THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
BRITISH WOMAN MURDERED IN JAMAICA—03/22/08
Barbara Scott-Jones, 61, was found dead in a pit near the house in Somerton where she was staying. She had been on the island since January and was reported missing on March 14. Police are looking for Omar Reid, 30, in connection with the murder.
JAMAICAN CHILDREN AT RISK FROM OBESITY—03/23/08
A survey by the Ministry of Health, funded by USAID, found that seven percent of adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15 in Jamaica are overweight. Nearly four percent can be classified as obese. In particular, 10.8 percent of urban girls aged 13-15 are obese, compared with 3.4 percent of similarly aged girls in rural areas.
HANDYMAN SOUGHT IN MURDER OF BRITISH WOMAN—03/24/08
Omar Reid, 30, has not been seen since the family of former British nurse, Barbara Scott-Jones, 61, was found near her vacation home by Montego Bay. Police are looking for Reid, who was helping with the renovations of the home. Scott-Jones’ family has rejected the suggestion than the nurse and the handyman had a romantic relationship.
POLICE STATIONS RENOVATED—03/25/08
The police stations in Trench Town and Above Rocks were able to obtain refurbishment through the Community Safety and Security program of the European Union (EU). The newly renovated stations were formally opened by the head of the EU, Ambassador Marco Mazzochi-Alemanni, who said it was important that the EU fund programs to help police.
JAMAICAN YOUTH GROUP TO HOLD CONFERENCE—03/25/08
The Jamaican Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN), together with the United States Agency for International Development, will hold a conference in May to promote youth advocacy and encourage youth to become “passionate” about the matters that affect them. According to Andrew Francis of JYAN, the group wants youth to be active in talking about the issues they find important.
SON OF MURDERED BRITISH WOMAN PRESSURES AUTHORITIES—03/26/08
Brandon Jones, 37, the son of Barbara Scott-Jones, the murdered nurse from Leeds, England, is in Jamaica to help police in the search for the person who killed his mother. His sister and the oldest daughter of Scott-Jones, Salina Yildiz, 34, accompanied him. Police continue their search for Omar Reid, 30, a laborer whom they have labeled their “only suspect.”
FARM EXPERS BELIEVE SHEEP, GOATS ARE VIABLE MARKET LIVESTOCK—03/27/08
According to agricultural experts, the small ruminants industry represents a major development area that can provide Jamaica’s farm sector a boost. Senator Norman Grant, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, says the local sheep and goat markets are under-serviced by local farmers, who only provide half of the goat meat and two percent of the mutton consumed in Jamaica.
GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES $497 BILLION BUDGET—03/28/08
The administration of Prime Minister Bruce Golding has tabled a budget, which is 23.4 percent higher than its spending limit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2008. However, when the inflation rate of 18 percent is considered, the actual budget increase totals five percent. Spending to cover salaries and other housekeeping costs will account for 62 percent of the total expenditure at $307.6 billion.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
UPS DRIVER ARRESTED AS DRUG COURIER—03/22/08
Amilcar Caballero-Pardo, a 14-year employee of United Parcel Service, allegedly hid large quantities of cocaine in computers and then delivered them for a Jamaican drug gang. He is charged with drug distribution and conspiracy. Authorities watched him deliver packages of cocaine along his Teaneck, New Jersey, route.
NEW JAMAICAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S. TO FOCUS ON TRADE—03/25/08
Anthony Johnson, Jamaica’s new ambassador to the United States, plans to focus his attention on the issues of trade and investment. Johnson has stated that his main interest is “to improve levels of trade between the U.S. and Jamaica.” He plans to talk with as many people at major organizations as he can, including Jamaicans in the Diaspora, to raise economic investment in Jamaica.
MAN CHARGED IN JAMAICA LOTTERY SCAM—03/27/08
Orlando George Campbell, 23, was arrested in Florida and charged with organized fraud. Police alleged that Campbell had defrauded $320,000 from elderly people – many in their 80s – through the Jamaica lottery scam. He was arrested after police tracked money to his bank account that was wired to him by the victims. The lottery scam involved telephone calls to potential victims by individuals posing as Jamaican officials.
