KINGSTON, April 24 (JIS): Subscriber television (cable) operators are to cease transmission of 19 unlicensed channels in their packages by May 31 this year, or face sanctions.
The directive was issued by the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) today (April 24), at a press conference at its headquarters in New Kingston.
It represents the first phase of enforcement measures being undertaken by the Commission in relation to copyright regulations.
The channels to be affected include nine from the Encore suite of channels, five from the Showtime group of channels, four from the Starz group, as well as the channel known as the ‘Movie Channel Extra’.
Chairman of the BCJ, Professor Hopeton Dunn, said this action had become necessary as the distribution of unlicenced channels by local cable companies “has been elevated to a contentious international trade issue.”
He noted that cable television operators in Jamaica are required to comply with local and international copyright laws and regulations, but have in fact, been operating in breach of these requirements for many years, particularly in relation to the channels and programmes they sell to subscribers.
This, he said, is in spite of many measures that have been taken by the Commission to secure compliance.
Professor Dunn pointed out that with approximately 98 unauthorised channels being transmitted, additional enforcement measures are required for the orderly, phased elimination of unlicenced cable channel operations in Jamaica.
In this initial phase of the compliance regime, the Chairman noted that cable operators have been directed to remove the 19 channels and to provide their subscribers with notice of discontinuation and an explanation of the reasons for doing so.
“Cable operators must also make whatever arrangements become necessary, based on the terms of contracts with subscribers, including refunds and channel substitution, where applicable and appropriate,” he said.
Cable operators have also been directed, with immediate effect, to cease the promotion of any unlicenced channel to members of the public, as these will constitute false advertising and a violation of the Commission’s directive.
The Commission’s decision is as a result of intensive meetings and discussions with all stakeholders over the past six months. This included local cable operators, international channel owners, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, among other Government departments.
“Our focus has been on ensuring that our cable operators obtain legitimate content for distribution in Jamaica and on arriving at a strategy for the orderly and phased elimination of unlicenced cable channels operating in Jamaica,” Professor Dunn said.
The Commission Chairman, said it regrets the inconvenience that these copyright compliance actions will cause Jamaicans, and asked for understanding of “these necessary regulatory changes in order to bring Jamaica into compliance with our international commitments and in order that subscribers are being sold cable channels which are legal in Jamaica”.
“The Broadcasting Commission has, and must continue to enforce the rules governing broadcasting, and in particular, the requirements for compliance with the Copyright Act,” he said.
“The public is being assured that we will remain vigilant in relation to the fair and balanced implementation of these compliance requirements and that we will maintain the ongoing dialogue that we have been having with all the stakeholders in order to ensure that there are settled arrangements and where possible, the crafting of new approaches for a more durable arrangement in relation to the cable sector,” Professor Dunn said.
The full list of channels to be discontinued in Jamaica are: Encore Black; Encore Family; Encore Love; Encore Suspense; Encore WAM; Encore Classic; . Encore Drama; Encore Mystery; Encore Movie Plex; Showtime East; Showtime West; Showtime TOO; Showtime 2; Showtime Showcase; Starz Comedy; Starz West; Starz Kids and Family; Starz Multiplex; and The Movie Channel Xtra.
Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation
#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance. The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections. However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.
68,000 STAYED AWAY
While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.
However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.
PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER
This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.
Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.
It could also be voter apathy.
BEST IN SHOW
Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.
North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.
VERY LOW SHOW
The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).
COVID Works programme launched by Ministry of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development
#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – The Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, the Honourable Akierra Mary Deanne Missick and the Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development team are pleased to announce the launch of the COVID WORKS Programme, that went live on September 1, 2021.
The Programme seeks to support many who have lost jobs and livelihoods, while providing labour intensive work for economic exchange opportunities for persons to be engaged.
Works are set out in three (3) levels and comprise a variety of categories example, cleaning, road works, demolition and general construction to name a few.
Level 1 – value $1,500 – $9,999
Level 2 – value $10,000 – $39,999
Level 3 – value $40,000 – $70,000
Commenting on the launch of the programme, Hon. Missick said, “We are very much mindful of the impact that restrictions introduced by Government in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, has had on the islands, many continue to experience financial hardship. Whilst, the hospitality and construction sectors in Providenciales have rebounded well, as an Administration, we cannot rest knowing that other industries are still limping along.
As a result, during the remainder of this financial year, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government has now launched the COVID Works Programme to provide an opportunity for Petty and Small Contractors to assist the Government in the enhancement of our communities, through programmed works, to the benefit of all of us as residents”.
The Minister went on to note, “This Programme is set to the tune of US$5,000,000.00, and works will be rolled out across the Islands in batches, as we have to ensure that we do not go beyond the allotted expenditure and that financial oversight and transparency are maintained.”
The initial batch of works for South Caicos, which comprised the following, was returned and evaluated on Monday, September 13, 2021 and included:
Demolition- Queen’s Shed
Demolition- Distribution Concrete Tank
Demolition- Old Clinic Building
Demolition- DECR Building
Demolition- Library Building
Repair of Water Cistern
Works for Grand Turk included:
Demolition- Blood Bank Building
Demolition- Geriatric Ward Building
Demolition- Kitchen Building
Demolition- X-ray Building
All returning bids must be sent to the COVID Works email at email@example.com
Kindly note that as of Monday, September 20, 2021, the following works are planned to be released:
Beach Cleaning (Eastern portion of Grand Turk)
Street Cleaning (All areas)
Beach cleaning (Areas of Shore Club and Five Cays)
Street Cleaning (All areas)
A number of other works for Middle & North Caicos, as well as Salt Cay will be released shortly. This is a six month program that will spread throughout the TCI and we encourage persons to continue to register via firstname.lastname@example.org or the local Public Works Department and District Commissioners’ offices, to be eligible for this opportunity.
These works will continue on a monthly basis and the programme will come to an end in March 2022.
BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in
#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.
The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.
“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.
“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”
- Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
- Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
- Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
- Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
- Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
- Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
- Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
- Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
- Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.
“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.
Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.
“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.
“We are here to meet them head on.”
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