JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending July 25th, 2008

——————————————–
THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
——————————————–

JAMAICA TOURISM MINISTER RAISES INVESTORS’ CONFIDENCE—07/19/08
Ed Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism is traveling to key cities in Europe to publicize the island’s tourism industry and attract investors. Bartlett focused particularly on obtaining current airlift out of Ireland, Spain, and other growing markets. He also talked with major airline representatives about expanding routes to Jamaican gateways.

POLICE IN JAMAICA ARREST REGGAE ARTIST—07/19/08
The Jamaican police have arrested reggae singer Bounty Killer on charges of using profanity at the island’s famous Reggae Sumfest event. According to Steve McGregor, police superintendent, the singer’s arrest was his second at the event. He was arrested in 2001 after fighting with another singer.

JAMAICA TAKES HARD LINE ON METAL THEFT—07/20/08
Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry and Commerce, is calling for higher fines in an attempt to thwart the theft of metal from construction sites on the island. Power lines are also under attack by thieves as they provide recyclable copper. Samuda wants to see fines as high as $US28,000 for those caught possessing stolen scrap metal or trying to illegally export recyclable metals. Currently the fine is $50.

JAMAICAN WOMAN GETS CARICOM AWARD—07/21/08
Professor Barbara Bailey, the director of the Center for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, has been honored with the ninth CARICOM Triennial Award for Women for 2008. The award, which was created in 1983, recognizes women in the Caribbean who have made contributions to the socio-economic development at the global level.

$159 MILLION IN COCAINE CONFISCATED—07/22/08
The United States Coast Guard turned over a large amount of cocaine to drug enforcement authorities in Miami, Florida, that had been confiscated off the Jamaican coast. The Coast Guard found 10,000 pounds of cocaine in tightly wrapped blocks on a 120-foot ship from Honduras. This was one of the larger drug “busts” in recent times, according to Lt. John Christensen of the Coast Guard.     

JAMAICA, COLUMBIA AGREE TO EXPAND HYDROCARBON RESOURCES—07/23/08
Dr. Ronald Robinson, Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, reports that an agreement has been made with Columbia to expand the hydrocarbon resources in the Joint Regime Area (JRA). The government indicated its interest to Columbia in expanding the oil-exploration area of the Caribbean Sea to include the JRA.

GOLDING DEFENDS GOVERNMENT ANTI-CRIME MEASURES—07/24/08
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has defended the new anti-crime programs announced by the government in response to criticism from some in the local human-rights community. Golding believes that proposals will have an immediate effect on the high rate of violence in Jamaica. He rejected critics’ claims that some of the proposed government measures would not hold up in court.

GOVERNMENT’S FORENSIC LAB IS READY FOR MORE CASES—07/25/08
Technology improvements at Jamaica’s Forensic Laboratory will make it possible to handle the expected growth in requests for DNA tests arising from the latest anti-crime program. Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced that “non-invasive” DNA samples will be taken and a DNA database will be created in an effort to aid police in identifying and obtaining criminal convictions.
Police are very happy with the new plans and have long believed that a DNA database would let them home in on the worst criminals, who are responsible for most of the serious crime in Jamaica.
 
——————————————–
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
——————————————–

GERMANY SCRUTINIZES REGGAE CDs—07/20/08
The German government is considering putting some Jamaican reggae CDs on a blacklist and restricting the sales and distributions of these CDs in the country. CDs by Elephant Man and T.O.K. could be listed on the “Index of Harmful Materials” in Germany because of their anti-gay lyrics. This would not censor the CDs, but would dramatically limit advertising and marketing for these products.

JAMAICAN HEAD OF NOVA SCOTIA BANK LEAVES POST—07/21/08
Scotiabank Jamaica’s long-time chief executive officer is leaving, just a month after revelations that the Bank of Nova Scotia has lost its dominance in Jamaica’s financial services market. There is speculation in Jamaica that Bill Clarke, the bank’s CEO, was fired after a disagreement with his Canadian bosses. Scotiabank said Clarke retired early, but the Jamaican media do not accept the bank’s explanation.

