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Man given life sentence for raping eight year-old child

Man given life sentence for raping eight year-old child

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Oct 3, CMC – A 34-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of raping an eight year old child three years ago.

The Court heard that David Alexander, who opted not to endure a trial and entered the guilty plea before Justice JoAnn Barlow started the case, committed the offence on February 24, 2015.

“Guilty with explanation…” the accused said, and his attorney, Clyde Forde, said that his client claimed that at the time of the incident he was drunk and cannot remember all that occurred on the day of the incident.

He offered an apology to the Court and his victim.

“He was just 31 at that time living with his brother and has no previous convictions.” Forde said, adding that his client saved the court much judicial time and pleaded with the judge to consider the factors and exercise justice with mercy.

In her letter to the Court, the young victim expressed her ongoing hurt over the incident, explaining that it was something she will never forget. The child said she thought she was about to be killed.

Before handing down her sentence, Justice Barlow said being drunk cannot be an excuse for the crime committed.

She said that the child was traumatized by the incident and had to undergo surgeries for the injuries she sustained during the heinous act.

“In this case there is no mitigating circumstance because of the damage done,” she said, adding that when consuming alcohol, a man must remain in control of his faculties and that is no excuse for causing damage, especially to that of an eight-year-old.

The judge said that while in prison, Alexander should be exposed to counselling sessions, classes for alcohol problems and use his time to reflect on what he had done.

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Women’s group disappointed at acquittal of police officer on kidnapping and sex charges

Women’s group disappointed at acquittal of police officer on kidnapping and sex charges

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 3, CMC – The non-organisation organisation, Women Against Rape (WAR), has expressed disappointment at the decision that led to a police prosecutor accused of kidnapping and having sex with a 13 year-old child being able to walk free earlier this week.

“At age 13 there was a charge…how come now at this point in time there’s an acquittal when at age 13 the person was charged with an offence, granted that being charged with an offence does not mean that the person is guilty of an offence, so we need to look at all of those ramifications,” said WAR president Alexandrina Wong.

The girl had told the court that she no longer wanted to continue with the case against the police officer after she had spoken with her mother, counsellor and guardian.

She told Justice Keith Thom that she has forgiven the accused, and had she been in his shoes, she would have wanted to be forgiven as well.

The child, who is now a ward of the state, having been removed from her parents’ care, said she understood the seriousness of the allegations before the court which include one count of kidnapping and two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse – the latter is an offence which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Crown Counsel Shannon told the court that the girl, who is now 15 years old, had also spoken to her about the incident and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Anthony Armstrong had asked for the Directorate of Gender Affairs to be involved and to offer counselling to the teen.

As a result of the request from the teen not to proceed with the trial, the prosecution withdrew the charges, and the cop of over a decade service, walked out the court, free of all the allegations.

The police officer had been charged after the investigations had revealed that on July 26, 2016, during the Carnival celebrations that the child was working with a woman who sent her to a shop nearby.

While on the way, the officer allegedly approached the teen, whom he knew, and told her to join him in his vehicle and when she did not, he forced her inside and took her to his home. There, he allegedly engaged her in sex even though she was 13 and the age of consent is 16.

The following day, he allegedly reached out to her and she went to his home where he again, allegedly had sex with her contrary to the Sexual Offences Act which sets out the age of consent.

Wong, speaking on a radio programme here, said her organisation intends to “find out what led to this acquittal”.

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Search continues for missing American child and Jamaican national

Search continues for missing American child and Jamaican national

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 23, CMC – The search is expected to resume Thursday for a five-year-old American national,  who was due to return home today, but has been missing since Tuesday after going on a raft up the Martha Brae River that winds through Jamaica’s tropical inland rain forests.

Members of the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard divers and raftmen are searching for Jace Jones of Massachusetts, United States and 65-year-old Llewellyn Reid, also known as “Bagga Jagga” of Zion in Trelawny.

(File Photo)

Media reports said that on Tuesday afternoon, Reid was navigating a raft down the river with the five-year-old boy, three male siblings — ages ranging from five to nine — and their female cousin when the five-year-old fell off the raft. Reid jumped into the water to save the child but got into difficulties and is feared dead.

The children were eventually rescued from the raft after it drifted to a section of the river bank.

