THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION WARNS SCHOOLS AGAINST BARRING STUDENTS FROM EXAMS DUE TO HAIRSTYLES
A nationwide warning to schools has been issued by the Ministry of Education in Jamaica to tell them not to exclude students from examinations in the summer of 2021 due to their choice of hairstyle. Schools worldwide are being sued in civil courts for barring students from enrolling in school, attending classes, or sitting exams on the basis of what they view as “inappropriate” hairstyles. In Jamaica, however, a warning against this policy was issued by the government after some students reported they were not allowed to sit exams because they “needed a haircut.” The Education Ministry has determined that students’ hairstyles do not constitute a “hindrance” to learning, nor should they be used to exclude students from schools. The Ministry is investigating the reported incidents and will release its findings after the investigation is complete.
CONSUMERS CONCERNED ABOUT LACK OF CLARITY REGARDING RIDE-SHARE FIRM’S LOCAL OPERATIONS
Consumers in Jamaica have expressed concern about the lack of clarity involved with the operations of Uber, the global ride-sharing company, as it begins to provide its services in Kingston. According to Trevor Samuels, spokesperson for the National Consumer League, public authorities seem unsure about the legality of Uber’s operations in the country and statements by authorities that transport officials have labeled Uber’s local services as a “new designation.” Samuels says consumers and other stakeholders need to know if the Uber service has received full approval from the government. Transport Minister Robert Montague has not commented on the matter, but consumers wonder whether legislative changes are needed to address a major source of government revenue and a way to impose order on the business. The Transport Authority is projected to receive licensing and processing fees of $1.3 billion in fiscal 2021-2022, and the agency has signaled that Uber may need to partner only with licensed operators in the public-transportation sector, regardless of what it calls its leasing agreement.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
FUND SUPPORTS SUSTAINABILITY, CONSERVATION, AND LIVELIHOODS IN THE CARIBBEAN
A regional project funding cycle under Powering Innovations in Civil Society and Enterprises for Sustainability in the Caribbean (PISCES) was completed by the Caribbean Sea Innovation Fund (CarSIF) of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute. The fund receives financing from the European Union and supports 17 small and micro-grants implemented by civil society organizations and nature-based small and micro businesses in nine Caribbean countries. The projects raised public awareness to the threats confronting the coastal zones of The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. They also strengthened livelihoods in those areas, such as beekeeping, sea moss mariculture, and the production of smoked and salted fish, in forming part of a strategy to protect and restore the sustainable use of coastal ecosystems.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
GOVERNOR-GENERAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS PRESENTED TO SIX JAMAICANS IN DIASPORA
The 2021 Governor-General’s Achievement Awards (GGAA) were awarded to six Jamaicans in the Diaspora to recognize their significant contributions to the country and the Diaspora. A virtual ceremony was held to honor Amani Simpson and Bishop Llewellyn Graham from the United Kingdom, Dave D’Oyen and Dr. Sylvanus Thompson from Canada, and Cassandra Campbell and Dr. Trudy Hall from the United States. The awards, which were presented on behalf of Sir Patrick Allen, Jamaica’s Governor-General by Seth George Ramocan, High Commission to the UK; Sharon Miller, High Commissioner to Canada; and Audrey Marks, Jamaican Ambassador to the US, recognize individuals who displayed active and significant service to the development of the communities in which they live and to Jamaica. The Governor-General made special mention of the fact that many of the recipients had served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN TRANSPORT AUTHORITY SAYS UBER DOES NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO OPERATE IN JAMAICA
Uber, the global rise-sharing company, has not received permission from Jamaica’s Transport Authority to do business in the country. Uber made its services available to people in Kingston on June 15, 2021 and has advertised for drivers. The Transport Authority maintains that any provision of public transportation services in Jamaica requires a road license from the agency. Uber’s “vehicle with driver lease agreement” constitutes a new designation in the local transportation sector and may not remove the requirement for the firm to hire only licensed operators to provide ride-sharing services in the local market.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
SIMPSON RETURNS AS CHAIR OF JAMAICA REGGAE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
Attorney and musician Ewan Simpson will serve as chair of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) for a second term. The organization’s mandate is to unite and promote the interests of all stakeholders directly and indirectly involved with Jamaica’s music and music industry. It is also charged with promoting and providing opportunities for the development of its members by facilitating access to education, training, capacity-building, and networking. According to Simpson, JaRIA is moving to engage more entertainment industry interests with training that will allow them to enhance their earning capabilities on the world stage, especially after the downturn experienced during the COVID-19 lockdown. Simpson added that a priority for the organization is a membership drive and a membership card that will give members access to discounts and critical services. He added that everything is on track to stage a successful Reggae Month celebration as well.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO MITIGATE ELIMINATION OF PRE-OLYMPIC TRAINING CAMP
Although the pre-Olympic training camp in Tottori, Japan, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) announced this will not hinder Jamaica’s preparation or participation in the July 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. According to Garth Gayle, president of the JAAA, Jamaica’s athletes will attend the Olympics and develop contingencies to mitigate the loss of the training camp. Coaches have already been working with athletes in Jamaica, and there are plans to expand those preparations, he added. Jamaicans could compete in up to eight sporting disciplines in Tokyo, but the track and field team benefits the most from pre-Olympic camps, which are traditionally held two to three weeks prior to the Games.