Jamaica_old (1211)

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WASHINGTON, USA (JIS) -- New World Bank representative for Jamaica, Giorgio Valentini, says the Bank will continue to assist efforts in the region to boost social and economic growth and to address the impact of climate change.

"The World Bank is committed to continue supporting the Caribbean as the region makes improvements in economic growth and social development in the wake of the global financial crisis, which has proved particularly challenging to them," Valentiti stated in a release from the Bank on March 16 announcing his appointment.

“The challenges of climate change for the Caribbean countries are also a key focus that we support fully with a variety of programme tailored to each country’s specific needs,” he added.

Valentini, who will be based in Kingston, replaces Badrul Haque, who had been the Bank’s special representative in Jamaica since March 2008.

He will also have programme responsibilities for Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

“In his new role, Giorgio will continue to strengthen relationships between the Bank and partner countries, while ensuring the overall quality of the Bank’s financial and analytical services,” said the Bank’s director for the Caribbean, Françoise Clottes.
Valentini, an Italian national, brings to the position, more than 20 years of experience in international development and the private sector.

He joined the World Bank in 2002 and has worked in the Latin America and Africa regions in the areas of state modernisation, health care, judicial reform, public-private partnerships, social protection and fiscal administration. His most recent position was Country Representative for Guyana based in Georgetown.

Before joining the Bank, Valentini worked as a management consultant for Booz Allen & Hamilton on business development for the private sector and on the reform of the social security administration in the United States.

He graduated from George Washington University with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in management and finance.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Jamaica is ranked among 15 countries in the world with top broadband speeds, chairman of Columbus Communications International, Brendan Paddick, has revealed.

“With Flow’s introduction of up to 100 megabits (per second) of internet speeds into Jamaican homes, I am proud to announce that Jamaica has now moved up the information and telecommunications technology (ICT) ladder...ranking higher than places such as Canada, the United States and even the United Kingdom for broadband speeds,” he said.

Columbus Communications International is the parent company of telecommunications entity, Flow.

Paddick was speaking at the launch of Flow’s Columbus Business Solutions on Wednesday.

“With this broadband infrastructure, Jamaica’s government is well positioned to meet its ambitious plans of universal access,” he said.

Paddick was referring to the government’s mandate for Jamaica in terms of the ICT sector, as outlined in its 2030 Development Plan (Vision 2030 Jamaica).

“They (the government) have set aggressive targets for Jamaica. They want a strong and competitive ICT sector with universal and open access to ICT with widely accessible and affordable networks…all within an enabling environment. We are proud to be a significant piece of this very complex plan,” he said.

Paddick pointed out that Columbus Communications International has now invested over US$250 million in Jamaica, “and I promise you that this figure will maintain its forward momentum as we continue to unveil significant broadband developments in Jamaica in the coming years.”

He noted that governments across the world, such as in Canada, Asia, France, the Netherlands, and other regions of Europe are spending billions of dollars to bring next-generation fibre-based networks, like the network Columbus has already delivered in Jamaica and the region, to their respective countries.

“Once broadband networks like those of Columbus are deployed, they instantly stimulate the economy by providing the country new business tools, by opening the door to ongoing business innovation and by supporting a wide range of multimedia consumer services that are the drivers of the 21st century economy,” Paddick said.

According to a Flow release, with the launch of Columbus Business Solutions, Flow has expanded its services to include more enhanced business solutions for small and micro businesses, so that they can leverage critical tools to become more competitive.

by Caribbean News Now Staff

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Drama and confusion continued to reign on Thursday at the Commission of Enquiry into the extradition of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, currently ongoing in Jamaica.

The latest interruption of the proceedings occurred when it became necessary to check a "powdery" substance sent to three attorneys in the case.

The Jamaica Gleaner reported that chairman of the Commission, Emil George, was forced to adjourn the proceedings for security checks after someone passed three envelopes to attorneys Hugh Small, K.D. Knight and Patrick Atkinson during the proceedings on Thursday afternoon.

Knight said that when he opened his envelope he saw a plastic lining and in the next layer there was a "powdery" substance, which caused some concern.

Small, the attorney for Prime Minister Bruce Golding, said he was concerned that the security of participants in the enquiry was being compromised.

After rigid security checks, the hearing continued.

by Caribbean News Now Staff

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding testified on Friday that alleged drug kingpin Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke exerted considerable influence in Tivoli Gardens, Kingston, particularly among the young people.

"He was a benefactor... he was typical of what is called dons, wielding a considerable amount of influence and being held in significant esteem," said Golding in response to questions from his attorney, Hugh Small.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding
The prime minister was giving evidence at the Commission of Enquiry looking into the circumstances surrounding Coke’s extradition to the US that he met Coke in early 2005, shortly before he (Golding) became the Member of Parliament for West Kingston.

