Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Monday, 04 December 2017 17:06

Usain Bolt immortalized in statue

Sprint legend Usain Bolt, arguably the greatest athlete of all times, has been immortalized with a statue in his honour in Kingston, Jamaica.

At a ceremony, led by Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness among other luminaries including the iconic Bolt himself, an eight-foot bronze statue was unveiled at Statue Park at the entrance of the National Stadium.

Bolt’s statue, sculpted by renowned artist Basil Watson, will now share eternal space with many of the country’s athletics great such as Herb McKinley, Merlene Ottey and Donald Quarrie.

“Never did I feel that I would be in this moment, as big as it is now, among statues at the National Stadium where it all began,” said Bolt, winner of six individual Olympic gold medals and seven individual world titles.

Bolt, the world record holder for the 100m and 200m, added: “This is why I always encourage everybody. Anything is possible, no limits. Because at no point in time did I ever think I would achieve this much, but I've always pushed on and stayed focused for what I want.”

In a video message during the ceremony, IAAF President Sebastian Coe acknowledged the impact Bolt has had on athletics.

“Usain has changed the face of our sport,” said Coe. “His has been an extraordinary career which has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, good sportsmanship and professionalism.

“His career has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, outstanding sportsmanship and professionalism, all of which has made him a global superstar.

“Usain may have left the track but I know he will never leave the sport and we look forward to working closely with him on the next part of his journey in the greatest sport on the planet,” added Coe. “On behalf of the world of athletics, thank you to a giant of world sport who has made an immense contribution to athletics worldwide.”

While lauding the achievements of the sprinter, Prime Minister Holness says it’s important that the National Stadium is upgraded to world class status to hosts world class events and nurture more Usain Bolts for the future.

Published in Sports
The following is an open letter from the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the government by the Jamaica in response to the recent passing of the National Identification and Registration (NIDS) Bill.

The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) expresses profound disappointment and unease over the passage of the National Identification and Registration (NIDS) legislation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday November 21, 2017. In passing this legislation the Prime Minister and members of Government have totally ignored the plea of nearly 50,000 Jamaicans persons who have petitioned for a halt to the process.

We continue to hold the view that most Jamaicans are unaware of the intent and impact of this legislation, which will have far-reaching consequences for how Jamaican society functions. Most Jamaicans are unaware that this legislation which will affect their existing freedoms as citizens of this nation has been imposed on them with an $8 billion debt which they will have to repay.

It is reasonable to expect a democratically elected Government to engage with the electorate, prior to the passage of legislation, particularly one of this magnitude which has serious and long-term social and financial implications. It was this consideration which caused the JCHS to adopt the viewpoint that the Bill should have been sent to a Joint Select Committee and that widespread consultations and analysis, with the public, and not merely with selected stakeholders, should have been done.

The JCHS remains concerned about the mandatory nature of the legislation and the punishment which will be imposed for non-compliance. Of particular concern is the fact, that in time, persons who are not enrolled, including children, will be denied access to services provided by public bodies. This includes education and police, fire and legal aid services.

We therefore urge Jamaicans in Jamaica and in the Diaspora to raise and continue to voice their objections to this legislation and to find all legitimate ways of making their voices heard.

Published in News
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 16:10

Restore Colbeck Castle - Andrew Holness

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has requested the National Housing Trust (NHT) to restore the historic Colbeck Castle in St. Catherine.

Mr. Holness said the castle belongs to the people of the parish, and the NHT, the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) must work to reclaim its value.

He was addressing the ground-breaking ceremony for the Villages of Colbeck Castle Phases one and two housing development in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, on July 14.

The Prime Minister said buildings such as Colbeck Castle can better serve their purpose when they are restored and protected, rather than left in ruin, where they can be vandalised.

“We should restore these buildings, and have them functional, so that people can live within their walls. When the buildings are used, they are better preserved,” the Prime Minister said.

Colbeck and Colbeck Castle were named after John Colbeck, who received a grant of 1,340 acres of land as a reward for helping the English capture Jamaica in 1665. At different points in history, Colbeck produced sugar and tobacco.

The castle is owned by the JNHT, and became a national monument in 1985, and declared a heritage site in 1990.

