More news in brief

Published: Wednesday | December 18, 2013 Comments 0

Short-term programme to aid Jamaica's poorest

The Government has announced it will spend $75 million on a short-term initiative aimed at easing the financial burden on the nation's poorest.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier told the House of Representatives that the initiative, slated to benefit 3,500 people, will run from this month to March next year.

Kellier said the money would be used for beautification of public spaces, entrepreneurial ventures, and provision of compassionate grants.

Kellier also informed that each member of parliament would be allocated $1 million and would be responsible for identifying projects and beneficiaries.

Reacting to the announcement, Opposition MP Pearnel Charles accused the Government of tempting poor Jamaicans.

He said the Government needed to do something more meaningful as he begged the Government to double the allocation to the initiative.

Scammers plaguing businesses

The police are warning business operators to be wary of foreign exchange scammers operating in several business districts across the country.

According to police reports, scammers are entering various business establishments with foreign currency to be exchanged.

It is reported that they hand over the foreign currency without agreeing to an exchange rate and after receiving the Jamaican currency for which the foreign currency is exchanged, they propose a higher rate, after declining to accept the issued rate.

The scammers then return the Jamaican currency and demand the foreign currency be returned to them, at which point, they hand over less cash than was originally handed over.

Printing delays for driver's licences

Delays by an overseas supplier are preventing the printing of new driver's licences.

Director of communications at Tax Administration Jamaica, Meris Haughton, said there was a shortage of the material used to print driver's licences as a result of the delays.

She pointed out that Jamaica procures the material used to print driver's licences from overseas for security reasons.

Haughton said a new batch of the material was expected by Friday.

She said in the interim, drivers were being allowed to use their expired licences, but this must be accompanied by a receipt showing that the required fees have been paid for renewal.

Math improvements to cost a bundle

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has indicated that it will take some $150 million to support the initiatives geared at improving Jamaica's dismal performance in mathematics at all levels of the education system.

However, Thwaites sought to assure the country yesterday that the money would be made available for this project in the next financial year.

He told Parliament yesterday that the ministry was in the process of recruiting some 50 mathematics specialists to help with the math transformation project being undertaken by the ministry.

"Jamaica cannot hope for any meaningful development unless we improve the standards of numeracy in our primary schools and mathematics in our high schools," Thwaites added.

In addition, the minister said the work to improve literacy has already started.

He said literacy specialists and coordinators, along with 90 reading coaches, have been providing direct support to approximately 450 schools.

Person of interest in ammo machine find turns self in

Oniel Shrouder, the man who was listed as a person of interest following the seizure of a large cache of ammunition and a machine used to manufacture and reload rounds at the Kingston Wharves last month, has turned himself in to the police.

In a release late last night, the Constabulary Communication Network said Shrouder was accompanied by his attorney and was expected to be questioned soon.

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