THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICAN EDUCATION MINISTER ANNOUNCES NO IN-PERSON CLASSES ON FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
According to Fayval Williams, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, there will be no face-to-face classes on the first day of school, September 6, 2021. The Minister told parents at a virtual town hall meeting on August 31 that she is aware that students and parents want to see a return to in-person learning, “but we are not quite there yet.” She said it was necessary to continue monitoring the number of COVID cases and adhere to recommendations made by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Until improvements are determined, children will continue to receive their education online through the Ministry’s learning kit and the audio-visual platforms that are in place. Williams also urged parents and students eligible for COVID-19 vaccines to get vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children 12 years of age and older.
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER IMPOSES SIX ADDITIONAL NO-MOVEMENT DAYS
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that because of increasing rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths, and infections, an additional six days of no-movement will be required in an effort to stem the surge in virus cases. Holness said a 24-hour curfew will go into effect on Sunday, September 5, 2021, and will also be imposed on September 6 and 7, and again on September 12, 13, and 14. Residents will have to stay home on those days, he said. Other nighttime curfews will apply outside of the no-movement days from 7 pm to 5 am on Wednesday through Friday. Holness noted that area hospitals were at “crisis” levels, and 31 COVID deaths were recorded between August 23 and 30.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
VACCINATED TRAVELERS VISIT DIFFERENT CARIBBEAN ISLANDS THAN UNVACCINATED TRAVELERS
Vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists are going to different island destinations in the Caribbean. The British Virgin Islands, for example, are attracting more vaccinated people, while being less attractive to the unvaccinated. Along with the British Virgin Islands, Barbados and St. Lucia allow unvaccinated tourists to enter only if they endure a period of quarantine, and the data indicates that those unwilling to do so choose different destinations that do not require quarantining or certificates of vaccination. Travel trends are being shaped in the Caribbean based on how strict or lenient the entrance requirements for visitors are. Seven Caribbean destination have mandatory vaccination policies: Anguilla, Grenada, St. Barts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, as well as the Cayman Islands. According to Eric Bamberger, senior vice president of hospitality at Zeta Global, a marketing firm that analyzed traffic to the main tourist websites of several Caribbean islands, after Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Cayman Islands announced restrictions, travel interest increased for all of them. He identified two trends for the Caribbean; people are more interested in traveling to islands with vaccination protocols in place, and their interest in other islands is decreasing.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
GRACEKENNEDY SEEKING 2022 BIRTHRIGHT PROGRAM APPLICANTS IN NORTHEAST U.S.
The GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF) is seeking applications from university students of Jamaican heritage for its 2022 Jamaican Birthright Program in the Northeast United States. The yearly program provides internships of one month in fields of study undertaken by such students at a subsidiary of GraceKennedy in Jamaica. They will also receive an all-expense-paid cultural immersion experience to learn more about the country where their parents or grandparents were born. The 2020 and 2021 Birthright Programs had been cancelled due to COVID-19 but deferred those selected for 2020 to 2022. As the participant from the Northeastern US is unable to attend, the foundation opened applications for that region, said Caroline Mahfood, CEO of GKF. The 2022 program will run from June 1 to July 8, 2021, and will host students from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the US.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
I-DOC CONCIERGE WELLNESS SERVICES INTRODUCES DRIVE-THRU TESTING FOR COVID-19
A Jamaica-based health care provider, i-doc Concierge Wellness Services, has introduced a service designed to increase the efficiency of care for COVID-19 patients. The firm is providing a drive-thru COVID-19 testing service. The service is already available at three of its four locations, including Boardwalk Shopping Village in Negril, Westmoreland; the Quik Clinic at the private Montego Bay Hospital at Mount Salem in Montego Bay, St James; and at Drax Hall in St Ann. At the drive-thru locations, patients stay in their cars while being tested. Those who test positive remain in the car while physicians prepare treatment regimes that may include medications, prescriptions, quarantine orders, and informational packets.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
REGGAE LEGEND “LEE SCRATCH” PERRY DIES AT AGE 85
The legendary reggae singer and record producer “Lee Scratch” Perry died at Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea at the age of 85. Widely regarded as one of the founders of reggae, he pioneered dub music and produced over 1,000 recordings during his 60-year career. Born Rainford Hugh Perry, he was also known as “Upsetter” and “Mad Scientist.” In 2010, musician Keith Richards described him as “the Salvador Dali of Music.” Among Perry’s reggae hits are “Dreadlocks in Moonlight,” “City Too Hot,” and “Curly Locks.” He continued to produce music until shortly before his death, winning a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2003 for “Jamaican E.T.” In a podcast recorded in 2020, Perry said, “Without the music, people get miserable.” Prior to his death, Perry had been preparing for a tour of Europe later in 2021. His widow, Mireille Perry, has suggested that individuals who she did not name were responsible for his death and that they will “not get away with his passing.” She expressed her thanks to fans for their condolences, saying Perry’s death was completely unexpected, that he “was not sick,” and that he was looking forward to creating his £$P Paradise community after returning from his European tour. She plans to honor his memory by going ahead with the planned community initiative.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
REGGAE GIRL KHADIJA SHAW SIGNS WITH MANCHESTER CITY
Jamaican Khadija Shaw of the Reggae Girlz has left Bordeaux to play for Manchester City. At Bordeaux, she was the winner of the Golden Boot in the French top division after making 22 goals. She hopes that she will be an inspiration to girls in Jamaica in the same way the nation’s three 2021 Olympic sprint champions are. She spent her first weeks at her new Man City club watching her compatriots excel in track and field events in Tokyo. Shaw grew up in Spanish Town, the youngest of 13 children and from age ten spent every afternoon playing football with the boys in her neighborhood. She said she had no female role models in the sport and that her mother worried about the lack of opportunities for female players when she saw her daughter’s passion for the sport grow. Shaw said she told her mother that maybe she would be the one to change the situation. At 24, she has succeeded in making football history by helping lead the Reggae Girlz to the women’s World Cup in 2019, making Jamaica the first country from the Caribbean to qualify. With 42 goals in 30 appearances for Jamaica, Shaw is the top scorer for the country.