix of mommy and daddy’s middle name”

 

Asheca Williams, Sales Rep

BOY: Usain Jr

GIRL: Ushauna

 

Canute Webb, Sales Associate

BOY: Usain Jr,

GIRL” “Something starting with ‘U’”

 

Dianna Simon, sales advisor

UNISEX: Kasain

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