KINGSTON, Sept. 10 (JIS):
BY: ALECIA SMITH-EDWARDS
Some 15,000 young Jamaicans are to benefit from employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in the digital and animation industries under a US$20 million five-year project being undertaken by the Government.
Dubbed ‘Youth Employment in Digital and Animation Industries’ the project will target youngsters age 15 to 30 years in both urban and rural areas.
The funds are being provided by the World Bank, under a loan facility for which an agreement was signed with the Government of Jamaica on September 8, during a ceremony held at the downtown Kingston offices of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS).
Being implemented by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), the project seeks to build the skills of animators; establish training programmes; improve employability in the global online labour market; and fund a technology incubator called ‘Start Up Jamaica’, which will provide critical support to young technology entrepreneurs to bring ideas to market.
It involves collaboration among a number of ministries and agencies and private sector companies.
The animation component will include training of animators and the strengthening of existing programmes at selected institutions as well as support the establishment of a training programme to be delivered by the HEART Trust/NTA.
State Minister for MSTEM, Hon. Julian Robinson, told JIS News that the emphasis on training is important as the only issue preventing further growth of Jamaican animation companies is the availability of skilled personnel.
“So, we are going to be ramping up our training in animation, targeting not just the established institutions, but we want to get down to the grassroots. You have a lot of talented young Jamaicans, who have not necessarily been exposed to animation before, but who have the skills, who have the aptitude. We want to put them through a programme that will equip them to deliver animation content, and for many of them to become their own entrepreneurs,” he said.
Online Job Market
Under the online job component, young people will be able seek employment opportunities across the globe, utilising the Community Access Points (CAPS) established by MSTEM across the island, and at the HEART Trust/NTA centres in Manchester, Montego Bay, Papine and at the Garmex Academy on Marcus Garvey Drive.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, stated that the online market presents a unique opportunity for young Jamaicans, many of whom have high school diplomas and college degrees.
He said that through the virtual economy, the youth can access employment opportunities globally, “a solution that is attractive for small island states where the size of the local market hinders growth and job creation”.
Start Up Jamaica
A major part of the funding will go towards ‘Startup Jamaica,’ a Government initiative aimed at providing technical support to local entrepreneurs and innovators in the area of technology.
‘Start-up Jamaica’ is a public/private partnership for economic growth and development, which aims to help Jamaica’s innovators and entrepreneurs grow their business ideas into a product, thus increasing employment and access to foreign exchange.
The project will also focus on: ‘Skills and Capacity to Enhance Employability and Entrepreneurship’; Early Stage Investment for Tech Start-ups; Support to Science, Technology and Innovation; and Project Administration.
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, in his remarks, stated that the project will provide an opportunity to “unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial talents of Jamaicans”.
“We have demonstrated time and time again… that we have first rate talent in animation and in the digital skills that will enable us to move up the value chain as far as participation in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the digital economy is concerned,” he stated.
Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, Fabio Pittaluga said the project is “innovative not just for Jamaica but for us as an institution,” and has huge opportunities for the development of the digital economy in Jamaica.
“There is a huge capital of talented, capable creative young people, who can be a force of transformation for the economy, the digital world and the online virtual economy. The digital media could really be some of the means by which that raw talent can be harnessed and provide economic growth opportunities, foreign exchange opportunities and jobs for Jamaica,” he stated.
The ‘Youth Employment in Digital and Animation Industries’ project involves collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and Planning; Industry, Investment and Commerce; Education; Youth and Culture; the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ); Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and the Office of the Prime Minister.
Private sector stakeholders, including JNBS, Lime, and Oasis500, will provide capital to finance start-ups, as well as non-monetary support.
Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas
February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7. The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration. This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).
Present at the ceremony were: The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant. He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.
In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF. It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.” He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM. Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.
The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion. Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.
He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill. Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.
It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade. The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”
For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
Texas bans TikTok from government agencies
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, February 7, 2023 – Chinese owned TikTok has officially been banned from Government devices in another US State following the passing of a new law banning the social media app on Federal devices in December. Texas Governor Greg Abott made the decision for his state following Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Utah.
In a statement posted to his website Abbott said “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored.”
He also claimed the app was harvesting significant amounts of data from users’ phones, maintaining the ban was necessary to protect Texas’ sensitive information from threats.
The ban on downloading and use will apply to both state and personal devices with internet connectivity that are used to conduct state business including cell phones, laptops, tablets and desktops.
It also prohibits residents from conducting state business with devices that have TikTok or other ‘prohibited technology’ enabled on them and bans any device with this technology from entry and use in sensitive areas, locations or meetings. The ban must be in effect by February 15 in all state agencies. There was no indication it would affect devices, personal or otherwise, not used to conduct state business.
The ban comes amidst increased tensions between the country and the Republic of China over a spy balloon that was sent into US airspace by China and then shot down by the US.
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