THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
HOLNESS REPORTS RECORD LOW UNEMPLOYMENT
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that Jamaica’s unemployment rate has reached 9.6 percent at the end of January 2018, a record low for the country. The rate fell from the 9.8 percent recorded during the period from October to December 2017. Holness made his announcement at the launch of Workers Week and National Labor Day on May 1, 2018. Holness called attention to the drop in the youth unemployment rate, which decreased to 23.8 percent at the end of January 2018, down from the 34.7 percent in the same period a year.
DIVESTITURE OF 10,500 ACRES OF FORMER CANE LANDS CONSIDERED
Jamaica’s government is considering a plan to divest itself of 10,500 acres of former sugarcane lands in St. Catherine. The land would be used to grow profitable, high-yield non-sugar crops and livestock. It is expected that the lands will attract large investors interested in the production of onions, tree orchards, and exotic crops. According to Audley Shaw, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, a proposal from the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings Limited will soon be received for the rationalization of the lands of which it is the owner. Shaw said that this is a portion of the lands leased by Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, which were once the location of the Bernard Lodge Estate that have been returned to the government. Previously, the lands centered on sugarcane production, rum distillery operations, and ethanol product.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CORAL REEFS IN CARIBBEAN TO BE MAPPED FROM THE AIR
An innovative aerial mapping project plans to create the first-ever high-resolution map of the shallow portions of the whole Caribbean Basin has been launched by the Nature Conservancy in the Caribbean, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Planet. The initiative is designed to develop a better understanding of the coral reef ecosystems in a comprehensive way. It is hoped that the ground-breaking initiative will lead to plans for restoration and protection of the reefs. A special aircraft known as the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, is collecting the aerial images near St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. It will map the reef habitats by flying two missions per day for 16 days, beginning in the Virgin Islands and then moving over the Dominican Republic.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN BUSINESSMAN HONORED BY CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
Jamaican Vincent HoSang, O.J., president and chairman of Caribbean Food Delights, was honored by the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. He was presented with the city’s highest citation in recognition of his business leadership and philanthropic activities. HoSang was also honored for his founding of Caribbean Food Delights in the 1970s, as well as for his support and contributions over the past 24 years to the Jamaican athletes who competed in the Penn Relays, In presenting Mr. HoSang with the award, Jannie Blackwell, Philadelphia Councilwoman, praised him as a “model business leader” and described him as an individuals who represents the epitome of entrepreneurship qualities: vision, courage, commitment, and risk-taking.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
FIRST NON-BANK CARD MADE AVAILABLE TO JAMAICANS
Alliance Payment Services Limited has introduced the first prepaid card issued by a non-bank entity. The goals is to bring more Jamaicans into the formal financial system. According to Peter Chin, the initiative is about safety and is meant to address situations in which individuals exit an agent location with large amounts of cash that put them at risk for robbery. “We don’t want that,” said Chin. Alliance Payment Services it the first non-bank organization to receive authorization from the Bank of Jamaica to issue a prepaid card in the country.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
TULLOCH REINVENTS THEATER, JAMAICAN STYLE
David Tulloch’s less rigid approach to theater is still winning awards. Tulloch believes that the rules and guidelines that are generally applied as “proper” theatrical practices are not well received by audiences in Jamaica. Instead, Tulloch is developing his own unique production style that focuses on the entertainment value of the work instead of adhering to Western European standards. His efforts are paying off as Tulloch won two Actor Boy Awards for his play “Jamaica Sweeter.” The play won Best Original Song and Best Original Score awards. He says the wins were achieved despite not following the strict guidelines set by the award adjudicators.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ELAINE THOMPSON TO HEAD LINE-UP FOR JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL INVITATIONAL
Elaine Thompson, Jamaica’s double Olympic champion, will headline the line-up of athletes participating in the 15th staging of the Jamaica International Invitations (JII) competition at National Stadium on May 19, 2018. At last year’s meet, the competition produce two world records, nine meet records, and a Jamaican national record in the men’s 3,000 meter race by Kemoy Campbell. Dr. Warren Blake, the event chairman, expects even more exceptional performances in 2018. More the US$200,000 in prize money is being paid, he said, as well as a significant amount in appearance fees, but the effort has obtained the participation of many of the best athletes in the world. Blake, who also serves as president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said fans will experience an atmosphere comparable to any Diamond League meet at the 2018 event. The Invitational is the only meet in the Caribbean region that can be compared to the Diamond League. Women athletes will compete in the ladies will compete in the 200m, 1500m, 100m hurdles, long jump, shot put and hammer throw, while the men will compete in the 100m, 800m, 3,000m, 400m hurdles, high jump and triple jump. The four discretionary events include the 200m and 400m for men and the 100m, 400m and 400m hurdles for women.