THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER PROUD OF NEWLY APPOINTED DIPLOMATS
Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, expressed her support of the three newly appointed diplomats who have been signed to postings in Japan and Canada. She noted that continuing Jamaica’s foreign policy is critical, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic presents so many challenges internationally. The new appointees include Shona-Kay Richards, who will replace Ambassador Ricardo Alicock as Jamaica’s ambassador to Japan; Ambassador Sharon Miller who is slated to replace Ambassador Janice Miller as the High Commissioner-Designate to Canada; and Lincoln Downer, who will fill the role of new Consul General to Toronto. Richards and Miller will take on their new duties in September 2020, and Downer will start in his new role in August 2020.
JAMAICA’S LABOR MINISTER CALLS FOR MORE WOMEN TO BE INVOLVED IN FOREIGN WORK PROGRAM
Lester Michael Henry, Jamaica’s Minister of Labor and Social Security, is calling for more the increased participation of women in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), which involves Jamaica and Canada. On July 8, 2020, Henry spoke with the Canadian High Commission to Jamaica, Laurie Peters, and noted that while there has been a steady rise in the number of workers in the program since 2015, it was time to make a greater effort to increase the number of female participants. He suggested that because of challenges facing nations in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Government might consider providing incentives to employers to provide secure, safe, and female-friendly facilities to encourage women’s participation in the overseas program.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
REOPENING OF GRENADA’S BORDERS POSTPONED
The government of Grenada has decided to delay its planned reopening of the international airport, which had been scheduled for July 1, 2020, due to the higher risks presented by the coronavirus in some major markets. According to the administration of Keith Mitchell, while it has recognized many Grenadian national overseas want to return home, the government has had to implement additional safety measures as the pandemic has worsened in places like the United States. In view of the situation, Grenada will postpone the commercial reopening of its borders to July 15, 2020, when the airport will start to accept commercial flights from Caribbean nations and countries of medium-risk, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and other European Union nations.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN STUDENTS STUDYING IN U.S. CONCERNED ABOUT NEW ICE GUIDELINES
The United States federal immigration authorities have decided to revoke the visas of international students whose institutions of higher learning plan to offer only online classes in the fall of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision has caused considerable worry among Jamaican students in the US about their educational and financial future. Many students have already paid rents or leases for the coming academic year, according to Pascal Lindsay, a student at the University of South Florida. If the school decides to conduct its classes only online, they will be paying for empty rooms. The University of South Florida announced that it plans to operate a hybrid program in the fall in which some classes will be conducted in person and others would be held online. The new guidelines issued by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency are putting pressure on campuses to reopen, and under the updated rules, foreign students must take at least some of their classes face-to-face, and no new visas will be issued to students at institutions providing classes only online. Students attending such schools must “depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction”, according to the new guidelines.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
UNITED OIL AND GAS TO DECIDE ON DRILLING BY SEPTEMBER 2020
The United Oil and Gas Ltd. (OUG) firm will decide whether to drill for oil off the shores of Jamaica by September 2020. The company is leading on an oil exploration project after its partner Tullow Oil, which is based in the United Kingdom, announced plans to pull out of Jamaica. OUG noted that the local search for oil is a high-risk/high-reward proposition, and it requires a joint-venture partner to continue its drilling project. In May, the firm said it planned to continue the oil exploration, at which time its exploration license issued by Jamaica’s government was extended to provide time for it to seek new partners.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
PLANNED REOPENING OF ENTERTAINMENT SECTOR REVERSED BY JAMAICAN AUTHORITIES
The Jamaican government had planned to reopen the local entertainment sector, but according to the Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, the actions of some venue owners and promoters have stymied its efforts. He noted various violations and infringements of rules captured and shared via social media. The Minister, who is responsible for leading the reopening of the entertainment sector, said discussions continue with stakeholders about the options available to the government to open the sector, but in the present situation, it is evident that the government will have to reconsider its reopening plans. He said that what he is seeing is “only courting danger” and that Jamaica cannot afford to lose the progress made in controlling the coronavirus on the island by reopening without appropriate safety measures.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICANS ACHIEVE FIFTH-PLACE FINISHES IN MEN’S, WOMEN’S EVENTS IN FLORIDA
Jamaican athletes finished fifth in the men’s and women’s events at the “Showdown in O Town” meet at the Clearwater track near Orlando, Florida. Senoi-jay Givan and Brittany Anderson finished fifth in the men’s 100-meters and the women’s 200-meters, respectively. These were the best place finishes for Jamaicans who were competing at the event, the first to be held in the region since protocols linked to the COVID-19 pandemic were relaxed. Givens clocked 10.21 seconds in the 100-meter final. The meet went ahead with a shortened program, providing competition in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter for men and women, plus a men’s triple jump event. Anderson, who holds the World Junior Record in the 100-meter hurdles, ran the distance in 23.71 seconds into a negative win.