THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN NEWS STORIES
TUFTON, CAMPBELL AT ODDS OVER SITUATION AT CORNWALL REGIONAL HOSPITAL
Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, and Dr. Dayton Campbell, the Opposition Spokesperson on Health, have differing views of the situation at Cornwall Regional Hospital where two workers died. Campbell has said that the deaths prompted 18 physicians at the hospital to conduct a sick-out. According to Campbell, medical people at the facility are afraid to come to work due to concerns about deaths possibly related to the condition of the building. Tufton believes it is irresponsible for the Opposition spokesperson to make an implicit suggestion that the deaths could be linked to air-quality issues at the hospital.
FIRST PHASE OF ST. JAMES RAILWAY REVAMP MOVES AHEAD
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the stakeholders leading the revitalization of the railway system from Montego Bay in St. James to Appleton Estate in St. Elizabeth. The MoU establishes an agreement for the “build out” of the first phase of the project. Jamaica’s Ministry of Transport announced the MoU was signed by a consortium headed by Sandals Resort and ATL automotive CEO Adam Stewart and the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC). The goal of the MoU is to finish the “technical study of the scheduled rails and its attendant infrastructure” within a three-month period after the signing.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS STORIES
EXPLORING FOR OIL TO BEGIN OFF SHORES OF BARBADOS
According to Senator Darcy Boyce, Barbados’ minister with responsibility for energy, exploration of the country’s potential offshore oil resources is slated to start within the coming year Boyce made the announcement at a regional symposium entitled “Strengthening CARICOM Energy Collaboration.” Boyce noted that Barbados had conducted successful negotiations for exploration licenses for two blocks with BHP Billion, which is in the final stages of the Energy Information Administration process. Another block was awarded to Repsol.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS STORIES
RESIDENTS OF HOPE PASTURES APPEAL TO JAMAICAN DIASPORA FOR AID
Residents of Hope Pastures in Jamaica have made an appeal to Jamaicans in the Diaspora to help them resolve a disagreement with the Jamaican Public Service Company (JPSCo). Some 94 residents of Hope Pastures, which is located in upper St. Andrew, are attempting to stop the JPSCo from removing their underground electricity supply, which was designed in 1961 and is an integral part of their housing scheme. JPSCo is Jamaica’s only electric power supplier. JPSCo has not maintained the underground cables since 1970 because they were hard to find. The utility has collected money from the residents for using the system for years, but current JPSCo directors don’t want to pay for maintenance, deny any ownership of the system, say they can’t find replacement parts, and claim the firm has no license allowing it to work underground. Ab injunction from the Supreme Court prevented forced conversion to overhead lines.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS STORIES
KAYA, A GANJA FIRM, READY TO LIST ON TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE
Kaya Inc. is a licensed ganja business in Jamaica. It opened its first ganja cafe in March 2018 in Ocho Rios and is now going public in Canada via a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This allows Kaya to implement a “reverse takeover” with a listed firm named Buzz Capital. The takeover includes a separate plan to raise CAD$8.5 million; CAD$5.5 million is being sought from institutional investors. The entity HIKU Brands has already agreed to back CAD$3 million. The transaction will mean that Kaya shareholders will own almost 90 percent of the amalgamated shares. Finalization of the negotiations between Kaya and Buzz Capital must be completed by April 15, 2018. All transaction must be approved by the Cannabis Licensing Authority.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS STORIES
QUEEN IFRICA REFLECTS ON PERFORMING FOR WINNIE MANDELA
Jamaican reggae singer Queen Ifrica was asked to perform at the 80th birthday celebration of South African activist Winnie Mandela in 2016. Now, two years later, Mandela has died, and her death on April 2, 2018, had a strong impact on the singer, especially since Hugh Masekela, known as the “Father of South African Jazz,” also passed away in 2018 in January. It was Queen Ifrica’s performance with Masekela that led to her invitation to Mandela’s birthday celebration. The singer reflected on her images of the celebration and on the work of Mandela, with whom she felt a special connection. She noted that she was the only female artiste from Jamaica to go on stage at the celebration and was a milestone in her career. Queen Ifrica said it was “an extreme honor” to sing for Winnie Mandela.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS STORIES
NETBALL’S GROWTH PRAISED BY FOWLER-REID
After being named Team Jamaica’s Commonwealth Games skipper, Jhaniele Fowler-Reid praised the growth of the sport and the progress of the Jamaican team. Fowler-Reid said that being named captain of Jamaica’s Commonwealth Games team, which is competing on Australia’s Gold Coast, says a lot about how the profile of netball has been raised. She expressed delight at being chosen and lauded her teammates for representing Jamaica so well over the years. “Being named team captain for Jamaica’s Commonwealth contingent is just a wonderful feeling,” she said in an interview with The Gleaner.