THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
FIREARM EXPORTS TO JAMAICA TO RESUME
The United States Department of State, consulting with the US Embassy in Kingston, has decided to restart the authorization process for firearm export licenses. Each case will be considered individually according to its own merits under the resumed process. Gun exports to Jamaica were suspended in November 2016 so that the US could review its licensing approval process following criticism of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) for activities brought to light in a court case involving businessman Patrick Powell. The Embassy is working with the FLA and the Ministry of National Security to find ways to make joint improvements in the licensing and registration process for firearms.
JAMAICANS TO BE OFFERED 100 SCHOLARSHIPS EACH YEAR BY MOROCCO
Students in Jamaica will reap the benefits of some 100 tertiary scholarships that will be provided every year under an agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco. Under the agreement, which was signed in 2016, Morocco will offer the scholarships to the North African country at graduate, undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Employees of the Jamaican Government will also be given opportunities to take short-term professional and vocational courses in Morocco. According to Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, her Ministry is working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to determine which areas of study will be the focus of the arrangement.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO GET SURVEILLANCE AIRCRAFT
The Government of Jamaica is set to acquire a surveillance aircraft in one of several measures meant to make the nation’s border-protection system more secure. The acquisition was announced by Robert Montague, National Security Minister. According to Montague, the government has decided to make heavy investments in national security to ensure the safety of Jamaica’s citizens. The aircraft has already been purchased and will arrive on the island by July 2017, but it will not be operational until early 2018 as specialize equipment must be built and fitted into it. Until then, Jamaica will rely on the additional acquisition of a naval ship equipped with a helicopter from the United Kingdom. Jamaica and the United States have also made bilateral agreements to share intelligence concerning the traffic in the island’s waters, which is monitored by the US Navy and Coast Guard.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
US CONGRESSIONAL REP YVETTE CLARKE TO BOYCOTT TRUMP INAUGURATION
Yvette D. Clarke, Caribbean-American congressional representative from Brooklyn, NEW York, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, plans to boycott the inauguration of Donald Trump as United States President on January 20, 2017. Clarke represents the 9th Congressional District and will join a group of Democratic legislators who will stay away from the ceremony. Clarke has cited Trump’s attack on US civil rights leader John Lewis, Congressman of Georgia, as one reason for her boycott, noting that when Trump insults Lewis, he insults America.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
OYSTER BAY TO BE HOME TO TWO NEW HOTELS
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, signed an agreement with representatives of the Excellence Group of Luxury Hotels and Resorts that paves the way for two new hotels to be constructed in Oyster Bay in Trelawny. The hotels will add over 700 rooms to the country’s visitor accommodations. Construction on the first hotel will begin in February 2017. It is expected to cost US$100 million and will have 325 rooms. Its opening is scheduled for sometime in the first six months of 2018. Bartlett signed the agreement with the CEO of the Excellence Group Antonio Montaner-Ferrer and Rafael Matas, the group’s country manager.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
ALPHA INSTITUTE TO NAME MUSIC TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT FOR SEAN PAUL
The Music Technology Department at the Alpha Institute will be renamed the Sean Paul Henriques Media Centre in honor of the Grammy-winning artiste. The Alpha Institute, formerly known as the Alpha Boys’ Home, was founded in 1880 and is viewed as the “cradle of Jamaican music.” The decision to rename the department came after Sean Paul toured the institution in December 2016 and made a donation of $!.5 million to the music technology program. According to Paul, he was impressed with the willingness and enthusiasm of the students at Alpha, as well as the people who “give those kids some hope” every day. The funds will be used to create a new studio and additional rooms. The Centre will provide skills training in media and technology. In its long history, Alpha has produced many musicians, including trombonist Don Drummond, trumpeter Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, saxophonist Tommy McCook, as well as singers Joe Harriott and Leroy Smart, and deejay Yellowman.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
IMPROVED RELATIIOSHIP WITH JAMAICA SOUGHT BY IAAF
Olivier Gers, the CEO of the IAAF, said that while the federation was disappointed at the decision of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) to abstain on voting for reforms of the anti-doping controls, it will not impose sanctions on the Jamaican organization. He also said he wanted better relations between the two groups. Gers was the guest speaker for the RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards ceremony. He also said he hoped that Jamaican Olympic champion Usain Bolt will be available to work with the IAAF after he retires to help attract younger athletes to participate and compete in sports.