THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
U.S. CONGRATULATES JAMAICA ON 53 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE—08/05/15
John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State, offered congratulations to Jamaica for its 53 years of independence. In his statement, Kerry noted that 2015 has been an historic one for bilateral and regional engagements between the U.S. and Jamaica. The visit of President Barack Obama highlighted the U.S. commitment to joint efforts between the two countries in encourage entrepreneurship among young people, growth in the economy, and security of energy resources. Kerry also noted both nations’ cooperation to fighting international crime via the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS CONSOLIDATION OF NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS—08/06/15
The Electoral Commission of Jamaica has proposed making changes that would permit local government and parliamentary elections on the same date. If these elections were combined, it could save approximately J$1 billion (US$8.5 million). Parliamentary elections are held every five years in Jamaica, with the Prime Minister setting the actual date each time. While local elections are scheduled for every three years, in 2015, voting was postponed. As Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has set the general election for December 29, 2016, it would be possible to hold the postponed local government elections at the same time. The Electoral Commission is strongly recommending that legal changes be made to allow the government a choice to hold the two elections separately or on the same day. There are about 1.7 million registered voters in Jamaica of a population of about 2.8 million.
TWO SCHOOLS CLOSED IN ST. ANN TO OPEN AS AGRICULTURAL ACADEMIES—08/07/15
In St. Ann, two of four primary schools closed by Jamaica’s Education Ministry because of low attendance will reopen as new agricultural schools. The Village Academy will be formed from the previous Watsonville and Jefferyville primary schools. The project, which targets at-risk youth aged 15 to 25, is supported through a partnership between the Methodist Church, HEART Trust/NTA, the Jamaica Agricultural Society, and Digicel. The curriculum at the school will be provided by HEART Trust/NTA. This agency will also certify students.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
MARCUS GARVEY BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED IN NEW YORK—08/02/15
Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican national hero, receives much respect in Diaspora communities worldwide. He will be formally recognized on August 20, 2015, during a ceremony in the Bronx, New York. Garvey was born in St. Ann’s Bay in 1887, and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, which ultimately gathered millions of members internationally. In 1965, Reverend Martin Luther King laid a wreath at the grave of Garvey, calling him “the first man of color” in U.S. history to develop and lead a mass movement with the aim of making “the Negro feel that he was somebody.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
GOVERNMENT CONSTRUCTING PROCESSING PLANT FOR CASSAVA—08/05/15
The Jamaican government is encouraging the expansion of the island’s cassava industry by building a processing plant as part of a plan to promote the use of cassava in the baking industry. According to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, the new plant will be in the southern region of St. Elizabeth. She thanked the government of Columbia for its support in creating the factory.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
ALL-WOMAN TALK SHOW BROUGHT TO JAMAICA BY FLOW—08/05/15
Flow is ready to stretch the boundaries of cable in Jamaica with the launch of the first all-woman talk show on the island. Chatter Box features a cast of five young Jamaican women who discuss current events, fashion, pop culture, and their views on a variety of topics. The show will air on Flow channel 100 and aims to keep its audiences entertained, educated, and informed. According to Gail Abrahams, the director of communications and stakeholder relations at Flow/LIME, Chatter Box is part of a programming suite designed to engage Jamaican consumers with exciting content.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ASSOCIATION CONSIDERS LEGAL ACTION REGARDING DOPING CHARGES—08/06/15
The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) may seek legal action against those who are responsible for leaking confidential information about drug testing from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The action may be brought if any Jamaican athlete’s reputation is damaged by the unauthorized media disclosures. Dr. Warren Blake, president of the JAAA, also noted the fact that world-famous sprint champion Usain Bolt’s name appeared in media reports about doping when he never failed a test for banned substances or even produced a suspicious result in any test. Blake said the association will work with the IAAF to investigate its options and determine what redress can be obtained for athletes.