THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
FOOD FOR THE POOR PAYS FINES, PRISONERS RELEASED FOR HOLIDAYS—01/02/15
Food for the Poor Jamaica (FFP) paid the fines of 18 nonviolent prisoners so that they could be released to celebrate the New Year with their family members. Eleven inmates were from St. Catherine Adult Correctional Center, four were from Fort Augusta, and one each from Tower Street, Constant Spring Police Station, Tamarind Farm, Mandeville Police Station, and May Pen Police Station. The organization also released another 102 nonviolent prisoners in other countries, including Guyana, Honduras, and Haiti. The FFP follows a tradition of helping nonviolent inmates get released during the Christmas and Easter seasons.
GOVERNMENT COMMITS FUNDS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL HEROES PARK—01/03/15
Jamaica’s government has committed J$2.5 billion for a phased development of National Heroes Park, which will include the construction of a new building for Parliament. The Jamaica National Building society is putting resources toward the writing of parish histories via its foundation as well. These projects are designed to preserve Jamaica’s history and culture and to promote the country’s national pride. Stakeholders signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2015. Initial funds will be provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, China Harbor Engineering Company, and the Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund.
JAMAICA, ARGENTINA JOIN FOR NATIONAL VOLUNTEER DISASTER RESPONSE—01/07/15
Ariel Fernandez, Argentina’s ambassador to Jamaica, promised that his nation will provide support to the Jamaica National Volunteers’ Program. The program is overseen by the management of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). It will rain people in search-and-rescue operations required in case of earthquake. Fernandez said that Argentina will provide expertise in organizing volunteers via the White Helmets Commission, an agency in the foreign affairs ministry of Argentina that provides volunteer opportunities to individuals from Latin America and other regions to help with post-disaster recovery efforts around the world.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
SIAN BLAKE, ACTRESS OF JAMAICAN DESCENT, AND SONS FOUND DEAD IN UK—01/07/15
According to police in the United Kingdom, actress Sian Blake, 43, and her two sons, Zachary Bilal kent-Blake, eight, and Amon Ben George Kent-Blake, four, were found dead in the garden of the family’s home in London. The BBC reports that they died from head and neck injuries. Police are looking for Blake’s partner Arthur Simpson-Kent in connection with the deaths. The woman and her children had not been seen since December 13, 2015, and were reported as missing three days later.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
FIRST ANIMATED MOVIE DISTRIBUTED FROM JAMAICA AVAILABLE ON ITUNES—01/03/15
In another indication of how big the animated film business is in Jamaica, “CACKLE, The Movie” will be available on iTunes and other distribution channels in January 2016. The short animated movie is the first to be distributed from Jamaica, opening markets around the world previously not available, said Donovan Watkis, actor and producer. The film’s distribution will be done jointly be Universal Records and Tuff Gong. The film was made for the inaugural staging of the Jamaica Film Festival. The animator of CAKLE (Cartoon Animation Komedy Laughter Entertainment) is Andre Hall, with Donald “Iceman” Anderson providing the voices of its 25 characters. According to business analysts, the worldwide animation and gaming market will grow to US$242 billion in 2016, and this film ensures Jamaica has access to that market.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
PRIME MINISTER ON STAGE WITH ITY AND FANCY CAT DURING PERFORMANCE—01/02/15
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller joined comedians Ity and Fancy Cat as they performed at the staging of “Shaggy and Friends” at Jamaica House. At the end of the their set, which made light of Steve Harvey’s mistake at the 2015 Miss Universe contest by enacting a similar blunder announcing the results of the 2016 Jamaican election results, the Prime Minister surprised them by running onto the stage and throwing kisses to the cheering crowd. The event also featured OMI who performed his hit song “Cheerleader.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
CALABAR HIGH SCHOOL TO MAKE SPORTING HISTORY—01/07/15
In January 2016, Calabar High School is ready to make history by being the first high school in Jamaica to have its own synthetic track. Calabar is the defending Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) boys’ track and field champion. The new track will open officially on January 22, one day before the school’s hosting of the McKenley/Wint Track and Field Classics. According to Albert Corcho, the school’s principal, all is ready for the official opening at which Portia Simpson Miller, the country’s Prime Minister, will officiate. The track meet is named in honor of two past students at the school who made significant contributions to track and field, both for Calabar and Jamaica. The track will be the site of seven developmental meets on the calendar of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA), including the 100m, 400m, 1500m, sprint and intermediate hurdles events.