THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JAMAICA AGREES TO IMF LOAN TERMS—02/16/13
Jamaican has agreed to terms from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to receive a new loan totaling $750 million. To obtain the loan, Jamaica must complete a planned debt swap and get lenders in the private sector to accept more lenient terms on the current debt load. This debt represents 140 percent of the nation’s economic output. The government will also impose spending cuts and implement reforms in the labor market as it attempts to deal with the economic crisis.
GOVERNMENT COMMITS TO AVOID FINANCIAL DISASTER—02/17/13
The government of Jamaica is committed to taking the steps necessary to keep financial disaster at bay, said Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance. One of the obstacles to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the exchange program of debt, which is designed to reduce the amount to 8.5 percent. Phillips said the government must encourage transformation in the public sector and implement a new program to enhance economic growth and promote investment, since the nation’s deficit exceeds its gross domestic product.
JAMAICAN MP FACES CRITICISM FOR ANTI-GAY COMMENT ON TWITTER—02/18/13
Jamaican Member of Parliament Dayton Campbell is being criticized for anti-gay remarks he made on Twitter during a performance by openly gay musician Frank Ocean during Grammy Awards television program. Campbell was unhappy about Ocean’s performance of lyrics about same-sex love. Other Twitter users made immediate comments against Campbell’s position, citing Bob Marley’s “one love” lyrics in response.
TWO JAMAICAN SENATORS CALL FOR DEBATE ON DECRIMINALIZATION OF OBEAH—02/19/13
Lambert Brown, government senator, and Tom Tavares-Finson, Opposition senator, are taking the advice of Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Minister of Justice, and will bring a motion to the Senate to have a debate on decriminalizing the practice of obeah on the island. The issue arose during discussions of removing flogging and whipping from the current Acts of Parliament.
JAMAICAN CHURCHES WILLING TO PAY PROPERTY TAXES—02/20/13
According to a spokesperson for the Jamaican Umbrella Groups of Churches (JUGC), a group that represents most of the island’s Christians, churches are willing to pay property taxes if that will help to generate funds for the federal government. However, the churches are not willing to pay taxes on weekly offerings. Church property taxes would represent part of a process designed to raise public revenue so Jamaica can apply for a long-term loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The churches have “substantial” real estate holdings, according to Rennard White, JUGC chairman.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT COMMENDED BY WORLD BANK—02/21/13
The World Bank commended the government of Jamaica on its economic initiatives, such as the National Debt Exchange (NDX), implemented to obtain the staff-level agreement recently reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to Marie Lucie Morin, executive director of the World Bank, the government is making all the right moves toward improving the nation’s economy. Morin said the World Bank is ready to help Jamaica in any way it can.
NHT UNDECIDED ON STATE OF SURPLUS—02/22/13
In spite of agreeing to a drawdown of $45 billion from its surplus over the next four years, the National Housing Trust (NHT) has not determined the status of the reserve at the end of that period, said Easton Douglas, NHT chairman. He said he does not have the details of the status but noted that the Trust projects it will have a surplus of $22.9 billion at the end of the financial year on March 31, 2013.
SHAW CALLS FOR FIRING MARKETING FIRM—02/22/13
Jamaica’s Opposition spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw, has called for the contract of SMB Worldwide Entertainment and Convention Venue Management Company, which addressed the promotion of the Montego Bay Convention Center, to be terminated. Shaw said the firm has performed “miserably” in its attempts to market the convention complex. Mikael Phillips, a member of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) said, however, that the contract, which was signed in July 2011, had been approved by a Cabinet of which Shaw was the Finance Minister. SMG has been receiving management fees totaling US$20,000 per month.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN SURRENDERS TO ST. LUCIA POLICE—02/16/13
The police of St. Lucia confirmed that Miguel Garnett, a Jamaican national, has turned himself in on attempted murder charges. Garnett, also known as Demo B’Jorn, escaped from a police station where he was held on a charge of attempted murder of a Canadian national, Adisania Ojo. Ojo received multiple gunshot wounds. Garnett and another man were charged in the case.
