THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
TUFTON ANNOUNCES COVID-19 VACCINES SECURED FOR 10 PERCENT OF POPULATION
Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, has announced that more than 270,000 Jamaicans will benefit from a plan to secure COVID-19 vaccines entering the market through the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). Jamaica is on track to receive a total number of vaccines based on an estimated population total of just over 2.7 million. The country has already subscribed to group funding in a pool program that will provide the vaccines. The next phase of Jamaica’s COVID-19 vaccine program will involve the coordination of distribution, Tufton said.
NEW JAMAICAN PROJECT SEEKS TO REDUCE POLLUTION FROM SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
Jamaica is moving forward with a project to address the growing problem of plastics pollution in its cities. The program is part of a bigger effort in the Caribbean that is financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the United Nations Environment Program. The larger overall effort is designed to reduce marine plastics and pollution caused by plastics through support of governments and businesses at the city level. The program also examines private sector interventions aimed at strengthening investment markets in waste management and recycling solutions.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
MARINE MAPPING IN CARIBBEAN TO AID IN PRESERVING AND RESTORING MARINE ENVIRONMENTS
A marine mapping program supported by the Caribbean Division of The Nature Conservancy is using innovative mapping technology to create the first high-resolution benthic habitat maps of the Caribbean Basin. The benthic zone refers to the ecological region located at the lowest level of the ocean. The mapping is expected to help with addressing the massive loss of healthy coral seen over the past 30 years. Some 60 percent of the coral has disappeared, and a lack of detailed maps has hampered preservation and restoration efforts. According to Dr. Steve Schill, the lead scientist and marine conservation specialist in the Caribbean Division, mapping the reefs is essential for coral resource managers, but existing maps have not provided enough detail, are outdated, or have been produced only for small areas. The use of eCognition object-based image analysis software will improve the mapping efforts.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
LEADERS OF DIASPORA IN U.S. WANT NEW BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION TO REVERSE MEASURES AFFECTING EXPATRIATES FROM JAMAICA
Leaders of the Jamaican Diaspora in the United States want the new Democratic presidential administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to roll back the damaging immigration policies enacted by the previous Republican administration. These policies have targeted family reunification and legal immigration that impacts Jamaicans. Curtis Ward, former Jamaican ambassador to the United Nations, believes that Biden-Harris will enact executive orders to undo the existing draconian programs and create new paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants and legal immigrants alike. Patrick Beckford, former diaspora adviser board leader for the Northeast Region, believes Biden-Harris will also allow those subject to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to stay in the US and open a path to citizenship for them as well.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICA’S SCOTCH BONNET PEPPER IN HIGH DEMAND IN LOCAL AND EXPORT MARKETS
Jamaica is the largest supplier of scotch bonnet peppers in the regional market, and about 60 percent of its products are slated for the export market. The peppers are in such high demand in the Caribbean and overseas that in 2018 complaints had arisen about a lack of a supply of the raw material to produce hot sauces. Between 2013 and 2017, exports of fresh peppers rose by 713 percent and 302 percent of semi-value-added products, according to JAMPRO. The regional trade and investment promotion agency Caribbean Export, values the market for Caribbean sauces and condiments at $1.49 billion, an increase in value of 16.8 percent between 2019 and 2020.The international market for hot sauce is expected to total $5.9 billion by 2025. JAMPRO is dialoging with investors interest in growing scotch bonnet peppers on a large scale in Jamaica and is working with other government agencies via a Pepper Value Chain Task Force managed by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica to identify products made from the pepper and to plan strategies to facilitate the production of these goods.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
REGGAE SUNSPLASH 2020 TO BE VIRTUAL EVENT
The legendary Reggae Sunsplash festival will return in 2020 after 14 years, but will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The celebration is scheduled to run from November 27 through November 28 and feature unique access to live performances and interviews with the artists. The 2020 lineup includes Romain Virgo, Jesse Royal, Dexta Daps, Agent Sasco, Tanya Stephens, Barrington Levy, Capleton, Masicka, and Chi Ching. First held in 1978 in Montego Bay, Sunsplash has been the model for subsequent reggae festival around the world as it established the precedent for destination music festivals by combining the concepts of travel and music that was authentic to the island. The 2020 staging seeks to set new standards in the virtual event space and showcase Jamaica’s influence on the world through its music and culture.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH ON TRACK TO WIN FEMALE WORLD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, who has won the title of world’s fastest woman in 2020, is set to win her first Female World Athlete of the Year award. She was included among the final five athletes for the title in recognition of the fact that she ran a season’s best and world-topping 10.85 seconds in the 100 meters at the Rome Diamond League in September 2020. She is the only Jamaican athlete of make the list in 2020 and if she wins will join fellow Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who received the award in 2013. The award will be announced in a live event at the World Athletics Awards virtual ceremony on December 5, 2020. The event will be live-streamed on the World Athletics YouTube channel, its Facebook page, and on Twitter in response to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thompson-Herah was undefeated in the 100-meter events in the 2020 season. She had four of the top six times in the world over that distance.