first_imgGENEVA – The UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will on Saturday visit Egypt as he kicks off a regional tour to prepare for peace talks on Syria dubbed Geneva 2, his spokesman said.Brahimi will meet Egypt’s foreign minister Nabil Fahmy as well as the Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi, spokesman Khawla Mattar said in Geneva on Friday.The rest of his schedule is uncertain due to various governments being on holiday because of the main Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, but Mattar said “the tour will cover several countries of the region”. This will include visits to Damascus and Tehran.The international community has for months been pushing Syria’s rebels and the regime to participate in talks on a negotiated solution to the conflict, which has killed an estimated 115,000 people since March 2011.Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said proposed peace talks in Geneva could take place on November 23-24.However Mattar said the date for the long awaited peace conference will be announced by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “in due time”.She said the meeting was likely to place in the “second half of November”.Prospects for the Geneva 2 conference remain unclear, with the Syrian opposition divided and due to vote next week on whether to take part.last_img read more

first_imgMarrakech- King Mohammed VI and the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, accompanied by Prince Moulay Rachid, Sheikh Joann Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, chaired, on Friday at the Marrakech Royal Palace, the signing ceremony of four cooperation agreements in several fields. The first agreement, modifying the agreement on the prevention of double taxation and fight against tax evasion concerning income tax, was signed by Qatari finance minister Ali Cherif Al Imadi and Moroccan economy and finance minister Mohamed Boussaid.  The second agreement, signed by Ali Cherif Al Imadi and Mohamed Boussaid, is a memorandum of understanding on Qatar’s participation in funding development projects in Morocco.   The third, related to strengthening scientific, technical, technological and administrative cooperation in the industrial sector, was inked by Qatari economy and trade minister Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassem Bin Mohammed Al Thani and Moroccan minister of industry, investment and digital economy Moulay Hafid Elalamy. The fourth agreement is on reinforcing bilateral cooperation to carry out infrastructure projects and was signed by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassem Bin Mohammed Al Thani and Moroccan minister of equipment, transportation and logistics Aziz Rebbah. The signing ceremony was attended mainly by the head of government, the King’s advisors, cabinet members, the official delegation accompanying the Emir of Qatar and the honor committee.last_img read more

Rabat – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will visit Morocco next October, announced foreign minister Nasser Bourita Thursday in Moscow during a Morocco-Russia Joint Committee meeting. During the 6th session of the Moroccan-Russian Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation on July 13, Bourita stressed that Medvedev’s visit takes place in a favorable and positive context following the King’s successful historic visit to the Russian Federation in March 2016, which gave new impetus and a strong momentum to bilateral relations between the two countries.“The talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich showed Russia’s willingness to consolidate the deep strategic partnership between the two countries,” he said at the end of the meeting. For the minister, Morocco can “constitute the gateway of Russia to Africa.” According to Bourita, Morocco is the second partner of Russia at the Arab and African levels. The Kingdom supplies 35 percent of Russia’s needs in tomatoes and 20 percent in fish, while Russia meets 15 percent of Morocco’s gas needs.In this regard the Minister stressed the need to “promote these sectors of cooperation and to stimulate new dynamics by simplifying bureaucratic procedures and through the establishment of gas platforms, the exportation of Russian gas from Morocco to other regions, and the creation of joint ventures in fisheries to avoid quota-related problems.”In the same context, Bourita underlined the need to open up new areas of cooperation “in the light of Morocco’s experience as a gateway to the African continent and the Arab world in the fields of renewable energies, automotive and aeronautic sectors, and other industries to take advantage of these factors to attract Russian investment in several promising sectors such as tourism and the pharmaceutical industry and to make joint investments.”The outcome of the meeting contributed significantly to the success of the forthcoming visit of Medvedev to Morocco in October 2017 at the head of a large delegation of businessmen. read more