JAMAICAN MAGAZINE EDITOR FIRED—02/17/13
Constance CR White, the Jamaican-born journalist who has been credited with bringing Essence magazine to its position as a showcase for black women of all types, has been fired from the publication. Also sacked were Beauty Editor Corynne L. Corbett and Creative Director Greg Monfries.
MISS JAMAICA UK SAYS SHE IS “ABSOLUTELY” JAMAICAN—02/18/13
Gemma Feare, 21, is the reigning Miss Jamaica UK, and she represents the changes that have occurred in the United Kingdom in that past 25 years relating to Caribbean immigrants. Unlike the immigrants who moved to the UK in the 1950s, Feare was raised in a more tolerant society and acknowledges that things are easier for her generation. She was born in the East Midlands, which is known for its large Caribbean community. Her father is from Westmoreland, and her mother was born in London but has links to the same parish.
CARIBBEAN AIRLINES DISRESPECTED BY JAMAICAN DIASPORA—02/21/13
The way Jamaicans feel about Caribbean Airlines (CAL) was illustrated in a statement made in New York as Jamaica’s newest airline, Fly Jamaica Airways, began service between Kingston and New York. During a celebration to mark the occasion at JFK International Airport, a member of the U.S.-based Jamaican Advisory Board, Irwin Clare, made it clear that Jamaicans do not consider CAL as their country’s national carrier, despite the fact that it holds a 14 percent share of the airline. According to Irwin, the Diaspora is happy to have another carrier that “we can call a national carrier” and that the group will do everything it can to support Fly Jamaica Airways.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
MONUMENT TO U.S.S. MAINE VICTIMS RESTORED IN HAVANA—02/16/13
UN ENVOY SAYS HAITI NOT READY FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT—02/17/13
U.S. TO BUILD TWO PRISONS IN HAITI—02/18/13
PRESIDENT OF CHINA PLANS VISIT TO ALLIES IN CARIBBEAN—02/19/13
U.S. ASKED FOR AID IN CONTROLLING ARMS IN CARIBBEAN—02/20/13
LEADERS OF CARIBBEAN NATIONS MEET IN REGIONIAL SUMMIT—02/21/13
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN DRUG MANUFACTURING FIRM BLASTED BY FDA—02/16/13
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strongly criticized Benjamin Manufacturing, a drugmaking firm in Kingston, for failing to meet appropriate manufacturing standards and failing to ensure a sterile environment. The FDA stated that the drugmaker should consider hiring a consultant to help raise its standards and improve its quality assurance measures. A warning letter was issued by the FDA to Benjamin Manufacturing in which the monitor cited a lack of testing for microbial contamination during and after manufacture of drugs and poor maintenance and cleaning of equipment at the facility.
JAMAICAN BUSINESSES SHOULD SUPPORT LOGISTICS HUB, SAYS HYLTON—02/18/13
Anthony Hylton, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, has called for local businesses to lend their support to the government ‘s proposed transshipment and logistics hub project. Hylton made his remarks at a quarterly meeting of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce in Ocho Rios. Hylton says the project will position Jamaica as a global asset and could potentially transform the island’s economy.
JAMPRO ELECTED TO STEERING COMMITTEE OF WAIPA—02/20/13
The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) was elected to the steering committee of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA). The election took place during WAIPA’s celebration of its XVIII World Investment Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. JAMPRO was named to the officer of Regional Director for Central America and the Caribbean. The group hopes its new post will aid in improving the global image of the region and attracting more technical expertise and investment.
JPS SEES REVENUES AND PROFITS DECREASE—02/21/13
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) reports that it has experienced a drop of 66 percent in its yearly net profit. The net profit amount has fallen to US$12.7 million after flat sales in 2011, according to Kelly Romblin, president and CEO at JPS. Tomblin attributed the losses on “reduced consumption” by “paying customers.” The monopoly power distributing firm is owned by Marubeni Corporation of Japan (40 percent), Korea East-West Power (40 percent), the Government of Jamaica (19.9 percent), and 3,000 shareholders (0.1 percent).
