THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
EMPLOYMENT RATE HITS HISTORIC HIGH
According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), more Jamaicans have jobs now than at any time in the nation’s history. The number of employed individuals peaked at 1,204,800 in April of 2017. This was 35,800 higher than the number of people employed a year earlier. Rochelle Whyte, the senior technical advisor at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), stated that the numbers indicate continued improvement in labor market outcomes. The data from STATIN showed that the unemployment rate dropped by 1.5 percent in April 2017 to total 12.2 percent, compared with April 2016. The labor market lost over 90,000 jobs between October 2008 and July 2011 due to the global economic crisis in that period. Of the 11 industries that recorded higher employment between April 2016 and April 2017, especially notable were real estate, renting and business activities, which saw jobs increase by 9,700 to 85,600.
GOVERNMENT CALLS FOR INPUT FROM PUBLIC ON PLASTIC BAN
The chairman of the multi-stakeholder working group on Public Feedback on Plastic Packaging Materials, Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee, has called for more engagement on the plastics issue from average Jamaicans so that the final report on the matter submitted to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation will reflect the situation correctly. The deadline for the written submission on a motion to ban plastic bags under the 50-gallon capacity and Styrofoam containers that are not biodegradable is August 25, 2017. Lyew-Ayee is unconvinced that most Jamaicans know about the issue. He says that the problem stems from people not disposing of things properly, either through laziness or because there are not enough trash receptacles available or a lack of trucks to pick up the trash that is deposited. While some online surveys have been performed, Lyew-Ayee wants written comments from the general public to allow for more complete comments.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
T&T GOVERNMENT CONCERNED ABOUT UK TRAVEL ADVISORY
The government of Trinidad and Tobago is concerned about a travel advisory imposed on the country by the United Kingdom in regard to worries about “terrorism.” The T&T government has held discussions with the British High Commission and was told that there was no recent update to the advisory, which included the terrorism warning in May 2017. There is no intelligence or specific information to indicate that this reference should have made. The government said it continues to work with law enforcement and its international allies on counter-terrorism to ensure that the country is safe.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
13 SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED BY ATLANTA JAMAICAN ASSOCIATION
In Georgia, the Atlanta Jamaican Association (AJA) has awarded 13 scholarships to students in Jamaican who are pursuing tertiary education. The presentations were made at the organization’s yearly Independence Ball and awards ceremony on August 12, 2017. Five of the scholarship awards went to Jamaican students: Cadell Green and Joy-Ann Mason, who attend the University of Technology (UTech); University of the West Indies (UWI) students, Tiffany Mason and Dominique Spence; and Janiqua Thelwell, who is studying early-childhood education at The Mico University College, The remaining eight scholarships were awarded to Ghiselle Brown, Georgia State University; Stone Crews, University of Georgia; Jazz Duncan and Keyanna Ennis, Emory University; Peter Gai Groves, Florida State University; Brianna Ramsey, Mercy University; Natahlia Robinson, Kennesaw University; and Sierra Hart, Washington University. AJA has provided scholarships to students in Jamaica and Atlanta for 22 years.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JMMB MERCHANT BANK THE NEWEST IN JAMAICA
The JMMB Merchant Bank has been licensed to conduct commercial banking activities in Jamaica, operating as JMMG Bank (Jamaica) Ltd. The entry into the island’s commercial banking sector makes it the eighth commercial bank in the country. The move represents a major accomplishment for JMMB, which is celebrating 25 years in operation. The company plans to unveil its new brand in September 2017. After the roll-out of the newly branded JMMB Bank, services will be introduced at all three of the former banking locations of Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Knutford Boulevard.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
SHANEKE WILLIAMS REJECTED BY MISS JAMAICA WORLD FRANCHISE HOLDER
The franchise holder of the Miss Jamaica World competition, Spartan Health Club, has denied any knowledge of Shankeke Williams past. Williams who had faced accusations involving inappropriate sexual contact of a minor, entered the Miss Jamaica World event telling a number of media outlets that the franchise holders and managers knew about the accusations, which have been rescinded. However, Spartan Health Club released a statement that no communications between Williams and the competition’s team had addressed the matter and that if anyone had encouraged her to enter after knowing of the incident, it would be very “disturbing.” The franchise holder has continued to distance itself from the controversy.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
“HITMAN” RUSSEL SIGNS CONTRACT WITH REAL DEAL
Boxer Kemahi “Hitman” Russell has officially signed a three-year contract with Real Deal Boxing in order to get more matches in the near future. Led by four-time World Heavyweight champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Real Deal Boxing assures Russell he will get six fights per year. Russell said he is eager to partner with Holyfield, saying it was a “dream come true” as he had been watching Holyfield box for a long time. Russell also said that knowing Holyfield sees potential in him shows that Jamaican boxers have the talent to compete with the rest of the world.