OTTAWA — TekSavvy Solutions Inc. has lodged a complaint with the CRTC, saying that critical statistical information compiled by the federal telecommunications regulator was omitted from last year’s edition of an annual industry report.The Ontario-based independent internet provider (ISP) says that the CRTC’s omission of the information makes it more difficult for companies like TekSavvy as they compete with industry giants, particularly Bell Canada.A spokeswoman for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says it’s reviewing TekSavvy’s complaint.TekSavvy says the 2018 Communications Monitoring Report issued Dec. 20 didn’t follow the CRTC’s usual practices for reporting things like consumer appetite for faster Internet, capital spending by independent ISPs and their market share. TekSavvy and its peers have been trying for years to get the CRTC to make it easier for wholesale internet resellers like them to offer higher-speed internet service to their customers, who are also potential customers of the big players.Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s vice-president for regulatory affairs, says industry data normally available in December would have helped independent ISPs make their case at CRTC hearings in December and January.Previous CRTC decisions have effectively allowed Bell Canada and other major phone companies to limit their wholesale customers like TekSavvy from offering residential services above 50,000 megabits per second.  Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE)The Canadian Press read more

Rabat – Despite an overall stable economy and positive scores in a number of international reports on economic performance, Morocco is still in need of “more decisive structural reforms” to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.The lukewarm assessment comes from a recent Global Risk Insights report. Compiling a number of recent reports—including from the World Bank—the Global Risk Insights article considered Morocco as taking considerable steps in the right direction but in need of internal reforms to avoid derailing. From pioneering a more inclusive education system to investing more in improving the lot of scores of unemployed young Moroccans, the North African kingdom “will need to grapple with some deeply rooted challenges before reaching its full potential as a regional powerhouse and premiere African hub for international investment,” according to the report.Read Also: Fitch Ratings: Despite Challenges, Moroccan Economy Stays StableMorocco’s strengths include its robust presence in international affairs, especially its assertive and growing presence in African affairs, its trade and security partnerships with Europe, its new but promising partnership with China, and its longstanding alliance with the US. While indispensable for the EU (on migration, for example) and strategic for the US (on counterterrorism efforts), Rabat is “becoming a media darling in China,” enticing Chinese investors and tourists. Continuing setbacks include poor public investment management, corruption, human and minority rights, poor record on tax payments, and economic dependence on the external world.  Flashy infrastructure can’t replace real reforms“Despite spending on flashy infrastructure projects, like deals on bullet trains and founding new cities, many basic infrastructure and development needs around the country are not being met,” the report said. The suggestion, as many critics of Morocco’s new high speed train have recently pointed out, is that the majority of the country’s high scale investments have been aimed at collecting “national prestige” or pride rather than practically impacting the socio-economic outcomes of millions of poor and low-income Moroccan families.While foreign investments fly into the country and infrastructure projects proliferate, sizable local needs remain unmet, keeping internal economic dynamics in a “fragile” and “vulnerable” state.As Morocco improves its global outreach and diversifies its trade and strategic partnerships, the report suggested, “certain key social and economic issues, including treatment of vulnerable populations, will present an important test as to whether Morocco will emerge in the future as a strong, inclusive economy.” It concluded, “In order to secure its place as a regional hub for growth and progress, internal reforms will be absolutely critical.” read more

Rabat – Is Fez going to have its first Moroccan Jewish Memorial Museum? According to Mehdi Qotbi, the president of the National Foundation of Moroccan Museums (FNM), there are ongoing discussions to create the museum. Following Qotbi’s visit, Wednesday, July 18, to the Jewish Cemetery of Fez and the Batha Museum with the wali (governor) of Fez-Meknes, the governor of Fez prefecture, Essaid Zniber and the mayor of Fez, Driss Azami Idrissi, he announced that discussions are underway to determine the progress of the project. The project is in line with FNM’s strategy which focuses on all cities in Morocco.“No region today will be forgotten,” Qotbi said, noting that Fez remains “the memory of the country, that of a people and a culture.” “This place of memory will carry a strong message from Fez to the world,” said Qotbi to MAP. He added that it is “necessary and important for this common memory to be highlighted, memory that should not hide an essential part of our culture which is Judaism.”For the president of the Jewish community of Fez, Oujda and Sefrou, Armand Guigui, the visit aims to highlight the places of memory of the Jewish community of Fez. As for the mayor of Fez, the initiative will promote the civilization, culture, and history of Fez. read more

