Thursday, January 18, 2018
Thursday, 14 September 2017 07:42

Five students receive Kaluga back-to-school aid

Five students, on Sunday, received $10,000 each from the Kaluga Group as support towards the new academic year.

The students – all residents from Old Harbour communities – are Kelly-Angel McLean, who now attends Old Harbour High School; Kadeijra Gregory of Garvey Maceo High; Ensom City Primary’s Tadamia Broomfield; Izanna Fletcher, a fourth form student at Cumberland High and Jannise Townsend of Davis Primary.

The presentation was made during a reception inside the VIP Lounge at Kaluga Kafe.

Speaking specifically to the parents present, chief executive officer and head honcho of Kaluga Group Adrian Samuda, said: “You have to take responsibility for your children to make sure they become successful in life. So we are not going to investigate how you spend this money. You all must be aware by now of the importance of a good education. Therefore it is your responsibility to make sure that you invest in their education.”

Adrian Samuda (left), Kaluga Group CEO, shares a light moment with the recipients (L-R) Kadeijra Gregory, Kelly-Angel McLean, Izanna Fletcher and Tadamia Broomfield (forefront)

Kedisha Bennett, mother of Kadeijra Greogry, is grateful for the assistance.

“I am overwhelmed,” she told Old Harbour News. “In some ways I am having it really hard. But I hope God will continue to bless him so he can give to others like what he has given to me.”

“He’s a man of my own heart,” beamed Rohan McLean, Kelly-Angel’s father, who noted this was the second encounter with the Kaluga boss after first trying to sell him potted plants when the restaurant had just broke ground for construction.

“It’s a great feeling,” added the proud the dad. “This will help my youth to the next level, believe me. It’s a good move and I just hope for the best.”

Samuda, who has been consistent in giving back to his community, has taken on added responsibility by offering weekly mentorship to Fletcher, who resides at the Sunbeam Boy’s Home. He said the teen will receive $50,000 in total support throughout the school year. It’s a move that makes Lemoy McLaughlin, Fletcher’s guardian, very delighted.

Adrian Samuda (centre), Kaluga Group CEO, share lens time with the recipients and their parents.

“I am more than happy,” he said. “I am very delighted. I ‘m very grateful; and I pray that God will bless Mr. Samuda in all that he does.”

Speaking afterwards to Old Harbour News, Samuda said: “It’s my way of giving back. Children are more vulnerable, they depend on us as leaders and guardians to be successful. Without our support they cannot be successful.

“It is also my way of showing gratitude to the community of Old Harbour. As a young leader it is my desire to give them hope to become successful. All of this is part of my Foundation, which I will be launching soon, called HOPE. HOPE means helping other people excel.”

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kaluga Group Adrian Samuda says the company will be aggressively pursuing corporate clients and individuals as it aim to establish itself as the number one choice for food and beverage solutions on the island.

The Old Harbour company started out two years ago with the very popular Kaluga Kafe but has since created Kaluga Gourmet Access, a catering firm providing food and beverage services for corporate and social events and also weddings.

Demand for full service solutions in the food and beverage business has been overwhelming Samuda told Old Harbour News during a recent interview.

“How it started initially is that people use to come to us and ask us like ‘so if I have a wedding you could do that?’ and we use to turn them down telling them we are just in the whole restaurant thing. So it then dawn on me and I said ‘why not?’ if people are requesting it so much it means there’s a demand,” he recounted.

Since then the demand continues to grow he says, particularly amongst corporate clients based as far as Kingston and Mandeville.

By venturing into this area of the sector new possibilities have popped up for the business, hence the need to create a “one stop shop”.

“The aim is to step out from just providing catering to a full service which includes event planning. Because what we have realized to be competitive in the catering market we must be satisfying your total needs,” he said. “So if you call me for food, I should be able to provide the décor for you too. You should not have to be shopping around for lighting, tables and chairs. So to make the purchasing easier on you, we do all of that now. If we are doing your wedding, you don’t need to call a wedding planner. We have that in-house already. Right now we’re doing events where we are also doing graphic designs for them.”

“So the Kaluga vision is to be the number one choice for food and beverage solution in Jamaica. For us to achieve that we can’t focus on restaurant alone. For us to be a leading caterer we have to be providing a full service experience for our clients or else we’re not going to be competitive,” he added.

To achieve this ambitious goal, he said expansion work has already started at the rear of the West Street, Old Harbour property. When complete the new facility will include cold and dry storage areas and will cater exclusively to the new demands of the business.

