THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
BREWING COMPANY PULLS BACK SPONSORSHIP OF CONCERTS—04/05/08
Red Stripe has announced that it will not sponsor several concerts in Jamaica due to the violent lyrics in the songs of some musicians. The firm has withdrawn its considerable monetary support from the “Reggae Sumfest” and “Sting” reggae shows. The company stated that musicians are “glorifying” violence. Several musicians scheduled to perform at the concerts, including Buju Banton, have been criticized for their violent anti-gay lyrics.
HANDYMAN CHARGED IN MURDER OF BRITISH WOMAN—04/06/08
Omar Reid, 30, a handyman, was charged in connection with the murder of Barbara Scott-Jones, a British woman vacationing in a northwest Jamaican parish. The body of Scott-Jones, 61, was found in a pit near her rental home. She died of a skull fracture, said police, who did not comment on a motive for the killing.
FLEMING ESTATE IN JAMAICA TO BE UPGRADED—04/07/08
A Jamaican estate once used by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, will be upgraded to become a $120 million private resort, says Chris Blackwell, its owner. Goldeneye, as the resort is named, is being redeveloped, but the four-room villa where Fleming wrote will be retained. Fleming named the estate after a planned military operation that never occurred.
GLBT GROUPS WANT BOYCOTT OF JAMAICA—04/08/08
Due to reports of violence against gays in Jamaica, GLBT equality and advocacy groups are encouraging a corporate boycott of the island. Red Stripe has already withdrawn its sponsorship from music events scheduled for Jamaica. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has not issued a response to the calls for a tourism boycott of Jamaica.
PERMITS FOR LICENSED GUNS SEIZED BY POLICE—04/08/08
The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) has allegedly seized the gun permits of several licensed firearms holders, including major political activists and entertainers. According to a police officer, instructions were given for several of the licensed firearms to be seized during an internal audit of the FLA. Errol Strong, chairman of the FLA, says the authority did not have anything to do with the seizure, which was carried out by police.
WALTERS’ MOTHER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT INVESTIGATION—04/09/08
Claudette Angus, the mother of Kemar Walters, 20, who was allegedly kidnapped by police three years ago, says she is “guardedly optimistic” about a new investigation in the case. Angus says she has faith in the new effort. Walters was one of two men who were allegedly taken by police from a shopping plaza.
BAD NEWS FOR INVESTMENT CLUB MEMBERS—04/10/08
Kevin Bandoian, the co-interim receiver manager appointed by the court to handle Cash Plus, says there is no money to begin making repayments as scheduled. The repayments were to have started on April 14, 2008. Bandoian says there is no indication that the payments will ever be made. Cash Plus Ltd. told individuals who had balances up to $100,000 that they would be repaid on that date, while those with balances up to $200,000 would receive payments on April 21, but there is no money available to the informal investment scheme with which to make any payments.
VIOLENT INCIDENTS INCREASE IN INNER CITY—04/11/08
Inner city violence, notably in central Kingston, August town, Tower Hill, and Greenwich Town, has turned these communities into virtual ghost towns where residents try to avoid heavily armed gangs roaming the streets at night. Over 400 people have been violently killed in separate incidents in Jamaica since January 2008. Denver Frater, Assistant Commissioner of Police, says the police are reviewing their efforts in these areas and making the arrest of troublemakers a priority. Frater also wants residents to speak out against the criminals and take advantage of the witness protection program that can protect them if they are threatened.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
DIASPORA CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN CANADA—04/05/08
The second annual Youth Leadership Summit will be held in Toronto, Canada, in April 2008, by the Future Leadership Committee of the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation (JDCF). Leo Campbell, Director of Future Leadership for the group, says the summit will investigate “areas of cooperation and support for future leaders in Jamaica and Canada.”
JAMAICAN SELECTED AS EDUCATION WOMAN OF THE YEAR—04/06/08
The American Biographical Institute in the United States has chosen Dr. Winsome Thompson Clarke as Woman of the Year in Education. Dr. Clarke taught at St. Mary High School in Highgate in the past and received a BA and MA in music and education at Andrews University in Michigan.
