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Prime Minister Andrew Holness 2019 New Year’s Message

In his new year message Prime Minister Andrew Holness outlined nine points of accomplishment under his government.

The Prime Minister argues that his accomplishment was achieved due to skillful implementation of a strategic plan to transform Jamaica into a modern, peaceful and prosperous society. He went on to say, he will not slow pace as much remain to be done. He will continue to tackle crime which is a major concern for many Jamaicans on the Island and in the diaspora. He explained the objective is to see a massive reduction in murders. He argues that violence in the cancer that has destroyed many families in Jamaica. The Prime Minister insisted the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) is working and it will continue in the new year.

Nonetheless, many in Jamaica argues the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) does not work and that the government needs to put emphasis on detective work, rooting out the criminals rather than locking up thousands of innocent people in prison communities.

Others argue that the justice system is a major problem which the Prime Minister seem to forget. They are very angry that dangerous murderers and criminals are being bailed and let out on the streets to commit further atrocities. They believe the justice system should be completely overall and judges should be held accountable as their administering of the law is very conflicted and a danger to the society.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister continue to highlight the achievements and handwork in the overall development of the Island. "Let us turn away from aggression in our speech and actions. Let us be guided by the principles of care and compassion for one another. A new Jamaica is emerging. Let us build this new Jamaica that we can all be proud of. Together we can do it!"


Full details of the Prime Minister's statement:

This is the New Year that the Lord has given us and we who have been spared to see it, rejoice and are glad in it for we stand on the threshold of new possibilities and opportunities.

As a country, we were able to accomplish much in 2018:

- Our economy continued recovery and entered the growth phase

- We have established a flexible exchange rate and recorded low inflation

- Business and consumer confidence remained high

- Record high levels of employment including youth employment

- Reduction in absolute poverty

- Rapid expansion in industries such as business process outsourcing, mining, tourism and logistics

- Record number of infrastructure projects including the Mandela Highway Improvement Project, Constant Spring Road, Three Miles, Ferris to Mackfield and many more

- Record number of housing starts and developments through the National Housing Trust and the Housing Agency of Jamaica

- Major gains in improving safety and security in the country which resulted in a 22% reduction in murders for 2018.

All these accomplishments were the result of the skillful implementation of a strategic plan to transform Jamaica into a modern, peaceful, and prosperous society.

We cannot and will not slow our pace, much remains to be done.

Peace and public safety continue to be an area of priority focus for the government. Last year, we implemented two Zones of Special Operations which made significant strides in crime reduction in the targeted communities. By design; we placed emphasis on community development including infrastructure development and making government services available to the communities. This year we will increase the number of communities benefiting under the zones of special operations.

We invoked emergency powers in some areas of Jamaica where crime was over and above the capacity of normal policing to address. These measures have yielded appreciable results.

For the first time, in Jamaica’s history, the Government has deployed force without violence.

Citizens have embraced the security forces and seeds of a new trust relationship between both have been planted.

More than that, however, also, for the first time, the whole of government has been mobilized in a strategic framework to address issues of crime and violence.

Today, the statistics tell us that murders are down 22% but ordinary Jamaicans tell me that the measures have saved the lives of their brothers and sisters and their children; more than 350 persons are alive today by virtue of these measures.

The Government will continue with the strategic implementation of Plan Secure Jamaica using all resources, ways, and means, which are firmly within the boundaries of the law to continue reducing the crime rate.

Our objective is to see a massive sustained decrease in murders bringing us below the global homicide rate of 6 per 100,000.

For most Jamaicans, having experienced murder rates as high as 10 times the global average for such a long time, this may seem incredulous.

Jamaica has the capacity to do it. We have proven what works. What we have learned from this last decade of crime fighting is that political unity around the proven measures and a financial commitment by the government are critical for successful and sustained outcomes.

The Government this year will intensify its outreach to the opposition to build political unity around the crime plan. We will also continue to make significant investments in the retooling, training and capacity building of our security forces.

