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12/25/05

Permalink 07:08:51 am, by Melba
Categories: Weekly Rap-Up

Weekly Rap-up December 18 - 23, 2005

Sunday December 18, 2005
Commanding Officer in charge of the St. Catherine North Police Division, Superintendent Kenneth Wade on Sunday said that there will be increased police presence in St. Catherine during Christmas. The heightened security presences is as a result of a promise made to the business community of Spanish Town by Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas at a meeting between the Commissioner along with his divisional commanders and the executive members of the St. Catherine Chamber of Commerce last month. Superintendent Wade also warned residents to be on full alert for any illegal activities occurring in their community

With 170,000 cruise ship passengers expected to arrive at the Ocho Rios Pier during December and January the upcoming winter tourist season is looking good for the resort town of Ocho Rios. According to Dennis Richards, the terminal manager at the Ocho Rios Pier, so far this month they have had over 33,000 cruise ship passengers with an expected 80,000 to 85,000 by the end of the month. At least one cruise ship is scheduled to arrive in Ocho Rios every day up to the end of January 2006. Preparations are under way to ensure that adequate transportation is availability to transport visitors to attractions and shopping areas.

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12/22/05

Permalink 09:32:26 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Christmas Eve in Jamaica

December 24 is Grand Market (or Gran' Market) night in Jamaica and as a child that was always a night to look forward to at Christmas. The shops are all open as long as the shoppers are out. The streets are lined with street vendors selling toys, sweets, balloons, star lights, firecrackers and all the excitement of Christmas. The music is played loudly for everyone’s enjoyment. You can always get that last minute gift, no problem. Most Jamaican families however, go to Grand Market simple for the fun and excitement of it all.
I was born and raised in Kingston and I must confess we are cheated out of the ‘whole nine yards’ of Grand Market. Traditionally on Christmas Eve, Jamaicans not only celebrated Christmas with Grand Market but also with Jonkanoo (or John Canoe). In rural Jamaica these traditions are still observed and enjoyed in most communities.

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12/20/05

Permalink 08:51:13 pm, by Melba
Categories: Culture

Traditional Jamaican Christmas Ham

One of the highlights of Christmas in Jamaica is Christmas dinner. This is the one time of the year when all family members are expected to get together at the house of the head of the family usually after Christmas service. The menu will vary with each family usually including most Jamaican favourites such as baked chicken, roast port, curry goat, or oxtail. However Christmas dinner is not complete without the traditional Christmas ham. With that there must also be rice and gungo peas, sorrel drink and Christmas cake or Christmas pudding for desert.

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12/19/05

Permalink 06:11:17 pm, by Melba
Categories: Weekly Rap-Up

Weekly Rap-up December 11-17, 2005

Sunday December 11, 2005
Miss Jamaica World 2005, Terri-Karelle Griffith made it to the semi finals in the Miss World 2005 Pageant on Saturday in Sanya, China. From a field of 101 contestants Terri was among the final top 15 chosen. The Miss World 2005 title went to Miss Iceland Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir, the first runner-up was Miss Mexico, Dafne Molina Lona, and Miss Puerto Rico, Ingrid Marie Rivera Santos, was second runner-up. Miss Puerto Rico, also won the regional title 'Miss Caribbean'.

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12/15/05

Permalink 07:23:12 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Ten Days left for Christmas

There are only ten days left for Christmas and the season is in full swing here in Jamaica. At the end of last week most schools had their Christmas concerts and class parties. This week most schools have closed for the Christmas holidays, so the children are at home all excited and anxious for the actual day. Going to work morning traffic is a breeze. This is great as most of us are still blurry eyed from the many socials, customer service appreciations and office parties each night. Going home however is a nightmare with every one heading for the plazas after work .
Yes it’s definitely Christmas. The lights are out in all there glory, the Christmas carols are non-stop on the radio stations, the sorrel drink is flowing, gungo soup and gungo rice and peas is on every menu with rich Christmas cakes and puddings for desert. Most Jamaicans have over stocked on groceries for the next two weeks in anticipation of the many visitors expected during the season.

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12/14/05

Permalink 06:08:10 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

The Christmas Barrel

Many Jamaican Children have close family members example mothers and fathers living overseas. One of the highlights of the Christmas holidays for most of these children is the goodies that come for them, usually by barrels. During the year money is sent to the mothers, grandmothers or caregiver for their everyday needs.
Christmas however is when they expect all the things they have been dreaming of all year long. These usually include name brand clothes and shoes, the latest toys or gadgets being advertised on cable television.

