THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER HOPING FOR SIGNIFICANT ENROLLMENT IN NATIONAL ID SYSTEMS
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness hopes that a large number of the nation’s citizens will enroll in the new National Identification Systems (NIDS) by the end of 2022. NIDS was established by the National Identification and Registration Act, which pass in November 2021. According to Holness, implementation of the system is expected to start shortly and will have a major portion of the population identified through the system by the end of the year. Holness acknowledged the public’s concerns about privacy but repeated his assurances that the privacy of individuals will be protected in NIDS through its “cutting-edge technology,” which include the highest level of encryption, security, and protocols that cannot be duplicated.
MAROON FESTIVAL TO GO AHEAD IN DEFIANCE OF POLICE ORDERS
Colonel Richard Currie, the chief of the Accompong Maroons, announced that the Maroon Festival in St. Elizabeth will go on as planned, despite police warnings that the public should not attend the festival because it would be a breach of the Disaster Risk Management Act. Currie took to Instagram to invite Maroons to continue on with the spiritual and traditional ceremonies of the festival, characterizing these activities as the religious duty of the Maroons similar to a visit to the Kabba by Muslims. Critics of the police stance pointed to their unfair treatment of the Maroons in that Romeich Major’s “New Year’s Bottle Par” on December 31, 2021, breached the rules of the Disaster Risk Management Act and police did not shut down the event, but directed traffic in the area instead.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
SUSPECT IN MURDER OF HAITIAN PRESIDENT CHARGED IN U.S. COURT
An individual linked to the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise made an appearance in the United States Federal Court in Miami, Florida, on January 4, 2022, to face charges of conspiracy to kill or kidnap Moise outside of the US. Mario Palacios, a retired Colombian soldier, is the first suspect to be charged in the US. He is allegedly one of a group of mercenaries from South America who are suspected of killing Moise in his home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in July of 2021, in an attack by gunmen that also wounded Haiti’s former First Lady Martine Moise, who survive her injuries. Following the killing of Moise, Palacios traveled to the Dominican Republic and then went to Jamaica, which he entered illegally. Haiti has filed two extradition requests for Palacios to Jamaica, but Jamaica has denied the requests, citing lack of evidence.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
STUDENT FROM BRANDON UNIVERSITY HAS ARTICLE FEATURED IN UNITED NATIONS GENDER EQUALITY TOOLKIT
Amanda Hutchinson, a sociology major at Brandon University, will have her work featured in the Caribbean Sheroes Initiative, a gender quality and equity toolkit for the Caribbean region produced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to Hutchinson, her aunt, a published author and prominent civic worker in Jamaica, asked her to write a piece for the project. Hutchinson has performed newspaper work at the Jamaica Observer and been published in online magazines. Her aunt’s request inspired her to write “The Positive Power of a Force Ripe Girl,” which was based on her childhood. She explained how the Jamaican idiomatic term “force ripe” as used to define girls who transgressed social norms. The piece explores how going to study in Canada helped her understand that being “forced ripe” should be perceived as a badge of honor that allowed her confidence to grow.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
NORANDA BAUXITE ALLOWED TO MINE IN ST. ANN DESPITE PROTEST FROM INDIGENOUS LANDOWNERS
The Jamaican government gave the go-ahead to Noranda Bauxite to mine in more than 1,300 hectares of land in St. Ann parish in spite of protests by the indigenous landowners. The government announced its action through Peter Knight, the CEO of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), for the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NCRA). Knight said the decision to allow the mining was made following to meetings in the previous week. According to Knight, the NCRA will release some 1,324 hectares in St. Ann, an area that excludes the school and the Madras community. The area was described by Knight as chiefly secondary woods and farms, suggesting that any damage to the environment would be minimal. However, Richard Currie, the leader of the Accompong Maroons, said he was not comfortable with the decision and called for a dialogue among interest parties. Theresa Rodriguez of the Jamaica Environment Trust believes the agencies have made major concessions already by paring the mining area down from 8,000 hectares to just of 1,000 hectares.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
NEW SERIES ABOUT JAMAICA LAUNCHED BY CHARLIE SLOTH AND TEEJAY
The radio deejay Charlie Sloth has introduced a new series called “Fire In The Booth: The Jamaica Series.” He will be joined on the first episode by dancehall star Teejay. The program is recorded in St. Andrew at Boone Hall Oasis and is designed to showcase some of the best talent in Jamaica. Teejay will start the show with a freestyle performance. According to Charlies Sloth, Jamaican has so much talent and such an “immeasurable” musical legacy that he wants to personally introduce new performers to the world and to celebrate some of the island’s iconic superstar recording artists at the same time. Future episodes will feature Sean Paul, Zebee, Skilibeng, Runkus, and Dadd1.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN BOBSLED TEAM SEEKS CHANCE TO COMPETE IN 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS
The two-man bobsled team from Jamaica is ready to seek a place at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. The Games will begin February 4, 2022, but the qualifying period ends on January 16, 2022. Three races remain in the series ending next week. Matthew Wekpe will be the pilot of the sled, while the other position will be filled by Nimroy Turgott, Rolando Reid, or Ashley Watson. Jamaica is expected to have at least one team at the Olympics. The men’s four-man team ranks 27th of the 28 teams that will travel to China. Jamaica is also seeking qualification in the mono-bob event for women.