THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICA MAKES DIGITAL COVID-19 VACCINATION CARDS AVAILABLE
Although it missed the deadline for the launch of digital COVID-19 certificates, Jamaica’s Health Ministry did ultimately roll out its digital vaccination card. The card allows vaccinated Jamaicans to have access to the globally accepted method of verifying their vaccination status. Countries around the world have required visitors to show proof of vaccination as an entry requirement. The Ministry of Health and Wellness plans to phase out the current physical vaccination cards and replace them with the digital version over the next two months. The digital cards have a Quick Response (QR) Code that allows data to be validated, which reduces the potential for fraud.
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER PLANS TO MAKE CHANGES TO CABINET IN 2022
Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, disclosed during a Radio Jamaica interview, that he plans to “reshuffle” his Cabinet in the early part of 2022. He characterized the action as reasonable and expected. The changes to the Cabinet expected to occur include the reassignment of Audley Shaw, who currently handles the agriculture and fisheries portfolio after the resignation of Floyd Green. Shaw is also responsible for the areas of industry, investment, and commerce. Former Labor Party leader Bruce Golding told Holness at the party’s yearly conference in November 2021 that the Prime Minister had to defend “own goals” too often and that Holness should use his political capital or lose it.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
BONAIRE UPDATES COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR VISITORS
Bonaire, an island in the Dutch Caribbean, announced that it has altered the entry requirements imposed on visitors. Under the new rules, which go into effect on December 22, 2021, travelers must show proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 that they had taken within 48 hours prior to their departure for Bonaire. All travelers aged 12 and older are required to comply with the new rules. Once they arrive, visitors will receive a self-test at no cost, which they must take at their place of accommodation on the day of their arrival. For those who test positive, the rules require that they isolate and report at the Health Department for a PCR rest. After five days in Bonaire, visitors aged 12 and up must take a PCR test as well. The country also requires all unvaccinated travelers from the United States, the Netherlands, and other high-risk and very high-risk nations, to comply with the mandatory five-day self-quarantine after their arrival. This can be undertaken at a hotel or villa. After five days, they must also take a PCR test and receive a negative result in order to leave quarantine. The new rules have been imposed due to uncertainties related to the recently identified Omicron virus.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
MEMBERS OF JAMAICAN DIASPORA PRESENTED WITH NATIONAL AWARDS AT EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON DC
Jamaican Diaspora members received National Honors at a ceremony held at Jamaica’s Embassy in Washington, DC. The awards were presented on December 17, 2021, as part of Jamaica’s Annual National Honors and Awards program held in October 2021. They were presented to the awardees by Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States. Among those honored was Professor Donald J. Harris, the father of US Vice President Kamala Harris; he received the Order of Merit for his contributions to National Development. Other awardees included Michael London, who received the Order of Distinction for work in the creative industries; Security Attaché Superintendent Gloria Davis-Simpson for her contribution to Jamaica’s constabulary; and Cassandra Campbell, who received the Governor General’s Jamaica Diaspora Achievement Award For her contribution to small business development. Athlete Jacqueline Fedalis Pusey received the Order of Distinction, Commander Class for her contribution to sports, particularly the Jamaica Athletic Program, while Jamaica’s Honorary Consul to Chicago, Lloyd Hyde, received the Order of Distinction, Officer Class, for his contribution to the Jamaican Diaspora in Illinois and mid-western states. Debora Pixley-Clarke was conferred with the Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service for her contribution to the Jamaica Defense Force. Dr. Trudy Hall of Maryland was awarded the Governor General’s Jamaica Diaspora Achievement Award was presented to for her contribution to medicine.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN MINISTER OF TOURISM SEES RISE IN TOURIST ARRIVALS BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2021
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, has noted the increase in number of visitor arrivals before Christmas, in spite of continued COVID-19 concerns. In less than one week into the winter tourist season, Bartlett said Jamaica reports arrivals that are comparable to pre-COVID times. From Friday, December 17, Jamaica has seen more than 159 flights into Montego Bay, which represents stopover arrivals at approximately 25,000 over a three day period. In the three days between December 17, 2021, and December 20, 2021, the Tourism Minister has counted 25,000 passengers passing through Sangster International Airport. This number has not been seen since 2019.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
REGGAE STAR USES SOCIAL MEDIA TO ADDRESS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, CHILDREN IN JAMAICA
Reggae musician Anthony B is calling for an end to violence in Jamaica, especially violence targeting women and children. The singer of “Raid the Barn” said that Jamaicans have become accustomed to violence and could soon become “an endangered species” if they do not take steps to change the situation and protect themselves. Anthony B told Dancehall Magazine that the topic of violence must be addressed every day, and he plans to do so on his social media platforms, noting that “Per year we are killing more people than any country our size without ever having any kind of war.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN SARA MISIR BECOMES FIRST CARIBBEAN WOMAN TO MAKE FORMULA ONE COMPETITION FINAL
Sara Misir, 23, of Jamaica made her mark on auto racing history when she became the first woman from the Caribbean to qualify for the final of a Formula One competition in the United Kingdom. Misir was one of 50 finalists from over 9,000 applications from around the globe to the Formula One Women’s Program. At the program’s completion, the top competitor will be chosen to drive for a McLaren GT team. The competition’s final is scheduled for March 2 and 3, 2022, in the UK. Misir is also completing a master’s degree at Florida International University. According to her father, Rugie Misir, his daughter’s achievement represents a big boost for the sport in Jamaica and will put the nation on the map for racing.