THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICA’S HEALTH MINISTRY ISSUES WARNING ABOUT ZIKA VIRUS—12/12/15
Horace Dalley, Jamaican Minister of Health, has called upon Jamaicans to protect themselves from the zika virus (ZIKV) and other diseases spread by mosquitoes. The Health Ministry is taking a stronger posture against the spread of the illness in the region, considering it a serious threat to the island’s population. Dalley wants communities, community and business leaders, and residents to find and destroy any sites favorable for mosquito breeding. If everyone would take just ten minutes per week to look for and destroy breeding sites, says Dalley, the mosquito population responsible for the spread of ZIKV would be considerably reduced. To date, Brazil, Chile (Easter Island), Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela have also reported incidents of zika virus transmission.
GOLDING CALLS FOR REPARATIONS TO RASTAFARIANS—12/16/15
According to Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Minister of Justice, the government should formally apologize to Rastafarians for repression they suffered at its hands and pay reparations for its actions. Golding says the treatment of this community represents a “matter of social justice,” and that after years of oppressive and even brutal conduct by the Jamaican government towards, reparations and an apology are warranted. In calling for action, Golding cited the detention of hundreds of Rastafarians in 1963 following the declaration of independence from Britain was declared a year before; the destruction of the community led by Leonard Howell in St. Catherine by police in the 1950s, and the demolition of Back-O-Wall in Western Kingston in the 1960s. Jamaica recognized the Rastafarian movement as a religion in 2003, but did not include the legalization of ganja, used by the group in sacramental rites, at that time; marijuana is now legal for medicinal and religious use.
JAMAICAN JUDGE HEARING MISICK CORRUPTION TRIAL—12/17/15
Legal professionals from Jamaica are involved in a trial that has been characterized by prosecutors as the largest in the history of the Caribbean. The trial, which is being heard without a jury and by one judge, involves a number of members of the Progressive National Party that ruled the government in Turks and Caicos between 2003 and 2009. Michael Misick, the former Premier of the country, and others are accused of accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes in exchange for valuable land development arrangements. Justice Paul Harrison, former president of the Jamaican Court of Appeal, is hearing the case, which is expected to last for months.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
BEDFORD, ENGLAND, TO GET REGGAE SCHOOL—12/13/15
Debbie Forbes, whose passion for reggae music began when she was a child and her father Kenneth Lloyd of Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland came from Jamaica to the United Kingdom in 1944 to join the Royal Air Force. Forbes inherited her father’s love of music, enjoying it when he took her with him when he played drums at various venues in London. She says he gave her piano lessons “with the real reggae feel.” As a teen, she visited Jamaica and experienced Reggae Sunsplash. Her efforts to keep reggae alive now include pushing for a reggae school to expose young people to the music and culture. Her project is in its early stages, but she has been speaking to her local council to involve schools and obtain funding so that the school will be operational by the end of 2016. She has received considerable positive response to her plan and hopes to gain the support of some original Jamaican reggae musicians to help with the teaching in the future.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
IFC TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO IMPROVE COFFEE PRODUCTIVITY IN JAMAICA—12/16/15
The financing unit of the World Bank, the IFC, plans to provide over US$560,000 to Jamaica’s coffee industry to improve the productivity of the crop, which is valued and respected around the world. The IFC project will work with coffee-processing firms and/or exporters to “reverse” a decline in farm productivity and save the island’s reputation for providing premium-quality coffee. The goals of the project is to facilitate conditions necessary to preserve Jamaica’s coffee brand and offer protection to small coffee farmers so that they can make a living from the crop. While the project has only now been announced, the IFC has been working on it since January 2015.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
ART COMMUNICATES HISTORY AT PHILLIP THOMAS EXHIBITION—12/13/15
Phillip Thomas, a Jamaican painter and multimedia artist, believes that understanding the nation’s history is critical for comprehending its current conditions. His first solo exhibit therefore focuses on displaying relics of art history to provide a view of colonialism and is aftermath. The show, “Barbed Wire & Picket Fences,” features silhouetted portraits and arrangements of figures meant to show the traditions of the old masters. The idea behind the exhibit is the cultural segregation of Jamaica, which Thomas believes has produced a “catastrophe” that has led to social unrest and violence. The exhibit is on display at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA’S GREEN PREPARES FOR 2016 OLYMPIC COMPETITION—12/14/15
Leford Green of Jamaica is getting ready to compete at the 2016 Olympics by training with Lennox Graham, his former high school and college coach, in North Carolina in the United States. Graham is now the head coach at Johnson C. Smith University. He previously coached Green at Kingston College, where he helped the athlete obtain excellent results: Green was the second runner to break 46 seconds in the 400-meters, after Usain Bolt, at the Boys’ and Girls’ Championships in 2006. Green says that he and Graham are hoping to outdo his personal best of 48.47 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, which he attained in 2010 to reach the Olympic competition in London.