THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
LGBT COMMUNITY TO STAGE FIRST OF ITS KIND PRIDE CELEBRATION—07/27/15
While there will be no gay parade during its celebration, the LGBT community plans to present a first of its kind Pride 2015 event to coincide with the Emancipation and Independence celebrations in Jamaica between August 1, and August 5, 2015. According to Latoya Nugent, the associate director of the Jamaica forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), no parade will be held due to security concerns and because the group does not believe a parade is essential for celebrating Jamaican LGBT pride and freedom.
GOVERNMENT REJECTS PART OF U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT—07/28/15
The government of Jamaica says it is disappointed with parts of the Trafficking in Persons Report issued for 2015 by the United States State Department. The report maintained Jamaica’s ranking in the Tier 2 Watch List, the same as in 2014. According to the report, Jamaica “does not comply” with minimum standards for eliminating trafficking, although it is making an effort to do so. The Tier 2 ranking remains because the nation’s government did not show evidence of an overall increase in anti-trafficking efforts.
St ELIZABETH SUFFERS IN DROUGHT—07/30/15
There has been no rain in the St. Elizabeth region since July 18, 2015, and the farming communities in the area have been seriously impacted by the drought. Without water, farming has become impossible, and each day without rain makes is more difficult and costly for the local authorities to bring in drinking water for residents. Richard Parchment, Member of Parliament for St. Elizabeth south Easter, says the effects of the current drought are worse than those of 2014. Fewer than 50 percent of the residents of St. Elizabeth have access to piped water from the National Water Commission (NWC), and those without this water must rely on community catchment and storage tanks managed by the parish or on personal household water tanks.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN WORKERS IN CANADA TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR WAGES—07/28/15
Farm workers from Jamaica in the Norfolk region on Ontario, Canada, are happy that the government has stopped its practice of withholding one-quarter of their earnings. Jamaica has recently ended the traditional policy in response to labor code changes in Ontario that forbid this practice. The local economy benefits from the change as well, with Jamaican workers having more control of their wages leading to more dollars spent in the areas in which they work. Workers had complained that Jamaica was slow to release their money, although all workers eventually received it butt without interest. The “forced savings program” had become an obstacle for some workers who tried to save enough money to pursue their dreams. Advocacy group Justicia for Migrant Workers based in Toronto welcomed the change in policy.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
FINANCE MINISTER PROMOTES CROWDFUNDING—07/25/15
Dr. Peter Philips, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, is considering crowdfunding as an option for raising funds in the private sector. In a speech to the United Nations Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Phillips said that crowdfunding could be an “exciting” way to “democratize” finance for businesses. He recommends investigating the use of the method as a way of obtaining affordable financing for small business. Crowdfunding was introduced to the island in 2013 by the Jamaica National Small Business Loans Limited.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
FLORIDA FIRM SUED BY BURNING SPEAR—07/31/15
Burning Spear, the Grammy-winning reggae star whose real name is Winston Rodney, has filed a lawsuit against Tammi Music Limited, a company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for failure to honor an agreement in which the musician would earn back his rights to some of his songs via a sale. According to the suit, the company owned the copyright to 63 songs by Burning Spear before July 2014, and the firm made a deal with the artiste to give him back the rights, title and interest in those recordings. However, the suit contends that the company did not give Burning Spear access to the records for the purpose of performing a financial audit concerning the songs nor did it provide him with the legal documents transferring the rights to the songs to him.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICANS WIN GOLD AT SPECIAL OLYMPICS—07/31/15
Special Olympics Jamaica won two gold medals and a bronze medal in track and field at the Special Olympics World Summer Games held at the University of California. Monique Johnson and Dillion Robinson finished in first place in the 400-meter run and the 400-meter walk, respectively, in Division 2.Shemar Saunders won a bronze medal in the 400-meters Division 15.Tameka Llewellyn, one of three coaches traveling with the Jamaican team, said she was “ecstatic” about how these individuals put forward a maximum effort to achieve their wins. Dillion Robinson also ranked sixth in the Division M07 for shot put at the Games.