THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JCF STATISTICS SHOW OVER 1,000 JAMAICANS MURDERED SINCE START OF 2017
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JFC) has found that more than 1,000 Jamaicans have been victims of murder since the beginning of 2017, with 114 murders occurring across the island since August 5, 2017. The JCF’s Periodic Serious and Violent Crime Review also indicated that five parishes have had more than 100 recorded murders since January 1, 2017, with St. James parish having the highest number at 191 murders. St. Andrew recorded 175 murders, St. Catherine 155, Kingston 118, and Clarendon with 101 murders since the start of the year. Comparatively, Jamaica recorded 1,005 murders in all of 2014. According to Dr. Peter Phillips, the president of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP), a Jamaican is murdered every six hours.
PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL CLOSES AFTER 40 YEARS IN SERVICE
St. Joseph’s High School in St. Andrew, facing crushing debt and dramatic decreases in enrollment, is closing its doors after 40 years. The private high school was founded in 1978. Founded by Headley Thomas. Thomas said it was with pain and regret that he decided to close the day-school department. In addition to falling enrollment, Thomas cited a downsized partnership with Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, along with a poor collection of school fees and funds for development.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CARIBBEAN, LATIN AMERICA FACE GAP IN CRITICAL SKILLS
A study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) indicates that, in spite of their efforts, many Caribbean and Latin American governments have failed to give the children and adults in their countries the kind of skills they need to succeed in the modern economy. The study also suggested that moving toward evidence-based policies could give the region a “windfall” in the kinds of skills they need to enhance productivity and economic growth. Although the region spends about the same percentage of its GDP as more developed nations, the results are poor: the average Caribbean and Latin American student is over a year behind what is expected on the basis of the region’s economic development level. Just 36 percent of children in the third and fourth grades meet the minimum benchmarks in math proficiency, compared to 66 percent in other countries with similar development levels and 93 percent in developed nations. Researchers have found that some government efforts to improve the situation are more effective than others. For example, the most successful programs improve the quality of interactions in the home and at school, offer incentives for young people to remain in school, and help businesses create an environment of learning in the workplace.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CARNIVAL IN WALES INCLUDES “RACIST” COOL RUNNINGS FLOAT
Three men wearing bodysuits in the colors of the Jamaican flag and with their faces “blacked up” rode on a float at a yearly bank holiday carnival in Aberaeron, a seaside town in Wales. Their intent was to portray the “Cool Runnings” Olympic bobsled team featured in the film. They are now under investigation by police on charges of racism. A sign on their float included a quotation from the 1993 film that read “Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time!” A complaint was filed with police who are currently looking into the matter. A spokesperson for the police stated that they had received a report of a “perceived hate incident” on August 28, 2017, the day of the parade. Dinah Mulholland, who was a Labor candidate for the region in June 2017, wrote on Facebook that she was “Utterly horrified to see this…how could this have been considered acceptable, even legal, by the carnival organizers?”
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN TO GET NEW AREA CODE
Digicel and FLOW, the telecommunications firms, announced plans to engage with the public about the new 658 area code that will be implemented in Jamaica in 2018. In addition, ten-digit dialing will be required. The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) announced that as of May 31, 2018, ten-digit dialing will be mandatory for local calls. Ansord Hewitt, director general of OUR, emphasized that the 658 area code is not replacing the 876 code.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
STUDENT SKILLS ON DISPLAY AS JAMAICAN ANIME SERIES DEBUTS
The Jamaican anime series “Abeeky and the Maroons” from Night Vision Media Limited held its premier at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications. The three-and-a-half minute trailer for the series was lacking a theme song so Night Vision Media held a competition and named Dadrian Hosang, who received the most “likes” for his song on social media, as the winner. According to Hosang, the competition was a great way to highlight talent in musical production, and it encouraged him to use his resources and knowledge to create the African-influenced theme. Hosang is one of many young multimedia students employed by the firm to help with the production of the series. Marketing director Chevonnese Whyte called it a “win-win” situation for the emerging graphic designers and animators and for the company. A website will be the main platform for the series and is created by students at VTDI.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN WOMEN’S BOBSLED TEAM GETS NEW BACKING FOR 2018 BID
Jamaica is making an effort to get a women’s bobsled team qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang. The move has been boosted by the signing of a new sponsorship deal with Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading firm and a major shareholder in the Jamaica Public Service Company. Manubeni has agreed to sponsor the campaign of Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, the driver, and Carrie Russell, the brakewoman to qualify for the games. In 2014 at the Sochi Games, Fenlator-Victorian competed for the United States, but she qualifies for the Jamaican team because her father is from the island. Fenlator-Victorian and Russell have been competing internationally since 2016, finishing third in the North American Cup in January 2917.