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Editorial

Jamaica Says Goodbye to the Great Hon. Edward Seaga

Alaina Hull

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced today, May 28, 2019, that the former Prime Minister took his last breath surrounded by friends and family in the hospital in Miami, Florida where he was being treated. In an address from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister stated;

“It is with great sadness that I inform the nation of the passing of the Most Honourable Edward Phillip George Seaga, the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica. The family of Mr. Seaga has asked me to express gratitude on their behalf for the many prayers and messages of comfort and support offered by the people of Jamaica.”

What can one truly say about a pioneer, a leader, a husband, a father, a friend; a man that dedicated his entire life to the amelioration of his country? In the words of B. R. Ambedkar

“A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society.”

The Most Hon. Edward Phillip George Seaga, ON, P.C., LL.D., was just that, a servant of the Jamaican society.

Born on May 28, 1930 to Phillip George Seaga and Erna Seaga, Edward showed great promise from very early. As a teen, he attended the Wolmer’s Boys’ School and later Harvard University where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in the Social Sciences. Seaga begun his political career in 1959 and has never looked back since then. Nominated by the founding father of the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP), Sir Alexander Bustamante, to serve as part of the Upper House of the Jamaica Legislature in the Legislative Council, Mr. Seaga became the youngest member, at 29, of the Legislative Council.

He went on to become the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica and served a term of nine (9) years (1980-1989) and opposition leader from 1989 to 2006. In his many years, the former JLP leader has amounted a great number of accolades such as member of her Majesty’s Privy Council, Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award and honourary degrees from several US universities.

The family here at Jamaican Medium would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family of our fallen leader, a great Jamaican, Most Hon. Edward Seaga.

 

The commitment to deliver knowledge and information to the world is a duty that one should not take lightly; it is one that I do not take lightly. Equipped with 10 years of professional writing experience, and even more so of "scribbling in a journal", I aim to provide in-depth, accurate and expeditious news and information. "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air."- Henry Anatole Grunwald [email protected]

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Editorial

Visiting the US Embassy Jamaica: All You Need to Know for a US Embassy Appointment

Alaina Hull

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Visiting the US Embassy Jamaica: All You Need to Know for a US Embassy Appointment

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Visiting Jamaica for a US citizen should be a fun and memorable experience where one gets to visit some of the most beautiful beaches of the world in one place. After all, the Caribbean islands are always exotic and Jamaica is one among them which is easy to travel to.

When an individual is visiting Jamaica, the good news is, there is no need to acquire an individual visa to enter the country. All that is needed is a valid passport issued by the visitor’s government. It is also expected that there is sufficient proof of departure which could be in the form of a return ticket. Tourists visiting the region from the USA can easily land and be there for up to 90 days without having to have a valid visa.

Where is the US Embassy in Jamaica?

While Jamaica is a pretty small island which can be covered in less than 5 hours, it hosts a dedicated United States Embassy to help travellers. As a citizen of the United States, one can feel completely safe because the US Embassy of Jamaica is located in a prominent position and is easily accessible through different means. Besides, it also ensures that anyone travelling has a safe place to get back to even if things go awry due to weather or any local issues.

Visiting the US Embassy Jamaica: All You Need to Know for a US Embassy Appointment

The US Embassy’s address is 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston.

You can also access more information by visiting the official website and calling the local personnel on +1 876 702-6000.

The information with regards to the location of the embassy and the contact details should also come in handy when you want to apply for a visa, renew your existing visa or simply visit to clarify your questions while on a long trip.

A US Citizen’s Guide to Getting to the US Embassy

As with all the other countries, the US Embassy Jamaica is located in the capital city of Kingston. Being a prominent location in the country, it is amazingly connected by roadways. You can conveniently travel through buses, local cabs and luxury coaches from any part of the island.

You can travel anywhere in the country by using public transit or by hiring private cabs. While most travellers prefer to use a cab of their own, some do like to get adventurous and enjoy their travel. Make sure to carry cash bills, keep the location to minimal and board a bus that goes to Kingston from the nearest bus station.

