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Normalcy returned to Eastern Kingston under State of Public Emergency

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KINGSTON, Feb. 7 (JIS): The increased presence of the security forces in the Eastern Kingston Police Division under the State of Public Emergency (SOE) has put residents at ease, and they are now able to go about their normal lives without fear.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced the SOE on January 26 to quell rising crime in the Division.

Speaking in the Upper House on Thursday (February 7), Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said that 11 days into the SOE citizens “have started to experience a level of normalcy that has been absent from the [area] for far too long”.

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 “The citizens have begun to move around once more. They can once again open their shops and they can go to work… children can play again,” she noted.

Mrs. Johnson Smith was piloting the Emergency Powers (Continuance) Resolution 2020, which was approved by the Senators, paving the way for the extension of the security operation until April 25.

She noted that the SOE is crucial to addressing increasing criminal activity, including gang conflicts and murders in the Division.

She said that the spate of inter- and intra-gang feuds, which extended across several communities, had impeded public commute along major thoroughfares, restricted children’s attendance at school; prevented honest, law-abiding citizens from attending their workplaces and limited citizens’ general movement within their communities.

“Over the first 25 days of this year, 11 murders, eight shootings and three robberies took place within that Division. The Government had to respond swiftly and responsibly in order to cauterise this escalation in major criminal activity,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson Smith told the members that since the implementation of the enhanced security measure, the Kingston Eastern Division “has been demonstrating promising results”.

She said there has been “no report of a single murder or shooting” and a major housing project, which was suspended in September 2019 due to an outbreak of gang violence, is now set to restart, given the additional security presence in the area.

In addition, a total of 90 persons were taken into custody, of which 13 were detained and 77 released after processing.

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The security forces have recovered an M16 rifle and more than 100 offensive weapons.

Senator Johnson Smith reminded that while SOEs “do not comprise a quick fix…they do deliver immediate impact”.

“The SOE is a necessary and constitutionally permitted measure… which helps to “cauterise and to control the literal bleeding which takes place in communities as a result of gang activity,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson Smith is encouraging residents in the area to call Crime Stop at 113 or the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) tip line at 837-8888 to report criminal activity, noting that the lines are “completely confidential and have never been breached”. 

 “We encourage persons in the community to share what they know and to help the security forces to remove the guns from their communities, to help the security forces keep them and their children safe,” she implored.

Fifteen Senators voted to extend the SOE, with one abstaining. Four members were absent.

 The extension was approved in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (February 4).

JIS PRESS RELEASE

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Caribbean News

CHTA President Praises Jamaica’s Hurricane Preparedness, Assures Ongoing Support

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KINGSTON, Jamaica– President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, has praised the strength of local and regional public-private sector partnerships, while congratulating tourism stakeholders across Jamaica for their strong level of preparedness in weathering the dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Beryl, which impacted the island this week.

“Jamaica was spared the worst of the hurricane and we have now returned to regular business operations,” said Madden-Greig, who rode out the storm at her office in Kingston. She reported that Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios opened today, while Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston will open on Friday, July 5, after minor repairs are completed.

“We have no reports of any guests being injured during the passage of the storm, and the majority of the hotels and the tourism industry in general have emerged unscathed,” Madden-Greig added.

However, she expressed concerns for the south coast of the island, where many local communities were impacted, along with several independent hotels and villa operations.

“We will be including these operators in our disaster relief efforts, particularly in the Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth area,” she noted, explaining however that she had little doubt that this resilient community will rebound in the shortest possible time.

The trade association leader was encouraged with the reports emanating from the Cayman Islands, which confirmed no major impact on the sector there. “We are thankful to God for sparing us for the most part, and we are now resolved to getting our industry back on track, while serving communities (especially those in the Grenadines) who are in dire need at this time,” said Madden-Greig.

Individuals, businesses and organizations that want to contribute to regional hurricane relief efforts may make a monetary donation at www.chtaef.com.

