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GOV’T will not Relent in Crime-Fighting says Jamaica PM

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JIS FILE PHOTO

#KINGSTON, April 22 (JIS):    Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is warning criminals who are seeking to use the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis to continue their criminal activities that the Government will not relent in its crime-fighting efforts.

            He said that maintaining law and order is paramount even as the public health measures are enforced to combat COVID-19.

            “There are organised criminal gangs who are seeking to create hysteria, who are seeking to target distribution and retail chains, who are trying to put people in lines to create chaos and to start fights,” he noted.

“We have picked up this intelligence. Let it be known that even though we are consumed with fighting this health epidemic, we have not relented nor are diverted in our efforts to fight the crime and murder and violence epidemic in this country,” he added.

The Prime Minister was opening the debate on four resolutions to extend several States of Public Emergency (SOEs) by 90 days, during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (April 21).

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He told the House that statistics for the period January 1 to April 15 show a decrease in all serious crimes over the corresponding period in 2019.

He said that murders went down by 0.5 per cent, from 395 to 393; there was a 9.3 per cent reduction in shootings, from 389 to 353; while robberies declined by 15 per cent from 370 to 311.

In addition, break-ins are down by 20 per cent from 365 to 292; rapes are down by 36 per cent from 185 to 118; and larceny has been reduced by 54 per cent from 50 to 23 cases to date.

“It is reasonable to assume that the COVID-19-related measures have mutually re-enforced the current efforts under the SOE, and the value of these measures is certainly underscored in a national crisis,” Mr. Holness told the House.

“We must make all efforts to contain and control the crime virus, which is also taking the lives of Jamaicans. More Jamaicans have died from murders now than Jamaicans have perished from the virus,” he pointed out.

JIS NEWS BY LATONYA LINTON

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Haitian Special Olympics delegates still missing, Team returns home with 11 Medals

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Florida police are still trying to find seven delegates of the Haitian Special Olympics team who disappeared during the Games in early June.  The latest is Louis Jacques Wilguens who was last seen disembarking a bus at the All-Star Sports Resort and has not been heard from since.

The first six delegates who went missing from Disneyworld in Kissimmee Florida on June 6th were in town for the football competition of the Special Olympics.  Only one of the initial six was an actual athlete. The single athlete has an intellectual disability.

The missing men are 32-year-old Antione Joseph Mithon, 20-year-old Nicholson Fontilus, 19- year-old Peter Mianovich Berlus, 18-year-old Anderson Petit-Frere, and 24-year-old Steevenson Jacquet, and 18-year-old Oriol Jean.

They were last seen in the area of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, according to a press release from the Osceola Sheriff’s Office.  That was around 2:30 pm on the day the men went missing.

The Police say the men “turned in their room keys, left behind their personal bags and belongings,” and have not been seen since.

The special Olympics ended on June 12th.  Haiti won 11 medals, eight of them in horseback riding including two gold medals, two in the 100-meter hurdles (gold and silver), and a bronze medal in the football competition.  All of the other delegates have made it safely back home.

The Special Olympics USA Games attracted more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from the nation’s 50 states and the Caribbean, according to organizers.

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Patricia Scotland narrowly wins to hold onto Commonwealth Secretary-General over Jamaica’s Johnson-Smith

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#Rwanda, June 25, 2022 – Narrowly edging out her contender, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland managed to hold onto the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth; the vote was had on Friday, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022 in Kigali Rwanda.  It is there leaders made their decision to support the Dominican-born Scotland in the completion of the balance of her period in office.

In a bold move, which by some CARICOM country members was frowned upon, Minister of Foreign Affairs to Jamaica, Hon Kamina Johnson-Smith, announced that she would bid for the job of Secretary-General. It caused a split and drew criticism.  Nonetheless, the Jamaican campaigned and for her effort secured 24 votes including backing from Belize, the Maldives, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK, India, Singapore and Australia to name some.

However, it would not be enough as the current Secretary-General drew 27 votes to retain the role.