Visiting the US Embassy Jamaica: All You Need to Know for a US Embassy Appointment

Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive to it on your own. Make sure you have a valid international license and you are patient enough to handle the road and map your route. Something to note, in Jamaica, driving is done on the left of the road which will be alienating for US drivers but some can handle it. You can rent if it falls within your comfort zone or go for a bus or cab driven by the locals.

What are the Steps Involved in Acquiring US Visa for Jamaicans?

Most Jamaicans start by applying for a non-immigrant visa at the US embassy. This type of visa is issued for a specific period of time for students, visitors and workers. A permanent immigrant visa is provided only for those who have their petition approved by the USCIS.

The petition can be filled out and filed by an employer in the United States or by an individual who is a direct family or spouse of the immigrant seeking permanent residency in the USA.

Visa Fee

All applications, both for non-immigrant and immigrant visas should pay the non-refundable visa fee. The actual cost will vary based on the type of visa you are applying for. Always check the official US Consulate website and fee chart before you make the payment.

Appointment

Waiting time is applicable based on the number of visa applications received during a particular period and you can login to the official US Embassy website to get your interview date/time confirmed. The appointment is subject to availability and you can only get a date when time slots are free.

Preparing Yourself for the Visa Interview

The U.S. Embassy compound in Kingston is considered to be a highly important and secure location; there are therefore steps put in place to ensure it remains as such. All Jamaican residents attending the interview should avoid carrying a large list of items specified in the official website including battery-powered gadgets, electronic devices, large bags, sharp objects and cigarettes among many other items.

  • The most important document is a passport that has at least six months or more of validity.
  • All immigrants except for special cases are expected to appear for a personal interview.
  • During interview, you should establish strong ties to your home country when applying for non-immigrant visas which increases the chances of getting it approved.
  • The questions may include details regarding your family, your business in Jamaica, your intentions and your long-term plans.
  • Provide convincing evidence such as family business, spouse or children living in your home country when applying for non-immigrant visas for business or studies.
  • You have to leave your passport with the US Consulate and it can take up to three working days for your approved visa to be stamped and ready for pickup.

What are the Documents Required when Acquiring Visa?

When going to acquire a visa at the US Embassy, the basic documents required include:

  • The US Visa application form; DS 160 for non-immigrant visas or DS 260 for immigrant visas.
  • A valid passport (valid up to 6 months after appoinment)
  • Two photographs
  • US visa fee receipt (proof of payment)
  • Social media details (recently added)

The tourist visa is the easiest of them all while other visas including student visa, work visa, for spouse and permanent residency requires a lot of other important documents to be successfully processed.

How to Fix an Appointment at the Embassy As a US Citizen

US citizens are provided utmost attention at the US Embassy Jamaica where you can fix an appointment under different categories. Head to the official website to confirm your appointment.

Visiting the US Embassy Jamaica: All You Need to Know for a US Embassy Appointment

When doing so, make sure to choose Passports, Notarial and Births. The first two require an appointment and you can visit on the scheduled date. Fixing an appointment has no service charges and one person cannot avail two slots at the same time. In case you can’t be there at the venue on the said date, you should cancel your current appointment and fix an entirely new one.

Things to Know Before Visiting US Embassy Jamaica

When planning to visit the US Embassy Jamaica, make sure you don’t carry any electronic items with you. As part of the security protocols, the venue doesn’t provide any storage for these items within the premises. They have to be stored outside somewhere or you may leave them at home.

 

Visiting the US Embassy Jamaica: All You Need to Know for a US Embassy Appointment

The Embassy provides nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. All visas have specific requirements to be met by the candidates. You can also make use of the official website to find specific dates where the embassy is closed in Jamaica and is not operational. While you will obviously not be able to fix appointments on a holiday, you should also consider not visiting the premises to gather any other information during these local holidays.

Conclusion: Recent News and Updates

As with every other visa process being done by any government, the US government has the rights to accept or reject any visa requests made by someone living outside the country. The conditions vary and you will have to further contact the office to know how you can reapply when needed.

The US Embassy Jamaica released its condolences for the death of former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga. They also helped Mona Heights Primary students to promote education for the girls. They  recognised the contributions of Caribbean Americans during the National Caribbean-American heritage month; they further added that the contributions to art, culture, government, military and sports is immense.

