THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
CHANNER RESIGNS AS CHAIR OF NHT, INGLETON SET TO HEAD HEART/NSTA
Changes in leadership are underway at two of Jamaica’s national agencies. Leadership scholar Dr. Taneisha Ingleton will lead the HEART/NSTA Trust, the training agency that has experienced controversy about its governance and handling of taxpayer funds. As the agency’s new managing director, Ingleton will be entrusted with moving the agency through a major period of change to ensure its operations are consistent with relevant mandates. A new head will also be forthcoming at the National Housing Trust (NHT), where Lennox Channer, a business executive will resign as of August 31, 2022. Channer was appointed in 2018 to replace current Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke. The role of the state agency in providing affordable housing intensified during Channer’s tenure.
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER TOUTS PROTECTION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AS ECONOMIC ASSET
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness believes that Jamaicans should accept English as the best language for the island’s work force, noting that English represents an economic asset for the nation. He made his remarks at the itel 10th anniversary celebration where Kingston attained a second Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) location. Holness said Jamaicans must move past cultural issues such as language being a barrier to access to ensure that English is protected in the country, separate from the Jamaican language. The BPO sector currently totals some 54,000 workers, who are hired basically due to their ability to speak English. Holness emphasized that the social and cultural issues that have served as obstacles to Jamaica’s development in the past should be set aside in order to focus on the country’s economic prosperity. Multilingual Jamaicans will be in a better position to meet the needs of business and succeed in the job market, he said.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
MAJORITY OF CARICOM MEMBER NATIONS TO ATTEND SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
Sources familiar with the issue report that most of CARICOM’s 15 member nations will participate in the Summit of the Americas, even as some country heads call for a boycott of the Summit if the United States fails to invite Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua to the event. Leaders of Latin American nations, including President Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico, have said they will not attend the Summit if these countries are not invited. The Summit of the Americas is schedule to begin on June 6, 2022, in Los Angeles. Thirteen CARICOM members will join the Summit, with some that had considered not attending have been encouraged by recent actions taken by the Biden Administration in regard to Cuba and Venezuela.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S. DESCRIBES COLLABORATION BETWEEN UWI AND HCBU INSTITUTIONS
On May 26, 2022, Audrey Marks, Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, hosted Dale Webber, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, on her monthly “Let’s Connect” series in a virtual town hall. The event focused on the opportunities created by UWI and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the US for exchange programs and scholarships. Joining Marks and Webber was Dr. Tashni-Ann DuBroy, executive vice president and COO of Howard University. Marks emphasized the critical role that HBCUs play in the education of members of the Jamaican Diaspora in the US. When the exchange program is officially launched, it will eventually apply to 1,000 Jamaican students per year. There are 100 HBCUs in the US, or about three percent of the higher education institutions in the country. Most are located in the southeastern portion of the US, and while most cater to Black/African American students, about 24 percent of their enrollment comprises non-Black students.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
NEXTLEAF RECEIVES PATENT FOR PROCESS TO PRODUCE PURE CBD AND THC INGREDIENTS
Nextleaf, a maker and distributor of cannabis vapes and oils, has been granted a patent by the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office for its foundational process designed to produce CBD and THC ingredients of a high degree of purity. Under the process, oil-grade cannabis and hemp flowers can be processed efficiently into high-purity distilled cannabinoids to produce a tasteless, odor-free, distillate standardized as to potency and ready for use in a wide range of products, including vapes, oils, softgels, and water-soluble extracts. Nextleaf has received 18 US patents and more than 95 patents worldwide on cannabinoid processes, including extraction, distillation, and acetylation. According to Paul Pedersen, CEO of Nextleaf Solutions, the new patent reinforces the firm’s vision for developing intellectual property to improve the global economics of cannabis oil.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
BOGDANOVICH OF DOWNSOUND RECORDS ACQUIRES ARCHIVE OF REGGAE HISTORIAN ROGER STEFFENS
Josef Bogdanovich of DownSound Records has acquired the archive of Roger Steffens, the American reggae historian. The archive will be housed in a new facility to be built in Montego Bay at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Center. The acquisition has been welcomed by Professor Donna Hope, lecturer in popular culture at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. Hope noted the numerous attempts to acquire the Steffens collection and was glad that it will find its home in Jamaica. She said that Steffens spent over 50 years collecting items of importance to the legacy of Bob Marley, The Wailers, and the overall reggae and dancehall histories. Businessman Wayne Chen attempted to purchase the archives in 2008, but the deal failed. Bogdanovich told Winford Williams on “Onstage,” a program on CVM Television, that he has been negotiating to acquire the property at Catherine Hall of three years and that that deal is nearly finalized. Development of the property will include a world-class performance center. The price paid for the archive has not been disclosed. Catherine Hall is the site of Reggae Sumfest, which includes Bogdanovich as a principal.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
MAN’S DREAM OF A JAMAICAN OLYMPIC CURLING TEAM COMES CLOSER TO FRUITION
Ben Kong of Canada founded the Jamaica Curling Federation during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to do something constructive. He is hoping to reach the Olympic Games some day, but when he started out, no one took him seriously. Kong, who was born in Jamaica, searched for other Jamaican curlers, but discovered they were few and far between, even in Toronto. However, he founded the Federation in October of 2020 using his own funds and has applied to become a member of the Jamaica Olympic Association and the World Curling Federation. Once admitted into the Jamaican organization, his and group becomes full members of the world entity and can enter world championship qualifiers and earn points toward Olympic participation. Kong’s curlers hope to have an answer by the summer of 2022 and hope they can follow the trajectory of Jamaica’s legendary bobsled team. Unlike the complete neophytes of the first bobsled team, however, Kong has some experienced curlers ready to compete for Jamaica.