Kwame

Kwame

SINGERS Barrington Levy, Half Pint, and Tony Tuff will be honoured at this year's Bob Marley One Love Fun Day f ootball matches, according to event conceptualiser Clive “Busy” Campbell.

The occasion, now in its 37th year, is scheduled for Harbour View Mini Stadium in St Andrew on Ash Wednesday, February 15.

 

Campbell said it is fitting these artistes be honoured, given their body of work.

 

“These singers have so many hit songs; they deserve to be recognised for their contribution to Jamaican music. They're so many artistes doing great work for a number of years and they should be lauded,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

 

Levy, whose career took off in the 1970s, has one of the strongest catalogues in dancehall/reggae. His hit songs include Under Mi Sensi, Black Roses, My Woman, Looking My Love, On The Telephone and Work. His 2015 album, Acousticalevy, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category.

 

Half Pint came to prominence in the 1980s. His signature tracks include Greetings, Level The Vibes, Hold On, No Substitute Lover, and One Big Family.

 

Tony Tuff is the elder of the trio. His career began in the late 1960s as a member of the The African Brothers, which also comprised Sugar Minott and Derrick “Bubbles” Howard.

As a solo act, he found commercial success with producer Henry “Junjo” Lawes on the singles Water Pumpee and Mix Me Down.

 

Campbell was involved in the sports and entertainment sectors as a player (with Santos) and producer. Several entertainers have been honoured by his event including Bunny Wailer, Freddie McGregor, Boris Gardiner, Errol Dunkley, Derrick Harriott, Jimmy Riley, Winston Riley, Stranger Cole, the I-Three and King Stitt.

 

Proceeds from the match will be used to purchase computers and printers for a basic school to be named.

 

— Brian Bonitto

Available on his website, the line features hats, T-shirts and hooded pullovers. Some items bear the song title Turn Me On from the deejay's 2017 hit single, while others feature a photo of Konshens and his name.

 

But this is not Konshens's first set of merchandise. The Gyal A Bubble deejay launched a shoe line, Konz 876, back in September 2013. Speaking to the Jamaica Observer at the time of the launch at West King's House Road in Kingston, Konshens said he had always wanted to get into merchandising.

 

“We can go the dancehall way and add a little controversy to it and tell the fans that we and another artiste is at war, or that I am involved with a particular girl, or we can think like a businessman and give them a product. This is an avenue of where we can give the world more of our culture and the market is there for it,” he said at the time.

 

Last year, Shaggy and Alkaline launched their respective clothing lines.

 

Konshens said he is gearing up to release his third album, called IFG, later this year. Better Money, the project's debut single, is produced by Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor and was released last month.

 

His last album, Mental Maintenance in 2012, included tracks like Do SumnShe's Happy and Represent. Two years prior, his debut album Real Talk was only released in Japan. It included tracks This Means MoneyPretty Devil, and Good Girl Gone Bad featuring Tarrus Riley.

According to chief executive officer of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) Andrew Wynter, work has already started on the implementation of what would be a historic project.

 

The idea of having e-passports falls under a raft of short- and long-term plans by PICA, which has pledged to provide valuable service to Jamaicans.

 

“We are going to boldly go where no agency has gone before,” Wynter told reporters and editors at this week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, eliciting laughter at his parody of the popular Star Trek narration.

 

This push towards increased use of technology, in keeping with current world trends, will also result in the use of e-gates similar to those in Europe, as well as opening up the online process for all products and services.

 

“Those are just some of the things we are currently exploring over the next few years which we believe will improve the experience and interface with the public, because one of the things PICA wants to do is create value for the Jamaican people. We are a public entity providing services for the public and it's important that they appreciate [the agency] and feel we have created some value for them and they are appreciated,” said Wynter.

 

Even before serious work is put into the implementation of that system, PICA officials all spoke at length and with passion about other aspects of their immediate development plan — a three-year programme.

“Very shortly we will be hoping to implement additional kiosks at both international airports,” said Wynter.

