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Published:Tuesday | July 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica Coalition welcomes deferred PANCAP decision

The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society has welcomed news that CARICOM governments have deferred approving a report by the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) that critics say is designed to encourage a negative reorder of the Caribbean society.

The coalition was among a group of 140 organisations that had written to the CARICOM secretary general about PANCAP's document, calling for transparency and expressing opposition to some of the recommendations.

The groups said they were opposed to the repealing of any law which protected the structure of the family and marriage between one man and one woman.

In a statement Sunday, St Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas said based on deliberations, regional governments were not yet in a position to advance the document in the form that it was presented.

Head of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, Dr Wayne West, said he was now looking forward to a more transparent regional debate on the matter before any decision is taken.

Douglas has said many people may have taken the declaration out of context and that issues such as same-sex marriage have never come up in the discussions with regional leaders.

He said the document must not to be interpreted as support for gay rights and same-sex marriage going into the future but as recommendations for securing the health of citizens of the region.

48-hour deadline to collect bodies -police

The police are reminding the public that they must collect the bodies of their relatives from government-contracted funeral homes within 48 hours of death.

The police usually call contracted funeral parlours in cases of sudden deaths at home.

The police say whether or not a post-mortem has been conducted, relatives must collect the bodies of their loved ones within the specified 48-hour period. The Jamaica Constabulary Force says failure to do this will result in the funeral homes charging their full commercial rate for storage. It says neither the ministry of national security nor the police force will have liability for storage charges after 48 hours.

Team sent to assess fire-ravaged farmlands

The agriculture ministry says a team is conducting damage assessments in southern St Elizabeth, where a massive weekend fire burnt about 600 acres of farmland.

Like most of the island, sections of St Elizabeth, which is known as the Breadbasket Parish, have been grappling with drought conditions. The massive blaze in the community of Malvern damaged farms and supplies and threatened neighbourhoods.

Permanent secretary in the agriculture ministry, Donovan Stanberry, said the team from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority was dispatched yesterday morning and was expected to submit a report later in the day.

He said the ministry would announce, in two weeks, measures to help farmers cope with the drought conditions.

The Black River Fire Station said reports from a large cattle farmer in the area suggest that someone lit the fire, which spread quickly because of the dry conditions.