DEPORTATION IMPACTS CHILDREN OF JAMAICAN—07/22/08
Roxroy Salmon, father of Elijah Salmon, 12, could be deported back to Jamaica from the family’s home in Brooklyn, New York. The elder Salmon will have his case heard in the U.S. Immigration Court, which will determine his fate. If he is deported, he will leave his children behind. This situation is not unusual, and a growing number of children are being separated from their parents because of national immigration policies. Families for Freedom is a defense network for immigrants who face deportation and is working with the Salmon family.

JAMAICAN NATIONALS RESPONSIBLE FOR LARGE POT STASH—07/23/08
Loverture McCarthy, 36, and Courtenay Garrick, 35, were arrested on charges of moving over $1 million of marijuana from Texas to Philadelphia. The two are Jamaican nationals. Authorities allege that McCarthy is a marijuana dealer in Houston, Texas, who is involved with smuggling drugs from Mexico to Texas for distribution in the United States.

——————————————–
SPORTS
——————————————–

BOLT COULD SPOIL SHOWDOWN BETWEEN GAY AND POWELL—07/20/08
Usain Bolt, 21, achieved a time of 9 .72 seconds and a new world record in New York in 2008, outpacing American Tyson Gay, who clocked 9.85-seconds. Bolt outran Asafa Powell in Kingston, Jamaica in June 2008, with a time of 9.85, compared to Powell’s 9.97. Bolt could be the one to beat at the Olympics in Beijing in August.

ANOTHER UNDER-22 FOR CAMPBELL-BROWN—07/21/08
Veronica Campbell-Brown, current 200-meter champion, clocked the second fastest time of the year in the 200 meters and won another victory at the Athletics Meeting in Barcelona, span. Campbell-Brown was one of four Jamaicans who had wins at the meet. She ran the 200 meters in 21.98 seconds, nearly half a second ahead of Bianca Knight, an American, and Roxana Diaz from Cuba.

ALL FOUR JAMAICAN RELAY TEAMS APPROVED FOR OLYMPICS—07/22/08
All of the Jamaican relay teams were approved by the IAAF to compete at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in August 2008. Trinidad & Tobago had three of their four teams approved. Cuba was also approved for three teams. The United States is expected to medal in most if not all of the relays, but Jamaica has the two fastest men in the world in the sprint relay, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, and four women with under 10.90 times in the short sprint relay, so the island is also expected to do well.

THREE JAMAICANS IN BLIND CRICKET TOURNAMENT—07/23/08
Loshane Myles, Dwayne Campbell, and Jason Ricketts will participate in a West Indies blind cricket 14-man team and will face an under-19 blind cricket team from the London Community Cricket Association in Barbados. The teams will play two matches, which will be a “tune-up” for the West Indies’ tour of the United Kingdom in August 2008.

—————————————————————-
DEVOTIONAL
—————————————————————
The Company We Keep

As a child growing up, my mother would constantly remind me and my siblings to be careful of the company we keep.  As youngsters, we were very aware of the influence that friends and acquaintances could have on the things we do primarily because we had seen how other kids had adopted bad habits and attitudes from hanging out with the wrong crowd.  Of course, growing up in the church we also understood that we were ultimately responsible for our own actions, but we could not ignore that despite our best intentions, if we were not careful, we could end up doing the wrong thing in order to maintain unhealthy friendships.  I can still hear Mom’s voice: “Show me your company, and I’ll tell you who you are.”  There is a lot of truth in her wisdom.

I thought of this as I read Psalm 119:63 – “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.”  Interestingly, Scripture has a lot to say about the associations we form.  From the formative years of the nation of Israel, through the millennia, God warned His people to avoid certain individuals, groups, and nations whose ways of being were against His laws and principles.  Whenever God’s people violated this directive, they found themselves in a position of compromise.  It is said that we can only rise to the level of the company we keep, and for the child of God intent on walking in the ways of God, it is imperative that we be mindful of those we allow into our personal space.  Our ultimate goal is not to please others, or even ourselves, but rather to please our Heavenly Father, and to help us in that objective we should surround ourselves with people of like mind.

In Amos 3:3 we read, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  The agreement to consider is not so much on secular things, but on those things that are spiritual.  Even among Christians there is need for vigilance in this area.  We need to ensure that the meaningful relationships in our lives are propelling us in the right direction; towards conformity to the image of Christ in the ways we walk, talk, and live.  This is ultimately God’s priority, and it should be ours as well.     

How do your friendships and relationships measure up?  Now is as good a time as any to check them out.

CEW

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