THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL SAYS JAMAICA VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL LAW
In the first decision of its kind in history, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said Jamaica’s government was in violation of international law and responsible for violating the human rights of two homosexual individuals. The decision sets a precedent for the Caribbean region in regard to existing laws that criminalize LGBT people. The IACHR has called for the repeal of Jamaica’s anti-homosexual laws. The Commission’s decision in the case brought by the Human Dignity Trust (HDT) was made on September 28, 2019, but remain confidential until now.
JETBLUE FIRES FLIGHT ATTENDANT WHO CLAIMED ABDUCTION IN JAMAICA
Kalina Collier, the flight attendant who falsely claimed she was being held against her will by a hotel in Jamaica, has been fired by her employer, JetBlue. Derek Dombriowski, JetBlue’s manager of corporate communications, issued a statement saying the airline holds every crewmember to the highest personal integrity standards. In the statement, Dombriowski also apologized “for the frustration and concern” the incident with Collier caused and reiterated the airline’s confidence in Jamaica’s health protocols. Collier had tested positive for COVID-19 and was required under those protocols to be quarantined for 14 days. She objected to the quarantine and issued messages on social media saying she was being held against her will and abused. The attorneys for the owners of the 5-star resort where the incident occurred are weighing their options about what actions to take against Collier, if any.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
AGRICULTURE WORKERS IN FRENCH CARIBBEAN SEEK COMPENSATION FOR PESTICIDE CONTAMINATION
After a wait of almost 15 years, agricultural workers in the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe finally had a court hear their case seeking compensation for being contaminated with a pesticide banned in France. A videoconference hearing in December 2020 was held by investigative magistrates in Paris to decide how to proceed on a complain originally files in 2006. The complaint involves chlordecone, a pesticide banned in the United States in 1976 after it contaminated a river in Virginia. The chemical has been cited as a source of neurological problems. French authorities were concerned it may also be linked to high rates of prostate cancer in the eastern Caribbean islands. While it was banned in France in 1990, its use continued for another three years in the islands under an exemption from the French government. The lawsuit claims that the French government failed to protect the health of its people by issuing an illegal exemption.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR GIVES $25,000 TO HEALTH CARE WORKERS
Beverly Nichols, a Jamaican American businesswoman and philanthropist, has donated $25,000 to 74 frontline health care workers in Jamaica for their personal use. Nichols, who lives in New York, made the donation via her Push Start Foundation after seeing how corporations in the United States showed their appreciation for frontline workers there. Noting that New York was the “epicenter” of the COVID-19 outbreak at one time, Nichols watched US corporations provide the doctors, nurses, and ancillary workers on the frontline with gifts and cash. This inspired her to do something similar for workers in Jamaica’s health sector.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
MASSIVE DATA BREACH EXPOSED THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRATION, COVID RECORDS IN JAMAICA
A Jamaican government contractor experienced a data breach that exposed hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 and immigration records of individuals who visited the island in the past year. Much of the exposed data was from Americans. TechCrunch said that Amber Group, the contractor, did not protect a server and had no password set up for a storage service set up on Amazon Web Services (AWS). As the server was set to “public,” anyone could access the data, which included 70,000 COVID lab results, 425,000 immigration records, 250,000 quarantine orders, and 440,000 images of traveler signatures. All the data collected from anyone who traveled to Jamaica, who had to download an app from Amber Group to report their COVID-19 results before being allowed entry to the country, was exposed. The Jamaican government has initiated an investigation into the data breach, and the Ministry of National Security has commissioned an independent review of the system’s security. The agency said that the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency systems were not affected by the data breach.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
DADDY U-ROY, TOASTING PIONEER, DIES AT AGE 79
Jamaican vocalist and pioneer of toasting Daddy U-Roy died at the University of the West Indies (UWI) at the age of 79. Born Ewart Beckford, passed away after undergoing surgery at the hospital. He had been ill for some time with diabetes and hypertension and had been treated at Andrews Hospital before being admitted to UWI hospital for surgery. Beckford was born in 1941 and is considered a trailblazer credited with giving every toaster and rapper a career path. Until his death, he had remained active, doing dubplate specials at home for those who wanted them. U-Roy was an original toaster in the 1960s and has been called the Godfather of Dancehall. His first two singles were released on the Treasure Isle label in 1970. During his career he worked with other major Jamaican producers, including Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Bunny Lee, Phil Pratt, Sonia Pottinger, Rupie Edwards, Alvin Ranglin, and Lloyd Daley.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
BENJAMIN ALEXANDER WANTS TO BE FIRST JAMAICAN OLYMPIC ALPINE SKIER
Benjamin Alexander, 37, is a former deejay who is working toward a qualification as the first athlete to compete for Jamaica in alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics. He is seeking qualification for the 2022 Winter Games. Alexander, who was born in the United Kingdom, can compete for Jamaica because his father is Jamaican. With his attempt at Olympic qualification, he hopes to “reinvent” the “Cool Runnings” excitement that surrounded Jamaica’s first bobsled team at the 1988 Winter Olympics. He is being mentored by Dudley Stokes, the driver of Jamaica’s 1988 four-man bobsled team and competed in eight lower-level giant slaloms in the United States and Canada as part of his training. Alexander hopes that his qualification attempt will encourage other Jamaicans and minority athletes to enter winter sports.