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Published:Saturday | May 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Fenton leads delegation to Commonwealth meeting

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson left the island yesterday to attend the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting and the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) to be held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The events take place at the Starling Geneva Hotel and the Palais des Nations, respectively, from May 18 to 24, 2014.

Dr Ferguson will be addressing the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting which is being held under the theme 'Commonwealth Post 2015 Agenda: Strengthening Health Policies and Systems'.

The main objectives of the meeting are to facilitate a discussion on the post 2015 global health development agenda from a Commonwealth perspective and to look at linkages with other health priorities.

The WHA meeting will look at key health issues including climate change, drug resistance, essential medicines, health technology, hepatitis, International Health Regulations, newborn health, non-communicable diseases, the social determinants of health and tuberculosis.

The WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is attended by delegations from all 194 WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

Port Antonio drainage, sewage project completion time extended

Work on the $1.8 billion water, drainage, and sewerage project in Port Antonio being undertaken by Vinci Construction Company, which is scheduled for completion in September, has been extended for three months.

Project major of Vinci Construction, Vincent Montillion, explained that the extension is automatic at this time."This will be done at no extra cost, and, therefore, there will be no cost overrun," he said. "We have been asked to do some additional work including the removal of asbestos pipes, which would require additional time. This will also result in additional persons (local residents) benefiting from employment, based on the extension"

And despite the heavy rainfall, Montillion noted that the work is on schedule. He said that great care has been taken to ensure that pedestrians, motorists, and business operators are able to carry out their normal duties during the construction.

1,600 arrested for electricity theft since joint task force inception

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is reporting that more than 1,600 persons have been arrested and charged for illegal electricity connection since the police established a joint task force, comprising members of the force and the Jamaica Public Service, to crack down on electricity theft.

In addition, a little less than 400,000 illegal connections have been removed.

The Police High Command says the task force carries out anti-theft operations on a daily basis in various communities across the country.

In 2011 and 2012, a total of 74 and 85 persons were brought before the courts, respectively. In 2013, a total of 1,210 persons were arrested and charged with abstracting electricity and 197,646 'throw-ups' were removed. Since the start of the year, 261 persons have been charged and more than 65,000 throw-ups have been removed.

The Police High Command has pointed out that the restructuring of the JCF, recently approved by Minister of National Security Peter Bunting, will see the formation of a Security Services Portfolio with a branch focused on ports, borders and vital infrastructure security. This initiative is intended to improve coordination of security support to entities such as the JPS.

"It is our hope that the many cases before the courts will be speedily disposed of and those found guilty will receive punishment that carries the deterrence effect, not only for them but also for potential electricity thieves," the Police High Command said in a news release yesterday.

GEM for Jamaica

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) through its College of Business and Management will launch the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2013 Report for Jamaica on the first of a two-day day conference to be held Wednesday, June 25-26, 2014.

The conference which will be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre begins at at 9 a.m.

GEM is the largest and most authoritative comparative study of entrepreneurship. GEM started in 1999, as a partnership between Babson College and the London Business School. GEM is a multinational research project designed to provide an annual evaluation of the entrepreneurial activities in a range of countries.

The ceremony on June 25, 2014 will include an overview of the Jamaican and Caribbean research findings and a panel discussion which will include guest speaker, Dr Craig Watters, Thoma Family distinguished clinical professor in entrepreneurship and director of the Riata Center at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma.