THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
GENERAL ELECTION INCLUDES 152 CANDIDATES—02/09/15
There are 152 candidates participating in Jamaica’s general election scheduled for February 25, 2016. Sixty-three candidates come from each of the two major parties, the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). There are seven from the National Democratic Movement, six from the Marcus Garvey People’s Progressive Party, two from the People’s Progressive party, and one candidate from the Hope Party, as well as ten candidates running independently. Current Prime Minister and PNP candidate Portia Simpson Miller was nominated in South West St. Andrew, and Opposition JLP candidate Andrew Holness was nominated in his constituency of St Andrew West Central.
JAMAICA MOVES TO PUT REGGAE ON UNESCO CULTURAL HERITAGE LIST—02/10/15
Dr. Janice Lindsay, principal director of Jamaica’s Culture and Creative Industries Policy Division at the Ministry of Youth and Culture, announced that a committee has been established to prepare the documents required to have reggae added to the list of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity compiled by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Dr, Lindsay said there has been one meeting on the issue to date, which centered on how reggae should be described in the list submission. She cited reggae’s global appeal and need to protect its history as an intangible heritage as reasons to pursue the nominating process with UNESCO.
PRIME MINISTER THREATENS DEFAMATION SUIT AGAINST JLP LEADER—02/11/15
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller wants Andrew Holness of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) to apologize for remarks she believes constitute defamation of her character. For his part, Holness has dismissed her allegations and may take legal action himself concerning statements the Prime Minister made about him. According to attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, Holness should apologize for saying that Simpson Miller tricked Jamaicans when she promised to eliminate the General Consumption Tax. Holness sees no reason to apologize for his comments and is considering legal action against Simpson Miller for calling him an enemy of the state.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS IN SOUTH FLORIDA EXPRESS INTEREST IN GENERAL ELECTION—02/07/15
The announcement setting the date of the general elections in Jamaica has sparked considerable interest and relief among registered Jamaican voters who live in South Florida. The general election will pit Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller of the People’s National Party (PNP) against the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) candidate Andrew Holness. The JLP will contest 63 posts, hoping to win at least 32 seats in order to form the nation’s next government. Jamaicans in South Florida expressed relief that the elections had finally been scheduled, noting that speculation about “early elections” went on too long. The Florida residents are looking forward to returning to the home island to cast their votes in what is expected to be a close election.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
NORANDA PLANS TO CONTINUE MINING OPERATIONS AMID BANKRUPTCY FILING—02/10/15
The Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States on February 8, 2016, but will continue its bauxite mining operations in Jamaica throughout the legal process. The company’s bankruptcy includes a plan that will secure as much as US$165 million in financing for the purposes of liquidity. According to a notice issued on February 8, Noranda will continue production and its partnership with Jamaica’s government at the Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners Mine located in St. Ann. The firm plans to focus on productivity improvements and reduced costs going forward and to maintain sales volumes and improve pricing in regard to Sherwin Alumina LLC, its largest third-party customer.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
CARROLL DAWES, LEGENDARY THEATER DIRECTOR, DIES IN LONDON—02/06/15
Characterized as one of the most innovative and influential theater directors ever to come from Jamaica, Carroll Dawes died at her home in London following a long illness. She was just shy of her 84th birthday. She was born in Hanover in 1932 and attended St Hilda’s Diocesan High School. Dawes was an early director of studies at the Jamaica School of Drama, overseeing the building of the school at its current location and producing its initial curriculum. She also formed the first student company, the National Festival Theater of Jamaica. Dawes directed many critically acclaimed products of plays by authors from Shakespeare to Wole Soyinka. She relocated from Jamaica to Nigeria in 1977 and taught at several universities there. Retiring in 1992, she moved to England. Dawes received the Institute of Jamaica Centenary Medal in Theatre Arts in 1980.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
BOLT NOT INTERESTED IN POLITICS, NOT ON VOTERS’ LIST—02/11/15
While any Jamaican political party would like to have the endorsement of six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt, the sprint athlete says he has no interest in politics and admits he is not on the nation’s voters’ list. Bolt says he is not going to vote in Jamaica’s general election, noting that his parents are active voters who each belong to a different party. According to Bolt, he wants to stay as far away from politics as he can; however, he is not against any of the choices people might make in elections. He just says that politics and political conversations are not of interest to him.