Wesley Innis, the grandfather of the American boy, said life jackets had been put on the children before they went on the raft.

The five-year-old and his two older brothers were visiting relatives on the island when they went to the popular attraction.

The operator of Rafter’s Village, Johnny Gourzong, described Reid as a very experienced rafter.

“This raft captain (Reid) is one of the most experienced. He was a good swimmer ,” he told the Observer newspaper.

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DSC_7607

Cricket is big in Montserrat

Cricket is still popular in the West Indies, Caribbean, and in fact, stressed by Vernon Springer, Director of Cricket Operations in the Leeward Islands, “the only sport that provides a living for participants in the cricketing region”.

Although over several years crowd participation has dwindled particularly for the longer and traditional version of cricket (test cricket, not so much and 3-4 day territorial matches as they were called). So, the result is that what became popular and retained good viewership are the 50-over matches and T-20 games, with smaller attendance for the local settings.

 

This may now work to good advantage for Montserrat who received great accolades for hosting the just-concluded Under17 and Under19 Leeward Islands competition.

With the effort and support from a growing interest in the promotion of cricket, Springer reports that he is very satisfied and pleased that he did respond to local authorities and brought the Under17 and 19 cricket competitions to Montserrat, which took place at the two cricketing venues (Little Bay playing field and Salem Park) here between June 20 – July 3. The games were immediately followed by the selection and announcement (at a prize giving event) of the Under17 team that went on to play preparation matches at Salem Park – the new team vs the MNI Under19 team.

The team them moved on immediately to compete in the regional tournament in Trinidad, where as of today they were leading the points table after round 3.

A report from DiscoverMNI gives an overview of the competitions ending with the prize giving ceremony at Little Bay –

Montserrat wrapped up two weeks of wonderful cricket on Monday evening with a park full of sports lovers.

The government granted half -day to civil servants to allow them to go out to the Little Bay Park to support the local Under 19 team which had so far been on a winning streak. They were up against Antigua & Barbuda for the coveted LICB trophy.

This was the first time Montserrat hosted the tournament and LICB representative Vernon Springer said the competition for 2018 would not have happened if the government and people had not stepped up.

Springer commended the work of Adrian Edgecombe of Live Island Events who streamed the matches from the Little Bay Park. ZJB and local sports enthusiasts provided commentary, (which reports say provided hundred thousands of views.)

Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo was on hand for the closing. He said he was proud at the success of the tournament and thanked those who worked in front and behind the scenes to make it happen. He acknowledged the work of the Minister of Sports, the cricket association and the sponsors. He thanked the cricketers who made the historic event happen and lifted the spirits of the people of Montserrat.

Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Gregory Willock said the island hosted two well organised tournaments. He extended greetings on behalf of His Excellency Governor Andrew ‘Andy’ Pearce, who extended his congratulations to all.

Hon. Min of Sports Delmaude Ryan added similar well wishes for the athletes.

The Cricket Operations Director Springer sent in the following:

“Let me on behalf of the Leeward Islands Cricket Board say thanks to the entire Montserrat Media for your support first in the U-17 and also the U-19.”

Before leaving the Island this weekend, Springer hinted that subject to approval – the senior L Is tournament will come to Montserrat in September.

Here are some Results first for the U-19 Closing Ceremony.”

The Omari Banks MVP for Anguila U-19 Demari Benta.

The Ralston Otto MVP for Antigua & Barbuda U-19 Uri Smith.

The Edgar Gilbert/Cyril Puntan Webster MVP for St Kitts U-19 Mikyle Louis.

The Derick Parry MVP for Nevis U-19 Kian Pemberton.

The Lowell Mason MVP for Montserrat U-19 Zawandi White.

The Jim Allen Most Valuable Player of The LICB U-19 2018 Uri Smith (Antigua & Barbuda)

The Alford Corriette Batsman with the Most Runs LICB U-19 Mikyle Louis (St.Kitts)

The Lionel Baker Best Fast Bowler Award LICB U-19 Kian Pemberton (Nevis)

The Austin White Bowler with the Most Wickets LICB U-19 Kian Pemberton (Nevis)

The Kelvin Duberry Bowler with The Best Bowling Figures Jemuel Cabey (Montserrat)

The Auckland Hector Best Wicket-Keeper LICB U-19 Joshua Grant (Montserrat)

The Basil Morgan Best Umpire Award LICB U-19 (Donald Shekels) Antigua & Barbuda.

