Oprah Reacts To Trump’s Tweet Calling Her ‘Very Insecure’


Oprah responds to Trump’s tweet labeling her insecure.
By Cole Delbyck


It took an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ show for Oprah Winfrey to finally respond to President Donald Trump’s recent tweet bashing her as “very insecure.”

While it seems like ages ago, Trump lashed out at the “A Wrinkle in Time” star Sunday night following a discussion she moderated for a “60 Minutes” segment with Michigan voters.

“I woke up and I just thought,” Oprah explained, raising her hands in the air. “And I don’t like giving negativity power, so I just thought, what?”

Trump, who seems to take seriously speculation that Oprah may run against him in 2020, despite her insistence otherwise, tweeted shortly after the segment aired.

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect,” the president wrote. “Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!”Read more here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oprah-reacts-to-trumps-tweet-calling-her-very-insecure_us_5a8ed3c3e4b077f5bfec1211

Jamaicans Fear Retribution In Turks And Caicos

THE Jamaican reputation for being tough and fearless when going after their goals, no matter where in the world they are, seems to apply everywhere else but the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). A large number of Jamaicans interviewed here speak forcefully about the discrimination they are facing from TCI authorities. But without exception, they asked not to be identified because of fear of retribution. “If you publish my name this morning, my work permit will be revoked by this evening,” said a Jamaican who left St Catherine three years ago to work in the thriving real estate business in this British-run archipelago. “I’m obviously exaggerating the speed, but you get the point. They might just decide not to renew my permit when it expires in less than a year’s time,” he said, insisting: “Remember not to call my name.”

Said another Jamaican who has been living for seven years in the TCI: “I try to keep on good terms with my TCI co-workers because they have a tendency of reporting you to their Government, if you have a higher position than them, that you are occupying a position that they are qualified for.

“The thing that bothers me is that those TCI people making the complaints don’t qualify for the positions they are quarrelling about. They just don’t like to see a foreigner, especially a Jamaican, over them. They want to cut you down.

“Others I have met have said the same thing. You better bet their authorities will act on their complaints. I wish our authorities in Jamaica were like that — acting on our complaints.”

Asked if she had made any complaints to the Jamaican authorities, she said no, adding that she was unsure whether that would help and might only “expose me to repercussions here…The Jamaican consul here is well established in business and it might not be fair to ask him to jeopardise his welfare in the TCI.”

Several Jamaicans said their compatriots usually stand out where they work because of a higher work ethic, noting that some TCI citizens, or Belongers as they are called, don’t prove themselves to be good workers.

“Very often you see that as soon as they have some money they take off, many to the United States, and only return to work when the money is finished. Employers prefer us Jamaicans because we are reliable. We don’t give one-hour notice when we can’t make it to work and cause pressure to be on our co-workers,” said a Jamaican who lives in Grand Turk, the capital. “We wouldn’t last long anyway.” Read more here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaicans-fear-retribution-in-Turks-and-Caicos_60777

We Are Dealing With A Generation Of Vipers

Sergeant Raymond Wilson, the tough-talking chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, is again raising concerns about the nation’s resolve to battle lawlessness, especially gun violence, which is making the job of the police increasingly difficult.

While addressing yesterday’s opening day of the Federation’s 73rd annual joint central conference, which is being held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St James, Wilson raised questions about several matters related to crime, including the nation’s lukewarm response to lawlessness, the vast number of illegal guns on the street and the hidden hands financing crime and violence.

“Gone are the days when you could rest assured that a gunman would not harm a child or a woman, but we want to ask the question, when will we wake up and realise that we are dealing with a generation of vipers?” questioned Wilson.

“When will we wake up and see that this generation of vipers may require a similar harsh response to what they are doing to our law-abiding citizens and our hard-working police officers?”

He added: “When will we wake up and face the reality that guns nuh mek a Jamaica, bullets are not manufactured here, yet as soon as we seize two guns off the street, there is a double dose for us to go and look for again.”

Pointing out that most gunmen are average Jamaicans who can hardly afford to buy a meal, Wilson said the time has come for the nation to sit down and start the discussion as to how to get to the root cause of crime and those financing it. http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20160512/wilson-we-are-dealing-generation-vipers

Case Overload Choking Coroner’s Court

THE island’s special coroner William Campbell says his office needs more resources in order to speed up the disposal rate of cases as the current two to three per month is not enough to address the backlog in the system.

According to the special coroner, at any given time his office is handling 300 to 400 cases. He said although police fatal shootings have fallen “dramatically” moving from approximately 21 per month to eight per month, there remains a high rate of shootings and the resultant backlog. The Office of the Special Coroner was set up in 2009 to specifically deal with inquests arising from incidents where persons have died violently or suddenly while interacting with the police, military and other agents of the State. The office works closely with the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).