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12/10/05

Permalink 04:21:19 pm, by Melba
Categories: Weekly Rap-Up

Weekly Rap-Up: December 04 - 09, 2005

Sunday December 4, 2005
 Over 50 families from Portland Cottage in Clarendon are to be relocated after losing their homes last year during Hurricane Ivan. The Office of National Reconstruction is presently building the new houses which should be completed in three months. In the meantime some of the residents are to be given temporary houses which are being built by Food for the Poor.

 Mayor of May Pen, Milton Brown has declared that the council will not permit vendors to sell on the streets of May Pen during the Christmas season. Venders are expected to utilize a section of the May Pen municipal market which has been refurbished in time for the holiday period.

 Another police Corporal has reportedly been beaten by colleagues within a two week period. Woman Corporal Carmen Lewin who was clad in uniform was beaten last Friday in May Pen Clarendon when she tried to quell a situation in which two men were brutally beating another. When she attempted to intervene Corporal Lewin was assaulted by the two men. After being attacked she followed the two men who turned out to be policemen attached to the Area Three Police Flying Squad based in Mandeville, Manchester. The Office of Professional Responsibility OPR is investigating.

Monday December 05, 2005
 A Honduras fishing vessel carrying 115 Hondurans was apprehended on Saturday by the Jamaican Defense Force Coast Guard for fishing illegally in Jamaican waters. The vessel and crew were taken into the Kingston Harbour where they were handed over to the Marine police.

 Plans to return 100 Haitian refugees over the weekend had to be postponed when the Haitian authorities refused landing rights to the flight on which they were to arrive in Haiti. The Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now speaking with officials in Haiti re the repatriation of the Haitians. Since last year an increasing number of Haitians have been fleeing from Haiti following the departure of President Jean Bertrand Aristide. The 100 Haitians which were scheduled to have left Jamaica this past weekend landed in Portland last month.

 On Monday an advisory was issued by the police advising the public not to give toy guns as presents to children for Christmas gifts. The police believe that the toy guns, many of which looks like real guns, pose a direct threat to the lives of children especially in volatile communities were shoot outs are the order of the day. The public are also being reminded that it is illegal to have firecrackers or any other explosive devices in their possession.

Tuesday December 06, 2005
 Donald “Zeeks” Phipps, Matthews lane area leader was once again denied bail on Monday and will have to spend the Christmas holidays in police custody. His trial which was scheduled to begin on Monday was put off as his lawyers were not ready to proceed. The lawyers did however once again request that Zeeks be granted bail on the grounds that the Downtown Kingston area has been unstable since his arrest. The Prosecutor, Paula Llewlyn reminded the court that the stability of the country or any area was the responsibility of the Police Commissioner and the Head of the Jamaica Defense Force.

Wednesday December 07, 2005
 The Flankers main road in Montego Bay, St. James which is the sole entry and exit point between the airport or Montego Bay city center and most of the majors hotels such as Half Moon, Ritz-Carlton, Sandals Montego Bay to name a few, has been badly damage by the recent heavy rains. As a result traffic has been severely affected. Visitors have missed flights as well as cruise ships have been delayed because passengers were not back on board on time. The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) is calling on the National Works Agency (NWA) to fast track repairs to the roads in preparation for the winter tourist season.

 The Nation Prayer vigil committee held a press briefing on Wednesday morning to outline plans for the National Prayer Vigil planed for Sunday night between 9:00pm and 12:00 midnight at the Claude Stuart Park in St. Mary. The event is in an effort to combat the increase in gun violence across Jamaica. Funds collected will be used to purchase equipment for the Kingston Public Hospital.

 An amnesty on transfer tax payable on death which allows the estate of persons who died prior to June 01, 2005 to benefit from the new reduced estate duty is now being offered by the Ministry of Finance and planning. Effective June 01, 2005 the first 100 thousand dollars of the value of the estate is exempt from tax. The balance is subject to 7.5 percent tax. The public should contact the taxpayer audit and assessment department by December 31, 2005.

Thursday December 08, 2005
 On Thursday morning another area leader of August Town was shot and killed by gunmen. Dead is Richard Green otherwise known as “Ritchie Ganster” of Goldsmith Villa in August Town. Reports are that residents heard explosions after 10:00 am Thursday and called the police. On their arrival the police found Mr. Green’s body with gunshot wounds to the head. It is believed that the murder is in reprisal for the recent killing of another area leader Neil Wright of Jungle 12 also in August Town.

