Tag Archives: Jamaica

British PM to visit Jamaica

British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to visit Jamaica next week.

His imminent visit to the island was confirmed by a Government source a short while ago.

In May, Cameron won the first Conservative majority since 1992, and secured himself another term as Britain’s prime minister.

Cameron’s visit comes on the heels United States President Barack Obama’s visit to Jamaica.

In April this year, Obama met with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, members of her Cabinet as well as with CARICOM heads of state during his brief visit to the island.

JLP blames Ferguson, Gov’t for poverty in St Thomas Eastern

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has accused Dr Fenton Ferguson of poor representation, saying that that was among the reasons for the high rate of poverty in the St Thomas Eastern constituency.

Delano Seiveright, the JLP candidate/caretaker for the constituency, said that the conditions experienced on a ‘Poverty to Prosperity’ tour of the constituency with Opposition Leader Andrew Holness last week showed up a number of examples why St Thomas has become the poorest parish in Jamaica, as outlined in Planning Institute of Jamaica data.

“Collapsed roads, bridges and water systems, along with governmental neglect, widespread unemployment and high rates of poverty were among the long list of issues which were brought to the attention of the JLP leader as we toured sections of the constituency on Thursday and Friday,” Seiveright said in a statement.

He said that the Government and Dr Ferguson, the member of parliament for the constituency, “have failed the parish miserably”. He noted that poverty has more than doubled, from roughly 14 per cent in 2008 to 32.5 per cent or more today, according to the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC).

The JSLC report said that at 32.5 per cent St Thomas replaced St Mary as the poorest parish in 2012.

“To put things into perspective, it is the only parish without a stoplight, has the lowest value in real estate transactions, doesn’t have a parish clock, and is ridden by problems with basic infrastructure at every turn,” Seiveright said.

“There is hardly any worthwhile economic activity, so many young people are depressed and most are desperate to find a way out. Representation, frankly, for St Thomas Eastern cannot get any worse. Despite tremendous potential for development, it has been left to suffer,” he added, noting that the over 500 redundancies at Golden Grove sugar factory, announced recently, would not help the situation.

Seiveright said, however, that it is clear that the people are “keen on fresh ideas, fresh faces, and fresh leadership. They want a change”.

He said that over the two days of the tour, he and Holness shared aspects of a development plan framework for the constituency, which the JLP has been developing.

The tour began at the St Thomas Infirmary in Morant Bay on Thursday, where Holness, Seiveright and other officials met with staff and residents. They also met with representatives of the police and fire brigade, several members of the business sector, market vendors, and residents.

They visited Church Corner, Bamboo River, Lyssons, Prospect, Leith Hall, Port Morant, Airy Castle, Dalvey, Pear Tree River, Arcadia, and Duckenfield, ending with a meeting in Morant Bay on Friday night.

The tour was described by JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang as “highly successful and (had a) really unbelievable turnout”.

He said that this signalled that “the seat is now ready to return to its JLP roots”.

Injured would-be robber believed to be a cop

ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica – Reliable sources say police believe that a man who was shot by a security guard while allegedly attempting to rob a bank customer in Black River, St Elizabeth, is a policeman.

Police sources told OBSERVER ONLINE that the injured man is believed to be assigned to a police station in Clarendon.

He is now in hospital under police guard.

Reports are that about 12:20 pm Monday, a customer was approaching the entrance of the National Commercial Bank in Black River, with a large sum of money, when he was accosted by an armed man. A security guard at the bank intervened and the would-be robber was shot in the leg.

Police, on arrival on the scene, found a pistol which had allegedly fallen from the would-be robber’s hand as well as a .38 revolver stuck in his waistband.

2 babies trampled in rush at Passport Office.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Chaos broke out at the Passport Office at Constant Spring Road this morning as a crowd gathered at the organisation in their continued effort to process passports before the fee hike takes effect next Tuesday.

Reports are that the mad rush resulted in a stampede that left at least two children injured.

