THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
CANNABIS INDUSTRY LAUNCH DELAYED—04/05/16
The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) delayed the application process and did not begin accepting applications on April 4, 2016, as originally planned. According to the agency’s chairman Dr. Andre Gordon, transitioning to a new government created some delays in obtaining approval for relevant regulations. While the Minister with portfolio responsibility, Karl Samuda, has seen the draft regulations, there must be a meeting at which the Minister of Justice reviews and approves them before the industry can begin operations. While Samuda said it was unfortunate that the launch had been delayed, it is necessary to take the time to ensure that all regulations are written correctly and that they will work to the benefit of Jamaicans.
JAMPRO HAS NO INVOLVEMENT WITH PONZI OR BRIDGE LOAN SCHEMES—04/07/16
Diane Edwards, president of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) said that the organization has had no direct involvement in fraudulent bridge loans or Ponzi schemes. She said that any allegations made on this matter are “totally unfounded” and “detrimental” to the reputation of the group, and she called for them to be retracted. Edwards’ remarks came in response to a news article that gave rise to “speculations” about JAMPRO’s integrity. She noted that all services of JAMPRO are free to investors and that the agency does not accept cash, bank transfers or checks for any investments coming into Jamaica. JAMPRO does not manage investment funds or benefit from any investments that enter the country.
JAMAICA BEGINS TALKS WITH T&T TO RESOLVE ENTRY ISSUES—04/08/16
The government of Jamaica has entered into discussions with the government of Trinidad and Tobago in response to situations in which Jamaicans were denied entry to that country. According to Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the issue is being addressed as the governments attempt to find a political solution to the problem. Smith is in talks with her counterpart in T&T, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Senator Dennis Moses, and acknowledged the frustrations felt by Jamaicans concerning their free movement within the CARICOM region. She noted that there is a procedure under CARICOM through which nationals can file formal complaints if they have been denied entry, detained or mistreated at the ports of entry of other CARICOM nations.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FANS COME OUT FOR TRIBUTE TO “MERRITONE” IN GEORGIA—04/06/16
A crowd of over 200 fans participated in a tribute to Jamaican musical icon Winston “Merritone” Blake in Lithonia, Atlanta, Georgia. According to Jannice O’Shea of InnOvaShea Events, which hosted the tribute, the event was conducted in “Merritone style,” and all the DJs met the crowd’s expectations. Featured was a slide show with pictures of Winston, and Monty Blake, Winston’s younger brother, acted as special DJ at the celebration, which also marked his birthday with a dinner buffet. Sponsors expected the event to be a success because Winston Blake had a very large following in Atlanta.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
FARMERS IN JAMAICA TO SUPPLY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PRODUCE TO U.S. CITIES—04/07/16
A pilot program designed to benefit Jamaica’s farmers is expected to result in an increase of local produce being made available for sale in cities in the United States. In a partnership with the National Association of Christian Educators, which is based in the U.S., the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will participate in a pilot project involving ten farmers in St. Ann for a period of one year. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows farmers to supply three U.S. cities with vegetables.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN ART CELEBRATED AT “SPIRITS MADE STILL” EXHIBIT—04/07/16
Gene Pearson, ceramist, ended his 20-year break from Jamaica’s art scene to participate in a joint exhibit at the Round Hill Hotel in Hanover. The “Spirits Made Still” exhibit includes the work of Cecil Cooper as well as that of Pearson. This was the first in a series of private viewings commemorating the artists’ joint 70th birthday celebrations. The two artists have been inseparable since 1961; they both attended the Edna Manley School of the Visual Arts, and have devoted their lives to developing their own work and therefore the “landscape” of Jamaican art. The event attracted home owners and vacationers at the resort, as well as art collectors from St. James and Hanover. About $120,000 was raised at the event for the benefit of a scholarship fund of the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA DROPS TWO PLACES IN FIFA WORLD RANKINGS—04/07/16
Jamaica fell by two spots during the past month in the FIFA world rankings, now sitting at 54th place. The fall comes after World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica, with Jamaica obtaining a 1-1 against the Central American team at home and then losing the return match 3 to 0. The results pushed Costa Rica up eight places to 25th in the world, second only to Mexico in CONCACAF. Argentina, runners-up at the 2014 World Cup, currently leads the rankings.