PRIME MINISTER HEADS CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT JAMAICA’S CHILDREN—05/16/15
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is leading an initiative to protect children in the country. The Prime Minister plans to begin by engaging the citizens of Clarendon in discussions of ways to prevent child abuse. The campaign will begin on May 28, 2015. According to Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture, the Prime Minister will provide an outline of what the government is doing about child abuse, including arresting abusers and amending the Child Care and Protection Act.
EUROPEAN UNION CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY WITH JAMAICA—05/17/15
In celebration of its 40 year anniversary, the head of the European Union’s delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei, addressed guests at Strathmore Great House. She focused on the EU’s 40-year partnership with Jamaica and noted several projects undertaken by the EU, including the African Caribbean and Pacific Countries Economic Partnership Agreement. This represents the EU’s biggest investment in Jamaica to date.
NEW FEES FOR PASSPORTS EFFECTIVE FROM MAY 26, 2015—05/18/15
Jamaica’s Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) has announced that new passport fees will go into effect on May 26, 2015. Expedited services will also be available from that date. Current passport fees were imposed in 2009. The new fee is designed to address inflation and differences in the exchange rate since then. With the new fees, PICA will obtain the funding required to hire additional immigration officers and staff and to implement technological improvements.
ENVIRONMENTAL TRUST CONCERNED ABOUT MINING IN COCKPIT COUNTRY—05/19/15
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is very concerned about reports of haul roads being extended and mining equipment deployment inside Cockpit Country borders. In spite of many assurances from Jamaica’s government that bauxite mining would not be allowed in the region, reports from the community, as well as visits to the site by a member of the Cockpit Country Stakeholders Group (CCSG), confirm that mining operations by the Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partnership (NJBP) have started.
JAMAICANS WARNED ABOUT NEW MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS—05/20/15
Health officials in Jamaica have issued warnings to island residents about an outbreak of the Zika virus. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, and according to Jamaica’s Ministry of Health, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) ways precautions should be taken in regard to the disease. Jamaicans are encouraged to remove environmental conditions favorable to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, such as containers where water can settle like old tires. Health officials are taking the potential threat from the Zika virus seriously and urge Jamaicans to take action right away.
UPTICK IN MURDER RATE JUST “BUMP IN THE ROAD,” SAYS BUNTING—05/21/15
Jamaica’s Minister of National Security Peter Bunting told attendees at a town hall meeting in Montego Bay that the current increase in number of murders on the island was a “bump in the road.” Bunting says he is confident that the crime-fighting tactics implemented by the government will succeed, and while 2015 may indicate a “rocky start,” there has been a 40-percent reduction in major crimes over the past five years.
NEW PASSPORT FEE INCREASE IMPLEMENTATION DATE DELAYED—05/22/15
Jamaica’s government has decided to delay the implementation of the new fees at the Passport Immigration and Citizenship (PICA) agency until June 1, 2015. The change was made to address a rush to get passports at PICA offices and other agencies on the island as people tried to obtain services before the 40-percent increase in cost was applied. The original date for the fee increase had been May 26, 2015.
UWI LECTURER SAYS IDLE LANDS SHOULD BE REDISTRIBUTED TO THE “LANDLESS” —05/22/15
According to Dr Jermaine McCalpin, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and a member of the National Reparations Committee, the Jamaican government should implement a land-redevelopment initiative that would help landless citizens. While he calls for redistribution, he also says any such program should avoid the approach taken in Zimbabwe, which caused considerable anger among nations in Europe. In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe sequestered lands rather than redistributing them to the people in a comprehensive manner.