Jamaican Sprinter Asafa Powell Gets 18-Month Ban for Doping

asafa powell 350x265 Jamaican Sprinter Asafa Powell Gets 18 Month Ban for Doping

Jamaican Sprinter Asafa Powell Gets 18-Month Ban for Doping (Credit: Olympics.org)

Jamaican sprinter and former 100-meter world record holder, Asafa Powell, was banned for 18 months over doping allegations.

Powell, 31, tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrone at Jamaica’s national trials last June.  He has been suspended from competing since news of his doping case broke in July.

A panel of the island’s Anti-Doping Commission announced their decision to ban Powell on Thursday in Kingston.

Asafa Powell’s ban begins from the date his sample was collected, June 21, 2013. He will be eligible to compete on December 20.

Powell, like former teammate Sherone Simpson, who is banned until Dec. 20, blamed the findings on a physiotherapist who supplied them with supplements.

 Jamaican Sprinter Asafa Powell Gets 18 Month Ban for Doping

Jamaican Government Rebuffs Deal for Prisoner Transfers from Great Britain

handcuffs 350x262 Jamaican Government Rebuffs Deal for Prisoner Transfers from Great Britain

Jamaican Government Rebuffs Deal for Prisoner Transfers from Great Britain

British politicians are upset with the Jamaican government after it rebuffed the United Kingdom over a compulsory deal to send Jamaican nationals in its prisons back to the Caribbean island nation. Jamaican courts have said it would be unconstitutional. That has ticked off many in the British media.

The Jamaica Observer reports that Jamaicans make up the third largest foreign nationals in the British prisons. There are 692 men and 45 women, who make up the total number of 10,600 foreigners, from 157 countries in British prisons. The total cost to the British government is an estimated £400 million a year. 

It’s interesting to note that a voluntary agreement for prisoner transfer from England to Jamaica had been reached in 2007, but it has yet to be ratified in the Jamaican parliament. The prospects of that happening are next to nil.

Even if the British government was able to reach a deal with the Jamaican government to transfer the prisoners back to island, the question arises of whether or not those prisoners would consent to such a deal? The reality is the prisons in Jamaica are far more deplorable and harsher than the prisons in the United Kingdom. The prisoners could sue the British government under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, claiming that they would be subjected to “inhuman and degrading treatment” if placed in prisons in their own countries.

So what’s the solution?

Last year British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that taxpayers would fund a major prison building program in poor countries such as Jamaica and Nigeria because no prisoners would choose to go to a foreign prison where conditions are far worse than that of British prisons. Cameron said, “When people are sent to prison in the UK we should do everything we can to make sure that if they’re foreign nationals, they are sent back to their country to serve their sentence in a foreign prison,” the Daily Mail reports.

Cameron added, “We should be using all of the influence we have to sign prisoner transfer agreements with those countries. Even if necessary frankly helping them to build prisons in their own country so we can send the prisoners home.” 

Sounds like a bribe to me…on both sides. The British taxpayers are footing the bill to toss the foreign prisoners out and the respective countries are getting new prisons to house these inmates.  The Jamaican government is clearly in no economic or social position to take these prisoners back. Look at the rampant crime that prisoners transferred from the U.S. has caused?

Still, it seems to me that if the British government really wanted to force the Jamaican government into action, it could by revoking visas like the U.S. government did when it sought the arrest of druglord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. Still, the relationship between the U.S. and Jamaica is different. The British government colonized and as some would say, plundered the tiny Caribbean island. This also plays into recent drive to seek reparations from the United Kingdom.

 Jamaican Government Rebuffs Deal for Prisoner Transfers from Great Britain

Marijuana Growers Association Launched in Jamaica

marijuana 350x233 Marijuana Growers Association Launched in Jamaica

Marijuana Growers Association Launched in Jamaica

A group of marijuana growers, including medical marijuana business owners from Canada and Colorado, met in Kingston, Jamaica to officially launch the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association. The group will lobby for the creation of a regulated marijuana industry. As you know, Jamaica isn’t simply known for its white sandy beaches, reggae music or its jerked cuisine, but for ganja!

Rupert Lewis, a professor who represented the University of the West Indies’ Mona campus, said, “Jamaica has a prime opportunity to enter and revolutionize an industry that could have an enormous kickback on our growth and development potential.”

I am guessing Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller approves of this new association, since the moderator for the meeting on Saturday was Kingston Mayor Angela Brown-Burke, who is also a senator and vice president of the ruling People’s National Party.

Marijuana is outlawed in Jamaica, but the country is in need of a big economic boost and lifting restrictions on marijuana could pay off. Pot legalization is gaining traction across the globe. Reform supporters believe legalization would pay off for the ‘no problem mon!’ island. The island could become a mecca for medical marijuana research, develop new ganja products and global exportation to countries where cannabis is legal.

