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Jamaica House of Representatives opens debate on Act to Absolve National Heroes of Criminal Liabilities

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#Jamaica, October 12, 2017 – Kingston – Debate on a Bill to absolve certain National Heroes and their supporters of criminal liability started in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (October 10).   The legislation, the National Heroes and Other Freedom Fighters (Absolution from Criminal Liability in Respect of Specified Events) Act, 2017, was piloted by Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange.

When passed, the Rt. Excellent Sam Sharpe, Rt. Excellent George William Gordon, Rt. Excellent Paul Bogle, and Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, as well as their supporters, sympathisers and participants by association, and other freedom fighters, will be absolved of criminal liability arising from their participation in “acts of liberation with moral justification”.

In her remarks, Ms. Grange said the objective is to redeem and restore the dignity and integrity of those who suffered much.

“Our ancestors were of a pedigree that was not daunted by challenges, no matter how great they were or how seemingly unsurmountable the obstacles.   They came to Jamaica shackled and belaboured, but within their fertile minds dwelt the militant cultures they had fashioned back home in the various tribal forces of the (African) continent,” she stated.

“They soon became freedom fighters, ‘buffalo soldiers, stolen from Africa, fighting on arrival, fighting for survival’.   In this prolific and prolonged campaign, they wreaked mayhem and holy war against the oppressors.   They made life difficult for those who would try to rule them, making them realise that, though they would enslave the body, they could not enslave their minds,” she added.   Ms Grange further noted that their fertile minds were in a state of constant preparation for the time when they or their children would be free.

The Culture Minister argued that it would be unjust for the children of the oppressed, who were emboldened by a vision of future liberty for their descendants, to sit silently and allow the names and images of these martyrs for freedom to be tarnished by a brutal uncaring system of governance.

She added that it is the duty of the present generation of Jamaicans, who are inheritors of the new life resulting from the self-sacrifice of our ancestors, to take the bold step and correct the wrongs of the past, and restore the dignity and integrity of the cause for which the nation’s forefathers so willingly died.

“This Bill gives new life to these, our heroes and unsung heroes, and seeks to redress the wrongs and set the captives free,” Ms. Grange stated.

In his contribution, Opposition Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the legislation would enable an engagement that is “appropriate and valid in law”.

“When law is wrongly applied it must be corrected.   There is a legal as well as a moral imperative to enact.   We are the highest court in the land, and it is of great importance that we should do what we are doing,” he said.

Debate on the Bill will continue at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.

 

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Bob Marley – One Love Actor Endorses Black River Film Festival

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#MontegoBay, May 27, 2024 – The inaugural staging of the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), set for June 28 to 30, is being welcomed by local actor, Cornelius Orlando Grant, who sees the potential of the event in unearthing local talent and attracting investment from the international film industry.

Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank held at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office, Mr. Grant, who stars as gangster Bucky Marshall in the Bob Marley – One Love biopic, said the BRFF could leverage the interest and attention being generated towards Jamaica and its film industry following the premiere of the movie.

“Look at it this way, the Prince (Harry) came to the premiere and his presence attracted extra attention to [the film industry]. The Bob Marley movie is creating and breaking more records… . Just recently it opened in Japan [where]… reggae music and Bob Marley have a big fan base. Furthermore, people in the [diaspora] that I spoke to are saying that when they view the movie, it brought them vibes of home,” he noted.

Mr. Grant said that with Jamaica being positioned as the hub of the Caribbean film industry and with the increasing number of young persons emerging as content creators, “I think now is the time that we can capitalise on this. The Black River Film Festival is doing just that because it is not only incorporating new content creators but also showing students new career possibilities”.

Young content creators, 14 to 18 years old, who wish to enter or are already practitioners in the field of filmmaking will benefit from masterclass sessions during the Festival.

Mr. Grant will be among the speakers during these sessions.

The Ministry of Education, Region 5 will be partnering with the Festival producers at a workshop to be held at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in Santa Cruz on June 28.

 

Photo Caption: Jamaican actor, Cornelus Orlando Grant, gives his support to the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), while addressing a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service Montego Bay Regional Office in St. James.

Okoye Henry Photo

 

Contact: Sharon Earle

Release: JIS

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NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETARIAT INFORMATION NOTE ISSUED MAY 17, 2024

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York

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New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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