THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN SENATOR CALLS NATIONAL HERO STATUS FOR BOB MARLEY, MISS LOU, USAIN BOLT, JIMMY CLIFF
Jamaican Senator Dr. Floyd Morris plans to promote the designation of Bob Marley, Miss Lou, Usain Bolt, and Jimmy Cliff as National Heroes. Jamaica currently has seven national heroes, and all were political activists and connected to slavery, colonialism, or political independence. However, Morris notes that the National Honors and Awards Act of 1970 requires only two simple requirements for a Jamaican to be named a National Hero: that person must be a Jamaican citizen at the time of their death, and they must have given service “of a most distinguished nature” to Jamaica. The award may be presented posthumously or upon occasion of the person’s retirement from public life. Morris believes the four icons of Jamaican culture have provided distinguished service to the nation in their respective fields. The call from Morris to confer the title of National Hero on these individuals came shortly after Barbados made the Bajan superstar performer and entrepreneur Rihanna a National Hero.
JAMAICA’S ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY TO MAKE JAMAICA A REPUBLIC
According to Marlene Malahoo Forte, Attorney General of Jamaica, an announcement is forthcoming in 2022 regarding plans for Jamaica to follow the example of Barbados and cut ties to Britain, remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, and become a republic. Once the budget and sectoral debates are completed in January of 2022, the government will make a concrete announcement about its plans. In the past 40 years, several of Jamaica’s Prime Ministers have committed to starting the process of becoming a republic, no substantial action was taken.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
TRADITIONAL HAITIAN SOUP MAKES UNESCO’S INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE LIST
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has placed the traditional Haitian soup known as “Joumou soup” on its intangible cultural heritage list and given it protected status. This list is designed to recognize the importance of traditions inherited from ancestors such as oral traditions, social practices, rituals, practices relating to nature or knowledge and skills required to produce traditional crafts. Joumou Soup is more than a dish, according to Audrey Azouly, director-general of the UN agency. The squash-based soup of Haiti, the first country created by insurgent enslaved Black people, was a symbol of things that were forbidden to enslaved people during the French colonial period before Haitians gained independence on January 1, 1804. The people celebrated their freedom by eating the soup. Today, it is usually served on New Year’s Day to make the anniversary of liberation. Among the other traditions in the Caribbean honored by the UNESCO list is Jamaica’s reggae music, which was recognized in 2018.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN DIPLOMAT TO SERVE ON UNITED NATIONS ADVISORY BOARD ON DISARMAMENT
Shorna-Kay Richards, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Japan, will serve on the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (ABDM) of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General. The ABDM’s members are appointees of Secretary-General Antonio Gutterres and advise him on issues of arms limitation and disarmament, including research conducted under the oversight of the UN or entities within the UN system. Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson-Smith, expressed the Ministry’s pride in Richards and her new responsibilities. Richards, who has been in the foreign service for more than 25 years, said she looked forward to supporting the UN and its work in disarmament and arms limitation as it promotes global peace, security, and development. Richards previously service as a permanent representative of Jamaica to the UN and on the permanent mission to the Organization of American States (OAS), as well as the Jamaican High Commission in Pretoria. She was also the lead negotiator in the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty process.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
PORT OF FALMOUTH WINS TWO MAJOR 2021 WORLD CRUISE AWARDS
The Port of Falmouth is the winner of two prestigious World Cruise Awards for 2021. At the inaugural staging of the World Cruise Awards, Falmouth was named the World’s Best Cruise Terminal in 2021, as well as the Caribbean’s Best Cruise Terminal. The awards recognize excellence in the cruise industry. Commenting on the awards, the Port Authority of Jamaica, which is responsible for the management of the island’s cruise ports, stated that Falmouth establishes the standard for cruise terminals in the Caribbean. The Port Authority also noted that Jamaica is an iconic destination for cruise ships and that the nation has sustained its position as an award-winning cruise destination over time, making significant investments in its ports and facilities.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN PHIL CHEN, WORLD-RENOWN BASS GUITARIST, PASSES AWAY
The acclaimed Jamaican bass guitarist Phil Chen died on December 14, 2021, following a long battle with cancer. Chen was born in Kingston and was a former student at St. George’s College. He formed The Vagabonds, a ska band, with his cousin Colton Chen, moving to the United Kingdom in 1964. He became a session player for many rock artists, including Rod Stewart and Beck, and he toured with Robbie Krieger’s edition of The Doors. He received the Order of Distinction from Jamaica’s government in 2014 in recognition of his contributions to music.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ALIA ATKINSON DISQUALIFIED IN 50-METER BREASTSTROKE AT 2021 SHORT COURSE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jamaica’s superstar world-record-holding swim champion Alia Atkinson was disqualified from the 2021 Short Course World Championships 50-meter breaststroke event in Abu Dhabi. She was disqualified for a downward dolphin kick out of Lane 4 prior to the finish. This is the first time Atkinson will not be a participant in the 50-meter breaststroke finals since 2012. She has won medals in four consecutive SC World Championships. During her career, she won a gold medal in 2018 in China, and in 2016, she set the world record in the event with a time of 28.64. In 2018, she reduced her time in the event to 28.56. Atkinson retired from Olympic competition earlier in 2021 when she failed to move past the heats in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but said she would continue to compete at international competitions.