ATKINSON FAVORS RESORT STATUS FOR FALMOUTH—04/25/15
Patrick Atkinson, Jamaican Member of Parliament for Northern Trelawny, plans to initiate actions to have Falmouth designated a resort town following the completion of infrastructure and social development currently in progress. This would allow Falmouth to be the fifth resort town in Jamaica, joining Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril, Portland, and Kingston.
JAMAICA TESTS DRONES TO MONITOR FISHING ACTIVITY—04/26/15
A test of the X8 Skywalker Drone was conducted in Jamaica to determine its feasibility for use as a monitoring and surveillance tool for fishing activities in the nation’s waters. With the test, the way is clear for drones to be deployed to provide better monitoring of the marine space in order to detect and discourage illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Jamaica is one of the most overfished regions in the Caribbean, and the drones offer a way to address that problem.
KELLIER SAYS WORK PERMITS GIVEN TO FOREIGNERS ONLY WHEN NECESSARY—04/27/15
According to Derrick Kellier, Jamaican Minister of Agriculture, Labor and Social Security, the government will only issue work permits to foreigners to work in the country only when absolutely necessary. Under current guidelines, the priority is give priority to protecting the employment of Jamaican workers.
FERGUSON HAPPY WITH VACCINATION RATE—04/28/15
Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, is pleased with the nation’s rate of vaccination, given the limitations the country faces. He said the coverage of vaccination on the island is “fantastic” and that in spite of the nation’s difficult times, it has been able to achieve a rate of over 90 percent for all vaccinations. He noted that vaccination represents the most cost-effective way to prevent disease and death in Jamaica.
JAMAICA SEES REDUCTION IN WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS—04/29/15
A report from Jamaica’s Minister of Labor and Social Security states that there has been a decrease in the number of workplace accidents in the country over the past fiscal year. The 2014 report indicated a decrease of 30.3 percent in the number of such accidents reported, compared to fiscal 2013-14. In that fiscal year, there were 383 workplace accidents reported, compared to 267 in the past year. The decrease was attributed to greater awareness of elements in the Occupation Safety and Health bill.
$16 MILLION IN LOST REVENUE DUE TO MISSING CUSTOMS FILES—04/30/15
Pamela Monroe Ellis, Jamaica’s Auditor General, believes someone must be accountable for 14 Jamaica Customs files that went missing in 2009. The missing files resulted in the agency losing over $16 million in revenue. According to Ellis, the amounts should be handled like revenue losses according to provisions in the Financial Management Regulations. Only one of the 14 files has been recovered to date.
GUY SAYS COMMITTEE TO REVIEW RENT RESTRICTION ACT—05/01/15
Dr. Morais Guy, Jamaican Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, stated that a review committee will be created to examine the Rent Restriction Act. The new rent board was announced in 2014 and is commencing a review of the Act. After the review, the committee will be created to finish the process. The last amendments to the Act were made in 1983, but in 2011, a review process was announced to resolve issues relating to outdated provisions, such as landlords requiring security deposits.
BUNTING TABLES DNA EVIDENCE ACT—05/01/15
Peter Bunting, Jamaican Minister of National Security, tabled the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Evidence Act, 2015 in the House. He noted that the legislation will allow for the maintenance and operation of a forensic DNA database, which will be called the National DNA Register. The database will be maintained to aid in forensic investigations. The legislation will also providing for taking DNA samples from individuals and crime scenes.