The Robert Jeffers Most Discipline LICB U-19 (Anguilla U-19)

Players Who Scored Centuries During The Leeward Islands U-19 2018

Mikyle Louis (St.KItts) 157 vs Anguilla.

Paul Miller (Antigua & Barbuda) 118 not out vs Nevis.

Joshua Grant (Montserrat) 110 not out vs Anguilla

Zawandi White (Montserrat) 102 vs Nevis.

Final Placing In The Leeward Islands U-19 2018 Championship 

Champion (Antigua & Barbuda)

LICB 2nd Place (Montserrat)

LICB 3rd Place (Nevis)

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youg footballers at FIFA f4f-media-1

Young Montserratians participated in Football For Friendship

Two young Montserratians returned home and after participating in the Football for Friendship Children’s Forum and Games in Moscow, Russia.  This was the Sixth Season of the Gazprom International Children’s social programme Football for Friendship.

The programme is supported by FIFA, UEFA, the UN, heads of the national football federations, as well as by the representatives of the government institutions. Over 300 journalists of the leading international media will arrive to Moscow for covering the final events of the programme.

Young footballer Vashirn Roach and Hayley-Shai Kassie attended with chaperones and officials from the Montserrat Football Association.

The Sixth Season of the programme was unique in its scale, as this year, 211 countries and regions worldwide participated in the event, representing 6 global continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, North America and South America.

1,500 children and their caregivers from around the world took part in the Forum. The total number of participants and guests topped 5,000. The Forum was attended by boys and girls including with disabilities as Young Players, Young Journalists and Young Coaches. All of them were united by a single common mission: the promotion of human values, such as friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, honour.

Kassie said being a Young Journalist at the international event “was a very enriching experience. I got to meet people of different cultural backgrounds from all over the world and despite the language barrier for some of them, we were able to become good friends and I still talk to some of them on a daily basis. I’m honoured to represent Montserrat and I am thankful for the company of Vashirn Roach, who looked out for me like a big brother. I just want to say thank you to the Montserrat Football Association for this wonderful opportunity.”

Based on the results of the Open Draw, 32 International Football Teams of Friendship were formed and named after rare and endangered animals, along with the positions of each Young Footballer (goalkeeper, back, halfback and forward) from 211 countries and regions. The teams formed under the «football for friendship» principle helped the children of various nationalities and cultures to find common ground and make compromises in the name of common victory.

Roach was randomly selected to be a Young Coach and ably led Team Lemur although they did not advance in the friendly matches.

All the football events of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship programme were also covered by the Young Journalists from the International Children’s Press Center. They had a chance not only to work as correspondents taking part in a live sports broadcasts, but also to learn from the well-known journalists representing the leading Russian sports media outlets as a part of their workshops.
The Young Journalists prepared the news together for the most important international media, published daily issues of the children’s Football for Friendship newspaper, wrote diaries, and posted on social media. The materials were prepared in 62 languages.

All the young participants of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship programme visited the Opening ceremony and the first match of 2018 FIFA World Cup 2018.

Posted in International, International Sports, Kids, Local, Local Sports, News, Regional, Regional Sports, Sports, Youth0 Comments

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of six governors who wrote the letter

Today’s the first family reunification deadline

 

Live Updates

By Meg Wagner and Brian Ries, CNN

Updated 1 min ago1:29 p.m. ET, July 6, 2018
15 min ago

What happens if a parent is deported without his or her kid?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

A US judge has ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border — but does that include kids with parents who have already been deported?

In their latest court filing, the government asked the court for clarity about whether officials need to reunite children with with deported parents, noting that the judge’s ruling did not specify whether deported parents should be included. If that is required, the filing said, officials would need more time “given the complexities involved in locating individuals who have been removed, determining whether they wish to be reunified with their child, and facilitating such a reunification outside of the United States.”

How common is this scenario? Asked about what would happen in such cases Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “If any parent has been deported … without their child, that likely would be a scenario where the parent had actually asked that the child remain.”

Immigration authorities are offering parents separated from their children at the border the option to be deported with or without their kids, according to a government document obtained by CNN this week.

Parents have also been offered the option to sign voluntary departure orders to speed up their cases even if they still have other legal options — and told they’ll be reunited with their kids before they are deported if they do.

