THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
INCOME TAX AMENDMENT ACT PASSED BY JAMAICAN SENATE—07/06/15
Jamaica’s Senate has passed the Income Tax (Amendment) Act of 2015. This legislation will make it easier to provide an added $35,568 in tax-free income for Jamaicans as of January 1, 2016. The bill was approved with four amendments. It provides for a higher personal income tax threshold, raising the amount from $592,800 to $557,232 per year. Among its impacts will be a cumulative increase in tax-free income over the past two years of $85,488. The changes have been made due to economic reform efforts and represent an acknowledgement of the social impact arising from these reforms.
JAMAICANS URGED TO SAVE WATER—07/07/15
Due to the serious drought conditions in Jamaica, the National Water Commission (NWC) is pleading with island residents to conserve water. A proclamation from the agency imposes more stringent measures against individuals who breach the terms of the conservation order, particularly in areas served by the drought-impacted water supply systems. The corporate public relations manager of the NWC, Charles Buchanan, acknowledged the difficulties associated with trying to control the water usage of those who continue to waste the valuable commodity. The NWC has banned the use of water it supplies for watering gardens and lawns, refilling tanks, ponds or swimming pools, and for uses other than drinking, cooking, washing, and sanitation.
JAMAICAN HELD IN QATAR NOT RELEASED, SAYS FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER—07/09/15
Despite previous announcements concerning the release of Paul Stephens, a Jamaican who has been held in a Qatari prison since November 20112, Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported there have been no plans for Stephens’ early release. The pilot was sentenced to five years in prison. Once the Ministry has been officially notified that Qatari officials have actually released Stephens, arrangements will be made to issue an emergency travel document. The Ministry noted it is in close communication with authorities in Qatar.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
GRACEKENNEDY RE-LAUNCHES JAMAICAN BIRTHRIGHT PROGRAM—07/07/15
The Jamaican Birthright Program sponsored by the GraceKennedy Group of Companies has welcomed four students from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada to work with the Group during the summer of 2015. The students said they were glad to have been chosen for the program. Janae Bell and Dankiquia Starks represent the U.S., while Jamila Turner-Dell’Acqua represents the UK. Ukpong Tang, the only male in the program, is from Canada. Etang, 25, is a marketing student at John Molson School of Business in Montreal. He has Nigerian and Jamaican dual citizenship, but has never been to Jamaica before. He will work at the Group’s General Insurance Company.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
HBO CABLE NETWORK WILLING TO WORK WITH JAMAICA ON AIRING THEIR CONTENT—07/06/15
According to Javier Figueras, the corporate vice-president of affiliate sales at Home Box Office (HBO), the American cable television network, the company would be “more than happy” to help Jamaicans get their content broadcast on HBO once specific requirements are met. He made his remarks in response to questions as to whether the first Jamaica Promotions Corporation’s (JAMPRO) Film Festival, which is set to run from July 7 to 11, 2015, would be of interest to HBO. Figueras said HBO would “definitely” be interested and that the network has done film festival productions with numerous countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. He said the company would “love to sit down” with JAMPRO and discuss viable project.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA HOLD FIRST NATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL—07/08/15
The first national film festival in the history of Jamaica will run from July 7 through 11, 2015, with the goal of promoting the work of local filmmakers and aiding them in reaching a global audience. During its five-days, the festival will screen 43 films at venues around Kingston. It also includes workshops and conferences on ways to create business opportunities for individuals working in the film industry and how to promote products for export worldwide. The festival will also include a reggae concert at Tuff Gong International Recording Studios, which were founded in 1965 by the legendary Bob Marley.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
SEASON’S BEST PERFORMANCE FOR VERONICA CAMPBELL-BROWN—07/07/15
Jamaica’s champion runner Veronica Campbell-Brown achieved her best time of the 2015 season in the 100 meter race at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial meet in Budapest Hungary. Campbell-Brown ran the distance in 10.99 seconds. This was her sixth 100-meter race this year.