THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HANNA CHARGES CORRUPTION AT CULTURE MINISTRY, GRANGE SAYS “FALSE”
Lisa Hanna, former Minister of Culture in Jamaica, has alleged corruption and nepotism exist at the Ministry. Currently the member of parliament for South East St. Ann, Hanna has descried what seemed to be irregularities that did not pursue the goals pledged by the government of Prime Minister Andrew Holness. According to Hanna’s remarks to Parliament, of $440 million allocated to the Minister for the 2017 celebration of Emancipation and Heritage Week, only $60 million were marked for the Jamaica Cultural Development Corporation (JCDC). Rather than use the JCDC to perform stated tasks involving the arts, a separate entity, the Jamaica 55 Secretariat, was created by current Culture Minister Olivia Grange to take over job. Hanna said this represented a “pattern” where established state entities are bypassed “in favor of personal consultants.” Grange has called Hanna’s allegations a “big fat lie,” explaining the money had been put into the JCDC budget and rejecting suggestions that she was exploiting her position to benefit her associations.
RASTAS NOT SATISIFIED WITH APOLOGY FROM HOLNESS FOR 1963 MASSACRE
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness issued an apology and announced the establishment of a trust fund totaling $10 million for families identified as victims of assault by government agents in an incident known as the 1963 Coral Gardens Massacre. Holness also said that six plots of land at the site of the first formal Rastafarian community in Pinnacle, St. Catherine, have been marked as heritage sites to honor the Rastafarian faith. Miguel Lorne, the legal advisor to the Coral Gardens Benevolent Society, was unimpressed with the proffer, however, saying that Holness had not done enough. The apology should have been directed to the entire Rasta community and not just victims of the incident. According to Lorne, Holness should apologize to the worldwide Rastafarian community for the deaths of seven community members at the hands of police in 1963 and the dozens of people injured after the incident caused a nationwide persecution of Rastas, which was allegedly endorsed by the Jamaica Labor Party.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATOR INVITED TO CUBA
For the first time in a decade, a human rights investigator from the United Nations has been allowed to visit Cuba. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, an expert on human trafficking for the UN will visit the country between April 10 and 14, 2017. Cuban authorities have previously resisted what they see has external interference with their records on human rights. Giammarinaro is an Italian judge and experts on trafficking of women and children. She has served in her UN role since June of 2017. She plans to meet with Cuban activists and officials to discuss sexual trafficking and labor exploitation, with special attention given to existing measures for the prevention of such activities, the protection of victims, and providing people with effective remedies to the crimes.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY HONORS JAMAICAN-BORN CITY COUNCIL MEMBER
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, has honored Dr. Una Clarke, a Jamaican-born legislator from St. Elizabeth who is the first woman born in the Caribbean to be elected to the New York City Council. De Blasio praised the Progressive Democrats Political Association (PDPA), based in Brooklyn, on the 25th anniversary of the group, which was formed by Clarke, saying that in creating the group, she did “something powerful that will help everyone.” De Blasio said that if it hadn’t been for the PDPA, he would not have been elected mayor. The organization also honored 14 members of the community for their efforts in building a strong political movement responsible for electing the district’s United States Congress Member Yvette D Clarke, as well as other federal, state and city officials.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
“SHOVEL-READY” PROJECTS ANNOUNCED BY BARTLETT
Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett announced that several projects are ready to go under the Shovel-Ready Initiative, which is designed to help investors by obtaining preliminary approvals, performing capacity studies, and assessing appropriate utilization of land. He made his remarks at the opening of the 2017-2018 sectoral debate in the House of Representatives. By providing direct aid to investors, the process for development approval is made more efficient and expedient. The contract made by the Karisma Hotels and Resorts for the building of 5,000 new rooms in Llandovery in St. Ann is the first major investment made under the initiative and is already showing clear benefits for the country.
The Shovel-Ready initiative is being jointly undertaken by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the Commissioner of Lands.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN POET CHOSEN AS “POEM OF THE WEEK” BY BRITISH NEWSPAPER
Carol Rumens of The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom has selected the poem “Tweet Tweet” by Jamaican poet Jean “Binta” Breeze as the Poem of the Week in the publication. The poem celebrates the beginning of spring in Jamaica and comes from Breeze’s latest collected “The Verandah Poems.” The blackbird and mango tree featured in the poem “welcome the light and cheer us up wherever we may be,” Rumens wrote of the poem. Breeze has been described as the first woman dub poet, and her work includes clear political elements. Her poems draw inspiration from sources similar to Bob Marley and speak for the experiences of women in the “Rastafarian vision of Zion,” contrasting political victory with the “smaller domestic concept of home.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
VERONICA CAMPBELL BROWN RUNS WORLD-LEADING TIME IN FLORIDA
Veronica Campbell-Brown, VCB, is the most decorated Jamaican female athlete, and she has added to her achievements by running the 200 meters in the world-leading time of 22.60 seconds at the Florida Relays in Gainesville. The previous record was 22.76 seconds run by Candace Hill of the United States in Atlanta, Georgia, earlier in the month. VCB, 35, says she will be attempting to earn a spot on the team Jamaica sends to the IAAF World Championships in London in the summer of 2017.