Immigrant advocacy groups say they’re concerned that some parents may have been coerced or may have signed documents they didn’t understand.

Governors from 6 states want answers to these 6 questions about separated children

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of six governors who wrote the letter

Governors from six states — New York, Washington, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Oregon — sent a letter Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen “demanding answers concerning the reunification of immigrant families separated at the border,” according to a press release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. 

The letter demands that the following six questions be answered:

  1. How many separated migrant children in HHS custody have already been reunified? 
  2. Of those children who have already been reunified, how many have been placed with the parents they arrived with at the U.S. southern border?
  3. If any were placed with a non-parent sponsor, what policies do your agencies intend to put in place to enable long-term reunification between children and their parents? 
  4. What steps is the federal government requiring separated parents to comply with before gaining back custody of their children?
  5. What safeguards are being put in place to ensure the results of any DNA testing of parents and children are not used for any purpose other than familial verification?
  6. How many of the separated migrant children in HHS custody have been provided with legal services and representation?

How many families have been reunited?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

The only firm statistics we’ve gotten from officials about reunions came from US Customs and Border Protection, which said last month that 522 children who were separated from their family’s under the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy had been reunited with their parents. 

Important note: That number came before a judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border.

Federal agencies have repeatedly declined to respond to questions since the court ruling about how many families have been reunited.

34 min ago

What steps is the government taking to meet reunification deadlines?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

US District Judge Dana Sabraw last month ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border — and laid out a series of deadlines in his ruling.

By Friday, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child. By July 10, children under 5 must be reunited with their parents. And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.

In a court filing ahead of today’s status hearing, the government outlined a series of steps it’s taking to comply with the court order, including

  • DNA testing
  • Increased staffing
  • Expediting existing processes. 

It’s likely more details will come out during the hearing.

 
53 min ago

Mike Pence attacks Democrats for calls to abolish ICE

From CNN’s Liz Landers

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in DC, blamed Democrats for “reckless” language calling to abolish ICE.

“Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the Mayor of New York City have all already called for ICE’s abolition,” he told ICE officers gathered in a conference room here in DC. 

“These spurious attacks by political leaders on ICE must stop,” he said to some applause in the room.

What this is about: Gillibrand called for an end to ICE last month, and Warren called on the US replace it with “something that reflects our morality.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, “ICE’s time has come and gone.”

Watch more from Pence:

This group says they were hung up on when they called looking for detention center information

From CNN’s Nick Valencia

The executive director of a Texas non-profit group tells CNN that the organization has faced significant hurdles as they work to reunite parents with their children.

Jonathan Ryan, with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (also known as RAICES), said representatives from his group have been hung up on when they call detention centers seeking information.

He added that he was turned away Thursday when he tried pay bonds for five women at a detention center.

“There are five women who should be free right now,” Ryan told CNN. “We were rejected at the front desk because we didn’t have bus tickets and airport tickets for them.”

Ryan says he hopes to pay the bonds for the five women today.

A little about this group: RAICES is the intended recipient of several online fundraisers that’s collecting money to help reunite the families, including one that has already raised more than $20 million.

You can learn more about the organization here.

2 hr 34 min ago

The government won’t say exactly how many kids are separated from their families

From CNN’s Clare Foran

The Department of Health and Human on Thursday estimated that there are fewer than 3,000 kids who may have been separated from their parents are in government custody.

But 10 days ago, the department reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care.

During a Thursday call with reporters, HHS Secretary Alex Azar did not provide an exact number of children separated from families, but said “a review and comprehensive audit of multiple data sets” indicated that fewer than 3,000 total children — including an estimated 100 under the age of 5 — are in the care of Office of Refugee Resettlement-funded grantees. 

Watch more:

They were separated on Mother’s Day. 55 days later, this mom and daughter were reunited

From CNN’s Ray Sanchez and Linh Tran

She wept as she embraced her 8-year-old daughter Thursday afternoon at Boston’s Logan Airport, more than 2,500 miles from the Arizona detention center where Gonzalez-Garcia said an immigration agent wished her a “Happy Mother’s Day” before the girl was taken from her without explanation.

 

“Forgive me for leaving you all alone,” Gonzalez-Garcia cried. “Forgive me, my daughter. Forgive me.”

