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News Round UP: Week Ending 11/19/16

Jamaica

Members of the 142-year-old Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), on Monday, voted overwhelmingly to reorganize the group and convert the society into Jamaica’s only mutually owned commercial bank.

Over 20,000 members voted in person or by proxy for this move that will result in the bank being launched early next year.

During a meeting on Monday, Chairman of the JNBS Board, Oliver Clarke said the reorganization of the Group and conversion to JN Bank, will strengthen the organization.

“These changes will make us ultimately more flexible and position us to expand our services to our members,” he said.

JNBS Executive, Maureen Hayden-Cater – who will head the bank, assured members that JN Bank will not operate similar to other banks in Jamaica.

“It will be a commercial bank fully-owned by Jamaicans, by you, our members. And, as members serving members, our commercial bank will be a family business.”

She explained that the Society is converting to JN Bank based on the demand from the majority of the organization’s members for more banking services, which the organization could not offer as a building society. These include a wider variety of loans and chequing accounts.

“Since we made our application to the Bank of Jamaica, we have been busy preparing for our entry into the market, developing new products and services, which you have requested, such as auto loans, credit cards and unsecured loans.

JNBS General Manager, Earl Jarrett, general manager said the organization will present the result of the vote to the Supreme Court for final approval, and following that exercise, it is anticipated that the Bank of Jamaica will exchange the organization’s building society license for a commercial banking license.

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National

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has introduced its new Caribbean Initiative with an aim to increase airport safety and certification in the concerned region.

Under the new initiative, FAA along with its Caribbean partners and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will also work to improve the region’s air traffic flow management activities and collaborative decision-making process.

In addition, the initiative will help implement ICAO’s guidelines across the Caribbean, which is expected to witness  five to six per cent  more air traffic over the next 20 years

The FAA says that more than 17 per cent of international flights currently departing from the US are headed for destinations in the Caribbean, while various other flights transit Caribbean airspace between North and South America.

“The Caribbean region is of critical importance to the US. – by working together, we are building a foundation of increased cooperation that will allow us to enhance safety and efficiency throughout a region that serves as a destination for so many travelers,” said Federal Aviation Administration administrator Michael Huerta .

The agency noted that this year it has worked with ICAO, industry, and civil aviation authorities in the Caribbean to organize aerodrome certification workshops in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

This week, FAA will participate in the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum in Mexico City, Mexico.

At the forum, the organization aims to highlight the importance of global cooperation in bolstering aviation growth in Latin American and Caribbean regions.

With the Caribbean Initiative, FAA also aims to engage with the international aviation community to boost safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability.

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Jamaica

United States Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno, says Jamaica shares a very special friendship with the United States, which will survive despite the change from a Democratic to a Republican administration.

At the recent commissioning of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Bogue power plant in the western parish of St. James, Moreno said it is natural whenever there is a change of administration that there will be questions and concerns, but  he does not foresee any radical change in the relationship between Jamaica and the US.

“One thing I know that will not change is the positives that bind our two nations. As much as there are questions that we all have, the friendship is unshakeable and cannot be removed. That will never be broken. There are many Jamaicans who live in the United States and who have contributed greatly to the building of our nation.”

Moreno pointed out that the investment by American company, New Fortress Energy, into the LNG project is a testament to his country’s commitment to Jamaica.

He said that the LNG that is already in Jamaica is the equivalent of taking 100,000 vehicles off the road as far as pollution goes, and this signals a new era of cleaner energy for the people.

The Ambassador said it is laudable to see how the JPS and New Fortress Energy worked in tandem to see the project through, noting that by industry standards they both did a phenomenal job in getting the project completed in record time.

“This is just an inspirational project that is going to make a huge difference for Jamaica, the region and for everybody. This is what happens when committed people come together for one good. This is what bipartisanship is all about,” he said.

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Jamaica/Sports

Jamaica is celebrating their tenth entry into the prestigious CONCACAF Gold Cup after a narrow one-nil win over Suriname at the National Stadium on Sunday.

The Reggae Boyz third round victory over Suriname in the CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup also gave them the Group 1 title and earned them a place in the semi-final stage of the competition.

Cory Burke converted the winning goal in the 16th minute after receiving a pass from Owayne Gordon from the left side of the box.
“Qualifying for the Gold Cup was a priority. As a new player in the national program, my aim is to try getting more games and getting on the plane to the Gold Cup is next on my agenda,” said Burke, who opened his goal-scoring account against Guyana in Jamaica’s 4-2 extra-time victory in Guyana last month.

“I believe we played well as a team, but we can still improve on our finishing. I am sure in time all things shall fall into place”.

Despite the lost, runner-up Suriname remains in contention for a Gold Cup berth, but will have to contest a playoff between three of four best second-place teams.

Jamaica, the defending champions, played most of the match with only 10 players after defender Damion Lowe was shown a red card for violent conduct.

