THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
ZIGGY AND CEDELLA MARLEY JOIN EFFORT TO ENSURE PUBLIC HAS ACCESS TO ALL JAMAICAN BEACHES
Two of Bob Marley’s children, Ziggy and Cedella, have joined with the Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement (JABEM) to make the nation’s government ensure that the public has unconditional access to and use of all the island’s beaches. They are asking the government to make access and use of the beaches, including Bob Marley Beach in St. Andrew, a constitutional right. Bob Marley’s oldest son, Ziggy, has called for the protection of public access to Jamaican beaches by enshrining the right in the constitution. The effort stemmed from worries about recent events at Bob Marley Beach in Bull Bay, St. Thomas, which had been a favorite spiritual retreat for the reggae icon, that brought the public under threat of losing access to the community beach and also threatened to destroy the livelihood of the fisherfolk and to dispossess land held by prominent Rastafari family members. Ziggy noted efforts to intimidate locals into leaving the areas and privatizing places that he remembered having access to throughout his childhood. He added that Jamaica is one of the only places in the Caribbean that does not guarantee general rights of access to its beaches for the public. The Marleys said that mass commercialization of beachfront property is resulting in the displacement of vulnerable Jamaicans from their ecological heritage, a situation that could result in social unrest if it is not ended.
24 INDIVIDUALS GRANTED JAMAICAN CITIZENSHIP
Twenty-four people were made Jamaican citizens on March 27, 2023, at a swearing-in ceremony in St. Andrew. They were presented with the documents that formalized their status by representatives of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) of Jamaica. Andrew Wynter, the CEO of PICA, welcomed the new Jamaicans and said the nation was happy to have them. He noted that the ceremony displayed adherence to the motto of Jamaica” “Out of Many, One People” and added that PICA will continue to put strategies in place that will enhance its modernization efforts. Jamaica will transition to e-passports, he said, as well as help to put the country at the cutting edge of technology.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
U.S. RAISES FEES ON VISA PROCESSING FOR NON-IMMIGRANT CARIBBEAN VISITORS
The United States Department of State has raised fees related to processing fees for non-immigrant visa (NIV) applications for Caribbean visitors. The increases go into effect on May 30, 2023. According to the State Department, the fee for visitor visas for purposes of business or tourism, student, and exchange visitors, will rise from US$160 to US$185. Fees for some petition-based NIVs for temporary workers will increase from US$190 to US$205, while the fee for treaty traders, treaty investors, and treaty applicants in specialty occupations will rise from US$205 to US$315. The fees are established on the basis of actual costs of providing NIV services. Most non-petition-based NIVs received their last update in 2012, while other NIV fees were most recently updated in 2014.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
MICHELLE TULLOCH-NEIL ELECTED TO GLOBAL JAMAICA DIASPORA COUNCIL
Michelle Tulloch-Neil was elected to represent the Northeast states at the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council. She said she was honored and excited to be chosen as representative at a time of “unbelievable opportunity” to “educate, elevate, and empower” individuals in the Diaspora. As the head of the Northeast Council, Tulloch-Neil plans to investigate ways to increase engagement and partnership with the Diaspora on issues of interest to Jamaica and the Diaspora. She noted that the Council is not “an arm” of Jamaica’s government, but that it has the chance to be involved with the nation’s development at the level of policy on issues such as education, health, safety, commerce, arts, sports, culture, and faith-based community. Tulloch-Neil, who lives in Philadelphia, will represent 13 states: New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia — and Washington, D.C. She will serve a three-year term.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
HILL ENCOURAGING LOCAL FIRMS TO TRAIN MORE OF JAMAICAN WORKERS
Senator Aubyn Hill, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, is promoting the training of Jamaica’s young people by local Jamaican firms. He noted that there are some 300,000 to 400,000 young people, chiefly young men, in the country that should be trained, and if they are not, there would be “potential implications.” Hill added that the elimination of fees for HEART-NSTA Trust courses up to the associate degree level shows how the Jamaican government is in the process of repurposing funds and spending significant amounts to encourage training of Jamaican citizens.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA SCREEN FUND PLEDGES $6.5 MILLION FOR FILM AND TV DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION
As film commissioner Renee Robinson leaves her post, the Jamaica Screen Fund has pledged a total of $6.5 million (J$1 billion) over two years for the development and production of film and television projects in Jamaica. The funding includes support for local productions and eligible global features shot on the island. Half the amount will be allocated in the 2023/2024 cycle with the remainder set for the 2024/2025 period. Approval from Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce will be required before resources are allocated in stages via the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. The film, animation, and music sector makes the third largest contribution to Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Robinson will step down on March 31, 2023, following her tenure of seven years. During her time as film commissioner, contributions to the GDP from expenditures in film production rose from under US$5 million to over US$18 million, jobs for local screen professionals increased from fewer than 1,000 to over 2,800, and international productions shot in Jamaica reached a peak of some 120 per year.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
KINGSTON COLLEGE JUNIOR RUNS 100-METERS IN UNDER 10 SECONDS
Bouwahjgie Nkrumie, 19, a junior at Kingston College, ran the 100-meters in 9.99 seconds, establishing a new personal best and become the third junior sprinter in history to clock under 10 seconds in the event. Nkrumie won the gold medal at the Boys’ Class One 100-meters on the second day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships held at National Stadium. Nkrumie set the national junior record in 2022 with a time of 10.02 seconds at the World Athletics U-20 Championships in Cali, Columbia. His recent time at Champs also reduced the national junior record and removed the Champs record he established earlier in the semi-finals with a time of 10.08 seconds. Nkrumie is the first Jamaican junior sprinter to run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds.