JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending December 26th, 2008

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THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
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JANUARY INTRODUCTION FOR JAMAICA”S CARICOM PASSPORT—12/20/08
January 2009 will see the new Jamaican version for the CARICOM Passport (CP). Jennifer McDonald, chief executive officer of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), says the passport will include the CARICOM logo and say “Caribbean Community” on its cover. It will have the Jamaican Coat of Arms and have “Jamaica” printed as the issuing state.

14 JAMAICANS DIE IN TRUCK ACCIDENT—12/21/08
According to Jamaican police, 14 people were killed when a truck crashed into a ravine on the way toward a marketplace in Kingston. Seven people were injured in the crash, which occurred about 100 kilometers from Kingston (60 miles). Police are investigating the accident, said spokesperson Courtney Gibbs, who also noted that Jamaicans in rural areas hitch rides on trucks to get to the market.

MILLER MADE CHANCELLOR AT MICO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE—12/22/08
Professor Errol Miller has become the first resident of Jamaica to be appointed to the position of Chancellor at a university located on the island. Mico University College is the oldest teacher-education institution in the Western Hemisphere. Its English trustees selected Miller, the Jamaican trustee, for the institution’s top job.

JAMAICAN SENATE APPROVES DEATH PENALTY—12/22/08
The Jamaican Senate has given its approval to maintain the death penalty in just a short time after the island’s parliamentarians voted in favor of keeping capital punishment in the legal code. Senators voted 10-7 in support of the death penalty. The House of Representatives voted earlier to retain capital punishment by a 34-15 margin in November 2008.             
     
SHAW WANTS BANKERS TO KEEP MONEY IN JAMAICA—12/23/08
Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance, has asked the approved money lending institutions on the island to begin “lending money to the productive sector.” This is one way to move Jamaica away from the global financial downturn. Banks should “step up to the plate,” according to Shaw, and devise a way to direct money to the island’s producers.

MONEY CONTRIBUTED TO AID CHILDREN IN PORTLAND TRAGEDY—12/24/08
More than $1 million has been pledged to a fund created to help the children of the road tragedy in Portland. The Prime Minister’s office donated $500,000 to open the fund, and this amount was matched immediately by the Ministry of Agriculture. New Era Fencing was the first private company to make a donation, giving $100,000.

WORKER IN FINANCE MINISTRY RECEIVES EXTENDED BAIL—12/25/08
Verline Hyacinth Watt, 60, who is the director of the Memorandum of Understanding Secretariat, and her son, were charged with drug possession when police raided their house in regard to a case of possible abduction. A substance believed to be cocaine was found in the St. Andrew home. Bail for Watt was extended during her appearance in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court.

10 PERCENT OF CHILDREN IN JAMAICA DEPRESSED—12/26/08
Dr. Lowe-De La Haye and Dr. Garth Lipps of the University Hospital of the West Indies are warning about the high rate of depression that exists among children and young people in Jamaica. According to the doctors, ten percent of the island’s children aged 14 to 16 are suffering from depression. Boys in Jamaica represent 60 percent of the children with diagnosed depression.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICAN IMPERSONATES DOCTOR IN BARBADOS—12/20/08
Mario Andrae Smith, 28, has been found to be impersonating a physician in Barbados. He has received a penalty of $10,000 or 18 months in jail. Smith appeared in a court in Barbados after spending three weeks under psychiatric care, during which hospital personnel found him fit for trial. Smith was charged in November 2008 after making a false statement to the Barbados Accreditation Council to get a medical certificate.

JAMAICAN MAN ARRESTED FOR RAPE IN UK—12/23/08
Peter Delisser, 36, already convicted on the charge of bigamy, has been put in jail on rape charges as well. He will be sentenced in January 2009 after being found guilty of the rape of an 18-year-old woman. Delisser is living in the United Kingdom illegally.
    
JAMAICAN CONVICTED AND FINED FOR CANNABIS POSSESSION—12/24/08
Trevor Rolston Armstrong, 35-year-old Jamaican man, has been convicted of possessing cannabis in Antigua. A penalty of either paying a fine of $480 or doing a one-week stay in prison has been imposed for this crime. Armstrong was also found guilty of remaining longer than legally allowed in Antigua. He was fined $1,0000 for overstaying his limit.

JAMAICANS FIND JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA—12/25/08
Approximately 30 Jamaicans have left the island for careers in the auto body industry in British Columbia. A program started by Okanagan College in conjunction with Jamaica’s government has allowed these workers to upgrade their skills and work at body shops throughout the Canadian province. The workers are seasoned employees who have collision repair experience. They will soon receive journeyman certification.

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SPORTS
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SCHOOLBOY STRIKERS ADDED TO UNDER-20 ROSTER—12/23/08
Allan Otley, cousin of Merlene Otley, the legendary Jamaican sprinter, has been called to the national squad for the Caribbean Under-20 football finals. Kemal Malcolm, leading goal scorer and captain of the St. George College team, has also been added to the roster.

DYSON HAPPY WITH WINDIES PERFORMANCE—12/24/08
John Dyson, coach of the West Indies soccer team, praised the team’s “fighting qualities” after they received a draw in the second Test against New Zealand. The result is better than losing, according to Dyson.  While the Windies obviously came to win, says Dyson, he’s pleased with how the team fought in the match.

JAMAICAN CONTRACTS WITH LA GALAXY—12/25/08
Donovan Ricketts, the top goalkeeper in Jamaica, has secured a contract with the LA Galaxy in Los Angeles, California. The LA Galaxy is  a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. Ricketts says he feels good about the contract because it is he has been working for. His contract with English League Two Side, Bradford City, came to an end in March 2008.

BOLT RECEIVES TOP AWARD—12/26/08
Usain Bolt, who won triple gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, has been named Male Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News. The magazine is considered to be the “bible” of track and field sports. Bolt is only the third man in the magazine’s 50-year history to receive a perfect score from its international panel.

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DEVOTIONAL
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Reaching For The Goal

A couple days ago I shared with a friend that my heart’s desire was to be in the nucleus, the core, of God’s will for my life.  As a matter of fact, I have harbored that desire for quite some time now because of my conviction that of all the places to be in life, there is no safer place to be.  However, I continue to learn that having the desire and actually being there are often times as far apart as the East is from the West.  Or so it seems.  I often have to remind myself that God’s grace is what bridges the gap between where I am and where I need to be, and despite the challenges and the number of times I have stumbled, my responsibility is to keep pressing toward the goal.

I reflected on this as I read Paul’s letter to the Christians in Phillipi, and the passion with which he articulated his thoughts on his goal.  According to The Message’s paraphrase, Paul wrote, “Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant–dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ–God’s righteousness.  I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.  If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.  I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.  Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision–you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it” (3:8b-16). 

As we stand on the threshold of another year, a time for personal resolutions for many, I am hard pressed to think of a better goal to take into 2009. To know him as Paul desired demands a level of commitment that sees us surrendering ourselves, and all that pertains to us, to the Lordship of Christ. As we allow him to take over lives, God begins to shape us to conform to the image of his Son Jesus, and we know that his desire was to always do the will of the Father (John 5:30).

What is your main desire?  Is there room in it to diligently pursue after and do whatever it takes to know Christ more personally? 

CEW

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CREDITS/SOURCES
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The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.