THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN NEWS STORIES
HOLNESS COMMITS TO ELECTION PROMISE
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness was sometimes criticized by political opponents for not fulfilling his promise to make Jamaicans sleep with their windows and doors open. Now, Holness is not backing down from this commitment, saying he meant every word of it. In 2017, over 1,600 Jamaicans died violent deaths, and over 100 individuals were killed as of January 20, 2018. Holness noted that when he visited the zone of special operations in Mount Salem, residents thanked him for making it safe enough for them to sleep with windows and doors open. He continued by saying that the experience of too many Jamaicans is having to “sleep in an oven” because they must lock up their houses in the face of violent crimes.
GOVERNMENT TO BUILD ON ITS GOOD STANDING WITH GLOBAL CREDITORS
Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, stated that the government will continue its economic improvements by building upon the country’s good standing with international creditors. The government’s standing resulted from improvements made to numerous economic sectors, including the stabilization of macroeconomic conditions, reduction in debt, increased fiscal discipline, and control of inflation within the range of four to six percent. These activities were targets under Jamaica’s Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (PSBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The more favorable view of Jamaica was indicated in the outcomes of the government’s participation in the international bond market in August 2017, raising US$300 million for budgetary support.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS STORIES
OUTRAGE EXPRESSED OVER U.S. BORDER AGENT ARREST ON GREYHOUND BUS
A Jamaican woman who had overstayed her tourist visa was taken off a Greyhound bus in Florida by United States border agents who asked all the bus riders to provide identification. Immigration advocates from the Caribbean and elsewhere strongly objected to the move and questioned the legality of the agents’ inspection. In a video of the incident provided by the Florida Immigration Coalition, US Border Patrol agents are seen taking the woman into custody in front of shocked passengers during a stop on the route from Orlando to Miami. The immigrant group also said the agents demanded proof of citizenship from all passengers. Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, membership director for the Coalition, said this type of incident erodes the public trust in authorities who are charged with protecting communities. See the video here
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS STORIES
LOUISE BENNETT-COVERLEY FESTIVAL TO MARK BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Friends of the South Regional-Broward College Library, the Jamaican Folk Revue, Inc., and Broward College are marking Black History Month 2018 with the 11th staging of the Louise Bennett-Coverley Festival and Scholarship Fundraiser. The festival, which will be held on February 3, 2018, at the Performing and Cultural Arts Center of Broward College, receives the patronage of the Consul General of Jamaica, Franz Hall. It will feature cultural performances by major Jamaican “culture keepers,” including UWI Lecturer Fae Ellington C.D; and Edna Manley College lecturer and founder of the Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica-Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks. There will also be guest appearances by actor Paul Campbell, comedian Blakka Ellis, actress Audrey Reid, dub poet Malachi Smith, and actress, educator & writer, Dr. Susan Davis. The festival was launched in 2007 to celebrate the life and achievements of Louis Bennett-Coverley, also known as Miss Lou, a globally recognized folklorist, social commentator, and cultural icon of Jamaica.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS STORIES
FARMERS TO BENEFIT FROM ENTREPRENEURIAL TRAINING PROGRAM IN 2018
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett plans to introduce a program to train and coach Jamaica’s farmers in entrepreneurship in hopes that it will provided them with a greater understanding of the tourism industry. In the program, farmers will be given information about how to customize their production, distribution and logistics and bring these elements in congruence with the business requirements of the hotel and tourism sector. According to Bartlett, the program is designed to sensitize farmers concerning the demand for tourist products they can provide. It will also instruct them in the use of apps that are being created to access useful information that will link them to buyers.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS STORIES
JAMAICA’S FIRST ENTERTAINMENT CENTER TO BE ESTABLISHED
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, announced that the nation’s first entertainment center will be established in 2020. The center is designed to promoted and enhance local entertainment and tourism industries and will receive $15 million from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). Construction of the center will begin in Montego Bay later in 2018. According to Bartlett, $50 million will be placed toward the design and preparator work for the project, ensuring that construction can begin in this fiscal year. There are also plans to fund the development of two reggae products in hopes of generating local jobs and new and authentic cultural experiences for tourists.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS STORIES
BOLT PREPARING FOR BUNDESLIGA FOOTBALL CLUB TRYOUT
Jamaica’s champion sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt will train with the Harbor View Football Club as he prepares for a tryout with the Borussia Dortmundt Bundesliga club scheduled for March 2018. Retiring from track and field following the IAAF World Championships in London in the summer of 2017, Bolt wants to play for Manchester United, and his coming tryout for the German club could facilitate that dream for him. Bolt is relying on his friend Ricardo Gardner, head coach of Harbor View, to prepare him for the tryout. Gardner previously played for Bolton Wanderers in the Barclays Premier League for over ten years. Bolt said that, having played in the Premier League, Gardner understands what his prospective team wants and what it would expect him to do. He also admitted to being a little nervous about the tryout, but he is confident he will succeed.