Festival Celebrations Everywhere As Resignations Continue

Review of major events of the week ending Saturday, August 4.

Emancipendence Celebrations

Festival Celebrations — as the backdrop to Emancipation Day and Independence Day – were in top gear during the week just ended with events all over the country. One of the biggest was the crowning of the 2018 Festival Queen in St Andrew. The title was won by St. Mary’s Akeera Gowie on Wednesday night. Shante Grant of Hanover was awarded second-place and Chris-Ann Douglas of St. James, 3rd place.

Jamaica Today also reported on the opening of the Independence Village that ran for several days at the National Arena. Another big event was the annual observation of ‘Full Free’ or Emancipation Day Jubilee at the Seville Heritage Park in St Ann.

As the week came to a close there were more events lined up around Independence Day itself (Monday, August 6), plus continuing private celebrations.

RESIGNATIONS

The past week was one of significant resignations, surrounding the Ministry of Science and Technology. The previous week had ended with Carolyn Warren tendering her resignation from National Energy Solutions. As more allegations swirled around entities under the ministry, Minister of Science and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley handed in his resignation to the Prime Minister Monday. Later in the week Trevor Forrest, chairman of the Spectrum Management Authority (in the Science and Technology Ministry) also resigned. He had been accused of exceeding his authority by seeking to insert a candidate into an application process for a job at Spectrum after the closing date for the applications.

Dr Wheatley’s departure as minister left the Prime Minister with a vacancy to fill for Energy, Science and Technology. Responsibility for the Energy portfolio had earlier been removed from Dr Wheatley by Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Mr Holness said he would fill the vacancy in two weeks.

BEHEADING

Twenty-two-year-old Keneine Hall was decapitated when he reportedly went to visit his depressed friend on Sunday, July 29. The friend was allegedly depressed over a recent break up of a relationship and it was reported that Hall went to console him. It is believe d that the man later chopped and killed another resident from the community, Rupert Lewis before he was shot and killed by members of a police party he attacked.

CLARENDON VIOLENCE

Two men were shot and killed by police in Clarendon during a confrontation. One of the officers involved in a confrontation that led to the death or the two was shot and treated at hospital. The officers recovered two firearms and ammunition in the operation 

LIFE IN PRISON 

A 37-year-old St. Catherine man, Simeon Miller has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of four people in St.  Catherine four years ago. He will not be eligible for parole until he is age 72 years old.

DUMP FIRES AND RELOCATION

The government said it will assist in relocating the 22 families that live near the Retirement Dump in St. James. The authorities are also moving to better secure all dumps, including Riverton where a fire was put out last week. The fire blanketed the surrounding communities with smoke for days. NSWMA and Local Government officers are suggesting that several recent fires have been deliberately set by people who live on the dump or who scavenge there for a living.

CRASHES

Two people were killed in separate crashes on Emancipation Day. Karen Lewis of St. Catherine was killed on the Newland Main Road in Portmore. All six occupants of her vehicle were thrown out after an successful overtaking attempt. The other five were reported to be in serious conditions. Also, Houston Jackson from St Ann was hit off his motorcycle at Old Folly, Discovery Bay. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

NIDS

The public will be able to comment on NIDS regulations. Though the date is not set as yet for when the population will officially get the chance to give it’s feedback, Chief Technical Director in the Office of the Prime Minister Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart said it will take approximately three years to complete enrollment of at least 80 per cent  of the population.

POLITICS

Raymond Pryce was selected on Sunday by the executive of the North Central St James constituency to be the party’s standard bearer in a seat now represented by Marlene Malahoo Forte of the JLP. 

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