THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICA’S ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS FLAG COMMENTS “MISCONSTRUED”—06/15/16
The Attorney General of Jamaica, Marlene Malahoo Forte was strongly criticized for her tweets in which she objected to the United States Embassy in Kingston flying the rainbow flag in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando, Florida, nightclub massacre. A day after making her remarks, Malahoo Forte attempted to reverse her position, claiming that her tweet had been “misconstrued.” Her initial comment said, “I strongly condemn #OrlandoNightClubShooting but find it disrespectful of Jamaica’s laws to have #RainbowFlag flown here. #MyPersonalView.” Explaining herself, Malahoo Forte said the second part of her tweet had been “misconstrued” and that she condemned the act of terror in Orlando and expressed sadness and sympathy for the victims and their families. She also said that “the incident provides another opportunity for deep reflection and introspection” and that Jamaica has “much work ahead of us to reorder our society.” The Attorney General’s peers have called her remarks “insensitive” and “unwise”.
YOUTH GROUP AFFILIATE OF PNP CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF SHAW—06/16/16
The youth affiliate group known of the People’s National Party (PNP) wants Prime Minister Andrew Holness to remove Finance Minister Audley Shaw from his post in Jamaica’s government. According to the Patriots group, Shaw has “willfully misled” the country in declaring that an increase in the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on heavy fuel oil would not have an impact on the Jamaica Public Service. Shaw said the increase relates to fuel for road transportation only, but the group alleges that inspire of the assurances the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) plans to ask customers to pay more for their electricity, starting in June 2016. The JPS says the increases are due, in part, to the recent increase in the SCT. It has also been reported that Shaw acknowledges that the tax does apply to the JPS.
NEGRIL BEACH EROSION TO BE ADDRESSED BY PIOJ AND NEPA—06/17/16
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asked the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to work together to find options for dealing with the erosion that is occurring at the beach in Negril. According to Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, a breakwater project is under consideration for Negril in an attempt to accommodate direction of resources to the problem. Reid noted that the Holness cabinet had approved contracts to rehabilitate a number of projects in St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
DIASPORA POLICY TO MAXIMIZE CONTRIBUTIONS OF OVERSEAS NATIONALS—06/15/16
According to Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, a move by the Jamaican government to adopt a National Diaspora Policy will offer a way to maximize the contributions of nationals overseas in regard to development on the island. The policy is slated for implementation soon and will address the concerns of Jamaicans in the Diaspora. Smith said the government is committed to creating stronger bonds with the Diaspora community and that the community represents an “invaluable asset” to the nation. The involvement of the Diaspora plays a major role in the country’s foreign policy, Smith noted, and its overseas mission will have even more influence as a result of the new policy direction.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
HOLNESS ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR ROADWAYS ON SOUTH COAST—06/16/16
Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, announced that arrangements have been finalized with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China to gain access to loan funding for projects to improve roadways in the island’s southeast and southwest regions. Holness said the project will have a total cost of US$384 million, of which US$57 million will come from the Jamaican government. The projects will include a four-lane highway between Harbor View to Bull Bay In St. Andrew, and the road from Morant Bay to Port Antonio will be improved. Holness believes the development is a cost-effective move that will lessen the need for large land acquisitions, reduce the negative impact of travel on communities and the environment, and provide access to better roads. The improvement plans also include a toll road from May Pen, Clarendon, to Mandeville, Manchester.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA READY FOR KINGSTON ON THE EDGE—06/16/16
The 2016 staging of Kingston on the edge (KOTE) Urban Arts Festival will begin on June 17, 2016, at Redbones Blues Cafe in St. Andrew. This yearly 10-day-long event offers a showcase for visual and performing artists in a variety of locations in the Corporate Area. On opening night, festival-goers can enjoy roots singer Winston McAnuff, French artists Fixi, Jermaline Blake and a number of bands, including the Free Willies, Phuzzion, and 6 Points. The theme of the 2016 KOTE is “Connection” and so the event will include Kingston Dub Club, Living Culture at Trench Town Culture Yard, Pecha Kucha and Artist Workshops, Director’s Cut: A Filmmaker’s Perspective, Great Antilleans Exhibition (Cuban, Haitian and Jamaican) and the Kuan-Kuan Chinese Temple Visit at Barry Street, downtown Kingston. Enola Williams, co-founder and coordinator of KOTE, said there are 23 venues with 26 separate events and nearly 200 visual and performing artistes from 22 nations participating in the 2016 event.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
A STOCKHOLM WIN FOR WILLIAMS-MILLS—06/16/16
Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica won the women’s 400-meter competition at the Stockholm Grand Prix Diamond tournament in Sweden. She ran the distance in 52.29 seconds, beating Anyika Onurora of Great Britain with 52.46 seconds and Italy’s Libania Grenoty at 52.62 seconds. Williams led Jamaica to a gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay at the 2015 World Championships moved into third place in the Diamond Race with 17 points. Jamaica’s Stephenie-Ann McPherson has 19 points. There are three races left at the meet.