Campbell said in 2007 there were 272 per year (21 per month); 158 for the first nine months of 2008; 258 or about 21 per month for 2013; 115 or nine per month for 2014; while 101 or eight police shootings per month were recorded for 2015 and referred to the coroner. “But even with that fall, we still have substantial backlogs. The disposal rate by way of public inquest is not more than two to three per month [so] you’re talking about 30 a year. But the rate of cases [sent to the coroner] are going up not by 30 per year but by 100 per year, so we have to have more resources to have a faster rate of disposal,” he said. Campbell was speaking at a stakeholder forum last Friday hosted by the Registrar General’s Department to outline the steps that families should take from the time someone dies until their death is registered.

He noted that some cases can be disposed of under Section 14 of the Coroner’s Act, which says that: if “… no further light would be thrown upon the case by holding an inquest it shall be lawful for the appropriate coroner in his discretion to abstain from holding an inquest”. But he argued that most cases that come to the special coroner cannot be disposed of in that manner, and require “further light to be thrown” on them. “Most of the cases that I have seen require a public inquest,” he stated. Explaining why the Office of the Special Coroner was established, Campbell pointed out that from 1983 to 2010, there were more than 5,000 police fatal shootings, and a pile-up of cases. “It was felt (then) that the number of deaths was troubling enough to require special attention,” he remarked, emphasising that he was neither ascribing blame nor justification, but simply outlining the facts.

Campbell said the vast majority of cases that end up in the Special Coroner’s Court are police shootings. “They’re the ones who interact most frequently with the public, so that’s not abnormal,” he said. INDECOM boss Terrence Williams told a 2013.
Read more here:  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Case-overload-choking-Coroner-s-Court_60418

Anita Alvarez Wants To Be Taken Off Laquan McDonald Murder Case

CHICAGO (CBS) — In a surprise reversal Thursday, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez asked to recuse herself and her office from the murder case against the Chicago police officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014.

Alvarez also asked for a special prosecutor in the murder case against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. She had previously defended her handling of the McDonald case, and criticized calls for a special prosecutor. She defended the amount of time it took to file charges, saying she was working alongside the FBI and federal prosecutors to thoroughly investigate the shooting and build a “meticulous case” against Van Dyke.

In a statement after Thursday’s hearing in the case, Alvarez said she decided remove herself and her office from the case to avoid any unnecessary delays in the case, and to ensure one specific prosecutor handles the case all the way to trial. Alvarez lost her bid for re-election in the Democratic primary in March. Her eventual successor won’t be elected until November, and won’t be sworn in until December.

“My primary goal in bringing a charge of First Degree Murder in this case is and always has been about seeking justice for Laquan McDonald. Today I believe that I am fulfilling this obligation by requesting that the court turn this case over to a special prosecutor,” she said. “I believe that the results of the recent election and the impending transition of this office make this the best and most responsible decision.”


Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan said he would not rule on requests for a special prosecutor until June 2.

Two petitions have been filed seeking to replace Alvarez in the case, citing her close ties to the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents Chicago police officers. One petition was filed by a group of civil rights attorneys and activists, the other was filed by Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Critics have said Alvarez is beholden to the police union, and has failed to adequately prosecute cases of police misconduct and corruption.

Alvarez stressed she does not believe there is any conflict of interest that would prevent her office from handling the case.

Locke Bowman, one of the attorneys seeking a special prosecutor, said they were surprised and “very gratified” to learn Alvarez is seeking to withdraw from the case.

Defense attorney Dan Herbert said he’s prepared to take the case to trial, no matter who the prosecutors might be.

“While it doesn’t change any of our strategy going forward, it certainly will impact the case in certain regards. We’re going to bring in a new prosecuting crew, who presumably does not have any knowledge about the case, who’s going to have to get up to speed. There’s a lot of documents in this case. There’s a lot of witnesses.”

Meantime, Gaughan announced a special security plan would be in place for future hearings in the case against Van Dyke, after his attorneys asked to have him excused from routine status hearings due to death threats, racial slurs, and harassment as he’s entered and exited the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in the past.

Van Dyke is free on $1.5 million bail as he awaits trial for first-degree murder in McDonald’s death. He has been suspended without pay.

Gaughan did not provide any details on the security plan, and held off ruling on Van Dyke’s request to be excused from routine status hearings, but thanked Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart for working out extra security measures when Van Dyke will be in court.

The judge said he worked out the security plan with prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the sheriff’s office last week.

“It’s just unconscionable to think that we could compel an individual to appear at a court date without providing for that person’s security,” Gaughan said. “Mob rule will not happen in this courtroom.”

Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in McDonald’s death, and his attorneys had asked Gaughan to allow the officer to skip status hearings in the case, citing death threats, racial slurs, and large crowds of protesters when he has attended past hearings.

The officer’s attorneys have said Van Dyke’s life has been threatened, his father has been “physically battered,” and a family vehicle has been “smashed” at previous court appearances, and the officer should be excused from attending status hearings in the case to protect his safety.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Defendant’s personal safety has been jeopardized by his attendance at previous court appearances and there is reasonable apprehension that the Defendant will continue to encounter the same level of exposure to personal harm in the future,” Van Dyke’s attorneys wrote in their motion seeking to allow Van Dyke to skip some court dates.

