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Jamaica PM says provisions of housing enhances prospects for sustainable economic growth




#Jamaica, October 20, 2017 – Montego Bay – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says failure by regional leaders to provide housing for their citizens will inevitably undermine their prospects for sustainable economic growth.

Delivering the main address at the 2017 Regional Housing Conference at the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, St. James, on October 18, Mr. Holness said owning a house is one of the biggest accomplishments any person can achieve, adding that the housing sector acts as “a catalyst for many other desirable social and economic outcomes”.

“It is an avenue to greater wealth generation. It promotes job creation… enhances the sense of security and stimulates investment,” he said.

The Prime Minister argued that owning real estate assets and transferring them from generation to generation is something “we can readily accept”, noting that it creates “intergenerational wealth… and the likelihood that the next generation will enjoy a better standard of living”.

“All households being able to access affordable, appropriate and legal housing options in livable, vibrant, inclusive and aesthetically pleasing communities is, therefore, critical to the socio-economic fabric of any nation.   If we fail to provide this for our citizens, we are essentially undermining any other growth strategies we pursue,” he said.

Mr. Holness implored the conference participants that as they think of the myriad factors needed to ensure that the region’s housing sector provides safe, legal and affordable housing, it is important to remember that “no one must be left behind”.

The Prime Minister reminded that the housing sector plan for Vision 2030 states that “ideally in the year 2030, every household should be living in a well-constructed dwelling unit”.

“This vision of the housing-sector plan embodies the concept that housing represents a broad continuum of affordable and appropriate housing options relating to the incomes of targeted groups,” he explained.

Mr. Holness emphasised that the housing sector must be reorganized to reflect the provision of housing units for the regular open market and the provision of housing for those who cannot afford housing units in this category.   The Prime Minister said that by understanding this, prospective homeowners would now have an opportunity to own a home.

“We must urgently deploy relevant policies and programmes to satisfy the number of intended beneficiaries demanding affordable, safe and legal housing solutions,” Mr. Holness continued.

“In light of this, the National Housing Trust recently undertook a strategic review, so that they can more effectively and efficiently expand the opportunities for Jamaicans to own their homes using the standard legally accepted process of home and land ownership,” he added.

Mr. Holness noted that the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica 2016 shows that housing starts for 2016 were increased from 1,555 units to 3,024 units when compared with 2015.

“The National Hosing Trust (NHT) is on track to do over 5,500 housing starts for 2017. The NHT’s four-year housing programme for April 2016 to March 2020 includes the thrust to start 15,000 housing solutions by March 2020,” he pointed out.

The three-day Regional Housing Conference is being led by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and aims to identify practical solutions and industry best practices to resolve the challenges facing the Caribbean housing sector, particularly in the context of climate change and urbanisation.

Release: JIS


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Bob Marley – One Love Actor Endorses Black River Film Festival



#MontegoBay, May 27, 2024 – The inaugural staging of the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), set for June 28 to 30, is being welcomed by local actor, Cornelius Orlando Grant, who sees the potential of the event in unearthing local talent and attracting investment from the international film industry.

Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank held at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office, Mr. Grant, who stars as gangster Bucky Marshall in the Bob Marley – One Love biopic, said the BRFF could leverage the interest and attention being generated towards Jamaica and its film industry following the premiere of the movie.

“Look at it this way, the Prince (Harry) came to the premiere and his presence attracted extra attention to [the film industry]. The Bob Marley movie is creating and breaking more records… . Just recently it opened in Japan [where]… reggae music and Bob Marley have a big fan base. Furthermore, people in the [diaspora] that I spoke to are saying that when they view the movie, it brought them vibes of home,” he noted.

Mr. Grant said that with Jamaica being positioned as the hub of the Caribbean film industry and with the increasing number of young persons emerging as content creators, “I think now is the time that we can capitalise on this. The Black River Film Festival is doing just that because it is not only incorporating new content creators but also showing students new career possibilities”.

Young content creators, 14 to 18 years old, who wish to enter or are already practitioners in the field of filmmaking will benefit from masterclass sessions during the Festival.

Mr. Grant will be among the speakers during these sessions.

The Ministry of Education, Region 5 will be partnering with the Festival producers at a workshop to be held at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in Santa Cruz on June 28.


Photo Caption: Jamaican actor, Cornelus Orlando Grant, gives his support to the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), while addressing a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service Montego Bay Regional Office in St. James.

Okoye Henry Photo


Contact: Sharon Earle

Release: JIS

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York



New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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