THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
MILLIONS ALLOCATED TO RAIN-AFFECTED AREAS
Authorities in Jamaica have allocated US$175 million in funding to aid in the recovery of areas impacted by the heavy rains that caused flooding and landslides in several parishes. Most of the funds will be put toward the restoration of access to flood-stricken regions, said Desmond McKenzie, local government minister. The recent three weeks of rain caused severe damage in the short period of time and require reviews of the infrastructure in urban centers to improve their sustainability in the face of natural disasters. The Local Government Ministry and the National Works Agency plan to join in creating a program to address the flooding problem on the island successfully.
PRESIDENT OF JAS WANTS REVIEW OF CATASTROPHE FUND TERMS
Norman Grant, the president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), is calling for a review of the terms of the regional catastrophe fund, stating that Jamaica is not benefitting from this fund in spite of the damage suffered from recent natural disasters. Grant is asking for the Jamaican government to review the arrangements imposed by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility. According to Grant, damage to the agricultural sector from the recent rains emphasizes the need for the review, as a rapid intervention is needed to restore production as soon as possible. Concerns have been raised that, while Jamaica pays millions in insurance premiums under the fund, it does not qualify for payouts despite heavy rain and hurricane damage.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
NEW DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT UNDER CBI PROGRAM SIGNED BY ST. LUCIA
Agreements between Range Developments, a global developer focused on Caribbean luxury hotel projects, and the government of St. Lucia will continue the development of the Black Bay Master Development. The project involves a luxury hotel and villas on 180 acres on Black Bay. According to Allen Chastanet, prime minister of St. Lucia, the country has been working with the developer for some time and is looking forward to beginning construction. The project will be the developers third major luxury construction in the Caribbean.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FEWER JAMAICANS LINING UP FOR VISAS TO UNITED STATES
The United States Embassy in St. Andrew is seeing fewer Jamaicans lining up to obtain US visas due to a change in the embassy’s system. The new system cuts down on waiting time by helping applicants get an appointment date at a specific time. They no longer need to come in hours early and stand in line. While some have speculated that the immigration policies imposed by the Republican Administration in the US were the cause of reduced numbers of people in line, Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for public affairs at the US Embassy in Jamaica, said there has been no decrease in visa applications. He said the embassy continues to receive a steady stream of applicants totaling between 600 and 1,000 per day.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
3D CELLPHONE TO BE INTRODUCED TO JAMAICA
I.Q. Haylett, a businessman from Western Jamaica, is ready to introduce a 3D cellphone to the local market at the end of May 2017. Haylett plans to collaborate with various distributors. The project to build the phone has taken several years, but the phone, which is named IQ Haylett after its developer, operates on the Android platform and has two SIM cards. It also features fingerprint access and 3D services, which no other local phone has. It offers 3D viewing without the need for separate glasses and has a 3D video camera. The phone is produced in China and is scheduled to sell at a competitive price in four markets internationally. Haylett is responsible for distributing the phone in the Caribbean and Canada.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
SOAP OPERA COMPLETES FILMING IN JAMAICA
/Victoria Powell, an American actress, producer and author, has just completed filming the first season of her new independent soap opera “The Rich and the Ruthless” in Jamaica. She met with Olivia Granger, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, to discuss projects and initiatives on the island. The soap operate is the first global multi-episode soap opera format to be filmed in Jamaica. Days Ferry Productions was aided by the JAMPRO Film Commission in marketing and showcasing the island and its film expertise both in front of and behind the camera. Powell is best known for playing “Drucilla Barber” in the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
A THIRD JAMAICAN WOMAN QUALIFIES IN DISCUS FOR LONDON WORLD CHAMPS
Tarasue Barnett is the third Jamaican female discuss thrower to qualify for that event at the IAAF World Championships in London. A personal best throw of 61.66 meters at the Tucson Elite Classic in Arizona qualified her. Barnett is a student at Grand Canyon University. She surpassed the qualifying market for the World Championships of 61.20 meters in her first try, beating her previous best throw of 61.28 meters attained in 2016. Her throw placed her 21st on the IAAF performance chart and joined two other Jamaicans – Shadae Lawrence and Kellion Knibb – on the qualifying list. This is the first time three Jamaican women qualified for the event.