As we progress in our crime fighting and peacebuilding strategy, it is clear that greater attention needs to be paid to the socio-emotional considerations.

Violence as a means of resolving conflicts has become far too accepted as the norm. A significant percentage of our murders are as a result of random acts of violence and domestic and intimate partner disputes.

This month, I will name the National Commission on Violence which will be tasked with examining our culture of violence and making far-reaching recommendations to stimulate behaviour change.

Violence is the cancer that has destroyed families and communities. Let's get to the heart of the matter.

On the economic front, in the upcoming fiscal year, Jamaica is projected to have a debt to GDP ratio of just below 100%; a significant reduction having been as high as over 140%.

This will create the fiscal space for Government to undertake greater expenditure on human and social services.

Additionally, the Government will be packaging and bringing to market several public sector assets for sale on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The first of which will be Wigton Windfarm Limited.

This is in keeping with government’s policy of creating an ownership economy, giving average Jamaicans the opportunity to own shares in some of Jamaica’s profitable enterprises.

Another element of the ownership economy is assisting Jamaicans to acquire decent and affordable housing recognizing that the most important asset for any Jamaican is their own home.

In addition to the work of the National Housing Trust, Housing Agency of Jamaica and private developers, this year the Government will begin implementation of the social housing component of the HOPE programme.

Through this modality, the Government will seek to improve and regularize the housing stock and living conditions of the most vulnerable Jamaicans, assisting them to realize the value in real estate.

As Jamaica recovers and grows; within the context of climate change and a globalized world; resilience building strategies must be mainstreamed in all Government endeavours so that we are better able to recover from crises, shocks and natural disasters.
This is particularly the case considering that in November this year, Jamaica will graduate from its IMF programme.

In this post-IMF era, the government will be required to undertake greater forward planning, deeper analysis of policies and targets, greater assessment of risks and a greater commitment to discipline in the implementation of our programmes.

Citizens of Jamaica can be assured that your Government will act responsibly and wisely to build on the gains made through years of sacrifice.

Government is strengthening our central bank, establishing a Fiscal Council; and reducing the number of public sector entities to minimize exposure to fiscal risks.

Equally, through creative financial mechanisms such as catastrophe bonds, we are ensuring a speedy recovery from natural disasters.

More so, we are seeking to build resilience in our civil infrastructure in the capital works that are being undertaken throughout the country.

As we place greater emphasis on environmental preservation; I believe in the old saying cleanliness is next to Godliness. This year, a key focus of the Government is to make Jamaica clean again.

We have committed to increasing the number of compactor trucks for garbage collection.

Importantly, aspects of the ban on plastics, which affects straws, single-use shopping bags as well as expanded polystyrene containers, start today.

Later this year we will introduce the deposit refund scheme to tackle plastic bottles and unveil a plan to remove all old tyres from landfills across Jamaica. These are crucial steps to preserve our environment.

Keeping Jamaica clean is not just the responsibility of the Government; it is the responsibility of every citizen, every household and every business.

My Jamaican family great things are happening. There is a real sense of buoyancy, hope, and optimism; Jamaica is pressing ahead in the right direction.

It is often said that the New Year is a time for introspection, reflection, and change. Let us seize the newness of this year to plant the seeds of peace and love, so that they may flourish as the year progresses.

Let us turn away from aggression in our speech and actions.

Let us be guided by the principles of care and compassion for one another.

A new Jamaica is emerging. Let us build this new Jamaica that we can all be proud of. Together we can do it!

I wish for all my brothers and sisters, a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2019.

