THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN SHADOW SENATOR URGES GOVERNMENT TO RECONSIDER PLANS TO USE PRIME FOOD PRODUCTION LANDS FOR HOUSING
Senator Sophia Frazer Binns, Shadow Minister of Land, Environment, and Climate and a member of the People’s National Party, has called on Jamaica’s government to rethink using current sugar-producing lands in Trelawny for housing purposes. According to Frazer Binns, food security must be the chief factor considered when planning to use prime agricultural lands. The lands the government has identified for housing development are some of the best areas on the island for the production of food. Frazer Binns notes that the current COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for Jamaica to create strategies that will ensure the island’s survival during major crises. She also said that the Opposition PNP is committed to working with the government to find the most effective ways to mitigate Jamaica’s food insecurity and to find housing solutions on other, less agriculturally critical lands.
JAMAICA PLANS FOR 60-PERCENT REDUCTION IN GREEN HOUSE EMISSIONS BY 2030
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced Jamaica’s determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stating that the island will reduce these emissions by 60 percent by 2030. Holness made his remarks at the two-day virtual Leaders Summit on Climate held on April 22, 2021. He noted that Jamaica was encouraged by the announcement from the United States that it will cut its emissions by 50 percent and that the US has rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. Prime Minister Holness was one of two Heads of Government from the Caribbean invited to participate in the virtual Climate Summit organized by US President Joe Biden. In addition to Holness, Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, was the other Caribbean Head of State to join the group of 40 leaders from around the world to discuss the climate crisis.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
UNITED NATIONS REQUESTS $29.2 MILLION FOR AID TO ST. VINCENT IN WAKE OF VOLCANIC ERUPTION
The United Nations has appealed for financial assistance totaling $29.2 million to help the estimated 15,000 people displaced by the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent, said the island is in a “dire situation” and that scientists have issued warnings that eruptions could continue for another six months. The initial eruption occurred on April 9, 2021, following decades of inactivity. Thousands of people were evacuated as the volcano continues to send clouds of ash into the air, creating difficult conditions for island residents.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS TRAPPED IN UK DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS RETURN HOME
According to the Ministry of National Security in Jamaica, 27 Jamaicans who were stranded in Britain due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions on travel returned to the home island on April 22, 2021. Their return was allowed despite the closure of Jamaican borders to airline flight coming from the United Kingdom. The ban on travel from the UK was imposed because of an especially virulent strain of the virus identified in the UK. The travelers will be housed in a quarantine facility in Jamaica for 14 days. The Ministry has called on the returnees’ family members to exercise patience as the government seeks to repatriate its residents in a safe manner.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
BANK OF JAMAICA PERMITTED TO OPERATE INDEPENDENTLY OF JAMAICA’S FINANCE MINISTRY
The Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act of 2020, which went into effect on April 16, 2021, allows the central bank to operate independently of the government’s Ministry of Finance. The chief goals of the law include allowing the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) to provide oversight maintenance of price and financial system stability. The Finance Minister will no longer have the power to direct monetary policy under the new law. The BOJ’s Monetary Policy Committee will now seek to obtain and maintain price stability via achieving an inflation target established by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the bank’s governor. The law also prohibits the government from borrowing from the BOJ except in cases of a declared national emergency.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
MURALS IN DOWNTOWN KINGSTON PAY TRIBUTE TO REGGAE GREATS
Prompted by the passing of two of reggae music’s pioneers, Bunny Wailer and U-Roy, Jamaican authorities have increased their efforts to pay respect to the great artists of the genre. The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is moving ahead with its plans to honor the heroes and pioneers of reggae with new murals in downtown Kingston. Delroy Williams, the mayor of Kingston, stated that the “transformation” of Mark Lane into a place dedicate to Jamaica’s musical history and culture has now begun. To date, murals by Roshane “Paige” Taylor, Simone Racquel Williams, Joshua Solas, Anna-Lisa Guthrie, and Monique Kidd have been painted. In 2015, Kingston was added to UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Music Network.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA DECIDES TO FOREGO PARTICIPATION IN WORLD RELAYS IN 2021
Jamaica will not send a team to the World Athletics Relays competition in Silesia, Poland. The decision not to participate in the May 1-2, 2021, championship event was made by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), which cited current travel restrictions, routing issues, and the COVID-19 pandemic for the team’s withdrawal from the tournament. Previously, the JAAA had announced the names of 39-member team that included Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson Herah and veteran sprinter Asafa Powe…