JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending January 30th, 2009

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THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
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CHILD ABUSE COMPLAINTS INCREASE IN JAMAICA—01/24/09
Jamaica’s Office of the Children’s Registry received 3,784 child abuse complaints in 2008, a huge increase over the 425 complaints received when the office first opened in 2007. The increase has been attributed to the government’s efforts to educate people about abuse. Carla Edie, registrar, says the office has been able to raise awareness about abuse and offers a telephone hotline to help people make reports to police and other authorities.

ISLAND TOURISM NEEDS JAZZ FESTIVAL—01/24/09
John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism and chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), says the yearly Jazz and Blues festival “is very essential” to the tourism industry. It brings tourists to Jamaica during a portion of the year when there is generally a smaller number of tourists overall. January is “challenging” for the tourist industry, says Lynch, and events like the Jazz Festival provide a way to attract visitors from competitors.

AMERICAN CALL CENTER TO EXPAND IN JAMAICA—01/25/09
AllianceOne Inc., a call center firm based in the United States, plans to expand its operation in Jamaica, despite the global economic downturn. AllianceOne is owned by Teleperformance of France, the largest call center outsourcing firm in the world. The company has 772 employees at its Montego Bay Freezone operation, but it can accommodate 2,000 workers.

TRADE MINISTER WANTS CHANGE—01/26/09
Kenneth Baugh, Jamaica’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, believes it is time to transform the island’s economy. He wants to move away from the current jobless, limited growth environment to one that focuses on targeted industries and exports of goods and services. This will occur, says Baugh, by modernizing production processes and using state-of-the-art technologies.

GANG BOSS TO RETURN TO JAMAICA—01/27/09
Vivian Blake, reputed to have headed one of the most powerful criminal networks in the world,
the Shower Posse, will be back on the island in the very near future. His attorney, David Rowe, says preparations have been made for his return and arrangements are completed between the United States Homeland Security agency and the Jamaican Government for Blake’s repatriation. He was sentenced in Miami, Florida, in 2000, to 28 years in federal prison for racketeering, smuggling, and selling marijuana and cocaine. He served just nine years after turning state’s evidence.

AIR JAMAICA TO REDUCE ROUTES, CUT 600 JOBS—01/28/09
Air Jamaica plans to cut its Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, and Grand Cayman routes as of February 26, 2009. The reduction will result in the loss of some 600 jobs. The service between Jamaica and Barbados and Jamaica and Grenada will also be discontinued. Bruce Nobles, president and CEO of the airline, says the firm’s cost-reduction measures seeks to stop its cash losses quickly and put the airline on a more profitable path.

POLICE LOOKING FOR ARSONIST—01/29/09
Police in Jamaica are looking for the arsonist who shot a 55-year-old grandmother in her one-room shack and set it on fire, killing her three young grandchildren as well. Police are looking through the remains of Angelia Lynch’s house in Land Top for clues. No motive for the killings has been established. The three children were 2, 3, and 5 years old.

TOO MANY PATIENTS STRESSES HOSPITAL—01/30/09
A significant increase in the number of males being hospitalized has created extreme overcrowding at the Kingston Public Hospital. Officials have been forced to admit men and women to the same ward. They have also had to create makeshift beds so that patients can sleep o the floor. The spike in number of male patients has been evident since the beginning of  January 2009.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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UNITED KINGDOM OFFICE OF DIASPORA OPEN—01/24/09
The new Jamaica Diaspora United Kingdom office in London is now operational. According to Celia Grandison Markey, the UK Diaspora movement is happy about this new step forward and says the organization now has a physical base and point of contact from which to do administrative work and community outreach.

AUSTRALIANS BECOME ‘JAMAICAN’ FOR A DAY—01/27/09
The Jamaican spirit was alive and well at the Raggamuffin festival in Australia where attendees danced to the reggae music of living legends. The festival featured Ziggy Marley, Shaggy, Eddy Grant, Inner Circle, Arrested Development, and Ali Campbell of UB40.
 
JAMAICAN DIASPORA CELEBRATES OBAMA PRESIDENCY—01/28/09
Jamaicans in the Diaspora celebrated the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States on January 20, 2009. Dale Holness, Commissioner of Luaderhill, said his experience with other Jamaicans on hand in Washington to view the Inauguration in person showed that “a child with an immigrant background” can aspire to great things.
    