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Ban on single use Plastic ‘Scandal’ bags, Plastic Drinking Straws 2019

As of January 1, 2019 the Jamaican government will impose a ban on the use of single Plastic 'Scandal' bags and Plastic Drinking Straws and the importation of Expanded Polystyrene Foam food containers .
The aim is to protect the environment which is already overly polluted.
#BringYourOwnBag-Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Opposition Calls For Delay Of Ban On Plastic Bags

Published:Friday | December 28, 2018 | 5:23 PM Jamaica Gleaner

The Opposition People’s National Party is calling for the government to delay the implementation of the ban on single-use plastic bags and move expeditiously to implement an islandwide public education and awareness campaign to sensitise Jamaicans ahead of any such move.

The Opposition Government Spokesperson on Land and the Environment Senator Sophia Fraser Binns, urgues the government to delay the ban due to concerns from stakeholders about what will happen come January 1, 2019, when the ban takes effect.

According to Fraser Binns, there are concerns about the consequences of the ban; implications for continued use of these banned products; approved alternatives to these banned products; and cost implications for small and medium-sized businesses.

The opposition government believes that more time is needed before the ban is implemented, and as a first step, there should be an extensive public education campaign at the community and national levels.

She said the opposition is, therefore, urging the government to allocate the required resources and funding for this initiative.

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Ryanair racism victim identified as Jamaican Windrush Generation

The Jamaican woman who was racially abused on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to London Stansted is identified and is speaking out.

She is identified as Delsie Gayle. A 77-year-old, Windrush Generation Jamaican who moved to Britain in the 1960s. She had been on holiday to help cope with the death of her husband, her daughter said.

"In a few weeks, it’ll be one year since my dad died and I took my mum away for a few days’ break. My parents were married for over 50 years," she told HuffPost, which agreed to refer to the woman only as Mrs Gayle.

Ms. Gayle told itv News, that the abuser came in, saw the number of his seat and asked her to get up to let him come in. Gayle was unable to move out of her aisle seat quickly enough to let the man sit down in his window seat as she is disabled. She told itv News that he pointed to her face and told her you "when I say get up I mean you are to get up". She told him not to point to her face. He told her he do what he wants to do. He then went to his seat and decided he do not want to sit near her for the flight. This is when he got irate and began to hurl abuses.

The woman responds: “You smell. You need a wash.”

The video, shot by UK resident David Lawrence, shows the man demanding the woman to move seats, while her daughter tells him her mother is disabled.

He replies: “I don’t care whether she’s f****** disabled or not – if I tell her to get out she gets out.”

She explained that since the incident she is very depressed and feel very low. “I feel very low, because he pay his fare to go on holiday, I pay mine, so why does he abuse me for that due to the colour of my skin?” she said, adding if the man gets away with it he will do it to someone else.

At one point the man is heard to say: "Don't talk to me in a foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow." He then threatens her: "If you don't go to another seat I'll put you in another seat."

Ryanair's head of communications, Robin Kiely, confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Sunday morning that the man has been reported to Essex police.

"We have reported this to the police in Essex and as this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further," he said.

Essex police said in an emailed statement: "This incident, which we were made aware of this morning, is believed to have taken place on a plane at Barcelona Airport.

"Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported. We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.

"We would encourage anyone with information to contact us on 101. You can also contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111."

A spokesperson for Essex Police told the media: “Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported.

"We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation."

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Prime Minister National Heroes Day Message 2018

Prime Minister's Message transcript:

Greetings My Jamaican Family …

Today on National Heroes’ Day; we reflect on the National Heritage Week theme for this year; One Love … One Family … One Heritage. It is a fitting theme as we recognize and appreciate the role of the family as the ultimate partnership and the solid foundation on which strong societies are built.

Today we celebrate our heroes, past and present who helped to create the bonds of love and unity among all Jamaicans. Those who have gone beyond self and acted in the interest and well-being of others; often putting their lives on the line and in some cases giving their lives; in order to secure a better life for the Jamaican Family.

Our heroes of the past, Paul Bogle, Nanny of the Maroons, Sam Sharpe, and George William Gordon paid the ultimate price in the struggle for freedom, justice, respect and dignity. Marcus Garvey, Norman Manley and Sir Alexander Bustamante led the struggle for our independence and nationhood. Through their sacrifice, we are a free people, an independent nation striving to secure justice, peace and prosperity for all members of our Jamaican Family and doing our part to advance the welfare of the whole human race.

