Drug mule error – Court awards farmer $3.5m after he was forced to ingest laxative

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A Clarendon farmer who was forced to ingest a laxative by a policewoman who accused him of being a drug mule has won a $3.5-million award against the State.

The award, plus interest, was handed down last month after a High Court judge found that John Planter was humiliated and belittled and his constitutional rights breached. He had been taken from a line of arriving passengers at the Norman Manley International Airport in January 2012 and held in custody for some 26 hours because police personnel thought he was a “cocaine mule”.

“The claimant’s constitutional rights in this case were breached. By way of example, without necessarily identifying an exhaustive list … the administration of a laxative to him and forcing him to defecate in a bedpan in full view of a female police officer is in breach of the Section 13 (3) right to protection from torture or inhumane or degrading punishment,” High Court judge Kissock Laing wrote in his ruling.

Planter has been awarded $1.8 million for assault and battery; $1.2 million for aggravated damages, $500,000 for false imprisonment, and $50,000 for special damages.

The $3.5-million award will attract interest of three per cent annually from September 2012.

Court records show that the Attorney General’s Department failed to respond to the suit in the time allowed by law and was refused an extension to enter a defence.

Planter claims his ordeal started when he returned to Jamaica on a flight from Guyana on January 24, 2012, and the policewoman approached him and enquired about the purpose of his trip.

Apparently not satisfied with his answer that he had gone on vacation and was shopping around for a water pump for his farm, Planter said in court documents that he was removed from the line, with his suitcase, and taken to a room where the bag was searched.

According to him, he was searched twice and his bag was passed through a scanner before he was advised that he was suspected of transporting drugs in his stomach.

The Clarendon resident claims he was handcuffed, then placed in a police car and taken to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) where an X-ray of his body was conducted.

When the result of the X-ray came back, according to the court documents, Planter indicated that he heard a female say “she saw something inside of my belly”. He was uncertain if it was the policewoman or the doctor who did the X-ray.

As result, Planter claims he was directed to drink “a liquid” given to him and initially refused, but complied when he was told he would not be released if he did not drink it.

“After consuming the liquid, the claimant was told to pass his stool in a bedpan, which he did under the watchful eyes of the female police officer,” Laing wrote, in summing up Planter’s claim.

nothing found

The Clarendon man said nothing unusual was found in the stool, yet he was asked to ingest “a liquid” six more times.

In the end, he said no illegal drugs were discovered and he was subjected to a second X-ray, which the doctor indicated was “clean”.

Planter said he was discharged from the hospital at 8:30 a.m. the following day and transported to the Police Narcotics Division before he was freed shortly after two o’clock.

The Clarendon farmer indicated that his ordeal left him feeling “embarrassed and belittled” and that he later cried because he felt “helpless as if he was not a human being”.

Laing had strong words for the conduct of the police in the case, declaring that they did not have reasonable cause to believe that Planter had committed an offence.

“He ought not to have been deprived of his liberty at the airport and ought not to have been taken to the KPH. The decision to transport the claimant to the KPH made matters worse because of what transpired there,” Laing found.

“I also find that the amount of damages which is awarded to the claimant, including aggravated damages, is adequate to punish the Crown for the conduct of its agents, to mark the court’s disapproval of such conduct and to deter the Crown and its agents from repeating it,” he continued.

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Peter Blake cleared by PNP Integrity Commission

Norman Grindley
Blake: I am Neil Peter Blake, I am none of those persons (involved in criminal activity) and from now on that is how I want to be referred to.

Having defeated Damion Crawford in the run-off to be the People’s National Party (PNP) candidate for East Rural St Andrew, Peter Blake has cleared another hurdle of the selection process.

Blake told The Gleaner yesterday said that he has been cleared by the Integrity Commission of the PNP.

“I got a response from the general secretary and he has indicated that I have been cleared in regards to my integrity, my honesty, and my character,” he said.

Blake’s comments come days after PNP General Secretary Paul Burke indicated that the party had not yet decided on a candidate. Up to press time yesterday, the leadership of the constituency was meeting to decide whether Blake would be the standard-bearer.

While speaking with The Gleaner, Blake went on to address rumours about his character, which many believe may affect his chances for victory in the East Rural St Andrew seat.

“One of the rumours that have been going around for a few years is that I am this drug kingpin; another rumour is that I have been involved in dismembering persons abroad … and that I have been in prison … ,” he scoffed.

Blake, dismissing the rumours, said he was being confused with another Peter Blake, who was reportedly arrested for involvement in the lottery scam.

