THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HOLNESS FOCUSES ON MEANING OF EMANCIPATION DAY IN MESSAGE
Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness used his speech in honor of Emancipation Day 2021 to focus on the meaning of the day and what occurred 181 years ago on August 1, 1838. He reminded Jamaicans to “never overlook or downplay” the role their ancestors played in resisting and battling the institution of slavery. In celebrating a day of full freedom, Jamaicans must thank their forebears for their sacrifices and think about the dehumanizing nature of the system that treated human beings as property, stripped of any rights, and controlled through the infliction of mental and physical pain. Holness went on to encourage Jamaicans to consider the right to personal space and to reject violence in their daily lives. Holness said that he remains positive that Jamaicans can transform their nation into a “kinder, gentler and more caring society,” however.
COVID-19 VACCINATION MANDATES IMPOSED BY JAMAICAN EMPLOYERS COULD EXPOSE THEM TO LEGAL RISK
Legal authorities are warning Jamaican employers who are considering firing workers who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 that they could be in violation of the law. Attorneys have noted that under the nation’s Employment Termination and Redundancy Act, such a move could be considered “unjust termination” as the Labor Code establishes how workers can be dismissed from their jobs. The Code makes no mention of firing employees because they refuse to get vaccinated. Trade unionist Lambert Brown agreed that an initial memo issued by Caledonia Outdoor Limited, a firm based in the Corporate Area giving its workers 14 days to get the COVID-19 vaccination or submit their resignations, was in breach of Jamaica’s laws. The company has since withdrawn its memo, saying instead that workers were being “strongly encouraged” to get the shot and that no one will be asked to resign if they do not get the vaccine. Zavia Mayne, Jamaica’s state minister in the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, said there is “no legal ground” for companies to dismiss workers who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
SOME CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES REINSTATING COVID-19 TEST REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY
After removing their mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, some nations in the Caribbean are imposing these requirements again due to the increase in number of Delta variant cases. As of Friday, August 6, 2021, all travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and children between the ages of 2 and 11 must obtain a negative COVID test, rapid antigen test, or PCR test, no more than five days before arriving in the Bahamas. Unvaccinated travelers aged 12 and older must also receive negative test results on the same timetable. These travelers will also need the test to travel from Nassau and Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Exuma, Abaco, and North and South Eleuthera. Cruise travelers must apply for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa and follow newly implemented testing requirements. Other countries announced more stringent updates to their travel and entry requirements related to COVID-19 as well, including Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and the British Virgin Islands.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
KINGSTON IN JAMAICA TO BECOME SISTER CITY OF GROTON AND NEW LONDON IN CONNECTICUT
The cities of Groton and New London in Connecticut are now sister cities with Kingston, Jamaica. Officials hope that the action will enhance cultural, economic, and educational exchanges among these communities. A memorandum of understanding was signed at a ceremony on August 3, 2021, by the mayors of the three cities at the Mystic Museum of Art. According to Patrice Granatosky, the mayor of Groton Town, the agreement promotes a cultural exchange and brings the potential for economic growth. Representatives from Kingston visited Groton and New London in 2019 to investigate the potential for a sister-city relationship, but the plans were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaica’s consul general to New York, Alsion Wilson described the agreement as historic and said she looked forward to a variety of exchanges between the communities, including in the form of educational programs and health industry interests.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA’S TOURISM MINISTER PROMOTES INVESTMENT IN ISLAND’S “EXPERIENTIAL TOURISM”
Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has noted a shift toward “interactive, experiential tourism” among visitors to Jamaica, and he urging investors to capitalize on the islands national parks, mountain trails, hiking, and cabin and hut accommodations to meet the demand. He made his remarks at the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association meeting in Kingston on July 29, 2021. Experiential tourism represents one of the fastest growing sectors in international tourism and appeals to visitors interested in nature, heritage, cultural experiences, and gastronomy at their destinations. Bartlett said that tourism is the fastest way to capitalize on foreign exchange from wealthy nations to developing countries.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
DREAM WEEKEND, BIGGEST PARTY FESTIVAL IN CARIBBEAN, BEGINS
Promoted as the largest party festival in the Caribbean, Jamaica’s Dream Weekend event begins on August 5, 2021, along a seven-mile strip of beach in Negril. The promoters, Dream Entertainment, received approval for the event from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management in Jamaica to stage a total of seven events: Celebrity Playground, Yush, TwistedSpiritz, Daydreams, Wet n Wild, Mawin After, and Igloo. The festival will run from August 5 through August 9, 2021. While concerns were raised about staging such a large event in the light of rising COVID-19 infection rates, the terms and conditions with which attendees must comply are clear: they must either get vaccinated by July 22, 2021, or show negative COVID-19 test results administered no sooner than August 3, 2021. Kool Runnings Water Park, Wavz, and Long Bay Beach 1 will have COVID-marshals in place to monitor compliance with all safety protocols. All attendees, staff, and suppliers must wear a COVID-negative armband at all times at the venues. Artists performing at the festival over its five-day duration include Dexta Daps, Ding Dong, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Laa Lee, Jah Vinci, 10Tik, and Qban, among others.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ELAINE THOMPSON HERAH MAKES HISTORY AT TOKYO OLYMPICS
Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson Herah, 29, is the first woman to win double-gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter Olympic events at two consecutive Olympic Games. Thompson Herah first won the 100-meter gold with a time of 10.61 seconds to break the 33-year-old Olympic record set by Florence Griffith Joyner at the Games in Seoul in 1988. Two days later, she won the 200-meter gold medal with a time of 21.53 seconds. Thompson Herah expressed her happiness at winning the 200-meters, noting it was a new personal best time for her and a Jamaican national record.