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Radical Changes to be Observed for National Child Month

Alaina Hull

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Children are the future of any country and very nation cherishes its youth and is duty bound to protect them. Jamaica has realized the importance of this and is implementing several changes to help protect the children, especially from an increasing crime rate. The country is observing the month of May as National Child Month and several programmes have been put in place to celebrate and safeguard childhood. Dr. Saphire Longmore was quoted as saying that

“…the need of the hour is to protect the children from sexual abuse and domestic violence”

The Statistics

Statistics received from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) is highly concerning. Some kind of immediate action is required to put a stop to the atrocities against children. It has been found that around 10 in every 1,000 children are subjected to some form of abuse or mistreatment. Around 70 out of every 10,000 kids seem to be victims of violent crimes. The number of rape victims since the start of the year is around 83, and the number of kids found murdered in 2019 alone is about 14. Around 49 kids were subjected to severe sexual and physical assault. To top these horrendous findings off, approximately 80% of the kids seem to have witnessed violence, either in their communities or at their homes.

Apart from these, children die horrific deaths each year due to traffic violations. Improper signage and carelessness on the part of drivers seem to be the leading cause. It has been found that around 120 deaths have occurred in the past year alone. Most of the unfortunate victims are left disabled for life. Estimated 70,000 children are disabled due to road accidents.

Countermeasures being put in Place

The cynosure during this year’s celebrations will be children with disabilities. The central theme will be ‘Encourage, Enable, Include Me’. On Labour Day, the country will focus on ensuring the children’s safety in various spheres of everyday life. The National Child Month programme seeks to ensure that people spend time understanding the importance of road safety, especially when it comes to kids. Crosswalks, separate lanes for buses and many such safety measures are in the pipeline and might become a reality soon. Senator Longmore issued a special request for everyone to wear something in sunshine yellow colour, on the upcoming Friday.

                    31 Helpful Tips for the month of May

The commitment to deliver knowledge and information to the world is a duty that one should not take lightly; it is one that I do not take lightly. Equipped with 10 years of professional writing experience, and even more so of "scribbling in a journal", I aim to provide in-depth, accurate and expeditious news and information. "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air."- Henry Anatole Grunwald [email protected]

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Jamaica News

Transfer Your Voter Registration by June 28 Urges the EOJ

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Registered voters must apply for a transfer of their voter registration by Friday, June 28, 2019. This is the message from the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ). Transferring the vote is part of the process for updating the November 30, 2019 voter’s list.

If voters apply for a transfer of their voter registration after June 28, their process will not be completed before May 2020.

How to Apply for a Transfer of Voter Registration

The Electoral Office stated that the process for transferring voter registration is quite simple. The elector must visit the office of their constituency and apply for a registration transfer.  Furthermore, the applicant must apply at the constituency office where she currently lives. Once the elector makes the application the EOJ transfers the information from the polling division to the new polling division.

After the transfer is completed, the Electoral Office will publish the elector’s new address information in the updated voter’s list.

The Law Requires Applications To Transfer the Vote

The transfer of voter registration is necessary for persons who have changed addresses since the last time they registered or updated their information. Individuals often overlook this important step for keeping their voter registration up to date. It is not until General or By-Elections roll around that the matter of where to vote becomes crucial. The law governing elections requires the voter to vote in the polling division where she lives.

Even if the transfer is to take place within the same constituency, applying for a transfer of voter registration is still necessary. The Electoral Office of Jamaica, therefore, encourages Jamaicans who have relocated since they last updated their voter information to act now to avoid any difficulties.

Three Month Waiting Period

The EOJ noted that the elector must wait three months after applying for transfer before the office processes the application. After this period, one of the EOJ officers along with scrutineers representing the political parties – one each from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP) will visit the address to verify that the applicant lives there.

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I Will Not Take a Side! Says Portia Simpson Miller

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I have not and will not take a side.”

The former President of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) Portia Simpson Miller made this declaration recently.  Simpson Miller made her comment in a statement posted on her Twitter account two days ago. She also encouraged her party comrades to keep the leadership campaign respectful and clean.

