THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL FOR ENTERTAINERS AND MUSICIANS
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that his government will build a school to train entertainers and musicians. He said it was necessary to provide the school to stem the deterioration of Jamaican society. He made his remarks at the ground-breaking of the island’s first Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) academy in St. Catherine’s Bernard Lodge. Six STEAM schools will be constructed for a total of US$133 million. Included in the building plans is an Institution for the Arts, which is designed to empower young people, Holness added.
50 IMMIGRATION OFFICERS AT JAMAICA’S PASSPORT/IMMIGRATION AGENCY ON STRIKE
Over 50 immigration officers employed at the Passport, Immigration, and Citizenship Agency (PICA) in Jamaica have gone on strike to protest a interdiction process, special allowance, and alleged mistreatment. According to Granville Valentine, the general secretary of the National Workers Union (NWU), the striking employees have called in sick. Some of the agency’s divisions impacted by the strike include shipping, deportation, border management and extension of stay. The reports have originated in Kingston, but the situation is likely to spread to Montego Bay, St. James. The issue involving the special allowance was brought to the attention of the Industrial Dispute Tribunal, which decided the benefit would be provided to immigration officers represented by the NWU. Workers have reported frustration about the “general mistreatment” they experienced from management, which included suspension of officers without disciplinary hearings. PICA has denied the allegations.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CHAIR OF DIGICEL SUPPORTS REGIONAL CARIBBEAN REPARATIONS MOVEMENT
Denis O’Brien, the chair of Digicel, has stated his support of the regional reparations movement in the Caribbean in a meeting with the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC). He presented a proposal called “Repair” that he said would help in advancing the call from CARICOM for reparations for the genocide and slavery of peoples in the Caribbean. The plan is meant to convince British and European governments and institutions to create a new long-term fund to pay the reparations. Under O’Brien’s plan, the fund would have five-year targets with monies paid to the region on an annual basis. O’Brien had previously declared his support of the CRC’s work in public and discussed the issue with heads of CARICOM member governments, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and the national reparations committees. His proposal supports the CRC’s 10-Point Plan for Reparatory Justice. Beckles welcomed the O’Brien plan, noting it had the potential to engage high-level relations with Europe, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICA’S PASSPORT AGENCY PLANS TO IMPROVE SERVICES TO THE DIASPORA
According to Andrew Wynter, the CEO of Jamaica’s Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), the agency is implementing several measures designed to improve and enhance its services to those in the Jamaica Diaspora. In particular, he stated the initiatives would focus on helping the Diaspora with a smoother process for passport applications and citizenship by descent. The initiatives are being “fine-tuned,” he said, the will be introduced over time. Wynter announced the plan at Jamaica’s Embassy in Washington DC at a meeting of his five-member delegation with Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the US, and her staff. The meeting was held to help the embassy streamline the current passport processing system and to find ways that the relationship between PICA and the embassy could be improved.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
INVESTMENT BY CHINESE COMPANY WELCOMED BY JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER
Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, welcomed the investment totaling $300 million from Huawei, the Chinese technology company, in its new office space on Hope Road in Kingston. The office complex of 9,000 square feet implements digital low-carbon features and a modern workspace for its staff. At the inauguration ceremony for the new complex, Holness stated that it signals additional local expansion of Huawei, and he praised the firm’s significant contributions and investments to the technology sector, which have facilitated Jamaica’s digital transformation. Holness said Huawei offers cutting-edge connectivity technology and has been a major influence in growing the GSM to UMTS wireless technology in the island’s information sector and continues to make improvements in its data penetration via LTE deployment. The firm’s investments signal its strong confidence in the country, Holness added.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICA HONORS THEATER ICON AND PIONEER BROADCASTER LEONIE FORBES
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness led the nation in honoring Leonie Forbes, a pioneer in broadcasting and a theater icon. Forges died at the age of 85 on October 25, 2022. Holness described Forbes as “always elegant and gracious” with a voice that commanded admiration and respect. Opposition Leader Mark Golding said she was a “great personality of Jamaican drama and culture,” adding that she had been a household name during the lifetimes of many Jamaicans. Forbes presented various radio and television programs and led the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporate (JBC) Radio 2 and the firm’s Department of Theater. She was born in 1937 and grew up in Kingston. She attended St. George’s Preparatory School, Merrywood Elementary, Mico Practicing School, Kingston Senior School, Excelsior College, and Durham College. She got her start in broadcasting with a job for playwright Barry Reckord, which brought her exposure to radio at the Government Information Service. She started doing parts in programs produced for government broadcasts. Forbes co-authored the book “The Re-Entry into Sound,” which is a standard textbook used in training broadcasters throughout the Caribbean. She was awarded the Order of Distinction (Officer) from the Government of Jamaica in 1980.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN KALIESE SPENCER-CARTER TO RECEIVE BRONZE OLYMPIC MEDAL FOR PERFORMANCE IN 2012
Now that the winner of the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics has been stripped of her gold medal due to doping, Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer-Carter’s performance will be upgraded to a third-place finish in the event, giving her a bronze Olympic medal, her first. Russia’s Natalya Antyukh was disqualified and stripped of her medal on the basis of historical evidence found in a testing laboratory database in Moscow. With her disqualification, 2012 silver medal winner, Lashinda Demus of the United States, will be upgraded to gold, and Spencer-Carter, who had come in fourth, will receive the bronze medal. Spencer-Carter has twice been named a national champion and was the winner of the Continental Cup in 2014.