THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
PRIME MINISTER CALLS PETROJAM A “FISCAL RISK,” MOVES TO PROTECT JAMAICA
Calling Petrojam a “fiscal risk,” Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness states he is focusing on protecting the country’s growth plans from any detrimental impacts of the state-owned oil refinery. The viability of Petrojam is in danger due to delayed upgrades and impending loss of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS). JPS will switch to liquefied natural gas from heavy fuel oil in its power plant operations. JPS is Petrojam’s biggest customer. Previously, Jamaica’s government announced its intent to pass a law to retake the 49 percent share of Petrojam currently owned by Venezuela following efforts to assure its share. Holness said the government is committed to managing the situation in ways that will be in the interests of the Jamaican people.
PUBLIC TO PAY $80 MILLION FOR MINISTRY RENOVATION COST OVERRUNS
The Jamaican public will have to pay an additional $30 million for renovations of the Hagley Park Road offices of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development in St. Andrew. The higher cost were attributed to poor planning and the lack of adequate due diligence. In stead of a price of $50.66 billion to be paid under the contract, the total will be $80.66 million, according to the Auditor General’s Department. The Department revealed the overrun in its annual report for 2018, 15 months after a letter of agreement was signed for the property. One of the changes resulting in the higher costs were related to electrical work required to rectify higher electrical demand.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
DISORDER IN “AMERICAN MEDITERRANEAN” AS PIRATES RETURN TO CARIBBEAN
Fishermen in Trinidad face daily danger in the increasingly violent waters between Trinidad and Venezuela. The countries closes to the United States continue to experience growing disorder. According to Jeremy McDermott, the co-director of Insight Crime, a nonprofit that studies organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, the situation is one of “criminal chaos” along the coast of Venezuela. Trinidadian fishermen are being attacked by Venezuelan pirates, experiencing crimes ranging from mugging to kidnapping and brutal violence. Since 2015, fishermen on the coast have faced major problems in trying to make a living, and many have resorted to piracy and kidnapping. The government of Trinidad fears damaging its relationships with Venezuela and therefore does not enforce the laws along its own coasts.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN REALTORS SEE INCREASE IN SHORT-TERM RENTALS
Realtors in Jamaica are saying they expect to see an increase in demand for first-time homebuyers in 2019, in part because of the potential of short-term rentals. They also suggest that individuals who rent homes are seeing harder times as property owners use Airbnb to list their property. Airbnb is an online community marketplace that links those looking to rent out their homes with those who want accommodations. According to Howard Johnson, Jr., the past president of the Realtors Association of Jamaica, says he supports short-term rentals, but they have a negative impact on the local market. Short-term rentals are more attractive than local long-term rentals, as earnings can be generated by a more stable currency like the US dollar.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
FEMALE DANCEHALL ARTISTS CALL FOR SISTERHOOD IN 2019
Female dancehall and reggae entertainers believe 2019 is a time to recognize the importance of banding together by sharing the spotlight on stage and publicly showing their support for one another. According to RenEe Reid, whose stage name is Rre, such change is possible but it is thwarted to a degree by the continual competition for the Number One sport. There is space for everyone, she believes and says that she personally doesn’t feel that there are enough female voices in the arts. She believes the music industry has changed and now offers the possibility for all artists to show respect for each other rather than fight.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
WEIR SUPPORTS FORMER RACERS TRACK CLUB TEAMMATE BLAKE
Following reports that Yohan Blake will no longer be trained by Glen Mills, veteran coach at Racers Track Club, Warren Weir has stated his support for his former club teammate. Mills has talked about differences between Blake and himself, saying that while Blake will remain at Racers, he will be coached by Patrick Dawson from now on. Blake is the 2011 100-meter World Champion. Weir posted a photograph on Instagram along with a caption saying that Blake will always have his support. ” “Forever by my brother’s side and forever my brother’s keeper. A closed chapter means a new beginning..” Weir wrote. Weir left Racers in 2018 and migrated to Florida where he currently trains.