PNP RECOGNIZES “MISS MEL”—04/11/15
Melvina Fraser of Charles Town, St. Ann’s Bay, celebrated her 100th birthday with her family and with the recognition of the People’s National Party (PNP) on April 2, 2015. Known as “Miss Mel,” the PNP sent a letter signed by its general secretary to congratulate Fraser for her long-time support of the party. Over 50 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, Miss Mel said her longevity is the result of being blessed and having good health.
MORE FUNDS FOR HIV/STI PROGRAM—04/12/15
Jamaica’s National HIV/STI Program reports that there has been a decline in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS. The program’s success has resulted in changes in funding from international donor organizations, with Jamaica’s Ministry of Health increasing its budget allocations to the program to address the funding changes. According to Dr. Nicole Skyers, senior medical officer of the program, the Jamaican government is gradually taking one more of the costs linked to HIV/STI management.
GOVERNMENT WELCOMES U.S. PLANS TO SUPPORT YOUTH—04/13/15
Jamaica’s government is welcoming plans by the United States to support young people in the Caribbean with a multi-million-dollar education and jobs program. On a visit to the region, U.S. President Barack Obama launched the Young Leaders of the Americans Initiative. The initiative is meant to recognize the importance of youth in the Caribbean and to recognize the concerns of young people who have been critical of Obama on the matter in the past.
POLICE COMMISSIONER PRAISES SECURITY FORCES—04/14/15
Dr. Carl Williams, Jamaica’s Police Commissioner, has commended Jamaica Constabulary Force (JDF) in the country for their performance and security strategy implemented during the visit of United States President Barack Obama to Jamaica. A top security agent with the U.S. Secret Service also praised the JDF and its handling of the security for major events.
“OUTED” JAMAICAN LAW PROFESSOR FORCED TO FLEE COUNTRY—04/15/15
Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican professor of law, was forced to flee Jamaica after being “outed.” He described his experience at Quorum, a journalism forum that focuses on LGBT issues around the world. Tomlinson, an LGBT activist with AIDS-Free World, said he did not really understand the extent of Jamaica’s anti-gay culture until he married his husband in Canada. When the marriage was revealed by a student, Tomlinson received death threats and would have had to register as a sex offender on charges of gross indecency if he had not left his country.
SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZED—04/16/15
Amendments to drug laws in Jamaica mean that small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized. The drug has been a part of island culture for some time, and Mark Golding, Minister of Justice, said that the drug reforms are “long overdue.” Jamaica’s Rastafarians revere the drug and have used it regularly. Under the reforms, possession of up to two ounces of the drug represent a petty offense punishable with a five-dollar ticket with no arrest or criminal record.
STUDENTS HOSPITALIZED FOR PSYCHOSIS AFTER SMOKING GANJA—04/17/15
On the day that small amounts of ganja were decriminalized under the law in Jamaica, at least two students were taken to the hospital with symptoms of psychosis allegedly arising from smoking marijuana. The students were smoking the drug in order to enhance their learning potential. Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education, said he was troubled after receiving news of problems affecting students who now believe it is “OK” to smoke marijuana.
HANNA SAYS ANTI-ABORTION LAW COULD NEGATIVELY AFFECT WOMEN—04/17/15
Lisa Hanna, Jamaica’s Minister of Youth and Culture, believes that the “veto” power held by the State over the control women have over their own bodies be removed. Currently, the government has made it unlawful for women to have an abortion except in some medical emergencies. Hanna has suggested that poor women and girls suffer from this law because they try to get help from clinics and providers that are less than skilled. Hanna says that it should be left to the women themselves whether or not they obtain an abortion and not the State.