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  • From Riches to Rags – Jamaican Lotto winner blows $45m

    An unfinished eight-bedroom house which McLean started building with his Lotto winnings before he hit hard times.

    Easy come easy go, they say, and Michael McLean from Woodburn, St Thomas, has 45 million reasons to agree.

    Also called Coolie and later Lotto Man, McLean described what he felt on November 24, 2004 only as “Good vibes” after the numbers his late grandmother revealed to him in a dream turned out to be the winning numbers to a $45 million Lotto draw.

    For McLean, the win opened breaches to a world of opportunities that he as a ‘poor youth growing up would never imagine he would have had access to’.

    But the ticket to his dream nearly proved to be a death sentence.

    “After the government took $7 million from the money, I gave my mother and eight siblings a million dollars each. I believe that if I am a millionaire then my family should all be millionaires too. And though I am glad I won, money mek mi nearly dead and that’s why I shared it up like that. People used to patrol behind mi house to look for me to rob and kill me. Luckily I went away to Portland to breeze out for a while,” McLean said.

    M relatives

    He told The Star that one of his relatives is the main reason he is nearly broke today.

    “After I spend most of the money to build this family house, I got in some ‘ruption’ with one of my relatives and though that person didn’t directly rob the money that person is the reason that everything went down the drain,” McLean said.

    “I had $10 million left after I shared up what I had to with family and children and a few other minor things. I put the $10 million in the bank and took out a tractor worth over $6 million. One of my relatives was put in charge of it but somehow I wasn’t seeing any of the money it was making. I had to be drawing money from the bank to pay for the tractor though the bank already told me that the tractor would be able to pay for itself. When I brought the issue to my relative it caused a bad vibes so I had to take it from him,” he revealed.



    And if that was not enough, the tractor started malfunctioning.

    “Then it began to give a lot of problems. I had to be spending hundreds of thousands to fix it. When I fixed it, men stole all the parts and when I went to find out how much it would cost to replace them I was told $2.5 million so I just sold what was left of the tractor instead,” he said.

    McLean now laments that he has no money to buy food on a regular basis and almost nothing to show, except for his unfinished eight-bedroom ‘mansion’ and his faulty Chevrolet Avalanche that has been parked in his yard since 2010.

    The 56-year old said although he has lost everything, he is thankful for life and hopes to win again.

    “I’m not sorry I won because it really helped my family. Now I gamble to win to try and help myself. If I should win again I would let the bank deal with all the money and not my family members. The bank encouraged me to invest in houses so I can rent them but I had already begun sharing up the money among my family members and allowed that relative to take charge because I couldn’t really read and write. Is bad-mind that tear mi down,” he shared.

    Michael McLean is a picture of sadness as he explains how he fell on hard times


    The faulty Chevrolet Avalanche parked in McLean’s yard since 2010.


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  • The Case of the Disappearing Shoreline: What Happened to Jamaica’s Hellshire Beach?


    Top, Hellshire Beach, January 2009. Bottom, Hellshire Beach, January 2016. Both views from Prendy’s.



    So said one of my friends in passing, also back home for the holidays. I didn’t quite understand what they meant. So I gathered some of my family and friends and we set off for a Saturday outing.

    As we drove, it started to occur to us that the ocean did seem a little closer. The real shock occurred when we stepped into one of the fish vendor shops.

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    Shock at the ocean actually being at our feet. January 2016.

    If you needed another reminder of what it looked like.

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    Hellshire Beach, January 2009.

    I like to keep on top of Jamaican news, and especially Jamaican environmental news. We have a lot of issues in this department. Just last year, Riverton Dump, burned for more than 8 days. No visible progress seems to be happening with the hotels agreeing with NEPA on how to save the Negril coastline. We’ve allowed foreign companies to come in and repeatedly build hotels not just on the beach but on other environmentally vulnerable locations.

    But back to the Hellshire Beach shoreline.

    Like any good scientist/engineer, when I got back I started to do a little bit of research. I wish I could say I was shocked when I found this article from 2011, “Hellshire Beach threatened, LIME funds study to identify solutions”, but alas, I was not. Back then, a study was commissioned to be carried out by a local coastal engineering firm Smith Warner, and “the first phase of the study will include extensive data gathering on the biological environment and the use of computer models to undertake preliminary engineering analyses.” Jamel Banton, director at Smith Warner, warned that “if the existing attrition is not reduced, the shoreline is expected to retreat further inland, thereby lessening the viability of the popular beach area for recreational and commercial activities.”

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    Top, Hellshire Beach, January 2009. Bottom, Hellshire Beach, January 2016. Both views from Prendy’s.

    I’d say he was correct. So what happened to this study?

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  • Burnt body of African found in Westmoreland

    The badly burnt body of an African national was found in Westmoreland on Monday.

    He has been identified as Mofolumeso Adunfa.

    Police report that residents in Ashton District discovered Adunfa’s charred body about 10:00 AM.

    The residents called the cops and they arrived and processed the scene.

    Details are unclear but the police are treating the death as murder and are now trying to establish a motive for the killing.



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  • Police Lock up Disable Woman in Trinidad

    An unemployed disabled woman, who said she has been trying without success to get a disability grant for eight years, was yesterday convicted for possession of 14 grammes of marijuana and fined $2,500.

    Michaeline Wall said she planned to take the drugs for the pain in her feet.

    Wall, 26, was born with club feet. The condition is also called congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV), a deformity involving one foot or both feet. The affected foot appears to have been rotated internally at the ankle. Without treatment, people with this condition often appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

    When she appeared before San Fernando Magistrate Brambhanan Dubay, Wall admitted that she had the drugs in her possession.

    Sgt Gordon Maharaj told the court that at 5.30 p.m. on Sunday at George Street, La Romaine, Wall was asked if she had anything illegal in her possession. She took a black bag containing 11 packets of marijuana out of her pants pocket.

    Wall showed Dubay her feet and said: “I bought it (the marijuana) to easy up the pain.”

    Told by the magistrate that there were tablets she could take, the unemployed woman said after using painkillers, the pain would return. Wall aspires to become a welder.

    Dubay fined her $2,500. In default of paying the fine Wall will serve 12 months in prison. She was given two months to pay the money.

    No disability grant

    As she was led out the court in handcuffs, the magistrate warned Wall: “Do not get tied up in this marijuana thing again.”

    After her release Wall told reporters that she had completed a course in basic welding seven months ago. She said she wants to become an offshore or underwater welder. “I can handle my stories,” she said.

    Wall, of La Romaine, also said she had been applying for a disability grant for the past eight years but without success. She said she was told that her father was a working man. Wall denied this as she told reporters that her father was ill.

    Attorney Frank Gittens said he will assist Wall to get the grant.

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