“I am Neil Peter Blake. I am none of those persons (involved in criminal activity), and from now on, that is how I want to be referred to,” he declared.

Stressing that he would not assume that he would be confirmed as the candidate, Blake said, “We are to have a meeting with the constituency leadership, and clearly that is the way forward.”

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'Voters are not slaves' – Political newcomer pledges to educate the people

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Jermaine Barnaby
Alando Terrelonge addresses Labourites.
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Mike Henry (right) and Pearnel Charles take the stage during the meeting in May Pen, Clarendon, yesterday.
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Jamaica Labour Party supporters at a meeting in May Pen, Clarendon, last night.
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Political newcomer Alando Terrelonge believes there are many politicians who prefer to keep “some people” in a subservient state “so they remain dependent on them”.

“In doing that, they can control the people and I think it’s time people recognise that the days of buying votes are done,” Terrelonge declared last night.

Terrelonge, the Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for St Catherine East Central, was speaking with The Gleaner as thousands of party supporters flocked to May Pen Square for a public meeting.

“People are not slaves, they are not cows, they are not goats … . Politicians now need to educate the people and we need to give them good educational options,” the dreadlocked attorney insisted.

He said in trying to change this culture, Jamaicans must first have “a seat at the table”.

“A lot of Jamaicans talk the verandah politics and they don’t want to throw their hats in the ring. It makes no sense we sit on our verandah and criticise government,” Terrelonge said.

Despite this, the political neophyte said his experience so far has been exciting and different and indicated that he expected to be victorious in the impending general election.

“We have an excellent chance of winning because the people realise that with Team Terrelonge they are getting something different,” he said.

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It needs fixing! – Engineers, construction industry players want next gov't to intensify maintenance of Ja's infrastructure

Stewart

Several engineers and construction industry players decrying the poor state of Jamaica’s infrastructure have given a charge to whichever party forms the next government to ensure proper maintenance in order to avoid the expense of replacement.

Dr Noel Brown, head of the School of Engineering at the University of Technology (UTech), argued that it is cheaper to maintain and repair than to replace.

He pointed out that Jamaica’s infrastructure was well designed, but that poor maintenance has led to the poor conditions that persist currently.

“Apart from Highway 2000, our infrastructure is crumbling around us. The reason for this is the lack of understanding that engineered structures must be maintained if they are to perform their functions … . Take our gullies as examples. The major ones were built more than 40 years ago. Have you ever seen anyone or company performing maintenance on them? They are man-made, so if not properly maintained, they will fail,” he told The Gleaner.

Carvel Stewart, president of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica (IMAJ), wants the next government to continue road improvements and new construction. He has called for concrete and soil-stabilised roads to be constructed.

 

water, housing issues

 

Stewart also wants more wells to be activated to deal with water shortages and all possible alternative sources of energy to be explored.

Dr David Smith, turning attention to the issue of housing, called for innovative low-cost housing solutions.

Dean Burrowes, of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors, said, “Future infrastructure projects must be implemented with long-term economic returns in mind, cognisant that all infrastructure is integrated and does not stand alone. Projects must be environmentally sustainable and must result in greater efficiencies.”

Dr Kavian Cooke, director of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UTech, pointed to the need for the next government to develop a national infrastructure plan and accompanying standards that support Vision 2030.

This sentiment was echoed by Brown, who said: “Without proper infrastructure, we cannot realise Jamaica’s 2030 Vision. Therefore, the Government of Jamaica should work with organisations such as the UTech, the Jamaica Institution of Engineers, The Construction Industry Council, IMAJ, Jamaica Institute of Planners, Jamaica Institute of Architects, to name a few, to rescue our failing, crumbling infrastructure.”

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'Labourites politicising deaths of babies' – PNP Women's Movement VP claims JLP destroyed health sector

Ian Allen
People's National Party supporters celebrate during a mass rally in Annotto Bay, St Mary, last night.

The governing People’s National Party (PNP) last night signalled that it does not plan to surrender to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) despite the current Senate controversy and the scandal surrounding the deaths of 19 babies resulting from bacterial infections at local hospitals.

Second-tier PNP stalwarts took the fight to the JLP last night, even as the party kept its embattled members out of the firing line during a mass rally in Annotto Bay, St Mary.

With Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson out of sight, although the Eastern St Thomas seat that he represents is part of Region Two which hosted last night’s rally, the PNP Women’s Movement came to his defence.