“Two babies were trampled this morning about 6:00 am as a large group of customers tried to enter through the gates of the institution,” said Dayon Grey, an alleged eyewitness.

Police and members of the Jamaica Defence Force are now on location trying to maintain order.

The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) on Sunday said that as of Tuesday, May 26, the cost of a regular adult passport will move from $4,500 to $6,500, while the passport for a minor will move from $2,700 to $4,000.

In addition, replacing lost passports for adults will cost $11,500 (up from $9,500) and $7,000 (up from $5,700) for minors.

Yesterday a strong police detachment was at the office to help control the large crowd that had gathered at the gates of the institution.

People at the PICA office made it clear that they were trying to get their documents before the new fees came into effect.

Passage of Ganja Bill doesn’t mean free-for-all

MINISTER of National Security Peter Bunting has warned that amendments to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, decriminalising the use of ganja, does not create a free-for-all in growing, transporting, dealing in, or exporting the drug.

“The security forces will continue to rigorously enforce Jamaican laws, consistent with our international treaty obligations,” Bunting told the House as it debated the Bill, Tuesday.

He said that the Bill has been drafted to ensure compliance with Jamaica’s international treaty obligations, and signals its strengthened resolve to combat organised crime by increasing the cost for offences involving transnational illegal trafficking in all forms of prohibited drugs.

He said that Jamaican law enforcement agencies have worked hard with its international partners to make significant inroads against narcotics trafficking and transnational crime organisations over the last 15 years, and there will be no relaxation in that regard.

He added that Jamaica recognises that monitoring, reporting and enforcement mechanisms must be implemented to safeguard against the licensed activity being used as pretext for illicit drug trade or to contribute to financing criminal enterprises.

He said that these reforms would be supported by a regulatory framework to be developed and included in the Bill’s regulations.

Responding, Opposition spokesman on health, Dr Kenneth Baugh, said that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is on record supporting the decriminalisation of small amounts of ganja and the removal of custodial sentences and records of a crime committed by using the drug.

He said that the JLP agreed and accepted that there is a potential industry in medicinal marijuana. However, he said that legalisation have raised unresolved issues in the party, including geo-politics, as international agreements and obligations have not changed.

“More public education is needed on the benefits and adverse effects of the recreational use of marijuana. There must be a legal framework for the expanded legal use of marijuana,” Dr Baugh suggested.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Delroy Chuck recalled that in 2011 the JLP did propose that there should be a scheduling of the amount of ganja for which persons could be charged and prosecuted in the Resident Magistrate’s Court.

“We did this because we recognised that there was a high level of injustice imposed on so many of our young poor, inner-city young men,” Chuck said.

However, he noted that, after the JLP Administration had done so, a number of foreign diplomats contacted him to express their concern.

“It took a great amount of explanation to say that we were not legalising, we were just ensuring that where a small amount is used, they don’t have to go to court, as they can just pay the fine like a road traffic offence,” he explained.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton said that while, the cannabis industry has been developing organically, every effort must now be made for it to achieve its full potential.

“This means adopting a strong commercial approach which, based on entrepreneurial practices that are market-driven, is broad-based and results in value-added products for both goods and service,” he explained.

But, Opposition MP Pearnel Charles felt that it was a “sad day” for Jamaicans to have the Bill passed in its current form.

“It is classified as a dangerous drug, and I believe it should not be (passed) after a few hours of discussion one evening in this Parliament,” he reasoned.

Charles suggested that the Bill should have been sent to a joint select committee, which would allow for public scrutiny of the provisions.

Government member from St Elizabeth North Eastern, Raymond Pryce, said that he did not agree with the need for Rastafarians to satisfy the minister of justice that they were members of that faith in order to get exemptions to use the drug as a sacrament, when other religions do not have to.

Pryce said that he is hoping that the stipulation be removed as soon as possible.

Another Government MP, Dr Dayton Campbell, questioned how would the medical and security experts determine what is a safe level for smoking ganja.

