Connect with us

News

National Farm Roads Programme to be reformed

Published

on

National Farm Roads Programme to be reformed

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Print this page
Email A Friend!

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

THE Government has announced plans to restructure its National Farm Roads Programme, following an assessment conducted by the Auditor General’s Department in October.

It was found, during the assessment, that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s (RADA) process of selecting contractors for the programme was not always transparent or competitive.

Speaking at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries’ quarterly press briefing Thursday, minister without portfolio JC Hutchinson said that several issues with the programme were identified.

“…Based on the auditor’s general report, we expect to do some restructuring of the programme so there can be more accountability and transparency. This is to address the concerns and recommendations of the auditor general’s report, and the concerns and feedback from farmers in the various areas where roads have been completed, said Hutchinson.

He added: “We have found out that the qualities of the roads are not up to standard and we have found that, in some instances, the roads have been done on some hills and no drainage put in place, and so forth,” he said.

“Under the programme, to date, 250 roads have been improved islandwide, benefiting 15,934 farmers. To date $1.849 billion has been expended on this programme, which has, in the years 2015-2016, repaired 30 roads at a cost of $382 million,” he said.

He further stated that 54 roads were repaired at $262 million from 2016 to 2017, while 61 roads were repaired at $370 million from 2017 to 2018, and 81 roads were repaired at $656 million from 2018-2019.

Additionally, the Cabinet minister said over the entire period – from 2015 to present – “the scope of work undertaken under the programme included clearing, reshaping, grading, double-surfacing and concrete asphalt and drains”.

Said Hutchinson: “We have found that no bushing has been done by RADA anywhere throughout the island. It has been roads that have been rehabilitated. And we have spent $1.8 billion over four years, not for one parish or in one year.”

In the meantime, Minister of of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw, speaking at the press conference, said: “Following the recent report by the auditor general on this programme, we note the exuberance of the Opposition in its public misinterpretation of the situation. We wish to assure the nation that the ministry is now examining the genuine recommendation of the AG regarding this very important programme that so critically impacts agricultural infrastructure and rural development.”

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

Source link

قالب وردپرس

News

Prince Andrew said uncooperative

Published

on

By

Prince Andrew said uncooperative

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Print this page
Email A Friend!

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

NEW YORK, United States (AP) — Britain’s Prince Andrew has provided “zero cooperation” to the American investigators who want to interview him as part of their sex trafficking probe into Jeffrey Epstein, a US prosecutor said yesterday.

Speaking at a news conference outside Epstein’s New York mansion, attorney Geoffrey Berman said prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had contacted Andrew’s lawyers and asked to interview him.

“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” said Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

The Associated Press has asked Buckingham Palace for comment.

Andrew announced last year that he was withdrawing from his royal duties amid renewed public attention on a woman’s claim that she had several sexual encounters with the prince at Epstein’s behest, starting when she was 17.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre says that after meeting Epstein in Florida in 2000, the millionaire flew her around the world and pressured her into having sex with numerous older men, including Andrew, two senior US politicians, a noted academic, wealthy financiers, and the attorney Alan Dershowitz, who is now part of President Donald Trump’s impeachment defence team.

All of those men have denied the allegations. Epstein killed himself in his jail cell last summer while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Giuffre has said she had sex with Andrew three times, including once in London in 2001 at the home of Epstein’s girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Andrew and Maxwell have both denied any knowledge that Epstein was sexually abusing teenage girls. In a TV interview last fall, Andrew insisted he was out having pizza with his children on the night Giuffre says they were together in London.

US Attorney General William Barr has vowed to aggressively investigate and bring charges against anyone who may have helped Epstein.

Andrew, in the statement he released in November announcing his intention to “step back from public duties”, said he regretted his “ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein”.

“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,” he wrote.

Berman made his remarks about the case during a joint appearance with members of Safe Horizon, a non-profit victim services agency, to discuss a new New York law that made it easier for people to sue over childhood sexual abuse.

He wouldn’t discuss the Epstein investigation in detail but reiterated that the case didn’t end with his death.

“Jeffrey Epstein couldn’t have done what he did without the assistance of others, and I can assure you that the investigation is moving forward,” Berman said.

Numerous women who said they were sexually abused by Epstein as teenagers have claimed in lawsuits and interviews that he got help recruiting young girls from both Maxwell and several assistants.

Giuffre’s lawyers have, for months, been calling on Andrew to agree to be interviewed both by investigators and by the lawyers helping the women with civil lawsuits.

Two guards who were supposed to be monitoring Epstein the night he was found dead have been charged with falsifying the jail’s log books to indicate they were performing checks on prisoners, when they were actually sleeping or browsing the Internet.

