THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
COVID-19 VACCINATION TARGET THREATENED BY DECREASING DEMAND
According to Dunstan Bryan, Jamaica’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, the nation’s target of getting 65 percent of the population slated for March 2022 requires that at least 15,000 Jamaicans receive the vaccine every day. The Ministry is now challenged to meet that target in the face of falling demand for the jab. Bryan told Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee that Ministry staff were able to inoculate just 4,000 individuals across Jamaica on October 5, 2021, and that generating demand for the supply of the vaccine available represents the biggest problem in reaching the target percentage. It was also revealed that more than 268,000 does of the AstraZeneca vaccine will expire by the end of October; another 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca will expire at the end of November 2021. Juliet Holness, Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East Rural, has criticized the Ministry of Health for contributing to the problem of low take-up of the vaccine and expressed disapproval of it reneging on a promise to prioritize children when providing the Pfizer vaccine.
STAKEHOLDERS IN TRANSPORTATION SECTOR SEE FIRST-EVER COVID-19 VACCINATION DRIVE
According to Egeton Newman, the president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), the first COVID-19 vaccination drive for transport workers is designed to mitigate vaccine hesitancy in the group, which is especially vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus, and to meet the goal of vaccinating 65 percent of those workers within the next four months. Newman said that one taxi operator carries a minimum of 40 people per day, while one bus operator carries at least 180 people every day, which indicates the importance of vaccinating these workers. The service intends to have “11 blitzes” across Jamaica to provide the vaccinations. He added that about 14,000 transport operators have lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
DIPLOMAT IN ANTIGUA WANTS END OF CELEBRATIONS HONORING CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
Sir Ronald Sanders, Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) from Antigua and Barbuda, is calling for the end of the celebration known as “The Encounter of Two Worlds,” an event promoted by Spain to commemorate the so-called “discovery of the New World” by Christopher Columbus. Sanders believes that his country would not be “a true friend of Spain” if it continued to “pretend” that the celebration is welcomed and supported there. Sanders said that the native people of the land “were not in need of discovery” as they already had a culture, civilization, and knowledge that suited their environment. In addition to the enslavement and genocide of native peoples, the event opened the way for hundreds of years of slavery of African people and the exploitation of indentured workers from Asia in some nations in the Caribbean. This is what Caribbean people see when the “so-called Encounter of Two Worlds is celebrated” rather than lamented. He noted that his country “greatly values” its current relationship with Span and welcome its effort to create mutually beneficial encounters in the present day.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN DIASPORA DISPLAYS GROWING SUPPORT FOR ADOPT-A-CLINIC PROGRAM
Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness reported that its Adopt-A-Clinic program is becoming more popular among Jamaicans in the Diaspora in the United States, which has already adopted several clinics on the island. Of 109 clinics available for adoption, 36 have been fully adopted with 15 of these adopted by the Jamaican Diaspora in the US. They have spent $43 million total for upgrades and provision of equipment to the primary care institutions. Dr. Christopher Tufton, Health Minister, informed members of the diaspora via the online discussion program “Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks” that he was happy with the support provided to the program from individuals and organizations in the Diaspora. The program was designed to engage Jamaicans at home and overseas who have benefitted from the primary health system on the island to give back to the system. Audrey P. Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the US, commended members of the Diaspora for their support in adopting the 15 clinics and noted that their contributions have had a significant impact in the battle against COVID-19.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN BUSINESS AMONG NINE FROM REGION CHOSEN TO DESIGN PROJECTS FUNDED BY IDB
A proposal from a Jamaican business was one of nine selected in the Caribbean and Latin American region by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to receive financial support to design projects. The winning proposal from Jamaica was that of the Mona Aging and Wellness Center, which seeks to create a model of care that “takes advantage of the capacity of local communities with a clear focus on the demand of the most vulnerable, both in urban and rural.” The other winning proposals for the IDB’s “Silver Economy Innovation for Inclusion Challenge” came from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic. The IDB received 181 proposals from 27 countries in response to its challenge, which was launched in June of 2021 and ended on July 31, 2021. The Challenge was designed to identify innovative and ready-to-implement solutions to problems in health services and long-term care, financial services and products, employment and training, housing, transportation (mobility), and those supporting the development and promotion of technology-based ventures generating solutions for any sector relating to the Silver Economy, which is the part of the global economy related to the demographic shift prompted by population aging.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
USAIN BOLT’S DEBUT ALBUM AMONG TOP 10 ON BILLBOARD’S REGGAE ALBUM CHART
Usain Bolt, who became a player in the music industry after his retirement from competitive sports, has made a seamless transition to success by following his passion. Bolt has always had an interest in music that dates from his first “round-robin” event where he heard reggae artists like Bob Marley and Barrington Levy growing up in Sherwood Content. His first music venture was co-producing three dancehall mixtapes in 2019, then during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolt and his friend and manager Nugent “NJ” Walker recorded a reggae/dancehall album in Kingston called “Country Yutes” to reflect their roots in Jamaica. It is Bolt’s ambition to become “the dancehall equivalent of DJ Khaled,” and now that “Country Yutes” has debuted on Billboard’s Top 10 Reggae Albums chart and risen to the top the Amazon Music charts, he is well on his way to achieving his goal.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
USA DEFEATS JAMAICA IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIER IN TEXAS
Jamaica fell to the USA in the World Cup qualifying match held at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, on October 7, 2021. The final score was 2-0 in favor of the US, with both goals scored by Ricardo Pepi in the second half. Neither team scored in the first half of the match. Jamaican players Kemar Lawrence and Damion Lowe received yellow cards, and although both were the subject of red-card appeals, the appeals ultimately failed. Jamaica ended the match having made five shots with one on target compared to the US which had 17 shots with seven on target. The loss keeps the Reggae Boyz at the bottom of the eight-team World Cup qualifying table with just one point. In their next match, the Boyz will play Canada at National Stadium on October 10, 2021.