 

The kiosks are the automated border control systems or machines that process passengers.

 

“It is our intention to add 25 machines very shortly — 20 in Montego Bay and five in Kingston,” added Wynter.

 

PICA executives also outlined the start of a new system under which adults seeking to renew their machine-readable passports may do so with ease.

 

“We recently implemented a drop box, which is to assist persons with the renewal of their passports to move more quickly because, as you are aware, many persons still have in their mind these very long lines at the passport office; but that is rapidly becoming a thing of the past,” stated Wynter.

 

“The drop box service is specifically targeting our customers who are using machine-readable passports, which we started issuing in 2001,” Head of Customer Service Stephanie Gordon interjected. “Of course, we may require you to be there if you are replacing a lost passport or if it's your first time [applying for a passport].

 

“So the drop box allows you to come in with your old passport, complete your application form, take your pictures, you complete an envelope, and then you drop it in the box. You get a receipt, make your payment and then you leave. So it is a very simple process and it frees up our agents to deal with the other persons who are there for other services which require them to be there in person,” said Gordon, who revealed that the system was launched last December.

 

“We saw about 100 persons applying when we launched in December. Of course, people were sceptical about leaving their passports with us, but it [the drop box use] is growing … we have almost 500 persons applying as at the end of January and we have a customer service assistant there to help you. We have someone on hand just to review, but it's not a long process,” Gordon emphasised.

 

Gordon also said that Jamaicans in the Diaspora stand to benefit significantly from this initiative.

 

“In terms of turnaround time, most certainly it will improve because online renewal is quicker as it will eliminate six to eight steps that the average application will take,” Gordon said.

 

“They now have access to the (online) system and their applications will not have to go through the transportation process it goes through now,” she said, adding that the process will take fewer than 20 days for overseas applicants, and four days for local customers.

 

“In terms of the cost, we will advise [as soon as possible] because we are in the process of getting approval for the system, and so we have to go through the approval procurement process,” Gordon said.

 

Wynter emphasised that a courier service is being established in partnership with DHL and the agency hopes to have it in place by the middle of this year to make the passport delivery service more convenient to applicants.

 

He also said that PICA would soon implement customer service call centres to assist customers with their requests. “We have to prepare ourselves to deal with requests, not just locally but from overseas, and based on the time zones and time differences we will be required to provide these services round the clock. So we are now in discussion to establish which call centres we can use to assist us. So very shortly there will be a 1-800-PICA,” said Wynter.

 

Asked how PICA intends to fund these programmes, Wynter said that as an executive agency it is required to earn its own revenues. However, budgetary support can come from Government, through the Ministry of Finance, if there is a shortfall in certain target areas.

 

“We earned just over $1.5 billion last year, and our projection for this year is $2 billion with the different services to be introduced,” Wynter said.

 

“What we have been looking at is how we are going to earn the necessary financing so that we can finance any and all of our plans. In that regard one of the positions we are looking to develop is what we call a director of business development... to develop potential market segments which we may be currently underserving, and by building out those potential market segments we will earn the additional revenue that certainly will assist us in procuring and implementing many of the services that we are discussing,” he said.

THE Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) says its choice of political newcomer Dr Nigel Clarke for the North West St Andrew constituency will strengthen its team for the next general election.

Party Leader and Prime Minister Andrew Holness told an Area Council One meeting in Pembroke Hall Sunday night that while the party recognised the importance of the loyalty of its supporters to its prosperity agenda, it has to move to strengthen 'Team JLP' to make it ready for the next general elections.

 

“To make sure that when we call the next general election we are not only depending on your support, because you are loyal, but that you will vote for Labour because Labour (party) has produced results,” Holness told hundreds of bell-ringing supporters at the conference.

 

He said that the JLP was already planning its campaign, and it would not depend on pure loyalty of its members. He also said that a number of complicated issues would have to be resolved during the rest of his current administration, and the team would need Dr Clarke's special skills in making those decisions.

 

“We are going to make sure that we come to the country with results,” he added.