 Marijuana Growers Association Launched in Jamaica

Report: US Built Secret ‘Cuban Twitter’ Network to Undermine Communist Regime

cuban twitter 350x253 Report: US Built Secret Cuban Twitter Network to Undermine Communist Regime

Report: US Built Secret ‘Cuban Twitter’ Network to Undermine Communist Regime

The United States is in the throes of yet another scandal. This time we are being accused of creating a Cuban Twitter social network, dubbed “ZunZuneo,” to stir unrest in the Caribbean nation and undermine the Communist regime:

Yet its users were neither aware it was created by a U.S. agency with ties to the State Department, nor that American contractors were gathering personal data about them, in the hope that the information might be used someday for political purposes.

It is unclear whether the scheme was legal under U.S. law, which requires written authorization of covert action by the president and congressional notification. Officials at USAID would not say who had approved the program or whether the White House was aware of it. The Cuban government declined a request for comment…

The project, dubbed “ZunZuneo,” slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet, was publicly launched shortly after the 2009 arrest in Cuba of American contractor Alan Gross. He was imprisoned after traveling repeatedly to the country on a separate, clandestine USAID mission to expand Internet access using sensitive technology that only governments use

“State Department spokesperson on reports of US-funded ‘Cuban Twitter’: ‘To suggest these are covert programs is just wrong. Congress funds democracy programming for Cuba to help empower Cubans to access more information and strengthen civil society.” – via @NBCNews

 Report: US Built Secret Cuban Twitter Network to Undermine Communist Regime

Jamaican Homeless LGBT Youth Score Small Victory, Legally Allowed to Live in City Sewers

homeless lgbt teens in city sewer 300x224 Jamaican Homeless LGBT Youth Score Small Victory, Legally Allowed to Live in City Sewers

Jamaican Homeless LGBT Youth Score Small Victory, Legally Allowed to Live in City Sewers (Credit: Video screengrab)

A group of LGBT youth in Jamaica scored a small victory on March 7, when a judge in New Kingston ruled that the city sewers were many of them live is “public space;” meaning they are legally allowed to live there. The same judge also issued a fine to the group for cursing in public during the confrontation with police. Yeah, I know, the badword law is quite antiquated but it’s minor offense. It’s still outrageous that people are living in sewers.

The ruling stems from a March 5 raid by police on a local sewer where the goal was to force the inhabitants out. Activist Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, told 76 Crimes blog, “The youngsters were understandably upset and some put up quite a struggle as they literally have nowhere else to go.”

McCalla-Sobers added that “Police had already chased them from ever abandoned building they previously occupied and the buildings were then torn down. The kids are afraid of going to the few government shelters because of the abuse they experience there.”

Jamaica is one of 82 nations with legal bans on homosexuality. Under the Offenses Against the Person Act (OAPA), men are punished for up to two years in prison for committing “gross indecency with another male person.” Sodomy can lead to 10 years hard labor in prison.

The fine for the youths was paid by Dwayne’s House, which is a support center for homeless LGBT youth. The group also reports that Jamaica’s “culture of homophobia” leads many parents to kick their “gay or transgender” children out of their homes and onto the streets. Some are as young as 12.

Report: Caribbean Islands Routinely Bar Fathers from Witnessing Birth of Their Children

caribbean islands 300x179 Report: Caribbean Islands Routinely Bar Fathers from Witnessing Birth of Their Children

Report: Caribbean Islands Routinely Bar Fathers from Witnessing Birth of Their Children

I was taken aback to learn that fathers-to-be in Caribbean nations are routinely denied the right to see the birth of their children. Public Radio International reports the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Midwives has been lobbying to get the denial of fathers to witness the birth of their children to end.

While changes have been coming, progress is slow and often random. The San Fernando General Hospital (the main health facility in the southern part of the island), still refuses to allow fathers into the delivery room. At the Sangre Grande hospital, which serves east Trinidad, fathers must sign a form agreeing to abide by certain regulations.

In Port of Spain, the country’s capital, the hospital has too many conditions to count and even if you satisfy all the requirements, including attending birth classes, there is no guarantee. Being allowed into the delivery room is often up to the whim and fancy of the medical staff, who often come up with excuses not to include the father. “We’re too busy.” “We don’t have time to deal with that.” “It’s a ward situation.” “It’s our decision.”

Lewis is arguing that it’s not. One father actually called her, crying in the middle of the night, begging her to intervene. He had jumped through all the hoops to ensure that he would be there when his child was born; when the time came, staff denied him access. Despite her contacts, Lewis couldn’t change their minds. She finds the stance of the public health system towards this issue hypocritical. “This child is never going to be born again,” she explains. “But then people will turn around and complain that our society is deteriorating; that fathers do not maintain an active presence in the lives of their children. Yet, when that child first comes into this world, the fathers are not allowed to be there.”

