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St George’s stun Jamaica College

St George’s College stunned Jamaica College 3-2 in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Walker Cup final at Constant Spring Sports Complex yesterday.

The champions surprised JC on a soggy surface with goals courtesy of Shevon Stewart in the 13th minute, Gregory Messam Jr (26th, penalty) and Amoy Brown (39th). JC fought back with a brace from Junior Flemmings (61st, penalty) and (90th).

St George’s almost put the game out of reach before half-time, however, JC who went into the game in the hunt for a third title of the season fought back with a brace from captain Flemmings, but in the end it was too late and St George’s held on for their ninth Walker Cup crown.

Coming off a three-week break, St George’s showed determination as they did not want to end the season without a title. On the other hand, JC who won the LIME Super Cup and Manning Cup titles in the past two weeks could not celebrate another trophy.

St George’s College’s veteran coach, Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell, praised his team.

“Well, to be honest, I’m not sure if the rest was in our favour. Our strength has always been our confidence,” Bell told The Gleaner.

“I knew JC are a good team, but we are also a good team. This is not a surprise for us,” he added.

Gracious in Defeat

“It was not difficult to motivate the players. They wanted it. We have now won the most Walker Cup titles. We did not get the Manning Cup or Super Cup, but this is a schoolboy trophy. And, we are now tied with JC for most schoolboy titles,” Bell informed.

Meanwhile, JC’s coach, Miguel Coley was gracious in defeat.

“It was a good game. We made critical mistakes in the first half. We regrouped and scored twice in the second half. The team showed the heart of a champion and fought back, but it was too late,” Coley said.

“We will go back and focus on the Olivier Shield next week,” he noted.

Bill and Melinda Gates give $226m to Jamaica’s ICT development

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided US$2 million (approximately J$226 million) to finance a project to provide Jamaicans with increased access to ICT services, as well as training to promote personal, organizational and national development.

The grant will also fund a mandatory programme of advocacy and sensitization of decision-makers to the value of libraries in the country’s development process, Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, told the House of Representatives, as he tabled a Ministry Paper in Parliament giving details of the agreement.

The project costs US$3.1 million (approximately J$350 million). The Jamaican government will donate the other US$1.1 million (approximately $123 million)

Thwaites said that beneficiaries will include users of public libraries islandwide, including marginalized groups, senior citizens, persons from rural and inner-city communities, the unemployed and persons with disabilities, including the visually impaired, and ordinary citizens seeking information about self-improvement.

“The marketing plan, which envisages a major campaign to make Jamaicans aware of the project and its deliverables, and will increase the number of library users, is being finalized for implementation commencing in November,” he said.

American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor, Bill Gates, is the former chief executive and chairperson of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen.

He is consistently ranked in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009—excluding 2008, when he was ranked third.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires List, Gates became the world’s richest person again in May 2013, and held that position until Carlos Slim, whose America Movil telecoms company once owned Claro Jamaica. However, as of October 2014, he is again the richest person in the world.

Another rich American, Warren Buffett, helps to shape the vision and develop strategies to address some of the world’s most challenging inequities through the Gates’ foundation.

Who exactly is a Jamaican?

SometimeS I have to question who should be considered a Jamaican. Last year, ‘The Voice’ had our little island cheering on Tessanne Chin. Fans would rush home to view the show, which was then aired on our local television so that everyone could get a glimpse of her performances.

Tessanne, already a big local star, was further supported, and every Jamaican took part, even using voting methods that, unknown to us, were unregistered. Our Facebook pages were flooded with Tessanne’s pictures.

This year, Anita Antoinette took the stage and represented Jamaica as her homeland. Whether or not Anita still resides on our island doesn’t determine if she is still a Jamaican.

We, as citizens, have claimed numerous persons who have left Jamaica years ago and who have been highlighted in the countries in which they now live as extraordinary citizens. Let us take, for instance, the first black police chief in Canada, Devon Clunis.

We need to stop and think about how we treat persons who have migrated and are excelling. We are too quick to accept those who have already been accepted by other countries and fail to acknowledge and support those who are trying. We can’t be that biased.

Anita deserved our full support and we failed her. To the few persons who went all out to give her some votes – thumbs up, you are true Jamaicans.

Montego Bay could become Jamaica’s first ‘Smart City’

Montego Bay, in St James, could become Jamaica’s first ‘Smart City’, under the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI), which will be launched next year.

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Noel Arscott, made the revelation when he delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Western Jamaica Economic Forum, held on November 26 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, in the parish.

Arscott said that his forecast is based on the work that has so far been carried out by the St James Parish Council under the initiative, a two-year development programme, which is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The programme, which has also received support from the Government of Korea, seeks to provide long-term sustainability for the city of Montego Bay and to improve the quality of life for its citizens.

“I want to commend the St James Parish Council for taking up an offer that I made, which is the Emerging Sustainable Cities Initiative, which seeks to explore the potential of the city. We expect by February next year that we will be in a position where the programme will be launched,” Arscott said.

“A component of the sustainable initiative is the creation of a ‘Smart City’…and we hope that when we are finished, Montego Bay will be the first ‘Smart City’ in Jamaica,” he added.

The Minister pointed out that under the programme, integrated communication will be established, which will see the Fire, Police, Health and Traffic departments and the Parish Council networking to deliver better service to the citizens, thereby bringing about an ease in doing business and in the movement of traffic.

Endorsing the Western Jamaica Economic Forum, Arscott said the event forms part of the transformation of Local Government, as it prepares to take on the tasks ahead.

“We have laid in Parliament the inclusion of Local Government in the Constitution of Jamaica and we are going to debate it in a few weeks,” he said.

The Minister said the forum brings to the fore the ability of Local Government to mobilize and create capacity at the local level, and the partnership among the four western parishes — Westmoreland, St James, Hanover and Trelawny — was commendable.

The forum was staged in conjunction with the Montego Bay Community College, with significant support from the major stakeholders in the four parishes, including the four Parish Councils, which contributed $200,000 each.

Jamaica puzzled by theft of beach

Police in Jamaica are investigating the suspected theft of hundreds of tons of sand from a beach on the island’s north coast.

It was discovered in July that 500 truck-loads had been removed outside a planned resort at Coral Spring beach.

Detectives say people in the tourism sector could be suspects, because a good beach is seen as a valuable asset to hotels on the Caribbean island.

But a lack of arrests made since July have led to criticism of the police.

‘Complex investigation’

The beach at Coral Springs, in Jamaica’s northern parish of Trelawny, was 400 metres (1,300ft) of white sand. The 0.5-hectare strand was to form part a resort complex costing US$108m, but the theft of its most important feature has led to its developers putting their plans on hold.

Illegal sand mining is a problem in Jamaica; the tradition of people building their own homes here means there is a huge demand for the construction material. However, the large volume and the type of sand taken made suspicion point towards the hotel industry.

The disappearance was deemed so important that the Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, also took an interest in the theft and ordered a report into how 500 truckloads of sand was stolen, transported and presumably sold.

Three months on, and with no arrests or charges in the case, the main opposition People’s National Party have suggested that some people now think there has been a cover up.

But the deputy commissioner for crime at the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Mark Shields, insisted this was not an open-and-shut case.

“It’s a very complex investigation because it involves so many aspects,” he told the BBC.

“You’ve got the receivers of the stolen sand, or what we believe to be the sand. The trucks themselves, the organisers and, of course, there is some suspicion that some police were in collusion with the movers of the sand.”

Police said they were carrying out forensic tests on beaches along the coast to see if any of it matches the stolen sand.