Thursday, January 18, 2018

In 2010 a group of community members came together to form the Old Harbour United Football Club with one ultimate dream in mind – to play in the premier league.

Several years later their quest remains firmly on track.

In fact the journey is gathering momentum after they won the St Catherine Major League back in April – their biggest achievement to date.

This has propelled them into the Southern Confederation Super League next season, which is one step away from rubbing shoulders with the country’s elite football clubs.

Devroy Gray takes home Golden Boot, MVP awards

An air of togetherness hung around this club which was evident throughout last Sunday’s awards ceremony at the JPS Sports Club in Old Harbour Bay. Each recipient beamed with pride on their way to the podium. It was their night to shine and rightly so.

But the central theme throughout the three-hour ceremony, which ended about two hours before midnight, was getting the club to the very top in football.

An important component driving this dream has been Gore Developments Limited, a prominent construction firm in the country investing $1,000,000.00 into the club over the last two seasons.

Financial support from elsewhere, has also contributed to their success, while other individuals played important roles in kind and were duly recognized on the night.

“We are truly happy for the partnership and the role it has played thus far in mutual support of one to the other. For all of us at Gore Developments it really shows that hard work, commitment, discipline has paid off,” said Pauline Lewis, legal assistant, Gore Developments.

More than half of the club’s players are from this fishing community, which lies on the island’s southern coastline. Many of them have been friends since their childhood days. But they have forged a bond that grows stronger with every day that passes, even amidst flare-ups of violent crimes and the negative stigma of being regarded as a major transshipment point in the drugs for guns trade between Jamaica and Haiti.

But the management team led by club president Errol Cobourne along with his chief lieutenant, vice president Steve Dixon, has done a remarkable job so far.

“When Old Harbour Bay United started we saw where there was plan. A plan to have a good youth programme,” said Peter Reid, the long-serving president of the St Catherine Football Association. “More than 50 per cent of players playing now for Old Harbour Bay United came through their youth programme.

“When you have a programme and you have vision it will come to fruition and tonight is an example of that.”

Another key club figure impressed with the running of the organization is experienced coach Vassell Reynolds, who has coached at the premier league level before.

After their victory over Federal in the final, Reynolds says he “realized the significance of the achievement” as the St Catherine Prison Oval was invaded by Old Harbour Bay supporters after the final whistle.

The former Humble Lion coach said: “I would have worked with premier league teams and super league teams; and the small management group of people you have are some people that have the community and the players at heart. I find that they are pretty much organized much more than management at a higher level that I would have worked with and that is what you want sometimes to be successful.”

“From I came here this evening I keep hearing the notion of the premier league and it must be the ambition of the club to go to the premier league” said Laurence Garriques, who delivered the keynote address.

In outlining what he believes to be three main pillars on which a successful club is built, Garriques, a lecturer in at the University of the West Indies in the faculty of science and sports, said: “We can use football as another means of community development.”

Speaking in the context of Paul Pogba’s world record transfer fee from Juventus to Manchester United, Garriques added: “We need to seriously have a look at what we are doing and how best can we reach these kinds of heights.

“You can imagine how much development, how many resources, how many families and how much the community will change if Old Harbour Bay United had a Paul Pogba amongst you?”

But perhaps Lewis offered the best advice on the night, reminding the club that “today’s success is the beginning of tomorrow’s greatness”.

They have been true to their motto: “A team above all, above all a team”.

Undoubtedly Old Harbour Bay remains united to achieve its dream of one day playing in the premier league.

Published in Sports

One of the crew members who was on board when deep sea diver Sharmarki Douglas died from the decompression illness known as bends, said the team did their best to save him.

Douglas, a 31-year-old Old Harbour Bay resident died early afternoon on June 20 in the Pedro Cays waters after suffering from bends, a condition caused by the formation of bubbles of nitrogen gas that occur with changes in pressure during diving.

“Him come out of the water and was in the boat when him start complain se him a feel pain in a him joints dem. So right away di man dem decide to put him back in a di water fi get out the nitrogen out of him system (body). But him still never mek it. It (his condition) did gone bad a’ready it look like,” said the experienced fisherman who preferred his name not to be mentioned.

Bends is common particularly amongst divers but can also affect astronauts and aviators who experienced rapid changes in pressure from sea level.

Clearly Douglas had ascended out of the water too quickly after a quick browse on the Internet.

