THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
HAITI AND JAMAICA INVOLVED IN “DEADLY TRADE”—10/25/08
Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates of any country in the world, and police in the Caribbean have become increasingly concerned about the activity that trades guns for drugs. Weapons from Haiti are commonly exchanged for marijuana, and Haiti is viewed as the major source of illegal firearms that enter Jamaica. Jamaican police seized over 650 illegal guns entering the island in 2007. In 2008, they have already seized 450. More than 1,300 people have been murdered in Jamaica in 2008.
DIRECTOR OF OAS CRITICIZES EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM—10/26/08
According to Joan Neil, Director of the Organization of American States (OAS), has called Jamaica’s current program for early childhood education “short sighted,” saying that it will not provide “sustainable benefits.” Neil believes Jamaica is putting too much money into early childhood education and not enough into the 17-35 year old age group.
JAMAICAN WOMEN CHOSEN FOR EXPEDITION TO SOUTH POLE—10/27/08
Two Jamaican women have been selected to compete for a place on the Commonwealth Women’s Antarctic Expedition, an all-female expedition that will ski to the South Pole in 2008. Kim-Marie Spence and Alecia Maragh will participate in a two-week training camp in Scandinavia. The woman who is eventually selected to join the team will be the first Jamaica to ski to the South Pole.
BYRON LEE RECEIVES JAMAICAN HONOR—10/28/08
Bandleader Byron Lee, who has been an entertainer for over 50 years, has received the Order of Jamaica (OJ). The honor was given to Lee at the University Hospital of the West Indies, where he is currently receiving treatment for cancer. Sir Kenneth Hall, Jamaica’s Governor General, made the presentation at the hospital in the presence of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, and Olivia Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth, and Sports. Lee’s friends and family were also present.
GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS PROMPTS FOCUS ON ISLAND AGRICULTURE—10/29/08
Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, says that the world food crisis is forcing investment in the agricultural sector of Jamaica. Tufton is encouraging consumers to accept local food options in response to the government’s programs designed to raise production and reduce dependence on imports.
WEHBY SAYS JAMAICA CAN ATTRACT BILLIONS IN FOREIGN INVESTMENT—10/30/08
According to Senator Don Wehby, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, it is possible for Jamaica to attract and retain direct foreign investments of US$2 billion and have yearly growth over five percent. For this to occur, however, Wehby says the Government must ensure a policy that maintains low inflation, a tax system that is simple and competitive, a modern labor market, and effective measure to prevent corruption, among other things.
OPPOSITION WANTS INFORMATION ON BOARD’S DISMISSAL—10/30/08
Jamaica’s Information Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange confirmed that members of the board of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) have been asked to resign. She also said the Wayne Chen, businessman, has been chosen to lead the new board. Opposition leader Portia Simpson-Miller has demanded a full explanation for the dismissal.
ILLITERACY AND LACK OF TRAINING HAMPER JAMAICAN WORKERS—10/31/08
Pearnel Charles, Jamaica’s Labor and Social Security Minister, believes that the greatest obstacles for the island’s workers in the 21st century are illiteracy and lack of training. He made his remarks as the Government launches a partnership with Okanagan College in British Columbia to conduct a large-scale recruitment drive aimed at employing 1,200 Jamaican workers in the overseas marketplace. Operation 120, as the project is known, would give British Columbia a pool of workers to address its shortage of qualified personnel. However, Charles notes that many Jamaican workers are illiterate, so their education must be upgraded to meet the standard required in Canada. The adult literacy rate in Jamaica is currently 79.9 percent, according to UNESCO Education for All (EFA).
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS’ ART SHOWCASED AT EXHIBIT IN NEW YORK—10/26/08
Jamaican father and son, Basil and Kai Watson, are among the exhibitors at the “Art Off The Main” annual art exhibit at the Savacou Gallery in New York City. Basil Watson is a well-known sculptor and son of Barrington Watson. Kai Watson is carrying on the family legacy in art by brining to life Jamaica’s Olympic wins in Beijing 2008 with a portrait of triple-gold-medalist Usain Bolt.
USA JAMAICAN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION HAS NEW PRESIDENT—10/27/08
Karlene Largie, a respected community leaders, has been chosen to be the new president of the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (UJAA) USA, Inc. She is the immediate past president of the Immaculate Alumni Association-New York Chapter. A member of the Union for 13 years, Ms. Largie has served in several positions, including vice president.
