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How to Compare Prices Online – Grocery, Hardware, Petrol and Textbooks

Do you know where to find the cheapest gas? Or corned beef? Or cement?  All these prices and much more information is available online at the Consumer Affairs Commission’s database. Importantly, you can make specific queries with their Price Enquiry Tool.  Here’s what’s available:

You can find and map detailed Petrol Price Information – prices by type (87, 90, Diesel, USLD) and location available as on a map, trend or table.  You can even calculate your estimated budget.  Use this tool here

An example :

A date was chosen (2019 – 01 – 31) then a type of gas (87) then we hit “View Prices”.  This was the map generated which you can zoom in or out of on a mobile, tablet or desktop.

Another link has the database for Grocery, Hardware, Petrol and Textbook Price Information by date, parish and items by brand (of which there are extensive lists for each category). You can see prices, compare individual prices by outlets and even create baskets to compare by outlets.  Use this tool here 

Regularly, the Consumer Affairs Commission publishes a Consumer Alert in The Gleaner. It’s a summarized scaled down version of what you can find for yourself online.

In this sample, you can see a variety of common household grocery items with prices listed by brand and location in the corporate area, St. James and Westmoreland.

Cells highlighted in red and green, signify the highest price and lowest price, respectively, for that particular item amongst the outlets surveyed in the parish.


Before you go shopping, check out where to find the best prices!

Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Bulletin – Examination Dates, Tips and More

See below Bulletin 28 from The Ministry of Education re: The Administration of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Examination. It includes exam dates, tips for parents and students, the objective and structure of the examination and key dates. Earlier, we posted Jamaica Calendar of School Terms and Holidays – Academic Year 2018-2019

For ease of reference, here are key test dates:

  • February 26, 2019 – Ability Test (Grade 6)
  • March 27, 2019 – Language Arts Performance Tasks (Grade 6)
  • March 28, 2019 – Mathematics Performance Tasks (Grade 6)
  • April 16, 2019 – Language Arts and Science Curriculum Based Test (Grade 6)
  • April 17, 2019 – Mathematics and Social Studies Curriculum Based Test (Grade 6)

Teacher Engagement Activity (Workshops for teachers)

  • March 4, 2019 – Kingston & St. Andrew, Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary
  • March 5, 2019 – St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth and Manchester
  • March 6, 2019 – St. Ann, Trelawny, Clarendon and St. Catherine


Online Resources To Start And Grow Your Business

Here’s links to two online resources provided by agencies of the Government of Jamaica to help start and grow your business.

The Knowledge Resource Centre (KRC) at JAMPRO

Are you looking for current and relevant information to aid your trade and investment ventures?  Try the Knowledge Resource Center (KRC) of JAMPRO, an Agency of the Government of Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) that ‘promotes business opportunities in export and investment to the local and international private sector’.

You can:

  • View JAMPRO’s flagship publications
  • Browse the Online Catalogue here at jamprokrc.org 
  • Order Industry Profiles
  • Access Export and Investment Databases (Recent Data and Trends)

For more specific requests, you can ask the librarian or make an appointment to discuss the use of KRC.


The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Entrepreneurial Journey Website


The DBJ provides funding and technical assistance to large projects, as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in recognition of their importance as the engine of economic growth and development, especially in small economies.

Designed with these MSMEs in mind, the DBJ Entrepreneurial Journey mini-site supports business growth through each stage of the business life cycle.  The mini-site has information presented in an informative and interactive manner.

The site provides:

  • a unique guided user experience
  • an insightful business stage assessment
  • products specific to user’s needs

The mini-site can be accessed here.


The Flu – Who Is At Risk and What To Do

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“Anyone can get flu, but certain people are more likely to develop serious flu illness that can result in hospitalization or even death. Those people include:

  • Children younger than 5 years, but especially younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

Also, people who have certain chronic medical conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation], moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury)
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are taking aspirin or salicylate-containing medications
  • People with extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI} of 40 or greater)”

Children – Complications From Flu

According to the CDC:

“Complications from flu among children in younger than 5 years old can include:

  • Pneumonia: an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed
  • Dehydration: when a child’s body loses too much water and salts, often because fluid losses are greater than from fluid intake)
  • Worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma
  • Brain dysfunction such as encephalopathy
  • Sinus problems and ear infections
  • In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death.”