 

Holness also had expressed consolation for Duane Smith, son of former 29-year MP for St Andrew North West Derrick Smith, who had been the frontrunner for the nomination until the party's executive made the decision in favour of Clarke.

 

“Life is not always a straight line. Sometimes to make many steps forward, you have to take a few steps backward. Sometimes it makes you stronger. Duane has increased his political stocks by what he has done today, which is way beyond anything that he could have done otherwise,” Holness stated.

He also paid tribute to Derrick Smith, whom he described as “one of my political fathers”.

 

“He is a humble man, a loving man, a father-like man… and a man in whom we can say, job well done and whom you can be proud that your party has produced,” Holness said.

 

Introducing Dr Clarke to the crowd, he said that he had known him for as many years as he had known Duane Smith.

 

“Nigel shares the core principles of what it means to be a Labourite; humble beginnings, hard work brings success: That is the sign of a true Labourite,” he argued.

 

“We don't believe in reward without work. We understand that to be successful, you have to make sacrifices. That is the core of the JLP: By the sweat of your brow, you shall eat bread,” he stated.

 

On the constituency itself, Holness said that the departure of Derrick Smith would leave a huge void.

 

“It is a big void, and Nigel will have to grow in his own shoes, but Derrick's shoes will be right there waiting for him to fill,” he said.

 

He noted that roads were a major problem in the constituency, which the former MP had consistently sought to have fixed. He added that Government intended to address some of those roads, as well as other roads which have been long ignored around Jamaica.

 

He said that the government did not wish to have an extended gap between the retirement of the former MP and the election of a new one, and therefore had decided next Monday, February 12, as nomination day and March 5 as by-election dates for both the parliamentary seat of St Andrew North West and the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation division of Norman Gardens, which had been represented by former Mayor Brown Burke prior to her election to represent South West St Andrew in Parliament.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Retired University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Rupert Lewis, has lauded the work done by the late Director/Curator of Liberty Hall, Dr Donna McFarlane, in developing the Marcus Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum at Liberty Hall, King Street in downtown Kingston.

He was speaking at the seventh staging of the Grounation Series held yesterday at the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall under the theme 'Garvey's Ghost: Muse, Cultural Arts, Aesthetics, Freedom Song'.

 

This year's Grounation, organised by the Jamaica Music Museum in collaboration with Liberty Hall was dedicated to the memory of McFarlane.

 

Addressing participants, Lewis noted that the late Liberty Hall director/curator “designed a multimedia museum that would be of interest to young people.” To date, he said some 60,000 students have visited the facility.

 

He said the facility, which includes touch-screen features and documentaries about identity, can teach children about values such as self-esteem.

 

Lewis, who has written extensively about Garvey, urged Jamaicans to seek to know more about the principles and teachings of the National Hero.

 

“We have to do more with what we have in order to make the principles of Garvey not only taught in schools but inform our thinking about politics and economics,” he added. ,p> The participants enjoyed the presentation and discussion that followed, which explored Garvey's life as a pan-African leader, human rights advocate and promoter of culture and the arts. Attendee Claudette Williams told JIS News that Grounation “is a necessary intervention and a reminder of what we need to keep in the forefront of our consciousness”.

She supported a call made during the question and answer segment to include the teachings of Marcus Garvey in the school curriculum.

 

'It's foundational. It is part of who we are and what has made us who we are, so I think it is an excellent idea,” she said.

 

Williams said she is eagerly looking forward to the other presentations at the Institute. “I found it very rewarding. I most certainly will be coming every Sunday,” she said.

 

Entertainment was provided by guest artist, The Mighty Diamonds, and the Nexus Performing Arts Company under the direction of Hugh Douse.

 

On February 11, President of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Steven Golding, will examine the UNIA's influence on youth, poetry and contemporary popular music.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Another 35,000 street lamps are to be installed this year under the Smart Light Emitting Diode (LED) Street Light Programme.

Since the roll-out of the programme in June 2017, 37,000 LED street lamps have been installed by the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) in several communities in Kingston and St Andrew, St James, St Ann, Trelawny, St Mary, Hanover, Westmoreland, and St Catherine.