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

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

‘I’m being raped’

Published

on

By

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

NEW YORK, United States (AP) — As she tried to fight off Harvey Weinstein’s advances, Mimi Haleyi told him “no, no, no” before he held her down on a bed and forcibly performed oral sex on her, she said in emotional testimony yesterday at Weinstein’s rape trial.

Haleyi, one of two women whose assault accusations led to Weinstein’s trial, took the stand yesterday and, at times sobbing, detailed her allegation that the disgraced movie mogul sexually assaulted her at his New York City apartment in 2006.

“I did reject him, but he insisted. Every time I tried to get off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down,” the former Project Runway production assistant testified, adding that she told Weinstein she was menstruating in an attempt to deter him.

Haleyi, now 42, told jurors she thought, “I’m being raped,” and considered different options. “If I scream rape, will someone hear me?” she wondered.

“I checked out and decided to endure it,” she said. “That was the safest thing I could do.”

Haleyi is the first of the two women at the heart of the case to take the stand at his rape trial. A total of six accusers, including the aspiring actress he was charged with raping in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, will testify at the closely watched #MeToo-era trial.

Weinstein, 67, has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.

Last week, Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra testified that Weinstein overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s. While outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges, Sciorra’s allegations could be a factor as prosecutors look to prove Weinstein has engaged in a pattern of predatory behaviour.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they agree to be named as Haleyi and Sciorra have.

Haleyi went public with her allegations at an October 2017 news conference, appearing in front of cameras alongside lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents Sciorra and other Weinstein accusers.

Haleyi, born in Helsinki, Finland, and raised in Sweden, said she met Weinstein while in her 20s at the 2004 London premiere of the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Aviator.

They crossed paths again at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and, when she expressed interest in working on one of his productions, he invited her to his hotel room and asked for a massage. She declined, saying she was “extremely humiliated”.

More meetings followed, and Weinstein secured Haleyi a job helping on the set of Project Runway, the reality competition show he produced. She testified that before the alleged assault, Weinstein showed up at her apartment and begged her to join him on a trip to Paris for a fashion show.

“At one point, because I just didn’t know how to shut it down, so to speak… So I said, ‘You know you have a terrible reputation with women, I’ve heard,’” Haleyi testified.

The then-revered Hollywood honcho “got offended”, she said. “He stepped back and said, ‘What have you heard’?”

Asked by prosecutor Meghan Hast if she had any romantic or sexual interest in Weinstein, Haleyi firmly answered: “Not at all, no.”

Haleyi also described a second encounter, a few weeks after the alleged assault, in a Tribeca hotel room where she said she “went numb” as he took her hand, pulled her toward the bed and had intercourse with her.

She said she didn’t call the police because she was working in the US on a tourist visa and was scared of Weinstein’s power, telling jurors: “Obviously, Mr Weinstein has a lot more power and resources and connections and so forth. I didn’t think I’d stand a chance.”

Haleyi said she “just felt like an idiot” for letting Weinstein convince her to meet again, but thought seeing him could help her regain power as she tried to make sense of the alleged assault.

Asked again if she wanted to have sex with Weinstein that night, she said, “No”.

Weinstein was jotting notes in a thick yellow notebook through most of Haleyi’s account, but looked at her and shook his head when she described the second alleged assault.

On cross-examination, defence lawyer Damon Cheronis seized on Haleyi’s continued interactions with Weinstein, displaying on a large screen a friendly email she sent him after they ran into each other in Cannes in 2008.

Haleyi conceded she’d been in contact with Weinstein “not often, but yes occasionally” and that she sent the 2008 e-mail after a newspaper article reminded her of a conversation they had weeks before the alleged assault.

The jury of seven men and five women heard last week from Dr Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist, who said that most sex assault victims continue to have contact with their attackers, often under threat of retaliation if the victims tell anyone what happened.

On the stand yesterday, Haleyi said she dealt with the alleged assaults by compartmentalising, occasionally interacting with Weinstein on a professional basis by passing along scripts from friends or discussing work opportunities.

“Honestly, I didn’t know how to deal with it so it’s almost like I put it away in a box, like it didn’t happen and I just carried along as usual,” Haleyi 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

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

You can donate to Sigma Run at Sagicor branches

Published

on

By

You can donate to Sigma Run at Sagicor branches

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Print this page
Email A Friend!

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

INDIVIDUALS and organisations wishing to support the fund-raising efforts for beneficiaries of the 2020 Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run can now do so using the donation drop boxes at Sagicor Bank branches islandwide.

Sagicor, in a release, said each branch is equipped with branded donation boxes to allow persons to donate to the cause and contribute to raising a target of $55 million for three beneficiaries – the Clifton Boys Home, Bustamante Hospital for Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital.

