Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

 

2nd February, 2017

 

FOREIGN CONTRACTORS HIJACKING THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

 

All is not well in the Jamaican society.  Almost everywhere one turns, there is evidence of more crime, nepotism and discrimination.  Every year, thousands of young people leave school and universities [educational and training institutes] faced with a lack of opportunity to get a job.

 

This is most unfortunate.  The mounting problem of unemployment directly affects attitudes and behaviour. No wonder, crime is constantly growing to unmanageable proportions.  There is a saying that ‘the devil finds work for idle hands’.  The truth of this is being manifested on a daily basis in Jamaica.  Yet, billions of dollars are being spent on projects all over the country.  Why therefore is there a problem for the products of our educational institutions to find meaningful employment?

 

There are many reasons for this. Of prime importance is the matter of how government contracts are awarded.  Attempts to regulate this  have been seriously flawed.  The implementation of statutes seem to preclude local contractors,  providers of employment to locals.  Sometime ago the JACCC reminded contractors that government policies would have brought very negative impact on the industry.  It was also pointed out that government was giving contracts to overseas contractors and if   this trend continued, the growth initiative for Jamaica would be imperilled.  Work opportunities for youth will be lost.  Naturally, if we starve our youth, the only growth we will see is in the crime statistics.

 

Local contractors are shackled by stringent regulations that leave them at a serious disadvantage.  Recent announcements in the media by Master Builders’ Association, suggest that the bidding system for contracts is skewed towards overseas contractors.  The “chickens” obviously have come home to roost.  For instance, to become qualified as a Grade 1 contractor, one must prove that one has done a project worth two hundred million dollars [$200,000.000].  At the same time, each contractor who wishes to participate in the bidding process must pay an annual fee of sixty thousand dollars [$60,000] to the NCC not knowing if they will ever get a contract.  One should not be graded by the amount of money earned on a project but by the qualification and the quality of one’s work.

 

In this regard, the government and power brokers need to wake up to a potential dilemma.  ‘Starving’ local contractors will have powerful negative effects on the employment situation.  More and more, large contracts are going to foreigners who bring in foreign labour and export their earnings.  The writing is on the wall.  Crime will not be reduced if young people are denied employment opportunities.  This quite likely will foster conditions of poverty and a generational transition of poverty.  Approximately, 40% of Jamaican children live in poverty.  They will in turn produce offsprings with a high propensity towards poverty.  The construction industry should be re-visited to make adjustments regarding how contracts are awarded, for the benefit of local contractors and local employment.

 

Percival LaTouche

Chairman

JACCC

               

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Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents

3 Cargill Avenue, Kingston 10; Suite #8,  Telephone 754-3790 [o];352-2509 [c]

Emailinfo@ja-rrr.com Website: www.ja-rrr.com

 

29th December, 2016


Open Letter to The Most Hon Prime Minister

Andrew Holness, ON,CD,MP

Jamaica House

1 Devon Road

Kingston 10.

 

Dear Prime Minister:

 

First, let me thank Dr. Williams for his many years of service to the police force and the nation. I would like to wish him the very best in his retirement.

 

Dr. Williams’ resignation gives us the opportunity to put our house in order as far as crime is concern. Since the start of the year over 1,300 people have been murdered.

 

In Syria of the nearly 5,000 deaths recorded in July 2016, 1,289 were civilians, according to the the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

 

Jamaica is not at war!  Yet our murder rate exceeds the civilian deaths of a nation at war.  The figures speak for itself. We are at crisis point. We need a radical solution to crime in this country. We need to treat the situation as if we are at war with criminals. 

 

We do not have 90 days to squander whilst people’s lives are at risk. The Government cannot be serious in stemming this crime epidemic. Whilst they are deliberating, based on the current murder trend, over 350 people could be murdered. I take this opportunity to remind PM Holness of his statement on his campaign trail, ‘If you want to go to bed with your door and windows open and wake up in the morning and still be alive, don’t make the mistake of voting for the PNP’

 

 We need to have a permanent Commissioner in place NOW. We have the personnel within the Army to replace Dr Williams with immediate effect.  I am suggesting to the Government that we recruit an officer from the Army, such as Major General Rocky Meade, Chief of Defence Staff, who has wide experience of leadership and respect amongst his fellow officers.  This high ranking officer is more than qualified to do the job. Nothing short of appointing an officer from the regiment will do.