Companies in this story: (TSX:NGD) TORONTO — Shares of New Gold Inc. were down more than 20 per cent in mid-day trading after the company released weaker than expected guidance for the year.The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says it expects to produce between 300,000 and 335,000 ounces of gold this year at an all-in sustaining cash cost of between US$1,370 to $1,470 per ounce for its two mines.The forecast is smaller and costlier than the 336,000 ounces at $1,022 per ounce expected by GMP Securities.New Gold has struggled with production issues at its Rainy River mine in Ontario. The company estimated at the start of last year that it would produce about 431,000 ounces in 2018, before slashing its forecast for Rainy River by about 100,000 ounces midway through the year as it encountered grade and recovery issues.The company says it lost $727.7 million or 1.26 per share in the fourth quarter, which included a $671-million impairment loss on its Rainy River mine.Adjusted net income from continuing operations for the quarter was $22.7 million or four cents per share, compared with a loss of four cents per share a year earlier.Shares in the company were down 37 cents at $1.26 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The Canadian Press read more

CALGARY — Global energy giant Royal Dutch Shell is urging Canada’s largest oil and gas organization to get off the fence and support both the Paris climate accord and the pricing of carbon to encourage greenhouse gas emission reductions.In a new report, Shell says it has reviewed its relationships with 19 industry associations around the world and decided to leave one of them, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, because of “material misalignment.”It found some misalignment with nine others, including the Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.In the report, Shell says CAPP is out of line because it doesn’t comment on the Paris accord, nor does it publicly support federal and provincial carbon pricing frameworks in Canada.It adds that it is aligned with CAPP, however, on support of Canada’s climate targets and policies that encourages technology and innovation to address climate change, as well as on the use of natural gas as an energy source and properly managing methane.Shell was a much bigger player in the Canadian oilpatch before it sold most of its oilsands assets to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. in 2017.“Taking into account the broader value of our membership, we remain a committed member of CAPP. We will continue to engage with the association and closely monitor our alignment on climate-related topics,” the Shell report concludes. Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ)The Canadian Press read more

BRUSSELS — European Council President Donald Tusk is meeting leaders including British Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of an emergency summit to decide whether to grant the United Kingdom a further delay in its departure from the European Union.Donald Tusk meets the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands and finally May shortly before Wednesday evening’s summit begins.It’s likely to be a rough day for the embattled British leader as she pleads for a second extension until June 30, to prevent Britain’s departure now scheduled for Friday.Tusk has suggested an even longer delay of up to a year with conditions attached to ensure Britain does not stymie EU decision making if it remains a member.EU countries have become increasingly exasperated with the political division and uncertainty in Britain.The Associated Press read more

A special feature of the Eighth Biennial Diaspora Conference 2019 will be the presentation of a report that will highlight the implementation of recommendations made at Conference 2017.The upcoming conference will be held from June 16 to 20 under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on June 5 at the agency’s head office in Kingston, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said that reporting on the 2017 conference “must be honest”.“I have, therefore, indicated that we will not only be sharing what was completed but will be sharing what hasn’t been and what still needs energy or what might still not be relevant,” she said.Senator Johnson said it is important to have continuity and to complete what “we had said that we would be doing”.The Senator cited the Adopt-a-Clinic Initiative launched in 2017 and said that despite a strong level of commitment in the number of clinics that would be adopted, the numbers did not materialise.The Initiative seeks to attract and identify stakeholders who will adopt the facilities and provide the requisite basic needs and resources that better enable those institutions to deliver improved quality services to persons in the communities where they are located.Signature features of the conference will include the MarketPlace exposition of Jamaican goods and services; Government At Your Service – a fast-tracked one-stop shop at the conference; and a range of hospitality and cultural activities. The upcoming conference will be held from June 16 to 20 under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’. Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on June 5 at the agency’s head office in Kingston, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said that reporting on the 2017 conference “must be honest”. Story Highlights A special feature of the Eighth Biennial Diaspora Conference 2019 will be the presentation of a report that will highlight the implementation of recommendations made at Conference 2017. read more

