THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
NATIONAL ID SYSTEM LEGISLATION TO BE DRAFTED
Jamaica’s government has promised to implement the National Identification System (NIDS) in 2018, and before the end of 2017, a “soft launch” of the system is slated to occur. According to Ruel Reid, Education and Information Minister, the Cabinet has given its approval for issuing drafting instructions to create legislation for the NIDS. The guidelines will be issued and working groups will be formed to develop the specifics and regulatory framework of the legislation and its implementation. The system is meant to provide a secure and comprehensive structure for capturing and storing personal identity data for citizens and people who reside in Jamaica. Under the system, every Jamaican will be assigned a unique ID number, which will have anti-fraud features.
RASTAS WANT TO SAFEGUARD THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Rastafarians in Jamaica are upset at how entrepreneurs around the world are using their creations, signs and symbols, and they want the government to seek observer status in the African Union (AU) in order to help them bring a claim for intellectual property rights. According to Prophet Uriel, a member of the Ethiopian Africa Black International Congress, the creator of the congress, Prince Emanuel, first called for observer status in the AU, but in spite of strong support from the Rastafarian community, the Jamaican government has done little to help. The AU includes 54 member states and 13 nations with observer status. Haiti is the only country in the Caribbean to have this status. The Ethiopian Africa Black International Congress will celebrate its 59th anniversary on March 1, 2017, with activities in Bull Bay, St. Andrew.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
PRESIDENT OF DOMINICA ADDRESSES RIOTS IN CAPITAL CITY
Charles Savarin, the president of Dominica, commented on the riots and looting that occurred in the nation’s capital city of Roseau after a meeting held by the opposition United Workers Party (UWP). According to Savarin, Dominicans are free to express themselves and to assemble, but they must still follow the law. He said specific guidelines were provided to UWP members before the meeting and that it will be up to law enforcement authorities to determine whether or not these guidelines were followed. Savarin emphasized that political debate is welcomed in a democracy, but warned that “we should “resist the temptation to tarnish the name and image of our country or its vital economic interests.”
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
IMMIGRATION TASK FORCE TO BE LAUNCHED BY JAMAICAN DIASPORA
In response to actions from the new Republican Administration in regard to undocumented immigrants in the United States, the Jamaican Diaspora Immigration and Deportation Prevention Taskforce (JDIDTPF) will launch officially in the Bronx, New York, on February 24, 2017. Attorney Joan Pinnock, North-East Diaspora Advisory Board member, conceptualized the organization, which consists of 21 clergy, technology experts, immigration and criminal attorneys, and social workers, with the goal of educating Jamaicans in the Diaspora about their immigration rights and the benefits of host country citizenship. According to Pinnock, the mission of the group is to help these people navigate the immigration laws to their benefit, raise the numbers of naturalized Diaspora Jamaicans, reduce deportations of Jamaicans from the host country, and help returning Jamaicans who have been wrongly deported. More than three million Jamaicans live in the Diaspora in the US, Canada, and the UK, and many have been undocumented for several years.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA SIGNS MULTI-MILLION-DOLLAR LOAN AGREEMENT WITH CHINA
A loan agreement totaling US$326 million has been signed by Jamaica and China. The money will be used to construct new Southern Coastal Highway improvements and extend the east-west toll highway from May Pen, Clarendon, to Williamsfield, Manchester. Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, signed the agreement with Liu Liange, vice-chairman and president of the China ExlM Bank. The southern coastal highway project has an approximate cost of US$384 million and will permit construction of a four-lane highway. The project will create jobs and enhance economic development options for people in St. Thomas and St. Andrew. Jamaica’s contribution to the project will be US$57 million.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA LAUNCHES “DANCEHALL MEETS SCIENCE” INITIATIVE
Dancehall is a very important feature of Jamaican culture, especially among young people. Therefore, Professor Christopher Emdin and the JN Foundation are partnering to create a new academic project that will use dancehall music to encourage youngsters to engage with science. Emdin is the creator of the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. in the United States where he has joined with Rap Genius and GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan to push science via hip-hop music. Kendrick Lamar is also involved in the project known as #HipHopEd, which has been very successful in the US. The Jamaican version of the program is called #DancehallEd. In the Science Genius Jamaica program, there will be a series of dancehall clashes designed to energize students who are interested in science programs. According to Dr. Renee Rattray, senior manager of learning, development and culture at the Jamaica National Group and leader of the project, says the competitions will be similar to the clashes that already exist in Jamaican dancehall, with five winners from each successive round advancing to the next until a victor emerges.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
DANNIEL THOMAS BREAKS NATIONAL SHOTPUT RECORD
Olympic shot putter Danniel Thomas set a new national indoor record with a throw of 18.32 meters at a competition in Kent, Ohio. This is the longest throw by a Jamaican woman in history, indoors or outdoors. Thomas, who represented Kent State University, made the distance on her second legal throw, or third throw overall, and broke several records by doing so. Her throw was a Kent State indoor record; it was also the longest throw ever at the Fieldhouse, the venue for the event. Thomas now ranks Number 8 in the world and second in Division 1 in the United States. Her mark is the ninth longest in the history of US college competitions.