THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
AMENDMENTS TO CHILDREN GUARDIANSHIP AND CUSTODY ACT PASSED
Jamaica’s House of Representatives passed the Children (Guardianship and Custody) (Amendment) Act, which is meant to allow the government to enact legislation that would implement terms of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 1980. It will also facilitate Jamaica’s accession to that agreement. The Convention seeks to protect children from the damaging effects of abduction and retention across international borders by establishing a procedure to effect their return in a timely manner. By July of 2016 there were 95 nations that had accepted the Hague Convention, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas.
BOB MARLEY’S ONE LOVE SQUARE TO BE ESTABLISHED IN ST. ANN
At the “Smile Jamaica” concert hosted by Tuff Gong International at the Bob Marley Museum on December 3, 2016, Robert Bryan, executive chairman of Grizzly’s Plantation Cove Limited, announced that the Bob Marley One Love Square would be established at Grizzly’s in St. Ann. According to Bryan, Grizzly’s and the Marley Group of Companies are in the process of finalizing the agreement to name the entertainment hub to be located in the park after Bob Marley. One Love Square will be the official home of the yearly “Smile Jamaica” concert, which celebrates the peace, love and unity valued by Marley during his life. The venue is meant to showcase both local and international talent. The “Smile Jamaica” concert was first performed by a wounded Bob Marley who refused to be intimidated by an attempt to kill him, along with his wife Rita and producer Don Taylor, at his home in 1976. At the 2016 staging of the concert at the Bob Marley Museum in the building where they were shot, Tuff Gong International hosted performers including Third World, Stephen, Kymani, and Damian Marley, among others.
RESEARCHERS IN JAMAICA WIN YOUNG EARTH SOLUTIONS COMPETITION
The Young Earth Solutions Competition (YES), a yearly competition sponsored by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, offers a prize of $21,400 to young researchers who develop ideas with the potential to change the food system. The winners for 2016 are Jamaica’s Anne-Teresa Birthwright and Shaneica Lester of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. The two researchers’ idea, called “Surviving the Drought: An Irrigation Curriculum for Jamaica’s Small-Scale Farmers,” was inspired by the continuing years of drought in Jamaica. It involves an educational course for farmers that lets them experiment with different types of irrigation strategies, record the effectiveness of the strategies, and share their knowledge with each other. By documenting different effects on plant growth, the farmers can identify the best irrigation methods and implement practices that will potentially increase their crop yields and income.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, 21 RESIDENTS RECEIVE JAMAICAN CITIZENSHIP
Twenty-one Certificates of Citizenship were presented to individuals in a London ceremony by Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith. The Citizenship Ceremony was hosted by the Jamaican High Commission, and in addressing the group, the Minister praised the new Jamaican citizens for their decision to avail themselves of the chance to hold dual nationality. She stated that as Jamaican citizens, they will receive various benefits, including having a Jamaican passport, working without a work permit, and getting access to government programs like low-interest National Housing Trust (NHT) loans to buy homes in Jamaica. The Minister urged the new citizens to be proud of Jamaica, noting that it is the home of reggae music, Blue Mountain coffee, wonderful food, and the fastest man and woman on the planet.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
CRUISE SHIP VISIT TO KINGSTON A “TEST TRIP,” SAYS ROYAL CARIBBEAN
Kingston received the first visit of a cruise ship in three years on December 6, 2016, when the “Monarch,” the largest ship to ever dock in the city, came into port with 2,744 passengers on the Caribbean Legendary Tour. The tour is designed to retrace the voyage of Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. The “Monarch” sailed in from Cartagena, Columbia, bound for Montego Bay, but was forced to stop in Kingston because the ports in Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay were full. According to Captain Nicholas Pagonis, associate vice-president of Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited, the journey to Jamaica was a “test trip” and that the firm is very interested in including Jamaica as a regular destination in its program. The major factors in the decision to include Jamaica involve safety, security and seamlessness, as well as demand from passengers and port upgrades.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA FOLK SINGERS TO CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2017
The Jamaica Folk Singers is one of the groups that comes immediately to mind when thinking about the island’s folk music. According to Christine McDonald Nevers, the musical director for the group, said it has now been performing for 49 years and will celebrate its 50th anniversary on March 15, 2017. A year-long celebration of the group will include an anniversary and memorial service to honor its founder, Dr. Olive Lewin, a special concert season, and a series of tours overseas. The group is working on putting out a CD, having a reunion and plans to give free performances throughout the island. There are 25 people in the group, including conga drummers and guitarists.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
DOLS BREAKS TWO NATIONAL RECORDS IN SHORT COURSE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jamaican swimmer Keanon Dols, 17, broke the record in the 100-meter butterfly during his first appearance at the 2016 Short Course World Championships in Windsor, Canada, with a time of 55.59 seconds. Dols finished in 43rd place overall, which equaled the best placing by a Jamaican at the event, which was achieved by Timothy Wynter in 2012. Dols also established a new national record in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:02:26 minutes.