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Tamar’s ‘day of execution’

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Tamar’s ‘day of execution’

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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MONDAY, October 21, 2019 was the “day of execution” for Registrar General’s Department’s Tamar Delise Blake — and that she did.

Years of dreaming and “practising” for the day she would be among scores of Jamaicans receiving national awards from the head of State became a reality yesterday, as she accepted the Badge of Honour for Gallantry for an act of courage and bravery in ensuring the safe return of stolen infant, Sae’breon Hutton.

Hutton was abducted from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital on January 9, 2019 by a woman who was then a total stranger. On February 5, however, Peta-Gaye Ffrench — the woman who has since been found guilty and sentenced in the matter — turned up at the Registrar General’s Department in Spanish Town, St Catherine, to register the infant and fell into the capable hands of the alert employee, who correctly summed up the situation when the “new mother” made a few missteps and raised an alarm.

Yesterday, it was a beaming Blake who approached the dais at King’s House in St Andrew, to collect a national award during the annual Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards to much applause and cheers.

“Today was the day of execution. I am not sure if it was as I practised, but I did my best. I am still in awe, feeling ecstatic, because it is a dream come true. I am really happy and appreciative and I must say thanks to all the persons who caused this to come through, and who participated in this particular case. I must say thanks to the agency as well, for taking the time to highlight the job we did on the given day,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

In the meantime, she said her being awarded should act as an impetus for citizens in the fight against crimes against children, and kidnapping, in particular. Noting the cases where some missing children are not as fortunate as Sae’breon to be recovered alive, she said: “It means we need to do more campaigning; we are still campaigning against [people who carry out] abductions. I would like this particular case to be the face of a campaign that shows our fight, to say, ‘Jamaica is totally against this act, and for persons who are considering doing this, we say desist’,” she said, somewhat militantly.

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Photo: Advancing science education

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Photo: Advancing science education

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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Jamaican American Connection (JAC) New Haven President Karaine Holness (left) presents equipment, including SMART whiteboards, books, lab equipment such as lab glassware, stationery supplies and various labspecific consumables, to the principal of Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”, Kali McMorris (second left), and Arthens Smith (second right) of Holy Trinity High School while JAC member Janice Hart looks on, at Alpha in Kingston on Tuesday. As part of the initiative to advance science education, equipment was also handed over to Kingston College.
(Photo: Garfield Robinson)


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Gov’t gets support from Church to fight challenge to buggery laws

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Gov’t gets support from Church to fight challenge to buggery laws

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — High Court Judge Justice Esco Henry yesterday ruled to allow 10 churches, calling themselves the Christian Coalition, to join the Ralph Gonsalves Government in responding to the constitutional challenge to the buggery and gross indecency laws in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Justice Henry handed down the ruling one week after hearing arguments from the Christian Coalition and lawyers for the claimants, gay Vincentians Sean MacLeish and Javin Johnson.

Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell, one of the two lawyers representing the claimants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the judge agreed to allow the churches to join the lawsuit as an interested party.

He said they will be allowed to file written submissions and make oral arguments to the court.

However, in terms of evidence, the churches are restricted to filing two affidavits, Barnwell said.

Justice Henry is expected to issue her written ruling today.

Barnwell and Jomo Thomas are representing the claimants, who say the country’s anti-buggery and gross indecency laws contravene their constitutional rights.

Under the Criminal Code, any person who commits buggery with any other person, commits buggery with an animal, or permits any person to commit buggery with him or her is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

The Criminal Code also says that any person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person of the same sex, or procures or attempts to procure another person of the same sex to commit an act of gross indecency with him or her, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for five years.

The men are asking the court to declare the laws unconstitutional, void and of no effect.

Ten churches had asked to join the attorney general in responding to the challenge to these laws. They include the Seventh-day Adventist Church; Evangelical Church of the West Indies; New Testament Church of God; Spiritual Baptist Church; Church of God St  Vincent; New Life Ministries; Light of Truth Church of God; Kingstown Baptist Church; Living Water Ministries International; and Hope Evangelism Outreach Ministries.

Last week Wednesday, hundreds of Vincentians took to the streets in support of the present legislation and urged the authorities not to amend the legislation to suit the claimants.

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Nine Caribbean countries to participate in new UN project

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Nine Caribbean countries to participate in new UN project

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is launching a multi million-dollar project in nine Caribbean countries that will enable gender responsive disaster recovery, climate and environmental resilience (EnGenDER) in the Caribbean.

The US$15 million project will ensure equal access to sustainable solutions for the improved resilience of women and men in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.

It is being funded by Canada and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.

UNDP said that its prior support to the development of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) will now be scaled up as a result of the new project.

The NAP process was created by the United Nations as an opportunity for countries to plan for sustainable development in the face of climate stress while NAMAs, on the other hand, focus on mitigation – reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

EnGenDER will support the implementation of priority areas, as identified by partner governments, within these policy documents, ensuring that plans are gender-responsive – considering the vulnerabilities, strengths and needs of different groups of women and men. This work will be undertaken through consultative and participatory approaches, with key stakeholders identifying and leading priority actions.

UNDP resident representative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Magdy Martinez Soliman, said “Canada and the United Kingdom have been working collaboratively in the region for many years and this project provides a new opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to increasing resilience in the Caribbean.

“It is anticipated that the partnerships built at the regional and national levels will produce important results as the region faces the increasing impacts of climate change.”

The UNDP said that it is coordinating the collaborative project that includes UN Women, partnering to build capacity in developing gender-responsive plans, and conducting behavioural analysis of gender-responsiveness in risk governance among decision makers as well as the World Food Programme (WFP), which is working to enhance social protection systems to make them more shock-responsive.

EnGenDER will integrate a gender equality and human rights-based approach into disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and environmental actions.

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