JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS: March 14th – March 20th, 2015

Angela Brown Burke, the mayor of Kingston, is visiting Denver, Colorado, to learn more about the marijuana industry. The mayor met with officials from Denver and the state to discuss laws and regulations. Brown Burke noted that she had learned much about the Colorado operations and is especially excited about the business opportunities expected to arise in Jamaica because of newly legalized marijuana.

According to immigration authority Michael Fahy, it took only four days after the Bermuda Department of Immigration posted a photo of Robert George McFarlane that he was reported and caught. The “wanted felon’s capture indicates how effective the publication of his photo was. McFarlane is a Jamaican national who was in the country illegally.

Devon Harris, a founding member of Jamaica’s bobsled team, will speak at the yearly Burlington Diversity Conference, which will be held at the end of March 2015. Harris is a motivational speaker and is set to deliver the opening address at the conference. Also speaking at the conference will be a former United States Senator, Carol Moseley Brown.

Andre Kay, who was born in Jamaica, has been recognized for his social-media management company’s success. Kay founded Sociallybuzz, an advertising and marketing firm that provides a little of Jamaica to everyone who logs on to the site.

Carole Beckford, Jamaica’s film commissioner and the manager of creative industries at JAMPRO, is looking for closer ties with Hollywood in terms of investments and collaborations with artistic talent from the California film capital. The Jamaica Film Festival of 2015 is being presented as an opportunity to gain recognition from foreign investors for filmmaking on the island.

Donald Harper, a veteran of the music industry in the United Kingdom and an academic, is highlighting the contributions of women to reggae music in the UK during the 1950s and 1960s. While many women were involved with reggae as singers, musicians, and song writers, most have been forgotten. Harper is now calling attention to these women, some of whom continue to perform despite their age.

Jamaica has been a strong presence at the Penn Relays held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field for many years. They have been consistent winners at the competition since their first appearance in 1964. The winning Jamaican athletes at the Penn Relays now have their names displayed on the Penn Relays Wall of Fame.

Despite the fact that critics in the United States hate the Canadian reggae group Magic!, the artistes are quite popular in Jamaica, the birthplace of the genre. “Rude,” the group’s debut single recording, sold three million copies in the U.S., but many critics objected to their interpretation of the Jamaican sound. However, in Trelawney, and on radio station IRIE FM, Jamaican fans have enthusiastically accepted the group and its reggae performances.


JAMAICAN NEWS: March 14th – March 20th, 2015

According to Robert Montague, the opposition spokesperson on energy from the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), The government of Jamaica must eliminated the tax on gas and electric power or face many angry island residents. Montague believes the tax represents a betrayal of the “People’s trust.” Noting the government’s promise to ease the suffering of the poor in Jamaica, create jobs, raise investments and reduce power bills, but that it had not fulfilled any of the promises.

Jamaica is ready to use drones in an effort to protect its fisheries industry from criminal poachers. According to Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Derrick Kellier, the Minister of Fisheries, is preparing details of the protection plan. The drones will also be used to help with search and rescue efforts at sea.

Heavy smoke continued to impact Jamaican neighborhoods following a large fire at the Riverton City dump outside of Kingston. According to the island’s Ministry of Education, 50 schools re stay closed after the weekend due to smoke coming from the dump fire. The fire has burned about 75 percent of the dump area to date. Over 840 individuals have reported to hospitals with complaints arising from smoke inhalation in the region.

Peter Phillips, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, says that the nation’s economic reforms have resulted in over $800 million being provided in the form of new investments. Jamaica’s success under the economic program has resulted in a major increase in investor and consumer confidence, which in turn, improved the country’s rating with global ratings agencies.

Barack Obama, the president of the United States, will be making a state visit to Jamaica in April 2015. The President will visit on his way to Panama to attend the Seventh summit of the Americas. During his one-day Jamaican visit, Obama will meet with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other members of CARICOM. Caribbean leaders will be looking for developmental financing and discuss security, trade, and energy with Obama.

