Jamaica’s Top Ten Newsmakers for 2010

We asked the Jamaicans.com writers, editors and bloggers to name their “Jamaica’s Top Ten Newsmakers for 2010”. Some of the names you will recognize but some are everyday people who are making an impact on Jamaica and the world in their own way. Some are being criminally prosecuted for alleged crimes that has affected Jamaica and Jamaicans everywhere. We are pleased to present Jamaica’s Top Ten Newsmakers for 2010.

  1. Christopher “Dudus” Coke: This alleged drug lord and garrison don from Kingston has taken the number one spot because his reputed “badmanism” earned him the attention of the government of the United  States, ignited an international scandal involving a number of Jamaicans, including Prime Minister Bruce Golding, and his pursuit and capture garnered extensive international news coverage. While Coke’s alleged crimes certainly tarnish Jamaica’s image, our writers thought he was the number one newsmaker for the year. 
  2. Buju Banton: Interestingly Banton is another Jamaican facing drug charges, but he has so far provoked a very different and perhaps unanticipated response from many Jamaicans: sympathy, sadness, and prayers for his safe return to the island. Banton is second in line behind Coke, not simply because of his incarceration but because of the public attention his trial generated and the Diaspora’s vociferous support for him, guilty or not. 
  3. Usain Bolt: Bolt continues to intrigue the sports world and dominate the arena of track and field. While boasting various 2010 wins in competitions such as the IAAF Diamond League, Bolt also suffered from an injury during the year and was unable to beat Michael Johnson’s 300 meter record. Nevertheless, he remains a constant in the Jamaican news and a source of great pride for the country.  
  4. Bruce Golding: Prime Minister Bruce Golding has made the list due to allegations about his involvement with the United States law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, reportedly contracted by the government  of Jamaica, with Golding’s sanction, to lobby the U.S. government on the island’s behalf regarding a dispute over an extradition request for our number one newsmaker, Christopher “Dudus” Coke.  
  5. Yendi Phillips:  Phillips won first place in the 2007 Miss Jamaica World beauty contest and also placed first in the 2010 Miss Jamaica Universe pageant. She represented the island in the 2010 Miss Universe competition in Las Vegas, where she was crowned the first runner up.  An old girl of St. Andrew High School for Girls in Kingston and a past television show host, Phillips enjoyed enthusiastic supported during her Miss Universe bid.   
  6. David Smith: Former director of the beleaguered and defunct Jamaican foreign exchange investment club known as Olint, Smith’s prior reputation as an investment whiz continued its decline into that of a swindler. 2010 brought further developments in the Olint saga when Smith was sentenced to over six years in prison in the Turks and Caicos Islands on charges of fraud related to the mismanagement of investor funds. Ironically Smith was sentenced around the same time that Banton’s drug trial in Florida got underway; however, he attracted far less sympathy than the musician. 
  7. Storm Saulter: Saulter is the director writer and co-producer of the latest Jamaican film to take hit the big screen. Better Mus’ Come is a vivid and touching tale set in Jamaica in the 1970s amidst political violence and social upheaval, but Better Mus’ Come is also a story about love and redemption. Hailed as kindred to Jamaica’s legendary and most renowned film, The Harder They Come, Better Mus’ Come has amassed a number of superb reviews. Saulter is a graduate of the Los Angeles Film School. 
  8. Audrey Marks: Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks is Jamaica’s tenth Ambassador to the United States of America. She took office in May, 2010 just as the  Christopher “Dudus” Coke saga unfolded. Marks, who is the founder of Paymaster (Jamaica) Limited, is credited for her expert handling of public relations during the crisis.  
  9. Gyptian: One of the more recent Jamaican reggae artists to successfully find footing in the foreign music market and on the Billboard top 100 Chart, Gyptian’s hit single “Hold Yuh” dominated both the Jamaican and foreign airwaves for much of the summer of 2010.   
  10. Debra Ehrhardt: Ehrhardt is writer and performer of the one-woman play Jamaica Farewell , which is based on her life growing up in Jamaica and her eventual migration to the United States. Her plays have won various awards and Jamaica Farewell has been hailed as a tour de force. She  is reportedly working on the movie script for Jamaica Farewell.

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