JAMAICAN CONSUL GENERAL VISITS HARTFORD—04/07/08
Geneive Brown Metzger, appointed consul general to New York City in March 2008, was received as a special guest at a Hartford, Connecticut town meeting. About 60 people participated in the meeting at the West Indian Social Club to meet Brown Metzger and ask her questions about what problems she plans to address. One of the largest communities of Jamaicans in the United States is located in Hartford, with its numbers estimated as high as 300,000 individuals.
BOB MARLEY’S MOTHER PASSES AWAY—04/10/08
Cedella Booker, the mother of Bob Marley and the head of reggae’s famous family of musicians, died at her home in Miami, Florida, at the age of 81. According to Jerome Hamilton, a family spokesperson, Booker died in her sleep. No cause of death has been given. Booker had lived in South Florida for over 30 years.
MOODIE QUALIFIES FOR BEIJING GAMES—04/08/08
Swimmer Natasha Moodie, 17, is the first Jamaican to qualify for a spot at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, after winning the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 26.08 seconds. The meet was part of the Toyota Grand Prix at Ohio State University. The Olympic qualifying “B” standard is 26.32 seconds, according to the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ).
BOLT VERSUS SPEARMON IN MAY INVITATIONAL—04/09/08
Jamaican Usain Bolt will face Wallace Spearmon, an American, in the men’s 100-meter race at the Jamaica International Invitational in May 2008. The two athletes have battled since 2007, meeting 14 times. Spearmon won nine of those races. Asafa Powell, the world’s fastest man, will not be competing at the event.
IOC MAY AWARD GOLD TO JAMAICAN WOMEN—04/10/08
The International Olympic Committee would like to award the 2000 Olympic women’s sprint team from Jamaica the gold medals for the 1600-meter match. The committee may even award the team bronze medals for the 200-meter relays after disqualifying teams from the United States. The disqualifications arose from the admitted steroid use by Marion Jones, who returned all her medals. She was stripped of her medals in December 2007 by the IOC and is serving six months in a Texas prison for perjury and check fraud.
MONUMENT PROPOSED TO HONOR McKENLEY, JAMAICAN OLYMPIANS—04/11/08
A monument has been proposed to honor Jamaica’s greatest Olympic athlete, the Late Herbert Henry McKenley OM. The monument will also honor all Jamaica’s Olympians, present and future, and will have their names engraved along with McKenley’s. McKenley died in November 2007 at the age of 85. He competed in the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games and won gold in the 4×400 meters.
The phone rings and it’s the dreaded automated response: “If you’re calling for ABC, Press 1; for DEF, press 2” and so it goes. Another unsuccessful attempt, and depending on the number of times experienced, maybe a bit of frustration. As if by conspiracy, this happens, more times than not, when we really need to talk to a real person, but as businesses engage in cost reductions, and life demand more from us as individuals, answering machines and other automated response systems have become a part of our culture. As I put the phone down, I wondered, somewhat amusingly, “What if God had an automated response system?” With angelic music in the background, maybe we would hear something like – “God is busy at the moment, but to leave a request, press 1; for thanksgiving, press 2; to complain, press 3”, and so on. Then again, how many of us would simply hang up?
It can be frustrating trying to urgently reach someone by phone, and not being able to do so . At certain times of the year, international circuits are busy, connections may be bad, lines may be down, yet how incredibly comforting it is to know that when we try to ‘connect’ with our Heavenly Father, we do not have to worry about those limitations.
In his conversation with God, David said, “I will call upon you, for you will answer me” (Psalm 17:6a, ESV). There was no doubt in his mind that his “connection” was clear both ways – him to God and God to him – and we too can have the same assurance. God Himself declared, “Call to me and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3), and even better, through Isaiah, “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear” (65:24). These attributes of God did not disappear with the Old Testament believers, because God is unchanging in nature. Of Jesus, God in the flesh, it is said He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and so we too can rest in the comfort of His assurances.
God has made available to us an instantaneous connection to Him that is always on; 365 days per year, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. It doesn’t go down in leap years either. If our calls are not going through, we need to check our side of things for possible obstructions. Are we properly ‘plugged’ in to Him? Any ‘wires’ crossed? Once things are in order, one thing we know for sure – no automated responses, no voice mail.
“I will call upon you, for you will answer me.” What comfort!
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.