Today, we not only celebrate those who have paved the way but those who continue to do their best for Jamaica Land We Love in service to their fellow citizens. There are countless heroes from all walks of life and in several sectors of business and industry, the public service, medical services and others who continue to display acts of heroism daily. Jamaicans are extraordinary people and we see constant reminders of our resilience, selflessness and fortitude.

Today, we celebrate Jamaicans like Selena Reid, Grace Allen and Kimani Anderson for their courage and heroism in ensuring the safety of children at the Walkers Place of Safety who were trapped by fire.

We acknowledge the bravery of Sophia Cameron, Verlyn Douse and Camille McIntosh who saved the lives of 22 infants during a fire at the Neonatal Care Unit of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.

We acknowledge Lloyd Nelson and Jevon Lewis who displayed courage in rescuing five adults and a baby who were trapped inside a building after heavy rains in St. James. They are real examples of ordinary Jamaicans who when confronted with adversity have acted with extraordinary selflessness and courage to save the lives of others.

Likewise, there are Jamaicans whose sworn duty is to put their lives on the line to protect and to serve the Jamaican Family. Today, I want to single out the brave members of our security forces, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force. Some have lost their lives in the line of duty, and many have had close calls, and suffered serious injuries, such as the soldiers carrying out operation in the hills of St. James, or the policeman on duty in Half Way Tree who responded to a robbery and was shot but saved by the grace of God that his phone was in his pocket.

It should not go unnoticed that despite the challenges, and points of disgruntlement over conditions and other terms of service, the security forces have stepped up to the call to rid Jamaica of the criminal element, while upholding the law and protecting the rights of all citizens, even the criminals. The security forces should be commended so far, for their conduct and responsible use of extraordinary emergency powers.

I wish to commend the men and women of the JCF and the JDF for the work they have been doing in general to combat crime and particularly for their work and conduct in the Zones of Special Operations and in the areas declared under States of Public Emergency.

It is unfortunate that for the past several decades, there has been an erosion of public confidence in some elements of our law enforcement institutions. In the extreme some communities have come to perceive our law enforcement personnel as the enemy. This is never a healthy situation and only gives succour and cover to criminals to act as protectors of the citizen and dispensers of justice. Now, the government is determined to change this, we want every citizen to see our soldiers and law enforcement officers as their protectors, as people who have enlisted and sworn to give their lives to the service of the Jamaican Family, to keep them safe and secure. We want our security forces to be the heroes of our people, the role models for our children, and the symbol of trustworthiness, reliability, security and peace. I am seeing signs that this transformation of the image and public perception of our law enforcement institutions is happening right before our eyes. Once the public trust is restored, the fight against crime will be more effective, as there is no greater tool in crime fighting than citizens who cooperate with the police to share information and give up criminals in their communities.

In the same breath, there are citizens who in spite of the prevailing unhelpful social norms are working with the security forces and are providing useful information in the fight against crime. You are heroes in my book. I encourage every citizen to use the specially created channels to share what you know with law enforcement. As our forefathers found wise and effective ways of resisting oppression and brutality which eventually led to our freedom, so it is that today, communities that are held hostage and oppressed by criminals, must wisely play their part to resist and expose the criminal oppressors. It is the right thing to do.

Peace, prosperity and progress is our destiny as a people. However, we will not arrive at our promised destination without taking steps to get there. And we will not reach our destination, if we are all looking at each other afraid to take the first step. This Heroes Day let us resolve as ordinary citizens to be brave and take the steps to our destiny of peace, prosperity and progress.

Happy Heroes Day to my Jamaican Family and may God continue to bless us and give us courage to action our destiny.

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Montego Bay, Jamaica: Hotel rapist disarmed and shot by victims

Thursday September 27th/2018

Trainee worker at the Riu Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica was disarmed, shot and injured by women he allegedly attempted to  rape.