According to the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, total government costs resulting from the fire at the Riverton landfill near Kingston could total more than $2.3 million. The estimated costs include expenses related to school closures, health care costs, and emergency response, as well as the actual costs to extinguish the fire.

An investigation into tax evasion incidents that allegedly involve officials at the Jamaica Customs Department is being conducted by the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA). The investigation represents a portion of a joint operation involving the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. Ann, and Manchester.

The life of Viola Moss Brown spans three centuries, and she was recently feted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on having reached the age of 115. Her age has confirmed her as the oldest person on the island. Also known as “Aunt V,” Brown is the sixth oldest person in the world, and she also has the distinction of having the world’s oldest living child. Her son, at 95, is the oldest person in the world to have a living parent. Brown lives in Duanvale where she was born on March 10, 1900.


JCDC Children Gospel Song Semi-Final Concert for March 29, 2015, Kingston

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) an agency of the Ministry of Youth & Culture will stage its annual Jamaica Children’s Gospel Song Competition semi-final on Sunday, March 29, 2015. This will be held at the Rehoboth Gospel Assembly, 77 Constant Spring Road starting at 5:00 p.m. This semi-final will take the form of an electrifying concert in which the 42 performers from across the island will compete for a spot in the National Finals.

According to Stephen Davidson, Director Marketing & Public Relations, “four eliminations were held across the island to select the most talented performers to compete in the semi-final round. This year some remarkable talents were unearthed and will be on show at the semi-final concert.”
Davidson also noted that each year the competition continues to attract some of the most talented children in Jamaica in the various categories which include solo, ensemble and choir. The children will compete in two age classes, 6-10 years old and 11-15 years old. Admission for the concert is Adults $300 and children under 12 years old $150 and tickets will be available at the gate.  Member of the public are encouraged to take donations in the form of tokens for the children’s homes and these will be collected on the day.
When the finalists are selected they will participate in a Creative Workshop for children that will also be conducted by children under the guidance of their teachers in areas of speech, drama, dance and music. The aim of this workshop is to engendering leadership in the children trainers, to create Interest in these areas by others.

The National Finals for the Jamaica Children’s Gospel Song Competition in the month of May  in celebration of Child’s Month.


Jamaica Charity Gala, April 17th, 2015, Florida

What: Jamaica Charity Gala honoring Msgr. Gregory Ramkissoon & Mr. Richard O. Byles

When: April 17th, 2015

Where: JW Marriott Marquis Miami
255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami, FL 33131


Alborosie Meets King Jammy – Dub of Thrones Available April 14, 2015

VP Records/Greensleeves is happy to announce the April 14th, 2015 worldwide release of Alborosie Meets King Jammy – Dub Of Thrones, a historic pairing of one of Jamaica’s most pivotal dub legends King Jammy with the modern day Italian-born dubmaster Alborosie. The album includes a fully-illustrated package by Tony McDermott, Greensleeves Records’ go-to artist for almost four decades known for his iconic cartoon imagery depicting Jamaican music. The mostly instrumental collection will be available on CD, limited edition vinyl and digitally.

Mixed by Alborosie at his Shengen studio and King Jammy at his studio in the Waterhouse district of Kingston, this old-school meets new-school clash delivers an authentic dub reggae listening experience. With speaker-shaking, neighbor-waking and no-prisoner taking bass, this is designed to be played at high volume for maximum effect.

Alborosie and King Jammy plan to tour in support of this release throughout the summer. Dates will be announced at another time.


2nd Annual Cultural Arts-Health and Wellness Expo and Miss Jamaica Diaspora Pageant Pave the Way to Celebrate Father’s Day and Caribbean-American Heritage Month, June 21st, 2015, Florida

The Galleon Foundation will host their 2nd annual Cultural Arts-Health and Wellness Expo and Jamaica Diaspora Pageant on Sunday, June 21, 2015 at the Miramar Cultural Center (2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, FL 33025) from 2 p.m. -7:30 p.m. The family-friendly event will feature a health and wellness pavillion to help promote a healthy lifestyle. In an event to highlight national Men’s Health month, health provider vendors will provide prostate, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. The expo will address the needs of the South Florida Caribbean community, encourage youth and families to improve their eating habits and maintain a physically active lifestyle.