“We’re creating a different kitchen for Kaluga Gourmet Access,” he explains. “It will operate like a different company to itself.”

He said the company will be offering a take-out lunch service to corporate employees, who have been clamoring for such a service in the Old Harbour space. And given their established reputation for quality service and taste that should not be a problem.

Samuda said: “I am after the lunch market in Old Harbour. There’s a shortcoming regarding lunch. There’s a big complain out there where people are saying they’re not getting quality food for lunch. So we’re looking to strike deals with all the offices in Old Harbour. It’s not going be like people can come here and buy food, everything will be pre-ordered. So we are looking to satisfy the lunch market in Old Harbour, May Pen and Spanish Town to a great extent.”

With the strong marketing background he holds, Samuda says the company will be hitting the ground running, calling the decision a “major investment” with approximately $10 million to be invested within the next eight months.

“The aim is not to sit a wait for business to come to me. We’re building out a very strong marketing and sales force where we will be aggressively going after clients. We have a lot of brand equity now so we can make another major move,” he said.

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Interim president of the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce (OHCC) Adrian Samuda says the body will be robust in its efforts to have closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in the town.

Samuda’s comments came following a meeting with members of the chamber and the St Catherine South Police high command at Kaluga Kafe on Tuesday.

The entrepreneur said the business community is very concerned after the recent killing of a vendor in the town centre during rush hour, which is the second such homicide in just over a year within the same proximity.

“We the business people of Old Harbour are willing to assist with the purchasing of the cameras because we believe in supporting any initiative that will protect or benefit our business and the lives of the citizens of this town.

“Having listened to the police we will now be writing to the St Catherine Parish Council and the National Works Agency with a view to see how best we can expedite the installation of these cameras which is of absolute necessity given the brazen killing in the town recently,” Samuda told Old Harbour News.

This is not the first time the issue of installing CCTV cameras in the town is being raised by the OHCC. Two years ago the matter was discussed with Supt. Carl Ferguson, then commander in charge of the Old Harbour Police Division and members of the business community.

Head of the St Catherine South Division, Senior Superintendent (SSP) Noel Christie, said he’s aware that the matter was raised then but indicated that achieving this goal requires full participation of key stakeholders namely the parish council and the National Works Agency (NWA).

He’s however urging the chamber to be resolute in their approach regarding installment of the cameras, which he believes is crucial in aiding the police.

“I know when Mr. Ferguson was here he’d gone as far as doing a site inspection as to where the cameras could be positioned. But as to the latest on that I can’t give you. I can’t say why it hasn’t been tied up as yet. They (Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce) would have to be very forceful, aggressive and assertive by going to the (St Catherine) Parish Council and the NWA who will play a vital role in it,” SSP Christie said.

CCTV cameras are said to be a very important tool used in many towns and cities all over the world in the fight against crime. They act as a deterrent and are often utilized to identify perpetrators.

Meantime, Samuda is urging the police to be more assertive as he’s of the view that the town feels less safe since the departure of Superintendent David White, who now heads the Westmoreland Police Division.

“As a business person I don’t get the feeling like I could walk to the bank with a million dollars,” said Samuda. “When Mr. White was here you felt like you could walk in the town with any amount of money at any time.”

White’s militant approach to policing drew commendation as well as condemnation from the general public, as he made a successful push restoring public order in the town space, ridding the streets of illegal vending and mitigating traffic congestion.

But according to Inspector Carey Duncan, head of operations for the Old Harbour Police Division, Samuda’s perception isn’t supported by the current statistics related to serious crimes being committed in the division.

Based on data presented at the meeting by Duncan major crimes, which include murder, shooting, robbery, break-in, aggravated assault, rape and larceny, has seen a 46 per cent decline in the division up to this time of the year when compared to the corresponding period of 2015.

Duncan reported that a combined total of 35 major crimes have been committed so far this year, a massive drop when compared with the 65 recorded the same time last year. Of the serious crimes recorded up to the end of May this year seven were murders, four involved shooting, 14 robberies were logged, six break-ins took place, and there were two incidents each for rape and larceny. The corresponding numbers for the same period last year showed nine murders, six shootings, 19 robberies, 23 break-ins, two aggravated assaults, four incidents of rape and two cases of larceny.

Earlier this week the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) reported a 10 per cent decline in major crimes committed nationally between January and June 4 with the corporate area and St Catherine showing the biggest reduction.

