THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
PUBLIC HEALTH FACILITIES LIMITED BY DOCTOR STRIKE—04/06/13
A strike by doctors has had a negative impact on most of Jamaica’s public health facilities. According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, most hospitals in the country are providing only emergency services. Clinics have also been cancelled, and elective surgery and outpatient care are both being rescheduled. The Jamaica Medical Doctors Association has yet to confirm the strike, but the Ministry noted an unusually high number of absences by doctors.
NATIONAL BUDGET FOR FISCAL 2013 REDUCED—04/07/13
The government of Jamaica has announced its new budget for 2013-2014. The budget features a reduction of 13.5 percent, down from the J$602.5 billion in the budget for the last fiscal year. According to Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance, expenditures by the government will not exceed J$520.9 billion. The reductions come as Jamaica attempts to reduce costs of public sector wages from 10.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product to nine percent of GDP by 2016.
RETIREES FROM JAMAICA ABANDON HOMELAND—04/08/13
The number of expatriate Jamaicans returning to the home island from Canada, the United Kingdom, and other locations abroad has dropped by 50 percent. The high crime rate has been cited as a major reason for the reduction. While returning home was the goal of Jamaicans who left to find work overseas, many are reluctant to return because the high crime rate overshadows the lower cost of living and other lifestyle features that had previously drawn retirees home.
PRIME MINISTER ASKS JAMAICANS TO IGNORE DETRACTORS—04/09/13
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has called upon Jamaicans to join together and work to bring the country out of its serious economic crisis. She said Jamaicans should not listen to “detractors” of the People’s National Party (PNP), but to understand that the country and the party have a strong history and should cooperate to improve economic conditions.
JAMAICA, IMF REACH AGREEMENT FOR LOAN PACKAGE—04/10/13
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that Jamaica could get a loan totaling as much as $958 million over four years to stabilize its economy. The IMF said it will recommend the new facility to its board of executives by the end of April 2013. According to the IMF, Jamaica has met all requirements for the loan successfully and recognized the sacrifice of the Jamaican people in attempting to better the island’s economic status.
REVELERS, GAY MEN CLASH DURING TRADITIONAL ROAD MARCH—04/11/13
The traditional road march that closes the Bacchanal season in Jamaica was marred unfortunately when revelers clashed following an incident involving dancing of allegedly gay men. At least three individuals were injured after some revelers objected to the men dancing with one another in what was perceived to be a sexually provocative way. The incident occurred near the end of the march, which was located across different areas of Kingston.
DR. OLIVE LEWIN, PIONEER MUSIC RESEARCHER, DIES—04/12/13
Dr. Olive Lewin, the founder of the Jamaican Folk Singers and a pioneering music researcher died at University Hospital of the West Indies at age 85. She had been suffering from respiratory problems. Dr Lewin is survived by her daughter, Johanna. Lewin wrote several books on Jamaican music, to which she dedicated her life. She also did extensive work with incarcerated individuals.
GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT RENEWABLE ENERGY PLANS FOR SMALLER HOTELS—04/12/13
Jamaica’s government has marked some $15 million in the 2013-2014 Estimates of Expenditures to improve the competitiveness of smaller hotels through the use of renewable energy sources. The Caribbean Hotel Energy and Action Project is operated by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining. Funding is provided through the Inter-American Development Bank.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
ATTORNEY GENERAL COMPLIMENTED BY OBAMA HAS ROOTS IN JAMAICA—04/07/13
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is part of a controversy stemming from complements she received on her appearance from U.S. President Barack Obama. Harris, the daughter of Jamaican economist Donald Harris, is proud of her Jamaican heritage. She was elected to the office she now holds in 2010 and is the first woman and first minority to be elected Attorney General in the state. Obama was praising Harris for her professional accomplishments when he made a slip and referred to her as the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” He was criticized for these remarks by some who felt they demeaned her status.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA CONCERNED ABOUT HEALTH CARE—04/08/13
Jamaicans living in Europe and the United States often yearn to return to their home island, but one issue that stops them from returning is the Jamaican health care system. If they have chronic conditions like diabetes, they are concerned about the cost of necessary drugs and ongoing care available in Jamaica. The issue is of special concern to Jamaicans living in the United Kingdom where health care is free.