 

If we are to grow the economy, crime must be at the forefront of any plans. Crime and the lack of getting results and lowering the rate are hurting us all. It is the number one concern of the returning residents, as well as, law abiding Jamaicans.  You cannot achieve economic growth without lowering the crime rate.

 

We cannot continue to do the same things and expect a different result. We need to change our mind set and do things differently to get the results we so badly need for growth.   Grab the bull by the horn; install an Army officer to do the job for all Jamaicans.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Percival LaTouche

President

JARRR

Leadership by example: casting the first stone

A J Nicholson

Sunday, January 15, 2017     19 Comments

National Security Minister Robert ‘Bobby’ Montague

The unequal struggle against child sexual abuse in our country calls for the unyielding effort of all of our well-thinking citizens. I join all such persons in recommitting ourselves to that struggle minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day; morning, noon and night.

It is reported that Heather Murray, the principal of an all-girls school, was summoned by the minister of education, youth and information, Senator Ruel Reid, concerning her attendance at court in relation to a matter involving a male adult charged with sexual misconduct with a teenage girl.

That path chosen by her has attracted strong adverse comment from many quarters — even calls for her to relinquish her position — interspersed with words of understanding and empathy from some individuals, including Rev Ronald Thwaites, the present Opposition spokesperson on education.

We are, however, left to wonder whether Minister Reid has ever been moved to agonise over the actions of some of his own colleagues in relation to this very same issue of child sexual abuse, some of his colleagues’ actions having taken place before his own eyes while he himself was an Opposition senator.

For, let us recall that, for over a year, not long ago, Robert “Bobby” Montague, then an Opposition senator and spokesperson, doubled down in the Senate complaining about lack of support being given by the authorities to a Jamaican airline pilot serving a five-year term in a Qatari prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

The Jamaican had been tried and convicted and was unsuccessful in his two appeals to the Qatari court of appeal and to Qatar’s highest court, the Court of Cassation.

Montague, who was later joined by Edmund Bartlett, then also an Opposition spokesperson, publicly claimed for months that our foreign ministry was doing nothing to assist the Jamaican in his travails in Qatar. This, even after assurances were early given by me, by means of a ministerial statement to the Senate, that the individual had been visited twice by officials from our embassy in Kuwait who travelled to Qatar by air to see to his welfare and, among other things, the numerous international telephone calls that had been made in his interest.

In fact, the records at the foreign ministry revealed that no person in similar circumstance as this Jamaican, anywhere in the world, had ever received anything that surpassed the kind of assistance that he had been given.

Regardless, Montague and Bartlett relentlessly continued to excoriate our foreign ministry publicly for “doing nothing” to assist this individual.

Montague and Bartlett, without putting forward any evidence, also publicly constantly denounced the trial procedure in Qatar — a friendly international partner — that led to the individual’s conviction and incarceration.

Throughout this entire episode of public campaigning and harassment, there was never one word or expression of concern for the welfare of the minor victim coming from Montague or Bartlett or from any of their colleagues in the Senate, or from elsewhere.

The Jamaican eventually served his term of imprisonment and was deported to Jamaica.

There then ensued a most extraordinary — and frankly frightening — turn of events: the deportee, upon his return to Jamaica, was met at the Norman Manley International Airport by no less a personage than the then Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Andrew Holness, with Bartlett in tow, both of whom later that day attended a press conference held for the convicted child sexual abuser.

Principal Heather Murray moved swiftly to convey to the public that the reason for attending at the court was anchored on a long-time sisterly friendship that she shared with a wife, mother and colleague, in her season of obvious deep discontent. Surely, it is not too late for the minister with responsibility for education, youth and information to require that his Cabinet colleagues provide assurances to the public concerning their efforts in relation to a convicted child sexual molester.

