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  • Serial 'taxi' robbers narrowly escape police dragnet

    The two men who are suspected to be behind a series of recent robberies across the Corporate Area that involved them posing as a typical 'robot' taxi operation, narrowly escaped a police dragnet on Wednesday.

    Acting on information, a police team spotted a motorcar with the men on board, and ended up seizing the vehicle after it crashed during a high-speed chase in the Olympic Gardens area.

    However, the men managed to escape their pursuers.

    The seized vehicle is a Nissan Tiida motorcar, which was reportedly rented by the men, based on information from the owner of the vehicle, who was questioned by the police on Wednesday.

    The men had apparently switched from the Mazda Demio car that was previously being used to rob unsuspecting passengers who entered the illegal 'taxi'.

    Reports were that early on Wednesday morning, the two men robbed a man who boarded the Tiida, in the Cassia Park Road area.

    The victim made a report to the Half-Way Tree police, and an alert put out for the changed vehicle.

    A few hours later, the robbers were spotted in the process of abducting another passenger, and the vehicle was intercepted by the St Andrew South Police in Olympic Gardens.

    The driver reportedly disobeyed the police's signal to stop, resulting in a chase, during which the vehicle crashed and was seized, and the men escaped.                     

     

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  • I am so, so sorry, says Shaw

    Ignorance of data charges ran up finance minister's cellphone bill

    AUDLEY Shaw, his voice breaking with emotion and embarrassment, disclosed yesterday that he had paid $2.568 million from his pocket and secured a discount of $1.019 million from his cellphone service provider, after news of his $8.34-million phone bill hit the airwaves.

    Shaw, the finance minister, was speaking to Nationwide's Cliff Hughes yesterday, a day after RJR — using the Access to Information Act — reported his unusually high bill for the period April 2016 to March 2017.

     

    He said the $3.574 million shaved off the bill represented some personal calls while the rest was for the conduct of government business, which was collaborated by the Ministry of Finance in the information released to RJR.

     

    Shaw insisted, however, that had the limit placed on cellphone usage during his first tenure as finance minister between 2007 and 2011 remained, bills for ministers and other government servants could no way have reached such high figures.

     

    And Shaw said had the bills been brought to his attention before the Access to Information request, something would have been done about it.

     

    “I regret this most unfortunate issue and I took personal responsibility to seek a discount and to pay back [a portion of bills) I was personally responsible for,” Shaw told the talk show host yesterday. “I do profoundly regret what has happened,” he added.

     

    At the same time, he noted that a large portion of the bills had charges for data while roaming as he was unaware that the data service was not turned off while travelling. The personal portion related to use of his phone when his wife was in hospital for surgery. He said she is now doing well. “Thank God.”

    According to the finance minister, the new protocol going forward is not only for a cap to be placed on phones assigned to government servants, all will be required to turn off mobile data service when travelling overseas on Government business and use WiFi.

     

    The highest bill for the period was for $4,220,814.11 when he was out of the country attending meetings of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other stakeholders.

     

    Said the Ministry of Finance: “The magnitude of Minister Shaw's phone bill charges were brought to his attention only when the financial secretary advised him of the ATI request on March 31, 2017. Once the minister was aware of the high costs, he ordered an analysis/investigation to determine if there were any discrepancies in the amount billed. A query was raised with the service provider and they subsequently advised that the charges were accurate and resulted from data usage while roaming.

     

    “For the months of August and November 2016, when charges exceeded $1 million, there were several instances of official and urgent personal overseas travel by the minister. At that time he was integrally involved in finalising arrangements of the Precautionary Standby Agreement with the IMF and would have led to an increase of data usage during the period.

     

    ”Nevertheless, the minister insisted that the charges seemed unusually high. An inspection of the minister's mobile phone revealed that inadvertently the mobile data roaming settings were not adjusted for use over WiFi. Once realised, the necessary adjustments were made to the settings of the device.”

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  • UPDATE: Patrick Powell found guilty

    KINGSTON, Jamaica — Businessman Patrick Powell was this morning found guilty of failing to hand over his licensed firearm to the police.

    The verdict was handed down by Parish Judge Vaughn Smith in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

    Powell was arrested on July 11, the same date he was arrested six years ago in connection with the murder of Kingston College student Khajeel Mais and was later charged with failing to hand over his firearm his licensed Glock pistol and ammunition to the police for inspection in July 2011.

    His firearm was wanted for inspection in relation to the murder weapon however, the weapon was never recovered.

    He will be sentenced on August 9.

