THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
WATER SHORTAGE IMPACTS CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY IN SOME COMMUNITIES
A shortage of the essential commodity of water spoiled the celebrations of many Jamaicans on Christmas. Due to the suspension of services in some communities by the National Water Commission (NWC(, island residents saw their festivities challenged. The NWC attributed the shortage to “a combination of issues.” In a Christmas Day press release, the NWC said that a number of wells in the Eastern Headworks Water Supply Relift System were out of operation due to a single phase power problems. This was the cause of service interruptions in the effected communities, which included Kent Village, Spanish Town Road, Molynes Road, Washington Boulevard, sections of downtown Kingston, Hamilton Gardens, Christian Gardens, Christian Pen, Newland Road, Cumberland, Cedar Grove, Edgewater, Waterford, Gregory Park, Braeton, Independence City, and Hellshire.
STRATEGIES BEING DEVELOPED FOR ENFORCEMENT OF PLASTIC BAG BAN
Authorities in Jamaica want to devise effective strategies to strengthen the enforcement of the country’s ban on plastic bags. The ban will go into effect on January 1, 2019, and according to Daryl Vaz, Minister of Economic Growth, too often, archaic and outdated legislation that is inadequate for the situation are being applied. Jamaica is considering the implementation of fines from J$50,000 (US$389) to J$1 million (US$7,794) for violating the ban, which includes plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam, drinking straws, and utensils.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CUBA PREPARES ADDITIONAL CENSORSHIP EFFORTS ON PERFORMERS
Cuba has enhanced its efforts to censor artists and performers. Under new regulations known as Decree 349, additional crack-downs on artistic expression were scheduled to begin in December 2018, but were delayed after a backlash from artists. Few changes are expected in the Decree, however, as it had previously been signed into law by President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The new law bans the exhibition and sale of artwork that has not been not authorized by the government. Music performances will also require authorization from the government. All performing artists will need a government license.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FIRST HONORARY COUNSUL TO SCOTLAND APPOINTED BY JAMAIXA
The Jamaican-born scientist, Professor Sir Godfrey “Geoff” Palmer, OBE, has been named Jamaica’s first honorary consul to Scotland, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United States, Seth George Ramocan, welcomed his appointment, believing it recognizes Jamaica’s deep historical, social, and economic links with Scotland. The new honorary consul was born in St. Elizabeth in 1940 and emigrated to Britain in 1956. He attended Leicester University in England in 1964, and in 1966 ad a PhD in science and technology from Edinburgh University in Scotland. Sir Godfrey developed the Barley Abrasion Process which revolutionized the brewing industry,. was knighted in 2014 for services to human rights, science and charity. He is also a founding member of the Jamaica Society Scotland.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA SEES HUGE NUMBER OF TOURIST ARRIVALS THIS SEASON
The tourism sector in Jamaica attained enormous improvements in the number of arrivals and amount of gross earnings during the per-Christmas period ranging from December 21 to 23, 2018. According to the Jamaica Tourist Board and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, preliminary airport arrivals during this period rose 12.8 percent over the number of arrivals during the same period in 2017, In 2018, these arrivals totaled 34,081, compared to 30,202 in 2017. Estimated gross earnings for the period in 2018 totaled US$51,240,784, 17.1 percent higher than the estimated US$43,773,994 for the same period of 2017.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
IMPRISONED DANCEHALL ARTIST VYBZ KARTEL MOST STREAMED IN JAMAICA
In spite of being in prison since 2011, dancehall artist Vybz Kartel continues to be the top entertainer in Jamaica, according to YouTube streaming data. Kartel is serving a life sentence for a murder conviction. In Jamaica, the artist’s videos obtained 25.4 million views on YouTube over the past 12 months, compared to 25.3 million for Alkaline, 19.4 million for Popcaan, 15.2 million for Masicka, and 11.1 million for Rygin King. Alkaline and Kartel are tied as the most streamed artists in Montego Bay. The top song streamed in Kingston is Rygin King’s “Tuff.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ROBERT HAYES TO BE INTERIM HEAD COACH OF SCORPIONS
Robert Haynes has been named the interim head coach of the Jamaica Scorpions cricket team. Haynes is a former Jamaica leg spinner. He signed a four-month contract, which will run from January 1, 2019, to April 30, 2019. Haynes replaces Robert Samuels as head coach and will be responsible for the nine remaining games of the Scorpions in the CWI Professional Cricket League – Windies Championship (formerly the Regional 4-day Competition). Haynes stated that his first task is to make an impact on the mindset of the team.