THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
OPPOSITION LEADER GOLDING SUPPORTS JAMAICA BECOMING A REPUBLIC
An interview of Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Megan Markle with Oprah Winfrey on March 7, 2021, has brought the issue of leaving the Commonwealth to public attention. The couple’s claims of racism against the royal family caused outrage throughout Commonwealth nations. Now Jamaican Opposition leader Mark Golding has added his support for the country to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and to become a republic. Barbados announced that it would take such a step in 2020 and plans to join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Haiti as republics in CARICOM. Golding made his intentions known during a 2021/2022 Budget debate, saying that the government owes its national heroes the completion of “the circle of independence.” According to the Golding, the president of the People’s National Party (PNP), no government has actually moved toward total independence, and he is calling for officials to include a motion proposed by MP Mikael Phillips to hold a referendum on replacing the Queen as Head of State in the next local government elections.
HOLNESS ANNOUNCES PLANS TO DEVELOP OCEANARIUM IN MONTEGO BAY
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is working on plans for developing an oceanarium in Montego Bay. He noted that this would be the first plan of its kind in the Caribbean region. An oceanarium is a saltwater aquarium that displays marine animals and plants, especially ocean fishes and mammals. The facility would function as both a visitor attraction and a conservation development. The project supports the country’s expansion of its economy and would combine urban development with environmental management in Montego Bay, the tourist capital of Jamaica.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
TOURIST VISITS TO CARIBBEAN DROP OVER 65 PERCENT ACCORDING TO CTO REPORT
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) reports that tourist arrivals in the Caribbean decreased by 65.5 percent in 2020, illustrating the impact of COVID-19 on the travel and tourism sector. The global pandemic resulted in empty hotels and restaurants and deserted tourist attracts as borders were closed, airlines were grounded, and cruise lines saw reduced services. In 2020, there was a 72 percent reduction in cruise visits, compared to 2019 levels. The CTO stated that government restrictions in the Caribbean and throughout the world reduced or prevented travel of long periods of time, leading to the drop in tourist numbers to 11 million in 2020 rather than the record 32 million number of tourist visits in 2019.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NEW YORK’S JAMAICAN CONSULATE HONORS YVETTE CLARKE DURING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
The Consulate General of Jamaica in New York has recognized the Jamaican American Congresswoman Yvette Clarke in honor of Women’s History Month. Clarke was honored for her demonstration of leadership in advancing the sustainable development programs of the Jamaican people and nation. The Consulate, which is based in Manhattan, noted that Clarke’s career in politics began on the New York City Council. She followed in her mother’s footsteps: her mother Dr. Una S.T. Clarke was the first woman born in the Caribbean to be elected to the Council. Yvette Clarke was born in Brooklyn and has represented New York’s 9th Congressional District since 2007. She is co-chair of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus and now serves as chair of the Homeland Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee, which does its work under the jurisdiction of the US House Committee on Homeland Security,
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
CLARKS JOINS OTHER MAJOR BRANDS TAPPING INTO POPULARITY OF JAMAICA
The Jamaica brand remains sought-after by major companies around the world. Clarks footwear is one of the many firms to appropriate Jamaica’s national colors to profitable effect. Clarks notes that its use of Jamaican references is its way to pay homage to the island’s culture and to recognize its long-standing affiliation with the country. Its new “Jamaica Pack” lines of iconic shoe styles includes the Desert Boot, Wallabee, and Desert Trek. Clarks, which was launched 196 years ago, received an investment of £100 million in 2021 from LionRock Capital, which is now its majority stakeholder. Clarks is the latest brand to utilized Brand Jamaica, joining fashion design firm Louis Vuitton, which has released a line of clothing “inspired” by Jamaica.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
OLIVE SENIOR CHOSEN POET LAUREATE OF JAMAICA
The Jamaica author Olive Senior has officially been named as the next Poet Laureate of Jamaica. She took the post at an investiture ceremony via the auspices of the National Library of Jamaica. Senior will replace Lorna Goodison, who has served for the past four years. Senior’s writing career has combined practical and creative elements. She has been the publications editor of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of the West Indies and has written two non-fiction books. She was also the managing director of Institute of Jamaica Publications and the editor of Jamaica Journal. Senior has also published “Talking of Trees,” a poetry collection that features an exploration of an inner life and looks for origins in distant history. “Summer Lightning,” a 1987 anthology of short stories, included prize-winning tales from Festival Literacy Competitions. She has won a number of awards for her poetry and short stories, including the Institute of Jamaica Centenary Medal for Creative Writing in 1979 and received international recognition in 1987 when she received the Commonwealth Prize for Literature. Senior was also awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal in 1988.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
REGGAE BOYZ PREPARE FOR U.S. FRIENDLY WITHOUT SOME REGULAR PLAYERS
A number of regular players of the Reggae Boyz will not be part of the squad that faces the United States in a friendly international in Austria on March 25, 2021. The final 18-man squad named by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will not include team captain and custodian Andre Blake, defender Damion Lowe, and Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey. According to reports, some players are locked in negotiations with the JFF and have not yet signed contracts to ensure their availability to the national team. The squad will include defender Adrian Mariappa of the Bristol Rovers and Michael Hector of Fulham. It may also see the debuts of Leon Moore, Ethan Pinnock of Brentford, and striker Andre Gray of Watford. Returning to the squad will be the former Manchester United youth player Ravel Morrison.