THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
U.S. SENATE TO INVESTIGATE “JAMAICAN LOTTERY” SCAM—01/26/13
The United States Senate Special Committee on Aging will investigate telephone scams based in Jamaica that have bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from senior citizens in Maine. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said the panel will hold hearings on scams that target older people, including the so-called Jamaican lottery scam that has caused problems for senior citizens in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The Federal Trade Commission of the U.S. is holding forums in Maine to help consumers avoid being victimized by the scams at the same time.
PRYCE CALLS FOR DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA—01/27/13
Raymond Pryce, Jamaican Member of Parliament, is calling for a debate on the decriminalization of marijuana and a set legal limit for possession of the drug. According to Pryce, Parliament must debate the issue as a human rights matter and determine a prescribed amount of marijuana at or below which no criminal sanctions will be imposed if the drug is for personal use. He noted that attitudes toward marijuana have change in the past ten years, and many jurisdictions have relaxed their position on possession and use of small quantities of the drug.
JPS HAS NEW METHOD TO CONTROL ILLEGAL CONNECTIONS—01/28/13
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has implemented sustained operations designed to control the number of illegal electric connections made in the Corporate Area. According to Omar Sweeny, regional director (East) of JPS, things must change in order to curb the illegal activity. The new initiative involves closer monitoring of the problem areas and the support of security forces. He also said the JPS would work with people to help them find ways to pay their bills.
TUFTON WANTS POLITICS TAKEN OUT OF EDUCATION—01/29/13
Dr. Christopher Tufton, the co-executive director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), has called for politics to be taken out of discussions about education. Tufton believes that a social partnership in the education sector could change Jamaica for the better within the next decade. Tufton wants education to be at the top of the country’s priorities, and he urged politicians to stop making education an item on their political platforms. He also called for the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) to support moving toward a social partnership.
VOLKSWAGEN FACES CHARGES OF “RACISM” FOR COMMERCIAL—01/30/13
Volkswagen of America plans to move ahead with its Super Bowl commercial featuring a white office worker speaking with a Jamaican accent, in spite of critics who have called the ad “racist.” According to Mark Gillies, manager of product and technology communication at Volkswagen, the ad was tested before a “diverse” audience that included Jamaicans before it went live, no one was offended. The message of the commercial, which features music from reggae legend Jimmy Cliff is that driving a Volkswagen brightens up your day. Jimmy Cliff himself was happy with the commercial.
JAMAICA NOT OFFENDED BY SUPER BOWL AD—01/31/13
A controversial ad to be played during the Super Bowl has been criticized as racist by a number of sources, but Jamaica has decided to embrace the commercial. The ad features a white office worker speaking in Jamaica’s patois accent to show his cheerful outlook. Critics in the United States say the ad, which is from Volkswagen of America, is offensive and culturally insensitive. This reaction has puzzled people in Jamaica, however, where the government has endorsed the commercial, seeing it as an example of the global reach of Jamaica’s culture. Tourism authorities believe the commercial could bring more visitors to the island as well.
WARMINGTON VINDICATED, DPP WILL NOT PRESS CHARGES—01/31/13
Everald Warmington, Parliamentarian, said that the decision of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) not to file criminal charges against him means that he has been “vindicated.” The decision highlights Warmington’s characterization of former Contractor General Greg Christie as an “overzealous idiot” and “mental case” in 2010 can stand. The Office of the Contractor General referred Warmington for criminal prosecution claiming that he might have violated the Perjury Act following a special investigation of impropriety in the award of contracts to SCCL, a firm allegedly tied to Warmington.
HARRISON APPOINTED CONTRACTOR GENERAL—02/01/13
Dirk Harrison, senior deputy director of public prosecutions (DPP) has been appointed contractor general. His appointment is being welcomed by his predecessors and the head of the office he is leaving. Harrison says he is “humbled” by the appointment. According to DPP Paula Llewellyn, Harrison is very accomplished and professional, and is committed to public service.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN MAN SEES WIFE KILLED BY BUS IN NEW YORK—01/26/13
According to law enforcement authorities in Canarsie, Brooklyn, New York, Michael Ferguson, 55, a Jamaican-born husband, bid his wife farewell and then watched in horror as a bus hit her and killed her instantly. He drove his wife, Lorraine Ferguson, to her bus stop because he did not want her to suffer from the very cold temperatures as she waited for her bus to her Manhattan job. When she exited the car to go to the bus, she was killed instantly as the bus ran a stop sign and hit her. An investigation is ongoing, but no criminal charges are expected in the incident.