Alysia White, executive director, Sagicor Foundation, said the drop-off boxes were put in place to give more people the opportunity to participate in Sagicor Foundation’s drive to raise much-needed funds for the beneficiaries of this year’s charity run.

“We know that persons across Jamaica want to be able to support the cause and this is one way we allow them to easily do so. Monies raised through the Sagicor Sigma run has impacted so many lives over the years, and we are happy to once again partner with the Jamaican public to do it again for our beneficiaries,” she said.

The public can also contribute to the 2020 beneficiaries using direct deposit and wire transfer at the bank branches. Account information is available via the run’s website: www.sagicorsigmarun.com .

Cash and cheques can also be dropped off at the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run Secretariat at the R Danny Williams Building, Sagicor Group Head Office at 28-48 Barbados Avenue, Kingston 5.

The Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run is set for January 31.

The charity event is the largest road race in the Caribbean and has raised more than $400 million in donations for over 30 beneficiaries since inception in 1999. The event saw a record 27,000 registrants for the 2019 staging, raising $52.4 million for the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, Diabetes Association of Jamaica and May Pen Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,

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

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

Court allows enforcement

Published

on

By

Court allows enforcement

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Print this page
Email A Friend!

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AP) — A divided Supreme Court yesterday allowed the Trump Administration to put in place a policy connecting the use of public benefits with whether immigrants could become permanent residents.

The new policy can be used to deny green cards to immigrants over their use of public benefits including Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers, as well as other factors.

The justices’ order came by a 5-4 vote and reversed a ruling from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that had kept in place a nationwide hold on the policy following lawsuits that have been filed against it.

The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, would have prevented the policy from taking effect.

Federal appeals courts in San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia, had previously overturned trial court rulings against the policy. An injunction in Illinois remains in effect, but applies only to that state.

The lawsuits will continue, but immigrants applying for permanent residency must now show they wouldn’t be public charges, or burdens to the country.

The new policy significantly expands what factors would be considered to make that determination, and if it is decided that immigrants could potentially become public charges at any point in the future, legal residency could be denied.

Roughly 544,000 people apply for green cards annually. According to the Government, 382,000 are in categories that would make them subject to the new review.

Immigrants make up a small portion of those getting public benefits, since many are ineligible to get them because of their immigration status.

In a separate opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch urged his colleagues to confront the “real problem” of so-called nationwide injunctions – orders issued by a single judge that apply everywhere. In this case, even though the Administration won rulings in two different appellate courts covering 14 states, its policy could not take effect.

“What in this gamesmanship and chaos can we be proud of?” Gorsuch wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, praised the high court order. “It is very clear that the US Supreme Court is fed up with these national injunctions by judges who are trying to impose their policy preferences instead of enforcing the law,” Cuccinelli 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

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

Pain and disbelief at Vauxhall High

Published

on

By

Pain and disbelief at Vauxhall High

Murdered teacher mourned by colleagues, students, community

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Print this page
Email A Friend!

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

Morning devotion at Vauxhall High School in Kingston yesterday was not easy.

Grief, expressed through tears and sobs, filled the auditorium as students, teachers, alumni, residents of neighbouring communities, and people who didn’t even know 36-year-old Carl Samuels reflected on his brutal murder by gunmen last Saturday evening.

Samuels, who taught theatre arts at the school on Windward Road in east Kingston, was shot dead on the school compound about 7:35 pm.

The pain at Samuels’s loss was evident from as early as 7:00 am as people flooded the school, discussing the tragedy in groups.

They consoled each other during the praise and worship session. Eventually, emotion got the better of fifth-form student C-ndre Jackson, who had assisted with the devotion.

“I was going to Camperdown (High School) when I heard all the gunshots. When I reach Camperdown I got a call that someone died over here and then a couple minutes after, my uncle called and told me that it was my teacher,” 16-year-old Jackson said, adding that all he could do was cry.

“I sent him my (theatre arts) SBA the same day (Saturday) and he told me that he would give me an answer on Sunday… He has been like a father,” the grade eleven student said. “He was a teacher, a great mentor, and a father figure. Mr Samuels showed me a lot of things; he told me a lot of jokes during drama class. He usually provoked me because I was late for class but yet still I always do my work.”

Vauxhall High past student and Shortwood Teachers’ College culinary student Michael Sellars’s brown eyes were filled with tears as he spoke about the impact Samuels made on his life.

“Mr Carl Samuels was always there supporting me through any field I wanted to pursue while trying to draw me back into theatre because it builds your confidence. He was just different,” Sellars told the Jamaica Observer.

Sellars, who graduated from Vauxhall in 2017, while noting his fondest memory of Samuels, said he was still in disbelief when he heard about the teacher’s murder on Saturday.

“When we are talking to him and we say ‘Jesus Christ’ he would say him nuh name God yet or him nuh name Jesus yet,” Jackson said with a chuckle.

Former deputy head girl and 2018 graduate Selena Campbell told the Observer that Samuels gave her the confidence she needed to believe in herself.

“I remember when I just came in grade seven I was the smallest person on the block, very fine, and he looked down and looked back up and said ‘Oh, somebody standing in front of me’ and I started to laugh, and he said ‘I am going to work on you’,” Campbell recalled.

Arguing that Samuels’s passion and drive made the school better than it was before he got there, Campbell said it was painful to hear about his passing.

“I heard about it Saturday after 8:00 pm. I saw a post on WhatsApp and I said this is not right. The Sunday morning, while I was going to church, I got a call. I just started to shake. My nervous system broke down. When I heard that he died, I tried to think about what could have killed Mr Samuels. I said to myself, probably it is a car accident because I don’t know him as a sick person. When I heard gunshot I was like, oh wow! I was traumatised,” she said.

“He was the one who gave me a voice. I was in theatre arts. When I left primary school I stopped doing drama. He pressured me in grade seven and I joined in grade eight. He brought me to JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) allowed me to join culture club. When the opportunity came for head girl, I told him that I didn’t want to and he said ‘Listen, one of these positions is yours.’ He was a man who I looked up to,” Campbell added.

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

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

Public health renewal

Published

on

By

Public health renewal

Gov’t provides 50 new vehicles to help combat vector-borne diseases

BY CANDIECE KNIGHT
Observer staff reporter
knightc@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Print this page
Email A Friend!

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

A total of 50 new vehicles were yesterday added to the fleet of the island’s regional health authorities to help combat vector-borne diseases in what Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said was part of the Government’s effort at public health renewal.

“While we’re focusing on dengue because it is now the current threat in terms of vector-borne diseases, and we have to deal with it I really want all of you to look at what we are doing today as a much bigger, broader theme of public health renewal, and the renewal of our infrastructure. This Government is on a mission to renew, to rebuild, and to make more effective our public health infrastructure,” Tufton said during the handing-over ceremony at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew.

He said over the past three months the Government had acquired a total of 60 vehicles equipped with mounted foggers, at a cost of approximately $400 million. The remaining 10 vehicles are expected to be placed in the fleet soon.

“2019 was a significant manifestation of why we have to do more to protect the people of Jamaica as it relates to vector-borne diseases, and as it relates to our entire public health infrastructure. Last year we saw where nearly 1,700 of our people here in Jamaica were hospitalised; over 80 have died, because of mosquitoes and in this instance the Aedes aegypti,” the minister said. “If we don’t renew to be more efficient, our people are going to become more threatened as the years progress.”

While presenting the keys to the country’s four regional health authorities, Tufton pointed to some of the burdens faced by vector control workers that will be lifted by the new vehicles.

“So, the broken down vans in the garage, the hand foggers that are gashing and catching fire because they’re really not suited for the tropics, and the vector worker driving in the back of the pickup truck at risk to themselves and to others, those days are done,” he said.

He pointed to another vector that will be tackled by the ministry rats.

“The reality is that leptospirosis is dangerous, and if infected, it can cost you your life,” he cautioned. “If you look at all the projections globally and the issues around climate change and the health profile of the world, you will see that these two vectors are going to become a much more clear and present danger to mankind. We cannot be business as usual in terms of the approach,” Tufton said.

He explained that the vehicles were only one part of a four-pronged approach to tackling public health risks, the others being engaging more temporary and permanent vector control workers; exploring new technologies to combat the evolution of vectors; and placing greater emphasis on public education.

Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams said that the municipality was pleased by the investment in public health.

“We quickly recognise at the municipality [the value of] the seamless coordination of public agencies in problem solving,” he stated. “This is necessary because the problems confronting us are very complex, and the nature of complexity demands coordination. There is no one agency or public entity that can resolve those problems. I am really pleased at the approach of the ministry. I am very pleased that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has taken an aggressive approach to the issue of mosquito-borne diseases in our country.”

Medical officer of health for Kingston and St Andrew Dr Kimberly Myers, who received the vehicles on behalf of the regional health authorities, said: “Today’s activities represent a major boost in the capacity of public health departments across the country. Health departments have been at the forefront of the response towards the management of several agro-viral, or mosquito-borne disease outbreaks for many years. These include past dengue outbreaks, malaria eradication, and recently, chikungunya and Zika.”

She continued: “Health departments will be afforded improved routine operations within our communities, respond to complaints, and better served distinct gatherings and national events. I am confident that I speak for all the health departments about the feeling of upliftment and renewed energy that will prevail once the new vehicles are in full operation.”

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

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

Trending