Cook County prosecutors opposed Van Dyke’s request to be excused from attending status hearings, noting courthouse protests have died down. They said allowing Van Dyke to miss court when other defendants charged with violent crimes must show up for every hearing would create a “slippery slope,” and create the appearance of special treatment.

Prosecutors have argued Van Dyke has not demonstrated any credible threat to his safety, noting he has not alleged that he has been personally attacked, or that anyone yelling threats has been armed.

“While verbal threats and taunts may create an uncomfortable passage to and from the courthouse, mere words do not jeopardize defendant’s personal safety, and therefore do not necessitate defendant’s absence from court appearances,” prosecutors wrote.

Herbert said Cook County prosecutors first suggested possible protection by Cook County Sheriff’s deputies in their opposition to Van Dyke’s request to be excused from attending status hearings, which typically deal with routine procedural matters.

For most of his court appearances, Van Dyke has needed to run a gantlet of angry protesters when he has appeared at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. However, at his two most recent court appearances, no protesters showed up as Van Dye attended court.

The release of police dashcam video showing Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014 prompted a series of angry protests across the city, and led to a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the Chicago Police Department’s policies and practices regarding the use of force.

Cop Held For Policewoman’s Murder

THE Police High Command said yesterday that a policeman and a civilian have been taken into custody in relation to the death of police corporal Judith Williams, who was gunned down while waiting at a bus stop in eastern Kingston, last week Thursday.

In addition, it said several people, including police personnel, have been interviewed and statements collected. The police, however, did not say if the two in custody would be charged, saying that the investigation was at a sensitive stage.

“Senior investigators from the Kingston Eastern Police Division who are leading the probe say they are working around the clock to conduct a thorough investigation,” the high command said. “The police are committed to providing timely and accurate updates on this investigation as it progresses,” it said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and National Security Minister Robert Montague on Monday visited Bryden Street in east Kingston to meet the relatives of slain Woman Corporal Judith Williams. (Jamaica Star picture)
Prime Minister Andrew Holness and National Security Minister Robert Montague on Monday visited Bryden Street in east Kingston to meet the relatives of slain Woman Corporal Judith Williams.
(Jamaica Star photo)

In the meantime, the police have slapped down discussions on the case making the rounds on social media. “Several aspects of the information making the rounds on social media are inaccurate and are, at best, speculative, and no credence should be given to them,” said the high command.
An appeal was, meanwhile, made for people with information that can assist in the investigation to contact the Kingston Eastern Police at 928-4200, Crime Stop at 311, the police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station. Information may also be given anonymously using the Ministry of National Security’s Stay Alert App that can be downloaded via the Google Playstore.

There have been speculations that the death of Corporal Williams, who was assigned to the Office of the Police Commissioner, was a contract killing linked to a court case.

In the aftermath of the killing, the Jamaica Police Federation, which represents rank and file members of the constabulary, renewed its call for special transportation be provided for policemen and women to and from work. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cop-held-for-policewoman-s-murder_60167

NYPD Detectives Charged With Assaulting Postal Worker Who Accidently Gave Directions To Cop Killer

Two NYPD detectives face prison time for beating up a postal worker who unwittingly gave an assassin directions to a Brooklyn housing project where the maniac killed two police officers, officials said Wednesday. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown charged Detectives Angelo Pampena, 31,and Detective Robert A. Carbone, 29, with assault. Pampena and Carbone are accused of beating 26-year-old Karim Baker on 96th St. between Christie and 55th Aves. in Corona, Queens on Oct. 21, 2015. They allegedly punched and kicked him inside his car and then pulled him out and continued to beat him. Baker was in his postal uniform at the time, officials said.


The brutalized letter carrier had to relive the haunting ordeal when he recently testified before the grand jury. “It was very difficult … from the very beginning,” Baker said about his grand jury testimony. “It was like I was reliving the moment. Just sitting there and going through it all over again was definitely hard for me.”

Yet he could see the grand jury sharing his pain. “Based on their reactions I knew they were going to get indicted,” Baker said. The entire attack was caught on video, which was also shown to the grand jury, according to Baker’s attorney Eric Subin. “There’s no room for interpretation,” Subin said about the video. “There is no explanation for what they did. It’s bone chilling.” Baker suffered “serious physical injuries,” underwent surgery for a knee injury and may need surgery on his spine, Subin said. He has yet to return to work at the post office. As the assault, which was first reported by the Daily News, was investigated, Pampena allegedly filed a false affidavit claiming that the fight broke out after Baker’s car was found parked in front of a hydrant.

Yet the surveillance video shows he was parked legally, officials said. Baker’s car was at least one car length from the hydrant, Subin said.