According to the website bends is caused when Nitrogen or any gas from a diver's air tank increases in pressure as a diver descends. For every 33 feet in ocean water, the pressure due to nitrogen goes up another 11.6 pounds per square inch. As the pressure due to nitrogen increases, more nitrogen dissolves into the tissues. The longer a diver remains at depth, the more nitrogen dissolves. Unlike the oxygen in the air tank a diver uses to swim underwater, the nitrogen gas is not utilized by the body and builds up over time in body tissues. The underlying cause of symptoms throughout the body is due mainly to nitrogen bubbles being released when the diver returns to sea level and blocking blood flow and disrupting blood vessels and nerves by stretching or tearing them. A clear example to illustrate this bubble formation process is that of a bottle of carbonated soda. A bottle of carbonated soda is filled with gas (carbon dioxide), which cannot be seen because it is dissolved in solution under pressure. When the bottle is opened, the pressure is released and the gas leaves the solution in the form of bubbles. A diver returning to the surface is similar to opening the bottle of soda. As a diver swims to the surface, the pressure decreases. The nitrogen, which has dissolved in tissues, wants again to leave, because the body can hold only a certain amount based on that nitrogen pressure.

If a diver surfaces too fast, the excess nitrogen will come out rapidly as gas bubbles. Depending on which organs are involved, these bubbles produce the symptoms of decompression sickness. The risk of decompression illness is directly related to the depth of the dive, the amount of time under pressure, and the rate of ascent.

It is one of many unfortunate misfortunes divers and their families fear.

“A regular suppm weh happen to man out a sea de enuh,” the man told Old Harbour News. “But most a di time nobody nuh hear bout it.”

“Man all dead inna mi hand from bends,” he added.

Just last year a diver from the community succumbed to the same illness.

Douglas’ relatives were contacted and immediately plans were put in motion to bring the body to the mainland in the shortest possible time. But their efforts to contact the Marine Police were unsuccessful.

The vessel with over 30 grief-stricken seamen on board, eventually return to mainland Jamaica on Thursday, docking at the Marine Police headquarters in Kingston.

The captain of the boat and other crew members were questioned by the police and the body removed.

“Plenty ice de pon di boat man. So wi just put the body in one of the small boats and cover him up with pure ice,” the fisherman explained to Old Harbour News about how the body was preserved. “The amount a ice we have out de, him cyan rotten before we come back a land.”

Meantime, increasing the chances of saving the life of a diver with a serious case of decompression sickness remains remote as it is a hugely expensive service. On medical boats equipped with decompressed chamber the service cost at least US$18,000 based on online checks made by Old Harbour News.

Here in Jamaica the island’s only decompressed chamber is situated in Discovery Bay, St Ann which is hours away from most fishing villages. Coupled with that will be the need to always have a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) helicopter readily available on standby.

Therefore, however, one wants to look at it the diver is always at the deep end.

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Published in News

Three men and a teenage boy were shot dead in Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine in what the police are saying was a shootout with men who were conducting transactions involving illegal guns.

The incident took place approximately 3:00 pm today at the Black Shadow 876 Sports Bar and Restaurant which is undergoing renovation.

All three men are from the Old Harbour Bay community and have been identified by relatives and friends as Jermaine O’Connor, 30; Delano ‘Kimo’ Sterling, 22 and Kemar ‘Kwefa’ Frazer, 26. The boy, whose name remains unknown, is said to be 16 years old and recently migrated from Kingston to live in the Old Harbour area.

The names of the deceased are yet to be confirmed by the police however. But an officer close to the investigation told Old Harbour News that one man has escaped.

Acting upon intelligence the police say a team of officers went to the location in a section of the community called ‘Thirteen’ where men were engaged in a gun transaction.

Delano 'Kimo' Sterling (left) and Jermaine O'Connor amongst the deceased

According to the police a shootout ensued thereafter and arising from the alleged gun battle, four males were killed while three firearms – one 357 magnum and two .38 revolvers – were recovered from the scene in addition to over $40,000 in Jamaican currency.

But the residents are refuting the police’s version of the events, claiming that the deceased were killed in cold blood.

One man, speaking aloud and claiming to be an eyewitness, said the men were shot after responding to the call of “police” from outside the high-rise wall.

