THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
FIRST JAMAICAN CITIZENS TO ADOPT NEW DIGITAL CURRENCY TO RECEIVE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE
Jamaica will provide an incentive payment of J$2,500 to the first 100,000 citizens who use the new Jam Dex digital currency, which is slated for launch in the near future. Posting to Facebook Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that individuals who activate digital wallets following the currency’s launch will receive the payment. Countries in the Caribbean are leading the world in issuing Central Bank Digital Currencies, or CBDCs. These are digital versions of a country’s fiat currency and differ from Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. The Bahamas was first in the world to introduce its CBDC, the Sand Dollar, in October of 2020. Adoption of such currencies has been slow, however, and Jamaica’s Finance Minister Nigel Clarke noted that the success of Jam Dex depends on its real-world usefulness. All Jamaicans who have bank accounts will receive automatic eligibility for the Jam Dex digital wallets.
NEW BANKNOTES IN JAMAICA FEATURE IMAGES OF FORMER PRIME MINISTERS, NATIONAL HEROES
Former Jamaican Prime Ministers Michael Manley and Edward Seaga will be featured on new banknotes issued by the government. A newly created $2,000 banknote will include the image of Manley and Seaga together, according to an announcement from Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance. The decision to put the two former leaders on a single note represents an attempt at promoting unity in the country. Other rebranded Jamaican banknotes will be overhauled as well, with Marcus Garvey appearing alone on an upgraded $100 note rather than on the $20 coin, and all other national heroes whose images had been removed from banknotes being restored in a new collection slated for circulation later in 2022. Sam Sharpe and Nanny of the Maroons will appear together on the $500 note; Nanny of the Maroons is the only woman whose image is featured on Jamaican currency. The $1,000 banknote will feature Norman Manley and Sir Alexander Bustamante, while Paul Bogle and George William Gordon will appear together on the $50 note.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES CANCEL CITIZENSHIP INVESTMENT PROGRAMS FOR RUSSIANS
Several nations in the Caribbean offer citizens of other countries the chance to pay a minimum amount of $100,000 or invest some $200,000 in government-operated real estate development projects in exchange for passports. Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda have decided to cancel such programs for individuals from Russia and Belarus in a move designed to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. In Dominica, Emmanuel Nanthan, the coordinator of its citizenship investment program, sent an email to those employed in recruiting rich investors advising them that the plan has been suspended “in light of the current conflict in Ukraine.” Authorities in St. Lucia will no longer allow transfer of funds from Russia to the country’s banking system. Island nations in the Caribbean were part of the group of 141 United Nations member countries to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) also condemned the attack but left any decisions about sanctions against Russia up to its individual member nations.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER ENCOURAGES DIASPORA MEMBERS TO REGISTER WITH DIPLOMATIC OFFICES
Jamaican Senator Leslie Campbell, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, is telling Jamaicans who live overseas to register with the diplomatic offices of their country of resident. Campbell noted that the Ministry faced challenges when it tried to repatriate 20 students who flew home from Ukraine and that some type of registration with the diplomatic authority would make it easier for such repatriations to occur in the event situations like that in Ukraine arise in the future.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA’S OPPOSITION FINANCE SPOKESPERSON URGES GOVERNMENT TO RETAIN ITS 20 PERCENT STAKE IN JPS
Julian Robinson, Jamaica’s Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, says the Opposition wants the government to keep its 20 percent stake in the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS). According to Robinson, the Opposition believes that the JPS represents critical infrastructure in Jamaica and is one of the nation’s strategic assets essential for the efficient functioning of the economy and society. Robinson made his remarks during the debate over the 2022-2023 budget in the House of Representatives. He also emphasized that the Opposition does not object to a general divestment of government assets but stated that the JPS is different due to the impact that energy costs have on business competitiveness and Jamaica’s cost of living.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
DENROY MORGAN, REGGAE PIONEER, DIES AT AGE 76
Jamaican reggae pioneer, Denroy Morgan, pass away on March 3, 2022, in Georgia. Morgan was the patriarch and singer of the singing group Morgan Heritage, and one of the musical artists who promoted reggae around the world. Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Olivia Grange, expressed her sadness at Morgan’s passing, calling him unique and giving thanks that his music legacy will live on in his children. Denroy Morgan was born in May Pen in Clarendon in 1945. He moved to the United States in 1965 and studied guitar and piano at the New York School of Music. He launched a solo career and became the first reggae artist to sign on with RCA Records in 1984. Noting the musical talent and interest among his children, he devoted himself to building their careers, and they formed several groups including the Grammy-winning roots band Morgan Heritage. In 1975, Denroy Morgan received a spiritual call and became a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel Rastafari group. He was ambassador for the Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church of North and South America and ministered to inmates at Devens Federal Bureau of Prisons in Massachusetts. Morgan was a life-long advocate for legalizing cannabis and worked tirelessly for the unification of various Rastafarian communities and organizations around the world. He was ordained a bishop and started the Abrahamic Covenant Family Ministry, which asked the United Nations to declare November 2, which was the coronation day of HIM Haile Selassie I, to be a global holiday.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAZMINE FENLATOR-VICTORIAN, JAMAICAN OLYMPIC BOBSLEDDER, WORKS TO INSPIRE FEMALE ATHLETES
Olympic women’s bobsled team member Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, partnered with the Sandals Foundation on March 8, 2022, International Women’s Day, to inspire female athletes at Iona High School in St. Mary, Jamaica, with her story of success. Fenlator-Victorian, who is a three-time Olympic athlete, emphasized the positive nature of sports and their impact on helping individuals build a path to their dreams. She told the Iona High students that sport opens up paths that show “that the impossible is very much possible.” She said there are many lessons to learn through sports, including those that relate to success in life by guiding people to evolve and adapt to become their best selves. She also encouraged the students to “dare to dream big” and to consistently move toward their goals. Heidi Clarke, executive director of the Sandals Foundation, which sponsored the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team in 2022, is committed to using sports as a way to help young people in Jamaica develop critical life skills so they can become competitive on the global level.