104 JAMAICAN WORKERS LEAVE FOR U.S.—03/28/08
The Ministry of Labor and Social Security sent a group of 104 hospitality workers to the United States, the largest group ever sent at one time. The workers were selected from the Ministry’s Overseas Job Fair, which was held in October 2007. Fifty-three workers chosen at the Job Fair have been sent to Canada.
YOHAN BLAKE TO TRY FOR 100-M RECORD—03/22/08
Yohan Blake, a Jamaican sprinter, is preparing to break a record in the World junior 100-meters in competition at the 33rd CARIFTA Games at Bird Rock Athletics Stadium in St. Kitts.
SLACK AND SAMUELS BREAK RECORDS AT CARIFTA GAMES—03/24/08
K’Don Samuels and Slacia Slack of Jamaica set records in the penultimate day of the 33th CARIFTA Games in Basselterre, St. Kitts. Jamaica won 15 gold medals, 16 silver medals, and nine bronze medals at the games. Samuels set a new CARIFTA record in the pole vault with 4.60 meters, while Slack received a record 3,935 points in the five-discipline girls’ pentathalon.
REGGAE BOYZ TO MEET SOCA WARRIORS—03/26/08
The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica will battle their age-old enemies, the Soca Warriors of Trinidad and Tobago, at National Stadium. Rene Simoes, Jamaica’s football technical director, has recalled Deon Burton, a popular striker, to the squad.
CHRIS GAYLE CRITICIZED—03/27/08
Chris Gayle, Jamaica’s cricket captain, has made unacceptable statements in recent days, which have been criticized. After losing the Stanford 20/20 final, Gayle said that Jamaicans were all winners “because we are going home with US$500,000.” When this comment was questioned by journalists upon his arrival back home, he said “A lot of people can talk and say what they want – we have J$5 million in our pocket right now.”
In The Fourth Watch
While He dispersed the crowd after the miraculous feeding with five loaves and two fishes, Jesus told his disciples to get into the ship and go over to the other side of the sea. He then went up into the mountains to pray. It was about early evening or close to nightfall. The Sea of Galilee, 13 miles long, 8 miles wide, and 33 miles in circumference, low lying in the rift valley and surrounded by hills, was prone to sudden violent storms. Matthew tells us that while the ship was in the midst of the sea, the disciples experienced one of these violent storms, so much so that the ship was “tossed with waves” (14:23).
It is interesting that Jesus, knowing the ways of the sea as He must have, would have sent them across it at that time of the evening. We can conclude from the text that the storm lasted a long time and they had not made much progress, because when Jesus went unto them, walking on the stormy sea, it was in the fourth watch of the night. The Jewish night is divided into four watches. The fourth or final watch is that time just before dawn, in the darkest hours. If they went out from just before nightfall and was in the storm lasting until just before dawn, why did He wait for long? Can you relate to those disciples? Are you caught in one of life’s storms, or a number of them, that seem to have no end in sight?
Despite being the experienced fishermen that they were, I would imagine that by now the men were tired and exhausted. Some of us are too. But somewhere in the dark, they saw a shadow. They thought it was a spirit, and “cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.'” (14:26-27, ESV). In the darkest part of the night, in the midst of a violent storm, they heard the reassuring voice of Jesus. Following Peter putting the voice to the test, and the subsequent actions, Matthew concluded the narrative, “And when they [Jesus and Peter] got into the boat, the wind ceased” (v.32).
There are many lessons to be taken from this story, not the least of which is the fact that no matter how dark the night, or the magnitude of our individual storms, Jesus knows exactly where to find us. Not only that, but He can put Himself in the midst of those storms, and amidst the sound of the winds and the roar of the waves, if we listen keenly enough, we too can hear His voice, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Be encouraged; before the wind ceased, He first comforted their hearts. It just might be that He wants to do the same for you. I trust and pray that your experience will be like that of the songwriter:
“His voice makes the difference
When He speaks He relieves my troubled mind
It’s the only voice I hear that makes the difference
And I’ll follow one day at a time”
With Him in the vessel, not only is there no need to fear, we can smile at the storm. Are you smiling?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.