The housing development will incorporate the historical artefacts of Colbeck, which include an aqueduct, wheelhouse and two structures.

Published in News

Prime Minister Andrew Holness headlines the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for ‘The Orchards’ – 136 hectare housing development beside the Chedwin Park sports facility at Innswood, St Catherine.

The ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 am on Thursday, April 28, 2016, while the development is a joint venture arrangement involving the Sugar Company of Jamaica Holdings (SCJH) Limited and Rivi Gardner & Associates.

Holness and other key figures will break ground in the presence of several government ministers, including Member of Parliament Andrew Wheatley, private and public sector business leaders, stakeholders and community members.

When complete, The Orchards will deliver over 700 two-bedroom units to a target market of middle income and public sector workers. This remarkable project is managed by Asco Project Consultants and delivery of 279 homes in the first of three phases is scheduled for January 2017.

“Prices range from $10.75 million to $12.5 mllion, subject to escalation. House sizes range from 773.5 – 983.5 sq.ft and the lot sizes range from 4,000 – 6,000 sq. ft,” said a release from the SCJH.

The development will be characterized by a number of orchards and functional amenities including an almost 2km walkway along the main road as well as a club house and other recreational/sporting amenities.

Additionally, residents of The Orchards will enjoy an adjacent commercial development of over 62,000 square-feet which will includes supermarket, pharmacy and other retail stores and office spaces.

Rivi Gardner and Associates is a leading architectural and planning firm in Jamaica with over 30 years experience in the design and management of residential and commercial developments.

SCJ Holdings Limited is a wholly owned agency of the Government of Jamaica, and its mission is to provide efficient land management services that will foster sustainable, economic and social development in former sugar-dependent communities.

The Orchards is one of many public/private partnership initiatives of the SCJH.

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Published in Business News
INAUGURAL ADDRESS

SWEARING-IN CEREMONY OF

THE MOST HON. ANDREW MICHAEL HOLNESS, ON, MP

AS PRIME MINISTER OF JAMAICA

MARCH 3, 2016

Partnership for Prosperity

(Check Against Delivery)

Salutations

Your Excellencies, the Governor General, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen; Leader of the Opposition the Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller; Former Prime Ministers:The Most Honorable Edward Seaga and Mrs. Seaga; The Most Honorable PJ Patterson; The Honorable Bruce Golding and Mrs. Golding.

My fellow Jamaicans

Good afternoon.

Introductory Remarks

I recognize that I stand here today only by the Grace of God. It has not been an easy journey to this podium, but earnest labour and fervent prayers conquer all. To God be the glory.

It is with a deep sense of gratitude, honour and humility that I took the Oath of Office moments ago, fully conscious of the magnitude of expectations and responsibility I have assumed, but equally energized and optimistic about a prosperous future for Jamaica. I pledge to serve the people of Jamaica faithfully, with all of my energies, all of my heart, mind and soul.

I stand here today happy to be representing the voice, vision, vote and victory of Jamaica.

We may have different voices and different votes on a similar vision, regardless of our differences, Jamaica was victorious at the General Elections. It is not perfect, but we can all be proud of the people, systems and institutions that make up our democracy.

Meaning of the Mandate

On the day of Election, I witnessed a young man carrying, cradled in his arm, an obviously bed-ridden elderly man from a polling station. I was touched by the sight. In the bustle of the busy school yard, as they passed, the elderly man pointed his ink stained finger at me and said, “Andrew, do the right thing!”

I stand here humbled by the awesome power of you, the people, and I commit to doing right by you. The people are sovereign and their views and votes must never be taken for granted.

The people of Jamaica did not vote in vain. They expect a government that works for them and by the same expectation, an Opposition that is constructive. This historic election delivered the smallest majority but also the clearest mandate: Fix Government!

With this mandate:There is no majority for arrogance;There is no space for selfishness; There is no place for pettiness;There is no room for complacency and There is no margin for error.

Published in Feature

In a broadcast to the nation this evening, leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness blasted the governing People's National Party (PNP) while outlining several reasons why the electorate should elect his administration on February 25, 2016, the date Jamaicans will vote to elect a new government.

