News Briefs


Children’s safety takes spotlight for Labour Day

The nation will focus on projects related to children’s safety for Labour Day 2019.

The May 23 public holiday, usually geared towards encouraging citizens to undertake projects to uplift communities, will see special emphasis is being placed on instituting safeguards for children on the roads and at schools.

“It is timely, and I think we should also address … the safety of our children from predators. We cannot overlook [this] in our planning and discussions, [as to] how we will address it in a public way,” Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said as she addressed members of the National Labour Day Planning Committee, which she chairs. last Thursday.


Deadly weapons found in Hanover cemetery

The Hanover police seized four illegal firearms and several rounds of ammunition in a cemetery on Sunday as part of what is being described as heightened operations across the western parish over the Easter weekend.

The police said about 1:10 p.m., a team of officers carried out an operation at the Santoy Cemetery on Church Hill Road in Green Island.

They found an Intratec sub-machine gun, a Taurus pistol, a mini Taurus pistol and a Smith and Wesson pistol. Seventy-six 9mm rounds of ammunition were also seized.



Queen Elizabeth II turns 93

Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 93rd birthday, which this year coincides with Easter Sunday.

The Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms marked Easter by attending a service with other senior royals at St George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, west of London.

The Queen’s birthday is marked this year by an unusual sunny spell that has sent flowers blooming on the extensive castle grounds.

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen. She marks her official birthday in June with the Trooping the Color parade.

The two-birthday tradition dates back more than 250 years, when it was instituted by King George II.

Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She still maintains an active schedule, although she does not travel as often as she used to.

Her 97-year-old husband, Prince Philip, has retired from public duties and did not attend the service.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Azar over Tennis Jamaica controversy


Tennis Jamaica presidential candidate John Azar says there is no bad blood between him and executive members of the current administration.

Azar battled the association in a court case for presidency in 2015 after allegations of overvoting and unfair electoral practices. On the contrary, Azar says he is more than willing to work with anyone who is interesting in helping the sport.

On November 19, 2015, Azar took the then John Bailey-led administration to court after he received 40 of the 77 eligible votes for the presidency at the aborted annual general meeting (AGM) that year. But while Tennis Jamaica accepted that Azar received 40 votes to Bailey’s 43, at the AGM, the controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the votes led Azar’s supporters to file to the court to declare him the winner. However, this did not materialise and he decided not to contest the revote after a rerun was ordered.

But Azar insisted that the past is the past and that he is looking to lead Tennis Jamaica into a new era.

“There is absolutely no motivation as it relates to that (2015 court case),” he told The Gleaner. “The motivation in 2015 was because of my passion for the game that I love, and my concern for the sport and where it was going.

Motivation remains the same

“My motivation in 2019 remains the same. What happened in the past election has no bearing on me putting myself forward to serve.

“My motivation is a concern for where the sport is going and the feeling that it doesn’t need to be that that way.”

Last week, incumbent Aswad Morgan withdrew from the race, leaving Azar as the only presidential candidate for the April 30 election.

But Azar insists that he will be relying on the expertise and assistance of current administration members such as Morgan and general secretary Leroy Brown who can still provide invaluable contribution to the development of tennis locally.

“The issues surrounding tennis are numerous,” he said. “Communication with members is poor, the lack of events or tournaments being hosted by the association is another concern, and the association speaks about not having funds to grow the sport or sponsor our national teams, but I don’t see enough effort being made.

I want to grow the sport and bring back participation and change the trajectory I see the sport going over the last few years. I want to ensure that the association is fair, transparent and inclusive in all its actions.”

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

JAS to move off Gov’t books in two years

Photo by Christopher Thomas


Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson, has announced that in the next two years, the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will become a non-government agency and will have to finance its own operations.

“The JAS is over 125 years old with a membership of over 220 members, and it is now going to be transitioned from a public body to a non-government organisation within the next two years. That means that the JAS will have to be standing on their own two feet,” said Hutchinson said during his address at the Montpelier Agricultural Show held yesterday in Montpelier, St James.

“That means that the JAS will have to be making money themselves so that they can finance their operations. At present, the Government is paying the JAS roughly $100 million a year to assist in the running of their organisation, but in another two years, they will have to stand on their own,” the minister said, while outlining several policy shifts to be made in the agricultural sector.


Hutchinson also told the show’s patrons that more emphasis will be placed on farmers receiving input and assistance through organisational bodies instead of acting on their own.

