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News for Week of August 15, 2021
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Chef gets new spot for his food truck in Houston

A Jamaican chef has found a new home for his business in Houston in the United States. The popular food truck known for its jerk sandwiches, fish fritters, rum-soaked plantains, and other West Indian dishes is now based in Acres Homes.

Over the past few years, Jamaica Pon Di Road has gained a loyal following by crisscrossing Houston, serving up Caribbean food from Conroe to Katy. Now, the restaurant, helmed by Jamaica native Gareth Powell, has a landed a brick-and-mortar at 2213 S. Victory Drive. The restaurant opened in early August.

Chef G, as Powell is known, was born in Clarendon, Jamaica, and learned to cook at an early age from his grandmother. He attended culinary school in Jamaica, and started working in the kitchens of five-star resorts on the island.

After moving to Houston, Powell first started with a catering business, which he founded in 2013. He then launched Jamaica Pon Di Road in 2017. The truck, which serves up classic Jamaican street food, quickly gained a loyal following, popping up at breweries, festivals and other locations in North Houston.

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PICA to storm Hartford, Connecticut in October

Andrew Wynter, the CEO of Jamaica’s Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), is spreading the word about the work of the agency in the diaspora. He recently took the story to Hartford, Connecticut, which maintains the third largest population of Jamaicans in the United States.

His office preparing for a return visit to Hartford and Bloomfield to hold a citizenship drive for Connecticut Jamaicans who are interested in renewing their Jamaican passports and those of Jamaican descent who wish to obtain a Jamaican passport and Jamaican citizenship.

Mr. Wynter announced plans to visit Connecticut between October 5 and 12 for the citizenship drive through its “Access Jamaica” programme that is to include other services such as birth certificates, banking information in addition to passport services. A one-day event will be held in Bloomfield, Thursday, October 7, 2021, followed by a three-day event in Hartford.

The “Access Jamaica” visit to Hartford will be accepting applications for: Passports (i.e. new/renewals/lost/stolen/replacement/special cases); unconditional landing and citizenship.

Participating organizations with “Access Jamaica” extending their services include Jamaica National, Grace Kennedy, National Housing Trust, Tax Administration and the Registrar General’s Department.

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Jamaica says it’s serious about energy sector

Jamaica is looking to procure 320MW of renewables this year as part of plans to diversify its energy sector. The government is working towards an ambitious Integrated Resource Plan that has established how the island intends to procure power over the next 20 years.


 The initiative has set a goal of adding 1.6GW of additional capacity to facilitate reduced energy prices and decrease vulnerability of the energy sector to external shocks such as oil prices.


Given the “serious interest” in the country’s energy sector, there should be no problems in meeting this target, according to government investment agency JAMPRO. Diane Edwards, president of JAMPRO, said, “While there was a feeling of uncertainty, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, we knew that we had to continue to nurture our relationships and the renewable energy opportunity in Jamaica, and increase our marketing activities.”

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Feed the city
Feed the city

Samantha Charles (left), chief executive officer, VM Foundation, hands over a cheque for $100,000 to Sharron Thompson, campus pastor, Portmore Celebration Church, to support the Feed the City Jamaica Initiative.

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Sagicor Support
Sagicor Support

Fabian Gordon (left), financial adviser with the Sagicor Life, Spanish Town branch, presents a symbolic cheque of $150,000 to Erica McKenzie (right), CEO, Creative Brands & Concepts Limited, to support the organisation’s Live2Lead Youth Scholarship Award programme. Also in photo are this year’s top two scholarship awardees and University of the Technology students Mickalia Huie (second left) and Anishca Ricketts.

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Pineapples
Pineapples

A representative from the Annotto Bay Fire Station shows off her freshly picked JP St Mary’s pineapple alongside JP St Mary’s Assistant Depot Manager Simone Saunderson during a handover of care packages with the vitamin C-rich fruit to the Fire Brigade. The donation by JP St Mary’s is part of an overall initiative to encourage essential workers to eat healthy foods to boost their immune systems.

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Feed the city
Feed the city

Samantha Charles (left), chief executive officer, VM Foundation, hands over a cheque for $100,000 to Sharron Thompson, campus pastor, Portmore Celebration Church, to support the Feed the City Jamaica Initiative.

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Carib Cement to increase production after expansion

As part of their growth strategy, CEMEX will upgrade and increase the capacity of the company’s cement production plant in Rockfort, a part of Jamaica’s capital. This planned increase would strengthen the self-sufficiency of the national cement industry, reduce dependency on cement imports, and reinforce ability of Caribbean Cement Company Ltd (CCCL) to serve the growth of the construction sector in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

The US$30 million investment is designed to align with the company´s climate action goals through the production of low-carbon products. CEMEX anticipate that once this planned expansion is finished, CCCL will increase their existing cement production capacity by approximately 300,000 tonnes through the implementation of state-of-the-art technologies.

The planned upgrade, which is currently scheduled for the second half of 2022, is consistent with CEMEX’s growth plan in Jamaica and seeks to strengthen the company’s capacity to respond to local market demands as well as export needs over the medium term.

‘We look forward to warmly welcoming British passengers from Manchester,’ says tourism minister

Virgin Atlantic is expanding its service to Jamaica with plans for a new route from the UK city of Manchester in November. Beginning November 6, Virgin Atlantic will operate thrice-weekly flights between Manchester and Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. 


“We’re thrilled to announce that we have added Jamaica to our portfolio of destinations flying from Manchester, our home in the north, along with increasing frequency to Barbados,” said Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic. “We are seeing a real demand from our customers in the northwest for luxury holidays in the sun as they are keen to escape on their next adventure after a challenging year.”


“We are heartened by Virgin Atlantic’s decision to begin offering a new airlift service between Montego Bay and Manchester, England this November,” said Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. He added, “This thrice-weekly flight will be a great addition to the numerous new and returning flights the island has been welcoming this year, as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic.


 “We look forward to warmly welcoming British passengers from Manchester starting this November, to enjoy a truly unforgettable Jamaican experience, in an environment which is safe, seamless and secure.”

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