 

The initiative, which is being implemented by the Government in partnership with JPS, aims to reduce the country's energy costs and increase the use of renewable energy sources.

 

The smart LED lighting technology allows for remote reading of the consumption of each lamp, identifying out-of-service lamps and control of the light intensity.

 

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley, said the public's response to the programme has been very positive.

 

“The level of support is overwhelming. Wherever we go across the island, persons commend the Government on the smart LED lights. It is a holistic approach that we are taking as it relates to offsetting our energy bill while, at the same time, preserving our environment,” he said.

 

Wheatley explained that while the primary aim of the programme is to reduce the country's energy costs, an additional benefit is the safety and security component where the smart technology provides support in crime-fighting, through the use of image sensing, including closed-circuit television (CCTV).

 

“Jamaica is moving forward, and we have to ensure that we have an environment that is safe and secure for our people. We are putting measures in place for the safety and security of our people,” the energy minister said.

 

The Smart LED Street Light Programme will target 110,000 street lights across Jamaica over the next three years.

 

The programme is part of an agreement between the Government and the power company to replace outdated infrastructure with modern, efficient street lights.

Citi News can confirm that government over the weekend took delivery of Thirty Four [34] cars for the presidency, ten of which have bullet resistant exterior.

Our sources say the luxury cars arrived on a Global African Airlines cargo plane. The presidential fleet contract was awarded by the John Mahama administration barely a week before they left office.

The original number of cars ordered was Forty Three [43]. The New Patriotic Party administration, which had attempted to cancel the entire contract but failed due to certain clauses in the contract, managed to reduce the number to 34.

By so doing, it saved the country Three Million Dollars, from the initial cost of Nine Million dollars for the 43 cars. They also avoided incurring a judgement debt, by deciding not to cancel the contract.

Background

Back in June 2017, some NDC officials accused the NPP administration of playing double-standards, after news about the presidential fleet emerged, despite an order by President Nana Akufo-Addo, halting the purchase of new vehicles.

The government then explained that it could not be blamed for the presidential fleet because the order had already been placed by John Dramani Mahama before he exited office after the elections in 2016.

43 new cars were purchased on NPP’s request – Apaak

Former NDC appointees including Dr. Clement Apaak, who worked at the presidency, suggested that the cars were ordered upon the request of the NPP government during the transition period, a claim the government vehemently denied.

Dr. Apaak noted that, the Mahama administration agreed to the request by Nana Akufo-Addo’s side of the transition team because they had raised concerns about the incoming President’s security.

Contract was signed before transition team was formed

As the back and forth went on between the two parties, Citi News sighted a letter signed by the then Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, authorizing the purchase.

This letter was signed two days before then President; John Mahama, inaugurated the Presidential transition team, which he co-chaired with then President-elect, Nana Akufo Addo.

This revelation thus defeated the NDC’s claims that the NPP made the request during the transition period.

Earlier documents sighted by Citi News revealed that, the contract for the new cars for the Presidency was specifically awarded by the Mahama government on the 3rd of January, 2017, to Amalgamated Security Services LTD.

The two-paragraph letter authorizing the purchase was dated December 9, 2016, whereas the transition team was officially inaugurated on December 11, 2016.

Deal authorized by Terkper

The letter noted that, the deal was authorized by the outgoing Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, to take note of the decision to purchase the 43 vehicles “for necessary action accordingly.”

The letter also clearly stated that, the outgoing government had “decided to acquire some vehicles for the incoming administration”.

Ras Mubarak WeddingMember of Parliament (MP) for Kumbungu in the Northern Region, Ras Mubarak, has asked the public to ignore reports that, he has married a second wife.

Ras Mubarak married daughter of Asawase MP, Muntaka Mubarak in Kumasi over the weekend, but reports suggested that the new bride was his second wife.

However, the lawmaker in a Facebook post Monday, disputed the claims, saying he has only one wife.