Bruising is seen on Karim Baker’s after he was allegedly beaten by NYPD officers.

Bruising is seen on Karim Baker’s after he was allegedly beaten by NYPD officers.

“I’m certainly not surprised, though it’s not easy to get police officers indicted for anything… even though the evidence is crystal clear,” Subin said about the arrests. “The grand jury obviously saw that video and heard that he was systematically targeted for ten or eleven months. They beat the hell out of him.” Pampena was additionally charged with perjury, filing a false instrument and official misconduct for making up the lie, officials said. The Queens DA’s office requested $10,000 bail, but the two detectives were ordered released without bail after a brief court appearance on Wednesday. The arraignment occurred minutes after the Queens DA’s office sent out a press release announcing the charges against the two detectives. They will return to court to respond to the charges in June, according to a Queens DA spokeswoman.

Baker and his attorney claim that the postal employee was repeatedly harassed by police after he unknowingly directed Ismaaiyl Brinsley to the Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant just before Brinsley shot and killed Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Dec. 20, 2014. For months after the assassination, Baker was stopped by police for traffic infractions about 20 times — but never ticketed — before he was attacked by Pampena and Carbone, Baker said. Baker said he is still terrified to interact with the police — and doesn’t know how to react when he sees a passing NYPD squad car. “It’s not something that can ever go away from me,” he said. “I went through a whole year of being stopped… repeatedly being stopped. If that can happen I don’t know what to expect now.” “I just try to behave as normal as I can (when I see police),” he said. A high-ranking police source said that Pampena and Carbone stopped Baker because they thought he was in the middle of a drug transaction. These guys had no clue who this guy was,” the source said.

Wenjian Liu.APEnlarge
Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot and killed  Dec. 20, 2014, by a maniac in Brooklyn — Baker unknowingly gave the killer directions.APEnlarge

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot and killed Dec. 20, 2014, by a maniac in Brooklyn — Baker unknowingly gave the killer directions. After the murders of Liu and Ramos, investigators learned that Baker, then a Fed Ex employee, had been approached by Brinsley. Brinsley had asked Baker directions to the Marcy houses, but didn’t make his intentions known. Earlier in the day, Brinsley had posted a picture of a silver Taurus semiautomatic pistol, writing “I’m putting wings on pigs today.” Investigators looking to speak with Baker flagged his license plate in the NYPD’s computer system, but never deleted the alert after they had interviewed the Fed Ex employee and cleared him of any wrongdoing, Subin said. Instead, when Baker got a second car, the license plate on that vehicle was also flagged, Subin said. Investigators ultimately removed a flag on the first car, but not the second, and so he was stopped and questioned repeatedly. Pampena and Carbone approached the letter carrier believing he was still wanted for questioning in the Liu and Ramos murders, Subin said. Pampena is a nine-year veteran of the NYPD. Carbone has been with the department for eight years. They each face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Both have been suspended for 30 days without pay, officials said. No one answered the door at Carbone’s Levittown home Wednesday. Neighbors were shocked to hear of his arrest. “He seemed like a really nice guy,” the neighbor said. The NYPD did not immediately return a request for comment. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/nypd-detectives-charged-assaulting-postal-worker-article-1.2608423

Brooklyn Cops Allegedly Arrest Mailman After He Criticizes Their Driving


Police arrested an on-duty mailman last week in Crown Heights after he objected to their driving, according to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Adams held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to decry the arrest of Glenn Grays, which took place on the afternoon of March 17th.
Adams recounted that Grays, 27, stepped out of his mail truck on President Street at around 4 p.m. as officers in an unmarked car drove by and nearly clipped him. The plainclothes officers later recounted Grays being “loud and boisterous” and cursing at them. A video of the incident purportedly picks up at this point.

The cellphone footage shows the four undercover cops, one of whom Adams says is a lieutenant, surround Grays and demand to see his identification. When he doesn’t immediately run back to the mail truck to retrieve it, two officers close in on him, over the objections of gathered bystanders.”Stop resisting!” one officer repeats as Grays appears to hold his arms stiff while the cop tries to cuff him. “You’re going to get hurt if you don’t give me your fucking hands,” the other officer says.

After a tense moment, the four officers get Grays in cuffs and march him to their car. Adams said that from there, they drove him to the 71st Precinct station house, leaving his truck unsecured. Grays has no criminal history, and was released with a ticket for resisting arrest. Adams called that a way of the NYPD “sweeping the incident under the rug.” He is demanding that the officers be reprimanded for what he said is a bogus arrest emblematic of how they deal with predominately African-American and Caribbean residents of Crown Heights. “It is not against the law to voice outrage after almost being struck by a vehicle,” Adams told reporters. “This could have been another Eric Garner situation if Glenn hadn’t responded as calmly as he did. And if they would do that to Glenn in his uniform, they would do that to any person of color in that neighborhood.” Adams was joined at the podium by Grays’s mother, Sonya Sapp, and Michael Thomas, Grays’s longtime friend.

