THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER MAKES CHANGES TO HIS CABINET
In a reshuffle of his Cabinet, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness made major changes at the Transport, Education, and Agriculture Ministries. He also created a new ministry, the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which will be headed by Marlene Malahoo-Forte. She will become a full Cabinet Minister and will be replaced as Attorney General by Dr. Derrick McKoy, the former Contractor General. Transport Minister Robert Montague has been replaced by Audley Shaw, who previously served as Minister of Industry, Investment, Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries. Pearnel Charles Jr., who had been Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, will not be Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Senator Aubyn Hill will serve as Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce. The Education, Youth and Information Ministry will now be known as the Education and Youth Ministry, while the Information Ministry will be within the Office of the Prime Minister with Robert Nesta Morgan serving as Minister without Portfolio. Other changes were also made. According to the Office of the Prime Minister, the changes reflect a need for more focus and attention on constitutional and legal reforms and improvement in the pace of development and the time it takes for legislation to pass in Parliament.
HOLNESS RESPONDS TO SELF-GOVERNMENT CLAIMS OF MAROONS WITH ANGER
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has responded to claims by Maroons to self-government by asserting that the duly elected Government of Jamaica governs the country and that there is no other independent state on the island. Holness expressed anger at the idea of potential Maroon autonomy, noted that Jamaica is a unitary sovereign state and that there is no other sovereign authority in Jamaica than the Government. He made his remarks in response to statements by Chief Richard Currie, leader of the Accompong Maroons, started to assert that Accompong is sovereign territory, and its inhabitants are a sovereign people. Currie has also suggested that the lands of the Cockpit Country are part of the Maroons’ “sovereign territory.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
PRESIDENT OF BROOKLYN BOROUGH SELECTS CARIBBEAN AMERICAN AS DEPUTY
Diana Richardson, a Caribbean American member of the New York State Assembly, has been appointed deputy to Antonio Reynoso, the newly elected president of the Brooklyn Borough. Richardson’s parents are from Aruba and St. Martin. She plans to focus on issues of food insecurity, reductions in gun violence, and support for Brooklyn’s Community Boards to ensure they reflect the communities they are meant to serve. Reynoso said he chose Richardson because she is a committed public servant and has lived in Brooklyn her entire life. She has service the 43rd Assembly District in Central Brooklyn since 2015 and has led the battle against gun violence in New York’s State Legislature, which recently enacted the Community Violence Intervention Act of 2021 to fund state-wide “Cure Violence” programs.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
LOCAL FLORIDA DEPUTY STUCK IN JAMAICA FOLLOWING POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS
Florida deputy Spenser Williams and his wife traveled to Jamaica for their honeymoon after getting married on New Year’s Eve in St. Augustine, Florida. They both took the required COVID-19 tests to return home after four days, but when he had a positive test, he was unable to leave the island. His wife could leave the country, but Williams was moved from the honeymoon suite to a different room and had to remain there. He was re-tested after five days, but tested positive again, meaning he had to spend another five days in quarantine. Williams said he was told that he would probably be able to fly home on the tenth day, so he would be there in time for his new wife’s birthday. Williams is fully vaccinated and had no symptoms. He does have a message for travelers, however. He recommends that they not leave the United States at this time and that they double-check the policies of the resorts they plan to use because they could also be detained as he was.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA’S TOURISM SECTOR WORKERS TO RECEIVE INNOVATIVE PENSION PLAN
Jamaican Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett announced a comprehensive pension plan for the nation’s tourism workers. This is a first of its kind plan for Jamaica, according to Bartlett, who noted that no other country in the world has such a plan. Most pension plans are linked to companies or entities, but the Jamaica Tourism Workers Pension Scheme covers all workers, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders in the tourism sector. The plan has been under development for 14 years and was introduced with Guardian Life as administrators of the fund and Sagicor Group Jamaica as fund managers. Over 50 percent of $1 billion in seed money provided by Jamaica’s government has already been allocated to the plan. Plan participants are protected by state laws, and the Financial Services Commission manages the surveillance and regulatory structure designed to protect the plan from breaches and unscrupulous behavior. Bartlett predicts the fund could total $1 trillion in a decade.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
MUSIC PIONEER GRAMPS MORGAN OBTAINS JAMAICAN CITIZENSHIP
Roy “Gramps” Morgan, whose album “Positive Vibration” has been nominated for a Best Reggae Album Grammy, has obtained citizenship in Jamaica. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Morgan was raised with Jamaican culture and said “it feels good” to be an official citizen and thanked the passport agency and the Jamaican Consulate in helping him receive it. Morgan, the producer of Lieutenant Stitchie’s “Masterclass” album, said he was celebrating Rastafarian fashion, which dates to the 1960s and 1970s, along with his citizenship by wearing an “original Rastaman beaver” hat in reference to the film “Rockers.” Morgan’s father, Denroy Morgan, appears on his Grammy-nominated album. Morgan formed the Morgan Heritage band in 1994 with four of his siblings. The band released 12 albums and won the Best Reggae Album Grammy in 2016 for their “Strictly Roots” album.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN QUALIFIES TO COMPETE IN 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS SKIING EVENT
Jamaica will be represented at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, by alpine ski racer Benjamin Alexander. Alexander, 38, qualified for the giant slalom event under the International Olympic Committee’s B criteria. The criteria, which is supported by the International Ski Federation with the goal of expanding winter sports to as many countries and as many disciplines as possible, allow every country to enter one B-criteria athlete. Alexander achieved his qualification at the inaugural Cape Verde National Ski Championships in Liechtenstein.