THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
NO CARICOM MEETING ON ZIKA VIRUS FOR PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER—02/14/15
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller will not attend the Heads of Government 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting in Belize, but will send A.J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to lead Jamaica’s delegation instead. The two-day meeting will discuss the regional response to the Zika virus. Other matters to be discussed by the heads of state include ways the Caribbean region can benefit from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The meeting was scheduled after the World Health Organization declared the virus to be a public health emergency of concern to the international community.
NATIONAL CLEAN-UP DAY TO FOCUS ON PORTMORE, SPANISH TOWN—02/17/15
Jamaica’s 2016 National Clean-up Day scheduled for February 20 will focus on the communities of Old Braeton and Reeds Pen in Portmore and Rivoli in Spanish Town. According to the Ministry of Health, the clean-up activities, called “Operation Mosquito Search and Destroy,” were officially launched at the St. Jago Park Health Center in Spanish Town by Dr. Winston De La Hay, chief medical officers. The Ministry of Health team will work with vector control workers and other stakeholders to find mosquito breeding sites and eliminating them, as well as to collect various bulky waste that will be removed by the National Solid Waste Management Authority. Other National Clean-up Day activities will occur in other parishes.
PNP, JLP PROMISE TO END WATER PROBLEMS FOR JAMAICANS—02/18/15
Both the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) have announced plans to commit significant funding toward the provision of water to Jamaicans over the next five years, should they take power after the general election on February 25, 2016. The PNP said it would look for local and overseas funding through loans, grants, and public/private partnerships to finance 17 major projects identified by the National Water Commission (NWC). The opposition JLP also plans to make heavy investments in water, noting that it needs some US$2 billion to change the water situation in Jamaica and that it would pursue financing in “the same way” funding was found to construct the North-South Highway.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FIRST FEMALE JAMAICAN MAYOR ANNOUNCED IN MERTON—02/18/15
Brenda Fraser, and councilor from London Borough of Merton in the United Kingdom, has been named that city’s first female Jamaican mayor. Fraser represents the Longthornton ward. She moved to Mitcham from Jamaica in 1965 and has served as a councilor since 2010. Fraser lectures in health at the Open University, is a magistrate, and has a position on the board of South Thames College. She will replace current mayor David Chung at a ceremony to be held in Merton on May 18, 2016. Fraser says she is looking forward to working with the community and is honored to be named to carry on the tradition of the “many great mayors” who served before her.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
VISITORS FROM UK, IRELAND REACH RECORD LEVELS IN JAMAICA—02/19/15
There was an increase of 12 percent in the number of visitors to Jamaica who came from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The number of these visitors surpassed 200,000 for the first time in 2015. According to a representative from the tourist board, these numbers are expected to rise even higher due to an increase in the number of direct flights between Dublin and Montego Bay that will start in the summer of 2016. The growth in UK and Irish tourists has been attributed to a decrease in fuel surcharges, a stronger British pound, growth in the UK and Irish economies, and the home porting of cruise liners in Montego Bay.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN HEALTH MINISTRY USES REGGAE VIDEO TO FIGHT ZIKA VIRUS—02/13/15
A dancehall tune and music video published by Michael Abrahams, an obstetrician and gynecologist, is being used by Jamaica’s Ministry of Health to warn against the Zika virus. The video public service announcement, which is called “We nuh want Zik V,” features Abrahams advising people on ways to stop the disease-carrying mosquitoes from posing a threat to their homes. The lyrics of the song advise people to “mash up” breeding sites for mosquitoes and to ensure “there’s not stagnant water in sight.” A special shout-out to pregnant women in the video tells them to protect themselves and their children from the virus as well. Abrahams said he was advised by Jamaica’s minister with the responsibility for health Horace Dalley to do the song.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN TABLE TENNIS, PARALYMPIC ASSOCIATIONS—02/17/15
Table Tennis Jamaica (TTJ) and the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding designed to enhance the organizations’ representation and to bring home medals from the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. The agreement was made between the Paralympic community and the local governing entity for table tennis. Godfrey Lothian signed for the table tennis authority, while Christopher Samuda signed for the Paralympic interests. The MOU will allow the TTJ to provide training and coaching for Paralympic athletes and help them transition to the international competitive level, with an eye to taking table tennis medals at world tournaments.