“To grow agriculture in Jamaica, we have to change the culture. We now have to be team players, and we can no longer be the Lone Ranger. We’re finding that many times, inputs are given through RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority), but when it is channelled out, it goes to persons who say they want fertiliser and chicken and then turn around and sell it,” said Hutchinson.

“I am one who believes in giving all the inputs through organisations and not individuals. When you give it to the organisation, like the JAS, you know that the executives there know who the genuine farmers are, and they are able to give it to those genuine farmers who are in need of it at that particular time.”

Other areas of focus for agricultural development include the introduction of new crops such as strawberries and castor beans, and provision of $700 million in support to local farmers this year.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Please SHARE & LIKE our Facebook page

Chris Taylor could make Penn Relays

Gladstone Taylor

Calabar High School captain Christopher Taylor could be ready to run at the 125th Penn Relays, set for April 24-26 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, even if he is unavailable, Calabar hope to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Championship of America 4×100 metres.

Speaking in the Cayman Islands at the 48th Carifta Games, Calabar assistant coach Omar Hawes said, “As you know, Chris was having some discomfort during Champs (the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships). We pulled him. We’re still doing some medical work, and if he’s back to full competition mode, he’ll be at Penn.”

Taylor struggled to second place in the Class One boys’ 400m and did not take his place in the 200m final. The 2015 World Under-18 400m gold-medal winner was on duty for Calabar in 2017 when the ‘Green and Blacks’ set a Penn Relay and Jamaican high-school record of 39.00 seconds. He returned to help Calabar defend their title in 2018. According to Hawes, the team management is planning for all possibilities. “If not,” he considered, should Taylor be unavailable, “we’ll have to dig deep in the treasures we have at Calabar.”

Those treasures include the last two Boys and Girls’ Championships gold medallists, Michael Stephens and Oblique Seville, and former Class Two 100m champion DeJour Russell.

Seville added the Carifta Under-20 100m title to his growing list of credits on Saturday after speeding to a time of 10.13 seconds at Champs.

Russell, the 2017 World Under-18 110m hurdles champion, could be Calabar’s trump card.

“Looking back to full fitness since the last time I saw him before I left Jamaica was DeJour Russell,” Hawes said. “So we’re looking at just putting a team together, change up the baton passes, get some good understanding [of] which leg to run and all that,” he said.

Usually, Taylor, Stephens and Russell run the last three legs, but Hawes said there are going to be rearrangements.

Fierce competition

Competition in Philadelphia will be fierce as Jamaica College, Calabar and Kingston College (KC) have all won important local races this season. Jamaica College clocked 40.22 seconds to win at the Western Relays in early February but lost to a Calabar team with Taylor at the Gibson McCook Relays at the end of that month. Calabar was, however, disqualified for a baton-passing violation.

Wolmers’ Boys’ School inherited that win. At Champs, KC built on a fine start from in-form long jump and hurdles star Wayne Pinnock to beat Calabar 39.98 to 40.15 seconds.

Taylor did not run that race. Nevertheless, Hawes can see Calabar completing a hat-trick last accomplished by Wolmers’ Boys’ School in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“That’s the plan, but, as you know, you have to put the thing together on the day, so I think we have a team that can go out and perform well enough,” he said. “Hopefully, the stick gets around, and we should be good.”

Calabar did a Penn triple last year, with Taylor helping his school to a fast win in the 4x400m relay in 3:03.79 minutes. In the boys’ 4x800m, Calabar sped to a meet record of 7:26.09 minutes.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

JET keeps talk going to save Cockpit Country

Previous Pause Next
The splendour of Dornhead River in Trelawny is just one of natural treasures of the Cockpit Country that the Jamaica Environment Trust wants preserved for the benefit of future Jamaicans.

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has ramped up its public-awareness drive on the Save the Cockpit Country campaign with the release of a new set of public service announcements ahead of Earth Day, which was observed across the world yesterday.

Released via social media last Thursday, the latest series is hosted by 10-year-old Amirah Dixon, a student environmental leader from Marjam Prep, St Ann, and who has been participating in JET’s school’s environment programme since 2014. Episode 1 features Amirah exploring the rugged Cockpit Country terrain on foot, narrating environmental snippets about its critical role in Jamaica’s biodiversity.

“Cockpit Country is water! Cockpit Country is people! Cockpit Country is Jamaica’s heartland!” exclaims the young narrator.

In Episode 2, Amirah explains that ground-truthing confirms which features along the boundary should be included in the Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA), and made the point that if any big changes are made to the protected area boundary, Jamaicans should be told why.

“Every Jamaican should be following the process to protect the Cockpit Country – so much is at stake,” Amirah appeals. “Until ground-truthing is complete, the Cockpit Country cannot be protected under Jamaican law.”

