JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending June 27th, 2008

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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PATOIS BIBLE PLAN BRINGS CONTROVERSY—06/21/08
The idea of recognizing the Jamaican dialect as a formal language and translating the Bible into patois has raised controversy. The Bible Society of the West Indies plans to publish a patois version of the Bible. The program will take 12 years and cost $60 million. While some see the plan as brilliant, critics have called the effort “a waste of time.”

70 PERCENT OF JAMAICANS SAY GAYS SHOULD NOT HAVE RIGHTS—06/22/08
According to a recent poll, 70 percent of Jamaicans oppose giving civil rights to gays and lesbians. Women were somewhat more receptive to the idea than men, with 34 percent of women favoring civil rights for gays and lesbians, compared to just 20 percent of men. Human rights groups have described Jamaica as having the worst record in the world in regard to treatment of gays and lesbians.

CRIME FIGHTING PROPOSALS NOT YET SUPPORTED BY OPPOSITION PARTY—06/23/08
The People’s National Party (PNP) has not yet signaled its support of the controversial proposals made by the Bruce Golding administration to fight crime. Portia Simpson Miller, PNP leader, says the party has yet to “fully endorse” the anti-crime program. Simpson Miller also said the party is not ready to indicate whether it supports Golding’s measures or not, despite statements made by Prime Minister Bruce Golding that some of these measures arose from the Vale Royal talks.

JAMAICAN STUDENTS HOSTED BY U.S. EMBASSY—06/24/08
The Public Affairs division of the United States Embassy hosted a pre-departure seminar for those Jamaican students who have been accepted into an American college or university for the 2008/2008 academic year. Nearly 200 students and their parents attended the event, which was designed to help students make the transition to the U.S. system of education.

PRIME MINISTER SAYS NO TO DECRIMINALIZING, REGULATING SEX WORK—06/25/08
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has stated that the country will not decriminalize and regulate sex work on the island. Golding says that his administration has no intention of doing so or of targeting the sex industry for tax revenues. Kevin Harvey, senior medical officer responsible for the HIV and sexually transmitted disease program at the Ministry of Health, says that the government could raise as much as US$43 million in taxes sex work were decriminalized.

JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO ABSORB DEBT OF AIR JAMAICA—06/25/08
Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister, warns that the nation’s government will have to take on over US$1 billion in debt if a buyer is found for the airline. Jamaica wants to unload the airline by March 2009. Golding also predicted that the airline would lose more this year than the US$170 million it lost in 2007.

BOARD OF AIR JAMAICA FIRED—06/26/08
Jamaica’s government has fired the board of Air Jamaica, the country’s national airline. The firing comes after a decision to eliminate the airline by March 2009. Air Jamaica has registered some $1 billion in losses, and according to critics, the losses arose from bad management. Before being let go, the airline’s board had been discussing whether to increase the salaries of some employees by 14 percent.

LAWYERS CONTRADICT MALAHOO FORTE—06/27/08
Lawyers from the private Bar object to their characterization by Marlene Malahoo, president of the Resident Magistrates’ Association, who has described them as “hustlers.” Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, president of the Jamaican Bar Association, criticized Malahoo Forte for “denigrating” the legal profession in the public media. Malahoo Forte maintains her positions, however, and has even called some conduct by lawyers “criminal.”

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICAN DIASPORA ELECTS LEADERSHIP—06/22/08
More than 700 delegates from the UK, Canada, the Caribbean, Cuba, South Africa, and the United States met at the 3rd Biennial Conference of the Jamaican Diaspora. They participated in a series of workshops and elected advisory board leaders. The theme of the conference was “Borderless Partnership for National Development.”

JAMAICAN PRISONERS IN PANAMA WANT GOVERNMENT HELP—06/24/08
Over 40 Jamaicans who are now in prison in Panama want the government of Jamaica to help them, saying that the prisons are “dehumanizing,” They also fear that Jamaican authorities have forgotten about them. Prisoners cite poor food, scant meals, and being forced to drink water from a river that flows through the prison. Most of the prisoners are incarcerated for drug-related offenses.

