THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
PUBLIC HOSPITALS IN JAMAICA NOW PROVIDING EMERGENCY CARE ONLY
As of January 19, 2022, Jamaica’s public hospitals will be providing only emergency care services. The Health Ministry has decided to restrict the hospitals’ provision of care in response to a rising number of COVID-19 cases. A reduction in hospital staff workers stemming from health care workers’ illness and an increase in admissions for other illnesses also contributed to the decision to restrict care. As of Sunday, January 16, 2022, 682 individuals were in hospital isolation due to COVID-19; 486 tested positive for the disease, while 196 were suspected COVID-19 cases. Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s minister of health, advised people to “exercise discretion” when going to the hospital because elective cases are subject to postponement.
WHEATLEY SAYS PORTMORE SHOULD BECOME JAMAICA’S FIRST NEW PARISH IN 155 YEARS
Dr. Andrew Wheatley, Member of Parliament for St. Catherine, said that the Jamaican government is “convinced” that Portmore has should become the first new parish in Jamaica in 155 years. Wheatley launched debate in the House of Representatives on January 18, 2022, on the report from a joint select committee in Parliament exploring the issue of the municipality becoming a parish. Wheatley, who added that he was honored to be the chair of the committee, said the last time Jamaica conducted a review of its parishes was in May of 1867 when it was under British rule. While the debate in the joint select committee was described as “rigorous and sometimes partisan,” there was no doubt that the consensus was that Portmore should become Jamaica’s 15th parish.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
PRIME MINISTER MIA MOTTLEY OF BARBADOS EASILY WINS RE-ELECTION
Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, has been re-elected in the general election. The election also re-elected the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) into the government via a sweep of 30 seats in Parliament. According to preliminary results, the BLP won all of the seats in the election, which Motley had called for 18 months earlier than the required constitutional deadline. Thus, the BLP became just the second political organization in the Caribbean – the other was Grenada in 2018 – to sweep all seats in consecutive elections. Mottley easily defeated Damien Griffith, the candidate of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), receiving 3,216 votes to Griffith’s 476.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN ATTORNEY APPOINTED TO SUPREME COURT IN BELIZE
Ricardo Sandcroft, a Jamaican attorney and expert in children’s rights, received an appointment to become a judge on the Supreme Court in Belize. He joined three Canadian judges who were sworn in by Michelle Arana, Acting Chief Justice. Sandcroft has many years of experience working as a civil and criminal court attorney in Jamaica. He has also practiced child law and advocating for vulnerable children in Jamaica via the Child Protection and Family Services Agency and the Office of the Children’s Advocate. He was a lecturer at the University of Technology and was named as an Acting Master-in-Chambers to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2019. He will serve for a year in the Belize court’s criminal division.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
ONLINE SALES IN U.S. MARKET FOR BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE BENEFIT JAMAICA
Blue Mountain Coffee, Inc., the entity that distributes the Jamaican Blue Mountain roasted coffee and green beans, reported a 40-perncet rise in demand from online sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to company owner Edgar Munn, the sales increase had a direct benefit to Jamaica’s coffee industry since most of what his company sells is Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. Munn’s family has been involved with the coffee industry in Jamaica for generations, dating back to 1728 when Cecil Augustus Munn started farming coffee at Strawberry Hill in St. Andrew.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
INTERNATIONAL REGGAE AND WORLD MUSIC AWARDS CANCELLED FOR 2022
According to Dr. Ephraim Martin, the health of Martin’s International, which is the organizer of the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), uncertainties about the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica have prompted the cancellation of the 2022 awards event until 2023. The 2022 staging would have been the event’s 40th. Martin said the awards had been scheduled for May 1, 2022, in Kingston, but the organization’s directors and advisors made the decision to postpone it until May 7, 2023, in the interest of safety. He also noted that there will be special accommodations made in the 2023 events, including a change in the nomination process. Since there will be no awards in 2022, the 2023 event will award the best of 2021 and 2022; works released from January 2021 to December 2022 will be eligible for awards.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA TO HAVE FOUR-MAN BOBSLED TEAM IN OLYMPICS ONCE AGAIN
Jamaica’s four-man bobsled team obtained the final qualifying spot in the 28-team 2022 Winter Olympics competition, allowing the Caribbean nation to revive its legendary Winter Games participation that began in 1988 with its first entry. This inspired the film “Cool Runnings” in 1993. Jamaica has appeared at the Winter Games many times since then entering a men’s sled at every Olympics from 1998 to 2002 and again in2014. In 2018, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell became the first women’s team to compete in the Olympic bobsled event. The last four-man men’s team to compete did so in 1998. According to driver Shanwayne Stephens, the team has worked hard for the past four years to qualify, overcoming challenges, including those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, to successfully achieve their goal.