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
PAULWELL TO DELAY POWER PROPOSALS TO QUICKEN THEIR APPROVAL—02/20/13
CELL PHONE FIRM ASKS FLORIDA RELATIVES TO SUPPORT ISLAND FAMILIES—02/20/13
JAMAICA TO REDUCE IMPORTED ANIMAL FEED INGREDIENTS—02/21/13
WATER RESOURCES OFFICIAL CALLS FOR RAINWATER HARVESTING—02/22/13
CARIBBEAN PERSPECTIVE ADDED TO SCI-FI GENRE—02/16/13
Science fiction literature has been given a Caribbean perspective via Karen Lord’s new novel, “The Best of All Possible Worlds.” Lord, who is based in Barbados, tells the story of male survivors of a superior civilization who find themselves refugees in a land peopled by their very distant relatives. Lord has provided an imagined planet as an expanded Caribbean region, with a population that is divided by physical characteristics, languages, and heredity. The novel addresses the theme of traditions versus a new culture.
RIHANNA BRINGS FASHION COLLECTION TO LONDON—02/17/13
Caribbean musical sensation Rihanna made her debut as a fashion designer showing her River Island collection on the London Catwalk. The collection was called fun and flattering and is aimed at young women. Fabrics featured were satin, jersey, and denim. Rihanna offered both casual crop tops and t-shirts and more elegant, black and white, semi-sheer dresses. The collection will be on sale via River Island stores worldwide.
REGGAE BOOK FROM UWI AVAILABLE—02/18/13
The University of the West Indies (UWI) has published a book on reggae entitled “Global Reggae,” which includes a number of essays that illustrate the extent of current scholarship on Jamaica’s popular music. The essays focus on the globalization of reggae, or its dispersal throughout the world and how it adapts in local contexts. What is considered the revolutionary ethos of reggae becomes transformed over time into local languages that speak to particular political issues in the indigenous cultural context. The book was edited by Carolyn Cooper and is available to the public.
BRICK & LACE DISBAND AFTER NINE YEARS—02/19/13
The popular Jamaican female group has decided to officially end its nine years together. The two musicians, sisters Naliah and Nyanda Thorbourne, split after Nyanda decided to go after a solo career. The due founded their group in 2004 with three members that included their sister Tasha Thorbourne, who decided to leave in 2007 but worked behind the scenes as co-writer on songs. Nyanda said it was time to disband after creative differences arose over the years. The singers said a reunion is possible in the future, however.
SABINA PARK GETS FLOODLIGHT FROM CARIBBEAN PREMIER LEAGUE—02/16/13
The Caribbean Premier League announced that Jamaica will be among the nations from which it will select franchise teams, and it was the only one of the front-runners that did not have lighting facilities. Lighting is a requirement for hosting matches July and August 2013. Therefore, an agreement on funding between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) will install lighting at Sabina Park by the time of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League matches. The public-private sector plan to fund the lighting includes a budget of about $1.7 million.
CAMPBELL NOTES CONFIDENCE IN WOMEN’S CRICKET TEAM—02/17/13
Sherwin Campbell, the coach of the West Indies women’s cricket team, said that defeating Australia raised the confidence level of the team in advance of their first World Cup final match. The West Indies had eight points and a net run-rate better than Australia and concluded the super-six stage with a 100 percent record after three matches. Campbell said the win motivated the players going into the finale, since Australia had been unbeaten before playing the West Indies and had won the championship five times in the past.
JAMAICA OVER HAITI IN CARIBBEAN SLALOM COMPETITION—02/18/13
Jamaica’s single competitor at the world skiing championships in Austria, Michael Elliott Williams, qualified for the Slalom with a time of 3 minutes and 39:48 seconds. This was nearly twice the time of leader Victor Malmstrom of Finland. However, Williams defeated Haiti’s Jean-Pierre Roy and Benoit Etoc, which enabled him to claim the title of best Caribbean slalomist.
JAMAICA CONFIDENT ABOUT MATCH WITH CCC—02/21/13
The Jamaica team, the defending champion, is confident that it will defeat the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) at a showdown in Sabina Park. Jamaica will be building on its victory over Barbados in the opening day of the tournament. The CCC will be trying to come back after losing its opener to the Windward Islands.