“I have six boys. Glenn is my oldest,” Sapp said. “As soon as I saw the video, I immediately started crying, because I worry about all my boys. Every minute, every day, every second.” “Glenn told me, ‘I thought if I got a job they would leave me alone,'” Thomas said. Grays attended the press conference, but did not speak because of the pending charge. Adams, a retired NYPD officer and co-founder of the group 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care, is scheduled to meet with police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday to discuss the case. “We must send a strong message that innocent people should not be put in handcuffs, taken to a precinct, and then attempted to cover it up,” he said. “That is unacceptable. This is one step away from Staten Island.” Story originated here: Brooklyn Cops Allegedly Arrest Mailman After He Criticizes Their Driving

Government To Buy Used Cars For Police

Security Minister Robert Montague says  the government will be importing used cars to boost the mobile capacity of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).


Speaking at a town hall meeting in Westmoreland yesterday, Montague said the money to buy the used motor cars, popularly known as ‘deportees’ will be allocated in the next budget. Montague also said the used cars will be purchased in an effort to capitalise on the limited financial resources available to purchase vehicles for the force.  He said instead of purchasing 100 new vehicles, the ministry will be able to buy 400 used cars for the same price. Montague also said the used vehicles should be able to serve the force for at least three years. http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160322/government-buy-used-cars-police



Obama: Will Nominate ‘indisputably’ Qualified Supreme Court Justice

President Obama
President Obama


President Barack Obama said Tuesday he would nominate a candidate to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Courtwho is “indisputably” qualified. He called on the staunch Republican opposition in the Senate to rise above “venom and rancor” and vote on confirming the nominee. “I intend to do my job between now and Jan. 20 of 2017,” he said. “I expect them to do their job as well.” Obama told reporters at a news conference in his first extended comments on the fight over filling the seat left empty by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.


Obama cast the dispute as a question of how far Republicans want to push their opposition and whether the Senate can function in the hyperpoliticized climate. Fights over judicial nominations are not new, he noted, but “the Supreme Court’s different.” “This will be a test, one more test of whether or not norms, rules, basic fair play can function at all in Washington these days,” he said. Obama spoke as he closed a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders at Sunnylands, a Southern California desert retreat. Obama gathered ASEAN members for two days of talks on security and counterterrorism efforts.

But the president’s attention was divided. Since Scalia’s unexpected death at a remote Texas ranch on Saturday, White House lawyers and advisers have been scrambling to refine and vet a list of potential replacements, while also devising a strategy to push a candidate through the Republican-led Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he doesn’t think Obama should be putting a candidate forward. McConnell and several Republican senators up for re-election this year,say Obama should leave the choice up to the next president. The November election, they argue, will give voters a chance to weigh in on the direction of the court. Obama dismissed that notion. He has said he will put forward a replacement in due time and that he believes the Senate will have “plenty of time” to give the nominee a fair hearing and a vote. Democrats say Obama has every right and a constitutional duty to fill vacancies on the court until he leaves office Jan. 20, 2017.

The Republicans’ recommended solution is “irresponsible, and it’s unprecedented,” Sen. Pat Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday. “The American public expects us to do the job we’re elected to do. The president is going to do what he is elected to do and let’s vote up or down.”

The dispute reflects years of escalating partisan hostilities over judicial nominations, as well as the unusual timing. The pace of lower court confirmations always slows in a presidential election year, as the party that does not control the White House prefers to hold out hope that its nominee will fill vacant judgeships rather than give lifetime tenure to the other party’s choices. But Supreme Court vacancies in presidential years are rare, in part because the justices avoid retiring when prospects for confirming successors are uncertain. If Senate Republicans hold fast to their vow not to confirm anyone Obama nominates, then the Supreme Court will operate with eight justices not just for the rest of this court term, but for most of the next one as well. High court terms begin in October, and the 80 or so cases argued in the course of a term typically are decided by early summer.The court will be unable to issue nationwide rulings on any issue in which the justices split 4-4.
Obama: Will nominate ‘indisputably’ qualified Supreme Court justice

Holness Answers….


Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness last night responded to questions about his house posed by the ruling People’s National Party (PNP), disclosing what he described as “an unprecedented amount of personal financial affairs” and stating that he was doing so “in the interest of transparency and integrity” as a public figure.

At the same time Holness, the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), fired back nine questions at the PNP and Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, saying that they need to provide answers “for the sake of completeness and transparency”.
Here is the full text of Holness’s statement:

My fellow Jamaicans,

Recently the People’s National Party, namely the minister of finance, has politicised my personal affairs.

As a public figure, I have a duty to ensure that my affairs meet legal and ethical standards, recognising as well that we are now in an election campaign, where there is a concerted effort by the PNP to distract from the plans that the Jamaica Labour Party has put forward in our 10-Point Plan for the benefit and prosperity of the people of Jamaica.

I will answer these questions, but first, for the sake of completeness and transparency, we, too, have questions to ask Dr Phillips and the PNP:

1. Dr Phillips, as a parliamentarian earning practically the same salary as the Leader of the Opposition, how did you afford the house you presently live in, which is valued at multiple times your salary?

2. Were you a part of the Cabinet of Jamaica which created FINSAC, and which took away the property of many hard-working Jamaicans and decimated the entrepreneurial class?

3. If the answer to question 2 is yes, did you acquire any of the properties taken over by FINSAC, or benefit in anyway whatsoever.

4. Did members of the Cabinet that created FINSAC acquire properties taken over by FINSAC.

5. Do the answers to questions 2, 3 and 4 explain your unwillingness to complete and release the FINSAC report?

6. Do you own or have a beneficial interest in a house in Beverly Hills?

7. Are there members the Cabinet who have offshore companies?

8. Will you declare any assets you have overseas?

9. Will the officers of the PNP, including yourself, testify and come clean about Trafigura?

The above questions are pertinent to the electorate, particularly those relating to Finsac. Those who lost their properties due to Government policy have a right to know if their ministers of Government benefited from their loss.

Now, I will take the opportunity to dispose of the smear campaign and innuendoes of illicit funding initiated by the PNP.

Upon becoming a minister, and also having regard to the fact that I had a young family, I took legal and accounting advice as to how I should structure my personal affairs.

Consequent on that advice I incorporated an international business company in St Lucia.

This course of action is common practice, particularly for estate planning purposes. The name of the company, ADMAT, is a combination of the names of my two sons Adam and Matthew.

I am the sole director of the company and the company has three shareholders being my sons and myself.

The company was registered in 2008 and declared to the Integrity Commission that year.

Everything I own is physically in Jamaica.

In late 2010, I started negotiations to purchase a piece of land to construct my family home.

In January 2011, I made the first of four payments on the land.

Payments were completed in August 2011.

The title was transferred in July 2011. At the time of signing I did not write any statement saying, “signed while on a visit to Jamaica”.

Funds from my accounts at JMMB and Stocks and Securities were used to finance the purchase of the property.

In September 2012, we began preparation of the site for construction, which involved excavation of boulders and fragmentation of rocks.

The resulting stones from this process were used to construct retaining, facing and boundary walls. This initial phase was financed from my savings, salary and suppliers’ credit of approximately $3.8 million.

This initial phase cost approximately $8.6 million.

The second phase was the actual erection of the structure, this happened during 2013 at a cost of approximately $35 million which was financed by a $10 million home improvement loan from Scotiabank, a $3 million mortgage from Jamaica National, and supplier’s credit of approximately $15.6 million. My wife, being a real estate developer, has established credit lines for the supply of construction and building material and equipment rental. The suppliers’ credit came from this source.

In 2014 we completed all major construction and in that year spent approximately $9 million financed by salary, savings and supplier’s credit.

In 2015, there was no significant construction activity as the project was substantially complete.

To date, the total cost of land preparation, construction and landscaping is approximately $52 million spent over a period of four years, financed by savings, salary, bank loans, and supplier’s credit.

Currently I am servicing debt repayments to the banks and to suppliers.

All of this has been declared in my annual integrity reports which have been filed within the statutory time frame.

My report for the year 2015 will be filed by March 31, 2016 as required by law.

So, in the interest of transparency and integrity in public life, I have disclosed an unprecedented amount of personal financial affairs. Furthermore, our Government will be committed to transparency. In the coming days we will be publishing the Jamaica Labour Party’s plan to address corruption.

I have now met the demands of the People’s National Party. I look forward to debating Mrs Simpson Miller soon. Story originated here : Holness answers

Ted Cruz Leads Republicans’ Rush To Demand Justice Scalia’s SCOTUS Replacement Be Named By Next POTUS, Not Obama

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is interviewed by The Associated Press, Thursday, July 26, 2012, at the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is interviewed by The Associated Press, Thursday, July 26, 2012, at the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

News of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death is just beginning to reverberate across the political world this evening, as the 79-year-old’s passing at a West Texas resort on Saturday was confirmed a short time ago by the New York Times.

 Doing away with any attempt to appear even remotely respectful and seizing upon the obvious political earthquake that is the passing of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justice in the final year of President Obama’s presidency, Ted Cruz got nakedly political in his reaction to Scalia’s death, tweeting that Americans “owe it” to Scalia and ourselves to block Obama from nominating a successor:
Ted Cruz leads Republicans’ rush to demand Justice Scalia’s SCOTUS replacement be named by next POTUS, not Obama

Debates Commission Says Tuesday’s Political Debate Called Off…

Holness and Miller
Holness and Miller

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC) in a media release Friday evening said that they have written to the Peoples’ National Party (PNP) noting that in the absence of a response to its letter of February 11, it is no longer able to commit to organizing and staging the first in a series of political debates on Tuesday, February 16. The JDC said they wrote to the party asking it to re-consider its decision not to participate in three debates ahead of the February 25th election.

