THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
Jamaican and Caribbean weekly news stories
AS CHARLES PREPARES FOR CORONATION, JAMAICA BEGINS PROCESS TO CUT TIES WITH MONARCHY
The coronation of Britain’s King Charles III, scheduled for May 6, 2023, has not prompted much excitement in its former colony of Jamaica. Jamaica is moving forward with the process of cutting ties with the British monarchy and becoming a republic. The history of slavery and plantation economy that resulted in some Britons becoming very wealthy and many Jamaican living in poverty has ensured that the relationship between the two countries has not been a happy one. When asked for their reactions to the pending ceremony, Jamaicans tend to express disinterest at best, noting that as an independent nation, it does not need a head of state from overseas and that a new king in Britain will mean little to the future of Jamaica.
HIGHWAY IN JAMAICA WILL BE NAMED IN HONOR OF SINGER AND ACTIVIST HARRY BELAFONTE
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the portion of the North Coast Highway from Priory to Salem in St. Ann parish will be named in honor of Harry Belafonte, the singer, actor, and civil rights activist. Belafonte died on April 25, 2023, at the age of 96. Holness aid the government had approved naming the highway to recognize the contributions of Belafonte prior to his death. While Belafonte was born in the United States in 1927, he was brought to Jamaica with his brother in 1936 by his mother, Melvine, who was born on the island in the Aboukir district of St. Ann. Additionally, a performing arts center will be constructed in St. James and named in honor of Belafonte as well. Jamaica paid tribute to Belafonte on the day of his death, with both Prime Minister Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding describing the singer, who was of Jamaican descent, as a “treasured icon” who represented the best of Jamaica’s culture and values. Belafonte received Jamaica’s Order of Merit for his contribution to culture in 2018. The party leaders noted the singer’s advocacy for civil rights, his opposition to racism, and his fight against apartheid in South Africa during his lifetime.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
CROWD IN HAITI KILLS SUSPECTED GANG MEMBERS
A crowd in Haiti lynched more that 12 individuals in the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince on April 24, 2023, believing them to be gang members, according to the news agencies Reuters and AFP, which had video of bodies being burned with tires around them. Before the crowd took action, there was alleged shooting by the suspected gang members, and the Haitian National Police had stopped and searched them in a minibus in Canape-Vert, taking weapons from them. The more than a dozen people on the vehicle were then lynched by the neighborhood population. Representatives of the crowd said the people would defend themselves if the gangs came to invade them, citing lack of action by the police. Gangs control large areas of the capital city, subjecting residents with extreme violence.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
KAMINA JOHNSON SMITH BELIEVES SHE WILL PREVAIL IN LAWSUIT ALLEGING MISHANDLING OF FUNDS
Kamina Johnson Smith, who made an unsuccessful bid to become the Commonwealth secretary general in 2022, believes that she will be vindicated in a lawsuit that claims a gift of US$99,000 to the campaign was mishandled. She called the allegations “baseless, untrue, and defamatory.” Jamaican-American Wilfred Rattigan brought the suit against Johnson Smith and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, claiming that they did not comply with regulations imposed by the Financial Administration and Audit Act (FAA) in regard to the donation/gift by “corporate Jamaica.” Rattigan believes that Johnson Smith should have declared the amount of the gift to Jamaica’s Tax Administration and paid the appropriate taxes on it.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY ADVOCATES FOR MORE FARMERS TO BE INCLUDED IN CANNABIS INDUSTRY
Norman Dunn, the state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, continues his efforts to have more Jamaican farmers included in the growing of ganja in order to develop the sector further and enhance its potential economic benefit. Dunn believes that government’s Alternative Development Program (ADP) is key for giving access to the industry’s legal channels by community groups and small-scale growers. HE also believes that the Cultivator’s (Transitional) Special Permit represents another means to reduce barriers to entry to the cannabis industry by subsistence farmers at the licensing stage.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
WINDRUSH CARIBBEAN FILM FESTIVAL TO LAUNCH IN JUNE 2023
The fourth annual staging of the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival will be held on June 6 and 21, 2023, with the 21st being just one day before National Windrush Day in the United Kingdom. The festival will make the 75th anniversary of the arrivals of the HMS Empire Windrush ship at Tilbury Docks, which was the first stop on its way to London bringing Caribbean citizens who were invited to live in the UK in exchange for work. At an event announcing the launch of the festival, the audience included many makes of the films that will be screen across the UK from June 6 to 30. More than 40 screenings and discussions will occur in five cities during the festival. Its artistic director, Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe, believes this approach “demonstrates the festival’s intent, ambition and purpose.” As well as an announcement of the films to be shown during the festival, the City of Southampton was announced as the location for its opening night. This is the first time that the city, which has strong historical connections to the Windrush generation, will host the screenings.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
HEAD COACH OF SUNSHINE GIRLS SAYS TEAM EAGER TO COMPETE FOR NETBALL WORLD CUP
Connie Francis, the head coach of the Sunshine Girls netball team, said the players are eager to end the team’s 16-year World Cup medal drought. The team has not won a medal at the World Cup since 2007, when they took home a bronze medal from New Zealand. When the team travels to Cape Town for the 2023 World Cup competition, they will demonstrate how ready they are to end the medal drought. The Sunshine Girls won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games. Francis noted that everything is going as planned in preparation for the tournament. An initial squad comprising 28 players will be chosen on May 13, 2023, with the final 15-member team selected on May 27. The Girls will depart Jamaica on June 14, 2023, for their first World Cup match playing against Sri Lanka on June 28.
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