THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN JAMAICA IN ATTEMPT TO BATTLE VIOLENT CRIME
Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica announced that his government will institute a widespread state of emergency across the country to fight the rise in violent crime. In a public address, Holness stated that Jamaicans should be able to enjoy their holidays without facing a threat of violence. He emphasized that there are “really serious criminal threats” facing the county and that all powers available should be utilized to mitigate them. The State of Emergency (SOE) will be enforced in nine of the 14 parishes on the island: Clarendon, Saint Catherine, Westmoreland, Hanover and parts of Kingston, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann and Saint James, which includes Montego Bay, a popular tourist destination. Declaring an SOE allows authorities to make arrests and search buildings without a warrant. Holness said the measure was necessary to ensure that the homicide rate and violence level experienced by Jamaicans every day does not succeed in bringing down the state. Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the Caribbean region, he noted.
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER ANDREW HOLNESS VISITS WASHINGTON DC TO DISCUSS SECURITY ISSUES
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness is visiting Washington DC for five days during which he will discuss greater cooperation between the United States and Jamaica to battle crime in the island nation. Holness is especially concerned about the numerous Jamaican dons who are based in the US and who have influenced rising crime rates in Jamaica. Holness also plans to participate in a US Congressional Parliamentary Intelligence Security Forum at the Senate Building with other leaders and parliamentarians from around the world. Representatives of 70 countries are participating in the forum, which will discuss human trafficking, cybersecurity, and money laundering. Holness is also expected to visit the US Department of Justice’s Attorney General’s Office to address intensifying prosecutorial actions against targeted drug lords and the heads of lottery scams. Holness was met upon his arrival in Washington DC by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the US, Audrey Marks.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
FORMER PRESIDENT OF GUATEMALA CONVICTED OF FRAUD AND CONSPIRACY
A court in Guatemala has convicted the nation’s former president, Otto Perez Molina, along with his vice president Roxana Baldetti, on the counts of fraud and conspiracy. While the two resigned in 2015 and have been held in custody since then, they were convicted of charges stemming from a customs graft scheme called “La Linea,” or “The Line.” The graft involved defrauding the state by allowing businesses evade import duties in trade for bribes. Some 30 other customs officials and business people had been implicated in the case, which involved a total of $1 million in bribes and $7 million in lost government income. Perez Molina was president from 2012 to 2015 and continues to deny his guilt on the charges.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NOTTINGHAM CELEBRATES FIRST BLACK MAGISTRATE IN THE UK WITH CREATIVITY
The city of Nottingham in the United Kingdom found a creative way to celebrate Eric Irons, a Jamaican-born social justice advocate who became the first Black magistrate in the UK. Irons, who was born and raised in Jamaica moved to Nottingham in 1948 after World War II. He became a magistrate in 1962. His history of advocacy of equal rights inspired a “wave of artwork” in the city, and a mural celebrating his life and achievements was created by Honey Williams, a local artist. It was unveiled in October 2022 on the Carrington Street Bridge and honors Irons’ experiences in Jamaica, his early life, his military service, and his contributions in uplifting people of African descent in Nottingham. Lee Walker, the project’s director, said the mural is designed to encourage appreciation of Irons’ accomplishments and the opportunities he created for Black people when he attained a position of power.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JBDC INCUBATOR AND RESOURCE CENTER HOLDS GRAND OPENING IN KINGSTON
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) essential oils incubator was officially opened on December 2, 2022, in what the Corporation’s director, David Harrison, called a “big deal.” When JBDC executives presented the idea of an incubator to develop an essential oils industry in Jamaica to the Ministry of Finance, the authorities liked it right away. However, in spite of their support, the process proceeded slowly and at times appeared the incubator would not be established. The Essential Oils Incubator Project ultimately received the approval and financial support of Jamaica’s government in March of 2021, the JBDC went ahead with planning and implementation. The project approved a budget of $15 million in seed money to establish the incubator, which was a major achievement. The project is a “big deal” for small farmers and everyone who has ideas, as the opening indicates the government is serious about developing the value chain in agriculture to enhance the nation’s nontraditional industries.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
SHANIQUE SINGH WINS 2022 MISS JAMAICA WORLD TITLE
Shanique Singh, 25, was crowned Miss Jamaica World on December 4, 2022, at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston. She received the crown from Miss Jamaica World of 2021, Khalia Hall. During her performances prior to the coronation, Singh won two fast-track event awards: the Serengeti Talent Fast Track Event in which she performed a traditional Indian dance, and the Fort Clarence Beach Beauty Event. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness congratulated the new Miss Jamaica World via Twitter, posting, “Congratulations to Shanique Singh on being crowned Miss Jamaica World 2022. I wish you a successful and inspiring reign. Congratulations also to the other brilliant and talented Jamaicans who competed for the crown.” Singh is the fourth Jamaican to win the Miss World title in the history of the competition.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN ATTORNEY NAMED NEW CHAIR OF PAN AMERICAN HOCKEY FEDERATION
Michelle Thomas, a Jamaican attorney, has been named the chair of the governance panel of the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF). Thomas will be the first chair of the panel as well of its youngest member and one of the few women of color seated on the panel. The panel is designed to make recommendations and provide guidance to the organization’s board of directors on issues of governance, contractual obligations, and legal obligations. Thomas, 31, was appointed as chair during a meeting of the planning commission in November 2022. Thomas views her new role as a big step for women in a field dominated by males. Her tenure in the leadership position will last for two years, with her major goal for that time being to increase the presence of Caribbean countries in the global sporting body and to “uplift the image of Jamaican Hockey.” She also plans to use her legal expertise to make changes in the sport locally and regionally. Thomas first realized her passion for hockey at St. Andrew High School where she played center forward.