THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HOLNESS IS FIRST JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER TO VISIT ISRAEL
Andrew Holness became the first Jamaican Prime Minister to visit Israel when he was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on January 12, 2016. Netanyahu thanked Holness for not supporting a UNESCO vote that denied Jewish historical claims to the city’s Temple Mount, noting that he looked forward to more cooperation with Jamaica in the future. Both Prime Ministers planned to discuss ways that their countries could partner on economic, security and technology issues. Holness said he was especially interested in expanding links between Jamaica and Israel in the areas of cybersecurity and agriculture. Holness invited Netanyahu to visit Jamaica in the future.
ACCOMPONG TOWN TO GET “DOOR OF RETURN” MONUMENT
Timothy McPherson, a Maroon investor, announced the construction of a monument to be called “The Door of Return” in Accompong Town, St. Elizabeth. The monument is meant as a symbol of African renaissance. McPherson made his announcement at the Maroon Festival on January 6, 2017, the 279th anniversary of the signing of a peace treaty between colonial Britain and the Maroons. He said he had recently finalized an agreement with the Monument and Museums Board of Ghana for building “The Door of Return.” Under this agreement, Fort Kormantin, currently known as Fort Amsterdam, is dedicated to the Maroon community to recognize its battles against slavery. Fort Kormantin is a “slave castle” where captured peoples destined for the Caribbean were held. “The Door of Return” monument will be the opposite of “The Door of No Return,” which was the gateway through which millions of Africans were moved onto ships taking them to a life of slavery during the years of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The monument in St. Elizabeth is designed to become Africa’s largest renaissance monument and will be promoted throughout the African Union.
JAMAICA AND CHINA MAKE DEAL TO BUILD WESTERN CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
The Jamaican government has long promised to build a children’s hospital in western Jamaica because, for many families, Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston, the only children’s hospital on the island, is too far for them to travel to receive certain services. Now, the promise is set to become a reality. The administration of Andrew Holness is preparing to sign a deal with the Chinese government to establish the Western Children’s Hospital Project. The Ministry of Health says that the Chinese government will tale on the responsibility for designing the project and supplying the required construction materials and equipment.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
BARTLETT SAYS DIASPORA KEY TO TOURISM IN JAMAICA
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett believes that the Diaspora represents a “vital component” of the marketing strategy for promoting tourism by the government. In an interview with the National Weekly, Bartlett said that the Diaspora is a big part of the island’s market, as well as one of the biggest marketers for Jamaica, because people respond to word-of-mouth regarding the country as a destination. He also said that special tourism market packages targeting the Diaspora’s demand should be created by travel agents and tour operators rather than the government, as the government should not interfere with the market. However, he did say the government has a role in encouraging specific targeting of the Diaspora, especially its young people. Bartlett explained why the government contracts promotion of Jamaica’s tourism to foreign-owned firms by stating that this situation is based on the tender system used for contracts.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
TOURISM MINISTER ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF HOTEL SCHOOL
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett announced on January 11, 2016, that the Cabinet has given its approval to arrangements for developing the first Hotel School in the country, as well as the creation of Artisan Villages and a Craft Development Institute, to help enhance human capital on the island. The Hotel School will support development in culinary management, spa management and hospitality management. It will offer a practical curriculum and complement existing hospitality programs at other institutions in Jamaica. The school will be operated as a functional hotel and as a world-class training facility.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
GANJA TOURISM BOOSTED AS “REBEL SALUTE” GETS APPROVAL FOR WEED USE
“Rebel Salute,” Jamaica’s biggest reggae festival, will be able to advertise itself as a marijuana festival as well. The festival was founded in 1994 by Tony Rebel, Rastafarian sing-jay; it is one of three yearly events that have been granted exempt status by the Jamaican government for the use of marijuana. Rastafarians consider marijuana to be a sacred plant, and the artists who have performed at the event for the past 22 years have generally praised its usage. Now the government has sanctioned the use of the plant during the festival. The festival features over 50 reggae artists, including Third World and Popcaan. In 2017, Rebel Salute will offer a marijuana-derived product exhibit and a smokers lounge. Newly established Jamaican firms and individual ganja farmers will participate in symposiums. The other exempt events are “Steppin High” in March and “Rasta Rootz Festival” in December.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
CAMPBELL BROWN, STEWART TO BE INDUCTED INTO WOMEN’S LEGEND’S CLASS
Veronica Campbell Brown and Kerron Stewart, Jamaican Olympic athletes, are set to be inducted into the US Southeastern Conference (SEC) Women’s Legend Class in 2017. Campbell Brown competed for one season at the University of Arkansas in 2004, while Stewart ran for Auburn University in 1996 and 1997. Campbell Brown won three Olympic gold medals and received All-America honors at the indoor national meet during her first season at Arkansas, and Stewart won a 100-meter silver medal at the 2008 Olympics, won a number of honors at Auburn and was eight-time All-American in her two years at the school. The two Jamaicans will be recognized at the 2017 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in March in Greenville, South Carolina.