See below full transcript for Mr Holness' presentation.

My fellow Jamaicans, it is decision time. One choice is to keep things as they are…stagnant: no jobs, no economic growth, a broken health systems, the sliding dollar, but above all, a government that fails to protect its citizens, hold its officials to account, and inspire hope.

The government points to passing IMF tests as the main reason to keep them in power, which means keeping things as they are. To pass the IMF tests the government uses a tax and cut strategy. They reach in to our pockets, take more taxes and cut spending below what is required on the things that are important to us. And after increasing our taxes and suppressing our wages, the government now wants to charge fees for schools and hospitals.

Don't be deceived, it is the hardship you endured as taxpayers and workers that passed the IMF test. You are my persons of the year.

There are more tests to come and that is why they want an election before the new Budget is read. What are they hiding? According to the ninth IMF review, if the government maintains the current tax and cut strategy to pass the tests, tougher measures will have to be implemented to reduce the wage bill. For many this means job cuts and more taxes?

The government must come clean before the election and tell the people what is the real deal? What is the real deal with the Job creation test, they have failed that, what is the real deal with the economic growth test, they have failed that, what is the real deal with the health test, they have failed that again and again. What is the real deal with just being able to afford the basics of life, they have failed you!

There is hope, the Jamaica Labour Party has a plan to pass your tests, create jobs, and pay down the debt at the same time. As observed by President Obama when he visited last year, the best way to do this is to grow our economy really fast. We cannot continue to deprive and tax ourselves into poverty. Instead we must grow into prosperity. Prosperity means a bubbling economy creating jobs, and giving you the power and independence in your hands to improve your life.

The Jamaica Labour Party is serious about growing the economy and creating jobs, this is our track record, this is what makes us different from the Government. We have the prosperity plan to grow the economy, create real jobs and improve your life. Here’s how:

1. We will reform government and establish a Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

This ministry will ensure that investments are rapidly facilitated to avoid government obstacles, such as one agency giving approval to mine sand for the construction of a hotel and another agency placing a stops order on the activity. That doesn't make any sense.

This ministry will cultivate public private partnerships, to creatively bring to life economic opportunities. It will ensure the coordination of resources to minimize red tape and maximize synergies and efficiencies.

2. We will immediately restore the benefits at the Junior Stock Market to grow equity financing for the expansion of small to medium size businesses, as they form the stable base for job creation.

3. We are committed in principle and practice to real reform of the tax system. This means leaving you with more of your income to save or invest. This means lower taxes and a business friendly tax system. We will again reduce transfer taxes, stamp duties, estate taxes, and as our economy grows. To help our economy grow and help you take care of your families, we will get rid personal income tax for everyone who earns a gross salary of JA$1.5m or less. So nurses, policemen and women, teachers, public sector workers, and young people starting out, the Jamaica Labour Party will give you a break, because we know you need one.

4. Apart from divestment of loss making government entities to which we are already committed, we will list on the Jamaica Stock Exchange several state owned enterprises such as the UDC and Factories Corporation. They all have significant asset bases which can be properly packaged and placed on the stock market with realistic investment plans would unleash the economic and job creation potential latent in these assets.

5. Jamaica’s water infrastructure is inadequate, we will fix it. We will make strategic capital investments in water. Jamaica is not short of water, this government does not know how to manage our water. There are still too many households and farms without reliable water supply. The investment in water will reduce the impact of drought on the economy, but it will also boost agriculture and housing construction. This is an example of synergy in our economic growth plan.

6. We will reform the NHT, the Housing Agency and the Mortgage Bank to expand affordable housing construction and reduce interest rates on mortgages. We will create a special intergenerational 50 to 60 year mortgage which will make home ownership and payments easier. It is the Jamaican dream to own a home, whether you are a household helper or a young professional, and the Jamaica Labour Party help you make that dream come true..

7. We will create a special council of investment ambassadors who will be tasked to specially seek out large investors from all over the world and bring them to Jamaica. Jamaica must improve its international profile as an investment destination and not merely as an emerging market to lend money. We will complete the work we started to develop Jamaica as an International Business Centre. All our foreign missions will be tasked for economic diplomacy as the main objective. Our foreign policy must support our economic priorities.

