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Senate Approves Central Bank Digital Currency

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#Jamaica, June 6, 2022 – The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has been given the authority to issue Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as legal tender locally, with the Senate’s passage of the Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act, 2022 at Gordon House on Friday (June 3).

The Bill was passed in the House of Representatives on May 24.

Consequent on the legislation’s passage, the way has been paved for the BOJ to proceed with the national rollout of the CBDC – Jam-Dex.

The pilot was undertaken between August and December 2021.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, piloted the Bill during the Senate’s sitting.

She noted that full CBDC implementation is expected to significantly reduce traditional challenges associated with many Jamaicans not having a bank account.

“The main reasons given include not enough money [as] they feel you have to have [a significant sum of] money in order to have a bank account… [or] they don’t have the documentation required,” she said, noting that Government is dealing with the issue of lack of documentation through the rollout of the National Identification System (NIDS).

Senator Johnson Smith said the implementation of the CBDC will address other challenges “because no bank account will be required”.

“What you now will have is a wallet. So, you will get a CBDC wallet issued by banks or authorised payment service providers with simpler, customer-friendly processes for easy access. It is also anticipated that the CBDC will lower the cost associated with providing a national means of payment and provide an alternative to the issuance of bank notes,” she added.

Senator Johnson Smith said the CBDC will also allow businesses to engage in more efficient cash management.

“It is instant and doesn’t come with cash handling fees. Similarly, its facilitation ensures that both households and businesses will be able to use the CBDC to make payments and to hold value,” she pointed out further.

Following contributions by several members on both sides of the aisle, the Bill was passed unanimously without amendment.

 

DOUGLAS McINTOSH

(JIS)

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CARICOM pushes need for Reparations Tribunal at Forum in Geneva

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Rashaed Esson
Staff Writer 

Words are in circulation in support for the establishment of an international tribunal, geared towards seeking reparations for centuries long transatlantic slave trade, after a CARICOM official made calls at the third session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD) in Geneva, Switzerland.

During day two of the gathering held from April 16 to 19, 2024, David Comissiong, Barbados Ambassador to the Caribbean Community, stated there is a need for the tribunal as there is currently no international court to deal with the issues of reparations.

Commision, like the other members that support his view, according to reports, are aware this won’t be an easy feat, as he expressed that establishing the tribunal would require a “positive decision” by the UN General Assembly, further  calling on the officials at the Forum and the UN, to come together through international collaboration and “make this happen.”

The idea creation of the tribunal was born last year 2023, suggested by the PFPAD, now reiterated by Comissiong.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, in a video, addressing the opening of the forum, supported the ongoing calls for respiratory efforts, a sentiment not shared by many.

Mentioning that racism is still an issue in today’s society, Guterres said, “ now we must build on that momentum, to drive meaningful change by ensuring that people of African descent enjoy the full and equal realization of their human rights; by stepping up efforts to eliminate racism and discrimination, including through reparations.”

 

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CARICOM sends warning as Oil prices creep higher in the Israel v Iran conflict; 14 regional states import energy

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Garfield Ekon
Staff Writer

The recent attack on the Sate of Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran, has delivered growing uncertainty across the Caribbean region, and the rest of the global economy.

Chief among the many concerns, is the free flow of oil from the Middle East, which stands at 31% of daily production for the global economy. At minimum, shipping costs are likely to increase based on the increased risk of military action in the Persian Gulf.

Pressure is also building on US and European insurance clubs to avoid any transaction, including those with China, that involve Iranian crude and additional rerouting of oil and gas shipments in response to Houthi threats, or Allied responses.

According to the Caribbean Community Council of Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), “these developments not only exacerbate the already tense situation but also pose significant threats to regional stability and international peace,” the group warned in a media statement.

It added that the continued cycle of retaliation, including the recent attack on Israel by Hamas, Israel’s “disproportionate response” in Gaza, and the “alarming new dimension of direct confrontations between Israel and Iran, leads to an untenable situation fraught with potential for greater regional conflict and global instability.

“The human toll of this conflict, highlighted by tragic incidents such as deaths and injuries to children, demand an immediate and empathetic response from the global community. It is imperative that there be no further escalation that can lead to more suffering and instability,” it said.

While calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Iran, the regional body underscored that it strongly urges both nations to halt any further military actions that could worsen the situation, endangering not only their own populations but also the broader international community.

“We implore all parties to consider the severe consequences of further conflict and to commit to diplomatic solutions that ensure the safety, sovereignty, and dignity of all people involved,” the CARICOM statement said.

On October 6, 2023, the day before Hamas attacked Israel, the international benchmark Brent crude was trading at $85 per barrel and has been fluctuating at up to $96.

On Thursday, it traded at $91 per barrel. With the exception of gas-rich Trinidad and Tobago, the 14 other countries of CARICOM, are energy importers.

Approximately 93 percent of the region’s energy needs are met by oil imports, which average 13% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

 

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Gov’t Committed to Seeking Reparations for Chattel Slavery – Minister Grange

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KINGSTON, April 16 (JIS):
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the Jamaican Government remains committed to seeking reparations for the prolonged period of chattel enslavement endured by the African forefathers on the country’s plantations.
Minister Grange said that the historical events of the transatlantic slave trade continue to have a lasting impact on Black communities to this day.
She contended that the ongoing struggles to finance education and healthcare, address poverty and housing issues, respond to economic shocks and climate change impacts, and foster peaceful societies are all rooted in the historical legacy of enslavement.
Minister Grange was addressing a church service on Sunday (April 14) at the Webster Memorial United Church in St. Andrew, where an apology was issued on behalf of the United Reform Church (URC) in the United Kingdom (UK) by Moderator of the Assembly of the URC, Reverend Tessa Henry-Robinson, for the church’s  historical involvement in slavery.
“We, the general assembly of the United Reform Church, mindful of our own history and that of our antecedent bodies, wish to confess and apologise for our role in transatlantic slavery and the scars which continue to blight our society, our church and the lives of Black people in our midst and around the globe today,” the apology read.
Minister Grange, in accepting the apology, urged UK churches, particularly those whose representatives were present for the historic apology in Jamaica, to communicate to their government the ethical imperative of admitting culpability through an apology and working with Jamaica to discern the potential avenues for reparations.
She said that the church’s role in the transatlantic slave trade has had significant and enduring effects on Black communities, impacting society, the church itself, and the lives of Black individuals worldwide.
“It is this complicity of the church that gave solace and comfort to the citizens and governments of UK and Europe as they endorsed and defended with their military project, that saw the capture, the torture, the dehumanisation, and devaluation of African people, legacies of which we experience today as racism, white supremacy, and discrimination,” she stated.
“We struggle to build peaceful, stable societies because of the perpetration of violence which was the platform on which enslavement was executed yet, in spite of this, we have been good converts to these same religions. Our people have adopted and adapted the doctrines and rituals of these new religions and in many instances have energised and revitalised them with cultural practices of African spirituality,” the Minister emphasised.
The URC is a community of Christians gathering in local churches across England, Scotland, and Wales, and is part of the global family of Reformed Churches, comprising more than 70 million Christians.
With approximately 42,000 members in around 1,200 congregations, supported by more than 600 ministers, the URC plays a significant role in the spiritual and communal life of its members and the broader community.
CONTACT: BRITNEY STEVENS

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