THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
FIRST PUBLIC GAY PRIDE EVENT REPRESENTS CHANGE—08/10/15
The first public gay pride event held in the English-speaking Caribbean region represents changes in attitudes toward the BLOT community. The social environment in 2015 suggests major changes over conditions in 2014, when a similar event was cancelled in the Bahamas because of concerns about violent. PRIDE JA was organized by the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG), and it provided the community with a chance to express itself during Jamaica’s celebrations of national independence. The individuals involved with the week of events stated that they felt safe and were not afraid to participate in the public celebrations organized by JFLAG.
GOVERNMENT AGREES TO PAY PUBLIC EMPLOYEES MORE—08/13/15
Jamaica’s government has approved an increase in pay for public employees. The increase of seven percent will be phased-in over a period of two years, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance. The agreement was reached after almost seven months of negotiations between the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) and government representatives. The union organization had wanted an increase of 30 percent, noting that public workers had not seen a raise since 2010. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller presided over the signing ceremony. She said the government takes its responsibility serious to manage national affairs prudently while keeping the best interests of public employees safe and secure.
CHAMBERS TO REPLACE STEELE AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TRAINING CAMP—08/14/15
When Edino Steele did not report to the training camp for the World Championships, it opened the door for NACAC senior 400-meter championship medalist Ricardo Chambers to join Jamaica’s team in Beijing, China on August 22-30, 2015. Steele is a member of the 4×400-meter relay pool, but he failed to arrive at the pre-championship training camp in Japan, and neither Jamaica Athletics Administration Association (JAAA) authorities or his coach have been able to contact him.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CHARITIES IN JAMAICA TO BENEFIT FROM INDEPENDENCE SERVICE IN UK—08/13/15
At the 2015 Independence Service of Praise and Thanksgiving, which was held to mark Jamaica’s independence at Emmanuel Center in Westminster in the United Kingdom, over $310,000 was raised by some 1,000 Jamaicans and their friends to benefit two charities in Jamaica. The funds will be shared by the Pringle Home for Children and the Mustard Seed Communities. The service was hosted by the Jamaican High Commission and included musical performances from the Croydon Youth Choir and Harlem Ngyuem, a student at St. Martin in the Fields Girls School.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
GOVERNMENT PARTNERS WITH JP FARMS TO CULTIVATE SWEET POTATOES—08/12/15
Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture has partnered with JP Farms to establish commercial production of the Beauregard variety of sweet potatoes on the island. The initial pilot project will begin with 20 acres of the plant in cultivation. JP Farms has focused on producing bananas over the past 85 years, but it has also produced sweet potatoes for the local market. The firm plans to introduce new varieties and quality initiatives to sweet potato production. JP pioneered commercial production of new pineapple varieties and recently developed cassava varieties that are suitable for snack production.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
REGGAE BAND BASED IN U.S. LOOKS FOR APPROVAL IN JAMAICA—08/12/15
The Heights of Wisdom, an up-and-coming reggae band, is hoped to add to the revered legacy of reggae music on the international stage. The popularity of reggae around the world continues to grow, and the band, which is based in the United States, believes they have what it takes to make their mark on the genre. The band is in Jamaica, promoting its music, saying that in spite of their popularity in the U.S. market, they will not be successful without winning fans in the local Jamaican market.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
FRASER-PRYCE, BOLT HEAD LARGE JAMAICAN CONTINGENT AT IAAF WORLDS—08/10/15
Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt, both world champion runners, will lead 53 athletes representing the island at the 15th IAAF World Championship competition in Beijing, China, August 22 – 30, 2015. Both runners won identical 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×100-meter relay golds, and they are expected to lead Jamaica’s medal total once again at the games. Jamaica’s team includes 27 men and 26 women, and for the first time in Jamaica’s history, the contingent will include three male discus throwers.