8. Economic growth must mean jobs for our people. While we will seek investments that match the available skill sets, we are committed to improving the skills of Jamaicans to attract high value investments to sustain long term economic growth. Among other human resource development plans, we are particularly excited about our compulsory education and skills policy. All your young people who are not in a job or currently in school will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, and attitude through a National Apprenticeship Programme and a National Service Programme, where they earn stipend and gain work experience and certification.

9. We will advance Jamaica as a digital society. An important step on this part is to digitize all government records, and business processes. This will improve the efficiency and accessibility of government. And this is just one area in which we will employ the young people we have trained under the national apprenticeship and service programmes . This is an example of our coordinated economic growth and job creation strategy.

10. We will revitalize and rebuild our town centres and cities. There is so much value lying idle in our real estate in blighted urban areas. However government has to lead the way with a clear, vision, policy and commitment to partnering with the private sector to get this done. We will start with the redevelopment of the Kingston waterfront and market district. And as another example of our coordinated thinking, this will be partially funded by the listing of the UDC on the stock market.

These are just 10 of the many innovative and exciting things we will do to place Jamaica on the path to economic growth and job creation, the path to prosperity. The Jamaica Labour Party is united, strong and ready to give you good government and real chance for progress. The decision is yours, continue with things stagnant as they are, or grasps the opportunity to join with us in a Partnership for Prosperity and change things for the better. Choose prosperity.

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Published in Commentary

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) wound down its election campaign for the year with a gospel concert in Old Harbour last Sunday.

The event which ended close to midnight also saw the opposition leader and party president Andrew Holness unveiling all 63 candidates who will contest the next general election, constitutionally due in December 2016, but is anticipated to be called early into the new year.

Scores of green-clad labourites converged en masse at the headquarters of St Catherine South West member of parliament Everald Warmington in yet another display of party unity and strength.

We bring you some highlights courtesy of Peter Simmonds of Mystic5 Photo and Multimedia Services.

To view more photos visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/oldharbournews

Published in News

Andrew Holness, the embattled leader of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party believes “Jamaica will be better” off in light of the recent court ruling against his removal of senators Dr Christopher Tufton and Arthur Williams.

In a brief interview with Old Harbour News yesterday following a tour of the constituency of St Catherine South West, Holness says he accepts the ruling of the court but the matter is far from reaching finality.

On February 6 the court ruled that Holness’ action was unconstitutional, unlawful and null and void in ousting the two senators, who pre-signed undated resignation letters upon being appointed to the Senate. The ruling has triggered calls in some quarters for Holness to resign but the defiant leader sees the decision of the court as the beginning of a process that will improve Jamaica’s democracy and that in the future Jamaicans will have a better appreciation of how the matter was resolved.

Holness also believes the present structure didn’t provide an alternate option in how he went about removing both senators, which has opinions split even within his own party.

But with the possibility of Local Government elections being called by the governing People’s National Party (PNP) Holness seems more focused on rallying the party base as they were soundly beaten at the last poll.

Click audio to listen interview.

Editor’s Note: The interview was cut short as we were told that Mr. Holness had to leave for another engagement. However, Mrs. Sharon Hay-Webster did informed Old Harbour News that the Party Leader did meet separately with Mr. Arthur Williams and Dr Christopher Tufton after the court ruled that his action was unconstitutional.

Published in News

Scores of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters formed a large convoy as Party Leader Andrew Holness toured the constituency of St Catherine South West yesterday.

The procession piloted by Member of Parliament Everald Warmington went through the communities of Spring Village, Old Harbour Glades and Burke Road before anchoring in Old Harbour Bay where he also addressed party loyalists.

With talks of possible Local Government elections being called this year, Holness reiterated to supporters the importance of turning out in large numbers on Election Day.

He reminded faithfuls that the founding principles established by its founder Sir Alexander Bustamante are still relevant in the modern era and urged labourites to support him in ensuring that those core values are upheld.

The JLP controls only one of four divisions in St Catherine South West after Councillor Esworth Frankson crossed over to the PNP last year.

Click audio to play.

Published in News

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