SHARING THE LOVE: CDC donates lab equipment to MOHW
Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.
Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service
News for Week of March 19, 2023
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.
Jamaica will protect major projects from crooks
The duty of establishing special security operations surrounding important infrastructure projects has been given to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).
Prime Minister Andrew Holness stated that the goal is to make sure that important projects that will be performed are not taken over by criminals looking to take advantage of public resources through extortion or delaying work schedules.
The Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project, particularly in the Bull Bay region, has been affected by this project, according to the prime minister, and the subsequent decrease in crime has been observed there.
“In the coming fiscal year, the Government will be undertaking several major infrastructural projects across the island,” he said. “The National Security Council discussed this specific type of threat and we have tasked the JCF and MOCA to establish special security operations around these projects, to ensure that our major infrastructure projects are not hijacked by criminals seeking to illicitly benefit from public resources through extortion or holding up work schedules.”
Poor homes to get water tanks
Starting this year, the Government will give 10,000 black water tanks to poor homes in Jamaica. Communities significantly impacted by the drought would receive initial attention.
The Government said that households on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), households recommended by Members of Parliament (MPs) and assessed by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation will qualify for the tanks.
According to the Government, a separate project will help householders transform their tanks into rainwater collection systems when practical.
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Jamaica jacks up minimum wage
Effective June 1, 2023, the national minimum wage will increase from $9,000 to $13,000 per 40-hour work week.
The new rate represents a 44 per cent increase on the national minimum wage, which is the largest in 20 years.
“This administration is fully committed to providing minimum wage earners with a livable wage as part of its commitment to prosperity for our people,” said Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Since 2016, the minimum wage has moved from $6, 200 to $13, 000, representing a 110 per cent increase over the seven-year period.
Cumulative inflation over the same period was less than 50 per cent.
As it relates to industrial security guards, the minimum wage will increase from $10,500 to $14,000 per week. This will also take effect June 1, 2023.
“We have engaged employers in the security industry to improve the conditions of work of our security guards, ensuring that the necessary statutory payments are made so that they will qualify for housing and national insurance pension,” the Prime Minister said.
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Students receive training in conflict resolution
Several students from Denham Town High School in Kingston have benefited from assistance in learning how to handle conflicts thanks to a restorative justice (RJ) school tour sponsored by the Ministries of Education and Youth and Justice.
One of the 500 schools chosen for the intervention, which tries to encourage alternative dispute resolution methods as a way to deal with school violence, is Denham Town High.
A risk assessment of more than 105 children from the Denham Town Division conducted by the Justice Ministry's Restorative Justice Unit last year led to the identification of 46 students from the school who needed support.
More than 19 people have received training in alternative dispute resolution techniques thus far.
While urging students to be role models for fostering peace in their schools and communities, Minister Williams stated that RJ skills will assist them to resolve conflicts with respect. “You will get the upper hand in the confrontation. Restorative justice practices will teach you how to de-escalate conflict situations,” she said.
Caribbean serious about gender equality, says PM wife
Juliet Holness, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and wife of the Prime Minister, has said that the Caribbean is a "global exemplar" for gender mainstreaming.
Speaking at the 2023 Nevalliance International Women's Conference at Hofstra University in New York, United States, Mrs. Holness stated that the region has implemented measures to advance gender equality and address gender-based inequalities, including legislation, policies, and programmes in all areas and at all levels.
“This is to integrate a gender perspective into all aspects of policy development and implementation,” she said. “The Caribbean, therefore, has made good in areas relating to the parameters of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action.”
Mrs. Holness pointed out that Jamaica's newly passed Sexual Harassment (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2021 includes measures for handling sexual harassment in the workplace, schools, jails, hospitals, and other safe areas.
She emphasised that Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, The Bahamas, and Grenada are just a few of the Caribbean nations that have taken action to address the "vexed issue" of sexual harassment. Jamaica has also joined them.
In order to eliminate discriminatory laws and regulations that affect women's rights, such as those that limit women's access to property, employment, inheritance, and domestic abuse, she noted that several Caribbean nations have also changed their legal systems. Although there is still more work to be done, there have been numerous successes, she added.
The National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence 2017–2027 is being implemented in Jamaica, and a National Gender Advisory Council has been established by the government to "properly monitor" the plan, according to Mrs. Holness, who is also a member of parliament for St. Andrew East Rural.
Should the Caribbean, other regions be worried about fall of US banks?
By Xavier Vives
BARCELONA – Should the rest of the world be worried about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last week? SVB was the 16th largest bank in the United States, with about $210 billion in assets and a market valuation of $44 billion at its peak.
That makes this the second-largest US bank failure (following Washington Mutual in 2008). Although SVB itself was not systemically important to the US financial system, it could be a warning sign. This past weekend, regulators also shut down New York’s Signature Bank, and banking-sector stocks tanked.