THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE RECEIVES FIRST COVID-19 VACCINATION IN JAMAICA
Marcia Thomas-Yetman, a public health nurse, was the first person to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Jamaica. She received the vaccination at The Good Samaritan’s Inn in Kingston on March 10, 2021. This was one year to the day after the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Jamaica. Thomas-Yetman works at the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) and is among the category of professional workers who were identified by the Jamaican government to be among the first individuals to receive the vaccine. Following her inoculation, Thomas-Yetman said she was proud to be the first person vaccinated on the island. She said she was happy she got it and encouraged everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can. She said that she feared the needle, but that the vaccination did not hurt and that she had no adverse reactions to it. Thomas-Yetman has worked as a nurse for 27 years and expressed her sadness at the number of Jamaicans who have suffered and died from COVID-19 in the past year.
JAMAICAN SENIORS COULD RECEIVE $10,000 IF THEY GET COVID-19 VACCINE
The Jamaican government is set to introduce a Conditional Cash Transfer for the Vaccinated (CCTV) sub-program that would benefit over 100,000 Jamaicans. Each of these Jamaicans would receive $10,000. The program targets individuals aged 60 and older who do not receive paychecks or pensions over $1.5 million per year. To receive the funds, Jamaicans will also have to prove that they have received COVID-19 vaccinations as evidenced by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The initiative will operate under the $60 billion Social and Economic Recovery and Vaccine (SERVE) Program, which is designed to ensure that older and more vulnerable individuals are vaccinated.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
COUNTRIES IN CARIBBEAN WILL RECEIVE EU FUNDING TO BATTLE COVID-19
According to Janez Lenarčič, the European Commission’s commissioner for crisis management, the European Community (EU) will donate 17 million euros to help nations in the Caribbean address the needs of their most vulnerable citizens, who have seen their lives worsen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The humanitarian aid is provided directly to these vulnerable populations and continues the EU’s long-standing help. Haiti will receive 14 million euros to address its serious food insecurity, provide protections from gang violence, and increase the country’s resilience to natural disasters. About 4.4 million people, or some 40 percent of Haiti’s population, will required humanitarian assistance in 2021, according to EU assessments. Another three million euros will be donated to help other Caribbean islands to prepare for disasters and to create resilience interventions in communities of highest risk. The EU has provided 183 million euros in humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean since 1994, excluding Haiti, a total that includes 50.8 million euros to reduce disaster risk and enhance community resilience.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
RESIDENTS OF TORONTO’S “LITTLE JAMAICA” WANT DESIGNATION AS HERITAGE CONSERVATION DISTRICT
Local residents and advocacy groups in the “Little Jamaica” area of Toronto, Canada, say the area is in urgent need of protection and preservation. They are calling on the city’s leadership to designate “Little Jamaica’ a heritage conservation district. City officials do not believe this is the right path, however, and propose designating the area as Toronto’s first “cultural district.” According to Cheryl Blackman, acting general manager of the city’s economic development and culture, conservation districts do not “control uses” or support arts and culture services. Designating the area a “cultural district” would ensure that “Little Jamaica” remains a place where Black businesses and culture thrive. Members of the Jamaican community, who have asked for help for years, note that the culturally rich area has been overlooked by the city and suffered serious damage due to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction. They say that without a clear understanding of what a “cultural district” designation would mean, residents wonder if it will really protect their unique neighborhood.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
MARLEY FAMILY COLLABORATES WITH SILO WELLNESS TO LAUNCH PSYCHEDELIC MUSHROOM BRAND
The family of Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley have entered into a license agreement with Silo Wellness Inc., a wellness firm in the psychedelics and “functional mushroom” markets. Under the multi-year agreement, Silo Wellness will have the exclusive international rights to brand, market, and sell a unique product line of functional and psychedelic mushrooms. According to Rita Marley, wife of Bob Marley and the family matriarch, the Marleys are glad to collaborate with Silo Wellness to create the first global mushroom brand in history. She added that, in their youth, she and Bob Marley included medicinal mushrooms in their “strict, natural diet” and that mushrooms mesh with the Marley’s vision of a world improved by natural products. Cedella Marley, the daughter of Bob and Rita Marley, said, the family wants to use its platform to facilitate positive change in the world. “Mushrooms have been used for centuries, and we believe they offer a natural pathway for healing and positivity,” she said. Jamaica is the only country in the world where psilocybin can be grown, extracted, and sold legally, which allows the island to find direct benefits from wellness tourism and the sale of psychedelic mushrooms.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
MULLINGS SAYS “REAL” DANCEHALL OVERTAKES NEW-ERA JAMAICAN MUSIC IN ROYALTIES
According to Evon Mullings, the general manager of the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS), the global market is not very supportive of the new-era music coming out of Jamaica in terms of royalty payments. The new-era genres include Trap, Hip-Hop, and Island Pop. In an interview on “The Entertainment Report” on Television Jamaica, Mullings said that the song receiving the highest royalty payments are the “older, authentic productions” that date from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, or what are called “catalog songs.” These are songs that have already done well and still do well, he added. Mullings believes that authenticity is the key to winning in the royalty market, as contemporary artists like Shenseea, Vershon, Jahmiel, and Ding Dong who stay with original Jamaican sounds make the most money at the international level.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN ALIA ATKINSON WINS FIVE GOLD MEDALS AT PIRANHAS SENIOR INVITATIONAL
Alia Atkinson, Jamaica’s four-time Olympian, dominated the Piranhas Senior Invitational at the Plantation Aquatic Center in South Florida. Atkinson, 32, was part of the team that won the 200-meter medley race on the first day of the competition on March 4, 2021. Her teammates were Elena Dinehart, Paige Lane, and Mallory Schleicher. She then won gold on the second day in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 100-meter butterfly. On the third day, she won two more gold medals in the 50-meter breaststroke and the 50-meter butterfly. Atkinson has already qualified for the next Olympic Games.