AMBASSADOR MAIR DEAD—01/29/09
Lucille Mathurin Mair, a distinguished Jamaican diplomat, has died at her home in Kingston at the age of 85. Ambassador Mair was praised by Kenneth Baugh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for her work in diplomacy and international relations, particularly at the United Nations where she held several posts. She was the Secretary General of the World Conference of the United Nations Declaration for Women in Copenhagen in 1980, and from 1981 and 1982, she was special advisor to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Women’s Development.

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SPORTS
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TWO MORE JAMAICANS FOR WINTER OLYMPICS—01/26/09
Already preparing for the bobsled competition in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Jamaica will have two more athletes to cheer when the games begin. Errol Kerr and Gregg Samuels will compete in skicross, an event making its debut at the 2010 games. Neither athlete was born in Jamaica, but both have parents who were, which qualifies them to participate under the Jamaican flag.

BENNETT WANTS BATTING CONSISTENCY—01/28/09
Although his team finished at the top of the West Indies Cricket Board regional four-day match, Junior Bennett, Jamaica’s coach, is not happy with some of the things the team is doing. Bennett singled out batting for particular criticism, saying that the batting should be more consistent.

FINANCES FORCE BOBSLED TEAM TO LEAVE CANADA TRAINING SITE—01/29/09
Jamaica’s bobsled team has been forced to forego its plans to train in British Columbia for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Instead, the team will train in Utah. Christian Stokes, team member, said the team appreciated the hospitality of the people in British Columbia, but that “economic realities” have made it impossible for the team to train there.

BOLT WILL BREAK MORE RECORDS, SAYS GREENE—01/30/09
According to Olympic champion Maurice Greene, the record-breaking performances of Usain Bolt have only just begun. Greene, a former 100-meters world record holder, says that if Bolt “learns just a little bit” about sprinting, there’s no limit to what he can achieve. Bolt, 22, ran the 100 meters at a record 9.69 seconds and the 200 in 19.30 seconds at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

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DEVOTIONAL
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“What Doth The Lord Require of Thee?”

For most people, the nature of prayer is of such that it inevitably includes a “shopping list” of requests for God to tend to.  We are acutely aware of His ability to meet our every need, and though we are taught that the elements of prayer are Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (ACTS), the last element is usually the dominant theme.  We all know what it is that we require from the Lord, but very few seem to know what He requires of us.

It is not unusual for Christians to misunderstand the nature of God and what He requires. We engage in various activities “working for the Lord”, and if we’re not careful, we risk believing that our service is good enough.  Yet as satisfying as it is to be engaged in the things of God, despite the things we offer as “proof” of His working in our lives, and despite our tithes and offerings, these are not at the core of the heart of God’s expectations of His people.  In Micah 6 we read of God’s response to another of Israel’s efforts to be reconciled to Him.  As a people they asked, “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (vv.6-7, KJV).  Here we see they were prepared to do just about anything, but none of what they thought reflected the mind of God for in the next verse we read, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (v.8).  

As noble as the people’s request seemed, they knew what was required for God has told already told them what was good (Deut. 10:12-13).  As it was with them, so it is with us; God is not looking for things.  Albert Barnes stated, “God seeketh not thine, but thee; not thy substance, but thy spirit; not ram or goat, but thy heart.” : “Thou askest, what thou shouldest offer for thee? Other thyself. For what else doth the Lord seek of thee, but thee? Because, of all earthly creatures, He hath made nothing better than thee, He seeketh thyself from thyself, because thou hadst lost thyself.”

Matthew Henry wrote, “We must, in the whole course of our conversation, conform ourselves to the will of God, keep up our communion with God, and study to approve ourselves to him in our integrity; and this we must do humbly (submitting our understandings to the truths of God and our will to his precepts and providences); we must humble ourselves to walk with God (so the margin reads it); every thought within us must be brought down, to be brought into obedience to God, if we would walk comfortably with him. This is that which God requires, and without which the most costly services are vain [offerings].”

The next time you approach the throne of grace with your list, it is worth considering how you are doing with His list: to do justly (give to all their due), and to love mercy (do what mercy, kindness, benevolence, and charity require), and to walk humbly with thy God (acknowledge thy iniquity, and submit to be saved by his free mercy).

 

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.