“When Mr. White left the division I knew that he’d left a big shoe to fill,” said Duncan. “As you are already aware we have a resource issue. For the most part the vendors have been conforming by selling inside the market, which has allowed us to shift some of the resources to other areas, which I believe has contributed to the reduction in the numbers we are seeing now.”

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Friday, 15 April 2016 10:56

Kaluga Kafe to fete children's homes

The Sunbeam Boys Home will once again be among the beneficiaries of Kaluga Kafe, as St Catherine’s top restaurant celebrates its second anniversary this month.

On April 17, between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:0 pm, the Kaluga team will be at the Spring Village Road-based state home for a day of fun titled ‘Hope: Helping other people excel’.

Another beneficiary is the Yadel Home For Girls at Bannister where 70 girls are currently being housed. The girls from Yadel will travel to the Sunbeam Boys Home for the festivities.

Adrian Samuda, chief executive officer, Kaluga Kafe said: “People who know me or following the Kaluga brand know that we are strong believers in giving back.

“Since Kaluga Kafe started we have looked at some of the institutions we can help and the Sunbeam Boys Home is one such institution that we believe is most deserving. They are now a part of the Kaluga Kafe project in terms of our corporate social responsibility. For the last several months we have been supplying them with meals once per month on a Sunday because we believe in helping others by giving people hope, that there’s a brighter future for them.

“We’ll be having fun and games and giveaways for the boys and girls, and we are encouraging all Kalugans to join us on this day to raise hope in the minds of these young men who can become men of substance later in life.

“So whatever contribution you can make or personal assistance in terms of your time, come on board with us on April 17. Let us help these boys and girls excel.”

Since opening its doors two years ago, Kaluga Kafe has quickly established itself as the top restaurant in St Catherine and is widely associated in the same group of Kingston’s finest chill spots in terms of food, ambiance and entertainment.

Persons interesting to participate can call 630-3418; 630-3458 or email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Wednesday, 30 December 2015 13:31

Strong finish to Kaluga Fashion Month

Comfy tops, exotic wears. Japanese street fashion and designs that make you CLAP. It’s the final edition of Kaluga Fashion Month at Kaluga Kafe, St Catherine’s premier restaurant based in Old Harbour. And what a climatic end it was, as Trudy-Ann Powell with her TruRebel Exotic Wear finished the night with a bang!

Loud cheers were reserved for Gary Richards’ CLAP Fashion. The May Pen-based designer’s fine artistry and finish is simply amazing, particularly his men’s wear. Earth colours seemed to be the preferred theme for CLAP Fashion which is an acronym for “celebrate, life and people”.

Richards has been designing for eight years now and is looking to expand the business with an online store.

“The inspiration is just simple thoughts, the surroundings from personal friends. We live by the acronym celebrate life and people (CLAP), so it’s simple. We don’t go far to get inspiration. We don’t need to go outside of the reverence of life itself.

“Three years from now we see ourselves as a world renowned brand.

“Every opportunity is enormous whether its 10 people, one person or a million, we give thanks for every opportunity,” said Richards.

Old Harbour’s lone representative on the final night, Keisha Banton, received huge applause for her Keisha Banton Designs Comfy Tops collection. The tops, specially priced at $2,000 each, are blouses suitable for a relaxed day out Banton explained.

“They are simple, sexy and comfortable everyday wear,” she said after having the honour of opening the Boxing Day show in front of a jam-packed audience. The 2012 Edna Manley College graduate says the aim was to showcase this specific collection which she has been working on for the last two months.

“Anything you want related to fashion I can design it for you for any occasion. Whether you are petite or plus size, it doesn’t matter I will make you stand out in any crowd, feeling confident and sexy,” Banton added.

Surprisingly, Powell has been designing less than a year but is just realizing her childhood passion coming to bear.

“My inspiration honestly is myself,” said Powell. “Myself is exotic and everybody love to feel sexy, every woman love to feel sexy, so I bring that out in my brand. I do female clothing generally but all exotic. It doesn’t have to be explicit but it must be exotic and sexy to me.”

Renea Brown put a Jamaican touch to her Japan Street Fashion concept titled Chudoku – meaning ‘addiction’ – which was also well received as well.

Kaluga Kafe chief executive officer (CEO) Adrian Samuda, who is the brainchild behind the event, said the show achieved its objectives.

