THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN POLICE INVESTIGATE BOLT PARTY FOLLOWING SPRINTER’S POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST
Following an announcement that Jamaican eight-time Olympic gold medal winner Usain Bolt had tested positive for COVID-19, the nation’s prime minister stated that the star athlete would not receive special treatment and that police are investigating reports that Bolt did not follow established pandemic rules during the celebration of his 34th birthday at a sports complex in Kingston. Jamaican Health Minister Christopher Tufton imposed new stay-at-home rules for certain communities, along with a nationwide ban on funeral services and parties for two weeks, beginning on August 27, 2020, in the face of an increased number of virus infections on the island. Some 1,000 Jamaicans have already been charged and prosecuted for noncompliance with the country’s emergency measure to control the spread of COVID-19. In a video posted on Twitter and Instagram, Bolt said he was “self-isolating” and that he had no symptoms of the disease.
MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES DIVIDED, BUT MOST JAMAICANS SUPPORT REMOVAL OF QUEEN AS HEAD OF STATE
According to polling by Don Anderson commissioned by the RJRGLEANER Group, most Jamaicans support removing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as the country’s head of state. However, the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) continue to be divided on the matter. The incumbent JLP says the issue should be decided by the electorate, while the PNP has committed to beginning the separation from the Queen as soon as it gets the chance to form a new government. The poll found that 58.7 percent of 1,050 respondents over the age of 18 surveyed in July 2020 favored cutting ties with the British monarchy. Almost one-third of Jamaicans oppose ending the relationship, however.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
EIGHT CARIBBEAN ISLANDS JOIN FORCES TO REBUILD TOURISM BASE
The islands of Nevis, St. Kitts, Saba, Statia, French St. Martin, Dutch St. Maarten, Anguilla, and St. Barts in the Caribbean have joined together to rebuild their tourism industry in the post-COVID-19 environment through a combined marketing strategy designed to encourage travelers to island-hop. The initiative seeks to encourage tourists to visit two or more of the neighboring island nations on the same trip. According to Jadine Yarde, the CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority, the islands have a common goal in promoting regional travel, which capitalizes on the nations’ proximity to each other and travelers’ desire to enjoy new experiences.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
BBC 3 PROGRAM CALLED “OUTRAGEOUS AND OFFENSIVE” TO JAMAICANS
A comedy sketch broadcast on the BBC Three series “Famalam”, which is self-described as “super sharp sketch show starring black British talent”, has been criticized by Jamaicans in the diaspora and at home and elicited expressions of disgust from Jamaican government ministers. Jamaica’s Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith called the program “outrageous and offensive.” The episode at the center of the outrage is one in which, during a sketch that created a Jamaican version of the Channel 4 show “Countdown,” Jamaican men are shown leering at women and being under the influence of marijuana. Johnson-Smith posted a Tweet in which she wrote, “This is outrageous and offensive to the incredible country which I am proud to represent along with every Jamaican at home and within our #Diaspora. I will immediately be writing formally on this! #StopThisShow.” “Who decided this was funny? Absolute disrespect and disgrace,” tweeted Jamaica’s Health and Wellness Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton. Nathaniel Peat, the Global Jamaica Diaspora Counsel representative for the South UK, said the Jamaican community in the United Kingdom has expressed concerns about how offensive the show’s content is. The BBC defended the program, however, and Fiona Campbell, channel controller, responded that the show was not “malicious” and added that the network stands by the creator’s “brand of humor.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMPRO TO HELP OVERSEAS LANDOWNERS LEASE IDLE LANDS TO INVESTORS AND FARMERS
Overseas landowners who have arable lands in Jamaica that have not been put into agricultural or developmental use will be aided by an initiative from JAMPRO designed to lease such lands and put them into production. This provides the landowners with a chance to earn income from their property, according to the Jamaican government. Gabriel Heron, marketing vice president at JAMPRO, said the agency wants to reposition and lease idle lands for investment projects including agro-parks and greenhouses. JAMPRO is attempting to “drive export expansion and improve security in agriculture” through the activity, noting that Jamaica had been seeing an increase in agricultural production before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
TOOTS HIBBERT SEEKS ROYALTIES FOR HEAVILY SAMPLED SONG “BAM BAM”
Toots Hibbert, or the iconic Jamaican reggae band Toots and the Maytals, has told a team of intellectual property managers to find out who has been getting the royalties from him song “Bam Bam,” his 1966 Jamaica Festival Song. Hibbert says that he, as writer, arranger, composer, singer and producer of the original song, has not received any royalties, He also told his publishers to pursue a complete forensic accounting of everyone who has covered the song without giving him credit. Hibbert has the copyright for the song that is registered with the United States Copyright Office. Copyright law in the US provides for monopoly protection “original works of authorship.” The exclusive rights are time-limited, usually expiring 70 years after the creator’s death. The original version of “Bam Bam” was the inspiration for the 1982 version by Sister Nancy, Lauren Hill featured it in her song “Lost Ones,” Kanye West featured Rihanna sampled it in 2016 on the song “Famous,” Beyoncé used a sample in her live performance of “Hold Up,” and Jay-Z sampled the song in his 2017 album “4:44.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA CRICKET ASSOCIATION SUSPENDS ALL EVENTS UNTIL END OF DECEMBER 2020
In response to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Jamaica, the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) has decided to suspend all local cricket events until the end of December 2020. The CEO of the JCA, Courtney Francis, made the announcement just three days after the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) cancelled all sporting competitions of the Christmas term of the 2020-2021 academic year, also citing the increase in coronavirus cases on the island. Francis said the JCA, like everyone else, just has to wait and seem what will happen. If the government’s guidelines relax restrictions and protocols in the future, the organization will make further assessments in December to decide how to proceed in January 2021. “This has affected everybody and we have to be responsible enough to make sure that when we go back out there, we go back out there in a safe environment,” Francis added, noting that the cancellations were a setback for the JCA as it has no income now since all international games for 2020 have been cancelled.