JAMAICAN NEWS: March 7th – March 13th, 2015

U.S. AMBASSADOR WANTS REDUCED TRADE BARRIERS—03/07/15
The United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis G. Moreno, is calling on the island’s government to reduce barriers to trade. According to Moreno, Jamaican should reduce both tariff and non-tariff barriers for products coming from the U.S. Lowering trade barriers is necessary to enable business success, said Moreno.

OPPOSITION SPOKESPERSON CALLS FOR FOCUS ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS—03/08/15
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaican Opposition spokesperson, said the United Nations is urging nations to focus on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a document signed by nearly 200 governments twenty years ago. The document establishes an agenda for the realization of women’s rights, and Grange noted that many “serious gaps” remain to be filled before the goals of the agreement are fulfilled. Grange also expressed her concern over the recent murders of women and girls in Jamaica, crimes that signal a “severe misogyny” in Jamaican society.

JAMAICAN POLICE PROVIDE ADVICE TO ST.LUCIA ON KILLINGS—03/09/15
Investigators from Jamaica’s police force are providing advice to authorities in St. Lucia concerning allegations of extrajudicial killings by individuals on the Royal St. Lucia Police Force. Dr. Kenny Anthony, St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, stated that the investigations had found that police staged fake encounters in order to make their activities appear legitimate. The Jamaican investigators have called for all members of the police force who are involved with the killings of St. Lucia’s citizens face prosecution.

JAMAICA FIRST IN CARIBBEAN TO APPOINT NATIONAL TRAFFICKING MONITOR—03/10/15
Jamaica is the first nation in the Caribbean region to appoint a national monitor to provide oversight of human trafficking. Diahann Gordon Harrison, children’s advocate, has been named to the new position, according to the Ministry of National Security. Her job will be to enhance anti-trafficking programs and to create a more objective system of reporting on the issue.

ROBINSON PLEADS GUILTY TO PUBLIC MISCHIEF CHARGE—03/11/15
Maxie Robinson, the man who filed a fraudulent police report concerning the existence of a plot to kill Andres Holness, leader of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), and Dr. Horace Change, General Secretary, pleaded guilty to a charge of public mischief. Robinson admitted his activity in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court before RM Judith Pusey. Sentencing in the case will be held on March 31, 2015, and Robinson was remanded until that date.

CONTRACT AWARD TO FOREIGN WORKERS TO BE REVIEWED—03/12/15
Dirk Harrison, Jamaica’s Contractor General, plans to have his office undertake a review of contracts and work permits provided to foreign workers. The goal of the review is to ensure that Jamaican workers are receiving their just due and that their rights are not being contravened. Harrison’s action follows activity by construction workers at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Hotel site in St. Ann concerning alleged special treatment for foreign workers and contractors, as well as non-payment of salary to Jamaican workers by subcontractors.

KINGSTON INUNDATED BY SMOKE FROM FIRE IN TRASH DUMP—03/13/15
The Jamaican capital city of Kingston was covered with thick smoke as the result of a fire burning at a large open-air trash dump. The Riverton City Dump has been the site of repeated fires and other problems, despite continuing calls for more oversight of the location. Currently, there is essentially no control over what can be dumped at Riverton City, and neighboring residents have frequently cited their concerns about air quality and other safety issues linked to the dump.

JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT GETS EQUIPMENT TO SCREEN FOR SICKLE CELL—03/13/15
A High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machine has been acquired by the Jamaican government. The machine is designed to help reduce the number of deaths related to sickle cell anemia. The University of the West Indies’ Tropical Medical Research Institute received the piece of equipment from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for use at the institution’s Sickle Cell Unit. The machine was obtained through a US$200,000 partnership between Brazil and Jamaica, and it is already in use at the medical facility.