Today, Holness is our prime minister; Montague is the national security minister; and Bartlett is the minister of tourism. They are all members of a Government which, as it should, is not sparing in exhorting Jamaicans to dutifully denounce child sexual abuse — now the very subject matter of the school principal’s challenges.

Minister Reid might have summoned Principal Murray to ask certain questions of her, to seek explanations, or perhaps to make some suggestions. Well, here are a few suggested queries that right-thinking individuals among us might wish him to pose to his ministerial colleagues:

What are your views on the appropriateness, the dignity, of your high-profile public welcome accorded to a deportee — a convicted child sexual molester — at his point of return into Jamaica, and thereafter attending a press conference held for him?

Are you of the view that your prolonged actions and efforts on his behalf, some might say elevating him to hero status, represented wholesome leadership by example on your part?

Don’t you consider yourselves duty-bound, jointly and severally, to give some reason/excuse/explanation/apology to your fellow Jamaican citizens, now led by you, for the path that you chose to take?

Do you think your actions, including public denunciation of the operation of the justice system of a friendly foreign State, are likely to bode well for the enhancement of the respected place that our country occupies within the community of nations?

Principal Heather Murray was called upon publicly to answer questions concerning her appearance at a court sitting in relation to an accused person who still enjoys the presumption of innocence.

It is, then, impatient of debate that there is far more powerful reason for Prime Minister Holness and Ministers Montague and Bartlett to be similarly called upon. After all, their prolonged public actions were in relation to an individual who, far from being clothed with the presumption of innocence, was already convicted, imprisoned and eventually deported to Jamaica.

A final issue: As Jamaica’s foreign minister, I received a call on the ministry’s cellular phone with a male voice stating that he was calling from a prison cell in Qatar. It is anybody’s guess as to how that telephone number might have been relayed to the individual.

Quickly realising that I did not recognise the voice; that I could not verify what was being transmitted by this means; that I had no way of knowing who else might be listening; and since I could not guarantee that the conversation that was intended to be pursued could not compromise Jamaica’s interests, I asked the caller if he really understood what he was doing, and promptly ended the call.

This incident was obviously relayed to Montague and Bartlett and to certain media personnel who sought to condemn my reaction as being disrespectful and uncaring of a Jamaican in distress.

I have been reliably advised by those who should know that it was their hope that then Opposition Leader Holness would have informed Bartlett, then Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs and foreign trade, that the same kind of reaction would have been expected of him were he the minister, in the protection of Jamaica’s interests.

Principal Heather Murray is in the administrative leadership of a high school. Andrew Holness, Robert Montague and Edmund Bartlett are in the executive leadership of the entire nation. And so too is Ruel Reid who, in this fight against child sexual abuse along with his colleagues, along with all of us, should perhaps not wish to have to be reminded of the time-honoured advice about living in a glass house.

A J Nicholson is a former senator, attorney general and Cabinet minister in People’s National Party administrations. Send comments to the Observer ornicholsonaj1@gmail.com.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Leadership-by-example–casting-the-first-stone_86333

View from the Diaspora

By Percival La’Touche

President,The Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents (Jamaica)

I bring warm greetings from Jamaica, and extend sincere congratulations to the organizers of this very important event. Food is a high priority concern worldwide and it is good that we in the region are declaring our intention of influencing supply and availability.

The theme of my presentation is participation. This I place at the core of efforts to involve the Diaspora in issues of importance in the region. And by Diaspora I am speaking of persons living abroad and those who have returned to the Caribbean in recent times. They have returned home but their attachment to persons living abroad play a significant role in the economic and social development of the region.

In focusing on the issues, I want to emphasize four levels of concern regarding development of the agriculture and, by extension, the food sector.

The first level of concern is Finance. I need not dilate on this, because many speakers a have highlighted the magnitude of this issue. I merely want to add that this is not just about the availability of money, but the management and use of money is a significant factor in the development of agriculture in the Caribbean countries.

The second level of concern is incentives. Agriculture is a field with many professional aspects. Yet, it is viewed as being unattractive to those who aspire towards educational and technological careers. It is absolutely necessary to provide incentives for persons to specialize in agricultural and bring a new level of inventiveness and to field. These should aim at expanding production and economic progress.