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Editorial

Jamaicans Need to Get More “National” – EGC Chief

Alaina Hull

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EGC Chief

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With the Jamaican economy poised for growth, more and more foreign investors may swoop in and buy assets here. That may not augur well for the future of the country in general and the Jamaican public in particular. Major Jamaican assets must be owned by the locals and for this, the people here have to start saving. This was the important message conveyed by Michael Lee-Chin, the Chairman of the Economic Growth Council (EGC). He felt there has to be a paradigm shift in the way Jamaicans handled their finances.

Make a Habit of Saving from Earnings

The tendency among the general public is to practically spend all that they earn, leaving no savings in their banks. This is not a healthy situation for any economy.  According to Lee-Chin, people must put away at least 10% of what they earn in some form of savings or investments that can be tapped into later. Ideally, such savings must be used to buy assets like property. He gave the example of Asia, where the savings rate is high which enables some of those economies to do very well. Foreign businesses and investors can come here, setup their businesses, provide employment to Jamaicans and so on. That can help the country and the people very much. However, if the foreigners end up buying land and buildings here, that does not help the Jamaican economy. They will repatriate the profits they make here, to their respective homelands. In the long run, this can result in the prices going up and the economy suffering.

The ‘National’ Spirit Must Prevail

What the EGC Chairman is advocating, is a mass movement in Jamaica that needs to be encouraged on a large scale. Besides saving money in their bank accounts, the public must find ways to invest in stocks and other instruments which will indirectly boost the economy. If an aspiring Jamaican entrepreneur knows that people are inclined towards making investments in businesses, he or she will make some bold moves and begin a startup venture. That is how the local economy will get a boost and over time, Jamaicans will be owning and managing Jamaican assets and properties. Mr. Lee-Chin, in his speech, referred to the Harlem locality in the US which has been practically taken over by foreigners. He said there is a lesson to be learnt from that as far as Jamaicans are concerned. In terms of location significance, Jamaica is no different from Harlem, he mentioned.

Jamaicans are therefore encouraged to start saving!

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Editorial

Bank Fraud – Is the Legal System Too Weak to Punish the Guilty?

Alaina Hull

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When crimes go unpunished in any system, the criminals get emboldened to commit more offences. The banking infrastructure in Jamaica has reportedly suffered a loss of $750 million in the past year, as a result of bank frauds. However, the number of convictions for such financial frauds is unacceptably low at best. Where is the deficiency in the system? Lack of adequate staff in the investigative arm? Weak laws that let the criminals get away easily? Inadequately trained manpower to establish and convince the court of the frauds? It could be a combination of all these factors. The solution might also lie with all the stakeholders within the system.

The Investigative Team Must be Strengthened

Within the policing system worldwide, a quick and effective investigation, filing the legal charge sheet with the evidence gathered, result in getting convictions. When there is a decent rate of conviction, that is, the number of cases where the courts agree with the prosecution and reign down due punishment, compared to the total number of cases filed in the courts, the crime rate can come down. Criminals will know they will be caught and punished and will hesitate before they indulge in their next crime. The current state of affairs in Jamaica is the exact opposite of this.

To begin with, the Fraud Squad within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is reportedly short-staffed. Even if one assumes there is adequate manpower, there is no clarity on their levels of competence in investigating these financial frauds. The criminals use advanced technology and software and the investigators need to be well informed and always a couple steps ahead to catch them, get them before a judge and ultimately locked away.

Courts Too Lenient?

There is the general sense that the courts too, do not consider the cases brought to them to be of a serious nature. They may feel the banks, in any case, cover the losses due to frauds through insurance and there is really no single, individual, victim. This may result in the cases being pushed to the background and justice delayed. The general allegation is that complaints to the Fraud Squad made back in 2018 are yet to be acted upon by the Police. The worst part of this is that the average Jamaican loses confidence in the system. There are cases of those who have lost money through bank frauds, but have not even gone to the Fraud Squad and registered a complaint.

That does not speak well about the police-legal system of a modern nation.

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