THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
Top 7 Jamaican & Caribbean News Stories
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER ANDREW HOLNESS SAYS GOVERNMENT WILL PURSUE NUCLEAR ENERGY
In remarks made at the opening ceremony at Expo Jamaica 2023 on April 28, 2023, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness disclosed that he had already talked with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about using nuclear energy in Jamaica for the generation of electricity. The action is part of the government’s National Energy Policy, which seeks to generate half of its electric energy by 2030. Holness noted that Jamaica must explore the use of new technology in the form of small nuclear plants that will generate “cheaper, more stable, and more affordable” electricity in the country. Alex Hill, president of the Jamaica Renewable Energy Association (IREA), supports the move, believing that nuclear “cannot be written off” as an energy source for the future, while he acknowledged its pros and cons. Michael Lee-Chin, a Jamaican billionaire and the chair of Portland Holdings, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory (CNL) to promote nuclear technology via small modular reactors (SMRs) in Jamaica. Jason Robinson, vice president of the IREA, opposes Holness’s action, however, believing that Jamaica is not ready and will never be ready to use nuclear as an energy source because of its location in a hurricane and earthquake zone, which places the country at substantial risk for a nuclear meltdown as occurred in Fukushima, Japan.
JAMAICA’S RANKING ON THE WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX FALLS SIGNIFICANTLY
Jamaica’s rank on the World Press Freedom Index has dropped 20 places from a rank of Number 12 in 2022 to a 2023 ranking of 32 among 180 countries included in the index, which is published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on World Press Freedom Day, April 28, 2023. World Press Freedom Day was created by the United Nations in 1993 to mark the importance of journalism in ensuring that people can enjoy their civil rights. The drop in rank was attributed to attacks on Jamaican journalists, including attacks on a videographer for Television Jamaica and a reporter for The Gleaner in 2022 as they covered a protest by teachers in St. Catherine. These were the only acts of violence against the press in Jamaica in a decade, but reporters must consider the threat they face from the island’s high crime rate as they investigate sensitive issues, noted the RSF. In reference to the political context for media workers, the RSF cites Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s suggestions that journalists are not required to stick to facts or truth and that “a free press enables journalists to take whatever stance they want.’ The RSF also noted that Jamaica’s press often criticizes officials openly and that journalists have made reports of intimidation while doing their job, especially prior to elections.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
WAVES OF SARGASSUM SEAWEED PLAGUE CARIBBEAN BEACHES
The record-breaking abundance of sargassum seaweed has created a nightmare for beach locations in he Caribbean, and the problem is expected to worsen in the coming weeks, according to the University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Lab, which reviewed satellite images of the region in April 2023. Sargassum, a seaweed characterized by a noxious odor, is drifting to the west across the Atlantic Ocean with the prevailing winds and ocean currents. The weed has reached epic levels ever since 2011. It is estimated that three million tons of sargassum were seen in the Caribbean in April 2023. Sargassum is beneficial when it is in the open ocean as it provides habitat for fish, turtles, and other creatures, but piles of the weed on beaches smell bad and are expensive to remove.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
DIASPORA GROUP ADOPTS THOMPSON TOWN HEALTH CENTER IN CLARENDON
Clarendon North Western’s Thompson Town Health Center will receive $4 million over four years via the Adopt-a-Clinic Program by the diaspora group, Caribbean Angels Inc. The financial support was announced at the public health facility at an adoption ceremony on April 28, 2023. Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, provided a speech delivered by Marsha Coore Lobban, Undersecretary for Diaspora, Protocol, and Consular Affairs, in which she noted the key role of the Jamaican Diaspora in making improvements to health care delivery through the adoption program. Forty-three clinics have been adopted since 2020, with commitments by donors totaling $187 million. The Diaspora has so far adopted 70 percent of 30 health facilities and contributed $91.7 million. The Thompson Town Health Center, which offers a variety of medical services, opened in the 1950s and is about 70 years old.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
FIRST MOËT HENNESSY BOUTIQUE IN THE AMERICAS OPENS AT JAMAICA’S SANGSTER AIRPORT
The very first Hennessy boutique in travel retail in the Americas is open for business at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The boutique provides travelers with the opportunity to purchase their choice of travel retail-exclusive Cognacs, including Hennessy Pure White, which is only distributed in the Caribbean and Mexico. The retail shop, which is located in the Dufry departures store at the airport, also features a tasting bar. According to Moët Hennessy executive Laurent Boidevezi, the company is excited to open its first-ever Hennessy boutique at the Montego Bay airport location, noting that Jamaica represents a unique, one-of-a-kind immersion “the elevates the Hennessy experience.” Customers at the airport location may also customize their purchases with medallions and pendants with a Jamaican theme.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
“BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE” BIOPIC WILL FEATURE KINGSTON’S MAY PEN CEMETERY
A film focusing on the life story of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley and his wife Rita will feature scenes shot in the May Pen Cemetery in West Kingston, according to its executive producer Ziggy Marley, who is also Bob Marley’s son and an award-winning recording artist. Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh all had ties to the cemetery, the oldest public burial site in the English-speaking Caribbean. In a 2017 documentary, Wailer recounted the story of how The Wailers’ first manager, Joe Higgs, required the group to rehearse at the 200-acre cemetery, singing to its ghosts, to teach them humility, enable them to handle future fame well, and overcome their stage fright. According to Wailer, Higgs believed that if the trio could play before the “duppy dem” at May Pen Cemetery, they would not be afraid of crowds. “Bob Marley: One Love,” which stars Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch as Bob and Rita Marley, is scheduled for release in on January 12, 2024, by Paramount Pictures.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN BUNNY SHAW MAKES 18TH GOAL OF THE SEASON FOR MANCHESTER CITY
Khadija “Bunny” Shaw, a member of Jamaica’s national Reggae Girlz team, scored her 18th goal of the season for Manchester City in the United Kingdom, helping her team come from behind to win over Reading 4 to 1 in the Women’s Super League. Shaw, 26, scored the second of her team’s goals in the 24th minute. With her goal, Shaw surpasses Rachel Daly of Aston Villa with whom she is competing for the Golden Boot award.
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