THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICANS URGED TO GET VACCINATED DUE TO FIFTH WAVE OF COVID-19
Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, is urging Jamaicans to get vaccinations and follow guidelines pertaining to COVID-19 designed to minimize the spread of the virus because a fifth wave of the disease has been confirmed as impacting the island. Tufton added that the increase in number of cases is expected to rise because of Omicron sub-variant BA.2, the variant present among Jamaicans, is highly transmittable. The fifth wave of the virus confirmed by Jamaican health authorities dates from approximately April 20, 2022. Data suggests that the wave is mild compared to previous waves, and hospitalization rates remain low. There are fewer deaths and less severe illness as well, but Tufton reiterated that vaccination is the best way to avoid have negative outcomes from the disease.
PRESIDENT OF INDIA ADDRESSES JOINT SESSION OF JAMAICAN PARLIAMENT
The president of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, spoke to a joint session of both houses of Jamaica’s Parliament in Kingston on May 17, 2022. Kovind, who was on a four-day visit to Jamaica, said it was an honor to speak to the leaders of the island’s dynamic democracy as the representative of the largest democracy in the world. He noted that India and Jamaica are tied through the Indian Diaspora, culture, and shared beliefs in democracy and liberty. He praised Jamaicans Constitution, which is built on freedom, democracy, and equality, and said that Jamaica is a preferred partner of other nations because of its leadership in the Caribbean, its global rules-based approaches, and its willingness to take on increased responsibilities. He added that India shares in Jamaica’s Vision 2030 goals of empowerment for citizens, economic growth, and maintenance of a just and secure society.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
U.S. RULES ON REMITTANCES, FLIGHTS TO CUBA EASED
The administration of President Joe Biden in the United States has decided to move toward loosening the restrictions imposed on US travelers to Cuba and will remove limits on remittances imposed by the previous administration so that immigrants may send funds to their family in Cuba. An announcement from the US State Department said the existing US$1,000-per-quarter limit on family remittances will be removed and non-family remittances will also now be allowed. The US will now permit chartered and scheduled flights to be made from the US to locations other than Havana, and the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program will be reinstated. The US also called on Cuba’s government to release political prisoners, respect its citizens freedoms, and allow Cubans to determine their own future.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN FOREIGN MINISTER HONORED BY AKROPONG TRIBE IN GHANA
Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Foreign Minister, was honored by Ghana’s Akropong Tribe with the title of “Tourism and Diaspora Queen” or “Otwiwa Asiedu.” Johnson Smith, who wore traditional Chanaian garb, received the naming certificate during a ceremony at the palace of Oseadeeyo Kwasi Akuffo III, who also welcome the Minister as “Akuapem Queen” in a tweet. Johnson Smith said she looks forward to facilitating more opportunities for Jamaicans to have exposure to their ancestral roots in Ghana and for Ghanaians to visit Jamaica for business, tourism, and cultural exchanges as well. She also paid tribute to Jamaica’s National Heroine Queen Mother, Nanny of the Maroons, who has been named as a descendant of the Akuapem people. Johnson Smith, who is looking for support for her effort to become the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, repeated her commitment to the Akuapem people and emphasized her goal of working with all the 54 states in the Commonwealth to change the organization so it benefits all of its citizens.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
SOME 40 PERCENT OF UWI GRADS STILL UNEMPLOYED A YEAR AFTER GRADUATION
According to the Career and Placement Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI), as many as 40 percent of its 6,000 graduates are still without jobs a year after their graduation date. A 2020 tracer study found that over 50 percent of graduates had been hired, however, and that its programs improve the chances of others to find jobs. Placement officials said that the university’s referral service for graduates operates continuously and that they work with industry partners to meet recruitment needs. They did not see any major changes, but there was a decrease in on-campus part-time job offers, and during the pandemic, which most offices were operating virtually, the restricts of COVID-19 did impact the number of campus recruits. All alumni of UWI receive job referral support services at no cost for one year.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA RUM FESTIVAL SCHEDULED FOR NEW VENUE
The fourth staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival is scheduled for June 25, 2022, at The Aqueduct, Rose Hall, in Montego Bay. The festival is presented through a partnership between the Jamaica Tourist Board, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, and the Tourism Enhancement Fund. Originally, the event was to be held at Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay, but the festival’s organizers decided to change venues in order to provide the best real-world experience for rum enthusiasts. According to festival director Valon Thorpe, Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, considers the festival a “tourist product” so the organizers are working hard to “overdeliver” an exceptional experience for its patrons.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
WHEN INDIA PLAYS CRICKET MATCH IN CARIBBEAN, JAMAICA CRICKET EARNS ITS HIGHEST PROFITS
According to Wilfred Billy Heaven, the president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), when India plays in a match in the Caribbean, the JCA sees its highest profits. Heaven welcomed the 100 cricket kits he received from the President of India Ram Nath Kovind during his four-day visit to Jamaica as a goodwill gesture, saying it was “a proud moment” for his people. Heaven noted that a development program has been established in Jamaica to train young cricket players in the country. He added that the JCA was happy to receive the good-will gift from India, a nation that he described as “mega cricket in the world.” The JCA plans to give 50 of the kits to Jamaican high schools. Heaven noted that these kinds of exchanges make the bond between the two cricketing countries stronger and that several young cricket players in the West Indies dream of joining the Indian Premier League.