Pregnant Women – When To Seek Urgent Care

According to the CDC:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • High fever that is not responding to Tylenol® (or store brand equivalent)
  • Decreased or no movement of your baby

Things To Do To Prevent The Flu

In the recent flu alert, the Ministry of Health provided these tips:

  • Avoid close contact to prevent getting sick too
  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water to help protect you from germs
  • Keep dirty hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose
  • Practice good health habits – exercise, eat healthy, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids.  See here for 5 Cold and Flu Prevention Tips

See here for CDC links related to the flu.

What is the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre?

The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world.  It is the single largest generator of foreign exchange and employment in many countries in the region.

What is the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre?

The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) will be established in Jamaica to deal with climate-related issues. It is aimed at assessing, forecasting, mitigating and managing risks related to tourism resilience, caused by various disruptive factors. These disruptions may include climate change and natural disasters, cybercrime, cybersecurity, pandemics, terrorism, war, population and the changing funding models. The facility will include a Sustainable Tourism Observatory.

What will the Centre do?

The Centre is tasked with creating, producing and generating toolkits, guidelines and policies to handle the recovery process following a disaster. It will also assist with preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods

Where is the Centre located?

The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre is based at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies.

Who are the partners?

According to the Minister of Tourism, there are ‘ partners on every continent”

Partners include the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); World Travel and Tourism Council; Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; Caribbean Tourism Organisation; and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).

Partnerships are being explored with universities, and other players within the airline and cruise sectors.

When will the Centre open?

The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre is expected to be fully operational by September 2019.

Source: JIS

Read more: Jamaica Takes The Lead On Global Tourism Resilience Management



Weed Ed – The Gleaner Series on Cannabis

The Gleaner has a series of articles called Weed Ed which features facts and opinion pieces on weed, ganja, marijuana, cannabis and related topics.  Here are the links:

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

There are many more articles on this topic that are outside of this series.  You can search the Gleaner and/or explore the Gleaner’s archive.

Recent History of Murder in Jamaica

Recently, we blogged about murders in 2018 and compared them to 2017. This post takes a look at the recent history of murders, as far back as our data would allow, which is 2004 for Jamaica as a whole and 2012 for breakdown by parish. This blog post gives some unverified data about murders going back as far as 1970. Although any unnecessary loss of life is sad, in the context of today’s violence it would be a dream to go back to 152 murders in a year as the blog suggests that 1970 saw.

Murders In Jamaica 2004-2018, Sources: Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Constabulary Force Crime Stats, STATIN

Jamaica has seen, officially, 20,729 persons murdered in the period 2004 to 2018, an average of 1,382 persons per year or just under 4 per day for 15 years – someone is murdered every 6.3 hours in Jamaica, for the last 15 years! For those with statistical minds, the median was very similar at 1,354 persons.

Thankfully, 2018 saw Jamaica fall below both our mean and median and 2019 will hopefully continue this trend. We’ve seen peaks in 2005 (1,674), 2007 (1,583), 2008 (1,618), 2009 (1,683) and 2017 (1,641). While we have also seen three “low” periods in 2011 (1,124), 2012 (1,099) and 2014 (1,005).

What is more troubling is the explosive rise in murders in normally quiet parishes.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Constabulary Force Crime Stats, STATIN

Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine have always been troubled parishes, but the meteoric rise in St. James was very disturbing and subsequently arrested by multiple Zones of Special Operations and States of Emergencies.

1. Clarendon also saw murders more than double from 2012 to 2017 before falling in 2018, but still more than 58% above 2012 levels.

2. Westmoreland, better known for sun, sand and relaxation moved from 68 murders in 2012 to 141 murders in 2018, an increase of 107%!

