Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who is expected to return from the U.S. late on June 14 has summoned a Cabinet meeting on Friday.This was disclosed by a Cabinet Minister in the BJP-led coalition government on Wednesday requesting anonymity. The Minister said that they have been informed by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) on Wednesday that he would like to meet the Council of Ministers on Friday and requested them to remain in Goa.“The venue for the meeting with the Chief Minister has not been confirmed yet. But we have been informed by the CMO about the proposed meeting,” the Minister said. Mr. Parrikar (62) has been undergoing treatment in a New York hospital for more than three months. He was shifted to the U.S. in March this year, for specialised treatment.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has welcomed the creation of a Chief of the Defence Staff post as a vital step in strengthening and streamlining the command structure of the country’s defence services.Hailing the Union government’s decision as the fulfilment of a long-pending demand, first mooted by the then UPA government in the wake of the Kargil war, the Chief Minister said the move would go a long way in improving the command and control system of the Indian armed forces.Capt. Amarinder said that a CDS was suggested back in 2009 by the Naresh Chandra committee under the United Progressive Alliance, as the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The decision, however, then could not be implemented though it was felt that such a post would bring in more effective coordination and cohesiveness in the armed forces.“With the CDS to coordinate them, the three defence services, viz the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, the Indian armed forces would become more integrated, thus enhancing their effectiveness,” the Chief Minister said in a statement.
The Trelawny Parish Council has welcomed a number of development projects for the parish that are being funded by the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The projects comprise road rehabilitation and construction/upgrading of community infrastructure, including a school and a clinic. Lead assigned representative of the Council to the STU, and Councillor for the Sherwood Content Division, Telka Holt, expressed pleasure at the works, which she said, have been approved by the Council. She noted that the roads to be worked on will improve access to other towns and communities. “These roads were at times not traversed because they were blocked, and now that they are going to be opened, people will have access to them,” she said. Under the STU project, 5.9 kilometres of roadway between Duncans and Long Pond will be rehabilitated, in addition to the 5.45-kilometre Hampdenland Back Road, while $1.9 million will be spent on improvements to Blagrove Drive. The Jackson Town playfield will also be upgraded at a cost of $5 million, to include seating areas; $15 million will be spent on the construction of a library and resource centre in Clark’s Town; and $1.8 million for rehabilitation of the Sawyer’s water tank. Ms. Holt also reported that upgrading of the Happy Venture Basic School, which is being undertaken at a cost of $2.5 million is 65 per cent complete, while the procurement of furniture and equipment for the Duncan’s Health Centre, at a cost of $45 million, has almost concluded. Councillor Holt urged residents of the beneficiary communities to use the roads and community facilities being provided with care. “It does not make any sense that we create this development, give you the facilities, put these structures in place and then we vandalise them. We need to protect them. If there are other persons who are going to vandalise, let us caution them. If we have to call the police, call the police,” she urged. Contact: Garfield L. Angus
Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says cruise ship visitor arrivals to Jamaica are projected to surpass the 1.4 million mark by the end of 2014, for the first time.This is based on the port of call itinerary of a number of cruise lines, whose ships are scheduled to dock in Jamaica.Making his 2013/14 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House on July 3, under the theme: ‘A Sector for the People: Making Tourism for Us All’, Dr. McNeill said Jamaica will, this year, for the first time, welcome Disney Cruises out of the United States.He informed that the cruise line, slated to dock at the Falmouth pier in Trelawny, will be bringing both the Disney Wonder and Fantasy brands, with the former making its inaugural trek in October this year. The Minister described the introduction of such a strong brand as “tremendous” for Jamaica.“We are also concentrating on home porting, and Montego Bay will see the AIDA Bella as well as the Louis Cristal Cuba Cruises home porting there, starting in November and December of this year, respectively,” he told the House of Representatives.Dr. McNeill also had good news for Ocho Rios, St. Ann, as he announced that come 2014, the port will welcome, for the first time, Norwegian Epic, as well as the return of Royal Caribbean.While noting that cruise ship arrivals increased by 17.3 per cent in 2012, the Minister said Jamaica expects to end 2013 “marginally down”.“But, we have to view this in the context of two phenomenal years of growth after the opening of the Falmouth pier. I have every confidence that the tourism sector will meet the expectations we are placing on it, as the path ahead continues to offer promise of further growth, and destination Jamaica retains its international competitive edge,” Dr. McNeill said.Contact: Douglas McIntosh.