ATTORNEY CLAIMS BARBADOS “COVERED UP” MYRIE CASE—04/09/13
According to accusations by Michelle Brown before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the government in Barbados is guilty to being a party to a “huge cover-up” involving the case of Shanique Myrie, a Jamaica woman who was detained at the airport and allegedly was a subject of discrimination on the basis of her nationality. Brown says the government covered up issues relating to how local authorities did not respect Myrie’s rights.
MEMBERS OF DIASPORA ENCOURAGED TO INVEST IN JAMAICA—04/10/13
Arnaldo Brown, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, wants Jamaicans in the Diaspora to invest in the home country, noting that it is ready for business. Brown, who made his remarks at the a launch event for the Fifth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in New York City, said there are opportunities for more investors in Jamaica and encouraged people to capitalize on them. The new Diaspora Marketplace Exposition will allow exhibitors to offer investment opportunities to those who attend the conference, which will be held in Montego Bay from June 16 to 19, 2013.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
HOTEL IN COSTA RICA CLOSES DUE TO GROWING SECURITY PROBLEMS—04/06/13
RARE HERMIT CRAB CAUGHT LIVE IN CARIBBEAN FOR THE FIRST TIME—04/07/13
THREE ON TRIAL FOR STABBING DEATHS OF AMERICANS IN ST. MAARTEN—04/08/13
ATTORNEY DEFENDS BARBADOS GOVERNMENT POLICY IN MYRIE CASE—04/10/13
WICB SAYS PAKISTAN WILL TOUR CARIBBEAN IN 2013—04/11/13
FROGS DISAPPEARING IN CARIBBEAN REGION, EXPERTS ALARMED—04/12/13
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA TO BEGIN MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN—04/06/13
Jamaica is ready to begin a nationwide infrastructure project in 2013. The project will be funded through a concessionary loan from China. The Chinese Embassy to Jamaica has confirmed the arrangement, but notes that funding remains under assessment. Omar Davies, Jamaica’s Minister of Transport, Housing and Works, said the project will help in promoting the Jamaica Emergency Employment Program (JEEP) and other national and community programs.
JAMAICAN EXPORTERS ENCOURAGED TO MAKE MORE GOODS FOR TRADING—04/07/13
According to Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, Junior Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Jamaica exporters should produce more goods and services with an eye toward exporting them. More export capability is necessary to improve the island’s economy into a competitive and sustainable entity in the global marketplace. In 2011, about 64 percent of Jamaican entrepreneurs had no clients outside the country, said Ffolkes-Abrahams.
NEW POWER PLANT PLANNED TO REDUCE ENERGY COSTS—04/08/13
Jamaican Governor General Patrick Allen says that Jamaica has decided to construct a new power plant in 2013. The new 360MW plant is designed to save US$61.8 million per year in electricity costs. Businesses in the Jamaica have long stated that high energy costs make the nation’s goods and services too expensive to be competitive, thereby limiting economic growth.
JAMAICA TO RECEIVE $2 BILLION IN LOANS FOR RESTRUCTURING—04/09/13
Three international lenders have given preliminary approval to loans totaling almost $2 billion to finance a wide-ranging restructuring program in Jamaica. The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank have pledged their support. All of the loans still require final approval from the boards of the institutions.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
CONFERENCE ON TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS TO BE HELD—04/06/13
CARIBBEAN REGIONAL MUST MOVE TOWARDS A DIGITAL ECONOMY—04/07/13
JAMAICAN DOCTOR DEVELOPS SERUS TO SAVE ANIMALS FROM LAB TESTING—04/08/13
MITSUBISHI PLANS METHANOL PLANT IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO—04/09/13
HARRY JOHNSON, JAMAICAN REGGAE PRODUCER, DIES AT 67—04/06/13
Jamaican musician and legendary reggae producer Harry Johnson has died. Johnson’s studio was popular with reggae artistes Bob Marley and rocker Mick Jagger. He daughter, Tara Johnson, said that her father died at a western Jamaica hospital after a long fight with diabetes. He was known as Harry J., and he had a number of hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including “The Liquidator.” Bob Marley and The Wailers recorded their first four Island Records albums in his studio.
