THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP WANTS BETTER PROTECTION FOR GAYS—02/02/08
Human Rights Watch has encouraged Jamaica to take more action in protecting gays and lesbians following the attack of two gay men by a mob in Mandeville in January. A group of approximately 20 people threw bottles at the home of the men, broke the door down, and attacked them, demanding that they leave the community because of their sexual orientation. The mob left one victim with his arm broken in two places, a severed ear, and possible spinal damage.
NEW AIRPORT FOR JAMAICA—02/03/08
Bruce Golding, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, has announced that a new international airport will be built in Portland. The new airport will have customs and immigration services, and it will represent a part of the government’s efforts to diversity tourism and take advantage of options in the tourist industry, says Golding. The Urban Development Corporation and Civil Aviation authorities will conduct feasibility studies before construction, and the National Works Agency will examine upgrades and realignment of current roads where changes may be needed.
GOLDING SAYS AIR JAMAICAN COSTS TOO MUCH—02/04/08
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding believes that Air Jamaica costs the country too much, although he noted its value. Golding says the government will attempt to remove the airline from the country’s national budget. He says that he must use the taxes of poor people to maintain Air Jamaica and that this situation cannot continue. He has told the Ministry of Finance and Public Service to talk with private interests prepared to run it.
SOLVING CRIME TOP PRIORITY FOR GOLDING—02/05/08
Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister, believes that solving crime is the top priority for his administration. The government is following a strategy designed to get to the source of the crime problem, Golding said in response to a question from a caller during his first hour-long radio call-in program broadcast from Jamaica House. Golding says the government cannot deal with the only the symptoms of crime, and he had a new Police Commissioner and Chief of Staff who are both working hard on the issue.
PRIVATE FOREIGN EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES TO REFORM—02/06/08
Pearnel Charles, Jamaican Labor Minister, and Andrew Gallimore, state minister in the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, have met with representatives of employment agencies from overseas, urging them to register with the government in order to receive benefits for the workers they recruit. There is a high demand among Jamaicans for jobs overseas, and local private recruitment agencies will be under more scrutiny by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. If registered with the government, workers, many in the hospitality and construction industries of the U.S., would be entitled to benefits such as health insurance and pensions, but unregistered recruiters could be fined $1 million for violating the law.
JAMAICAN BROTHERS ARRESTED FOR DRUGS IN U.S.—02/07/08
Marlon and Oneil Abrahams are charged with distributing large quantities of marijuana in the area of Montgomery County near Washington, D.C. Police have arrested the brothers, seizing 582 pounds of marijuana since July 2006. This has a street value of US$750,000. The authorities believe that the brothers began to import large amounts of marijuana through commercial mail carriers in 2001.
IOBAMA WINS IN CLARKE’S NY DISTRICT—02/08/08
Jamaican-born Congresswoman Yvette Clarke was backing Senator Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential primary election in her district in New York, but the district voted overwhelmingly for Senator Barack Obama. Obama received 55.8 percent of the votes in the 11th congressional district, compared to 44.2 percent for Clinton.
SOBION ILL IN JAMAICA—02/08/08
Keith Sobion, former attorney general, has been reported as being seriously ill in Jamaica. He was admitted to University Hospital, but sources could not state the exact nature of his illness. Sobion has been a distinguished member of his profession, lecturing at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, working at a prestigious law firm, and serving as attorney general.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS PARTICIPATE IN DOG SLED RACES IN WISCONSIN—02/03/08
Jamaica’s dog sled team participated in the Three Bear Sled Dog Races in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. Ken Davis, coach of the Jamaica sled dog team, noted that it is always fun for them to race in Wisconsin. Danny Melville, founder of the Jamaican Dog Sled Team, said it took some effort to get the team running, but that it was worth it. The dogs train on dry land and on wheels in Jamaica. The team uses dogs from shelters to train.
JAMAICAN IMMIGRANT BACKS OBAMA FOR U.S. PRESIDENT—02/04/08
Gregory Smith, Jamaican-born migrant based in New York, is putting all his support behind Senator Barack Obama for the United States presidency. Smith gave a $25 contribution to Obama and was invited to introduce the Senator at a fundraiser in Brooklyn in 2006. Smith, father of two who works as a hotel doorman, led an Obama support march over the Brooklyn Bridge to help gain New York supporters for Obama in what might be considered Hillary Clinton’s territory.