“One a di yute dem come at the gate after dem (the police) come de and call ‘police’… And as di yute open di gate so, di police shoot him and kick him back inside. Den you just hear pure shot a fire inside,” he said angrily. “A nuh my family dem but mi feel it to me heart. Di police dem wicked. How people can trust police now.”

The building where the alleged shootout took place

Other residents say the three men from the community were innocent people and their suspicion of the police’s account is further heightened by the swift removal of the bodies.

A swat of police and soldiers were quickly called in as tensions flared between residents and officers. A parked vehicle was set afire by residents forcing the police to summoned the fire brigade.

Supt. Leighton Gray of the St Catherine South Police Command did his best calm situation by engaging the outraged residents of roughly 500 to a dialogue, advising them of the various channels available in order to ensure that proper justice is served.

Over an hour later the first investigator from the Independent Commission (INDECOM) – the state agency mandated to investigate police shootings – arrived on the scene before other INDECOM investigators joined in analyzing the area.

The crowd got bigger as the news about the deaths of the men spread quickly.

Residents converge near the scene

Lelieth Campbell, mother of Jermaine O’Connor, was of those persons who got to the scene as fast as she could. Overwhelmed with emotion, she broke down immediately as residents confirmed the heart wrenching news.

“From this mawnin mi feel a death feeling and fi the whole day a so mi feel. And mi se Lord if anything bad ago happen to mi or Jermaine mi a beg you cover mi under the blood of Jesus. And little after that mi get a call se Jermaine dead,” said the weeping mother as a family members try their best consoling her.

“Lawd Jesus mi belly, mi belly,” she cried.

According to Campbell it was only four months ago Jermaine, her only child, was held up by unknown assailants in a vehicle in the community and shot several times.

While the investigation is ongoing the police will be maintaining a strong presence in the community which is also classified as a major transshipment point in the guns for drugs trade between Jamaica and Haiti.

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Published in News

Old Harbour and Greater Portmore registered comfortable wins in Super 8 action of the SDC Community T20 on Sunday.

In a Zone A double-header played at Chedwin Park, Greater Portmore defeated Old Harbour Bay by 65 runs in the early game, while Old Harbour crushed Dela Lions by seven wickets.

Greater Portmore’s victory was spearheaded by Odane Hartley’s brilliant half century at the top of the innings that came off 49-ball knock, comprising of 10 fours and two sixes and was the base of Greater Portmore’s 211 for five from 20 overs.

He shared in an opening partnership of 144 with Robert Heron, who made 49 (4x4s; 2x6s) from 33 balls in a contest that they dominated from the start

Old Harbour Bay, having won the toss, fought back with the quick departures of Hartley, Heron and Oniel Weir, who was LBW for naught to the bowling of Maurice People, as Greater Portmore slipped to 145 for three.

But the experienced Dennis Bulli seized the initiative once more for Greater Portmore with a blistering 42 from 16 balls, smashing four boundaries and three sixes.

Robert Johnson was the pick of the bowlers for Old Harbour Bay, claiming two for 27.

In reply, Old Harbour Bay lost crucial wickets at key moments and were left at 146 for eight when their chase ended. Middle order batsman Ricardo Stewart topscored for Old Harbour Bay with 32 (3x4s; 1x6s) from 28 balls after opener Cleon Thompson made 25.

Bulli ended with match figures of three for 24, while Dwayne Guthrie bagged two for 29.

Old Harbour's strong all-round line-up overpowered the Lions despite Roy Williams’ top score of 78.

Williams and David Morgan (41) formed the basis of Dela Lions 151 for six off 20 overs, as Lascelles Davis took four for 30 bowling for Old Harbour.

In reply, Old Harbour cruised to 155 for three from 18 overs with Mariano Dixon and Dempsey Salmon unbeaten on 57 and 29 respectively after Ronville Brown made 44.

Action continues in the zone on May 29 at Chedwin Park with Old Harbour playing Old Harbour Bay in the feature match after Greater Portmore take on Dela Lions.

The top two teams from the zone will advance to the parish semi-finals.

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Published in Sports

Dela Vega FC have been awarded maximum points plus a three-nil goal margin over Old Harbour Bay after the latter failed to present player identification cards in their scheduled Major League game over the weekend at the Marlie Acres Community Sports Complex.

The situation was embarrassing for Linval Dixon, head coach of Old Harbour Bay, one of the favourites to win the premier football competition in St Catherine sponsored by FLOW.