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CARICOM raising profile and priority of its Migration Policy; curbing challenges ‘a tall order’

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is committed to work with Member States and other stakeholders to implement a “forward-thinking regional migration policy,” according to its Assistant Secretary General, Alison Drayton.

Addressing the opening of a recent three-day workshop titled “Towards a Regional Approach to a Migration Policy in the Caribbean,” in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, she said it is evident that the Region has been facing, and will continue to face, various challenges that affect the lives and livelihoods of Caribbean citizens.

“Namely, due to Climate Change, which has amplified displacements and the need for persons to migrate from areas that threaten their livelihoods or limit their opportunities to prosper and provide for their families,” the ASG told the forum, adding that the Climate Change and natural disasters remain “key drivers of displacements in the Region.”

“With the frequency and magnitude of events likely to increase in the future, this has contributed to many regional States facing demographic decline, which has impacted their workforce, our younger population seeking job opportunities outside the Region, and many key sectors being negatively impacted,” she stated.

The CARICOM official underscored that tackling the challenges would be “a tall order,” hence the Regional body’s commitment that would help address various aspects of Regional migration and human mobility as determined by Member State priorities.

Lauding the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for hosting the workshop, and the and valuable technical contributions made by the United Nations (UN) Migration Group and financial contributions from the United States Department of State, the European Union, and the Inter-American Development Bank, she said  the their efforts have been significant.

The contribution made by International Organization for Migration (IOM), has advanced the policy, with provision of consultancies to coordinate the Community’s work through the Regional Approach to Migration Policy (RAMP) Steering Committee and development of the framework, she highlighted.

For Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister, the Hon. Fitzgerald Hinds, his country is also committed to contributing to the development of a regional migration policy framework that reflects the priorities of the people of the Caribbean Community.

“As we embark on this journey together, let us harness the expertise, the insights and the experiences that we already have among us as we gather here today to shape the policy framework that is in front of us,” the Minister said, adding that the current migration realities “should prepare us for future challenges.”

The technical workshop brought together National Focal Points from the CARICOM Member States, and representatives of relevant regional and international organisations, building on IOM’s Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) assessments, and other consultations held with national Governments of CARICOM Member States in 2023.

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Government Earmarks $300M for Post-Hurricane Dengue Mitigation

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#Kingston, Jamaica, July 19, 2024 – The Government has earmarked $300 million to ramp up dengue mitigation activities, inclusive of fogging, treatment of mosquito breeding sites, removal of bulky waste and drain cleaning, in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl.

Addressing the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 16), Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the funds have been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which will spearhead vector-control activities over the next six weeks.

He further informed that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and National Works Agency (NWA), “are technically involved in this dengue mitigation [exercise] by trying to clear the environmental conditions that would create the growth in the vector”.

Mr. Holness highlighted the potential for a significant increase in the dengue vector, the Aedes aegpyti mosquito, which breeds primarily in containers, consequent on  the hurricane’s passage.

“We know that many communities are being plagued by the increase in the mosquito population… and other vectors [such as] roaches, rats and flies. Therefore, the cleanup and removal and clearing of waterlogged areas is of critical importance,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister noted that the hot summer conditions, along with rainfall, will further contribute to heightening the possibility of an increase in these vectors and the transmission of diseases.

As such, he appealed to Jamaicans to properly store water in covered containers and destroy mosquito breeding sites around their homes.

“I urge all homeowners who are storing water and… leaving the containers open, that an easy way to control the growth of the mosquito population in your households is to cover the containers,” Mr. Holness said.

He pointed out that the NSWMA will shortly announce a schedule for the removal of bulky waste from homes.

Prime Minister Holness further indicated that the NWA will be actively cleaning various gullies.

Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, and joint and muscle pains. These are often resolved through rest and adequate hydration along with the use of paracetamol to treat the accompanying fever.

 

Contact: Chris Patterson

Release: JIS

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