THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN EDUCATION MINISTRY RAISES SCHOOL ALLOCATIONS
Senator Ruel Reid, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, announced that the government has raised allocations for the financial support of secondary schools on the island so they can meet demands for the pending academic year, which starts in September 2018. Reid said local support to high schools for the 2018-2019 school year has been set at $8.34 billion, an increase of $435.8 million over the previous academic year. Social and operational grants to high schools total $3.7 billion, which is an increase of nearly $50 million over previous totals. Reid attributed the increase to higher enrollments.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW CLOTHING RULES
The government of Jamaica will review and assess its policies pertaining to women’s clothing, including sleeveless shirts, flip-flops, short skirts and shorts, which are currently prohibited at government-run facilities. In a recent case, a woman was barred from entering a health clinic operated by the government because she was wearing a sleeveless shirt in violation of the so-called “decorum rule.” However, the government has now ordered a review of these unofficial policies, which discriminate against women. Prime Minister Andrew Holness ordered Olivia Grange, minister of sports, culture, entertainment and gender affairs, to review the practice, noting that “as a modern society, we must evolve.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE IN BRITAIN TO INVESTIGATE MANAGEMENT OF OVERSEAS TERRITORIES
The Foreign Affairs Committee in Britain plans to conduct an inquiry concerning the way the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) manages its responsibility for ensuring the security and stability of the United Kingdom’s 14 Overseas Territories. Tom Turgendhat, Member of Parliament and chair of the Committee, noted that these territories have a special place in the UK constitution and while self-governing are also part of the UK. Therefore, the UK must consider world changes and whether existing relationships are still effective. The FCO is responsible for the overseas territories, which span four oceans and eight time zones and have a population totaling 250,000. The lands range from the Caribbean to the British Antarctic Territory
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
GOVERNOR CUOMO OF NEW YORK PARDONS JAMAICAN NATIONALS
New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo pardoned several Jamaicans as part of a group of Caribbean and other immigrants who had been convicted of minor offenses. Cuomo issued pardons for seven individuals – nationals from Jamaica, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic – who were facing deportation and additional consequences due to previous criminal convictions for minor offenses. This was the first time that Governor Cuomo used his pardon authority to protect individuals facing deportation. At a time when the current federal government is “waging a war on our immigrant communities,” Cuomo said, the state of New York is standing firm in its belief that the diversity of its residents is its greatest strength. “While President Trump engages in policies that rip children out of the arms of their mothers and tries to ramp up the deportation of New Yorkers to advance his political agenda of hate and division, we will protect our immigrant communities,” Cuomo stated.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
GREATER DEMAND FOR U.S. DOLLARS AFFECTS VALUE OF JAMAICAN CURRENCY
Fayval Williams, Jamaica’s Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance, stated that rising local demand for the US dollar has further depreciated the value of Jamaica’s currency against the US currency. According to the Bank of Jamaica’s website, the exchange rate was J$133 to one US dollar. Williams said that more companies are reviewing their debt structures and buying US dollars to service these debts as interest rates decrease in the local market.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
BRIAN HEAP RETIRES AS HEAD OF UWI CREATIVE ARTS CENTER
Staff tutor in drama and head of the Philip Sherlock Center for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Mona, Brian Heap announced his retirement after over two decades years of service. Heap plans to step down at the end of July 2018. His retirement also signals the end of his role as artistic director of the University Players. He revived the group after a long hiatus and brought its performances to the highest level of quality and staging during his tenure. Jamaican and Caribbean actors appeared in over 25 major productions, and since 2003, its productions have garnered critical acclaim and been featured in Jamaica’s International Theater Institute Actor Boy Awards. “I think over the past 15 years, we must have been nominated in just about every category and won awards in most of them, Heap noted.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ATKINSON WINS BRONZE FOR TOTAL OF FIVE MEDALS AT CAC
Jamaican swimming star Alia Atkinson won a bronze medal in the women’s 50-meter freestyle competition at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia. Atkinson swam the distance in 25/47 seconds for a third-place finish. This was Atkinson ’s fifth medal, as she had already won three golds and a previous bronze at CAC. Colombia’s Hurtado Arcila took first place gold with a time of 25.11 seconds, and the silver medal was won by Mexico’s Liliana Ibanez with 25.15 seconds. Atkinson believes she is on track with her preparations for the World Championships with her performance at CAC.