POLAND HOSTS EVENT TO PROMOTE REGGAE IN EUROPE—04/07/13
The annual Ostoda Reggae Festival in Poland is known for promoting Jamaican music in the region and throughout Europe. The festival’s staging in 2012 is the topic of a documentary “Jamaica: Made in Poland”. The film was written and directed by Mateusz Winkiel and seeks to explore the influence of reggae on the people of the town, which is located in northeast Poland. The film features interviews with artistes who participated in the 2012 show, including Anthony B., Peter Metro, and Steve Newland. The festival began in 2001. In 2013, it is scheduled for August 9.
NATIONAL GALLERY FEATURES ART IN JAMAICA FROM 1000 to 1900—04/08/13
Monique Barnett-Davidson, curatorial assistant at the National Gallery of Jamaica’s education department, says the artifacts on display at the gallery, which include works from Taino culture, are priceless and representative of the nation’s history. The exhibits range from early Taino artifacts to more modern works. The show takes visitors traveling through time and illustrates the diversity and confluence of cultures in Jamaica.
COCOA TEA ADDED TO STAGING OF WESTERN CONSCIOUSNESS EVENT—04/11/13
Cocoa Tea, the veteran reggae musician, will participate in the 25th staging of Western Consciousness, which will be called “The Celebration of Good over Evil.” The event will be held at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. This is the artiste’s second appearance in the show. He will perform songs from his new album “Inna Di Red.” Cocoa Tea says he is happy about the development of new young reggae artistes and believes there is a bright future for the coming generation.
COACH OF SUNSHINE GIRLS SAYS TEAM HAS IMPROVED GREATLY—04/08/13
Oberon Pitterson-Nattie, head coach of the Sunshine Girls, Jamaica’s national senior netball team, says that the team has made tremendous improvements in spite of losing their three Test Supreme Ventures Sunshine Series to England. The Girls lost 50 to 36 to England in the final match, but Pitterson-Nattie said the team had improved every time they played during the series.
U.S. COACH ADVISES JAMAICA’S BEST ATHLETES TO STAY WITH LOCAL PROGRAMS—04/10/13
Pat Henry, legendary head coach of the Texas A&M University’s “Aggies” Athletic Department, says that it may be better for Jamaica’s top athletes to stay in their home country and develop their talent locally. His university has helped develop several Jamaicans over the past years, including Simone Facey, Chris Pinnock, and Howard Davis. But now, with Jamaica-based clubs like MVP and Racers producing the likes of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser, it’s best for top prospects to train at home.
WALKER REVEALS REASON FOR LEAVING MVP TRACK CLUB—04/11/13
Melaine Walker, 400-meter hurdles champion, said that she decided to leave the MVP Track Club chiefly because Stephen Francis, the head coach, refused to help her realize her ambitions in sprint hurdles and sprints. Walker was the 2008 Olympic 400-meter hurdles champion and has a personal best of 52.42 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles. She says she dreams of competing in the 100-meter hurdles, an event at which she runs as fast as 12:75 seconds.
BURRELL BELIEVES CLUB PLAYERS SHOULD FORM BASE OF U-20 TEAM—04/12/13
According to Captain Horace Burrell, president of the Jamaica Football Federation, Jamaica will continue to struggle in qualifying for World Cup age groups so long as most players that make up the national Under-20 team are not members of clubs. This puts Jamaica at a serious disadvantage, says Burrell, who compared this situation with that of Central American and North American countries.