THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICA’S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES ANTI-GANG BILL WITH AMENDMENTS
The House of Representatives in Jamaica passed the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) (Amendment) Act of 2021, better known as the Anti-Gang Legislation, with four amendments. The bill is designed to provide greater support for law enforcement’s efforts to interrupt and undermine organized crime activity. According to Dr. Horace Change, Jamaican Minister of National Security, a strong framework of laws is necessary to ensure sustainable reductions in crime. The amendments to the Act specifically mention additional offenses for activities undertaken by criminal organizations, raised the number of offenses governed by the Act, expand the list of aggravating factors considered in the sentencing of individuals convicted of specific offenses under the Act, and improve trial procedures to better protect the identity of witnesses.
MORE THAN 1 MILLION DOSES OF SINGLE-SHOT VACCINE SECURED FOR JAMAICA
Jamaica’s government has secured sufficient doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate 50 percent of the country’s population. To date, Jamaica has vaccinated just eight percent of the population. According to Howard Mitchell, chair of the National Health Fund, the government has obtained 1.5 million doses, which are scheduled to arrive in Jamaica in August of 2021. Until then, Jamaica will use the 55,200 doses of the vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, which arrived in Jamaica on May 31, 2021. Approximately 155,000 Jamaicans have already received at least one dose. Mitchell said that President Joe Biden of the United States has committed to sharing any US surplus of vaccines with the rest of the world and that Jamaica, as a friend of the US, has been assured it is among the nations under consideration for the surplus. Dr. Mindi Fitz-Henley notes that the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents a “much better outlook” for vaccinating Jamaica’s population.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
ANTIGUAN GOVERNMENT TO OFFER LAND AS INCENTIVE TO RECEIVE COVID VACCINATION
The government of Antigua and Barbuda plans to provide a parcel of land totaling 8,000 square feet as an incentive for citizens of the country to receive vaccinations. It is also providing incentives like food, gasoline, and gift vouchers to entice people to get the COVID-19 vaccinations. According to a statement from the Cabinet, people must receive their shots between June 7, 2021, and June 30, 2021, to qualify for the land offer. The other incentives will continue after that date. About 35,000 citizens have already received the first dose of the vaccine to date, and the government believes that an approach to offer incentives to speed up the rate of vaccination among adults will move the country closer to its goal of achieving herd immunity.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NUMBER OF MIGRANTS FROM CARIBBEAN TO CANADA LED BY JAMAICA
According to data gathered by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) agency, Jamaicans lead the way in number of Caribbean migrants moving to Canada. In the past six years, more than 21,000 Jamaicans have legally moved to Canada and account for 45 percent of the total 47,265 CARICOM nationals who have immigrated to that country since 2015. Haitians represent the second-highest total of Caribbean immigrants to Canada with a total of 12, 885 during this period, and Guyana is in third place with 2,605. Most of the Jamaicans immigrated via the sponsorship of a spouse or partner. Health care and economic stability were the two most common reasons given by Jamaicans for their relocation to Canada.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN MINISTER OF TOURISM ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR ADDITIONAL 3,000 HOTEL ROOMS
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, announced that 3,000 new hotel rooms will be under construction on the island within the “next few month.” According to Bartlett, who made his remarks at the virtual ground-breaking ceremony for the new Sandals Dunn’s River Resort in St. Ann, arrangements concluded in Spain will result in another 1,000 rooms, 700 of which will be built in Richmond and another 280 will be built in Montego Bay. Bartlett said he was excited about the future of the tourism industry and noted that Jamaica has already welcomed more than 400,000 visitors in 2021. This represents about US$500 million in foreign exchange for Jamaica, he added.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
MARLEY FAMILY SUPPORTS REMIX OF “GET UP, STAND UP” BY AMERICAN SINGER NAKKIA GOLD
The American singer and songwriter Nakkia Gold has issued a remix of Bob Marley’s iconic song “Get Up, Stand Up,” and the new version has received the blessing of the Marley family. The track by Gold is entitled “Justice (Get Up, Stand Up).” It was released in May 2021 and has been called “a rebirth of the militant anthem that played an integral role in the fight for equality and human rights”. The Gold track has received over 3.2 million views on YouTube since its release. Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley, called Gold’s vocals “beautiful” and said she supported the song’s message, which was in sync with the views of her father. In an interview on “Good Morning America,” Marley said, “When you hear her (Nakkia), what’s not to love. Nakkia has a beautiful voice, and she has a very strong message, so it was easy” to support the recording. Marley said Gold updated the song to reflect the current social environment and the social injustice experienced by Black people in the United States. Bob Marley and The Wailers released the original version of the song on the 1973 album, “Burnin’.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
BRIANA WILLIAMS BREAKS JAMAICAN NATIONAL UNDER-20 RECORD SHE SET
Jamaican Briana Williams, 19, broke the Jamaican National Under-20 record in the 100-meter event at the finals of the American Track League Duval County Challenge held at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Williams ran the distance in 10.98 seconds to win the women’s final, breaking the Jamaican national records, which she set herself. Williams’ coach Ato Boldon said he expects her to run even faster times in the future. He said that the runner’s new personal best did not surprise him as their goal was to return to the 10.94-second time she ran at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Senior Championships in 2019. This time was removed from her record later due to a failed drug test. Williams will run two more races between the championships that will help to choose Jamaica’s team for the Olympics in Tokyo, and Boldon expects her to perform well going forward.