THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HOLNESS DECLARES NO LOCAL ELECTIONS WILL BE HELD IN 2021
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that there will be no local elections in 2021, adding that his decision will remain in force until he is sure that the country is on the right track for COVID-19 vaccinations. Holness made his remarks at the opening of the Olympic Gardens Police Station in St. Andrew. He also refuted claims that the easing of COVID-19 restrictions was implemented in preparation for local elements. Jamaica’s House of Representatives amended the Representation of the People Act to permit local government elections to be delayed as late as February 27, 2022. Typically, local elections are held every four years, with the last election conducted on November 28, 2016.
JAMAICA HEROES MODERNIZED PROJECT ENDORSED BY RITA AND CEDELLA MARLEY
Two members of reggae icon Bob Marley’s family have given their support to the Jamaica Heroes Modernized Project, which seeks to promote Jamaica’s story around the world in a multi-dimensional way that includes film, fine art, music, print, and a new digital presence. Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s widow, and Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s first-born child and the CEO of the Bob Marley Group of companies have endorsed the project. Cedella Marley said that she believes support from others is critical as the project’s mission is to honor and revive the ways Jamaica’s national heroes are portrayed. She added that Jamaicans must be globally represented due to their impact on culture and the world and made special mention of Queen Nanny, who has been an inspiration for Jamaica women everywhere.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CARIBBEAN TAX HAVENS WORRY ABOUT FINANCIAL SECTOR’S FUTURE AS WORLD ECONOMIES CONSIDER MINIMUM CORPORATE TAXES
Tax havens in the Caribbean region may suffer considerable fallout from plans by some of the largest economies in the world to adopt a minimum corporate tax. Much of the Caribbean’s economy depends on attracting international businesses with low or no taxes, and as companies have some discretion on where they declare profits, the Caribbean offers a way to significantly reduce their tax bills. However, the Group of 20 (G-20) wants to crack down on this activity, and plans are under consideration for corporations to pay a tax of 15 percent irrespective of where they are incorporated. This would remove the incentive for international firms to establish a presence in Caribbean countries. The impact of this would be “very substantial,” according to Bruce Zagaris, international tax lawyer and member of the Caribbean Policy Consortium.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FLORIDA JERK FESTIVAL RETURNS WITH 18TH ANNUAL STAGING AFTER COVID-19 DELAY
The Florida Jerk Festival will return on the July 4th weekend in 2021 after being delayed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, the 18th annual staging of the event was moved to the US Independence Day holiday. The delay allowed organizers to restructure the event and brand, said Damian Tater, CEO of the festival. The Florida Jerk Festival has come to be known as “the Mecca” of Caribbean food and culture in Florida. It was first held in 2003 and featured the top Caribbean restaurants and chefs in Florida offering a range of foods via cooking competitions. By 2019, the event attracted an estimated 10,000 patrons, and an even larger crowd is expected for 2021. The event will be held at the South Florida Fair Grounds in West Palm Beach and will feature food vendors of all types and a new area called “The Jerk Experience” where visitors will receive history and food education through samplings of jerk items. The festival will also include major Jamaican entertainment acts including St Vincent’s soca hitmaker Skinny Fabulous, LUST – the dynamic group of singers Lukie D, Thriller U, Singing Melody and Tony Curtis – and Grammy Award-winning reggae artist Shaggy. Health and safety measures will be in place, and the event will feature a new website to provide both online and offline experiences.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA TO REINVENT ITSELF AS “GREEN” DESTINATION AS TOURISM SECTOR REBOUNDS
As Jamaica’s tourism sector reopens after the COVID-19 shutdown, it will seek to reinvent its brand as “cleaner and greener,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism. Only by taking this action can the island become insulated from future shocks to the international tourism industry, he added. Bartlett went on to say that Jamaica must implement “new strategies, a new orientation, new focus, a new mission, and new ethos” to ensure its tourism sector can adjust to a “new normal of constant, destabilizing threats.” Jamaica’s government has considered niche markets for some time, but action must be taken rapidly to identify and target those markets to be competitive and resilient in the post-COVID global marketplace. Bartlett made his remarks in an online address to the Jamaica Money Market Brokers.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
DOCUMENTARY ON REGGAE ARTIST D BROWN PREMIERES ON INTERNATIONAL REGGAE DAY
Citing a need for Jamaicans to document their culture and history, media personality Judith Bodley focused on the docufilm “Dennis Emmanuel Brown: The Crown Prince of Reggae; the Man and the Music,” which debuted in St. Andrew on International Reggae Day 2021. Bodley, who is the producer on the project, noted that it represents a part of her passion for uncovering the stories behind Jamaica’s music through interviews with entertainment icons. She believes that Jamaican are “behind the ball” in documenting their history, culture, and heritage, but are catching up. The project stemmed from a conversation with Lenford Salmon, senior advisor in the entertainment and culture ministry, she said, after which she was asked to create a storyboard for a film on the late reggae icon for the Ministry’s reggae archives. A major source for information about Dennis Brown was Brown’s sister on his mother’s side who lives in Canada. Dennis Brown was a child star and became known for hits like “Here I Come,” and “Love Has Found Its Way.” He died in 1999. The documentary features a performance by Richie Stephens and a dance piece choreographed by Dr L’Antoinette Stines of local dance company L’Acadco to Brown’s “Revolution.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA’S SWIM TEAM WINS 22 MEDALS IN OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN PUERTO RICO
The nine members of Jamaica’s swim team did much better than expected at the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Championships in Puerto Rico, coming home with 22 medals. While the team had little preparation for the competition, they focused on achieving personal-best times and achieved more than 54 of them. The swimmers came away with six gold medals, eight silver medals, and eight bronze medals from the five-day meet. The team members were female swimmers Leanna Wainwright, Christanya Shirley, Giani Francis and Zaviya Cameron, and male swimmers Nelson Denny, Kito Campbell, Kaheem Lozer, Waldon McIntosh and Zack-Andre Johnson