Can any of my male readers from the Caribbean share their views on this? I have to ask some of my male relatives who still live in Jamaica if they experienced being barred from witnessing the birth of their kids. Seems a little crazy to me.

 Report: Caribbean Islands Routinely Bar Fathers from Witnessing Birth of Their Children

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Caught on Tape Mocking Jamaican Accent, Talking in Patois

rob ford 184x300 Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Caught on Tape Mocking Jamaican Accent, Talking in Patois

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Caught on Tape Mocking Jamaican Accent, Talking in Patois (Credit: Wikipedia)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is in hot water again. This time he is caught imitating a Jamaican accent and speaking in patois in a new video posted to YouTube Tuesday.

CBC News reports, Ford was at the service counter speaking to a group of people at the Steak Queen Restaurant. The poster of the video claims Ford was intoxicated.

Throughout much of the 1:06-minute video, titled “New Video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Drunk, Swearing in Jamaican Patois,” Ford attempts to use Jamaican slang, using the word “bumbaclot” — profanity in patois — at least four times.

The video also contains English profanity. He is speaking to what appears to be staff at the restaurant about “counter-surveillance.” Source: CBC News

 

 Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Caught on Tape Mocking Jamaican Accent, Talking in Patois

Jamaican Two-Man Bobsled Team Qualifies for Sochi Games, But Lack Funding to Get There

jamaican bobsled team 300x178 Jamaican Two Man Bobsled Team Qualifies for Sochi Games, But Lack Funding to Get There

Jamaican Two-Man Bobsled Team Qualifies for Sochi Games, But Lack Funding to Get There

The Jamaican bobsled team qualified to compete at the Sochi Winter Olympics for the two-man competition, but there’s one hitch — the team needs money, a lot and FAST.

Funding seems to be a real problem for the team and captain Winston Watts said he was trying to raise as much as $80,000 to cover travel and equipment costs. He said they are at “zero.”

It’s been 12 years since a Jamaican bobsled team competed in the Winter Olympics. Winston Watts finished 28th at the Salt Lake City Games with Lascelles Brown, who plays a key role on the Canadian national team.

The Jamaican bobsled team and its journey to the Calgary Games in 1988 led to the Disney film “Cool Runnings.”

There are so many people and companies in Jamaica with the financial means to help the bobsled team get to the Sochi Games. They should step up to the plate and help them. The government should too. They spend a lot of money on track and field. Surely they can help these guys get to Sochi. In the long run, the publicity will benefit Jamaica greatly.

Jamaican Bobsled Team, Led by Winston Watts, Racing to Sochi Winter Olympics

jamaican bobsled team Jamaican Bobsled Team, Led by Winston Watts, Racing to Sochi Winter Olympics

Jamaican Bobsled Team, Led by Winston Watts, Racing to Sochi Winter Olympics (Attribution Unknown)

Jamaica bobsled 2.0. Yeah, laugh if you want, but the Jamaican bobsled team is racing to the Sochi Winter Olympics. That’s if they have their way. It has been 26 years since the first Jamaican bobsled team competed at the Calgary Games in Canada, which inspired the Disney movie, “Cool Runnings.” The current team consists of Marvin Dixon, Hanukkah Wallace, Wayne Blackwood and Winston Watts.

The team failed to qualify in 2006 and were hampered by a funds shortfall in 2010, now they are ready for a comeback, assuming the team qualifies. Winston Watts, who competed in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Olympics, has emerged from retirement to help push the team to gold as its new captain, the Uinta County Herald reports

The Jamaican bobsled team is training in Evanston that has a bobsled track remaining from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The team has to qualify for the Sochi Olympics by January 20. The pilot, who is the first team member who jumps into the sled first, must be ranked in the top 50 by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation.

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, it’s bobsled time!

18 Haitian Migrants Die After Boat Capsizes Off Turks and Caicos Coast

turks and caicos 280x300 18 Haitian Migrants Die After Boat Capsizes Off Turks and Caicos Coast

18 Haitian Migrants Die After Boat Capsizes Off Turks and Caicos Coast

CHRISTMAS DAY TRAGEDY:  Eighteen Haitian migrants died Wednesday when their overloaded sailboat overturned as it was being escorted ashore in the Turks and Caicos Islands, officials said.

The sailboat, which had about 50 people on board, abruptly capsized about 150 yards from the island of Providenciales, said Neil Smith, a spokesman for the government. The cause was not immediately known but overloading was a likely factor, he said.

About two hours earlier, in the pre-dawn hours of Christmas, the marine branch of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force had intercepted the sloop as a suspected migrant vessel and was escorting it to shore, Smith said.

Police recovered 18 bodies and are continuing to search for more with the assistance of divers and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

Authorities rescued 32 people from the water and they are in custody on suspicion of attempting to illegally enter the territory. They were in custody in Providenciales, the territory’s most populated island.