THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT WILL SPONSOR EXTRA CLASSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS WHEN “NORMAL” OPERATIONS RESUME
Jamaica’s Minister of Education Fayval Williams said that the government plans to sponsor extra lessons for public school students once “normal” operations start up again in the education sector. According to Williams, the government decided to take this action after discovering that students have not been receiving the required amount of content contact during the COVID-19 pandemic and must compensate for that fact. When regular operations resume in the schools, the government’s extra lesson classes will provide more teaching and learning opportunities for children, particularly those from homes that may face economic hardship. The program will also be available to parents who want to learn more in order to help their children or who want to finish their high school education but were unable to do so. Williams noted that providing extra lessons is important as time lost or wasted in schools “is a big deal” when there is a learning gap of 4.3 years.
JAMAICAN TRAVEL BAN ON UK TO END AS OF MAY 1, 2021
The ban imposed on travel from the United Kingdom to Jamaica will be lifted on May 1, 2021. The ban, which was established under the Disaster Risk Management Act, was scheduled to expire on April 30, 2021, and will not be extended. According to Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Jamaica will reopen its borders to visitors from the UK on May 1 to allow the gateways of Heathrow and Gatwick airports to have transit for individuals who are compliant with health and safety protocols set for international travel. The Jamaica Tourist Board said there was increased confidence about the safety of travel and tourism due to the global deployment of COVID-19 vaccines. The lifting of the ban is viewed as critical to the opening up of the tourist season in the summer of 2021.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
GUYANA CONSIDERS INTRODUCTION OF “VACCINE PASSPORT”
Guyana’s president Irfaan Ali suggested that his government is ready to consider a “vaccine passport” along with other options available as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations continue to experience record rates of death and new cases arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ali said the vaccine passport could be used in response to the hesitancy some people show for getting a COVID-19 vaccination and the “recklessness” of others who continue to ignore current health protocols. The passport option is also being considered because vaccinations are not mandatory in Guyana. To date, the country has seen 58 deaths from COVID-19, the most of any month since the virus was first recorded there in March of 2020.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN-BORN WOMAN NAMED SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM IN UK
Jamaican-born Merlita Bryan has been appointed as the new sheriff of Nottingham in England, the place where the legend of Robin Hood originated. Bryan moved to Nottingham when she was 11 years old. She has served as a city councilor since 2007. She also served as sheriff in the 124-year-old city in 2012-2013 and as its Lord Mayor in 2013-2014. Bryan currently is a member of the health scrutiny committee and had been a member of the overview and scrutiny committee. In the past year, she has worked as an executive assistant for schools and Nottingham customer care in Nottingham. According to council leader David Mellen, Bryan brings “a wealth of experience,” enthusiasm, and energy to her new position as sheriff.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO DISCUSS ELECTRICITY LICENSE WITH JAMAICA PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY
Jamaica’s government is conducting talks with the World Bank in preparation for having discussions with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) company concerning its 10-year electricity license, which is set to expire in six years. Under the license, the notice period starts five years before its expiration. According to Fitzroy Vidal, the head of energy at the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET), preparations are underway for consultations prior to negotiations. Anthony Hylton, Opposition spokesman on industry, competitiveness, and global logistics, has called for indications of the government’s plans regarding the JPS monopoly. Concerns have been raised that is electricity costs continue to rise, more individuals in Jamaica would be driven “off the grid,” leaving those who remain with even higher power expenses.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
NEW ALBUM FROM DJ KHALED FEATURES LEGENDARY JAMAICAN ARTISTS
Jamaica is well represented on the track list of American record producer DJ Khaled’s latest studio album “Khaled Khaled,” which is set for release on May 1, 2021. For example, Track 13 “Where I Come From” features Buju Banton, Capleton, Barrington Levy, and Bounty Killer. Khaled visited Jamaica to record and shoot videos for the album, which also features several music industry stars, including H.E.R. and Migos who joined him on the island, as well as performers like Nas, Jay Z, Puff Daddy, Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Da Baby, Drake, Meek Mill and Rick Ross. This is not the first time DJ Khaled featured Jamaica artists on his albums, first doing so in 2008 with “We Global,” which featured Sean Paul, Rick Ross, and Baby Cham. Albums in 2010, 2012, 2016, 2017, and 2019 also feature top Jamaican artists like Mavado and Sizzla.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
FORBES, STONA, OTHER JAMAICAN TOP ATHLETES REAP REWARDS FOR PERFORMANCES IN U.S.
Five top Jamaican athletes received recognition for their outstanding performances at American college track and field events on the weekend of April 24-25, 2021. They were led by throwers Marie Forbes of Cloud County Community College and Roje Stona of Clemson University. Charokee Young of Texas A&M, Abigail Schaaffe of the University of Minnesota, and Kobe-Jordan Rhooms of Morgan State University were also singled out for praise. Forbes was named the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) women’s Field Athlete of the Week after her participation at the Emporia State University Midwest Classic. She won the discus throw with a distance of 45.26 meters and the shot put with 13.40 meters. A former thrower for St. Jago, Stona won the men’s discus through at the Oliver Jackson Twilight Invitational, achieving a throw of 58.47 meters to mark his third victory of the season.