THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
CARIBBEAN MONK SEAL OFFICIALLY EXTINCT—06/07/08
According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Caribbean monk seal, a sea mammal last since in 1952 between Jamaica and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, is officially extinct. The seals were native species in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, but humans disturbed the environment and over-hunted the mammals for food and blubber, forcing them into extinction. NOAA warns that the Hawaiian and Mediterranean monk seals may also disappear, since there are only a few hundred of each left in the natural environment.
JAMAICA TOLD TO CONTROL GUNS—06/08/08
The Jamaican government has been told to impose strict regulations for gun control in order to slow the major influx of guns and ammunition to the island. The UNICEF and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have jointly called for all stakeholders to enhance efforts aimed at slowing the flow of arms to Jamaica and to reduce the high rates of gun violence occurring there.
HEALTH MINISTRY GAINS NEARLY HALF OF HIV/AIDS FIGHT FUNDING—06/09/08
Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Environment has received 40 percent of the funds required to implement a five-year strategy designed to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS on the island. The total cost of the plan is $200 million, according to Kevin Harvey, treatment care and support coordinator at the Ministry. The funding was received via a loan from the World Bank and a grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Local sources of funding also contributed.
MOST JAMAICANS OBJECT TO DUAL CITIZENSHIP FOR MPs—06/10/08
Fifty-four percent of Jamaicans polled support the constitutional agreement that keeps individuals who have dual citizenship from sitting in the nation’s Parliament. However, 60 percent of Jamaicans also oppose the position of the defeated People’s National Party (PNP) candidate, Abe Dabdoub, that he should be given the seat for West Portland, since the court ruled that Daryl Vaz, Jamaican Labor Party (JLP) candidate, was not eligible to sit in the House of Representatives.
PNP MORE LIKELY TO WIN IF ELECTION CALLED NOW—06/11/08
The People’s National Party (PNP) would be more likely to form the Government of Jamaica if a general election were called immediately. However, with some 30 percent of Jamaicans showing little interest in the electoral process at this point, the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) could maintain its hold on the nation’s power.
GOLDING ENCOURAGES STRONGER FIGHT AGAINST CRIME—06/12/08
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding is urging Jamaicans to join in the battle against crime. Golding believes that Jamaicans must decide their own future. “Society is going to have to make some choices,” Golding said, even if a greater effort to restore order in some communities may “inconvenience” residents.
BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY POLICING TO SHOW IMPACT WITHIN A YEAR—06/12/08
John McLean, Assistant Commissioner of Police, believes that the newest efforts toward community policing will have a positive effect on crime within one year of their implementation. Community policing is designed to enhance trust between police and neighborhood residents by creating partnerships between them. McLean noted that there would be “some pain along the way,” but believes that changing the approach to policing on the island will have rapid, proactive, and preventive results.
KRISTI CHARLES RECEIVES $1.4 MILLION FOR COLLEGE FUND—06/13/08
In 2007, Kristi Charles was denied a scholarship from the Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation, despite her showing on the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). She received the highest test grades on the island, but was not recommended for the scholarship award because the Ministry of Education claimed that she might have seen the test paper beforehand. After a month-long battle, the court decided the case in Kristi’s favor, and she has now received the Ministry of Education’s Excellence Scholarship, which has a value of $205,000 per year over seven years. Kristi plans to study medicine at Harvard University in the U.S.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN WORKERS LOSE JOBS ON CAPE COD—06/08/08
Many Jamaican workers, accustomed to traveling to summer jobs on Cape Cod in Massachusetts every year, face uncertainty and loss of income. These workers have been blocked from obtaining their seasonal work visas because of fights in the U.S. Congress over immigration reform. The arguments have capped the number of visas available, and all of those allowed were taken months ago.
U.S. NEWSPAPER STUDIES JAMAICAN HIV/AIDS CAMPAIGN—06/10/08
The Washington Post newspaper in Washington, D. C., examined a Jamaican campaign designed to remove the stigma of HIV/AIDS and to teach individuals with HIV about the importance of protecting other people from getting the disease. The Jamaican Ministry of Health and Environment walked a “fine line” in developing the campaign, according to the Post, since it had to inform the public that HIV was not a death sentence, while also teaching important safe-sex practices and abstinence.