My third observation is related to the lack of a strategic mindset among those who are involved in the sector. In Jamaica for instance, the majority of persons who are involved in agriculture are ‘small farmers’. These are persons with small plots of land and very little access to technology. Their main concerns are for the welfare and survival of family and they display little interest in strategic viewpoints associated with agricultural production. Much needs to be done to change these mindsets and to encourage new attitudes and behavior towards agricultural production.

The fourth concern is the fact of misrepresentation of the nature of agricultural activities. For instance, agriculture among certain sections of the population is that agriculture is ‘dirty work’. Secondly, agriculture is considered to be low status and viewed as providing limited potential for social progress.

Jamaica, over time has made great efforts providing infrastructure, public information and financial investments with varying degrees of success. Nonetheless there still is urgent need for improvement both in the areas of production of primary agricultural goods and secondary products.

Having looked at some of the issues, the major concern is that effort to enhance progress in agricultural development is that new efforts must ensure success of whatever intervention is made. This brings me to the necessity for participation. Celestin Monga a noted African writer states the following. “An equal rights self-development can only be achieved in a participatory society; a society which fosters a sense of political efficacy, nurtures a concern for problems and contributes to the formation of a knowledgeable citizenry capable of taking sustained interest in the governing process”.

This tells me that efforts to achieve success in agriculture and food production requires the fulsome participation of citizens in a creative endeavor. I suggest that this is possible through greater involvement of Community Based Organisations (CBO). This must be accompanied by interventions to enhance commitment, knowledge and skill that drive initiatives and efficacy. The process of handingdown directives, and talking down to ‘small-farmers’ will not stir enthusiasm, nor will it infuse creativity. A new spirit of commitment will emerge only from a new understanding of the ultimate goal and belief that the goal is achievable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents

3 Cargill Avenue, Kingston 10; Suite #8,  Telephone 754-3790 [o];352-2509 [c]

Email: latouche.percival@gmail.cominfo@ja-rrr.com ; Website: www.ja-rrr.com

17th June, 2016

Dear Major Reese:

Greetings and salutations.

I  am forced to write this letter to you today, June 17, 2016 in regard to your email sent to me on the 27th May, 2016 re arranging a meeting with the Financial Secretary and the State Minister , for a date which I would be advised of.  I find it strange that a meeting of this nature could be treated with such scant regard.  Major Reese, I have been waiting patiently to hear from you regarding a set date.  The Jamaicans in the Diaspora who are planning to return home are anxiously waiting to hear the outcome of this meeting.

Major Reese,  we  cannot sit idly by and allow our brothers and sisters  to  be migrating to Antigua, Belize, Barbados, Miami etc..

Having a meeting to finalise these important issues is a matter of great urgency and although I am quite cognizant of the fact that everyone’s schedule is full, I am voicing that such an important issue that will help the country to benefit financially should be given some urgent action.  Some issues to be finalized are –

  1. The renouncing of Citizenship
  2. Separation of jobs
  3. Mr. Charles Douglas infirmed returnee, where all his  tools of trade and other items were sold at auction without notification
  4. The immediate implementation of the one entry system
  5. The selling of returnees properties overseas and the proof of  purchase of property in Jamaica
  6. The matter of  presentation of Tax Returns T4, 1040, 1099, P60 and P45 for at least 3 years
  7. The matter of tools of trade being in possession for a period of time

I am therefore imploring you Major Reese to use your good office to can arrange with the relevant persons a meeting for us to have discussions and so be able to move forward for a mutual settlement  of these issues.

 

 

Anticipating your prompt response.

 

Kind regards

 

Percival LaTouche

President

JARRR

PRESS RELEASE

Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents 3 Cargill Avenue, Kingston 10; Suite #8,  Telephone 754-3790 [o];352-2509 [c]

THERE IS POSITIVE NEWS FOR RETURNING RESIDENTS.

Returning Residents delegation, led by Percival LaTouche, President {JARRR] met on Monday 25th April, 2016 with Major Richard Reese, Commissioner of Customs and his senior officers, to discuss problems facing returning residents to Jamaica. This was a fruitful meeting.