    Tanesha Mundle

     

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  • Search on in Westmoreland for missing US teen

    US teen Jada Jackson reported missing from Sunday, July 9

    Desperate search is now on in sections of Westmoreland to locate a 16-year-old female from the United States, who reportedly went missing on Sunday, July 9, from a home that she was staying in the parish.

     

     Authorities say an Ananda Alert has been triggered for the female identified as Jada Jackson of Dasher Farm, Maryland in the United States of America.

     

    She is of brown complexion, slim build and is about 160 centimetres (5 feet 3 inches) tall.

     

    Reports from the Whithorn Police are that Jada was last seen about 1:20 p.m. at a house in Roaring River, Westmoreland, where she was staying locally. Family members and police have since launched a desperate search to locate the teen.

     

    At the time, she was wearing a yellow prop-top blouse, blue jeans and a pair of black sneakers; she was also carrying a brown bag. All efforts to contact her have proven futile.

     

    Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Jada Jackson is being asked to contact the Whithorn Police at 955-2758, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.

     

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  • Tanya Stephens' sharp criticism of Portia riles up 'Mama P' supporters

    Tanya Stephens (left) and Portia Simpson Miller

    Veteran singer, Tanya Stephens, has generated a backlash of criticism of unsavoury comments she made on social media about former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, on the day Simpson Miller retired from active politics.

    Stephens, in a social media post that has since been deleted, declared that, "Hearing people lament Portia's departure is like seeing people congratulate my rapist for being a 'good man' ... She isn't a good person."

    The artiste further said, "Besides (having been) unqualified and an embarrassing representation who wasn't even of average intelligence as per her public displays, she was also an awful, apathetic human who perfected the art of pandering to the hypocrisy of Jamaicans."

    Stephens concluded that, "I'm happy to see her back. I'm not alone. Good riddance".

    Obviously disturbed by Stephens' sudden and sharp criticism of the former leader, a number persons, mainly supporters of Simpson Miller, including noted members of the People's National Party (PNP) which she served for over 40 years and led for the last 11 years, went into ultra-defensive mode.

    PNP Vice-President and Senator, Angela Brown Burke, expressed shock at Stephens' comments.

    "Tanya, really now! That's what you've chosen to say about another woman who has inspired so many others? SMDH," she responded.

    Venesha Phillips, the PNP Councillor for the Papine Division in St Andrew, took a totally different angle, but with even more telling effect.

    "Angela, please delete this post. Let us not give airplay to the useless. To recognise that dead will give life to her, so let her remain in her grave."

    Some members of the Facebook group 'Fair and Balanced Jamaica' were anything but balanced, in spinning some 'wicked dub plates' aimed at Stephens, including one user, Vinnette Wilson, who mercilessly declared that the artiste who last year publicly declared to having been raped and abused, "needs to go and get help with her damage(d) and hurt feelings, and stop being so bitter with everyone."

    Suzette Parks, another Facebook user, was far more balanced, and acknowledged that Stephens has a right to her opinion.

    "I love her as an artiste, but I think she crossed the line, because even though I didn't want her (Simpson Miller) to be my PM, I love and respect her as a woman who let all women know they can make it in this society that thinks only men can get the job done."

    Parks added that, "Portia has fought and worked hard to make her name in society, and I salute her".

    She declared that, "I love Mama P to mi heart, but I didn't want her to be my PM, so I did what I had to do. We must speak through our votes, and not degrade anyone.

    "Tanya, mi love you bad, and a labour mi seh, but you need to apologise to this woman. She is a true icon.

    " Big up yuhself Mama P.

    "Tanya you a mi G. Love you still, nah change," Parks wrote.

    Kamla Forbesz, clearly a strong supporter of Simpson Miller, also declined to directly attack Stephens, opting for sarcasm instead, and interestingly, introduced a wider element to the 'debate' on Simpson Miller's representation.

    "You can only do better if you know better, and clearly she doesn't know better," Forbesz wrote.

    "We have a culture in Jamaica where women tear each other down. Instead of lift them up, we envy each other.

    "Tanya Stephens is an unfortunate product of our society (in which) women feel they have to tear each other down to get ahead.

    "And comrades, stop being hypocritical, because nuff a unnu same one hate Portia and orchestrated her demise.

    "You orchestrated the demise of Lisa Hanna too.

    "Until as a people we learn to respect the work of our women in society, expect a few more Tanya Stephens to pop up," Forbesz predicted.

    Simpson Miller served for 35 years as the Member of Parliament (MP) for South West St Andrew, and six years as Prime Minister of Jamaica before resigning from representational politics on June 29.

     

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