Campbell also suggested that some people were mistaking medical use for personal use.

“It must be crystal clear that we are not encouraging persons to just get up and go and smoke marijuana…but how do we work with them to ensure that we prevent them from going down that road?” he asked.

The Bill was passed without any amendment in the House of Representatives. However, there were five minor amendments when it was passed in the Senate on February 6.

Former J’can cop on Canada’s most wanted list

A former Jamaican policeman has been included on the list of eight most wanted suspects being sought by the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad.

The police believe that Peter Silvera who is wanted in Jamaica in connection with two deaths in 2004, fled to Canada, where he is in hiding.

The Squad says another fugitive, Gifton Cousins, is wanted for homicide in New York and has ties to Toronto and Jamaica.

The Toronto Police Fugitive Squad has eight investigators currently working on close to 1,000 active files from across Canada and around the world.

A spokesman said the squad normally does not publicise its targets, preferring the element of surprise.

However, the trails of the suspects on the list have gone cold and police are appealing to the public for information.

British Gov’t gives urgent attention to stranded man’s case

THE British High Commission in Jamaica has asked United Kingdom Immigration authorities to give urgent attention to the case of Lloyd Bogle, the 64-year-old Jamaican who has been living in England for more than 50 years and who, because of his immigration status, is now stranded here after a two-week visit.

“We are aware of the case. I was sorry to read about Mr Bogle’s situation today,” British High Commissioner David Fitton told the Jamaica Observer yesterday after seeing the newspaper’s front page story.

“I have asked colleagues in UK Visas and Immigration to review the case urgently. I cannot really comment any further on an individual case for reasons of privacy,” Fitton added.

Bogle, who left Jamaica in 1957 when he was seven years old, arrived in the island on September 29, 2014 on a two-week visit to see the land of his birth, given that he had not travelled since going to England.

However, when he got to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on October 13 last year to take a return flight to England, he was told by Immigration officials that they could not allow him to leave.

“I got the shock of my life when I was turned back and told by authorities that I would have to have a visa to leave the country,” Bogle told the Observer on Monday.

He admitted that he never applied for British citizenship during all his years in England and that he travelled to Jamaica on a Jamaican passport that he applied for and received shortly before his trip.

“Since I migrated at age seven I have never travelled and never had any intention to. It was after I retired I decided to take a trip to Jamaica to see what the country was like,” Bogle said.

“I knew no one in Jamaica; it was the first time I was travelling since I was seven,” said Bogle, who was close to tears.

He said that he was on the verge of sleeping in the streets, as he had nowhere to go. However, he contacted his mother in England and she gave him the number for a Jamaican woman who once lived in England and told him to contact her for help.

Bogle said it was through the kindness of this woman, who gave him a place to stay, that he has been able to survive.

He next made contact with the British High Commission in Kingston to apply for a visa and was given a list of documents he would need for the process.

Those documents were brought to Jamaica by his mother. However, his visa application was not approved.

Now stranded, running out of money, and with no family in Jamaica, Bogle is desperate, as he wants to return to his home in England.

The publication of his story on the Observer website went viral yesterday and several lawyers from Jamaica and in England contacted the newspaper to offer Bogle assistance.

“I was saddened to learn of the plight of Mr Bogle. I am a Jamaican barrister in the UK and I undertake immigration work, though it does not form the core part of my work,” said Linda Hudson. “I would be prepared to assist Mr Bogle.”

Another British lawyer, who declined to give his name, said: “I have read with interest your article in relation to Mr Bogle’s immigration status in Jamaica. I am an immigration solicitor who is very experienced in UK immigration law. I am willing to assist Mr Bogle with this matter.”

High Commissioner Fitton said he was aware that there are many long-term residents of the UK, including Jamaicans, who do not have British citizenship.

“If they leave and then return to the UK they are, of course, subject to immigration rules. Our advice would be they should check their documentation carefully before they leave the UK to make sure they can return,” Fitton said