THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN-BORN RICK PERRY, NOMINEE FOR ROLE OF U.S. AMBASSADOR TO JAMAICA, INTRODUCED TO SENATE
Jamaican-born Nick Perry, who currently represents Brooklyn, New York’s 58th Assembly District, has started the confirmation process that could result in his appointment as the new ambassador to Jamaica from the United States. Perry was introduced to the US Senate by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who described him as an outstanding and “exceedingly fitting” nominee for the role. If confirmed, Perry would be the first individual born in Jamaica to serve as the nation’s American Ambassador. US President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Perry on November 3, 2021. Perry migrated to the US in 1971 and served in the US Army for two years in active duty and four years in the reserves. In the New York Assembly, Perry is a member of the Rules, Ways and Means, Codes, Banks, Labor, and Transportation committees. He is also the former chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT PLANS TO SPEND BILLIONS TO BUILD NEW POLICE HEADQUARTERS IN WESTMORELAND
The government of Jamaica will spend almost $2 billion over a three-year period to construct a new divisional police headquarters in Westmoreland. The amount includes $700 million that has been provided in the budget for the pending fiscal year that starts on April 1, 2022. Some $900 million is marked for spending in 2023-2024, and $250 million in 2024-2025. The new headquarters represents a portion of the government’s efforts to improve police facilities. The project had been included in the 2021 budget, which provided an allocation of $200 million for the project, later revised to $180 million.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
GRENADA MARKS 48 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
The Caribbean nation of Grenada celebrated 48 years of independence with a military parade at National Stadium with the theme of “Overcoming our Adversity – Safeguarding Livelihoods – Protecting our Future.” The celebration featured several speakers who described its historic struggles and its path to a more prosperous future. There were no guests permitted to attend the celebration because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but many took part in a live broadcast of the parade. Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell noted the way the pandemic had changed their lives forever and also used the opportunity to express concern about the rate of vaccinations in the country and to encourage the people of Grenada to get vaccinated. He also spoke of national pride, the return of in-person learning among students, salaries for front-line public health workers, and plans for the government to absorb any rise in fuel prices above EC$15 per gallon.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT WORKS TO ENSURE SAFE DEPARTURE OF STUDENTS FROM UKRAINE
The government of Jamaica announced that 42 students who were pursuing their studies in Ukraine will be able to leave through Germany without getting a visa. Concerns about the safety of the student had arisen as fear of a Russian invasion increased. According to Robert Morgan, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, some students were not registered with Jamaica’s embassy in Germany, but they do not need visas to travel through Germany on their way to Jamaica, so they will be able to exit Ukraine easily should the need arise.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
RUNWAY EXTENSION CONTRACT FOR SANGSTER INTERNATIONAL AWARDED
Lagan Aviation and Infrastructure and H&J Martin joint venture have been awarded the contract for the Runway Extension and Establishment of Runway End Safety Area (RESA) at Sangster International Airport (SIA). The contract is word $34 million, and the entire project has an estimated cost of $70 million. The airport is operated by MBJ Airports, which is extending the runway through the Airport Capital Improvement Plan. The plan will include safety areas at the end of each runway in order to meet requirements established by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Essential work for the project has already started, including protection of the shoreline, realignment of the roadway, and widening of taxiway “Echo” and jet blast screen. The work is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2023.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
EXHIBIT HONORING RITA MARLEY OPENS AT BOB MARLEY MUSEUM
An exhibition organized by Cedella Marley and other members of the Marley family to honor Rita Marley had its official opening on February 6, 2022, the 77th anniversary of Bob Marley’s birth. The exhibit was curated by Berette S. Macaulay. A private viewing of the exhibit was attended by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Opposition Leader Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange, and reggae icon Marcia Griffiths of the I-Three. The exhibition is entitled “Rita Marley: Mystic of a Queen” and pays tribute to the legacy of a living legend in honoring Dr. Alferita Marley, known as Rita, for her contributions to the worlds of culture, entertainment, and business. It offers insights into the work of the Marley family’s matriarch in her roles as a businesswoman, philanthropist, and recording artist and includes images, costumes, and artifacts from Rita Marley’s career as a member of the I-Three, her solo career as a Grammy-nominated artist, and a multimedia presentation displaying parts of her life and testimonials from her community.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA’S 2022 BOBSLED TEAM HOPING TO WIN MEDAL IN BEIJING
Ashley Watson of Sheffield Hallam University, a member of the Jamaican four-man bobsled team competing at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, believes the team can achieve its highest-ever ranking in 2022. This is the first time in 24 years that Jamaica has qualified for the Winter Games. Watson says there is no point in entering a competition unless the goal is to win a medal. Jamaica’s first bobsled team became an international sensation in 1988, but a crash ended their hopes of medaling. A Jamaican team last qualified for the Winter Olympics in 1998, finishing in 21st place. Its best finish was in Lillehammer in 1994 when it finished 14th. The 2022 team comprises Matthew Wekpe, Nimroy Turgott, and L/Cpl Shanwayne Stephens, in addition to Watson, who believes they will do well. The four-man bobsled event is scheduled to begin on February 19, 2022.