THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
MORE THAN 100,000 WORKERS IN PUBLIC SECTOR TO RECEIVE CASH BACK—10/31/15
Over 100,000 individuals who work for the Jamaican government will receive cash rewards at certain public establishment through a special program. The Team Jamaica Valucard program, an initiative introduced at the Super Shoppers Fair, allows public sector workers to receive cash-back benefits when they use the card to obtain goods and services at participating stores. The government is facilitating the program, which is designed to show support and appreciation for the workers and to compensate in part for a wage freeze as part of the country’s economic reforms. The freeze is no longer in effect, and workers will see a seven-percent increase in salary for the 2016-2017 contract period.
JAMAICA’S AGE OF CONSENT TO BE LOWERED TO 14; CHILD ADVOCATE OPPOSED—11/04/15
Children’s advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison strongly opposed Jamaica’s plan to lower the age of consent from 16 years to 14 years of age. She believes that the age of consent should actually be raised to 18. Supporters of the plan are encouraging Jamaica’s legislators to understand that females “by natural law” were mature enough to have children at age 14. Supporters have also suggested that legislators set the age of consent to 16 to make criminals of boys and girls.
PRIME MINISTER WANTS HEALTH SECTOR REPORT PUBLISHED IMMEDiATELY—11/06/15
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is calling for the audit of the nation’s health care sector to be made public immediately. She has directed Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, to publish the reports sooner than he had planned following discussions held with the members of the Partnership for Jamaica National Council at the Office of the Prime Minister. Members of the Partnership believe the government is obligated to release the health audit findings, regardless of any information sent out discussing reforms designed to fix the sector’s problems.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NEW CANADIAN COMPANY BRINGS SOUNDS OF JAMAICA TO THE WORLD—11/02/15
In Winsloe, Prince Edward Island, in Canada, Pepeto Pinto has launched a business that creates handpans, the small steel musical instruments that are similar to steel drums, but are played with the hands rather than sticks. Pinto learned how to make steel drums in Jamaica, but it was only when he emigrated to Canada that he learned about handpans in Montreal and fell in love with the concept. He began playing steel drums in school and was then apprenticed to a master manufacturer. He met his wife Nathalie Arsenault, a Prince Edward Island native, while she was in Jamaica on an internship and was looking for someone to jam with. The couple move back to Canada and started their handpan business. Their company is called “Solos” and sells the instruments, which are in considerable demand, all over the world.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA CREATES INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION FOR BAMBOO PRODUCERS—11/06/15
Jamaica’s Bureau of Standards and the Small Business Association joined to create the Bamboo Industry Association. The organization is being formed to take advantage of the global market for bamboo products, which has been estimated at a value of some $270 million. The group plans to inform the owners of property on which bamboo grows of the economic opportunities available to them, as well as to make sure that industry standards are met. There are about 160,493 acres in Jamaica where bamboo currently grows.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
FIRST JAMAICAN PRODUCES TOP HIT ON BILLBOARD LATIN CHARTS—11/03/15
Rvssian, a Jamaican music producer, made history by becoming the first Jamaican producer to have a top hit on the Latin music charts. The tune “Sunset” features Farrulko, a Puerto Rican singer, Shaggy, and Nicky Jam. The song is Number 1 on the Latin Airplay chart, Number 3 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, Number 2 on the Latin Pop Songs chart, and Number 7 on the Latin Digital Songs chart. Rvssian is known for his dancehall productions, and he has worked with Vybz Kartel, New Jordans, J Capri, Konshens, and others.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN WOMAN MAKES HISTORY AT WICB—11/01/15
Jacqueline Williams of Jamaica is set to make history in 2015 when she becomes the first woman umpire to officiate at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional 4-Day competition in December. Williams, 30, is from Westmoreland. She will officiate with Peter Nero in the fifth-round match at the WICB PCL competition that will feature the Jamaica Scorpions and the Guyana Jaguars. The 4-day will be played at Sabina Park. Williams made her international debut as an umpire in the first ODI and first T20 game in the Pakistan Women’s West Indies tour.