Students and staff of Fundaciones (El Centro) got a welcome treat on Thursday morning (June 6), when Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness stopped at the institution’s Hillcrest Avenue location in St. Andrew. Mr. Holness visited the early childhood division, where he observed the delivery of instruction in English and Spanish at that level. Story Highlights He played chess with the students, toured the school’s herb and vegetable garden, and read to the children from the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. Students and staff of Fundaciones (El Centro) got a welcome treat on Thursday morning (June 6), when Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness stopped at the institution’s Seymour Avenue location in St. Andrew.Mr. Holness visited the early childhood division, where he observed the delivery of instruction in English and Spanish at that level.He played chess with the students, toured the school’s herb and vegetable garden, and read to the children from the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle.Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (second right), engages with students at Fundaciones, before playing a game of chess with them. The Prime Minister visited the school on Hillcreast Avenue, St. Andrew, on Thursday (June 6). Director, Fundaciones, Rachael McDonald, said the students and staff members were happy for the visit from the Prime Minister.“Our children were very excited to show him some of what they are learning, some of what they have been doing, and, of course, to share whatever they want to share with him. We are also very thankful to have been able to speak a little bit about Spanish as a foreign language with him and have good dialogue about his views on this,” Ms. McDonald said.With centres in Kingston and Montego Bay, Fundaciones delivers programmes and activities for children from 18 months to 18 years.“Fundaciones is literally Spanish for foundations, and what we are giving kids at every level, in every programme, are the fundamentals that they need to learn in order to survive,” Ms. McDonald told JIS News. The staff members also shared their teaching techniques with the Prime Minister, which incorporate the use of both English and Spanish languages in the classroom, and illustrated what other schools can do to model their example. read more

Labour and Social Security Minister, Senator he Hon. Shahine Robinson (left), and Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, were among the hundreds of persons attending the traditional ‘Nine-Night’ event, held in memory of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, in Tivoli Gardens Square, Western Kingston, on Wednesday (June 5). Mr. Seaga, who passed away on May 28 at age 89, was Western Kingston’s Member of Parliament for 43 years, from 1962 to 2005. Mr. McKenzie, who served as a Councillor for Tivoli Gardens during Mr. Seaga’s tenure, is the current Member of Parliament. Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, addresses the hundreds of persons attending the traditional ‘Nine-Night’, held in memory of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, in Tivoli Gardens Square, Western Kingston, on Wednesday (June 5). Mr. Seaga, who passed away on May 28 at age 89, was Western Kingston’s Member of Parliament for 43 years, from 1962 to 2005. Mr. McKenzie, who served as a Councillor for Tivoli Gardens during Mr. Seaga’s tenure, is the current Member of Parliament. Scenes from the traditional ‘Nine-Night’, held in memory of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, in Tivoli Gardens Square, Western Kingston, on Wednesday (June 5). Mr. Seaga, who passed away on May 28 at age 89, was Western Kingston’s Member of Parliament for 43 years, from 1962 to 2005. read more

The National Works Agency (NWA) is reporting that the Mandela Highway Realignment and Reconstruction Project is 97 per cent complete. The National Works Agency (NWA) is reporting that the Mandela Highway Realignment and Reconstruction Project is 97 per cent complete.The highway, which spans St. Andrew and St. Catherine, is a key thoroughfare that links Kingston with Jamaica’s northern, western and southern regions.Senior NWA Communications and Customer Services Officer, Ramona Lawson, told JIS News that although the roadway is open to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, corrective and tidying up works are continuing, primarily in the region of Tom Cringle Drive.“These include the construction of a roundabout for large articulated vehicles accessing locations along the roadway, as well as extending the service road east of Tom Cringle Drive to serve entities located in that area of the project. These activities will continue into the summer,” she outlined.Meanwhile, Ms. Lawson is urging persons using the highway, particularly pedestrians, to adhere to the safety guidelines.“We continue to implore pedestrians to use the overpass bridge, which is equipped with pedestrian facilities to include sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and the necessary safety signs,” she said.Ms. Lawson said the NWA has noticed, “with some trepidation”, that a number of pedestrians, including students, refuse to obey these instructions and have been attempting to cross six lanes of traffic, citing this practice as “very dangerous”.She said the agency is keen and focused on reinforcing and improving safe access to the corridor, particularly for pedestrians, while reminding motorists that the traffic signals at the crossing by the Fresh River Bridge have been decommissioned.The US$64-million Mandela Highway Realignment and Reconstruction Project involves road construction works comprising extensive soft soil treatment, construction of a 3.5-kilometre six-lane corridor with a two-lane overpass bridge, two new three-lane bridges at Fresh River, a two-lane service road adjacent to the main roadway to facilitate the development of Caymanas Estate, and upgrading of the Six Miles Interchange.The development is part of the Government’s ongoing legacy road projects being implemented by the NWA.It represents a continuation of works to improve the island’s road network in order to enhance the quality of life of citizens and stimulate economic growth and development.The project falls under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), and is being executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC). Story Highlights Senior NWA Communications and Customer Services Officer, Ramona Lawson, told JIS News that although the roadway is open to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, corrective and tidying up works are continuing, primarily in the region of Tom Cringle Drive. The highway, which spans St. Andrew and St. Catherine, is a key thoroughfare that links Kingston with Jamaica’s northern, western and southern regions. read more