“Like I’ve said before we want to promote and elevate all aspects of fashion. There are a lot of talented young people out there which was evident during the four nights of the show. But I was impressed most on the final night because we saw designs that can compete with the best in the world. My hope is that as Jamaicans we really support our own people more because these designers need our support and it is support that they deserve,” said Samuda, noting that the plan is to make Kaluga Fashion Month and annual showpiece.

“Food and fashion is a great blend and one of the things we at Kaluga try our endeavour best to do is strive to be number one by being creative and entertaining for our guests and Kalugans (regular customers). Kaluga Kafe is not just about food alone, we are about fun and entertainment too,” added Samuda.

Samuda was on point in every aspect there but the massive publicity created wasn’t lost on the designers either.

“On Behalf of all the designers I would like to publicly thank Adrian (Samuda) for this opportunity because it’s not often we as designers get opportunities likes this to showcase our skills. It really means a lot to us and I don’t think we can ever thank Adrian enough for creating such a platform for us,” said Banton.

Images courtesy of Ojay Cowan/Venum Entertainment

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Wednesday, 02 December 2015 08:36

Kaluga celebrates fashion this month

Ten talented fashion designers are being given the chance to showcase their skills during the month of December at Kaluga Kafe.

Dubbed Kaluga Fashion Month, the event has attracted designers from Kingston, Manchester and of course here in Old Harbour.

Each weekend, starting December 5, designers will display and speak about their varied collections on the ‘Kaluga Runway’.

Adrian Samuda, head honcho of St Catherine’s premier restaurant, is the brainchild behind the event and he’s anticipating plenty of positive results especially for the designers, who will be making their wares available for purchase on each night.

“Every Saturday during the month of December we’ll be promoting several aspects of the local fashion industry, be it clothing, accessories. Old Harbour and by extension Jamaica is blessed with a lot talented young people who are looking for avenues to display their skills to the rest of the country and indeed the world; and we believe that this is a sure way of helping our young people getting the right kind of exposure to take them to the next level,” Samuda said.

“We are encouraging the public to come out and celebrate with our designers this and every Saturday. The final show will be on Boxing Day which is a public holiday so we will be doing something special on this night.”

“It is not a competition where the designers will be judged and we announce a winner but rather an event to celebrate and promote our young talented designers whereby the public can come out be entertained and also purchase any design of their choice,” he added.

One of the participants is Roxanne Rose-Genas of Greater Portmore. The 21-year-old specializes in hand-made beads and jewellery and is excited about the opportunity.

“First of all it will allow me to get my pieces out there and at the end of the night hopefully I will get purchases for a few. I also hope that at the end of it all I will have a bigger clientele,” said Rose-Genas, who visited Old Harbour for the first time only last week.

Julio Freeman is one of three designers from Old Harbour in whom much will be expected from by locals. A student of the Garmex HEART Academy, he told Old Harbour News that he’s looking forward to make a name for himself in his beloved town.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to showcase my talent. I always believe in Old Harbour and always want to show the rest of Jamaica that Old Harbour has some of the best talents and I always want to showcase my talent in Old Harbour,” said the 25-year-old Bodles resident. “I want to build a client base in Old Harbour. If you’re looking for a fashion designer then Julio should be the first on your mind.”

The show will begin nightly at nine o’clock with three designers slated to appear on the opening night. Making their debuts are Freeman along with Jodi-Gaye Cespedes-McIntyre and her body art concept; and Christopher Moxam with his Moxam Creation.

Make-up will be provided by MQ, while Shades of Elegance will do hair for the models.

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The Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce has applauded the decision by TransJamaican Highway to open the eastbound off-ramp exit at Old Harbour.

The move, which is likely to take effect by the end of the year, will enable commuters from May Pen to exit onto South Street, Old Harbour instead of Spanish Town, 12 miles farther eastward of this south west coastal town.

“At least the people can say the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce had an input in achieving something,” Adrian Samuda, interim president of the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce, told Old Harbour News. “We appreciate the fact that TransJamaican Highway were willing to listen… And we had an open dialogue after expressing the significance of opening up that specific area of the highway to businesses and residents.”

The area of concern had an original exit as part of the then Old Harbour Bypass before it was morphed into a larger development plan. Under the expanded Highway 2000 project the off-ramp was closed. But as one of the fastest growing towns in Jamaica the need to reopen this section was of absolute necessity as the years go by.

“We pointed out the negative impact it has on our businesses and profitability. Opening this exit I am anticipating an increase in revenue for businesses in Old Harbour. It should also enable greater satisfaction for customers and suppliers who intent on doing business in Old Harbour,” Samuda said.

