THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
FORMER JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER LEAVES POLITICAL STAGE
Jamaica’s former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller resigned as a Member of Parliament after losing the last general election to the Jamaica Labor Party of current Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Simpson Miller, 71, had a long tenure in Parliament and told legislators in a farewell speech that they have a responsibility to do whatever is best for the Jamaican people. Simpson Miller was the former leader of the People’s National Party and the seventh woman to be elected to serve in Jamaica’s government. She was the first woman to lead the country’s government. She has been named an Honorary Distinguished Fellow of the University of the West Indies.
$18 BILLION HOUSING DEVELOPMENT TO BE BUILT IN CLARENDON
The National Housing Trust (NHT) in Jamaica plans to provide $18 billion to create housing developments in Clarendon over the next 3.5 years. According to Dr. Nigel Clarke, board chairman of the NHT, 100 housing units will be reserved for sugar industry workers who do not own a home and are having problems being able to do so. Clarke made the announcement at a ground-breaking ceremony for 351 housing solutions under Phase 2 of the Monymusk Country Estate. The NHT also plans to issue 8,500 mortgages in 2017, either to buy homes from the agency of on the open market. “We are in the business of creating affordable housing solutions, “ Clarke said.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS IN VENEZUELA ATTACKED BY STOLEN HELICOPTER
A stolen police helicopter was used in an attack against government buildings in Venezuela, firing shots at the Interior Ministry and dropping grenades on the Supreme Court. Authorities identified a “rogue police officer” named Oscar Antonio Perez, a police pilot, as the leader of the operation. The attacking helicopter displayed a banner reading “Freedom!” Police later found the helicopter dumped in Higuerote on the Caribbean coast, but there was no sign of Perez. At the time of the attack, a group of about 80 people were gathered to celebrate National Journalist Day at a reception on the terrace of the Interior Ministry building. The government reports that Pérez is under investigation for his connection to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US embassy in Caracas
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
LONDON UNVEILS MEMORIAL TO AFRICAN-CARIBBEAN SOLDIERS
London unveiled a memorial dedicated to the African-Caribbean soldiers who served in World War I and World War II. About two million African-Caribbean soldiers fought in these wars. The memorial sculpture is located in Windrush Square in Brixton. It is made of two obelisks, each six feet high and having a combined weight of nearly five tons. Sir Michael Fallon, Secretary of Defense, said that the recognition of these soldiers is long overdue. He went on to say that he hopes the memorial will serve as a reminder of the continuing contributions made by the African and Caribbean communities to the United Kingdom its defense. Many countries from the Caribbean region and Africa were deeply affected during the two world wars, and more than 165,000 soldiers from Africa alone died in the conflicts. It is believed that this memorial is the first in Britain to honor African and Caribbean soldiers. It was previously displayed at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton in 2014.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
NEW FEE IMPOSED BY DIGICEL RAISES QUESTIONS FROM REGULATORS
Jamaica’s Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) sent a written request to Digicel, the telecommunications provider, asking that the firm explain why it has started to charge a Prepaid Maintenance Fee (PMF) for customers whose monthly bills are under J$50. The agency also wants Digicel to provide proof that it had given customers enough advanced notice, informed them of the exact amount to be charged, and defined the basis of the charge. Digicel was asked to provide a response by June 30, 2017. OUR noted its disappointment that Digicel had not provided the agency with a notification of its plans to impose the new fee before implementing its decision.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
NEW YORK HONORS REGGAE ARTISTES
Following a spectacular performance at the “Groovin’ in the Park” concert event at Roy Wilkins Park in New York, reggae star Tarrus Riley and musician Dean Fraser were given proclamations from the State of New York. Tarrus Riley’s father, the late Jimmy Riley, receive a posthumous award for his great love and commitment to the music, art and culture of the Caribbean. The awards were presented by State Senator Jesse Hamilton. Riley said it was “good to know that people are showing love and respect.” He said he was living his dream and that his father “would have loved this.” Fraser said that it was “a real accomplishment” to be honored by the State of New York and that he was “grateful and honored.” Reggae artistes Leroy Sibbles, Freddie McGregor, Daddy U-roy and Ken Booth also received proclamations from the State Senate at the event.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
USAIN BOLT WINS 100 METER VICTORY IN OSTRAVA
Jamaican sprint legend and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt won the 100 meter race at the European portion of his last competitive season in Ostrava in the Czech Republic. Bolt said he was fighting “health issues” and struggled with a less-than-spectacular start in a weak field. Bolt clocked 10.06 seconds over the distance. He will have one more 100-meter race at the Monaco Diamond League in July 2017 before his final performance at the World Athletics Championships in London, which are scheduled for August 4 through 13, 2017.