THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
MEMBER OF JAMAICA’S PARLIAMENT CALLS GOVERNMENT INACTION TO CUT TIES WITH BRITAIN “DEPRESSING”
Fitz Jackson, St. Catherine Southern Member of Parliament, has raised concerns about the Jamaican government’s silence on a resolution from 2020 that would terminate the country’s ties to the British monarchy that date back to the colonial period. Mikael Phillips, Opposition Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western proposed the resolution a year ago. Now that Barbados has successfully removed the British Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and officially become a republic, the provisions in Jamaica’s Constitution that permit the required steps to be taken prior to the 60th anniversary of independence in August 2022 have become increasingly important amid calls for the government to end its ties to the British family. Jackson calls the inaction by the government “depressing.” According to Oliva Grange, Jamaica’s Culture Minister, the issue of sovereignty for the country is under active consideration, with an “appropriate response” to be provided soon.
AS BARBADOS DECLARES RECORDING ARTIST RIHANNA A NATIONAL HERO, DISCUSSIONS ON SIMILAR STATUS FOR JAMAICAN ICON BOB MARLEY RESURGE
Now that Barbados, as a sovereign republic, has designated singer Rihanna as a National Hero, Bob Marley supporters in Jamaica have reopened the conversation about making the reggae music pioneer and social justice activist a Jamaican National Hero. Jackie Knight was selected by the singer’s family before 2005 to consult on a project to name Bob Marley one of the island’s National Heroes. Formal letters were written on behalf of the family to the governor general at the time, along with the Ministries of Tourism and Culture to ask for consideration in conferring the title to Marley. The process stalled, however, and although there was considerable media coverage about the issue at the time, the conversation in Jamaica led to numerous debates, discouraging the Marley family who did not want his name to be part of such discussions. While some support the idea, others like psychologist Dr. Leahcim Semaj, believe that it would be a “demotion” and “an act of exploitation” for Marley to be named a Jamaican National Hero as he is already an international icon.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
SINGER RIHANNA NAMED NATIONAL HERO AS BARBADOS BECOMES A REPUBLIC
In recognition for her strong commitment to her birth country, Barbados named singer, fashion icon, and entrepreneur Rihanna, 33, as its first National Hero in 20 years. She was honored at a ceremony celebrating the new status of Barbados as a republic after it removed the British Queen Elizabeth II as head of state effective on November 30, 2021. The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, congratulated nation’s most famous citizen, who has been a Barbados ambassador for culture and youth since 2018, with a reference to her 2012 hit song “Diamonds.” Hoping she would “continue to shine like a diamond,” Mottley noted that Rihanna has captured the world’s imagination with her creativity, discipline, and strong commitment to the land of her birth. The singer was born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. In 2008, an annual Rihanna Day was instituted by David Thompson, the Prime Minister at the time.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN-BORN POLITICIAN IN SOUTH FLORIDA FILES LAWSUIT TO HAVE PRIMARY ELECTION LOSS OVERTURNED
Dale Holness, a Jamaican-born politician in South Florida is asking a court in Florida to overturn the loss he recently experienced in a Democratic Party election for the 20th Congressional District seat. Holness claims that the winner, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, is not eligible to hold the office because she did not file required financial disclosure reports. His suit also claims that she offered money to buy votes via her “People’s Prosperity Plan,” which promised to give $1,000 per month to adults who earned less than $75,000 per year. Holness claims that there were also issues in the election concerning military ballots from overseas that were rejected as well. He also names Joe Scott, the Broward Supervisor of Election, the Broward Canvassing Board, and the Elections Canvassing Commission in his lawsuit. In the primary election, Cherfilus-McCormick received 11, 662 votes, while Holness received 11, 657 votes. The election on January 11, 2022, will select the person to serve the last year of the term of Alcee Hastings, who died in April 2021.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN MINISTER OF TOURISM NAMED NEW CHAIR OF INTER-AMERICAN COMMITTEE ON TOURISM
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, has been elected to serve as the Chair of the Organization of America States (OAS) Inter-American Committee on Tourism. He was elected on November 30, 2021, to the committee, which is the most prestigious tourism group in the region, which includes Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States among its members. In accepting his new role, Bartlett asked that the region not accept what is but work for “what might be.” He called on the region to face the issues of the COVID-19 pandemic and to make the Americas a strong tourism sector that provides jobs and economic health for its populations. The OAS is the oldest regional organization in the world and was established in 1890. The Inter-American Committee is a subsidiary of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI).
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
TUFF GONG RADIO MARKS FIRST ANNIVERSARY BROADCASTING ON SIRIUS XM
Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio, which comprises Tuff Gong Radio, Tuff Beats, and Tuff Soca, is celebrating its partnership with SiriusXM and the Marley group of companies. Tuff Gong Radio launched on SiriusXM, a satellite radio platform, in December of 2020, with a mandate to bring its listeners the authentic sounds of Jamaica’s music. Tuff Gong radio offers music from the Marley/Tuff Gong libraries as well as weekly mix shows featuring some of the most popular broadcast talents in the region, including ZJ Sparks, Collin Hines, DJ Jel, and DJ Delano. CEO Cedella Marley also hosts a weekly mix show on Tuff Gong, which draws from her early work as host of Tuff Gong Countdown radio on JBC. Tuff Gong has used the platform to honor music legends, celebrate women in reggae, and to highlight new music. A live concert from Jamaica on Rita Marley’s 75th birthday was broadcast in July 2021. SiriusXM is the biggest audio entertainment platform of its type in North America and has given Tuff Gong a prime position on the channel previously belonging to Elvis Presley.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN SPRINTER ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH NAMED FEMALE WORLD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Jamaican sprinter and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was crowned World Athlete of the Year in recognition of her amazing performances at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. She is the first woman to win Olympic sprint doubles back-to-back, retaining her 100-meter and 200-meter titles at the 2020 Olympics and also winning a gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter relay. Her time of 10.61 seconds in the women’s 100 meters and her 200-meter time of 21.53 seconds were the second fastest times for these events in history. After the Olympics, Thompson-Herah went on to run the 100 meters in 10.54 seconds at the Prefontaine competition in Eugene, Oregon. The sprinter said she just takes her performances year by year but believes she has more to give and does not intend to retire from competition any time soon.