JAMAICAN WOMAN CAN BE SUED BY HOUSING AUTHORITY OVER FALSE CLAIM—01/28/13
Barbara Fari, 59, can be sued by the Haringey Council in North London for filing a false claim related to a call she suffered after tripping on a street. Fari sued the Council for £750,000 for injuries related to the fall. These included a statement from Fari that her pain was so bad from an injured knee that she could not move freely. However, video evidence contradicted her claim of disability and she now faces charges for being in contempt of court. Fari, mother of 13 children, was found to have exaggerated her injury and so the Haringey Council can prosecute her for contempt.
RESEARCH OFFERS FINDINGS ON CHILDREN OF CARIBBEAN IMMIGRANTS—01/29/13
The child population in the United States is undergoing rapid changes, chiefly due to immigration. In 2010, almost 25 percent of U.S. children under the age of 18 were children of an immigrant. Latino, black, Asian, and multiracial children represent a near majority of children in the country, accounting for over 50 percent of children under the age of one. These findings of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) show that children of immigrants from the Caribbean or Africa enjoy several protective factors influencing their lives, including high levels of workforce participation among their parents, along with high rates of proficiency in English and strong parental support for education.
CARIBBEAN GROUPS PRAISE VOLKSWAGEN FOR RECOGNITION OF JAMAICA—01/31/13
While some have criticized Volkswagen, the German auto firm, for its new advertising campaign featuring a man speaking with a Jamaican accent, two groups in the Caribbean have praised the company for recognizing the “global impact of Jamaican culture.” Dr. Claire Nelson, Jamaican-born head of the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington, D.C. and the Caribbean Heritage Organization, stated that her groups found the commercial “amusing.” She said the accent used in the commercial was not perfect, but it was recognizable as Jamaican. What she found more problematic, she said, were the non-Jamaican critics who called the commercial “racist.”
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
HAITI READY FOR TOURISM, OTHER BUSINESS—01/26/13
DOMINCAN MEETING ERUPTS IN VIOLENCE—01/27/13
CASTRO TAKES ON PRESIDENCY OF CELAC—01/28/13
BAHAMAS VOTERS REJECT REFERENDUM ON GAMBLING—01/29/13
FISHERIES CONFERENCE TO BE CONVENED IN ST. VINCENT—01/30/13
LUGGAGE FROM MISSONI FLIGHT FOUND—01/31/13
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
TRADE ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT TOURISM SUMMIT—01/26/13
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has called on the governments of Caribbean nations to hold a summit on issues related to tourism within six month. The last such summit was convened in 2001. According to Alex Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of CHTA, the organization and the hotel industry in the Caribbean region believe there is an urgent need for a high-level summit to address issues that have a negative impact on regional tourism. These issues include airlift, marketing, security of visitors, and global competition.
CARI-MED INVOLVED WITH HEALTH, WELLNESS EFFORTS—01/29/13
CARI-MED Ltd. is staying within its stated mission and implementing efforts under its social responsibility initiatives by giving back to Jamaica through a number of health and wellness programs that impact many institutions and individuals in Jamaica. The company has been doing this work for 26 years and invests millions of dollars each year to contribute toward the health sector. Among its initiatives, the pharmaceutical firm has donated a colposcope at a cost of $1.2 million to Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, which gives the facility added capability to treat cervical cancer.
RBC BANK CLOSING SOME BRANCHES—01/30/13
RBC Royal Bank plans to close several branches in order to provide for long-term profitability and growth for the business in Jamaica. The branches scheduled for closure include Cross Roads, St Andrew; Linstead and Spanish Town, St Catherine, and Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth. The closings will occur within the next four months, according to Roger Cogle, market head of personal banking at RBC. RBC will have just 13 branches in operation on the island after the closures.
