Kingston Gleaner

January 01, 2017

Issue date: Sunday, January 1, 2017
Pages available: 80
Previous edition: Saturday, December 31, 2016 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Kingston Gleaner (Newspaper) - January 1, 2017, Kingston, Kingston VOLUME 78 NO. 1 KINGSTON, JAMAICA 100 GB (UK): £3.50, CAN: $4.95+GST, NY: $3.50, FLORIDA: $3.50 JANUARY 1, 2017 HE ENTERED the 2011 generalelection as a young appren-tice jockey and led his party to a humiliating defeat. To compound his misery, he had to grin and bear it while the then champion jockey referred to him as her “little son”. Fast-forward to 2016 and he entered the starting gates once again, this time as a seasoned rider who had come through a bruising internal elec- tion, survived many attempts to undermine him, and determined to win, although the bookmakers gave him only an outside chance. But when the dust cleared on February 25, 2016, it was Andrew Michael Holness who had led his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to victory, albeit by the narrowest of margins, and a new champion jockey was crowned. “He did the nearly politically impossible by leading his party to victory in the general election and convincing the people with the craft- ing of proposals he put on the table,” said attorney-at-law and talk-show host Emily Shields. Holness would again face the starter months later on November 28, 2016 in a local government election, and this time the victory was more emphatic, even though there were stewards enquiries and protests lodged by members of the vanquished People’s National Party (PNP). Before the curtain closed on the year, the former champion jockey, Portia Simpson Miller, finally admit- ted that she had run her last race while her “little son” was comfort- ably in the saddle of the JLP. ALLEGATIONS OVER HOUSE In the lead-up to the general elec- tion, Holness captured the attention of the media as he defended himself over allegations surrounding the house he was building in upper St Andrew, and outlined a strategy to convince Jamaicans to give him a second chance as prime minister. After the election, it was all Holness as the nation waited on the announcement of his Cabinet minis- ters, then the wait was for the first budget crafted by his administration, after that it was the wait for his plan to deal with the International Monetary Fund and all the other issues faced by a new prime minister. These ensured that Holness was almost a constant in the media, including online and social media, whether the news was good or bad. For these reasons, he has emerged the clear news maker of the year, with leading members of the local media fraternity agreeing that while athletics icon Usain Bolt must be a considera- tion, it is hard to top Holness as the person who most dominated the newscasts last year. “I have to agree that Prime Minister Andrew Holness has been in the news a significant number of times, positively and negatively, in 2016,” said veteran journalist David Geddes. According to Geddes, while the impact of Simpson Miller ’s announcement that she would not seek to continue as the PNP’s presi- dent would make her a contender for news maker of the year, the number of times that Holness has been in the news would make him the winner. “I think this would have redounded to the administration’s benefit more though, if he had managed to have a few press briefings. I also believe that US gets tough over Caricel At least three attorneys among six J’cans whose visas have been revoked Arthur Hall Senior News Editor THE UNITED States (US) has revoked the visi- tors’ visas of six prominent Jamaicans, including three senior attorneys, in what sources say is a shot across the bow of the Andrew Holness-led administration over its failure to cancel the spec- trum licence granted to Symbiote Investments Limited, which trades as Caricel. “The US is adamant that Caricel is not fit and proper to operate a spectrum licence and has made it clear to the administration that it will take action if the licence is not revoked,” a senior government source told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday as he confirmed that the visas were cancelled. “Some of the persons who have lost their US visas, including the lawyers and a family member of one of the attorneys, have ties, no matter how slight, to Caricel, and this seems to be a warning from Washington, which has produced what it called hard evidence that questions the credentials of the company,” the government source added. He was quick to dismiss word on the street that Minister of Science and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley was among those whose visas had been cancelled. That claim, which spread rapidly across the island last Friday, was also put to bed by Joshua Polacheck, public affairs officer at the US Embassy in Kingston. “I want to make it very clear that there is no truth to the rumours that a government minister’s visa has been revoked,” Polacheck told The Sunday Gleaner. “There is a global policy of the US State Department not to comment on individual visa cases,” added Polacheck, as he refused to con- firm or deny the claims that the visas of six prominent Jamaicans had been cancelled. US EMBASSY TWEET Weeks ago, the US Embassy in Kingston first publicly signalled its disquiet with the decision to issue a spectrum licence to Caricel as it tweeted that it shared concerns voiced by Contractor General Dirk Harrison that the Government had acted despite his recommendation not to do so. At that time, Polacheck said the tweet was not an indication that the US was meddling in Jamaica’s domestic affairs. “What the embassy was doing was highlighting concerns raised by the contractor general about the lack of clarity around this particular telecoms con- tract,” Polacheck told The Gleaner then. “We hear the contractor general say that the contract was signed two and a half months ago, but it does not appear to be a matter of public record. No representative from that company, as far as we’re aware, has approached any American authorities about issues around inter- connectivity,” he added. Holness has said the Jamaican Government will continue to engage the United States Government through its embassy in Kingston, via normal diplo- matic channels, with a view to addressing any con- cern it may have about the granting of the licence. The prime minister also promised that Wheatley would issue a statement outlining the sequence of events that led to the award of the licence, but that statement has not yet come. Ryon Jones contributed to this story. PLEASE SEE NEWS, A4 He did the nearly politically impossible by leading his party to victory in the general election and convincing the people with the crafting of proposals he put on the table. “ ” A3: OUR gets new boss ;