Latest Jamaican News

Gov’t Committed to Protecting Workers’ Rights – Minister Grange

The Government is committed to protecting the rights of workers including ensuring that they have proper salaries, improved working conditions and increased benefits.

This was stated by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, while addressing the 2023 National Workers’ Week and Labour Day Thanksgiving Service at the Church of the Open Bible, Washington Boulevard, St. Andrew on May 21.

She said that significant progress has been made through the workforce, in both the public and private sectors, to secure peace, social equity, economic independence, prosperity and personal fulfillment for all Jamaicans.

“Today, once again, we pay tribute to our workers who continue to display resilience and determination throughout the year and those whose daily sacrifices contributed significantly to the economic stability in our communities and in our beloved country,” Minister Grange said.

She urged Jamaicans to participate in the range of activities that have been planned for Labour Day on Tuesday, May 23.

For his part, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, urged Jamaicans to use their talents and creativity to the fullest and for the betterment of the nation.

In his message delivered by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Colette Roberts Risden, he appealed to all employers, employees, and decision-makers to redouble efforts to promote an innovative, inclusive and prosperous future.

“Let us embrace technology’s ability to revolutionise society and use it to our collective advantage. We must ensure that our workforce is competitive, flexible and ready for the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead by supporting lifelong learning, encouraging creativity and adjusting to the world’s changing environment,” he said.

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said workers have been a driving force in Jamaica’s progress and must be recognised for their dedication, hard work and sacrifice.

“The tireless efforts of our workers have been instrumental in shaping the economic, social and cultural landscape of our nation,” the Governor-General said in his message delivered by Custos of St. Andrew, Ian Forbes.

Other persons at the service included Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Hon. Matthew Samuda, who represented Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Horace Dalley, representing Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding; President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), Helen Davis-Whyte; Commissioner, Jamaica Fire Brigade, Stewart Beckford; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Graceann Stewart McFarlane; Commissioner, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Orville Hill; parliamentarians, heads of organisations and members of the diplomatic corps.

The sermon was delivered by Pastor, Whitfield Town Church of God, Rev. Dr. Dave Gosse.

The theme for Labour Day is ‘Plant a tree for life – Promoting Climate Change Mitigation, Food Security and Road Safety.’

Activities will commence with the laying of floral tributes in a civic ceremony at the Shrine of the Right Excellent Sam Sharpe at National Heroes Park, Kingston. A similar ceremony will take place at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St. James.

The National Labour Day Project will be a tree planting exercise along Highway 2000 in the vicinity of Hartlands and Old Harbour Road, St. Catherine. The Government is targeting the planting of 10,000 trees on the day.

The exercise will be led by Prime Minister Holness, who will be joined by Cabinet Ministers, Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding as well as groups from corporate Jamaica, civil society, schools and others.

Parish projects will also be led by the mayors across the island, and the Road Safety Council will lead the painting of 222 pedestrian crossings close to schools.

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Sandals Dunn’s River A Tribute to Butch Stewart – PM

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Sandals Dunn’s River property in St. Ann is a fitting tribute to the late former chairman and founder of Sandals, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, whom he hailed  as a dreamer and doer.

Mr. Holness, who was  delivering the main address at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the 260-room hotel in Mammee Bay on May 19, said he was impressed by the property, which is inspired by the cascading Dunn’s River Falls.

It blends nature with luxury, offering a  modern design against a tranquil rainforest backdrop. It features five pools,  two lengthy river pools and unlimited fine dining at 12 restaurants.

Prime Minister Holness recalled that when Mr. Stewart was making his final decisions regarding buying the property “he gave me a call…and started to lay out his dream for the property…and it was quite extensive.”

“It is such an impressive thing to see a dream come to reality…and if there is one thing you could say about Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart is that he was a dreamer. He was also a doer that will bring that dream to fruition…a man who will always [get the job] done. We are standing here literally living in ‘Butch’ Stewart’s dream,” he said.

Mr. Holness commended Adam Stewart, noting that he has been making all the right moves in preserving his father’s legacy.

“Adam, by virtue of his DNA, is also a dreamer and one who has not only been continuing and preserving his father’s legacy but is also a doer who acts on his dreams. Like his father, he gets things done. We have seen it started already,” he noted.

It is for this reason, the Prime Minister said, that the Government is making Adam Stewart an ambassador and investment envoy for Jamaica.

“He is the ultimate diplomat for tourism. We call  on him because he is strong, he is young, he is brilliant and he is a go getter who sits in meetings with the [movers and shakers] of big investment companies across the globe,” Mr. Holness noted.

In May 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Stewart made the decision to purchase Sandals Dunn’s River in what was considered a very bold move at the time.

The Sandals Resorts International (SRI) team, now spanning 11 islands across the Caribbean, comprises 18,500 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals.

The Dunn’s River property alone has a workforce of 720 members, with 250 of them entering the hospitality industry for the first time, while 75 were promoted from other Sandals resorts.

“This hotel was emotional to my father,” said Adam Stewart.

“This was a vital part of his journey in the tourism industry. Every team member here received extensive training totalling over 650 hours, ensuring that guests are treated to an unforgettable experience,” he noted.

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Norwood Residents to Have Improved Access to Water

Work is expected to get under way shortly on the establishment of a water supply system in Norwood, St. James, which will provide improved and reliable access to potable water for thousands of residents in the community.

This was disclosed by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, after a tour of the area on Thursday (May 18), to address water needs.

“This project [in Norwood] is one that is very needed and we will be working with the technical team to put it together, and to pull down on our $7-billion capital budget this year to ensure that we start the work to bring relief to the 5,000 to 7,000 households that desperately need it,” Senator Samuda said.

“Far too many households in the community are still without water despite the other infrastructural upgrades [that have taken place]. The National Water Commission has been deploying projects across the length and breadth of Jamaica at a rate that it previously wouldn’t be able to,” he noted.

For his part, Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for St. James North Western, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, explained that “the core water system in Norwood was laid down a couple years ago, but there is no distribution. The distribution is still a network of informal piping, so we are here to look at how we can correct that problem”.

He noted that most householders are getting water from an informal source that is unreliable.

“What they want is access, connection to homes, because while they have some [access) there, it is all informal and always unreliable. They are [getting supply] from Montego Hills and other areas where there might be a line.

[The supply] is not only unreliable for them but it also renders the flow further up in Salt Spring and other areas impaired,” he pointed out.

Latest Jamaican News

Jamaica Trade Information Portal to Be Updated and Expanded

Plans are in place to update and expand the Jamaica Trade Information Portal (JTIP), says Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill.

The upgrade will see the platform becoming more user-friendly and accessible in Spanish and French.

The portal provides access to information on cross-border activities for business owners and investors, in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

“We’re looking to constantly upgrade the portal, and so we’re putting in new software to make it work better for everybody. The portal’s reach will be expanded to look at not just products but services as well,” Senator Hill said.

Addressing the recent JTIP sensitisation session for members of the Diplomatic Corps, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, downtown Kingston, the Minister argued that the upgrade will be beneficial to local businesses, potential international investment partners and the Government, as the portal will provide accessible information on all aspects of trading.

Senator Hill informed that the portal recorded 743 new users this year, which reflects 81 per cent of the total users for April.

“Since the 2019 launch of the portal, 50,890 persons have visited the portal with over 309,680 pages viewed. Though this is encouraging, more needs to be done to increase public awareness and international buying,” he said.

Against this backdrop, he urged members of the Diplomatic Corps to share with their home countries, investing and trading opportunities in Jamaica using JTIP.

“The publication of this information has assisted in identifying bottlenecks, which facilitates decisions to be made to allow the ease of doing business in our nation. We want to cut out those bottlenecks to make it easier for decisions to be made,” he said.

Meanwhile, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Richard Brown, said, “We strongly believe that JTIP fully aligns with the urgent needs of the private sector.”

This, he noted, is significant, on the heels of the considerable economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and other global challenges.

“We have thus learned some hard lessons regarding the urgency of the need for greater sustainability in our external trade relations, as we witnessed Jamaica’s trade deficit quickly ballooning to US$6 billion in 2022, a new record for Jamaica,” Mr. Brown informed.

