THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
TRASH THREATENS CRUISE SHIP ARRIVALS AT PORT ANTONIO
Port Antonio in Jamaica is working to eliminate a build-up of garbage that has attracted a high population of rats, which in turn, has prompted six cruise ships to cancel their arrivals at the port. Port Antonio is known among cruise ship operators as a quiet port of call for smaller vessels, but the garbage issue has resulted in the loss of six calls thus far this season. The “Star Flyer,” a 170-passenger vessel due to visit Port Antonio on January 4, 2017, may be the next to cancel if the port cannot address its problems, which will be a “challenge,” according to Mayor Paul Thompson. The executive director of Jamaica’s National Solid Waste Management Agency, Audley Gordon, is set to meet with stakeholders in Port Antonio to resolve the problem. A public-private partnership has been suggested as a way forward.
NEW YORK-BASED ORGANIZATION ENDORSES JAMAICAN-AMERICAN FOR DNC JOB
The New York-based Garifuna Action Committee (Garifuna AC) announced its endorsement of Michael Blake, a Jamaican-American and member of the New York State Assembly, to be the vice-chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the United States. The organization stated that Blake has worked to provide a bridge between the Bronx community he represents and the local government administration. Blake was born in the Bronx to Jamaican parents and says that if he gets the job, he will focus on the Democratic Party’s need to find, train, and help its candidates win local elections and embrace its diversity. The Garifuna comprise an ethnic group whose descendants are of Carib, Arawak and African ancestry from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. New York City is home to the largest population of Garifuna outside Central America, with an estimated population of 200,000 living in the South Bronx, Brownsville and East New York in Brooklyn, and Harlem in Manhattan.
GRANGE SAYS GOVERNMENT TO CONTINUE PUSH FOR REPARATIONS
Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, confirmed that the government will not give up on its campaign to obtain reparations for the injustices committed during the era of slavery in Jamaica. According to Grange, the government will continue to support the initiatives of the National Council on Reparation and will take “strategic steps” to honor “our foreparents.” The Minister’s remarks were made in a message read by Dr. Janice Lindsay, the principal director of culture and creative industries in the ministry’s policy division, at an event marking the 235th anniversary of the Zong Massacre at the Institute of Jamaica on December 22, 2016. In her message, Grange noted that the Zona story addresses human rights, justice, and the essence of democracy, the reach of a superpower over a small state.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER NAMED TO UNITED KINGDOM
Seth George Ramocan has left for the United Kingdom to take up his new post as Jamaican High Commissioner there. Ramocan will also serve as non-resident High Commissioner to the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden; the Republic of Finland; and the Republic of Cyprus. He said he was “highly appreciative” of the Jamaican government’s confidence in him and will work to create deeper relationships between Jamaica’s government and members of the Diaspora. Ramocan was consul-general to Toronto, Canada, from 2009 to 2014, and believes that experience has prepared him to take on the job in the UK.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
GOVERNMENT SEEKS DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM AFRICA
Jamaica’s government is looking to sign strategic agreements with at least five countries in Africa to establish direct flights to the island from those countries. According to Mike Henry, Minister of Transport and Mining, discussions are already occurring with Kenya and South Africa. He made his remarks during the signing of an Open Skies Agreement with Canada. Air service agreements with African states will allow travelers from Asia and Africa to fly directly to the Caribbean without requiring an in-transit visa. Jamaica is a centrally located hub that acts to distribute travelers around the world.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
STING CANCELLED AND REPLACED WITH AWARDS EVENT
Sting, a 32-year-old event billed as “The Greatest One-Night Reggae Festival on Earth,” was cancelled in 2016, disappointing many of its fans. Its replacement, The Sting Awards, which was meant to honor entertainers and affiliates who contributed to the development of Sting, was criticized as poorly produced and marked by a lack of in-person appearances of award recipients. The organizers of Sting, Supreme Productions Limited, staged the award program to fill the void left by the cancellation of the festival. Deejay Starface was one of the few award winners who attended to accept his award for Breakthrough Artiste of the Year (Female); Jahmeil also appeared to accept the Reggae Breakthrough Artiste award. None of the icons of Sting, artistes like Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Papa San, Pinchers, Lady G, Ninjaman, Sister Charmaine, and Bounty Killer, attended or sent representatives to the awards event.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
BOLT BRINGS HOLIDAY TO WALDENSIA PRIMARY SCHOOL, TRELAWNY AREA
Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s Olympic sprint champion, is making big plans for Waldensia Primary School, his alma mater in Sherwood Content in Trelawny. Bolt’s project will be to bring good lighting and other improvements aimed at improving the school’s sports facilities. He says his foundation is “geared towards the kids” and that he has always wanted to do this. Additionally, because he is always at home for Christmas, Bolt, along with Digicel and Pepsi sponsorship, he brought the sixth staging of his holiday event to the children in his community. Bolt described the event as “always big,” with a lot of foreign visitors attending, even some from cruise ships.