THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JOURNALIST THOMAS SENT HOME—02/16/08
Tenesha Thomas, a Jamaican journalist, was given 24 hours to leave Grenada on February 15. She is scheduled to leave on February 19. Thomas has been on assignment for Caribupdate, a media firm based in Florida, but she is accused over overstaying her time. She was detained by immigration officials in Grenada. Reporters without Borders and the Media Workers Association of Grenada were surprised about the incident and the treatment Thomas received.
JAMAICAN SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS FOR WOUNDING—02/17/08
Rohab “Brokey” Rickett, has been sentenced to a term of three years on two counts of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily injury. The High Court found him guilty of the charge, which stems from an altercation with Trevorn Daniels and Shawn McDonald in December. Rickett stabbed both of the men at the Palm Court Bar in Antigua.
JAMAICAN CHURCH LEADERS WILL NOT ACCEPT HOMOSEXUALITY—02/18/08
In a rebuke to efforts by international gay rights activists, church leaders in Jamaica refuse to accept homosexuality as normal. The Church has stated its position after a negative report from the Human Rights Watch organization, which is based in New York, and protests by a Florida church that supports gays. Reverend Doctor Merrick “Al” Miller, pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle in St. Andrew, says that Jamaicans “generally deem homosexuality wrong” and he believes it is immoral in every way.
GOLDING SAYS JAMAICA HAS LOST ITS IDENTITY—02/19/08
Prime Minister Bruce Golding wants to find better ways of reaching Jamaican men who do not understand their roles as fathers and leaders in the home and community. Golding says it is difficult to establish shared values and goals because Jamaicans have lost their sense of who they are and how they related to each other. Golding made his statements at the inaugural interdenominational men’s conference, COVENANT: Jamaica’s Men on a Mission.
JAMAICA PRESS ASSOCIATION OBJECTS TO JOURNALIST DEPORTATION—02/20/08
The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) believes the deportation of Tenesha Thomas, a Jamaican journalist, from Grenada was an “attack on freedom of the press.” The Grenada government uses the law as a tool to suppress freedom of express, says Desmond Richards, president of the PAJ. Thomas was ordered by immigration authorities to leave Grenada within 24 hours after they spotted an incorrect departure date stamped on her passport.
J-FLAG ANSWERS CHURCH COMMUNITY—02/20/08
The Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) issued a press release, noting that the comments made by leaders of local churches seem to indicate that they have no regard for human rights or the protection of people in the homosexual community. The church leaders’ latest comments show a “lack of humanity”, according to the J-FLAG release.
JAMAICAN AND SPAIN SIGN AIR SERVICE DEAL—02/21/08
Jamaica has made a deal with Spain, opening up the air transport market to Europe. The Air Services Agreement, which is the first of its kind to be made between Jamaica and Spain, provisions have been made for multiple designations of carriers from the European Union (EU). While legal procedures are as yet incomplete in both nations, the agreement will go forward provisionally until all constitutional requirements are in place.
POLICE QUESTION KERN SPENCER ABOUT CUBAN PROJECT—02/22/08
Detectives of the Fraud Squad questioned Kern Spencer, former junior minister in the previous administration, for two hours before letting him go in a criminal investigation. Spencer was part of the previous People’s National Party (PNP) government and is at the center of an investigation to determine how contracts were given out in the distribution of free Cuba light bulbs. The project, which involved replacing incandescent bulbs with over 4 million energy-saving bulbs from Cuba, ran up a bill of $276 million and operated for 18 months before ending just prior to the general election in 2007. Spencer says he does not fear prosecution.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
ALLEGED JAMAICAN HIT-MAN FOUND IN U.S.—02/16/08
Winston “Mutt” Grant, 44, also known as Winston Watkins, has been extradited from New York to Connecticut to face a charge of murder. Grant, a Jamaican and alleged hit-man, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and will appear in court February 19, 2008. He is accused of being involved in the murder of another Jamaican, Maurice Johnson, who died of multiple gunshots to the head.
JAMAICAN SMALL BUSINESS OWNER LAUNCHES JERK SAUSAGE ON MARKET—02/20/08
“Aunt Nanny’s Jerk Sausages” can now be purchased at Winn-Dixie stores in central and southern Florida. Jerks & Spice, a three-time winner of the Jamaican Jerk Festival competition, produces the sausages for the stores. Bernet Spence, creator and chief force behind Jerks & Spice, established the company as a result of his passion for jerk foods. Several jerk products are produced under the Aunt Nanny’s label.