“When you prepare your team for a game and to come on the day no ID, goes to the show the quality in terms of management is not where it ought to be. It’s really frustrating knowing that you just give away three points like that. It’s really sloppy. How can you have a team and management doesn’t know where the IDs are,” said a clearly upset Dixon, a former national player and experienced coach.

Attempts by Old Harbour Bay officials in seeking a compromise for the game to play fell through as referee Michael Findlay officially called off the game at approximately 3:58 pm.

It was not a case of capitalizing on an opportunity created by their opponents, argued Zekiel Simpson, technical director of Dela Vega.

“First thing we are governed by rules which say if you don’t have any ID the game can’t play. I think the approach by the Old Harbour Bay officials and the referee was wrong. We have been here warming up long before three o’clock and nobody said anything to us. So we have been left in the dark. It’s a consensus decision because the team wants to go forward,” he told Old Harbour News.

“We don’t consider it as three easy points. We prepared for this Old Harbour Bay team. Old Harbour Bay is one of the best teams currently in the Major League, so playing them would have really tell us where we are at the moment. We come here to play football.”

With the result, Dela Vega leapfrogged Old Harbour Bay by a point to lead Zone B with seven points. In the overall table, Dela Vega lead Federal on goal difference after the latter clipped New Raiders 1-0, while Old Harbour slipped to third in the 12-team standing.

In other matches played over the weekend, Newland came away from Christian Pen 1-0 victors, while Dunbeholden suffered their third consecutive defeat of the season, losing 2-1 at home to Portsmouth.

The league continues on November 20 with two fourth-round games at the Spanish Town Prison Oval. At 4:00 pm Dela Vega play Dunbeholden before Royal Lakes square off with Portsmouth in the 6:00 pm feature.

The final set of games in round four will be played on November 21 with Newland hosting Fraziers Whip, Christian Pen travelling to Chedwin Park to play Federal United, GC Foster entertaining New Raiders and Old Harbour Bay playing Tru Juice FC at Knollis. Start time for all matches is 3:00 pm.

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Published in Sports
Monday, 12 October 2015 15:07

Man shot 12 times in Old Harbour Bay murder

A 30 year-old man from Old Harbour Bay was shot dead yesterday morning by unknown assailants.

Dead is Zico Williams, who was shot 12 times in the upper body in a section of the community known as Bay Bottom at about 10:45 am.

Allegations are that some 24 hours prior to the killing of Williams, otherwise called Sion, he was involved in an argument with another person(s) from the community. It is further alleged that an official complaint was then lodged at the police regarding a threat made by Williams.

Old Harbour News was informed by the police that officer went in search of Williams to advise him against executing the allege threats but was unable to locate him.

Investigators are yet to establish a motive behind the killing of Williams which is the second in two months in the Old Harbour Bay Division.

Investigations continue.


Published in News

The police say they intend to launch a probe into attempted rape claims made by residents of Old Harbour Bay.

The matter was one the high points raised last Thursday during a police/public forum held at the Old Harbour Bay Primary School.

According to the residents, on three separate occasions there have been instances of women being attacked by a “masked man” at a bus stop near the primary school.

All three incidents happened late in the night or moments before day break during last month, residents say.

One man recalled how he had to rush to the rescue of a woman who was being hauled into bushes by a male. Having heard screams for help and rape, the man said, with his machete in hand, the masked man quickly release the woman and escape through the school compound.

To the surprise of the local police it is the first time they are hearing of these particular incidents, as none of the women who were attacked made a formal report to the police.

However, head of the Old Harbour Bay Police Station, Inspector McDonald says the location, which is in need of lighting, will be given special attention.

Meanwhile DSP David White, commanding officer in charge of the Old Harbour Division, informed vendors at the meeting that vending is prohibited at the school gate, while urging sellers to ply their wares at the Old Harbour Bay or the Old Harbour markets.

This, DSP White said, was a directive coming out of a series of meetings with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of National Security, following allegations of some vendors acting as facilitators in violent clashes involving students at a number of schools across the island. Additionally, some vendors are operating illegally as they are without the requisite vending licence and food handler’s permit.

He said the police will soften its stance temporarily against vending at the school pending a tour of several areas in the division by the St Catherine Parish Council.

Forty-two vendors have been arrested so far since the police started its agressive campaign against illegal street vending in the Old Harbour Division, DSP White said.


