Caribzone News Highlight


Regional

Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, says that Jamaica and the United States (US) will be strengthening cooperation on security matters.

He said that the main focus will be on bolstering Jamaica’s capacity to counter transnational organized crime, secure its borders and ports, and interrupt the flow of illicit weapons into the country.

“I cannot overstate the urgency with which we need to address these security matters… and I have also emphasized their importance in my discussions with [US] Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, today,” he said.

The Prime Minister was addressing a joint press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister last Wednesday, January 22, following bilateral discussions with Secretary Pompeo, who was on a two-day working visit to the island.

The Prime Minister, who noted that the talks went well, shared that he and Secretary Pompeo engaged in discussions on critical issues of mutual interest to both countries.

Secretary Pompeo’s visit to Jamaica where he met with selected leaders from a number of Caribbean states was part of a trip to Latin American, to drum up support for the upcoming election at the OAS and the US stance on Venezuela.

The leaders of Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago did not attend the meeting, raising speculation of a rift in the regional integration movement.

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Jamaica

Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton is urging Jamaicans to treat the national dengue cleanup as one step in their approach to eradicating mosquitoes transmitting this and other diseases, over the long-term.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the Agency’s Head Office in Kingston on Tuesday, January 21, Dr. Tufton reiterated that the first line of defense in countering dengue fever is controlling the breeding of mosquitoes.

The Minister said the insect is the most dangerous vector known to humans and, as such, poses a major challenge to control.

“One mosquito will survive for 30 days, lay every three to five days, and lay 300 eggs at a time. Consider that being multiplied 10 times for its lifespan and it is theoretically possible for a mosquito to lay 3,000 eggs,” Dr. Tufton outlined.
Consequently, he added, mosquito eradication will require ongoing measures and “all hands on deck”.

The Minister warned that if persons fail to destroy fertile breeding sites resulting from solid waste mismanagement, improper storage of water or otherwise, “you will never have enough resources to deal with the impact that dengue will have”.

In emphasizing that “prevention is always better than cure”, Dr. Tufton argued that citizens’ action remains, “by far, the most effective approach to dealing with dengue”.

This, he further stressed, is manifested in “the extent to which the citizen recognizes the threat and is proactive in minimizing, if not totally preventing, that threat from occurring”.

The Minister assured that these measures will not only protect individuals and their families but also friends and the wider community. The three-day national clean-up exercise ended on Sunday, January 26.

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Belize

In Belize, the law banning the use of plastics went into effect on January 15. The Environmental Protection Regulation aims to reduce plastics and Styrofoam pollution, including the use of shopping bags and utensils used in the fast-food industry.

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National

There is more fall out in the Jamaican Diaspora, this time from the fallout at the Caribbean Maritime University and the Ministry of Education.

The Auditor-General is reporting that contracts awarded to the USA-based company headed by Leo Gilling, head of the Diaspora Education Task Force, was done without competition and therefore lacked transparency.

Gilling who last year lost his bid for a seat on the Miramar City Council in Florida, says the matter is a big mistake. He said the forming of his company, the timing of the bid and his selection, were all coincidental.

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Guyana

With general elections just weeks away, Guyana last week joined a long list of nations as official producers of crude oil, shipping its first one million barrels of oil to the USA, aboard the MV Yannis P vessel from the Liza 1 oil field, 120 miles offshore Guyana.

There is however contention that the government is not forthcoming with the facts and figures regarding the oil find.

Some nine political parties will field candidates in the March 2, general elections, with President David Granger telling a team of US Congressional Representatives that there will be no lawlessness!

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National


The Jamaica Observer is reporting that Reggae Recording Artiste Koffee on Sunday became the first woman to win the Best Reggae Album category at the Grammy Awards when her EP ‘Rapture’, copped the coveted title during the ceremony, held at Staples Centre in Los Angeles.

At 19, she is also the youngest artist to win the category since reggae gained Grammy status in 1985. 
Rapture, which is distributed by Columbia Records, was released last year and yielded the big hit, Toast. That song made charts in the United States and the United Kingdom, and earned the thumbs-up from former US President Barack Obama.

A past student of Ardenne High School, Koffee is from Spanish Town. She was a big favorite to win ahead of the Third World with More Work to be Done, As I Am from Julian Marley, Steel Pulse's Mass Manipulation and The Final Battle: Sly and Robbie vs The Roots Radics.

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