Simpson Miller’s statement came in the wake of the PNP leadership challenge mounted by Central Manchester Member of Parliament, Peter Bunting. Bunting is seeking to unseat Dr. Peter Phillips who is the current President of the PNP.

Don’t Use My Name and Image

Also, Portia Simpson Miller asked in her statement that the campaign not use her name and image. Her request to distance her name and likeness from this potentially divisive campaign is in a bid to counter any speculation that she is in favour of either of the Peters. She did not want anything to suggest that she intended to take a side in this leadership race.

Further, Simpson Miller encouraged her comrades to campaign vigorously for their candidate. She, however, cautioned that they should be mindful that following an internal contest the party must continue its preparation for the next General Elections.

The next General Elections are constitutionally due in 2021.

Simpson Miller also declared that her first loyalty and duty are always with the People’s National Party.

Internal Election Date Not Confirmed

The PNP has not yet confirmed a date for the election of the leader. Initially, expectations were that the elections for a new party leader would be held in September during the party’s annual conference.

However, the party is to arrange the logistics for a special meeting of the party for the internal elections.  Dr. Peter Phillips had requested that the party settles the matter surrounding the leadership challenge early. He had no desire for this matter to drag on and interfere with the agenda of the September party conference.

Disquiet in the PNP over Upcoming Campaign

Supporters of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP). The party is now in the throes of a leadership challenge mounted by Peter Bunting.

Meanwhile, there is much division within the PNP among supporters of Dr. Phillips and Mr. Bunting. Party insiders also contended that the timing of Bunting’s challenge against Phillips was bad. Noting that internal leadership challenges will set the party back, the insiders condemned Bunting’s decision to mount the challenge at this time.

For his part, Peter Bunting defended his decision as the right one. One of his rationales was that the PNP under Dr. Phillip’s leadership will not succeed against the Andrew Holness led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the next General Elections.

Each Peter contends that sufficient supporters are in his corner to ensure success in the internal elections.

So, as the leadership challenge unfolds, the PNP continues to be in the headlines. One could only wait for the final outcome of what can be considered an exciting contest between two contenders who believe they are the right choice for leadership of the 81-year old PNP ahead of the upcoming General Elections.

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Edna Manley College Principal Reveals More to Parliament Than College Board

Alaina Hull

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Edna Manley College is still being plagued by complaints of sexual harassment of students by a faculty member of the College, and no action being taken against him. In a strange development to this story, the Principal of the College, Dr. Nicholeen DeGrasse Johnson has revealed to a parliamentary committee that she had received a complaint about this lecturer, but had not initiated any serious inquiry into him to arrive at the truth. Moreover,  Marigold Harding, the Chairperson, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, has expressed surprise that the Principal chose to reveal this at the committee, but, has never informed her about it. Chairperson Harding feels the Principal will have to offer an explanation for her conduct.

Principal Queried Intensely at the PAAC

Principal DeGrasse Johnson was actually appearing before the PAAC in connection with the school’s accounts, contracts and whether the right procedures were being followed. One PAAC member, Leslie Campbell, however, started questioning her on this sexual harassment issue. It was during this questioning that the Principal revealed that it was one of the faculty members who had informed her as early as 2 years back that the students were complaining to her about a particular lecturer’s misconduct. While the right thing for her to have done at that time would have been to ask that faculty to obtain the complaints from the students in writing, she chose to let the issue pass. This fact came out during the questioning by the committee member.

School Management Taken Aback by the Principal’s Revelations

As mentioned, the immediate reaction from the Chairperson of Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has been one of shock. Harding says she and the Board of Management of the College have had several meetings in the past 2 years and never once had the Principal shared with her this information. Going further, the Chairperson has said there would be an emergency meeting of the Board on this issue and the Principal will be called in to answer to the Board on why she chose to speak the truth in front of the Parliament Committee and not to the Management of the College. The term used by Chairperson Harding is that the Principal has put herself in ‘jeopardy’. She expressed surprise that while there have been reports of sexual misconduct in the institution for so long, nobody from within the college had even informed her about it.

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