THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
KINGSTON AND NAMIBIAN CAPITAL CITY TO BE TWINNED
An announcement from the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) stated that the city of Kingston will be twinned with the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek. The move will strengthen the historical and cultural links between the cities. In a resolution passed by the KSAMC, Windhoek utilized diplomatic channels to create the initiative for twinning the cities. According to the resolution, both cities agreed to solidify their relationship through trade in goods and services, youth participation in government, local economic development, and empowering communities. Formerly a protectorate of Germany, Namibia is 75 times as large as Jamaica and has a population of about 2.5 million people. Its official language is English.
GOVERNMENT TO SPEND $11 BILLION FOR BORDER SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS
According to Robert Montague, Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, the government is putting $11 billion toward improvements in the border security of the nation. As part of the initiative, the Jamaica Defense Force (JCF) will receive six more helicopters – four new and two used – and four aircraft. The helicopters come with sufficient spare parts to last five years, as well as maintenance service. They cost US$47.4 million. Montague says the current helicopter fleet of the JDF is almost 25 years old. Noting that industry standards recommend replacing the aircraft after between seven and ten years of service. A surveillance plane is also being acquired for US$16.9 million.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CARIBBEAN HIT BY MAGNITUDE 7.6 EARTHQUAKE
Jamaica was included in a tsunami warning triggered by a strong 7.6 earthquake that hit the Caribbean region between Honduras and the Cayman Islands on January 9, 2018. There were no reports of serious damage early on, although some homes suffered cracks. The tsunami warning centers stated that no tsunami waves had been confirmed, but decided to issue advisories to the area, including Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and Jamaica.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CONSULATE GENERAL CLOSES ATLANTA HONORARY OFFICE TEMPORARILY.
Jamaica’s Consulate General announced the closure of the Honorary Consulate of Jamaica in Atlanta on a temporary basis. The closure was prompted by the resignation of Jewel Scott, Esq. from her position as Honorary Consul, which went into effect on December 31, 2017. Scott had held the position since 2014. Upon resigning, Scott said she was honored to serve and was thankful to have had the opportunity. She has been recognized by the Consul General of Jamaica as a Luminary in the Jamaica Diaspora for her work in law and justice.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN TRAVEL ADVISORY SPARKS CONCERNS FOR ROBINSON
The president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson, has expressed his concern about a level-two travel advisory issued by the United States for Jamaica. The US advisory warns visitors to stay away from parts of Montego Bay, Kingston, and Spanish Town, but Robinson is more worried about the workers in the tourism industry. Crime against tourists in Jamaica is very low, Robinson said, but the exposure of hotel staff to violence in some communities represents an “untenable situation.” Many employees go to work being very afraid. Crime continues to threaten the economy and could decimate the tourism industry, he noted. Robinson called for the JHTA, the government and the Opposition party to take a holistic approach to crime. He cited the breakdown of basic law and order as a major factor impacting Jamaica.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
AFTER 31 YEARS, STARTIME TO STAGE FINAL SHOW
The final staging of The Original Startime (formerly called Heineken Startime) is slated for May 5, 2018. The show, The Original Startime: Final Chapter, will be held at Mas Camp and will end a tradition lasting over three decades. Michael Barnett, the organizer of Startime, said the show had a good run and had “an overwhelming and extremely enjoyable” 31 years, but that a lack of sponsorship contributed to its demise. The cost of promoting high-quality live performances in Jamaica is rising significantly, and sponsorship from Corporate Jamaica “is virtually non-existent,” Barnett said. The shows cannot survive without cash support from Corporate Jamaica and the government. The final show will feature all Startime artistes plus backing from Lloyd Parks and We the People, Marcia Griffiths, Sanchez and Horace Andy.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN GYMNASTS TO LEARN FROM CHINESE COACH
Zou Zhenqqiu, an experienced Chinese gymnast, will make a 30-day visit to Jamaica with the goal of helping in the development of the nation’s most promising gymnasts, according to Nicole Grant-Brown, the president of the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association. Zhenqqiu will visit gyms and design programs to aid in moving Jamaica’s initiatives forward. In addition 15, gymnasts will be visiting China in the summer as part of a three-year arrangement between Jamaica’s Sports Ministry and China’s government. China is one of the top gymnastics forerunners, Grant-Brown said and is excellent at developing children from the beginning to meet international standards. Jamaica is planning to send a gymnastics team to the 2024 Olympics.