RED STRIPE SPENDS MONEY ON ENERGY-SAVING INITIATIVES—01/31/13
Red Stripe plans to spend US$14 million at its brewery for energy-saving initiatives that are predicted to reduce company costs by 20 percent over the next three years. The changes include an upgrade to the factory to decrease costs of cooling, as well as the construction of the company’s own cogeneration power plant to lower electricity costs. Plant operations are scheduled to begin in 2013.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JAMAICAN GEOGRAPHER TO CREATE GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PLANT—01/26/13
ANTIGUA GOES ROGUE, ALLOWS DOWNLOADS OF MOVIES AND SOFTWARE—01/28/13
CARIBBEAN ISLANDS GIVE RF COMMUNICATIONS CONTRACT WORTH $31 MILLION—01/29/13
WIND ENERGY TECHNOLOGY USED BY JAMAICA’S FARMERS—01/31/13
TORONTO EVENT HIGHLIGHTS CITY’S CONTRIBUTION TO REGGAE—01/26/13
Toronto, Canada, is one of the major Jamaican Diaspora centers in the world, and it has a long history of reggae music. However, the city’s contribution to reggae is often overlooked. This will no longer be the case as a new photography exhibit and series of events called “Reggae or Not: The Birth of Dancehall Culture in Jamaica and Toronto” focuses on the musical ties between Jamaica and the Canadian city. The photo exhibit features work by Beth Lesser, a local photographer and reggae fan, who began taking pictures of reggae culture in the late 1970s.
TIFA HAS SIX YVA NOMINATIONS, AIMS FOR HIGHER GOALS—01/30/13
Dancehall artiste Tifa has earned six Youth View Awards, but continues to strive for higher honors. Tifa, who real name is Latifa Brown, earned a degree from the University of the West Indies and then decided to pursue a career in dancehall music. She has become one of the most popular female artistes in Jamaica, but has also had to contend with conflicts with other female entertainers and what she believes are attempts to stall her career by those who feel she doesn’t belong in the field. Tifa won her six YVAs in 2012 and was also named 2012 Female Entertainer of the Year.
ITY, FANCY CAT PERFORM AT CHARITY EVENT—01/31/13
Popular comics Ity and Fancy Cat participated at the Laugh for Charity event at Donway Village. The event was held to benefit Farm Primary and Junior High School in order to buy educational equipment. The Events Management Class at the Western Campus of the University of the West Indies organized the entertainment as a school project and fundraiser. In addition to Ity and Fancy Cat, the two hours of comedy featured Herbert Morrison, Anastasia Irving, and Dwight “Elmo” Samuels.
REGGAE MONTH BEGINS—02/01/13
Charles Campbell, vice chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), praised the organization for its contributions toward the resurgence of reggae music in the world. Campbell, also executive director of JaRIA, said that Reggae Month, which spans February, will proclaim as its theme “Reggae 50: A New Dawn.” He also said that reggae artistes are more interested in expressing universal themes in their music now and that Reggae Month has influenced this trend.
ASAFA POWELL TO RUN IN STAWELL’S GIFT RACE—01/26/13
Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, who has run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds for a record 68 times, will be the first 100-meter record holder to participate at Stawell’s grass track in 62 years. Powell said he is happy to be competing there in 2013. He said he has “grown up running on grass” and has trained extensively on grass, so he expects no problems to arise from the sprint venue.
JAMAICAN CRICKTEER PLEADS GUILTY TO ASSAULT WITH BAT—01/27/13
Andre McCarthy, Jamaican cricketeer, has entered a guilty plea for assaulting a man with a cricket bat. McCarthy appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court and was told to pay a fine of $25,000 to cover the victim’s medical expenses. According to the complaint, McCarthy hit the man’s arm and leg with a cricket bat. The court will deal with this issue in an expedited fashion so McCarthy can leave with the national team to play in upcoming tournaments.
HURDLES CHAMPION SPEAKS ABOUT OLYMPIC “MELTDOWN”—01/30/13
Melaine Walker, Jamaica’s 400-meter hurdles Olympic champion, disclosed that issues linked to the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) were behind her “meltdown” at the 2012 Olympics in London. Walker, who was World Champion in 2009 and a silver medalist in 2011, said she was “devastated” by cases of neglect by the JAAA at the 2012 Games.
BURRELL, WHITMORE SAY SQUAD IS “STRONGEST”—01/31/13
Jamaica’s senior men’s squad will play in the World Cup Qualifier in Mexico on February 6, 2013. The team includes eight inactive players, five new players, and two schoolboys, but Captain Horace Burrell and Theodore Whitmore, the team’s head coach, believe these players form the strongest available squad. Burrell says the team should “never repeat” what occurred at the Caribbean Cup and stated that officials have tried to find the 11 strongest possible players to represent the country at the Qualifier.