In their letter they say that they indicated that if the first debate were to take place on Tuesday, the JDC needed three clear days in order to mobilise it teams to ensure the staging of a quality production and asked for a response by 5:00 pm today. The JDC letter concluded: “As we have not received a response as at the time of writing, we wish to advise that the JDC can no longer commit to organizing and staging the first debate on Tuesday, February 16.

“Nonetheless, the JDC remains open to staging the three debates beginning later in the week provided an agreement can be reached with the JLP to that effect. The same condition – three clear days before the live broadcast of the first debate – would remain in place. We should note that given the position of both political parties over the course of our negotiations that the last several days ahead of the election should be reserved for their closing campaign events, any decision to debate – if this were to prove necessary – between Sunday February 21 and Tuesday February 23, must be a mutual decision of both political parties…”

Here’s Why Black People Should Think Twice Before Voting For Hillary Clinton

Michelle Alexander has questioned what the Clintons have done to deserve such devotion among black voters. BRAD BARKET VIA GETTY IMAGES
Michelle Alexander has questioned what the Clintons have done to deserve such devotion among black voters.

Michelle Alexander, the author Of “The New Jim Crow,” outlines the presidential candidate’s support for some questionable policies.

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton has the black vote in her hands.

Eighty percent of black Democratic voters intended to cast their ballots for the 2016 presidential candidate in August 2015 — and not much has changed since then. But with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) becoming a serious opponent for Clinton in the race to the Democratic nomination, many African-Americans are asking if the former Secretary of State really deserves the black vote. Author and legal scholar Michelle Alexander doesn’t think so. What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans?” the author of The New Jim Crow asks in a new essay for The Nation. “Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work?”

Alexander skillfully poses these questions before taking a deep dive into Clinton’s past.

African-American voters consistently tend to support Democrats, but they also arelikely to be older. Many black voters are less familiar with Sanders, who attracts a lot of young voters, and his values. Clinton also totes coveted endorsements fromformer Attorney General Eric Holder, Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, activist groups, unions and black clergy members. It doesn’t hurt that black people dote on President Bill Clinton’s time in office either.

What a lot of black voters aren’t aware of, however, is how the 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of his presidency helped mass incarceration become more efficient with the “three strikes” implementation, a provision that imposed life sentences on anyone convicted of a violent felony after two or more priors. Former President Clinton also signed into law the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which gutted welfare. He repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1996 — a Depression-era banking law that kept different kinds of banking institutions separate — which, arguably, led to the 2008 housing crisis and disproportionately affected black homeowners.

Alexander, who touched on mass incarceration and welfare in her piece, says Clinton must be judged by her husband’s record on this because, in a way, it’s her history too.

Some might argue that it’s unfair to judge Hillary Clinton for the policies her husband championed years ago. But Hillary wasn’t picking out china while she was first lady. She bravely broke the mold and redefined that job in ways no woman ever had before. She not only campaigned for Bill; she also wielded power and significant influence once he was elected, lobbying for legislation and other measures. That record, and her statements from that era, should be scrutinized. In her support for the 1994 crime bill, for example, she used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals. “They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” she said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Clinton, who endorsed her husband’s crime policies as recently as 2012, hasdistanced herself from the ideology, but her Ready for Hillary PAC did receive$133,246 from prison lobbyists. See more here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-black-voters_us_56ba797fe4b08ffac12328f0

The Bot Bombs….

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Marco Rubio may have to “dispel with” his hope of seizing the Republican presidential nomination.

The Florida senator enjoyed a burst of momentum after somehow claiming a third-place victory in the Iowa caucuses, and happily watched as GOP officials and donors began to rally around his presidential bid. Rubio’s campaign believed that a top-tier finish in the New Hampshire primary would put him in a position to be the establishment favorite who would appeal to moderates and take on insurgent candidates like real estate mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

But Rubio’s disappointing fifth-place finish in the Granite State on Tuesday evening, behind Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Cruz, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, put that dream on hold.

It’s unclear whether a single factor led to Rubio’s disappointing loss in New Hampshire, but it may have been his unusually shaky performance in Saturday’s Republican presidential debate, when he walked into a brick wall named Chris Christie — an error Rubio acknowledged on Tuesday night.

“Our disappointment tonight is not on you, it’s on me,” Rubio told supporters in New Hampshire, drawing a sharp contrast with his confident posture after Iowa.

“I did not do well on Saturday night,” he added. “But listen to me: That will never happen again.” Read more here: The bot bombs

Breitbart: Kissing The Ring: Bernie Sanders Breaks Bread With Al Sharpton..

Sanders meets with Sharpton on Wednesday..
Sanders meets with Sharpton on Wednesday..

Even after winning big in New Hampshire,needs to prove that he can win Democrats in the south, particularly the African-American voters who supported President Obama.

Sanders’ first step was to meet publicly with Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City, and important ring kissing step to spread his appeal.