“I was very nervous,” Gonzalez-Garcia told CNN in an exclusive interview. “I was waiting for the moment she walked through that door. … She is all I have. She is my whole life. It’s been so long.”

Watch the moment:

4 hr 7 min ago

Government may ask court for extension on reunification deadlines

The Justice Department has informed a federal judge in San Diego that the administration is in compliance with stopping family separations, except under prescribed conditions (such as the safety of the child), as well as ensuring communication with separated parents and children by today. 

There’s a hearing in San Diego this afternoon, and the DOJ said the government may ask for extended deadlines. Officials laid out certain challenges in meeting the reunification deadlines of July 10 for children under age 5 and July 26 for children over 5.  

In the court filing, the government says in order to confirm parentage, the department of Health and Human Services is using DNA testing which can take time, and asks if the court will permit reunifications outside of the ordered timelines “in cases where parentage cannot be confirmed quickly.” The government says it is willing to propose an alternative timeline.

Additionally, HHS must determine that a “parent is not ‘unfit or presents a danger to the child,’’ which means HHS must also have “an independent finding that the individual has not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child,” before reunification. This process can be slowed down if the court order is interpreted to mean ICE must release parents from detention by compliance deadlines, and says “such release might slow reunification.”

Learn more about the DNA testing in the video below:

4 hr 9 min ago

The US government is supposed to make sure separated families have contact today

From CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg and Nick Valencia

Today is the first of three major deadlines for US officials working to reunited families that were separated at the border under President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy.

  • By July 6, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child, US District Judge Dana Sabraw said in a June ruling.
  • Then, by July 10, officials must reunify all parents with their children under the age of 5.
  • They must reunify parents with children 5 and older by July 26.

So how is all of this working?

For many parents of separated families, one phone call is not enough, and a second one seems like a distant hope. Making contact does not necessarily bring clarity to a family’s situation, lawyers say. Sometimes, it can add to the confusion and deepen a parent’s despair.

Six lawyers working with dozens of detained parents have told CNN their clients had at least one phone call with their children. Most times, those phone calls last less than five minutes, said human rights lawyer Sara E. Dill, who is working with detained parents at Port Isabel Service Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas.

Posted in International, Kids, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Caribbean American Congresswoman outraged over separation of children from parents at US border

Caribbean American Congresswoman outraged over separation of children from parents at US border

By Nelson A. King

NEW YORK, Jun. 18,   CMC – Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has joined intensified outrage in the United States over the Trump administration’s decision to separate migrant children from their parents at the US border. 

“There is no act lower than ripping innocent children from the arms of their mothers,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, in an  interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), on Sunday.

Yvette D. Clarke

“We have hit an all-time low as a people and a country,” added the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “It is one of the most inhumane, cruel acts that could ever be taken by the Trump administration.

“As a second generation American, the daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents,  I take these assaults on immigrant communities personally,” Clarke continued, stating that she has been “a staunch advocate for immigration rights, from fighting for a clean Dream Act, aggressively advocating to keep families together to keeping vulnerable children with their parents, and fighting the Trump administration on their revocation of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] and attacks on Diversity Visas.”

In addressing what she described as “the racist, xenophobia of the Trump Administration,” Clarke said she has also advocated for the ASPIRE Act, a bipartisan bill to provide individuals who have received Temporary Protective Status (TPS), legal permanent residency.

“This administration has no bounds, even children don’t seem to matter,” the congresswoman said. “Therefore, I vow to continue to fight ferociously, along with my colleagues, against these grave injustices; and, we don’t plan to stop until justice prevails.”

Amid the profound outrage, US President Donald J. Trump on Saturday reiterated what political analysts and observers say is his erroneous claim that Democrats were responsible for his administration’s policy of separating migrant families arrested at the US border.

“Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!” said Trump in a twitter post on the weekend.

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that close to 2,000 children were separated from their migrant parents in a six-week period, concluding in May, as part of its “zero tolerance” policy on immigration.

In expressing outrage over the Trump administration’s new policy, Democrats have said that the separation of children from their parents at the US border is just of the incumbent administration’s making – that they had not enacted any law or rule in that regard.