During a recent media briefing at its Portmore Toll Plaza office, Guillaume Allain, managing director of TransJamaican High, said the development will create a complete interchange at Old Harbour".

“One of our main objectives as the developer of Highway 2000 East-West, is to identify the needs of customers and find ways to meet them as best as possible. The decision to open an eastbound off ramp at Old Harbour was taken in order to allow users of the highway to access the town when coming from May Pen. Our customers understand and enjoy the benefits of the highway, and we have gotten quite a few indications that they are really looking forward to being able to travel from May Pen on Highway 2000 East-West to get to a destination in Old Harbour,” Allain said in a respond via email to Old Harbour News.

“We believe this will also help to enhance the economy of the town of Old Harbour, particularly since a request for the eastbound off ramp has come from the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce.

“The opening of the eastbound off ramp will come with a few changes to the speed limit in the area. As motorists approach the area of the ramp, they will be permitted to travel at a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour. Persons using the ramp itself will be limited to a speed of 50 kilometres per hour.

“We are working to complete the off ramp before the end of 2015, as we truly look forward to providing our customers with the ability to use Highway 2000 East-West to move to and from all their destinations in Old Harbour in both directions.”

In welcoming the decision, the New Harbour Village II Citizens’ Association, one of the lobby groups, commended the chamber of commerce for being relentless towards a cause that affects everyone who uses that part of the highway which was renamed the PJ Patterson Highway earlier this year.

“The New Harbour Village II Citizens' Association (NHVII CA) would like to congratulate the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce for their efforts in lobbying TransJamaica Highway for the decision to open the east-bound off-exit ramp into Old Harbour from May Pen, Clarendon.

“The opening of the off-ramp into Old Harbour will facilitate easier access for new and existing customers to businesses in the area and expose Old Harbour to a new client base.

“The off-ramp opening will also give residents of New Harbour Villages I, II and II as well as Old Harbour Bay, many of whom work in May Pen, a more convenient and hassle-free route when getting home and will eventually help with easing the traffic congestion within the town.

“This announcement is truly a welcomed one and the NHVII CA would like to encourage the chamber of commerce to continue in its charge to lobby the government and other stakeholders for a better business environment within Old Harbour,” said NHVII CA Chairman Christopher Phillips.

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Adrian Samuda, interim president of the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce (OHCC), says with the police having rid the streets of vending, stakeholders must shift their focus towards helping vendors operate in an environment that’s conducive to ply their wares.

In a communiqué to its members, Samuda commended the Old Harbour Police for its zero tolerance approach towards street vending but also noted the importance of the work of vendors to the macro and micro economy of the town and Jamaica in general.

Said the Chamber President: “The Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce supports growth and development of the business district and the wider communities. The Chamber’s position is that all government bodies have a role to play in Old Harbour realizing sustainable development and growth. The market place is more competitive as improved roads have drawn businesses outside of Old Harbour closer.

“The police’s role is to protect and serve the business community. Protecting and serving entails having free and clean sidewalks and roadways. Businesses will attract more customers because of less commuter frustration due to traffic. The police will be able to move freely if an incident arises.

“We must ensure that the police protect and serve. We must also realize and understand that the vendors that we want off the street are fundamental to our micro economy. They too have a multiplier effect on all segment of our economy both micro and macro. We want them in business also; therefore we must ensure that a proper space with all the necessary facility is in place for them to have sustainable businesses. We have to admit that the market condition is poor. The market is not attractive to both vendors and customers.

“Now that the streets are clean and traffic moving smoothly. Let us say congratulation to the new police commander. Let us now turn our attention to the local government bodies to create facilities for our vendors and customers. We have to ensure that all businesses survive. Let us put our minds, efforts, connections and pens together to assist the vendors. We do not need any fall out in our local economy.”

And in an effort to continue dialogue with the people the police, headed by chief commander DSP David White, will host a third meeting with stakeholders this evening at the Portmore Community College, Old Harbour Campus.

The OHCC president is urging members of the business community to come out in their numbers for the meeting scheduled to start at 6:00 pm.

The campaign to rid the streets of vending, which although still illegal under Jamaican law is a widespread practice across the country, began since the transfer of DSP White earlier this month.

But the higglers have long argued that the market, which is owned and operated by Local Government agency the St Catherine Parish Council, is in an unhealthy state. They cite poor sanitary facility, lighting and security as reasons for selling on the streets.

