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Portland Timbers, has exercised its option on 20-year-old Jamaican defender Alvas Powell

United States Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit, Portland Timbers, has exercised its option on 20-year-old defender Alvas Powell, signing the Jamaican outright from Portmore United for a record six-figure sum.

The deal is set to be confirmed as the largest MLS transfer involving a Jamaica player, eclipsing the US$80,000 fee paid by the Houston Dynamo in 2011 to secure Je-Vaughn Watson from Sporting Central Academy.

“The clubs were able to reach an agreement, as the Timbers were fair in their valuation of the player. Ultimately all sides were comfortable with the terms,” was all his agent Romel Wallen offered when asked about the value of the deal.

However, The Gleaner was reliably informed that the transfer is worth US$100,000.

Powell, who according to reports had begun to attract the interest of several European clubs – with Spanish second division team Real Zaragoza and in particular Turkey’s Super Lig unit Torku Konyaspur – had been on loan at the Timbers since July 2013.

Walen, who represented Portmore United in the negotiations, pointed to the Jamaican’s meteoric rise in the Timbers’ system as a major factor in the process.

“A few (European) clubs had expressed interest in the lad, which is not surprising given his perceived upside,” Wallen told The Gleaner in an interview.

”He has become a vital player in the Timbers’ playing system, which has accelerated his development. As such, they were keen not to lose him at this stage,” added Wallen.

After two seasons at Portmore United, the 6’0″ St Thomas native made five appearances in his rookie season for the Timbers and was named the club’s best up and coming player. The defender became the outfit’s youngest player to start a MLS match at 19 years and 16 days.

Major Development

In his first full season with the Timbers, Powell was again named as the club’s best up and coming player, starting 11 of 15 games, adding two goals and two assists.

The move is seen as a major development for the former Paul Bogle High student, who left Jamaica 18 months ago to pursue his dreams of playing professional football.

“With his platform now permanently established, Alvas must focus solely on being the consummate professional,” Wallen stated.

Powell was a vital member of the Jamaican team that recently won the CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup football competition in Montego Bay and has also represented Jamaica at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels. He has 13 national senior caps.

Miss Jamaica DETHRONED

Twenty-three-year-old Shavrine Wilson has replaced the reigning Miss Jamaica Global 2014, Veronica McMaster, and will represent the country in the annual Miss Global International pageant on Saturday, December 6, at the RIU Montego Bay.

Wilson, who was first runner-up during the May 2014 coronation, was crowned at an informal ceremony in Kingston recently.

Pageant ambassador Lachu Ramchandani said McMaster was replaced because she refused to fulfill her obligations as queen.

“After trying to reach her through several messages and telephone calls, she made no effort to contact the franchise director’s office, and as a result of the non-performance of her obligations as a queen, a decision was made to crown the first runner-up, Shavrine Wilson,” Ramchandani said in a statement to The Gleaner.

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Governance, the NHT, and the Partnership for Jamaica

As president of the PSOJ, I have always been guided by the principle that the PSOJ should, at all times, present a balanced, non-political position on national issues, and in forming these positions must not only take into account the views of its members, but when appropriate, the views of civil society.

In the case of the NHT purchase of the Outameni property, an issue which has deeply divided and distracted the country, the PSOJ has, acting jointly with the JCC and the JMA, as well as taking into account the views of other private sector and civil society groups, issued three public statements which I think have been faithful to this principle.

These statements have become increasingly more critical of the NHT as new information has been made available to the public, and the final statement issued on Nov 26 stated up front that we were deeply disappointed that the opportunity has been missed to restore public confidence in this critical national institution, by wiping the slate clean and appointing a new NHT Board; that the NHT has erred in its decision to purchase the Outameni property for J$180 million; and that public concerns about this issue continue to distract the nation from focusing on other critical economic and social issues.

We also expressed the fear that governance concerns could negatively affect investor confidence in the wider economic reform being undertaken by the Government. Read more

Survey of Living Conditions says Jamaica ageing

The Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) has identified an ageing Jamaican population in its latest edition (2012), released by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) on Friday.

“The trend of population ageing continued to be observed, with the decline in the number of children per household being the greatest influence on mean household size,” the survey reported.

It added that there was a smaller proportion of children in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA), compared with other towns and rural areas with approximately the same conditions.

The KMA covers the parishes of Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city, St Andrew, and southeastern St. Catherine, including Portmore.

According to the survey, the KMA also housed the largest proportion of the working age population (15–64 years), while the largest proportion of the dependent elderly people (65+ years) was found in rural areas.

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Digicel fibre network to help create ‘smart cities’ in Jamaica

DIGICEL yesterday said that its underground fibre network will help create ‘smart cities’ in Jamaica.

According to the telecommunications company, its recently installed advanced fibre-optic technology boosts Jamaica’s ability to handle large quantities of data at high speeds.

“Smart cities generate insights from big data to improve efficiency of physical infrastructure use and enhances decision-making as it engages e-participation with its citizens,” Digicel said, adding that these cities are regarded as major growth drivers, as close to 50 per cent of the global GDP comes from urban centres.

Earlier this year, Senator Angela Brown-Burke, who is also the mayor of Kingston, noted the importance of the fibre network.

“This investment in fibre by Digicel Business will certainly help us to achieve some of the broader objectives of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, as well as some of our ICT development plans,” she said. “We’re looking to redevelop downtown Kingston, and having this fibre network will definitely play a key role in making this work.”

The Government has already started implementing smart city projects, such as the Tablets in Schools initiative.

“Kids are going to go home with their tablets,” said Brown-Burke. “So once they’re in a Wi-Fi area, they can pick up and continue their work.”

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