A number of recommendations put forward by the Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents are now being considered by Jamaica Customs.

The commissioner of Customs assured that the myriad of issues faced by returning residents  preventing a smooth resettlement process would be thoroughly examined.

Several returning residents have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in various currencies due to what can be described as stringent requirement and draconian measures employed by customs.

Some of the issues raised by the JARRR were as follows:-

·       Returning residents, including deportees, are entitled to returning resident status, once they have lived overseas for a minimum of 3 years which is the period for entitlement. This allows them to bring home their household belongings and other personal effects, including tools of trade, free of cost.

·       Renouncement of their Citizenship and the unconditional landing stamp in their foreign passport.

·       What are the requirements Jamaicans living overseas and want to return home need to fulfill in order to be considered a returning resident.

·       The relevance of some documents requested by the customs agents i.e. they are asked to produce P45 statements, pay slips, proof of retirements etc.

  • ·       Residents are being asked to give up their jobs and citizenship to be qualified for returning resident’s status;

 ·       Household effects and tools of trade must be in the possession of resident for a period of time.

 ·        The last three [3] consecutive years of tax returns – 1040 W2/1099, T4, P60, P45, Tax return transcript Forms, relevant authority letter of separation from employer outlining duration of employment on the Company’s letterhead stamped and signed, current retirement papers, pension advice, social security letter, proof of retirement – such as bus pass, Freedom pass, evidence of recent disposal of property owned in that country;

·       Evidence of property owned in Jamaica, contract or letter of employment from prospective employer in Jamaica.

 ·       The Six [6] months extension for returnees to bring remainder of their belongings, should be extended to two [2] years.

The Association is anticipating that any adjustment to the requirements as stipulated by Customs will result in some level of reimbursement for returning residents who ended up losing hard earned cash.

It’s is the firm view of the Association that NO JAMAICAN should be subject to these undesirable actions.

Percival LaTouche

President

JARRR

Contact #876-352-2509 [c]; 876-754-3709 [o]

Email: latouche.percival@gmail.com

web-dividerBad customs at Customs The Daily Observer Thursday December 29, 2016

Dear Editor,

I landed, from Fort Lauderdale, in Montego Bay at 11:25 am on December 27, 2016. This was my very first time arriving at Sangster International Airport. I was impressed with the processing time and professionalism of the immigration officers. The immigration officer said, “Welcome home,” and at the end she said, “Have a happy New Year.”

After collecting my bags, I proceeded to the Customs line. I stopped at the line that said stop. The female Customs officer said, in a most unpleasant tone, “Come up!” She inquired about the contents of my bag, which I listed. She sent me for a search, which I know to be routine and understandable.

Issue 1: Officer Sabrina Wright proceeded to search my bags without gloves which I found unacceptable. I have never experienced a Customs officer searching a passenger’s bag without gloves.

Issue 2: While my bag was being searched, I observed the officer who sent me to be searched on Amazon browsing. I’m not sure if she was shopping for gloves or customs-related equipment?

Issue 3: After completing my search, I went over to the female supervisor on duty and advised her I had a complaint about two of her officers. She asked what was the nature of the complaint and I told her I prefer to put it in writing, but I wanted to know the name of the officer browsing the Internet, and I pointed towards her. The supervisor on duty told me I would have to go ask the officer her name. I went over to the officer and I said, “Excuse me, can I have your name, please?” She asked me why. I said because I have a complaint and I would like your name. She told her her name was Miss Gardner. I then asked her if she was the only Gardner in Customs. She replied: “There are many Miss Gardners here.” The supervisor on duty walked over, as well as a male Customs officer. The supervisor asked what was the issue. Miss Gardner then told the supervisor I was upset because she sent me to be searched. I told Miss Gardener and the supervisor that was never the issue; the issue was her tone from the moment I walked up to her, her behaviour now, and the fact that on the Government’s time she’s browsing the Internet. I then asked her first name again. This time she raised her voice, while the supervisor was standing there, laughing. The male officer who walked over with the supervisor then said, Jody. I turned to the supervisor and said, “And you’re going to stand there and allow her to behave like that? I’m trying to get her name and she refuses to give me her name.” The supervisor replied, “But, sir, she gave you her name.” I then remarked, “So she doesn’t have a first name, then?” There was a pregnant silence and I walked away.

