THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
POVERTY RATE FALLS TO LOWEST LEVEL IN DECADE
Dr. Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, announced that the nation’s poverty rate decreased by 40 percent in 2018. The 12.6 percent rate was the lowest recorded in ten years. While recognizing that the significant reduction in poverty was good news, Mark Golding, the Opposition Spokesman on Finance, suggested that what really matters to the people of Jamaica is the economic situation the country faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In speaking to Parliament, Clarke attributed the decline in the poverty rate to an increase in the real gross domestic product, an increase in the employment rate, higher remittances for some households, and a slowed inflation rate. Golding called for the government to tell Jamaicans what it is doing to help the current economy recover in the face of the coronavirus situation.
41-DAY EXTENSION OF STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR DOWNTOWN KINGSTON APPROVED
Jamaica’s House of Representatives gave its approval to a 41-day extension of the State of Emergency (SOE) for the Kingston Central and Western police divisions. All five SOE’s across the island will conclude at the same time on July 25, 2020. Opposition members joined the government in favoring the extension. Funding support from the international community, which was available to the government when it took office, was allowed to lapse, noted Dr. Peter Phillips, Opposition Leader, who said “all we have in return is state of emergency.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
HUGE SAHARAN DUST CLOUD IMPACTS CARIBBEAN
The Caribbean felt the effects of a large cloud of dust that originated in the Sahara Desert and moved across the Atlantic Ocean. This was the largest such cloud to reach the region in some 50 years, and it had a negative impact on the air quality in the islands. According to environment health specialist Pablo Mendez Lazaro of the University of Puerto Rico, the cloud has brought dangerous conditions to many Caribbean islands. The effects of dust on the respiratory system was especially troubling for those fighting the respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19. Even healthy people could suffer adverse effects from the dust, said Lazaro.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN DIASPORA FUNDRAISES FOR FAMILIES OF ST. CATHERINE POLICE
Members of the Jamaican Diaspora have created a GoFUndMe campaign to raise US$50,000 to aid the families of the police officers injured and killed in St. Catherine’s Horizon Park shooting incident on June 12, 2020. The campaign is entitled “Help Families of Slain and Injured Jamaican Police” and successfully raised more than US$600 in just two days. Organizers say the funds will financially support the families of Corporal Dane Biggs and Constable Decardo Hylton, police officers killed during the operation. The funds will also help Superintendent Leon Clunis and another officer injured then as well. The Jamaica Diaspora Crime Intervention and Prevention Taskforce, the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association, Jamaica Ex Police Association of South Florida, Help Jamaica Medical Mission , Sweet Water Blossom Foundation, the Jamaica Diaspora Health Task Force, the Caribbean Edge and Jamaican Lives Matter joined in the fundraising effort.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
NET REMITTANCES FOR JAMAICA FELL BY US$15 MILLION IN APRIL 2020
According to Dr. Nigel Clarke, Jamaicans Minister of Finance and Public Service, the net remittance inflows to Jamaica decreased by over eight percent to a total of US$159.7 million. In April of 2020, the reduction totaled US$15.4 million. The decline in net remittances was attributed to a reduction in gross remittance inflows of 9.8 percent, or US$19.9 million, although the decrease was offset in part by a lowering in outflows of 16.9 percent, or US$4.5 million.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
NEW REGGAE ALBUM PRAISED BY JAMAICA’S TOURISM MINISTER
Jamaican Tourist Minister Edmund Bartlett has praised a new reggae album that features some of the island top entertainers and a Ghanaian star for providing the opportunity for Jamaica to enter the huge African market. The album, entitled “Tropical Cruises to Jamaica – the Reggae Collector’s Edition,” brings one of the country’s largest marketing products to the African continent, a market “rich in potential” and “dear to our people,” said Bartlett. The album launched on June 5, 2020, and debuted on the charts in Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Qatar. The album, which features one of the top stars in Ghana, Shatta Wale, who was part of the Lion King album from American pop star Beyoncé, represents a “powerful statement” that will give Jamaica a major presence on the African continent, Bartlett noted, saying that Jamaica’s music is one of the country’s most important exports.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
CRICKET SUPERSTAR CHRIS GAYLE OUT OF T20 TOURNAMENT FOR 2020
Cricket superstar and veteran player Chris Gayle has decided to opt out of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL)T 20 Tournament in 2020 for “personal reasons.” Gayle, 40, withdrew from participation in order to spend more time with his family, according to media reports. Gayle was set to represent St. Lucia Zouks in the tournament. His withdrawal will be a serious blow to the Zouks, whose captain Darren Sammy noted Gayle’s value to the franchise ‘s upcoming season in May 2020. Jamaican Gayle is the most successful batsman in Twenty20 format history, having more than 13,000 runs and 22 hundreds.