Ras Mubarak posted:

“… “I've just woken up to news that I married an additional wife yesterday. Let me put it on record that – though I am unapologetically a believer in polygamy and my religion, and my proud Dagbon tradition and culture permit polygamy, – I just remarried yesterday after my wife then, packed out and sued for divorce a few weeks before the 2016 election.

While we appreciate the media interest in reporting what is news, we wish to encourage the media to report what is factual. Mrs. Huseina Mubarak, – my new and only wife – and I, are very grateful to colleagues from the NDC and NPP, friends, family and everyone who supported us in diverse ways.

According to reports, the new wife of the former Reggae presenter is a student nurse at the Tamale Nursing and Midwifery College.

Israel on Sunday began warning thousands of African migrants that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse.

Immigration authority spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told AFP that officials began issuing migrants letters on Sunday advising them that they had 60 days in which to leave the country voluntarily.

On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese.

The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion.

For now, the notices are being given only to men without families, officials said.

"Anyone recognised as a victim of slavery or human trafficking, and those who had requested asylum by the end of 2017 but haven't gotten a response" would also be exempt for now."

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said “anyone recognised as a victim of slavery or human trafficking, and those who had requested asylum by the end of 2017 but haven’t gotten a response” would also be exempt for now.

It added that this left the number subject to near-term deportation at “between 15,000 and 20,000 people”.

The authority is offering those who agree to leave a grant of $3,500, a flight ticket and help with obtaining travel documents.

Sabine said,should they not leave by the deadline, the grant would be reduced and “enforcement measures” would be taken against them and anyone employing them.

Israel refers to the tens of thousands of African migrants who entered the country illegally from neighbouring Egypt as “infiltrators”.

Israeli officials tacitly recognise that it is too dangerous to return Sudanese and Eritreans to their troubled homelands, but local media say the notices do not specify where departing migrants would be sent.

Aid workers and media have named Uganda and Rwanda, although both countries deny being a destination for migrants being expelled involuntarily.

Public opposition to the plan has been slow to build, but some Israeli airline pilots have reportedly said they will not fly forced deportees.

Academics have published a petition and Israeli Holocaust survivors wrote an open letter to Mr Netanyahu last month pleading with him to reconsider.

The UN refugee agency has called on Israel to scrap the plan, calling it incoherent and unsafe.

A 2016 UN commission of inquiry into Eritrea’s regime found “widespread and systematic” crimes against humanity, and said an estimated 5,000 people flee the country each month.

The International Criminal Court has indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide linked to his regime’s counter-insurgency tactics in the Darfur conflict.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Togo’s capital Lome on Saturday, against President Faure Gnassingbe and his government.

The protest came the day after mediators from Ghana and Guinea said that Togo will enter talks on controversial constitutional reform February 15, in a move aimed at ending a crippling political stalemate.

A rolling series of demonstrations against President Gnassingbe have been unfolding for several months, and the country has been rocked by striking teachers and health workers.

The opposition parties want to restrict presidents to a maximum of two, five-year terms of office, and introduce a two-round voting system.

Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005. He took over from his father, who ruled the country for 38 years.

While the mediators said Friday that the leaders of the 14 opposition parties had agreed to “suspend” the public protests, the leaders themselves carried on with Saturday’s protest.

“It’s our constitutional right to protest. If we want to protest then we will, ” said opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre.

The marchers clogged up several main roads in the capital, chanting slogans against the regime.

Such demonstrations have become an almost weekly event since early September.


Togo records huge turnout at anti-govt protest despite internet setback

“I don’t expect anything from the upcoming dialogue, because the regime in place is not sincere,” said one of the marchers, Kossi Djivo.

West African leaders in November called for both sides in Togo to enter talks mediated by President Nana Akufo-Addo, from neighbouring Ghana, and Guinea’s Alpha Conde.

The opposition coalition has demanded “measures for de-escalation”, including the release of detained prisoners and the withdrawal of security forces.

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Government takes delivery of 34 ‘Mah…

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