THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN SPORTS MINISTER WELCOMES RETURNING OLYMPIANS BY PLEDGING MORE SUPPORT
Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, said that she will greet every athlete returning to Jamaica from the Tokyo Olympic Games. She said all the athletes, not only the medal winners, will receive the same treatment. Grange acknowledged that some of the Olympians come from challenging situations and asked the Jamaican Olympians to let her know what they need to make things easier for them. She added that she will help them as much as she can and informed the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) that everyone must work together “as a family” to overcome differences that exist among the organizations in the sports sector to ensure Jamaica performs to the best of its ability in the upcoming major international competitions over the next three years.
RICHARD CURRIE, MAROON CHIEF, SAYS HE HAS THE RIGHT TO DEFEND HIS PEOPLE WITH “MODERN MEANS”
Richard Currie, the leader of the Accompong Maroons, is defending his right to support his people “using modern means” if Jamaica’s government continues to infringe upon the independence of the Maroons. Currie made his remarks in response to reports about a probe by the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) into an incident in which a shotgun was seen strapped to his back during a standoff with armed men later identified as police officers in Bethsalem in St Elizabeth. Currie contends that these individuals trespassed on Maroon land in order to extort farmers for money, threatening to burn and take their crops. Dr. Horace Chang, Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, praised the police involved in the anti-narcotics incident and stated that there is “no such thing as Maroon land.” Currie objected to Chang’s comment and insisted that the Maroons are a sovereign people who have had a right to the land in the Cockpit Country since prehistoric times. He noted that he was duly elected to defend the rights of his people. “When the Maroons are in need, they do not seek to call 119 or any string of numbers, they call their chief,” he said, adding that he is not seeking permission to defend his people.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
NEW INITIATIVE TO PROVIDE MORE COVID VACCINES TO THE CARIBBEAN
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) plans to bring millions of COVID vaccine doses to the Caribbean and Latin America in the fall of 2021. The new program signifies a recognition that the Covax program backed by the United Nations will not be able to provide enough vaccines to meet the immunization needs of the developing world. PAHO, part of the World Health Organization (WHO), will purchase “tens of millions” of doses and begin to distribute them in October 2021. According to Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, the initiative will benefit all countries in the region and especially those lacking the resources and negotiating power needed to obtain what they need to protect their populations. More than 20 nations have expressed interest in becoming part of the new program. Only about 20 percent of the people in the Caribbean and Latin America have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19; some countries have vaccination rates of under five percent.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
DONALD HARRIS, FATHER OF U.S. VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS, TO RECEIVE JAMAICAN ORDER OF MERIT
Donald Harris, the father of the first Black, Caribbean American, Asian American, and female vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, will be the recipient of Jamaica’s third highest national honor, the Order of Merit (OM), at the Jamaica National Honors and Awards ceremony on October 18, 2021. The ceremony is part of the celebration of National Heroes Day. Harris, 83, was born in Brown’s Town, St. Ann, and is a well known economist and professor emeritus at Stanford University. He will receive the Order of Merit for his contributions to national development. Harris is known for applying post-Keynesian ideas to development economics on economic policy and analysis of Jamaica’s economy. Harris served as an economic policy consultant to Jamaica’s government at various times and as an economic adviser to several of the island nation’s prime ministers. Harris will be among 144 other Jamaicans to be honored in 2021. The Order of Merit can be presented to any Jamaican citizen or distinguished citizen of another country who has attained global distinction in the sciences, arts, literature, or other endeavor. Only two individuals per year may receive the OM. The decision to confer the honor on Harris has caused controversy among some Jamaicans.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
BANK OF JAMAICA MINTS $230 MILLION IN CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY
The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has minted $230 million in central bank digital currency (CBDC). The currency will be issued to authorized payment service providers and deposit-taking institutions as part of a pilot program that is scheduled to end in December 2021. The pilot program was first introduced at the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and will be implemented at other financial institutions over the next few months. Richard Byles, BOJ Governor, called the project a “milestone achievement” that is expected to ensure broad access and acceptance of the digital currency. Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, said the currency is critical to the creation of a digital economy.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JIMMY CLIFF RELEASES NEW SINGLE ON JAMAICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
Legendary Jamaican musician Jimmy Cliff, 77, issued a new single entitled “Human Touch” on Jamaican Independence Day 2021, marking over 60 years in the music industry. Cliff is one of the few surviving musicians who can trace their development from ska in the 1960s to the global reggae phenomenon of the 21st century. Cliff is also well known for his role in the iconic 1972 film “The Harder They Come.” Cliff performed in the Jamaica Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, where he met Chris Blackwell, the head of Island Records who convinced him to work in the United Kingdom, in what became a central event in his life. He went on to record at Muscle Shoals in Alabama and traveled throughout Europe and Africa, becoming a superstar in Brazil. He returned to Kingston studios in Jamaica and worked with local musicians, which prompted a string of hits and international reggae stardom. Cliff believes the spirit of rebellion is still strong in the Jamaica people, who continue to fight for what is right. He is the only living musician to have received the Jamaican Order of Merit and says that he isn’t finished in music yet. “I don’t reach my peak yet,” he told The Guardian newspaper in the UK.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
CHAIR OF SPORTS DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION SAYS INVESTMENT IN HURDLES “BEARING FRUIT”
According to George Soutar, the chair of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), Jamaica provided an outstanding display of sprint hurdling talent at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Jamaican earned three medals in the hurdling events at the Olympics: Hansle Parchment won a gold medal, Ronald Levey won bronze, and Megan Tapper became the first woman to win a hurdles medal by taking the bronze in the Women’s 100-meter hurdling event. Soutar noted that the SDF has made major investments in the sport in recent years. Since 2019, the organization has provided 20 hurdles each to 53 schools, or more than 1,000 hurdles across Jamaica, in its effort to raise the number of hurdling athletes in the country.