Members of the public file past the casket of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga at the Jamaica Labour Party’s headquarters in St. Andrew on Wednesday (June 5), where the body was lying-in-state. Members of the public file past the casket of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga at the Jamaica Labour Party’s headquarters in St. Andrew on Wednesday (June 5), where the body was lying-in-state.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is reporting that the island welcomed a record two million visitors for the first five months of 2019. He was speaking at the official opening of the R Hotel in New Kingston on June 6. “That is the first time in the history of Jamaica that within the first five months of the year, we have brought two million visitors to Jamaica,” he said. Story Highlights Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is reporting that the island welcomed a record two million visitors for the first five months of 2019.“That is the first time in the history of Jamaica that within the first five months of the year, we have brought two million visitors to Jamaica,” he said.He was speaking at the official opening of the R Hotel in New Kingston on June 6.Mr. Bartlett further informed that the country earned US$1.7 billion for the period, as a result of the increase in arrivals.“This represents, for us, the new drive that Jamaica is now involved in, which is not just about (increasing) numbers, but also to add value to the experience of the visitors, who come here,” he noted.The Tourism Minister said that the Government is working to retain a greater portion of visitor spending, so that more Jamaicans can benefit from the industry.He noted that the country now retains 40.8 cents out of every tourism dollar spent on the island, up from 30 cents.The R Hotel is the city’s only extended stay business hotel, as well as the first full city concierge experience property. It comprises 48 rooms, a gym, art gallery, and boasts Jamaican-made handcrafted furnishings and décor.The hotel is a partnership involving noted Jamaican architect Evan Williams and businessman Joe Bogdanovich.It is the brainchild of Mr. Williams, who, 10 years ago, saw the need to provide more hotel rooms to service business travellers coming to the nation’s capital. read more

Debate on the Trust Act 2019, which seeks to provide a modern legal framework for the governance of Trusts, opened during Friday’s (June 7) sitting of the Senate.Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill, pointed out that regulation of the conduct of Trustees is governed by the 1897 Trustee Act, which she noted “is clearly no longer in sync with today’s commercial climate or indeed, common law.”As such, the Bill is intended to implement a strong, modern, clear and comprehensive law that will support measures for the modernisation and diversification of the economy.It will, among other things, codify the common law, repeal the 1897 Act, provide savings and transitional provisions for continuity, and preserve the validity and enforceability of Trusts legally created.“The Bill seeks to not only update the legislative framework but it seeks to address the needs of a modern economy in which the investment community has increased its use of Trusts as a vehicle to enhance the returns that may be earned on the assets that are comprised in the Trust,” she said.Mrs. Johnson Smith pointed out that stakeholders in the international financial services sector as well as domestic trust service providers will be supported by this legislation.“We have already taken action to support the corporate governance environment through amendments to the Companies Act and the passage of two new partnership Acts, and passage of this Bill will be another significant step in furthering the mandate of the international financial services regime,” she noted.She noted that the Bill includes provisions that will strengthen the regulatory environment and accountability standards to which Trustees are to adhere, and further bolster the protective measures for persons affected by the terms of a Trust, or who provide services related to the Trust, inclusive of Trustees.“These measures include the appointment of enforcers to ensure that the terms of the Trust are executed by the Trustee,” she said.The Bill further identifies the property that may be held in Trust and establishes the procedure for the appointment and removal of Trustees.It includes provisions for the keeping of accounts, impartiality, the giving of information, the separation of Trust and property, and the preservation of Trust property.The Bill also provides for the power to relieve Trustees from personal liability and indemnification of Trustees by beneficiaries, and for the settlement of actions against Trustees by alternative dispute resolution.Debate on the Bill was suspended until a date to be announced. Debate on the Trust Act 2019, which seeks to provide a modern legal framework for the governance of Trusts, opened during Friday’s (June 7) sitting of the Senate. Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill, pointed out that regulation of the conduct of Trustees is governed by the 1897 Trustee Act, which she noted “is clearly no longer in sync with today’s commercial climate or indeed, common law.” As such, the Bill is intended to implement a strong, modern, clear and comprehensive law that will support measures for the modernisation and diversification of the economy. Story Highlights read more

