THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
JAMAICA MAY USE ANKLE BRACELET FOR CRIMINALS—01/10/09
Jamaica may use electronic ankle bracelets in its fight against crime. According to June Jarrett, Acting Commissioner of Corrections, a two-year pilot program testing the ankle bracelets has ended, and she wants to make some changes before launching an effort that will rely on the bracelets to reduce crime and the prison population on the island. Approximately 1,000 volunteer offenders in six parishes wore the ankle bracelets during the two-year trial period.
JAMAICANS WANT JOBS—01/11/09
The global economic crisis is having a bad effect on job hunters in Jamaica. All areas of the island are experiencing low employment, and individuals are willing to take any job that is offered to them. The administration of Prime Minister Bruce Golding came to power in 2007 on the promise to create more jobs, and in the face of the global conditions, the Ministry of Labor is trying everything it can to discover new job opportunities for Jamaicans.
SUGAR FACTORY PLANS UNCONFIRMED—01/12/09
The Jamaican government is planning to divest itself of five state-owned sugar factories. While one factory went back into production, the delay in harvesting has created financial problems for some sugar cane farmers. People who are frustrated about the situation have allegedly started fires to destroy many acres of cane. Millions of dollars of sugar cane have burned while the government has yet to take action.
MONTAGUE SAYS STRONG LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAKES NATIONS STRONG—01/13/09
Robert Montague, Jamaica’s Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, believes that good local governance depends on the awareness that individuals and institutions have or their responsibilities and their ability to perform them. Local government has a critical role in allowing Jamaicans to interact with elected representatives and that by doing this, it will make the nation stronger overall.
OFFICIAL OF ADVENTIST CHURCH IS NEW GOVERNOR GENERAL—01/13/09
Patrick Allen, an Adventist church official, will be Jamaica’s sixth government general, starting in February 2009. Allen, who is an educator and public servant, will focus on human rights and community involvement when he takes office. He will replace Sir Kenneth Hall who requested that he be allowed to resign for health reasons.
JAMAICA SUPPORTS UN RESOLUTION ON GAZA—01/14/09
Jamaica backs a resolution adopted by the Security Council at the United Nations calling for an immediate ceasefire and the provision of aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Ambassador Peter Black, Jamaica’s UN representative, urges both sides to implement the ceasefire in order to facilitate international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to residents of Gaza. However, the conflict continues as both Hamas and Israel have rejected the resolution.
ROY REID, JAMAICAN ARTIST, DIES AT 72—01/15/09
Roy Reid, a popular Jamaican artist, died at his Kingston home after fighting a long battle with cancer. He was born in Portland and attended Seaside Primary School. By age 34, Reid had taught himself to read using the Bible, and he had impressed the local art experts with his paintings, which have been exhibited worldwide. He was inducted into the Caribbean Development for the Arts and Culture Foundation Hall of Fame in 1999.
JAMAICANS READY TO WATCH OBAMA INAUGURATION—01/16/09
Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals living in the United States plan to celebrate the inauguration of the country’s first black president, Barack Obama, on January 20, 2009. Students and officials from the Caribbean will witness this historic event in Washington D.C. The Jamaican embassy will be closed on Inauguration Day because employees want to share in the activities. Some Jamaicans in the Diaspora will celebrate the event in their homes. Philip Mascoll, educator and past president of the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada bought a 42-inch plasma TV just for the occasion.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
AFTER JAMAICA, FRANCE BIGGEST REGGAE NATION—01/11/09
According to Sam Clayton, Jr., Jamaican engineer and producer who has been living in France for some time, that country is the largest market for reggae music outside of Jamaica. Clayton says that France is a bigger market than England or the United States. Brown’s father is Rastafari elder Broth Sam Clayton, who heads the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari.
JAMAICANS THOUGHT RESPONSIBLE FOR HOME INVASIONS—01/12/09
Police in West Beaumont, Texas, believe that Jamaicans are involved in a series of home invasion robberies in the neighborhood. The criminals knock on the door, and speaking with a Jamaican accent, they terrorize families with guns while demanding money. It has occurred several times since June 2009.
JAMAICANS EXTRADITED TO U.S. PLEAD GUILTY IN TAMPA—01/13/09
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Florida, five Jamaican nationals have decided to plead guilty to charges of drug smuggling. Robroy Williams, Norris Nembhard, Glenford Williams, Vivian Dalley, and Herbert Henry, took guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana to the U.S. while on board a ship subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
JAMAICAN CHARGED WITH 74 COUNTS OF FRAUD—01/15/09
A Jamaican woman and 22 other foreign nationals and citizens of the United States have been charged with “massive immigration-related fraud,” according to federal prosecutors in the U.S. The 74-count indictment was imposed on Sheryl Brown 37, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and other defendants after an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The conspiracy charges stem from visa and asylum fraud, marriage fraud, lying under oath, and filing fraudulent documents to get foreign labor visas for hundreds of workers since 2001.
JAMAICAN TENNIS STAR PLANS FOR GREAT 2009 SEASON—01/10/09
Simone Brown, 16, experienced an amazing year in 2008, ending the season at 28th in the Florida rankings. Brown rose 114 places in the ranking in 2008. Her father and coach, Andre Brown, is likely to promote Simone to an older age group category for the 2009 tennis season and has high hope for her.
JAMAICA DEFEATED AT WICB—01/11/09
Omari Banks and Anthony Martin led the Leeward Islands to victory over reigning champions Jamaica in the first round of the four-day WICB regional match. Leewards’ had first innings score of 298, while Jamaica achieved 201 for seven on the second day.
GAYLE WANTS TO COME HOME A WINNER—01/13/09
Chris Gayle, captain of the West Indies cricket team, wants to complete the Windies’ tour of New Zealand with a win. Gayle would love to play the innings that decide the match in the fifth. The last time he played in Napier, where the match will be played, Gayle saved the test for the Windies and helped them to share the series.
WORLD CYCLING LEADER SUPPORTS JAMAICA—01/14/09
Pat McQuaid, the head of the International Cycling Union (UCI), and Olivia Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth, and Sports, have promised to give strong support to the Jamaica Cycling Federation. Their goal is to focus on developing the sport of cycling on the island. Grange says that Jamaica “has always been a country of cyclists.”.
“Nevertheless At Thy Word”
Simon Peter and his friends were tired. They had spent the entire night fishing and had nothing to show for their efforts. It was probably not the first time. They were seasoned fishermen and a night like that was par for the course. Having secured their boats they were now washing their nets, no doubt getting ready for their next trip out whenever that would be.
It was against this backdrop that Jesus, in a bid to teach the people pressing “upon him to hear the word of God”, found it necessary to use one of the boats from which he would teach. After teaching, he spoke words to Peter that right after a night of fishing without a catch, would test the resolve of most men: “Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4, KJV), to which Peter replied, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net” (v.5). The result was immediate. “And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon” (vv. 6-10a).
There are a number of important lessons for the believer in this narrative, among them are 1) In our own efforts we won’t accomplish much, 2) Success is wrapped up in obeying the Word of God, and 3) Our success is limited to the degree to which we follow God’s instructions.
As we go about our day to day living, these are very important lessons to keep in the front of our minds. Making the decision to follow Christ does not automatically translate into surrendering our lives to His Lordship, and so out of habit and comfortability we manage our own life and affairs without His direction. However, like the experience of the fishermen that night, that could be an unproductive way of doing things. Unless we include Him and His way of doing things, everything we do is in vain (Psalm 127:1). It is important to note that though the fishermen experienced success, it was limited because they did not follow Jesus’ instructions fully, maybe because of tiredness or immature faith. Jesus told Peter to “let down your nets”, to which he replied “I will let down the net”. There is a huge difference between “nets” and “net”, and so the net they used broke because it was not big enough for the catch.
The majority of us are no different than those men. God is able to do for us far more than we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), but we need to learn to do as He says, and more importantly, to let go and let Him. It can be frightening, but “nevertheless at thy word”. Isn’t today a good time to start putting that into practice?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.