THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
CHINA DONATES BUSES TO JAMAICA HEALTH MINISTRY’S MOBILE COVID VACCINATION SERVICE
In an attempt to increase the number of vaccinations given on the island, the Ministry of Health in Jamaica has enhanced its mobile COVID-19 vaccination service. Dr. Christopher Tufton, Portfolio Minister, announced the donation of two buses with a value of over $2 million that will provide an important addition in the Ministry’s efforts to get at least 65 percent of Jamaica’s population vaccinated against the coronavirus. The buses were donated by the people of Yantai, China, through the Yantai Municipal People’s Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. The buses have visited a dozen locations to date, with another five locations pending. Some 200 people received COVID vaccinations at each stop, according to Tufton.
MINISTER OF FINANCE TABLES BUDGET SUPPLEMENT TO RAISE SPENDING AIMED AT FIGHTING IMPACTS OF COVID-19
Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Dr. Nigel Clarke provided for an increase in government spending by about four percent to fight the spread and impact of COVID-19. The supplementary budget increase is equal to $36.5 billion, over 50 percent of which will be put toward combatting the coronavirus. According to Clarke, a major focus of the Supplementary Estimates is to provide more resources to Jamaica’s health care sector to help the most vulnerable populations. The current budget totals $867 billion for fiscal 2021-2022. About $15.6 billion will be allocated to the health care sector and vulnerable populations via the SERVE Jamaica program.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
GLOBAL TELECOM PROVIDER BASED IN FRANCE TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR CARIBBEAN NATIONS
Orange, an international telecommunications provide based in France, has signed an agreement with Digicel, an Irish-owned telecom firm, to construct a sub-marine fiber-optic cable to link the Caribbean nations of French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. The Digicel Deep Blue One network will allow Orange to offer superior connectivity to French Guiana through the sub-sea cable. The cable will serve as a complement to the existing Orange-owned “Kanawa” cable, which is 1,746 kilometers long and was commissioned in 2019. The new system will provide a secure and adaptive solution to the increasing needs of customers for broadband services. The Deep Blue-1 cable commissioning is slated to start in mid-2023 and completed early in 2024. It will be 2,000 kilometers long with five branching units.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
HOWARD SPENCER, MEMBER OF TENNORS ROCKSTEADY AND REGGAE VOCAL GROUPS, PASSES AT AGE 73
Howard Spencer, who was a member of The Tennors vocal group, died at the Westside Region Medical Center in Florida on September 28, 2021, at the age of 73. According to his daughter Suzette Spencer, the singer died of complications from cancer. Spencer was born in Clarendon and migrated to the United States in the late 1980s. He had a radio program on WAVS 1170 called “Howard of Broward” in the 1980s and was one of the first Jamaicans to open a Jamaican restaurant in South Florida. The Tennors had several hits in the 1960s and 1970s; the group is best known for “Ride Yu Donkey,” a recording from 1968 that was featured in the film “Broken Flowers” starring actors Bill Murray and Sharon Stone in 2005. Clive Murphy, a founding member of The Tennors, is still part of the groups that Spencer joined in 1991. Spencer is survived by his daughter Suzette, widow Jacqueline, sons Sheldon, Richard, and Dwayne, and step-daughter Rashique Welsh, as well as his three grandchildren Vonshelle, DeAntre and Samara Spencer.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
NEW JAMES BOND FILM COULD BENEFIT JAMAICA’S TOURIST ECONOMY
A new film in the James Bond franchise, “No Time to Die,” is expected to provide benefits to the economy of Jamaica through a potential boost for film production and tourism on the island. The film returns the franchise to the place where it was born. After several postponements related to COVID-19, the film opened in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2021, with Prince Charles and Prince William and their wives in attendance, along with its star Daniel Craig. The film’s initial scene is located at Goldeneye in Jamaica, the beach house in Oracabessa where author and James Bond creator Ian Fleming wrote his novels. Several James Bond films have featured Jamaican locations; “No Time to Die” was shot in Kingston, Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio and also focuses on Jamaica’s culture and night life. The film’s highlighting of Jamaica was noted by the country’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and by Culture Minister Olive Grange as helping to promote Jamaica as a tourist destination.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN REGGAE SINGER GYPTIAN TO RECEIVE HERITAGE AWARD
Gyptian, a Jamaican reggae artist whose given name is Windel Edwards, is one of the 2021 recipients of the Consulate General of Jamaica Heritage Award. The awardees will be celebrated at an event in New York on November 5, 2021. Gyptian was notified of his award via an email signed by Alison Wilson, Jamaica’s Consul General, on September 16, 2021. Upon notification, the singer said he felt blessed to receive the honor for his work and that it was “great to be recognized.” The Consulate General of Jamaica Heritage Award is given in recognition of outstanding and dedicated services by individuals in the Jamaican community. Describing Gyptian’s contributions, Tameka Reynolds, his manager, said the artist’s longevity stems from the fact that his music as evolved over time to sustain him as a relevant force in modern reggae and dancehall. “In many ways, Gyptian is a symbol for a generation” that is about breaking down stereotypes. The presentation of the award will occur at the New York office of the Consulate General of Jamaica.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
CEDELLA MARLEY LAUNCHES “FOOTBALL IS FREEDOM” WOMEN’S FOOTBALL INITIATIVE
Cedella Marley, the CEO of the Bob Marley Group, is serving as global ambassador for the Jamaica Women’s Football Program for the seventh year and is expanding her commitment to and advocacy of the women’s game. She has introduced a new initiative called “Football Is Freedom” with the goal of providing tools and resources to develop and grow women’s football in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Jamaican Diaspora communities in the United States. Marley was prompted to launch her initiative by noting the important role football has in empowering young women on and off the pitch. The mission of the program involves supporting the development of women’s football by funding existing grass-roots programs, supporting the growth and development of national teams via the staging of a yearly exhibition match or mini-tournament to provide quality training and raise funds to directly benefit women’s programs in participating federations, and investing I the holistic wellness of players through the funding of scholarship and program to help players with the skills and tools they need to succeed in areas beyond football.