THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT PLANS TO ACQUIRE MORE LAND FOR WATER PROJECT—12/19/15
Jamaica’s government has decided to purchase three land parcels in Westmoreland at market value to be determined by the Commission of Lands. The additional property will be used to facilitate the water supply project of the National Water Commission (NWC) in the area. The law allows the NWC to acquire any land for purposes of performing its statutory functions, but the acquisitions must also comply with provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. The NWC projects involve upgrading the water system in Westmoreland, which serves about 9,000 customers of the agency.
JAMAICANS SPENT US$25 MILLION TO APPLY FOR VISAS TO THE UNITED STATES—12/20/15
According to the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaicans paid US$25 million (J$3 billion) in 2015 for applications for visas to enter the U.S. Michael R. Schimmel, Consul General of the Embassy said that more visa applications were received in 2015 than at any time in the past 20 years. The price of an individual visa application is US$150, Schimmel noted, downplaying the amount paid by Jamaicans to apply and stressing that the visa is good for ten years. All money collected for the visas goes toward covering the cost of the service, particularly border security.
FORMER SPANISH TOWN MAYOR SHOT AT HIS HOME DURING ROBBERY—12/22/15
Ramoth Notice, the former mayor of Spanish Town, was shot several times during a robbery at his home.
According to reports, two men broke into his home and demanded money; they beat him after he refused to comply with their demands. Notice is known for his service to the nation’s prison system and his representation of the Jamaica Labor Party at both local and national levels. He also served as councilor to the parish council in 2011 and became Spanish Town mayor. Andrew Holness, JLP leader, expressed his grief and shock at the attack, stating the crime highlighted the vulnerability of law-abiding citizens to vicious criminals.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
HAIRDRESSER REDISCOVERS JAMAICAN HERITAGE IN U.S.—12/23/15
Karaine Smith-Holness did not expect her move from Kingston, Jamaica, to West Haven, Connecticut, to give her a new appreciation of her Jamaican roots, but that is what happened when she utilized her knowledge and experience and opened a hair salon in her new home. Smith-Holness had previously had a hair salon on Hope Road in Jamaica, and now she has celebrated her 21st year in business in the United States. Smith-Holness attributes her success to her clients, which include New Haven mayor Toni Harp. She also notes that since moving to New Haven, she has rediscovered her Jamaican roots and has put her appreciation into practice as the president and co-founder of the Jamaican-American Connection. This organization organizes and sponsors events and provides scholarships for Caribbean natives to help them adjust to new lives in the U.S.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
BIG INVESTMENT IN JAMAICAN HIGHWAY MADE BY CHINA—12/24/15
The highway connecting north and south parts of Jamaica represents the largest investment made by China in the Caribbean region to date. Dubbed the “Beijing Highway” after Jamaican sprint champion Usain Bolt turned down the opportunity to have it named after him, the four-lane roadway will be over 41 miles long and be lined with luxury hotels. Built at a cost of $600 million, the highway is a major indication that China has definitely arrived in the Caribbean. Upon completion in early 2016, the new road will reduce travel time between Ocho Rios on the island’s north coast to Kingston in the south from almost two hours to just 50 minutes.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
AUTHENTIC JAMAICAN REGGAE FESTIVAL SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 2016—12/24/15
Coming in January 2016, the 23rd staging of Rebel Salute, arguably the most authentic Jamaican reggae festival, will feature a celebration of good music, food, and Jamaican culture. The festival attracts thousands of attendees every year and is especially popular with island tourists. The event offers a strict vegetarian cuisine and celebrates Jamaica’s cultural roots in a drug-free, violence-free, alcohol-free environment.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN AMONG WORLD’S BEST TAEKWONDO ATHLETES—12/23/15
Conrad Jenkins, the president of the Jamaica Taekwondo Federation, has been named a 7th-degree Black Belt Grand Master in the art of taekwondo, a sport that has its origins in Korea. The highest designation is 10th-degree. Jenkins, who has over 30 years of experience in the sport and also coaches others, received accreditation in December 2016 in Mexico. He is the only Jamaican to hold this designation. He is also one of three global referees named as “best” among 20 referees at Mexico’s 2015 World Cup Team Taekwondo Championships.