THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
PATERNITY LEAVE GOES INTO EFFECT IN JAMAICA ON JANUARY 1, 2023
Paternity leave for the fathers of newborns and family leave for parents adopting a child will be effective in Jamaican from January 1, 2023. The new policy was announced by Marsha Smith, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. An increase in paid maternity leave will also go into effect on January 1, 2023, with leave totaling three months instead of the current 40 days. The changes result from an ongoing review of compensation in the public sector and are implemented through revisions of the Public Sector Staff Orders of 2004.
NEW BANK NOTES WILL ARRIVE IN JAMAICA IN DECEMBER 2022
Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke tweeted that the nation’s new bank notes will arrive by December 5, 2022 and ATM machines are currently being adapted to handle them. Adjustments to ATMs is required to ensure the machines can process and distribute the new notes to consumers. The process will last between three and six months, Clarke said. The new notes will include a newly created $2,000 note that will feature the images of former Jamaican Prime Ministers Michael Manley and Edward Seaga. The new notes will also feature all seven of Jamaica’s national heroes, with Nanny of the Maroons the only woman currently featured on Jamaica’s currency. The notes represent part of new plans of the Bank of Jamaica to enhance the durability of the notes and to save money.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO AND JAMAICA SEEK DEEPER TIES AND MORE ECONOMIC COOPERATION
In response to changing times and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the Caribbean region is moving toward greater self-sufficiency to replace its heavy dependence on grants and aids from Western nations, especially the United States. Representatives from 17 firms from T&T traveled to Jamaica to work out ways bilateral export trade between the two nations can be enhanced. Paula Gopee-Scoon, T&T’s Minister of Trade and Industry, is calling for stronger relationships among all Caribbean nations to ensure that trade benefits everyone. She noted that Jamaica offers significant multi-investment and business opportunities.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
DIPLOMAT FRANZ HALL NAMED JAMAICAN AMBASSADOR TO CUBA
Franz Hall, a career diplomat, has been chosen to serve as Jamaica’s Ambassador to Cuba and will take on his duties in November 2022. Hall’s appointment was announced by Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, who added that the new ambassador will also oversee Jamaica’s relations with the Dominican Republic. She described Hall as a “well-seasoned and dedicated foreign service officer” who has more than 30 years of experience in multiple facets of diplomacy. Hall, who is a former Jamaica College student, has a BS in International Relations from the University of the West Indies and an MA in International Relations from City College in New York. He previously served as Counsellor in the Jamaican Mission in Geneva, Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of Jamaica at New York, Minister-Counsellor at the Jamaican Embassy at Washington, DC, and Consul General at the Consulate General of Jamaica at Miami. He was appointed as Director of Protocol in 2018.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA SEEKS TO EXPAND ITS TOURISM OFFERINGS WITH “MAGIC MUSHROOMS”
In Jamaica, a new resort concept involves the promotion of tourism through promises of mystical experiences and stress relief via consumption of “magic mushrooms,” or the natural psychedelics available through mushrooms that contain psilocybin. These mushrooms are still illegal in many areas of Europe and the United States, but Jamaica has never outlawed them. It is now working to build up a psychedelics industry, which has been estimated to be worth some $8 billion worldwide by 2028. Jamaica currently has four psilocybin-focused resorts. The Jamaica Promotions Corporation, which is the government agency that promotes business opportunities, believes that psychedelics hold the key to expanding Jamaica’s tourist industry. Guests at MycoMeditations, a psychedelic resort in Treasure Beach, pay as much as $23,500 to enjoy a week-long experience that includes three dosing sessions of “magic mushrooms.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
CAST CHOSEN FOR “THE HARDER THEY COME” MUSICAL
The initial casting for the world premiere of the musical adaptation of “The Harder They Come” has been set. The musical will debut at The Public’s Newman Theater 50 years after the film was first screened in New York City. The production’s book is by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks, and its songs are by legendary Jamaican musician Jimmy Cliff. Parks praised the initial film and said that the story needs to be “told, heard, and seen.” The case includes Jeannette Bayardelle; Shawn Bowers; Andrew Clarke; Jamal Christopher Douglas; Dana Marie Ingraham); Dominique Johnson; Chelsea-Ann Jones; Dudney Joseph Jr.; Dwight Xavier Leslie; Morgan McGhee; Meecah; Jacob Ming-Trent; Alysha Morgan); Ken Robinson); and Housso Semon). Performances start on February 16, 2023 and run through March 26, 2023.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA SET TO PARTICIPATE IN BROAD RANGE OF SPORTS AT PAN AMERICAN, CAC GAMES IN 2023
A number of sports teams from Jamaica have qualified to compete at the El Salvador Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in June 2023 and the Santiago Pan American Game, scheduled for October 2023. Both male and female rugby teams and the men’s hockey team have already secured places at the Games, and the Sunshine Girls women’s netball team is set to make its appearance at the sport’s first staging. It has been suggested that with the Olympic Games in Paris scheduled for 2024 the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) views the teams’ participation in the CAC and Pan American Games as preparation for the competitions in Paris.