THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICANS TO SEE CONTINUED RISE IN ENERGY COSTS DUE TO “UTILITY DEATH SPIRAL”
Pressures on Jamaica’s energy sector will continue as consumers flee the traditional power grid. The cost of energy is expected to its upward trend, according to the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET), as customers who can afford paying higher costs elect to leave the grid. This leaves consumers less capable of paying higher costs and consumers on fixed incomes to pay more. Brian Richardson, chief technical director at MSET, the current energy situation in Jamaica is marked by the large number of consumers opting to leave the grid, which then experiences greater pressure due to the rising use of solar and other renewable sources of energy, alternative business models, and consumers looking for “non-commoditized” energy solutions. Thus, the traditional utility model is hard pressed to deliver reliable and cost-effective energy.
JAMAICAN TO BAN INCANDESCENT BULBS FROM APRIL 1, 2023
Daryl Vaz, Jamaican Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, confirmed that the his Ministry plans to implement its program of phasing out the import, export, manufacture, distribution, sale, and purchase of incandescent light bulbs beginning on April 1, 2023. Energy-efficient LED bulbs will be required to replace the less efficient incandescent products for household and business lighting needs. Vaz said that the change will be of great benefit to Jamaica and that those who switch from incandescent to LED bulbs can save as much as 80 percent of lighting-related costs with LED bulbs. Among the other benefits accruing from the switch include making progress toward a more sustainable energy future for Jamaica. Businesses ill have until April 1, 2024, to comply with the new rules. Draft rules do not include fines for selling or buying incandescent bulbs during the first year following their implementation.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CARIBBEAN NATIONS EXPECT HUGE INFLUX OF SARGASSUM SEAWEED ON BEACHES
A large bloom of sargassum seaweed is expected to impact the beaches of Florida and countries in the Caribbean in 2023. The seaweed is reported to span about 5,000 miles and is visible from space. According to scientists, it is one of the largest blooms in history. According to a report in the Sargassum Sub Regional Outlook Bulletin for January 2023, the influx of the seaweed will continue to be moderate to severe until mid-April 2023. Northern and Middle islands are expected to see much more sargassum than usual in early part of the season. Countries in the south are expected to remain clear of the seaweed.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN DIASPORA MEMBERS CALL FOR POLICE COMMISSIONER’S REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Jamaican record producer Wayne Brown and some 600 members of the nation’s Diaspora in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, filed a claim in the Supreme Court that called for Antony Anderson, Jamaica’s Commissioner of Police, to be removed from office in the public interest. Brown seeks permission to file for a judicial review of the process used by the Police Service Commission in justifying Anderson’s continued service in the role. In the claim, Brown asserted that circumstances of non-performance and a lack of public confidence in Anderson require the Commission to find it desirable to make him resign in the interest of the public. The claim cites the impact of high crime rates, murders, and violence in Jamaica on Jamaicans and their relatives in the Diaspora and also claimed that crime rates and violence have increased during Anderson’s tenure as Commissioner.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
CEO OF AMCHAM JAMAICA PROMOTES JAMAICA’S DUTY-FREE IMPORTS AT FEDERAL HEARINGS IN U.S.
Jodi-Ann Quarrie, the CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM Jamaica), was a participant in United States federal hearings before the International Trade Commission (USITC) in Washington DC on March 9, 2023, in support of Jamaica’s duty-free imports. She advocated for the duty-free imports during the Commission’s review of the duty-free access of goods from Jamaica and the Caribbean to the US. Quarrie answered questions about potential obstacles for businesses in Jamaica as the agency reviews the economic impact of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and related programs. The programs provide for duty-free imports from designated nations, including Jamaica. Among the impacts are regulatory costs, problems securing inspections, uncertainty about the process of US trade law renewals, participation of women in the work force, and the impact on Jamaica’s diaspora.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
BLACK STAR LINE FESTIVAL PLANNED FOR STAGING IN JAMAICA
Chance The Rapper plans to stage the Black Star Line Festival in Kingston and has elicited the participation of recording star Popcaan for the event. Chance The Rapper announced on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that he wants to bring his mega-festival to Jamaica after its huge success in Accra, Ghana, in January 2023. In Ghana, the event was held in Black Star Square on January 6, 2023, with some 52,000 fans in attendance. Chance is working on an album entitled “Star Line Gallery” that is inspired by the shipping line created by Jamaica’s first National Hero and head of the Pan-African movement, Marcus Garvey. Members of Chance’s family were Garveyists, and he wants to continue their legacy by including the movement’s ethos in the album. The festival will feature Black artists from around the world, including Ghanaians Sarkodie, King Promise, and others.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
SWIM CHAMPIONS ALIA ATKINSON AND PATRICK GROTERS HOLD LEARN-TO-SWIM CLASS
Jamaican Alia Atkinson, who has won the short-course swimming world championship four times, and Patrick Groters, who holds the record at the Pan American Junior Games, gave free swimming lessons in partnership with PanAm Aquatics in Montego Bay. The champions and Zaneta Alvarenga, taught children how to be maintain their safety around water and drowning. The turn-out for the lessons was impressive, according to Maureen Croes, president of PanAm Aquatics, and noted that the program had to be creative as there is only a single 50-meter pool in Jamaica. The learn-to-swim program is part of PanAm’s Open Water series, which began on March 3, 2023, in the Cayman Islands.