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SHARING THE LOVE: COVE Primary gets walkway

Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.

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Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service

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News for Week of February 6, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

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Jamaica goes after bigger bucks

Jamaica is passing legislation this year to encourage more large-scale investments in the country.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr. Nigel Clarke said the legislation aims to facilitate investments valued over US$1 billion, noting that this is among key priorities being programmed for this year.

He said while Jamaica has facilitated and benefitted from investments valued up to US$1 billion, the country wants to attract more. “We will [therefore] be making special provisions, through legislation to be tabled in Parliament, to attract largescale and pioneer investments in Jamaica of a size greater than US$1b,” he emphasized.

Dr. Clarke said the commenced implementation of the “bold and ambitious” restructuring of public sector compensation is another key focus area for 2022.

The review, slated to begin on April 1, is intended to overhaul the structure of salaries and other emoluments in the public service to make it more equitable.


Nationals abroad love ‘Access Jamaica’

The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) says its Access Jamaica Initiative has done well for the country’s reputation in the diaspora. Access Jamaica is an event staged by PICA for Jamaicans living overseas, which allows them to apply for new Jamaican passports, renew or replace passports.

PICA said that the last staging, which was held October 8-10, 2021, in Hartford, Connecticut, was well received. Over the three days, 58 applications were received for Jamaican citizenship, 353 passport requests and 15 unconditional landing applications were made. Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Andrew Wynter, said that the agency is encouraged by the reception.

“The feedback has been good. We did it in Atlanta, we did it in Fort Lauderdale and the feedback has been good. In fact, nearly everywhere I’ve gone to have Access Jamaica, they ask us to come back, and if we can make it an annual event.” Mr. Wynter said.

He said that PICA will have to make further considerations for more of these events. “These are things that we now have to take into consideration because sometimes, we in Jamaica don’t understand. You might live in, for example, Hartford, Connecticut, you may say it’s close to New York, but that’s a three-hour drive to reach New York and then three hours back, so it can be challenging.”


Montego Bay to host key free zone confab

More than 1,500 guests from 140 countries are set to attend the Annual International Conference and Exhibition scheduled for June 13 to 17 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James.

Jamaica, through the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, was selected to host the eighth annual event that is organized by the World Free Zones Organization.

The conference will showcase global business leaders, multilateral organizations, and policymakers, who are to share best practices as well as spread public awareness through panel discussions on the roles and contributions that free zones have on economic growth.

The event will feature several major panel discussions, key among which will be ‘Shaping the Future of Supply Chain Resilience’, ‘Charting the Future of an Inclusive Ecommerce’ and ‘Reforming the Global Task System’.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill said that the conference will give Jamaica the platform to showcase its potential as a sustainable investment location.

“It will also serve to introduce new people to our exciting tourism product while exhibiting brand Jamaica to future investors,” said the minister. “This will further our goal of attracting major opportunities for the development of large-scale modern special economic zones.”


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Utility firm backs digital nationwide drive

The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) is supporting the National Broadband Initiative by offering the use of its utility poles for the running of aerial fibre.

“This permission was received last week and already JPS and the National Works Agency (NWA) are in discussions regarding the manner in which the works will be executed,” said Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Daryl Vaz.

He said that tenders have been issued for contractors to erect those cables in the parishes of St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, and Westmoreland.

“While the tender process for some contractors is complete, the responses to other tenders are currently being evaluated with a view to completing the process in short order,” he said.

Minister Vaz also said that discussions are under way with Flow Jamaica to provide free access to two dark fibre strands on the north coast, to supply end-to-end access from St. James to St. Ann, St. Ann to St. Mary, St. Mary to Portland, and from Portland to St. Thomas.

Dark fibre refers to fibre-optic infrastructure that is not yet “lit” or put into use by a service provider.

The National Broadband Initiative aims to have every household and every community connected to the Internet. The initiative forms part of the Government’s goal of having a truly digital society by 2030.

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List of automated services in one place, for all

Government is preparing a catalogue of automated services being provided by ministries, departments, and agencies, which will be available on the GOJ.JM portal.

The online portal brings together information housed on numerous government websites into a single space. It is a quick, easy online reference for persons to find information and do business with the State.

Project Management Specialist, Public Sector Transformation and Modernization Division in the Office of the Cabinet, Trina Richards, said that agencies are being engaged to ascertain whether the services they offer to the public are automated. She noted that if the services are automated or in a digital format then they could be linked to the portal.

Principal Director, Office of the Cabinet, Karlene McKenzie Spencer, said that the GOJ.JM is part of the wider service excellence framework of government aimed to improve customer satisfaction.

“We are creating greater efficiency and greater accessibility and so we embarked on developing GOJ.JM the single gateway through which all government services are provided,” she emphasized.

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