THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
RADA CHIEF QUITS—05/10/08
Dr. Omer Thomas, former chairman of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), quit his position as a result of allegations that his educational credentials were false and because he and two members of his family had received death threats. He rejects reports that his credentials are false and said that he did not present these credentials when the allegations were made because no one asked him for them.
GUYANA AND JAMAICA WORK TO RESOLVE RICE DISPUTE—05/11/08
The dispute over rice between Jamaica and Guyana is moving toward a resolution as the nations’ leaders plan to mediate in the matter following the failure of regional discussions. According to Kenneth Baugh, Jamaica’s foreign affairs minister, Jamaica wants more rice imported from the United States as a supplement to that received from Guyana. For this to occur, a waiver must be obtained from restrictions imposed by the Caribbean economic bloc.
ELDERLY WOMEN KEY IN CHILDRENS’ AIDS CARE—05/12/08
Dr. Tracy Evans-Gilbert runs a pediatric AIDS program in western Jamaica, and many of the women involved in caring for children with AIDS are grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Almost 45 percent of Jamaican households are headed by women, but women have high levels of unemployment, work irregularly, and receive low pay. In spite of these challenges, it is these same women who help Dr. Evans-Gilbert obtain the best outcomes for her patients.
BISHOP STARTS PROGRAM FOR BOYS AND MEN—05/12/08
The Center for Leadership Wisdom (Jamaica) is designed to develop leadership skills among the island’s boys and men. The new organization is led by Bishop Andre Thomas, a certified trainer and partner with EQUIP, a leadership development organization headed by John c. Maxwell.
SMITH OUT OF SECURITY MINISTRY—05/13/08
Derrick Smith, who has been involved with the ministers of national security for nearly 20 years, has been removed from the ministry in favor of Colonel Trevor MacMillan. MacMillan, who replaces Ian Murray, is to be sworn in as government senator and minister.
GUYANA AGREES TO WAIVER—05/14/08
Guyana and Jamaica have made an agreement that will clear the way for the island to buy 9,000 tons of rice outside of the Caricom region. Minister of Industry and Commerce, Karl Samuda, announced the deal and assured the nation that it is unlikely there will be a shortage of rice in the near future.
GOLDING SHOWS INTEREST IN CUBAN BIOTECH—05/15/08
Bruce Golding, Jamaican prime minister, and his delegation visited the Finlay Institute in Havana, Cuba. The Institute is a leader in biotechnology. Golding admired the facility and expressed an interest in bringing some of the biotech products made in Cuba back to Jamaica. Golding said the island is interested in getting Heberprot-P, a medication used for diabetic foot ulcers.
VAZ APPEALS TO OVERTURN OUSTER—05/16/08
Daryl Vaz, Member of Parliament (MP), filed an appeal that seeks to overturn a court ruling of April 11, 2008, that ousted him from his West Portland seat in Parliament. Vaz filed his appeal a day after a representative of the People’s National Party (PNP), Abe Dabdoub, appealed against a ruling from the chief justice and a by-election be held to determine the MP for West Portland.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NYPD SUED BY JAMAICAN REPORTER—05/10/08
Leonardo Blair, Jamaican-born crime reporter for the New York Post, is suing the New York City police department for racial profiling. He claims that his constitutional rights were violated when he was arrested and put in jail without cause while walking to his aunt’s house in the Bronx. The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed the lawsuit on Blair’s behalf in federal court.
JAMAICAN HELD IN ZAMBIA FOR MONEY LAUNDERING—05/11/08
Ingrid Loiten, 45, is under arrest by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in Zambia for allegedly laundering sums of money in excess of US$7 million. Loiten, who lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, was arrested on multiple fraud charges. It is alleged that Loiten deposited the money in an account at Investrust, a Zambian commercial bank.
GOLDING IN CUBA NO ROUTINE EVENT—05/12/08
The visit of Bruce Golding, Prime Minister, accompanied by Kenneth Baugh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and four other Cabinet ministers to Havana was not an ordinary happening. Meeting were held at the highest levels of Cuba’s government and party, signaling an important message about change for both countries.
