THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
NO CORRUPTION CHARGES FOR HOLNESS
Leadership at the Integrity Commission, Jamaica’s anti-corruption agency, have decided that Prime Minister Andrew Holness will not face corruption charges following its investigation of a possible conflict of interest relating to government contracts that were awarded to a construction firm between 2006 and 2009. The Commission ruled that no charges would be filed against the Prime Minister for allegedly recommending contracts with Westcon Construction Limited. The Commission’s leaders communicated to Jamaica’s Parliament via a letter noting that the investigation had failed to contradict or provide more evidence to support the allegations. Holness had presided over the Education Ministry, which had awarded ten contracts worth nearly J$22 million, US$140,000 over to years to Weston Construction.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT MINISTER SAYS JAMAICA “BACK ON TRACK” TO BECOME A REPUBLIC
According to Marlene Malahoo Forte, Jamaica’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Jamaica is on the path to becoming a republic after plans to move forward on the issue stalled in January 2023 following a disagreement between the nation’s two main political parties. Forte had said that plans to announce who would serve on the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) were postponed because Opposition Leader Mark Golding delayed naming two members of his party to the entity. Now, Jamaica’s Governor General Sir Patrick Allen announced that all the teams are established and ready to go forward. The Constitutional Reform process of transitioning the country to the status of a republic will be facilitated by the CRC, Allen announced.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
IMAGE OF BRITAIN’S KING CHARLES III UNLIKELY TO APPEAR ON BANKNOTES OF SOME CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES
In the latest snub of Britain’s royal family and further evidence that the family’ influence in the Commonwealth is on the wane, the image of King Charles III may never be displayed on the banknotes of some countries in the Caribbean. While he remains the head of state in many of these countries, his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, could be the last British monarch whose image was included on those nations’ currency. According to Timothy NJ Antoine, the governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, there is “no appetite” to display the new monarch’s face on its banknotes. There is a feeling in the region that banknotes should feature notable individuals from the Caribbean itself. Eight island nations are considering the issue, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Canada and Australia are also considering leaving King Charles III off their currency and honoring their own people.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
RESULTS OF GLOBAL JAMAICA DIASPORA COUNCIL ELECTIONS ANNOUNCED
As the results of the election of members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council show, several new members are set to join returnees on committees. Michelle Tulloch Neil received 91 votes to win her election to represent the USA Northeast, while Peter Gracey became the representative for the US Southern Region with 737 votes. The US West/Midwest Region will be represented by Shauna Chin, who was elected with 157 votes. The new council member from Canada is Rhona Dunwell who won with 74 votes, and the UK North will be represented by Dr. Kevin Brown. The UK South’s winner was Nathaniel Peat. Members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council were also elected: Asha Richards will represent the Northeast, Renae Miller in the South, Vanessa Myrie in the West/Midwest, Shermara Fletcher for UK North, and Thara Johnson-Reid for US South. The members of both councils will service for three years.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
INFLATION RATE FOR JAMAICA DROPPED BY 0.6 PERCENT FOR JANUARY 2023
The All-Jamaica Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 8.1 percent for January 2023 over that of January of 2022. The inflation rate for January 2023 totaled 0.6 percent, with the chief drivers of the decrease a 0.9 percent fall in the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages division and a 2.4 percent fall for the Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels division. The food and non-alcoholic beverage decline resulted chiefly by a 5.8 percent decline in vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas, and pulses. The Housing etc. decline was attributed to lower rates of electricity.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
U.S. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS ACQUIRES ARCHIVES OF JAMAICAN DANCER GARTH FAGAN
The United States Library of Congress used the celebration of Black History Month in 2023 to announce it has acquired the papers of Jamaican dancer and choreography Garth Fagan and the Garth Fagan Dance Company. Founded in 1970, the dance company is known for its artistic imagination and the strength of its Caribbean and African-American rhythm combined with classic ballet training and discipline. Fagan is the choreographer of the “Lion King” by Disney, which has amassed a total audience of over 100 million people in its 25 years on Broadway. This make Fagan the “most seen” Black choreographer in history. In response to the new, Fagan said he was “encouraged, excited, and energized” by the acquisition and that his life’s work which was built on a dance vocabulary created by Black people, has impacted over 100 million people around the world and that it would be preserved at the Library of Congress. Fagan was born in Jamaica and studied with Ivy Baxter and the Jamaican National Dance Company. He attended Excelsior High School in St. Andrew before migrating to the US in 1960.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
BRIANA WILLIAMS, ACKEEM AND YOHAN BLAKE PREPARE FOR WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN AUGUST 2023
Briana Williams and Ackeem and Yohan Blake are ready to run races in March 2023 in preparation for the World Athletics Championships, which are scheduled for August. Williams, 21, will run in a 60-meter event in February 2023 and then two 200-meter competitions in March in her attempt to earn an individual place on the Jamaican team. The runners’ coaches have stated that they are focusing on improving the athletes’ strength, endurance, and speed for now in preparation for the World Athletics tournament later in the year. They will reassess their progress in April, the coaches added.