THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION COMMENDS JAMAICA’S MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19
Jamaica has been praised by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for its handling of COVID-19 spread reduction via contact tracing. Only three countries were singled out for the commendation by PAHO: Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Argentina. According to the organization’s assistant director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, these nations are doing “particularly well” in managing contact tracing for the prevention of the disease and controlling its spread throughout the community. Dr. Barbosa emphasized the importance of contact tracing to COVID-19 response plans.
PUERTO BUENO MOUNTAIN TO BE SITE OF ECOTOURISM, RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS
Puerto Bueno Mountain, an area that has been the subject of an environmental argument, will be hosting ecotourism development and investments in residential, commercial, and clean energy projects, according to Jamaica World LLC. The site has been identified as a critical habitat for endangered Jamaican species. The Holness administration overruled the findings of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Authority, which had denied a mining and quarrying permit for the region to investors because of its ecological value. Jamaica World, which operates Bengal Development Ltd., now has permission to mine on 123 acres of the 569 acres of the property it owns. The firm wants to convince Jamaicans that it will be in compliance with 72 conditions established by NEPA when going forward with its mining plans. According to Kashif Sweet of C.L. Environmental Company Ltd., a public relations liaison for Jamaica World, said quarrying will be the first of a multi-phase development project on Puerto Bueno, also known as the Dry Harbor Mountain.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
FIRST SINCE PANDEMIC OUTBREAK: CARIBBEAN CRUISE SHIP SUFFERS COVID-19 CASES
Cruise ships have largely left the Caribbean since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had suspended cruise ship operations at US ports in March of 2020. Now, one of the first cruise ships to travel Caribbean waters since the beginning of the pandemic had to end its voyage earlier than planned as at least five of its passengers tested positive for COVID-19. The SeaDream carries 66 crew members and over 50 passengers, most of them from the US. The ship was forced to return to Barbados when a passenger became ill. It would dock only after local authorities tested all individuals on board. This was the first time the Norway-based ship had resumed its trips through the West Indies since the pandemic began. It made stops in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before returning to Barbados. Cruise Lines International Association, a group that represents 95 percent of global ocean-going cruises, said that its members will voluntarily suspend cruise operations in the US through December 31, 2020.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN POISED TO WIN “THE VOICE UK” FINALS
Jamaican Gevanni Hutton, 18, is in a good position to win the finals of “The Voice UK” singing competition. While COVID-19 forced the organizers of the UK television program to postpone operations for seven months, it is now back, and viewers can again enjoy it from home. Competitors perform without audiences in response to COVID-19 guidelines. Since the show returned on November 7, 2020, Jamaica’s Gevanni Hutton has attained a spot among the top four aspiring stars with his performance of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross.” Hutton was raised in Cypress Hall, Red Hills, St. Andrew, and left the island in 2018 to live with his father in the UK. Jamaicans have had success with singing competitions in the past, with Tessanne Chin winning the US version of “The Voice” in 2013, and Rising Stars winner Dalton Harris won the UK X-Factor in 2018.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
GLOBAL TOURISM STAKEHOLDERS PRAISE “JAMAICA CARES” INSURANCE PLAN
According to Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the mandatory travel insurance program known as “Jamaica Cares” has been received positively among those with an interest in international tourism. Bartlett noted that international tourism partners are ready to expand the program throughout the world. He made the announcement at a two-day strategic planning retreat for the Tourism Ministry in Kingston where the heads of agencies and managers in the Ministry discussed ways to move forward in the COVID-19 environment. “Jamaica Cares” is an innovative travel protection and emergency services plan that gives visitors the cost of health care, evacuations, field rescue, case management, and patient advocacy. It also covers COVID-19 testing for travelers who exhibit symptoms of the disease, quarantine/isolation in a medical facility, and evacuation if needed.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
BUJU BANTON LAUNCHES PUBLICATION TO HIGHLIGHT PHILANTHROPIC WORK
Buju Banton, the Grammy award-winning deejay, has launched the Destiny Newsletter, which provides information about the work of Banton’s philanthropic Buju Banton Foundation. The newsletter’s name refers to one of his groundbreaking reggae songs, “Destiny.” Banton is credited as the editor of the first issue, which appeared in October of 2020. It features articles about the 2020 Jamaica Festival Song Competition winner’s of $3 million to the Sunbeam Boys’ Home; his donation of100 pairs of footwear and footballs to needy boys, and the inaugural Murdine Clarke Scholarship he sponsored at his alma mater, Denham Town High School. It also offers an article announcing that Banton will be honored at the 2020 Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) for his outstanding contributions to reggae music at a virtual event on November 20, 2020..
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICANS HOPING TO GO TO THE OLYMPICS IN 2021 BENEFIT FROM JAMAICA OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION FUNDING
The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is continuing its “Olympic Invest” developmental initiative by honoring a commitment to athletes working toward participation at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 by providing an investment of JMD$40 million toward their preparation and qualifying events of the global sporting event. “Olympic Invest” began in 2018 with the most successful Commonwealth Games for Jamaica to date in regard to the number of medals won. The momentum continued at the 2019 Barranquilla Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia and the Lima Pan American Games in Peru that same year. The JOA has reconfirmed its commitment to the athletes in the face of the uncertainties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to run from July 23, 2021, through August 8, 2021.