The world will look at the United States differently once Obama is elected, Smith believes.
JAMAICAN CELEBRATES 100th BIRTHDAY IN ATLANTA—02/05/08
Elsada Duncan, Jamaica-born missionary and evangelist, celebrated her 100the birthday in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Duncan was born in Brainerd, St. Mary, in 1908 to local farmers. She was the seventh of 13 children and has outlived all of them. She started school at the age of 8, but could not continue her education beyond the age of 15 because of financial constraints. She joined a church in Kingston as a child and at the age of 17 gave her life to Christ. She still continues her missionary work, despite needing a walker to get around.
ALLEGED KILLER OF JAMAICAN MIGRANT ARRESTED—02/07/08
Federal agents and city police in New York City arrested Winston Grant, 44, for the fatal shooting of Maurice Johnson, an undocumented Jamaican migrant. Johnson’s body was found in the parking lot of the Old Mill Green Library in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Grant faces a charge of conspiracy to commit murder and is being held on a $1 million bond pending his extradition to New York.
JAMAICAN JUNIOR SURFER SELECTED FOR SCHOLARSHIP—02/02/08
Ackeam Phillips, student at Donald Quarrie High School, will receive a scholarship valued at J$84,000 from the International Surfing Association. Phillips is one of 20 students to be honored with a scholarship. Ackeam was Jamaica’s junior surfing champion in 2003, 2005, and 2006. He received the scholarship on the basis of an essay submitted to the organization’s selection committee.
WILLIAMS WINS 400-METERS IN GERMANY—02/04/08
Jamaican Clora Williams won Section Two of the women’s 400 meters in Stuttgart, Germany, with a rime of 54.07 seconds. World championship finalist Vontette Dixon ran the women’s 60-meter hurdles in 7.94 seconds for a third place finish at the Sparkassen Cup Indoor Meet in Stuttgart.
SAMUELS BOWLING TO BE EXAMINED—02/06/08
Marlon Samuels, all-rounder for the West Indies, will see his fast delivery examined by independent examiners in England to determine whether he acted legally. The International Cricket Council (ICI) reports that the analysis will be done by Mark King, member of the ICI human movement specialist panel at Loughborough University National Cricket Academy. Samuels was reported for a suspected illegal bowling action in the third match between the Windies and South Africa in January.
REGGAE BOYZ REACH DRAW WITH COSTA RICA—02/07/08
The Reggae Boyz reached a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica at National Stadium. The game was the first for Rene Simoes, returning technical director. The Boyz dominated the match with a total of 16 shots, eight of which hit the target.
A Comma, Not A Period
Every now and again I receive a forwarded e-mail that contains something useful. This one, a PowerPoint slideshow titled “25 Beautiful Short Phrases”, was really good. One of the phrases that ‘jumped’ out at me was “In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma, but never let him be a period.” That, I thought, was one powerful phrase.
As I understand it, a ‘comma’ is a punctuation mark primarily used as a mark of separation within a sentence, while a ‘period’, also a punctuation mark, represents the end of a sentence. The ‘comma’ invites a pause, a short delay, and in applying this understanding to the phrase, it reinforced in my mind that in the life of the believer, the devil can cause all kinds of delay, but being neither the Alpha nor the Omega, our lives do not begin and end with him. The whole purpose of his delays are to provoke frustration and despair. Unanswered prayers, illnesses, family/relational conflicts, and job insecurity – these are just some of the weapons in his arsenal, and if we’re not careful, we could become so weighed down by these things that we forget that it is not the devil who has the last word, but God. Delays (afflictions/persecutions) are inevitable, but we have the reassurance of the Psalmist, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (34:19).
Just as a comma cannot end a sentence, so the devil’s delays should not end our faith in the God of our Salvation. The challenges in the journey should not sway us from our goal of reaching our final destination. Like Job we too can profess, “he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
No matter the situation, nothing is over until God says it’s over. He alone has the last word. He’s the only one qualified to put a period on any event in our lives. Everything else is just a comma.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.