I left Customs in Montego Bay with a sour taste in my mouth. I went on the Jamaica Customs website to submit this complaint; under the contact option, only telephone numbers were listed. I tried the feedback option to no avail. It cannot be that in their quest to protect the country’s borders your personal items are touched without gloves or you are spoken to anyhow or an officer is browsing the Internet on the Government’s time.

ABK

abking020@gmail.com

Custom workers think they’re demigods

 

Dear Editor,

In order to be efficient, and taken seriously, it is understood that you have to have your guard up, but attacking, demeaning and having zero ounce of proper customer service is truly distasteful and disrespectful.

I speak of my experience where I filled out the Customs form, thought I misinterpreted a question and simply struck out my answer. After all, we’re taught when in doubt leave it out. So when I presented the form to the agent she rephrased the question and I answered. Instead of simply explaining that I was indeed correct the first time, she asked why did I strike out the answer, without allowing me to respond.

When she finally allowed a word in from me, I was quickly cut off and told, “No, you read and understood perfectly what the question asked, but decided to cross it out,” implying that I was being dishonest, which would be pointless as the stamps in the passport could have validated her questions.

I’m sorry, but even the greatest minds misunderstand things; it’s part of being human. We aren’t perfect beings. Moreover, how dare you tell someone they understood, when they are attempting to explain what caused the confusion? Are you God? Can you read minds? Where is the human touch when dealing with people?

No one is asking the officers to be soft and lenient; however, following protocol and sticking to the rules doesn’t mean being rude or having an attitude.

Major Richard Reese, I would like to think that your demigods receive customer care training. I will give you the benefit of the doubt for now, but maybe another course or two, even a refresher, can make a difference.

Disappointed

Patrick City

divinegrace1952@outlook.com

 

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View from the Diaspora

By Percival La’Touche

President,The Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents (Jamaica)

I bring warm greetings from Jamaica, and extend sincere congratulations to the organizers of this very important event. Food is a high priority concern worldwide and it is good that we in the region are declaring our intention of influencing supply and availability.

The theme of my presentation is participation. This I place at the core of efforts to involve the Diaspora in issues of importance in the region. And by Diaspora I am speaking of persons living abroad and those who have returned to the Caribbean in recent times. They have returned home but their attachment to persons living abroad play a significant role in the economic and social development of the region.

In focusing on the issues, I want to emphasize four levels of concern regarding development of the agriculture and, by extension, the food sector.

The first level of concern is Finance. I need not dilate on this, because many speakers a have highlighted the magnitude of this issue. I merely want to add that this is not just about the availability of money, but the management and use of money is a significant factor in the development of agriculture in the Caribbean countries.

The second level of concern is incentives. Agriculture is a field with many professional aspects. Yet, it is viewed as being unattractive to those who aspire towards educational and technological careers. It is absolutely necessary to provide incentives for persons to specialize in agricultural and bring a new level of inventiveness and to field. These should aim at expanding production and economic progress.

My third observation is related to the lack of a strategic mindset among those who are involved in the sector. In Jamaica for instance, the majority of persons who are involved in agriculture are ‘small farmers’. These are persons with small plots of land and very little access to technology. Their main concerns are for the welfare and survival of family and they display little interest in strategic viewpoints associated with agricultural production. Much needs to be done to change these mindsets and to encourage new attitudes and behavior towards agricultural production.

The fourth concern is the fact of misrepresentation of the nature of agricultural activities. For instance, agriculture among certain sections of the population is that agriculture is ‘dirty work’. Secondly, agriculture is considered to be low status and viewed as providing limited potential for social progress.

Jamaica, over time has made great efforts providing infrastructure, public information and financial investments with varying degrees of success. Nonetheless there still is urgent need for improvement both in the areas of production of primary agricultural goods and secondary products.