“Some weeks ago, the Cabinet approved a number of initiatives to further enhance and facilitate trade, including the elimination of a number of fees and charges that are no longer relevant but have been on the books and people have been collecting,” he said. Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Government has commenced a programme of trade facilitation to increase Jamaica’s chances of global competitiveness.He was speaking at the launch of ARC Manufacturing Limited’s metal slitting plant, at the company’s Bell Road address in Kingston, recently.“Some weeks ago, the Cabinet approved a number of initiatives to further enhance and facilitate trade, including the elimination of a number of fees and charges that are no longer relevant but have been on the books and people have been collecting,” he said.Mr. Shaw said this programme seeks to give local manufacturers a competitive advantage. “It cannot be that we are encouraging local value-added manufacturing, but encourage low duty importation of competitor goods. I am going to be focusing on trade facilitation. We have to make it easier for people who want to add value in Jamaica and create jobs and create prosperity in our country,” the Minister emphasised.Another measure is the recently launched Jamaica Trade Information Portal (JTIP). The portal provides a single authoritative source for trade information relating to import-export regulations, requirements and processes, which businesses can easily access at any time.Meanwhile, the Minister commended the management of ARC Manufacturing Limited for its state-of-the-art metal slitting plant valued at US$425,000, which he said, will support national development.Mr. Shaw argued that establishment of the metal slitting plant comes at an opportune time, as with the increased activity in the local construction sector, this service will meet the demands of the manufacturing sector, specifically the building materials industry.For his part, Executive Chairman, ARC Manufacturing Limited, Norman Horne, pointed out that the plant is the first of its kind in Jamaica, and that investment in the facility seeks to meet the demand of the local manufacturing industry.“We have invested in two slitters. They both can do the same thing. One is high speed and the other is medium speed. This industry is new to Jamaica. In our country, we don’t have all the dynamics aligned that are ideal for manufacturing; therefore, we have to look to our advantages and try to capitalise on those,” he said.Metal slitting refers to the process by which metal sheets are fed lengthwise through a slitter machine and cut into narrow coils. It is an essential manufacturing process which is used in the production of essential building materials, including guttering, roofing tiles, barrel capping, purlins, tracks and studs. Story Highlights He was speaking at the launch of ARC Manufacturing Limited’s metal slitting plant, at the company’s Bell Road address in Kingston, recently. Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Government has commenced a programme of trade facilitation to increase Jamaica’s chances of global competitiveness. read more

Story Highlights Prime Minister Andrew Holness has assured all Jamaicans and stakeholders that the Government is committed to protecting the environment and ensuring environmental sustainability. For the first time in Jamaica’s history, in 2017, Prime Minister Holness announced in Parliament the designated Cockpit Country Protected Area. Speaking yesterday (June 5) during a tour of the Cockpit Country and to place the first marker designating the protected area of the Cockpit Country, Prime Minister Holness said he is always sympathetic to the environmental cause. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has assured all Jamaicans and stakeholders that the Government is committed to protecting the environment and ensuring environmental sustainability.Speaking yesterday (June 5) during a tour of the Cockpit Country and to place the first marker designating the protected area of the Cockpit Country, Prime Minister Holness said he is always sympathetic to the environmental cause.For the first time in Jamaica’s history, in 2017, Prime Minister Holness announced in Parliament the designated Cockpit Country Protected Area.In 2018, the Government began a process of ground-truthing to map the specific areas on the ground. That process is expected to be completed in 2020.The Cockpit Country is part of the protected Forest reserve areas in Jamaica. However, Prime Minister Holness says the Government has gone further to ensure the Cockpit Country is specifically protected.“There is a certain level of protection. But you want to have explicit protection particularly as it relates where can be mined and where cannot be mined. Government’s commitment and declaration still stands. There will be no mining in the area designated as the Cockpit Country protected area,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister noted that he has heard the concerns of residents in the Cockpit Country areas concerning mining and other activities. He said the Government is committed to ensuring a sustainable solution is found.“It is never a simple issue. It is a complex one that we have to spend the time to ensure that we get it right. But at the end of the day, we will come up with a sustainable solution. You can be assured that this Government is not running away from the problem or hiding somewhere, I am right here discussing the issue,” assured Prime Minister Holness.Ground truthing is taking place over a 76,000 hectre expanse of land across the mountainous regions of five parishes in the area designated as the protected Cockpit Country.Prime Minister Holness said it is a very involved process that will take time. He assured residents and stakeholders that there are common areas of agreement for placing boundaries, which the Government will act on.“I believe there is still substantial agreement (on the boundaries). I didn’t say there is universal agreement or that everybody agrees. But Government has to act. And in a democracy, the Government tries to act when we have (in most cases) majority agreement. I think what we have, substantially satisfies the major concerns. There are issues which we are going to resolve. There are issues we are going to hear and discuss. But I think what I am hearing from all stakeholders is, where you have agreement already to protect, move fast to protect those areas. What we have settled on, let us protect it,” said Prime Minister Holness.The European Union has partnered with the Government to provide 16.5 million Euros to fund, over a four-year period, the forest management and conservation plan of the Forestry Department. This includes the current ground truthing exercise in the Cockpit Country. read more

