THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
SHAGGY CALLS FOR JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT AND DIASPORA TO ENHANCE SUPPORT FOR REGGAE AND DANCEHALL MUSIC
Grammy award winner reggae artist Shaggy is appealing to the government of Jamaica and to the Jamaican Diaspora to make a greater effort to support and promote Jamaican reggae and dancehall music. He is also urging the government to assist in educating artists about how to be more business savvy. Shaggy has recommended that more educational seminars and workshops be made available to artists to help them manage their music operations on both the local and global levels. Artists must begin to handle themselves in a more professional manner, he believes, in order to be treated seriously. He and promoter Sharon Burke of Synergy had started a program to do just that, but the effort fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shaggy wants the government to help him resuscitate this program.
LABOR UNIONS WANT MONTEGO BAY BYPASS ORDER TO BE APPLIED TO OTHER PROJECTS
Vincent Morrison, the president of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees (UCASE), is calling for the rules of engagement that were suggested for workers on the proposed Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project to be applied to other construction sites of the China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC). Morrison said he welcomes the proposals included in the Public Procurement (National Development Project) (Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project) Order, which require the company to pay the same rates as those paid by local contractors under the Joint Industrial Council (JIC) for the building and construction industry, but that these proposals should not be limited to the Montego Bay project. He also agrees with Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and Public Service, that CHEC should observe the JIC rates that are standard for the industry in Jamaica and that they should be extended to construction projects like the east-west toll highway from May Pen to Manchester.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
PRIORITIES SET BY NEW CARICOM SECRETARY GENERAL
Dr. Carla Barnett, the newly named secretary general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the first woman to be appointed to the role, has decided that one of her first priorities in office will be to extend the outreach of the 15-member group across the region and member states. Barnett, who was born in Belize, will replace Irwin LaRocque, who is completing two five-year terms in August 2021. Barnett is the first woman to have served as deputy secretary general, a position she held from 1997 to 2002. Barnett said she is looking forward to the chance to make a difference at the regional level and work to facilitate efforts to handle the crises facing the Caribbean, two of the most critical being COVID and the economy.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN MINISTRY POSTPONES 9TH BIENNIAL DIASPORA CONFERENCE UNTIL 2022
Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has decided to postpone the virtual 9th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference to 2022. The conference was originally scheduled for June 16 to 18, 2021, but concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the change. By delaying the conference until 2022, it will coincide with Jamaica’s Diamond Jubilee, its 60th Anniversary of Independence, and hopefully, its first post-COVID independence celebrations. As an alternate engagement for 2021, the Ministry, in partnership with the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC), the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council (GJDYC), and additional local and overseas stakeholders to present the Virtual Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium on June 16 and 17. The theme of the event will be “Jamaica and the Diaspora – Stronger Together for a Sustainable Future.” It will feature panel discussion on health and wellness, education, and Diaspora partnerships for sustainable development. The Governor-General’s Awards for Excellence will also be presented and focus on “Heroes of the Pandemic.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA TOURIST BOARD PARTNERS WITH TEAM FRAZZZ RACING IN BRANDING
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is partnering with Team Frazzz Racing for the Rallycross Nordic and Nitro Series scheduled from June to December of 2021, with its official branding appearing on the car of rising star driver, Jamaica’s Fraser McConnell. McConnell made history in April 2021 when he became Jamaica’s first Rallycross champion. According to Donovan White, director of tourism, McConnell is a world-class driver who has been a great ambassador for Jamaica during his journey to the top of his profession. The 22-year-old Bog Walk native began his career in motocross, karting, and rallying, and was twice named “the Jamaican Driver of the Year” before discovering the sport of rallycross. He gained immediate success in rallycross and finished twice on the podium in 2019 with second-place finishes in Barcelona and Cape Town. McConnell said he is happy to work with the JTB and that he is proud to work with his home country.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN AUTHOR WINS 2021 COMMONWEALTH SHORT STORY PRIZE
Roland Watson-Grant, 48, is the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story competition for the Caribbean region in 2021. He won for his story entitled “The Disappearance of Mumma Dell,” which tells the story of how a matriarch’s funeral goes awry before her body goes missing and causes panic in a district of rural Jamaica that is in danger of disappearing from the map. According to Judge Diana McCaulay, a regional Jamaican environmental activist and award-winning writer who took the regional Caribbean prize in 2012, said Watson-Grant’s story “teems with lightly but perfectly sketched and familiar characters” in a tale that is “rich, funny and deeply rooted in the Jamaican countryside.” Watson-Grant defeated his competitors Sharma Taylor of Jamaica, Health Barker of Barbados, and Andre Bagoo and Rashad Hosein from Trinidad and Tobago to win the Caribbean prize. Watson-Grant said he entered the competition because he writes “in the spaces where cultures have conversations.” His story was selected from a shortlist of 25 entries.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN KEMBA NELSON MAKES IMPRESSION ON NCAA TRACK SCENE
Jamaican sprinter Kemba Nelson who comes from Montego Bay is making a strong impression with her performance for the University of Oregon, winning her semifinal heat in the women’s 100-meter race at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Grand Prix at the university’s Hayward Field on April 24, 2021. Nelson almost didn’t choose to attend the University of Oregon because she didn’t think she was fast enough for the team. She catapulted to NCAA attention in March when she broke the college record on her way to taking a national indoor title in the 60-meter competition with a time of 7.07 seconds. Her performance in the 100-meter semifinal on April 24 stunned a field of competitors that included Olympic medalists and former NCAA champions. Nelson, 21, will have another chance to star as she moves on to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet and the Jamaican National Championships, both in June, where she will make her attempt to qualify for the Olympic team. Prior to attending Oregon, she was the Jamaican U20 champion in both the 100-meter and 200-meter races in 2019, with personal bests of 11.49 seconds and 23.57 seconds, respectively.