“The second PSA outlines the role of ground-truthing in the process towards the declaration of the Cockpit Country Protected Area under law,” Suzanne Stanley, CEO of JET, explains in a press release. “Each episode has a different theme. The first episode highlights the important water resources, biodiversity, forests and communities Cockpit Country supports.”

On November 21, 2017, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the designated CCPA boundary in Parliament and said the area would comprise of approximately 74,726 hectares, including forest reserves, significant hydrological and ecological features and cultural and heritage sites. The Forestry Department has been tasked with ground-truthing the CCPA boundary, which is expected to be completed early next year.


Through its Advancing the Protection of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country project, which began in May 2018, JET has been advocating for an expedited ground-truthing of the CCPA boundary and the involvement of civil society and local communities in management planning for the protected area.

“The aim is to keep the conversation about the protection of the Cockpit Country going,” Stanley explained. “The final episode will be released in May and will feature testimonials from Cockpit Country residents who live in communities where bauxite mining is taking place just outside the designated protected area.”

Since 2018, JET and Cockpit Country communities have been advocating that a buffer zone should be established around the CCPA to ensure that important groundwater reserves in and around Cockpit Country remain intact. They assert that activities which will damage the natural environment, important cultural and historical sites, and local livelihoods should not be allowed within this buffer zone, including quarrying, mining and prospecting.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Chelsea move into top four

Kirsty Wigglesworth
Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek (centre) fails to score during their English Premier League match against Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London, England, yesterday.


Chelsea moved into the English Premier League’s (EPL)top four yesterday with a frustrating 2-2 draw with Burnley.

Goals two minutes apart from N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea on top at Stamford Bridge after Jeff Hendrick had given Burnley an early lead.

But Ashley Barnes pulled the visitors even in the 24th minute and Chelsea was unable to get the winner despite dominating possession and finishing with 22 shots.

Chelsea moves into the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot one point above Arsenal and three ahead of Manchester United but have played one game more.

Burnley, meanwhile, all but guaranteed their EPL status for another season.

The Clarets are nine points above Cardiff in the final relegation place with three games left and have a far superior goal difference.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Shaw urges farmers to ramp up pumpkin production


Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw is urging farmers to grow more pumpkins as he has found a market for the produce.

Addressing the 2019 staging of the St Mary Agri-Expo at Gray’s Inn Sports Complex in Annotto Bay yesterday, Shaw told farmers: “All the pumpkin you can produce, you produce it. You hear me? I have an exporter in Manchester. I got a call from up in Clarendon – ‘Mr Shaw, we cyaa sell wi pumpkin’ – within one week, all the pumpkin dem have di man tek it off an’ ask mi if that’s all him can get. Him get ‘bout three trailer load a pumpkin. He has told me that he has a market overseas for 12 containers of pumpkin per month in Jamaica. Unnuh plant unnuh pumpkin! Plant yuh pumpkin. I have the market for it.”

Shaw said the plan was to sell as much fresh pumpkin locally and overseas, then process the remainder.

“What you don’t sell fresh in terms of fresh pumpkin for local and the export market, you process it into pumpkin purée. Sweet potato, you cut up sweet potato squares and you put them in a can, them have a two-year shelf life; pumpkin purée, two-year shelf life.”

The minister also named five markets that he is aiming to develop that will enable farmers to sell their produce more readily – hotels, which he said would have to be targeted in a more systematic way; CARICOM; the Jamaican diaspora in the United States, Canada and England; the exotic market; and a school-feeding programme, which he has promised to speak on in Parliament today.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Wignall mentoring new hurdles generation


Twenty-four years ago, Maurice Wignall was one of the stars of the 24th Carifta Games in Grand Cayman. Now, the dean of Jamaican sprint hurdlers is back in Cayman as part of the coaching staff to the 2019 Carifta team. Wignall is using his experience to counsel his charges at the 48th staging of the regional junior track and field championships.

“It’s actually nice because I’m coaching the things I came here to compete at,” he said at a Jamaica team training session. “I’m comfortable with it, the kids like it, I’m facilitating. What else could I ask for?”

In 1995, Wignall was hampered by a headwind in his Under-20 110m hurdles victory but boosted by a strong tailwind when he won the long jump.

He has fond memories of 1995. In addition to his Jamaican teammates, he noted, “You have Cydonie Mothersill from Cayman, who was running at the time Debbie Ferguson, who was running at the time, so it was a big family, and those persons went on to become elite athletes like myself.” Mothersill and Ferguson, who, like Wignall, became Commonwealth champions, were both present at the games this week.

