THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN EDUCATION MINISTRY PLANS BIG INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE FOR SCHOOLS
Fayval Williams, Jamaica’s Minister of Education and Youth, announced an allocation of $210 million that will be toward making critical repairs to schools throughout the island. Williams told the 58th annual conference of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association on August 24, 2022, that each one of the seven regions overseen by the Ministry received $30 million to upgrade their infrastructure, and 97 schools were identified as needing critical repairs. The Ministry’s goal over the long term is to bring the schools’ infrastructure to a 21st-century level and to create appropriate workplaces for teachers and administrators.
SAMUDA FINDS “NO EVIDENCE” THAT JAMAICAN FARMWORKERS MISTREATED ON CANADIAN FARMS
Between August 14 and 16, 2022, Jamaica’s Labor Minister Karl Samuda said that he and his team visited nine farms in Canada, including two that employed temporary workers from Jamaica who had claimed they were mistreated by their employers, and “observed no evidence of mistreatment.” Samuda’s visit came in response to a letter sent by Jamaican farmworkers were in Canada as participants in Jamaica’s Seasonal Agriculture Workers Program. In the letter, the workers described their situation as “systemic slavery.” Samuda acknowledged that working conditions varied among the farms, but said overall the workers and employers had “very good relations.” Relations with the Jamaican liaison officers in Canada who are charged with protecting the workers’ interests were also good, Samuda said. The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change called Samuda’s statement “a slap in the face” and said that workers’ employers threatened them with losing their jobs if they did not “keep quiet.” The group plans to continue its fight for permanent residency status for all migrant farm workers, noting that in spite of years of complaints about abuse, the Canadian government has not created the one plan that would end the problem: full and permanent immigration for migrant farmworkers and other migrants in the country. A report from the Migrant Workers Center (MWC) that was released in March 2022 found that temporary foreign workers in British Columbia were subjected to many kinds of abuse from their agents and employers.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
MINNESOTA CELEBRATES GROWING CARIBBEAN POPULATION WITH “GUYANA NIGHT”
Trevor Samaroo launched a nonprofit a few years ago to sponsor “Minnesota Guyana Day” as there were few events focused on the culture of Guyana in the state, despite its growing population of immigrants from the South American nation. Guyana is linked to the Caribbean culture through its music, food, and traditions, and there are some 8,000 Caribbean people currently living in Minnesota. While there are events that celebrate Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, and the Bahamas, the people from Guyana wanted to celebrate their unique traditions as well. The 2022 event, which was held on August 27 at the Eritrean Community Center in St. Paul, featured three artists from Guyana and Trinidad, Poowah Vanita Willie, Fiona Singh and Mahendra Ramkellawan, who will provide a type of music not heard anywhere else in Minnesota. The celebration also featured traditional Guyanese and Caribbean cuisines to showcase the diversity of the Caribbean region.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICA’S NEW YORK CONSULATE GENERAL TO LEAD WEST INDIAN AMERICAN DAY PARADE
The Consulate General of Jamaica in New York will end its commemoration of the island’s 60th anniversary of independence by leading fellow Jamaicans under an official banner on Labor Day, September 5, 2022, at the West Indian Day Carnival Parade. This will be the first time that the Jamaican Consulate General has led the parade. According to Alsion Roach Wilson, Jamaican Consul General, Jamaicans have worked hard to build a strong brand and image in the United States, and this event will give the Jamaican Diaspora and the island’s cultural legacy the attention and recognition they deserve. Wilson add the parade give all the Caribbean communities in New York the chance to gather together and display their solidarity as a people.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
JAMAICAN MINISTER OF TOURISM EXPECTS MORE VISITORS FROM SAUDI ARABIA AFTER NEW DEAL
According to Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the island will see more tourists from Saudi Arabia as a result of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two nations. Bartlett expects at least 100,000 Saudi tourists to visit Jamaica within the next three years under the MOU, which establishes a collaboration in the tourism sector between Saudi Arabia and Jamaica. Bartlett added that the MOU is designed to facilitate the sharing of best practices between the two nations and enhance investment opportunities between them as well. He said the arrangement will also allow more Jamaican and Caribbean products to enter the Saudi market and for Saudi products to come to the Caribbean.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN SCREENWRITER PARTICIPATES IN JCDC FI WI SHORT FILM COMPETITION
Nasika Alliman, a first-time filmmaker, was chosen as one of the 22 competitors that will participate in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) FI WI Short Film Competition. Alliman was “overjoyed” at being selected as her entry was the first film she ever produced. The competition is operated by the Drama and Theater Arts Unit of the JCDC and was open to first-time Jamaican filmmakers between the ages of 12 to 18 years of age and adults 19 years old or older. The applicants were required to create a short film treatment based on their interpretation of one of five selected Jamaican proverbs. Alliman chose “Nuh dash weh yuh tick before yuh done crass riva” because she thought it would be easy to develop into a comedy. Her five-minute film follows the main character as he seeks help to migrate to America and his desperation that results in him making hasty decisions, as she interpreted the proverb to warn against premature celebrations. Alliman is a graduate in journalism and film studies from the University of the West Indies. She began writing films in 2019, drawing on inspirations from other Jamaican filmmakers like Storm Saulter and Trevor Rhone.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA FOOTBALL FEDERATION PREPARES FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will amend its bylaws and articles of association to conform to FIFA regulations by November 1, 2022. The JFF’s process for electing its executive body involves presidents of parochial-level football associations, so only a majority of 13 votes is required to enact change. No date for the meeting has been scheduled by the plans have been under discussion since 2020 when a FIFA official proposed the changes during a visit to the island. According to Raymond Grant, president of the Portland FA and a JFF director, said the meeting will seek to ratify the number of structural changes at the JFF not restricted to the number of congressional delegates. There will be a higher number of affiliates in the football fraternity as well, Grant said, and JFF members can make their voices heard at the conference. A critical principal fueling the proposals is to increase the involvement of more stakeholders in the highest level of decision making, so that parish referee associations and coaches at the local level could become active in the process.