JAMAICAN AUTHOR TO APPEAR AT CARLETON COLLEGE—10/28/08
Marcia Douglas, Jamaican novelist and poet, read from her work at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, on October 27, 2008. Her readings included a portion of her second novel “Notes from a Writer’s Book of Cures and Spells.” Douglas was born in England and grew up in Jamaica. She currently teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
OLDEST JAMAICAN IN BRISTOL CELEBRATES 100TH BIRTHDAY—10/29/08
Geraldine Grossett, the oldest Jamaican resident of Bristol in the United Kingdom celebrated her birthday with five generations of her family and 50 friends at the Gleeson House Care Home in Fishponds. She came to the UK from Jamaica in 1955.
JAMAICA GETS FIRST VICTORY IN PAN AMERICAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP—10/25/08
Jamaica has won its first victory at the Pan American Junior Championships in Port-of-Span, Trinidad & Tobago, beating Guyana 7-0. Charles Burton scored a hat-trick, and several players added one point each to hand the Guyanese their sixth loss. The team will next play Brazil to determine the ninth-place ranking.
BLOOMFIELD RETAINS GOLF TITLE—10/26/08
Jamaican Johnny Bloomfield kept his championship title at the 45th Jamaica Open Golf Championships at the Half Moon Club. He had a total of 210 on 54 holes, or six under par. Bloomfield won his first Jamaica Open title in 2006 with a nine-stroke lead.
JAMAICAN SKI FEDERATION PLANS FOR 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS—10/27/08
The Jamaican Ski Federation has started a drive to ensure full participation in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. Errol Kerr and Gregg Samuels will represent the island in the Ski Cross event. It will cost about US$240,000 to provide top-quality training and exposure for the two athletes who are already in training for the games.
JAMAICAN CYCLIST 10TH IN CARIBBEAN CHAMPIONSHIP—10/28/08
Jassette Bromfield, a cyclist from Jamaica, finished in tenth place in the 75-mile-long race of the 8th Caribbean Cycling Championship. The race concluded in Kingstown St. Vincent. Bromfield covered the course in 2.50.42 seconds, 3.5 seconds behind Louis Teplier, the winner from Guadeloupe. The winning time was 2.47.37 seconds.
A Guiding Light
A fellow student at the Bible College I attend is blind, and uses a guide dog to get around. On a couple of occasions, I watched his (we’ll call him Paul for our purposes) interaction with the dog, and how he quietly issued commands to “sit”, “stay”, “here”, and so on, to which the dog would immediately respond. Once they were moving, the dog was Paul’s eyes. He seemed to know where everything was, and as the master moved around in a world of darkness, he relied on his ‘best friend’ to guide him around obstacles and whatever else was in the way. It was obvious that the bond between them was one of trust.
In Psalm 119 we read, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (v.105, KJV), and in these words we find a similar kind of relationship. As the believer goes about in a darkened world, we need our own “guide dog”, and we have the light of God’s word to show us the way. In his commentary on this verse, Matthew Henry wrote, “It [the Word] discovers to us, concerning God and ourselves, that which otherwise we could not have known; it shows us what is amiss, and will be dangerous; it directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. It is a lamp which we may set up by us, and take into our hands for our own particular use…to direct us in the right ordering of our conversation, both in the choice of our way in general and in the particular steps we take in that way, that we may not take a false way nor a false step in the right way. We are then truly sensible of God’s goodness to us in giving us such a lamp and light when we make it a guide to our feet, our path.”
The Christian cannot afford to go about our business without the security of God’s word lighting our way. In his notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes wrote, “He who makes the word of God his guide, and marks its teachings, is in the right way. He will clearly see the path. He will be able to mark the road in which he ought to go, and to avoid all those by-paths which would lead him astray. He will see where those by-roads turn off from the main path – often at a very small angle, and so that there seems to be no divergence. He will see any obstruction which may lie in his path; any declivity or precipice which may be near, and down which, in a dark night, one might fall. Man needs such a guide, and the Bible is such a guide.”
Because the Word of God is so encompassing, it has something to say about every area of our lives. Every step we need to take, every decision we need to make, we can trust it to guide us in the right direction. A lamp unto our feet, and a light to our path. As you go day to day, are you making effective use of it?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.