CANADIAN SCHOOL TO RECEIVE JAMAICAN BOOKS—02/21/08
North Kipling Junior Middle School in West Toronto, Canada, will receive a donation of books from Jamaica’s Consul General so the students and teachers can learn more about the island. The Consul General, Anne-Marie Bonner, gave more than 20 books from the University of the West Indies Press and Scholarly Books Services Inc., the local distributor. The donation resulted from discussions in 2007 between Bonner and John Hastings, Trustee with the Toronto District School Board, on fostering a better understanding of the Caribbean among students in Canada.
FINANCE MINISTER EXPLAINS EUROPEAN TRIP—02/22/08
Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, says the purpose of his trip to Europe was to introduce the country’s new government to potential investors of international capital markets. It was not to look for funding, he says. During the trip, Shaw signed a US$10 million agreement with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The funds will go to the second phase of roadway rehabilitation. Shaw visited England, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and five cities during his tour.
POWELL TO RUN AGAINST “DRUG CHEATS” AT OLYMPICS—02/16/08
Asafa Powell, who holds the world’s record for the 100 meters, believes he will be racing against “drug cheats’ at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. While Dick Pound, former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, assures that the 2008 games will be the “cleanest” in history, Powell is skeptical. He will not name those rivals he suspects of doping, but he adamantly states that anyone who tests positive for drugs should be banned from competition for life.
POWELL MAY MISS MELBOURNE TRACK CLASSIC—02/19/08
Asafa Powell, 100-meter world record holder, will not risk a knee injury in Melbourne’s Track Classic meet with the 2008 Olympics coming up. The Jamaican star sprinter arrived in Australia with four stitches in a cut on his left knee. He received the deep cut in a fall at his home, and the injury kept him out of the Grand Prix meet in Sydney. While it has improved, Powell remained in considerable pain and is unsure of his participation in the Classic as a result.
POWELL WINS 100 METERS IN MELBOURNE—02/21/08
Jamaican Asafa Powell overcame a knee injury to win the 100-meter match at the Melbourne Grand Prix athletics meet. Powell was unable to train as usual for the two weeks leading up to the race, but he finished with a time of 10.04 seconds. Michael Frater, finished second with 10.25, while Matt Shirvington, Australian record holder, came in third with 10.35 seconds.
JAMAICANS JOIN LOCAL SEMI-PRO CRICKET LEAGUE—02/22/08
Jamaica is taking its first step toward bringing the region back to the top of international cricket. The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) announced the official beginning of a semi-professional league, which will launch on March 12, 2008. Six of the island’s top players have been contracted to the re-branded Jamaican Super League (JSL) as well. This will operate under a “single-entity business model,” which is common in North America.
When God Says “Stop!”
I stared at the phrase for a few minutes, allowing its truth to percolate in my mind. Profound in its simplicity, and deep in its theology, it simply said “Do not put a comma where God puts a period.” As we saw previously, the ‘period’ indicates the end of a sentence, while the ‘comma’ indicates a pause, and from our phrase we see the speaker’s intent: in the sentence of life, do not put a comma where God puts a period.
It is important that we understand that not every obstacle or negative experience we face is from the devil (Lamentations 3:8-11). The Psalmist captured the truth of God’s sovereignty over our lives with the words, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (115:3), and I am convinced that includes His willingness to stop us in our tracks if we’re going in the wrong direction. In Psalm 37:23 we read, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD”, and I agree with Bible Scholar Matthew Henry, who, on this portion of text, wrote, “By his grace and Holy Spirit he directs the thoughts, affections, and designs of good men. He has all hearts in his hand, but theirs by their own consent. By his providence he overrules the events that concern them, so as to make their way plain before them, both what they should do and what they may expect. Observe, God orders the steps of a good man; not only his way in general, by his written word, but his particular steps, by the whispers of conscience, saying, This is the way, walk in it. He does not always show him his way at a distance, but leads him step by step, as children are led, and so keeps him in a continual dependence upon his guidance.”
As believers, if we’re not tuned in to God’s frequency it’s very easy to miss the periods. Spiritual insensitivity, and pride, can cause us to push past the ‘periods’ and pretend they’re ‘pauses’. Whether in the areas of our relationships, careers, choice of friends or a mate, when God puts up the stop sign it’s foolish to persist. Our finite minds may be tempted to hold on to what may seem like a good thing, but we have to trust the wisdom of our God whose ways and thoughts far exceeds anything we could ever imagine (Isaiah 55:8,9). Our good is no match for God’s best.
Are doors closing on what seem like sure opportunities? Does it seem like one disappointment after another? If we’ve sincerely placed ourselves in God’s care, and as we allow Him to direct our paths, it’s important that we lean not to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5,6). When God says “STOP!”, He knows what He’s doing. May He grant us the courage to see the futility of our way, the grace to yield to His, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.