THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
EXPLORATION FOR OIL AND GAS CONTINUES IN JAMAICA
According to Daryl Vaz, Jamaican Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology, the country continues to see oil and gas exploration initiatives. In the first quarter of the 2020/2021 fiscal year, the Jamaican Cabinet approved acquisition of Tullow’s 80-percent interest by United Oil and Gas (UOG). The firm will continue its exploration of high-potential oil and gas resources indicated by new 3D seismic data. UOG has identified 21 possible targets in the Walton-Morant Basin for exploration and has started a global marketing campaign to attract investors committed to funding the drilling before January 2022. Cost of the exploratory well under consideration is estimated at between US$30 million and US$40 million.
NEW HEALTH TRAINING INSTITUTE SLATED FOR MONTEGO BAY
A new health training institute designed to expand Jamaica’s health tourism and medical education offerings will be established in Montego Bar. The US$17-million facility is scheduled to open in June of 2022. It will be hosted by the University of the West Indies (UWI) and serve as a satellite campus for the Bioprist institute of Medical Sciences. The institute will be located in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that focuses on health and wellness. The zone will be known as “The Grand Ridge Medical City,” which will be constructed, operated, and promoted by the Bioprist Group, which involves various diversified sectors in health care, pharmaceuticals, and related industries. UWI and the Bioprist Group held a virtual ceremony on May 18, 2021, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the initiative.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
AIR CANADA TO RESUME SERVICE TO CARIBBEAN DESTINATIONS
Air Canada is ready to resume the flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Cuba it had suspended due to COVID-19. The airline’s schedule has been updated for June and July 2021, adding some new routes to popular Caribbean locations leaving from Toronto and Montreal. There will be flights to the Dominican Republic four times a week from Toronto and Montreal beginning on June 26. The airline will fly to Jamaican destinations five times per week starting on July 1 from Toronto only. Flights to Bermuda will be available from July 3 from Toronto only as well. Air Canada will fly from Toronto and Montreal to Cuba weekly as of July 3, and on June 26, it will have flights to Mexico four times a week from both Canadian cities.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
TASTE JAMAICA DELIVERS HOME-MADE JAMAICAN FOODS TO DIASPORA IN NORTH AMERICA
Jamaicans in the Diaspora yearn for the taste of their home island, and Taste Jamaica is responding to the demand for home-made snacks by delivering authentic Jamaican treats to any household in North America. The Canadian firm was founded by Ainsley Deer, who was born in Kingston and attended Florida International University on a football scholarship in 2005. Jamaica has many manufacturers eager to showcase their products in North American markets, and Taste Jamaica “bridges the gap” so customers can get quality Jamaican foods delivered to their own homes. The firm specializes in the delivery of novelty Jamaican snacks, like rum cakes and black cakes.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES LICENSING OF THIRD TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROVIDER
The local company Rock Mobile will be the third telecommunications provider in Jamaica, having received approval from the Cabinet for a license to provide services, according to Daryl Vaz, Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology. The firm expects to have a total roll-out of its services with the next two years. Vaz noted that the license must be used, or it will be rescinded. Vaz said he believes that licensing a third telecoms provider is the best way to ensure that quality service is provided to Jamaicans at affordable prices. Rock Mobile is expected to enhance broadband access in currently underserved areas and to those areas that have no access at all. Its network is likely to cover 95 percent of the island at the minimum download rate. Rock Mobile will compete with the two current telecoms, Flow and Digicel.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
POET RAS TAKURU NAMED “MOST CULTURAL/EDUCATIONAL ENTERTAINER” AT IRAWMA
Jamaican poet Ras Takuru received the award for Most Cultural/Educational Entertainer at the 39th staging of the International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA) ceremony for 2021, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. The poet made special mention of his “teacher” Capleton, Mutabaruka, Anthony B, and Kabaka Pyramid in his comments upon winning the award. In 2020, Ras Takuru received the Mutabaruka Award for Best Poet/Spoken Word Entertainer. The poet comes from St. Ann and started writing and performing his poetry in 2003. He released “Food War,” a 17-track album in 2015 and is force behind the Dis Poem Words & Agro Festival, which has been held for the past 11 years. Other winners at the IRAWMA event included Buju Banton, Koffee, Popcaan, Chronixx, Tarrus Riley, Shenseea, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Gentleman, Sevana, and Sean Paul. Chimney Records was named Record Producers of the Year.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
FOOTBALL TO RETURN TO JAMAICA ON JUNE 26, 2021
Chris Williams, the chair of the Professional Footballers Association of Jamaica, announced that the Jamaica Premier League is scheduled to kick off a spectator-free match on June 26, 2021, as the sport resumes on the island after a hiatus of 14 months due to COVID-19. Williams made his announcement at a Zoom press conference attended by Michael Ricketts, president of the Jamaica Football Federation: Olivia Grange, Jamaican Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports; and representatives of team sponsors including Digicel and Sportsmax Ltd. There will be a total of 66 matches played in the preliminary round of competition, with each of the 12 teams playing each other once. In the second round, teams will be placed in two tiers: the bottom six will play each other for points in a round-robin format to determine rank, while the top six will be divided into two groups of three, with the top teams in each group advancing to the semi-finals scheduled for September 2021. Four venues have received approval for the season: National Stadium, Sabina Park, Stadium East and the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of the West Indies, Mona.