Having looked at some of the issues, the major concern is that effort to enhance progress in agricultural development is that new efforts must ensure success of whatever intervention is made. This brings me to the necessity for participation. Celestin Monga a noted African writer states the following. “An equal rights self-development can only be achieved in a participatory society; a society which fosters a sense of political efficacy, nurtures a concern for problems and contributes to the formation of a knowledgeable citizenry capable of taking sustained interest in the governing process”.

This tells me that efforts to achieve success in agriculture and food production requires the fulsome participation of citizens in a creative endeavor. I suggest that this is possible through greater involvement of Community Based Organisations (CBO). This must be accompanied by interventions to enhance commitment, knowledge and skill that drive initiatives and efficacy. The process of handingdown directives, and talking down to ‘small-farmers’ will not stir enthusiasm, nor will it infuse creativity. A new spirit of commitment will emerge only from a new understanding of the ultimate goal and belief that the goal is achievable.

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ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR JA-RRR !!!!!!

Dear Mr. Latouche,

RRU Policy Review

This is to advise that I have decided to engage key stakeholders such as Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders in addition to meetings already held with your Association to ensure broad consultation.

I have received a submission from the CBFFAJ and a Submission will be made to the July 2016  meeting of the Jamaica Customs Agency Advisory Board; thereafter the matter will be escalated to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

You will be updated regarding the progress in this matter and intra Ministerial Review.(MFAFT and MFoPS)

Responses

  1. Ms Merly Lamberts refund cheque was prepared and a representative collected it on her behalf.
  2. Mr.  Adolph Robinson whose wife advised that his application was not approved submitted all outstanding documents today and his status has been approved. He was also provided with the letter addressed to the Trade Board to obtain an import license. Note that he has committed a breach by importing a vehicle prior to obtaining the requisite permit.
  3. Alkah Brown of whom you are familiar received the returning resident status in 2004 therefore being that the status is granted her shipment was deemed personal  and the mobility scooter referred to at our meeting is in fact a commercial ice cream vending motor cycle.

it is regretted that  the cases which have been highlighted by you in the media have not in most instances been totally accurate. Notwithstanding we recognize that you may not have been fully aware of all the facts surrounding the circumstances of the persons you have sought to represent.

The JCA however continues to engage you in with respect to recommendations to facilitate quality customer service.

Major (ret’d)  Richard Reese

Commissioner Of Customs

Jamaica Customs Department

Myers Wharf, New Port West

Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents

3 Cargill Avenue, Kingston 10; Suite #8,  Telephone 754-3790 [o];352-2509 [c]

Email: info@ja-rrr.com ; Website: www.ja-rrr.com

13th July, 2016

 

Dear Major Reese:

This acknowledges receipt of your email dated July, 12, 2016.

I note your information regarding the engagement of  key stakeholders, such as the Custom Brokers and   Freight Forwarders. 

You mentioned also that this matter would have been escalated to the Ministry of the Public Service and that I would be updated on the progress and intra Ministerial Review.  I recall that I was previously informed by you that this information would have been conveyed to the Ministry of Finance and Public Service and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.  A meeting date was anticipated. This has not happened to date.  

It s approximately two [2] months since that email dated the 16th May, 2016. Three months [3]  – 25th April, 2016 since the meeting with yourself and your staff members.

Major Reese we discussed in great detail the policies and status requirement for returning residents. Issues were raised from individuals, notes were taken by you in relation to these matters and concerns. 

  1. Renouncing citizenship
  2. Separation letter from your Employers  
  3. One Entry Entitlement

These were some of the main issues raised.

Major Reese, it is vital to review comments made by the returning residents.  These comments cannot be frowned at and need urgent, careful consideration in order to move our country forward with the growth initiative announced by the Prime Minister to welcome all our returnees back to their homeland, Jamaica, without any harassment and hostility from Customs.

Meeting with Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders is a separate matter and should be dealt with separately from the main issues 1, 2 and 3 above.

It is clear in my mind that you don’t wish to collaborate  any further with these issues which have now become extremely important and need prompt action.