“We kept calm despite being a man down. There were a few tense moments, but I made it clear to my backline that victory is a must and even if we had nine men, we had to remain composed and secure the win,” said Jamaica goalkeeper and Captain Andre Blake.

“This is a delight for us and we dedicate this win to the fans and now we concentrate on 2017 with the (Caribbean Cup) semifinals and the Gold Cup down the road.”

Jamaica’s head coach Theodore Whitmore, says extensive work was done in preparing goalkeepers and midfielders and as such he was always confident of victory.

“I feel we were prepared. Our goalkeeping coach Warren Barrett worked on penalties with the keepers. I worked on the passing with the midfielders, so going into this game we were confident,” said Whitmore, the only person to win the Caribbean Cup as a player and a head coach.

“It was all about execution. We accomplished our goal and now we turn our attention to a busy 2017.”

Curacao, French Guiana and Martinique have already secured Gold Cup spots, while the Caribbean’s last possible berth will be decided in a round-robin playoff between Haiti, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago – three of the four best second-place sides.

The Haitians captured second place in Group 2, with a two-nil extra time win over host St. Kitts & Nevis at Warner Park Stadium, also on Sunday.

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National

New York businessman Godfrey Mitchell did not attend Cornwall College but that has not stopped him from being an ardent supporter of the many fundraising events and programs put on by the New York chapter of the ‘Old Boys’ Association, benefitting the century-old school in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Born in Clarendon to very humble parents who were forced by circumstances to give him up early for adoption, Godfrey received his secondary education at the Seventh Day Adventist Church school, a private institution and immediately upon graduation in l974, enlisted with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). His first tour of duty to the then Friendly confines out west, to the county of Cornwall, lasted all of thirteen years.

“His work throughout the county then, was exemplary”, according to Barry Harvey, president of the Cornwall College Old Boys’ Association – New York chapter.

His love for ‘Cornwall’ followed him to New York, where he has built up an enviable record of service as a professional in such disciplines as; life insurances, real estate and public (claims) adjusting.  He is the President/CEO of Godfrey Mitchell & Associates, a Bronx-based, licensed public adjusters company, with practice in NJ, CT and GA, as well.

When not in his business attire, he is somewhere in some park, where cricket is being played.

Mitchell will be recognized for his years of outstanding and unstinting community service by Cornwallians in New York, at the Association’s 57 anniversary banquet at the Douglaston Manor, 6320 Commonwealth Blvd, Little Neck, NY, on Saturday, November 19, starting at 9: 00 pm.

To underscore the chapter’s appreciation for his years of service, Mitchell will be the only honoree on a night when the Association is celebrating 57 years of unbroken commitment and 120 years of the establishment of the school, considered a beacon on the secondary education landscape of Jamaica.

“It’s the first time in 25 years that we are honoring one person and want Godfrey to know that he is a special to us, his extended family,” offered Harvey, who will make the presentation and also dub him a ‘honorary Cornwallian’.

Mitchell is a married father of four children.

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National

US President-elect Donald Trump is considering Mitt Romney as secretary of state, in what would be a major olive branch to mainstream Republicans who opposed the tycoon’s candidacy, a report said Thursday.

CNN and NBC said Trump would meet over the weekend with Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who was the Republicans’ unsuccessful 2012 White House candidate against President Barack Obama.

NBC said that Trump was considering Romney as secretary of state, which would put a figure with more orthodox Republican views in charge of US foreign policy.

Senator Jeff Sessions, an arch-conservative Republican from Alabama who is one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, said he expected the incoming president to consider the “capable” Romney for some position.

“I think it’s good that the president-elect is meeting with people like Romney. There are a lot of talented people that he needs good relationships with,” said Sessions, himself a top contender for a cabinet post.

“And I think Mr Romney would be quite capable of doing a number of things,” Sessions told reporters after meeting the president-elect at his Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Romney was one of the staunchest Republican opponents of Trump’s candidacy during the party’s primaries, describing the businessman as vulgar, unprincipled and threatening to US values.

Romney in particular chastised Trump for proposing a ban on all foreign Muslims entering the United States.

In March, Romney said that “Trump’s bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies.”

Romney also has a more traditional Republican skepticism of Russia, which he called the top geopolitical threat to the United States during the 2012 election.

In a striking departure for a Republican, Trump has voiced hope for working with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has spoken warmly of the businessman-turned-world leader.

Media reports have speculated on a wide range of names to be secretary of state including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, another Republican who was initially lukewarm to Trump.

An Indian American, Haley would inject diversity into the cabinet after a divisive election in which Trump was outspoken in his criticism of immigration.

Other names floated for secretary of state include Rudy Giuliani, the combative former New York mayor and staunch Trump defender who would likely face scrutiny over a slew of business dealings, and hawkish former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

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