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Campaign to combat childhood obesity launched

Campaign to combat childhood obesity launched

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 15, CMC – Barbados has launched a campaign aimed at addressing childhood obesity and the government has said it is examining the feasibility of restricting foods high in salt, fat and sugar from the school environment and from being marketed to children.

Health and Wellness Minister, retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, speaking at the launch of the Childhood Obesity Prevention Campaign, cited a report by researchers at the University of the West Indies (UWI) showing that in 1987, only 8.5 per cent of Barbadian school children were obese.

However, by 2010, the percentage rose to 32.5 per cent and it is now projected that the figure could increase to 50 per cent by 2030.

“Childhood obesity is harming Barbados through its impacts on the health and social fabric of the country. Not only is the burden of obesity in children large but it is projected to continue growing unless we take decisive action,” Bostic said.

He said that the impacts of childhood obesity on health encompassed issues such as increased risk of adult obesity and increased risk of non-communicable diseases, depression and anxiety.

The campaign, an initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, and dubbed “Stop! Yuh TOO Sweet,” will initially focus solely on the support of policy change to ban the sale of sugary sweets in schools.

Bostic gave the assurance that the government was committed to addressing the issue in several ways including working in partnership with a variety of agencies.

Other initiatives include promoting breastfeeding as an integral part of early child nutrition; supporting the monitoring of growth and development in early childhood; and encouraging regular physical activity in school-aged children.

He said that the Ministry would be engaging the food industry on reducing the production, manufacture, distribution and marketing of energy-dense and high-salt foods.

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Floyd Green

Government provides counseling,relief following fire at children’s home

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan. 16, CMC – The Government is providing counselling and relief supplies for children and staff of the Walker’s Place of Safety following a massive fire here late Monday that claimed the lives of two children.

Floyd Green
Floyd Green

“The Walker’s Place of Safety was completely destroyed by fire late last night. The loss is quite devastating as two children died in the fire. Steps are being taken to contact the parents and to start counselling for them,” said Floyd Green, the junior minister in the Education Ministry.

He told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that counselling is being provided for the displaced children and staff because, “as you can imagine, they are completely devastated”.

He noted that “the priority now is to guide them through this difficult time and ensure that we get the essential items that they need. We have already started to get critical supplies, such as medication for those children who are ill. We are moving now to find a suitable location, so that we can move the children and ensure that they are more comfortable”.

Green said investigations have been launched to determine the cause of the blaze, which destroyed the privately owned facility located on Lyndhurst Road in the Corporate Area.

The place of safety serves as a transitional residence for children, generally up to 12 years old, who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of unstable conditions.

“The fire service has also commenced their investigation. We are awaiting their report. The Child Protection and Family Services Agency will also do their own investigation to see what transpired,” Green said.

Posted in Environment, Health, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

sugarra

Beverage manufacturers urged to cut sugar content

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 13, CMC – Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw has  issued an appeal to beverage manufacturers to lower the sugar content in their products or force the Government to take action.

sugarraShaw, who was addressing a scientific symposium on fiscal measures to prevent obesity/non-communicable diseases (NCD), on Thursday, said they can either respond voluntarily “or we as a Government can respond to the needs of the country through appropriate policy prescriptions.”

“There has to be a willingness on the part of the producers of beverages to lead the way, set the examples. Don’t wait for the tax act to force you to do it. They need to start reducing the sugar contents even before fiscal measures are contemplated,” he added.

He said that the Government is concerned about the sugar content of products being marketed to children.

He noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that countries implement guidelines as it relates to the production of food and beverages in order to reduce the amount of sugar, and imposing taxes to encourage manufacturers to take the appropriate actions.

The Minister pointed out that policy measures already being implemented by countries across the region are reducing the amount of sweet beverages provided to schoolchildren and, ultimately, having a positive impact on the social and economic fabric of such societies.

Shaw said that although several programmes have been initiated to reduce NCDs, a more aggressive stance is needed to get more partners to join the fight in reducing the lifestyle-related diseases.

He argued that with Jamaica spending US$170 million annually on chronic diseases, the country must act so that more funds can be available for infrastructure improvement to health facilities and the upgrading of healthcare services.

Urging action from beverage manufacturers, the Finance Minister noted that they are armed with research about the “impact of your product on your consumers. We want you to be more responsible in what you include in these products.”

He also urged consumers to “put themselves in informed positions to make healthy choices, because it is your health that is impacted.”

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