THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HOLNESS ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES 2017 BUDGET, RAISES TAXES
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s administration has announced the budget for 2017. Included in the budget are tax increases on vehicle licenses, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and group health insurance. The budget is designed to address a funding gap of about $27 billion by raising some $30 billion in revenue. Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance made the announcement to the House of Representatives. According to Shaw, $11.4 billion will come from the National Housing Trust, and $3.9 billion will come from revisions in the property tax system.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO CONSTRUCT FIVE HIGH SCHOOLS IN FIVE YEARS
Senator Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, says the government plans to build five high schools across the country, beginning in 2018-2019. A budget amount of $1 billion will be allocated to the plan for each of the five years. The announcement came as Reid delivered the main address at a ceremony handing over ten classrooms built with funding from the Jamaica School Investment Fund at Old Harbor Primary School in St. Catherine. Old Harbour, Christiana, south-west St Ann and St James are among the locations marked for the new construction.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CHINA GIVES BDS$10 MILLION IN TEACHING EQUIPMENT TO BARBADOS
China has donated teaching equipment to Barbados, which is meant to enhance educational institutions there. The donation totaled BDS$10 million and was accepted by Ronald Jones, the nation’s Minister of Education, Science Technology and Innovation from Wang Ke, the Chinese ambassador. The teaching equipment donation illustrates the cordial relationship between that has long existed between China and Barbados. The Education Ministry has already begun to distribute the materials, which include 3,000 desktop computers, large computer monitors, 2,000 laptops and 1,000 tablets. All public and private schools subject to the Education Act and registered as bona fide schools in the country will receive some of the 14,000 total pieces of technology provided by China.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
U.S. DIASPORA TARGETED FOR EXPORT EFFORTS BY JAMPRO
Robert Scott, the vice president for Export and Market Development at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), said the agency plans to engage a broker to take orders from members of the Jamaican Diaspora in key United States cities with large Diaspora populations. Scott noted that the national goal of obtaining a five-percent growth rate over four years – a total of US$2.5 billion by 2019 – requires a strong focus of effort on critical export markets. Jamaicans in the Diaspora who live in the US will be targeted in a lifestyle program designed to increase food exports.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT PLANS FOR DOWNTOWN KINGSTON DEVELOPMENT
The Government of Jamaica signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the China Construction Company of America (CCA South America Division) in regard to the government Parliament and Government Offices Oval Zone project. Prime Minister Andrew Holness believes the public-private partnership will mean “great things” for Jamaica. In 2016, Holness announced that his administration would develop a campus of buildings surrounding National Heroes Circle that would bring all ministries, agencies and departments of the government into a centralized area that would foster greater efficiency, security, and service delivery. The MoU represents the first phase of the project in which the CCA will act as consultant on the design concept of the zone.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
CHRONIXX REPRESENTS ADIDAS 2917 SPRING COLLECTION
Reggae artiste Chronixx will add some Jamaican flair to the new Adidas Spring 2017 Spezial collection. The Jamaican singer, who is a leader of the roots scene on the island, discusses the fashion collection with his usual holistic approach. Chronixx, 24, says his Rastafarian beliefs and spirit lead his style. According to the singer, “We are not trying to look good—we are trying to be good.” The Spezial collection includes classic tracksuits, soccer sneakers, and traditional military style. Chronixx is especially fond of the fabric in the collection. “The most beautiful thing about it is when you touch the fabric, it’s not about the runway or what’s trending. It’s what suits you and how you live.” The collection is inspired by Jamaican life, particularly soccer, which is a sport that the reggae star has played since childhood.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
RICHARD STONE MAKES JAMAICAN MARTIAL ARTS HISTORY
Richard Stone, 24, is a heavyweight combined martial arts athlete who made history for his team by getting to the top of the 2016 rankings just one year after making the team in December of 2015. Stone, who graduated from the University of the West Indies, earned 49 points o the local and global martial arts circuit, becoming the top qualifier for the 2017 season. Stone earn one point more than former captain Nicholas Dusard to top eight other qualifiers and three invited athletes in the selection process.