He said after he was elected a Member of Parliament he met him occasionally in Tivoli Gardens.

This is a diversion from the claims of other senior cabinet members and stalwarts in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) who gave evidence at the enquiry.

Justice minister Dorothy Lightbourne, national security minister Dwight Nelson and information minister Daryl Vaz have denied knowing Coke, saying most of their knowledge of the man emanated from media reports.

The Jamaica Gleaner reported that Golding told the Commission that, on August 24, he received a call from Nelson, informing him that he had the Chief of Defence Staff and Commissioner of Police in his presence.

"I told them that I was at Vale Royal and suggested that they could meet me there,” Golding said.

Small asked, "Is it unusual for you to have meetings with them (as minister with responsibility for the defence portfolio)?”

Golding responded, "No, we had regular meetings."

The prime minister said he was told by former Police Commissioner Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin that the extradition request would arrive the following day by a special agent.

Golding said he raised questions about the police's preparedness to deal with it.

The prime minister told the Commission that he subsequently alerted the minister of justice and attorney general Dorothy Lightbourne about the impending extradition request, as she would been the first port of call.

Golding said Lightbourne informed him the following day that she had received some documents relating to the extradition request.

“She said she had spoken to someone at the DPP office and expressed some surprise about the involvement of an officer of the JDF," said Golding.

Golding told the enquiry that he was livid when he found out that attorney Harold Brady had retained the United States law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips on behalf of the government of Jamaica.

Golding said he gave Brady instructions to hire the firm on behalf of the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP).

He said Brady and junior minister of foreign affairs Ronald Robinson had approached him about seeking assistance regarding the extradition request for Coke. Golding admitted that he agreed to seek the law firm's assistance as he believed talks with the United States embassy in Kingston would be fruitless, as no ambassador was in place.

The prime minister said he was anxious to resolve the issue because of Coke's affiliation to the JLP.

Golding said that the attitude of the US government was to "hurry up and sign."

The enquiry will continue on Monday, when it is expected that the attorney general's secretary, Verna McGaw, will be called to testify concerning an email that was purportedly sent by Lightbourne to solicitor general Douglas Leys and copied to Brady.

The attorney general said that she never sent the email.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Minister with responsibility for Information, Daryl Vaz said the training of hundreds of Jamaican students is an important link in the historical chain of friendship, common heritage and aspirations of Jamaica and India.

The information minister, who was speaking at the certification ceremony of a government of Jamaica and government of India ICT programme last week, said, “This is one of the most visible forms of Jamaica and India’s bilateral cooperation.”

He applauded India’s leadership and also commended the HEART Trust/NTA which is the implementing agency for the valuable role it plays in meeting the training needs of Jamaican youths.

“It has been well recognized that ICT is a driving force and a great tool for promoting social and economic development, combating poverty and facilitating the integration of developing countries in the global economy,” Vaz said.

He urged the graduates to position themselves to use ICT to their advantage as it is here to stay.

The governments of Jamaica and India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2008 to establish an information and communication technology (ICT) centre. A US$1 million grant was given for the provision of the setting up of an ICT training laboratory. The Indian government supplied courseware and trainers from India who conducted the classes.

LONDON, England (JIS) -- Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda says Jamaica is one of the most attractive places to invest and conduct business.

Speaking last week at the opening of the third annual Jamaica/United Kingdom (UK) Investment Forum in London, the minister said the government has devised a model to encourage business, which had at its core, transparency, anti-corruption and the adoption of a sound fiscal and monetary policy, devoid of political expediency.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda
This model, he said, included collaboration between the public and private sectors, a commitment to an open market approach, a commitment “to literally suck the oxygen out of unnecessary bureaucracy”; protection of the environment; support for greater access to capital; the privatisation of government owned assets; as well as a commitment to a relentless fight against crime and violence.

Samuda said the wheels are beginning to turn in the manufacturing sector and Jamaica had moved up by 20 places on the Human Development Index.

He told the meeting that the confidence displayed in 2008 at the first investment forum has continued. This confidence, he said, had been strengthened by the positive results that have emerged from the strategies undertaken by the government to bring about economic stability and growth.

“Our confidence in the future of Jamaica as an attractive and sustainable investment destination is as resolute now as it was then. Our optimism then continues to be strengthened by the positive results that continue to emerge from the bold initiatives undertaken by the government to bring about a sense of economic stability,” Samuda said.

“We have seen results. In 2008 inflation was running in the region of 16.8 percent; in 2010 it was 11.7, a 30 percent drop; and this year it will be under 10 percent. The exchange rate has stabilised and we have brought the exchange rate under control. The Net international Reserves (NIR), which in 2009 stood at US$1.6 billion, is now at US$2.4 billion,” the minister added, noting that much of this success had to do with the partnership which the government had forged with the private sector.
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