Published in News

Thirty-year-old labourer Kerete ‘Bigga’ Desouza was shot and killed by an unknown assailant in Narine Lane, Old Harbour Bay last night at about 10:20.

Reports are that Desouza, who also lives in Narine Lane, was at a friend’s gate when he was approached and shot several times.

He was later pronounced dead at the Spanish Town Hospital.

Desouza’s death in the second murder and third shooting recorded in Narine Lane for 2015. His death has come as a shock to the community. Community members described Desouza, who would have celebrated his birthday on September 4, as a quiet and soft-spoken man who was not a known troublemaker. He was a dedicated father and provider especially towards his 13-year-old daughter who did very well in her Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) this year and will be attending The Queens High School.

His daughter is said to be deeply traumatized by his death and is undergoing counseling with the aid of relatives and friends.

A motive is yet to be established for the killing. Police investigation continues.


Published in News

The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is reporting that its power generation teams have now completed the overhaul of one of the three generating units, located at the Old Harbour Power Plant in St. Catherine.

The 65MW capacity facility (Unit 3), which produces on average 320,000 megawatt hours of electricity per annum, was taken out of service in April of this year, to facilitate the rehabilitation exercise.

The project represents an investment by JPS of US$8.55 million or J$1.035 billion, and will result in a five per cent improvement in the reliability of the unit, as well as enhanced efficiency in the use of fuel. It should be noted that the renewed unit will now operate as efficiently as it did when originally purchased.

Old Harbour’s Unit 3, produces enough electricity to power 130,000 households per annum – assuming a household consumption rate of 200 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. The company was however able to allow this unit to be out of commission, due to the preparation of other units for maximum performance, as well as coordination with the country’s Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

The rehabilitation exercise, which lasted close to 100 days, saw JPS providing employment for more than 150 local personnel.

The company’s vice president of generation, Joseph Williams, assures that “JPS will continue to focus on enhancing the reliability and fuel efficiency of its power plants, as a means of containing the cost of energy and improving the reliability of service to customers”.

Published in Business News

The public beach at Old Harbour Bay is among 14 such beaches across the island earmarked for major development by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

Through its national beach development programme (NBDP), the TEF said the estimated $250 million initiative aims to equip these public beaches with recreational facilities for the enjoyment of locals and visitors to the island.

“This programme will involve the upgrading and upkeep of at least one beach from each parish,” said TEF executive director, Clyde Harrison at a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank on June 2.

Others beaches identified under the programme include: Burwood, Trelawny; Providence Park, Montego Bay; Norman Manley Beach Park, Negril; Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth; Salem, St. Ann; and Boston in Portland.

Each facility will be equipped with children play areas; seating with tables; picnic areas and gazebos; restrooms and changing rooms; adequate parking; lifeguard towers; and utilities, inclusive of running water and electricity.

“We want to include kiosks for the comfort of the visitors and we want to make these as natural as possible so it does not take away from the beach and tropical feel….where possible we want to have concessionaires. For some beaches, we are even thinking of dual futsal (5-a-side football) and beach volleyball courts, and facility for beach football,” Harrison informed.

He said designs have already been done for 10 of the beaches with work underway at Boston, Norman Manley, and Providence Park.

The TEF Executive Director pointed out that community consultations are taking place to sensitise persons about the programme and how they will benefit.

Chairman of the Old Harbour Development Area Committee Randy Finnikin says the announcement is timely and most welcomed.

“From an OHDAC perspective, we are pleased about the announcement,” Finnikin told Old Harbour News. “The plan coincides with what we have been doing here with regards to developing a cultural, heritage, community and environmental tourism model for Old Harbour. We certainly look forward to the consultation process of this well needed communal facility.”

According to Councillor of the Old Harbour South Division Peter Davis, about two months ago, a delegation led by Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill; Member of Parliament Everald Warmington and Chairman of the St Catherine Parish Council Mayor Norman Scott, toured the beach at Old Harbour Bay.

Cllr Davis said a roof has already been affixed to the bathroom, while flowers and grass were planted. He could not however provide a timeline for the Old Harbour Bay facility but informed Old Harbour News that the area will also be the site for a marine police post.

In terms of maintenance, the TEF executive said the plan is to make these areas self-sustaining, through provision of water sports and other activities at a cost, in order to cover operational expenses.


Published in News
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