I would like to be implicitly clear on the second to last paragraph that the issues outlined in the Media by me are not inaccurate.  I have documented proof of concerns that I raised in the Media from the returning residents.  Everything that comes from me is factual and can be collaborated!.  It appears that perhaps you may have little knowledge of what is currently happening in your Department.

Looking forward to a closure to this matter.

Regards

Percival LaTouche

President

JARRR

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Good Morning Mr LaTouche. My Name is Denzil Mason I spoke to you yesterday. And first a foremost I must thank you for the good work you are doing for Returnees also the good advice you give. First as a person like my self looking to return to his home land I fine it very frustrated. I feel that Jamaica does not want us back in our own home land. Because if they did they would not sit there and cook up all these stupid ideas. 1 such as renouncing the citizenship of the country that has Provide us with all we have in life.2 the matter of providing the last three year tax return 3 proof of Purchase of home. Proof of where the money comes from when we buy a home in Jamaica all these things is wrong. As Returnees Jamaica should embrace us with open arms. Because with out our Funds coming into the country how would they survive, the Pension that come into the Country amounts to Hundreds of Millions of pounds each year this Money is been spent in the country in many ways. I am not just Concern with those coming from Englandbut all the other Jamaican that live in various countries around the world. There are many Jamaican that has plenty funds that could come in and do a lot for the country but they refuse to. They rather go to anotherCaribbean island to reside than their own. And this is sad. And yet these people are proud Jamaican, so please Percival try and do your utmost best to win this one we are all behind you.

Yours truly,

Mr Mason

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Returning Residents are shafted by customs!!!!

Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents

3 Cargill Avenue, Kingston 10; Suite #8,  Telephone 754-3790 [o];352-2509 [c]

Email: info@ja-rrr.com ; Website: www.ja-rrr.com

Major Richard Reese

Commissioner of Customs

Jamaica Customs Agency

New Port East

Kingston 15.

Dear Major Reese

Thank you for your email dated 29 April 2016, I write in regards to our meeting 25th April 2016 along with members of the returning residents.

We discussed in great details the policy and the status requirements for returning residents, issues were raise from individuals, notes were taken by you in relation to these matter and concerns of the returnees

you stated that a draft copy would be circulated to us. To date we have not received that draft copy as promised.

It is vital to review comments made by the returning residents and myself these issues cannot be frowned at, and needs careful consideration In Order to move forward to welcome all our returnees back to their home land Jamaica without any harassment and hostility.

There are thousand Jamaicans wanting to return home, but due to the hassle and ill-treatment, they are now having second thoughts, one returnee who spoke to me yesterday they once were scared of the gun men, they feel that customs is worse than the gun men. We should be welcoming all Jamaica back with open arms as this would create hugger investment, employment etc. for our country,

Jamaica, Canada, United Kingdom and United States of America respect dual citizenship. It is unconstitutional for customs to be asking Jamaicans to resign their jobs and renounce their citizenship to qualify for returning residents status. It is clearly stated by government that once you have spent three (3) consecutive years oversea you’re entitled to returning resident status.

Your urgent response is anticipated.

Kind Regards

Percival LaTouche

President

JARRR

 

to all members who were in attendance.

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Returning Residents Rep, Customs Boss Meet Over Shipping Issues

Published:Thursday | April 28, 2016 | 10:23 AM

The Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents says Jamaica Customs Department has given a commitment to examine the issues faced by returning residents who ship items to Jamaica.

President of the returning residents association Percival Latouche says the commitment was given earlier this week in a meeting with Commissioner of Customs Major Richard Reese.

LaTouche says the association questioned a requirement by customs for persons to show they have renounced their citizenship elsewhere when they claim to be returning residents.

He says several returning residents have lost millions of dollars due to what he calls  draconian measures employed by customs.

LaTouche says his association is hoping to hear how soon Jamaica Customs plans to address the issues faced by returning residents.

President of the returning residents association Percival LaTouche

In March, Major Reese said some returning residents did not understand the laws regarding their return to Jamaica.

Reese also said the Customs Department only requires information that verifies that persons are qualified to enter the island as returning residents.

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