Other dramatic increases from 2012 to 2018 include:

3. Trelawny + 100%

4. St. Mary + 89%

5. Hanover + 59%

6. Portland + 50%

7. St. Thomas + 35%

Parishes that have seen increases from 2012, but less dramatic include:

8. St. Andrew + 29%

9. Kingston + 18%

10. The only parish that was unchanged from 2012 was St. Ann with exactly 48 murders in both 2012 and 2018.

Parishes that saw the number of murders decline from 2012 to 2018 are the few lucky ones

11. St. James -33%

12. Manchester -24%

13. St. Elizabeth -19%

14. St. Catherine -11%


Financial Year 2019/2020 Budget Debate Schedule

“The Annual Budget indicates what will be done with the finances of the country over the course of a year. The purpose of the Budget is to decide how much money the Government plans to expend on security, roads, water, housing and other services it provides. The Budget Debate provides the Government with the opportunity to take stock of its performance over the previous fiscal year, to measure its progress in relation to the targets previously set and to assess the effectiveness of its management of the country’s finances.” – JIS

The Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, and the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, confer in Parliament

Financial Year 2019/2020 Budget Debate Schedule

  • Feb 13, 2019 – Prorogation of Parliament
  • Feb 14, 2019 – Opening of New Session of Parliament; Laying of the Estimates of Expenditure
  • Mar 4-5, 2019 – Standing Finance Committee
  • Mar 7, 2019 – The Minister of Finance and the Public Service to open the Budget Debate
  • Mar 12, 2019 – The Opposition Spokesperson on Finance
  • Mar 14, 2019 – The Leader of the Opposition
  • Mar 19, 2019 – The Honourable Prime Minister
  • Mar 20, 2019 – The Minister of Finance and the Public Service to close the Budget Debate
  • Mar 22, 2019 – The Honourable Senate to Debate the Budget

Visit the JIS Budget Watch page for more information about what the budget debate is, glossary and links to speeches.

Economy At A Glance – July – September 2018

According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, here are the highlights for the July – September 2018 quarter for the Jamaican Economy.

Q3 2018 vs Q3 2017

Q3 2018 vs Q3 2017 recorded 1.8% growth in the economy where:

  • Goods Producing Industries increased by 5.1%
  • Services Industries increased by 0.7%

Goods Producing Industries

The positive performance of the Goods Producing Industries was due to increased output in Mining & Quarrying (51.0%) – with the reopening of the Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) Alpart Refinery – and Construction (3.7%) – with increased activities in the civil engineering sub-groups and work associated with the continued expansion of road infrastructure.  A decline was noted in Manufacturing (0.3%) while Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing remained unchanged.

Service Industries

All industries within the Services Industries recorded higher levels of output with two exceptions:

  • Hotels & Restaurants: 2.1%
  • Transport, Storage & Communication: 1.4%
  • Other Services: 1.2%
  • Wholesale & Retail; Repairs; Installation of Machinery & Equipment: 0.8%
  • Finance & Insurance Services: 0.7%
  • Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities: 0.5%
  • Electricity & Water Supply: -0.1%
  • Producers of Government Services – 0.0%

Q3 2018 vs Q2 2018

Q3 2018 vs Q2 2018 recorded 1.1% growth in the economy where:

  • Goods Producing Industries increased by 0.7%
  • Services Industries increased by 1.3%

Dengue Alert – Ministry of Health


The following is from the Ministry of Health.

The Dengue virus is spread to persons by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.

Symptoms of Dengue usually include

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Headache
  • Joint pains
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Muscle pains
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Diarrhea

If you experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Use ONLY paracetamol pain killers
  • Do NOT take ibuprofen, diclofenac or aspirin as it may cause bleeding
  • Drink lots of fluid
  • Rest
  • Visit your doctor or nearest health centre and follow instructions carefully

Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention if you experience any of the following signs:

  • Severe belly pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Bleeding from mouth, nose or any unusual bleeding
  • Bloody or black, sticky stool
  • Feeling faint
  • Low energy or restlessness
  • Small bleeding spots under skin
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

For more information contact:

  • 1-888-ONE-LOVE (1-888-663-5683)
  • 876-633-7924
  • Your Parish Health Department
  • The Ministry of Health website moh.gov.jm and on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


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