According to police report, two female tourists were in their room about 11:55 p.m. The gunman allegedly barged in the room and attacked the two female guests at gunpoint. It is reported that he may have raped one of the women and was attempting to rape the other when the gun fell from his hand. The woman who was attacked first, immediately picked up the gun and pointed it at the gunman.

It is reported that he immediately tried to disarm the woman, but she fired the gun twice at him. The gunman reportedly ran from the room and jumped over the balcony before escaping in bushes adjacent to the property.

The gunman is identified as 24-year-old Demar Scott.

According to the police investigators, the man was employed only three days where he was under going training as an entertainment coordinator.

It is also reported that the gun used in the incident was stolen from the room of a licensed firearm holder who was also a guest at the hotel. The nine millimetre Glock pistol loaded with 16 rounds of ammunition were handed over to the police by one of the women.

It is reported that the rapist gunman entered the room of the two female guest by climbing up and over the balcony.

In a statement, the hotel said the man had been in training for only three days before allegedly committing the heinous act.

According to the hotel management, "Last (Thursday) night, September 27th, there was a very unfortunate incident in the Riu Reggae Hotel in which two guests were attacked by a trainee at the entertainment department of the hotel. The man, who had been in training for only three days, was able to escape". "The hotel management immediately called the police and accompanied and supported the guests with everything in this difficult moment".

He was subsequently held by police on Friday afternoon and is now in custody.

The gunman identification card. According to the Gleaner,  his address is listed as Exchange, Ocho Rios, St Ann while on the other, his address is listed as Comfort, Williamsfield, Manchester.

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Jamaica most wanted men must turn themselves in to the police

According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Kingston Western Police have listed five men (one not pictured) as wanted.

Another man known as 'Kadulla' of Arnett Gardens, Kingston 12 which photo is not listed must also turn himself into the police

These men are urged to turn themselves in to the Kingston West Police immediately. Contact the Denham Town Police at 876-922-6441 if seen.

• Damaine Taylor o/c ' Itch Pang', 29, of Admiral Town & Rollington Town in Kingston.

Kingston 12. • Ryan Mattis, 21, of New Lincoln Road, Kingston.

• David Reid of Hopeful Village, Kingston 12 & Greenwich Park Road, Kingston 11.

• Collins Corrian o/c 'Jerome Blacks' of Nethersole Drive, Arnett Gardens

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness Emancipation Day address to the Nation

Inspired my his Africanness and his recent visit to the African nations of Namibia and South Africa, Prime Minister Andrew Holness gives his Emancipation address to the nation

The Prime Minister use the occasion to address the issue of violence in the culture and community

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Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressed the BRICS Plus Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa

Watch video for the Prime Minister full speech.

The Prime Minister left Jamaica for a working visit to Namibia and the emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit in South Africa. He arrived in Namibia on Sunday July 22/2018 on his birthday.

The Prime Minister thank the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa for the invitation to the Summit.

He argued that an inclusive and sustainable economic  growth have a great capacity to transform the lives of millions from poverty to prosperity. He explains that Jamaica and many of the countries in the Caribbean struggles with low levels of economic growth which is made worst by Climate Change. He went on to say, all but one member of CARICOM have been classified as Middle Income countries.

He argued that this is a superficial classification based only on the countries' GDP. According to the Prime Minister, it fails take in consideration the high level indebtedness, fiscal deficit and environmental and social vulnerability which in many ways constrain the countries' options in pursuit of growth.

He argued that Jamaica and other Caribbean countries have made substantial progress in making painful but necessary structural reforms which have delivered microeconomics stability and now have them poised for growth.

The Prime Minister outline four key points of focus that could bring economic growth and prosperity:

  1. Enhance productivity

2. Engage in Trade

3. Must address Climate Change

4. People deserve social protection, inclusion and empowerment

What is BRICS

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