THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN SENATE NOW INCLUDES RECORD NUMBER OF WOMEN
According to Kamina Johnson Smith, the Leader of Government Business in the Jamaican Senate, there has been a record number of women now appointed to serve in the new 21-member body. Of 13 Government Senators selected, four are women, and four of eight appointed Opposition Senators are women as well. Johnson Smith noted that this is the largest percentage of women in the Senate ever achieved. She made her remarks prior to the swearing-in ceremony of the new Senate following the General Election on September 3, 2020. Tom Tavares-Finson, who was re-elected to serve as president of the Senate, also noted the higher number of women serving in Jamaica’s Upper House.
GOVERNMENT ACTS QUICKLY TO DELIVER NEW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS
Following the General Election on September 3, 2020, Jamaica’s government took quick action to deliver on its promise of creating more shelters for victims of domestic violence. The COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica, as in other countries, led to a higher rate of reported domestic violence incidents, and in response to the need of women and girls who were stuck living in the same homes as their abusers the government pledged to build additional shelters at a cost of J$120 million or US$800,000. Work on the three national shelters has now been completed, according to Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport. The shelters feature a total of 18 family rooms, special counseling areas, dining rooms, and areas for children’s play. Grange said she has the keys to all three of the new properties and that they will be open soon.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
BARBADOS MOVES TO REMOVE QUEEN ELIZABETH II AS HEAD OF STATE
Queen Elizabeth II of England will be removed as the monarch of Barbados in 2021, according to an announcement from Dame Sandra Mason, Governor-General of Barbados. Mason stated that the people of the Caribbean island nation “want a Barbadian head of state.” The country claimed its independence from Britain in 1966, but the Queen remained a constitutional monarch and the technical head of state. Replacing the Queen with a sovereign Barbadian head of state will make the island nation a republic. Mason said this was the next logical step toward full sovereignty of the country, which intends to become a republic by its 55th Anniversary of Independence in November 2021. The country has discussed becoming a republic for many years and will not be the first Caribbean nation to take this step. Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Guyana have already become republics, and Jamaica has the action under consideration.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CEO OF JAMAICA NATIONAL GROUP TO GIVE KEYNOTE SPEECH AT MEETING OF DIASPORA TASKFORCE ACTION NETWORK
The CEO of the Jamaica National Group, Earl Jarrett, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the annual general meeting of the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network (JDTAN) on September 20, 2020. The taskforce comprises members from 21 countries. The theme of its 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) is “Reflections from Our Partners: Diaspora Engagement for Jamaica’s Growth and Development.” According to the organization’s chair Leo Gilling, Jarrett has a “special relationship” with the Diaspora, as he has been a major player in the transformation of the Diaspora Movement. The AGM will be moderated by Dervan Malcolm, a broadcaster on the Power 106 morning show “Diaspora Live.” Other speakers at the event include Dr Robert Runcie, Jamaican Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools; Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund; Dr. Hansel Fletcher, Loma Linda University; Dr. Elizabeth Molina, Broward College; Dr. Rosalea Hamilton, CEO of the LASCO Chin Foundation; Charles Clayton, Program Director, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); Mary McLaughlin, CEO of the Trees That Feed Foundation.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JEF PRESIDENT DAVID WAN HAS HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR NEW HOLNESS ADMINISTRATION
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has appointed a new slate of senior and junior ministers to be part of his new administration following the general election of September 3, 2020. Nineteen Cabinet Ministers and nine Ministers of State were sworn in by Sir Patrick Allen, Jamaica’s Governor-General, at separate ceremonies at King’s House on the 13 and 14 of September. David Wan, the president of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF), says that the new Administration shows a “good mix of experience, youth, and females,” and he particularly welcomed the promotion of Floyd Green to the position of Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Wan also welcomed the decision by Holness to alter the former Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, providing Minister Audley Shaw with the responsibility for Industry, Investment, and Commerce. Wan said the previous configuration was “too complex for any (single) Minister” to handle.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
TOOTS HIBBERT, JAMAICAN MUSIC LEGEND, DEAD AT 77
Toots Hibbert, the iconic Jamaican musician who has been credited with coning the word “reggae,” and one of the founders of the genre, died in September of 2020 at the age of 77. As the front man of the group Toots & The Maytals, Hibbert was a band leader, songwriter, and showman who play multiple instruments and encouraged attendees at his concerts to dance with him on stage. In the opinion of some, he was reggae’s greatest singer, a very spiritual musician who was less involved in politics as his friend and contemporary, the legendary Bob Marley. Hibbert’s career received a boost with the release of the landmark film “The Harder They Come” in 1972. The soundtrack of the film is frequently ranked as the greatest in movie history. Hibbert appeared in the film as himself. In the mid 1970s, rock starts like Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and John Lennon had become fans of reggae, and Hibbert recorded with some of them. His career was stalled in 2013 when he was hit in the head with a vodka bottle through during a concert in Virginia, but he went on to perform again, and in 2020, he released the album “Got To Be Tough,” which features Ziggy Marley and Ringo Starr, with Ringo’s son Zak Starkey as co-producer. He received Grammy nominations in 2012 and 2007 and was ranked at Number 71 on the 2008 Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest contemporary singers. He received the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican government in 2012 for outstanding contributions to the nation’s music.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH RUNS WORLD-LEADING 100-METERS AT ROME DIAMOND LEAGUE COMPETITION
Elaine Thompson-Herah, Jamaica’s Olympic double-sprint champion athlete, won the women’s 100-meter race at the Rome Diamond League meet in Italy with a world-leading time of 10.85 seconds. She had previously run the distance in 10.88 seconds earlier in the season. With the win, Thompson-Herah extended her unbeaten record to six straight races in the 100-meters, outpacing her Jamaican compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and taking the top spot on the World Athletics performance list.