“The JLP did nothing to aid the health sector,” charged Vivenne Douglas Lee, vice-president of the movement, who said she was speaking to, and on behalf of, women.

“They mash up health and now politicising the deaths of babies.”

Government Senator Lambert Brown also came out swinging as he tackled his opposition counterparts in the upper chamber of Gordon House.

“It took a man that can’t see (Senate President Floyd Morris) to show the Labourites that a bathroom is different from the lunchroom,” quipped Brown.

On Friday, Brown called for opposition senators to apologise to the staff of Gordon House for misrepresentations surrounding the suspension of Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte after she failed to furnish a letter to Morris.

Malahoo Forte’s suspension triggered a boycott by the opposition senators that has stalled the debate on three bills designed to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice as Jamaica’s final appellate body.

Only two days after the Opposition continued its boycott of the Senate, Brown refused to let up.

He charged that the JLP cannot be trusted, given the “lies” in which its members have been caught.

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Grading Jamaica's infrastructure

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The state of a country’s infrastructure can serve as a telling tale of the ability of its leaders to govern effectively. Urban sociologists have argued that for a governing administration to survive politically, it must pay close attention to the state of infrastructure, particularly in urban areas. With that in mind, and an election that appears imminent, The Gleaner reached out to several engineers and construction industry players to rate and give their views on Jamaica’s infrastructure.

Jamaica Infrastructure Scorecard

Physical infrastructure Rating

Roads E

Sewage and waste disposal F

Water supply F

Electrical grid C

Telecommunications A

SWOT analysis of Jamaica’s infrastructure

Dr Kavian Cooke, director, Mechanical Engineering Department, UTech School of Engineering

Strengths: Jamaica possesses the knowledge and human capital required to develop a first-class physical infrastructure.

BOur leaders lack the political will to do what is required to take this country forward.

Opportunities: Develop a national infrastructure standard.

Threats: Lack of proper develop-ment and maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure will become very expensive for the Government of Jamaica. Given the poor economic state of Jamaica, finding long-term solutions and establishing a proper maintenance plan is critical.

Dean Burrowes, president,

Jamaica Institute of Quantity Surveyors

Strengths: All basic infra-structure facilities are already in place.

Weakness: Lack of proper maintenance schedules and a failure to build on what is in place.

Opportunities: Current regional trends indicate excellent returns on infrastructure investment.

Threats: Failure to keep pace with international norms will see Jamaica slipping in competitiveness and efficiency.

Dr David Smith, managing director,

Smith Warner International

Strengths: Much of our housing and commercial infrastructure has been constructed using concrete blocks and steel reinforcement, and designed to withstand both hurricane wind and seismic forces.

Weakness: A significant percentage of housing in inner city and deep rural communities is extremely vulnerable to natural hazards and both lives and livelihoods would be at risk in the event of a major natural hazard event.

Opportunities: As new technologies become available to us, we have the opportunity to improve on road-construction techniques, incorporate climate-change predictions into designs for drainage and water storage, and perhaps implement new hazard-resistant, low-cost housing.

Threats: Among the many threats that we face, two primary ones deserve mention. The first is poverty and its impact on the lives and housing stock in many inner-city communities, and the second is climate change and its impact on rainfall patterns, drought occurrence and sea-level rise.

Dr Noel Brown, immediate past president,

Jamaica Institution of Engineers, and head, School of Engineering, UTech

Strengths: Our infrastructure was well designed and built in the first place. It is well distributed over the country.

Weakness: Maintenance is lacking, and as such, the infrastructure has started to fail.

Opportunities: We still have a cadre of experienced engineers, in addition to graduates from both universities, who are able to design maintenance plans and carry-out the maintenance. This would provide employment for our local engineers and encourage them to stay in Jamaica.

Threats: The infrastructure is cheaper to maintain than to rebuild. Therefore, the threat is that if we don’t maintain our infrastructure, it will cost us more to replace them. The lack of maintenance has resulted in loss of employment for our graduates and has resulted in a serious brain drain in engineering.

Clayton Donaldson the new member in Reggae Boys squad

Clayton Donaldson the new member in Reggae Boys squad

by Dwight Fraser

A strong 20 man squad including new invitee Clayton Donaldson who plys his trade with English championship club Birmingham city has been has been named by the JFF for the upcoming Concacaf world cup semi-final round qualifier against Panama at the National Stadium on November 13.

