THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
ALL COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS LIFTED IN JAMAICA ON APRIL 15, 2022
Jamaica, after over tow years of restrictions on travelers seeking to enter the country and numerous updates and warnings, will fully reopen to travelers. As of April 15, 2022, all restrictions and limitations on visitors will be eliminated. In lifting the last COVID-19-related requirement on travelers, the pre-departure testing requirement, Jamaica becomes the latest country to fully open its borders to international tourists. As of April 15, 2022, all visitors may enter Jamaica without the pre-flight testing requirement, have no need to undergo arrival or post-arrival testing, will not need to provide proof of vaccination for entry, and will not be subject to quarantines. No countries’ citizens will be banned from entry due to their case numbers or variants.
PRESIDENT OF RWANDA MAKES STATE VISIT TO JAMAICA
The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who is making a three-day state visit to Jamaica, addressed a Joint Sitting of Jamaica’s Houses of Parliament on April 14, 2022. Kagame stressed the importance of establishing more direct connections between Africa and Jamaica to advance their common goals on matters like climate change and global health rather than go through intermediaries. The countries, and others in the Caribbean, can work together directly via organizations like CARICOM and the African Union, he said. Jamaican’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Opposition leader Mark Golding, and Tom Tavares-Finson, the President of the Senate, all praised Kagame for making Rwanda a leading nation in Africa. During his visit, Kagame held discussions with the Prime Minister, visited the Marcus Garvey shrine at National Heroes Park, and participated in the launch of “Jamaica 60” at Jamaica House. Rwanda is also celebrating 60 years of independence in 2022, as is Jamaica.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
ANGUILLA’S EDUCATION MINISTRY UPDATES DRESS CODE, WILL NO LONGER PENALIZE STUDENTS FOR CHOICE OF HAIR STYLE
Anguilla’s Minister of Education Dee-Ann Kentish Rogers announced via social media that students in the nation’s schools will no longer face penalties for wearing natural hair styles, including dreadlocks, corn rows, or braids. The changes have been implemented in the Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School National Code of Discipline and Dress. The code now reflects modern global and community attitudes towards hair styles. The Caribbean region has been discussing colonial era rules on hair styles for some time; students, especially those following the Rastafarian faith, have faced disruption in their education as they were prohibited from attending classes unless they altered their hair style.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
BLUE PLAQUE DESIGNATING HISTORIC “SAFE HAVEN” SPOT IN LONDON AWARDED TO HONOR JAMAICANS
On April 10, 2022, a Blue Plaque was awarded to honor the Jamaicans Hubert “Baron” Baker and Leopold “Totobag” Williams, who established a “safe haven” in Notting Hill for individuals arriving in London from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 1960s. Baker was born in Jamaica in 1925 and immigrated to Britain in 1944. He joined the Royal Air Force at age 19 when discrimination in Britain was rampant. He convinced the government to open the Clapham South air raid shelter to temporarily accommodate arrivals from the Caribbean and then worked to create Black communities and find work for Black immigrants. He welcomed 492 arrivals from the ship Empire Windrush in 1948. The Blue Plaque ceremony on April 10 was the latest in a series of community ceremonies recognizing individuals in the African Caribbean community for their contributions to society.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
CRUISE LINES TO LAUNCH JAMAICA-ONLY CRUISES TO BOOST BUSINESS
Week-long, Jamaica-only cruises may become a reality as cruise operators look for ways to implement cost-effective approaches to help them stay in business after the COVID-19 era. Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism has long supported such cruises, which would involve a cruise line creating an itinerary that would have them visit all Jamaica’s ports of call over five to seven days. Marella Cruises is leading the effort to develop the Jamaica-only itineraries. Its Marella Explorer 2 current uses Montego Bay as its home port. According to the captain of the ship, Kostas Lamproponlous, a Jamaica-only itinerary makes sense in terms of fuel and water as it would be more cost-effective. He noted that with such an itinerary, the ship would visit Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Port Royal, and Port Antonio in addition to Montego Bay.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA’S PREMIER FINE ARTS EXHIBIT TO GO FORWARD ON SCHEDULE
The Kingston Biennial, the top fine arts exhibition in Jamaica, will be held at the National Gallery of Jamaica on schedule from June 26, 2022, to December 31, 2022. The exhibition was originally slated for 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. According to O’Neil Lawrence, the chief curator of the National Gallery team, everything is on schedule for the opening in June, with the Gallery working with the artists chosen to showcase their work. There are local artists and artists from the Diaspora involved with the 2022 staging, although the Biennial is not following its traditional guidelines as there will be no juried selection of artists and no traditional awards will be presented. Twenty-four artists will display their work and were chosen on the basis of their accomplishments and talent.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
REGGAE GIRLZ SECURE SPOT IN CONCACAF WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz are confirmed for participation in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship tournament after their 5-1 victory over the Dominican Republic on April 12, 2022. The Girlz had an early lead with a goal by Jody Brown. The Dominican Republic equalized things in the 24th minute, but Jamaica again took the lead in the 40th minute via Trudi Carter. A third goal in the 60th minute by Tiffany Cameron added a third goal, and Khadija Shaw scored in the 79th minute for a score of 4-1. With a header in the 93rd minute, Shaw solidified the win at 5-1. The victory put Jamaica at the top of Group C, achieving a perfect 12 points on four games. The final phase of the Women’s Championship will be held in Mexico from July 4 through July 18, 2022.