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Government Signs MoU to Enhance Security at Ports


first_imgThe Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)-World Customs Organisation (WCO) Container Control Programme that is expected to result in improved security at the nation’s ports. “This MoU establishes and recognises that a funded and enhanced partnership now exists between the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministries of Finance,   National Security and  Transport and Works and the UNODC and the World Customs Organisation, to improve port security and to prevent the unlawful use of cargo containers for activities, such as illicit drug trafficking, smuggling of goods, tax evasion and possible terrorist acts,” Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, said at the signing at his Kingston office on Tuesday. The UNODC will provide technical assistance, equipment, analytical tools, computer stations, radio communications and field test kits to help in identifying drugs and chemicals in containers at the ports. They will also be involved in the training of the staff, selected to man the joint container control units. Programme Manager, UNODC, Troels Vester, said Jamaica is the first country in the Caribbean to join the programme, which is significant, due to Kingston’s role as a major transshipment hub. He stated that the container control programme aims to open fewer containers and find more illicit goods. Mr. Vester explained that 14 officers have commenced training under the programme, which began on November 26, and an ambitious deadline of December 10 has been set for the Container Control Units to become operational. In the meantime, Dr. Phillips also pointed to the possibility of earning increased revenue from the ports as a result of the programme’s implementation. “The mislabeling of containers leads to significant revenue evasion at the ports. Given our current fiscal situation, Jamaica critically needs the revenues to execute vital programmes and we also want to establish a general atmosphere of law abiding behavioor in our ports and elsewhere,” he said. The Minister pledged the Government’s commitment to establish a steering committee, and to have the participating institutions undertake to maintain and provide support to the port control units. He stated that funding has been secured from the Canadian Government in the sum of CD$500,000 for the programme to be implemented in the Kingston port, while the United States Government has committed to funding the programme for the Montego Bay port. Also at the signing was the US Ambassador, Pamella Bridgewater, who stated that her country was proud to collaborate with Canada to support the programme. “This collaboration, we firmly believe, will result in helping to preserve the security of Jamaica’s borders… and we think that it is going to be very important to ensure that the large number of shipping containers that pass through Jamaica do not contain illicit goods, such as narcotics, guns and other illicit substances. But equally important, it will be very good to know that the speedy shipment and processing of legitimate goods will be facilitated, which will be an important factor in enhancing Jamaica’s economy,” she said. For his part, Canadian High Commissioner, Robert Ready, said the project is an example of Canada’s commitment to fight  international crime in the region. He stated that the Canadian Government stood  ready to continue its support and provide expertise to Jamaica through the UNODC. The MoU follows a Letter of Intent that was signed in June of this year for the establishment of the programme. The UNODC-WCO aims to assist governments to establish effective container controls that will serve not only to prevent drug trafficking and other illicit container crime, but also to facilitate legitimate trade and raise state revenues.last_img read more


Pressure on to get Barbuda people back home


first_img August 30th – One Year since Hurricane Irma named Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Barbuda, October 10, 2017 – Barbuda, which had to evacuate the entire island population following its decimation by Hurricane Irma is now faced with the 1,800 residents crying to go back home.    Reports online confirm that while these islanders are homesick, their island is still sick and in no shape to take them in.Residents say they are determined to rebuild their lives in #Barbuda but the Government says the return home is not advisable at this stage.   It was also reported in the update, that the healthcare, schools, and social services systems in Antigua are considerably overwhelmed by the addition of the Bardudians who had to move to their country’s main island after their bout with #HurricaneIrma in early September.#MagneticMediaNewsPhoto credit: UN Recommended for you FortisTCI announces bid to hike electricity bills, cites record $42m response to hurricanes as destabilizing Related Items:#Barbud, #HurricaneIrma, #magneticmedianews Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp New, stringent posture on illegal construction makes fines, personal demolition and possible deportation legal says PDM Minister, law now passedlast_img read more


LETTER TO THE EDITOR Resident Concerned Over Taxes Town Debt Is Voting


first_imgTo the Residents of Wilmington,I urge all of you to vote on April 27th.I am voting for Suzanne Sullivan and Rob Fasulo to fill the two three-year Selectman (or Select Board) seats. This is a critical election for all Wilmington residents with three of the five positions open. The town needs Board members who possess strong leadership, critical decision-making and encourage transparency at every level of Town Hall. Rob and Suzanne check all those boxes for me.Excessive taxation of Wilmington residents is my personal hot-button. The website Zillow.com tracks tax history. From 2008 to 2018 our taxes increased by 75.4% to $7,941. Based on the answers given during the Candidates Night at WCTV.org (Free Cash), I was curious to see what our current Board of Selectman are paying in taxes, and I am disappointed to report that three of the four Board members are below the 2018 average single-family tax bill of $6,335.69. So, when your tax bill does not rise in proportion with the rest of the town, I see why you miss the point that taxes are too high. We need Board members who recognize that filling up the Free Cash coffers is not in the best interests of this town, especially when it is not being used to pay down the ever-rising $197.5M debt.If you know about the $84.9M debt that Wilmington owes the town workers retirement fund by 2040, and the additional $112.6M for Other Post-Employment Benefits “OPEB” then count yourself among the handful of people who realize that “over the next three decades an average family of four would have to pay more than $30,000 in taxes” according to the Massachusetts Municipal Association. Town Manager, Jeff Hull, feels that a $1M annual contribution is a generous allocation in our budget, even though our expenses for OPEB just increased $7.8M in one year. We need Board members who will fight for the town workers’ benefits and approve a budget that will give taxpayers a chance to meet the obligations that have been accumulating for decades.On April 27th I urge you all once again to vote for Suzanne Sullivan and Rob Fasulo.Geoffrey WoodLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedLETTER TO THE EDITOR: If You Want Change, Vote Fasulo & Sullivan For SelectmenIn “Letter To The Editor”LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New Resident Calls For Change, Supports Fasulo & Sullivan For SelectmenIn “Letter To The Editor”A VOTER’S GUIDE To Selectman Candidate Rob FasuloIn “Government”last_img read more


Hearing loss may up cognitive decline with age Study


first_imgNew York: Hearing impairment is associated with accelerated cognitive decline with age, though the impact of mild hearing loss may be lessened by higher education, researchers say. The findings suggest that those with more serious hearing impairment had worse performance at the initial visit on a pair of commonly used cognitive assessment tests. However, the association of mild hearing impairment with rate of cognitive decline was modified by education, said the researchers at University of California, San Diego. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”We surmise that higher education may provide sufficient cognitive reserve to counter the effects of mild hearing loss, but not enough to overcome effects of more severe hearing impairment,” said senior author Linda K McEvoy, Professor at the varsity. For the study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Series A Medical Sciences, the research team tracked 1,164 participants with a mean age 73.5 years of whom 64 per cent were women. All had undergone assessments for hearing accuracy and cognitive function between 1992 and 1996 and had up to five subsequent cognitive assessments at approximately four-year intervals. None used a hearing aid. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThey found that almost half of the participants had mild hearing impairment, with 16.8 per cent suffering moderate-to-severe hearing loss. The team said that mild hearing impairment was associated with steeper decline among study participants without a college education, but not among those with higher education. Mild hearing impairment was associated with steeper decline among study participants without a college education, but not among those with higher education. Moderate-to-severe hearing impairment was associated with steeper cognitive decline regardless of education level, the researchers said.last_img read more