Call him the new ‘kid on the block’, but Donaldson is no stranger to the game, as he plays as a striker for Birmingham from Brentford last year and has so far scored 19 goals in 60 appearances for the club including a hat trick against Bristol City on September 12.

Montego Bay United’s Allan Ottey is the lone local based player named in the squad.

The squad also sees the return of influential midfielder’s Jobi Mcanuff and Gareth McLeary along with Leicester city defender Wes Morgan.

Captain Rudolph Austin also makes a return to the squad.

The remainder of the squad includes Darren Mattocks, Giles Barnes, Simon Dawkins, Deshorn Brown, Lee Williamson, Jevgaughn Watson, Demar Philips, Adrian Marriappa, Michael Hector, Alvas Powell, Kemar Lawrence, Shawn Cummings, Andre Blake, Dwayne Kerr and Ryan Thompson.

The squad will be increased to 23 later this week.

The overseas based Reggae Boyz begin arriving on November 9th and the Panama squad on November 11th.

 

Police recover gun , believed to be linked to teenager’s death

Police recover gun , believed to be linked to teenager’s death

by Natalie Campbell

Police believe they may have found the gun used in the killing of a teenager on Friday.

Dead is 16-year-old Shadae Allen.

According to the Police communications arm, CCU, Allen was reportedly shot in the abdomen while playing with a firearm with another student about 11:00 a.m. On Friday .

The shooting occurred in Rose Town, Kingston 12.

A report from the CCU,  says the firearm  a point 3-8 Smith and Wesson revolver with the serial number erased, was seized during an operation on Bethune avenue in the community about 8:30 pm Friday.

Detectives from the Denham Town  Police suspect that the weapon may be the one that was used in the killing of the 16 year old  and are continuing to follow several leads.

Meanwhile … Another firearm and several rounds of ammunition were seized under the police’s Get the Guns campaign on Maxfield Avenue, Kingston 10 yesterday.

Reports from the half Way Tree police are that about 2:20 p.m., a raid was conducted in the area when one Springfield 9mm pistol and four live rounds were seized. One man was taken into custody in connection with the seizure.

Members of the public are being reminded to call crime stop at 311 or 811, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station to report illegal weapons, wanted persons or suspicious individuals in their communities.

Citizens may also submit tips and information using the stay alert app from google play store.

 

Opposition wants details on contracting process for new passports

Opposition wants details on contracting process for new passports

by Natalie Campbell

The opposition wants the government to provide details about the contracting process for the procurement of 750 thousand blank passports and the specifications of the documents.

The call from spokesman on national security derrick smith follows an announcement last week that cabinet has approved a contract for 3 point 7 million u-s dollars for the acquisition of the passports from the Canadian bank note company limited.

The government says the order is expected to satisfy the local and overseas demand for Jamaican passports for the next 3 and a half to 4 years.

Mr. Smith says the government must assure taxpayers that the investment it is seeking to make is one that is worthwhile.

According to him, there is need for a clear indication as to whether this awarded contract was subjected to the open tender process, and whether the passports being procured meet the criteria for modern passports in terms of compatibility with the technology and direction other countries are moving in.

He states that this would have implications for the smooth and seamless flow of holders of these passports through immigration and customs around the world.

The opposition spokesman says the government needs to be forthcoming with answers regarding details of the procurement, as the matter has far-reaching implications for Jamaican passport holders and is of interest to the general public.

Mr. Smith states that  failure to do so, will see the opposition asking pertinent questions in parliament and inviting the Contractor General to take active interest in the matter.

Brendan Rodgers says it is ‘crazy’ to believe that Liverpool’s win over Chelsea can guarantee EPL title

Brendan Rodgers says it is ‘crazy’ to believe that Liverpool’s win over Chelsea can guarantee EPL title

by Dwight Fraser

Liverpool’s Manager Jurgen Klopp said that it was “crazy” to Talk of Liverpool challenging for this season’s Premier League.

Klopp wjho replaced Brendan Rodgers earlier this month recorded his first league win since taking over at Anfield when his side beat defending champions Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The result pushed Liverpool into seventh place in the English Premiership table.

Asked about his team’s title aspirations Kloppe said “Are you crazy? You think after one win at Chelsea we should think about this?”

“I’ve been here three weeks, we don’t think about this. We have to think about the next game, about improving our game”.

Liverpool’s win – their first in four league outings – came after they had fallen behind to a strike from Ramires in the fourth minute.

Philippe Coutinho equalized on the stroke of half-time, before adding a second after the break with Christian Benteke sealing the win on 83 minutes.