 With the expected increase in visitors to the island for the upcoming winter season the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association has expressed concerns that there are insufficient immigration officers at the islands two international airports. The Ministry of National Security will be meeting with those involved in the Tourist industry to share its plans to ensure all is in readiness. Plans include an additional 34 new immigration officers and 12 mobile units at both international airports to help cope with the increase in tourist traffic.

 On Thursday forty nine residents from several of the troubled inner city communities in Kingston graduated from the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC) six weeks youth leadership training programme. The programme which is held in conjunction with the University Collegeof the Caribbean (UCC) is aimed at teaching participants conflict resolution techniques, entrepreneurial skills, family values and more. The top male and female performers Fenton Plummer and Sashana Jarrett received scholarships to pursue the diploma programme of their choice from Trish Steger, the executive director of the UCC Foundation in the United States..

Friday December 09, 2005
 Three officers from overseas will be joining the Jamaica Constabulary Force as Assistant Commissioners by early next year. National Security Minister Dr. Peter Phillips on Friday morning said contracts have been sent to the selected officers. The officers whose nationalities have not yet been disclosed are being recruited to assist in the operations of the police force.

 The Government on the Cayman Islands is offering a two week amnesty for immigration offenders. Person residing illegally in the Cayman Islands have between Friday December 09 and Friday December 23, 2005 to leave that country or face the consequences. The penalty for overstaying could be as high as $20,000.00 Cayman dollars and up to five years in prison. Work permit offenders can be charged between $5,000.00 and $15,000.00 Cayman dollars and up to one year in prison.

 The Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association is to meet on Friday morning with the Labour Ministry after yet another breakdown in wage negotiations with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The meeting follows the referral of the matter to the Ministry by the CAA for reconciliation. The Air traffic controllers are still holding out for two items in their wage agreement, a special loan arrangement and an improved executive group blue cross plan. Any action by the Controllers at this time would adversely impact the upcoming holiday traffic in and out of the island.

12/08/05

Permalink 09:54:58 pm, by Melba
Categories: Culture

Jamaican Sorrel

Jamaican Sorrel

Christmas in Jamaica is simply not Christmas without sorrel drink. Once the season begins most homes will have a jug of the rich red liquid cooling in the refrigerator, always ready to offer any one who walks through their doors.
The sorrel drink is made from the red calyces of the flower of the sorrel plant Hibiscus Sabdariffa. A native to tropical Asia the Hibiscus Sabdariffa, is now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. It is also known as roselle, Jamaican sorrel, Indian sorrel, Queensland jelly plant, sour-sour, lemon-bush, and Florida cranberry.

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12/07/05

Permalink 10:45:26 pm, by Melba
Categories: Culture

Terri-Karelle Griffith - Miss Jamaica World 2005

TVJ has been featuring “Our Jamaican Girl”, Terri-Karelle Griffith, Miss Jamaica World and I must admit, the more you see of her the more you can’t help but love her. My granny would say, “What a sweet, boonoonunus girl” and let me tell you, that says is all. Terri describes herself as bubbly, warm and resourceful and from what we have been seeing of her on the program she forgot intelligent, elegant, eloquent, witty and down to earth.

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12/06/05

Permalink 06:55:21 pm, by Brownie
Categories: Politics

Next PNP Leader

My first choice would be Portia Simpson-Miller. I do believe she really cares for Jamaica and Jamaicans. Many argue that she doesn’t have what it takes. I do agree that she is a bit rough around the edges, however we have accepted her in her numerous positions of leadership over the years and she has not let us down so far. Besides I’m really not impressed with the alternatives.

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Bruk Pocket Jamaican

"Recently, this Jamaican won the 10 million special lottery for a dollar. As soon as the office of the Lottery Corporation was open on the following day, he was there to collect his winnings.

Graciously, he presented his winning ticket to the clerk and in his best English uttered his request "Me cum fi collect the 10 millian dallars, si me ticket ya".

After reviewing and checking the ticket with his manager, the clerk returned and requested on how he would like his payments. The Jamaican replied "Mi wan all a de moni now". "Unfortunately, Sir" the nervous clerk responded, "The procedures are that we can only give you one million now and the balance equally over the next 20 years".

Furious and agitated, the Jamaican asked for the manager, who re-iterated "Sir, my assistant is correct, it is the regulation of the corporation that we initially pay you one million dollars now with the balance paid to you equally over the next 20 years".

Outraged, the Jamaican slammed his hand on the desk and shouted in anger, "Oonu tek me fi idiat, me wan all a de moni now or oonu gi me bak me rass dallar!!"

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