AIR JAMAICA PRESIDENT WANTS SUPPORT FROM ORLANDO JAMAICANS—06/11/08
The senior vice president of Air Jamaica, Paul Pennicook, urged Jamaicans living in Orlando, Florida to be “ambassadors” for the airline and for their country. In a speech to members of the Jamaican American Association of Central Florida, Pennicook encouraged Florida Jamaicans to tell any Europeans they may meet in Orlando to take a “little side trip” to Jamaica.
JAMAICAN MAN WITH COCAINE ARRESTED IN PUERTO RICO—06/12/08
A Jamaican man, 31 years of age, faces charges of drug trafficking after being detained in Puerto Rico with liquid cocaine in Caribbean rum. The man flew from St. Lucia to Puerto Rico where he was arrested when U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents found three bottles of alcohol in his luggage. One bottle was tested and showed positive results for cocaine. It was subsequently discovered that the bottle of run contained 3.14 liters of liquid cocaine.
CHANDERPAUL BREAKS INTO TOP FIVE ICC RANKINGS—06/07/08
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, West Indies left-hander, now ranks in the top five of the International Cricket Council (ICC) listings for the first time in his career. Chanderpaul is currently the number-five batsman in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings. He also won Man-of-the-Match in the Digicel second Test versus Australia in Antigua.
REGGAE BOYZ WIN DRAW VERSUS TRINIDAD & TOBAGO—06/08/08
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz were lucky when they tied their two-match friend series with Trinidad & Tobago at Marvin Lee Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The first of the tie was obtained in Kingston in March when the Boyz lost after taking a 2-0 lead. Both teams are getting ready for CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches.
SIMPSON TAKES SECOND IN PREFONTAINE—06/09/08
Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson, coming back after several injuries in 2007, won second place in the 100 meters at the Nike Prefontaine Track and Field Classic in Eugene, Oregon. Ranked first in the 100 and 200 meters in 2006, Simpson’s Prefontaine time was 10.99, her best this season.
GOOD START FOR JAMAICA AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS—06/12/08
Weather delays did not dampen the efforts of Jamaicans at the NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Julian Reid, former Wolmer’s Boys’ past student and Texas A&M freshman showed the best performance among the Jamaicans with 7.97 meters. Nicholas Gordon, former Calabar jumper, jumped 7.75 meters for a ninth-place ranking overall, and former Kingston College student Alain Bailey reached 7.67 meters for 11th place.
Gossiping. Some would argue it is some Christians’ favorite past time – always having a story to tell about someone else, whether that story is real or contrived. Webster defines a gossiper as “a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others”. Maybe there is some perverse pleasure that is derived from such a behavior, but regardless of the perceived benefits, we can rest assured that such a behavior should not be found among God’s people.
God Himself weighed in on the matter. In handing down the Levitical laws that would govern the conduct of His people, He instructed, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people” (Leviticus 19:16a), or as ‘The Message’ emphatically puts it, “Don’t spread gossip and rumors”. Obviously, if God forbids it, there cannot be anything virtuous about it. Solomon, the wisest of them all, also found the practice deplorable. In the Proverbs we read, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (18:8, KJV). In other words, they hurt deeply; so much so he repeats it again (26:22). In 20:19 it is said, “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips”, and in 26:20, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”
It can be difficult at times to hold one’s tongue in the face of provocation, especially if we are the ones being unfairly slandered. There’s always the temptation to respond in kind with not so nice things we know about those who seek to do harm, yet in the midst of those strong emotions, God says “Stop it!” Our minds respond , “But, Lord…”, but ever so emphatically He speaks, “Don’t do it!” In the words of Solomon, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter” (Proverbs 11:13). Paul admonished, “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men” (1 Thess. 5:15), and yes, that includes the gossipers.
Following that which is good is not always easy, but thank God, the Holy Spirit is more than able to help us to do it . “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will [perish] not go free” (Proverbs 19:5). He that is of a faithful spirit does not gossip, but keeps/hides what he knows about others. Is your spirit faithful?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.