THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
PREVIOUSLY BARRED FROM SCHOOL, JAMAICAN GIRL WITH DREADLOCKS NOW PERMITTED TO ATTEND
A seven-year-old girl who had been barred by a ruling from Jamaica’s supreme court from attending a Jamaican school because her parents would not cut her dreadlocks has now received permission to attend school in September 2020 after all. The chair of the board at Kensington Primary School, Rev. Alvin Bailey, said that no decision had been taken by the school to forbid the girl’s attendance, but the court’s ruling resulted in a national discussion about dreadlocks, Rastafarianism, and identity and linked the issue to an international movement to fight racism that was spurred by the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jamaicans worldwide criticized the court ruling, which stated that the girl’s constitutional rights had not been breached in 2018 when the school’s principal told her parent she had to cut her hair if she was to be granted a place at Kensington Primary. In response to the ruling and the public outcry, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said it was time for the government to review, update, and amend the Education Act to reflect a “modern and culturally inclusive position that protects” children from being barred from schools on the basis of having dreadlocks.
CONCERNS ABOUT COVID-19 EXPOSURE AND CROWD CONTROL AT POLITICAL EVENTS IN PENDING GENERAL ELECTION
The administration of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness is feeling pressures from the public as calls for more stringent rules governing crowd control at political events increase. Jamaicans are concerned about the risks of COVID-19 exposure during events scheduled in advance of the 2020 general election. Calls for strengthening the Disaster Risk Management Act, which is responsible for the enforcement of conduct in public and private spaces, have been made as the number of reported new cases of the coronavirus increase. The general secretaries of the two major political parties are not able to restrict the behavior of growing crowds at political events and find it difficult to enforce compliance among their supporters under existing COVID-19 rules.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
THREE CARIBBEAN NATIONS MAKE IT EASIER TO OBTAIN CITIZENSHIP
As more Americans are considering making a move to another country in light of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States and issues relating to the pending presidential election, three nations in the Caribbean have responded by making it easier and less expensive for foreigners to obtain a second citizenship. St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda have implemented new options under COVID-19 relief rules that would allow foreigners to invest reduced amounts of money to gain citizenship. The cost reductions range from $25,000 to $250,000. Wait times for citizenship have also been reduced under the relaxed rules. The changes have been attributed to the need for these countries to find additional sources of revenue due to the drop in tourism resulting from the pandemic.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
MAYOR OF LAUDERDALE LAKES AMONG JAMAICAN NATIONAL AWARD RECIPIENTS FOR 2020
Hazelle Rogers, the mayor of Lauderdale Lakes in Florida, is one of the 2020 Jamaican National Awardees. Rogers is one of several Jamaicans on the island and in other countries who will receive a Jamaican National Award on October 19, 2020. The awards are presented each year by the Jamaican government to recognize Jamaicans for their service to the interest of Jamaica. The awards are given on National Heroes Day at the official residence of the Governor-General of Jamaica, Kings House. Mayor Rogers is a pioneering Jamaican American politician who will receive the Order of Distinction (OD), the sixth highest of the awards in the rank of Commander. The award is given for her years of service to the Jamaican Diaspora. She was elected a commissioner to the City of Lauderdale Commission in 1998. In 2008, she was elected to represent District 94 in the House of Representatives in Florida, and in 2016, she was elected Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes. Other awardees from South Florida in 2020 include Third World drummer William “Willie” Stewart and Keith Lyn, former member of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT GRANTS EXTENSION TO UNITED OIL IN SEARCH FOR DRILLING PARTNER
United Oil and Gas (UOG) has been given until January 2022 to find a drilling partner to help in the extraction of oil from the Walton-Morant Basin off Jamaica’s shore. The firm now has the full license for Walton-Morant as it has acquired the 80-percent interest previously held by Tullow Oil PLC, its former lead partner in the oil exploration project. With the extension, United Oil has until the end of January in 2022 “before the drill-or-drop decision is required.” Tullow Oil stopped its search for partners in early 2020 as it experienced a “severe restructuring” before the COVID-19 pandemic, which imposed greater stresses on the firm. United reported paying a “nominal fee” for Tullow’s 80-percent stake.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
YEARS BOB MARLEY SPENT IN UK EXPLORED IN NEW DOCUMENTARY
A one-hour documentary film that focuses on the time Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley spent in the United Kingdom and his influence on British culture is scheduled for presentation on BBC2 in August 2020. The documentary, entitled “When Bob Marley Came to Britain,” explores his impact on the music scene in the UK through archive film footage and interviews with people who knew him at the time. The film is directed by Stuart Ramsay, with Mark Robinson serving as executive producer. According to Robinson, while the singer lived and recorded in London in the 1970s, he also traveled extensively throughout the UK and influenced British culture wherever he went. It is also the story of how the UK changed Marley, said Robinson, and the nation’s role in transforming him into an international superstar.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
“BRONZE QUEEN” MERLENE OTTEY TO RECEIVE 2020 ORDER OF JAMAICA
Merlene Ottey, who won nine medals representing Jamaica at the Olympics from 1978 to 2000, will receive Jamaica’s fourth-highest honor, the Order of Jamaica. Known as the “Bronze Queen,” Ottey won six bronze medals at the Olympics, as well as 14 World Championships medals. Her wins at the World Championships included consecutive 200-meter titles in 1993 and 1995. She is ranked seventh among 100-meter sprinters in the world and fourth in the 200-meters. Ottey, 60, who switched representation to Slovenia in 2000, holds the world indoor record in the 200 meters with a time of 21.87 seconds set in 1993. After winning the gold medal at the 1993 World Championships, Ottey was named Ambassador of Jamaica. She was named Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year 13 times between 1979 and 1995.