THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HOLNESS ANNOUNCES GENERAL ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 3, 2020
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the date of the General Election will be September 3, 2020. He also announced that Nomination Day will be scheduled for August 18, 2020, noting that Parliament would be dissolved on August 13 as per the Jamaican Constitution to allow for the election to proceed. Holness said he had advised the Governor General to take the steps necessary to dissolve Parliament by Proclamation. This is the first time that the General Election has been announced in Parliament, but that it is not unusual practice for calling for the election at this time. The General Election was not due constitutionally until February 2021, but Holness believes announcing the date in this way is “good for our democracy.”
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT ORDERS 2-WEEK SHUTDOWN FOR 16 BEACHES, 18 RIVERS
The Government of Jamaica issued orders mandating that 16 beaches and 18 rivers bee shut down as of August 14, 2020, as part of its COVID-19 control program. According to Desmond McKenzie, Local Government Minister, said the measure is needed because of “indiscipline among patrons” and activities that endanger the public’s safety. He also noted that lack of response from operators of the facilities to the Government’s safety guidance. Included in the shut-down are five rivers in Kingston and St. Andrew, and one beach; one river in St. Catherine, two rivers in Clarendon; two beaches in Westmoreland and one river; two rivers in St. Mary; and three rivers in St. Thomas. Popular spots such as Cane River, Little Dunn’s River, Ocho Rios Bay Beach, French Man’s Cove, Reggae Falls, and Alligator Pond Beach are affected that the shutdown. Operators and authorities will meet to discuss the way forward from the measure.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
PUERTO RICO ELECTIONS COMMISSION SUSPENDS PRIMARIES DUE TO LACK OF BALLOTS
Puerto Rico’s State Elections Commission (SEC) suspended the country’s primary elections on August 9, 2020, due to a lack of ballots. More than 50 percent of the island’s election precincts did not receive their expected ballot delivery and so stated that voting at those places would resume on August 16, 2020. The decision was reached by Juan Ernesto Davila, SEC president and the presidents of the New Progressive Party and the Popular Democratic Party. Many voters were turned away from their attempts to vote at places that had not receive ballots. The situation was attributed to a delay in printing the primary election ballots by Printech Inc., which was said to have failed to deliver over a half a million ballots despite being granted almost $3 million under a contract to do so by the SEC.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS IN U.S. ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT KAMALA HARRIS
Jamaicans living in the United States were enthusiastic about the vice-presidential pick of presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Biden chose Kamala Harris, whose father is Jamaican and whose mother was from India, as his running mate. According to Sadie Campbell, the president of the Jamaica Progressive League, this was “a wonderful choice.” Campbell said she predicted Harris would return to national politics after she dropped her own bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The head of the Jamaica Association of Maryland, Rick Nugent, also welcomed Harris’s selection, noting that the fact that she is the daughter of immigrants continues to show how the US was and continues to be “built by immigrants.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JMMB BANK SHOWS THIRD YEAR OF SOLID PROFITS
After its transition from a merchant bank to a commercial bank in 2017, JMMB Bank has continued to provide an improved banking experience for its customers, disbursing $28 billion in loans for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2020. The bank has increased its net profits from $636.6 million in 2018 to $1.12 billion in 2020. Its asset base has grown from $46 billion to $84 billion since 2017. Much of the transformation has come from the entity’s ability to offer enhanced service delivery to clients as a commercial bank.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN-BORN COMEDIAN SARAH COOPER GETS NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL
Sarah Cooper, who was born in Jamaica and whose whole family is Jamaica, has been given her own comedy special on Netflix. The special is entitled “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine.” Cooper gained a following on TikTok by lip-synching the public statements of US President Donald Trump. Cooper, 42, is a comedian and author, and she will be an executive producer of the show along with Paula Pell, a veteran of “SNL.” Cooper’s show is described by Netflix as a “variety special” with vignettes addressing politics, race, gender, class, “and other light subjects.” There will also be guest interviews and sketches. Cooper, who lives in New York, has been a guest host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
DOMINIQUE BOND-FLASZA OF REGGAE GIRLZ SIGNS WITH POLISH CLUB
Dominique Bond-Flasza, a defender on Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz team, has signed on with the four-time Polish champion squad KKPK Medyk Konin. With this move, she hopes to continue building her career and reaching greater heights in football. She spent the past two years with PSV in the Dutch Women’s League, but she says that the move to the Polish team is a “welcome change.” She wants to make her mark in a different area of her career. Poland will be a “home away from home” for the Reggae Girl, who was born in the US but also holds Polish citizenship through her father. Her Jamaican heritage comes from her mother. Before signing with the Polish team, she continued to work behind the scenes to make sure she could perform well when called upon despite the uncertainties imposed by COVID-19. She knew it was important to stay fit and ready, so she trained with her sister and several coaches.