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, has commended the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers’ Association (JGRA) for its continued thrust to reduce fatalities on the nation’s roadways.Speaking at the JGRA’s Road Safety Month launch and Blood Drive at the FESCO Gas Station in Lydford, St. Ann, on June 5, Mrs. Williams acknowledged the efforts of the association in partnering with Government to bring the road safety message to road users through its month-long initiative.“As a major player in our petroleum industry, the JGRA has supported this initiative for over 30 years, and along with the road safety unit, the Ministry of Transport and many partners, you have kept the road safety message at the forefront of the Jamaican consciousness, and for that you must be commended,” she said.Mrs. Williams emphasised the need to reverse the current trend towards higher road fatalities.“Locally on a daily basis, road fatalities maim and rob the lives of so many promising men and women of this country. The news is even more devastating when we realise that the lives of our children, the future of this nation, have been lost in road accidents. For the past few years… more than 300 Jamaicans die annually on our nation’s roads. That’s 300 lives too many, she said.The Minister charged all road users to take personal responsibility for their safety on the nation’s roadways, noting that “in addition to the emotional and personal losses that road crashes incur, the impact on our productivity, our economy and healthcare system is just as great”.“As the Energy Minister, I have a personal interest in the road safety message. From the loading racks to the service stations, petroleum fuels our transport sector. It is my charge to every motorist that when you pull up to the pumps, fuel up to live, not to die. Too many lives are being lost on our nation’s roads. Drive with care, be patient,” she urged.For his part, President of the JGRA, Gregory Chung, said the association will continue to advocate for road safety in Jamaica.President of the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers’ Association (JGRA), Gregory Chung, addresses the association’s Road Safety Month launch and Blood Drive, at the FESCO Gas Station, Lydford, St. Ann, on June 5. Story Highlights Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, has commended the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers’ Association (JGRA) for its continued thrust to reduce fatalities on the nation’s roadways. “As a major player in our petroleum industry, the JGRA has supported this initiative for over 30 years, and along with the road safety unit, the Ministry of Transport and many partners, you have kept the road safety message at the forefront of the Jamaican consciousness, and for that you must be commended,” she said. Speaking at the JGRA’s Road Safety Month launch and Blood Drive at the FESCO Gas Station in Lydford, St. Ann, on June 5, Mrs. Williams acknowledged the efforts of the association in partnering with Government to bring the road safety message to road users through its month-long initiative. “The Jamaica Gasolene Retailers’ Association has been involved in road safety activities for over 30 years, and is proud of the fact that we were the ones to have the month of June designated nationally as Road Safety Month. The JGRA is committed to road safety activities for the life of this organisation,” Mr. Chung said.He urged road users to understand the profound national importance of reducing road traffic crashes, as these create a massive burden for victims and the country.“We realise the need for increased road safety awareness, because our customers (motorists), are the ones dying. Road safety is critical for the life of our country. Hospitalisation and medical care for our crash victims cost us billions every year. Crashes have also left many families without their income earners,” Mr. Chung said.Road Safety Month is being observed under the theme ‘Road Safety for Life’. read more