THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
GOVERNMENT MOVES TO CREATE POLICY TO ADDRESS HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT
Jamaica’s government is making an effort to ensure that hazardous waste on the island is handled in the best possible way by submitting an updated Green Paper to the Cabinet in December 2020. Hazardous waste is any substance that is likely to endanger health or the environment and is generated by households, power generators, the pharmaceuticals industry, petrochemical firms, pesticides, the chemical industry, and the electronic and electrical industry. The Green Paper pays special attention to the handling of medical waste, and the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change is working with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the National Environment and Planning Agency to include appropriate provisions, according to Gillian Guthrie, acting chief technical director in the Housing Ministry.
HEALTH MINISTER CALLS FOR UPGRADES TO HEALTH CENTERS
Visits to health clinics in Jamaica rose by 33 percent in 2020, causing Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Health and Wellness Minister, to call for more partnerships designed to upgrade medical facilities on the island. Since January of 2020, visits to health centers totaled 1.6 million, 400,000 more than in all of 2019. Tufton wants more Jamaicans to engage with the Ministry’s Adopt a Clinic program. This program has collected over $130 million from charities and corporate entities to support health facility upgrades in its first five years of operation. Greater support for health centers is necessary now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While 100 of the 325 primary care facilities in Jamaica are available for adoption, only 30 have been taken up to date.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
BARBADOS PLANNING DEVELOPMENT OF MEDICINAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY
According to Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight, CEO of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BCLA), the nation’s administration is going ahead with its plans to develop a medical cannabis industry. In spite of setbacks arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is extremely high interest among investors in the sector. Investors will be able to submit applications and proposals for cannabis industry development beginning in January of 2021. The cost of licenses for the industry is five times less than those in other Caribbean countries. Additionally, the BCLA is working to lower infrastructure costs and improve procedural efficiencies, elements that have made it difficult for locals in other Caribbean nations to do business.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
UNITED KINGDOM DEPORTS JAMAICANS IN SPITE OF STRONG OPPOSITION
The Home Office in Britain went ahead with its controversial plan to operate a deportation flight to Jamaica the first day England’s month-long COVID-19 lockdown ended. The government moved forward with the plan despite strong opposition from immigration and civil rights activists. Thirteen men were deported, according to Chris Philp, Home Office minister for immigration compliance. He added that all the men deported had criminal histories and expressed his dismay that several others who had been scheduled to deportation were granted last-minute reprieves after a legal challenge and flight deferrals. Some 50 people were originally slated for deportation.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
HOPE ZOO HEADSTART PROGRAM SEEKS TO BOOST BEEKEEPING INDUSTRY
To encourage more Jamaicans to enter the beekeeping industry, a potentially lucrative business, the Hope Zoo HeadStart Program is providing capital for such businesses to grow and develop in the local sector. The program focuses on community members who live in the borderlands of the Hellshire Hills and is working in partnership with Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It provides seed monies for members who want to enter the beekeeping industry. According to Orlando Gregory Lynch, the senior plant protection officer at the agriculture unit at Bodies Research Station, the program is especially suitable for unemployed and unattached young people who want to use the forest in ways stated by the project and is designed to help them develop beekeeping as an alternative income source. Honey production increased by more than 200 percent between 2005 and 2017.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA’S CULTURE MINISTRY LAUNCHES “JAMAICA 60” LOGO COMPETITION
The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has launched a competition open to Jamaicans on the island and overseas to design a logo for the nation’s 60th anniversary of independence. The winner of the competition will receive US$2,500. The submission deadline is midnight Friday, January 19, 2021. The competition is being organized by the Ministry’s secretariat for commemorative events and special projects. According to the Ministry, the logo should utilize Jamaica’s national colors and /or symbols. It should reflect the Jamaican spirit. The government will have exclusive rights to use the winning design “in perpetuity.” According to Lenford Salmon, project director, the logo will be use as the brand image in Jamaica 60 celebrations.