THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
REID ENCOURAGES PARENTS TO BECOME INVOLVED WITH EDUCATION—05/23/16
Ruel Reid, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Youth and Information, is calling for parent to become more involved with their children’s education. Reid said that students perform better in school when their parents are actively engaged. He made his remarks at the Sligoville All-Age School 175th anniversary celebration in St. Catherine on May 19, 2016. Reid praised the school for its Parent-Teacher Association meetings, which are held twice each month, and also urged improvements in the attendance rate at the school, which stands at 45 percent. In remembering the history of the school, Reid encouraged all who wanted the school to do well to provide as much support as possible to uplift the school, which in turn, would build up the community.
HOLNESS OUTLINES INITIATIVES FOR IMPROVING RATE OF HOME OWNERSHIP—05/25/16
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced several initiatives designed to provide greater access to housing funds, fight against crime, and enhance cooperative efforts with neighboring nations, the Diaspora, and the Opposition party. The initiatives represent part of his administration’s prosperity plan. The centerpiece of the initiatives was a new effort to increase home ownership among low-income Jamaicans via the National Housing Trust (NHT). The trust has been strongly criticized for its failure to meet its commitments to contributors. Holness plans to increase the supply of available housing and widen access to financing for home purchases. He also plans to increase the number of low-income wage earners who can access loans through the NHT at zero percent interest from $7,500 per week to $12,000 per week. Income thresholds for low-interest-rate loans will also be raised under the Holness initiatives.
EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION PROGRAM OF UWI GETS WORLD’S ATTENTION—05/26/16
Researchers at the University of the West Indies Epidemiology Research Unit (ERU) have asked the Jamaican government to consider rolling out a home-based early stimulation program on a national basis. The program, which was designed by the research team at ERU is being replicated and implemented throughout the world. According to Dr. Susan Chang-Lopez of the ERU, while the program is not underway in Jamaica, it is used in countries from Bangladesh to India to Brazil to China. The program was created as part of a 1980s project that provided psychosocial stimulation to stunted Jamaican toddlers who were living in poverty via one-hour weekly visits from community health workers. The workers taught parenting skills and encouraged parents to play with the children in ways that would improve their personality and cognitive skills.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
WEST MIDLANDS EXHIBIT CHARTS LIFE OF MARCUS GARVEY—05/26/16
A memorial service honoring the late Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey will be part of a special exhibit in the West Midlands in the United Kingdom scheduled for June 4, 2016. An event in Dudley will commemorate the death of Jamaica’s first national hero. Garvey died in London on June 10, 1940. The exhibit, “Marcus Garvey Remembered,” will present a comprehensive display for photos, images, maps, and accompanying text meant to chart Garvey’s life from his birth in Jamaica to his death in England, noting his continuing legacy and influence on 21st century Britain and around the world. The African British Connection CIC is hosting the event with the support of Starline Edutainment, Houza Queeni and the African Caribbean Community Network (ACCN).
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN STUDENTS RECEIVE INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION AS ENTREPRENEURS—05/24/16
Students at Northern Caribbean University have been recognized for the development of a natural mosquito repellant, and their efforts earned them sixth place in the annual International Business Model Competition (IBMC). The students were inspired by the need to protect people following the mosquito-borne Chik-V virus in Jamaica in 2014, which claimed many local and regional lives. Princess Shakes and Natoy Allen, both students at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) developed an organic mosquito repellant called Guardana, as their entry into the IBMC, the finals of which occurred in April 2016 at the Microsoft Ventures campus in Washington, D.C. The IBMC is the first and biggest lean student startup competition in the world. Shakes, the CEO of Guardana Incorporated who, with Allen, developed the totally organic, natural lotion repellant made with citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and coconut in a combination of plants and essential oils. They were inspired by the fact that an estimated 86 percent of Jamaicans are affected by Chik-V and have no reliable way to fight the disease. The need for their product has only increased with the outbreak of the Zika virus, also mosquito-borne. Shakes and Allen won a cash prize of US$16,000 and a trophy at the National Business Model Competition finals, as well as a free trip to Washington, D.C. to represent their university and Jamaica at the IBMC.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
FIRST PHOTO SHOOT IN A DECADE FOR MARLEY FAMILY—05/24/16
The family of Bob Marley participated in their first photo shoot in more than ten years, reuniting for a major spread for GQ Style’s debut issue. The issue features several of Bob Marley’s sons, daughters, and grandsons. The family was outfitted in high fashion from Gucci, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, and Ralph Lauren. According to firstborn son Ziggy Marley, he does not feel any pressure in being Bob’s son because “this is a family” and nothing has really changed among the family members. “Each individual is important,” he said. He described a definite hierarchy of “elders,” however, with Cedella, himself, and Sharon included. Cedella heads Tuff Gong enterprises and the MarleyNatural cannabis brand, among other projects, as she is the driving force behind the family’s businesses. Damian and Ziggy plan to release albums in late 2016, while Cedella’s son Skip also contributes his musical talents in concerts.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
RACERS GRAND PRIX TO RECEIVE US$150,000 FROM JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT—05/26/16
The Sports Development Fund (SDF) of the Jamaican government will provide US$150,000 toward the inaugural Racers Grand Prix, which is slated for June 11, 2016. Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaica’s Sports Minister, announced that the government will contribute toward the more than $100 million budget of the Grand Prix for staging the event, which is organized by the Racers Track Club. The club is headed by Glen Mills and is the home of Olympian Usain Bolt. Grange said that while the government’s funding may not cover all expenses, it shows that Jamaica is “center stage” in track and field and that the country has the ability to host a meet of this size and significance with internationally known athletes.