“You get a little bit nostalgic when you come to places like this after, what is it, 24 years ago or something like that,” he conceded.

He is using his Cayman experience to counsel Broadbell, Vascianna and those others under his care at Carifta.

“My advice to anybody, and them, in particular, is just to relax, enjoy the atmosphere, go out there, execute whatever has been taught and just lay it on the line, but, at the bottom line, just enjoy everything,” he said. “I didn’t want them to come here and pressure themselves. We’ve done all the work we needed to do, just go out there and execute and enjoy the little escape from Jamaica,” he said.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Buju raid to shake up T&T police unit

Buju Banton

The Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is to be overhauled after a search of the hotel room of reggae artiste Buju Banton (real name Mark Myrie), who was in the twin-island republic for a show, left members of the police force with egg on their faces.

The Trinidad Guardian reports that Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said the decision by the OCIU to search Banton’s hotel room on Saturday could have started a feud between Kingston and Port-of-Spain.

Griffith announced the revamping of the unit in the wake of the incident, saying while he had been contemplating it before, the embarrassment of the Banton raid made it an absolute necessity.

“This situation that took place recently with the search warrant with Buju Banton, I think again, based on intelligence, what you need to do is make sure there is proper surveillance. Someone obviously dropped the ball. It could have caused a major rift between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica,” Griffith said.

“Strange enough, that is not the focus of the commissioner of police, but I saw it fit to meet Mr Buju Banton personally to look at the situation, and I think the situation was resolved.”

The search caused quite a stir on social media and Banton’s Instagram video about it had been viewed more than 300,000 times up to just after noon yesterday.

Griffith did not go into details about the impending OCIU changes, but promised to reveal all at a press conference on Wednesday.

His statements came hours after Banton’s room at the Hilton Trinidad was searched by several police officers on Saturday night. Shortly after the search, which turned up nothing illegal, Griffith met with Myrie and apologised for the search.

Griffith also sent out a press release after the meeting with Banton, in which he accepted the “embarrassment, anxiety and inconvenience” the search had caused to Banton and his team.


He indicated in an interview with the Guardian, that he has not yet determined whether the intelligence that the warrant was based on was accurate.

“It’s almost completed, but I am not going to reveal the details yet. By Tuesday or Wednesday, I am going to be holding a press conference to announce the details because it is not just this incident.

“I realised there have been several irregularities and ball-dropping by intelligence agencies in the police service and this here could very well be the last straw,” Griffith was quoted as saying.

Griffith declined to say how many officers would be affected by the pending changes, but said that no action would be taken against any officer involved in the Banton search before the investigation has been completed.

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister Stuart Young also issued a statement, saying that he has noted the assurances given by Griffith and that the police service will do all that it can to ensure that the remainder of Buju’s visit is peaceful and incident free.

[email protected]

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

No World Cup spot is guaranteed – Anderson

Rudolph Brown

National senior netball team head coach Marvette Anderson says none of the country’s overseas-based players are guaranteed a spot on Jamaica’s team to this year’s International Netball Federation World Cup tournament, which will be held in Liverpool, England, from July 12-21.

Anderson said the local players are highly skilled, and therefore, any of them can be selected for the trip to England.

“These local-based players are here not due to the fact that they couldn’t have been overseas, but they are here for different reasons. Persons have school and persons have other commitments,” Anderson said.

“Any one of these players could ply their trade overseas, so they are okay with matching up with what is happening on the international scene. Being overseas doesn’t guarantee you a spot on the team, but it is a plus for you, with the fact that you are playing overseas competitively with the best in the world.”

Shanice Beckford, Khadijah Williams, Nicole Dixon, Vangelee Williams and Adean Thomas are among the local players who are in the island training.

Shooters Jhaniele Fowler, Romelda Aiken and defenders Malysha Kelly, Shamera Sterling and Kadie-Ann Dehaney are the overseas Sunshine Girls players.

Anderson said the Girls have been working very hard to improve on their fitness in training.

“Our fitness is of utmost importance because that is where the game is going to be won, so that is our main focus at the moment, our fitness, as well as some tactical manoeuvre of the game,” she said. “Everybody is working on what needs to be worked on, regardless of the fact that some of us are here and some are overseas.

“It is very important when you play a game as fast as netball; your fitness levels have to be right up there.”

The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked third in the world behind Australia and New Zealand, finished fourth at the last Netball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, in 2015.

But Anderson said once the girls do the right things on the day, they should be on the podium in England.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here