In a recent meeting with the higglers, organized by the police, the St Catherine Parish Council stated that only 26 of the 300 available spaces in the market are occupied by paid-up registered vendors.

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Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) David White says he’ll be taking a zero tolerance approach to restore order to the town of Old Harbour.

White, who replaced DSP Rose Curate, as head of the Old Harbour Police Division listed illegal vending, traffic congestion, entertainment events, bars, and of course, persons involved in criminal activities, as his main areas of focus.

Speaking at a meeting on August 4 with the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce (OHCC), DSP White said at least for the next six months his team will be unrelenting in pursuits of its objectives.

With 25 years of service in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, he said: “We can’t have vendors selling on the street and taking up the sidewalk which forces pedestrians to walk on the roads and then the traffic will start to backup and then we have problems with those traffic congestions. Therefore, those issues will have to be dealt with.

“What it does is to create a problem where the police having to respond to a crime are unable to move easily from the station to wherever those critical incidents occurred. So we have to treat these issues so it is safe for the police, it is safe for the citizens to move to and fro.”

Already one week at his new location, DSP White along with his operations officer, Inspector Carey Duncan, have hit the ground running with several vendors and motorists charged for numerous breaches.

For many persons DSP White’s utterances, and indeed actions, are most welcome, but to others it’s a case of the ‘system’ fighting against them to prevent them from earning a living.

Though the situation is more cultural throughout the country, the top cop noted Old Harbour’s case to be a bit different primarily due to its rapid expansion.

“It is unique somewhat. Because it is such a small community, the type of traffic, the type of crime, the type of vending is just like the urban communities,” he told Old Harbour News after meeting with members of the business community at Kaluga Kafe.

During the meeting DSP White, flanked by Insp. Duncan, woman Sgt. Princess Bayliss-Ranger and woman Constable Shanesa Baker, reported that so far 12 murders have been committed in the division since the start of the year. He also stated that robberies in the division were at unacceptable levels, though no data was provided.

Keeping in line with the force’s strategic approach to granting permits for entertainment events, he said a risk assessment will be conducted first before approval. Bars operating without a spirit licence will be ordered closed, while violators will be prosecuted if they fail to comply.

A meeting involving representatives from the St Catherine Parish Council and the vendors has been arranged already with a view to resolving the issues of improper lighting and inadequate sanitary facility inside the market.

According to DSP White a date is being looked at for the police to meet with promoters of entertainment events, as it is largely felt that many of the breaches committed is due to ignorance. It is a view shared by Fabian Donaldson and Fitzroy Gouldbourne, two of Old Harbour’s most renowned party promoters, who were present at the meeting.

But there are other issues that DSP White says make the job of policing more difficult, citing insufficient manpower, office space, a station that is derelict and a vehicle fleet that stands at five.

Coming to Old Harbour is a culture shock DSP White admitted, having spent the majority of his time in the force at the Commissioner’s HQ and the Constant Spring Police Station.

But as a results-driven officer, he and his team are committed to the challenge, he said while stressing the importance of having the support of the business community.

“We believe that we would have garnered some partnership with the business community. We want to have that working relationship where we both can work together to treat with the crime situation and all other issues with the Old Harbour community,” he said.

“One of my legacies… I’d love to be remembered for developing a mechanism to control traffic and also reduce the murder rate and also have citizens operating in a legal way in terms of selling their goods as they do so in the market.”

Adrian Samuda, interim president of the OHCC, says the business community in Old Harbour stands ready to support the police in whatever way that will protect the interest of businesses and the people of Old Harbour.

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Trans-Jamaican Highway, operators of Highway 2000, says opening the east-bound off-ramp is being given “serious consideration”.

In responding to the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce (OHCC), who had written officially to them regarding the matter, the toll operators said they have already commissioned an investigation that will determine the feasibility of opening this off-ramp which will allow motorists coming from May Pen to exit at Old Harbour.

Following the completion of the feasibility study the operators said they will be willing to meet with the OHCC and “discuss the outcome of our internal assessments within October 2015”.

Adrian Samuda, interim president of the OHCC says “the chamber appreciates the serious attention” being given as “it is a matter that is seriously impacting both customers and businesses”.

Several individuals and groups have written to the toll operators regarding this particular issue as users travelling eastward from May Pen can only exit at Spanish Town, bypassing Old Harbour, one of the fastest growing communities on the island and the commercial hub of south west St Catherine which has rising population of over 50,000 residents.

See previous article here.

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