THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
VAZ SAYS MINISTRY TO INTRODUCE NATIONAL ID ACT IN EARLY 2022
Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology, reported that the ministry will ensure that the National Identification and Registration Act of 2021 (NIDS) will be introduced early in 2022. According to regulations, data controllers must comply with the new law within two years of its appointed day notice (ADN) of December 1, 2021. Celia Barclay, the first information commissioner for the NIDS, took office on that date. She will be responsible for strategic oversight of the establishment of the office under the provisions of the Data Protection Act (DPA). Barclay is an attorney with experience in estate administration.
JAMAICAN EDUCATION MINISTRY MANDATES REOPENING OF SCHOOLS ON JANUARY 3, 2022
Jamaica’s Ministry of Education has stated that all public primary and secondary schools in the country must reopen for in-person learning on January 3, 2021. However, uncertainty remains concerning whether or not the minimum vaccination rate of 65 percent in secondary schools is still in force for in-person secondary school classes. To date, 69,731 students between the ages of 12 and 18 have been fully vaccinated. This represents approximately 21.3 percent of the age group, according to Jamaica’s Ministry of Health. Fayval Williams, Education Minister informed Parliament on November 29, 2021, that all primary and secondary schools with a vaccination rate of at least 65 percent would be allowed to return to face-to-face classes. However, in the latest Ministry bulletin, no specific mention of a vaccination percentage was given, causing confusion among relevant parties.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
TWO CARIBBEAN NATIONS CONFIRM PRESENCE OF OMICRON VARIANT
Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are two nations in the eastern Caribbean that have recorded their first cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Omicron has been described as most transmissible and contagious than the Delta variant. According to Dr. Kenneth George, the chief medical officers of Barbados, there is only the one confirmed case of omicron to date, but other samples were taken for testing, and their results will be known in seven to 10 days. In St. Vincent, an American traveler who had been fully vaccinated had a positive test for the omicron virus. According to the National Emergency Management Organization, this individual came into the country with a negative COVID result, but was tested further upon arrival, and the omicron infection was discovered. That person is now quarantined.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
SANDRA LINDSAY, JAMAICAN-BORN NURSE WHO RECEIVED FIRST COVID SHOT IN U.S., BECOMES VACCINE ACTIVIST
Jamaican-born nurse Sandra Lindsay, was the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and now the New York resident has become one of the best-known promoters of vaccines. She has appeared on panels, on Zoom townhall meetings, and at other events to encourage everyone who is hesitant about getting the vaccines to speak to experts who can provide them with answers. Lindsay received her shot on television on December 14, 2020. Lindsay personally saw the impact of the virus at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center where she is director of critical care nursing. Since receiving her shot, she has been recognized by US President Joe Biden as n “Outstanding American by Choice,” a designation from a program sponsored by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to recognize naturalized citizens.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
GLOBAL CRISIS MANAGEMENT CENTER RECOGNIZED AT WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS
The World Travel Awards, which were held in Dubai, honored the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC) as the top tourism initiative in the world in 2021. The center is based at the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus, and also operates from several regions around the world. It has affiliates in more than 42 countries and promotes policies designed to help community efforts in areas disrupted by climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, terrorism, economic downturns, and political instability. Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, co-chair and founder of the center, expressed gratitude for the recognition by the world’s top authority on excellence in travel and tourism. He added that the award showcases the outstanding work the center does for tourism resilience.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
INSTITUTE OF JAMAICA HOLDS VIRTUAL MUSGRAVE MEDAL AWARDS CEREMONYThe annual Musgrave Medal Awards will be presented at a virtual ceremony by the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) on Friday, December 31, 2021. The awards will honor ten Jamaicans who have been outstanding in their respective fields and contributions to literature, science, and the arts. The event will be available to view on PBCJ and on the YouTube channel of the IOJ. Steven Woodham, violinist and music teacher, and James “Jimmy” Tucker, Jamaica’s first singing sensation whose career spanned over 60 years, were announced as Musgrave Award winners earlier in the year. Woodham will received a Gold Medal, and Tucker will receive the Silver Medal. Professor Ishion Hutchinson will receive a Gold Medal in literature, and Professor Mona Webber will be presented with a Gold Medal in the field of science. Professor Mark Harris and Professor Shara McCallum will receive Silver Medals in the fields of science and literature, respectively. Veronica Blake-Carnegie will receive a Bronze in the field of literature, while Fitzroy Russell will receive Bronze in art, and Hawthorne Watson a Bronze in science.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN SWIM CHAMPION ALIA ATKINSON ANNOUNCES HER RETIREMENT
Alia Atkinson, a five-time Olympian and a four-time world swim champion, announced her retirement from her exemplary swimming career of more than two decades. Atkinson is the first Black woman to win a World Championship in swimming. She announced her plans via her Instagram account after finishing her last race at the World Short Course Swimming Championships of 2021. Atkinson has represented Jamaica in international swimming competitions, specializing in the breaststroke, for about 20 years and has competed at five consecutive Olympics from 2004 to 2021.