JAMAICAN WINS CANADIAN LOTTERY—06/25/08
Beverly Palmer, an immigrant from Jamaica now living in Scarborough, Canada, was the only winner of the $25 million LOTTO 6/49 Jackpot in Canada. Palmer has been unemployed since February 2008 and before winning the lottery was wondering how she was going to pay her bills next month.

JAMAICAN A SUSPECT IN POISON DART KILLINGS—06/26/08
Davion Parson, 19, who was born in Jamaica, was arrested by the Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team and will be extradited to the U.S. to face charges related to a shooting in a Florida nightclub. The shooting resulted in the deaths of the selectors of the Poison Dart sound system and a friend.

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SPORTS
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BAHAMAS ELIMINATED FROM WORLD CUP QUALIFIER—06/21/08
Jamaica’s national team defeated Bahamas’ U-23 team 6-0, dominating the first match and winning it 7-0. From the beginning of the second match, Bahamas were pressured, and while they tried to stay in the game, they could not keep pace with the fast-moving Jamaican team.
 
POWELL FINISHES 100 METERS IN 9.96—06/22/08
Asafa Powell, former world record holder in the 100 meters, ran the distance in 9.96 seconds upon his return to competition after suffering an injury to his shoulder. The race was Powell’s first since February 2008. He said he was “a bit nervous” about the slight head wind and persistent drizzle on race day, as well as it being his first race following his injury.

JAMAICAN INDUCTED INTO MARTIAL ARTS HALL OF FAME—06/23/08
Newton James has been awarded the title of “Hanshi” and raised to a ninth degree Black Belt. He is the first Jamaican to achieve this level in the martial arts field. His martial arts career spans four decades and began at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Kingston in 1968.

POWELL SAYS NO “CLASH” WITH BOLT—06/26/08
Former 100-meter world record holder Asafa Powell says there will be no “clash” with Usain Bolt at the National Championships at National Stadium. Powell and Bolt, who holds the current 100-meter record, are unlikely to meet before the final at the Championships. Powell was clear in saying that his main goal is qualifying for the Olympic Games in Beijing.

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DEVOTIONAL
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God’s Priority

Paul’s letter to the Romans is a fascinating one.  Long considered “The Gospel Manifesto”, I hold the view that it is difficult, if not impossible, to live the Christian life in its fullness without having a basic understanding of it.  If you have not read this book in its entirety, I encourage you to do so for an insight into the awesomeness of God’s grace, and our exalted position in Christ.  Nestled in Chapter 8 are two verses that I believe, next to our salvation, point to God’s priority regarding His children: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (vv. 28, 29).   

Most of us have struggled with verse 28, but since Paul wrote it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then we have to be comforted by it even if we don’t understand it. The book of Job helps us to understand that things that happen to the children of God are sovereignly allowed by Him, and Paul reaffirms that the good, bad, and indifferent things all work for our good, according to the purposes of God.  But just exactly what is that purpose?  The answer we find in the next verse, especially in the words, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son”.  I quite like Matthew Henry’s concise commentary on this portion of the text: “Here is the order of the causes of our salvation, a golden chain, one which cannot be broken. 1. Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. All that God designed for glory and happiness as the end, he decreed to grace and holiness as the way. The whole human race deserved destruction; but for reasons not perfectly known to us, God determined to recover some by regeneration and the power of his grace. He predestinated, or before decreed, that they should be conformed to the image of his Son. In this life they are in part renewed, and walk in his steps.”

Renewed and walking in his [Christ’s] steps. That is God’s priority for us.  Some may ask: “What about our day to day existence?”; “Doesn’t God care if we can pay our bills or not, or if we have somewhere to live?”  To all those questions we answer with a resounding “Yes, He does care!”  Jesus made that clear when said our Heavenly Father knows we have need of those things, but He emphasized the priority was not those material things but rather to seek first the kingdom of God; once we got that right, then the rest of things would be added (Matthew 6:25-33).

God’s priority is not our immediate material comfort, but rather that we become conformed [similar, identical] to the image of Christ. Are you cooperating with Him toward that end?

CEW

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CREDITS/SOURCES
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The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.