SHARING THE LOVE: Kitson Town basic gets facelift

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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What is the purpose of the diaspora conference and is it of any real value?

By Adrian Frater

With remittances a primary source of foreign exchange earnings, one of the most respected voices on diaspora issues, Professor Neville Ying, wants a session at the 2022 Jamaica Diaspora Conference to show gratitude to Jamaicans abroad. The conference takes place this week, from June 14 to 16.

While the conference, which is being held under the theme, ‘Reigniting A Nation for Greatness,’ will look to open new avenues for investment, Ying, the Executive Director of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, said Jamaicans abroad deserve special recognition for its unwavering support of the country.                

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News for Week of June 12, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Rich culture on show for Jamaica 60

Jamaica’s rich culture and heritage will be on show from July 30 to August 6, as the country celebrates 60 years of independence.

Activities include the Jamaica 60 Independence Village, which will be staged at the National Indoor Sports Centre in St Andrew.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said that the village will feature daily activities and nightly entertainment, including Mello Go Roun’ and a film night, a Jamaica Music Through the Years.

The week of activities at the village will culminate on Independence Day with the Jamaica 60 Grand Gala inside the National Stadium.

“It will be a cultural celebration befitting this moment in our history,” she said. “We will reach out to communities across Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Catherine to recruit performers for this exciting showcase, which will also feature cultural communities representing the diversity of our Out of Many One People.”

Parishes will stage their own festivities over the period.

Ms. Grange said that the Jamaica 60 Grand Gala will be linked via video technology to watch parties taking place simultaneously across the diaspora.

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Workshops to help improve festival songs quality

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) will be ramping up the Jamaica Festival Song workshops over the next 12 months.

This follows the omission of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition from this year’s Jamaica Festival package due to unsatisfactory entries.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said that the panel, which was established to select the finalists of this year’s competition, advised that it was unable to choose 10 suitable songs from among the entries despite extending the deadline.

She said 123 entries were received, noting that the figure was much less than previous years.

“I have instructed the JCDC that they must ramp up the Jamaica Festival Song workshops over the next 12 months, now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, to ensure that the competition returns next year with much improved entries,” she said.

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Jamaica is ready for electric vehicles!

The Electric Mobility Policy will come into effect by the end of June paving the way for persons to import vehicles into the island.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz said that Cabinet has signed off on the policy.

He said that requisite infrastructure to accommodate the vehicles is in place, as the private sector has established charging stations in several sections of the island.

“What was important, was to give incentives for persons to purchase electric vehicles, which are much more expensive than regular vehicles, and we will have a concession rate of 10 per cent,” said the Minister.

He said that vehicles no older that three years old will be allowed into the island, to prevent Jamaica from becoming a dumping ground for older vehicles.

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Census partners wanted for September kickoff

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is seeking support to deliver the 15th National Population and Housing Census message through its Census Partnership Programme.

The programme provides an opportunity for new and existing partners to work with STATIN to improve the response rate for the 2022 Census, scheduled to begin September 12.

Director-General at STATIN Carol Coy said that persons are being encouraged to come on board as partners “to ensure that the census is a success” and the required information is collected.

Census partners may include individuals, local and international entities, civil society groups, faith-based organisations, media, educational institutions, and businesses.

Interested parties can access the partnership application form on STATIN’s website at statin.gov.jm or contact the office at 876-630-1600 for assistance.

“What we want are persons to help us to encourage persons around them and who they are in contact with to participate in the census,” said Ms. Coy.

She pointed out that the methods used to get the information out depend on a partner’s area of focus, available time, resources, and core audience.

“What partners are required to do is to use the resources available to deliver the 2022 census message at all appropriate occasions. So, they can include the information on the census in correspondence with customers such as emails, bills, and websites,” said Ms. Coy.

Consumer commission wins for primary stakeholders

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) resolved 124 cases of complaints in April and May, securing approximately $3.8 million in compensation on behalf of aggrieved consumers.

Chief Executive Officer Dolsie Allen noted that the number of cases settled represents about 25 per cent of the 499 complaints handled during the first two months of the 2022/23 financial year.

Eighty requests for advice were also received by the agency.

Complaints brought before the Commission include matters relating to the purchase of electrical appliances, motor vehicles and furniture.

For the 2021/2022 financial year, the CAC handled a total of 1,685 complaints, securing $27,466,365.88 on behalf of consumers and receiving 594 requests for advice.

Mrs. Allen said that there has been an increase in the number of outreach activities by the entity. “With the relaxation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, we were able to have more face-to-face interactions with the consuming public. For the first two months, we were able to directly sensitize 12,974 persons,” she said. “We try to encourage our consumers by educating them on some of the pitfalls and what they can do to ensure that their rights are not trampled on and that they also exercise their responsibilities.”

Edna Manley College reaches out to churches

Churches are being afforded the opportunity to participate in audio support workshops being facilitated by the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts through its School of Continuing Education and Allied Programmes.

The sessions are designed to equip persons with technical skills to facilitate live streaming of sermons and services.

“What we’re trying to say to churches is, get your sound engineers trained with us as we know some of them are self-taught,” said the School’s Director, Leighton Jones.

Since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many churches have been reaching congregants virtually as a means of reducing transmission of the virus.

Even with the withdrawal of the Disaster Risk Management Act, effective March 18, 2022, many churches continue to offer a virtual option for attending services, and the college saw this as a market that needed to be tapped into.

Mr. Jones noted that while the low quality of live streams is related to churches not having the appropriate tools and equipment, it is also due to their having untrained personnel.

“What we want to do is to help [the churches] through that” he said, noting that sessions have been held with church groups in St. Ann and support will be provided in other parishes.

Churches can contact the college’s School of Continuing Education and Allied Programmes to get more information on how to access the Church Audio Support Workshops by emailing: continuinged@emc.edu.jm or calling 876 619-EDNA (3362).

The Virus Is Still Winning

By William A. Haseltine

BOSTON – Once again, COVID-19 is rampaging unchecked through the US population, because there are no longer any public-health measures in place to protect adequately against infection. I myself have taken extraordinary precautions to avoid infection for the last two and a half years, because I met three of the qualifications for severe COVID-19: I am 77 years old; I am a cancer survivor; and for the past 40 years I have been treated for a chronic inflammatory condition that leaves me moderately immunocompromised.

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Luckily, I had the privilege of being able to sequester myself in my country home, where I could control my personal interactions. I was vaccinated within weeks of vaccines becoming available, and I have received boosters every three to four months since. Moreover, I was given Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody treatment, four weeks ago.

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