THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH U.S. VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness had a historic meeting with the Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris, whose father, Donald J. Harris, is a Jamaican immigrant. Her parents divorced when the Vice President was a young child. This was the first time since 1995 that a Jamaican leader made a visit to the White House. Harris noted her Jamaican heritage and her visits to the island in her childhood during a photo opportunity with reporters. She added that she had a shared history with many Americans who have roots in Jamaica. Holness noted that Harris was an inspiration to many people in the Caribbean, especially to young women. The meeting on March 30, 2022, marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic links between the US and Jamaica. The two leaders discussed ways to help Jamaica recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, crime prevention, the environment, and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Harris also announced that the US will invest US$20 million in Jamaica to boost economic growth and expansion of commerce, along with US$10 million aimed at preventing crime by focusing on at-risk young people.
JAMAICA’S EDUCATION MINISTRY TO AUDIT SCHOOL METAL DETECTORS
According to Fayval Williams, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Youth and Information, an audit of metal detectors in schools throughout the island will be conducted to ensure that the schools have devices that can detect weapons that could be used when disputes arise. The action is being taken in response to incidents in which two students were victims of stabbings. In one of the incidents, a student was fatally stabbed at William Knibb Memorial High School in Trelawny. In the other, a student was stabbed at Excelsior High School in the Corporate Area. Weapons have been confiscated from students in other areas since in-person classes have been restored. Williams is calling for administrators at schools to use metal detectors to facilitate confiscation of the weapons. She also recommended that students who are found with weapons receive referrals for counseling. Williams acknowledged at a “Safety in Schools” press briefing that metal detectors will not resolve all these problems, but they would detect weapons and potentially save lives. Thirty-six schools have received approval for metal detectors, with the equipment set up in 27 of the institutions.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
COALITION ESTABLISHED IN THE CARIBBEAN TO PUSH FOR REPARATIONS AFTER VISIT BY ROYALS
Groups in Belize, the Bahamas, and Jamaica have formed a coalition to collectively move for slavery reparations from Britain and to remove the British Queen as their head of state. The action was prompted by the visit of Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, to the Caribbean, a tour that sparked protests at every stop. By the end of the visit, Jamaica and Belize had indicated their intent to become republics. Additionally, the Bahamas National Reparations Committee (BNRC), the Advocacy Network in Jamaica, and the indigenous Maya of Belize, criticized the royals and held demonstrations throughout the visit, declared they were united in calling for reparatory justice and condemning the colonial legacy of Britain.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
GREATEST NUMBER OF BLACK IMMIGRANTS TO U.S. COME FROM JAMAICA AND HAITI
Most Black immigrants to the United States come from the Caribbean, and the two countries having the greatest number coming from Jamaica and Haiti. The Pew Center determined that in 2019, 16 percent of Black immigrants to the USE came from Jamaica and 15 percent from Haiti. Most of the Caribbean immigrants lived in the Northeastern and Southern regions of the US and 56 percent had lived in the US for 20 years or more. There were 250,000 Black Jamaican immigrant residents of New York City in 2019, or 35 percent of all foreign-born Black Jamaicans living in the US. The average income of households with Caribbean-born immigrants in the US was $58,200. Caribbean-born immigrants also have the highest rates of US citizenship, with 65 percent of them being citizens. Forty-nine percent of Black Caribbean-born immigrants to the US were homeowners, and just 11 percent lived below the poverty line.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA OPENS TOURISM RESILIENCE AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT CENTER IN TORONTO
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett founded the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center in 2018 with Taleb Rifai, the former secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, with the goal of addressing crises and disruptions in tourism. Now, Bartlett has signed a memorandum of understanding with George Brown College in Toronto, Canada, to establish a satellite center. According to Bartlett, the tourism industry is vulnerable to disruption and needs strong skills in resilience to survive situations ranging from hurricanes to pandemics, to volcanic eruptions to armed conflicts. Bartlett believes that tourism is too important to the global economy to lack support and guidance that the center offers. There are other satellite centers in Nairobi, Kenya and Amman, Jordan, and with in addition to the new center in Toronto, 2022 will see more centers open in Sofia, Bulgaria; Abuja, Nigeria; Athens, Greece; Miami, and London.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
MUSIC INDUSTRY IN JAMAICA SADDENED AND ANGERED BY MURDER OF TABBY DIAMOND
Donald “Tabby” Shaw, 67, the lead singer of the Mighty Diamonds trio, was one of two men murdered on March 29, 2022, in a drive-by shooting on McKinley Crescent in St. Andrew. In 2021, the Mighty Diamonds (Tabby Shaw, Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson, and “Fitzroy “Bunny” Shaw) were honored with Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (Officer Class) for their contributions to the development of Jamaican music. Shaw had been an iconic musical presence for some 50 years and with the Mighty Diamonds he made over 40 albums. The group’s breakthrough recording was “The Right Time” in the 1970s after which they were signed to Virgin Records. Their singles “Country Living,” “I Need a Roof,” and “Pass the Kutchie” brought them worldwide fame. Several musicians marked Shaw’s untimely passing, with Grammy-winner Gramps Morgan saying his heart was in pain to hear about his passing in this way, and Gussie Clarke, his producer, noting that Shaw was one of the humblest persons he every met. Dr. Karen R. Green, the former executive member of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians, noted that the music industry had lost “a giant” through this senseless killing and said she joined with others to mourn his death, which highlights the need to stop gun violence.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
HIGH JUMPER LAMARA DISTIN ACHIEVES NEW NATIONAL HIGH JUMP RECORD
Lamara Distin broke Jamaica’s national women’s high jump record at the 94th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, with a jump of 1.96 meters. A junior at Texas A&M, Distin’s jump outdid the previous record of 1.93 meters set in May of 2010 by Sheree Francis-Ruff. Distin also set a new Texas A&M school record with the fifth-best collegian all-time figure. Her jump also qualifies for world championships. With her latest jump, Distin beat her previous personal best of 1.90 meters set in 2021 at the NCAA Division One championships. Distin is now the record-holder in both outdoor and indoor women’s high jump.