The day will culminate with the 2nd annual Miss Jamaica Diaspora pageant at 5:30 p.m. This premiere pageant will focus on cultivating the true meaning of beauty, promoting healthy lifestyles while celebrating Jamaican women (ages 18-27) who have taken on the task of enhancing their charitable endeavors, building confidence and developing leadership skills—all important characteristics for a successful future.

“We are excited about this year’s event which focuses on the health and wellness of our community with an empahasis on the health of our Caribbean men and fathers. The Miss Jamaica Diaspora pageant enables our emerging young Jamaican women in America to shine the spotlight on Jamaica, tell their stories to the world, inspire one another, build self-esteem, and feel beautiful inside and out,” says Lindell  G. Douglas, President, Galleon Foundation.

In addition, Galleon Foundation will also present scholarships to five students in need at Florida Memorial University. The Galleon Foundation is a not-for-profit Florida corporation who believes that everyone should have access to an education regardless of their financial background.

This year’s event promises to be a day of celebration and will also include a kids zone, spoken word performance, musical performance, fire dancers and a Caribbean pop-up marketplace showcasing Caribbean arts and craft and travel information!


Caribbean Women Empowerment Brunch, March 15th, 2015, MD

What: Caribbean Women Empowerment Brunch

When: Sunday, March 15th, 2015, 1PM – 3:30PM

Where: El Aguila
7926 Georgia Ave
Downtown Silver Spring, MD 20910


Regatta Viewing Party, March 21st, 2015, Tampa

What: Regatta Viewing Party
Brunch – Open Bar – Live Jazz Wear your finest garden party attire at a private Harbour Island home for a rowing regatta viewing party!

When: Saturday, March 21st, 2015, 11am – 3pm

Where: At the waterfront home of
Beth Rutberg & John-Edward Alley
905 Mariner Way, Harbour Island, Tampa, Florida


Schools’ Art Day Out, March 18, 2015, Kingston

Who: Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC)

What: Schools’ Art Day out

Where: Jamaica Conference Centre, 14-20 Port Royal Street, Kingston

When: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time:  10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) an agency of the Ministry of Youth & Culture will host its second Schools’ Arts Day Out Artylympics Challenge on Wednesday, March 18 at the Jamaica Conference Centre. Artylympics is an Olympics-inspired series of art games/challenges in which four teams of competitors from four schools compete for a $100,000 prize in kind for the School’s Art Department.

The public will be able to view award-winning pieces free of charge, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. There will also be performances throughout the day.


$113 million spent on the completion of Phases 1 and 2 of the Santa Cruz Centre of Excellence

A total of one hundred and thirteen million dollars ($113m) was spent on the completion of phases 1 and 2 of the Santa Cruz Centre of Excellence in St. Elizabeth under the Primary Health Care Infrastructure Renewal Programme.  $25M was spent on phase 1 and $88 million on the just completed phase 2 of the project.

During the official opening ceremony held on Friday March 13, 2015, Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson stated that the Ministry of Health is implementing several changes which are expected to result in a paradigm shift for primary health care services in Jamaica.

Dr. Ferguson said, “we want to make primary care more attractive to our citizens so that they can better utilize their community health centres. This will not only result in a reduction in crowding of hospitals but also address the fundamental needs of individuals towards reducing the country’s prevalence of non-communicable diseases.”

“In addition to the changes in the primary health care system and the development of the Centres of Excellence, secondary care facilities will be able to focus on the more intensive levels of care required such as emergencies”, Dr. Ferguson added.

Phase 2 of the Santa Cruz Centre of Excellence was completed with funding from the National Health Fund and includes infrastructure work and equipment.

The improved offerings of the Centre of Excellence will include dental health, diagnostic and ultra sound services, maternal and child health, sickle cell testing, blood chemistry, cholesterol and blood count services and glucose testing. In addition to these services, the Centre of Excellence will offer curative services daily.