THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
AMENDED DEFENSE ACT TO CREATE NATIONAL SERVICE CORPS
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the Defense Act will be amended to create the Jamaica National Service Corps inside the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF). The Corps is one of seven initiatives established under the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) program, which is designed to provide job and training opportunities for young Jamaicans between the ages of 19 and 24. The amendment provides for enlistment and terms for engaging in the Corps. Annual recruitment for the program will be 1,000 people aged 18 to 23. Those chosen will have the option of joining the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) or Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) or becoming security guards.
NEW PUBLIC ORDER BILL INTRODUCED BY JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT
New legislation designed to restore public order has been announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness. The bill seeks special measures to uphold and preserve the Rule of Law, public order, security of citizens, and the safety of the public within specific geographic areas of Jamaica. It would create a legal structure under which the Prime Minister, with consultation of the National Security Council, to declare any high crime area of the country as a zone for special security operations and community develop. According to Holness, the bill is meant “to give effect to a well-established and practiced security and community building strategy termed ‘Clear, Hold, Build.'”
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM PREPARES FUTURE FOR DOMINICA
The Petite Savanne Resettlement Program in Dominica represents a new way to re-home residents who were displaced in 2015 by Tropical Storm Erika. The citizenship by investment (CBI) program will be associated with the development of new affordable housing in the country in a 340-home model development known as Bellevue Chopin. The project is funded via Montreal Management Consultants Est. and relies on CBIs are a reliable way to secure private sector commercial investments for public sector projects. Construction is already proceeding, with 180 families who lost their homes in the storm will move in by the end of 2017.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN PERFORMING ARTS GROUP DENIED VISAS TO U.S.
Jamaica may not be able to participate in the 2017 staging of the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California, following the rejection of most of the participants’ visa applications to the United States. The event holds competitions in dancing, vocals, acting, modeling, and instrumental music. According to Somouya Mattis, the team scout for the World Championships of Performing Act, Jamaica, expressed her confusion by the denial of visas for 13 of the 15 applicants who went to the US Embassy to date. No explanations were given for the visa denials, although three applicants were told they were too young. Mattis said that one of the three is 19 and the other two are 22 years of age. Jamaica has give other contestants who have visa interview dates, but Mattis fears they will be denied as well.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
MASTERBUILDERS OPPOSES GOVERNMENT BUILDING DESIGN BY CHINESE FIRM
The Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica is opposing the government’s decision to use a Chinese company to design the new Parliament building and expressed its disappointment at the action, which it calls “insensitive to Jamaican heritage.” According to Carvel Stewart, the immediate past president of the association, a parliamentary building in any country should be designed by citizens of that country who love it and who are a part of it. Some Jamaican architects said they were insulted after a Chinese firm was chosen to design the new Parliament building and government offices at National Heroes Circle. Prime Minister Andrew Holness responded by saying there are plans for the new complex to include “local skill sets.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
CARIBBEAN POET AND CALABASH FESTIVAL PARTICIPANT DEREK WALCOTT DIES
Derek Walcott, a Nobel Prize winning Caribbean poet and 2008 Calabash Literary Festival participant, has died. Walcott had lived in both Jamaica and Trinidad and had a love of both countries. He was a particular fan of reggae legend Bob Marley and told the BBC that he would be happy if he could write a lyric as beautiful as “No Woman No Cry.” A native of St. Lucia, Walcott was 87.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN SPECIAL OLYMPIAN WINS SILVER MEDAL IN SPEED SKATING
Dave Oddman of Jamaica is taking home a silver medal in speed skating from the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Graz, Austria. Oddman is a new star on the ice, breaking new ground for Jamaica in winter sports. He finished in second place in the 222-meter speed skating competition, winning his home country’s first medal of the 2017 Games. He skated the distance in 54.727 seconds, just below the winner’s time of 54.429 seconds.