It’s unclear what Al Sharpton can do to help Sanders appeal with African-Americans, but it’s an important signal that Sanders is eager to be photographed with the prominent organizer and Obama ally. Hillary Clinton’s argument is that Sanders, an old, white man from Vermont, did fine in New Hampshire, but may have a hard time appealing to African-Americans and Hispanics nationwide. In a campaign memo last night responding to Sanders’ crushing victory in New Hampshire, Clinton’s Campaign Manager Robby Mook looked ahead to the southern states and explicitly argued that they favored Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton’s ties to both the African American and Hispanic communities run deep,”Mook argued in a memo obtained by PBS. “She’s put minority communities and the issues that matter most to them at the center of her campaign … it’s no mystery why she’s received endorsements from hundreds of key African American and Hispanic elected officials, as well as community and faith leaders across the country.” Portions of Clinton’s speech in New Hampshire last night were directed at African-Americans and minorities, emphasizing her visit to Flint, Michigan to discuss the lead poisoning in the water on Sunday at a Baptist Church. “It isn’t right that the kids I met in Flint on Sunday were poisoned because their governor wanted to save money,” she said to supporters last night. She also explicitly spoke to African-Americans who were worried about their children being profiled.


“We also have to break through the barriers of bigotry,” she said. African-American parents shouldn’t have to worry that their children will be harassed, humiliated, even shot because of the color of their skin.” She also reminded supporters of her early career at the Children’s Defense Fund, another nod to the African-American vote. “That’s why I went undercover in Alabama to expose racism in schools. That’s why I worked to reform juvenile justice in South Carolina,” she said. “And that is why I went to Flint, Michigan, on Sunday.”:Kissing the Ring: Bernie Sanders Breaks Bread With Al Sharpton

Portia Demands Apology From Holness Over Nomination Day Comment Or Else …

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has accused Opposition Leader Andrew Holness of defaming her on Nomination Day and has written to

Prime Minster Portia Simpson Miller...
Prime Minster Portia Simpson Miller…

him demanding an apology.

The letter states that if there is no apology within the next three days, then Simpson Miller will institute legal proceedings against Holness. The Prime Minister contends that the comments have lowered her in the estimation of right-thinking members of society. Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels of the firm Knight, Junor & Samuels is handling the case. The Prime Minister says the defamation against her took place in a media interview. “Be advised that in an interview with members of the media in your constituency on Tuesday the 9th February 2016, Nomination Day your comments contained allegations that were most defamatory of our client, ” the letter stated.

“On that occasion, words were used and published on Television Jamaica’s 7 p.m newscast on the said Tuesday the 9th February, 2016 which tended to injure, degrade and discredit the character of our client, exposing her to hatred, contempt and ridicule and which therefore tended to lower her in the estimation of right-thinking members of society.  “It is our view that ordinary, intelligent and unbiased persons, with the ordinary person’s general knowledge and experience of worldly affairs would be likely to understand those words as conveying that our client was involved in acts calculated to deceive or swindle the public.  “The purpose of this letter is to demand that a suitably worded apology, approved by our client be published on Television Jamaica , in the Jamaica Observer and The Gleaner and that our client be paid damages commensurate with her station in life locally and internationally, along with his legal costs. The frequency of these publications must also be approved by our client.”

However, Samuels say such apology will not automatically absolve Holness from an obligation to pay damages to his client.Samuels says the letter was delivered at 12.41 pm at the Jamaica Labour Party headquarters. Efforts to reach Holness for a comment were not successful as calls to his phone went unanswered and he did not immediately respond to text messages. Portia Demands Apology From Holness Over Nomination Day Comment Or Else …

No Permission Given For JLP Motorcade Through Flanker — Police

ST JAMES, Jamaica — Head of the St James Division Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Steve McGregor today disclosed that no permission was given for a motorcade to go through the Flanker community in St James, yesterday. “In fact, there were explicit warnings against it,” SSP McGregor said.
In a statement issued by the Corporate Communications Unit on Wednesday, SSP McGregor explained that the warning was necessary because of heightened tensions in Flanker as a result of the shooting death of two men from the community and the injury of three other people at a Jamaica Labour Party mass rally in Sam Sharpe Square on Sunday. However, this warning was not heeded and one man was yesterday killed and three other people were injured in Flanker. They were part of a motorcade on Kodak Street in Flanker. The motorcade reportedly involved Jamaica Labour Party supporters.
The deceased has not yet been identified but police say some 12 motor vehicles were damaged in the incident.

SSP McGregor advised that police intelligence assets are on the ground continuously monitoring the situation and that this information informs decisions about the granting of permission for marches and motorcades. “We are appealing to organizers and party officials to heed all instructions and warnings given in the future,” SSP McGregor said. In the meantime, the St James police are again appealing for good sense to prevail during the election campaign season.
Read more here: No permission given for JLP motorcade through Flanker — Police