Tax authorities move to grant exemptions to all registered charities
The Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) has set out to ensure that the necessary exemptions are available to all approved charitable organisations across the country.
Cecile Walker-Clarke, manager of the Superannuation and Exempt Organisation Unit at the TAJ, said yesterday that the Harmonisation Act has made amendments to the different revenue acts "in order to clearly define what an approved charitable organisation is".
She added: "Basically, what it has really done is to make all organisations that are approved under Section 12(h) of the Income Tax Act … eligible for all the other exemptions under the Customs Act, Income Tax Act, GCT Act, Property Tax Act, [and] Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax Act."
Walker-Clarke, who was speaking during the Rotary Club of Kingston's weekly meeting at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, said feedback has been good "because existing charitable organisations are coming in droves to get the approved charitable organisations certificate".
The amended legislation was effected on July 15.
LIME calls for Gov't to put stop to cable thieves
Noting that thieves had stolen a section of copper cable serving customers in Priory and Seville Heights in St Ann for the third time in six weeks, telecommunications firm LIME yesterday called for the Government to swiftly implement more stringent measures to discourage the practice.
The theft resulted in a disruption in fixed-line and Internet services to 538 customers.
The thieves struck most recently on Tuesday night and removed the section of cable that was replaced four weeks ago at a cost of almost $2 million.
Lime said this incident brings to seven the number of times that particular section of cable along the Priory main road has been stolen over the past three years.
LIME reminded the public to report suspicious activity around its telecoms infrastructure to 922-HELP (4357) or call the police at 119.
Ministry starts merging infant, primary schools
The Ministry of Education is reporting that its plan to integrate some privately owned basic schools into Government-operated infant departments at primary schools is going smoothly.
During his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in May, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites had announced that, starting this past September, the ministry would begin the process of merging an average of three basic schools in each of the 179 primary schools which have space for infant departments.
Yesterday, the ministry said so far, 68 of these basic schools have been integrated.
"The programme had a solid start, but I hope we can increase those numbers," Thwaites said.
"However, we have to be very sensitive about it because a number of the basic schools that are being merged provide a livelihood for people, and we have to be mindful of how they will manage."
He said many of these early-childhood institutions operate day-care centres along with the basic schools and could continue offering these services.
Ministry of Agriculture launches Irish Potato Programme
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in collaboration with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority on Wednesday launched the Irish Potato Programme for the crop year 2013/14.
The proposed production target is 600 hectares for autumn; 600 hectares for spring; and 50 hectares for summer. In order to achieve this, the ministry will be providing support in the sum of $68 million towards the autumn and spring crops.
Speaking at the launch held at the Ministry's Hope Gardens offices in St Andrew, portfolio minister Roger Clarke noted that increasing local potato production is one of the strategies being employed to reduce the country's high food-import bill.
Digicel Foundation helps to expand Early Stimulation Programme
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has partnered with Digicel Foundation to expand the Early Stimulation Programme which caters to children with disabilities.
The project, being undertaken at a cost of $25 million, entails construction of eight classrooms, an administrative area, bathrooms, kitchen, dining area, therapy room, caretaker's quarters, play area, perimeter fence, multi-purpose room, principal's office, among other things. It is expected to be completed by March.
Three JLP Portland councillors now support Holness
Three of the four Jamaica Labour Party councillors in the Portland Parish Council have publicly thrown their support behind party leader Andrew Holness, who is being wrestled for that top post by Audley Shaw.
The team, which is being led by minority leader in the council, Derron Wood, Tuesday night made a public showing during a delegates meeting held in Buff Bay, West Portland, the home-ground of popular Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz.
"We are in support of our present leader," said Wood.