The vote was only necessary due to the challenge by Johnson-Smith, who was supported by Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Speaking after her reappointment Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said: “It is deeply humbling to have been reappointed as Secretary-General of this great Commonwealth. To continue to serve our family of nations is a true honour and a privilege and I will do so to the best of my ability. We will face the world’s challenge with unity and purpose.

“To seek high office is a profound act of service and I want to commend my colleagues who also sought to serve. The Commonwealth is richer for the breadth and depth of talented leaders who dedicate themselves to our family of nations.”

Kamina Johnson-Smith tweeted on the loss, gave congratulations and surmised that ‘if she did not win, it meant God was not yet ready for her to leave Jamaica.’

The Secretary-General first took office in 2016 with her initial term extended due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having already served six years she will now serve for a further two years to complete the balance of her period in office, said a statement from The Commonwealth.

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Worst time to be a Woman; a Haitian crises

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Magnetic Media 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – I know many of us are frustrated by the reports of illegal vessels breaching our waters, landing on our shores, costing us in repatriation expenses and overwhelming our small states and we’re not wrong to be bent out of shape by it.  However there are many facets to this maddening issue to sound alarms and from what I’m told and because of what I have noticed, the number of women increasingly taking the risk to runaway confirms the heartbreaking truth that abuses of this vulnerable group are escalating in frequency and violence.

A teenager, pregnant jumped from a balcony in Blue Hills (TCI) in desperation to escape pursuing law enforcers; it was dark, she could have died, she was hospitalized then sent back.

Turks and Caicos Police ‘stop & search’ operations are capturing many women; women who are trying to get to a job site in the many illegal jitneys moving around the town.

Sure it is all illegal, however it remains gut wrenching that these skittish ladies would have started the day on the hustle for a little cash only to be caught, with no document affirming legal status breaking the law. They will be deported and life will change, likely for the worse.

Haiti’s instability is driving the exodus of Haitian people.  The plummeting quality of life is pushing the “irregular migrants” as they are labelled to board boats, take to the ocean in pitch black conditions, driven by a desperate home.

Some make it, some do not.

The only death recorded or reported at the TCI detention center in years was this month; it was a Haitian woman. We don’t know what went wrong. But a journey toward a better life ended with the loss of hers.

I come from a set of nations – The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands – which have ensured I have a place.  Whether that’s school or college or a job or as an entrepreneur, room was made for me and laws are in place to enable and empower me. Not only do I have bread to eat, but I get to choose the type of bread I want to eat and can share it.

I am blessed. Truly.

But for my Haitian sisters, when you see their faces and the sadness in their eyes. When the human spirit is so shattered that it creeps into the dankest of places which is utter hopelessness, we should sit up and stand up.  This should capture our attentions.

In fact we should know, that for the hundreds we do encounter, there are countless more out there, unseen and trying to survive without being fortified by a force field of love, rule of law and simple decency.  There are too many more relentlessly buffeted by exploitation and circumstances outside of their control.

I suspect, this is the absolute worst time to be a woman or girl in Haiti. Just the worst.

Whether it is the recent memorial held to remember 11 Haitian women who perished at sea in early May trying to get in, undetected to Puerto Rico or a new and emerging report on describing the sexual abuse of Haitian women working at a factory; given sickening ultimatums:  Sex for their salary; an exploitation which usually draws throngs of people to vociferous protests in more developed countries; to this news however, there is silence and little reaction that we can see.

I declare that these women are significant.  They are valued despite the trials and tribulations of their homeland.  Within this dispensation, a post Black Lives Matter world, the darker complexion of many of their skins no longer means they are disposable.

And united, it means, women wherever we are can link hearts and hands to partake in and contribute to a shared stance of solidarity.  We can do it for the voiceless anywhere we want, we are women and though muted by the many dramas and truamas unfolding in our own lives, communities and countries, we still hear these voices crying and screaming out and we will help.

Just watch and see.  Women of Haiti, help is on the way.

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