He pointed out that the Ministry recognises the importance of “transitioning to more efficient and seamless cross-border transactions”, to which JTIP is expected to increase the visibility and accessibility of Jamaica’s border regulatory requirements.

The event also marked the fourth anniversary of the portal being instituted to provide trade-related information.

Latest Jamaican News

Man Shot Dead During Confrontation with Police in Trelawny

A Trelawny man was fatally shot at his home following an alleged altercation with lawmen on Thursday morning.

Dead is 23-year-old Denoby Prichard of Water Lane, Falmouth in the parish.

According to reports, at approximately 5:15 am, a police/military team, led by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, executed a warrant at Prichard’s residence.

Prichard allegedly brandished a firearm at members of the security forces who had entered the residence. He was then shot.

He was transported to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

During the operation, a firearm and several cartridges of ammunition were reportedly seized.

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Alleged Lottery Scammer Charged in St James

The Lotto Scam Task Force and the Area 1 Special Operations arrested and charged a suspected Lottery Scammer in Barrett Town, St James on Thursday morning.

Charged is 37-year-old Randy Spence, otherwise called ‘Brownman’, a mechanic of the community.

Reports indicate that between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., the police units went in search of men suspected of lottery scamming.

During the operation, two motor vehicles, a BMW and a Toyota Noah, were seized.

It is believed that the motor vehicles were obtained through illicit means.

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Man Chopped to Death in Adelphi, St James

The Adelphi police in St James have commenced a probe into the chopping death of a man in the community on Thursday night.

Dead is Trevaughn Stoddard, a 25-year-old resident of Smithfield in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland. At the time of his death, he lived in Canaan district.

According to reports, at approximately 9 p.m., residents of the Canaan community discovered the body of Stoddard and alerted the police. He was found lying at the side of a house and had sustained multiple chop wounds.

On arrival of the lawmen, it was discovered that the victim’s throat was slashed and his left hand severed.

The crime scene was processed, and the body was transported to the morgue for a postmortem examination.

Stoddard is the third person to be killed in the Canaan community since the beginning of the week. His body was found in the same area where Romaine Melville, 24, and Andre Brown, 30, were shot and killed on Wednesday morning.

Latest Jamaican News

Police Listed Two Men as Persons of Interest in St James Double Murders

The St James Police have identified two men as persons of interest in the parish in connection with two separate incidents of double murder that occurred this week.

The individuals in question are Tevin Lawson, also known as ‘Bruk Hand’, of Katan Lane, St James, and Nester Gillimore, also known as ‘Zaddo’, of Granville within the parish.

Senior Superintendent of Police Vernon Ellis, who is in charge of the St James Police, has announced that they have been instructed to appear at the St James Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB) by noon on Thursday.

According Superintendent Ellis, the men might be able to provide assistance to the police in their ongoing investigations.

Attempts to locate the men have proven futile, police say.

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Meat Shop Operator Shot Dead in Mount Salem, St James

A man was shot and killed outside his meat shop in Mount Salem, St James on Wednesday afternoon.

Dead is Clive Lawson, of Mount Salem community.

Reports are that, at approximately 4:30 p.m., Lawson was standing outside his business place, located along the main road in Mount Salem, when armed men in a vehicle drove up and opened fire, hitting him multiple times.

This recent fatality marks the third in Mount Salem, which has been under a Zone of Special Operations since 2017.

On Monday, the police imposed a curfew in the community.


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Another Double Murder in St James

The police in St James are conducting an investigation into the fatal shooting of two men in Canaan, Adelphi, St James, on Wednesday morning.

The identities of the deceased have been confirmed as 30-year-old Andre Brown, also known as ‘Powerman’ and Romaine Melville,
both of Canaan district.

According to reports, at approximately 9:30 a.m., both men were seated on a wooden bench in the vicinity of Canaan square, when they were ambushed by two armed men on a motorcycle, who opened fire hitting them multiple times.

They were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Two Shot and Killed, One Injured in Mount Salem, St James