THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICA’S REPARATIONS CLAIM DISMISSED BY BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER
Asif Ahmad, the British High Commissioner to Jamaica, dismissed the nation’s claim for reparations totaling £7 billion after Jamaica announced its intention to file a petition to seek compensation from Britain for its participation in the transatlantic slave trade. Ahmad said that the request for reparations directly from government to government “will not prosper” because it would be difficult to know how to make the payment to as those directly harmed by the activity “are no longer here.” To date, the government of the United Kingdom has only paid compensation to living individuals, Ahmad said, citing the example of compensation paid under the Windrush Compensation Scheme. While the impact of slavery on the Caribbean is “unforgiveable,” Ahmad said claims for reparations are not “viable” because there is no clear plan about who the recipients will be and who will pay it.
JAMAICAN MINISTER OF HEALTH SUGGESTS MANDATORY COVID-19 VACCINATIONS MAY BE NECESSARY
Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has suggested that the nation’s government may have to follow the example of France and implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health workers and a requirement for individuals to carry a “health pass” in some public spaces. Tufton said the idea of mandatory vaccinations may have to be considered at some point. Responding to Tufton, Emile Leiba, the president of the Jamaican Bar Association, commented on the legality of such a plan, noting that there would have to be enough reliable medical evidence available on which the government could rely in order to implement a vaccination mandate. He added that Jamaica currently has a mandatory vaccination policy that covers infants and school children.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CORAL DISEASE IMPACTING CARIBBEAN LINKED TO WASTEWATER FROM SHIPS
According to researchers, there is a “significant relationship” between Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease and neighboring shipping terminals. The disease has swept through the Caribbean after being first discovered in Florida in 2014. It is more deadly than other coral diseases and has a very high mortality rate among the more than 30 coral species that are most vulnerable to it. The disease has been found in 18 Caribbean countries, while researchers have not yet determined if it caused by a virus, bacteria, chemical, or other agent, it is believed it there is a relationship to waste/ballast water from ships. Researchers in the Bahamas found that it was more prevalent in reefs close to the nation’s main commercial ports in Nassau and Grand Bahama. Ships regularly discharge hundreds of gallons of ballast water to maintain their stability.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
REMITTANCES FROM THE DIASPORA HELPED PROTECT JAMAICA FROM ECONOMIC INSTABILITY DURING PANDEMIC
Jamaica benefitted from the uninterrupted flow of over US$2 billion per year in remittances from the Diaspora during the COVID-19 pandemic. This influx of money helped to keep the island nation from suffering extreme difficulties during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had serious impacts on economic stability, prompting social disruption to arise in other nations, such as Cuba. The pandemic decimated Jamaica’s tourist sector, but Diaspora remittances filled the gap for the direct recipients of the funds and also as a source of foreign exchange that allowed the Bank of Jamaica to operate with confidence and to provide commercial banks with the funding needed to meet demands of capital and consumer goods importers, as well as to keep the exchange rate from getting out of control. Remittances from the Diaspora, which were consistent throughout the worst of the pandemic, were the “lifeblood” of Jamaica’s economy.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN TEACHERS TO OBTAIN TECHNOLOGY TRAINING FROM FLOW
FLOW, the Caribbean telecommunications company, plans to train some 1,500 teachers in Jamaica in how to use digital technology so that they can teach students more effectively in the COVID-19 environment. According to Stephen Price, chair of the FLOW Foundation, the coronavirus pandemic has challenged everyone, and more than 120,000 students are currently not participating in an education program. Jamaica’s schools were closed early in 2020 due to the pandemic, and some began to teach students online. Other schools could not do so as their teachers lacked sufficient digital skills. Now FLOW plans to invest in a program that will provide these teachers with the skills they need.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN ATHLETES KEY IN DESIGN OF OLYMPIC GEAR FOR NATIONS SPONSORED BY PUMA
Athletes from Jamaica had a pivotal role in the design of Tokyo Olympic gear to be worn by the 13 countries sponsored by Puma at the 2021 staging of the Games. The athletes were consulted in February of 2019 after Puma executives visited the island. According to Michelle Riley, Senior Designer Select Collaboration Apparel at Puma, the firm wanted to ensure that their sponsored athletes look and feel their best to achieve their very best performances in the competition. Puma representatives spent a week in Jamaica, making visits to various training camps and groups, to make sure it captured feedback from all athletes. Jamaicans are a key element of Puma’s marketing strategy, which makes it important to listen to their views on gear design and development. Puma operates with the motto, “If you look good, you feel good, you do good.” The firm finds it “inspirational” to work on collections for Jamaican athletes and always uses Jamaica as its key federation in the design and development process.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN GYMNAST REPORTS KNEE INJURY AHEAD OF ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS COMPETITION
Jamaican Danusia Francis, who is just the second female gymnast to represent her country at the Olympic Games, revealed that she has a knee injury that precluded her from pursuing her complete pre-competition practice sessions. She is set to compete in the artistic gymnastics event on July 25, 2021. It is not known if the injury whether she suffered the injury before or after her arrival in Tokyo. However, videos posted to her social media pages suggest the injury is not severe, as she is seen jumping and landing with stability. Francis won her spot on Jamaica’s Olympic Team for the Tokyo Games on the basis of her stellar performances in June 2021 in Spain as a representative of the Kelska gymnastics club.