JAMAICA TO PUSH FOR REVIEW OF U.S. EMBARGO OF CUBA—05/16/08
Jamaica will move to implement a review of the economic embargo that the United States holds against Cuba at a summit of European, Latin American, and Caribbean nations in Lima, Peru. Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Investments and Commerce, said that he believes Prime Minister Bruce Golding will address the question of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba at the summit.
FOSTER-HYLTON ONLY JAMAICAN TO WIN IN QATAR—05/10/08
Brigitte Foster-Hylton, who holds the national 100-meter hurdles record, was the only Jamaican to post a win at the Doha Super Grand Prix in Qatar. Foster-Hylton ran the 100-meter hurdles in 12.56 seconds, a season best.
JAMAICAN REACHES BEST TIMES IN SPRINTS—05/13/08
Veronica Campbell-Brown had her best times in 2008 in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints during the Central Florida Twilight meet in Orlando, Florida. Campbell-Brown is Jamaica’s most successful female sprinter, winning Olympic and World Championship gold medals. Her strong wins will help her build-up toward the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China in August.
SAMUELS FACES TWO-YEAR BAN FROM CRICKET—05/14/08
Marlon Samuels, Jamaica and West Indies middle order batsman, has been found guilty of violating International Cricket Council (ICC) rules of conduct by receiving “money, benefit or other reward which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute.” The violation imposes a minimum two-year ban from cricket, starting from May 9, 2008, the date of the disciplinary hearing.
KINGSTON LEADS IN JTA GAMES—05/16/08
Kingston maintained its lead position in the final day of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Blue Cross National Primary and Junior High Athletics Championships. After seven final games, Kingston has 71 points. St. Andrew is second with 55, followed by the defending champions, Portland, with 42.
Facing “The Last Enemy”
She was standing, waiting for the elevator in the Bible College I attend and where she is a professor. Her husband had passed away a couple weeks before, and once I caught up with her, proceeded to offer my condolences. During our brief chat, I commented on her cheerful disposition despite her recent loss. Her eyes brightened, her smile got broader, and bouncing on her toes she said excitedly, with all the conviction she could muster, “I know where he is, I know where he is, he’s with Jesus.” What a wonderful perspective!
Death. It is not a topic that makes for comfortable conversation, yet its reality has touched the lives of so many of us. From the moment we were conceived, our ‘appointment’ with death was made, and unless we’re privileged to be alive when Jesus returns, it is an ‘appointment’ – date and time unknown to us – that we must keep. The writer of Hebrews left no doubt about that when he wrote, “It is appointed unto man once to die” (9:27), and Solomon stated the uncomfortable truth, “For the living know that they will die” (Ecclesiastes 9:5a). However, whether when facing the death of loved ones, or awareness of our own mortality, death, for the believer, doesn’t have to be a frightening thought. In the natural, it is but a period on our earthly existence, but from God’s perspective, it is a comma, a transition, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared this moment of transition “precious”, when he wrote, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:5). Imagine that. When the final breath leaves the body of the child of God, the LORD deems that a precious moment.
While there is sorrow in death, there is no need for fear. Someone once wrote, “Death is but changing our robes to wait in wedding garments at the Eternal’s gate.” Before his execution, Paul, in his second and final letter to Timothy, wrote, “I am now ready to be offered” (4:6a). The Psalmist declared, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (17:15). Because of the hope in Christ Jesus, we do not have to face or mourn death like those without hope. Like the college professor, secured in the knowledge of the promises of God, we too can say of our loved ones, and they can say of us, “I know where s/he is, I know where s/he is.”
The grave is not a final resting place. It is just a holding ground for our mortal bodies. Being fully persuaded that death will eventually be swallowed up in victory, and that it is just a transition from this life to the next, in its presence the believer should shout the words of 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”, because standing on the other side is The One who triumphed over death, and through Him, all who believe in Him will experience the same (John 3:16). Let us comfort ourselves , and others, with that thought.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.