THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT INCREASES PUBLIC SECTOR PAID MATERNITY LEAVE, EXPANDS LEAVE TO NEW FATHERS AND ADOPTIVE PARENTS
The Jamaican government has decided to increase paid maternity leave from 40 days to three months, according to an announcement from Dr. Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service. Fathers of newborn children in the public service will be able to take paternity leave for the first time, and family leave is also being granted to adoptive parents who bring a new child into their home. The changes have resulted from a public sector compensation review and will be implemented through updates of the Public Sector Staff Orders of 2004. The goal of the changes it to align policies with public sector values and to bring benefits in the public sectors in line with those available in the private sector.
POPULATION OF JAMAICA DECLINES DUE TO MIGRATION
According to a report from the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Economic and Social Survey Jamaica (ESSJ), the population of Jamaica has decreased since 2020, and the decline was attributed to the number of Jamaicans leaving the island for the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Since 2020, 16,866 Jamaicans migrated from their homeland. The rate of migration is especially high among younger Jamaican women. The survey also attributed the decrease in population to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, fewer Jamaicans have been deported back to the home island since 2020: the deportation rate for Jamaican immigrants coming from the US dropped by over 23 percent between 2020 and 2022.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
DOZENS OF PEOPLE DEAD AS GANGS BATTLE IN HAITI’S CAPITAL CITY
Four days of gang violence have left dozens of people dead in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city. The fighting began on July 8, 2022, as two rival gangs clashed one day after the first anniversary of the assassination of Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse. Gang violence has increased significantly after the president was murdered. The gangs are fighting over territory, and the government has not been able to control them. According to the organization Doctors Without Borders, thousands of people are trapped in Cite Soleil without access to drinking water, food, or medical care.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
MARK GOLDING LEADS PNP DELEGATION ON VISIT TO U.S. IN CELEBRATION OF JAMAICA’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE
Jamaican Opposition leader Mark Golding, head of the People’s National Party (PNP), left on July 14, 2022, to lead a party delegation on a visit to the United States to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence. Golding plans to meet with members of the Jamaican Diaspora and to deliver a lecture at New York City’s Medgar Evers College. A fundraising event in Freeport, Long Island, will be a major part of the eight-day visit as well. The delegation includes PNP General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell; Treasurer Kisha Anderson and senior officials and shadow cabinet members Senators Peter Bunting and Donna Scott-Mottley and MPs Lisa Hanna and Dr Angela Brown-Burke. The first stop will be Florida’s Miramar Cultural Center on July 15, 2022. The group will then visit Atlanta, Georgia, prior to traveling to Washington DC.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
NEW ZONE FOR LUXURY TOURISM ANNOUNCED FOR JAMAICA’S NORTH COAST
A new luxury tourism zone stretching from Oracabessa to Port Antonio on Jamaica’s northern coast will be designated at the “Revere Zone,” according to the island’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett. The zone will involve only low-density development and provide a different kind of experience for high-end travelers. Travel to the zone will be facilitated through additional nonstop air service directly to Ocho Rios, which will make direct access to the region easier. The Jamaica Revere Zone will include Oracabessa, Port Maria, St. Ann’s Bay, Discovery Bay, and Ocho Rios. Creation of the zone is expected to encourage more high-end tourists to visit areas outside of the chief tourist destinations of Montego Bay and Negril, allowing for wider distribution of tourist dollars among the island’s people and businesses.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN-AMERICAN ACTOR SHERYL LEE RALPH NOMINATED FOR EMMY AWARD
Veteran Jamaican-American actor Sheryl Lee Ralph said she felt “like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce,” referencing Jamaica’s star sprint champion, when she got the news that she had received her first nomination for an Emmy Award for her role as a teacher in the television comedy series “Abbott Elementary.” This is her first Emmy nod of her career, which spans more than 45 years in the entertainment industry. Her career began in Jamaica when she was 19 years old, starring in her first movie, “A Piece of the Action” with American actor Sidney Poitier. Ralph was born in the US to Ivy Ralph, a Jamaican fashion designer, and Stanley Ralph, a college professor. She has appeared on stage, in film and television, and in music. She received a Tony nomination for her role in the stage production of “Dreamgirls.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
REGGAE GIRLZ FALL TO CANADA IN CONCACAF WOMEN’S SEMI-FINAL
Jamaica’s national Reggae Girlz football team was defeated by Canada with a score of 3-0 in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship semi-final on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Girlz captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw was suffering from an injury and did not play in the semi-final against Canada. Jamaica’s head coach Lorne Donaldson was aware that beating Canada would be a huge task for Jamaica but noted the high quality of play that had put the team in the company of the four semi-finalists. Jamaica had defeated Mexico 4-0 to win its place in the semi-final, one of four teams that included Olympic champion Canada and defending world champion United States, which won over Costa Rica to secure a place in the final match. The winner of the final will have an automatic sport at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. While Jamaica failed to beat Canada in the semi-final, the Reggae Girlz will feature in a third-place play-off on Monday, July 18, 2022, and if they win this play-off, they will have a chance in September 2023 to play the second-place team of the CONCACAF Championship to secure the second spot at the 2024 Olympics.