SHARING THE LOVE: 4 students benefit from agriculture scholarships

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 November 06, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Ambassador Marks urges use of special visa to invest in US

Jamaicans interested in investing in business ventures in the United States are encouraged to apply for the E2 Treaty Investor Visa. The document is part of a portfolio of visas available to citizens of more than 30 countries having trade treaties with the US.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, made the disclosure during the recent ‘Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks’ digital town hall meeting. The session provided diaspora members with updates on immigration and visa requirements, in light of the US’ new COVID-19 travel regulations.

Ambassador Marks encouraged Jamaicans to apply for the visa in order to tap into the benefits to be derived from the cooperation between Jamaica and the US. It allows nationals from countries forging treaties relating to commerce, among other bilateral arrangements with the US, to enter that country for the purpose of directing and developing the operations of an enterprise they have either invested in or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.

Visa eligibility requirements stipulate that applicants must be nationals of countries maintaining the relevant treaties, are immediate family members of E2 visa holder, and that companies in treaty countries will send key personnel to manage the US affiliate or branch or establish such.

It should be noted, however, that the E2 visa, unlike the US Green Card, does not provide residency.

For more information on the E2 visa, interested persons can visit the US Embassy’s website at https://jm.usembassy.gov.

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New Chapelton health facility ready for public use

The Chapelton Community Hospital, which has been closed for years, is to be re-opened on December 8, 2022, after undergoing upgrading and expansion.

Member of Parliament for Clarendon North Central Robert Morgan made the announcement during his 2022/23 Constituency Debate presentation in the House of Representatives. Morgan, who is Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information, thanked several key stakeholders for contributing to the project.

“I want to thank Beverly Nichols, who grew up in Blackwoods. She went overseas and she made something of herself, but she did not turn her back on her community. She donated over $100 million for the rehabilitation of the Chapelton Community Hospital,” he informed.

The Minister also expressed gratitude to health minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, the Health Ministry, and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, “for helping to match that $100 million”.

“So now we know that the people of Clarendon North Central will finally get their hospital,” he added.

The beneficiary communities include Chapelton, Rock River, Mullett Hall, Summerfield, Crawl River, Pennants, Frankfield, and Crooked River.

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STEAM will make Jamaica ‘fit for 21st century purpose’

 Increasing the number of students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has been deemed a national imperative by the Ministry of Education and Youth.

“This is out of a recognition of the urgent need to increase the level of innovation and critical thinking required for future careers, and economic advancement in Jamaica,” said Portfolio Minister Fayval Williams.

A total of six STEM schools are to be built by the Government at an overall cost of US$133 million. An institution for the Arts will also be constructed.

Mrs. Williams pointed out that the continuing transformation of the education system is to make it “fit for purpose” for the 21st century society.

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Nuclear power likely to be part of energy mix

The Government is looking to incorporate nuclear power in the country’s energy mix as part of the thrust to make ecofriendly options available to all Jamaicans.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz said it will be used as a medium to long-term option. “It is something that we believe that any country, like Jamaica, would have to think of for energy security, especially because it is [renewable],” Mr. Vaz noted.

Mr. Vaz said the Ministry and, by extension, the Government “recognize the importance of science to nation building”, adding that “it must become a way of life in Jamaica”.

Meanwhile, Director General of the International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (ICENS), Professor Charles Grant, welcomed the announcement, noting that newer and smaller nuclear reactors are safe for generating electricity.

“I am looking towards a bright future… having nuclear power here. Jamaica is a regional leader for nuclear technology and having a nuclear reactor here for the past 40 years that we have run safely and securely, is the foundation for this big step,” he said.
 

14-day gun amnesty won’t impede police, says security minister

Dr. Horace Change, the Minister of National Security, has said the current gun amnesty will, in no way, impede the police from carrying out their regular duties.

The Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) (Firearms Amnesty) Order, 2022, which will facilitate the amnesty, was approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, on November 1.

The amnesty, which runs from Saturday, November 5, until midnight Saturday, November 19, will afford persons in possession of illegal or unregistered firearms or ammunition, the opportunity to surrender these to the State without the fear of prosecution.

However, Dr. Chang, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, warned that “if a criminal is using a firearm in an armed robbery, he will be charged the same way as he [would] be charged… the day after the amnesty”.

Dr. Chang said the 14-day amnesty will target persons having no criminal intent, while noting that penalties under the new Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation), Act, 2022, which is now in effect, are stringent and designed to be deterrents to crime.

Billion-dollar work project coming ahead of holidays

Just over $1 billion has been earmarked by the Government to undertake road patching, de-bushing, and drain cleaning across the country.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that each constituency will be allocated $21 million to fund these activities.

Providing a breakdown of how the money will be spent, Mr. Holness said $10 million is earmarked for road patching but pointed out that no reallocation will be allowed from this area.

“However, a maximum of $5 million may be reallocated from other areas for road rehabilitation. In other words, up to $15 million may be spent on road rehabilitation,” he explained.

The Prime Minister added that $5 million is to be spent on de-bushing. However, up to $4 million may be reallocated to other areas of the programme.

“De-bushing must be done along a road thoroughfare. So, we are not going to approve any programme where the de-bushing is off a thoroughfare. The public must be able to see the impact of de-bushing,” said the Prime Minister.

A total of $1 million has been allocated for drain cleaning. However, a maximum of $1 million may be reallocated from other areas to undertake this activity. Additionally, $5 million has been earmarked for garbage collection, but a maximum of $2 million may be reallocated from this area.

‘Mass vaccination is bigger than COVID-19’

By Ebere Okereke and Adam Bradshaw

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LONDON – Vaccinating African populations against COVID-19 has proved a difficult feat. Whereas the continent once grappled with vaccine shortages, it is now facing a shortage of attention.

The COVID-19 pandemic is widely perceived to be over, and some commentators now argue that African countries should lower their COVID-19 vaccination targets and direct their resources toward more urgent priorities, including other disease outbreaks (such as Marburg virus disease and Ebola) and routine immunization. This would be a mistake.

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