THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
MAJOR AIRLINES BYPASS JAMAICAN AIRSPACE—04/11/16
The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) reports a significant drop in air traffic in Jamaican airspace due to concerns about the safety and stability of the air navigation equipment it operates. A number of major airlines admit to avoiding flights over Jamaica since February 2016.The president of the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association, Kurt Solomon, confirmed the decrease and said that “given the unreliability” presented in the island’s airspace, it is a better option for airlines to fly around it, despite the fact that Jamaica’s airspace offers a straight-line distance between North and South Americas and Central America in some cases. Solomon noted the loss of confidence among airlines, but said some work had been performed toward stabilizing the system.
NEW STATE MINISTER EVERALD WARMINGTON SWORN IN—04/13/16
Everald Warmington, Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South West, has been sworn in as Minister of State with the responsibility for Works in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). There was no press invited to the ceremony, reflecting the fact that the relationship between Warmington and the press has been difficult. Warmington’s swearing in was confirmed by Ruel Reid, Jamaica’s Information Minister. The new Minister was initially not included in the top level of leadership in Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s administration. Members of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) had been surprised at this, because despite being known for his “crass” attitude, Warmington was always loyal to Holness and the JLP.
DEBATES ON LEGAL WEED, REPLACING QUEEN AS HEAD OF STATE SCHEDULED—04/14/16
Lawmakers in Jamaica are ready to debate several “action items” during the 2016-2017 agenda of the new Holness government. They will take up a constitutional amendment designed to remove Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom as head of state and establish a republic led by a non-executive president instead, according to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen. The agenda also will take up issues like fixed elections dates, term limits for Prime Ministers, reforms of the tax and pension systems, and a proposed initiative to legalize marijuana for “specific purposes.”
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
DIASPORA DIVIDED OVER GOVERNMENT’S VOTING PLANS—04/09/16
Differences of opinion have arisen among prominent Diaspora Community members in regard to the Jamaican government’s plans to study the possibility of allowing those in the Diaspora to vote in country elections. According to Patrick Beckford, former member of the advisory board from the US Northeast noted that board members had rejected the idea of Diaspora voting, noting that the Diaspora population is much smaller than the country’s population. Because the Jamaican Diaspora has an equal or greater number of individuals of voting age, a situation may be created where the Diaspora could have a disproportional impact on the Jamaicans who live on the island and would experience the consequences of the vote. On the other hand, Leo Gillling of the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force says that these objections are “somewhat” valid, but not wholly correct because Jamaica recognizes dual citizenship, and as long as someone is a citizen, he/she cannot have the privilege to vote taken away. Voting is a lawful right enjoyed by all Jamaicans, Gill believes.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
EXPO JAMAICA 2016 ON TAP TO BE BIGGER, BETTER THAN EVER—04/14/16
The 43rd staging of Expo Jamaica has added a number of new features. The 2016 edition of the popular trade show, which will be held April 14 through April 17, 2016, is sponsored by the JEA, JMA and JAMPRO. According to Tamra Thomas of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA), the expo is chiefly for buyers and exhibitors, but the new features are aimed at attracting the general public. The expo is designed to showcase locally made goods, and Jamaicans are invited to come and see them, said Thomas. There will be a Kiddies Zone for the entertainment of children, which will offer movies, storytelling, and a petting zoo. The “New Products Display” will focus on innovative products coming from the 2014 staging of the event. This year’s event will be live-streamed and feature a social media competition “See-Snap-Share” to highlight Jamaica’s rich culture. Attendees will be encouraged to share anything that illustrates Brand Jamaica on Flow Jamaica’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The “To the World Platform” is where exhibitors will give live demonstrations of their products. The farmers’ market will be offering fresh produce for sale as well.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
TOOTS HIBBERT TRIBUTE MADE BY ETHIOPIAN/SWEDISH SOUL ARTIST—04/11/16
Daniel Lemma, an Ethiopian/Swedish soul artist, has joined with the top-ranked reggae musicians in Scandinavia, the Hot This Year Band, to release a seventh studio album, “Common Ground.” The album features ten songs performed in several classic Jamaican styles, including ska, rocksteady, roots reggae and rub-a-dub. The first single from the album and its video is called “Mr. Hibbert,” and is meant as a tribute to one of the founders of reggae music, Toots Hibbert. The entire album will be released on April 27, 2016.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA’S WINNING UNDER-16 GIRLS’ TEAM RETURNS WITH TROPHIES—04/10/16
The victorious Under-16 girls’ netball team returned home from competition in Barbados loaded down with trophies. The team was welcomed by Allie McNab, a representative of Sports Minster Olivia Grange, Dr. Paul Daley-Morris, Shelly Sykes-Coley of the team’s sponsor Scotiabank, and other executive members upon landing at Norman Manley International Airport. A reception and press conference was hosted by Netball Jamaica, and the team and its management received high praise for winning a number of trophies in addition to the championship. The Jamaican team won trophies for having the best defense, being the most accurate, having the best goal average, being the most attacking, and also carried home the MVP trophy, which was awarded to Latanya Wilson.