THE TOP NEWS STORIES OF THIS WEEK
JAMAICA’S REPAIR REQUEST REJECTED BY BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER
Asif Ahmad, the British High Commissioner for Jamaica, dismissed the country’s total reparations claims totaling £ 7 billion after Jamaica announced its intention to file compensation from Britain for its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. Ahmad said the request for redress directly from the government to the government “will not succeed” because it would be difficult to know how to make the payment as those directly injured by the activity “are no longer here”. So far, the UK government has only paid compensation to living people, Ahmad said, citing the example of compensation paid under the Windrush Compensation Scheme. While the effects of slavery on the Caribbean are “unforgivable”, Ahmad said reparations claims are not “sustainable” as there is no clear plan of who the recipients will be and who will pay them.
JAMAICAN HEALTH MINISTER RECOMMENDS THAT MANDATORY COVID-19 VACCINATIONS MAY BE REQUIRED
Jamaica’s Minister for Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has suggested that the country’s government may follow France’s lead in introducing compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations for health workers and, in some cases, requiring individuals to carry a “health passport” in public space. Tufton said the idea of mandatory vaccinations may need to be considered at some point. In response to Tufton, Emile Leiba, president of the Jamaican Bar Association, commented on the legitimacy of such a plan, noting that there must be enough reliable medical evidence available for the government to rely on to enforce a vaccination mandate. He added that Jamaica currently has a mandatory vaccination policy for infants and school children.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CORAL DISEASE AFFECTING THE CARIBBEAN IS RELATED TO SEWAGE FROM SHIPS
According to researchers, there is a “significant relationship” between Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease and neighboring shipping terminals. The disease has swept the Caribbean after it was first discovered in Florida in 2014. It is more deadly than other coral diseases and has a very high mortality rate among the more than 30 species of coral most susceptible to it. The disease has been found in 18 Caribbean countries, while researchers have yet to determine whether it is caused by viruses, bacteria, chemicals or other agents, it is believed that there is a link to waste / ballast water from ships. Researchers in the Bahamas found it was more common in reefs near the country’s major trading ports in Nassau and Grand Bahama. Ships regularly unload hundreds of liters of ballast water to maintain their stability.
THE TOP NEWS OF THE JAMAICAN DIASPORA THIS WEEK
DIASPORA TRANSFERS WILL HELP PROTECT JAMAICA FROM ECONOMIC INSTABILITY DURING THE PANDEMIC
Jamaica benefited from uninterrupted remittances from the diaspora of over $ 2 billion a year during the COVID-19 pandemic. This inflow of money helped keep the island nation from facing extreme trouble during the worst COVID-19 pandemic, which had a serious impact on economic stability and led to social disruption in other countries such as Cuba. The pandemic decimated Jamaica’s tourism sector, but diaspora remittances filled the void for the direct recipients of the funds and also as a source of foreign exchange, allowing the Bank of Jamaica to operate with confidence and provide commercial banks with the funds they need to meet the demand of capital – and consumer goods importers and to keep the exchange rate from spiraling out of control. Remittances from the diaspora, which remained constant during the worst of the pandemic, were the “lifeblood” of Jamaica’s economy.
THE TOP BUSINESS NEWS OF THIS WEEK
JAMAICAN TEACHERS RECEIVE TECHNOLOGY TRAINING FROM FLOW
FLOW, the Caribbean telecommunications company, plans to train around 1,500 teachers in Jamaica to use digital technology so they can more effectively teach students in the COVID-19 environment. The FLOW Foundation chairman Stephen Price said the coronavirus pandemic has challenged everyone and more than 120,000 students are currently not participating in an educational program. Jamaica’s schools closed in early 2020 due to the pandemic, and some began teaching students online. Other schools could not do this because their teachers did not have sufficient digital skills. Now FLOW plans to invest in a program that will give these teachers the skills they need.
THE TOP NEWS ON ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT THIS WEEK
JAMAICAN ATHLETES DEVELOP THE DEVELOPMENT OF PUMA. WOVEN OLYMPIC EQUIPMENT FOR NATIONS
Athletes from Jamaica played a central role in the design of the Olympic equipment in Tokyo to be worn by the 13 Puma-sponsored countries to host the 2021 Games. The athletes were consulted in February 2019 after Puma executives visited the island. According to Michelle Riley, Senior Designer Select Collaboration Apparel at Puma, the company wanted to make sure the sponsored athletes looked and felt so good in order to perform at their best in competition. Puma representatives spent a week in Jamaica visiting various training camps and groups to ensure that feedback from all athletes was recorded. Jamaicans are a key element of Puma’s marketing strategy, which is why it’s important to hear their views on transmission design and development. Puma works according to the motto “If you look good, you feel good, you do good”. The company finds it “inspiring” to work on collections for Jamaican athletes and has always used Jamaica as its key association in the design and development process.
THE TOP SPORT NEWS OF THIS WEEK
JAMAICAN GYMNAST REPORTING KNEE INJURY BEFORE ARTIST GYMNASTICS COMPETITION
Jamaican Danusia Francis, who is only the second gymnast to represent her country in the Olympics, announced that she has a knee injury that prevented her from doing all of her pre-competition training sessions. She will compete in artistic gymnastics on July 25, 2021. It is not known whether she was injured before or after arriving in Tokyo. However, videos posted on their social media pages suggest that the injury is not serious as it jumps and lands with stability. Francis won her place on Jamaica’s Olympic team for the Tokyo Games due to her outstanding performance in Spain in June 2021 as a representative of the Kelska gymnastics club.