Archive for June 29th, 2011

Poll reveals 60% Jamaicans long for days as colony

| 29/06/2011 | 64 Comments

(Gleaner): With Jamaica getting ready to celebrate 50 years of political independence from the United Kingdom next year, most Jamaicans are of the view that the country would have been better off had it remained a colony of Britain. Pollster Bill Johnson, who, on May 28 and 29 and June 4 and 5, conducted an islandwide survey among 1,008 people, found that 60 per cent of Jamaicans held the view the country would be better off under British rule. Conversely, 17 per cent of those surveyed said the country would be worse off had it remained a colony of Britain, while 23 per cent said they did not know.

The island has been independent since August 6, 1962, after the lobbying and hard work of individuals such as National Heroes Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley.

But that has failed to impress six in every 10 Jamaicans who long for "the good old days".
The culture ministry has started the process of setting up a secretariat to coordinate and drive the planning for Jamaica's 50th anniversary national celebrations next year. A total of $50 million has been set aside in the national Budget for the celebrations.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has also proposed that Jamaica say "bye-bye" to the Queen (Elizabeth II) as head of state before Independence Day next year.


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First tropical storm forms close to Mexican coast

| 29/06/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Tropical storm Arlene, the first of the 2011 season, formed at around 7pm (CDT) in the south-western corner of the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday. The National Hurricane centre said Arlene had formed only 240 miles east of Tuxpan, Mexico. The season’s first storm had already reached winds of 40 mph with higher gusts when the NHC issued its first bulletin. The centre warned that some strengthening was forecast during the next day or so as the cyclone heads towards land. Tropical Storm Arlene was moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph and forecasters said a turn toward the west was expected with the storm reaching the coast by Thursday.

Tropical storm force winds currently extend outward up to 115 miles and the storm, when it hits land is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz with possible isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches over mountainous terrain.  With tropical storm conditions expected to be affecting the warning area by Wednesday the NHC said there was little time for people to prepare. The NHC said a tropical storm warning is in effect for Barra de Nautla to Bahia Algodones where tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 36 hours.


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Police seek missing witness during robbery enquiry

| 29/06/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The detectives investigating an armed robbery at Jose escape gas station on Crewe Road earlier this month are asking a witness who was a customer in the store at the time to come forward. Police said Tuesday that a man was served by the staff just before the lone masked, gun man entered the gas station store at around 8.40 pm on Friday, 3 June, brandishing what appeared to be a handgun. No arrests have been made in connection with this enquiry to date but the officer in charge said police are keen to speak to the customer as they believe he may have information that could help the enquiry. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Detective Constable Karen McQuade said the man was served by staff just before the robbery took place. “This customer may have information which could be vital to the enquiry”, said DC McQuade. “He was still within the premises when the robbery took place but left the scene before officers could make contact with him. He is described as having a black complexion and being of large build. He had dread lock hair and was wearing lilac-light blue shirt ¾ length denim shorts and work boots. He may also have facial hair. It isn’t known if he left the gas station on foot or in a vehicle.”

During the robbery the lone gunman who had threatened the attendants and taken an undisclosed sum of cash before he made off behind the building where he discharged a shot. Despite the robbery discharging his weapon no-one was injured in the incident. The gunman was described as being approximately 6ft 1inch tall, dark complexion wearing full black clothing, gloves and mask.

The witness, or anyone who can assist in tracing him, should call George Town CID on 949- 4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Demo banned from LA steps

| 29/06/2011 | 92 Comments

(CNS): Hundreds of protestors came out on Tuesday morning to march through George Town to send a message to government about their concerns over development proposals and the way the premier is handling them. However, the planned final destination of the Legislative Assembly steps was altered at the last minute when the opposition leader said the speaker of the House had objected to the MLAs and the activist group leaders addressing the crowd from that spot. Police barriers were erected along the pavement forcing the protestors into the road and as a result the political and group representatives made their addresses from a truck bed parked in front of the LA.

The PPM members and the MLA from North Side all pointed out in their addresses to the crowd that the Legislative Assembly was the people’s House and they should not be prevented from using it. However, McLaughlin told CNS that he had exchanged various letters with the speaker who said she was not happy about the demonstration coming to the LA. The PPM leader said she led him to believe that she had issues regarding her personal safety and that the organisers should have asked her permission. As a result she had forbidden the members of the LA and the people from speaking on the steps or using the pavement in front of the building.

It did not, however, prevent the rally from continuing as the demonstrators waved a variety of placards, boards and banners, carrying slogans such as “More trees and less bush” or “No means No Mr premier” and “Fowl cut teeth today Bubo” alongside “Say no to the big hole” and protests over government project proposals.

The march left the cricket ground around noon and walked up Elgin Avenue for a stop at the new government building, where Denise Miller, the leader of the Young Progressives, led the crowd as they called for McKeeva Bush to resign and asked the ministers to join them on the march to the LA. Although no one left the government offices as the marchers made their way to the country’s parliament, their ranks were swelled by many people who left their offices during the lunch break to join the protest.

MC’d by the PPM member for East End, Arden McLean, some of the people who took the opportunity to articulate the concerns of the crowd outside the parliament building included theformer tourism minister Charles Clifford, Chairman of the Concerned Citizens Group Alice Mae Coe, Captain Bryan Ebanks the founder of SaveCayman, and former West Bay election candidate Paul Rivers, as well as the MLAs.

When the opposition leader took to the truck bed he said he had written to the premier and invited him to come and listen to what the people had to say but he didn’t see him. McLaughlin added that the people had gathered because they were all concerned about the direction the country was taking under the leadership of “Mr Bush and his merry band the UDP”. He revealed that the heavy equipment operators had not turned up because the premier had bought their absence with the promise of future work or intimidated them with the threat of no work if they came.

However, close to 500 people had braved the hot sun and possible recriminations to show their concerns. “You have come out to make very clear to them that no matter how much they offer or how much they threaten there are still people in this country who are ready to stand up and say no Mr Bush no, we have had enough,” he said.

McLaughlin added that the country was only half way through the UDP term but it probably couldn’t survive another two years.

“The protest cannot end today … we must continue to make out voices heard until those who live in the government administration building … understand that this country is not for sale,” the PPM leader told the crowd.

Ezzard Miller said he biggest problem everyone at the rally had was “W.McKeeva Bush, ‘cos we can’t move him!” he yelled, as the crowd cheered. The North side MLA pointed out that the opposition leader’s motion of no confidence wasn’t going anywhere because they could not get it on the agenda because the premier was in charge of that agenda. “The man is premier, minister of tourism, minister of development, chairman of Business Committee, chairman of Finance Committee – nobody can do that many jobs good!” Miller said as he led the crowd in a chant of “McKeeva must go!” He called on the UDP members to move the premier as they were the only people that could do it.

McLean, who emphasised his commitment to doing whatever it took to stop the East End port, said that the people engaging in peaceful demonstrations about their concerns were not the reason why investors were being driven away, as the premier had suggested on a number of occasions. “We are not running away the investors,” he said. “Everybody is holding their hands out for their piece of the pie, that is what is running the investors away,” Mclean added as he drew the peaceful demonstration to an end.

See video clips of protest march

Vote in the CNS poll: Did the protest march (28 June) accomplish anything?

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