THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
IN-PERSON SCHOOL CLASSES MAY BE DELAYED DUE TO COVID’S DELTA VARIANT
According to Jamaican Minister of Education Fayval Williams, plans to reopen face-to-face classes in Jamaica’s schools in September could be “recalibrated” because of the increase in number of cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. In order to provide the best advice to parents about school reopening, Williams said that September 6, 2021, which is set as the first day of teaching, will see school start in the online mode. The Ministries of Education and Health and Wellness are discussing the current situation, noting that doses of the Pfizer vaccine that can be taken by children 12 years of age and older are on the way, and efforts to vaccinate as many children as possible are being implemented. Additionally, the government will begin a new and massive program of public education on social and traditional media to inform parents about new developments in terms of vaccines. More than 68 percent of the teaching staff have already been vaccinated, Williams stated.
JAMAICA’S TOURISM MINISTRY OFFERS FREE VACATION TO OLYMPIC VOLUNTEER WHO HELPED HURDLER HANSLE PARCHMENT
Tijana Stojkovic, the volunteer at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo who helped Jamaican champion hurdler Hansle Parchment get to his semi-final race in time, has received an official invitation from Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism to take an all-expense-paid trip to the island as thanks for her service. The visit offered to Stojkovic and a guest of her choice will include trips to four parishes and stays at a Diamond Club butler service presidential suite at the Royalton in Negril, the Half Moon and Iberostar hotels in Montego Bay, the Moon Palace in Ocho Rios, and the AC Marriott in Kingston. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett added that her trip would also provide her with the chance to enjoy “gastronomical delights and wonderful culture.” Stojkovic, an Olympics volunteer, gave Parchment some US$90 to pay for transportation to the race that secured him a place in the final of the 110 hurdles. Parchment ultimately won the gold medal in the event.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
HAITI SUFFERS 7.2 EARTHQUAKE, SEVERE DAMAGE, MANY INJURIES AND DEATHS
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti on August 14, 2021. This quake was more powerful than the earthquake of 2010, which resulted in the deaths of over 220,000 people. Buildings were leveled, and at least 1,300 people were killed. Hospitals in at least two cities in Haiti were overwhelmed with injured patients. The disastrous quake has occurred at a low point for Haiti, which has a population of 11 million and has been experiencing a political crisis stemming from the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, 2021. The resulting leadership vacuum, poverty, and gang violence in parts of the country have left its government dysfunctional and unprepared to handle a natural disaster of this magnitude. The quake was centered near the town of Petit Trou de Nippes in the western portion of Haiti, some 80 miles west of its capital Port-au-Prince.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, TO RECOGNIZE REGGAE ICON FREDDIE MCGREGOR WITH HIS OWN DAY
The city of Hartford, Connecticut, will now celebrate Freddie McGregor Day on August 14 every year as the veteran reggae musician is recognized for his 50 years of contributions to the reggae genre. The announcement of Freddie McGregor Day came during the yearly West Indian independence Celebration in Hartford. McGregor said he appreciated the city’s accolades and is grateful to all his fans in Jamaica and in the Diaspora, noting that he continues working and performing because “without the music there would be no Freddie McGregor.” This is not the first time the singer has been honored in this say. He said he gets hundreds of accolades and appreciates all of them. “I have keys for the length and breadth of Florida, I have keys to the city of Miramar, the city of Hollywood, the city of Palm Beach and continue all the way up… I have citations from New York, I have citations from Connecticut, different cities in Connecticut,” he said. The latest proclamation from Hartford, which was signed by Councilwoman Shirley Surgeon, recognized McGregor for his “significant contributions to the art form of reggae music” and honored him for being “one of reggae’s most prolific musicians whose musical genius, passion, talent, unstoppable work ethic, and cultural contribution has served as an inspiration to us all.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
FIRST CRUISE SHIP VISITS JAMAICA SINCE BEGINNING OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Carnival Sunshine is the first cruise ship to visit Ocho Rios in Jamaica since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ship’s return represents a “major step” in a phased reopening of the island’s tourism sector. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, welcomed the reopening and resumption of ship traffic as many Jamaicans depend on cruise ship tourism for their livelihoods. Bartlett expects the cruise ship industry resurgence to have a positive effect on Jamaica’s overall economy. The cruise ship’s call in Ocho Rios is being managed according to strict health and safety protocols established to deal with COVID-19 to protect both Jamaica’s citizens and travelers. Approximately 95 percent of the crew and passengers are fully vaccinated under the existing health protocols, and all passengers will be tested and screened before being allowed to leave the ship.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN JAZZ SERIES TO BE CURATED BY MOBO-AWARD WINNER MOSES BOYD IN PARTNERSHIP WITH APPLETON ESTATE RUM
Award-winning drummer Moses Boyd will curate a Jamaican Jazz Series in a partnership with Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum. Boyd will select vinyl released from jazz artists in the United Kingdom for a new LP subscription service monthly series. The series is being produced jointly with Flying Vinyl and will allow subscribers to get an exclusive, signed vinyl record from each of the chosen artists, a 20cl bottle of Appleton Estate’s premium rum, a pre-batched cocktail from The Drinks Drop inspired by Jamaica, and a copper cup in which to enjoy it. A cocktail voucher for The Alchemist will also be included so subscribers can enjoy an Appleton Estate rum cocktail at the bar as well. Boyd has selected tuba player Theon Cross, saxophonist-multi-instrumentalist “cktrl,” or Bradley Miller, and ne-soul singer Demae. Boyd said the partnership project allows him to showcase the many great thinkers and visionaries of Jamaica who work in dub, poetry, jazz, and reggae, but who may not be well known to the larger audience of fans. He also wants to show how Jamaica’s influence has made a major impact on the music scene in the UK.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ONEIKA MCANNUFF WINS WOMEN’S 400-METER EVENT AT WORLD U20 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jamaican runner Oneika McAnnuff, 17, won her heat at the Women’s 400-Meter event on the first day of the World Athletics Under-20 Championships at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. McAnnuff has had a good year in 2021 and continues to improve. She dominated in the 400-meter event, winning with a time of 54.13 seconds over Molepo Precious of South Africa who ran the distance in 54.41 seconds, and Anna Orlova of Ukraine with 54.68 seconds.